FDR U Ready 2 Rock? (The Vote!)

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It’s Election Day, America! Not for Idols (except in North Carolina – good luck with that, Clay), Next Top Models, or folks who Got Talent, but for the people who *actually* have an effect on our lives. (Sorry, Tyra. I love you but it’s true.)

One advantage of my current singledom is extra free time to do awesome things – like watch all 14 hours of Ken Burns’ ‘The Roosevelts’…and remember how moving FDR’s fourth inaugural address was…and how eerily prescient.

So today, I present my first guest blogger: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As you read his words (they’re brief, I promise), let them inspire you to step up and participate today.

Voting is inconvenient? Roosevelt ran for President four times, served three full terms, and stood for every speech without actually possessing the physical ability to do so. He got through this particular speech while suffering from both polio and congestive heart failure – we can handle some research and waiting in line for a smidge.

One vote can’t make a difference? Roosevelt was almost assassinated before his first inaugural, saved only by the fact that the gunman chose to stand on a wobbly chair (I binge-watched the first two seasons of ‘The Newsroom’ too – history!) No wobble, no New Deal, no end to the Depression – little things often make a huge difference.

It’s all just too fubar to bother trying? As FDR reminded us, we can’t let perfection be the enemy of good. We may not achieve it any time soon – or ever – but the point isn’t to be perfect; it’s to keep trying:

Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief.

We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage–of our resolve–of our wisdom–our essential democracy.

If we meet that test–successfully and honorably–we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time.

As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen–in the presence of our God–I know that it is America’s purpose that we shall not fail.

In the days and in the years that are to come we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work and fight for total victory in war.

We can and we will achieve such a peace.

We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately–but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes–but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.

I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: “Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights–then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”

Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.

And so today, in this year of war, we have learned lessons–at a fearful cost–and we shall profit by them.

We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.

We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.

We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust or with fear. We can gain it only if we proceed with the understanding, the confidence, and the courage which flow from conviction.

The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.

So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly–to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men–to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.

— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 20, 1945

Intolerance vs. love; information vs. fear; progress vs. destruction. The trend of civilization must remain upward. Citizens of the world, members of the human community, go vote!

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Talk Nerdy To Me

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If a person’s sex dreams are any indication of her true personality, then I am apparently the love child of Woody Allen and Pee Wee Herman. And I should probably be concerned about the amount of pop culture permeating my brain. Last night, I stayed out until closing time sharing good wine and great conversation with a guy I am starting to get to know. Let’s call him “Joe”. Joe and I talked about many things, from family and travel to literature and football, so it was only natural that upon hitting the pillow at 3am I dreamt about him. But if this is what qualifies as a sex fantasy in my subconscious, I might as well get me to a nunnery tomorrow.

I think the dream started in a car – at least that’s the first part I can remember. Joe and I sat in our separate dance spaces (he was behind the wheel, so it must have been his car) and talked about some fascinating subject that I cannot remember for the life of me. The conversation came to a natural lull, and Joe told me that it was his birthday. So, I kissed him (apparently operating under the Marilyn Monroe philosophy of how to appropriately celebrate birthdays). The kiss was super awkward; I think I even had to hold his chin to keep him still. We stopped kissing. We talked more. Joe mentioned that it was his birthday. So, I kissed him. (My dreams get caught in time loops quite often.) The kiss was still awkward, but this time I was determined to stick it out until we made it work.

For some reason, we just couldn’t get our kisses to feel quite right. It was like our mouths were two puzzle pieces that look like they should absolutely connect, but no matter how many times you try them together they just…will…not…fit! Was this my subconscious sending a flare that Joe is not a good fit for me? A normal person would think yes, but I have always felt a bit awkward about kissing; I think too much about the mechanics of it and worry that I won’t be able to breathe, which keeps me from getting swept away by the magic of the moment. So it’s just as likely the dream was merely reflecting my neurotic fear that I will never experience that romance-novel moment of seeing fireworks and forgetting my own name. Even in a dream, I cannot relax.

Being two resourceful people, Dream Joe and I worked together to crack the kissing code, systematically trying different head positions and chin angles until we finally found the sweet spot and could begin the work of finding compatible things to do with our tongues. Did I not promise this would be a super-hot sex fantasy? Apparently, in my sex dreams I am just as deductive in my reasoning as I am when solving logic puzzles at work.

Joe invited me to go home with him and I agreed. Finally, some action! But, no. When we got to Joe’s apartment it was suddenly daytime and his courtyard was bustling with activity. As we walked toward his building, Joe (who was suddenly wearing a plaid shirt and a baseball cap) explained that before we could continue our private fun time, there was some very important public fun to be had. In anyone else’s dream this would have had kinky implications, but no such luck in my head.

That day, as it turned out, was the day that everyone in the building had to turn in their certified energy meter readings to the city government. No, I don’t get it either. In my dream world, once a month we citizens had to print out note-card-sized readings detailing our energy usage, get them certified and laminated, and hand them in for approval. Joe and his neighbors objected to this Orwellian regulation, so every month they participated in an act of group civil disobedience. As Joe held up his laminated, calligraphied (yes, calligraphy) certificate and grinned at me with a devilish twinkle in his eye, all of his neighbors slowly converged around him. Every single one of them now wore an identical plaid shirt and baseball cap. I don’t even want to begin to think about what this little nugget says about my psyche; I don’t need to poke the bear to know that it has claws and fangs and probably also rabies.

As one, Joe and his group of Joe-a-likes launched into what looked like an enthusiastic game of hacky sack played in the middle of a mosh pit. Instead of busting and bruising each other, though, they focused their aggression on the plastic coated certificates. Apparently, their ultimate act of sticking it to the man was to soil, mangle, and otherwise disfigure those pristine little symbols of government overreach before handing them in as expected. This is probably as rebellious as my inner-teacher’s-pet would let them be. From my vantage point just above the mayhem (a position to which I had somehow teleported the instant the action began), my job was to document the violence with my camera. Why did I suddenly have a camera? Just in case something like this happened – duh.

Don’t worry, I got some great mental pics. One of them was an awesome action shot of Joe smashing his certificate into a muddy planter like a rabid pitcher in a cricket match. He was suitably impressed when I showed him, but there wasn’t much time to bask in his admiration because a car had arrived to take us to Detroit. It was a small SUV, and while I have no idea who else was in the car, I remember that there was only one seat available so Joe and I had to squeeze into the back seat together. This turned out to be an excellent position for more kissing practice, and I was just starting to think I might finally get some action in this sex dream when, wouldn’t you know it, the van passed through a wormhole and arrived on the set of a fashion photo shoot in the glamorous Motor City.

Much to my surprise, the model for the fashion shoot turned out to be me. Well, I was one of them, anyway. I was dressed up in a slinky pink negligee and instructed to writhe around in faux ecstasy with the male model for all of the wide shots, while a pretty young thing in the exact same outfit popped into the scene for the close ups. This is my brain’s not-so-subtle way of reinforcing my confidence in my general physical fitness while simultaneously boosting my neurosis about having a “butter face”. Just what every girl wants in the middle of a sex fantasy: her mind holding a mirror up to her ego.

On top of everything else, the male model in the shoot hated me, because I refused to have actual sex with him in front of the camera. He kept giving me vaguely-gay Argentine death stares when the photographer – who I swear was from an episode of America’s Next Top Model – paused to reload his film. Yes, film. My Luddite tendencies run deep. So, even in the middle of a sex fantasy I get rejected by men because I won’t put out without at least a little conversation first. Does this mean I wish I were more of a slut? More likely it means I am a prude through to the very core of my being. Awesome.

Eventually, the photo shoot ended – though no one told me; I figured it out when I found myself writhing against a bare mattress while the male model chatted up the hot-face girl and everyone else stood around looking awkwardly embarrassed for me. Joe, who for some reason had not yet decided to run for the hills, climbed back the into SUV with me, but this time he sat on the other side of the back seat and I got crammed in with my nemesis the face model. She immediately turned into my 19-year-old cousin, Paige, which was pretty great for me because Paige is built like a bird and I had to have her on my lap. At this point, it became clear to me that the driver of the car was my dad (hello, Freud!), and I’m pretty sure that the person riding shotgun was Heidi Klum. Seriously, I need to stop watching reality TV.

As we drove away from Detroit, and as I became more and more sexually frustrated in my own fantasy, I suddenly realized that I had absolutely nothing appropriate to wear to a swanky event I would be attending that night with Joe. Having completely failed to impress him in any way thus far, I would now have to accompany him to a party in jeans and a T-shirt from the musical Wicked. Fortunately, this was MY sex dream, and even in a world of its own creation my brain does not rest until a problem is solved. I remembered that back at home base I had my suitcase, which was full of clothes packed for (what the hell?) my college reunion, including a little black dress. The reunion, dress, and Joe’s party were all near Boston, I guess, which is clearly only an hour-or-so drive from Detroit.

In the blink of a REM-sleeping eye, I was snug in that little black dress, back with Joe in his car at night, and back to (finally) getting some dream nookie. For some reason, Joe’s car was much smaller this time so we were crammed together, but who cared? We were alone and all over each other; two over-the-hill teenagers making out like we’d just gotten our braces off. Things heated up and I found myself finally confident that Joe really did like me – largely because he kept moving my hand down to grasp something hard and insisting that I “tug on the parking brake”. It was raunchy and arousing, until I looked down and I realized… he was not being euphemistic. Joe really did want me to keep a hand on the parking brake so his car wouldn’t start rolling backwards down the hill. Safety first – and apparently rides before brides.

With this sudden confirmation that I can’t even manage to play first fiddle in a fantasy, my sex dream finally imploded. I woke up, alone, with the sun in my eyes and my cat hollering in my face for her breakfast. Figuring at least one of us should feel satisfied, I fed her.