Friday, October 3, 2008

My Long, Unproductive Week

I have been out sick since Tuesday night. I'm feeling much better now but I was in pretty bad shape for a while there. I actually threw up a couple of times, which is something I almost never do. Perhaps I am oversharing a bit.

We woke up this morning to the news that Contra Costa County deputy DA Michael Gressett has been arrested on a rape charge. A moment of panic washed over us when we heard the news. Gressett has been the prosecutor handling the case against Karen's ex. But after a moment of contemplation I realized that the case Gressett had put together is still solid. It will still be solid when the case is reassigned to another deputy DA. It's ironic that it was Gressett that handled the bulk of the sexual assault cases here in Contra Costa County. I understand he had a reputation of being a good prosecutor that pushed for harsher sentences for sex offenders. Of course, if he is guilty then he deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law, but for his own sake I hope he is innocent.

Imani's tennis team kinda got screwed. The school had arranged for a bus to take them to their away games but it turns out that it would cost the school more than they had anticipated so they had to cancel for the season meaning that the team will need rides to their away matches for the rest of the season. I'm not sure to what extent I'll be able to help. I actually had to bundle up and take Imani and two of her teammates to Campolindo High in Moraga to their match yesterday. To make matters worse for Imani yesterday they put her and her doubles partner against Campolindo's best doubles team and they got beat up pretty good. Dad suggested checking Big 5 for tennis rackets. I'll take her there Sunday.

I watched last night's Vice Presidential debate last night with great enthusiasm. After all those nonsensical answers Sarah Palin had given to Katie Couric I couldn't wait to see how she'd fare against a bulldog like Joe Biden. I now suspect that she may have given those ridiculous answers on purpose. She had effectively lowered the bar so much that they halfway decent performance she gave last night would seem brilliant in contrast.

On the other hand, Biden simply had a no-win situation. Everyone knows it wouldn't have taken much for Biden to smash her if he wanted to. The issue all week long leading up to the debate was how could he defeat her without embarrassing her. How much could Biden reel himself back? I think he did brilliantly well. He kept hammering the point that McCain hasn't made a convincing case that he's going to be any different than Dubya. It was clear that Palin had been trained to use certain catchphrases and responses. Near the end she actually tried stealing Reagan's famous "there you go again" line. It was so scripted. More than once she used a "that was in the past, let's look forward" response that was so weak. That whole "that was then and this is now" answer is the kind that wife beaters and adulterers use. I loved it when Biden shot back that "past is prologue" because it's really true. If you're unwilling to look at the past then you're destined to repeat it.

I thought it was a real telltale moment when Biden choked up for a moment and Palin simply kept rolling. I thought it said a lot about Biden's humanity, about his ability to empathize with the common man. In any case, I thought he hit it out of the park.

A quick word about Paul Newman who died Sunday. I wasn't much of a fan of his movies. The days of his prime were a little before my time so I never really go to know him as Paul Newman, Movie Star. The Paul Newman that I knew was the Paul Newman, the race car team owner, and Paul Newman, purveyor of salad dressing and microwave popcorn. As co-owner of the Newman-Haas IndyCar racing team, he was able to recruit big names like Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, and Michael Andretti. He owned more than one IndyCar championship team and always fielded a competative one. He was a passionate and dedicated auto racing owner, driver, and enthusiast. His name added legitimacy to auto racing and I will always respect him for that. As for the Paul Newman line of food products I know many people who are big fans of his salad dressings and salsas. The labels always said funny things like "fine foods since Februrary" and "so good you'll need a machete to hack off the arms of those that will try to steal this from you". The profits from the "Newman's Own" brand went straight to charity and according to his foundation over $200 million have been given over the years. How can you not respect that? And finally, I've heard that his favorite movie of all he starred in was "Slap Shot", the best hockey movie of all time. Wow. What an incredible person he was. The world was a better place with Paul Newman in it.

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