Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dave For President!

Finally, an honest politician:

That is why I have taken the first step towards announcing my candidacy for the 2008 presidential campaign. I have officially formed an exploratory committee to advise me on this important decision. This blue ribbon panel includes a number of distinguished public service veterans, including Chuck Helbertson, Supervisor of the Cedar County Pool Maintenance Department, and my brother-in-law Steve Lehr, a part-time Driver's Education professional in the Dubuque public school system and defending Late Model Modifieds champion at Eddyville Speedway.

I have not taken this decision lightly. When considering a run for public office, the first thing a candidate must ask himself is: what can I, as newly elected public servant, expect to get out of this deal? I have researched this question thoroughly, and believe me: being President is a pretty sweet gig. Not only does it pay 400 large, it has plenty of perks including "three hots and a cot," and the world's most fearsome military force at my disposal.

The second thing a candidate must ask is: am I qualified for the position? Let's look at the facts. First, I am a native-born citizen of the United States. Second, I am over 35 years old. Third, I have never had a felony conviction stick beyond the appeals court. And Mister, if that's good enough for the Constitution of the United States, then that's good enough for me. Google it.

The third thing a candidate must ask is: once elected, what can I do for the voters to keep them off my back, so I can enjoy all those badass job perks? The answer here is "plenty." Just take a gander at the Dave Burge Platform:

Read the rest.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yo Ho

National Geographic (courtesy of Tennessee Tsar Reynolds) lists their top 100 true life adventure stories. Notable entries in the top 20:
17. Kon-Tiki, by Thor Heyerdahl (1950) Nine balsa-wood logs, a big square sail, a bamboo "cabin" with a roof made of banana leaves—thus did Norwegian Heyerdahl and his companions set sail from Peru toward Polynesia to prove a point: that the South Pacific was settled from the east. Point proved? Maybe not, but it's one hell of a ride—a daring tale, dramatically told.
Hardcover edition from Adventure Library, 1997.

14. Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana (1840) Scion of a prominent Boston family, Dana dropped out of Harvard and, hoping to recover the strength of his eyes, weakened by measles, signed on with a merchant ship as a common sailor. His book about his time at sea is an American classic, vivid in its description of the sailor's life and all its dangers and delights.
Penguin, 2000.

13. Roughing It, by Mark Twain (1872) Twain lit out for the territory when the Civil War started and knocked around the West for six years. Roughing It is the record of that time, a great comic bonanza, hilarious when it isn't simply funny, full of the most outrageous characters and events. It is not an adventure book, it is an anti-adventure book, but no less indispensable.
Penguin, 2000.

11. Farthest North, by Fridtjof Nansen (1897) In 1893, Nansen purposely froze his ship into the Arctic ice and traveled with the drift of the pack. When the ship approached striking distance of the Pole, he set out for it by dogsled, reaching the highest latitude yet attained by man before turning back to Norway. He was gone three years. The book is both an epic and a lyric masterpiece.
Modern Library, 1999.

1. The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922) As War and Peace is to novels, so is The Worst Journey in the World to the literature of polar travel: the one to beat. The author volunteered as a young man to go to the Antarctic with Robert Falcon Scott in 1910; that, and writing this book, are the only things of substance he ever did in life. They were enough. The expedition set up camp on the edge of the continent while Scott waited to go for the Pole in the spring. But first, Cherry-Garrard and two other men set out on a midwinter trek to collect emperor penguin eggs. It was a heartbreaker: three men hauling 700 pounds (318 kilograms) of gear through unrelieved darkness, with temperatures reaching 50, 60, and 70 degrees below zero (-46, -51, and -57 degrees Celsius); clothes frozen so hard it took two men to bend them. But Cherry-Garrard's greater achievement was to imbue everything he endured with humanity and even humor. And—as when he describes his later search for Scott and the doomed South Pole team—with tragedy as well. His book earns its preeminent place on this list by captivating us on every level: It is vivid; it is moving; it is unforgettable.
National Geographic Books, 2002.

The list also includes Into Thin Air, The Right Stuff, and various explorer's journals - Lewis and Clark, Captain Cook; good stuff. Darn it! It's my gift list to my father in law though - don't buy them Jim, I'll dole them out to you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

After eight years in Washington, I longed for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Woman After My Own Heart

Hat tip to James Lileks at his new gig for this story:
Shortly before landing, Bob Hayden and a flight attendant had agreed on a signal: When she waved the plastic handcuffs, he would discreetly leave his seat and restrain an unruly passenger who had frightened some of the 150 people on board a Minneapolis-to-Boston flight Saturday night with erratic behavior.

Hayden, a 65-year-old former police commander, had enlisted a gray-haired gentleman sitting next to him to assist. The man turned out to be a former US Marine.

"I had looked around the plane for help, and all the younger guys had averted their eyes. When I asked the guy next to me if he was up to it, all he said was, 'Retired captain. USMC.' I said, 'You'll do,' " Hayden recalled. "So, basically, a couple of grandfathers took care of the situation."

The best part of the story is the guy's wife:
Hayden's wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from "The Richest Man in Babylon," the book she was reading.

"The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading," Katie Hayden said. "Bob's been shot at. He's been stabbed. He's taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."

Ah yes.

Friday, June 01, 2007