The conclusion of the Element story: I took the vehicle in today, and was duly informed that the framzit on the heating element had broken. On its own. Spontaneously. Not connected to their work on the heating system at all. One of those things, I guess; a rare alignment of the stars. I took everything I needed out of the car, including the remote for the garage – I always feel like an idiot when I drive up to the door and push a nonexistent button on the sun visor – and got the keys for the rental. This time it was a Dodge AVENGER, a rather unimpressive car; felt like I was driving a big plastic brick. I stomped on the gas to see what she could do and she didn’t do it, much.

Later today they told me it was fixed, and I could pick up the Element. (The original freezing-in-the-car-wash problem remains unsolved.) On the way out I took a look at the latest thing to break around here, my wife’s garage door opener. It hesitated to deploy. It would drop a foot, shudder, stop. Obviously something was amiss with the sensors, so I tried to realign them. No good. Then I found a loose wire – it had corroded and snapped off the sensor. This I fixed, feeling quite proud of myself. Then I took back the car and the defective iPod alarm clock and headed home, content that everything that had gone wrong this week had been fixed. I got up the driveway and I was pushing a nonexistent button on the sun visor when I realized I’d left the garage door remote  in the rental.

So it’s back there tomorrow.

Ah well. Something to do; look at it that way.

Cold. As per my vow on buzz.mn, I will no longer complain about the cold. I will endure it until it passes. I posted this picture today –
The cruel taunt of a mural.

Tailor-made for the old Ironic Juxtaposition, that one.

Aside from work, my main accomplishment was calibrating the treadmill. This was not difficult, since the unit has an “Auto-calibration” feature. It runs at various speeds and blinks various numbers and you believe it’s doing something. (G)Nat loves it, and spent fifteen minutes on the damned thing. It has a dead man’s switch, of a sort; there’s a “safety key” on a cord, with a clip at the end. If you fall over dead or lock up your legs the tension pulls the key, and the unit stops, thus preventing clichéd sight-gags from happening, like being carried backwards into the wall.

Today’s YouTube find: transit, density, development, Thailand style. Whoa:

On the radio today Medved and Hewitt both asked Obama supporters to call and say why they were supporting their man. Specifics, please. The replies were rather indistinct. He would end the division and bring us together by encouraging us all to talk about common problems, after which we would compromise. He will give us hope by giving us hope: for many, the appeal has the magical perfect logic of a tautology. It's a nice dream. But compromise is impossible when you have a fundamental differences about the proper way to solve a problem. I believe we can achieve a fair society by taking away your house and giving it to someone else. I disagree. It is my house. Then let us agree to give away half of your house. Compromise! But that is not a compromise. You have taken half my house. We have compromised on your behalf with those who would have taken it all. Let us not return to the politics of division. There are strangers living in my spare bedroom. Then we have truly come together. Look, this isn’t a matter on which we can compromise, because we have conflicting premises. You’re pretending matter and anti-matter have the same relationship as Coke and Pepsi. They don’t.

If he wins, I do look forward to dissenting; since it’s been established as the highest form of patriotism, I expect my arguments will be met with grave respect. Shhhh! He’s dissenting.

Among the arguments offered by the callers:

* He will help save the planet by encouraging everyone to recycle cans and bottles and paper (the caller discussed a local drought, and said she did not think that recycling would stop it, but if everyone recycled - something she thought Obama would bring about through a general new era of ecological concern - future droughts would not occur.)

* He will pay for college tuition (the caller thought tuition was too expensive, and did not want to be burdened with loans)

* He will meet with the Iranians, personally, and conduct a frank personal interrogation about their nuclear intentions

* He will inspire the Youth of America to get involved in politics again

* He will prevent American companies from moving manufacturing overseas (The caller was unsure how this could be done, only that it would be done, because it should be done)

* He will not raise taxes on anyone except maybe millionaires (The caller was surprised to be asked if Obama would raise taxes; it was a strange, peculiar, irrelevant issue)

* He will give everyone health care (This would make American industry competitive, since companies would be freed of the obligation of making it an employee benefit)

* He will talk to the Europeans

And so on. There is tremendous faith in his ability to just wave a love-wand and get things done. I remember the same zeitgeist afoot in the land in 1992; change was the mantra then, too. Odd how things turn out – I’d be happier with Hillary as President than Obama, simply because she seems a bit more seasoned and realistic. And I do find it interesting that people who have decried the shallow, theatrical, emotion-based nature of contemporary politics are now so effusive in their praise for someone’s ability to move crowds. Perhaps they don’t mind a fellow on a white horse if he promises to nationalize the stables.

I didn’t listen to every call on either show, but I heard a lot, and no one mentioned the race thing. At some point in the last ten years we seem to have stopped asking whether a Black man could be President and agreed that it’s only a matter of time and the right candidate. Between Morgan Freeman in the movies and the fellow who played David Palmer on TV, we’re completely comfortable with the idea. I mean, if you’re watching a movie that cuts to the White House and you see Morgan Freeman, you’re relieved: honor and wisdom and prudence and strength. You see James Cromwell, and you know you’re in for perfidy, corruption, and perhaps some covert-ops teams shooting activist nuns in Central America.

Now it’s time to return to buzz.mn, so I’m off; see you there. We have three pages of comics, and an ad in the archive. Enjoy your day!