Thoughts on the 2008 vice presidential race

I don't think I've said anything about it up to now, and there's only (as of today) 9 1/2 weeks left.

I just read Mudflats' "What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan's Perspective." In it, she says:

[…] Listen to John McCain and you'll hear
about a maverick reformer who took on big oil, took on corrupt Alaska
politicians, and whose ethics are unquestioned.

Alaskans really want to like Sarah
Palin.  In a state where corruption is the rule, and the same faces
keep recycling over and over and over again like a bad dream, a new
face, with a promise of reform seemed like a breath of fresh air. 
Palin defeated incumbent governor Frank Murkowski (father of Alaska
Senator Lisa Murkowski who he appointed to his own Senate seat when he
was elected governor) because he was such an obnoxious, bloviating,
downright BAD politician.  This staunchly republican state voted with
relief, not having to cross over and vote Democratic, but still able to
get Murkowski the hell out of office.  In the general election Palin
swept into office running against a former Democratic governor, Tony
Knowles, who was capable but came with baggage.  And he represented to
Alaskans more of the same, tired old-style politics, and special
interests that we have come to loathe.

So, if McCain had made his selection six
months ago, the squeaky-clean governor meme would have made a little
more sense.  But, Sarah Palin is currently under an ethics
investigation by the Alaska state legislature. […]

See, six months ago, it was pretty hard to tell the lineup of Republican presidential candidates apart — even with a scorecard. So when I tweeted a friend a Publius Pundit vice-presidential poll, he said he was rooting for someone he thought could govern: Christopher Cox, for his conservative bonafides, relative youth and ability to shore up McCain's economic flank.

He asked me who I thought had a shot, and I told him I thought the nod would be more about campaigning than governing: "Whitman, Hutchison, Rice,
Watts, Jindal, Powell, Palin, Blackburn, [Elizabeth] Dole, Steele." Of those, my friend said he thought only Watts had enough experience but lacked the desire.

I didn't give the issue any more serious thought until this morning. I'd assumed McCain wouldn't give in to his long-shot leanings. I was wrong.

Today, my friend asked me what I thought of Joe Biden. I said "Meh. I'd hoped he'd double-down on change (Bayh/Kaine) or pick
Hagel or Powell or Richardson, but I'm pleased he didn't pick Clinton." I think we can all see pretty clearly what not-picking Clinton yielded.

Review: Rachel Kramer Bussel, “Spanked: Red Cheeked Erotica”

Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica

"[…] I love what we're doing, but I'm getting confused. I'm having a
hard time telling the truth where the truth ends and the play-acting
begins. Sometimes we act like a regular couple and do normal couple-y
things; sometimes we have really fun, playful sex. And then sometimes
we get into this other thing. […]"

Andy Ohio's "Tied Down"

So, like, what's up with that other thing? More to the point: Were you in a playful mood the last time you had sex with someone?

I'm not talking about "playful" as in "kittenish," much less "monkeying" or "horsing" around. (Save your human/animal roleplay jokes for now, m'kay?)

I'm talking about the state of mind that has to do with gleeful improvisation, glistening wetness and gleaming smiles, glowing pleasure in the moment and getting a grip on (or getting gripped by) a willing partner.

The latest book to remind me of that delightful state, that pleasant periphery in which ludic languor lives, is Rachel Kramer Bussel's anthology of short stories. (Full disclosure: I received a review copy in exchange for a promise to write a review and post it to the book's listing.)

Each story is not just a rude and randy recitation of body-part motion-capture that one might plot on a graph with as little difficulty as one might play buzzword bingo with nearly any politician's boilerplate address.

It's also not just a collection of completely unlikely or implausible scenarios (airplane bathrooms, department-store dressing rooms, college classrooms, graveyards, etc.). It's called wishful thinking, not fantastic (in that other sense of the word) thinking. Maybe it's just my own imagination, but situations where a few words gone awry result in a gauntlet thrown down and then taken up sound not just likely, but like good ideas (as in Thomas S. Roche's "Pre-Party" and Kramer Bussel's own "The Depths of Despair").

It's why I'm willing to go along with Shanna Germain's "Perfect Bound" with its library-look protagonist, bookstore-cum-flytrap setting and delightfully unexpected uses for certain old-school office supplies, or Alison Tyler's "Betty Crocker Gone Bad," which turns a domestic quirk into the kind of escapade that might get left on a cable-cooking-show cutting-room floor, or Madeline Glass' "Laser Tag," which makes the best out of bad behavior at a concert and the resulting cute-meat meet-cute.

By the time you've dropped in on the grownups-go-back-to-high-school scenario of Madlyn March's "Reunion," the barn settings (yes, if you must, perhaps now's the time for your roleplay jokes) of Thomas Christopher's "Riding the Storm" and L. Elise Bland's "The Breeding Barn," you're probably several turns of the screw into certain physical symptoms that result from the consumption of well-written erotica. You probably won't even mind the workplace-turnabout triptych of Fiona Locke's "Pink Cheeks," Laura Bacchi's "Page By Page" and Simon Sheppard's "Fiscal Discipline."

Make a point of checking this book out wherever you get your hands on it, and you'll soon concur that the only thing better than bending over a well-told tale is, well, bending over a well-toiled-over tail.