Friday, August 29, 2008


Loyal readers (all 3 of you) know that I supported Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and much of that support was related to the fact that she is a woman. Having a female fill the highest leadership role in the country, and possibly the world, would have been a real catalyst toward a more egalitarian society. Fortunately, Hillary Clinton had a remarkable legal and professional political career that made her suitable for many reasons other than her gender. I have been quietly adjusting to the reality that I will not have the opportunity to cast that vote and as much as I like Hillary for president, I did not support her as vice president. There is nothing second string about Hillary Clinton. Strategists are interested in people like me. If I am not in it for Obama, there might be a chance that I will be in it for McCain. McCain's advisers are looking closely at what people like me think, what I care about, what I relate to and dream about. They want to be my girlfriend. Today, in the naming of Sarah Palin as McCain's vice president, they figured they found a way to do just that. Palin is cute, she is a mom of five kids and a spunky 44 year old. She is the kind of person who could really be my new best friend. Driving in the car, listening to NPR, I hear coverage of McCain's 72nd birthday and realize that by the end of just one full term he will be 76years old. Considering my new girlfriend as President of the United States is not comforting. It is, in fact, downright petrifying.

Myspace Tshirt Generator

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Drink Is On Me

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

In 1984 the Federal Government enacted a measure that withheld federal highway money from states where the legal drinking age was below 21. The goal, of course was to force states into raising the age to drink alcohol and it worked. For those of us in the Philadelphia region, it meant an end to long summer nights partying in the clubs down at the Jersey shore. The act was a death knell for places like Wildwood, NJ where the under 21 crowd filled dance and comedy clubs to capacity and made a "Vacancy" sign on a weekend night at any of the islands hotels rarer than a steak at Neil's. What it did not do in all of it's 24 years on the books was stop underage drinking. In fact, many people contend that it actually increased alcohol consumption by those under age 21. Instead of dancing and gathering together to hear the latest comedian while enjoying a cocktail, now young adults hole up in someones dorm room or basement where alcohol and the drunks it produces actually are the entertainment. Binge drinking has increased since 1984 and according to JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) 30% of high school students admit to binge drinking at least monthly. This "all or nothing" approach to alcohol has not done our country well. Last weekend our nephews (age 18 and 20) from Italy came to visit, they will be here for another two weeks. Today they accompanied another family member to Penn State where the opening of Fall class is heralded by rounds of Beer Pong and Keg Stands. They were amused and confused by this riotous behavior and are baffled by the allure alcohol holds for American teens. They share their experience with me while sipping wine at dinner. I ask them if they remember their first drink and they laugh, it is inconsequential and therefore not memorable. I doubt most American kids would answer that way. Perhaps it is time we reconsider the way alcohol is presented to American youth. Instead of being illegal until some arbitrary age, it should be introduced slowly as something to be enjoyed in the same manner as fine food. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act is set to expire in 2009. Mindful consideration and intelligent conversation should precede any decision to extend the Act.