Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Travel Stories -Seattle

My sister now lives in Everett -a small, quaint suburb of Seattle. Her landlady, Inger, is a thrifty Norwegian woman who made me a pair of slippers because I didn't pack any. She's the kind of woman who always knows an easier and more efficient way of doing what ever it is you're doing and she gave me a really nice shirt that she said was a head-turner when she wore it in Europe in the 70's.

My visit was a visit of firsts- my first time using a gun, my sister's first visit to a casino, and the first time I ever saw these ridiculous "car testicles". I know that for a lot of people, one's car is linked to their sense of verility and genital size, but I always thought that kind of thinking was something one was supposed to be embarassed about.

My pal Jason came to visit. By chance, we appeared in today's issue of the Seattle Times:

Back in town

So I just got back to Chicago last night, March 28th. Here's a sampling of the news about the Chicago primaries, which were held March 21st:

• The largest jurisdictions in Illinois, Chicago and Cook County, encountered problems in the March 21 primary. In some cases, precinct election judges didn't get hands-on training before the election. There were paper jams, misplaced memory cartridges containing election results and long delays in counting. - USA Today

City election officials finished tallying primary ballots from the final 24 precincts Tuesday, a week after the election was thrown into disarray by mechanical and human failures connected to new voting machines. - Chicago Sun Times

Chicago election officials were told Tuesday that they can legally withhold payments to Sequoia Voting Systems, but only if they can prove the California company failed to live up to the terms of its contract.
Short of that, members of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners were warned by their lawyer to watch what they say about the equipment manufacturer.
Chicago and Cook County officials have acknowledged a lack of training for election judges who faced the daunting task of using a new and complex system in last week's primary. But they have also previously pointed fingers at Sequoia, saying the firm did not perform adequately.
- Chicago Tribune

The chairman of the Chicago City Council Finance Committee calls the primary election ballot count "a debacle" - and he says the city should withhold payment from the company that supplied the machines.

"A debacle." "An embarrassment." "A disgrace."

Those are the words of City Council Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, who says the city shouldn't pay Sequoia, the maker of the voting machines, until the city finds out exactly what went wrong and why the votes are still being counted.
"Here it is a week later and we still don't know the results of the election," Burke said. "There's something wrong. It's obvious. It's clear. Ray Charles could see there's something wrong here."
The Chicago Board of Elections also is ready to withhold payment from Sequoia while the city investigates the slow vote count, trying to find out if the problem was bad machines, bad training or just a steep learning curve the first time around. -
WBBM Newsradio 780

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A new expression

Rhonda lost 60 pounds by stepping- the dance style popular among older sedate  couples. She now teaches stepping. Today I asked her how she was doing and she said she was just "existing up against it." It's an expression she learned from her grandmother and it's something like saying, "oh I'm just chilling but with a hint of struggle against a larger unstoppable foe i.e. poverty, racism"- sort of like "keep on keepin' on".
I told her my favorite expression- "k-for-p" (Kosher for Passover). She liked the term. I explained that it can imply any of the negative qualities of shoddiness, spoilage, or corruption.
That shaky balcony my 12-year-old cousin built isn't k-for-p. One might say that 6 day old lunch meat isn't too fresh anymore. It's not k-for-p. The new construction contracts were given to the son of my old friend (not k-for-p).