October 2007 Archives

One of the weaker criticisms we sometimes hear about Iowa is that the scenery is too boring. Au contraire:

The above would be last night's sunset, and some local trees this afternoon. Just another day in Central Iowa.

If that's "too boring," then you need to have your eyes checked.
Municipal elections are coming up next Tuesday (November 6th). Here are some of the candidates:

Des Moines Mayor:
  • Frank Cownie, who's already mayor, and who (inexplicably) allowed www.cownieformayor.com to lapse
  • Diana Newberry, a 34-year-old who previously ran for the governor's office as a member of the preposterous Socialist Workers Party, which it remains difficult to believe still exists. Marc Hansen seems puzzled that no one else signed up for the race. I'm going to remain puzzled why anyone still thinks Fidel Castro is getting things right.

Des Moines City Council At-Large:

Des Moines City Council Ward 2:

Des Moines City Council Ward 4:

West Des Moines City Council At-Large:

West Des Moines City Council Ward 2:

West Des Moines Parks Commission (three open seats):

The list of contested races is short, but we can always hope that people will show up to vote. The more voters participating, the more legitimate the outcome of the vote.
It's easier to tell who lost the local-news race to cover the Barton Solvents explosion story than to tell who won. While WHO-TV, KCCI-TV, WOI-TV, and the Register were tripping all over themselves to cover the story like it was the Second Coming (WHO-TV was still all-Barton-all-the-time for the first 12 minutes of the 10:00 newscast), nary a word about the story was to be found on the KDSM website, even after 10:30. WOI-TV didn't win a lot of points by leading online with an AP version of the story. The Register made some baby steps towards using some real multimedia tools with a Google Map link, though it's hard to be impressed after seeing how KPBS in San Diego took Google Maps to a new level in covering the wildfires. They caught decent video of some of the explosions, but it felt a little naked without any reporters doing voice-over narratives...that, of course, being the difference between news and data. In an echo of Good News I and II, the Register's original news-planes, they even got some aerial photos of the scene...but, well, where's the aerial video? Even cell phones come with video cameras now; they could've really shown that they understood multimedia by taking a Motorola Razr along and catching some of those fireballs from the air. Then again, Chopper 13 doesn't appear to have been deployed, which itself is peculiar, so perhaps the Register won the air war anyway.
Seen in the parking lot of the US Cellular store in Urbandale.

Has any establishment ever had a more appropriate name?

Allow me to say, first off, that I hope we never get into a shooting war with Minnesota. Sure, we get our jabs in here and there, but I hope we're able to keep the rivalry isolated to an annual football match between the Hawkeyes and the Gophers.


But I have a recurring nightmare that some day, a Canadian prime minister, flush with oil wealth and high on Tim Horton's, will go positively insane and annex the land of 10,000 lakes. Smelling the sweet corn and coveting our butter cow, it would only be a matter of weeks before the shock troops from Manitoba would be preparing to use I-35 as a wedge and drive straight for our dear city. I fear we have been complacent too long along the northern border of this state, and I just don't have the confidence in Mason City's defenses that I require.

Thus, as a first step towards fortifying the Des Moines metro area, I demand that our city elders fortify every Tasty Tacos outlet in the region. They can have Saylorville, Sec Taylor Stadium, and the Wells Fargo Arena, but for the love of God, don't let them take our Tasty Tacos.

There are things that earthly reason can understand, like particle physics, the Laffer curve, and even sometimes US tax code. But how a modest restaurant chain from Des Moines can convert flour, water, lettuce, meat, beans, and cheese into a culinary indulgence with an addictive power rivaling crack -- with no methadone-like substitute in sight -- is completely beyond the realm of human understanding. Would that a man like Norman Borlaug could find the secret ingredient inside those blessed tacos, we could put all of our state's resources into synthesizing and duplicating it. Forget ethanol and biodiesel: If only we could make Tasty Tacos our state's #1 export, we could rule the world!

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