Friday, September 26, 2008

Eye Contact: The Presidential Debate

Pundits have been saying for days that this debate would not be about what the candidates said, but how they said it and what their body language was like.

I think most people could agree that the debate was fairly equal in terms of substance; if you agreed with one candidate at 5:59pm, your opinion was no different at 7:31.

Jim Lehrer started off by encouraging the candidates to speak directly to each other. It was a legitimate request; Barack Obama and John McCain know each other. They've worked together in the Senate.

Obama immediately picked up on this and was completely open and direct in his body language. He addressed McCain directly as "John" and called him out when he strayed from the truth.

By contrast, McCain never even looked at Obama.

He directed all of his comments to Lehrer and never once called Barack by name. Obama might as well not have been there.

McCain's message was pretty clear. As far as he was concerned, Obama wasn't really there. And if he was, he certainly wasn't worthy of consideration.

If McCain was coached on this, and he most certainly was, that was very carefully calculated to send a certain message to the American people.

Now, not having a TV myself, I went to watch the debate in a hotel bar. After it was done, I talked with a hotel worker about the outcome. He said he thought both candidates were crazy, but he also said, "I just couldn't vote for Obama. I don't trust him."

And even though you didn't say it, you knew why.

And it's scary. It's scary that America is so racist. If we can't make the right decision, I'm all for California seceeding from the union.

Arnold can be our president.

And you know what the really scary thing is?

I'm not kidding.

UPDATE: If anyone saw Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric: Why does Sarah call her running mate by his full name? Are they not even on first-name terms yet? Yikes.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palo Alto's Party of the Year

A golden September twilight was sprinkled throughout the air. The light slowly faded into a shimmering darkness, illuminated only by occasional laughter and clinking of glasses. This being a Tuesday night, I had math homework, endless ions and compounds to memorize, and a complex number quiz to study for, but I could not have cared less.

I had just shaken hands with an Oscar-winner, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and the former vice-president of the United States of America.

I'd just met Al Gore.

My luck had come from a friend with connections to a certain company known for the incredible gourmet food it serves its employees, not to mention one of Silicon Valley's best-known companies.

The food at the party wasn't bad, but the company was phenomenal. You couldn't walk two steps without bumping into the CEO of FedEx, the author of a bestselling childrens' book series, or at least two journalists from the New Yorker. Barack Obama and Lance Armstrong had been on the guest list as well, but couldn't make it; Obama because he was down in LA at precisely that time at a fundraiser with his own celebrities, and Lance because he's busy training for his announced 2009 comeback to competitive cycling.

I forced myself to calm down as I stood a few feet away from the man who had been mere hanging chads from being the leader of the free world. Finally, he turned and fixed me with a piercingly intense stare. "It's such an honor to meet you," I said.

"Best of luck to you," he replied.

I already thought I was a pretty lucky girl. But a little extra from Al Gore doesn't hurt.