Monthly Archives: April 2008

Top 5 — What’s Scaring Us This Week?

5. Miley Cyrus — Lot’s of folks are very worked up about the cultural implications of the 15-year-old pop star’s bareback pose in Vanity Fair. Great. So will someone from the National Association of Easily Outraged People please confiscate my daughter’s singing Hannah Montana doll? If I simply can’t stand to hear “This is wicked awesome!” at 80 decibels one more time. Thank you.

4. Grand Theft Auto IV — News Flash! Older, uptight caution crusaders target a form of art, culture or technology favored by young, irreverent thrill-seekers. Stop the presses.

3. Rice Shortage — I rarely eat rice, but suddenly I have an overwhelming desire to hoard it in obscene quantities. What gives?

2. Emerald Ash Borer — Every time I see one of those little metallic green tree menaces, I think of a super-cool Hot Wheels car I had back in ’78. Man, was it fast.

1. Deer Ticks — From the Mason City Globe-Gazette, via the AP:

“State health officials are warning that cases of Lyme disease in Iowa are expected to rise this summer because of an infestation of deer ticks, which carry the disease.

Nationally, the number of Lyme disease cases has doubled since 1991, the Health Department reported. Minnesota set a record for cases of Lyme disease in 2007, with approximately 1,200 cases.

A person’s chances of being infected with the Lyme disease organism is usually less than 3 percent. Research has shown that an infected deer tick must be attached for more than 24 hours to transmit the organism.

Approximately 75 percent of people with Lyme disease did not find a tick on them, nor did they recall being bitten by a tick.

 Guess I’ll stay inside and play Grand Theft Auto. If other things are scaring you this week, please add them to the list.

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Awkward (Parenting) Moment

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Awkwardness level: Moderate

Last night, my wife and I were catching a few moments of TV while the children played and bedtime approached. We heard out youngest daughter yell the word “sticky” repeatedly in a tone that suggested distress. Upon investigation, we found that she had rifled through our kitchen junk drawer, found an old tube of super glue and glued her hands together.

Luckily, the mishap was detected quickly enough that no other extremities were involved. The glue was reasonably easy to clean off with nail polish remover. All was well.

Still, a good reminder that vigilance is a key ingredient in childrearing — even when “Saturday Night Live, The Best of Alec Baldwin” is on.

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Gov. Rants?

House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, stopped by this morning to give his take on the 2008 legislative session. In response to a question, he said he’s thinking about running for governor in 2010. But he insists that’s not big news.

“Sure. I’d be stupid not to think about it,” said Rants, who served as House speaker until Democrats took over last year. “Anyone who’s sat in my chair couldn’t help but think about it, especially with what this guy’s doing.”

Rants kicked around the idea of running for guv in previous election years but declined to jump in. If he gets re-elected this fall, he’ll have served in the House for nearly 18 years by the 2010 election. He may be thinking up or out.

Rants is smart and infinitely quotable, but the skills it takes to be a legislative leader — cracking heads, playing politics, cutting deals — don’t necessarily make you an attractive statewide candidate. Republican U.S. Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham might be interested, although the GOP may think twice before it nominates another member of Congress.

Rants joked that the Gov. Chet Culver’s recent travels make the job even more attractive.

“Vacations in Florida and a trip to The Master’s, sign me up,” said Rants, a golf fanatic.

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Scouting Report

I’ve joined The Headliners (team 1), the newsroom’s rec league softball juggernaut. Sunday was our first practice, the first time in several years I’ve worn a glove in combat and the first time I’ve rifled through the medicine cabinet looking for ibuprofen since snow-shoveling season. Based on my performance, here is my own clear-eyed preseason scouting report

Name: Todd Dorman

Position: Uneasy

Nicknames: “Outfield In,” “Rally Killer” and “The Flailing Error”

Bats: Desperately

Throws: With severe shoulder pain

Scouting Report

Fielding: Very limited range, weak arm, wields his his glove like a useless flipper or a large smoked ham. High excuses to drops ratio.

Hitting: Swats at the ball with a mixture of rage and confusion. Coaches should consider deploying the “Dorman shift,” standing one fielder next to the pitcher to keep him/her company while everyone else grabs a hot dog and a cold one.

Intangibles: Opposable thumbs. Large ball cap collection. Will try to make up for his performance by buying everyone beer.

Play Ball!

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Never Ending Dems

So just how long has the campaign for the Democratic nomination lasted?

From the New York Times Caucus blog:

For perspective, consider America as it was when the battle effectively began – Oct. 22, 2006, when Mr. Obama said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he had changed his mind and was considering a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The average price of gas then stood at $2.20 a gallon.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld directed war strategy in Iraq.

J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, as speaker of the House, and Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Senate majority leader, called the signals in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Eliot Spitzer, poised to win the governorship of New York, was a rising star in national Democratic politics.

Katie Couric was just seven weeks into her new job as anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”

Neither Peyton nor Eli Manning had won a Super Bowl.

 I’ve changed jobs and moved. My oldest daughter was in preschool and will be closing in on first grade by the time this ends. My Lee Enterprises stock was still worth more than a bushel of soybeans.

How about you? How has your life changed in the Clinton-Obama Era?

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Top 10 — Legislature-inspired Prom Themes

A celebration of the convergence of prom season and the end of the Legislative session.

10. Be My Big Taxin’ Nanny State Tonight

9. Stairway to Healthy Habits

8. Property Tax Reform Fantasy Land

7. Let’s Party, but Only After Our Classroom Achievement has been Thoroughly Assessed

6. Bargaining Collectively for Your Heart, Arm and Leg 

5. Midnight at the Manure Study

4. Dime in a Bottle.

3. Structurally Deficient Bridge to Romance

2. Lug Shack

1. Let’s Rants

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Today’s Awkward Moment

Anyone who knows me well knows that nearly every day, I have what I call an “awkward moment.” Some are minor and barely noticeable to anyone but me. A few are moderate and cause several minutes of embarrassment. Others are large and may require therapy down the road.

I used to share these regularly with my colleagues at the Capitol over lunch. Now, I’ll share them occasionally with you, the 13 or 14 very special readers of this blog. Here’s No. 1.

April 23, 2008

Level – Minor

Awkward Moment – I got to the barbershop and was about to sit down and ogle the latest issue of Playboy. Then my cell phone rang. It was my mother.

Busted.

On the plus side, I felt like a teenager again, only fatter and with less energy and more facial hair and two mortgages.  

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