Monday, February 27, 2006

Thought I was hearing things for a minute there...

I thought I just heard a resounding "WHO?" echoing throughout the state a little while ago. Maybe it was just the hoot owls out in the woods.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wish I could have been there

I really wish I could have been at the John Edwards event at Vito's in Iowa City. It sounds like it was a really good crowd. If Edwards is still the inspiring speaker he was when I first met him in 2003 in Albia, I'm sure the crowd was happy with his speech. John Deeth provides some good coverage on his blog here.

I talked to Mom tonight about it, and she said that the events in Iowa City and at other locations over the weekend were very positive and successful.

I also must mention that Vito's is a special place for me and my wife. As a matter of fact, Vito's is the very first place our paths ever crossed, almost 13 years ago.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Avery Pyramids

Several miles from the unincorporated town of Avery, in Monroe County, is the Hickory Grove Cemetery. It's aptly named, because there are some ancient and stately hickory trees there, along with many monuments to proud pioneers of the past.

There is also a trio of strange, shoddily constructed pyramids.

These pyramids were built by a legendary figure in Monroe County history named Axel Peterson. I don't know a fraction of the stories the old-timers tell about Peterson, but I've heard a few.

According to the legends, he won a printing press in a poker game. He moved to Avery during the heyday of the coal mining days here in the area (the famous Smoky Hollow #1 was located southeast of Avery).

With this printing press, he published a "newspaper" called the Avery Boomer. I have searched, but I've never seen an issue of this publication. But let me tell you, if the stories are true, this man was ahead of his time. Apparently his journalistic style rather resembled that of certain bloggers of today. Let's just say he freely shared his opinions on elected officials, his neighbors and his neighbors' children. On the front page.

As he came near his time of death, he set about building a lasting memorial to himself. He constructed the three pyramids at Hickory Grove Cemetery and made plans to be buried in the "Great Pyramid," along with a friend.

When he died, his family did not bury him there. His friend moved away. But the pyramids remain.

Here is a cool set of photos I found by a photographer named Ethan Miller. I don't know Mr. Miller, but he's really captured some great shots of this Monroe County oddity.

Non-awesome ticket

The Nussle-Vander Plaats ticket is going to be a tough nut to crack.

But as I see it, winning victory over these unabashed right-wingers is not an impossible task. This duo can certainly be defeated, but it will take the combined effort of everyone concerned.

Here's how to start:

1. Party unity
2. An unrelenting assault of reasonable ideas
3. A meticulously planned ground game
4. Simply and truthfully begin to explain Nussle's right-wing record
5. Simply and truthfully begin to explain Vander Plaats' right-wing ideas

The winner of this election in November will be the candidate who is able unite his party, and ignite his party into action. Let's get together and do this thing.

In case you missed it

Just in case there is any confusion about the deceptive information in those push poll calls last week, I just want to post a link to a story that will clear it up. Rep. Leonard Boswell set the record straight on Iowa Press about his position on Bush's wiretaps.

"Congressman Leonard Boswell says President Bush's decision to forge ahead with wiretaps on terrorists -- without getting the approval of a "secret" court set up to approve such wiretaps -- is the wrong decision. "I don't think he's taken the proper approach to it," Boswell says."

Here is a link to a piece that ran on Radio Iowa.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

That wiretap push poll

I was among those who received a deceiving push poll call a few days ago. They apparently went out all across the Third District.

Gordon Fischer has discussed it on his blog.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Good Eats Fan Page

I know, I've said before that the new Battlestar Galactica is the best show on TV. But I must say one of my guilty pleasures is Good Eats on the Food Network. I've been watching it regularly for several years now, so this is obviously nothing new. Alton Brown has been cool for years.

But I just found an awesome Good Eats fan website I'd like to share. It's at and it has some really cool content. I just spent way too much time reading the transcript of a very informal interview with Alton Brown. Anybody out there who enjoys the culinary arts should definitely check out Good Eats, hands down the best cooking show since Julia Child invented cooking shows.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here's another link

The Patty Judge-Chet Culver announcement has had some good news coverage from all around the state. A Google News search for "Culver Judge" this evening shows news coverage all the way from the Quad Cities to Sioux City.

Here's another link to a TV station report that's really close to home, which is so cool. This is a written version of KTVO's report from Ottumwa.

After talking to people tonight, the general feeling from the campaign is that it was all good and there's a lot of excitement about a very successful day.

Of course, I must say this is not exactly how I imagined things would turn out in the campaign, but it's good for the Iowa Democratic Party and it's great for Iowa.

Yes, there will be naysayers. But I think when people look at the records and experience and ideas presented in these two candidates, people will conclude that this is absolutely the best choice for Iowa.

On another note, I received a phone call tonight from the campaign office of a gubernatorial candidate not named Culver. The friendly person called me by my legal name, and asked to confirm if I was a delegate to my county convention. I said yes, I am a delegate to the county convention.

They asked if I was planning to support their candidate in the primary. No, I said, until today, I was planning to support my mother, but after today I will be supporting Chet Culver. The man chuckled, and said something like, "Oh, I see." Then he politely asked if there was any way that I would support their candidate. I told him I would support the Democratic candidate in November, regardless of who wins the primary. But, I added again, I'd be supporting Chet Culver in the primary.

Photo op

We had a nice turnout at the White Buffalo, with lots of Mom's long-time supporters there to chat.

Mom and Chet chose to nix the prepared speeches and just talk with the crowd.

Here's a photo I took after the event, with Mom, Chet, and my grandparents, Lois and Lester Poole.

Awesome ticket

Lots of big news today, as I'm sure most of the Iowa blogosphere is already aware. Mom formally ended her campaign for governor today, and joined the Chet Culver for Governor ticket as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

There are lots of news articles already about it. Here's a good one.

The bottom line is this: This is a powerful team. Patty Judge and Chet Culver will win in June, and they'll win in November.

I'll post again later tonight.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pop Quiz

Time for a pop quiz!

If I were the Vice President of the United States, and I accidentally shot somebody, I would:
A. Help the guy, then wait until the next day to give the scoop to the local paper.
B. Help the guy, then call the cops. Give the cops a complete statement about what happened and make sure the statement is released to the public immediately. Then call the White House press corps and get it out and overwith as soon as possible.
C. Pretend nothing happened.

Correct answer: B

Yankee Cobbler

I never knew this could be so easy. We had dinner yesterday at Granny's, and we got the master herself to share her cobbler recipe.

This is one of the most incredible desserts known to mankind. You can use store bought fruit, but fresh peaches would be ideal (just add a simple syrup to replace the syrup you would get from canned peaches)

Yankee Cobbler

Melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 glass baking pan.

Mix together the following ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

This will create a light batter. Drop all of the batter in large blobs into the melted butter in the baking dish.
Pour 3/4 cup of milk over the batter in the pan. Do not mix, just leave it alone.

Add one large can (or jar of home-canned) fruit, including the syrup, evenly over the batter. I strongly suggest peaches.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Serve in individual serving dishes while still warm. To make it the most awesome thing in the world, add a scoop of home-made ice cream.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Well, I finally have a little time to do a new post. I've been home, but haven't had much free time.

The INA convention was very interesting, with lots of great information. Michael Gartner gave a very enlightening presentation during the Past President's luncheon, discussing his new book. The book focuses on some of the greatest editorials in American history. Let me just say, a lot of bloggers out there could learn quite a few things by reading Gartner's book.

The highlight of the day was the gubernatorial candidate forum. It was cool to be a part of the audience for that. The questions that were asked, however, were rather lame. The only question of any value was regarding the open records laws in Iowa. The rest of the questions were pointless. All of the candidates are already on the record regarding choice, death penalty etc. The people asking those questions wasted everybody's time. All they'd need to do is get online and look up the candidates' positions on those issues. Duh.

Then it was off to Iowa City. I had tons of fun with a lot of good friends. I also collected a lot of signatures for Mom's nomination petitions. On Saturday, we went to see a band from Albia called Final Escape play at Gabe's. They put on a great performance. I was honestly very impressed with them, and I know they'll be very successful if they keep working hard.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Busy weekend coming up

This is going to be a hectic weekend.

It all starts on Friday. My wife Steva, for anyone who doesn't know her, is a teacher and practitioner of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. On Friday, she is going to be attending a three-day T'ai Chi workshop in Iowa City hosted a highly respected teacher from Kansas City.

For me, my Friday begins with a trip to Des Moines. I'll be attending the Iowa Newspaper Association Convention and Trade Show all day at the Marriott. The convention is always incredibly interesting and fun. There are lots of great seminars that are usually brief but informative. And, most interesting to me, there's always a lot of really useful information about the latest digital photography technology.

This year's convention is going to be especially interesting for me for another reason. There will be an Iowa gubernatorial candidate forum at the convention, and my mom is going to be there. Since I obviously have a conflict of interest, I'll probably just sit in the back of the room and keep my mouth shut. But it will be fun nonetheless.

After we're done in Des Moines, I'm heading to my second favorite place in the world, Iowa City.

I lived in Iowa City for most of the 1990s, and I have a lot of friends who still live there. I'm going with a purpose. To party with my friends. But also, I'll be wandering around town on Saturday collecting signatures on mom's nomination petitions. I'll probably be hanging around the Ped Mall, Pentacrest and IMU areas in the afternoon.

Anybody else out there who would like to join in this effort is certainly welcome. All you need to do is get hooked up with Norm Sterzenbach at Mom's campaign office.

Here's the info:

Norm Sterzenbach
Iowans for Patty Judge
River Hills Business Park
712 E. 2nd St Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 288-2276 office