A Happiest Thanksgiving

To anyone reading this I send my warmest Thanksgiving wishes.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and the happiest of holidays.  This is my favorite holiday and I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and family over the next month leading up to Christmas.  Chicago Christkindlmarket here I come :) (and to those who I normally meet there expect an email or IM soon).

Thanksgiving Eve – November 23, 2005

On the drive home from work tonight I was thinking about another Thanksgiving Eve several years back.  Back then I was working in downtown Chicago and took the Metra commuter rail every day to work.   The trip home started like any other holiday: a crowded train station, pushing and shoving, trains not running on time.  Once we finally left the station the trip was as uneventful as always.

Approaching Elmwood Park we were going about 70mph but the horn on the train started blaring like crazy.  Just a bit later the car I was riding in lurched and there was the sound of an impact.  Underneath the train I could hear bits and pieces of something bouncing off the bottom of the train.  The train then started to brake…hard…and the car started to shudder almost uncontrollably.  Obviously going 70mph an object the size of a commuter train takes awhile to stop and I think we ended up coming to a stop about a mile down the track.

Turns out we had plowed through 6 cars stuck on the track.  12 other cars were involved in the accident.  The crew let us out of the train to get fresh air and stretch our legs.  I went to the back of the train to take a look and there were car pieces still stuck under the train.  About 2 hours later another train, coming from the opposite direction, pulled up alongside our train and passengers were moved to the other train.  We then went on our way.

It truly was a horrific scene, when I finally got a chance to see the news reports.  Being a mile down the track I didn’t really see all that much aside from flashing lights from the emergency vehicles on the scene.  I had this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach though hoping that nobody was dead but thinking that was impossible given how fast we were going and how many cars were involved.  Miraculously nobody died in that accident.  There were injuries for sure but no deaths.   It made the holiday the next day that much better.

Story links:

NTSB Crash Report
CBS 2 Chicago Report with video

Brew Masters #1 – Bitches Brew

Hard to describe how excited I was about a show on Discovery not only about beer but about my favorite craft brewery, Dogfish Head.  The show, Brew Masters, covered the development of a brew done in collaboration with Sony Records to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis recording Bitches Brew.

Dogfish Head does some incredible things with beer so it was wonderful to see the process involved in creating one of these brews.  I’m fortunate to have a bottle of the beer profiled in this show as well so having it will be a real treat.  I hope the show is going to bring a lot more attention to craft beer.    As noted in the show the total percentage of the beer industry represented by craft breweries is a small 5%.  It would be nice to see these breweries getting the attention they deserve.  There is a lot of fantastic beer out there.

The end is not near, things are not hanging in the balance…

Wow.  Apparently the end of the world is at hand because of the election tomorrow.  Dems lose the House and probably keep the Senate.  Obviously they’re keeping the White House.  What is the big deal?  Really?

If anything it only means nothing will get done.  It certainly isn’t the end of the world.  Relax Dems.  Really.

You too Republicans.  Getting the House back really doesn’t mean jack.  You’re not going to overturn anything.    Again it just means nothing will get done.    You’re not delivering us from evil so just relax already.

We have a very short memory

On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections, elections in which the polarization of America seems at it’s greatest, I can’t help but think about how much of a short-term memory problem Americans seem to have.

Two years ago Barack Obama swept into office on a wave of Hope and Change. Two years later people on the left seem to be accusing him of being a back-stabber.    People on the right are still calling him a Muslim, a Socialist, and anything else “horrific” they think will stick.  Has Obama really let us down? Have the Democrats and the President really not done what they promised?

Rachel Maddow did a fantastic job this evening showing just what the Democrats have done in the past 21 months they’ve had control of both the legislative and executive branches of government:

  1. The stimulus plan
  2. Biggest tax cut ever (95% of Americans got a tax cut)
  3. Saving the auto industry
  4. Healthcare reform
  5. Finance industry reform
  6. Equal pay for women
  7. etc.
  8. etc.
  9. etc.

Did they get everything they wanted?  No.  If they had the stimulus would have been larger and health care reform would have been even better.  But they got things done, major things, in a short amount of time.   The political capital has been paid and tomorrow they’re probably going to lose the House.  So be it.   They’ve certainly done a hell of a lot more for the country in the past 21 months than the Republicans ever did while they held the reigns.

I’m just shocked at how little people remember after such a short period.   Many people will be voting against their best interests tomorrow when they vote Republican.  That is their right but I think it’s astounding.   People just don’t seem to understand just what was accomplished.

Anyhow, get out and vote.  Whoever you vote for tomorrow get out and vote.  It’s every American’s right paid for in blood over and over by Americans for Americans.   Get out and do it.  You owe it to all of us.