The November Election - Disenfranchised and Disgusted

No, I haven't written anything political this year.  Why should I bother?  I would just be repeating my comments from the last election cycle.  Perhaps I should have said something.  Ron Paul ran for president again this time, and did seem to do better this time around.  The Republican Party didn't merely ignore him this time, but went out of their way to actively snub and exclude him.  Naturally, he still didn't get the Republican nomination, so I cannot vote for him in the general election, but I got to vote for him in the Republican primary, and I think a lot more people heard about him and his libertarian-oriented ideas, including the problems with our foreign policy and the economy.  A healthy understanding of the economic basics, especially Austrian economics, can only be good.

Nonetheless, just like in 2008, my only presidential options are going to be the Democrat and Republican nominees, Obama and Romney, and neither one of them makes me thrilled to be an American, much less give me any good reason to vote for one of them.  Their differences are minimal, and we should all be disgusted that, as voters, we have been given so few choices on the ballot.  How can anybody claim we're truly free, when we are not free to choose the candidate of our choice? Where's the diversity, the plurality, the democracy that the United States is supposed to have?

I would vote for any third candidate on the ballot, just out of protest, although my preferred choice is the Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.  Unfortunately, I don't think any third party or independent candidates made it on Oklahoma's ballot this year, just like last time.  So I am truly disenfranchised by our electoral system, even though I have the alleged "right" to vote.  Oklahoma's ballot doesn't allow for write-ins, either.  So all I can really do is vote in lower races but not for president, and hope that my undervote will be counted and noticed.

So I haven't bothered to write anything political this year.  I could have.  I could have really gotten upset trying to explain to people just how unfree we truly are.  I could have talked till I was blue in the face, gotten my blood pressure up and had a heart attack.  But many people would continue to mistakenly think that they are free, and that I'm just some cranky nut not worth worrying about.

Instead, I'll just take advantage of the relative freedom that I do have, and live my life as best I can, and hope enough people somewhere get the message and figure out something effective to do about our sorry state of affairs, because I'm not really sure what I can or should do about it. Living my own life is hard enough.

So come election day, why bother? Why should I have to vote in order to have the 'right' to complain, when I am not allowed to vote for the candidate(s) of my choice?  How can I possibly be represented in the system without candidates who actually represent my positions?  The electoral system is rigged in the most basic and fundamental way, and you have to be pretty blind not to see it.


Coffee, Tea, or Soda Pop?

I've never been a coffee drinker.  About the only way I can really stand it is by adding a LOT of creamer and sugar, and I figured if I have to do that to make it drinkable, then I'm not really drinking coffee.  Of course, cappuccino and some other modern coffee-based drinks do have a lot of sugar and flavoring, so I'm usually okay with those, although I still haven't made them a regular habit.

Instead I'm a big iced tea drinker.  My mother always had us drink iced tea at meals when I was growing up, and so that habit really stuck with me.  But I prefer iced tea, as I've never been much of a fan of hot tea. Naturally, as I got older, I had to learn how to make my own iced tea. My mother would put the tea-bags in the pitcher, add hot water, and let them brew that way, before adding more water to fill up the pitcher.  I had trouble doing it her way, and ended up breaking a few glass pitchers.

Instead, I developed the habit of using a 1-quart pot to heat the water, and then when the water starts boiling, I turned off the heat and added the tea bags to the pot.  Then I let it sit.  For a long time, until the liquid has cooled.  Only then do I half-fill a pitcher with water, then add the brewed tea, and then add more water to top off the pitcher.  Of course, I put sugar in first, and then the water, then tea.  In that sense, at least, I'm a Southern boy--gotta have my sweet tea!  And the way I make it, it's pretty strong.

I generally use Cain's, a brand produced here in Oklahoma. I've used other brands, but there really does seem to be a difference, even though I know they all use orange or orange pekoe tea (the common "black tea"). Not only does Cain's taste better to me, it's also generally cheaper than the other brands.

Of course, as a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was curious about how Earl Grey tea tasted.  Earl Grey is basically just black tea with oil of bergamot added to it for a citrus-y flavor.  Again, I wasn't too fond of hot tea, but I found out that Earl Grey makes an excellent iced tea!  Of course, they don't make quart-sized bags of Earl Grey tea, only those small, one-cup bags.  You can use 5 or 6 of the small bags to make up a two-quart pitcher of Earl Grey tea, but I came up with a more cost-effective solution.  I'll use 2 quart-size bags of my regular Cain's tea, and I'll add two of the small bags of the Earl Grey tea.  Not only does this give it that Earl Grey flavor, but it also makes the tea a little stronger, which is fine by me. The tea you can get at restaurants just can't compare to what I make at home.

Soda pop, on the other hand, is a different issue. Of course, as a kid, I really liked the sweet stuff, even if we had tea at dinner.  No doubt soda pop contributed greatly to my dental problems, especially when you consider that I usually got free soda pop when I worked at fast food places in my younger days.  I have since given up drinking soda pop on a regular basis, but the damage is already done.

For my part of the Cola War debate, I preferred Coca-Cola to Pepsi.  Better than Coke, though, is Royal Crown Cola (RC), which I like best of all.  When we were teens, my sister and I did our own blind taste test, and both agreed that, among Pepsi, Coke, RC, and Jolt Cola, RC was the best-tasting. As an adult, though, I've found that I usually prefer a bit more sophisticated flavor, so now, when I do drink soda pop, I'll usually go for Dr. Pepper, if it's available.

I keep referring to them as "soda pop" so that most people will know what I'm talking about.  Personally, I grew up thinking of them as "soft drinks", not as soda, pop, or soda pop. However, most people aren't really familiar with the term 'soft drink'.  Here's an interesting link on the Great Soda vs. Pop controversy.  Isn't that an impressive looking map?  ;-)