Thursday, November 27, 2008

Washington Auction Sale

"Serving the greater Washington and Baltimore area for over fifty years"
Specializing in estate, bankruptcy and relocation auctions and disposals

Notice of upcoming on-site auction

WHERE: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., South Lawn
WHEN: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 10 A.M. sharp
WHY: Occupant relocating

This auction will be held on-site due to the wide variety of items on offer. There will be the usual lots of general and household goods. In addition, a number of unusual and one-of-a kind objects will be up for bid. Among the items available are the following:

Lot #6
A wide array of western-style mens’ informal clothing is featured. The owner will be selling off most of his casual wear items including jeans, jean shirts, western buckles and cowboy boots. Used only as temporary costume items, they will now no longer be needed. Also for sale will be an overused Texas accent and several "good ole boy" postures, poses and expressions.

Lot #13
Lot number thirteen comprises a small offering of books, magazines and other reading material. Most of the items are in pristine condition and have not even been opened. Among the printed materials on offer are several brand new, never-read volumes including "Presidential Briefing - bin Laden determined to strike in U. S.", "U. N. Inspectors’ Report on Absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" and "National Intelligence Estimate Report: Iran ceases nuclear weapons program."

Lot #22
This lot includes dozens of unusual nostrums, knick-knacks and notions. A number of flags, pennants and banners will be up for sale including captured flags of Afghanistan and Iraq and a large window treatment bearing the words "Mission Accomplished."

Lot #31
A wide array of barely used policy positions are featured including "No child left behind", "Cooperative bipartisanship" and "Compassionate conservatism." Also available are several well-worn, overused policies such as "Tax cuts for the rich", "More tax cuts for the rich" and "Permanent tax cuts for the rich."

Item #16
A specialized grouping of oil-related items. Those interested in oil exploration might want to check out the owner’s new offshore drilling permits as well as some generous tax rebates and an astonishing "blind eye" to ongoing obscene oil company profits.

Lot #19
As with most residential dwellings, this one has a workshop. The current occupant is dismantling his entire shop which includes a wide range of brand new, untouched construction and consensus-building tools. Also on offer are a complete set of the owner’s overused deregulators including his mortgage industry deregulator, banking industry deregulator, environmental deregulator and consumer protection deregulator.

Lot #9
The owner will be selling his extensive collection of maps. This lot features a barely used city map of New Orleans, an undecipherable road map to peace in the Middle East and a special Axis of Evil edition desk globe. Also on offer is a unique, one-of-a-kind, unavailable elsewhere map of Iraq of uncertain provenance showing all the weapons of mass destruction sites and the myriad links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Turns Down Pardon

For the first time ever, the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon has been cancelled. Not since President Harry Truman initiated the practise in 1947 has the ceremony had to be called off.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino was tightlipped and circumspect in announcing the cancellation.

"The White House regrets to announce that Wednesday’s ceremony will not be held this year," said Ms. Perino. "The President nevertheless wishes everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving."

Ms. Perino refused to take any questions leaving reporters to speculate as to why the annual event was aborted. But seldom reliable sources have revealed the probable reason behind the surprising development.

Apparently this year’s bird was not as cooperative as hoped. Despite being offered a full pardon and the position of grand marshal at Disneyland’s Thanksgiving Day parade, "Babbler" and his alternate "Chatterbox" reportedly refused to keep quiet about certain inner workings of the Bush White House.

For a number of years, there have been rumors about the ultimate fate of previous White House turkeys. It seems that, contrary to assurances given, none of the pardoned birds from past years were allowed to live out their lives in quiet comfort. Instead, they eventually turned up on the Christmas dinner tables of various Bush Administration officials.

It seems that Babbler and Chatterbox were prepared to let the bird out of the bag about the fate of last year’s pardoned turkey May and her alternate Flower. Rather than allow that news to get out, The White House took steps to ensure the birds’ silence.

Initially, Dick Cheney sought to take matters into his own hands. Apparently the Vice President showed up at the Iowa farm home of Babbler and Chatterbox with his shotgun in hand and threatened to "blow their freaking heads off."

Luckily, FBI officials intervened and stopped Mr. Cheney from shooting the talkative turkeys. Subsequent negotiations avoided a possible public spectacle and the flightless birds were flown to a neutral country for extended interrogation and eventual rendition to the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay.

There was some concern that Babbler and Chatterbox might spill the beans once Barack Obama takes office and shuts down the facility. But inside sources at the Cuban military base say that they don’t expect to find any evidence of the birds’ presence after Christmas day apart from maybe a wishbone or two.

Friday, November 21, 2008

McCain Soldiers On

Despite conceding the election to Barack Obama, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has vowed to fight on.

"We’ve been counted out before, my friends," said the Arizona senator. "But I’m not one to give up that easily."

Confronted with the words of his concession speech from election night, McCain said that he didn’t remember speaking any of them.

"Heck, I’m 72 years old," said the Republican nominee. "I can’t be expected to remember everything I did in the last few days. Aides put speeches in front of me all the time and I deliver them. That doesn’t mean that I approved them or even remember them."

Asked how he intends to keep his presidential run going in the face of an overwhelming electoral defeat, McCain hearkened back to the primary campaign.

"If you’ll remember," said McCain. "Last year, it looked like we ran out of money and everybody had counted us out. Yet we persevered and won the nomination. I think we can perform that kind of miracle again."

As for specific strategy, Senator McCain was somewhat circumspect.

"I’d be crazy to tell you everything we have planned to win this thing," he said. "But let’s just say that there’s still money left in the campaign war chest and there are a few hundred Electoral College members who might be persuaded to change their votes for a price."

Other possible scenarios reportedly include requesting recounts in every closely contested state, launching numerous voter fraud challenges and renaming California and New York as Texas and Arizona.

"I’m known as a straight-talking maverick," said McCain. "And I’m telling you straight up that this thing is far from over. If you count John McCain out, you don’t know John McCain."
Asked to comment on Senator McCain’s apparent about-face, President-elect Barack Obama politely declined and left the matter to his campaign aides.

"Mr. Obama respects John McCain for his long, selfless service to his country," said a low-level spokesperson. "But we don’t think it’s fair to comment in what is clearly a very difficult time for him."

It appears that few, if any, of the McCain contingent are willing to join the senator on his quixotic journey. Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, reached at her log mansion in Wasilla, Alaska, made the following statement:

"I greatly respect and admire John McCain and I wish him well in the continuation of his presidential run. However, I will not be able to join him on the campaign trail as I have a moose to gut."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Stop There?

The push for a bailout for America’s big three automakers has had some unintended consequences. Other companies are reportedly jumping on the government bailout wagon.

First up is the Studebaker Corporation. Although the company has been defunct since 1967, a few aging former shareholders and directors have banded together to make a pitch to resurrect the business.

"We’re not looking for fifty billion dollars," said former company executive Gordon Grundy. "Heck, we don’t even need billions. A few hundred million dollars would be more than enough to get us up and running again."

Known for its innovative automobile styling in the 1950s and the popular Lark and Avanti models of the early 60s, Studebaker is hoping to capitalize on its expertise with electric cars gained in the early years of the previous century.

"Yeah, we were one of the first to go with battery-powered automobiles," said Mr. Grundy. "And with a little help from the government, I believe we can regain our number one position in the industry."

Also expressing interest in receiving a government handout is Pierce-Arrow, the noted luxury car manufacturer of the early1900s. Done in by the declining market for expensive motor cars during the Great Depression, the company is hoping to kick start its business.

"If we could get just a fraction of what’s being considered for GM, Ford and Chrysler," said company spokesman Hardy Wise. "Then we are confident that we can take on Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Rolls-Royce."

The Stanley Motor Carriage Company has also thrown its corporate hat into the government giveaway ring. The maker of the famous Stanley Steamer automobile figures that the time is right for a rebirth of the company’s turn-of-the-last-century technology.

"With oil reserves in decline and hybrid technology only a temporary fix," said George Stanley, great-grandson of company founder Francis Stanley. "We feel that steam technology is the way to go."

Notwithstanding its twenty horsepower motor and unsafe carriage design, Stanley Steamer supporters are confident that a cash infusion will help launch the company, if not into the 21st century then at least into the latter half of the 20th century.

Last but not least in the lineup of grant seekers is Markham Buggy Whips Manufacturing Inc. of Buffalo, New York. Dormant for the last one hundred years, the once thriving company feels that the time is right to revitalize its business.

"With a modest nine-figure investment from the government, I think we’re poised to lead an explosion in buggy whip sales," said sole shareholder Fred Markham. "After all, oil is running out and a new horse and buggy era is surely just around the corner."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dear Barack

Dear President-elect Obama:

As a longstanding member of the National Association of Satirists, Cartoonists and Humorists, I would like to extend my congratulations to you.

While there are, no doubt, major problems that you must address, I urge you, sir, to consider the plight of NASCAH members. With the defeat of John McCain and Sarah Palin and the imminent departure of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, we are facing what could be the biggest satirical crisis in America since the Great Depression.

The easy satirical times that we have enjoyed for the past eight years are quickly coming to an end. It appears that many of our members did not consider the immediate effect Mr. Bush’s departure would have on their livelihood and assumed that the good times would last forever.

You, sir, however, have lived through several political humor cycles and are cognizant of the ups and downs in satirical material that can occur. Those of us who suffered through the early Clinton years are well aware what can happen to our industry during a lean, markedly unfunny period. Mockable items are dramatically down, foibles and peccadillos can hit all-time lows and scandals are few and far between.

Luckily for those who survived those years, it turned out that good times were just around the corner. Despite the economic growth of the late 90s, our members were blessed with a lampoonable trifecta in the form of Whitewater, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that many of our members felt that an Obama-Biden victory would be disastrous for the humor market in general and comedic futures in particular. The thinking was that two intelligent, articulate officeholders in The White House would surely spell disaster for our organization and quickly lead not just to a satirical recession but possibly to a political humor depression.

And that is why I am urging you, sir, to do what you can to assist our membership in dealing with this humor downturn so that we can continue to earn a living. If you could perhaps make the odd mistake, take the occasional pratfall or even once in awhile mangle the English language, we would be eternally grateful.

Or if you cannot see your way clear to screwing up from time to time, please at least consider some other options. Give Joe Biden a more public profile. Appoint Hillary Clinton to your cabinet. Or maybe give Bill an ambassadorship to France or Italy.

Frankly, we were hoping for a future replete with mavericks, hockey moms, Joe Six-packs, fractured syntax and old geezer jokes. It is hard to accept that the easy times are over. But with your help, we will persevere through these next four years and do all that we can to ensure a Sarah Palin presidency in 2012.

Yours truly,

Dave Martin, NASCAH

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bush-B-Gone Insecticide

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today held a special press conference to announce a permanent ban on Bush-B-Gone brand insecticide.

EPA spokesperson Harold Herold stated that Bush-B-Gone has been under investigation for some time. Apparently the product in question has failed agency tests for eight years in a row.

"This is unprecedented," said Mr. Herold. "Not since the Ford Pinto was given back-to-back warnings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1971-72 have we even had a repeat offender. To be given this designation eight years running is simply unbelievable."

First introduced on the market in 2001, Bush-B-Gone has had an uninterrupted eight-year run of almost total futility and ineffectiveness.

"Back in late 2000 when we first tested the product," said Herold. "It looked like it might actually work. Democrats liberally sprayed the product over infected areas. Unfortunately, they neglected to cover much of the state of Florida which ultimately resulted in the Bush bug not only surviving but flourishing and infecting The White House and the entire country."

Subsequent attempts to improve the product failed. Notwithstanding numerous weaknesses in the Bush bug, the manufacturer of Bush-B-Gone was apparently unable to reformulate its product to eradicate this annoying pest.

"In 2004, the manufacturer claimed to have added extra ingredients like Iraqwar, Taxcuts and Hugedebt to the insecticide," said Herold. "But it turns out that, by then, the Bush bug had developed immunity to just about everything including the truth."

Some consumers have been deceived into continuing to buy Bush-B-Gone even after it has been shown to be totally ineffective. Recent ads claim that "new improved" Bush-B-Gone "now with extra truth" will finally do the job.

"The sad reality is, " said Mr. Herold. "That Bush-B-Gone is as useless as ever. You can spray and spray all you want but the Bush bug will be here until the end of the year no matter what you do."

It turns out that Bush-B-Gone will play no part in the eventual removal of this noxious insect. Government entomologists have recently discovered that the Bush bug has a set lifespan and that it will expire on January 20th of next year.

However, scientists continue to worry about future outbreaks. Unless a new effective insecticide can be developed in the next four years, it’s possible that The White House will be infected with a newly discovered pest: the Palin fly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

W's Early Retirement

George W. Bush today announced that he would not be serving out the balance of his second term. Instead, the President has decided to take early retirement.

"When I looked at my current employment status and crunched the numbers," said Mr. Bush. "It just made sense to pack it in early."

Like many of his baby boomer colleagues, President Bush was apparently looking to get a head start on retirement.

"I’m already 62 and I know I could have stayed until January 20th of next year," said Mr. Bush. "But I figured, why wait? Most of my friends have hit the links and I’d like to join them sooner rather than later."

Apparently an early escape to the golf course was not the only deciding factor for the President.
"When I met with Barack Obama on Monday," said Mr. Bush. "He kindly gave me a brief PowerPoint presentation detailing all the options for Social Security benefits. Did you know you can get like 70% of the full benefits starting at age 62? Heck, if I’d known that, I might have left even earlier this year."

However, given the generous pension provisions for former Presidents, a steady income for Mr. Bush is pretty much guaranteed. Starting on January 20th, he will draw down $191,300 a year plus close to a million dollars more for office and travelling expenses.

"Look, I’ve put in almost a full eight years," said Bush. "And it’s time I got more than a one-month summer break at the ranch. I don’t think folks realize how tiring it is being the Decider."

Another factor in Mr. Bush’s decision was the number of sick days he had accumulated over his two terms in office.

"That’s another thing Barack kindly pointed out," said Mr. Bush. "I didn’t even know I had that many coming to me. In fact, I’ve got enough sick days to cover me all the way up to January 20th and beyond."

There was some speculation that Mr. Bush’s current level of unpopularity had something to do with his decision to retire early. When pressed, however, the President said no.

"That’s not something that just happened," said Bush. "I’ve been unpopular for a long, long time. If I was going to let that bother me, I would have left after my first term."

But it does appear that the surfeit of national and international problems facing The White House may have had something to do with the President’s early departure.

"Yeah, I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that mess anymore," said Bush. "I think it’s time I let a younger guy take a shot at it. As Barack kindly pointed out, I think I’ve done more than enough for now."

Although President Bush specifically asked that there not be a retirement party for him, it appears that spontaneous celebrations have broken out in almost every major city from coast to coast.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Presidential Idol

The 2008 election is over. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of political viewing. Check out these new politically-themed shows offered this fall by the networks:

Presidential Idol (Fox)
After dozens of auditions, the field of Presidential hopefuls is narrowed to two finalists. Candidates are judged on their singing, dancing and stickhandling abilities and then eliminated one by one in a state-by-state voting process called the primaries. The eventual winner earns the right to be called America’s Presidential Idol and face a trillion dollar debt, a tanking economy and a never-ending war in Iraq.

The Right Wing (NBC)
Trying to match the popularity of its former hit show The West Wing, NBC has updated the format with a neo-conservative spinoff. New U.S. President Fred X. Shrub wins a narrow victory as a self-proclaimed "compassionate conservative" only to cut social services and deplete the Treasury. Keeping the country on a constant color-coded alert, Shrub and his advisors spend eight years attacking something they dub the "axis of evil."

Bill & Grace (NBC)
Having succeeded with a gay comedy, NBC tries its hand at a new format: the political sitcom. Ex-President Bill sits at home while his wife Grace pursues her own political career. Follow the weekly hijinks as Bill constantly gets into trouble and threatens to derail Grace’s presidential aspirations.

Everybody Sort Of Likes Barack (CBS)
CBS takes its own stab at a political sitcom with Everybody Sort Of Likes Barack. Newcomer Barack takes a run at the Presidency only to find that his aging opponent knows how to fight dirty. Follow Barack’s weekly policy transformations in his quest to match his Democratic predecessors and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

CSI: Wall Street (CBS)
CBS goes to the well one more time with this new edition of its popular Crime Scene Investigation series. Auditors and financial forensics investigators check out stock market fraud and corporate crime in New York City’s most dangerous neighborhood: Wall Street. Leads are followed, crimes are solved and fortunes are made but almost nobody goes to jail.

NBC capitalizes on the success of its long running medical drama ER with its new series HMO. The new weekly drama traces the bureaucratic and administrative nightmares of ordinary Americans as they try to get coverage for basic health care services. Join the roller coaster ride as patients try in vain to get actual reimbursement for necessary medical procedures.

Anarchy and Chaos (NBC)
The Law and Order gang moves to Baghdad to dispense their special brand of justice. Unfortunately, there’s no functioning administrative structure to help them out. The plucky prosecutors end up spending most of their time trying to recover their stolen vehicles and avoid daytime muggings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear Jim

"[Canada’s Finance Minister] warned public-sector workers they cannot expect big wage hikes in the next round of bargaining for contracts."
- The Canadian Press - October 29, 2008

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the warning but it wasn’t really necessary. I’ve been tempering my wage expectations ever since I joined the federal public service twenty-six-and-a-half years ago. Not to worry; I don’t expect a big wage hike. In fact, after your public announcement, I’m really not sure if I should expect any salary increase at all.

You see, after all these years, I’ve learned one thing about working for the feds. Whether times are good or times are bad, the government in power takes it out on public sector employees. When times are bad, we’re all supposed to be thankful we have a job, bite the bullet and sacrifice for the greater good. When times are good, we’re expected to do more with less in order to help the government reduce the debt, increase productivity, set an example for the country or any number of other excuses.

In bad times, public sector workers are expected to be the leading edge of fiscal restraint. We’re told that we should cut back to set the tone for the rest of the workforce. We’re given assurances that when economic good times return, we’ll be suitably rewarded. And when the good times do return, we are Canada’s forgotten workers.

After years of abuse and belittlement, I know better than to ask for much. Ever since 1991, I consider myself lucky to get anything, much less a "big wage hike."

Longtime federal employees remember 1991. That’s when your predecessor Tory government offered us wage increases of zero, three and three per cent for the following three years. We went out on strike, the employer agreed to change its offer, then reneged and in the end passed legislation imposing a zero and three per cent settlement on us for the next two years.

After that, things just went downhill. We never got that initially offered second three per cent increase. Instead, the government passed legislation which effectively froze our wages for the next four years. Even when so-called collective bargaining resumed in 1997, we were lucky to get two per cent per year from that point on.

To make matters worse, the employer doesn’t even bother to negotiate in good faith. Collective agreements end and deadlines expire and we still don’t get an agreement. As things currently stand, I’ve been without a wage agreement for almost a year and a half. And that’s pretty much business as usual when dealing with your predecessors.

The sad reality is that retired government workers are better off than current employees. Those who retired in 1991, for example, have been getting annual cost of living increases tacked on to their pensions. That sure beats the hell out of a wage freeze and is often better than the miserly two per cent Treasury Board usually doles out.

The reality is that someone retiring from the federal public service seventeen years ago with a full pension (i.e. - 70% of one’s salary) getting a cost of living increase every year is making almost as much as the poor sap who stayed working in that position all those years. I’m not complaining about the superannuate’s pension. After all, he or she paid for that indexation while working. But you have to admit that it’s at least a little unfair that the poor employee struggling through those years of downsizing and increasing work pressures received far less.

Then again, I guess no one has to admit anything. It’s pretty much the same old story. When the treasury is flush, don’t bother rewarding your workers. And when the economy suffers, bring out your favorite whipping boy - the federal public service.

Here’s a deal to consider. Don’t give me a "big wage hike." I’m not sure my heart could take the surprise anyway. Instead, just give me two per cent. After all, apart from six years of wage freezes, that’s all I’ve known for the last two decades. You’ll get to show Canadians that you’re being tough on all those spoiled government workers and I can treat myself to a new shirt to replace the one missing from my back.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here's A Thought

On November 4th, it appears that most American voters did something they hadn't done in a long time: they voted for the more intelligent Presidential candidate.

"I'm not particularly happy about it," said average voter Jane Doe. "But for some reason things just hadn't been going that well over the last few years and I figured we had to try something new."

Many average citizens felt likewise although most, too, were unable to identify the problem.

"I've always thought it was best to vote for a regular guy," said regular guy John Q. Public. "You know, someone like me who has a lot of common sense and makes decisions based on his gut feeling."

"But since I lost my house and my job, I kind of had second thoughts," said Mr. Public. "Don’t get me wrong; I still really like President Bush but I felt that maybe it was time to give the smart guy a chance."

"It wasn’t easy voting for an egghead," said Ms. Doe. "Make no mistake about that. But we didn’t have much of a choice. Now that we’ve elected a real live smart guy, maybe things will get cleaned up and we can go back to voting for someone like us again. I sure hope so."

The American voter’s disdain for intellectual elites seems to be on the wane for the first time in this century. Poll after poll showed a marked preference for candidates who might actually know what they’re talking about.

"I’ve always preferred the guy who spoke from his heart," said Jane Doe. "But maybe, just maybe, we needed someone this time who also has a brain."

"I agree," said John Q. Public. "Although if he got all high and mighty and snooty I was still prepared to vote for the dumber guy even if it meant our country would end up in the crapper."

"That’s right," said Ms. Doe. "I’d rather throw it all away than be told what to do by some fancy pants know-it-all. If he’s smart and he gets things done right, that’s fine. But I won’t put up with a bunch of ‘That’s how you do its’ or ‘I told you sos’."

When informed of this apparent new trend, Al Gore and John Kerry immediately reverted to speaking in complete sentences. And reports from a graveyard in Bloomington, Illinois indicate there is a strong whirring or spinning sound adjacent the grave of Adlai Stevenson.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

The frost is on the pumpkin. A chill is in the air. And everywhere you go, you can feel the buzz of excitement. That can mean only one thing: it’s Election Day.

The Election decorations have been up for weeks. It seems like every other lawn has a decorative sign. And many street corners and boulevards are festooned with different placards and posters creating a delightful rainbow of seasonal colors.

Turn on the radio or the TV and you’ll be serenaded with Election messages and songs. Whether it’s one candidate touting his new healthcare plan or another candidate questioning the moral fitness of his opponent, the airwaves are filled with the sounds of the Electoral season.

But one thing you won’t see during this festive time are ads urging you to buy gifts for friends, relatives and co-workers. That’s because Election Day is not about buying presents and spending money. Rather, it’s about spending time with your family in celebration of the greatest gift of all: a ballot.

Of all the holidays in the year, my favorite has to be Election Day. In contrast to celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, Election Day has not been commercialized. After all these years, it still actually means something.

Of course, every family has its own traditions when it comes to this special holiday. Some like to gather in the morning, exchange last minute suggestions and then head out to the polls. Others prefer to get together for a simple Election Day dinner and then cast their ballots. Still others like to engage in the longstanding tradition of abstaining.

But no matter how you and yours exercise your franchise, just about everyone celebrates Election Night the same way. We all gather around the television set and watch as the millions and millions of votes are counted from every state in the union.

It’s always fun to watch the children on Election Night as they struggle to stay awake for the final results. Their little eyes open wide with amazement as the states on the electoral map are colored in red and blue from one coast to the other. But most of them eventually fall asleep and have to wait to the next day to find out who won.

It’s a magical time of year. People gathering to support their favorite candidate and sharing misconceptions and sleights about his opponent. Citizens congregating in bars and taverns to insult and denigrate one another’s positions. And finally, there is the long-anticipated vote, the day when as many as half of these people will actually cast a ballot based on platforms, personalities or maybe just hearsay and innuendo.

Whatever the outcome, it’s always heartwarming to see the celebration. Even if, in the end, nothing much really changes, it’s nice to see people coming together and sharing in this ill-informed public conversation if only for a few short months. In the spirit of the season, I wish one and all a Happy Election Day.