Just in case anyone's interested, we aren't exactly doing too great financially. This is our debt versus our budget. Our debt limit is set by the state, and that is the number we are allowed to borrow up to. No pressure...
Just recently, the Fayetteville Flyer asked me my second round of questions, the ones for all the candidates. So I'm sitting in a coffee shop with my laptop going over those questions when I am suddenly being ripped on my a crew of random strangers. They sat at a table adjacent to my own. Never met these people before, and yet apparently they knew enough about my character to critique my entry into the Mayoral Race. Supposedly, in this hypothetical of theirs, I'm only in this for popularity. And here I always thought I was just a busboy, a K.J., and a stripper... Quite frankly, any direction is up from where I'm at. Then one of them says, "Yeah, you're a real Ron Paul, ain't you?!" That's not the first time I'd heard that comment either. There was even one on the internet similar to that. This is when it occurs that I'm not really being taken seriously, and I understand. It's not like I didn't just come out of nowhere with a kick ass name and a reputation for being a... busboy or something. So after those trolls left me the hell alone, I had to ask myself, "Myself, is anyone really paying attention to anything you're saying at all?" To tell the truth, I'm starting to doubt it. So let us test a theory, shall we? Here was one of their questions and my made-up, bogus reply:
FF: There is a giant mud pit on the corner of College and Mountain. From reading the papers, it would seem as though we as a city are at the mercy of some developers who don’t seem to care about what the delays are doing to our downtown area. Are our hands really tied in situations like these? If not, what gives?
AFC: Oh, yes. Who could forget that pond where once sat a restorable building? I don’t blame the developers on that, rather this is another excess ordinance problem which cost the city dearly. The initial plan was the city would go in halves with this hotel to set it up o’proper.[sic] So what happened then? Some people moved to have the size of all buildings in Fayetteville restricted to four stories only, contrary to the agreed upon plan. The ordinance passed, and then the real trouble began. They tell the hotel company that they can no longer build over four stories. But the company disagreed, citing the fact that they were already approved before the new ordinance took effect. This
essentially grandfathered them in… right? Wrong. The council then worked to make the ordinance retroactive, and the company had a major problem with that. Their figures were simplistic. They said they needed X amount of floors to make this endeavour [sic] profitable. The city argued that point, and the company broke out the numbers for them. “This is what we do for a living. We gather data, and assess the feasibility of how much a profit we can make based off those numbers. Where are you guys getting your numbers from?” After some unsuccessful efforts from architects to find a happy medium, and the poor choice by the city of a contractor to build this new building that the hotel company didn’t really want to use, the company pulled out and prayed while the city drilled away. Did I mention how broke the city is right now? We should be thankful we didn’t try to build it on our own, because we can’t afford to pay for the damnable thing. Of course, all the money we blew to put that HITG (hole in the ground) could have been used to restore the original Mountain Inn, but who’s counting right? So congratulate the administration for catering to special interest groups with more ordinances we didn’t need at a critical point in the planning phase. They got exactly what they wanted. It isn’t above four floors. In fact, it’s waaaaaaayyyyy below that level. By the by, did anyone notice how tall the Underwood Building is now?
Now, this gross misrepresentation of myself should rightfully spark critisism. As we all know, John Nock and Richard Alexander are supposed to develop the multi-use building we all know(or rather don't since we haven't seen head or tails of it) as the Renaissance Tower. And I'd think that would probably have been better than that wino toliet that used to be there. Problem is, the delays occured that have pushed the building's due date as far back as 2010. I'm not blaming any administration for this. After all, the city did its half. The Mountain Inn is down. Could it have been restored? Um... I guess, but it would probably not have been the best direction we could have gone. I guess it does beat the HITG though, and this is where we need to keep applying the pressure on any developer who leaves us high and dry like that. The city was quite magnanimous in not fining them right away when time dragged over, but that needs to end. If this is the kind of headache it's going to give us, we need to make an example out of every any developer fails to meet by strictly adhering to each and every deadline. That having been said, the answer here is meaningless dribble that has nothing to do with ordinances. This has been written with the context of the "emotional crap" that I've been said to spew. Already, one has noticed the irrelevancy of my statements. Good for her. I expect the thinkers of the group to be critical, and rightfully so. I should never get away from something so blatanly ignorant. Let's find out if anyone else notices.
FF: This one goes to 11) We can’t cover everything in just 10 questions. What is one thing you’re just biting your nails over that we missed?
AFC: Oh, I’ll mention that later. Heh, heh…
Fayetteville-area historical tornado activity is slightly below Arkansas state average. However, it is 97% greater than the overall U.S. average. On 5/4/1999, a category 3 (max. wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado 8.1 miles away from the Fayetteville city center caused $100,000 in damages. And this is just a slight greeting from the grand ol' forces of nature that contain the potential to take our good city down a notch. Myself, I'd rather be covered in this respect, but we're sunk financially. The money we are allowed to borrow to recover from said situation is dwindling more and more to date. My previous city of residence as a young cat was Clarksville, Tennessee. The city was struck some years back by a system of Tornadoes that took out half of Clarksville, including the town hall and a peice of the court house. They recovered well since my last visit a year ago because they were able to borrow beyond their annual budget set by their state. We don't even come close to this. Our annual budget is $126,851,399.00 this year. We can now only legally borrow a bit over
$20,000,000.00. This isn't even a fifth of what we need to cover our ass for one year were we to
have to rebuild from a natural catastrophy. What a joke.
"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." : Oscar Wilde
So I was asked about my experience at the PowerVote meeting at George’s Majestic Lounge. The lady had seen me there, but didn’t get to talk to me before she’d left. I was able to go over it with her later to give my personal opinion of the experience. This supposedly non-partisan show turned partisan real quick when Mayor Coody was allowed to give his the introduction speech. Now I had been weary of going to an event that was sponsored by Coody, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt anyway. I was met early on by Jon Bame, who introduced himself and talked a bit about what they do. He stressed that although it was sponsored by our Mayor, it was still going to be non-partisan and that we’d all get an equal chance to talk about our views. That was fine with me, and I had a few brief pointers to make while I was there. So I sat awhile, shook a few hands, saw a couple of friends. One of my ex-roommates, Lucian, was setting up to play the keyboard for the first band to play that night. During that time, Steve Clark came in to make his rounds as well as Sami Sutton. Both were politicking about, but I didn’t see heads or tails of either Lioneld Jordan or Walt Eilers. I don’t know if they bothered to show up, but if they hadn’t then that was probably a good idea on their behalf. To start the show, Coody took it upon himself to do the introduction, and talked about how if we aren’t green, then we’re part of the problem. Like it’s that simple. It’s not, but we’ll get into that. Then he goes on about how Fayetteville is a leader in the “green movement”. Yes, we’re all “leaders” aren’t we? Everyone’s a “leader”, every city, every state, every nation, every country... a whole world full of “leaders”. People love to pat themselves on the back for things that we should do naturally. Do we really need to use this as a reason to boost our egos? Seems to me that doing the right thing should be its own reward, but that’s my take. “I love nature!” Congratulations. What do you want, a cookie? Next, he wants to bring his favourite, overused buzzword into play, “sustainability”. This word has one interesting property though. It shares this property with the word “progress”. It means exactly what you want it to mean. He’s talking about the progress the city has made and that we need to sustain it. We are in a massive debt right now as noted above. $201,760,000.00 rounded down. We aren’t broke. We aspire to be broke. Do I wish to sustain this debt in lieu of the fact that we cannot afford spending all this money to greenify the city? Do we continue to place priority of the city funds to value bike trails and parks over our police force’s education courses and fire trucks that we require to keep the city functioning properly? I’m going with no. It’s not that we cannot aim this direction, but we’re forcing it and sacrificing things we do need to do so. But Coody stressed that everyone should vote for a Mayor that knows what “sustainability” means. Well, I know what it means to him anyway. So he finally does get off the stage, and then Jon Bame comes on to tell the people what PowerVote does and what their aims are. This was very informative and I heard all his ideas on the subject. That was all fine and good. Then when he left the stage, he was followed almost immediately by a Dan Coody promoter that would introduce the bands. He would also give Coody full credit for this event, as if he was the only reason we were there. He then asks everyone to give it up for Mayor Dan Coody. Everybody did so half-heartedly and then he says, “Come on guys, you can do better than that!” Everyone semi-claps louder to get him moving on, which he eventually did do so the bands could begin. And while I’m listening to this shameless promotion, I take a second to look around me. The other candidates were gone. I wasn’t a hundred percent if they’d left or were just not in my immediate vision, yet upon further inspection, they’d apparently found something more interesting to do. I followed suit after listing to Lucian’s band play a few tunes and saying my goodbye to friends. So I decide I’m going to go to the Common Grounds and sip on some coffee. But when I passed through the patio area, there was Steve Clark, his wife, and a couple of his friends hanging out at a table.
He said to me, “You lasted much longer than we did!”
“Yeah,” I told him, “but I couldn’t hang out at Coody-Fest any longer.”
We all had a laugh about the whole thing as I told him what Coody’s speech was comprised of, and that’s a good thing. I dig Clark, although I have my disagreements with certain issues. But don’t we all? Regardless of his history, Clark hasn’t pissed me off yet. Neither has Jordan. Both seem alright so far, but we’ll see yet. So... what the hell was I going to say on environmental issues that I didn’t bother with at George’s? Let’s begin. First off, all my points of view were best expressed in a South Park episode entitled “Smug Alert”. It’s the tenth season-second episode, and can be viewed for free at southparkzone.com. The whole point of that particular show is that it is a good thing to aim for cleaner alternative energy as well as clean vehicles and general living. The problem I find lies in the smugness that comes with it. I myself drive a beat-the-hell-up 1978 Dodge Aspen. I also own a 1963 Cadillac Limousine with a 435 V8 personally modified. The transmission crapped out, but that’s another story. These are both environmentally irresponsible, and yet they are practical. Why is that you may ask? They’re both paid for. Most people don’t own vehicles anymore, they lease them. The new vehicle’s average lifespan is six to seven years. Welcome to the age of the disposable car. My Aspen is thirty years old now, with a slant six immortal engine in which I have done repair work as I go. With new vehicles, regular, hybrid, or electric, one almost must rely on a mechanic. This is also less practical for me than not having to be charged three times the value on part on top of labor. The more things you put into a vehicle, the more things that can break down. The life span of a battery for these disposable vehicles can be less than four years in some cases, costing anywhere from $4,000.00 to $8,000.00. This is just not economically viable for myself and those of my income level. Still, these are still worthwhile pursuits mind you. We just haven’t gotten to the point where it is practical for everybody. Consider the webcam. Someone has to be the first one to buy it commercially. Must have been lonely being the first. But then we have more and more sells and suddenly mass production allows for prices to drop. As the technology becomes commonplace, improvements are made. This is the marketability of all technology, including vehicles and new energy sources. My whole point is that these things take time and we are getting there. Just be patient, it’s coming. Treating other people with disdain because they don’t instantly go for the green movement is a problem that we should be addressing. When you do that, you tend to cause resentment from the masses, and this is the last thing you want to occur. Being a prick doesn’t get you anywhere with people, unless, of course, you want them as far away from you and your cause as possible. When dealing with people, try leaving the smugness at home and you’ll find people a lot more receptive to these concepts. And that’s a wrap people, so until next time, go with gosh.
"Critics are people who watch a battle from a high place and then come down and shoot the survivors." : Ernest Hemingway
Good day, Fayettevillains! I suppose I should talk about the debate we’d just had, but that can be saved for later. After all, we do have another one coming up relatively soon. Instead, I’m going to mention a little observation I’ve made in my time as a candidate. If you want to be hated on a local, state wide, national, or international level, run for office. It’s great! I went from a beloved busboy at Village Inn to “that asshole” in seconds. I don’t believe any of us have been immune from point one. I remember talking to Ramsey when I was in a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce, and what he told me comes to mind now.
“I myself was asked to run for mayor, and for awhile I’d seriously considered it. But then I came to my senses. Honestly, I don’t envy you.”
I had to laugh my ass off at that. Koieng was there too, but had withdrawn his name before I’d met him. He was a really nice guy and agreed that politics require that one must take public ridicule with the salt flats in Utah. Every one of us candidates has received comments that verge on hatred. No matter how long ago it’s been since we were children on a playground slinging out “Yo Mamma” jokes, we never really lose that part of our nature. I actually don’t care what people think about me personally. Opinions fly at a dime a baker’s dozen. We all have them, and we all use them to lash out at others. Politicians are just easier targets. None of us are immune from doing this, not you and certainly not I, but for now I will put it aside. I’ll leave the playground rules out for another day. Today, this is what I’ll be doing... Instead of insulting the other candidates, I will give them all praise, and then I will criticize myself. This having been said, let us begin:
Walt Eilers – This dude is very businesswise, and has a great range of alternative methods to save money on city works. He has a bit of humor about him, which is always a plus when dealing with the populous. I remember what he said at the stump speech when talking about working with Seven Hills, “Never ask Lowell Grisham if he needs help with something, because he will put you to work.” Heh. I think as a mayor, he’d help us do things much cheaper than we do at present.
Steve Clark – It’s very hard to admit when you make a dire mistake because people are generally their own best critic no matter what they tell you. Showing humility is a strength in my book, and that is precisely what Steve has shown. His priorities are key to myself, including the police and fire departments over luxuries. As a mayor, I think he’d put the budget back on track.
Dan Coody – This election is especially rough for our present mayor. If I ever think people are ripping on me a lot, that’s nothing in comparison to what he’s been getting lately. Yet through it all, he’s persevered. As part of the job of a mayor, one must be prepared to take the bullets from public scrutiny. This is an incredibly difficult test of one’s spiritual and emotional fortitude, yet there he sat at the last debate ready to defend himself and his position. And though I may never be his biggest fan, I will say that I admire that quality in a mayor for our city.
Lioneld Jordan – Lately it’s looking more and more like the election will go to him, although not without a runoff. If it does go to him, I won’t be disappointed, I’m sure. For one, he has the experience in office that can only come with being a part of the city government for a great deal of time. Then, he also knows the annual budget because he’s had to review it and vote on it. He notices the debt, which will have to be dealt with sooner or later. Lioneld is very inspirational, and that helps a mayor lead us in a manner in which we feel confident about our direction.
Sami Sutton – A nineteen-year-old running for mayor? My god... I remember myself at nineteen, and I was just some punk kid. I would never have set my goals so high. Yet this young woman has bigger balls than I ever did at her age. Where I had to learn motivation and will power in the military back in the day, she has these qualities in spades. This is the gusto and go-get-‘em attitude I’d like to see in an office as mayor. Can’t wait to see what her future will bring.
All of this having been said, tis’ my turn...
Adam Fire Cat – What are you supposed to be, a name? Do you honestly think people will vote on you strictly because you have a “cool” name or because you buss tables real quick? And don’t you know the libertarian movement is dead? No one cares that you were evicted for having enough cars in your yard to fill a used car lot. Get over yourself. You have no experience, yet you think you have just as much verbal weight as these people who have been around the track a few times? Please. Your signs and your jokes were funny. Once. Quite frankly, why are you wasting our time? Get out of the way and let real candidates step up to the plate, you overhyped pretender to the throne!
So I am done for the night, and I conclude that although I defend everyone else and rip on myself today, tomorrow I’d bite your head off. Until then...
“We were wondering if we can set up a time with you and the other candidates to meet at a forum we’re thinking about holding. Let us know your thoughts on date X...” It’s not like that anymore. Now the letters, answering machine messages, and e-mails have had a darker tone. “This is what we’re doing, this is where we’re doing it, this is when. Be there or look dismissive. Dance monkey, dance!” Well, maybe they don’t use those exact words, but pretty much that’s what it’s come down to. Even then, I still arrive for everything I’ve been “invited” to save for the Farmer’s Market. I don’t walk about there pressing flesh and kissing babies for three reasons. One of those being that it has become the Fayetteville campaigning cliché, and two, I just get off work from one job at anywhere from 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. only to have to be at work again later that day. The third reason is that I don’t kiss babies. There has never been a baby I’ve seen yet that had a clean enough noggin that I would even consider kissing. Always with the snot and the drool all over the face, or recently dried up of the aforementioned. Then there’s the smell... Eeewww. The early birds will get the worm in that instant, so I tend to go about another method. My sign walk is done on, but not restricted to, a Monday. I’ll walk up and down Dickson for about three hours holding my sign. In that time, I hear every comment in the world. Nothing surprises me anymore, if it ever did in the first place. I don’t care. I’ve had my conversations and usually most people are cool about it even if they don’t agree with me. That’s good. I like to see the educated voter who took the time to get to know the candidates individual perspectives and decide based on what they believe. There’s a campaign out there called “Vote Or Die”. This is the most ridiculous piece o’ shite I’ve ever heard. Its objective is to encourage young people to vote. I have a problem with that on a couple of levels. First, if you didn’t take time to get to know the candidates or the issues, PLEASE DON’T VOTE!!! You only bring down the value of people who did bother with those things called “facts”. Secondly, if you aren’t motivated to do so unless Sean “Puffy” Combs tells you to, maybe you should review your rationale in general. So when voting, I always suggest that everyone vote on the person that best represents their ideas and viewpoints. That person may not be me. Hell, that may not be any of us. For all I know, we might all suck. Feel free to slap a “None Of The Above” on there if we don’t meet your requirements. That’s what it’s all about. The will of Fayetteville be done, not the will of Adam Fire Cat or the will of any other candidate. In all the laps I’ve done and will do until this is over, I just keep true to my own beliefs. Please, keep true to your own. If you want to ask me personally what I think, I’ll be on Dickson Street walking away each Monday from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., and afterwards I sip on the coffee stuffs at Common Grounds for a couple of hours. My e-mail is email@example.com. I’d give a physical address, but I’m trying to cut back on the mail bombs I receive these days. Next entree, I’ll be B.S.ing you about the debates prior and upcoming. L8R people.
“We were wondering if we can set up a time with you and the other candidates to meet at a forum we’re thinking about holding. Let us know your thoughts on date X...”
It’s not like that anymore. Now the letters, answering machine messages, and e-mails have had a darker tone.
“This is what we’re doing, this is where we’re doing it, this is when. Be there or look dismissive. Dance monkey, dance!”
Well, maybe they don’t use those exact words, but pretty much that’s what it’s come down to. Even then, I still arrive for everything I’ve been “invited” to save for the Farmer’s Market. I don’t walk about there pressing flesh and kissing babies for three reasons. One of those being that it has become the Fayetteville campaigning cliché, and two, I just get off work from one job at anywhere from 5:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M. only to have to be at work again later that day. The third reason is that I don’t kiss babies. There has never been a baby I’ve seen yet that had a clean enough noggin that I would even consider kissing. Always with the snot and the drool all over the face, or recently dried up of the aforementioned. Then there’s the smell... Eeewww. The early birds will get the worm in that instant, so I tend to go about another method. My sign walk is done on, but not restricted to, a Monday. I’ll walk up and down Dickson for about three hours holding my sign. In that time, I hear every comment in the world. Nothing surprises me anymore, if it ever did in the first place. I don’t care. I’ve had my conversations and usually most people are cool about it even if they don’t agree with me. That’s good. I like to see the educated voter who took the time to get to know the candidates individual perspectives and decide based on what they believe. There’s a campaign out there called “Vote Or Die”. This is the most ridiculous piece o’ shite I’ve ever heard. Its objective is to encourage young people to vote. I have a problem with that on a couple of levels. First, if you didn’t take time to get to know the candidates or the issues, PLEASE DON’T VOTE!!! You only bring down the value of people who did bother with those things called “facts”. Secondly, if you aren’t motivated to do so unless Sean “Puffy” Combs tells you to, maybe you should review your rationale in general. So when voting, I always suggest that everyone vote on the person that best represents their ideas and viewpoints. That person may not be me. Hell, that may not be any of us. For all I know, we might all suck. Feel free to slap a “None Of The Above” on there if we don’t meet your requirements. That’s what it’s all about. The will of Fayetteville be done, not the will of Adam Fire Cat or the will of any other candidate. In all the laps I’ve done and will do until this is over, I just keep true to my own beliefs. Please, keep true to your own. If you want to ask me personally what I think, I’ll be on Dickson Street walking away each Monday from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., and afterwards I sip on the coffee stuffs at Common Grounds for a couple of hours. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d give a physical address, but I’m trying to cut back on the mail bombs I receive these days. Next entree, I’ll be B.S.ing you about the debates prior and upcoming. L8R people.
Debates, forums... what’s the friggin’ difference? We have so far done the same thing at all of them. These have been, to say the least, an educational experience for me as well as the other five. When I have to consider it, I think we all imagine a way we could have really nailed our points better. I myself have problems doing the public speech thing, although I tend to excel in one on one and minor group talks. My humour tends to be a bit of a crutch to make up for that. Too bad really, as I prefer using the information I bothered to come up with. Getting it out there is not an art form I find easy in that type of stage. Still, I was there and as ready as I ever would be in all but the most recent forum.
The S.S.S.(Stump Speech Social)
The first one I went to was the Stump Speech, where they’d actually cut up a stump and had us bastards stand upon it to introduce ourselves to the crowd. It was just going to be Steve Clark, Walt Eilers, and myself as Lioneld Jordon couldn’t attend. His reason was solid, and that was that his grandson had been ill and a promise was made that when he recovered, Lioneld would take him camping that weekend. Coody was in attendance that afternoon. Do not be mistaken or misled. All of us knew that Coody was going to make his “unexpected” return to the political arena. ALL OF US. I meet these other dudes for the first time there. They were pleasant enough. Then Coody walked up and introduced himself, forgetting he’d met me before. To date, he still doesn’t remember…
“Hi, I’m Mayor Coody.”
“Adam Fire Cat.”
“So how are you today?”
“Oh, average.” I responded, based off an obscure comment from some time ago.
“Did you say ‘average’?” he asked.
“Yeah, well, most people are.”
Heh. We both finished the long drawn out handshake, smiling with shark’s teeth. Ah, life. I remember one thing that whole time at the S.S.S, and that was how hungry I was waiting for the food, which of course we weren’t do to eat until after the speeches and questions were over. Never do public speaking on an empty stomach. You wouldn’t believe how much more you suck at it than you already may when you’re hungry to boot. Each of us were allowed twenty minutes apiece to give our introduction speech. I told Daniel Estes that I didn’t need all of that, especially since we were running over on the time. The other candidates seemed to be insistent on the when of it all. When we were initially given twenty minutes, I didn’t actually believe they would take all of it. Who could seriously talk about themselves for that long? Then I remember myself onstage at the Dart Room not so long ago doing more than that. I went for over an hour about what I thought. The hell with what I think about a mere twenty minutes. I’d be a hypocrite if I smack talked said situation. They said their thing, I said mine. The crowd was generally polite all in all. They clapped for even the most irrelevant of comments and answers to the questions that were asked. I kept most of my answers to a minimum, and in some cases declined to comment. When it was all said and done, my bad self was all about some munching. The announcement was made that the chow was about to be opened and music would be played throughout the night. Then it happened. The foodstuffs were unveiled and it was… near-vegan. My stomach had a conversation with me…
“Are you %&#!!?@ kidding me?! Food! You promised! You lying &$@!?!# bastard!!”
I knew I promised myself I’d gorge here, but I also promised that I’d be the last of us to leave. That was sooner than I’d thought. Both Walt and Steve bailed quickly, as did Coody. And here I was with… rabbit food. Even the salad dressing was not mayonnaise based, as mayonnaise is composed of beaten egg whites, and that would be very unvegan. The only reason I say it was near-vegan was because there was a plate of cheese that only me and the person that brought it ate. I left immediately afterwards, with many compliments on my signs. You may have noticed that thing I have going, which is now becoming a cliché in and of itself. So ends one adventure as well as a bad attempt on my part in public speaking. Even though I sucked at it, I wasn’t about to back out. I committed, and I stand by it still.
The Ozark Natural Foods Presentation(A.K.A. The Promise Of A Free Meal)
Now I was called up by a nice lady from Ozark Natural Foods who wanted all of the announced candidates to attend a presentation that the store was giving. I’d never quite been familiar with co-ops before, though I’d read the concept. Basically, the store is run like a commune. Interesting method and they offered not only to take us around the store and tell us what they do, how they operate, etc, but they even extended the promise of a free meal. Yum! I never turn down food, but…
“Well, Mister Cat, before I say goodbye, do you have any dietary requirements that we need to know about before we plan this meal?”
I said, “Good question, and I’m glad you asked! See I had this stump speech not long ago and I was so hungry. But when it was finally served, it was mainly a vegan menu. Now, for the love of god, I am an omnivore and am very proud of my omnivoric heritage. I would really like it if…”
“Meat, right?” she asked laughing.
“That’s not a problem. I happen to be an omnivore myself.” She joked.
So it was set up that I would arrive close to noon on a day that I have to work. These things are always scheduled on my work days, or when I have to sleep. In this case, I had to wake up in what would be everyone else’s two in the morning. So I shook hands with a couple of people upon my arrival who would be leading me about soon enough. I sat at the table prepared and reserved for us and waited. Only two candidates joined us that day, Eilers and Jordon. I hadn’t met Lioneld before that day, but I’d seen him in council meetings on the local stations often. The tour began and I was still sluggish and probably red-eyed. I just followed the collective around as he spoke of the operation that was Ozark Natural Foods. I give this one thumbs up for being the cleanest grocery store I’d ever set foot in, and a thumbs down for the expensive as hell bit. That’s not their fault mind you, but if they’re going to go with the organic path here then that is likely going to be the case. The food is of great quality, although I have one irk that I’ll get to in a moment. One thing that was amusing to me was the meat presentation, followed almost immediately by the milk presentation. It broke down like this…
“This meat here was from a local farm. And they use all the meat from the one cow instead of multiple cows.”
The meat had been set into several packages on a cooling shelf. Single cow for one store, multiple cows for multiple stores... the difference is really infinitesimal to me, but whatever. The stress point was that being local, the delivery cost was cut down, and thus a minor savings could be applied. Then we came to the milk, and I’ll never forget this for as long as I live or catch the Alzheimer’s, whichever comes first…
“And over here is our milk selection. We have several varieties, and I’d like to add that the cows that are utilized are done so at a farm where they don’t force the cows into the barns. They don’t herd them, or clamp them down, or force them in any way. When they’re ready, they walk right into the barn where the farmers are waiting to milk them. They don’t use those electric milkers, and the cows leave unharmed, and it is an excellent system to produce these milks here.”
Inside, even as sleepy as I was, I was laughing and rolling in the floors of my mind. You see, they just talked to us about the slaughtering of a cow and using all the pieces in one place only to assure us that they weren’t hurting the cows’ feelings in another. As much as I wanted to, one cannot just say that shite out loud. I wasn’t there to be an ass about it, nor unintentionally rude to my hosts. One thing I thought was cool about this place was how they had peanut butter makers right there in the store. At that time, they only had it for the almond sort, but they told us they were going to get one specifically for peanuts relatively soon. Can’t wait for that. All in all, it was a good presentation, and they made good on their word. A free meal, yo! They let us pick a drink from the coolers and served up a plate for each of us that were comprised of assorted veggies, and dare I say it…? Dare! Dare! Meat! In particular chicken, and free range at that. Good stuff, but it was being too hyped at the table.
“See how much better this is than the average caged chickens?”
And everyone else agreed with the statement and talked about the texture and whatnot while I continued to keep my big trap shut. You see, I have this deal about preparation being the real reason food tastes good. I remember one of my mothers preparing chicken or barbeque so that the meat would just slide off the bone. Tender and spiced to such a perfection as to rival the gods. This chicken was just cooked and some generic spice was applied for flavoring. Not that it was bad, mind you. It tasted great, just not the best I’ve ever had. So my hosts asked if we had any questions and this is where I had to stress my one irk.
“I have one. This is something that has been constantly gnawing at me for some time now. No additives. Great! That’s very admirable. No preservatives. That’s where I have a problem. Considering the cost of this food, is there any advantage to not keeping this food as fresh as possible with preservatives?”
The gentleman to my right answered by asking another question, “Do you mean chemically or naturally?”
I said, “Either.”
“Well there are reasons for the chemical preservatives to be left out. They aren’t healthy for one.”
But no matter what was talked about in manners of health benefits, there were no definite answers to that. He could not site a source for this argument that I found satisfactory. Then the lady to my left chimed in.
“But there are other ways to preserve foods that are more natural. There’s honey for example, and that’s been around for much longer than the use of these chemicals.”
Though I may agree with that, we didn’t come to the age of technology to not partake of its benefits. Even then, I gave her that and continued…
“Well that’s fine and all, so why don’t we employ these methods on all of these foods? It just seems to me that people are paying more for food that lasts less than it would at some other store.”
And they agreed. It’s not like I was real far off base or anything. I still keep the stance that preservatives are necessary until I find someone who can actually discredit that. They go on to tell us that the vegetables were produced from a local farm at the exact same moment that I was picking soil from out of my teeth. Dirt adds character. This is my ultimate overall view: These people are awesome, and the store is really kick ass. Some would even go as far as to say the staff was waaaaayyy too nice. But if that’s their only major flaw, then I think they’ll be alright. So check the Ozark Natural Foods if you ever get a chance, if for nothing else than a look. Join us next time when I drone on about the forum at Saint Paul’s. Fare thy well and may you be with the force.
A Debate At Saint Paul’s(The Wet Puppy Shmacking)
When looking back on all the forums and debates we’ve had thus far, I realize that I am not a great public speaker. Wording escapes me when I need to be at my prime. Many of my comments and answers are shorter than I’d originally thought them up. It’s the nature of the game I suppose. I was told that envisioning the crowd naked is the way to go, but most people look better with their clothes on than without. Not helping and somewhat disturbing that is. It isn’t stage fright or anything as I personally don’t have a fear of public speaking. It’s my execution that lags behind at the moment of truth. This was no different, but I’m told I did okay. I had only been at Saint Paul’s once before to converse with the Reverend Lowell Grisham. Cool dude him. Lot’s of intriguing and thought provoking discussions to be had. But as far as the building goes, I’ve never attended a public function there before this debate. I made sure to nab some cookies and coffee from a room next to the one we were to be speaking. I’m all about the free food, yo. The cookies were something awesome, and I thank whoever slapped those out for us. The coffee was coffee, and that’s all I’ll say about that. So I plant my arse in a seat for a bit, and wait. The crowd was gathering and dividing into their subgroups early in the game. It’s just sort of a thing I do, watching other people for the expected responses. I could tell who was for whom with a simple scan of my surroundings. The majority of these would also be the regular attendees of our future forums too. I see so many of the same people at these things. I’m surprised they hang around, because all of us candidates drone on about the same crap we’ve said at all of the other forums and debates since. Quite frankly, I get sick of listening to myself. A news reporter wanted to have all the candidates give a quick statement, and she interviewed each of us in the order she could latch onto our bad selves. The cameraman was a bit shaky. When reviewing the footage of us later down the road, I noted how horrible the sound was on the video. Of course it could have just been us. Maybe we all sound terrible and just don’t know it. It takes a while, but more people showed up than I’d expected. After all, this was going to be a first in the long line of debates to come. The mediator called us up, and up we went in the order we each filed. Eilers was first, followed by myself. Coody filed third, so I had the “fortune” of sitting next to our current mayor. In the center was the mediator’s podium, followed by the next three Clark, Jordan, and Sutton. I remembered that Sutton came out of nowhere to file, and I actually hadn’t seen her in person before that day. Now, I’m going to face all these people, most I’d never met. I have my cup o’ coffee and another cookie. Let’s do this shite. The introductions started with Eilers went, if you were facing us, from left to right. My introduction was simplistic and didn’t require the full two minutes we were each allotted, and that’s how I like to keep most of my answers. Once that was over, we were given our instructions involving the time limit and the stoplight. Very friggin’ formal all this, but we had six people to run though. Consider each candidate who goes first is allowed three minutes and the other following candidates have one minute each to follow that. This is roughly eight minutes for each question that passes. For the first hour that passed, we were able to answer about seven questions after the introductions were aside. No matter what the topic, most of us kept up with a certain trend, and that was to prove how different we are from one another. We had our agreements as well, don’t get me wrong. But more often than not, we tried to distinguish ourselves. One statement I tended to disagree with is Eilers’ popular “I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman.” I understand why people say things that way, as well as why I get irked by it. To me this is the same as saying…
“I’m not religious, I’m Muslim.”
“I’m not religious, I’m Christian.”
These statements are used to separate one set of ideas from a word that clearly defines all ideas of a similar nature. And like the word religion, politician also defines us six individuals as we sat before them. Hell, maybe in front of you if you were present. We would be dealing in city moneys and social structures if elected, thus the word will apply no matter what our specialty. I’m not immune either, and I notably don’t trust politicians. Even thus, Eilers was very strong in matters of money, which I can appreciate. You may not have noticed, but I crunch a few numbers myself. My presentation was strong in the aspect of making no promises. It was a quote from a movie called Four Rooms that led me to this way of dealing with politics…
“The less apt a man is to make declaratory statements, the less likely he is to look foolish in retrospect.”
So I tend to keep a lot of my statements generalized, yet open for evolution. You never know when you must adapt to survive future debates. Coody had the strength that came from doing the job none of us ever had. No one else at the table could ever say that we were a mayor before. Not one. Clark held previous positions of government within the state of Arkansas, and it showed in his answers. Jordan has served on the council, and as such wouldn’t have been such a leap from one place in our city’s government to another. Sutton had the attribute of willingness, making the same effort at nineteen to throw down with the rest of us, no matter what her experience level. I won’t give her the bake sale idea… that was, um, an interesting… effort? Nonetheless, we all had a moment of non-clarity while doing this. In the midst of this, I noticed another trend. In the second hour, all the candidates that weren’t Coody, including myself, were taking pot shots at the Mayor. This is the part that MAD Magazine warned me about, yet I did it anyway. I remember one question is how we should be dealing with the water treatment plant. My answer was both a joke and not.
“Well, I definitely wouldn’t pat myself on the back for a job well done.” I said while acting out the patting part.
This was well received with laughter by everyone but Coody and the Coody Bunch. This was a reference to the ceremony that was held to mark its opening. Jordan suggested against it, quoting that they shouldn’t be celebrating the loss of over $63,000,000.00. That was a BAD idea. He did it anyways, and hence the reference. And we all did this shite to one extent or another, and he had to defend his position from multiple areas time and time again. Continually he would backtrack a prior point after answering a different question quickly. His responses looked weaker every time he did that, which was quite often. Now close to the end portion of the debate, the audience was given the opportunity to ask a few questions. I remember what one was specifically, and it was definitely aimed as a Coody slash. This dude asked…
“Should someone who loses the city $65,000,000.00 be allowed to collect $65,000.00 a year for the rest of their life? I mean, do you think that’s ethical?”
The question here refers to any city employee who reaches ten years of service to the city, which Coody would in the event of reelection, is paid a high percentage by the city at the age of sixty until they’re dead. Given the situation with the water treatment plant, this was a hard question to roll with. So how the fudge did this go? It started with Clark. That meant that every candidate would get to answer this ethics question before Coody could touch it, me being right before him. And every one of them used the opportunity to rip on our current mayor yet again. This was such a target as to be unmissable by the blind. It was coming around to me and I… didn’t roll with it. I didn’t quite have the words to explain why then, but I do now. Continuing this was like shmacking a wet puppy. I mean yeah, it’s fun to shmack a puppy around, especially when the puppy is already upset from being doused in freezing cold water. Lord knows, no one loves shmacking puppies more than I do, but I couldn’t do this anymore. I was listening to everyone and myself, and I remembered that this was everything I hated about modern politics. This candidate is this and this candidate is that, and my opponent believes in BS, BS, etc… and yadda, yadda, yadda. We see it so often even watching the presidential and vice presidential debates of today. Is this all there is? Slinging the proverbial mud about? What the fudge happened to me? Why can’t I write the real word for the public to observe, instead of ‘fudge’? I used to without restraint. Didn’t MAD Magazine teach me anything? This isn’t who I am, is it? But the playground sticks with us all, no matter how old we are, or how civil we think we’ve supposedly become. Regretful. So… I let this question go. Instead, I turned it into a semi-joke.
“No, I’m not going to go that route with it…” I said to myself before speaking to the audience. “Actually, I’d only be a one-term mayor.”
The people laughed aloud. Good. This relieved some of the tension and took some of the pressure off of Coody, who had to follow me.
“Because I don’t trust politicians further than I could throw a Buick.”
“But if I was elected, I would officially be a politician and then I wouldn’t even want to vote for myself.”
People enjoyed themselves, and I got a bit of truth out there. I viewed an office as compromised when the elected were looking to cater to others in lieu of their beliefs in order to get reelected. This isn’t necessarily always the case, but I have seen it among the elected before. My ultimate hope in office is to aim the city in a direction I believe in and hope it flourishes. Coody was able to roll well with this and did by explaining the 401K plan that he was a part of and was likely to take. This also recently came up in a meeting for students of the Chamber of Commerce. While at that meeting, Clark pointed out that one could sign papers waving this payment from the city, and that would end this debate altogether. We could then get on with talking about other political points. Brilliant solution. At the end of the debate, we made our final statements without it being and actual ‘final statement’. I had the opportunity to make my point about the city budget which was followed immediately by Coody taking half his own time defending this before his own speech commenced. He was kind of pissed that we didn’t get an actual final statement, but whateva! After it concluded, we were about to leave and Coody shook my hand and said…
“Thanks a lot.”
I didn’t know what he was thanking me for. Thanks for taking the edge off that one question, or thanks for taking up half my time on that financial crap you just spewed, or thanks for that ‘patting myself on the back’ comment, you little bastard… No matter what it was, all I said was…
And I left it at that. Shaking a couple of hands and exiting stage left, I had to work at the Karaoke bar that evening. But I was the best dressed person taking out the garbage that night, I guarantee you. As with all the debates and forums that I go to, I treat myself to a new or used video game each time I complete one. I have quite the video game library now. That particular night I bought myself Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. You probably would never have pegged me for a Metroid fan, and yet here I am walking among you with my bad self. Shameless, I know. Heh.
Debates and forums blend in as being one and the same. Only the places change. I don’t even consider any of these a debate of sorts. A debate would have rebuttals involved, and due to the friggin’ time restrictions and six total candidates, we are limited to doing strictly forums we have titled “debates”. Either way, most of us are getting sick of hearing ourselves speak. What’s funny to me is that we oft are talked about as if we repeat ourselves and have no original material to speak of. I tend to disagree. I think we are all remaining consistent and it is the questions that are repeating themselves over and over again. In my opinion, if you want a new answer, try asking a new question. I have noticed that over time we all adapt our answers in relation to prior forums, but only to strengthen a predetermined position. Every candidate is growing to loath one another’s statements because we’ve been called upon so often, and we’ve run them into the ground. They’re beginning to hate my “excess ordinances” and “cars in the driveway” speech almost as much as I dislike telling it. They do much the same thing. Coody will talk about the city is heading in a good direction and let’s stick with the course. Clark will talk about the city’s ranking dropping on a national level. Eilers would like your consideration for a vote. Sutton wants you to know that age is not a determination of ability. Jordan is experience you can trust, and the real deal. And so it goes… Personally, I keep going for the food and coffee. I mean, what’s left to be said by now that hasn’t before? Everyone that could arrange a forum did. The Washington County Republican Women, the League of Women Voters of Washington County, the Women’s Archery and Skull Collectors Association… You know. The mains. The Chamber of Commerce had dealings with us three times over. Once as an individual interview, once altogether in another forum, and finally my personal favorite, the class set up for students of the Chamber. Where my bad self usually excels at financial discussion, this particular occasion was not going to be my shining moment. The class was set in the middle of the day, which roughly comes out to my two o’clock in the morning in my time. Such is the curse of the grave shift worker. I was not even there… and I’m not talking physically. I was asked a question and I zoned out. I was asked yet another question and I was in the Bahamas somewhere. It took all my will to keep from falling asleep on the table in front of these people. That much I did succeed in. I felt bad for coming up short with them, but G.D.! Recently, people have been trying to pick verbal fights with me at work using the mayor running as some sort of bargaining posture in their arguments. Just so they can get a better place in the karaoke line. Disgusting. I treat them with the same ‘tude I do with every belligerent drunk person. Leave me alone, or leave the bar. It seems like that would be easy to understand, but karaoke is a bastard like that. Everyone needs to be up next and everyone needs to sing “NOW!!!” Patience be damned. That job is where I notice the truth of it all. When asking people to cut back on the extras that we want for a bit so everyone can make out as a whole, I receive a lot of negative responses.
Let’s wait a bit on new parks…
*Gasp!* “What’d he say?! Wait?! Screw that! I want it NOW!!!”
Let’s section out the construction of this bike trail over a longer span of time so we can keep within our city’s budget…
“No! All of it! Right NOW!!!”
Time counts and keeps counting. In a couple of weeks, this will all be revealed. I have found a gutter to lie in when the voting comes to a head. No matter how it goes, I plan on laying in the gutter for at least ten minutes or so, because I believe that’s how all politics should end. As well as begin. Feel free to join me on the 4th, after the ballads are collected and counted. The gutter is located between Common Grounds and You Know, Uno’s. Until then…
Something’s been bugging the crud out of me lately. (I love that word ‘crud’. It amuses the hell out of me.) Voting time is upon us and I have what I consider a conflict of interest at hand. I’d always thought it would be highly immoral to vote for yourself when you actually appear on a ballet. As a candidate, I think it should be up to the people to vote ye or nay on whether they want me in that office. After all, it is the decision making style that would affect the city. Do the people really want me? Voting for myself seems like I’m bringing the value of another persons vote down by one fifth for each of the other candidates possible. If we really cared about what the people wanted as a candidate, we’d let them do the voting in this matter. Of course the counter argument is that I believe in myself, so why shouldn’t I? Crud. That’s why I am at a bit of a stumper right now. The other candidates have mentioned time and time again that they will be voting for themselves. Of course they are, I mean who the crud else are they going to vote for? Me? Hah! Now that crud having been said, by simply voting for myself I annihilate the relevance of their votes for themselves, causing everyone else’s vote maintain the same value. However, I then go against my personal belief that I shouldn’t vote for myself while running for office. So now is your chance to get involved, faithful reader! I will leave the decision to you, the voter. Yes, the fate of a single cruddy vote is in your hands. Simply e-mail me at email@example.com and tell me if you think I should vote for myself and why or why not? You can also leave a phone opinion on my answering machine(which I never pick up) at (479)444-8999. The majority of either opinion wins. In the event that this crud ends in a tie, on the third of November, I will flip a coin at Common Grounds at precisely 9:00 P.M. I take this crud seriously. The decision of heads or tails will be made by the Common Grounds staff. Of course, that’s IF it breaks even(which is highly unlikely by the by). The next time I write may be the last, and it is then that I will let ye know how this crud went down. Until then, don’t take crud from anyone, not even me.
Mayoral Candidates Hangin' At The Clarion Inn, Yo!
So far, so fun people. This is the result of the previous poll: 4 to 4. That means the coin flip at the Common is on. Se la vi I suppose. Not long ago, I had a reporter come to home and ask a series of questions that he thought was somehow groundbreaking news. I have to laugh about it now. He approached me and blatantly stated...
“We found out that you failed to file a Campaign Contribution And Expenditure Report. Care to comment?”
The only thing that went through my mind at that moment was, “Is this guy friggin’ kidding me?” So I answer him with the same tenacity he’d applied towards me...
“I haven’t ‘FAILED’ to do anything. I ‘DIDN’T’ file a Campaign Contribution And Expenditure Report. The state requires you spend at least five hundred dollars on your campaign BEFORE you file one. I haven’t spent anywhere close to that. You’re thinking of someone that has a lot of money to blow.”
“Uh... I don’t think that’s right...” he tried to object.
“Yes it is. I have the book right here.”
I whipped out the state issued public office informational book for him, and showed him the exact page. He couldn’t really argue with that.
“Okay... thank you for your time.”
God, that was hilarious! And I notice there was no attempt at an article on it aside from mentioning what other candidates had spent. Must not have been all that groundbreaking. Heh. At any rate, I had time to appreciate an interesting twist during this election process. Our neighbouring city of Springdale also has six candidates which, coupled with their city in general, reminds me of a mirror universe similar to that of Star Trek.
One of them even has a beard trimmed like Spock’s alternate self. Coody has no such facial hair in our universe.
We have five men and one woman, as do they. In fact, the mirror universe’s version of Sami Sutton (Nancy Jenkins) strikes me as someone who might stab you with the closest set of cutlery. Very Uhura. I’ve met Nancy a couple of times. Trust me on this.
In their universe, the incumbent mayor is NOT looking to be re-elected. As for Springdale itself, the city is all about the signs. Once you hit the border passed Lokomotion, you actually can locate businesses without having to look too far to the left or the right. The tree population dies out the further you go. Crime goes up. Fun place that. I gotta say, though, I like the signs. Being able to advertise the placement of any business is something I do want for Fayetteville, revealed somehow through the reflection of our alternate world. I may not be loved for my view of the sign ordinances, but I stand there nonetheless. So another day away and we reveal who is involved in the runoff. I suspect (in fact most people suspect) it will come down to Jordan and Coody. I don’t know for sure, but let’s find out yo! To the polls people! I will do my final sign walk tomorrow, and the coin flip at nine on the dot. The result will be typed up tomorrow. Good day all. Keep it reversed.
At nine o’clock p.m. dull, my waiter called the coin toss.
“Tails.”, he said.
And it was... tails. So apparently I’m voting for myself now.
“What did I win?”, he asked.
“I’m voting for myself. Congratulations.”
The clock keeps ticking and I drink my coffee religiously. I just finished watching “You’re ^Not^ Elected, Charlie Brown!” God, that was damn accurate. The only thing I hadn’t done was make a Great Pumpkin speech. That one will have to wait for another day. I don’t know how shite’s going to go down tomorrow, but my plans haven’t changed. I intend to hang out in the gutter between Common Grounds and You Know, Uno’s after the ultimate news. By “hang out” I mean lay in the gutter. For those of you that asked, yes I’m for real about that. Good times. Think I’ll buy a pack of candy cigarettes for that occasion. I don’t smoke you see, but this would seem like an ample opportunity to break one out were I to have the habit. See you peoplez L8R. Happy Election Day.
Good day, one and all. My gravy, it’s finally friggin’ over. Politics is the time you love and hate the most I tell you. I hung out in my gutter for awhile as the dude who was doing a documentary on my campaign filmed me for about three minutes. He asked, for the sake of his film, what I was planning to do after I left here. I told him I didn’t know. Probably go home and play God Of War II. The game has plot, and I like the overall primus. It even has the voice of Michael Dorn as Atlas. So the guy moved on his way, and I stuck around looking up at the stars from that angle. It was a clear night in Fayetteville, and the air was cool and nice. Myself, I was looking forward to a good nights sleep. This was to be the first night I’d slept in my bed since I lost my house to a crappy ordinance over vehicles. I had been sleeping on the floor in the office of my new place, mainly to remind me everyday I went to sleep what I was doing this for. After this was all said and done, I promised myself that I would finally go to bed. And so it was. I slept better than I had in many, many months. Getting back to life is interesting. No more meetings for me. No more forums. I get to sleep in on what qualifies as my weekend. I’m in a state of Zen. I got a message on my answering machine from Dan congratulating my efforts, an e-mail from Sami wishing me well, and a mention from Jordan in the paper recognizing our part in the election process. I haven’t heard from Walt, but I’m sure that I probably will down the road. And Steve stopped in to the Village Inn with his wife to say hi and grab a meal. There was praise, one to another, on a job well done. As I’m cashing Steve out at the register, I ask the joking question that only candidates can truly appreciate…
“So, who did you vote for?”
Steve laughed and responded, “Oh, I liked that Clark guy!”
“Really? Man, I voted for that Fire Cat dude myself!”
Life is fun, and has been great to me. So what’s left after this? Well friends, all nine hundred and eighteen of you, I’ll tell you…
I’m not going anywhere! Until next time…