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2004-10-28 - 8:20 p.m.

rambling from classes to elections

Today was a better day in the life of teranika. I am still in a productivity trough, but I am compensating with other activities (teaching, grading exams).

For today's lecture I decided to use one of the recommendations from the undergraduate student evaluations, and I brought in a weather map with today's weather, and explained it. I felt like one of those silly people on the weather channel, but the students seemed to enjoy having a practical application for what they were learning.

After the class, one of the students told me how much he enjoyed the lecture. Another asked for a letter of recommendation. A third had put a card in my mailbox to thank me for scheduling a special appointment to review for the test (I had specifically pulled her aside after class and suggested that she do this.) And yet another had put a joke about the St. Louis Cardinals (my former home team) on the top of his exam. These were all simple things, and all examples of the simple positive feedback that I needed to lift myself out of the blue-meanies.

The St. Louis Cardinals lost the World Series. But my family and I agreed that we are willing to sacrifice the win for the symbolic political meaning: Massachusetts (pro-Kerry) wins over Missouri (pro-Bush). The Cardinal's loss is actually a good omen....And sure enough, today Kerry is ahead in the polls, as counted in terms of electoral votes.

I gave my little "you are the future" lecture to my students today, but it isn't more truthful than in this election. The group that the pollsters consistently pass over are first-time voters, which includes the under-25 set in my class. The telephone pollsters are even more out of whack with regards to this group, because they do not capture the population whose primary telephone is a cellphone (read: under 25!). Another interesting statistic that I read is that the response rate to telephone pollsters has gone done 50%, suggesting that the people actually talking to the pollsters are the psychos, shutins, people without friends, or otherwise just terribly bored souls...Who knows, maybe that's an accurate representation of the USA (but, umm, I haven't been called yet...)

Anyway, I have hope, and it is no secret that Teranika will cast a vote for hope and not terror. We need so badly to get this country (and the world) out of a mentality of "sides."

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