Ken Umbach (researchguy) wrote,
Ken Umbach

Ken's Corner for November 4, 2014

Ken’s Corner, November 4, 2014
Ken Umbach

Well, here it is Election Day. That is something to celebrate, because it means for a while a stop to the torrent of deceptive and often hateful mailings and an end for a while to political phone calls and TV ads. Ok, my call blocker has stopped the phone calls (other than two quick rings before they go off into la-la land), and I’ve gotten pretty good at tossing the mailers straight into the recycle bin, and we mute or fast-forward though the ads.

Anyway, around 8 a.m. we went to our polling place (in the local Friends church, the only time we go to a church other than for weddings and funerals), and found no line and some slightly underprepared poll workers. They probably got their confusions sorted out after we left, little things like providing pens to the voters so they can mark the ballots and coordinating better between the sign-in person and the hand-the-ballot-to-the-voter person.

Now to await the results tonight. I decided that a proper election-night meal would consist of green salad (we almost always have a green salad), pizza (fine, fine, fine, frozen bake-at-home), and chicken wings (those at least I am preparing in the slow-cooker, with barbeque sauce, cream sherry, and a lime-infused Mexican seasoning, plus a sprinkling of dried onion flakes. It will be a surprise how the wings turn out, but seven or eight hours simmering should do the trick.

Oh, and wine. I figure that the election is mostly not going to go my preferred direction, so a lot of wine might be called for. The currently open bottle is a nice but inexpensive Grenache from Spain. Might need a jug of Carlo Rossi Paisano when it’s all said and done, though. It comes in the handy 1.5 liter jug, a 3.0 liter size, and the jumbo 4.0 liter mega-jug. No, you cannot buy it in standard-size 750 ml bottles. That would be silly.

Of course, even after the jug is empty, the electioneering won’t all be said. Or done. They’ll keep on blathering, and the 2016 Presidential contest will pretty much officially be on as of tomorrow. Not that Hillary has not been running since November of 2012, when I got my first email from her campaign. (Ok, not an “official” campaign committee, but come on folks, did anyone really believe she was not committed to the campaign by then?)

It’s going to be a long, dismal run-up to November 2016. Those jugs may look more and more attractive as time goes on.


The catnip plant in the tub near our front door is drying and turning dormant for the winter. I am not sure if it is a perennial or an annual, technically, but last winter it survived, even through some serious cold snaps, and grew out again nicely in the spring. Now and then I’ve seen a kitty curled up in the midst of the plant, and other times, have seen evidence that one had been using it as a bed.

As for turning dormant, our oak tree has been a bit late to the leaf-dropping party, although for the last week or so it has been in full swing. After last spring’s major pruning the load on the lawn is not as overwhelming as it had gotten to be, but the piles still fill the green waste bin and more. No sooner do we rake up the leaves and stuff them into the cans than a new set has dropped.

The Tupelo tree is just about to start dropping its leaves (it always starts about the time the oak tree is all done, or nearly so), so we have the fun and exercise of raking leaves for a couple months running.


In the Department of Felinity, for a couple of years now we’ve had a long-haired white cat hanging around the neighborhood (too dirty sometimes to be sure it IS white, but it is), often scaring away and beating up on our cats (and the friendlier neighborhood wanderers). For a long time we tried chasing it away. But we finally gave in and started deliberately feeding it some distance from where we feed the other outside cats. After a lot of square meals, it’s filled out, taken to cleaning itself, and calmed down. We only refer to it generically as “the white cat,” as if we name it then it’s ours. Now it shows up early in the morning, and sometimes late in the evening, looking for another meal. We don’t chase it away unless it is stalking one of the other cats, and it’s not moving so far away (only a few feet) when we set out a plate of canned food.

One of these days, we have to get it into a cage and take it to the vet to be neutered and to get its shots (probably one set will be all it will ever get). Not sure how we’ll manage it. But if we do, then it’s on the record as our cat. We need another cat like we need a Styrofoam automobile.


November 4, 1914, was a Wednesday, the day after Election Day. Here is an excerpt from a lead story in the New York Times, reporting on the outcome: "Woodrow Wilson will have a Democratic Congress to sustain him to the end of his term. It will be Democratic by a greatly reduced plurality, but the House has enough of a majority to work with, and there is no change in the Senate."

Other tidbits include that woman suffrage lost in North Dakota, Missouri, and Ohio, and that the “wets” (opponents of prohibition) won big in Ohio, but the vote on prohibition was too close to call yet in Colorado. The city of Princeton, New Jersey, went “Dry” by a margin of 800 votes.

Copyright © 2014, Kenneth W. Umbach.

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