Political Muscle

I can't be the only one to notice this, but there seems to be a trend towards famous, musclebound, tough guys getting elected governor of western states. First Jesse Ventura, now Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's going on with that? Are voters afraid that their governors will have to beat someone up? Are they insecure about having a governor that could be construed a sissy?

I realize that there is something of a history of celebrities parlaying their fame into elected office; I'm aware of Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, and Sonny Bono (who, by the way, I sometimes get a little confused with Bono of U2). In nearly every case, these elections alarm me, because I have the strange idea that you should be qualified to hold elected office, and not just by the fact that lots of people know your name and face. But maybe I'm wrong about that and I should just lighten up. After all, politics is all about appearances, and so is fame, so perhaps it's a natural marriage.

Why is it, though, that the left wing famous people never seem to run for anything? Where are Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Janeane Garafolo (ok, I know she's too young)? Martin Sheen could, of course, be elected to anything immediately, having won the trust of the nation playing the President on The West Wing. I suppose it's to his credit that he hasn't chosen to capitalize on that role by making it real. But I'd much rather have him than Arnold, or even Jesse, though I did develop a soft spot in my heart for old Jes'.

Maybe Martin Sheen can't beat up all the other governors. Maybe that's why he hasn't run.


the gates of...

I have noticed that there seems to be a new trend on my road of putting big forbidding gates across the entrance to the driveway. I haven't seen this before, ever, outside of those weird subdivisions in Florida and on tv shows filmed in Beverly Hills. Certainly not in this little corner of the world. Ok, I've only noticed gates on two driveways - but that's a lot, considering that it's not a big road, that I've never seen it before, and that they both sprang up in the past couple of months.

What does this mean? Is there a danger lurking in my neighborhood that I'm not aware of? Are my neighbors just getting paranoid? Are the gates there to keep me out?? These happen to both be houses I've visited over the past few years, although I don't know the inhabitants well, or at all. I went to one as a favor to a friend who needed something dropped off - I don't even think anyone was home, and I think I left the package by the door. The other one was a similar nonevent.

It's curious and disturbing to see these unfriendly gates. One's a big tall chain link number and the other is a pretentious looking iron bar affair. I haven't tested them to see whether either is electrified or otherwise buttressed against all comers.

What is this world coming to?