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Election time is coming up. (I promise, this will not be a political post, at least not in a partisan or candidate-specific manner) This is the first time since I came of voting age that I am planning on voting on local issues. I voted on the national and state items in the past of course, but I’d never felt like I was part of a local community, so it seemed strange and inappropriate for me to be deciding who their officials were.

So I nosed around a bit about what local offices and issues there were. Of the various Judges, sheriffs, and whatnots up for election in my semi-rural bit of the world, guess how many I am able to vote on? Exactly one. The rest are running unopposed.

Which I suppose is fine – if there are only five democrats in the whole county, it makes no sense for them to elect one into authority, and if they’d never get elected, they probably shouldn’t waste the money running.

But the non-choices coming up weren’t really (all) running unopposed – some of them did have opponents and a campaign – in the primary.

So in order to vote on local officials, I need to register as a republican. (Ohio has closed primaries).

Something about this turns my stomach. It isn’t pure political fevor. I’m largely non-partisan, as the issues that I tend to care about don’t follow party lines very well. If anything, I would have to say that I even agree with the republican view more often than the democratic. (with a few very sore counter-examples).

Nor does it have terribly important practical implications. We will probably get more junk mail. I can’t think of anything else.

But… the idea of having to declare myself something I am not in order to have the right to vote.

I’m sorry if this is old news to many. It was new to me, and I am still not done stewing it in my head. I thought it might be worthwhile to share with others who have never encountered such homogeneous political climes.

Well, the Omnivore’s hundred meme is getting a good bit of play, and as I think it’s a good list to keep track of, here goes. Bold I’ve eaten, Italic I really really mean to as soon as I get a chance. I won’t bother listing ‘never eats’ since I can’t imagine a thing I would refuse out of hand if the situation came up. I am surprised sushi isn’t on here, as that was such a threshold for me – once I’d intentionally eaten raw seafood and come to appreciate it, all the barriers came down.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison – fresh from a hunter was much better than in a fancy restaurant
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare – not as good as beef Carpaccio
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush – you know, probably, but I can’t place when
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns – Aren’t these just pot stickers?
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche – ? I think so at least
28. Oysters – on the half-shell even
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas – maybe. I’ve certainly seen one. I must have popped one into my mouth to try at some point.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea –  I think this counts. I don’t remember exactly the type of jam or order of application ;)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more – and I bought the bottle too :) yum.
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel – barbequed unagi, if that’s valid.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear – ? but as dried fruit candy, so that may not count
52. Umeboshi – ? on sushi, so again, may not count
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – man, that’s pathetic I don’t have that. But I always got a quarter pounder, or whatever their other sandwich was.
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain – again, this memory isn’t clear, but I think so.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – ? iffy. I’ve eaten pork intestines prepared szechuan style. But I think chitterlings may specifically imply southern
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini – Caviar without blini…
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef – ? another possible disqualification – it was ground into hamburger I think defeats the point.
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers – most taste like lettuce. Nasturtiums taste nasty.
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Which brings the total to 45, including seven of varying degrees of questionableness. I’ve got some work for me.

She did, didn’t she?

Well, part of it is probably the same reason she had a little needlepoint hat for the toilet paper – because it was the 70s/60s/50s/decade of your choice and that was cool back then. But I now have a new theory.

1) Your grandmother probably had well water. Well water is *cold*. This will be important latter.

2) Your grandmother probably did not have air conditioning. She probably had windowshades, and fans, and other things to make this bearable (honest to gosh, we didn’t think it would be possible, but it completely was) but windowshades and fans don’t do a darn thing about humidity. Again, I promise this will be relevant soon.

3) Your grandmother probably had one toilet, and seven people in the house. That toilet was seeing a lot of action.

Ok, that last one is at least related, but still, what does this have the least bit to do with toilet fashions? Imagine, for a moment, a nice glass of ice tea sitting out on a humid summer day. Refreshing, Yes. But also dripping all over the table with condensation. now realize that a toilet being constantly refilled with nice cold well water sitting in an unairconditioned house has a lot of similarities to that cold glass of tea.

Primarily, that it will drip all over the floor and make it look like you have a very serious plumbing problem. Ok, most people probably don’t suspect septic disaster while observing ice tea, but you get the drift.

For two people, this isn’t too much of a problem – the water must warm up enough between flushes to not cause problems, but if we have guests, we get puddles on the floor. And when guests are over is exactly when you don’t want to give the impression of a malfunctioning bathroom.

However, since it’s not the 50s anymore, the shag rug aesthetic isn’t really our cup of tea (there we go again with the tea…) In fact, we threw out the shag rug that was attached to the toilet when we bought the house, because, among other things, it was so thick the seat wouldn’t stay up. Obviously, one solution is air conditioning, but that seems a bit overkill.

Anyone have ideas less expensive than cooling systems, but less fugly than shag rugs?