Friday, November 30, 2012

(Self) Promoted: Copywriter Seeks Additional Clients ...

This is the third in a series of posts promoting my professional services. The first post – Editor – is here and the second post – Proofreader – is here.

There are many answers to the question, "So, Beth, what do you do?"

One of those answers is, "I'm a copywriter."

Writing for myself is like breathing. Writing for others is like slightly labored breathing. It takes a little more effort.

Happily, I've managed to connect with clients with whom I click.

One relevant LinkedIn recommendation reads:

“Our company was looking for someone who could write copy for a few promotional pieces and a website redesign. We had a very specific voice we were seeking and could not be happier to have found Beth. She is an absolute dream to work with and though we have never met in person, she somehow just gets us. Beth is witty and smart and gives us exactly what we asked for - fun and energetic copy with a little bit of attitude!”

I've worked on several projects with this client and I hope to have another underway soon.

I was asked to write the company's About page as our proof-of-concept project. My contacts gave me a bit of input about what they wanted but, even more helpfully, they provided URLs to sites that illustrated expressly what they didn't want.

I thought about their self-stated target audience and rolled the dice and submitted this:

We could use this space to tell you that we're great. That we have an impressive list of clients. That our work dwells at the intersection of seamless and stealth. That we impact lives for the better every day so subtly that no one sees our stamp.

(Though we are. We do. It does. And we're off-the-charts proud of it.)

But everyone with a web site uses this space thusly.
Ever hear the adage "Telling is believing"?
There's a reason for that.
Seeing is believing.
See for yourself.
Look around.
Like what you see?
Let's talk.

That's exactly the copy that appears on the company's About page and we've worked together on several projects since. I appreciate their eagerness to create collateral with an unexpected tone and I'm glad that they see what I produce as clever, not strange.

I've written more straightforward, businesslike copy, too, but I like the challenge of approaching projects from unconventional angles.

Do you have a project that needs wordsmithing? Or do you know someone who does?

Please do leave a comment or contact me through my web site or share this post on Twitter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

(Self) Promoted: Proofreader Seeks Additional Clients ...

This is the second in a series of posts promoting my professional services. The first post – Editor – is here.

There are many answers to the question, "So, Beth, what do you do?"

One of those answers is, "I'm a proofreader."

We word types proofread everything we see: Billboards. Menus. Ads on TV. Tweets. Facebook status updates.

And sometimes, we even proofread professionally.

Demonstrating my proofreading prowess is tricky in a post. I suppose I could offer up an image of a page of copy awash in proofreading marks, but I'll let a couple of my LinkedIn recommendations speak for me instead:

“In 12 years of working in advertising and hiring many, many editors, the only constant has been how difficult it is to find one who not only knows their stuff, but can fit in quickly with a new team and learn about a complex product really fast. Beth is this rare creature, and I recommend her enthusiastically. Beth was recommended to me by a trusted colleague when I was looking for a freelance editor to help our agency with a grueling and complex several-week promotional print project. She worked so well with our team (and, almost more importantly, on her own) and proved so essential to us meeting deadlines, that she quickly became our go-to hire for all of our big editing jobs. Beth does not just fill a position, she adds value to the projects she works on and usually manages to make them way more fun at the same time.”

“Two years ago we were looking for a person to review and proof our membership directory. Beth was recommended by a colleague - and she was perfect for the job. Since our membership is made up of the business leaders in Chicago, Beth understood the importance of perfection and she delivered. Not only was she thorough, but she added valuable suggestions to our process. Beth is now our go-to person when we need to have major documents proofed or edited. I would highly recommend Beth for any task - she is personable, organized, professional and just a delight to work with.”

My principal (not principle) responsibility for these two clients is to proofread materials, but editing invariably creeps in on projects. Sometimes, that is welcome. Sometimes, that is not. But I point out questions to clients, just in case. Better to speak up and have someone say, "You don't need to worry about that. It's been blessed by legal" than to let something slip through that was unintended.

Proofreaders provide the final bit of polish to your work. It's always valuable to have a fresh set of eyes look at a deliverable before it goes to press or to a client.

Do you have a project that's at the needs-proofreading stage? Or do you know someone who does?

Please do leave a comment or contact me through my web site or share this post on Twitter.

By the way, if your project's budget doesn't allow for hiring a proofreader, you can often catch mistakes in your work by reading the copy out loud. Give it a try.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

(Self) Promoted: Editor Seeks Additional Clients ...

I spend a fair amount of time yammering away in cyberspace.

The posts over the next few days will be less about yammering and more about promoting. Myself. Professionally.

There are many answers to the question, "So, Beth, what do you do?"

One of those answers is, "I'm an editor."

I edit involuntarily (we word-minded people can't help ourselves) but I also edit deliberately.

Often, I edit books.

My latest book client is in the writing stage, so for her, for now, I do not edit, I consult.

My most recent book client to publish, Richard Greene of Clarus Advisors, wrote Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success.

His recommendation of my work on LinkedIn reads:

"Not only did Beth do an excellent job editing the book, but her ideas to make it better were invaluable.

She beat every deadline and provided encouragement when it was most needed. I do not think I could have made a better decision in hiring a professional editor.

If you need an editor, I highly recommend contacting Beth."

And I was honored to be one of the editors of the New York Times' and international best seller The Last Lecture.

My dear – and dearly missed – friend Jeff Zaslow was kind to include me in the Acknowledgements but what he inscribed in my copy of the book truly touches my heart:

"I am completely grateful to you for the advice, editing, cheerleading, and creative input you gave for this book.

I remember being unsure of where this was going and I appreciated your clear-eyed skill at pointing me the right way. This book is better because of you."

Do you have a project that's ready for its close-up, be it a book or article or sales collateral or web site — anything that contains words, really? Or do you know someone who does?

Please do leave a comment or contact me through my web site or share this post on Twitter.

Today, in making an introduction to another author, Richard wrote of me: "She is the right combination of grit and compassion."

I appreciate his assessment. I look forward to demonstrating those qualities to additional clients. Perhaps one of them is you.

This is a test post ...

I like to stay at least three years behind the technology curve.

But every so often, an idea comes to me (that, yep, I should have had at least three years ago), and I tinker around to see if I can't make it work.

This is one of those tinkering moments.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Good Times, November Edition ...

The November cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Cookie-size Cherry Crostatas, because Angelo loves cherry pie but a pie is not a cookie.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Changing Fortunes ...

It was getting on toward dinnertime on Wednesday when my brain decided that I should head to the store to pick up something for dinner.

And then I remembered what day it was.

The evening before Thanksgiving? No, I decided, the grocery store was not the best place to be.

Chinese instead.

So I phoned in my order and went to pick it up (it's quicker that way) and came home and inhaled a small mountain of pork fried rice and then cracked into my fortune cookie.

"There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you."

A prospect?

My fortune was hedging?

It's a fortune, people. Go all in, fortune writers. Your credibility is not on the line.

And my "Learn Chinese" word?


Mandarin fluency, I'm on my way!

The next morning, I had leftovers for breakfast and cracked into Cookie No. 2.

"Someone who deserves special attention awaits your magic voice."

Um, hi?

That's a little Cinemax After Dark for a fortune, isn't it?

Maybe there's a gig with a 1-900 line in my future.

The fortune writers are getting a little randy.

Oh, and my "Learn Chinese" word?


Confucius would be proud.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

This Is Not A "Black Friday" Rant ...

This was my Black Friday rant.

This is just a wee post of Are You Kidding Me With This?!

A friend posted a link to this product on Facebook with the comment, "Seriously? It's come to this?"

To which my reply was: "FACEPALM."

I'm all for ingenuity, but there are good ideas – like the genius that is the Gyro Bowl for kids and clumsy adults alike – and then there's this:

I refuse to link to this insanity.

We have opposable thumbs, people. Use them. To hold cookies and dunk.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting More Than You Give, Part III ...

I've written about Kiva before, here and here but I haven't written about Kiva lately so today's the day.

In my email this morning was a note from Kiva, letting me know that I had $25.83 in my account, money that had been repaid from previous loans that was now available for me to cash out or loan again.

I always loan it again.

I went to the site to look for someone whose request was near to being fully funded, reloaned my $25 credit, and returned later to see if her loan had been fully funded, and it has been!

I looked at my portfolio distribution by country and was pleased to see that I've made loans to women in eight countries. I don't look for lendees from any specific country but I like that my loans have been dispersed geographically.

If you're pondering what to give the person in your life who has everything this holiday season, I heartily recommend giving them the gift of Kiva. It's truly gratifying to make a small gesture that can have a big impact on someone in another part of the world.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Beauty In Simple Things II ...

I love this stage in roses. And I love that they're opening slowly, so I can enjoy them for so many days. And I love my mom, who brought them to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

James Bond Needs No Guidance ...

I saw "Skyfall" on an Imax screen.

If one is going to watch signature Bond chases, explosions, seductions, and stunts, one may as well watch it on as big a screen as possible.

And so it was a few days ago.

And it was great. As great as everyone is saying it is. You should go see it. I might go see it again.

Because 1) Daniel Craig. Hello, handsome. But even more so because 2) I felt such a sense of possibility.

It doesn't happen with ever film I go to see, the feeling. But sometimes, when I'm in a darkened theater and my face is lit by the screen and the sound is almost unpleasantly loud and I'm immersed in the story, I suddenly find myself thinking about just how much is possible in my life.

It's not tied to the action on the screen. It's not a sense of kinship with anything anyone is doing in character.

It's just a sudden awareness of the energy around me.

Which perhaps makes no sense to anyone else.

But it's there. And it lingers, for a little while, after I leave the theater.

But it doesn't persist. Unless I think about it, as I am now.

Perhaps I need to go to more movies to have it administered more regularly.

And perhaps I should revisit that screenplay after all.

My take on the story has evolved. I might just have a way to write it now, with the benefit of distance.

Age is useful that way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beauty In Simple Things ...

I'm not often moved to take a photograph of pasta, but I was charmed by the color and texture of this particular type.

It was tossed with a bit of sauce and topped with a ridiculous cloud of Microplaned Parmesan cheese (I really like Parmesan cheese) and consumed as brunch, if brunch can be had on a Thursday, with much appreciation for the very kind friend who sent such a lovely gift.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Forward ...

A few words on this historic week:

I know my conservative friends are unhappy. (One aide described Romney as "shellshocked." I understand the intent behind the use of that word, what the staffer was trying to convey, but Romney wasn't a soldier. Romney didn't just survive an actual war. He never served. But that's not the point of this post.)

On Tuesday night, one of those conservative friends had had quite enough of my gloating and snark.

But here's what I don't think he and his ilk understand:

After four years of seeing our President attacked, insulted, delegitimized, humiliated, scorned, shunned, mocked, and misrepresented, I was thrilled – hell, I was elated – to have the curtain violently ripped aside on FOX News and have it exposed for the liar that it is, that it has been, that, if the past few days are any indication, it will continue to be, because it can't be anything else.

David Frum was on "Morning Joe" this morning talking about FOX News as an entertainment complex. Exactly. And this is what we outside the FOX News bubble have been saying all along: It's not news. Period. It's not news.

It tells people what they want to hear so people continue to tune in because the more people who tune in, the more it can charge for advertising and the more it can charge for advertising, the richer Rupert Murdoch becomes. The end.

Which is why Dick Morris predicted a Romney landslide. (Funny how Romney getting more than 300 electoral votes was to be a landslide but Obama winning with more than 300 electoral votes made the election, in Morris's words, "a squeaker.") Which is why Newt Gingrich predicted a Romney landslide, based on his "years and years of experience." Which is why everyone on FOX News was ignoring everything that was trying to seep in from the real world and was assuring its viewers that all would be well.

Except that it wasn't.

Romney was never going to win.

There was no reason to doubt Nate Silver, other than that he's part of the evil "liberal," "lamestream" media.

Nate predicted the 2008 election with almost 100-percent accuracy.

And, turns out, he predicted the 2012 election with almost 100-percent accuracy, too.

President Bill Clinton would call that magic "arithmetic."

We can simplify it even further and just call it "math."

So, yes, I was gloating. A lot of us were gloating. Because we really, really like it when bullies and liars get smacked down. It restores our faith in what is good and right.

We spent four years, we who supported the president in 2008, hearing endless lies about him, seeing hideous images of him with a noose around his neck or with a bone through his nose or with a watermelon patch on the White House lawn.

We saw Tea Partyers with nonsensical signs – "Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!" – and racist signs calling our president a "niggar." The misspelling didn't soften the blow, though it did reinforce the stupidity of the sign makers.

I heard an older woman in a restaurant – a white woman, of course – say Michelle Obama looked like an ape.

I had a member of my own family inform me that he has to watch FOX News to get "the whole story." He's an otherwise smart man. I hope he's since reconsidered his source for "news."

What carried us through was our belief in our president, a good man doing good things to help the nation. A good man who will continue to do good things to help the nation, things that will benefit all Americans, not just those who chose to vote for him.

Even those who have spent the last four years parroting every FOX News talking point and internalizing every right-wing conspiracy theory will benefit as the economy improves, as jobs are added, as they and their loved ones are able to access medical care, as education is strengthened, as the war in Afghanistan is ended, as our troops come home, as our nation's problems are addressed in meaningful ways.

The final electoral tally, since Romney conceded Florida, in the 2012 election was Obama 332, Romney 206. Florida's popular vote is not yet final, but Obama is on track to have earned at least 3 million more votes than Romney, who earned about 2 million less than John McCain.

This election was not "a squeaker." This election was decisive. And a message was sent.

Those of us who voted for Obama would not have voted for a man who was evil, who was bent on destroying the country. What good would that possibly do for any of his supporters? Why would we knowingly vote for our own demise?

One person on Twitter, who had gone to see Dinesh D'Souza's absurd and wildly discredited "2016," asked me: "Do you *really* know who you're supporting?"

Yes, I assured her, I really do.

As did the more than 60 million of us who voted for President Obama for a second term.

I know that there are those who will refuse to believe the facts right before their eyes. FOX News is busy trying to explain why the election turned out the way it did. But FOX News has no other choice. It is a business that relies on an audience to make money and in order to make money, it has to tell its audience what its audience wants to hear.

And there is a part of me that says, "Fine. Be willfully ignorant. Lose the next election, too. And the next. And the one after that."

But no. I don't want to live in a country in which one party impedes while the other party leads.

There is real progress to be made, real, necessary progress. We need cooperation, not impediment.

I know that those who have been entrenched in a belief – however misguided – for four years will need some time to readjust their worldview.

But I hope they decide to come along. I really do.

I know we will always have our differences about what is best for the country, what paths we should take. But what cannot be in doubt is the direction.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Early-Morning Thoughts On Election Night ...

Thoughts on a few things, specifically.

I don't have to tell you that I'm overjoyed that President Obama won.

I know a lot of people don't share my glee.

But as I tweeted during the president's speech, "Truly, I can't imagine anyone listening to this speech — really listening to it — and insisting that our President is an evil man."

I wrote that sometime after I had written this: "In all seriousness, FOX News viewers, what you're feeling tonight is a result of FOX News lying to you for four years. Join us in reality."

I didn't watch FOX News tonight. I never watch FOX News. But my Twitter feed was abuzz with comments about what sounded like an epic meltdown by Karl Rove.

I wish – oh, how I wish – that with the president's re-election tonight, FOX News would have simply ceased to be, screens everywhere suddenly black, the clock run out on our nation's propaganda machine.

Yes, that's what it is. Roger Ailes worked for Richard Nixon. It is not a news organization, it is an agenda, plain and clear. Karl Rove ran the most prominent organization that fundraised to defeat Obama – now there's hundreds of millions of dollars wasted – while he was on FOX News as an analyst.

Fair and balanced?

Nope. Agenda.

And tonight, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement about Obama's decisive win.

It was, I wrote at the time, in a word, dickish.

Here's the meat of what he had to say:

“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives.

“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.

“Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.

“To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way.

Obama has been governing from the political center.

It was Mitch McConnell who said that it was his party's priority to ensure that Obama was a one-term president.

Not helping to heal the country in a time of crisis.

No, McConnell and the GOP leadership decided to lock arms and oppose everything the president tried to accomplish.

Despite their rigid opposition, the president accomplished a rather staggering amount of good for the country in his first four years.

And the GOP failed – decisively – in its intent to make Obama a one-term president. He has not been re-elected narrowly. Florida, as I write this, has yet to announce who won the state, but with most of the vote counted and with the outstanding vote from a very Democratic-leaning part of the state, Obama is expected to win Florida, too.

But as it stands, the Electoral College tally is Obama 303, Romney 206.

Florida's 29 electoral votes will likely go to Obama, so the final result will likely be Obama 332, Romney 206.

Obama's win over McCain in '08 was 365 to 173. So Romney fared better. But not by much.

And, when last I saw a tally, Obama was winning the popular vote by more than one million votes.

The people, clearly, have spoken.

I tweet rather prolifically most of the time.

Tonight was no exception. And then some.

One of my conservative friends, though, clearly had had enough.

He sent this to me: "your guy won, congratulations now let it go."

This was not the first time he decided to tell me what I should or should not write about on Twitter. I have told him in the past that he can unfollow me if I offend him.

"I'm celebrating this tonight," I replied and retweeted. "Unfollow me. That goes for others, too."

He wrote: "then celebrate your guy winning, not the other guy losing. There is a difference watch the president tonight he knows the diff"

To which I replied: "You need to stop telling me what I can and cannot do. Seriously, [redacted]. Unfollow me if you don't like it."

Remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut? And a prostitute? And went on about it for three days?

He lost a lot of advertisers because of that. A lot of them have not come back.

Rush's followers were enraged. How dare we try to silence him, they demanded. He has First Amendment rights. He can say whatever he wants!

Never mind that most of the people who screech about the First Amendment don't seem to understand that the First Amendment is about having the right to speak out against our government without fear of reprisal.

What happened in Rush's case was the free market at work.

Rush was free to spew all the vitriol he pleased – he's still on the air, spewing away; the government hasn't shut him down – and companies – yes, with prodding from a lot of consumers – were free to decide to no longer advertise on his show.

Rush, you'll remember, when Obama was first elected, was very clear that he hoped that the president would fail.

Quite a patriot, that Rush.

But tonight, there was one of my conservative friends, rankled by my gloating, telling me to "let it go," telling me that I should watch the president tonight and take my cues from him.

Romney's concession speech was short and gracious.

The president's acceptance speech was longer but also kind. And rousing, but that's another point for another day.

And the president should have been gracious. He's the president. He should be presidential. And Romney is the head of the Republican party, so it behooves the president to try to maintain a good relationship with Romney, for the good of the country.

But I am not the president.

And here's what I have to say about my reaction to tonight's win:

If Romney had run an honorable campaign, I would have had an honorable reaction to his loss.

But he did not.

He ran the most despicable campaign I have ever witnessed. From January to November, he put forth a constant stream of lies. He aligned himself with Donald Trump, our national buffoon, and never once repudiated Donald's insane accusations and demands. And I'll be damned if I'm ever going to be OK with any asshole like Donald Trump questioning not only the legitimacy of the president's presidency but his very citizenship. Donald Trump is a laughingstock and Romney made him one of the campaign's biggest fundraisers and surrogates. Romney lied – brazenly, repeatedly, and unabashedly – about President Obama removing the work requirement from welfare reform. That is simply not true. But Mitt made it part of the centerpiece of his campaign. He lied about the auto industry to the faces of workers in the auto industry even as he was asking for their votes. The man has no shame. And all the while, FOX News did everything in its power to elect Romney after spending the past four years drilling into the heads of its viewers that Obama is evil, Obama is illegitimate as a president, Obama is bent on destroying the country, Obama is a Muslim, Obama is ... you name it. Romney refused to release any meaningful amount of tax returns even as we learned he was stashing his wealth offshore. He disdained 47 percent of the country. He held both sides of issues and sometimes a third. He stopped granting interviews. He stopped taking questions from his traveling press. He showed a breathtaking degree of contempt for the voters of this country and yet he expected that people would reward him with The White House?

No, Romney. No.

I knew in my heart of hearts that Obama would prevail tonight. I knew that the country I call home would care too much about its citizens to inflict upon itself such an enormous wound.

Our country is recovering from the crash of 2008, slowly but steadily. We are on the right path. We are on the path President Obama has charted for us. And we will continue on that path and add more jobs and insure more people and give those who live outside the gated community of the one percent a chance.

I do believe that our president will, once again, reach across the aisle and attempt to work with Republicans, those same Republicans who made it their number-one and articulated goal to do everything in their power to ensure that he fail.

But tonight, I was not about to be polite about any of it.

The Republican party has a lot of soul searching to do about how it will manage to continue to exist. Refusing every single idea and proposal, on principle, is not that way. Nor is incessant lying about and vilification of the man who is the leader of our country, the leader of us all.

The right may not like that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. That's fine. The right does not have to like it. I was no fan of Bush.

But it cannot continue to refuse to acknowledge even facts. Our country cannot continue to exist if one half of the country refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of what is real simply because it wants an alternate reality to be true.

And I will not allow anyone to tell me what I should or should not say.

Each of us has a voice. Tonight, those voices spoke. And the majority chose to move this country forward.

I hope the Republican party will find a way to come along.

Our country cannot afford four more years of its intransigence.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day ...

From Nate Silver's Five Thirty Eight Forecast at the New York Times as of (as you can see) 11:29 p.m. ET on November 5. (You can click the image to enlarge it.)

Of Nate's accuracy in 2008: "By the end of the night, Mr. Silver had predicted the popular vote within one percentage point, predicted 49 of 50 states’ results correctly, and predicted all of the resolved Senate races correctly."

Monday, November 05, 2012

See Mitt Run ...

Oh, this election.

Oh, my brain.

I have finally managed to not take the bait when conservatives post information that is entirely untethered from reality. I have finally learned that their view of Obama is impervious to facts. This video that's gone viral proves my point. Voters in Ohio were asked why they're voting for Romney. Their "answers" will make any sane voter cringe.

I understand that a lot of people – a lot of people – are voting against Obama. Their reasons may be misinformed. Or they might just hate the man. Or both. But they're going to cast their votes against him. I understand that. Empirically.

What I do not understand, however, is how people can vote for Romney. I've challenged some to articulate why they're voting for Mitt. Not why they're voting against Obama but why they're voting for Mitt.

Most of what I received in response was straight from the propaganda machine that is FOX News. Damn near verbatim. Roger Ailes has done a heckuva job.

But how can you know what you're voting for, I asked. Mitt has changed his positions on everything. Multiple times. Sometimes within the same day.

The response? "Well, at least he's not Obama."

So, the pervading "logic" from those on the right – though my sample has been very small, I'll admit – is that it doesn't matter if Moderate Mitt wins or if Severely Conservative Mitt wins just so long as Mitt wins.

Well, that's scary. And stupid, frankly.

I read a piece this morning, an interview with a billionaire philanthropist, a woman, who is socially liberal but who is going to vote for Romney. On the subject of a woman's right to choose, she said: "I’m making a bet that the law of the land, Roe v. Wade, will not be changed."

That's one hell of a bet, lady.

On Paul Ryan, she said; "But what I am most comfortable with is his intellect and understanding of the budget."

Yes, Paul Ryan has an understanding of the budget. So long as numbers don't matter.

But like I said, some people are impervious to facts.

I can't say that I was feeling despondent about it all, because I know that President Obama is going to win. But I was feeling confused, that's for sure. Baffled. Fazed.

How can they vote for a man who has lied throughout his entire campaign? How can they vote for a man who refuses to release his tax returns? How can they vote for a man who not only lacks foreign-policy expertise but who seems entirely disinclined to even care? How can they vote for a man who chose for his running mate the man who wants to end Medicare as we know it? How can they vote for a man who ... well, you get the idea.

Truly, I do not see Romney as a man who wants to be president. I see Romney as man who feels he deserves to be president. I see his pursuit of the presidency as the mother of all ego trips. I do not believe that he wants to be bothered with actual governing. He just wants a coronation.

And then I read this.

Ezra Klein wrote an amazing post about why Mitt Romney wants to be president.

And for the first time in this entire election, I felt a little better.

Because I understood Mitt as a person a little better.

Mind you, Ezra's piece did not make me fundamentally change my mind about Mitt. I still think he's a heinous liar. On a visceral level, I still find him repugnant.

But the logical part of my brain was slightly soothed.

And I wondered why I'd never thought to look up either of the candidates' Myers-Briggs personality types.

So I did.

And found that Michael Melcher had had the same idea and drafted this story.

Romney's an ENTJ. Obama's an ENFJ. The T versus the F makes a whole lot of difference. (I, in case you were wondering, am an INFJ, an introvert to the president's extrovert, but otherwise very much aligned.)

Romney's T accounts for his lack of warmth. Writes Melcher: "When Romney tries to turn on the charm, it comes off as flat and insincere. It's not because Romney is insincere, but because it's not his natural instinct to show he feels someone's pain, seek harmony, or modulate his message to different audiences. His natural instinct is to be logical, fact-based and precise."

Which explains the ongoing joke that Mitt is actually a very sophisticated robot.

And why I've yet to see a picture of Mitt with a baby who's not crying. Seriously, babies to not like that guy. Whereas kids flock to Obama.

But this image from Wednesday clearly illustrates the F in Obama's ENFJ:

It is as sincere an image from Sandy as I've seen. And I've seen a lot of images. This is a man who clearly cares.

There are many, many, many reasons that I will be honored to vote for him again tomorrow.

But at the core of all of the reasons is simply that he cares.

About America.

Whereas Mitt really only cares about himself.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Taking My Own Advice ...

I had an exchange on Twitter with a pal on the east coast, not about Sandy but about Obama.

He's going to vote for Obama again, but grudgingly. He's disappointed.

So we tweeted about why.

And as the conversation continued from last night to this morning, I found myself writing things that were prompting the voice in my head to say, "And you should do the same, Beth."

He was talking about all the change Obama promised but how he failed to lead the country in a unified way.

It's hard to lead half of the country that doesn't want to follow you, I countered.

Obama should have rallied us, my Twitter pal insisted.

My response was, basically, rally yourself.


I know more folks are followers, not leaders, but instead of sitting back and being told what to do before doing anything, we can all do things to make a difference every day. Big things. Little things. Some may take longer than others to organize and execute but some can be done in an instant.

I thought about a guy I dated – seven years ago, impossibly – and this exchange that I wrote about then:

Later, as we were driving through his 'hood looking for an open meter, we noticed an older woman with a walker trying to navigate a snowy sidewalk slope in order to cross the street.

I looked over at G. "You should help her," I said.

"Should I?" he asked.

"Yes, you should get out and help her," I said. So he did. I watched at he called out to her and put his hands on her shoulders to steady her as she walked. Cars behind me, I circled the block and found him again. He hopped in.

"Thank you," I said.

"It didn't occur to me to do it until you suggested it," he said.

"It didn't occur to do it until you suggested it."

That sentiment boggles my mind.

There are people in the world who look right at someone who's clearly in need of assistance and it doesn't occur to them to help.

That's really sad.

The other day, I was out for a walk with my mom. The day before had been rainy. We came upon a woman who was struggling to dump a tarpful of leaves.

"Would you like some help?", I called to her. She didn't hear me. So mom chimed in, more loudly. "Would you like some help?"

"Oh, no," she said, looking up. "They're just heavy because they're wet."

And she returned to heaving the tarp up and over.

It still looked like she needed help, but she was determined to do it, and we had offered, so we continued on our way.

But the impulse was there.

I honestly forget sometimes that not everyone runs on the same mental program. I do expect that what I would do is what all people would do.

Which is not to pat myself on the back. I'm no saint. But when it comes to walking right by – or driving right by – someone who appears to need help, how can folks just not bother? To even offer, let alone help?

What's happening on the east coast is horrible on so many levels, but it warms my heart to read a story about runners in town for the marathon who organized to deliver supplies to residents of Staten Island instead. Or to have folks I know tell me that their weekend plans were to volunteer.

I used to volunteer once a week, a standing gig reading the news on the radio for those who were blind or unable to hold a newspaper. It ended when the station moved to a location further away that wasn't easily accessible for me and when I moved to a new home even further away that rendered volunteering for 90 minutes a bit silly in terms of the commuting that would be involved. There was always a waiting list to get on the air anyway.

But I don't volunteer on a regular basis anymore. And I miss it. I help out here and there, one-off moments when folks need a hand. But I need to get back to helping in a sustained way.

Which was my point to my Twitter pal. All of us can do things every day just because we see a need and we want to do something. We don't need to have the president tell us what to do. We don't need to sit back until someone announces that it's time to do X.

We can do things every day. We should do things every day. Random acts of kindness. Simple niceties. Holding the door for someone. Smiling at a stranger. Not because we've been told to do it but because it should be second nature to be kind to others.

There's so much acrimony swirling about. This election has frayed a lot of nerves. But the silver lining of Sandy, it seems, has been to remind us that we're all in this together, The Golden Rule writ large.

What other reason do we need?