Ben’s chili adds to its list of customers who eat for free
or eight years, the sign next to the cash register at Ben’s Chili Bowl has let patrons know that only one customer was allowed to eat for free, and that was Bill Cosby. As of last week, that is no longer so.
After the presidential election, management added another asterisk to the white paper sign near the cashier, this time listing four additional names with free-eats rights at Ben’s: President-elect Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
I’ve never been there myself, but I’ve heard that his chili dogs are to die for.

A dark anniversary today

Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when German Nazis coordinated a nationwide attack on Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. More than 1,000 synagogues were burned or destroyed. Rioters looted about 7,500 Jewish businesses and vandalized Jewish hospitals, homes, schools, and cemeteries. Before that night, the Nazis had killed people secretly and individually. After Kristallnacht, the Nazis felt free to persecute the Jews openly, because they knew no one would stop them.’s best F/SF of the year

November begins the season where various outlets give their “best of” of various sliced up portions of media. Best games. Best books. Best books in various categories. has their list of Best F/SF novels of the year. Half of these I have never heard of (and via Locus and other outlets, I consider myself well informed on the F/SF novel front). The list does include Banks, and Stephenson, and Novik and Jeffrey Ford, though.
However, #6 on their list is “Last Dragon” by J.M. McDermott. Readers of this space will recall that I did read an ARC of that novel this year, and thought it absolutely ailed as a literary work. It’s style was a failure, rather than a triumph, and did not but obfuscate a story in a way that only people like Gene Wolfe manage to do with success.
6th best F/SF novel of the year? No, sorry,, I don’t think so!

Morning Reflection on the Election

So we’re going to have an articulate President who happens to be African American.
To quote Michael Ironside in Total Recall: “It’s about godd*mn time!”.
(Hey, there’s a meme for you who are reading this. Take a movie quote that doesn’t explicitly have anything to do with politics, and apply it to the election)
My map was very conservative. As of writing this post, Obama has 349 EV, with NC (15)and MO (11) too close to call.
On the other hand, progress doesn’t always happen smoothly, or everywhere. Here in Minnesota, a third party (Independence Party) candidate was a factor in allowing Senator Coleman to survive a challenge from Al Franken. (They have a mandatory recount, but I don’t expect it to change the very close result in favor of Coleman).
What unfortunately disturbs me is that, on the Anderson name alone, an independent candidate not even endorsed by the IP party took 10% of the vote in my Congressional district–and so Michele Bachmann is returning to Congress.
Still…I’d rather have President Obama and Congresswoman Bachmann rather than President McCain and Congressman Tinklenberg.
What disturbs me more than Bachmann though is the prospect that Prop 8 in California is currently ahead. I have my fingers crossed that intolerance will not win the day.

Congratulations, President-Elect Obama

Now that polls have closed on the West Coast…NPR is calling the election for Sen. Obama and that McCain has called Obama to concede. Obama is going to wind up with, probably, at least 324 EV, which is more than my moderate prediction.
Congratulations, President-Elect Obama.
(Here in MN, the drama from the Senate race continues–its extremely tight although I think Coleman is going to pull it out. Bachmann, though, looks like she is going to win re-election, possibly thanks to the Anderson Effect.)

Did my Civic Duty this morning

Just got back.
No lines, although the kind people at my poll place told me that turnout had been heavy this morning. It is ironic that I do live in a “small town” in the metro area, and so never really have had problems with handling crowds.
Minnesota has one of the highest turnout rates in the nation, and we’re justly proud of that fact here. This year, though, I think we’re going to have a run for our money as far as turnout goes.