Hillary and Obama


— Bumper sticker of the week: Once youÕre over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.

— Quote of the week: ÒWhat I really wanted to say was how this animal had touched our souls and taught us some of the most important lessons of our lives. A person can learn a lot from a dog. Marley taught me about loving each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate things. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.Ó Marley & Me, John Grogan

— A sign I saw posted on the edge of one of our proud prison towns in Illinois: Danger — You are entering an understaffed prison zone.

— Marriage lessons:

¥ Emotional commitments have nothing to do with legal commitments. While a marriage license does have some positive benefits, in legal terms, it has nothing to do with marriage commitments.

¥ Love has too many ambiguous meanings for it to be of much use in a marriage. It canÕt be pinned down, which I think is the nature of the word. People who rely strictly on love to keep a marriage going will most often end up divorced. I think the following might better serve you to develop and maintain a lasting marriage:

1. Preparation: Know who you are marrying. It would help to wait until you are at least 25. Then have a courtship of at least one year. Minimum. Here is the important part: What you see during that time is what you get. Any violence, rudeness, excessive drinking, unfaithfulness, bale.

2. Commitment: Go into a marriage feeling youÕre only going to do this once. The largest single factor in long-term marriages is the fact that the couple do not consider divorce as an option. They make a commitment not to fail. This is not to say that some marriages should not end in divorce. That would be unrealistic and unwise. Some things cannot be fixed, but the commitment to make it work will narrow that list, as will good preparation.

3. Compromise: Compromise is a necessary ingredient to longevity in a marriage. When two people come together, they are bringing two family histories with them that may be completely different. In a sense, a battle then ensues to see which set of family rules will survive. The classic example of this is the argument on how the toilet paper should be put on the roll. Does the paper come off the top or the bottom. Other examples might be who handles the finances, who disciplines the children, how are they disciplined. The list goes on and on. We each think we know how these things should be done by having observed our parents. Compromising your position is a vital step forward in helping a marriage grow. (Caution: This should not be a one-sided affair. Both individuals need to compromise their positions.)

4. Forgiveness: We are all going to make mistakes. Some are harder to forgive than others. If you cannot forgive, youÕre not going to be married very long. ItÕs that simple.

And by the way, if any of these suggestions help you, please send $100. Sorry, no checks.

— Obama is in: So far, I won a dinner. I bet heÕd get in. I felt public pressure would force him to consider. While a little hype is involved, he looks like our best shot at salvation. Now I hope he can win. Should be interesting. DonÕt count Hillary out. I would pick her second. I think the Democratic race is between those two. So far the Republicans have not come up with a viable candidate. Giuliani is make-believe and McCain is washed up. IÕm smelling a victory in 2008, but there is still a lot of stink to be flung. TheyÕll try to turn Obama into Osama, and Hillary into the Wicked Witch of the West. I hope the American public doesnÕt fall for it this time around.