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I ride dressage in blue jeans on a $1 ex-racehorse. I live on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. No piaffes or tiaras, but we have fun.
So Ann Romney has been getting some flak for her co-ownership of an Olympic caliber dressage horse. Does anyone know how this came about? She had been diagnosed with MS back in 1998. She got interested in dressage/horseback riding as a therapy. If you are not a horse person, you don't know the symbiotic way human and horse bodies work together, a lot of times very therapeutically. Not only that, dressage is a beautiful dance between two brains working differently but together. It is such a wonderful thing, and since she does have money she probably decided to support a sport that does not have a rabid following, such as football or baseball.
So what. Dressage is a sport supported largely by middle-aged, middle-income women, riding in the very lower levels (where Ann undoubtedly was at with her riding). No big sponsors, no big stadiums, and on and on. I don't picture her on a "shopping trip" to Target, then turning around for a 4 million dollar vacation. And, if she did take a vacation like that, she would pay for it herself. You go girl.
She doesn't even have her own first name? Speaks volumes to me.
Oh, for most people for whom dressage is a fantasy, so are staying at home from work to raise kids and volunteer. For my part I would rather hear about a wealthy woman doing something beautiful than pretending to be ordinary.
Today's strip makes it sound like dressage is some hoity toity European sport. In reality, anyone can enjoy it. You don't even need to own a fancy horse or any horse at all, just pay a few bucks an hour at a nearby stable. I know two real, hard working cowboys who have studied dressage because it teaches important skills, like how to calmly and precisely sidepass away from that rattler you just realized was coiled up in a bush right next to your horse as your horse was about to drink from a spring. I saw this happen!
I worked for two years at Bain and Company during the reign of Bush the First. (At that time manufacturing jobs were disappearing from the East Coast while Bush said there was nothing wrong with the economy. Remember?) I just read today's comic. Bain does not downsize, they "rightsize."
It's striking how fit your mature-age characters are. There are very few beer-bellies on the men, even fewer bingo-wings on the women. Must be something in the water.
I wish Joanie weren't so busy writing the convention speech! While I know it's a BFD, I'd love to have her come back to Worcester to campaign (as she did earlier this year). Worcester County is basically the Ohio of Massachusetts (in the middle, up for grabs), and no day spent campaigning here is a waste for the Warren team. Maybe a day door-knocking around here would provide Joanie a spark of inspiration?
A belated comment on last week's for-profit-college theme: GBT has made bales of hay with Walden as an example of the sad state of too much of the college world, but the sort of corruption he exposed is not limited to investor-owned colleges. Sad to say, I have had close knowledge of a State University that prays at the Altar of the Full Time Equivalent (FTE). My wife taught at this "university" for some time and encountered considerable pressure to pass students who should have been somewhere other than an "academic" institution. Employers know this -- too many qualified students don't. And the unqualified are complicit in the growingly transparent lie.
I am just a few years younger than Joanie, and I wish I had arms like hers, and be brave enough to go sleeveless. I have never see her working out at the gym or fussing over her diet; it must be the paper she's drawn on.
That picture of Zonker at the top of the Flashbacks page, lying out on the grass under the big, open sky, makes me nostalgic for the days before I had to think about the health of my lungs. But being alone would've never worked for me, as I expounded with so much brilliance! And I never did find out if brownies were just as good.
I loved the "school as a business" strips, and thought other readers might appreciate this story.
Reading the FAQ strips about how Alex and Leo met made me cry!
In New York I had to sign my name in front of poll workers. They had a copy of my signature from my voter registration form. Comparing signatures seems a reasonable way to establish identity. In Connecticut I am required to show identification, but not necessarily a photo ID. There are lots of ways to prevent fraud without suppressing the vote.
In the event that it did not come to your attention, you may be amused/bemused to learn that there is currently a potential voter fraud issue in Massachusetts. It appears, however, not to involve a voter, but a politician running for office.
In today's strip Jimmy Crow mentions 86 cases of fraud. According to this New York Daily News story, there were 46,000 voters registered in both New York and Florida. It is not known how many may have voted twice, but the situation represents the potential for more fraud. There is no national registry of voters.
As a long-time high school counselor in economically depressed neighborhoods, I can't applaud enough your current strips on for-profit "colleges." I've seen so many hopeful kids saddled with enormous debt and bitter disappointment by these heartless criminals. "Poke the pain," indeed! I wish we could put the strip on public transportation and, for that matter, blimp banners! Thank you.
Reading through the archives I once again find that Doonesbury ages like fine wine, or at least like surprisingly-well-made moonshine. Over a decade ago Alex, after watching Titanic one too many times, appears to have accidentally predicted her recent wedding.
Re your recent strips on trade schools and colleges: I was involved in New York State hearings on such schools in the late 1970s -- same horror stories. Nothing has changed except there is more money available to these dishonest schools.
In light of Mel's storyline, I thought readers of the strip might be interested to know that a web mini-series about sexual assault in the military has just started here.