Posted: November 17, 2004

Election is over, but many mysteries remain

Shortly before the end of the election, I began to hit the mute button on the remote whenever a string of campaign ads was imminent.

This did two things. First, it resulted in my needing a new remote. The second result was quite unexpected. Even though the ads were muted, I continued to hear them.

Needless to say, Nov. 2 was a welcome day. However, many questions remain unanswered. What was the name of that post office that Joe Hoeffel's bill renamed? Further, I can't believe that a man who is responsible for those delicious crab fries at Ponzio's Diner was awarding no-bid contracts. Was the candidate who lived on the Main Line but running for office in Allentown going to move there if he won?

Did a certain candidate actually vote to raise my taxes hundreds of times in the last 12 years? And just because I drive a car and earn more than $25,000 a year, why was I not going to get a tax break?

Why did John Kerry vote for that bill before voting against it? And with regard to those Swift Boat ads, even if President Bush never said "I'm George Bush, and I approve these messages," isn't it likely that he at least enjoyed them?

What I'd appreciate even more than answers to these questions is the emergence of a new sort of candidate in the next election. This person should pledge to avoid any campaign ads that are negative to his or her opponent.

In fact, the campaign ads should not mention the opponent. What I want to hear is a plan to govern, ideas on the issues, and why electing the candidate is important.

This individual would get my vote as long as the opposition did not reveal the fact that campaign contributions were accepted from the Taliban. Didn't one of the candidates say this, or was my TV on mute at the time?

Stephen L. Burnstein


Oh, those calls

I got one of those phone calls today. I get a lot of these calls, even though Gov. McGreevey, in a TV spot, looked me right in the eyes and stated that if I followed his instructions, marketers would not bother me again.

I could never bring myself to be rude and hang up abruptly on anyone. This time, the caller was very polite. He said he represented a nonprofit organization that cared for indigent Native Americans on the Aleutian Islands.

Before I could interrupt, he graciously thanked me for the generous donations I had made in the past.

I never gave anything at any time to these people. However, it did make me feel good about myself for some strange reason.

I finally got to speak. I explained that I had had a bad year and was on a fixed income, 80 years old, and not feeling well. Suddenly, his voice got louder, and he talked slower, structuring his sentences and words deliberately.

When you're 80 years old, it's inevitable that - like death and taxes - you will be considered hard of hearing and senile.

He then said something strange: "You don't sound 80 years old." Then he wished me well and hung up

This was one conversation that did not leave me conscience-ridden. I didn't lie, and he was the one who hung up. I am 80 years old. Two bus trips to the casinos last month were part of the reason I am having a bad year, and even had I said I felt good at 80, no one would have believed me.

His parting words struck a chord. I began acting strange in my own home. I tried to develop a slow, gravelly sound in my speech. I even placed a slice of orange in my upper lip a la Marlon Brando in The Godfather. That didn't work.

The most difficult part was trying to convince the "you will never hear from any marketer again" people to take me off their list. I'll be darned if I'm going to go through all this trouble to make myself sound as old as I really am only to have nobody call.

It's showtime.

Anthony Notturno

Villas, N.J.

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