Thursday, January 31, 2008

inner dork: Milwaukee's best

As some, dear readers, so kindly pointed out to me last week, uh, where's Milwaukee in all of the beer love?

So, here are some factoids as to why Milwaukee was at one point, the king of bad beer.

Speaking of bad beer, remember Hamms and the Hamms bear? Man, I had a baseball T as a kid that I LOVED. Wore it all the time. I loved those little beer commercials with the Hamms bear. He had so many misadventures. He was so silly...
Do you suppose the Hamms Beer Company was marketing to kids? Huh, do ya?

So, did you know....

Milwaukee did not enjoy any significant advantages as concerned the price or availability of raw materials such as hops and barley.

Labor was not noticeably cheaper in Milwaukee than most other brewing cities.

Milwaukee's water supply did not offer any special advantages for brewing. The nineteenth century myth that Milwaukee water produced a superior brew was debunked by early chemists.

There were no particular advantages associated with transportation of freight in or out of Milwaukee.

Although cooperage (barrels, vats, casks, etc.) was inexpensive in Milwaukee due to the large Wisconsin lumber trade, the savings were not significant enough to provide a major advantage. And anyway, the Milwaukee brewers consumed so many beer barrels that they were often forced to buy them from suppliers outside Wisconsin, thus incurring transportation costs. In fact, frequent barrel shortages in Milwaukee finally compelled the Pabst and Schlitz breweries to join forces and establish the Delta Cooperage Company to secure a constant supply of barrels.

Cheap, abundant ice from Lake Michigan certainly favored brewing before the advent of artificial refrigeration. Ice also stimulated long-distance shipping of beer, since rail cars needed to be packed with enormous quantities of ice to prevent spoilage of the beer en route. But all Great Lakes cities -- Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, etc. -- also enjoyed the same advantages. Thus, Milwaukee's ice supply can not alone be credited with the developing city's brewing prowess.

What, then, caused Milwaukee to become the "brewing capital of the world?"
The best answer is that it was a combination of a diverse set of factors:

1) Conditions in Milwaukee were just as favorable for beer-making as they were in most major cities. Yet, compared to many nineteenth century brewing centers, Milwaukee's population -- and that of its outlying regions -- was relatively small. Thus, Milwaukee brewers were forced to turn to outside markets to expand sales. This unique problem ultimately transformed Milwaukee's breweries into "nationally-minded" organizations. Once begun, the strategy of long-distance shipping did not cease for Milwaukee's brewers until their beer was being sold in every corner of America.

2) Proximity to the large beer-consuming population of Chicago -- and the easy and inexpensive lake transportation thereto -- was always a boon to Milwaukee's brewing industry. For example, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 boosted sales of Milwaukee breweries enormously. Schlitz's frequent shipments of beer to the devastated city earned it the slogan, "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous." Schlitz enjoyed a 100 percent jump in sales immediately after the Chicago fire.

3) There is no question that certain of Milwaukee's brewers were extraordinarily talented businessmen. While their particular circumstances may have accidentally lead them to aspire to greater markets than most brewers, it can not be denied that the men behind the breweries were savvy, aggressive industrialists. And much of their success was achieved through vision, hard work and sound business sense.

Next week: why beer and cheese make a lovely combination of co-mingling tastes on the buds.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paul the Penguin

When I walked to school today I encountered Paul. Paul the Penguin. Nice guy. I thought it was a bit odd to see a penguin out and about in these parts, so I asked him about his relocation to the northern side of the planet. He said that his home in Antarctica was getting a bit warm and he and his wife, Deloris, had heard how cold and blustery the Great White North could be*, so they decided to relocate. As he spoke with some snow blew into my eyes, so I could see his point. Well, not so much see, as my eyes were filled with freezing ice, but I could certainly understand the relocation plan of his family. As we spoke, he told me about his wife, they’ve been married 25 years, two kids, a son Marlin, which I found to be an unusual name for a penguin as it is part of the fish family, but he said it was a an old family name going back to the Mesozoic area. Sure, sure. A daughter, Samantha, Sam for short, who has met a seagull during the relocation program. Paul is trying to accept the interspecies love match, but Deloris is just sick with worry over what the neighbors must be saying.

It was at this point in the conversation that I had to interrupt Paul and asked, "Paul, have you seen my nipples, cause I think they fell off." He shook his head in a sad little way and admitted that he had not, but wished me luck on my search. Personally, I think Paul was lying; I think he had seen my nipples. Perhaps he had only seen them pointing like rock hard diamonds through my coat before they had fallen off, but he had seen them. I just don't think he wanted to embarrass me. Paul is a good man. He seems to be a little too preoccupied by the interspecies dating of his daughter, but he's a dad and his job is to worry. Before I left our conversation, I told him that sometimes there are good things that come with interspecies dating. He asked me to name a few.
The Zorse.
The Ass.
Those were all I could name.

I knew he would spend the rest of the day muttering to himself over the thought of his daughter giving birth to a Pensgull.

*Current temp: -2.
Windchill: -28.
Snow: The snow? It's currently snowing sideways.
How far can the eye see: Not very fucking.

The joy of being a grad student:
my day is "officially" over, I am on my couch, beer by my side. Ahhhhh. (Unofficially my ass needs to be doing homework.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

inner dork: cheers!

Yay! It's Thursday!

Did you know...

In America 69% of men and 57% of women drink beer.

Beer was often served with breakfast in medieval England.
(As it should be.)

The oldest recipe in existence is a recipe for beer.
(Is in in hieroglyphics?)

Germany has a beer ice cream in Popsicle form. Its alcohol content is lower than that of normal beer.
(Hmmm, ick.)

The makers of Old Grandad whisky produced their product throughout Prohibition by marking the bottles "for medical purposes."
(so, why wasn't everyone that smart? Where were the other PR peeps?)

The coiffe is the metal wire basket that holds a champagne cork in place.

In making bourbon whisky 51% of the grain that is used must be corn.

Jacqueline Kennedy had the recipe for daiquiris pinned to the wall of the White House kitchen; it was the couple's favorite drink.
(As it should be.)

As it is -6 degrees with a windchill of -25, today I think I will make a hot totty to warm my soul, and hands, and nose, and feet, and mind, and....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I want to laugh until I cry

I met with my professor today to see what I did wrong on my final from last semester.

He was very kind, sympathetic. He gave me six additional points and apologized for not reading my answers more closely.

He sympathized with my problems at mid-term (with the weird guy who claimed he lived in my apartment previously and resulted in a call to the police and an additional lock being put on my door.) He told me I should have told him about the issue at the time and he would have let me take the test at a later date. However, it is now too late to do anything about that test.

He told me I did very well on all of my papers and they dealt with interesting subjects.

I asked if there was anything I could do to improve my grade; any papers, reports, anything? No, but only because others had asked and he told them no; he couldn't make a concession for me. But, I could tell he wanted to.

He could tell I really studied for the final and that I cared. He hemmed, he pondered, he was searching for other ways to help me.

He told me I could ask for the class to be dropped and I could retake the class in the fall.

I asked if the syllabus would be the same and could I just turn in the same papers?

Laughing, he said, the syllabus would be the same in the fall.

I told him I would not ask for the class/grade to be dropped from my report.

In the end, the six additional points was about all he could do. I knew he wanted, he wished he could do more.

What did those six little points do for my overall GPA: it went from a 2.85 to a 2.9.

What does my GPA need, have, to be? 3.0.

I find that 2.9 REALLY freakin' frustrating and I believe it is laughing, nay, mocking me.

I will be laughing until I cry for the rest of the day.

... if you need me, I will be at the bar.

Or, hiding under a blanket on my bed.

Definitely one of those.

...and perhaps muttering about stupid rules and regulations and why exceptions should be made for really smart and cute people....

The Power of One: Those who believed in the dream

Martin Luther King may have had the voice, but he needed people to believe in and follow the dream.

The power of one man who had the leadership.
The power of each person who was and is a believer.
Together they were powerful.
Together they made a movement.

This is for all each person who have, and continue to, lose their lives and their voices for a cause.
This is for all of those who never had, nor will, be recognized for their sacrifices.

Monday, January 21, 2008

the two words I am longing to hear

What are those two little words?
Are they; love you, like you, call you, call me, see you, fuck you, fuck me, eat me, dinner, tonight?, you're awesome, you're adorable, you're intelligent, you're beautiful.
None of those.
The two words I long, yearn, to hear from someone; more specifically someone who I am dating, are "...and you?"

So simple. So easy. So un-self absorbed. Yet, yet, those are two little words which I rarely hear. Rarely.

Perhaps I am part of the problem, but my attitude and thinking are, if you're not interested, or if you do not care enough to ask, then I do not and will not care enough to tell you.

I know, how silly of me. But truly, if a person cannot muster the verbiage to ask, "Hey, honey, how was your day?" Then where is my motivation to tell you? To me it says, "I don't give a damn about you or about your day."
Perhaps that is wrong, but that's what it says to me.

Where is this coming from?
Oh, why, let me tell you.
After a second date with the Guy Who Does Not Drink, and not being asked one, not one, not one tiny, little, small, smidgeon of a question about myself, my frustration has hit a wall.
I saw the writing on the wall before the first date, but I am trying to break old ways and old habits and see past things and past old behavior of dismissing people before I have a chance to get to know them. So, I went out on a first date. First date was enjoyable, but the only reason there were any words and vocal chord usage on my part is because I would interject a story or a witty anecdote here and there.
Writing on the wall was screaming at me say, hitting me on the head if you will, but I went out on a second date on Saturday. After two hours of no questions being sent my way and several stifled yawns on my part, I knew there would be no third date.

Now, I can see how perhaps this doesn't seem like a big deal. I understand that in a long-term relationship the "...and you?" can go to the wayside. I understand. I've been in a few long-term relationships. But, if the "...and you?" is not there in the beginning, then there is no hope that it will be there in a month, six months, or a year. It just won't happen.
I can also see where you may be saying, "Hey, why don't you just say something to him..." Also an excellent point. However, it's not as if he is the first person that I've encountered this with. It is also not a gender specific issue. There is also the point of, he is in his mid-thirties and if he doesn't know the proper way to carry on a conversation I don't think it is my job to teach him. Hell, I don't want to teach him. There's enough training (from both people) that comes into play with dating, the proper way to carry on a conversation is not one more thing I care to add to the list.

Again, I can still see where you might be thinking, what's the big deal? Sure, I understand. Let me explain: Say you're in school, there is no question as to what I am in school for.
Say, you're new to town, there is no question as to where I am originally from.
Say, you've been to a few countries outside of the U.S., but there is no question as to why, where, when, how, with whom.
Say, you've had a really interesting day, but there is no question as to why it was interesting (or bad, or good, or sad, or happy.)
Say, you went to see a band the night before, but there is no question as to who, where, what.
Say, you're thirty-three years old and left a pretty decent life to pursue the above, wouldn't you be curious as to why? Yet, there is no question to the why.
Say, you are a really interesting person with some really great and lively stories, but the person doesn't know how to get to those stories.
Sure, I interject and provide some of those stories and win the person over with my stunning personality, but my point is that I would like to be asked to inject. I would like the person to care, to be interested enough to ask about me.

So, men, women, all others who read this here blog, please, for the love of god and for all healthy relationships, ask your significant others, whether they be lovers or friends, "...and you?" I can guarantee it will make all the difference in the world. Because everyone likes to talk about themselves. Everyone has stories. Everyone has something to give. And everyone likes to be asked to give a witty story and everyone likes to be asked, "...and you."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

inner dork: snow

As it has snowed, again, here last night, today, and will continue through tomorrow.

As we have reached 18,000 inches in the white fluffy stuff.
(Okay, that may be a smidge of an exaggeration.)
(A smidge, a tad, of an exaggeration, but not by much)

As the windchill is currently -14.

And as I just walked two miles to and fro in the white, non-shoveled, non-plowed, crap of white fluff in that windchill, yet when I got to school I was sweaty. (Dressing for the winter months is a conundrum. Must be bundled-up so as not to freeze, but I will be sweaty by the time I get there, but fingers, ears, nipples, will be numb.)

So, here are some "fun" snow facts.

Based on National Weather Service records for 1961 through 1990, Rochester, New York averages 94 inches of snow annually and is the snowiest large city in the United States. Rochester has a population more than 200,000 and annual municipal snow-removal budget of $3.7 million.
(Good, Lord. See, some place does get 18,000 inches of snow.)
(Again, perhaps an exaggeration.)

Almost 187 inches of snow fell in seven days on Thompson Pass, Alaska in February, 1953.
(Getting closer to that 18,000 mark.)

Each year an average of 105 snow-producing storms affect the continental United States. A typical storm will have a snow-producing lifetime of two to five days and will bring snow to portions of several states.

In the early 1900s, skiers created their own terminology to describe types of snow, including the terms "fluffy snow," "powder snow," and "sticky snow." Later, the terminology expanded to include descriptive terms such as "champagne powder," "corduroy," and "mashed potatoes."
(What, not a term for, sick-of-this-blinding-white-cold-snow-powder?)

In the western United States, mountain snow pack contributes up to 75 percent of all year-round surface water supplies.

Nationwide, the average snowfall amount per day when snow falls is about two inches, but in some mountain areas of the West, an average of seven inches per snow day is observed.
(Huh, I had no idea my state had mountains. Imagine my surprise that my state may, in fact, have mountains based on this "fun" fact.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Power of One: Beads for Life

This was a good weekly feature. It shouldn't have stopped. I need to keep it going.

We forget how powerful we are. How good we are. How good and powerful we can be. One person can and does make a difference. One person in the lives of many and in the life of one, it all matters. Sometimes that person is good, sometimes that person is not so good. Sometimes we harness the power in the wrong ways.

For the most part this weekly Wednesday feature will be about the good in humankind, but sometimes it will be about the bad in humankind, just to serve as a reminder. A reminder that evil can come in the human form and in small ways just as the good can come in good and powerful ways. Sometimes it will be a feature story, other times a link to a cause or a website which I think is trying to do good things in small ways. You may not agree with all of the choices, that's fine. At the very least I would hope, I want, it to generate thought, feelings, emotions, and perhaps action on your part. Big action or little action, either way it is an action and that's all I hope for. That's all I want. I want us all to remember and to know that whether we believe it, think it, or want to recognize it, we all make a difference. Big, small, little, huge, and many times in ways we don't know at all, we all make a difference in this great big giant world of ours and I want us to remember that we make a difference more than we forget that we make a difference. Even if we only remember for a moment once a week on a Wednesday.

This week: Beads for Life

Monday, January 14, 2008

soapbox: politics and sex

Soapboxes. I like them. I don't have very many causes that I get rallied up for, but there are a few. Also, one thing you should know, I don't yell. I hate yelling, yellers, and people who speak over others. I hate it. Just because someone talks louder that doesn't mean I hear them any better. Frankly, once a voice is raised in anger or stupidity I will stop listening altogether. Also, I believe if a person gets angry, upset, their panties in a bunch over everything, then when something really and actually matters to them, I won't know that it really matters to them because of all the time they were angry, upset, and panties were bunchy over all things petty and small. So, I choose my battles and I try to choose carefully.

However, if a person has an issue that they can speak passionately and intelligently on, I will actively listen as long as they will actively and respectively listen to me in return. That's what these soapboxes will be. Me, getting behind something, asking something, or feeling passionately about something and hoping, wanting, an intelligent conversation to come of and from it. No yelling. No badgering. No name-calling. Just some things I would like to talk about and see how others feel and think about them.

With the latest batch of winners and casualties from the process known as the American electoral process, I have to say there is something that has been bothering me for about a year now. Something that has been simmering and brewing and I finally think it needs to be said: the language that is used in the electoral process. The language that is used to describe a candidate and their ideas, values, morals.
Specifically it is the sexist language that has been used in this campaign because (gasp!) a female candidate has been so audacious to make it so far into the electoral process. How dare she! She, that evil, power-hungry bitch! She married for power and she is hungry for more! That, that ladies and gents is the only reason she has gone after the White House!


How quick we are to go to the lowest denominator when it comes to describing someone, whether they are male or female. However, it seems to me, that when it comes to a woman we are much quicker to revert back to the school-children on the playground telling the others to meet us at the bikes at the end of the day.

Why? Why are we so quick to jump to the sexist language? Why do we believe that a woman who wants to go for the greatest job this country has to offer that comes with a pay-check that they are going after the job for different reasons than all of the men who have came before?
Why do we care? Why do we care so bloomin’ much why she and Bill were and are married? If…if they married for power are they any different than the Roosevelt’s, the Kennedy’s, the Lincolns, or the Washington’s just to name a few. I hate to break it to you, but people married for alliances of money, name, power, not for love; especially when it comes to political campaigns well into the twentieth century. As this was a common practice, these politically aligned marriages are not any different than the marriages that happened for centuries where kingdoms were aligned because this king married that queen. Power marriages happen all the time; just as power friendships happen. I’m pretty certain that without those power “friendships” Washington, as we know it, would not exist.

We are so quick to go to the sexist language, but we would never, openly, go for the racist language. Why, because it is so much more acceptable to go for the quick laugh, the easy quip of calling someone a bitch than to spend the extra second it takes to try and come up with a more intelligent word. Also, we do not think anything about calling someone a bitch, but we would never, ever call someone a nigger. Why, because society has come to realize one is acceptable and one is not.

But, why? Why has one become acceptable? I’m not saying we should regress to saying the “b-word” or the “c-word” and on and on, that doesn’t get us anywhere. I am saying that we need to stop being sophomoric about these issues.

There is also the issue of Republicans being quick to throw the jabs at the Democrats and the liberal are quick to throw the jabs at the conservatives. These open-air verbal matches do not get us anywhere, either. We've made the word liberal and conservative words that we want to wipe our shoes with. Throwing a low-blow my way does not make me respect your side, your ideas, your thoughts anymore than if I went to this playground tactic and threw sand at you about your side.

With the present president I think it is easy to say we, as a nation, as a whole, have become even more divided than we were in the past, we need a candidate that can bring us together. But more than that, we need to grow-up and bring ourselves together and stop with the name-calling and the childish sandlot fights. It’s ridiculous and we are better than that. At least I would still like to believe we are. I may be cynical, but I am still an idealist. How about we all try to be better than the other guy and stop; stop with the name calling, the bi-partisanship the sexist language towards everyone. Just a thought. However, if we keep on this attitude of that side and this side, we are not going to get anywhere politically. If we keep with the sexist language, we really are not going to get anywhere in terms of progress towards the future.

Friday, January 11, 2008

time for an update

been awhile since I've done a full recap on this thing called my life, so here it goes.

Finally seeing the tunnel out of Sickville. Good, Lord. I haven't been sick in over a year and I haven't been this sick in several years.

I've been off from school since December 13th and I go back on Monday. One. Whole. Month. Freakin' awesome.

Too bad that one week was spent sick, but that's the way it goes.

My trip back home for a little over a week for the holidays was good. Good times with the family. Time spent baking and cooking with Mama, which was good for my soul and mind. All the additional calories have been eaten away in Sickville.

I didn't make my GPA for last semester. I've come to terms with it and I will meet with my professor to see what I did wrong on the final. I worked my way from an F at midterm to an A by finals day and ended up with a C.

Yep, that means I failed the final. (But, fail two tests and still getting a C; part of me is oddly proud of my grade.) I have a sinking feeling I missed one of the questions. At 35 points a piece, not good to miss one.

Whatever the reason I will find out next week.

Whatever the reason I really don't think the professor with change my grade to a B, so it doesn't really matter other than for my peace of mind why I failed the final.

As a result I lost my scholarship.

Not happy about this.

But, moving on.

So, that means I have to get my act in gear or my MPP career will be over before it was started.

I won't be working next semester, so that should help.

You know, since I won't have a job where I make no money and have umpteen meetings to go to after work hours and organize an entire homecoming event for the university...all while none are my job.

I'm guessing that will help in the GPA, stress, and school studies.

With all of that in consideration, I did really well for my first semester.

Self-doubt will be gone...or not as semester. This means I will do better.

On another academic note, I found out, with math being my most dreaded and sweat inducing subject that it is for me, that I can get a B in stats without opening my book, studying, and all while talking to the guy next to me during class, and not really giving a damn about the class.

The reason I didn't give a damn is because it is an undergrad class and didn't count towards my GPA.

Perhaps not giving a damn is a good strategy.

So far for my internship in Brazil this summer I have managed to save almost $500 in the last month.


I also had some monies saved, so I only $5100.00 more to save.

By June.

I plan to sell some jewelery and some of my paintings.

On the dating front:

I have a date tomorrow.

But, he doesn't drink.


He doesn't drink alcohol.

No reason, he just doesn't.

What do we think boys and girls? Will there be a second date?

There may be a possibility for a Guy Number Two.

Guy number two and I went out once last fall but nothing came from it.

He emailed me the other day to say, he fucked up. Sorry for disappearing. This is him groveling. Second chance?

He received an email stating, I don't recommend fucking up again, cause there will not be a third chance. And feel free to grovel. A lot.

He drinks.

London and I were supposed to get together in KC over the holidays, but after making the plans I didn't hear back from him.

This is odd and uncharacteristic of him.

Part of me is worried and part of me is annoyed.

One of my guy friends and I are going to try to make a spring break trip to AZ for spring training.

Anyone care to join us?

There will be a lot of beer.

A lot.

As if that needed to be said.

My Mustang and the winter are not friends.

I really, really, really..and repeat until the word no longer makes sense...want a new car.

This won't be happening, but I want one.

Mine is paid for. I like not having a payment. I cannot afford to have a payment. Done.

My apartment still sucks.

Hate it.

I only have 1.5 years more to live here.

I can make do.

Then hopefully I will be making so much money that I can actually choose where I want to live and not have to settle for what I can afford and doesn't make my skin crawl.

Hey, remember when I used to post everyday and I actually had some witty, insightful, and amusing tales to tell? Well, what do you say I pick that back up?

Starting Monday I plan to bring back some favorites.

Well, favorites for me. Soapbox posts on Monday, Power of One posts On Wednesday, and of course Inner Dorks on Thursday.

The other days will be filled with wit, banter, and amusing tales I'm retelling.

At the very least there will be words in the posts.


Think that's all.

For now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

inner dork: when death comes a knockin'

Since I still feel like death; today's inner dork is all things death-like.

In Turkey, the color of mourning is violet. In most Muslim countries and in China, it is white.

Pope Adrian VI died after a fly got stuck in his throat as he was drinking from a water fountain.

Snow angels originated from medieval Jewish mystics who practiced rolling in the snow to purge themselves of evil urges.
(Much like a cold shower does today??)

A Bible published in England in 1632 left out the word "not" in the seventh commandment. Making it, "thou shalt commit adultery" it became known as "The Wicked Bible."

The American newspaper columnist H.L. Mencken wrote: "Puritanism-The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Okay, sorry for the short blog-learning today, I must go back to Sickville, now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fast train to Sickville

Actually, I'm lost in Sickville. I took the fast train here on Friday and woke-up lost in this miserable town on Saturday. Aches, pains, nasal drip that looks like cream of chicken soup...what, too much? All I need is some decent sleep and I know I will feel better. However. The nose wouldn't let me sleep on Friday night and the whine inducing aches and pains of my body wouldn't let me sleep on Saturday night. Last night the Vicodin I took helped, but not much. (Note to self: take two Vicodin tonight.)
Today, it will be me, Anthony Bourdain, and a marathon of The West Wing. (Good show, don't know why I didn't watch it more when it was originally on. Probably because I wasn't home, but whatever.) Oh, and I also have the second season of Weeds. Truly, my brain has been sitting like the mushy, mushness it has become over my school break. Good brain. Zombies, stay away.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

inner dork: caucuses

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot about inner dork, fore shame!

Okay, today's inner dork is all about caucuses, who, why, what, and why on Earth, Iowa is so bloomin' important.

How they work: In each of Iowa's nearly 2,000 voting precincts Democrats and Republicans hold separate meetings on caucus night. The meetings can be held almost anywhere - in schools, firehouses, church basements and even living rooms. Anybody registered member of a party can attend that party's meeting.

Republicans vote in the caucuses by secret ballots. The vote determines which delegates, representing which candidates, will attend county conventions. There, delegates are chosen for state congressional district conventions, where delegate to national convention are picked.

The Republicans use a winner-take-all system. Whichever candidate wins the caucuses takes all of the delegates for the state.

Democrats, The meetings divide into groups, each supporting a particular candidate. If a candidate doesn't have a sufficient percentage of the total number of voters attending, its members join other candidates' groups sufficient percentage of the total number of voters attending, its members join other candidates' groups. When that redistribution finally ends with groups of sufficient size, the delegates are divided among them according to the percentage of the meetings' attendees they represent. The process then proceeds through the county and state conventions. At the national convention, the candidates receive delegates proportionately, rather than the winner taking all of the state's delegates.

Doors open around 6:ish,doors close at 7:ish and it will be finished around 8:ish. That's it.

Now, why the hell it's in Iowa and why Iowa is so damn important:

1800's, the state adopts a caucus platform. The state's first caucuses were held in mid-spring, in the middle of the national presidential nominating schedule.

1916: Iowa held its first and only primary election. Only 25 percent of registered voters showed up. Iowa reverted back to its caucus system.

Apparently nothing interesting happened in approximately 50-or so years.

1972: Iowa's Democratic Party moved its caucus date forward, positioning the caucus ahead of the New Hampshire primary and making it the first nominating event in the nation. Sen. Edward Muskie of Maine, the front-runner, beat Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota by less of a margin than expected. McGovern went on to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

1976: A little-known Democratic governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, campaigned heavily in the state and wound up coming in second to "uncommitted." That almost-win positioned Carter to later take the Democratic nomination. Republicans moved up their primary to make the Iowa caucuses a bipartisan national event. President Gerald Ford narrowly beat Gov. Ronald Reagan of California. Ford later won the Republican nomination, but lost the presidency to Carter.

1980: Carter was the incumbent president, and he beat Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Ronald Reagan, meanwhile, did not focus heavily on Iowa. But his GOP competition, George H.W. Bush, did, and won the GOP contest with 32 percent of the vote. Reagan received 30 percent of the vote. Reagan ultimately beat Carter. By this time, the media began relying on results in Iowa as an indicator of how the race would turn out.

1984: Reagan, the incumbent president, was unopposed. On the Democratic side, it was a wide open race, with Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Sen. John Glenn of Ohio facing off. Mondale, who won the Iowa caucuses, was ultimately the Democratic nominee. Reagan defeated him in the general election.

1988: An open race in Iowa and one that ultimately had no bearing on either party's eventual nomination. On the Republican side, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas beat televangelist Pat Robertson and then-Vice President George Bush in the caucuses, but Bush ultimately became the nominee. He also ultimately beat Democratic nominee Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, who came in third to Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri.

1992: Incumbent President George Bush was unopposed among Republicans, and any competitiveness in Iowa was rendered moot by the candidacy of Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, a beloved figure in the state. With him running, few other Democrats even bothered to compete. Bill Clinton went on to win the presidency.

1996: Democrat Clinton was the incumbent, and unopposed. Among Republicans, Bob Dole beat Pat Buchanan. Clinton beat Dole later that year in the general election.

2000: Iowa winners Al Gore and George W. Bush went on to win their party's nomination. Bush, the Republican, won the general election.

2004: Despite a surge in popularity from Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Democrat John Kerry, who'd previously lagged in polls, won the caucuses. John Edwards came in second. Kerry went on to win the nomination. On the Republican end, Bush was unopposed, and went on to win a second term.

Personally, I hope Edwards pulls ahead. Personally, I want the ads to stop and tonight to be over soon:ish. But, that's just me.