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I didn't vote

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But at least Arkansas wasn't one of those "hotly contested" states. I registered to vote last month, thinking to fulfill my civic duty as a New Arkansan, but I didn't get the little card showing the polling place in my neighborhood until Monday. I decided to wait until after work to vote, but, alas, the bus was late. So I didn't vote.

I did however listen to Radio France International's election coverage, which highlights the French's simultaneous repulsion and fascination with America. French is a great language for conveying condescension and that was in full force on RFI, yet at the same time they had correspondents all over the place, excitedly reporting developments from the Ohio River Valley. Plus the music between segments was Jimi Hendrix's rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner."

I've always wanted to learn to kayak and I think I will start going to the pool sessions organized by the Arkansas Canoe Club. The only time I kayaked was on the Potomac River for 4th of July 2003, on MoBob's first visit to the US. The Potomac was fine, except that it was very silted and I wasn't sure about a river where dead bodies had been found. Somehow I don't think this will be an issue on the Arkansas river system.

And in case you were curious (I was), today's Christian Science Monitor features an article on women's veils in Islam, including a handy cheat sheet on different head coverings.

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On November 8th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
I like the Hijab best, probably because it seems more like a fashionable sort of thing. And the woman in the photo has a charming smile, which helps sell it. The ninja could be smiling too, I suppose.

This summer in a lit class on Pope & Swift I read portions of letters written by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu about her journey to Turkey (with her husband who was England's ambassador there in the early 1700s). She wrote about her encounters with Muslim women and the access to their inner circle that was denied to traditional western males. Of interest here was her claim that the women wore their veils in part to hide their extramarital liaisons. No one but a woman's husband would dare try to peek under her veil so when their husbands were busy they were free to rendezvous with the pool guy or other local handymen, without anyone suspecting.

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On November 9th, 2006 10:21 am (UTC), hatter_anon commented:
You didn't vote?! If the good people don't vote ...
In Australia we have compulsory voting, which on the whole I think is a good thing, but I think we need better education with it so that people understand how our political system actually works and what their vote means.

I like the guide to Islamic veils. I didn't actually realise the significance of the Niqab before.
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On November 9th, 2006 01:13 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Well, I would've made more of an effort if I were in Virginia or another state where my vote would've counted. But here in Arkansas all the people I would've voted for won...thank goodness! (Even MoBob is reproaching me - and he's from a country where he can't vote for the leadership because it's a kingdom!)

I remember long discussions about "kangaroo votes" in Canberra when I took a US history class there. People here would go mad about compulsory voting, it's hard enough passing a law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmuts!
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On November 10th, 2006 09:04 am (UTC), hatter_anon replied:
'kangaroo votes'? I've heard of 'donkey votes' and 'mickey mouse votes' but kangaroo?

You get fined in Australia if you don't vote, but it's usually on a Saturday and employers are required to give you enough time to go and vote.
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On November 9th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I have very mixed feelings about headscarves. The only time I've worn them is while visiting mosques and visiting MoBob's village. The minute we're in the rental car and the village is out of sight I make a big show of flinging off my headscarf like a French movie star.
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On November 10th, 2006 08:59 am (UTC), hatter_anon replied:
Re: headscarf
I can understand the mixed feelings. I've never had to wear one. I object to the idea that women have to cover up for men, but on the other hand I support any woman who wants to wear the headscarf herself, and I don't think we should be able to tell people they can't wear this sort of dress if they feel strongly about it themselves. I think it's incredibly sad though that the dress makes Muslim women so visible, and therefore the first targets of the racism and violence that's unfortunately appearing in our streets these days.

Also I admire any woman who can make a headscarf stay on and look good. If I tried it would fall off in 10 seconds flat!
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On November 10th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Re: headscarf
Me too. I always look like a befuddled Malaysian exhange student!
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