On the upcoming election: I remain convinced that the tendency for undecideds to break against the incumbent will result in a victory for John Kerry and the end of Dubya's Reign of Terror. However, it's going to be a close one, and I have a lot of friends who seem terrified of what another four years of Bush will bring. In particular, I have a friend who has whipped himself into a frenzy of paranoia about the upcoming election. He's been stockpiling guns and survival gear, and now with November 2 coming up, he seems to have snapped. He called me up this morning and breathlessly informed me that if knew what was good for me, I'd pack up the wife, kids and dog, and head for the hills. What a maniac!

My friend is a classic geek: he works at the Bluestone Center of the Santa Rosa Institute. This is the biogenetics program here in Albuquerque which is outgrowth of the World War II era Zozobra Project. My friend troubleshoots the ever-shrinking supply of Unix boxes at the Institute, and is total *nix zealot. He's always telling me horror stories about what will happen if the biohazard security systems from the old FVZA are migrated to a Microsoft Windows. I think his job is too stressful for him, and this latest paranoid episode is just his subconscious asserting the need for a break and a vacation.

Even if the worst happens, and Bush gets re-elected (or re-"selected", heh) life will go on. There will be no rioting in the streets, no massive shortages, no martial law. That sort of thing just isn't good for business. The toughest fights will be, as always, the fights for our civil liberties in the courthouses and legislatures.

As for me, I'm getting tired of living in a "battleground state" and I think this weekend I will keep the radios and TVs off to avoid the saturation bombing of political ads. In the meantime, it's Fall in New Mexico, and when you get a nice, windless Saturday like this one was perfect for burning weeds. I get inspired to get out the old weed-burner: a metal wand attached by a hose to a portable propane tank. With this little flamethrower, I can incinerate a tumbleweed, even if it's still a bit green, without getting all scratched up. And burning the damn things makes sure their seeds don't spread. It seems everyone else had the same idea and the propane place down the street was a madhouse, and everywhere I looked, this afternoon, it seemed like someone was burning something.