pumpkin pie update: unequivocal success - i've since baked another and three miniatures. if i can learn to make my own crust (thus far i've been cheating with keebler's cheap and ready-made graham cracker variety) we might have a new skill on our hands.

mannequin update: judd and sarah brought over a bleeds-when-it-burns severed finger candle that will rest nicely on the lower torso stump. i hope to have a thoroughly gross body part sculpture by halloween.

debate update: chris's print media rundown surveys result coverage in swing state papers. i read lead stories in the new york times, the new york daily news, the chicago sun-times, the new york post and usa today: the last two gave kerry an edge, while everyone else called a draw. my personal bias prompted me to give up on neutral analysis a long time ago, but i'm encouraged by reports that kerry had an eensy-weensy effect on some undecided focus groups. i wish he'd mentioned that china actually wants us to hold bilateral talks with north korea - bush's refrain about how that would dissolve extant negotiation plans chapped my hide. then again, how many undecideds will bother to look past iraq and afghanistan when considering foreign policy? a medianstrip commenter wanted him to look straight at the camera and say I WON'T SEND YOU OFF TO DIE TO MAKE MY FRIENDS RICH, and that would have pleased me as well.

i think kerry did what he could without sounding mean or disengaged, and that's the most we could have expected. i've vacillated between thinking he had a fighting chance and thinking he'd get slaughtered; neither hope nor despondency seems particularly useful at this point. hunt down and brainwash some swing voters if you can, friends; wear a feisty shirt if you can't; practice crossing fingers and toes.

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