Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Voting (Suffragium)

I've experienced a political confluence since some of the bloggers from the UK wrote about the recent election, and this past weekend, two friends of mine ran for local political office to keep their seats as city council members.
My friends both won, partly because of my considerable influence in the local political landscape and also because they ran unopposed. For the UK readers, I had nothing to do with David Cameron's win.

After thousands of years voting has not changed all that much, computerized touchscreen voting booths with smartcard ballots were used this past weekend. It's written in ancient sources that ancient Greeks used a large show of hands to vote and that an estimator (who I'm certain was impartial in every vote) tallied it all up.

Romans were fond of giving everyone black and white pebbles so the voter could drop the color representing their choice into a voting pot. I wonder if when exiting the polling place (comitia), there were laws about not checking the pockets of voters? A candidate's thugs might have threatened to beat the tar out of people who still had the 'wrong' stone in their possession.

But luckily, the pot and stoner voting (smoothly increasing hits, oops there's another one) was usually used to pass or repeal laws instead of candidate selection. Leges Tabellariae moved the ancients away from pebbles and into paper or lead tablets for the votes, at which time the ancient Romans sneered at the slightly more ancient Romans and called them animals.

To change topics completely, has anyone ever had a sunburn so painful, it feels like you are floating down a 'lazy river' of fire on your back? Or maybe two hundred midgets are putting out their cigarettes on your back simultaneously?

I was out working on stone this weekend and forgot to wear a shirt, or sunscreen. And I'm paying for it now, still, dearly. Normally I notice the sun starting to affect me, but the cool wind kept me unaware that outside was actually a convection oven.


  1. "omputerized touchscreen voting booths with smartcard ballots"

    Not in my constituency they weren't!

  2. I think we should go back to the stones. We obviously can't handle computerized voting.

    Sorry about your sunburn. Sounds seriously painful. Soak in the tub with epsom salt and then slather on the aloe.

  3. I know it is every citizen's duty to be involved in the political process, but sometimes I feel like burying my head in the sand. I hate seeing so many people I like on opposite sides of the political spectrum always arguing and fighting over issues. Maybe we just need aliens to attack earth so we can all be unified for a change. Thanks for the history on voting.

  4. When I was in the Keys a couple weeks back, I burned my feet silly.

    Top and bottom.

    I do NOT recommend it.

  5. Oh no, poor sunburnt Eric!!! Are you amusingly two-toned?

  6. I've not had a sunburn like that on my back, but I have burnt my legs so badly it was painful to bend my knees and try to walk...

    I wonder if they rinsed the white stones with urine first, to get them extra white.

  7. I remember reading somewhere about the use of stones for voting in Rome.

    I consider myself political, but I'm appalled and disgusted with lack of choices. Burying my head in the sand isn't the answer, but I don't know what is anymore. In the wise words of Parker and Stone: It's a choice between a douche and a turd.

    Don't burn your back again, plebian.

  8. Your sunburn sounds dreadfully sucky. I have been sunburned badly, but I am not sure if I have been sunburned THAT badly.

  9. Have you been hitting the pipe, Eric dear?

    I get a sunburn like that EVERY year. Because I'm a retard.

    I feel your pain. :(

  10. Gotta love those Romans! I think the UK should reintroduce the whole black/white stone voting system ... it couldn't be any less reliable or shoddy than our current one (hundreds of people were denied their right to vote because some polling stations ran out of ballot papers!)

    *looks at her pastey, pale body* I'm actually a little bit jealous that it's hot enough there to get a sun burn! :( I think they're still getting snowfall in some parts of Scotland.

    When I finally get adopted, I hope it's by somebody in a warm, sunny climate :)

  11. I used to get a sunburn like that on my shoulders and nose every year from the mid-60s to the late 70s (when I repaired to college, and no longer went to a beach) - used a lot of Caladryl (still around, so that is what I recommend, along with aloe vera whatever) - didn't use any lotion or sunblock, though am easily burnt - though I seem not to have learned anything from year to year.

    Hope you're feeling better, it is no fun, I know.

  12. i've had so many sunburns in my life... the best remedy is the sweet release of death. my deepest condolences.

  13. Last time i was sunburnt was on my back which made sleeping really awkward. Aftersun lotion felt amazing though.


  14. Mo,
    I hear that we are going to a virtual reality holographic interface next year.

    Sunburn is finally better, it took an entire week. I think I peeled three layers of skin at one time, just call me 'Onion'.

    Yes, the common enemy gambit... It would unify everyone.

    The 'Bottom' of your feet, wait a minute, how did that happen?

    There was nothing amusing about it. I really thought that death was a possible outcome because the pain was so intense.

    I hear that tea is good on sunburns, of course I was in such an addled state of mind I didn't brew any. Next time, I'll also try urine.

    You've gots to get involved in the primaries then so the choices are better. Usually the D & T choices are at the top of the 'Politician Pyramid'.

    Luckily it wasn't all over, but what was burnt was bad.

    No not me. I'm not sure anyone can feel pain like this. Have you had your burn this year yet? Don't.

    Girl Interrupted,
    I hate it when you are in the middle of something and then run out of paper.
    Well I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world. If not, there's always Texas.

    Aloe is my friend now. Finally, the hurting and peeling is done.

    Yes, two days into it I thought death was a 50/50 proposition.

    Aw, nothing grabs your attention like waking up suddenly with white-hot pain all over your back.
    I never want to repeat this again. Hey, that sounds like what I say if I drink too much at a party.