St. Cloud

I am motivating teachers again tomorrow, this time in St. Cloud. It was a nice drive down on Highway 10. I don't believe I have ever stayed in St. Cloud before.

Downtown St. Cloud is active. I was pleasantly surprised to find a Sawatdee Thai restaurant. Surprised, until I got inside and realized I had been there sometime before.

Sawatdee has restaurants in Minneapolis as well. I always order Thai catfish. It was plenty good. Thai food is more vivid, both in color and taste, than the Chinese food we get up here.

So, I am in a hotel room surfing both the web and the cable channels at the same time. The World Series is on. I find myself pulling for the Tigers.

Highway 10 was lined with campaign signs. I must have passed through three Congressional districts if the signs are any indicator. In St. Cloud, Pete is running for sheriff. The signs say: "Vote Pete!"

I question the value of campaign signs. They are less offensive than political ads on television, but more ugly. Are they really necessary?

James Madison once referred to "the black arts by which elections are won." Black arts, indeed. Things haven't gotten any better. They also haven't gotten much worse, if they have at all.

We just went over the election of 1828 in history class. John Quincy Adams lost to Andrew Jackson. Adams' supporters charged Jackson with adultery, murder and all manner of other misdeeds. Jackson supporters suggested that "strange perversions" were occuring late at night in the Adams White House. Plus, Adams was accused of playing billiards, an upper class diversion. On that count he was guilty. As for the strange perversions, Adams was too much of a prude to be that colorful.

Jackson won. At his inauguration, 10,000 people showed up. They got so drunk and rowdy at the White House reception that the new president had to escape through a window. The carpets were destroyed. The mob left only when somebody had the brains to move the whiskey punch out onto the White House lawn.

Jackson, like Teddy Roosevelt decades later, let children have the run of the White House to the extent that it was sometimes difficult to carry on official conversations. No word if there were goats in the hallways, as there were during Roosevelt's administration.