Observations from the NC State Fair Part I: Fried Dough

David and I hit the NC State Fair today.  Interestingly, the fair is thriving while the NY Times recently ran a story that a number of state fairs around the country are in serious trouble.  The reason I am writing this post, though: elephant ears.  I was first introduced to elephant ears at my first NC State Fair when I was an undergrad at Duke many years ago.  Yes, funnel cakes are good, but they cannot compete with a good elephant ear.  Yet, at the fair, funnel cakes outnumber elephant ears probably 8 to 1.  Why?  Why, throughout the entertainment world, are funnel cakes so much more readily available when elephant ears are clearly a superior product?  Sadly, many people I know who love funnel cakes have never even heard of elephant ears.  If this is you, now you have.  Look for them at future fair-going experiences and you can thank me when you finally experience the ultimate form of fried dough.  

Are Democrats better looking?

That's an interesting empirical question I have not seen addressed, but at least this year, it seems that Democratic political candidates are better looking.  The Post had a story on the topic this past weekend.  Here's the heart of the story:

The research is unambiguous that Ferrin is right: Attractive
politicians have an edge over not-so-attractive ones. The phenomenon is
resonating especially this year. By a combination of luck and design,
Democrats seem to be fielding an uncommonly high number of uncommonly
good-looking candidates.

The beauty gap between the parties, some
on Capitol Hill muse, could even be a factor in who controls Congress
after Election Day.

Democratic operatives do not publicly say
that they went out of their way this year to recruit candidates with a
high hotness quotient. Privately, however, they acknowledge that, as
they focused on finding the most dynamic politicians to challenge
vulnerable Republicans, it did not escape their notice that some of the
most attractive prospects were indeed often quite attractive.

When it comes to ordinary folks, though, Republicans probably are better looking.  They can better afford health care and they can better afford plastic surgery.  Plus, Jesus loves them more.

Campaign websites

I thought this post on the worst Congressional campaign websites was particularly interesting, as I have just recently finished grading student papers that were largely based on their analyses of a variety of campaign websites.  Apparently, the winner is Wally Herger, still under construction:

The runner-up is NC's own Virginia Foxx, who apparently is too cheap to pony up the $34 for the software used to design her site.  And, if any of my students are reading this, let me know if you came across anything worse.

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