Thursday, October 20, 2005

Happy 100th Post; Pho PhAQs

Between attending a blogger meetup and reaching the 100th post milestone, I've been thinking a lot about what goes on here. I've decided to post a few posts blogging about the blog. The first lays out some information about me and the blog with a Frequently Asked Questions list.

Why "Pho?" Pho is a college nickname. I had been using it on other blogs, discussion groups and so forth for about a year before I started blogging. I decided to blog under a pseudonym, so it fit.

Why a pseudonym? I am active as a volunteer in a number of groups. In some I am to the left of the prevailing political view, in some I am to the right (well, more in the center) and some are studiously apolitical. I was concerned that someone finding a blog under my name might take my opinions as those of a group I belong to. Speaking through an alter ego sends a signal that these opinions are mine alone, not those of any organization I belong to.

Wasn’t this once “Pho’s Norka Pages?” Well yeah, bit of silliness that. “Norka” is Akron spelled backwards. Something of an in joke among Akron hipsters. It was also an homage of sort to a good but unfortunately short-lived Akron portal of a few years ago. Trouble was, it hid the blog from people scrying the ‘net for things Akron. I changed it, but Norka lives on in the URL.

What exactly do you do? Mostly I take care of the kids and the house. We have two daughters – Kid Z is eight. She is, by the way, responsible for the portrait you see up top. Kid T is four. Kid Z is biological; Kid T we adopted from Vietnam when she was one. The "Pho" nickname also appealed to me as a sideways reference to her (pho famously being a Vietnamese noodle dish.) Professor W, my wife, teaches at the University. We all live in a c. 1920 home in West Akron which constantly provides challenging new projects.

What is it like being a stay-at-home dad? Mind-numbing more than anything else. When you inevitably hear the Wiggles’ “Fruit Salad” echo though your brain every time you walk though a produce section, you know something has to give. Me, I took up blogging.

What is your blogging philosophy? My main topics are public policy, law and politics. I try to stay as local as possible. First, I hit Akron political news whenever it presents itself. Second, I try to do gap-filling on NEO or Ohio stories if I see either some information I can add to the conversation or a take no one else has posted. Finally I occasionally go off-topic and hit a national story, if I feel strongly about it.

What is your political orientation? I am liberal, but not reliably so. I am more moderate on some issues, especially on economic policy. I am liberal on most so-called social issues, but pretty moderate on abortion. On foreign policy I am actually somewhat hawkish, at least by liberal metrics.

Can we expect more cheesy wordplay based on the “ph” in your screenname? Abso-phreaking-lutely.


Anonymous said...

We all live in a c. 1920 home in West Akron which constantly provides challenging new projects.

Ugh... I feel your pain. Our house c. 1929 always needs something too! Hey how's your water tasting? I thought it was pretty gross this past week but they said it was safe... oh well..

Scott Piepho said...

We run our kitchen drinking water through a filter -- highly recommended. So it tastes OK. I did have to down some medicine in the middle of the night with water straight out of the tap and dimly recall grossness.

Hi, I'm Susie. said...

Hello Pho!
I am a student at the University and a writer for the newspaper. I will be covering the Sherrod Brown bit and I hope to see you there (whether truly meeting or not, doesn't matter). Your blog inspired me to create a blog, although I've done this before and keeping up with these blogs has been a task daunted and unfinished. However, I love this city of Akron and I want to know more about it, perhaps participating in it one day. However, I feel I don't know enough about the politics of the city, and maybe you can help me. If not, that's okay. I hope to know more by reading. Have a great day!

Scott Piepho said...

Thanks for writing. I hope to meet you tonight; folks have said they recognize me from the picture my daughter drew. And I'll be banging on my laptop during the event.

I'm happy to share with you what I know, although it's less than you might think. When you are ready for some pub for the new blog, send me a URL and I will blogroll it. If you want to fly under the radar for a bit, I understand -- I did the same until BFD discovered me.

Anonymous said...

You know, you can test someone to see if they have small children by going up to them and saying "fruit salad." If they respond "yummy, yummy" you know you both need to get real lives.

UnixGuy said...

As to the water, get a reverse osmosis filtration system put in the house. It'll be worth it's weight in gold.

As for your politics, the future is matter what anyone tells you. The vast majority of the top one hundred counties nationwide for population growth are either centrist or center-right (yes...even in California) with very few of them being center-left or liberal.

Did you know that in the 2010 census, the population of North Carolina will exceed the population of New Jersey? Did you also know that New York is projected to lose as many as three Electoral votes at that time? Do you know where those votes are going? of the reddest states there is.

Texas is also projected to gain as many as three Electoral votes in the next census, with Ohio/Pennsylvania losing one or two each. I spent eight years in Dallas and I can tell you that TxDOT can't build the freeways fast enough...gorgeous, long and wide, brand new concrete freeways across the entire state. They're expecting growth - which will probably be fed by more Rust Belt relocations.

Did you know that after 2010, Dubya could have been elected without carrying Ohio? That's serious.

UnixGuy said...

Pho, I know you're young but you have to understand what libs in Ohio are facing. It's been almost fifteen years since a Democrat held statewide office there. Ohio isn't the most progressive place in the world...almost to the point where many companies leave because the stuffiness and lax of cultural flexibility lead to an inability to recruit decent talent for technical employment.

As to the question of Sherrod Brown...Jesus, can't you do any better than THIS? Just how the hell do you expect a guy that's as liberal as Sherrod Brown to win over voters in central and SW Ohio? DeWine will consume him like a rare steak. Yes, Brown has a loyal following in his present district...but so did Donald Pease, who was one of the most liberal members of the US House during the era in which he served.

How do you beat Mike DeWine, a moderate Republican, with a very liberal Democrat in his first attempt at running for the US Senate from Ohio...when almost no one EVER wins a Senate seat from Ohio on the first try?

Please explain that to me. I'll listen.

What makes Sherrod Brown better than Joel Hyatt (beaten by DeWine on his first try), Voinovich (beaten by Metzenbaum on his first try), or even Metzenbaum himself who got beat by Taft in 1970? Yes...John Glenn beat Ralph Perk in his first time out - but think of the name recognition it took to do that and no one has done it since!

Are you telling me that Sherrod Brown is John Glenn? If you are, we need to increase your meds.

Joel Hyatt, with all his money AND with his connections AND the support of his father-in-law STILL could not win that seat! He finally got sick of Ohio and is now teaching at Stanford business school, which is about seven hours drive from here. If he has any brains at all, he'll stay there.

It's been my experience that liberals have a habit of bringing knives to gunfights. There's a weakness and lack of focus and street smarts about many of them...and that's why they get mowed down all the time. Glenn didn't have it because the Marine Corps beat it out of him, but Brown is a traditional liberal...and he'll get his ass beat sure as I'm sitting here in this chair.

UnixGuy said...

Pho, what you guys need is a candidate for the US Senate that looks like this:

Casey will win that seat...and will vote with the Republicans about fifty percent of the time. He's pro-life, pro-death penalty and supported the nomination of Alito because of his religious background and judicial temperament.

THAT is the future of the Democratic party, my friend. The party has to find a way to regain some of those southern electoral votes...and this one of the many steps in getting there.

Read it.

MHB said...

Just curious, what does "moderate on abortion" mean?

Anonymous said...


Pho doesn't just mean noodle dish in vietnamese. In vietnamese it really depends upon diacritical marks. But Pho is also a male's name. I knew a man who was from vietnam and was named Phô.

His particular name means "city" and appears in the current name for Saigon (Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh).

--in central ohio

Anonymous said...

To unixguy,

When I moved from california to ohio three years ago, I was glad to be in a more electorally competitive state, both nationally and statewide. It pissed me off to no end that two democrat Jewish Ladies from the Bay Area represent such a diverse state as California. No hispanic? No Asian? Noone from So. cal or an Inland area? And one of those is arguably among the most liberal members of the Senate.

Both California and Ohio tried to change redistricting, but believe me, it was more of a mistake that it was voted down in CA than OH. Believe it or not, even after the disaster of the Special Election, Schwarzenegger is trying again at the redistricting issue in _an election year_.

--in central ohio

beyesn said...

Pho -

Considering the last time I saw you, you were about 20 yrs old, your daughter's rendering is quite good and helps me imagine your current visage! Nice blog,


Anonymous said...

Hey Russ, I think you left your dildo at Mike Curry's meth lab last night. Swing by the Board of Elections and pick it up from Mrs. Balthis.

11:47 AM
Anonymous said...
nice pic of u Rusty... seems u can keep your mouth open for quite some time. Keep up the fantastic work!