I’m biting my nails – aren’t you?

I’m biting my nails – aren’t you?

Remember when people dressed up to go to the polls? And took their children to impress on them the privilege of voting? Christopher Buckley noted, in a recent interview, that he cast his first vote when he was 8, on his father’s lap. Hidden within the voting booth, and presumably at his father’s direction, he pressed the button to elect (drum-roll) Richard Nixon – without any understanding of the issues, the candidates, and what the outcome might mean for the country.

We hope our readers come to the polls better informed than the 8-year-old Buckley (although bringing the kinder is kinda nice). We certainly have given them a lot of information during this election season – solid information, unlike the questionable stuff circulated on the Internet.

A lot’s been wondered about the influence of the Internet, but we’re happy to report that – as of Monday, anyway – participants in our poll have overwhelmingly cited “the issues” as having the most influence on their votes for president.

Upon reflection, we should have added more factors: personalities, for instance, of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates – what appeals to some voters may repel others; fear – many kinds of fear are surely a factor in this election, including for Israel and of one particular candidate or another; and looking at the larger picture – beyond 2008, and beyond our own borders.

Dear readers, this may be the most important election of all our lifetimes. Take a deep breath and go out tomorrow and vote.

Meanwhile, it’s rare to come across an obit that makes you laugh – or at least smile. A case in point is today’s New York Times obituary of Moshe Cotel, a rabbi and composer.

The entire obit, outlining Cotel’s Jewish journey from Morris to Moshe, is worth reading (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/03/arts/music/03cotel.html?scp=1&sq=Cotel&st=cse), and the last few paragraphs are delightful:

“Professor/Rabbi Cotel is said to have inspired hundreds of aspiring composers – and one cat.

“In 1996, while he was at his piano playing Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier,’ his 3-year-old cat, Ketzel, pounced on the keyboard. The professor grabbed a pencil and inscribed a descending paw pattern from treble to bass. A year later, he entered the score – if one can call it that – in the Paris New Music Review’s One-Minute Competition, open to pieces of no more than 60 seconds.

“The judges gave Ketzel an honorable mention.”

For those not in the know, “Ketzel” is Yiddish for “little cat.”