Saturday, August 17, 2019

Presidential Primary Season at the Iowa State Fair

There was no time to lose. High off corn fumes from the Illinois State Fair last night, we drove to Des Moines, Iowa for another hit at the Iowa State Fair. I like state fairs a lot because while they are fun in their own right, they are also sort of a distillation of a state's culture. The fact that Illinois' has a Godzilla-sized statue of Lincoln gives you a little hint that he is an important figure in our state, for example.

I was still tired from singing with Snoop all night, so Lydia helped out with some driving while I recuperated.

While the Iowa State Fair had been on my radar as a possible destination for years, I had been lying in wait to go during a presidential election cycle so I could see some of the political hubbub. Iowa is obviously an important part of the American political system due to being the first primary election in the nation, and so politicians spend a large amount of time schmoozing the electorate here. I feel like this was a bit of Americana that I did not want to miss. 

Amusingly since we were here on the 17th all of the heavy hitters had already given their Des Moines Register Political Soapbox speeches. While Seth Moulton was kind of a third string, no-chance sort of candidate, I thought that maybe even made the experience better. I had no opinion on Moulton either way, so he had a chance to mold my thoughts about him here today based solely on his speech. After chatting with some of the news guys present I learned that the top tier candidates drew giant crowds and news presence to the point it may have ruined the experience. An unknown guy talking to 20 people in the hot Iowa sun was just the experience I was here for.

When the speech was over I asked a nearby photographer how he thought that Seth did. He was not impressed: "Seth was sweating like a dog and had a pimple on his nose." It was hot as hell so I couldn't see faulting him for having a body that was attempting to avoid heat stroke.

With business taken care of, I was free to move on to pleasure. There were so many things to see!

There was a very Iowan "cast your kernel" thing where you voted for your favorite candidate with a corn kernel in a mason jar.

I was impressed that they their own ski lift thing set up like we do in Illinois. In real America its called the Sky Ride. Here they call it the Sky Glider. The culture shock!!

They were handing out free hard boiled eggs on a popsicle stick. So... I ate them? I saw some kids licking them which sort of made me want to vomit. Uneggceptable!

Illinois has a butter cow but Iowa had a whole friggin butter menagerie. There was an entire butter Sesame Street cast in there that I wanted to rub some toast on.

Amazingly we bumped into our friend Cory. He lives in St. Louis but apparently he's from Iowa. I did not know that. It's scary to think that there are Iowans amongst us. We should develop some sort of test.

We had a funnel cake on a stick and then proceeded to take unflattering pictures of each other eating it. Unflattering pictures are the best.

There was some weight lifting going on on stage.

My hunger had not yet been egghausted. We popped over to the Cluck'n Coop to pick up some deep fried deviled eggs.

I think I was confused at first bite, but the egg itself was just a deep fried hard boiled egg. The dipping sauce was where the deviled magic entered the equation. It was really good.

I was excited to try some craft beers I'd read were made to taste like corn-dogs or funnel cake. Of course by the time I got to the place they were sold out of all of the good stuff. I said some cuss words and I'm not sorry about it at all.

I'd very much like to hear the story behind this rule. I have to assume their were drunken goats involved.

I don't know why Lydia dresses like this. Shameful.

Since we were in the capital... why not also be in the capitol?

Domes are really the only acceptable places to make laws. I'm looking at you, Louisiana.

We weren't done with politics yet. We had a town hall on the agenda which was located at a little brewery. Awesome. We took an Uber there and walked inside. It was the wrong place. How this was even possible I do not know. I heard the receptionist telling something similar to another guy. So... I followed the guy outside and asked if we could bum a ride to the correct venue, since we were going to the same place. This was definitely a good time to have Lydia with me, as I think she must give me an air of "I won't murder you in your car". Our new driver was an interesting character. He was an Associated Press photographer and had all kinds of knowledge about the whole political scene.

There he is on the left. I was particularly sensitive about my terrible pictures in the presence of a professional. The first thing you need to know about Joe Sestak, presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania congressman and three-star Navy admiral, is that he likes to stand in front of bright sunny windows while standing in dark rooms, making him impossible to take a damn picture of.

Joe had some cool stories about the military, but I was not inclined to vote for him afterwards. I think he and Seth earlier were both too militaristic for my taste. I think Joe wanted to bring back a universal draft or something which is really unthinkable for me.

One of the audience questions was from a woman who had been sexually assaulted in the military and wanted reforms on how that is dealt with within the military's legal system. Joe and she disagreed, which was super, super awkward.

For dinner we hit Zombie Burger because it sounded awesome.

I think I got the Walking Ched, which was "breaded + deep fried macaroni + cheese bun, bacon, Cheddar cheese, caramelized + red onion, mac + cheese, mayo". It was a beautiful mess and I would never ever order it again.

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