Stuff that's accumulated in my mailbox and which I decided to hang onto for its collective mind boggling potential (one needs to boggle one's mind every now and then) ... these are all excerpts from longer pieces over the past couple of weeks or so:

Judith Rich in the Huffington Post (eh?):

Palin looks to me like the patriarchy in a skirt, a Helen of Troy.

Robert Griffard in News By Us:

On the House Floor, Steve Cohen, the self-righteous democratic representative from the state of Tennessee said that “… Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus…” and “Pontius Pilot was a governor.”

John Armor at Canyon News:

Remember the PBS series special on the Roman Emperor Claudius? The title, which captured the style of his governance, was “I, Claudius.” It was a 13-part series on Masterpiece Theater. How many of you saw it? Let’s not always see the same hands.

Well, almost all of you remember some of the history of the Roman emperors. They ranged from mad and murderous, like Nero, to rational and effective, like Augustus. Hold that thought, and we’ll get to today’s subject.

A good friend, Duncan Parham, is a man of eclectic interests. One of those is rare coins. Last weekend he showed me a catalog of a major New York dealer, which had coins going back to the Ptolemaic regimes in Egypt and the Eutruscans in Italy.

What particularly interested me were the Roman emperor coins. They had coins depicting each emperor, many at reasonable prices.

Those coins had a common appearance, which you probably recall from memory. On the obverse of each coin was a silhouette of the leader in question, with an olive branch wreath. Both aspects had meaning.

The emperor was not in the business of looking at his subjects, nor were the subjects encouraged to look into his eyes. Hence, the profile image in which the emperor could be admired from a distance.

The olive wreath has several meanings. One denotes peace. Another comes from the ancient Olympics, in which the winners were crowned with such wreaths to show the respect they had just earned from the people. Peace and respect of the people were symbols that Roman emperors might want, though the truth is that all of them gained power either by murdering their competitors, winning a war, or being descendants of ones who murdered or fought their way into power.

Now, think about a personal quirk of a presidential candidate, a quirk you have all seen dozens of times. When Barack Obama gives a speech, he seldom looks squarely at the audience, either the live one or the TV one. With each of his ringing phrases, he looks first to the left, later to the right, showing just his profile to the audience.

Imagine an olive wreath on his brow, the way he would appear on a coin, sometime after he became president, if that ever occurs. Nothing like thinking ahead, now is there?

But, there is more to it than just that. Obama does not present a complete profile, he offers a three-quarters profile with his chin up, gazing into the middle distance. You have seen that pose before, also.

Deena Stryker in OpEd News (under the headline "Palin's Roman Circus"):

Where Roman Emperors delivered soaring rhetoric to old men in togas, Sarah Palin has mastered the soundbite for a People's Senate, from the tribute to victory, to the claim that there's nothing patriotic about paying taxes.

Don't think this made it to the US Press ... from ANA:

In keeping with the ancient legacy of the host country and to the unabashed joy of local Obama campaign organisers, the hottest item on sale at the campaign stand was none other than the "Baracko": gold-, silver- and copper-plated commemorative coins sporting a likeness of Barack Obama as … Hercules, complete with a lion's skin.

Located almost midway between two icons of Hellenic heritage, Greece's 19th century neo-classical Parliament building and the quintessence of "classical", the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, the touristy eatery on this evening was packed mostly with whooping and cheering Obama-Biden supporters instead of the usual assortment of out-of-town visitors.

In crediting the paternity of the "baracko", local Democrats Abroad vice-chairwoman and Obama in Greece campaign head Yvette Jarvis -- herself one of the most recognizable American ex-pats in Greece for more than two decades -- says her friend Ann Papazoglou initially came up with the fundraising idea by comparing the Democratic candidate's campaign for the White House with mythical Hercules' epic "Twelve Labours".

By contrast ... up here in the Great White North we are also going through the pains of an election campaign (although ours is a more sensible 30 or so days, rather than a couple of years), the closest thing we get to ClassCon in connection with voting has to do with a contest for the new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada (from the Globe and Mail):

'A change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard to all our fortunes," writes Plato in The Republic. It would be hard to find a better summation of the anger and disbelief that still roils fans of the CBC's abandoned Hockey Night in Canada theme music.