As a former resident of the Washington, D.C.,
area I did the commute thing — for four years.
It took me about 45 minutes to get to work,
and at least 45 minutes to get home.
Now, I can get from Rolling Hills here in Carroll
to the Daily Times Herald in less than five
minutes. I call it a “one-song commute” because
very often the song playing on the radio as
I pull out of the driveway is still playing
as I park at work.
That means I have about 80 minutes more each
day — or 400 minutes more a week — or 1,600
minutes more a month or 20,000 more minutes
That’s 333 hours each year that I get back by
living in a place where I don’t have to commute.
That’s eight weeks of work at 40 hours per week.
That’s astounding. Why aren’t more employers
locating their offices here? Computers and phones
work as well in Iowa as they do in New York
Our recruiting motto could be: “Move to rural
Iowa: We give you eight more weeks of work.”
There are advantages in one’s personal life
Since I’m not commuting, I can watch 166 more
movies each year.
I can read a lot more books.
Let’s see, if I read at the very reasonable
pace of 30 pages per hour, I can read 20 500-page
books in a year instead of sitting in traffic.
Those would be good books.
Throw in some paperback fiction and that increases
Think about how smart your kids would be if
you had an extra 80 minutes to read to them
and talk to them each and every day of the week.
What about exercise?
Instead of spending that time inching along
in traffic or standing next to someone with
a bad cough on the subway like they do in the
cities, I can run six miles a day at the leisurely
pace of 11 minutes a mile — and then have 14
minutes to do some sit-ups and pull-ups.
And who says that all this time has to be spent
efficiently and wisely?
Some people could look at that 80 minutes a
day as an opportunity to watch more basketball
and football on television or eat more pizza
or drink more beer.
I couldn’t understand any of that, though.
• • •
Top Iowa Republicans tell Political Mercury
they think U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is
the likely selection as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential
running mate. For the past two years, Political
Mercury has speculated that U.S. Sen. Marco
Rubio, R-Fla., should be considered the favorite.
Rubio is in the running, and with Romney trailing
the president 61 percent to 27 percent among
Hispanic voters nationally, the path for Rubio
is clear. But Portman appears the steadier hand
— and is less likely to show up Romney with
glitz or distract with gaffe.
Portman, in addition to serving in the House
and Senate, was White House associate counsel
and director of the Office of Legislative Affairs
in the first Bush administration. Under President
George W. Bush, Portman served as U.S. trade
representative and director of the Office of
Management and Budget.
The British oddsmaker Ladbrokes on Monday had
Portman leading the pack of prospective GOP
VP selections at 9 to 4. Former Minnesota Gov.
Tim Pawlenty followed at 3 to 1. Rubio stood
at 5 to 1. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came
in at 16 to 1. Others: Wisconsin Congressman
Paul Ryan, 8 to 1; and U.S. Sen. John Thune,
R-S.D., 16 to 1.
In the national general election, President
Obama remains the favorite with Ladbrokes at
8 to 13. Romney is 5 to 4.
Ladbrokes also posts state-by-state odds. The
bookmaker has Iowa leaning for Obama in the
general election at odds of 4 to 7. The GOP
candidate (presumed to be Romney) has odds of
5 to 4 of winning Iowa in the general election.
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa
newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily
Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.