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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

For review on December 31, 2013...and hopefully daily between now and then

Hear me now, believe me later. I already have two New Years Resolutions:

1 - Write in this blog more often...I'll say 2-4 times a week is an innocent, though easily reachable goal.

2 - The more important one: To be more patient with people when they annoy me for reasons they have little to do with.

As I get older, I find myself more and more in the category that can be described as one who doesn't suffer fools gladly. In some respects, I admire folks like that - people who aren't willing to put up with idiots, or who are lazy or just aren't thinking clearly. The reason I admire those who don't encourage such people in their lives, is that I think there is good justification for it.

But that said, I don't think that represents the highest Me. I want to be better than that, especially when many of the people I am subjecting to this lack of patience are those who I most love and admire, though those two words don't both describe each person I'm specifically thinking of.

Besides, it's best I suffer fools more gladly, lest others suffer me less so for being the bigger fool by example.

And I wouldn't blame 'em a bit.

If I remember correctly, and I'll be looking it up in the next few days, one of my resolutions from last year was to try to leave work earlier, so now I am going to post this without further delay!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Since 1944, we've only raised taxes on the rich twice—in 1992 and 1994. The result? 23 million new jobs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why are the hardest battles to win not the ones we have with others, but the ones we have with ourselves?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Check new polls and keep the old, but some are from Nate Silver and others are Jamie's Gold

The heck with Nate Silver. I think my poll was the most accurate of all. 28 of the 36 voters on my blog said they not only wanted President Obama to win, but they predicted he would win.

Only one person said they wanted Obama to win, but didn't think he would, and I have a feeling that may have been me after the first debate. :-)

Once again, I am so out of step with majority opinion

Among my many thoughts about the recent election, all of which I wish I had written here as I thought of them, was this:

I think that TV political ads have come to be like political yard signs. When there are as many as we've seen in the past 6 months, they all blend together and only have an impact if the other side doesn't keep up.

I may be the only one, but I don't mind the political ads because I don't watch ads anyway. In fact,I wish there were more of them. I figure most of the funding for them comes from billionaires and corporations anyway, so it's a redistribution of their wealth to the media, who of course have such a left-wing bias, it helps the good guys promote the correct agenda anyway.

On the other hand, taking the low road, it has been found, will in fact get you to Scotland before me.

One will never truly lose an argument in which one takes the high road.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I mean, not me, but some guys!

It struck me while Cheryl and I spent a few hours cutting up and stacking a very large pile of wood on Saturday:

Funny how the older a man gets, the faster some body parts stiffen up compared to other things that take longer than they used to.

I'm sure there's another apropos observation relative to the size of one's wood...pile, but I'll think about that another time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

All I want is this one thing, and nothing else! Well, and this paddle game! I need that!

When I was around 12 years old, give or take a bunch of years, but since Trev is 12, I'll go with that, my Mom told me she only had one request for me that she wanted me to keep to, the rest of my life.

And that request was that I never ride a motorcycle. And so far, with the exception of one time when my neighbor friend Stuart Quillman took me out for a spin through the fields along Black Horse Road, which may have happened before, or possibly to inspire, Mom's request, I've kept to her request.

Over careful consideration and much discerning over the past weeks or maybe even even longer, I think I have one request for both my kids, and Trev in particular, given the predilections of other teens I've seen, and that is to not get high any more than once a week at the very, very most.

From what I've seen in other teenage (and older) males I very much care about, it has hurt them in so many ways, almost to the point of keeping them from being productive members of society, and I don't just mean in the capitalist sense. I also mean in terms of relationships with family and starting a family. And it just rips me up inside. They are such amazing kids, on so many levels, but there is one thing I can see (though conceivably there are others) that has held them back, and that is their love of getting high, in any of a number of ways.

As for Emma, my main request is that she not marry, or get in a long term relationship with, a dolt. Set your standards high, Emma, as you already do for all of us lucky enough to be in your life!

I read recently a great quote: "Kids don't always listen, but they do always see." I just hope they're looking at the right people.

I love you, Trev and Emma!

Would you like a list?!

The criticism that hurts the most is the criticism that has some truth to it, especially if we hadn't previously observed it about ourselves on our own.

And, in my experience, it hurts even more when it is said in anger by friends or someone we love.

Wonder why I'm such an expert on this? Probably because my friends seem to have no qualms about telling me about my shortcomings!

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Why is this a big deal again? Because a Dem had it passed, that's why

OK, so imagine this scenario:

Imagine our current system of health care in this country was Obamacare and had been for many decades, where the government requires everyone to have health care, although 90% of the population is covered through their employer's plan, and if not, the government either picks up the tab, if you are a low wage-earner, or, if you make over a certain amount, you can instead pay a fine and then would have to be responsible for any costs you incur at a hospital or doctor in full. In other words, a plan whereby every is accountable for their own coverage, unless they are among the bottom rung of wage earners. And all preventative care is covered 100% and kids can be covered on their parents plan up to age 26, along with all the other benefits of Obamacare.

Now, a Democrat running for President suggests that we should abandon that entirely and says if you have insurance through your work fine, but otherwise, it's going to cost you ten thousand or so a year to get coverage, but if you don't want to do that, you can just go get free care at any hospital and the rest of us will pick up the tab for you. Oh, and kids are off their parents place after college or high school and you have to pay a deductible for preventative care.

Think that would go over well? I call that socialized health care, where the rest of us pay for people who don't think they need to have to pay or can't afford it.

On the other hand, when you look at it that way, it seems like the only difference between Obamacare and the current system in the big picture, not including the coverage up to age 26, and free preventative care, all of which is great, is that in one scenario, hospitals pick up the tab and in the other, the government does. And in the end, we all pay more as a result.

Friday, September 14, 2012

ID-ing a different angle on the new voter ID law

I think I've noticed something about the new Voter ID law that went through in PA this year, that no one else has noticed. I'm hesitant to post it on facebook or tell any official for purely partisan reasons and that is this:

It could turn out to have a bigger effect on Rs than Ds.

My reasoning is based on the power it will give the Judges of Election at any given precinct, where the JoEs will hear the voter's name called when they arrive, with either a D or R after their name. Then when they hear that there is a discrepancy with their ID, the JoE can then apparently decide whether to let the person vote or not, after hearing, or in most cases just knowing by sight, what party the voter belongs to.
At the risk of being labeled a racial profiler, even though this has nothing to do with that, I'm thinking of the two biggest cities in PA. With one million or so more Ds in the state than Rs, particularly in Philly and Pittsburgh, there may be more of a chance of abuse of this power. With the preponderance of Ds in Philly especially, where union passions among others seem most partisan and frankly, contested votes might be more subject to question and the Rs might be more likely to feel the brunt than in the suburbs.

But then one most look at the bigger picture. With Obama's lead growing in PA, and accepting that this whole issue may not affect that outcome, one then must look down ballot where it will only serve to accentuate the one-sided nature of the current incumbents. Where there are more Rs likely to be serving as JoEs, their candidates will be given an increased ability to win. From that perspective, it will make it all the more difficult for the Ds to win in Pennsyltucky/Alabama between and around Philly and Pittsburgh.

Just a thought. Regardless, it's a dumb freaking law as it is written in the short window of time it has to be put into practice, no matter who might be more affected...effected...impacted.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wait, wait...there's a National Center for Fathering?!

One of my goals as a dad is to never hear any of these negatives from Emma:

5 Things Your Daughter Wants from You

The National Center for Fathering has done research and found the top five things daughters want from their fathers:
1. Daughters longed to hear their fathers communicate love and encouragement. "The best thing my dad has ever done for me is let me know he loves me." "I wish my father would say, 'I love you.'" "When my dad encourages me, I feel like I can do anything."

2. Daughters wanted their fathers to take time to strengthen their relationship. "I wish my daddy wouldn't work so much and spend more time with me." "If I could add one thing to our relationship, I would add time."

3. Daughters asked their dads to communicate with them more and give them guidance. "If we talked more truthfully, we would have a better relationship." "I wish my dad would talk to me more and give me advice." "I need more input from my dad."

4. Daughters wanted their fathers to seek to understand them. "Sometimes I feel like my father has no idea what I'm going through." "I wish my father would try and understand me."

5. Daughters wanted their fathers to trust them more. "If I could add one thing to our relationship, I would add trust." "I wish my dad would trust me more."

Oddly, I would be thrilled if Liss or Ev wanted more: love, encouragement, time, advice, understanding. I really do try to give them as much of those things as they'll tolerate, though I doubt they would think that to be true, especially in Liss' scary teenage years. I think they are content more to just tolerate me in their lives, where it feels like I can only do more bad than good for them. Doesn't stop me from trying though. To do good, that is. And do better and better, knowing there is SO much room for improvement.

If you like to watch, this site's for you

As often seems to happen in journalism, this article waits until the final line to get to the bigger point, so I'll show it here before you go and read the story, which is about an older woman who started a web page where you can pay $5 to watch people having "normal" sex, which frankly, I have surprisingly little interest in doing, watching sex, that is, not doing it (and for the record, even less interest in watching people having abnormal sex!):

“The issue I’m tackling is not porn,” she said. “It’s the complete lack of open, healthy dialogue around porn and sex.”

Now here's the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/fashion/cindy-gallops-online-effort-to-promote-real-not-porn-fed-sex.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120909

I like to say that the answer to the huge majority of the letters to Dear Abby is one of two pieces of advice, only one of which Abby ever gives. The one she frequently correctly gives is to recommend counseling, usually marital counseling.

The answer she rarely gives but should in so many examples, almost daily, is to people who describe a bad interaction they had or are having or are frequently having with someone. My advice: Try just sitting down with the person and talking about it. It isn't easy, but it is usually for the best.

Same here with sex. She explains how so few of the younger men she "meets" (read: as sex with)  know how to have sex in any way except from what they've learned watching porn, and I'm sure there's some truth to that. I'd submit (so to speak) however that even more of what they are doing is just from what comes naturally (pun unintentionally intended), which is to mount, pound, explode and then return to watching the game.

It is no reflection on the poor young, inexperienced male that they don't know any better. (It may, however, be a reflection of bad, or a complete lack of, advice from the boy's dad, but that's a somewhat separate issue.) What is needed is just raw, somewhat uncomfortable, but extremely fulfilling conversation with one's partner(s) about what feels good, what works, what doesn't and what to try next time.

But of course, like every single example I've ever challenged myself with, sex is definitely easier said than done. On the contrary, in a similar comparison of saying vs doing, doing it is oh-so-much-easier than talking about it.

We need to go on the offense against the defense (budget)

There was a great article in the NY times the other day by a Journalism professor of all things, explaining how the Romney/Ryan budget will impact us:

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/edsall-the-ryan-sinkhole/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120910

People complain that Romney hasn't said enough about what his plan actually is, but this article is a big help, showing how he'll cut things like education, food and drug inspection, workplace safety, environmental protection and law enforcement.

But my favorite thing from this is a comment at the end of the article: "If the American Friends Service Committee is correct and I trust they are, all the combined military spending amounts to spending of $2.2 million a MINUTE and accounts for 60% of the 2013 discretionary budget. No other discretionary budget category is above 6% of the discretionary budget( Health & Human Services & Education 6% each; State 5%; Other programs 4.5%; Homeland Security 4%; Housing & Urban development 3%, Agriculture 2%; Justice, NASA and Energy, 1.5% each; Labor, Treasury, Interior, EPA, Transportation, 1% each)."

I'm not a big fan of those departments for the most part either, but each time I imagine someone going in and really streamlining them and cutting out all the waste, I think about what a relative pittance it is compared to the Defense budget. Ack!

I'll bet he's heard of Michelle Bachmann though

One minor anecdote from the recent convention: Cheryl and I were sitting at a bar the final night, eating dinner, watching MSNBC which was turned up loud enough on the 20 or so TVs that we could actually hear it over the hundred or so people is this amazing bar (Note to self: Find 10 Blocks South beer locally and drink more of it). Cheryl started up a conversation with a 20-something well-dressed black man at the table next to her, where he was sitting with a friend. They started talking politics and he mentioned how he'd like to get more involved in it when he has time. I joined in the conversation from time to time and at one point when John Lewis came on the screen we were all watching, I asked him if he knew who he is. He did not. I guess I would have been slightly surprised if he had known, but that's such a shame.

From Wikipedia: John Robert Lewis (born February 21, 1940) is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving since 1987 and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation. He was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement, playing a key role in the struggle to end segregation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Boop boop be doop

Yesterday I sent an email to a guy who writes a column called BoopStats for the Philadephia Daily News and specializes in surprising stats and today I came across this in the paper and on their website:

Don't Come Back, Shane

Phillies and Dodgers have both fared better without Shane Victorino this season.

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 2:58 AM

Sometimes there are numbers that we simply can't explain (but we're sure there are more than a few BoopStats readers that will be happy to explain it to us), and this is one of them.

We've always been a big Shane Victorino fan, but winning baseball just seems to have deserted him this year.

Consider that when the Phillies or Dodgers had him on their roster this season, they are a combined 63-78 (.447). Over the time Victorino was on the other team in 2012, those clubs are a combined 82-61 (.573).

In addition, loyal reader Jamie McVickar points out that the season-long numbers put up by Phillies current centerfielder John Mayberry Jr. are not too far off from the season-long numbers put up by Victorino.

A look at both of those things:


VICTORINO vs. MAYBERRY, 2012

GP Avg. OBA Slg. HR RBI Runs

Victorino 137 .257 .321 .382 10 51 62

Mayberry 130 .254 .306 .425 14 41 45

SHANE VICTORINO'S RECORD

With Victorino Without Victorino

Through July 29 Phillies 45-57 Dodgers 56-47

Since July 30 Dodgers 18-21 Phillies 26-14

Totals
63-78 (.447)
82-61 (.573)

Here's the original link to the story, where it looks much better than it does here:

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/Dont-Come-Back-Shane0912.html?jCount=2&#comments

Monday, September 10, 2012

One guarantee - this will become my most viewed post. SO proud.

One of the features of blogger.com is that they can tell you how many people visited your site, what countries they came from and what they wrote in any given search engine to find your site.

Here are 4 of the top 5 things people typed into a search engine that resulted in their coming to my site:

huddle porn
politics sports sex
scarlett johansson military ball
scarlett johansson's head size

I think there is a lesson to be learned here to buff up my pageview count. Tomorrow I'm changing the name of my site to:

Scarlett Johansson military huddle head ball porn

But seriously, I don't know which confuses me more: what the heck "huddle porn" is or why it would lead to my site.


But this is one question I am plenty fine not knowing the answer to.


But then I probably lost most of my audience after the "balcony" post last week.

I found myself wondering this morning whether people feel shortchanged when they visit this site, since there is so much about one of the three topics - politics - that this blog professes to be about and doesn't hit on the one topic that more people might hope to be see more of.

So, recognizing that likelihood, I'll send out this quickie:

I’m trying to only think good thoughts about yesterday’s Eagles game. A great defensive effort. A great run game. But yeah, terrible QB decisions, terrible mental discipline (penalties).


They bring in Foles to start and all problems solved!

I hope you're happy now.

Well that, and she has a point, I do need that

As Cheryl and I finished our usual goodbye this morning before I headed out to work, "Usual" meaning a big fat kiss and long hug, she said to me that we need to get serious about a fitness program so we can both be here for each other for a long, long time. (Come to think of it, she may have said she wanted me to be here a long, long time, so we know who she was mostly referring to.)

She then specifically referenced a male friend of ours who has gotten himself into great shape over the past year or so, saying how great he looks and if he can do it, so can we, and now we know that by "we" she meant me.

Now most husbands might feel threatened by her reference to how buff this male friend of ours has become, and might wonder if she might be thinking of him, and not me, in physical terms and might get a little freaked out and might be overwrought with DOUBT AND ANGUISH AND RAGING PARANOIA. BUT NOT ME, NOOOSIREEBOB, NOT ME!

I'm totally secure in our relationship and am confident enough that things are fine and that I am meeting all her physical and emotional needs.

Well that and the guy she mentioned is gay, so maybe that was a factor.

Well, that and all the parties. They were good too.

So, yeah, Bill Clinton's speech was my favorite part of the actual convention itself, but in thinking about it today, and sorting through all the facebook posts people had sent, the memory that brought me the biggest smile was of the very first day when we happened on the MSNBC outdoor studio and watched them do a show.

It wasn't so much seeing the show or Cheryl and me making fools of ourselves to get on TV behind Chris Matthews (well, I made a fool of MYself, Cheryl not so much), it was more that the excitement building toward the whole week was still so palpable.

I'd taken such an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it approach to the whole week and now, here we actually were, together, enjoying the goofiness and electricity of it all. It seems silly, but of all the experiences I'd want to go back to, that is at the top of the list. Not seeing the various media and political celebrities a few feet away or being there for so many of the amazing speeches.

Though keep in mind I wasn't in the building the final night when the person I would most like to have been in a room with was speaking. I refer of course, to Scarlett Johanson. Sigh.

Oh, right. It was Bill Clinton's speech.

As we were eating breakfast at a Charlotte Pancake House before starting our 10-hour ride home, Cheryl asked me what my favorite part of the convention was. I had to tell her to wait to ask again when I had finished processing the news delivered moments earlier that a certain person had just incurred a $1900 car repair bill that we had committed to paying on their behalf. She had not stopped and pulled over when her car started to overheat a few weeks earlier and voila - 1900 of our dollars that I would rather have used for 2 round-trip tickets to Ireland later, she's back on the road.

Cheryl kept trying to make me feel better by explaining all the reasons it might have happened or why I shouldn't be upset, all of which were legitimate reasons, but I eventually told her that she'd be better off commiserating with me and feeling my pain than to try to defend what happened. I told her that I was most affected by the fact that I had not been apologized to or thanked for covering it than I was upset by the original mistake. And that is both petty of me and true, so I admit it here as more of a poor reflection on me than any blame toward the person involved.

Hurt feelings aside, the biggest reason I can understand why it happened is that as a teenager, I once ran my VW bug out of oil on rte. 100 on the way home, seizing up the engine, and Cheryl had done something similar at that age. I have a feeling Mom and Dad paid for my repairs, though I don't know for sure. And if they did, I wonder if I ever thanked them or apologized. I have a feeling if I had to pay for it, I'd remember it pretty well.

So...thanks Mom and Dad. I'm SO sorry! You rock and I love you and all you did...are doing for me.

No, no, thank YOU!

So many things I want to post to the blog today, but feel like I shouldn't until I do a final entry on the convention.

But I've made the executive decision to hold off on that entry so I can post a few other things, the first of which is to thank everyone for the enthusiastic and supportive comments on facebook and twitter and this blog about all the photos and comments Cheryl and I posted. I really tried to imagine myself back home reading someone else's posts and wanting to experience it as best I could through their experience. My fear was that the posts were coming across as self-promotional or hey-look-at-me type stuff, but since all the replies were so positive, we kept going. And even just today, I've had a number of additional thanks for all the posts.

So, really, thank all of you. It was such an amazing week and I know it sounds funny to put it this way, but it was all the more fun, knowing all of you were enjoying it with us!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

President Obama nails it:

"Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

“Deficit too high? Try another.”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!' "
"It's like John Kerry's been sitting on a big can of whoop-ass for 8 years."
 
‎"John Kerry on a mission to turn Mitt Romney intro the GOP caricature of John Kerry."
 
Daily Kos: "Mitt Romney actually is what Republicans pretended John Kerry was. "
"Never thought I'd see the foo fighters open for Jim Clyburn."
"Scarlett Johansson was born a poor white incredibly hot child."
Great lines from the convention tonight:

"Sure, Mitt Romney loves our lakes and trees. He loves our cars so much, they even have their own elevator. But in Romney's world, the cars get the elevator, and the workers get the shaft. You know what I'm saying!." - Jennifer Grandholm, Michigan Govenor

"You know, if private equity Mitt Romney met Governor Mitt Romney he'd do what he says he likes to do: He'd fire him. And outsource his job." - Brian Schweitcer, Montana Governor

"Clinton arithmetic" makes an appearance in Schweitzer's speech—his explanation for how be balanced the budget in Montana.

John Kerry:

"They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things."
"Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the health of the planet."
"The only thing exceptional about today's Republicans is that almost without exception, they have opposed everything that made America an exceptional nation in the first place."
"No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech."
"He's even blurted out the preposterous notion that Russia is our number one poltical foe. Folks, Sarah Palin talked about how she could see Russia from Alaska. Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia in Rocky IV!"
"Mr. Romney, here's some advice: before you debate President Obama on foreign policy, you'd better finish the debate with yourself."
 Mocks Romney for "tripping all over himself" in London. Calls his trip overseas "a blooper reel."
"The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades,"  "You know, it's unfair to accuse Mitt Romney of not having a position on Afghanistan. He's had every position!"
"Mr. Romney, here's some advice: before you debate President Obama on foreign policy, you'd better finish the debate with yourself."
"Ask Osama bin Laden if he's better off now than he was four years ago." Ka-pow!

Just saying the same thing everyone is thinking: Where was this John Kerry 8 years ago?

Joe Biden: "We have no intention of downsizing the American dream."
Another day of uncertainty, that turned out well. I reported to the volunteer sign-in around 2, again unsure as to whether I'd get in, since word was that many volunteers were turned away the night before, and waited in a succession of lines, moving forward anywhere from 30 to 100 yards until we finally got into the arena. I got a really disappointing assignment where they first put me, in the media room, doing plenty of nuthin. Occasionally someone asked me a question, but there were any number of others who could have answered them. Finally at about 7:30, I was rotated back into the same great room I'd been in the night before, which was great, until I was then rotated back out at about 9:30, just as the best speakers were coming on!

So I stayed there for about 20 minutes, making small talk with a secret service guy and a few other security folks and where I had even less to do than I had at the previous two locations. (The most interesting thing I learned from the Secret Service guy was when I asked him what he told people he did for a living when he was meeting someone for the first time at a party or bar or somewhere. "Do you tell them you are with the Secret Service?" I asked. He laughed and said "No way - I tell them I work with computers!"

So at about 10:00, I got up, told them I'd be back and went up to sit with Cheryl. Just so I make sure not to lie, I'll make sure to stop by the same spot tonight if I get in. :-)

So, a celebrity recount from last night: David Brooks of the NY Times, Gwen Ifill, Dennis Kucinich (who is all over the place), John Roberts from NBC, Melissa Perry Harris from MSNBC, Chuck Todd, Howard Fineman, Cory Booker, Terry McAuliffe, Gerry Nadler, Jesse Jackson. Heck, I forget who else. I didn't walk around in the concourse as much tonight so didn't see as many folks. I did shake Jesse and Dennis' hands, since they were shaking hands all along where I was standing.

Oh, and I saw Jason Jones from the Daily Show but didn't photobomb him, like I did Samantha Bee the day before. You can see me here for about 2-3 seconds at the 14:40 mark:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-september-5-2012-kirsten-gillibrand .

When Clinton's incredible speech was over, Cheryl and I headed down toward the floor, where we hung out for a little while before heading over to an after-party for the Mid-Atlantic States. Mayor Nutter walked past us alone at one point, and Congresswoman Alyson Schwartz was right next to us a little later. It was a pretty good party with lots of good food and beer, but we were so beat, we only stayed for an hour or so, before we got on a bus, that was sent around in circles by the secret service before we found a way out of the city. Then he went to the wrong Hampton Inn, before being re-routed by one of the passengers. We didn't get back to our room until 3:30, where, still being wired, we probably could have stayed up even later, but forced ourselves to go to bed, knowing we had a meeting at 6:45 this morning, though Cheryl decide to sleep in...all the way to 7:45, followed 15 minutes later by me.

Tonight is least certain of all as to whether I'll get in, but I'll try. I got an email with instructions of where volunteers should report, so we'll see. Even if I don't get in, it's been one crazy week that I'll never forget.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An amazing day yesterday - everything I could have hoped for. The day started early for Cheryl especially. Whose idea was it to schedule delegate breakfasts for 6:45am!? She was there for the start but I waited til 8:30 or so to go over, since I would be in an adjoining room as a guest, watching on closed circuit TV. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the main speaker this particular morning and she was really fired up.

After the breakfast, I went to hang at the hotel for a few hours, but Cheryl went in to a Woman's Caucus luncheon. I finally headed in on a shuttle bus around 1, and with the route being blocked and re-routed due to a motorcade, it took almost an hour to get in. My volunteer shift was to start at 3, so I had time to grab a quick lunch of Bojangles chicken, which is a popular fast food around here. It wasn't bad, actually, consiering I never eat fast food.

So when I reported for duty about 15 minutes early (my co-workers at North American Land Trust will be shocked to read that since they have never once in ten years seen me arrive anything but late for work), I found about 100-200 other volunteers waiting to be walked over to the arena. We had to wait extra long, it was rumored, because there were protesters outside blocking our route.

When we finally all got up to head over, I was near the front of the line, which turned out to be a really good thing, since I was assigned a primo location about 20-30 yards to the speakers right, in a private suite where my main responsibility seemed to be to say "Sorry, you can't come through here." I was paired with an attractive 45 or so year old local woman who had rented out her house for a $4000 for the week! She needs it though, having 2 kids to put through college...not that she wouldn't anyway.

So there I was to stand for about the next 9 hours! And although I was on my feet that entire time, to the point where by the time Cheryl and I walked around until we found a bar to wind down after it was all over, I felt like my legs were a couple of fat ole logs.

As good as my news and location was, Cheryl's was not. It turned out she is a "standing committee person", sort of a quasi-delegate, who was not allowed to sit with the delegation on the floor! Totally sucks. We suspect a big money-type might have been squeezed in ahead of her. She was exiled up to the upper deck, where I was able to go up and find her on one of my breaks, which was really cool, so we could hang out for 10 minutes or so.

I took a number of other such breaks during the night, partially just to be able to keep my legs moving and partially just to see the sites and partially because we were told one of the supervisors would be coming around to rotate us to other locations during the night, so I kept an eye out for him, trying to stay one step ahead of him and out of sight as much as possible, whether that meant taking a quick unscheduled trip to the potty around a corner or going for a walk out on the concourse.

That was something I did two or three times, actually. And it was there, that at times, I was no more than an arm's length from: Senators Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner, Lincoln Chafee, Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Alyson Schwartz, and MSNBC folks Larry O'Donnell, Mark Halperin, Chuck Todd and Howard Fineman, who I actually walked out of the building with at night's end. If my phone weren't almost dead, I'd love to have taken a picture of him, considering he was holding two "We Love Michelle" signs. :-) That just proves once and for all that every single media person in the entire world has a left wing bias, fer sure, fer real this time! I also finally ran into Michelle Vaughn from Chester County, so we had fun catching up. I hope we get another chance to compare notes later in the week. She's always so upbeat.

But the biggest star I saw was Samantha Bee from the Daily Show. The first time I saw her, she was just standing with some co-workers, but the next time, she was actually interviewing a delegate for the show, which will probably run tonight. I made a point of going and standing directly behind them, so if any of you watch tonight, you'll probably see me standing there, trying not to look too dorkish.

I later did the same thing standing behind Chuck Todd interviews with Lincoln Chafee and someone from Ohio, I think it was.

As for the speeches themselves, well, they were just great. So many great moments, so many great speakers. Conservative Republican Joe Scarborough said this morning that there were 3 speeches last night that were each better than the best speech given in all 3 days of the Republican Convention and I have to agree. Heck, I think there were about 10 speeches better, including the woman with the daughter with a heart condition, who was great. I'm not the biggest fan of NARAL, but she was great, too. And Cory Booker, Lily Ledbetter, and Kal Penn and others I can't even remember right now.

But I think the 3 speeches he was referring to were probably, Deval Patrick, Mayor Julian Castro, and especially Michelle Obama. Wow, was she great. And the crowd just loved her. They were all amazing.

When the speeches were done and the people were filing out, I got into a little bit of a confrontation with a media member who was being an ass, trying to sneak through an area he wasn't allowed in. He just wouldn't take no for an answer and was becoming verbally abusive to me, but I held strong and eventually he backed off.

After it was all over, I found Cheryl back at the Convention Center, and we walked til we found a great bar and had a coupla beers and some chicken zingers - basically chicken fingers in spicy buffalo sauce - really good, the beer was great too - 10 Blocks Down it was called.

Finally home to bed around 2...and up again at 6-ish for Cheryl which is why she is now sleeping beside me, since we have a party to go to after the convention is over for the night tonight. We also just got the news that Obama will no longer be speaking at the stadium Thursday night due to predicted thunderstorms, which means the chances of my being able to get in to see him are now radically reduced. I had a ticket for the stadium, but only as a community guest, so I have a feeling I'll be among the first to be sliced off the invite list.

But I'll think good thoughts, which frankly is really hard not to do, given how well the convention and the week in general is going so far.

Before I give another update on the convention, just a moment of nostalgia. 30 years ago today, my friends Frank and Rose Neal met me outside the Playboy Casino in Atlantic City to pick me up and take me back home, thus completing my 4871 mile bike trip across the USA, from San Francisco to San Diego to Oklahoma City to Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Vermont and finally down to PA and AC, NJ.

Having lost 20 or so pounds over the length of the trip, it took me about 2 months of good eating upon my return to put it back on. Although the weight loss went away, the memories haven't faded a bit. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DNC Convention Day 2

Another day, another party or two. We slept quite late after the late night Sunday night, and got downstairs to catch one of the DNC buses by 2 or so. But after an hour wait for a bus, we gave up and just called for a taxi, which, luckily, another couple split with us. The ride into town is only about 15 minutes, but the last 10 blocks take longer than the first 5 miles, so we just got out and walked the rest of it. The transportation system has been a complaint from everyone. Very hit or miss.

When we made it into town for the street party - CarolinaFest - Cheryl, to my dismay, wanted to go into the Convention Center to buy pins and goodies, so I agreed we could get that out of the way, under the assumption that the good stuff would sell out by week end. So we spent way too long on that, predictably, but it was all for the best, because while we were in line to pay, Charlotte got hit with a huge rainstorm. So we lucked out, both by missing the rain, but also, when we then went out to the street party, there were far fewer people, tho still quite a lot.

CarolinaFest was fun, lots of corporate vendors, but also lots of food and fun stuff too. We bought $5 pork BBQ sandwiches - the only thing we'd eat from when we woke up until 8pm. We then had to choose between hanging around to see James Taylor perform at the festival, knowing we'd barely be able to see him with so many people wanting to be there, versus going back to the hotel to change into "business casual cocktail chic". You know, the things you wear for business cocktails. Why can't I work at a place that serves cocktails? But then I'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe to drink them apparently, so it's probably not worth it. Or maybe it's for casual cocktails, which are what - beers instead of mixed drinks?!

Anyway, with two parties to get to, we decided to get back to the hotel, and this time the bus arrived to pick us up within minutes of getting in line for it and minutes after that, it started pouring again, so we lucked out yet again.

Back to the hotel, we changed into our fancy duds and again took a taxi to get to the first party, splitting it again, this time with the Bucks County Dem Party Solicitor - a guy named Randy who has a major crush on Debbie Wasserman Schultz - but when the traffic was just too bad to get to it, we audibled and went to the other one instead. And it was a really fun event. We met all kinds of nice folks, from Senator Casey to local PA candidates running for State Rep to various other people from all walks of life.

Again, it was probably 30% people of color, again, not needed to scour the country for the 5-6 African Americans willing to vote for Romney, knowing that would mean they would be put right up on stage to give a speech, trying to justify their choice. I get the impression from Rs that they are oh-so-proud when the can find a person of color on their side. For me, I love the diversity of our party, reflecting the country we live in.

We again spent a lot of time with the always entertaining Bill Scott, and his lovely wife Linda, who took Cheryl on a tour of some of the exhibits in the art museum.  Kathi Cozzone was also great to hang with, as usual, going out of her way to introduce us to people like State Treasurer Rob McCord who I have admired for many years. Her husband Victor is a lot of fun too. It's nice to have local faces to hang back and people-watch with.

I also spent some time with Dan Wofford, who I'd met a number of years ago. I think of all the great Chester County political people I've met through the years, people I don't know on a personal basis like Kathi and Barb McIlvaine Smith, he's my favorite. There's just something very genuine about him and down to earth. He also introduced us to a number of people either in office or running for office. I asked how hard it is to remember all the names and he said he's actually not too bad at it, unlike his dad, who is one of my political heroes. I also asked Dan if he had any memories as a kid of the Kennedys and he said he does have one small memory of JFK, and his dad tells him that JFK once put young Dan on his shoulders! What a great story. Shame there's no pictures.

As we were waiting...again...for a bus to go back, we met a beautiful young woman named Katie Schurr, who is a student at Guilford College, a sort of sister college to Earlham, where I went. She knows Grayson Hall, a friend of ours who graduated from Guilford last year. Katie introduced us to another of my political heroes, State Senator Daylin Leach, and she also asked us if we wanted to go uptown with her to hit some bars, but knowing Cheryl had to be up at like 6am for the PA delegate breakfast, we decided to just head back to the hotel, somewhat to my dismay. Postscript: We saw Katie at the breakfast this morning, and let's just say, she seemed like she probably had a really, really good time last night! :-)

That's it for Day Two. Tonight the actual convention starts and Michelle Obama is one of the featured speakers. I am volunteering in the arena and I'm hoping I don't get stuck on some ramp guiding people. I just want to be in the actual arena area so I can see the speeches.

Oh, and great news. Cheryl got me a credential to the final night when our President is giving his speech and the Foo Fighters are performing. Wahooooo!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Who got the bounce? Not Mitt Romney!

How to look like an idiot...or a pogo stick...on national TV starting at about the 6:15 and 8:45 marks before we left to catch a bus:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#48888083
One of the many things I've learned over the years that my parents told me that turned out to be true, is that sex is indeed better if Love is involved.

One of the many things I've learned over the years that my parents did not tell me that turned out to be true is that sex is also sometimes better if a little danger is involved.

I never knew I could have so much fun on a hotel balcony!

Convention - Day 1

I'm not sure how much time I'll have to write here, seeing as how we didn't get OUT OF BED UNTIL 12:15! But there isn't much scheduled for today, so that helps.

Yesterday was pretty low-key, as there were only two things scheduled and one was a 2-hour training session and one was a party. I could get used to that schedule 5-6 days a week. In the training session, there were probably 200 people in the room, and I kept looking around and thinking, "This is a sight you'll never see at a Republican Convention." It was made up of probably 60% people of color. I was definitely in the minority. There was a lot of enthusiasm but also a not unexpected amount of confusion that was really well handled by the speakers, who answered every question at the end very carefully and directly.

I cut out a little early from the training, since they were covering some things that didn't involve me. If you hear on the news that some catastrophe happened involving a poorly trained volunteer, you'll know who it was! Part of the reason I left early was to beat the crowd going to get our official blue volunteer polo shirts, about 10 or so blocks away. I met up with a woman from Greece, I think she was, with a heavy accent, and we walked there together. She is a local volunteer too, as most people seemed to be, and very nice. The wait for the shirt was probably a half-hour, less than what we had heard some people had experienced, so we probably picked a good time to go.

The bag with my shirt had some cool convention swag in it: a poncho, a pedometer (?!), a 6-inch generic plastic ruler (again: ?!), a nice little guide to the week ahead, an Obama pin from Univision, hmm, i forget what else. Maybe it wasn't all that cool now that I list it, but it's always nice getting free stuff.

Then I killed time until Cheryl came back from the hotel, so we could go to the state delegation party, which included a number of states. The party was much better than I expected. Lots of small food and strong drinks! We both had vodka and cranberries - probably 6 or 7 of them over 4-5 hours. Ok, maybe eve more than that. We met a lot of interesting people, from Philly, Ohio, Illinois, as well as a few folks from our local Chester County delegation, including Bill Scott, Kathi Cozzone and their spouses. It was Kathi's birthday, so I bought here a free drink. :-) We really wanted to meet someone from Hawaii and make friends with them so we'd have someone to visit...OK, stay with (!) if we ever were lucky enough to go there, but the first person we met, just after she gave us both big hugs, I accidentally bumped her arm with my elbow, knocking her drink on the floor, shattering it all over, so having nearly caused an international (to the extent one of the 50 states can be considered international) incident, we pretty much stayed away from the lovely Hawaiian people the rest of the evening!

The party had performances from a cheerleading squad, a drum group and lots of loud music and it was held in a 5 story art museum, which was a perfect venue.

After the party, we decided to walk off our buzz, since we had to drive 6 miles back to the hotel. I took Cheryl to the Black Finn, where Morning Joe will be shot the rest of the week. We had another drink and shot or two, but spread it over 2-3 hours, so we were in good shape by the time we left.We met a succession of interesting local characters, all very interested in talking politics.

Interestingly, they were all Dems, but a number of them expressed the same concern that I've realized is the single biggest factor working against Dems in all elections, one I've heard from a number of my facebook friends as well, though only my R friends. It's not gay rights, tax cuts, jobs, the economy in general, or Obamacare. It's welfare.

The way I often hear it expressed is this way: "Why should I have to give some of my heard-earned money to those people?! They just sit around all day doing nothing and I have to give them some of my money?" Interesting that this issue has been around for 50-80 years, but all of a sudden I hear it over and over. Maybe it's the line of R attacks that has been (falsely) accusing Obama of removing the work requirements from welfare. And even though the majority of folks getting welfare are white (much to the surprise of many), the image is of the dreaded Welfare Queen, as if someone would prefer to be on welfare than to have a job.

Anyway, I'll come back to that issue another time. It was an entertaining series of folks we met, some quite drunk, some trying to be. One guy kept telling us to remember his name: Brett Squirwofbwbsdonton, I think it was, or at least that's what it sounded like in the noisy bar. He kept trying to tell us how Amurrican he is and how he can convince anyone to like him. I think he's going to be disappointed by anything less than a 100% approval ratings, so that could be an issue for him. But hey, remember the name:  Brett Squirwofbwbsdonton!

Home around 2:20, to bed about an hour later. (see the post above this one.)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Republican Convention Disaster in review

Just for folks who aren't on my facebook page who may be wondering my thoughts about the Republican convention that ended last night, I'll re-post some of the things I posted there during the week, but my major (buzzword alert!) takeaway was that it seemed like it was the most low key convention I've ever seen.

Most of the speakers talked 90% of the time about themselves and then near the end threw in a "Oh yeah, and vote for Mitt Romney. He's our guy!"

The best speakers were Ann Romney, who, as Cheryl said, would make a better president than Mitt and Condi Rice who gave the same speech any Democrat would make. There wasn't a single objectionable thing in her speech from what I heard in the car driving back from my soccer game Wednesday night (in which I scored two awesome goals, thank you very much!).

There was an amazing piece in Business Week this morning by someone who infiltrated a Karl Rove event in which he was speaking to his core of billionaire financiers of his Super Pac and he told them that the focus groups he coordinated showed that they don't want to hear brutal assaults on President Obama's character. They want a soft sell, where he, as a person, is respected, but where his policies have disappointed us.

(In fact, here's the link to the story: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-31/exclusive-inside-karl-roves-billionaire-fundraiser )

So maybe that's why the convention in general seemed like such a snoozer. Well that and the fat that Romney and Ryan really gave absolutely nothing in terms of substance with not a single specific plan for how they will do things any different than our President.

So all that said. here is a compendium, depending on what that means, of my posts over the past week:

Tuesday, August 28:

Just sent my first legit tweet. I'll be tweeting as often as possible leading up to and during the Democratic Convention while Cheryl and I are there next week, so if you want the updates, follow me at @jamiepmcv...or i think that's what it is anyway. #DNC2012 babee!


--   So, if I have this right, Ann Romney's speech was all about love followed by Chris Christie who said the country is "paralyzed by a need to be loved." Off to a great start, repubs. I also understand that Christie forgot to thank Ann for her speech and seemed to like mostly only talking about himself. Maybe they were afraid to tell him that he's not the nominee.   --   When someone asked me what I specifically could point to as things Christie has failed at, I wrote:  
 
  • Jamie P. McVickar This will be fun...
  • Jamie P. McVickar New Jersey ranked 47th in the nation in GDP growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]
  • Jamie P. McVickar The Garden state’s unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is fourth highest in the nation, trailing only Nevada, California, and Rhode Island. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • Jamie P. McVickar New Jersey lost 12,000 jobs last month, the most in the country. [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
  • Jamie P. McVickar The state ranked 44th in personal income growth in 2011. [Bureau of Economic Analysis]
  • Jamie P. McVickar Christie has focused on cutting taxes for millionaires (while blocking a millionaires’ surtax), slashing social spending, and opposing plans to help New Jersey’s workers. He’s cheered the firing of public sector workers and scuttled important infrastructure projects on false pretenses.
  • Jamie P. McVickar Finally, he’s handed out a record number of corporate handouts, while getting little for it in terms of job growth. And for this, he’s been rewarded with a huge speaking slot at the Republican convention, from which he will likely proclaim Republican economic ideology a stunning success.
  • Jamie P. McVickar So other than failing in pretty much every category, gosh he's just wonderful!
  • Christie gave a brutally bad speech. In fact of the 5 speeches I've heard or seen so far, they all sort of reflect classic Republican ideology: It's all about ME! Let me tell you about ME! Oh, and yeah, vote for romney please.
  • Jamie P. McVickar Another thing: Christie's father spent tax-payer money (GI Bill) to attend a land-grant institution (Rutgers). That means his father's success story is entirely reliant on public money--richly deserved, but public nonetheless.
  •  
    --
     
    I've listened to all of parts of 5 speeches so far, and it seems like their two themes have been about You didn't build that and They're removing work from welfare, and both are themes based on lies, like the idea that Obamacare strips funds from medicare benefits. They have nothing of substance to talk about. If fact, it seems like most of the speeches are the kinds of pablum that Dems could have said too - our country is awesome, it was based on liberty, there is a chance for everyone...zzzzz...When are they going to say something about what they are going to actually do. What are their policies besides denying rights to women, people who don't love right, who don't have the exact same interests and narrow views of how things oughta be as they do.
     
    --
     
    Actually, I think the most significant thing said by a republican this week came from a pollster for Mitt Romney, who said Romney's campaign would not "be dictated by fact-checkers." Truer words were never spoken.

    --   Two 4-letter words you won't hear this week by any Rs: Bain and Bush.

    --   If you don't believe all the other sites, you gotta believe Faux News if even they spotlight all Paul Ryan's lies: "anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.

    Paul Ryan’s speech in 3 words

    www.foxnews.com

    Paul Ryan's speech was three things: dazzling, deceiving and distracting.   -- THURSDAY   Wow - Clint Eastwood is not only embarrassing himself up there, he's pretty much cementing the image of the Republican party as a group of doddering old white guys complaining and shouting at the younger, smarter generation to Get Off My Lawn!

    --   This is just flat out the weirdest convention ever. Every speaker seems almost embarrassed to say Mitt Romney's name. All they want to talk about is themselves. And now Mitt Romney is speaking and not talking about the one thing everyone wants hear: A single new idea of substance. Or a simple explanation of how cutting taxes will increase revenue.

    --   I think it's now safe to say the single most memorable thing in this convention will turn out to be an empty chair, perhaps symbolizing the empty suit they just nominated.

    So there ya go, all caught up.

    Mr. Romney- tear down that myth!

    From the Rolling Stone: "According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."


    Tim DickinsonIn fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster—leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC—the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers—out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds. [...]

    the FDIC documents on the Bain deal—which were heavily redacted by the firm prior to release – show that as a wealthy businessman, Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout to serve his own interests. He had a lot at stake, both financially and politically. Had Bain & Company collapsed, insiders say, it would have dealt a grave setback to Bain Capital, where Romney went on to build a personal fortune valued at as much as $250 million. It would also have short-circuited his political career before it began, tagging Romney as a failed businessman unable to rescue his own firm.

    "None of us wanted to see Bain be the laughingstock of the business world," recalls a longtime Romney lieutenant who asked not to be identified. "But Mitt's reputation was on the line.""



    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    The Big Week approacheth

    I've been asked by the Daily Local to give an update or two each day while Cheryl and I are in Charlotte, NC next week for the Democratic National Convention, and I said I'd do what I can. It won't be easy. They have us running around quite a bit, but Cheryl has it tougher I do, since she's a delegate. She has lots of caucus meetings and state delegation breakfasts and such. Oh yeah, and the occasional party. :-) She said she'd try to get me into the parties too. So I got that going for me.

    In my case, I have signed up for three shifts. I'm in the arena from 3pm to midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday and then have a 3-7 shift at the convention center on the Big Night of Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday and that's a bad thing, since his speech is in the stadium, not the convention center. I'm a little worried I won't be there for his speech, and that's even assuming I'll get the precious credentials to get in for his speech.

    Anyway, before I leave for Charlotte, under the assumption that more people might come to this site over the next week or so, I'm going to post some of the impressions I've had of the republican convention that I've posted previously to other places like facebook.

    And I can also be followed during the week on twitter as @jamiepmcv.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Hooters, I still don't get, or Winnebagos or ta-tas or...

    Some things I am too embarrassed even to put on Facebook, well, lots of things, but many of those I, sadly, wouldn't even include in this blog. But this I will:

    I swear to God, that today, at age 55, after looking at a picture of someone on facebook who shall not be identified here, though it wouldn't be hard to figure out given the context, I just today figured out why them call them jugs.

    Really.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Sadly for him, that's about all he has to run on.

    Interesting to me that Romney's greatest success as a politician (Romneycare) and as a businessman (destroying Ameican companies and outsourcing jobs to India, so he could make hundreds of millions of dollars for Bain) are the two things he's trying hardest to run away from. Take some pride in yourself, man!

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    A funny joke wrapped in a nice package

    My sister Judy sent me this email yesterday with a subject line of : "Do you get this joke? I don't! Please explain..."

    "Q: Who hates bad grammar?
    A: Your testicles."

    To which I replied:

    Weird – this email went to my junk folder, so I just now saw it.


    Wait, I get it – a TESTICLES joke went to my JUNK folder. Now THAT’S funny!

    Unlike the joke, which I still don’t get.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Blogged down in deep thought

    In some ways, it's disappointing that more people aren't hanging on my every blog post, eager to check in every day...or week, to see what I have or haven't found worthy of a post, but even more so, it's a little daunting that a handful of you get these as daily emails. I imagine they are somewhat like the daily, or worse, Facebook status updates you get from some people you consistently wonder why you agreed to be their friend, since their updates and Farmville requests consistently annoy you...but about very 37th post, they say or write something that makes you think, "Oh, right, OK, that was vaguely cute. I'll keep you on a little bit longer."

    The other thing I was thinking in terms of this blog, is that I really should post something besides my things like my ruminations on the many uses, or lack thereof, of the word "disabuse", and instead tell stories from my past, like the baseball "discussion" I had with Richard Nixon or even the many Presidents I've seen in person from further than a handshake away, or the time I snuck into the Fenway Park locker room and was dimed out by Bob Uecker, or my 4871 mile bike trip, or when I gave the now wife of the head of the Federal Reserve a ride in my beat up VW bug from West Philly to City Hall, or played racquetball with a Pulitzer Prize winner or watched a full period of hockey sitting alone with Gordie Howe or are they just the kinds of stories people tell that you listen to, the whole time wondering why the person could possibly think you had the least interest in hearing it?

    So, yeah, sometimes I think about those things too, not just the word disabuse.

    But whatever you do, make sure not to stand pat.

    And of equal importance to the post below, which probably reflects how much time I have to think about things besides the things I probably should be thinking about...

    If something upsets you so much, that you say "I am NOT going to take this lying down", are you more or less upset if you "just won't stand for it!"?

    And if there is a continuum, so that if you're not quite as upset as the most upset you can be, but not as upset as the other example above, I believe you must, for the sake of clarity, be required to exclaim that you will neither take it lying down nor will you stand for it, but perhaps it would be okay if you sat for it, dammit!

    Disabuse has got to stop!

    Have you ever been disabused of a notion? Has anyone ever been disabused of anything besides a notion?

    If I abused drugs in my teens, but stopped, am I now disabusing them?

    That's all I got.

    I'll bet the same woman is wondering why her free laptop she was to get for clicking on the ads hasn't arrived

    This is just too bizarre a story to ignore just on its own, and as usual, for better or worse, I have another take on it.

    This is from a story in today's NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/science/big-datas-parallel-universe-brings-fears-and-a-thrill.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120605 :

    Mystery of Big Data’s Parallel Universe Brings Fear, and a Thrill

    By DENNIS OVERBYE



    Not long ago, a woman in Tacoma, Wash., received a suggestion from Facebook that she “friend” another woman. She didn’t know the other woman, but she followed through, innocently laying our cookie-crumb trails through cyberspace, only to get a surprise.

    On the other woman’s profile page was a wedding picture — of her and the first woman’s husband, now exposed for all the cyberworld to see as a bigamist.

    OK, now go back and read that again...though I know you already did read it a few times to see if it said exactly what you thought is said...which it, incredibly, did.

    Here's my thought: I think the same kind of person who would friend someone just because Facebook recommended it is the same kind of person who would not figure out that their spouse was also married to someone else.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Now if the one involving the Eagles and the Super Bowl could go too, that would be cool

    I guess I've been lucky enough to have more constants in my life than a lot of people in the world, but I've lost two of them in the last 6 months.

    I guess after this long, I asumed Fran Brown would be sitting on the facing benches at Meeting and Joe Paterno would be coaching Penn State football pretty much forever.

    And in one sense, Fran always will be.

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    We can probably rule out skis though. They aren't great on ice.

    In an article in a recent issue of the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/opinion/sunday/who-arrived-in-the-americas-first.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120520, they asked the question:

    WHEN and how did the first people arrive in the Americas?


    And the article says that "We now know people were in the Americas earlier than 14,000 years ago. But how much earlier, and how did they get to a continent sealed off by thick sheets of ice?"

    I don't know for sure, but I'm going with really cool, fast sleds.

    But it only makes the news if one of them crashes

    According to this website: http://flightaware.com/live/fleet.rvt?ident= there are 5,640 planes up in the air around the world right this very moment, and according to wikipedia, a Boeing 737-800 has a maximum takeoff weight of 187,700 lbs.

    That comes to a little over 1 billion pounds floating up in the air right now, holding what, at an average of 100 people per plane, half a million or so people?

    Half a million people up in the air...right now...in a billion pounds of metal.

    Just something I was wondered about driving home from work the other day.

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Neither Prince Humperdinck nor Princess Buttercup could be reached for comment

    News Item:

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque hot dog vendor faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after police say he rammed his food cart into a competitor.



    Police say Eric Kilmer used his hot dog cart to run over the legs and feet of rival Vincent Montoya. Other vendors told KOB-TV that Montoya is seeking a restraining order against Kilmer, further stating "Hello, my name is Vincent Montoya. You ran over my feet. Prepare to die."

    But only if it's by my definition

    People on both sides of the issues keep telling us we just need to rely on Common Sense, which presumably is according to their definition and is what generally has gotten us into the disagreements we have today.

    What I think we need is some uncommon sense.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    I mean, well, except for this blog...and my fantasy baseball team...and this paddle game

    It struck me over the weekend that not only isn't it all about me, it has absolutely nothing to do with me, and everything to do with every single other person whose life I have a chance to touch.

    And if everyone liked us, then it would probably only be because we had just died a few days ago

    I wonder why so many of us spend so much of our lives trying to be the first person in the history of the world to be liked by every single person we've ever met.

    The same can be said to an even greater extent about our opinions. It seems to confound so many of us that anyone could possibly not see things as clearly as we do on any particular subject, particularly when it comes to politics, but also sports or taste in food or art or music.

    And then, having been psychologically scorched by someone not liking either us or our opinion, we go right out and try to start all over, figuring everyone else except maybe that one person on that one issue will surely like us or agree with us on everything, once we've had a chance to prove to them how wonderful we and our treasured opinions are, and then getting upset all over again when it turns out one MORE person doesn't agree with us.

    Remember, if everyone agreed with our opinion, it wouldn't be an opinion, it would be a fact.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    My fear about their "Huddle Up Question at the end is that sons would say, "Yeah, why? What have you found?!"

    As I believe I've written in the past, I get a daily email, weekdays only, from a group called All-Pro Dads and frequently find it helpful. Today's email regarding porn raised more questions for me than it answered. My comments below in red:
    Porn: A Much Bigger Problem Than You Think

    Did you know?
    • 25 percent of all search engine requests are pornography related. I seriously doubt it's that high.

    • For every 10 men in church, 5 are struggling with pornography. You'd think the men could at least wait until the services were over!

    • Median age for the first use of pornography for children is 12 years old. That means that for every kid who doesn't see it until age 14, there is a 10 year old. That said, I'll still bet the age is actually lower, if only because of older brothers showing it to their younger brothers. But how would "they" even know this?!

    • U.S. porn revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC (6.2 billion). Have they measured the amount of porn on those networks?  Start with any given reality show, but don't stop with the morning soap operas...or the hundreds of people killed each week on TV, which upsets me as much as any of what these sources probably count as internet porn.

    Porn revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball, and basketball franchises. (sources)  Again, probably not including the jiggly sideline cheerleaders. But again, I have a, excuse the expression, hard time believing this.

    Comment on Today's Play of the Day.

    Today's Huddle Up Question

    Huddle up with your teenage son tonight and ask: Have you ever been exposed to pornography? Hmmm...interesting choice of words. My guess is that if they've seen porn, they've probably exposed themselves to it.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Melting from a day at the beach with Emma even though I'm 500 miles away

    I got one of the most meaningful phone calls of my life at lunch this morning. It was from Emma, who is with Trev and Cheryl down at the McKenna's place on the ocean in North Carolina for 5 days, while I am left here at home and at work. When I saw on my phone that it was from Cheryl's phone, I answered the call by saying "I was just thinking about you!"

    But instead of the call being from Cheryl, it was from Emma who said in her sweet little 8-year old girl voice, "I was thinking about you too, Dad, and how much I wish you were here with us, because you are the one who carries me out into the water and holds me and we ride up and down on the waves together and I wish you were here with me to do that!"

    Oh, melt!

    What means the most to me, well, a few of the things that mean so much to me are:
    1 - That she remembers that and values it. I remember when we did it last time, at Asbury Park I think, I wondered if it was something she'd remember and associate with me when she grew up. You just never know what experiences you've had with your kids that will make an impact and a lasting memory. But as much as that means to me, maybe even more so it impresses me that...
    2 - She recognizes that at such an early age and was able to verbalize it and feel comfortable telling me. I think that is probably a gift, that ability to value something like that that has no price tag and express it so easily, a gift that shouldn't be overlooked or taken for granted.

    Though Bush v Gore trumps them all

    Personally, even if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, I'll be way more upset by the Citizen United decision recognizing corporations as people and the recent one allowing strip searches for people accused of jaywalking.

    What the hell is going on in this country?

    Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Make that 5 times

    My friend Jim Daly's prediction for this baseball season:

    "Phils will have some tough times this year, and the press and public will frequently panic and yell and scream.  But in the last 6 weeks, their pitching will be a huge advantage, and they will win the division again.  Of course the Marlins will go 87-75, get the 2nd wild card, and win their 3rd WS without ever winning a single division.  Some good fan will assassinate Selig, and in his honor, baseball with expand the playoffs to 8 teams in each league, and they will play for the Selig Trophy, a giant penis with a bad haircut, for the rest of our lives."

    I've read that 4 times now, and have laughed out loud each time.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    At least she didn't call her team The Bronx Zooeys

    Yet another reason I have a big-boy crush on Zooey Deschannel:

    "The star of the sitcom "New Girl" manages her own fantasy baseball team.. According to her twitter account, her team name is the "Burbank Puppies." She admits not being die-hard, but they did manage to beat at least one other team last season."

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Vacation Got a Ghetto Way!

    I wonder what people who are used to living in a ghetto way think is the best kind of getaway?

    OK, it's not all that funny, I just got a kick out of the two words/phrases sounding so much alike. And I stopped before I tried to work ghetto A or even get a weigh into it somehow, so you can thank me for that. Go ahead, I'll wait.

    Not to mention the free $200 JUST for passing Go!

    Some people think that "society as we know it" (which is to say, back in the 50's when it was great to be a middle-aged white guy) started to fall apart when Rock and Roll was introduced. Some go back to FDR's New Deal. Some point to welfare and LBJ's Great Society.

    Me? I think it started when Monopoly introduced a card that allowed the bearer to keep the $200 from "Bank Error in your Favor" and not require you to do the right thing by going to the bank to report it.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    What the heck, I never read my own blog anyway

    Yet another in a long list of Huffington Post headlines I wish I'd never read:

    WATCH: Pat Robertson Discusses Oral Sex


    OK, now tell the truth, did you see that and think to yourself, "Now this I gotta see!" and did you click on the headline thinking it was a link to the story? If so, please promise me you will never read my blog again, and make some excuse as to why our friendship needs to end as soon as possible.
     
    Well, either that or find a sex therapist and immediately book weekly appointments.
     
    But then, hmm, since my readership is low enough, and one can never have enough friends, spoiler alert: He said it's OK if you're married.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    But you'll need to remind me when I get to that age because I probably won't remember this or anything else, for that matter, by then

    An update to the post I made a few weeks ago involving advice to married men on sex: I got a few good responses, one of them from long-time family friend Nancy A. - one of my mom's best friends, and you can see it attached to the original post somewhere down below. It was very validating. It also reminded me how much my mom would have loved to read it and anything on here...not that I would have wanted to talk with her about some of the posts - ick!

    Another great response sent directly to my email was from my wife, who also pretty much agreed with what I'd written, but once she was finished writing me 3 paragraphs on it, added as a PS: "And I meant to tell you that I'm seeing a trend in your blog posts:  They all seem to involve (in some way) short skirts, long legs and high heels.  Or is it just me? ;-)"

    So I wrote back and asked if I should scale back such references, to which she replied: "Na, don't let up on the short skirts.  But one down side to getting older- you may get the reputation as a d.o.m.  (dirty old man...) "

    Wow, what a concept, but yeah, I can see what she means. I'd posted a link to my blog on facebook after I'd written that particular post, something I try not to do too often, not wanting to be seen as an unQuakerly self-promoter. and when I checked this site soon thereafter, I saw the location of one particular reader being in a place where I am 90% sure it was a very attractive young female teen from Meeting, who might have seen my link of Facebook and I wondered what might have gone through her head as she read it...or started to, before she got too revulsed by its directness about old married folks in their 40's and 50's having sex.

    And I wondered - exactly what is the cutoff after which one becomes a "d.o.m."? Is there an age where we old dudes are no longer allowed to think about, or worse, talk or write about such things? Or is it age-relative? Are we all only allowed to write about women within a 10 year radius of our current age?

    But then there must be a cutoff, so that when we get to a certain advanced age, let's say age 70, when the idea of sex becomes unacceptable in any thought/discussion/essay/post.

    Steel Cage Match of Quaker Values: Where does strict adherence to the Peace Testimony rank?

    Sometimes I wonder which of my Quaker values is strongest and sometimes I find out that it might be best if I don't know.

    Trev informed me the other night that he needed to buy some little plastic soldiers for a diorama he was making for school, something to do with the Revolutionary War, and that he had been told they could be found at CVS.

    I proclaimed to all who would listen, which pretty consisted of Trev and Cheryl, that I as The Dad, knew they would be far more likely found at Toys R Us, so I stopped there on the way home from work last night. After looking high and low, and believe me, at that store there are plenty of highs and lows to look at, and not finding any small diorama-worthy soldiers, I asked a cute stockgirl and she pointed me to the one place they had them. Thanking her, I picked them up, a veritable Tub O' Soldiers, priced at $19.99. Twenty bucks for a homework assignment!

    As I walked to the checkout counter, tub in hand, I started to think more about just it was I was doing. An outrage, I declared to all who were listening, well, in my head. An outrage that my Quaker child was being forced to buy soldiers, glorifying the military and so much that we Friends oppose. This sort of thing just lends credence to the idea that violence is the solution to all problems and that guns are an acceptable part of our public education. And besides, the soldiers looked to be too big and cost too damn much, dammit.

    I decided that when I got home, I'd suggest to Trev, that instead of displaying the soldiers, that he place little crosses instead, showing the ugliness of war, that the mainstream media rarely reports on anymore.

    On my way home, I thought I'd just stop in at the CVS, to make sure they didn't have them, and maybe to prove to all who might listen again that The Dad Knows Best, but alas, not only did they have them and not only were they a more appropriate size, but they only cost $3.29!

    $3.29 - hmm, not so bad. What's a few soldiers on an innocent historical diorama. That's fine - I'll take 'em.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Or if you do need an explanation check the title of this blog and see if that narrows it down for you

    If I had gotten laid as often in college as I heard the words "I'd rather just think of you as a friend", I'd have been a much happier guy, though arguably, the two don't easily co-exist. Those were the unfortunate days well before the current FWB phenomenon.

    It only took 30-35 years, no, not to get laid, but to agree with them. There are a number of ex-love interests from my college and even high school days that I had been out of touch with for many, many years with whom, thanks primarily to facebook, I am now friends and I like that a lot. I do find myself caring about them, and wanting to know how they are doing, and what they are up to and how their lives turned out, but have no interest in what I may, in college, have been most interested in. I doubt I need to explain that thought any further.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Kind of like trying to explain my point here. Can you forgive me?

    My general rule that I try to follow with judgment, besides trying to avoid it, is when I am aware of a decision someone has made that seems really stupid to me, I try to remember that I don't know all the facts, feelings, history or anything else that went into their decision. I try to think only of what I would like to think I would have done, based on what I actually do know about the situation, but accepting that I don't know everything.

    It struck me in Meeting last week, that I should take the same approach to forgiveness. I can forgive someone more easily if I assume I don't know why they did to me what they did to upset me. And funny how often it seems worse once they try to explain it.

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Go Trev and Emma!

    So proud of Trev and Emma for participating in the SHARE food program through Junior Interim Meeting in Philadelphia. SHARE accepts donations of school and office supplies from United Way that they sell at vastly reduced prices to families and other Non-Profit organizations. Two weekends ago, the Quaker kids helped to clear the shelves and reorganize thousands of rubber bands, packs of paper, pens, and other items.

    Emma is on the far left at the top and Trev is the one in the goofy glasses in the front row.

    That's Emma on the right.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    And now, I'm going to try to avoid ever hearing that word again the rest of my life

    "The Virginia House of Representatives this week passed a bill that required women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion," joked Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live. "Now don't get me wrong, I love transvaginal. It's my favorite airline."


    I've heard most of the "transvaginal" jokes, including the original bill, which really does seem like a joke of the cruelest kind, but to me, it sounds like something a male-to-female transexual would receive in surgery...or something they might enjoy before or afterwards:

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    Maybe I've been wasting my time all these years thinking about world peace and stuff

    OK...so I'm a little slow. In Meeting on Sunday, I thought about what it would be like to have a disease and 2 days later, I realize I have early onset arthritis.

    I can't wait to get back to Meeting on Sunday so I can wonder about other stuff, like what it would be like to suddenly be a millionaire.

    It's apparently Disease Day in Jamie's large head

    I think I may have written once before in here about how so many of my friends, in fact, I think it is unanimous in people I know over the age of about 30, have absolutely no interest in ever being famous. I on the other (arthritic - see previous post) hand, am intrigued by the idea, primarily, or at least I like to say it's my primary motivation, because I'd like to see how well I would handle it. And I don't mean famous, like people know my name, I mean like, Paparazzi hounding me, hiding in the woods, trying to shoot into our back windows famous. At least for 6 months or so. A great test of character.

    It struck me recently, sitting in Meeting I think, that I might feel the same way about disease of a life-threatening variety, wondering how I would handle it. In fact, as I write those words, I remember that when I was a kid, I used to imagine what it would be like to be paralyzed from the waist down, only able to use my arms.

    Of course, when I was a little kid, I didn't think so much in terms of other things I'd want to retain the use of.