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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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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.)