Tuesday, December 21, 2004

the living elvis

It's been a few weeks of Elvis mania for me. Well, not continuous, but...during the Thanksgiving ride to visit the p's I took with me the newest Elvis record, The Delivery Man. Good record, his best pure rock record in a while. Then two weeks ago, for the ride to work I grabbed Armed Forces and This Year's Model. I spent a solid week with Armed Forces. "Oliver's Army" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding" hit me in ways they haven't for a long time, mainly because of the Duhbya, Iraq and the general political tenor of the last 12 years. How can you not feel it inside when you hear Elvis ask "where are the strong, and who are the trusted"? I even came up with new lyrics for "Oliver's Army", now "DUH-bya's Army".

Then this past Sunday, while at B's house after the pose-tech running clinic, he put on the Austin City Limits show with Elvis and the Imposters (Bruce and Steve from the Attractions with Davey Faragher (from Cracker) on bass. I saw this line-up here a couple of years ago and got-damn were they good. And on ACL they were good. Excellent professional musicians playing with fire and piss and vinegar.

And speaking of 80s new waver icons? While getting my hair cut the salon folks were playing the Cure's greatest hits thing. Talk about college flashbacks.

playing catchup going upfield

Has it been that long since I've indulged my narcissim? What's going on? Oh man...lots. More adventures in adult dating (see later entry), too much sloth, just enough work to get by, curing an obsession or two that got in the way of work...

Reading tvdetective's rave about the Wrens makes me realize that I want to be in a band again (and not just because I want hipsterette bloggers to write virtual odes to freaking my shit). I miss making music. I do creative stuff now, but for me it's a more tortuous process to do academic writing than it is to strap on the bass and groove away. And the photography stuff is very amateur and I'm not certain I want it to be more than that, despite that I know I have a decent enough sense of composition and can find a good shit.

But with music it's a time thing. I don't have the kind of time I'd like to devote to it. I also don't know that I'd find a situation like I had back where I came from. I've only played in three serious bands and another thing as a semi-acoustic duo. In each case I played with very good to excellent songwriters. I'm sure there are good writers here, but where? And would they want a me who can only give a bit of time each week, who doesn't care anymore about "making it"? I've done the big record deal, done the indie thing, had musical if not financial success.

And soccer, what about soccer? My knees tell me that my days may be numbered, even inthe rec league thing I'm in now. The level of competition is high, but that's keeping my game sharp. I'm also learning a new position, sweeper. After years of outside mid and outside defense, now it's to the middle, cleaning up when everyone else is busy. Yelling for when to move up for offsides traps, encouraging and cajoling. But it's frustrating because thanks to the knee surgery and layoff, I've lost some touch on the ball and a step or two of speed. I've been responsible for goals against as guys have blown by me when I over-commit to the tackle. But I had a couple of good games as well. Solid, where the middle of the defensive line held it together. But I feel I'm on borrowed time now. Maybe the pose-tech running will as advertised help prolong the life of my legs. But got-damn if it ain't fun to get out there every week and run around for 90 minutes. Pain and frustration notwithstanding.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

west winging it

I have to confess this as a guilty pleasure, The West Wing. It's the perfect show for the political junkie who appreciates well-written dramatic performance. Trouble is, of course, that sans Sorkin the show has suffered. Last season out and out sucked. John Wells has done to TWW what he did to ER, which is to say he's made it an overwrought, melodramatic passion play every single week. Even some of the casting is spilling over, with Mary Macormack and Alan Alda (each did ER stints) on TWW now. What next, Anthony Edwards?

Gone is the Capra-esque quality of the first few seasons when Aaron Sorkin was writing everything. Every single episode had multiple story arcs that played off each other even if they weren't related. Not every episode was "a very special West Wing" {jebuschripes, an *asteroid* next week?!?}. Some were simple stories that did nothing more than present the White House as a place where hope triumped over despair, even when things were desparate. He wrote a White House and government that you wished existed, a pefect antidote to what we have in reality.

There have been good moments so far this season, but invariably Wells succumbs to the cheesy (they're ramping up the MS and again, an effing asteroid) instead of staying with the more deftly and deeply compelling (the interplay between the Dem and GOP challengers for president that gave tonight some promise). I like the show, but it's time they ended it.

respectfully depressing

So there I am in the gym (student fitness center at my university..hey it's cheap {$5/pay period}). Mostly populated by undergrads, smattering of grad students and faculty work out there as well...a guy is just handed a set of 20lb weights and I see a pair of 15s on the floor at his feet. Exchange follows...

me: are you done with the 15s?
guy: yes
me: thanks
guy: no problem, sir.
{he says this as i'm bending over to get the weights. i stop amid bend and cast him a piecing glance, with eyebrows raised]
me : {very dry, flat tone} my dad is sir.
guy: sorry

Seriously, I look that old? Gotdamn. I'm only 29 (or so).

Also? I'm making cookies for my class tomorrow. Little tradition I have, making oatmeal choco-chip cookies the last day of class. The first step in making them sounds dirtier than it is..."creaming the butter".

Also also? Tomorrow night our Dean is hosting a holiday soiree. Open bar and stuff. Note to self -- do not get too shitfaced and try to dirty dance with the dean. Any other office party advice is welcome.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

the list for 2004...update

First, the good. My first published solo-authored journal article. Not in a top-tier journal in my field, but still peer-reviewed by a good editorial board. And it's an SSI journal, so I get citation points. Of course they got my name wrong on the table of contents page (copy editor did it, for some unknown reason), but still, it's there. In print.

Ok then, among the bad for 2004?

Cars and driving. I've come to realize that I don't like cars or driving all that much. Well, to be specific, I don't like driving to work as the only option, I don't like the annoyance that comes with keeping a car -- the wear-and-tear and constant maintenance, high cost of insurance and all.

What's done me in on this is 3 years of living in a parking-deficient town and especially the last six months which have featured two hit-and-runs on my car (the trial for one happens on Thursday) and two parking tickets that shouldn't have been issued but I had to deal with nonetheless (go to the parking office downtown and apply for a hearing).

Seriously, I want a job where I can walk, bike or take a short pubic transport ride to the office. I want to use the car very sparingly.

Friday, December 03, 2004

from the uncool files

How is it possible that nobody I know can or wants to go to the Magnetic Fields show this Tuesday? Well, there are two people, but one is supposed to be at the same meeting I'd like to blow off to go, and I haven't been able to get in touch with the other. Still, that my pool of friends who'd want to go is that small...gah.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

cuba libre

No, it's not about rum and coke...

So my friend N has a friend E, a curator and artist. E is curating a show by a Cuban artist. The powers that be at E's institution are now giving her some grief because they are either getting grief or afraid they will get grief from the Cuban politico mafia that runs things around here. To which I say to the hard-liners around here...

Shut the fuck up already. Seriously...shut the fuck up and ge over it.

We know that culture and commerce break down barriers. It's worked in Vietnam and it's worked in China. Things aren't perfect in either place, but they're arguably better than in Cuba. Yes, I know that you have friends and relatives who have suffered at the hands of Castro.

But guess what? Your friends and relatives aren't the only ones to have ever suffered from political repression. Your situation isn't special. What makes you special, different from Chinese and Vietnamese in this country, is that you're enough of a concentrated voting bloc that you weild disproportionate power. You beg for hard-line policies that just hurt those friends and relatives in Cuba but not in jail, people trying to work hard. Your reactionary and archaic political philosophy hurts people living in the US who want to help their friends and relatives in Cuba. You keep them from sending money, visiting...you claim that such revenue only props up Castro.

But guess what? That old S.O.B. will be around for a while. Like the miserable curmudgeonly old great-uncle who is an unpleasant jerk, he won't die. He'll be around for a while, and every day he breathes you fret and worry and sit and spin. And your hatred and irrational behavior just hurts your own countrymen.

I have Chinese friends who happily return to visit, who send money, who host their families here. They know that this makes better the lives of their China friends and relatives sill in China. The situation there is no less repressive than in Cuba.

All E wants to do is to stimulate dialogue. That's the point of art in situations like this -- to get people thinking and talking. Arts and sport are two effective means of transcending the bullshit pettiness of the modern nation-state political litterbox.

Commerce and culture break down barriers. We know this, and it's time to bring Cuba into the fold. Force change by giving people there a taste of the outside world. We know it works, even if the change takes a while, and there are Tiannemen-like hiccups along the way.

So please, shut up and get over it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

the list for 2004...

the good, the bad, the ugly, the fugly, the best of times, the worst of times, the shameful, the blameful, moments of beauty, moments of bliss, moments of hit, moments of miss, moments i'll want to relive, moments i'll never live down

I don't have any entries right now, just saying this may be how I organize it. And I'll take suggestions, both on entries and categories.

Actually, I do have the first entry...

moments of beauty? the falls at iguazu --

art basel

Now in it's third year in Miami Beach, the Art Basel show opens this week. Well, opened tonight, and thanks to my friend N I got passes to the pre-grand opening opening. Not VIP tix to where the free booze was, but free tix nonetheless. Being the pre-opening night meant less crowds, a more serious crowd (as in people looking to buy stuff, and in fact buying stuff already) and more fun people watching opportunities. And the tickets were free.

I'd wanted to post a bit about some of the art, but there are 175 galleries showing tons of work, and after an hour or so it gets overwhelming. It's really hard to remember much. It's not really a venue for superstar artists, but there were a few Calder mobiles, a Warhol or two and a few Lichetensteins. N's friend E had one piece up, a photo series of stack of letters sent by her father in Cuba to her mother in Miami. There was supposed to be a voice installation as well, with E's friend JC reading from the letters. Sadly, the gallery owner hadn't put it up yet.

Some work that did stick out was a collection of landscapes using denim as the media. Yes, cut up pieces of denim, in all colors, substituting for paints. And the artist, So Young Choi, was able to get perspective, point, geometric pattern...pretty damned inventive. The best of the lot sold already, but there were more available, and one at only $2,000.

Go to,:

...select "domestic artists" and "Chio, So Young"

This also pretty much marks the beginning of the tourist season. From here on out it's heavier traffic on the causeways, events almost every weekend...with a better economy it should be a busy season. The relative peace and quiet of summer is over. Bring on the snowbirds.

---update (11am, Thursday, 12/02)

Apparently, Tobey Maguire and Alex Rodriguez were there. Who knew?

Monday, November 29, 2004

the girl with crimson nails has jesus 'round her neck

At the risk of losing whatever remaining cool points I may have left, I'm going on record as thinking that U2's new album is pretty damned good. "Vertigo" is one of the best rock singles of 2004 -- great riff and melody, quick and easy chorus. What I love about the record is that there are no real clunkers like on Pop and All That You Can't Leave Behind. "Crumbs From Your Table" is perhaps a weak point, but it's the only one. It's a solid record with some songs that soar -- "Vertigo", "City of Blinding Lights", "All Because of You" -- to name a few. Lyrically it's overall more introspective and personal than most U2 records -- less grand statements and more "of the moment but my moment" songs. With "Miracle Drug" and "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own", Bono uses the "One" device of addressing the listener mainly in 2nd person, which makes it seem (from the listener's perspective) less like being talked at and more like being talked to.

Their recent appearance on Saturday Night Live was impressive. Bono, for all his affected rock-star persona is impossible not to watch. I don't mind so much the over-the-top rock-guy stuff. He plays the part and it doesn't come off as too forced. He wears it pretty well, much more so than do the cookie-cutter angry-young-neo-punk bands. Musically U2 are playing as powerfully as I've ever seen or heard. "I Will Follow" sounded as good as any live recording I've heard. I like how Bono changed the wording a bit to mark the passage of time ("a boy tries hard to be a man, his lover" {used to be mother} "takes him by the hand").

Watching them reminded me of watching great athletes like Pele, Gretzky, Jordan, Montana, Carlton, and Schmidt when they were just past the mid-point of their prime years -- they had enough experience to make being great look easy, but they were still playing with enough of an edge as if they had something to prove.

Or it could be that my 20 years of fandom are blinding me to a once great band going through the motions. Is this how boomers felt when the Rolling Stones were releasing records at age 40? Will U2 hopefully hang it up when they get old enough that they have adult kids or grandkids?

No, that's not it. This is a very good record, and they are pretty much the one of the only bands that matter.

the first thing to go is the knees

Old...I feel old. Yet I'm only 29 (or so). Went for a run on the beach yesterday (well, tried to), and could barely start, much less finish. not 100 yards into it the left knee was a problem. During a morning walk through the antique/vintage/crafts fair along Lincoln Road (where I saw a cool seersucker suit) it had bugged me a bit but I thought it would feel better by later in the afternoon. No such luck. On top of that, my friggin hips were all balky and creaky. Seriously, this is depressing. Maybe it's from having sat on my ass the better part of the last two days, maybe it's my crappy sofa, bad posture while sitting, who knows. I'm sure it has to do with playing soccer on a hard artificial turf field, years of abuse from waiting tables, soccer, running, walking, the acl injury, genetics. But good lord, this sucks. And the glucosamine tablets aren't doing much to help, apparently. And of course it doesn't help that I need to run to work off the weight I gained during an extended period of interrupted workous and no running thanks to knee pain. A vicious circle, it is.

My kingdom for a fresh set of knees and hips.

Monday, November 22, 2004

touching the void

This past Sunday I watched a unique pairing of films on PBS. First up was Touching the Void, a docu-drama about the events of an almost tragic 1985 climb up Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes by Brit Alpine-climbing friends Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. The long and short of it is that on descent Joe broke his leg (drove the femur up into his kneecap...OUCH). During their attempt to descend that entails Joe basically sliding backwards on his belly while tied to Simon via a rope, Joe slides and ends up hanging off a ledge. Due to darkness and that they couldn't hear each other for the wind, this is unbeknownst to Simon. Simon, about to slide and (he's pretty sure) fall into something bad, decides to cut the rope. This rope-cutting came as a bit of a shock to Joe. They couldn't communicate due to conditions, so neither knew of the other's peril. Simon continues to descend, wracked with grief at having to cut the line and (he thinks) kill Joe.

However, it is Joe's story that is impressive and is the centerpiece of the film. Now, dude has a broken leg, broken in a way that must have been 100x more excurtiatingly painful than a typical break. Yet he manages to climb out of a steep crevasse and work his way down the mountain, hobbling, rolling, gimping and crawling, all the while severely malnourished and dehydrated. He ends up about 200 feet from the base camp, and his yells are heard by Simon. At that point he'd lost about a third of his body weight. But he is alive.

Next up was Secrets of the Dead: Tragedy at the Pole, a recounting of the ill-fated 1911-12 British expedition to the South Pole. The story of the Scott team's tragic demise is well-known. This docu-drama sheds new light on the event. Scott and his team had died 11 miles from their camp, supposedly being pinned down by a freak blizzrd that had lasted for days. What this films shows is that the blizzard may in fact have subsided, contrary to the notes Scott left and the notes of his crew. Scott had fallen victim to frostbite, fatigue and exposure, and could not carry on. Laready a member of the crew had died under similar circumstances, going as far as to leave his tent and sacrifice himself so that he wouldn't weigh down the rest. Scott's remaining crew chose not to leave their captain but to freeze to death with them. A reexamination of the weather charts and notes from a rescue team sent from camp indicated that the blizzard had stopped. Scott's crew put loyalty above life.

These two films, shown in counterpoint like this, raise a whole series of questions regarding leadership, comradeship, sacrifice and loyalty. Would members of a modern-day polar expidition lay down their lives for their captain? Would a Victorian-era Yates have cut the rope? Have these codes changed so much from the turn of the century? What would each of us do in similar situations?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

the medium and the message

I've been hearing so much lately about how liberals are smug know-it-alls who talk down to others. I'm conflicted about this. On one hand I do see so much lack of reality amongst the far right that is is scary to try and have a reasoned discussion with them, all the more so because I make my living based on my command of facts.

But there may be something real to it beneath the Suskind type of reporting about reality and faith based communities. It could be that the left has lost the battle for hearts and minds of Christians by being derisive and smug. Which is too bad, because the message of compassion and tolerance is much closer to the Christian ideal than is the message of NO and intolerance that the political wing of the far-right wants to advance.

What the Dems need to do is take the message of compassion and tolerance and make appeals to the Christian grass-roots that this is the real face of America. Couple that with a more sensible fiscal policy and a progressive welfare system that rewards work, family and education and you may have a winner. But the message needs to be simple and you can't talk at the Christian voters but *with* them.

In a year the battles for the mid-terms begin in earnest. Now's the time to get moving on that message.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

what kind of (election) day has it been

Election day 2004 was weird, weird weird...how and where do I begin? well, maybe I'll begin (at) the begin. (sorry, it's long...names changed to initials)

Start out early, 8am early, doing last-minute GOTV cavassing in Miami Shores. Pretty basic stuff -- get a list of people registered Dem who may or may not have voted early already. No teams today, it's all solo so as to get best coverage. Starts out great -- first lady tells me no way she'd vote for Kerry because his wife is too stuck up, he gets $500 haircuts, is snobby (too French?). Ramble, blather..whatever.

The rest of the morning goes by with some interesting conversations, some people who want no part of me -- 20-something guy who's not interested in voting -- some people voting for Kerry, a woman who's husband, a social studies teacher ferchrissakes, will most likely vote for Duhbya.

The big story happens at the end. Last house on the route...knock on a screen door. On the other side is a big courtyard with a pool. And a little tiny yip-yip dog. Little dog comes CHARGING across the courtyard and burtst through the screen door (which I hadn't noticed was ajar) and aims straight for my right calf, taking a chunk of flesh in his teeth. The little bugger comes back for more, so I use my clipboard to try and fend him off. See, I didn't know yet if the lady had voted and voted for Kerry. So as much as I'd have liked to kick the dog clear to Key West, I needed to make sure to get the vote.

So here I am, bent over, swatting at the yip-yip dog with my clipboard, he's running in circles around me so I'm spinning in place while swatting. At some point he gets under the clipboard and makes a nice gash in my right hand, on the meaty part below the thumb. So now I'm bleeding, not profusely, but not in drops. It's running down my wrist. Finally, along comes Ms. Dog Owner, in a towel (just out of the shower, and no, this is not turning into a Penthouse forum letter), apologizes, runs back in and gets me bandages and peroxide. Assures me that dog has had rabies shot. But hey, she'd voted early for Kerry, so it's all worked out, right?

Fast-forward to that night (forget the trying to get a tetanus shot at South Shore...they were stacked up with no docs and lots of patients, so 4 hour wait...I'll take my chances). Election watch party at the National Hotel. Meet my friend K and her ghost roommate T. He is a Bush supporter. Only one in the bar. They're drinking champagne. We do an electoral vote pool, and T is the only one taking Bush. We're either deluded by the exit polls and/or too optimistic.

The night goes by and the election slips away from Kerry. Once Florida was called for Bush, I knew it was over. All that work and he still lost. Still, I'm having a good time, drinking up...next thing I know T is being escorted from the bar by the bouncers. Huh? K is off talking to a friend, so doesn't see this happen. We find her, get the story and it's something about T getting into it verbally with some guy who objected to T's cheering the Bush victory. Whatever. I was having a fine time chatting up L, a lovely woman. Makes the night more than bearable.

We all leave, L walks with me and we hang out for a bit before my friend J, in Florida from DC covering the elections for a newspaper, comes over to crash before she flies out the next day.

Speaking of flying out the next day, I have a 9am flight to Kansas City for ASHE, and I have not packed yet. Shit. So, L's gone home, J's arrived and watching MSNBC. I'm packing, deciding to stay up all night. Which I do, save for a 30 minute power nap. Sleep on the plane (which for the first time ever I was on a one-stop flight where I didn't change planes...while waiting in Charlotte on the plane, clean-up guy asks if I'm stowe away. I say, dude...if I'm gonna stow away it's gonna be to Hawai'i, not Kansas City).

Get to KC and so far it's been like a wake. Everyone has a glum look, as if someone had shot our puppies.

Anyway, the next 4 years can't be that bad, right?

Monday, October 04, 2004

just like chili palmer...always the minivan

A couple of months ago, some jackass sideswipes my car and tears off the driver's side side-view mirror, also doing some damage to the front bumper and scratching up the side panels.

A couple of witnesses saw him, including one guy who got a good look at him to the point where he (witness) asked the driver "you know you just hit that car?" to which the driver replies "what do you care, it's not yours, is it?".

Buncha savages in this town.

So finally I've got the car in the shop for repairs. Thru my insurance company I rent thru Enterprise. Of course all they have is a mini-van. So today I'm cruising around in a Pontiac somethingorother. Bleh. Forget that I had a reservation (cue Seinfeld bit) for an economy car. Now I gotta go back there tomorrow to try and get a smaller car. It may have worked for Chili Palmer in Get Shorty, but not for me.

What's odd is, the only other time I've rented a car this year, I got stuck with a mini-van. That was in Nebraska in June, for Tim's wedding. That worked out well, though, as it meant a bunch of us could ride together. Still...mini-vans? Is that some sign from above that I should hurry up and get married and become a suburban soccer-dad?

fox news and the edumacation president

Fair and balanced? Fair and balanced? My butt is fair and balanced, Fox News sure as shit isn't. Moreover, it's a downright irresponsible and mean organization.

Carl Crawford, whose wife was a Bush campaign operative in 2000, was caught writing and posting a story mocking Kerry's grooming. Then they got scammed by "Communists for Kerry", so gleefully wanting to discredit Kerry that they didn't realize they were being hosed.

Go to http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,134324,00.html for the weak-assed mea culpas.

But that's not the worst of it...

Bill O'Reilly's interview with Bush, aired during the week of September 27, was a journalistic farce. As Jon Stewart mockingly pointed out, that O'Reilly would trumpet the fact that he wasn't subject to prior restraint by having to submit questions is ridiculous -- it isn't something you praise the President and yourself for, it's the least you should expect as a journalist.

But that's not the worst of the interview...(from the transcript up at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,133854,00.html)

O’REILLY: Cause you went to Yale and Harvard.

BUSH: I did.

O’REILLY: And they’re all, pinhead liberals over there, right?

BUSH: I haven’t spent a lot of time why professors feel the way they feel…
O’REILLY: You just wanted to get out of the class. I was the same way. I don't care what you think.

It's one thing for O'Reilly to make these kind of innane comments about college professors in his talking points memo, or with a regular guest or with a panel. But not in an interview with THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

I don't particularly care if Duhbya does it in private (though his wife should take exception), but he should not do this kind of stuff in an interview.

In a discussion with the President you don't mock and denigrate other people (they also snickered about the French), especially teachers! This is a president who runs on his education reform record and he participates in this? Shameful.

Friday, October 01, 2004

tacos, 90 minutes in line, and a kerry rebound

Tons of words have and will be written and spoken about the first debate, so no need to rehash things here. The story is the event at the Miami Arena, a debate watch party followed by a rally featuring the Johns, Kerry and Mellencamp along with Teresa, a Kerry daughter, and Babyface.

Let's forget the potentially troubling symbolism of Kerry's campaign holding a rally at a "white elephant" building that is doomed to be demolished after having been left orphaned by the rich people that wanted it built for their sports teams. The rally itself was a success, some minor glitches aside.

Having scored the pink tickets that got us to the floor (though nobody was checking so it didn't matter), the four of us (Eric, Lynn, Brian and me {started the night by meeting Eric and Lynn for tacos at this great hole-in-the-wall taqueria on Calle Ocho at 5th}) got in a line that wasn't moving. This being Miami, it should be no surprise that the rally stated out with a major screw up, this screw-up being that the doors didn't open until about 8:45. This means that we didn't get in until about 9:30 or so. Yes, I understand that given Kerry's appearance there needed to be strict security. But seriously, WTF? Get your shit together and make sure the event goes as planned? Why can't anything in this town go unclusterfucked?

Anyway, we get in and grab seats, watch the debate. Again, the content of the debate isn't worth rehashing here. Kerry kicked ass, Bush looked like a petulant brat. What was great about watching this in the company of a few thousand other folks was that finally I got a sense of community in my politics. When Bush responded to Lehrer's question about the justification for pre-emptive war by saying "the enemy attacked", *everyone* in the building gasped and I just knew we were all thinking the same thing..."SAY IT!!" The guys in front of us said "say it", I said it...all of us wanted Kerry to come back with "Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11". He did and the place went wild. There were a few other moments like that, but that one was the strongest. It was amazing...blue-collar union folks, college students, regular people...people who've been left behind and ignored, making their voices heard together.

About 20 minutes later, John Mellencamp and his band played a short acoustic set. They played what you'd expect...."Small Town", "Pink Houses", "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Paper and Fire". Babyface joined him for one song, forget which one.

A little while later out comes Kerry, along with his wife and one of the daughters. We had moved to the floor right after the debate ended, and were right along the runway to the podium. Kerry came out and stayed mainly to our side, and I got a brief handshake.

So the crowd is going crazy as the Kerrys came in. Teresa, who looks kinda scary up close, proceeds to just about suck all the energy out of the room by trying to quiet us down, not speaking for a long stretch, then asking for quiet...seriously lady...it's a POLITICAL RALLY! You have a pumped up crowd, don't sush it.

Finally she introduces John and he gives the bullet-points of the stump speech, brings Mellencamp and Babyface out again (from the phone cam...why oh why did I not bring my camera? dumb, dumb, dumb) and calls it a night. Again, a good evening overall.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

congress needs an enema

With a plethora of appropriations bills outstanding, an overhaul of the intelligence community to be discussed (per the 9/11 Commission recommendations) and other bit of needed legislation, what is Congress spending time on this week? Gay marriage. Again. The bill failed in the Senate, but the House is taking it up. Also? A bill that overruled the Washington DC city council's ban on handguns. GOP Congressional leadership are full aware that the Senate is not expected to take up either bill during the final weeks of the 108th Congress.

So not only are GOP Congressmen telling DC residents that their own elected officials are not allowed to set policy, not only are GOP Congressmen engaging in more hate-fueled legislation designed to keep people who love each other from marrying, but they're doing all off this while more pressing matters need tending to. The sole reason these bills have come up for vote is election-time politics -- they want to make Democratic representatives vote for things they might ordinarily vote against in hopes of using the votes during the final weeks of the election.

All this on top of a presidential debate that is nothing more than a press conference, with ridiculous rules that do more to limit the free flow of ideas than to give us valuable insight into the candidates and their policies.

Is it any ownder that people are fed up, thinking that our democracy has become a dead fish, rotting from the head and soon to smell all the way down? There is hope, of course, bright spots, such as Howard Dean's Democracy for America grassroots movement. But whether or not we connect to a movement, we all need to stand up and hold our elected officials to account. Some would say that it's unpatriotic to question our leaders when in fact it is the very essence of democracy to do so.

Friday, September 03, 2004

better late than whenever

While awaiting the arrival of that sassy gal Frances, I was making regular posts to a couple of usenet outlets. they were bloggish in nature, and I realized that often I use usenet for things bloggish in nature. Thinking that, and thinking way too much of other people's interest in what I have to say, I took the natural next step of putting up my own blog.

Now, I don't have grand aspirations to be like Gregg Eastrerbrook, Wonkette or any other "famous" blogger, but given that this bit of narcissim costs me nothing (except perhaps some sleep) and may help me a bit to hone my writing, I figure, WTF.

So, more as it comes. If you're listening, say hi.