Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bob Denver report

It is Saturday morning again. I'm still in Denver. But, I've got my coffee, sun is coming in the window, I'm flipping channels between ESPN Gameday (Bama v.Clemson) and MSNBC (politics fix). Saturday transcends geography.

A few other observations from the convention.

I was bummed about the whole credential mix-up thing between Obama's people and mine,but, after driving by the stadium about four hours before the event, and then eating with Benjamin and Kate at a nice sushi bar, I was fine with the outcome.

The convention ended late Thursday night. The excitement of the convention that had filled the streets of Denver for four days came to a celebratory end. Seriously. The people who came to this convention are motivated people. Democrats have not acted like this for awhile. No apologies, no hedging. Confident. Committed. Energized.
But Denver was returning to normal by Friday morning. And the streets were so clean. Benjamin wouldn't let me go dumpster diving for souvenirs, but I don't think there was any trash in the dumpsters anyway. I don't know how they did that, but somebody stayed up late recycling. Seriously. They do things like this very well.

A secondary source of fun for me, other than the politics, was eating breakfast a couple of days at Sams 3, a downtown cafe, where MSNBC was broadcasting Morning Joe and some other shows. Friday morning we went to breakfast there, and they were obviously in a dither. McCain had been jerking them around for 24 hours on his VP nomination. Joe Scarboro was agitated because, being the Republican that he is, he wanted to push the story. It was walking all over the follow-up stories to Obama's acceptance speech, which Mika wanted to cover. They were all testy.

Anyway, it was kind of cool. We saw Pat Buchanan. He was wearing European style glasses. You know, black rims, almost old-style punk. It was a little disturbing. But I think he was under severe strain as he left. First, he had already declared Obama's acceptance speech to be the best he had ever heard. Then the news came that McCain had chosen Palin as his VP. Pat had spent a few minutes in mental contortion trying to say why that was a good choice. I think he left to try to find out what the heck was going on.

Then we saw the governor of Montana who had added a little flair to the convention with his speech. This guy is Montana. He had on jeans, a belt with a big silver cowboy buckle, and a blue shirt. He was just hanging out, watching the TV's like the rest of us, trying to figure McCain's thought process out on the VP selection. Mike Murphy was also there hanging out. (A conservative pundit) He seemed flummoxed, as he just sat at a table looking at the other networks programming. The main characters were on the little set located in a small section of the cafe. The whole process looked much more frenetic than it does on television, although I think that whole McCain/Palin thing made it so. It was cool to be there, at least for me the political news show junkie that I am.

The rest of the day Benjamin took me on a ride to Breckenridge. This is a pretty cool place.

A pretty, cool, place. I think I'll come back.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Democratic unconventional . . .

I am in Denver, trying to ferret out the truth for you faithful readers. Somebody's gotta do it.

I knew it was going to be a successful venture during the flight from Nashville. Direct TV was available so I could watch the Democratic convention activities early Wednesday evening during the flight. When it got a little slow early on I scanned the other channels. ESPNU was re-running the Alabama-Arkansas game from 2007. It was a win. Still. A great omen. And then there was Billy C. One of the most effective speeches he has ever given.

When Barack personally emailed me several weeks ago and said I could request credentials for his acceptance speech to be held at Invesco Mile High Stadium, I immediately called in my information. I have been in constant communication with the O-man, Michelle, Joe, David, and others by email since that day. "Bob", they call me. We are all on a first name basis. Funny thing, I never got my credentials. Just several messages telling me how people just like me had received backstage passes and front row seats and that I was one of the millions of people they represent. And then I was encouraged to send another $25.oo. I probably will. Cause those people are stuck in that boring stadium and convention hall while I, along with the help of my son and host Benjamin, are meeting with the "real" Democrats, out on the streets of Denver.

So for you, my readers, I hit the pavement, attempting to put my finger on the pulse of the Democratic Party, deprived of twenty percent of the oxygen that most of us are accustomed to.

I am pretty sure the people I hob-nobbed with on the streets of Denver may not have passed the security test for credentials. It was colorful all day long in this extremely cool city. Not cool, like temperature, but cool as in beans.

The festive atmosphere welcoming conventioners could not be missed. It was intoxicating.

The hawkish wing of the party seems to have been denied credentials as well.

We thought we were just going to the other end of 16th Street. Thank goodness we were warned.

You never hear of the platforms that come in second . . .

The streets were full of celebrities. We heard that somebody was over by that door. I'm pretty sure it was Obama, Bruce Springsteen, or Jennifer Lopez. If you hold the picture up to your nose, and slowly move it away while focusing out ahead of you, you'll see a surprise.

Even though we were on serious business, we just had to make time to get Benjamin's photo with these adorable party mascots.

More later . . . maybe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Miss Helen

Hey there you sweet people.

I find myself greeting various groups with these words quite often. They are magic words, or maybe more accurately, spiritually charged words. After the greeting, I find myself believing that the persons I greet are indeed, sweet.

They are not my words. They will forever belong to Helen Blalock. Helen finally decided that Trudy and Max could make it on their own and went on to heaven early this morning, where I am sure she has already greeted many sweet people in her life that went on before she did.

Helen took care of children in Oneonta for a long, long time. Right there at her house, behind the Dairy Queen. Hundreds of kids were told that they were sweet. Some probably didn't hear that opinion directed their way very often.

Jesus talked of a kind of strength in gentleness. Southern writers have written of steel magnolias. Steel does not seem to describe Helen. Steel is too hard and cold. Miss Helen was anything but hard and cold. But she was strong. The kind of strong that comes from love.

So, I just wanted to let you know that we are all going to have to step it up a notch in the love department. Helen took a lot with her when she went. But, she left a whole lot with us.

So, let's honor Helen's life by loving somebody, maybe even somebody not so loveable. Instead of looking for the fault, let's look for the good.

And maybe you would like to try her spiritually charged greeting. It can change your life, you sweet people.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Totally unfayzed . . .

Did you see the video on all the news outlets this morning which showed a man on the beach in Florida, close to Miami, as Hurricane Fay was making landfall? The wind was coming in from the gulf onto the land at about 65 mph. So, this man decided it was the perfect chance to para-sail. As the video begins he is standing on the beach. You seem him violently jerked up into the air about 20 or 30 feet, then slammed into the beach and dragged about 20 or 30 feet, then picked back up about 15 feet and hurled at what looks to be about 40 mph straight inland. The problem is that someone built a condominium right there along the beach. He slammed into the condo wall and crumpled to the ground. I think he was hurt pretty bad. You can see it at

I know it is wrong to want to watch it again, but come on, you want to, don't you?

I suppose this kite man thought it was a good idea at the time. His biggest problem was he didn't have a clue which way the wind was blowing.

A good life lesson in there somewhere . . . I mean other than don't para-sail in a hurricane.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spanning the globe . . .

Saturday morning. Coffee. USA vs. Spain in basketball. It just does not get better than this.

Except that it does. I had my own little international moment this morning. Thanks to Skype I had coffee and conversation with a bunch of friends who gathered in Birzai, Lithuania, and one who gathered in Birmingham. It started as a video conference. I am sure that was pretty frightening for my Baltic friends. It was 7:00 a.m. here, 3:00 p.m.there. I don't normally expose my Saturday a.m. look to anyone, much less go international. But they were charitable.

We had business to discuss about Chrysalis in the Baltics. Exciting stuff. Those young people are doing amazing work. But at the end of the conference was one of those unexpected moments, a Kairos moment. It was initiated by Patrick Friday, who is gifted in such things. He suggested we all sing a few songs. At first we all just laughed. Then it became clear that Patrick was going to make us sing. So we did. Tentatively at first. "From the rising of the sun . . ." Then "Jesus, Jesus, can I tell you how I feel . . .", then "Spirit of the Living God . . ." then "Give Thanks, with a grateful heart . . ." We all sang. From opposite sides of the Atlantic. Then we prayed. Each of us in our own language.

Man, I love Saturday morning.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We'll always have Paris . . .

The story goes that Sigmund Freud, who made a living in part by studying, analyzing, writing and lecturing about the role of the phallic symbol in our psyche, was smoking a cigar one day. A student asked him what the cigar symbolized.

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

But sometimes it's not. Ask Bill Clinton.

It's just become to hard to know when it is and when it isn't.

John McCain was somewhere in middle America today at a biker rally. He addressed the group and drew his biggest applause when he suggested that his wife could enter the group's beauty contest, "Miss Buffalo Chip". As it turns out the contest includes showing a lot of skin and doing some pretty crude things not completely unrelated to the aforementioned Freud discussion. I don't believe McCain knew that. And I am sure he wasn't serious about his wife entering the competition. It was just supposed to be a joke. Maybe it was inappropriate, but I kinda thought it was funny.

You'd a thought the man had committed a major foreign policy blunder.

Obama repeated something earlier this week that he has said several times the past few months. He doesn't look like the presidents on the money, he is young, he's got big ears, and did you notice, he was black. I realize there was a serious element to what he said, but he was laughing as he said it, and the crowd he was addressing was laughing with him.

The statement has been analyzed, criticized and publicized until it probably affected the national polls as much as off shore drilling.

If we keep this up, if we don't let these guys have a few moments where they can be themselves addressing the few hundred or thousand people in front of them, we may lose our best opportunity to know who they really are.

If everything they say is dissected and the post mortem published before they get back in their car, then eventually their handlers are going to pull in the reins to the point that their real voices are choked.

I believe that John McCain really enjoyed joking about his wife being in the beauty contest. I like that about him. I think Obama is at his best when he is relaxed and laughing at himself or at his opponents while relating to his audience.

Real people make mistakes. They don't always say everything just right. And if you want to, you can be offended. Maybe sometimes you should be offended. But if we make it where they can't afford to speak freely, we will never get to know them at all. And we will miss some good laughs. And we need all the laughs we can get.

I don't like the negative campaign tactics that McCain has apparently thought were necessary this week. I am one of the minority that believes that a couple of cigars in his TV ad were not just cigars.

But even that regretful tactic has been good for a few laughs. An unlikely heroine has emerged to give us perspective. Paris Hilton. McCain played the Paris Hilton card. But Paris Hilton upped the ante. For a laugh check this out.

One of these guys is going to be our president. Yeah, I am definitely for one of them. But they are both good guys.

At ease. If you got 'em, smoke 'em.
Real Time Analytics