Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Liquid Assets

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crystal Flight Prepares to Fly Into the Sunset

Crystal City (Arlington, VA) – Originally landing on the streets of Crystal City in April with a scheduled departure in July, the Crystal Flight airplane statues experienced a “flight delay” due to the overwhelmingly positive response of the exhibit. The 50 unique and creative airplanes continue to be a big draw to Crystal City - adding color, interest, and people to the streets of Crystal City.  As a result, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) extended Crystal Flight’s stay to showcase the successful collaboration between businesses and the arts and to maximize the joint investment made in the program. The planes will now take off at the end of October 2008.  Before flying off into the sunset, however, Crystal Flight has several stops to make. 

Starting September 29th, thanks to the continued support of project sponsor and transport superpower, JK Moving and Storage, the planes will be diverted to Crystal Drive, which coincides with miles 22 and 23 in the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon.  The presence of the whimsical statues, which inspired the artful Arlington mile markers, will welcome the 15,000 spectators and energize the 33,000 runners as they enter Crystal City, near the end of the long race.  The Crystal Run/Marine Corps Marathon “All Day Street Festival” is sure to surprise and invigorate both runners and spectators with art, live music, food samples, street activity and other family-friendly fun. The festival will culminate with the American roots-rock group, the BoDeans, headlining the Post-Race Celebration at 3:00 PM on the Crystal City Stage at 2200 Crystal Drive between 20th and 23rd Streets.

“Crystal Flight has created a lot of playfulness and buzz in the area, especially since Crystal City has such a strong history and connection to flight,” said Angie Fox, President/CEO of the Crystal City BID. “It is a perfect example of the arts and businesses working together, generating interest and delighting Crystal City visitors, workers and residents.”

After the race, the planes will move into a temporary “hangar” created inside the Crystal City Shops. Here art lovers, plane enthusiasts, and urban explorers can take one more view of the planes in a centralized, weather-safe location. The indoor show will culminate with a final Crystal Flight “send-off,” that will include a charity auction.  Each of the planes’ sponsors will designate a charity of their choice to which the proceeds of the auctioned sale of their plane will be donated.

Following in the footsteps of Artomatic and the three-year relocation of Arena Stage to Crystal City, Crystal Flight is another example of the BID effectively melding the arts and business to change how people see and perceive the area. This philosophy continues with the recent launch of Crystal Market, the first open-air art market in Crystal City.  Featuring hand-made ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, soaps, candles, clothing and other artwork from local artisans, Crystal Market, located in the 2200 Crystal Drive courtyard, is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM until October 25th.  A special version of the market will also be part of the Crystal Run/Marine Corps Marathon event on October 26th.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Small Personal Victory

Before Cable....there were puzzles.

Lindz and I rocked this bad boy in under a week. The strategy - seek and destroy.

Take Me Out To The Opera

As a huge Opera buff, (fan yes, but don't quiz me, I'm terrible) I was so thrilled to hear the Washington National Opera was once again doing a simulcast of their opening night performance. This year they would be playing Verdi's La Traviata on the HUGE high-def jumbotron at National's Stadium.

What a great way to spend the evening, under the stars, listing to far and away one of the greatest (and most popular) operas with a beer in one hand and Ben's Chili Bowl chili fries in the other. The performance was excellent and all 9,000 attendees at the ball park , including linds, angela and myself were blown away (some even cried!) while the kids played tag in the outfield. How very Italian!
It was the crowd control issue we had after the show. Unlike Nats fans - we stayed through the whole game - unable to tear our eyes and ears away from the show. So the metro happened to be just a hair crowded.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel


(April) Charlottsville Va. - I was just reminiscing about Foxfield: The Year Of The Mojito, or in layman's terms the third installment of the Pink Cashmere (predecessor to ChezCopa) trek to Cville for the Foxfield horse race.We name each trek after the featured drink of the year, last year being the Mojito.

This last trip has officially cemented Foxfield as the centerpiece of PC activities and the kickoff to the summer because it almost didn't happen. After a little feet dragging and dissent in the ranks we finally pulled through and bought the infield plot (the second to last in fact.)

There are so many customs in place especially for it being such a new tradition. The goal is to get a plot in the green tagged section as far from the orange tagged collegian section and as close to the rail of the races we wont be watching.

We stay with the palatial Egelman manor and every year is a little more special. The Year of the G & T, Serge Egelman cruise directed. He showed us the ropes to proper plot preparation - two plots, plenty of food, betting and the entire contents of a fully stocked bar in the trunk. We were set in our preppy sun dresses.

The year of the White Cranberry we were on our own. After a rough day starting at 3 AM for some of us we finally made it to Egelman Manor in time for Jon to prepare us a gourmet dinner at 2 AM the following morning.

We got the trunk bar down but we'll chalk everything else up to a learning experience. Let's just say I fell asleep cuddled up underneath the trunk of my car after having poured everyone generous margaritas. The next morning I was so impressed with how little we had consumed. That tequila completely skipped my mind until the incriminating photos surfaced. oops! But Jon true to form came with his barbershop quartet hat.

Last April, we were reduced to the core members, even Mandy who made a last minute decision to ditch running for corn hole in Cville. We had a grand time making friends with our neighbors, and the police who struggled to believe we were of age. The weather held to the last moment when we were instructed to seek refuge in our vehicles. Leaving the grounds snug and dry we witnessed the poor car-less collegians walk drenched back to their buses, some reduced down to their undergarments. So much for prep and propriety.

So now that we've recapped it's time to start working out a recipe for next year!

Comcast Sucks!

 It only took one month, six phone calls, and the stalking of two Comcast vans parked out in front of our apartment to realize we weren't wired for cable, despite the TWO cable jacks jutting from our walls. But we did finally get service thank god! George T. Vo was starving!

And I said Thanks, But No Thanks....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

From The Desk Of Pres. Bush

September 24, 2008
OP-ED COLUMNIST

Dear Iraqi Friends

From: President George W. Bush
To: President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashadani
Dear Sirs, I am writing you on a matter of grave importance. It’s hard for me to express to you how deep the economic crisis in America is today. We are discussing a $1 trillion bailout for our troubled banking system. This is a financial 9/11. As Americans lose their homes and sink into debt, they no longer understand why we are spending $1 billion a day to make Iraqis feel more secure in their homes.
For the past two years, there has been a debate in this country over whether to set a deadline for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. It seemed as if the resolution of that debate depended on who won the coming election. That is no longer the case. A deadline is coming. American taxpayers who would not let their money be used to subsidize their own companies — Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch — will not have their tax dollars used to subsidize your endless dithering over which Iraqi community dominates Kirkuk.
Don’t misunderstand me. Many Americans and me are relieved by the way you, the Iraqi people and Army have pulled back from your own brink of self-destruction. I originally launched this war in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. I was wrong. But it quickly became apparent that Al Qaeda and its allies in Iraq were determined to make America fail in any attempt to build a decent Iraq and tilt the Middle East toward a more democratic track, no matter how many Iraqis had to be killed in the process. This was not the war we came for, but it was the one we found.
Al Qaeda understood that if it could defeat America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, that it would resonate throughout the region and put Al Qaeda and its allies in the ascendant. Conversely, we understood that if we could defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, in collaboration with other Arabs and Muslims, that it would resonate throughout the region and pay dividends. Something very big was at stake here. We have gone a long way toward winning that war.
At the same time, I also came to realize that in helping Iraqis organize elections, we were facilitating the first ever attempt by the people of a modern Arab state to write their own social contract — rather than have one imposed on them by kings, dictators or colonial powers. If Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds can forge your own social contract, then some form of a consensual government is possible in the Arab world. If you can’t, it is kings and dictators forever — with all the pathologies that come with that. Something very big is at stake there, too.
It’s not the stakes that have changed. It is the fact that you are now going to have to step up and finish this job. You have presumed an endless American safety net to permit you to endlessly bargain and dicker over who gets what. I’ve been way, way too patient with you. That is over. We bought you time with the surge to reach a formal political settlement and you better use it fast, because it is a rapidly diminishing asset.
You Shiites have got to bring the Sunni tribes and Awakening groups, who fought the war against Al Qaeda of Iraq, into the government and Army. You Kurds have got to find a solution for Kirkuk and accept greater integration into the Iraqi state system, while maintaining your autonomy. You Sunnis in government have got to agree to elections so the newly emergent Sunni tribal and Awakening groups are able to run for office and become “institutionalized” into the Iraqi system.
So pass your election and oil laws, spend some of your oil profits to get Iraqi refugees resettled and institutionalize the recent security gains while you still have a substantial U.S. presence. Read my lips: It will not be there indefinitely — even if McCain wins.
Our ambassador, Ryan Crocker, has told me your problem: Iraqi Shiites are still afraid of the past, Iraqi Sunnis are still afraid of the future and Iraqi Kurds are still afraid of both.
Well, you want to see fear. Look in the eyes of Americans who are seeing their savings wiped out, their companies disappear, their homes foreclosed. We are a different country today. After a decade of the world being afraid of too much American power, it is now going to be treated to a world of too little American power, as we turn inward to get our house back in order.
I still believe a decent outcome in Iraq, if you achieve it, will have long-lasting, positive implications for you and the entire Arab world, although the price has been way too high. I will wait for history for my redemption, but the American people will not. They want nation-building in America now. They will not walk away from Iraq overnight, but they will not stay there in numbers over time. I repeat: Do not misread this moment. God be with you.
George W. Bush.

Damn Skippy Brown

Is Shielding Sarah Palin Sexist?

Campbell Brown
Viewers of CNN’s prime-time program, “Campbell Brown: Election Center,” might have been surprised last night to see the host rip into the McCain campaign.
Like an Arctic blast, Ms. Brown slammed the campaign for sequestering Sarah Palin from reporters — and blamed their behavior on sexism.
“I call upon the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment,” Ms. Brown declared.
“This woman is from Alaska, for crying out loud,” she went on. “She is strong. She is tough. She is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now.”
McCain aides had no comment Wednesday as they focused on the financial crisis.
Ms. Brown said in an interview that her commentary was part of a broader effort by CNN that includes fact-checks and truth-squads to “cut through the bull and the misinformation” that have permeated the entire campaign.
Asked whether CNN felt a need to be edgier, since it’s up against opinion on MSNBC and FOX, she said no.
“They are both partisan and bringing their partisan views into what they do, and that’s not what we’re doing,” she said. “I don’t see it as opinion. For me, it’s about accountability. I’m approaching this as a journalist,” she said, adding that she would take on Senator Barack Obama when she thinks he crosses the line.
And yes, by the way, she does think that the McCain campaign is being sexist about Ms. Palin. “The McCain campaign says that if she were a man, the media would not be treating her this way,” she said. “So it’s fair of me to ask, if she were a man, would they be coddling her this way?”
Readers who posted comments on the CNN Web site had mixed reactions. “If it’s provocative,” Ms. Brown said, “that’s a good thing.”

Now That's Real Reporting!

Shenanigans: Begala's book


Begala, he’s got another book

One thing’s for sure: You can hand it to the Dems for showing support. What in the world was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doing at professional Democratic pundit Paul Begala’s book party Tuesday night during such trying and truculent times as these? For Begala’s sixth book, at that?

But there he was, showing his support at 101 Constitution Ave. — location, location, location — for Begala’s latest, “Third Term.” As you might have guessed, the 288 pages expand upon the book’s subtitle, “Why George W. Bush John McCain.”

Jampacked with Bill Clinton Democrats, the gathering was described by one attendee as “the 1992 War Room.” The crowd included Mandy Grunwald, Donna Brazile, John Podesta, a handful of CNN-ers, Bob Barnett, Bill Press, Jonathan Capehart, Walter Shapiro, Michael Meehan, Jake Perry and former Carville-ite Todd DeLorenzo.

We thought we were talking to Top Dog Reid about the bailout when we asked, “Is it going to pass this week, sir?” “What?” he shrugged in response.

Meanwhile, Begala kindly answered Shenanigans’ burning questions.

Q: Top five favorite people on Capitol Hill?

A: Nonelected officials only:

1. The ladies at the Senate reception desk

2. The Capitol Police

3. Harry Reid’s staff

4. Everyone in Hillaryland

5. The poor people on Rahm Emanuel’s staff

Q: Most influential TV host?

A: You mean, besides Stephen Colbert?

Q: Finish this sentence, “If I had a minute with Rush Limbaugh, I’d _________.”

A: Dump a bottle of OxyContin on the floor and watch him dive for ’em.

Q: Most inaccurate thing ever said about you?

A: “You should be on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’”

Q: Most inaccurate thing ever said about Bush?

A: “He’s not as dumb as they say.”

Q: Most accurate thing ever said about McCain?

A: “His suffering and service in Vietnam were truly heroic.”

Q: Most accurate ever said about Obama?

A: “He married well.”

Q: Finish this sentence, “The last time I saw John McCain, I _________.”

A
: “Was at a GOP primary debate. Couldn’t get close to McCain, however. He was surrounded by lobbyists.”

Q
: Plans for Nov. 5?

A
: “I will be in New York, on CNN, covering the election returns with the Best Political Team in Television and the Best Bottle of Tequila in New York.”

Happy Birthday Carly!!

It is not the Richer way to half ass anything - particularly on birthday salutations. So when I called my sister at 9:30AM EST (3:30AM Hawaii time) to sing her happy birthday ... we got the whole newsroom involved. Given her sleep interruption she was not impressed.

But when I went on to sing the second and third verse of the Richer Happy Birthday tune, I was surprised to find the version used on the masses actually has a copyright .  Hmmm. Good thing us Richers went Vanilla Ice on Mildred Hill and dropped our own version back in the day.

Take that USPTO! (United States Paton and Trademark Office).

PS. Feel free to send carly your very own bday wishes: richer@hawaii.edu

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Living Classic

Half a century ago, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe published a novel about a proud Ibo man. In just fifty years his mere 200 pages established a voice for African writers and transformed the literary world.

Thousands of high schoolers read Things Fall Apart every year as required reading. I have to admit, I read it for my senior AP English seminar because it was one of the shorter options on the list. I have always been deeply fascinated with everything African, but lets be honest, I was a busy girl looking down the tunnel of a 30 pager to follow the reading so I opted to keep it short.

It is one of the few books that changed my point of view. As Achebe said Monday, "You can read it a several times and find something new...and I wrote it."


Written in 1958 he was the first published African author to become an international bestseller. With his writings he provided a window into the continent.

When asked why he started writing he said,"I tried to answer Conrad's criticism [in Heart of Darkness] that Africans don't have a language... that was not Africa." Achebe carries the weight of meaning not in the obscure assemblage of letters - like some overly grasping poets, but in his simplicity. Like a reporter he tells the story by describing chosen details; perhaps why I find his work so attractive.

I obviously am not the only one. Fans lined up gripping books, I had my second copy in my hand (I had to buy a hardback edition because my  first copy is in an embarrassing state) at the reception before his awarding of the Patriot Award. Originally set up to host light conversation became a mob scene as attendees pressed in on the authors wheel chair. Some wanting signitures, others just a handshake and a few words.


What an undertaking, I have seen the author introduced twice now, both times by amazing literary academics, and I have to ask how do you describe exactly what Achebe has contributed in under 10 minutes. 
Well the mayor of Fairfax clearly did not take the same considerations as he introduced the author  he plowed through his last name, to the shock and offense of the audience.


The spectrum in attendance Monday was as varied as the publication covers. From high school students, cliquey college kids to middle aged business men, 2,000 turned out at George Mason's Patriot Center to see the living legend.
Achebe read from a selection of poems including The Explorer as well as his Things Fall Apart. Having missed to opportunity to get his signature at the Washington Post reading last April, I was determined this go around. Mid reading I jumped up and jetted to the signing line. Surprisingly I was the first this time. VICTORY!

As I shared with Dr. Achebe - looking at the diversity of the 2,000 fans lined up for a signature was truly a testament to the impact of his work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who's Watching Africa?


A South African of Charisma and Mystery
By BARRY BEARAK

JOHANNESBURG — Last year, The Financial Mail, one of South Africa’s leading business magazines, placed a photo of Jacob Zuma on the cover and then, alongside in big letters, the warning: “Be Afraid.”

But what exactly was there to fear?

To all appearances, Mr. Zuma did not — and does not — hold any outrageous or threatening political or economic beliefs. Indeed, the magazine concluded that he was far more interested in holding power than in making policy, long on charm if short on intellect.

In recent months, as Mr. Zuma has edged ever closer to South Africa’s presidency, his ideological underpinnings, if they exist at all, have remained opaque.

Is he the pro-business capitalist who has reassured investors that “nothing will change”? Or does his heart lie with the trade unions and Communists, the base of his support?

There is a third possibility, of course. It is that Mr. Zuma, as many here suggest, is the ultimate political chameleon, all things to all people, someone who senses what his audience wants to hear and then plays the right tune.

This weekend, these questions assumed greater urgency when the African National Congress, South Africa’s governing party, prevailed on President Thabo Mbeki to resign. A caretaker will soon assume his post, and elections will follow next year. At that point, Mr. Zuma will presumably become the nation’s leader.

South Africa continues to have a healthy economy, the biggest on the continent. But more than half of the population is destitute, and the extreme gap between rich and poor grows ever wider.

Mr. Zuma, 66, has been president-in-waiting since December, when he bested Mr. Mbeki for the top job in the party hierarchy. His shadow has loomed over the government ever since, and it now becomes even starker.

He is a husky man with a shaved head, a high-beam smile and an outsize personality. Should people be afraid?

“I can’t tell you why, but he scares me to death,” said Rita Middleton, as she took in the newspaper headlines on Sunday in a neighborhood grocery.

By all accounts, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is boisterous and charismatic. On stage, he clasps a microphone and sways to the rhythm. His signature song is a liberation-era ditty called “Bring Me My Machine Gun.”

A Zulu, he was born in rural Natal, now called KwaZulu-Natal. His father died when Jacob was an infant. His mother moved the family to a suburb of Durban, where she became a maid.

Mr. Zuma grew up without formal education. He joined the African National Congress, then illegal, at age 17 and served in Umkhonto, its military wing.

In 1963, the apartheid government convicted him of trying to overthrow the government. He endured 10 years in prison.

Mr. Zuma considers himself a Zulu traditionalist. Some aspects of that tradition have upset human rights groups. Mr. Zuma has advocated the practice of testing virgins — inspecting girls to make sure they have preserved their virtue. A practicing polygamist, by most counts over the years he has taken six wives.

In 2005, on trial for the rape of a 31-year-old family friend, Mr. Zuma testified that she had seduced him by wearing a short skirt and sitting in a provocative way. He said that “Zulu culture” had left him no option but to oblige. Afterward, he said, he took a shower, believing it would minimize the risk of contracting H.I.V. He was found not guilty.

That same year, President Mbeki fired Mr. Zuma, his deputy since 1999. Evidence showed that a Durban businessman convicted of bribery had brokered payments from a French arms supplier. The money was alleged to have gone to Mr. Zuma.

“Some may think Zuma is a crook, but they don’t think he’s the big fish,” said Barney Mthombothi, editor of The Financial Mail.

Much of Mr. Zuma’s support within his party comes from the other two members of the “Tripartite Alliance:” the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Communist Party.

“Understand that these Communists are not very communist,” Adam Habib, a political analyst, said. “These days, who is? They’re more like social democrats.” At any rate, Mr. Zuma often espouses their economic populism.

For the trade unions or the Communist Party, “First prize is getting someone in power who thinks like you,” said William Gumede, the author of a book about the African National Congress, who continued, “Second prize is getting a guy you believe you can manipulate.”

Mr. Zuma knows well that many find him troubling and ambiguous. He busies himself with what the South African news media calls “charm offensives.”

He is off to Davos, Switzerland, reassuring international lenders, then back to Johannesburg to mix with the downtrodden in the black townships, then on to Pretoria to press the flesh with skeptical Afrikaners.

Nearly always he makes a favorable impression: a good guy, a bright guy, a fun guy, certainly no one to fear.

Ryan Seacreast Has Got Nothing On WMAL!


NEWS/TALK 630 WMAL NOMINATED FOR 2 NATIONAL RADIO AWARDS!

The Washington, DC region’s major News/Talk station, 630 WMAL, was again honored in July to receive two prestigious National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Radio Awards nominations.  For the second year in a row, The Grandy & Andy Morning Show is a finalist in the category of “Major Market Personality of the Year.”  And 630 WMAL is the only AM station in the country to be nominated in the category of “Major Market Station of the Year.”
Fred Grandy and Andy Parks, co-hosts of the popular morning show which runs from 5:00am-9:00am weekdays, are competing against four other nominees, including Eric & Kathy, WTMX-FM Chicago; John & Ken, KFI-AM Los Angeles; Glenn Ordway, WEEI-AM Boston and Ryan Seacrest, KIIS-FM Los Angeles.
Last year, 630 WMAL was one of five nationwide nominees recognized by members of the National Association of Broadcasters for excellence in broadcasting in the format of “News/Talk Station of the Year.”  This year, the station competes against all stations of all formats, including KBWF-FM San Francisco; KIIS-FM Los Angeles; KOIT-FM San Francisco and WBLS-FM New York.  Winners will be announced at the NAB Radio Show in Austin, Texas on September 18th.
“The Marconi award is the most prestigious award in radio, and it is truly an honor to be recognized by our peers,” said 630 WMAL President and General Manager Chris Berry.
“I couldn’t be happier for our team,” said 630 WMAL Operations Director Paul Duckworth.  “This kind of recognition is the result of the dedication of some very talented people – I’m honored to be along for the ride.”
630 WMAL is the Citadel Broadcasting-owned News/Talk station serving Washington, DC, and the states of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.  In addition to the “Grandy & Andy Morning Show,” the station’s weekday line-up includes Chris Plante from 9:00am-Noon, Rush Limbaugh from 12:00n-3:00pm, Sean Hannity from 3:00pm-6:00pm, and Mark Levin from 6:00pm-8:00pm.

Established in 1989 and named after inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, the NAB Marconi Radio Awards are given to radio stations and outstanding on-air personalities to recognize excellence in radio.

Monday, September 22, 2008

UPDATE: Oh Good, I Was So Concerned

Now it all makes sense..............thanks for clearing that up Probst! hmmmmmm

More reality vs. scripted backstage: Ellis and Probst



Backstage, Kirk Ellis just blasted the Academy for cutting him off while letting the reality hosts blab on.

The Emmy-winning writer for "John Adams" was ironically cut off by producers during his acceptance speech while talking about public oratory in Adams era, calling it "an amazing opportunity to talk about a period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences."

"I love freedom of expression and as soon as I opened my mouth they were signaling to wrap it up," Ellis says backstage. "I find it interesting we can do 30 minutes devoted to reality show hosts but none for the people who actually [write the shows]."

Ellis draws applause from the reporters.

"We listen to a lot of bloviating from pundits about whether words in this election matter," he says. "Of course words matter. They always matter."

Next: Probst came backstage and talked the instantly notorious opening bit, saying it was the product of the five outstanding host nominees being unable to agree on how to open the show.

"Its hard to know when you’re in the middle of it how it’s going," Probst says. "It’s hard to get five people to agree on anything. Every time we had one idea, we had two people who didn’t like it. Did it work? I don’t know. I’ll have to go back and watch it. According to Piven it clearly didn’t."

Death By Emmy

This year's Emmy presentation was AWFUL! As ardent fans, linds and I tuned in with great hopes for the creative programing and corny telepromt scripts. All was off to a great start with Oprah, but the following act of reality tv inspired opener was a flop. Rather than prepare a script, 4 of the 5 hosts rambled while Heidi Klum stood at attention awaiting her suit to be ripped off her at the closing.  One word: LAME.

There were a few crowd pleasers however like the Josh Groban, known for his Opera wondertonsils was reduced to 5 minutes of theme song hell, and 30 rock cleaning out the Emmy Trophy case. But it wormed my heart to see John Adams rightfully appreciated.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Total Consolation

Just A Thought

I got this email - sorry for the simplification I can elaborate if you need me to but I thought this was great!
COMPARE AND CHOOSE: I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii , raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic,
different."  Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.  Name your kids Willow , Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable. Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first
black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive
that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law
professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with
over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human
Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a
state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the
Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs
committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.  If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to
become the country's second highest ranking executive.


* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2
beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real
Christian. If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.


* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the
proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society. If , while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community,
then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent
America 's. If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI
conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age
25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska
from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.


OK, much clearer now.

A Taste Of The Islands

Cafe Trope (Sept. 17)

An evening with Carol, my mentor, is always an adventure. We originally had planned on Asia Nora, a renowned organic restaurant, but we were welcomed by a We've had a good run sign. So after a quick convo with neighboring fire department, and some aimless wandering around Dupont Circle, we stumbled upon Cafe Trope.

Just recently opened, this French Caribbean restaurant knocked my socks off right from the start. Our absolutely delicious waiter (imported from Manhattan) made a few suggestions, to which we ignored and unintentionally ordered anyway.

To start the bread (rolls) were perfect, right out of the oven and generous accompanied with a tampanade hummus like spread. I would have preferred a slightly more olive infused flavor but it was tasty nonetheless.

Two glasses of wine (pinot grigo) later we were feasting on Shrimp and Grits with Chorizo with Sausage, Spinach, Bermuda Onions and Lobster Curry Sauce. This was the stand-out for the evening. The sauce was creamy and rich coupled with the punch of the chorizo and the texture of the grits.

Carol had the much milder dish, the Aromatic Chickpea and Spinach Curry. I found it to be too mellow for my taste. To share we had the Truffled Macaroni & Goats’ Cheese, a popular dish, to which we disagreed. Carol wanted to salt the dish but I found the hint of goat cheese to be just the right balance.

On a scale of 1-10 I'd give cafe troupe a 7: overall delightful and the chorizo dish a winner.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FOSE - Best Buy On Crack

(April 2008) FOSE - aka Best Buy on crack.

WMAL and Fisher House spent the week running the booth at FOSE - the annual event where government decision makers go to learn it all, see it all and meet everyone they need to know. 20,000 government technology professionals meander through rows of vendor booths  with the intention of meeting vendors and  networking to drive business of government.

Working with Fisher House is one of the most rewarding experiences. The small administrative team puts 150% into their much needed cause and we had a blast hosting our little table together. After a funny introduction - our stress balls starting falling out of the trunk of the car, a very nice man helped pile them back into the clearly marked WMAL truck. But after his good deed - he didn't leave. In fact he followed us to the registration table. Awkward. At the registration desk he signed in as Derrick from Fisher House - woops! In the world of Jen - we were destined to be instant best friends.

What was the take away moment for me that this orgaization was something to get involved in was a chance roundezvous. One of the FH admins manning the table with me was describing her previous role as house manager at the FH in Germany. As she was telling this story, a former resident of that home heard her voice and ran over to the table. This soldier, now a contractor, neared tears as the two were reunited. He described what it meant to him to have his family next to him in Germany while his shoulder gun shot wound healed. It was his story, a living anecdote of Fisher House's mission. I was blown away.

After soliciting donations for Fisher House and throwing stress balls at government employees for 3 days, I ventured away from the booth to check out the show. Following the glow of the gigundous (gigantic and humongous hybrid) neon Google signs suspended from the ceiling, I sat for a quick introduction to gmail. Being completely fluent in Googles gift to millenials, I moved on to explore the world of servers, Ethernet cables, and networking strategies. I do have to say aside from having the the best swag....we had the most personality. But then again - I am not one to get too excited in Best Buy either.

Viva La ColdPlay

(August 4) A good friend of mine, Kate, studied abroad in Spain. While she was backpacking Europe on a shoe string budget, she splurged and bought last minute tickets to see Coldplay. I will never forget her description; "Seeing Coldplay is sooo German." Although the band is English, she was absolutely right. The sound, the lights, the crowd screams European rock!

So when my mentor Carol asked if I wanted to go with her to see the Euro-pop sensations - of course I said yes.

Touring for their new album, Viva La Vida, the band rocked the Verizon Center with their new artsy beat. David from the Washington Post summed it up perfectly:

The only Coldplay bashing at the sold-out Verizon Center on Sunday night was when band member Will Champion attacked a giant drum with an oversize mallet during "Viva la Vida." The fans were truly, madly in love. They ecstatically clapped in time from the first notes of "Violet Hill." They tenderly sang along with Martin, often with more sincerity than the singer himself. And they took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. So many pictures that Flickr might crash. One fan was even seen snapping away while the stage was cloaked in darkness. (The best description of a Coldplay crowd is this: Think of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," the 1986 documentary of pre-show partying at a Judas Priest concert. The exact opposite would be "Coldplay Metro Car.")
The photography overload was understandable, though. Coldplay designed a nice visual feast for this tour, the main component being six giant spheres that descended from the rafters to show live video of the band from all angles. Of course, the perfectly scruffy Martin -- dressed in his by-now-standard 19th-century European battlefield jacket -- was the focus of most lenses, especially when he made his way out to the sides of the horseshoe-shaped stage.
As for the music, it was less a feast and more semi-filling hors d'oeuvres. There were scant surprises in the band's brand of anthemic arena rock, but that's part of Coldplay's comfortable appeal. "Yellow" still soared, thanks to Johnny Buckland's chiming guitar and Martin's trembling falsetto. "Lost" and "Lovers in Japan," both from the new album, "Viva la Vida," found the right mix of surge and sentimentality. The same could not be said for tedious piano ballads "Fix You" and "42." Another in that line, "The Hardest Part," was abandoned by Martin just after it started. "That's enough of that," he said, with knowing self-deprecation.
The main takeaway from the show was that Coldplay is no longer a band suffering from an identity crisis. Instead of following in the footsteps of its heroes and trying to pass itself off as the world's most important or biggest band, Coldplay seems content being a less adventurous but equally loved -- if not equally revered -- act. For all his sad-puppy-dog lyrics, Martin was an extremely playful frontman, hopping, prancing and skipping across the stage, thrusting his left arm into the air, goofy grin on his face.
When tens of thousands of pieces of paper came flooding from the rafters during the encore, it served as a perfect assessment of the band's current state. Coldplay is a band that will shower its fans with brightly colored, butterfly-shaped confetti while singing, "But I have no doubt/One day the sun will come out." And the band -- and especially its fans -- is just fine with that.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Boys on the Bus

I got the chance to ride along in the McCain motorcade last Wednesday. More details to come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Easiest Way To A News Woman is Through Her.....

....

Google is making the headlines again (as well as rocking my world.) Here are the big developments: One - the launching of their new web browser: Google Chrome:

You had me at hello. This web browser is the death of internet explorer. There are so many flipping awesome features it makes you wonder how the Microsoft Monster didn't get to it first. If you haven't made the switch do it now. I have been using for about a week now and can't get enough of it.

It's slick, quick and intuitive- obviously designed with a women in mind. Just look at the toolbar -it searches the internet and your desktop, in addition to accessing the web address you type. Plus, you can toggle all your web pages within a single window (a tribute to Mozilla) as well as customize your home page to display your most visited websites.

And if that wasn't enough to make a girl swoon, hear this fellow news junkies ...Google will start posting and archiving the world's newspapers - at their own expense.

With newsrooms on a shoestring budget, who can afford to convert over 244 years of print? That's right the guys at Google.

Have no fear capitalists, there's something in it for them - with an expanded GoogleNews library, there is more opportunity for advertising = more money for google stock holders. But how lovely it is that we can reap the benefits of such a lucrative cooperation.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Special Topics: Calamity Physics

WOW! I am not a huge fiction fan...can you blame me...I work in news. But this was by far one of the most fun novels I have come across. Marisha Pessl takes you on an ironic roller coaster ride from page one. Written like the hybrid of Catcher in the Rye loose stream of conciousness (which I hated) and a well reasearched modern textbook, it's style itself is an ironic contridiction.




Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a darkly hilarious coming-of-age novel and a richly plotted suspense tale told through the distinctive voice of its heroine, Blue van Meer. After a childhood moving from one academic outpost to another with her father (a man prone to aphorisms and meteoric affairs), Blue is clever, deadpan, and possessed of a vast lexicon of literary, political, philosophical, and scientific knowledge—and is quite the cineaste to boot. In her final year of high school at the elite (and unusual) St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, Blue falls in with a charismatic group of friends and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. But when the drowning of one of Hannah's friends and the shocking death of Hannah herself lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instincts and cultural references to guide—or misguide—her.
Structured around a syllabus for a Great Works of Literature class and containing ironic visual aids (drawn by the author), Pessl's debut novel is complex yet compelling, erudite yet accessible. It combines the suspense of Hitchcock, the self-parody of Dave Eggers, and the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt with a dazzling intelligence and wit entirely Pessl's own.


The good stuff:
Here are a couple of excerpts I had to highlight.

"But most critically, sweet, never try to change the narrative structure of someone else's story, though you will certainly be tempted to, as you watch those poor souls in school, in life, heading unwittingly down dangerous tangents, fatal digressions from which they will unlikely be able to emerge. Resist the temptation. Spend your energies on your story. Reworking it. Making it better. Increasing the scale, the depth of content, the universal themes. And I don’t care what those themes are – they’re yours to uncover and stand behind – so long as, at the very least, there is courage. Guts. Mut, in German. Those around you can have their novellas, sweet, their short stories of cliché and coincidence, occasionally spiced up with tricks of the quirky, the achingly mundane, the grotesque. A few will even cook up Greek tragedy, those born into misery, destined to die in misery. But you, my bride of quietness, you will craft nothing less than epic with your life. Out of all of them, your story will be the one to last.” (p.72)
 “It was October. Dad was dating a woman named Kitty (whom I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of swatting away form our screen” (p.106) HILARIOUS
 “Layer. Shakespeare personage. Contrary to popular belief, person needs heartbreak an’ betrayal. Else you got no stayin’ power. Can’t play a lead for five whole acts. Can’t play two performances inna day. Can’t fashion a character arch from point a ta point g. Can’t get through the denewment, create a a convincin’ through line – all that stuff. See whut I’m sayin’? Person’s gotta get banged up. Gotta get jerked around, lived in. So he’s got somethin’ to use, see. Hurts like hell. Sure. Feels bad. Not sure you wanna go on. But that gives way to twhat thye commonly clall emotive re-zon-ance. An emotive resonance makes it impossible fer people to take their eyes offa you, when yer onstage. Ever turned round in a good movie and seen the faces? Pretty intense. (p.241) 

I Scream, You Scream

Sebastian Martorana creates memorials of ice cream pints made from stone (Ode to Ice Cream: Group of 6, pictured). Wanting to memorialize the quiet happy moments of life like sharing a pint of ice cream at the end of the day with his wife, he carved various flavors and consistencies of ice cream, asking "isn't that important too?" The realistic pints exude these emotions and while not as raw as the memorials to the dead and unborn, are just as heartfelt.

Introductions4 is on display through September 6, 2008. Irvine Contemporary is located at 1412 14th St NW and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Know Your Power..

Know Your Power is the title of Nancy Pelosi's new book. She may be an incredible woman with a remarkable career, but after reading her "Message to America's Daughters" I have to say, please keep your day job. Her power is NOT in writing.

Although written with co writer Amy Hill Hearth, the narrative is strained. From the introduction to the epilogue, the tone is of obligation to women everywhere was to write all 170 pages of how she made it to the top. Well Nancy - this is not required reading.

She starts the tale with "notes, notes, take notes," advice she clearly forgot to take to heart. This warm and fuzzy diatribe lacks any significant substance. It glazes over the juicy details, like a poorly written boilerplate.

I cracked the book hoping to read her side of House battles, particularly as trail blazing female and her struggles within the minority party for so long. Instead I was given repeat anecdotes I heard when we met her at her book signing. There she told us "self promotion is a dirty job, but someone's got to do it."

If I had to sum this one up in a single word - Disappointing. The one quote I walked away with was not even hers, it was a quote she used from Thomas Jefferson. A nice reminder, particularly in this election that , "Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle."

I Still Love You GW....

U.S. News has collected data from more than 1,400 colleges to bring you this year's rankings and GW takes #53. Yehaw...one day us colonials will break through that glass ceiling of our own...into the top 50.

It's just such a shame, because we really should be ranked much higher. Although our student body tends to be a little snobby about our palatial living accommodations, (seriously, they were ranked second most luxurious in the country and we still complain.) we have some of the best instructors, resources, and talent in the country.

While adjunct is one of the dirty words in academia, our part-timers have full time jobs too - at the Smithsonian, the state department, embassies and even the White House. Who better than foreign leaders teaching our introduction to international affairs, and the woman who briefs Condolezza on the status of Georgia, lecturing on Eastern European history once a week. (Although I doubt she read the crap I tried to pass off for term papers because I still managed decent grades.)

And we may not have a competitive quantity of alumni donors, it will still cost you a cool five mil to get that building named after you. The reason its so high you ask... because another generous alum's name is already on the wall above the entrance. It's the GW mantra behind those donations - if you're going to go, go big!

So I happened to be a little defensive, and competitive, when you have to turn the page to see my Alma matter's rankings. I still love you GW... I vow to continue defending you, even though my west coast family to this day thinks I graduated from Georgetown.

Waves of Justice

Bringing new meaning to locals only!

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two surfers have been charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly throwing a photographer into the water as he tried to shoot pictures of Matthew McConaughey surfing, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Skylar Peak, 24, and Philip Hildebrand, 30, are accused of confronting several paparazzi who showed up in June on a Malibu beach to take pictures and film McConaughey.

One of the photographers told authorities he was attacked and his camera was thrown in the ocean by the surfers after they demanded he put his camera away. McConaughey was not involved in the scuffle, which was one of a series of high-profile incidents that prompted Malibu and other Los Angeles area officials to seek ways to curb the paparazzi.

Sheriff's officials have said that despite video of the confrontation being posted online, they struggled to find cooperative witnesses. But on Tuesday a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney's office said prosecutors felt they had enough evidence to pur
sue the case.

Peak and Hildebrand will be arraigned in October.

"We believe that a complete investigation, including looking at the tapes, will show that Skylar defended himself," said Peak's publicist, Howard Bragman.

A working phone number could not located for Hildebrand.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I’ve found Mr. Richer! Only I’m not sure he’s aware just yet. Now a good writer would build the suspense and tell you the name at the conclusion, but I am far to impatient and more than likely if you’re reading this you are well aware of my somewhat minor obsession with John Legend.

So when I got wind of his performance to support ThisDay, the Nigerian newspaper (and subsequent freedom movement behind it’s inception) I jumped at the opportunity to go.

Completely blinded by his legendary hotness and the ties to my journalist obsession – Africa – I failed to notice the other headliners that would also be performing.

Of course running late, I missed my opportunity to interview National St. Hottie (2007), which was to both our benefit (way bad hair day and caffeine overdose.) I did get to interview Chris Ayres, the famed Nigerian jewelry designer, known in the biz as the king of bling. As one of the invited designers he would feature among his pieces a dress worth $200,000. Each piece in his runway show had its own security guard.

When describing the market for his pieces he noted, “Jewelry doesn’t have to be an accessory; celebrities are getting jewelry then asking to build their clothing around the pieces.”

When asked about the prevalence of blood diamonds, a particularly hot button issue out of the continent, he said he was trying to change the industry. As a strong advocate for social responsibility, he visited Africa no less than 12 times last year. He said Americans forget that people depend on diamonds for their livelihood. Not all African diamonds are blood diamonds, so rather than boycott, ask good questions when purchasing.”

Among the other designers in house Deola Sagoe and Momo both originated from Nigeria but have been causing a real storm on the fashion scene in the last couple of years. I can see why. From Momo’s kaleidoscope of jewel tones and fabrics from the local villages she has converted them into haute-esqe designs. Deula pushes the envelope with the use of cartoons on her a-line dresses mixed in with Marie Antoinette sleeves and Spanish lace. Who would have thought of such an elegant–punk combination?
But the real treats of the evening were the performances by Jay-Z and Mr. Richer, errr I mean John Legend. We were so close, when John Legend jumped into the crowd to dance, he was right in front of me. Jay-Z rocked out a whole 3 feet away. The Kennedy Center has never rocked out as hard as we did that night!

BTW - In case you were wondering:

"Africa Rising" was first launched in 2006 under the direction of THISDAY's Editor-in-Chief, Nduka Obaigbena. Its mission is not only to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa's social, political, and economic progress, but also to reach out to the continent's diverse population as well as the Diaspora and international communities.

Back To School

This is a two for one - Linds on her first day of law school, and our new totally awesome Ikea Couch.

If you know anything about Chez Copa, you know how badly we needed a new couch - after our $20 monstrosity that used to sit in the living room. . In our third and final move, we decided to dump the ugly thing and invest in something a little more .....Copa.

But both cases caused Linds' heart to work harder...the first time we almost lost the couch off the truck as we had no tie downs. This time the ikea delivery truck almost got stuck in the garage.

We are also really excited for Linds' new legal endevor - with me as a friend - we're going to need someone who can do damage control. P.S. total Thomas Crown Affair moment - "'we have a warrent, you can have your lawyer review it." and from the kitchen steps Tommies Friend and Lawyer. That is so us!

A Toy Story

Michael Jackson is reportedly dating Pamela Anderson.

Pop legend Michael, 50, has met the 41-year-old former 'Baywatch' star for two dates in Malibu, California.

A source told Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper: "It was all arranged by their people in total secrecy, very cloak and dagger. Michael is such a private person. He gets nervous when he thinks people are following him around, so he chose somewhere neutral for their first date.

"They arrived separately at the Shutters Hotel on Malibu beach so no one would suspect anything and then had a few drinks at the bar."

Jackson and Anderson hid away in a corner of the bar for privacy, and appeared to be enjoying each other's company.
The source added: "They were very friendly. Pamela was being her usual flirty self and Michael seemed to be responding. They are such a strange couple but they seemed to really hit it off."

The pair got on so well on their first date, they have met up again already, going for a coffee at the Country Mart in Malibu.

Both Anderson and Jac kson have been unlucky with their previous marriages.

Jackson has been married twice, to Lisa-Marie Presley and nurse Deborah Jean Rowe.

Anderson has tied the knot three times, to Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee, Paris Hilton's ex Rick Salomon and Kid Rock. None of Michael or Pammie's marriages lasted more than three years.

Wouldn't Know Majesty If It Bit Him In the Face!

As we close out summer 2008 - I  I couldn't help but think back to the best summer ever (summer 2004) when the cousins and I were obsessed with surfing, mayhem and strong bad! Pure awesomeness! Enjoy!

Fate and Les Mis

12 strikes again! Linds and celebrated the end of the week by snagging a couple of seats at Wolftrap to see the traveling Les Mis show. As fate would have it, my seat was #12. Ha!
But it gets better, because of that coincidence I remembered our third roommate, my little, Mandy had just moved into an apt in Florida. She reported that if you add the numbers together it equals 12. As I was telling the story to Linds,  the women seated in front of us turned to ask who we were talking about. She was an old co-worker of Mandy's at AU! Small world!
And the musical was amazing too! It was my first time (and lind's 7th). One point of contention was actually the perk of the venue - it's open aired design. I'm sure the musical is even more powerful indoors. The music and stage was so strong! It was the Delacroix liberty leading the people brought to life!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Transcontinental Immunity Boost

I have to apologize for the delayed postings, after the fabulous albeit brief San Diego run, I seem to have contracted a little cold from the tin can petri dish that is modern air jet. But this trip was just what I needed.

After actually making my flight and flying into San Diego at a decent hour, I had some quality catch up time with Carly, whom I hadn't seen in over 8 months.
The next morning I had set aside for cleaning out the garage. Instead we coerced mom into a family trip down to the sprint store. My Winston had decided to start dialing whomever he pleased. My siblings apparently had been under similar direst. With my heart set on the i-phone however, I was hesitant to resign with Sprint. Luckily my roomie Linds alerted me to the Intuition (Instinct, but because it was introduced to my by that name, I am having a hard time using the correct one.) Wow this really is the i-phone killer! The biggest perk is the double battery system - it wont help me to answer the phone, but at least its not because the battery is dead!
That evening we had my Aunt's 50th birthday and retirement party. Oh lordie. When I was asked to be a speaker, I assumed it was a casual grab-the-mike-and-say-a-few words type deal. By now if you haven't reached this conclusion yet ...I can hold my own in the impromptu department. After comparing notes with her best friend Valerie however, I quickly discovered, this was a bit more detailed. Woops.
With 5 minutes to spare I finished! You can see the speech in it's entirety here.
After a very thoughtful and researched  introduction by her partner Sina (she downloaded my bio off my work website) she was ready to hook me off the stage as if this were an acceptance speech at the Oscars - cue the music, dim the lights. But speaking on behalf of the family, I wanted to make my point. KB kicks ass and I had a five minute floor to declare that!
Having lost my place after Sina's third "one minute" call I went off page and finished. Looking out at the 150 + attendance I saw KB rolling in fits of laughter, my family chuckling and, what I thought, a generally positive reception of the speech. Hello - I was looking right at them, while they laughed with me (or at me) and KB's tales from our family!

The reason I describe in defense is afterward, I was approached by at least five non-relatives to say "your speech was hilarious...no matter what anyone says." The fact that each comment included that secondary clause leads me to believe one of two things: my remarks bombed, or half of those people in attendance don't know the real KB. Woops...now they do!


My key-note speaking debut aside, the party was amazing. Done as a luau theme, the stage show included hula dancers. There is nothing more entertaining than watching my 40 year uncles and my 90 year-old great uncle try to hula on stage with the pros! Watch those hips fellas!

To continue with the culture immersion of the evening, we all headed to in-cahoots. A country-western bar smack dab in the middle of the sleepy beach town of San Diego. A few G & T's and an Irish Car bomb later we we're demonstrating our superior country dancing skills on the dance floor. Must have been intimidating because my cousins, our two exchange students, Aly, Matt and I were the only ones left by the time the songs changed.

Time to go home kids! A Mexican taco shop, two winks, and three hours later, Carly and I were off to meet her friend Kevin's parents for a little surfing action, before the crowds hit the sands.

The waves were body-whompers (shore breaks so your body gets whomped) but there was light at the end of the tunnel with Mexican breakfast included. Delicious. Then an hour trek up to Ramona to visit Dad, steal the bro, and take a nap.

On the agenda for the evening: drive in movies - red neck style. We've got this down to a science. Two trucks, two foam mattresses, four sleeping bags, eight pillows, tons of candy and jumper cables (two movies over the car radio tends to drain the battery.)

Kyle was dying to see Star Wars: Clone Wars, followed by Batman: Dark Knight. The plan was to sleep through the first and watch the second, but both Kyle and I (as he puts it) "were just going to rest until the good parts" of Batman. Thank goodness, I really needed some sleep anyway!

Sunday is church day with Granny Goose. I am not particularly religious, but this is a little tradition for both of us to go to church together, early. After dropping Carly off at the airport, a little God, it was back to the house for some sunday circular stealing, breakfast, and the treat of waking up mom on the weekend: futile for those over 10 years old. Thank God for Kyle!

Then I decided we should rearrange moms living room, six hours before my flight. I was mostly packed and had lunch plans (Mexican of course!) so I could surely squeeze it in. For once my timing was dead on. With just enough time to make it through security, now with my luggage (screw you US Air - I WILL get that bag on the plane sans surcharge) and benadryl - for ensured sleepage it was back to the Right coast.

Everything was perfect - except for that little cold - which like my tan, had subsided. Until we meet again San Diego (Christmas baby).

It's Like Christmas

This just couldn't get any better. So the Dems have their flawless convention last week, where both the anticipated Clinton bashing and Mother Nature seemed to keep their wits about them.

Obama not only steels a kiss from Jill Biden but steels Oprah's hearts all over
again. And it seems even John McCain had a touch of Obama-Mania (see The English language Barackafied.) as he felt compelled to stick a little promo in between the speeches Thursday.

His speech was one for the ages: cool, calm, and colloquial, but most importantly confident... I'd even say presidential. Both Carly and I have seen his oratory skills live, she in Hawaii and I in Virginia.

But then McCain threw us a doosy. Not only did he pick a dark horse, Sarah Palin, (don't worry we've never heard of her either) from the overpopulated (683,478 to be exact: 1/2 of the city of San Diego) and surely diverse state of Alaska, but she has Executive Experience (as Miss Alaska and all of her two years as the 11th gov of the state).

As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 5,469 roughly twice the size of my high school) she worked to ban books and fired the non-supportive police chief. She surely knows how to get things done!

But her real strength to this campaign is, aside from her squeaky voice and ability to stand on the shoulders of women after scrambling all over them to shotgun her way through the glass ceiling, her core family values.

Thanks Sarah - it looks like those conservatives wont be attending your convention (thanks mother nature) nor the polls (thank you baby's mama).

And if that doesn't send you running to the polls, she's just a heart beat away from the Presidency. Watch your back Johnny.