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Friday, January 16, 2004

January Ramble

Time to get back into the blogging mindset—provided I can manage to jerk myself out of the blahs. Mid-January typically finds me functioning in a somewhat somnambulant state. In addition, I’ve yet to master the art of combining blogging with other pressing projects—of which several are staring me in the face.

Normally, I wait for some sort of inspiration to hit me. When there is none, like now, there comes a point when the only remedy is simply to put myself at the keyboard and start rambling until, hopefully, my blogging mojo eventually emerges from the scraps.

The tube is on in the background, and I hear a reporter who’s covering John Edwards say that Edwards’ theme song when he makes his stage entrances is John Mellencamp’s “Small Town.” Excellent choice. One more reason to like Edwards. This is a song that will definitely get you off your ass.

I take the cue and whip out my Mellencamp CD. A surge of energy—a stranger these January days--courses through the body, and here I am, fingers at the ready.

Speaking of John Edwards, I think he’s proven to be a terrific candidate. Assuming he won’t get the nomination, however, I hope to hell he’s offered and will accept the number two spot on the ticket.

I have only one yardstick for my choice to win the nomination—whoever can beat Bush. That’s it. I don't care what their policies are. Just get out there and do a good job of educating the American people about what a dangerous gang is running our country. Scare the hell out of them about giving these bastards another four years.

It’s looking to me like there are only three who stand a remote chance of accomplishing this: Dean, Clark, and Edwards. Dean scares me somewhat because, while he’s done a good job of arousing passion, his appeal may be limited to the 30% or so of the electorate like me who are rabidly anti-Bush. 45% are solid for Bush. That leaves 25% who could be persuaded one way or the other—and Clark or Edwards may be able to do a better job with this group.

In any case, I hope that two of these three guys end up on the ticket for the general election. If I were an Iowan right now, I frankly don’t know which one I’d cast my vote for. Those folks have a tough and important job ahead of them.

More Ramble

A couple of interesting tidbits from my life this week. First, my wife was interviewed on the satellite radio network, Sirius, by Dr. Mike Riera on his show, "Family Talk". If you're curious and would like to hear Jill do her stuff, Riera's page has a link to the audio (right-had column--Tue.1-13). If you have school-age children, I recommend it. Jill's message is helping a lot of parents--especially those consumed with anxiety over their perceived inability to be "good enough" parents.

The producer spotted one of our ads and, interest piqued, issued an invitation. I say "our ad" with a touch of pride since I'm the one doing the marketing. Feedback from the show was gratifyingly positive. I'm becoming more confident that when we get this thing rolled out on CD (her seminar), it's going to go over very well. That would sure ease a lot of the budgetary strain that's been building up around here.

I'm sure many bloggers have experienced the phenomenon of someone from their distant past discovering their blog and initiating contact with them after an absence of many years. It's clearly one of the pleasures of maintaining a blog. This past week, an old college buddy sent me one of these missives, and it was a most welcome surprise.

It did have one downside, however. I Googled the guy's name to see if I could find anything on what he'd been up to. The results that were served suggested that he had become a prominent tax law guru. This came as a surprise because he had been a marketing guy when I last saw him.

"No," he writes back, "that's my son, Fred, Junior. He was on Capitol Hill for several years and than served in the first Bush Administration."

The first Bush Administration? Clunk. C'mon, for crissake--even given the fact that Fred, Senior is maybe a couple of years older than me, how could I possibly have a peer with a kid that was in the first Bush White House?

Totally out of my reality. All of my friends and I have only been empty-nesters for a mere handful of years. As I've noted in previous posts, I'm married to a Boomer and hang with a Boomer crowd. But sometimes my true age gets tossed unexpectedly in my face. I must confess, though, that general aches and pains are becoming more frequent--and unwelcome--reminders.

Finally, one other pleasant event during the week. Saw one hell of a good movie--"Gloomy Sunday"--a small German flick with little publicity. It was playing at that gem of a cinema house--the Rafael Film Center over in Marin County--a formerly and typically defunct downtown movie theatre that was artfully restored with a lot of financial help from George Lucas and other saviors.

The film takes place in Budapest in the 30's and 40's. Since the theatre is located in Maria Benet's neck of the woods, and since I think she's a former resident of Budapest, I would have liked to have invited her to join us, but we decided at the very last minute on the spur of the moment. Well, maybe next time, Maria.

Ok. End of ramble. Maybe now it won't take so long to get my next post up.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Back To The Grind

Struggling to get back into the groove after the holidays. I’ve always found it to be a daunting period of adjustment. I’m so far behind on my favorite blogs, I think I’ll just have to forgo catching up.

I do want to thank those folks who commented to my previous post—written before Jill and I took off for a little vacation to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary. I appreciated your sentiments very much.

We had a great trip up until the last day. As we hit the highway to head home and began our ascent up the Eastern slope of the Sierra, there was what appeared to be a nice break in the weather. We considered ourselves particularly fortunate since there had been a howling storm the day before. But in the High Sierra, things can change in a flash.

We stopped for a bite to eat, and when we got back into the car, a brisk snowfall came out of nowhere. It quickly turned into a near-blizzard condition. It took us an hour and a half to go two miles. Fifty miles of mountain wilderness lay ahead.

“Screw this,” I proclaimed, and swung my car around, barely making it through the drifts in the center of the road. We decided to find a room, if we could, before they were all gone. We had to settle for a cheesy, drafty, thin-walled place that soaked us for a hundred bucks. I would have paid double that to get out of that storm and have a place to wait for it to blow over.

We were quite lucky on two other counts. It was impossible to walk anywhere, and we could have been screwed as far as being able to eat. But, miraculously, there was a Thai restaurant directly across the highway. Not a restaurant that would have a prayer of surviving in the Bay Area, mind you, but you can’t really screw up Thai food that badly. A crappy Thai meal beats a greasy spoon or fast food any day. The diversity of California culture and the ubiquity of its many ethnic groups does indeed have its blessings.

Our other stroke of fortune was that, despite the sleaziness of the motel, they had HBO on the tube. Amazing! And HBO was running an entire evening of back-to-back episodes of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as a prelude to the beginning of its new season.

This made up for everything. There’s nobody like Larry David to make you forget your troubles. When we awoke early the next morning, the sun was shining. It took about twenty minutes to dig the car out and get underway, and we had to get chains. The speed limit for the long mountain run was 25 mph, but seven hours later, we got home in one piece--and in time to keep a dinner date at a great restaurant with two of our favorite friends—a fitting end to a good holiday.