my band of brothers

    As I sat watching John Kerry on stage last night, surrounded by his band of brothers, the men he served with in Vietnam, it occurred to me how absolutely underwhelming it would have been if I were the Democratic candidate for presidency standing up there on the stage in Boston, flanked by the people I was leading in my mid-twenties. Somehow, the image of a dozen bitter and underemployed Kinkos coworkers just doesnt inspire thoughts of greatness.

    I need to take off for work now, but I wanted to share this image first. Its from a reader named Ken and its of the stately and majestic Free Speech Zone situated down the street and around the corner from the Democratic National Convention.

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    obama comes from nowhere and steals the show

    If you didnt see Democratic candidate for the US Senate, Barack Obama, speak at the Democratic National Convention last night, you missed quite a show. Clearly the Democratic leadership sees big things for this young man and its obvious why. Hes got one hell of a story, and he knows how to tell it. Here, in case you missed it, is one of many highlights:

    A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief-I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper-that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

    Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America-there’s the United States of America.

    There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States.

    There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

    It was really fantastic… One weird thing though, I couldnt find the transcript of his speech on the main DNC page, along with all the other transcripts. I eventually found it at his site, but I would have expected to have found it on the main convention site along with those of all the other speakers Maybe its the just conspiracy theorist in me, but I suppose theres also a slight chance the DNC fears that he might upstage Kerry (even more than Edwards).

    Heres another quote from his speech. I especially liked the dramatic pause toward the end.

    Don’t get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency. or the Pentagon.

    One last thing, about his name and the unfortunate fact that it sounds a hell of a lot like that of man who is trying to kill all of us, I just did a quick Google search and found no evidence that his Republican rival for the Illinois Senate seat is using the phrase, “a vote for Obama is a vote for Osama.” That gives me some hope for this country of ours.

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      and the blogger jealousy keeps growing

      I just read a good story by Tom Tomorrow on how he got caught up in Michael Moores considerable wake at the Democratic National Convention and was sucked into Jimmy Carters skybox. Of course, being a nice guy, he then arranged to borrow a special all-access pass from someone so that he could sneak fellow blogger, Duncan (formerly only known as Atrios), up to share the fun Meanwhile, here in the shadows of the ruins of Detroit, I got drenched in piss when one of Clementines lets be good and save the world cloth diapers failed to do its job (I should mention that I was tipped to the Tom Tomorrow piece by a fellow named Steve Kraus, who operates a very nice site of his own. And, if you go to Steves site now, you can find a link to a place where you can make a nice picture of yourself like this one I just made of yours truly.)

      So, maybe I didn’t get to hang out with Michael Moore and President Carter, but at least I got to make a fake version of myself that can live on-line, in piss-free clothing. That’s not so bad.

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      cocktail contest

      I cant remember how the conversation started, but one of our friends (either Jim or Arun) suggested that we teach Clementine at a young age to mix cocktails for us (and our friends – meaning them). The discussion not only made me immediately thirsty for a gin and tonic, but it got me to thinking that there must already be a drink called a Clementine. Well, I just did some quick searching and I didnt find anything. There are a few drink recipes that call for clementines (the citrus fruit), but nothing called a Clementine, at least not that I could find.

      Here, for those of you who are interested in such things, is one of the drink recipes that I came across that called for a clementine.

      The Land’s End Martini
      Tanqueray Ten gin stirred with a wisp of Lillet, garnished with a clementine and fresh blueberry skewer.

      Well, I was thinking that we should come up with a drink that we could call a Clementine. So, if you have ideas, let me know. (To be an official Clementine, it would have to be stirred with one of my daughters enormous feet. Thats the one stipulation Im laying down.) If I dont hear from anyone, Ill just go with Bombay Safire gin (my favorite), tonic, and a wedge of clementine stirred with my daughters foot, of course. (Much better than that bar in Alaska that Ive written about where you have to do a shot with someones preserved, turn of the century toe in it.) If you have a better idea than that, though, let me know Just to make it fun, Ill make it a contest. The winner, the person with the best drink idea, will get a little piece of artwork that I will make especially for them Itll be good too. I promise.

      UPDATE: It began to concern me that I may one day regret naming a drink after my daughter, like when shes in high school and shes getting invited to all kinds of wild parties because people want to use her foot. In spite of that, however, Ive decided to go forward with this project. The future be damned.

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      but do other people think shes beautiful, that’s what matters

      Linette and I were talking about Clementine this morning. We were wondering if it could be that we just think shes beautiful because shes our daughter. I think I must have started the conversation as I seem to recall having read a study about that once, something about neurotransmitters in the brain going haywire at a childs birth, making parents see their offspring as beautiful, thereby cutting down on the incidents of people saying, This thing is loud and ugly, lets leave it in a tree. I mean it would make sense, right? On the face of it, why would sane people welcome something so loud and so needy into their homes? There must be some DNA trickery at work.

      So, we tried to be impartial for a moment and take stock of our new daughter. We tried to be completely objective. What we determined, after a few moments of discussion, was that she unfortunately had not only inherited my beautiful, full lips, but also the enormous grey bags beneath my eyes. Then there was the issue of the fat cheeks. While its generally accepted that fat cheeks on babies are attractive, we think that Clementine might have just a tad too much. Other than that, shes perfect except for the fact that her feet are the size of submarine sandwiches. I almost forgot about that.

      So, now that weve identified these flaws, were doing what any good parent would do in these times of ours. Were filling out an application for an Extreme Makeover.

      Actually, this train of thought started a few months ago when I began thinking about elective cosmetic surgery and wondering how young the youngest recipient was. (The news is full of stories of teenagers getting breast jobs from their parents in exchange for getting straight As, but I was wondering if there were cases of 8 year olds getting nose jobs and things like that.) Anyway, following this thread to its logical conclusion, I was thinking that it would be funny to send in an ultrasound to the Extreme Makeover show and see what kind of response I got back. I havent done it yet, but Ive got the ultrasound pic here, pinned over my desk.

      Dear Extreme Makeover, I just got my 20 week ultrasound and was shocked to see that my daughter will not have sufficiently sculpted cheekbones…

      Not a bad start.

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