Friday, August 31, 2012

Conventional

I’m sure everyone has been glued to their TVs this week watching the RNC. Ok, I guess not everybody, me included.

I’ve had a hard time working up any enthusiasm for anything. I got interested last night when I saw that Clint Eastwood was going to speak.

While he has a lot or marquee value, I’ll bet the Romney camp is thinking, “what were we thinking?” Next time, use a script, he’s an actor, he’s used to that. I think Romney got upstaged but then what do you expect from an 82 actor/director? He did have some funny lines but overall in terms of his politics, apart from his obvious dis-like of Obama, what exactly makes him a Republican?

Not much to say directly about last night except that I think many Republicans saw a glimpse of the future of the GOP when Marco Rubio took center stage. If they haven’t already stood-up and taken notice, notice has been given. So that makes two future GOP stars coming from the Latino-side of the aisle.

But this missive was not supposed to be about last night.

I recall as a 15-year-old sitting with my dad watching the Dem convention in 1968. I was naïve about many things and really didn’t understand what was going on. But I watched the inside business as they nominated Humphrey/Muskie and Dan Rather got punched. And I watched the Chicago police as they dealt with the yippies and demonstrations going on outside. My dad didn’t talk much about politics but he had no place for the young radicals.

Then my memory jumps to 1984 (the year, not the book!) when I worked at both the Dem and GOP conventions. This was the Mondale/Ferraro year and the GOP nommed Reagan/Bush.

I coordinated production for our news dept. at both events. It was kind of heady being there rubbing shoulders with the big boys and girls from the networks. But it was also a lot of work dealing with two live shots everyday, a major 3-hour time zone difference to the studio back home and San Francisco parking!

I recall standing in a small downtown SF park where a small demonstration was taking place and feeling just a little bit worried. As a sheltered Texas boy, this was as close to a potentially riotous event as I had ever been and I remembered those Chicago police (and Dan Rather!)

Our daily packages were edited in a small trailer in a parking lot outside the Moscone Convention Center filled to overflowing with more trailers, satellite trucks and enough cable to probably string from SF to NY and back.

My Dallas (location of the GOP event in 1984) memories are pretty limited to a Beach Boys concert for the delegates and our interview with then-VP George Bush (who later became Bush 41). This was my first encounter with Secret Service. We had to wait outside our interview room while it was cleared. Then all of us and our gear had to be cleared. Then we were let in the room – and no one could go out. After waiting awhile while everyone (except us) talked into their sleeves, Bush arrived. We did the interview. Secret Service ran cables out of our beta decks and made their own copy of everything. After Bush left, we had to wait awhile before we were allowed to leave the room. I think I shook V.P. Bush’s hand but I can’t guarantee I did that.

One other trivial memory was standing on a Dallas sidewalk and Roger Mudd stands next to me. From the waist up, he was suit and tie. Below that he wore Bermuda shorts and I think socks and sandals. This was August in Dallas and pretty hot.

Apart from Ferraro being the first woman nominee, I don’t recall anything really exciting or noteworthy happening at either place but it was a unique experience to add to my memory bank.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Boleto by Alyson Hagy

Not sure how I found this book or this author but … just wrapped this one up.

While I was disappointed in the way the book ended (my wife helped me get a better handle on just what happened) overall Hagy writes with a tight prose style that could remind one of Cormac McCarthy. Not as rough perhaps but I’ll bet if she listed her influences, he’d be one.

I guess because my daughter lives out west now, we have horses and because maybe someday the two will come together somehow, I enjoyed the setting and culture of her book.

I really liked the first two-thirds – as noted I did not like the ending. But I guess I can savor the parts I did like.

So if you like horses (but this is not a horse book), if you like the west (but it is not just about the west) and you appreciate well crafted sentences … then maybe check her out.

I’ve already requested two more of her novels from the library. We’ll see how they go.