April 29, 2008
April 6, 2008
Vladimir has been visiting me again this weekend, and yesterday we went to Raleigh to meet Alex.
We had nothing special planned, so we just met Alex at his house, and then went to him to his usual Saturday workout at the Taekwondo school. There were 3 students working out, so Vladimir got to be the fourth, which worked out well. It was a kind of ‘self-defense’ class- Alex said the theory is that the elegant traditional moves of martial arts aren’t always literally useful for self-defense purposes, so they class is about what actually works in a fight.
We went to the mall after that, took the tour of the Bose sound studio (Alex wants their home theater system now), looked at the sales at Sharper Image (they are closing, bankrupt). Then we ate at the Rocky Mountain Grill, which was very good. (They had massive chocolate brownies for dessert.) At lunch we talked about Russian nicknames, and the fact that Americans have trouble pronouncing the name ‘Vladimir,’ which is also Alex’s father’s name. Alex said they called his father ‘BO-buh,’ which is kind of a Russian pun- since ‘B’ = ‘V’ in cyrillic writing, the nickname ‘Vova’ is spelled ‘Boba’ in Russian. So maybe we can call our Vladimir Boba also, since he’s not sure he likes ‘Vlady’.
We had already met Alex’s friend Olga in the morning, and I didn’t want to monopolize Alex’s whole day, so I tried to leave soon after that. But ‘soon’ was after Alex showed me the product (excellent) of his new expresso machine, and Vladimir had a chance to download some of Alex’s russian music to his MP3 player. We were back home in plenty of time to see Carolina play horribly and lose in the final four!
April 4, 2008
I don’t know if I moderated or liberalized the debate in Asheboro tonight, but at least I can say I didn’t ‘conserve’ it.
I bought a stopwatch at the mall and was at our new 2008 Randolph County Democratic Party HQ at 6:15. Our people already had the sound system set up, and the candidates all three arrived by 6:45 for a 7PM start. We ‘drew straws’ for the starting and ending statement order. It was drizzly and cold and by 7 about 20 people had arrived– but only one of our journalists. J.D. Walker of the Asheboro Courier-Tribune was ready to go with her questions– but we were missing the reporter from the Pilot of Southern Pines. Wayne Abraham, the Chair of the 6th Congressional District committee, assured me that a John Chappell of the Pilot would be here, because he and Wayne had had a lengthy phone conversation. We waited ten minutes, but then I went ahead and started, because J.D. had a 9:30 copy deadline, and we needed to get started. I hoped that the Pilot reporter would turn up, wet and late, but he never did.
To compensate I gave the candidates (Teresa Sue Bratton, Johnny Carter and Jay Ovittore) 2 minutes to answer questions instead of 90 seconds (actually 90 seconds was usually plenty); I also solicited more questions from the audience (we ended up using about 6 of them); and I also let the candidates ask each other a couple of clarifying questions, in addition to allowing rebuttal time at several points when the candidates focussed on one another’s statements or record. This all unfolded surprisingly (to yours truly) well; I especially liked the audience questions (a couple I allowed the writer to explain in person to the candidate, which worked great to clarify a question on employee choice and collective bargaining). And the candidates were good about maintaining a professional tone, even in their follow-ups and rebuttals.
I must say that, once I got it started and everyone got familiar with the process, it became fun. It felt kind of like refereeing a tennis match. ‘Your serve, Dr. Bratton;’ ‘Ball’s in your court, Mr. Ovittore,’ ‘Nice save Mr. Carter,’ etc. Until that point, though, I was a nervous wreck, trying to make sure everything came together. You all ought to try it sometime- like, ‘here’s some silk and thread, now jump out of this airplane and sew yourself a parachute on the way down. You be careful!’ Yeah, right!
I tried taking pictures, but once it started I was too busy directing traffic and keeping time and reading through audience questions and trying to remember what to do next to take any more. So what I’m posting are all before and after shots. Sorry.
I will post the link to JD’s story tomorrow, and Jordan of Yes! Weekly in Greensboro was there doing lots of interviews (he’ll be a questioner next week at the last debate, to be held Friday April 11th at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theater, 128 East Front Street, Burlington) so I’m sure we’ll see something from him one day. And Jay Ovittore told me that tomorrow they will be editing the video from tonight and from the first debate, and will post stuff on Youtube. So there should be a lot of good information out there soon.
I’m ready for my close-up now! Can I get on stage with Katie Couric later this month?
April 3, 2008
Roman has been accepted at Guilford College, where I went for a special lecture today on 19th century history.
While I was there I walked around and took these pictures so Roman could see what a pretty April day at Guilford really looks like: