I'm still here.

Its has been awhile since I checked in with my two (that I know of) regular readers. Rest assured, I'm still here.

John Hartford had a song wherein he describes in witty verse a series of calamities. He cheerfully concludes each verse by singing "...but I'm still here."

And so am I.

So many things on my mind, and so little time to share them. The reason for my absence from this journal was a co-worker on paternity leave, suffering from twins. That left just two or us to run a place that will soon require four if business keeps picking up as it has the last couple of months.

Meanwhile, I have found a little time each day to play my banjo. I got a mute, a small clamp that keeps the bridge from vibrating, so I can play at night. It also gives the banjo a soft, soothing tone so it is like having two instruments in one. I know three songs reasonably well now, and I'm working on a fourth & fifth. It is really cool to be playing banjo that sounds like real banjo after only a couple of months. There's a lot yet to learn, and I can only manage to form my fingers into four or five chords, but every week my skills improve just enough to keep me encouraged.

I'm really enjoying the speeches from the Democratic National Convention. I remember the previous convention season when Paula Poundstone reported on Jay Leno "There's a lot of phoniness here." And she was right. The Democrats have gotten over that. They're addressing real meat and potatoes issues this time, and doing it very well. If the party continues in this mode, this former Republican may just go from being officially independent (or, more accurately "decline to state" in California), to a true blue Democrat.

One particular item of interest was seeing two former military men at the podium Wednesday night, both of whom were, until recently, Republicans. One was a former Marine, now running for Congress. The other was a famous General. They talked about the poor state of our military after having been spread too thin in Iraq.

Other great speakers in the first few days included Jimmy Carter, former President Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton (a great speaker, but he was horribly miscast as a primary candidate), and my favorite so far, Theresa Heinz Kerry.

I notice the only news network providing full coverage is CNN. But at the Toy house we've been watching the convention on C-SPAN. There's no better way to watch the conventions. They show everything without the silly punditry.

Which reminds me. I remember back in 1980, at the Republican convention, there were rumors about former President Gerald Ford possibly being Ronald Reagan's runnning mate. Some stupid reporter picked up on a related rumor that Ford would only accept if he were an equal partner creating a "co-presidency." For the next hour or so all of the networks, not wanting to be left out of the rumor mill, were talking about this co-presidency idea, wondering if it was constitutional and so forth. It was one of the great low spots in convention reporting. 

So that's where I've been. Working hard, playing banjo, watching the convention, and, finally, stopping in here.




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