Friday, November 28, 2008

Redskins Monday night game, up close

It was about this time of year, 22 years ago, that I watched a Monday night football game from the sidelines at RFK. Having been a lifelong Redskins fan, it was a wonderful experience. That it was documented by a local television station makes it possible to see some of what happened that day.

How did this come to pass?

My good friend Chuck Wrenn suggested to a sports reporter at Channel 8 that I would be the perfect guy, when the reporter told him his station wanted to do a story on a Richmonder, who was an avid Redskins fan, going to the game. They wanted someone who could recite Redskins lore, take them to Redskins bar in DeeCee, etc.

Instead of taking the gig himself, Wrenn told them to call me. What a guy!

In the doing, I spent some time with (former Washington linebacker and still a game-day radio voice) Sam Huff before the game, listening to his war stories. I prowled around the stadium and was on the field from about three hours before the game started until it ended in a Redskins victory: Washington 14, SF 6.

There's plenty more to this story but that's for another day. In the meantime, click on the YouTube box above to facilitate remembering how it was when Washington had the best home-field advantage in the NFL.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who speaks for the GOP?

With the dust now settling from the thumping it took on election day, where would an honest searcher find the heart of the Republican Party? Who represents the essence of what most good Republicans believe in. Following over seven years of defending the shape-shifting maneuvers of the Bush administration, what has happened to the Grand Old Party’s soul?

Del. Jeffrey Frederick, the current chairman of the Virginia Republican Party

If we go by what we read and hear, it seems too many Republican commentators and bloggers are still unaware of how stretched out of shape they’ve gotten to be from years of defending what Bush’s bizarre stewardship of the nation’s resources has wrought.

Writing for the Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne observed:
“The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet, and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestos by direct-mail hit pieces.

“And then there is George W. Bush. Conservatives once hailed him as creating an enduring majority on behalf of their cause. Now, they cast him as the goat in their story of decline.”
Click here to read all of “Civil War on the Right.”

Yes, Bush is the goat, alright, but it seems a lot of Republicans haven’t caught on that the same sort of propagandists Dionne cited are still bellowing much of the same claptrap they have been all along.

They aren’t decrying the power-grabs of the Bush administration, or the money-grabbing tactics of the get-rich-quick corporations that put President George Bush in power in the first place. They aren't really saying Bush was wrong invade into Iraq. They aren't saying Bush cashed in on post-9/11 fear to make his rich friends richer.

Now they are in the process of demonizing Bush, as if he, himself, was the real problem, instead of his policies and their horrible results. Ironically, the same thing is being done to Bush as what was done to anyone who questioned the Bush administration’s tactics in prosecuting the War on Terror, guiding the nation's economy, and so forth.

Republicans who haven't marched to Limbaugh's beat have been smeared as Republicans in name only (RINOs). The demonizing thing is what Limbaugh, et al, are best at. For instance: They'd have us believe that America’s problem with al Qaeda is all about that demon, Osama bin Laden. That if we just smoke him out, if we take bin Laden off the game board, then the grievances the bloodiest militants of the Islamic world have had with American foreign policy in the Middle East will simply melt away.

Furthermore, serious Republicans need to accept that their party’s anti-intellectual, anti-foreign, anti-reality way of strutting its stuff during the Bush years had plenty to do with what happened on election day.

As long as Republicans keep looking to the same people who drove their party’s bus over the cliff for their direction, they can’t expect for their situation to improve.

Closer to home, it’s good that Virgil Goode lost. He had become an embarrassment to the Commonwealth. Jim Gilmore? His campaign was a bad joke, warmed-over. Forget about both of them.

Where are the Republican fresh faces with traditional principles and new ideas? Where are the conservative Virginians who can articulate a vision for the future that relies on something more than harnessing old prejudices and mouthing tedious slogans?

Here’s the plainest of truths: There’s no way to get that GOP bus back on the road as long as Virginia Republicans see fit to allow the likes of Del. Jeffrey Frederick to be the face of their party. Try to imagine what Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley would think of such a backbench rube.

When Buckley and Goldwater were at the heart of the Republican Party, it had a mind and a soul.

-- Words and art by F.T. Rea

Frisbee-golf story in RT-D

Click on the YouTube box above to see three minutes of highlights from recent GRFGA play in Byrd Park.

"We play year-round," [Larry] Rohr said. "If it snows, we'll go out to see how they fly in the snow. Sometimes the snow will melt, then freeze, and there is a hard crust that is good for sliding.

"If the snow is soft, sometimes your Frisbee will disappear underneath a white blanket. If the snow is fresh, you can dig it out. If there are footsteps everywhere, you might have to wait until the snow melts to find your Frisbee."

Rohr, 60, is old school. He more often calls the game he has played for 32 years "Frisbee" golf. The more common reference now is disc golf.

Click here to read Paul Woody's article about Frisbee-golf/disc golf in Thanksgiving Day's RT-D.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freznell (1983)

The footage for "Freznell" was shot by me in Super 8 over several years; it was assembled in 1983. The film's concept was mostly an editing exercise without a plot. The effort yielded a montage of images to do with motion, graffiti and females. Originally, I wrote and performed music for its soundtrack. That version of the film was shown a few times in the '80s at artsy happenings.

Later I changed the soundtrack to what I was imitating in my original effort -- the music of Joy Division. In this instance "She's Lost Control."

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vick will not play in the NFL again

The bizarre story of the evil doings at Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels operation was nearly beaten to death last year. It stayed at the top of the news for months. Today we see Vick is back in the news, now traveling in the shackles of a convicted man to a Virginia courthouse near the scene of his crimes.

Yet some still ask: If boxing and tough man competitions are legal, why is dogfighting so wrong? Can't dogfighting be seen as just another bloody sport, like hunting? And, if animals are shamefully abused all the time by the companies that raise them by the millions in torturous conditions, to eventually be food for us, then why did Vick have go to jail for slaughtering a few pit bulls?

Although there’s no single reason this story has been so big, there is one reason that overshadows the others. While other sports celebrities have committed crimes that might properly be seen as worse than Vick’s, none of those crimes were as bizarre, even unthinkable.

Recently we learned a few family dogs were tossed in the Bad Newz ring, just for grins. And, remember folks, Americans love their pet dogs. Some prefer dogs to people.

There are those Vick fans who have refused to accept -- no matter what -- that one of their favorite football players from Virginia Tech, or the Atlanta Falcons, is a total scumbag. They want him back on the playing field because he’s fun to watch. They assume his talent for football will trump all else.

Well, it says here that the NFL is by far the most buttoned-down of all the professional sports overseeing bodies. It certainly doesn’t want PETA activists dressed up like tortured dogs demonstrating at every game. And, that’s exactly what will happen if Vick returns.

Furthermore, the image-conscious corporations that act as sponsors and partners of NFL games are never going to want anything to do with Michael Vick again. Once he’s done his time, I will be amazed if we ever see the radioactive Mr. Vick play another down in a NFL game.

Next season, try to imagine a NFL game's broadcast beginning with a series of corporate logos flashing up over the pictures of PETA demonstrators in front of the stadium. Then imagine the boycotts of companies that sponsor such broadcasts. Do you get the picture?


Update: Gov. Tim Kaine weighed in on this topic:
Should Michael Vick be allowed back in the NFL?

"I don't think somebody convicted of charges like this should be back in the NFL," Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said on WTOP's Ask the Governor program Tuesday.

Click here to read the WTOP report.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Goode gone

With his name, and his peculiar history, it's almost impossible to avoid the puns. So, maybe for the last time, here it is in a nutshell: Goode Grief!

Yes, according to the official count, Virgil Goode has lost his 5th District seat in the House of Representatives to Democrat Tom Perriello. Click here for the Washington Post article.

Originally elected as a Democrat, warmed over from the bad old Byrd Machine days, the opportunistic Goode eventually migrated to the GOP. Only four years ago, it still looked like a move that would put him in line to move up the ladder of what would be the dominant party in the Commonwealth of Virginia for a long time.

Then with the elections of 2005 and 2006, it appeared the Old Dominion's political landscape was turning purple, even blue. Still, it was thought only two years ago that Goode's district was so conservative/backward that he would outlast the problems that Republicans in Northern Virginia, and elsewhere, were facing.

The sweet irony that Rep. Goode's loss in 2008 came in great part from his opponent riding the coattails of popular Democrats should not go unnoticed. Perriello won because he was the Democrat.

-- Words and art by F.T. Rea

Monday morning blogger watch

Here's a Monday morning's glance at a few posts from the blogosphere that merit a look, perhaps even a listen:
  • Click here for "Bike Sharing Long Overdue in Richmond" at Buttermilk & Molasses.
  • Pete Humes has a dose of sarcastic advice for readers who find themselves jobless for the holidays; click here to read, "It Sucks to Be You," at RVANews.
  • While at RVA News, you can also listen to Chris Bopst's new show just in time for Thanksgiving, "Bopst Show No. 31."
  • To see a list of Richmond-centric books in the post and comments, click here to read Church Hill People's News on "almost 20 great books about Richmond..."
  • With the bailout of the Big Three car makers being considered, Moon Rays reminds us of when automobiles were made by lots of small companies. Click here to travel back in time with, "Richmond Car History: Kline Motor Car Corp."
  • With the R-Braves only a memory, click here to read, "Lonely Richmond Brave Diagnosed With Depression," at Tobacco Avenue.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Change in song

Obviously, change is in season. Everybody likes a little bit of variety.

Change is inevitable. Change is good. All of us wish others would change to bother us less. Most of us want to change our bad habits, but changing one's own semi-evil ways is usually easier said than done.

Here are nine songs to do with change, via YouTube:

... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ... Eight ... Nine.

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A job well done at RK

Well, it seems the Virginia-centric political blogosphere is going to lose one of its most significant players at the end of the year. According to a post by its most prominent/consistent voice since its 2005 origin, Lowell Feld, the Raising Kaine web site is going to fade into the sunset at the end of December.

Having had some hand in electing Gov. Tim Kaine and Sen. Jim Webb to office, which surely set the table for what happened this year, Feld and his RK associates can certainly walk away with a well-earned sense of satisfaction from their four years of collective effort.

Yes, for some of those who live and breathe looking at politics through a blogger's lens, it's easy to over-magnify how much impact RK -- or any other blog, or all the blogs put together -- has had on the last four years of political evolution.

But there can be no mistaking that the blogging phenomenon has been some good part of a staggering transformation that has brought more change to the American political landscape than anyone could have predicted four years ago.

Now, with President-elect Barack Obama's administration soon to move into the White House, it's easy to imagine that the next four years will bring even more change than the last.

RK's successful experimenting with how to organize and spread the good word in the modern way, using the Internet, is surely being studied as you read this post by Democrats and Republicans, alike. And, that's for good reason.

Job well done.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GRFGA Easy Rider Cup

In local disc golf news, the Greater Richmond Frizbee-Golf Association's annual fall tournament that mimics the Ryder Cup, began this evening with nine holes of play. This is the 4th edition of the Easy Rider Cup tournament that pits the Nichs vs. the Hoppers.

As the Nichs have won all three previous tournaments, the Hoppers (some of them are pictured above in the process of a group, "Ar-r-gh!") are happy to have broken the mold and grabbed a one-and-a-half point lead after the first round's play.

This GRFGA tournament will conclude with 18 holes on Sunday, when the first nine holes will be a captain's choice round. The second and concluding round will pair up all the players in singles matches.

Update: On Sunday the Nichs came back with a fury to win the Easy Rider Cup, again: Nichs 13 points; Hoppers 10.5 points.

"Monerey Pop" (1967)

D.A. Pennebaker directed a film -- "Monterey Pop" -- shot in 16mm, documenting the Monterey Pop Festival, which took place over a weekend (June 16-18) that did much to give rise to calling 1967's summer the Summer of Love.

Staged in the Monterey County Fairgrounds, it was the first big outdoor rock 'n' roll festival. Shot two years before Woodstock, Pennebaker's documentary set the template for how to make such films.

The list of performers who participated in the three-day show is astounding. Nearly all of them performed for free. A good part of the proceeds were donated to charity. Lou Adler (who later produced the "The Rocky Horror Picture Show") and John Phillips (of the Mamas & the Papas) put the event together.

This post's No. 9 Show is a set of links to YouTube videos from the festival. I assume all the footage is from Pennebaker's film. While it's chilly outside, take a few minutes to hop aboard the Wayback Machine to a warm summer weekend, 41 years ago. As usual, for the best result click on the links in order.

One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ... Eight ... Nine.

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remembering Rozanne Epps

Rozanne Epps led a full life before she died at the age of 86 on Sunday. For over 20 years she worked at STYLE Weekly, going back to the days when Lorna Wyckoff was still its publisher. I knew of her long before her days at STYLE, because of her noteworthy career at VCU. (Click here for background in the STYLE obituary.) And, I knew her as Garrett Epps' mother. I knew him only casually when he was a member of the staff at the Richmond Mercury, along with Frank Rich, Harry Stein and others in the early-70s.

But my only real association with her began in 1999, when she accepted one piece I submitted to STYLE and sent me to with the other. The one that ran as a Back Page piece was about baseball. The one that began my relationship with was about the closing of the Texas Wisconsin Border Cafe.

Over the years since, STYLE, and especially, have published a lot of my work. So, I'm grateful to her for that good turn. However, what I got from her as an editor is why I'm writing this remembrance. Rozanne taught me to be a better writer. She did that with good humor and fairness. It was always fun to exchange emails and talk on the telephone with her.

So, to those who knew her far better than I did, yes, we are all lucky we knew Rozanne Epps.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

VCU 82, Citadel 59

Coming off the bench junior small forward T.J. Gwynn scored 20 points to help VCU start its 2008-09 men’s basketball season with a win over The Citadel: VCU 82, Citadel 59.

Click here to read more about VCU's season opener at the Fan District Hub.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Triple feature of great scenes about power

Many of the best scenes in feature films are good enough to stand alone. All three of the selections in this post are driven by music. The scene above from "Performance" (1970) works, no matter whether you know the midnight show classic starring James Fox and Mick Jagger, or not.

The second in our great scenes triple feature is the wonderful dance with a globe from Charlie Chaplin's mock-fest of Germany's then-head of state, "The Great Dictator" (1940). Oddly, the patriotism Chaplin tried to dispaly in this film later worked against him when he was kicked out of the USA ... but that's another story.

To finish the show for this time here's a fascinating cloudy montage from "Koyaanisqatsi" (1984) with the music of minimalist composer Philip Glass as its dance partner.

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Number 9 Show: Nov.13, '08

In August of 1981 MTV was launched. Almost instantly, it made stars of Adam Ant, Duran Duran, The Go-Gos and other safely punk/new wave acts. At that same time the local live music scene, rock 'n' roll bands based mostly in the Fan District, was quite lively. Some said then it rivaled any on the East Coast.

And, when bars started using MTV on television for entertainment, some observers saw MTV's format as a potential threat to the live music scene.

In August of 1982 Color Radio began its two-year run. I signed on Color Radio with the first Number 9 Show two months later. That first studio was over the Track Restaurant on Cary St. (For background on Color Radio, click here.) The volunteer DJs at what amounted to an off-shore, unregulated radio station played whatever they wanted. Most of them were involved in the local music scene in some way.

Here are nine songs from that era. All were by acts I saw perform live. Their records were played on my weekly radio show. So, hop aboard the Wayback Machine to the time when MTV played nothing but music videos and Color Radio could be heard on Channel 36 on Continental Cablevision in Richmond and Henrico.

One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ... Eight ... Nine.

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What happened on Nov. 4 and why

People want it fast today. Fast food ... fast connection ... fast lane. As soon as Barack Obama was declared the winner, at 11:01 p.m. on election night, the instant analysis of his victory began. The cable news stations had their professional chattering experts at the ready -- presto! -- to offer viewers their steaming why-Obama-won overviews, fresh from the oven.

And, it was easy enough for partisan bloggers and would-be pundits to then parrot whatever analysis best jibed with their preconceived notions. The silliest of the post-election foot-stomping snarls have been those that insist Obama's victory was not a "landslide."

However, the more interesting and more useful commentary on the 2008 election is just beginning to be seen and heard. A week after the momentous event, beyond canned opinions and warmed-over wisdom, writers who can think for themselves are pulling their observations together. Bloggers who aren't just copycats are posting thoughtful comments and asking questions that matter.

Bart Hinkle offers Virginia's GOP some good advice in his Tuesday column in the RT-D, "Is It Time for the GOP to Try a Different Approach?" Click here to read it.

In the process of writing my own look back at how the election went, I've been noticing some worthwhile posts in the local blogosphere. Here are links to some of what I found:
  • Click here to read "Election Winners and Losers" at Save Richmond.
  • Click here to read "Dems Wrecking Democracy in RVA?" at Caramelized OpiNIONS (note the discussion in the comments section).

As I said, I'm now writing a piece on the election. So I'm not ready to offer many of my own half-baked ideas about what happened on Nov. 4, and why. Not yet.

But I do have one observation to make, a preview of what will be a point I hope to make with the piece that's in progress: Obama's victory was not so much a sign of a racial healing in America, as it was a sign of a generational shift. The Baby Boomers' children elected Obama.

That 18-to-40 demographic is not interested in re-fighting the Vietnam War, or payback for Watergate, or payback for the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran, etc. And, that age group is much more progressive than the Boomers are, as a whole, on matters to do with race or same-sex marriage, etc.

That said, with a black man about to become president of the USA, we still have a long way to go, if we want to get even close to being a truly just society, which offers a fair deal to all citizens, regardless of skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Yo! Faster isn't always better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Open memo to Cheney

Since the election I've tried to refrain from rubbing its results in the faces of those I know were disappointed. No gloating. OK, only mild gloating in front of people who surely liked the world-shaping results.

In a way, I'm going to depart from that policy for this post, which is meant to put Vice President Dick Cheney in a bad light. If you still like him, best stop reading this and go on to one of my posts about music.

As it has happened, this particular news item bothered me so much I couldn't let it pass without a comment.
Vice President Dick Cheney has honored veterans by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Hundreds gathered, from tourists to Cabinet members, to watch the solemn Veterans Day moment.
Yes, today, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. Originally, it was called Armistice Day, referring to the end of World War I in 1918. The next year Armistice Day was established as a holiday to remember WWI vets. In 1954 the change was made to honor all veterans who had/have served during any of America's wars.

My grandfather served proudly with the Richmond Light Infantry Blues in France during WWI. I know in my heart of hearts that he would have nothing good to say about Cheney taking part in any ceremony to do with honor and military service.

Moreover, out of simple respect, only a veteran should be involved with representing the American people at such a special ceremony to do with military service. At its best, sending Cheney to Arlington National Cemetery was an insulting gesture ... at its worst, it was one insult too many.

Problem No 1: In spite of all his snarling, bad-ass bluster, Cheney is not a vet.

Problem No. 2: Cheney's shameful role in ginning up a war in Iraq that America didn't have to fight, his advocating the torture of captives, his easy trading of blood for oily money, etc., has been anything but honorable.

Yes, the Bush administration should have had the decency to send someone else to place the wreath at the tomb. Unfortunately, it does not. So, it's left for an old blogger, a veteran, to call the scoundrel out on this.

To: Vice President Dick "Chickenhawk" Cheney
Memo: From now on, please stay out of all things to do with veterans. Your presence is quite irritating to many of those you claim to be honoring.

-- Words and art by F.T. Rea

Monday, November 10, 2008

A bandwagon to save a bus

The first spark to fire up a bandwagon's motor exploded with the Near West End's post about a meeting on Nov. 18 to decide the fate of a GRTC bus route -- the Westhampton 16 -- which runs from Downtown through the Fan District to the Westhampton neighborhood, including the University of Richmond.

At the Fan District Hub the second spark exploded with this post.

The Fan District Hub calls upon Mayor-elect Dwight Jones to ask City Council and GRTC to put their decisions to do with canceling bus routes on hold until he gets into office, so he can make a fresh study of what Richmond’s mass transportation needs will be for the coming year and beyond. Perhaps he is just the guy to find some General Assembly money to help Richmond out here.

OK, budget cuts are coming because revenue shortfalls are being anticipated. But making a decision today about tomorrow's needs, based on a study just six months old (if it's that recent), seems like a terrible idea. Times are changing too fast.

It's likely more Richmonders will be using bicycles and buses for their main rides a year from now. Perhaps, many more.

If we could get that bandwagon up and running, this seems to be a most worthy cause for some of the area’s independent publishers/bloggers to take up. A little bit of noise could make a difference.

All I'm asking for is to put off the decision to scuttle any longtime bus routes for at least three or four months, to allow the new Jones administration to have a little time to work with the issue, in light of recent shocks to the economy.

Why rush to judgment on Nov. 18, just two weeks after an election? Can't City Council and GRTC kick this can down the road a few more weeks?

SLANTblog sez: Let’s ban together for the good of the metro area to Save Westhampton 16. Save all the existing bus routes, don't eliminate any of them, for the time being. Who will supply the third spark?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Number 9 Show: Nov.9, '08

Ah, blondes. What could we say new about them? You can't live with them ... you can't forget how they look with a fresh tan.

This episode features nine songs, via YouTube, from blonde female vocalists. Unless you click on them in order you won't get the full effect.

One ... Two ... Three ... Four ... Five ... Six ... Seven ... Eight ... Nine

For more of this sort of thing click here to visit the post-graph theatre.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

After Obama

In spite of how bad a president George Bush has been, with any luck, over the next two months America will have survived him. Change has brought us President-elect Barack Obama.

No matter how much some bitter Republicans may wish him ill, hopefully, we will survive his presidency, too. So, after Obama, what do we hope will be true?

Well, I hope we the people will be more hip to the notion that change has to be our friend, not our enemy. Nature tells us the most adaptable survive. America’s society will last longer than some others, only if it adapts better than they do. If not...

Like any living thing, as a people, we want to last as long as we can.

Obama was elected by young people who aren’t about maintaining old orders. Naturally, most of them want to live out their lives with as much peace and prosperity as possible. No matter how much their culture may baffle those over 45 or 50, young people just want to someday be old people with as few regrets as possible.

Yes, there was a time that a black human being couldn’t get elected president. Yet, Obama’s election doesn’t prove that race is no longer a problem in this society. His election didn’t signal there’s been a racial healing in America, so much as it did that a generational shift has taken place.

Barack Obama just rewrote the book on how to win elections in the post-postmodern age. Out with the old ... in with the new, and so it goes.

Dig it: For the first time in too long the presidential election wasn’t about Baby Boomer fixations and grudges to do with civil rights and Vietnam.

To a great extent Obama won because he embraced, even embodied, change. That, while his opponent was widely seen as a man clinging to the past, incapable of improvisation or rolling with the punches.

The voters with the most life ahead of them overwhelming chose Obama. After Obama, all we can be sure of is that times will change.

Dancing with the Donkeys

Writing for the new here's an excerpt of my election analysis from a local perspective.
After Sen. John McCain’s generous concession speech played to a national television audience, President-elect Barack Obama said, “It’s been a long time coming ... change has come to America.”

Obama’s obvious reference to the 1964 Sam Cooke prophetic anthem, “A Change Gonna Come,” played well to the adoring crowd in Chicago’s Grant Park.

Meanwhile, in Richmond, there was dancing in the street. Broad Street was shut down, blocked for a while by a spontaneous victory celebration in the Virginia Commonwealth University area. And, at the Paradise Lounge on 5th Street, a more traditional victory party played out to celebrate the victory of Mayor-elect Dwight Jones.
Click here to read the entire piece.

Note: Of course, music aficionados remember that Cooke (born in Mississippi) was a Chicago gospel/soul singer. Click on the YouTube box above to hear
Cooke sing “A Change Gonna Come.”

Obama, who had usually avoided using Civil Rights Era language and images during the campaign, also referenced the words of Martin Luther King's last speech. And, more trivia: Grant Park was significant to Baby Boomers in Chicago with a long memory -- it was the scene of much of the mayhem outside the 1968 Democratic convention, when antiwar demonstrators were beaten up by policemen.

Other recommended reads:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A long time coming...

Nov 4, 11:59 p.m.: President-elect Barack Obama: “It’s been a long time coming ... change has come to America.”

-- Art by F.T. Rea

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Blue skies over Virginia

10:41 p.m.: CBS called Virginia in the Obama column. It took longer than some Yes-We-Can folks might have wanted. AP just confirmed it. It's time to celebrate!


11:00 p.m.: CBS and CNN called Obama the president-elect. I just cracked a fresh Pabst Blue Ribbon. Here's to the blues.

Local election coverage

STYLE Weekly teamed up with the League of Women Voters to sponsor three mayoral debates/forums this election year.

That same periodical/web site, which already deserves kudos for that role in this year's Richmond mayoral race, is also covering the story tonight, perhaps like no other news gathering outfit in town. With the local polls closing at 7 p.m., click here to keep up with its online coverage.

Click here to read John Moeser's advice to the next mayor of Richmond. (Note: Moeser is professor emeritus of urban studies and planning at VCU and senior fellow at the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond.)

What occurs to me now is that it's a shame there weren't mayoral debates on television this fall. Perhaps, it would have helped some candidates more than others.

With the national campaigns commanding such unprecedented attention -- sucking all the oxygen out of the room -- it would have helped the process of selecting a mayor a lot.

If they didn't want to organize a debate, themselves, why didn't a local TV station simply cover one of the forums organized by STYLE and the League?

The information below was provided by Jason Roop, editor at STYLE:

While the results roll in Tuesday, Nov. 4, Style Weekly's news team will bring you online coverage of the results, victory parties and political fallout. Our reporters and photographers will be fanning out across the city to capture the local scenes you won’t get on MSNBC.

Plus, keep your radio tuned to 1140 WRVA for local election updates on the quarter-hour, including occasional interviews with Style’s news team. And visit for local commentary from Richmond ’s bloggers, including election news updates from Style.

Visit for the inside story of Election Night in Richmond.

Documenting what I do

Here's a series of Frisbee-golf video clips I shot with a tiny camera and bolted together; five minutes of highlights. Of course there are a few good Larry Rohr shots. This round of Frisbee-golf took place on Sun., Nov. 2, 2008.

We play the primitive "object" style of disc golf. Our group dates back to 1976. Larry (the man with the mostly white beard) and I go back to the start of it. The ages of the people in the video range from 14 to 63.

Click on the video box above to see whimsy in motion ... enjoy.

Local voting slideshow on Flickr

Here's a series of photos posted at Flickr by various photographers documenting the day's exercise in democracy. Today it's mild with a light rain in Richmond. Early voters may enjoy these photos more than those who haven't stood in line yet.

Tradition says the Republicans usually benefit from a low turnout. Will the rain make a difference in Virginia?

To read others' experience as voters today, or to share your own, click here, to visit RVANews. The wait has been anywhere from zero to two hours, depending on what part of town.

-- H/T: je ne sais pas for the Flickr link.

Monday, November 03, 2008

'Twas the night before...

SLANTblog was never meant to be strictly a political blog, but rather a space to be filled with ideas, much as SLANT its precursor was. Still, at least half of the posts at SLANTblog have been about politics, maybe more than half.

Tonight I wanted to write a short piece about why I'm supporting Sen. Barack Obama and watch my lifelong favorites, the Washington Redskins, play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yet, with the election tomorrow, my mind is so caught up in the political whirl that I’m having a hard time getting properly worked up over a Monday night football game.

The Steelers went with an onside kick to open the game, the Redskins got the ball and promptly kicked a field goal: Washington 3, Pittsburgh 0.

But, instead of singing Hail to the Redskins, I’m thinking about what seems to be the most exciting presidential election of my lifetime. And, I’m watching the clock, because I don’t want to miss the opening of the Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008. MSNBC and CNN are doing politics wall-to-wall. Then there’s the chatter on the Internet, especially to do with the mayoral race in Richmond.

So, I’ve decided to live-blog my night in front of the television, with one eye on the blogosphere. We’ll see how long it lasts.

8:51 p.m.: After an interception, the Redskins kicked another field goal to go up 6 to 0.

9:10: Amy Poehler opened the SNL special as Hillary Clinton. Funny, as always. Didn't she just have a baby?

9:16: Out of loyalty, I just switched my sound for the game to Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen on the radio. Now I can do the TV for picture and get the homer call on the radio. Real fans know what I'm talking about.

9:22: First quarter ended. Skins 6, Steelers 0.

9:36: Rachel Maddow was mocking Bob Dole.


Maddow suggests McCain has an "eerie confidence."

9:42: Ben Roethlisberger got sacked to end a drive. Steelers kicked a field goal: Wash. 6, Pitt. 3.

9:52: The defenses have been dominating; another Steelers' drive stalled and they punted.

9:57: Steelers blocked a punt and got the ball on the Redskins' 13-yard-line.

10:02: Tiny Fey as Sarah Palin, "We're not afraid of getting mavericky in there...

10:05: CNN reported John McCain is hitting seven states in an all-out sprint.

10:07: Roethlisberger scored a touchdown on a quarterback sneak. The first half ended with the Pittsburgh leading 10 to 6.

Washington's offense better show up in the second half ... they got only three first downs in the first half.

10:20: Yikes, Karl Rove was on MSNBC! And, I just heard that Obama forces knocked on a million doors today in Ohio.

10:24: Roethlisberger is hurt and won't start the second half.

10:31: Backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, raised in DeeCee, led Pittsburgh on a drive ending with a touchdown, but no extra point: Pitt. 16, Wash 6.

10:36: On SNL special, a mock McCain (Darryl Hamond) called a mock Obama (Fred Armisen) "pee-pants."

10:49: "Finally ... they run a screen," sighed Sonny on the radio, as Campbell hit Clinton Portis for a first down.

10:55: A tipped ball thrown by Jason Campbell was hauled in by a Steelers defensive back. Redskins coach Jim Zorn challenged the interception. Refs turned him down.

10:59: SNL closed with a replay of Sarah Palin saying, "Have a pleasant tomorrow."

11:03: CNN just reported Obama is speaking in Manassas with one hour left before election day begins; his last campaign stop.

That tells you how important Virginia will be to an Obama victory tomorrow.

11:09: Short pass from Leftwich to Holmes; Steelers scored a touchdown: Pitt. 23, Wash. 6.

11:11: Just read Don Harrison's comment at the Fan District Hub, pointing out the irony that Doug Wilder and the City Council could only agree on the VAPAF deal.

11:23: When the pocket broke down, Campbell fled and scored a touchdown ... uh, oh, the replay just showed he went down at the one-yard-line.

11: 28: With fourth-and-goal at the one, an incomplete pass ends the drive. Just one yard ... why not a Portis run?

11:35: CNN showed Sarah Palin doing a fine job of wearing a pair of blue jeans in Reno, talking about her husband, Todd, "The First Dude." She said she's going to Washington to "shake things up."

11:39: Sam Huff said, "The fans are leaving..."

11:50: Final score: Pitt. 23, Wash. 6. That news, while bad for Washington fans, is good for Obama fans.

It's said that for 17 of the last 18 presidential elections (or maybe it's 15 out of the last 16), when the Redskins won their last game before election day, the incumbent party held the White House.

Hey, I don't know if that's true, but at this point I'm going with it.

11:54: An ad from the GOP Trust-Pac, or something like that, just aired on CNN. It was the one using the scary, ranting Rev. Wright angle. Well, I guess it's never too late for a little bit of that sort of business.

Hail to the Redskins! Go Obama!

-- 30 --

A new No. 9 Show

With election day less than 24 hours away and songs about politics on my mind, at the post-graph theatre there are nine links to music videos to do with that side of life. Click on the links below for a preview.
One ... Two ... Three ...
Click here to visit the post-graph theatre for the other six links, and to check out my new web site for films and music.

No one as Irish as Barack O'Bama