9th: Spit not in the fire, nor stoop low before it. Neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.
NUTS AND CHOCOLATE
1 September 2004
Chocolate. I needed chocolate.
It was Monday morning, Walt had taken off with the car to take it into the shop to have the electrical problem checked out (fortunately when the mechanic tried to start it, it wouldnt start--so often you take a car to a mechanic only to have it purr like a kitten, leaving the mechanic wondering what you were talking about in the first place!)
The problem was that David was coming. David Gerrold was to be the keynote speaker at a "Code Pink" counter-convention rally in Davis and he was staying with us. David and I have long had a chocolate fetish between us and I couldnt imagine having him here and not serving him chocolate. He would have left!
Fortunately I had a box of cocoa powder, so I went to the internet to look for a recipe that called for dry chocolate, not melted chocolate. I finally found a brownie recipe--and no, I didnt have walnuts, but I figured that just having chocolate would suffice. I got the brownies made.
Next step was to make the living room look presentable, because a photographer was coming from the newspaper to take publicity photos and a reporter was due at 4 p.m. to interview David. My editor had suggested having David sitting at a desk, but my office is much too small for a decent "desk" photo, so he agreed that having him at the dining room table, with Davids laptop and some of his books around would work. Fortunately I have all of his books, since I doubt that he travels with a full library.
But of course, the living room is full of Sheila-chewed furniture and is blocked off by the top to the unused dog crate and the horrible vacuum monster. How to put everything aside and keep Sheila from deciding to do some more teething while I was on my way to the airport to get David, since I didnt have time to take her to the dog park (she didnt seem to understand that she got two trips to the park the day before so she should be content with that!)
I finally decided that driving a car with iffy brakes and no air conditioning (and little upholstery) off to the airport was not really the wisest thing to do--or the thing I really wanted to do. I remembered Joan had once offered me the loan of her car when I needed it, so I asked if she would mind. She graciously agreed (thanks, Joan!) and I was off to the airport in style, and nice cool air.
David was there waiting for me, along with three suitcases and his computer. "You ARE only staying one night, aren't you?" I asked. Heck, I pack less than that to stay a week. But he'd brought books to sell and that took up most of the room.
We came home and the brownies started to disappear, he bonded with Sheila (who will be completely spoiled by the time he leaves) and we got caught up on things. At 3:30 a photographer came to take photos. He took photos of David surrounded by books which all say "David Gerrold" on the cover, and after the photo session he asked David what his name was and how to spell Gerrold. Duhhh!
At 4 the reporter arrived to do the interview. David's a great interview subject because he knows how to get across everything he wants to say, knows how to speak in quotable sound bites, and he pretty much steered the interview--and it was a good one, lasting an hour and a half.
When it was over, she got his autograph on a book she'd purchased and promised she'd see him in a couple of hours at the rally downtown.
At 6:30 we headed down to the rally, which was held in Central Park. We found the table where David could set up some books and Trouble with Tribbles scripts, in case anybody wanted to buy them. The committee had gone to a lot of trouble to make lots and lots of yarn tribbles, with a sign that said "Pink Tribbles Proliferate Peace."
There were other tables set up as well, for organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Code Pink, and the local campus radio station.
Several speakers were ahead of David, who was to be the keynote speaker, including a Muslim man, and a couple of guys who had scary figures at their fingertips on the cost of the war, both in economic terms and also in civilian casualties (over 11,000 civilians lost in Iraq thus far, a statistic we don't ever read; this figure came from a man from Iraq Body Count, a human security project to establish an independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military action by the USA and its allies in 2003.
The most moving of them all was the mother of Army Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey, a member of the National Guard sent to Iraq, and killed on June 22. Her determination to fight against this war and to see that others like her son, who joined the National Guard to protect the home front and who was not trained in the kind of war he was sent to fight, will not have to die.
Finally it was David's turn to speak. He gave an impassioned 20 minute speech, entitled "Each and Every One of Us," in which he attempted to inspire people to get out and work for the upcoming election.
At one point during the speech, a woman came up to me and said "Who is that guy? This is the best speech I've ever heard."
I'm not sure about that, but he did make some pretty good points and got good response from the audience, including one woman who came up and handed him $10 and asked him to send her a recording of the speech.
Our national debt has topped seven trillion dollars-we can't even afford to pay the interest on that debt. Our annual deficit is the highest it's ever been-420 billion dollars a year. We're in a staggering recession-astonishingly, the Republicans call it a recovery. They're sending American jobs to India and China and Pakistan-and they have the nerve to call this a recovery! Our inflation rate is now 9.1%, and we have a president who lies in answer to every question asked-especially the ones that must be asked....
...George W. Bush lied to us about weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq. This war without a peace plan has now cost $144 billion and close to a thousand American lives. And we're still not done. Who knows how much more will be spent and how many more lives will be lost? George W. Bush lied when he promised us that he would leave no child behind, then he cut the money for schools. George W. Bush lied when he promised that he would increase the funds to fight AIDS, then he cut the money out of the budget. George W. Bush lied when he promised to protect the wilderness, then he cut environmental funding. George Bush lied when he said he wouldn't touch your social security-but it's gone now; what he didn't spend he gave away. ...
...I stand for accountability from each and every person who accepts the mantle of the public trustthat we measure performance by results produced. I stand for removing those who use political office for personal gain instead of public service. I stand for free and fair elections, where every vote is counted. The government of the people, by the people, and for the people, must be accountable to the people.
I stand for the promise of our Constitution.
At one point I was thinking to myself, with some amusement, that it was like a State of the Union speech, where you begin to count how many times the speech is interrupted by applause--in this case, many times. If we'd had a larger audience it would have been better.
When it was all over, I packed up the books we didn't sell while David was accepting his accolades and then we went, with the organizers of the evening's event, to a local creperie where David and I had huge chocolate and strawberry crepes (I shared mine with Walt).
Everybody was pretty exhausted by the time we got home. David and Walt went off to bed while I cleaned up the kitchen from dinner, which we had to leave in a hurry to get to the rally.
Websites of the Day
It takes a lot to get mild-mannered Garrison Keilor incensed, but this did it.
Also, check out what the current administration is doing to overtime pay.