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Another Convention Diary

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TV coverage of that evening's convention coverage begins at 4 AM. Sleep til 7:30, take Izzy to dog park in Pacific Palisades. Wear Ipod to avoid hearing any conversation about convention. Stop at Starbuck's, forget Ipod. Hear woman wonder why Bristol has to have baby and marry Levi. Want to say something about how pro-life is based on the fear that someone else in America is having fun but it's too early for such livid truth.

Go home, recycle front sections of newspapers unread, take sports sections into backyard. A dead sparrow lies on teak table. Judging by body temperature and levity, it's been dead about six hours. It seems like a sign until realization that there's no such thing as a sign.

Go on-line. Can't avoid seeing it's a big day in the brief life of hurricane Gustav. By tonal quality of the name alone, it sounds like much angrier storm than Katrina. Gustav Mahler vs. Katrina Witt. New Orleans is cleared out. Nietzche was wrong: That which you survive makes you doubly terrified next time.

Gustav knocks Bush off the convention schedule. Finally the Republicans get some benefit from a hurricane and they aren't scared to say so.

Talk to my mother on the phone. A woman she knows in Queens says she's voting for McCain because she doesn't like the church Obama belongs to. My mother says to her, "You wouldn't vote for Obama if he belonged to Temple Emanuel."

Labor Day barbeque at neighbor's house. Keep chatting about my neighbor's kids to avoid convention talk but everyone seems to know that no one cares about anyone else's kids. Rumors fly: Sarah belongs to organization bent on having Alaska secede from the union; McCain crashed five fighter jets before becoming POW; Sarah's son joined the military because he and some friends were arrested for vandalizing school buses and he was given the option of jail or the military. Don't know if any of these rumors are true but if repeated enough, they're cold, hard facts.

The convention is about to begin. Go to Burke Williams for 80-minute "full relaxation massage" as opposed to the "Full anxiety massage." Indian music plays in the massage room as opposed to convention coverage. After massage, sauna, steam, jacuzzi, convention is done for the night.


Wake up to NPR. In morning fog, could swear there was a report that McCain plans to bridge the education gap by making Asian kids dumber. There are no follow-up reports to this effect. Maybe it was a dream.

Spend day researching whether Wasilla, Alaska has alternate side of the street parking. Can't get straight answer. Knock off just before Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman address convention. Call DirecTV to see if you can suspend your subscription like a newspaper. Can't get through. Go out, fill up my car at Louis Vuitton-priced gas station and see "Tropic Thunder." Must remember to tell Sarah to avoid this movie.

Get dinner at a pizzeria where the tv is always reliably tuned to some soccer game being played in the southern hemisphere. The score in one-nil. An insurmountable lead, no suspense.

Convention over for the night.

Wake up to NPR again. In morning haze, could swear there was a report saying that the McCain will show support for troops by getting Marc Jacobs to design body bags. There is no follow-up report so this could be a dream.

Play golf. Cheat more than usual. Come home, my mother calls. A woman in her computer class won't vote for Obama because a her husband was once mugged by a black man. My mother says, "A few blocks from here, I had a gun pointed in my face and was nearly carjacked by a white guy. I'd still vote for a white guy." These conversations are happening in Democratic Queens. Start feeling like this election is hopeless.

The only encouraging thought is that the choice of Sarah smacked of desperation and usually, by September, the Republicans already know they're going to win. So maybe they're not 100% sure this time.

Sarah's speech at the convention is up against the Dylan Concert at the Santa Monica Civic Center. Driving to the show, accidently hear 30 seconds of Guiliani speech. Remember how Geraldo Rivera was a huge joke in New York ten years before becoming popular through the rest of America. Same with Guiliani, less funny.

Dylan is is now in a rock phase. Every song is wailing, driving rock n roll. He plays keyboards the whole concert, no guitar. The constant creative restlessness is inspiring and anachronistic. Dylan says not one word to the audience -- not even "thank-you" after a song or "Hello Los Angeles" -- until introducing his band during the encore. CNN and MSNBC are a torrent of endless, meaningless man-on-the-street interviews but one rare, valuable voice says nothing. Then again... "God said to Abraham, kill me a son, Abe said man, you must be putting me on. God said no, Abe said what, God said you can do want Abe but next time you see me coming you better run... " Must remember to tell Sarah to avoid this Dylan tour.

Concert ends at ten. Convention over for the night.


Wake up to Dylan. "Me I'm still on the road, headed for another joint. We always did feel the same we just saw it from a different point of view, tangled up in blue."

Maybe that's why he doesn't talk during the concerts. He's seen it all and just heads for another joint. Reminds me of Gilbert Gottfried line: "As James Dean said, the key to life is longevity."

Tonight McCain will speak at the convention . May mention his time in Vietnam. Took a trip there a few years ago, myself. Good time.

Play basketball during McCain's speech with mostly 30-year old architects. As one of two Jews in the game, feel it's important to tell say that if they've become rabid anti-semites based purely on Joe Lieberman, it won't be held against them.

Players ask about chances of getting Obama and Sarah to play in our game. Will look into it.
Play four full-court games, coasting through the last three. Suppose the exhaustion of convention week has taken a toll. All the highs and lows and avoidance... it can wear you out.

Get home. Convention is over.