Sunday, 5-12-2002

Ghosts Geeks Glass and Gone

Dear Political Diary,

Once again I feel like apologizing for being distracted from the diary. I've just got too many irons in the fire, including piano lessons which I began a month ago. I've had a hard time keeping up with piano practice too. I now know where middle C is on the piano, however. Whoo hoo!

Since my return from Topeka I've had a few guilty pleasures. The new editor of the Trib, Don Wyatt, sent me an email gently remonstrating with me for my latest Reader column. He lectured me a bit about losing my credibility. I was delighted and responded with a cheerful but unrepentant email. I suggested that we get together over a cup of coffee to solve the world's problems.  This led to another round of email and Mr. Wyatt's acceptance of my offer. Whether I charm or infuriate him remains to be seen.

My week off is over and I must now come up with a new column for this week. Fortunately, after some false starts an idea insinuated itself into my thoughts as Claudia and I headed to St. Paul this morning to watch the Opera, Don Carlos. It was my first in a real opera hall. I'll call it "Eve of Destruction." I loved that song when I was in high school. A few years ago I heard that the Turtles turned it down when it was offered to them. Big mistake!

Don Carlos was a different kind of music. At three and a half hours we certainly got our money worth of culture. It was a good Mother's Day and we were joined by my daughter and her boyfriend. Keely listened intently even though this was an opera showcasing male voices. She's learned a couple of arias and is about ready to go out and audition her voice through the Twin Cities. Claudia and I held hands through the second act though I have to admit my mind wandered a bit. My daughter's boyfriend spent most of the performance sleeping on her shoulder. Can't say as I blame him. As near as I could tell,  the hero was saved from execution at the very end by his grandfather's ghost. Hey! It could happen!

After my nostalgic trip back to my old hometown last weekend, I got motivated to search the Internet again for things related to my own grandfather. To my delight I found an obscure little story in the Kansas State Historical Society web page mentioning him.  I sent it to my relatives and copied it to my own web page. Like Don Carlos, it was a ghost story

I enjoyed a couple other long coffee table chats last week. (sorry, but I haven't got the energy to recap the days I missed) First, I met with Gary Glass, the primary champion of keeping Old Central. He had some interesting suggestions to make the building a more cost effective facility. I mentioned these to Garry Krause afterwards and heard counter arguments that I was ill equipped to answer. I'm not into construction. We'll have to have a good discussion about these ideas later with some experts.

I also had a delightful meeting with a professed "geek" Jonathon J Lee on Saturday. Jonathon was one of the chief organizers for the recently acclaimed "Geek Prom" which drew considerable national attention to Duluth. He had sent me an email out of the blue offering to help me with my campaign. I thought he ought to be given a chance to size me up in case he'd want to change his mind. I didn't believe his self deprecation for a minute any more than mine should be taken seriously. I loved it, however. A subversive common sense has come to him far earlier than it ever hit me.  In my defense there was no Fox channel when I was growing up. Bart Simpson lay far in the future and I was already married by the time Saturday Night Live made its debut. Jonathon ran against Dale Swapinsky four years ago for the City Council. Extreme youth was Jonathon's chief disqualification back then. He's getting over it. [The next day the Trib published a letter of Jonathon's. He commented on Israel and the Palestinians. Coincidentally, his drift is very like mine "in eve of destruction."]

Jonathon offered his services and those of his girlfriend for graphic design and web work. I explained that I was so used to pulling campaigns off on my own that I wasn't sure how to build an organization to get me elected. It occurred to me, however, that I ought to post something about my campaign volunteers on my website as I accumulated them. I imagined something like a theater program in which I could highlight their triumphs in politics, theater, geekdom or whatever.  It will be interesting to see what kind of Rogue's Gallery I can assemble. 

Well, that's it for today. Tomorrow I've got a dentist's appointment, followed by lunch at the Indian Palace with another person who emailed me out of the blue. I've got to work on the eve of destruction then attend to school board meetings. No foreshadowing intended.

Oh, I almost forgot. I woke up Saturday and read an unexpected story in the Trib which may portend significant changes on the School Board. Pati Rolf is taking a new job in Wisconsin. After July I may not be in the minority any longer.