Much like the dinners of the same name, I'd thought I'd catch up on what's transpired since last we chatted with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
First there was my foray into public speaking. Yes, I finally did it, spoke publicly about health care reform. Fortunately it wasn't at an outdoor rally with a bullhorn. It was at a luncheon event called Journey to Justice, where four social justice groups were represented. Though there were only 35-40 people present, it was a good start for me to get my feet wet speaking publicly. Here's what I learned by doing it - preparation is everything, and then you have to speak off the cuff. What is heartfelt and passionate trumps reading from anything. And so it was that I lent my face and voice to the cause of overhauling our health care system. Did it accomplish anything? I don't know. But I'm guessing that some people went home and contacted their representatives, and at least one person decided to get more involved, so I'm thinking it was a success. Would I do it again? You betcha. Change trumps nerves, at least it does where health care and I are concerned.
While we've been apart there's also been some change in tone coming from the White House. The State of the Union speech was a much welcomed bitch slap of, well, everyone it seemed. And I personally enjoyed it very much. Yes, we saw the president come down hard on republicans - the party of NO, democrats - those sissies running from actual leadership and backbone, the Supreme Court - whose ruling effectively ended our democracy, the military - and their open discrimination against gays (as if they haven't always served our country honorably if not openly). Let's see, did I leave anyone out? Oh yeah, bankers and Wall Street, always a foe the average citizen can get behind despising. All in all, it was about damn time we saw our president show some grit. And I was newly re-energized by it, though fearful that this man of great words could not sustain it or back it up with action.
I needn't have worried though because a couple of days later I would see the president taking on republicans head to head, sustaining his grit and anchoring himself in his new display of strength. While I was snowed in in my apartment in Nashville, MSNBC was kind enough to air President Obama's Q&A with the republican leadership. Had I known how entertaining it would be, I would've purchased popcorn. Instead I found myself cheering like I was at a sporting event. "Ooh, smack down!" I giddily exclaimed. It was refreshing to see a man well versed enough to be able to answer every accusation, I mean "question" knowledgeably, usually more so than the person launching the attack. And make no mistake, it was an attack aimed at gaining political ground. It was a gamble that the minority party took, televising what has previously been untelevised, hoping to trip up the leader of the free world. Too bad it didn't work out for them. And when the things being stated by the hosts were completely false, good for the president for calling them out. Again, it's about damn time. Score: 2-0 President Obama.
It seems there's a new sheriff in town, and his base, though still a tad skeptical, is singing, "Hallelujah!"
Switching gears to the Grammys, an award show I usually have to record so I can fast forward through it. This year, however, I watched it from start to finish. I have to say that for me nothing really topped Lady Gaga and Elton John. Coming in second with a side dose of Dramamine was Pink, whose aerial performance made my palms sweat. Good for her. Nice job. I also liked Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, in that order. Honorable mention must go to Stevie Nicks for keeping it together while Taylor Swift gave what can most generously be called an interesting performance.
I found the Michael Jackson tribute to be lackluster. The same goes for Bridge Over Troubled Water, and I love both Mary J. and Andrea Bocelli. But for some reason both of those performances did nothing for me.
The thing I'm really excited about and am going to check out as soon as I'm finished blogging here is the new remake of We Are the World. Loved it the first time around, and I imagine I'll love it this time. What's not to love - a big anthemy song filled with hope, love, and a commitment to change the world, with the money going toward a good cause? You gotta love that. Plus, seeing Barbra Streisand in the same room with rappers is just plain entertaining. So I'm headed to iTunes in a minute.
What else? Let's see, my apartment is leaking, I just got back from California where I visited my nearly four-year-old niece who lights up my world, and I'm reading a book about a serial killer. Yes, my life is full of contradictions.
This weekend I plan on going to the movies and seeing Valentine's Day, the new Garry Marshall movie. I'll report back on that later, but I assume it will come as a much welcomed relief from reading about serial killers.
To all of you who are about to celebrate this illustrious Hallmark and Godiva sponsored holiday, have a sweet weekend, and thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.