Tag Archives: Stuff

Call me Bill

In the midst of myriad emails in which I was explaining the minutiae of passing legislation (and how support or opposition is built and expressed), a colleague complained:   “I don’t remember it being that complicated when the School House Rock video explained it.”  We can only wish.


Changing my mind to avoid changing my shirt

Back in June, I started running again after a layoFFFF of many years.

My clever use of a visual representation of the Doppler Effect may have left you with the impression that I run like the wind, despite having only picked back up in June.  That would be a misapprehension. 

I’m what’s known in running circles as a Clydesdale, both because of my size and lack of whippet speed (the term for lean, fast runners, by which I mean Kenyans).  All I can say is:  no one has ever cried over a Christmas commercial of whippets pulling a wagon through freshly fallen snow nor laughed at one in which they kick a field goal.

‘Nuff said.

Health scare … mid-life crisis … nostalgia for the athletic stud I once was (at least in anecdote); none of these factored into my decision.  Instead, running again was the price of admission to something I’ve always wanted to do – run the bulls in Pamplona.  That’s right. I’m a clichéd Hemingway wannabe who wants to dash into the ruedo in my white linen shirt and pants, my red sash blowing in the wind behind me. However, in the 34 years of life with Linda, I could never get her to see the wisdom and allure of this … until in a moment of weakness and drink, she said: “Sure, if you run a half-marathon first.”

She may have been laughing up her sleeve when she said it, but that stopped when she sobered up.  And to our mutual surprise, five months later I finished the Waddell & Reed Half Marathon here in Kansas City. Didn’t run it in the fasted time ever, but I did run my first half marathon fifteen minutes faster than NBC Chief Meteorologist did, to which I say: “Suck it, Al Roker.”

During that time, I also was busy researching and planning my 2012 Pamplona bull-running trip.  And I mean planning.  Working with engineers over the past five years has really stoked my love of Excel spreadsheets, critical paths and key dependencies. I had pulled together an action plan for getting there and, more importantly, how to sprint the 903 yards to the ring and survive. I knew everything. How they had put down non-skid surfaces at Dead Man’s Turn so that the bulls wouldn’t slip and could keep accelerating after the Euro-trash that deserved what they got. How they keep goring stats so you can schedule your run on a day less likely to end in injury or death.  And mucho, mucho mas!

But here’s the thing.  The more I researched, the more Pamplona videos I watched, the more I learned an important lesson about myself (and not the one people kept trying to teach me, that bulls can kill you). What I learned was that I’m just too damn old to stand in a Plaza with 10,000 youth of the world projectile vomiting from chugging cheap two-liter bottles of sangria.

I’m happy to risk getting gored.  But I don’t want to be vomited on. And I don’t want to be jammed, jostled and generally pawed by thousands of sweaty, pukey twenty somethings. (Hey, I veered away from the High Five Squad at mile six of the half marathon because I didn’t want to touch hands that had patty-fingered 11,000 other runners.)  So I’m not going to Pamplona. 

But at least I’m still running.  So join me for the next outing – the Dec. 4 Great Santa 5K – http://www.sportkc.org/sportkc.aspx?pgID=866&event_id=458.  No bull. No sangria. No puking up.

40 days and 40 nights

It’s only 40 days until I run my first official half-marathon – Waddell & Reed on Oct. 15. But I ran the 13-mile distance for the first time unofficially yesterday. 

I jumped ahead of my training schedule, prompted by driving the W&R route last week to get a sense of it.  I was left anxious by the experience and, rather than stew about it, I just went ahead and jumped from 11 miles to 13 miles distance to get it out of the way.  

It certainly makes me feel a little more confident that I can finish the W&R in October, bringing me one step closer to the colorful chaos that is the running with the bulls in Pamplona (see earlier posts for the tortured explanations of how they’re linked).  


100 days of rain rots the brain

While I’m looking up the definition of a cubit and doing an endless “Fooba” rerun of Bill Cosby’s Noah’s Ark routine, I thought I’d bring us all together – not with some pithy insight about coalition building – but with the ten greatest rainy day/night songs ever.

It’s the best I can do until I see some sunshine, and I can empty out my brain pan.

11.  (Bonus track)  Rain, Woods, Songs of Shame

10. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

9,  I Wish It Would Rain, The Temptations, The Temptations Wish It Would Rain

8.  Who’ll Stop the Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival, More Creedence Gold

7.  Storm In a Teacup, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium

6.  Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Willie Nelson, Red-Headed Stranger

5.  Cloudy (Live), Average White Band, The Best Of Average White Band

4.  Lightnin’ Hopkins, R.E.M, Document

3.  Rainy Day, Dream Away/Still Raining, Still Dreaming, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland

2. Thunderball, Tom Jones, The Best Of James Bond 30th Anniversary Collection

1. One Rainy Wish, Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold As Love

Without Comment: There’s a flip side to everything

For the next time you think there’s only one way to skin a cat:

TEDTalks : Derek Sivers: Weird, or just different? – Derek Sivers (2009): “‘There’s a flip side to everything,’ the saying goes, and in 2 minutes, Derek Sivers shows this is true in a few ways you might not expect.

(Via TEDTalks (video).)

Rick Astley & Nine Inch Nails: Proof that even unlikely allies can make beautiful music

Rick Astley & Nine Inch Nails: Proof that even unlikely allies can make beautiful music together.

4.5 things I’ve learned blogging

So here’s what I’ve learned from the personal blogging experiment that is The Coalitionist – lessons that may or may not have some application to your own electronic outreach:

  1. It would be best if you just shot me now. It would provide fresh content for the blog and an exit strategy.  If you think Great Whites are insatiable, try keeping to a regular production schedule of new postings.
  2. Speaking of content, your best ideas inevitably will come to you while driving at high speeds or late at night when you can’t sleep. You will be so impressed with your own genius, you will not write down your great idea, confident that it will stay with you forever.  It won’t.  Go ahead and clutch the wheel between your knees, and jot down your fabulous insight on a McDonald’s napkin.  Your readers will thank you and, should you careen off the road, see Lesson #1.
  3. There’s value in what you do even if no one reads it (messaging improvement, thesis testing, person development, etc.). That’s what you’ll tell yourself anyway every time you look at your blog stats.
  4. Think about where you’re going with your blog so that you can strategically plan out its evolution.  Hey, look at that! The Star Trek episode with the evil beatnik Spock is on. Now, where was I? 
  5. Dang it! Where’s that napkin?