Monday, May 19, 2008

Take Me To the River

You've probably already read about the record-breaking turnout for the Obama rally in Portland yesterday here, here or here. Some sources are saying 80,000 people. Well, I say 80,000 people and at least one fetus, because Mrs. Best and I were in attendance. It was an unseasonably hot and beautiful weekend, and as Obama says, a spectacular setting for a rally. It actually got a bit too hot for Mrs. Best, so she had to leave a little early.

It was a pain in the ass getting in. The line snaked through block after block of downtown. Luckily we saw some friends and were able to jump ahead in line. We got in just as the Decemberists started their set. They did a surprisingly good job engaging the crowd, including breaking them into sections to sing different vocal lines. I thought the majority of the crowd was sort of befuddled by them, but it was really cool to see them rocking the rally. I was thinking about how I played shows with Colin Meloy some years ago at the Laurelthirst, to a handful of people. This was before the Decemberists existed, and he was just another singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar. I doubt he remembers me very well, but we had a great time one night doing a duet on Big Star's Thirteen. You've come a long way, baby...

Sometimes I think I am overly sentimental. Maybe it is my German blood. But right before Obama came out, they cranked up Springsteen doing The Rising, which is already one of my favorite songs. The anthemic power of that song in that setting, at that moment, caused me to well up. But luckily, I was wearing my new Elvis shades. TCB, baby.

The speech was pretty good and a good deal tougher than when we had seen him last year. Here's some highlights:

After the rally, I took the Max up to PGE Park to catch the end of the Beavers game with the guys. When I got home, I started searching the web for news of the rally. I saw this story and my jaw dropped when I got to the last few paragraphs. Apparently Bill and Chelsea Clinton were in town yesterday morning, too. And not just in town, but 4 blocks from my house!

Clinton and his daughter began their day at Woodlawn Elementary School in Northeast Portland, promoting the work of the I Have A Dream Foundation, which encourages low-income children to graduate from high school and go to college. Dressed in blue jeans, a black T-shirt and running shoes, the former president spent several minutes on his hands and knees planting tomato seedlings in the school's community garden while providing a running discourse on the best planting methods to a group of youngsters.

I am so bummed that I didn't know about that event. That's where we go walk Lucy. What the hell were they doing in our crummy little out-of-the-way neighborhood? It would have been something to see Bill and Barack in the same day. Even though Bubba is on my shitlist for his recent campaign shenanigans, I still love the guy.

So, how was your weekend? My pix below:

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