Thursday, November 27, 2008
Meeting Antonella's family was a real treat. They made us fettucini and meatballs for dinner. We ate. We talked. All was well.
the Supreme Court,
and the Library of Congress.
We then went home returned to Gretchen's house, hung for a while, and packed for the next day.
The rest of the day consisted of a debate on congressional regulation of judicial education trips authored by Russ Feinstein (D-Minnesota). Feinstein sent his aide Robert Schiff to defend the proposal. Poor Schiff, he was sorely outmatched by DC Appeals Court judge Raymond Randolph and UCLA professor Eugene Volokh. They pointed out the obvious problems with Feinstein's proposal, and exposed the fact Schiff didn't actually know what his bill meant. It was like watching two cats bat around a mouse before they dismember and devour it.
Final address was Antonin Scalia's. He spoke for approximately thirty minutes about originalism before taking five or six questions. Turns out his favorite operas are La Traviata and Madama Butterfly. Good stuff. And with that, the Convention was over. Three intellectually stimulating days that will keep me going for another year.
After the Convention, we all picked up dinner at an indian restaurant in Pentagon City.
Lunch inlcuded a panel on civil litigation under the Robert's Court. Could have been interesting, but it wasn't.
The post-lunch talk by Mark Steyn, author of America Alone, the single most enjoyable presentation during the Convention.
Steyn, a Canadian who now lives in New Hampshire, talked about how he was brought before three Canadian Human Rights Councils because a few Canadian Muslims found some passages from his book insulting. (They didn't argue what he wrote was incorrect, just that they didn't like what he said and found it insulting.) It was a laugh riot. Steyn is a gifted story-teller with an insightful mind. The funniest portion of his talk was his description of returning to America after attending the HRC's kangaroo courts (his words, not mine). When the border guard asked Steyn the reason for his visit to Canada, he responded, "I was put on trial for crimes against humanity." The guard looked at Steyn, undoubtedly saw the smirk on his face, and said, "Well, welcome home." Classic.
Last panel of the day was about freedom of speech v. anti-discrimination laws. Interesting, scary but interesting. This was my first time seeing Andrew Koppleman. He's almost as utterly obnoxious and unwittingly uninformed in person as he is in print.
I skipped out on the Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecuture by Edith Jones to eat dinner with Dem, Gretchen, and Elliot. We ate at Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House.
Since this was one of Teddy Roosevelt's old haunts, I ordered one of his favorite dishes: calf's liver and onions (his favorite dish was fried chicken). It was quite good, little grainy and minerally, but very enjoyable.
Home it was after the meal.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the day was the annual dinner. After an exceptional surf and turf meal, we listened to Michael Mukasey (US Attorney General). About twenty minutes into his talk, he began to slur his speech. Ten seconds later, he slumped unconscious over the lecturn. We all gave an exasperated gasp, Secret Service rushed the stage, and people yelled out, "Is there a doctor in the room?" There was, which was lucky because it took paramedics fifteen minutes to arrive. We left after Mukasey was taken to the hospital. He was at work the next afternoon.
We sat down and this woman named Kim immediately turned around and attached to Elliot like a pitbull on a poodle. After interacting with Elliot for two minutes, Kim announced Elliot is a crystal child. Now, for those utterly ignorant regarding crystal children (don't feel bad, we were once one of you), they are kids with divergent DNA who will lead the world into a new age, an age without conflict, lawyers, or books. She then informed us our duty as parents of a crystal child is to get out of his way, and to let him teach us. Evidently, the reason Elliot loves dogs is because he can talk to them.
Things started going south when Dem put some lotion on Elliot. Elliot whined a little. Kim then said, "I want to let you know Elliot's talking to me right now. He says he doesn't like the lotion because lotion impedes his cells' ability to communicate with his environment. But, if you do insist on using lotion, you should believe the lotion will have no effect. That way, the lotion won't do anything and his cells will be free to fully interact with the surroundings." Kim's previous overall kookiness was almost endearing, but the lotion thing was too much for Dem. She saw it as an afront to her mothering skills (and she was right). Thankfully, we boarded the plane at this point.
We arrived in Baltimore around 10 p.m. We drove to Gretchen's house and fell fast asleep.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
After our hike, we watched a San Francisco Opera broadcast of La Rondine by Puccini at a local movie theater. Angela Gheorghiu sang the Magda de Civry role, and was wonderful. Seeing this opera wet our appetite for The Damnation of Faust which we will see at the Metropolitan Opera in New York later this month.
To cap the day, we went through our standard "put Elliot to bed" routine. It consists of (1) reading a column of the Book of Mormon in Italian, (2) praying (whoever prays gets to pick the language), (3) Demaree reciting The Going to Bed Book from memory, and (4) turning on a children's CD.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
As for Cahill, enlightening read. I think he plays fast and loose with some history, but absorbing this Everyman book was time well spent. Here is a short review I wrote on Facebook:
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This was Elliot's first political rally, and he seemed to enjoy himself. A random woman gave him a flag, which he promptly put in his mouth.
After Mitt's "vote for McCain and all the other Republicans here present" admonition, he started shaking hands. We met him briefly (he's better looking in person than on TV, by the way); and, like every good politician, he acquiesced when we asked him to take a picture with Elliot.
Ah, Mitt. What a beautiful man you are. You might have lost this time, but we look forward to seeing you again in 2012.
As you can see, we (read: Demaree) decided on a jack-o-latern. It was a cute idea. We filled it with crumpled newspaper, and put a makeshift stem on Elliot's head.
We all went to a trunk-or-treat at the church, where we ate chili dogs (yeah, I was surprised by that as well) and played some games. Good times.