July 31, 2004
Hobnobbing With Celebrities And Politicians Leaves You Exhausted

It's over -- but it's not over. I still have a couple of "convention posts" to get up here. Someone should have warned me that no one sleeps at these conventions -- you get up at 7 and stay up til 3:30 a.m., and do it all over again the next day. A number of technical problems -- undoubtedly caused by the vast right-wing conspiracy -- plagued me on the first day, and for a while some bloggers couldn't publish to their web sites from the Convention Center because of a mysterious "proxy cache" problem. (At least there wasn't a check caching problem.) Dave Johnson's computer showed signs that his hard drive was dying the first and second day -- his computer would just shut down and check itself now and then -- and those problems simply disappeared later in the week.

I scheduled an interview with a congressman (Carol McCarthy of NY) and they brought me the wrong congressman (the great John Lewis of Atlanta). I should have asked Congressman Lewis about all these New York issues I had questions about anyway, but an intern so touched to meet Lewis that she began sobbing shut me down. (I gave them some privacy.)

We bloggers didn't know what to do when we got there and neither did anybody else. More than a couple reporters and seasoned conventioneers told me they had no idea what they were going to write about.

Richard Avedon's handlers told me they had been given a chair and garbage storage area as their "salon -- and that Avedon was obsessed with the theory that Wolf Blitzer was actually seven different people. As they told me this, Joe Klein shook Avedon's hand just feet away from me, Sam Donaldson stood looking like he had been the victim of taxidermy -- as motionless and erect as his statue in the Museum of Wax here -- and Wolf Blitzer zoomed by, obviously trying to move past before Avedon saw him. Wolf's beard somehow looks less threatening in person than it does on television.

George Stephanopholous, waiting to interview someone in the stands off the floor, looked scared and tired.

A guy working at Dunkin Donuts proudly showed me that his Convention Hall pass was signed on the front by Hillary Clinton and on the back by P. Diddy.

On the train back home, Al Franken came through our car and the man next to me, an amateur photographer, sprang up to tell Franken that he had a picture of Bill O'Reilly picking his nose. (Franken told him to caption it, "Need a cocktail fork, Bill?")

Al Franken looked like he had just woken up and needed to go back to sleep -- the hair on the back of his head was crushed and parts were sticking up pointing every which way. That's the way I feel, and I suspect it will be a day or to before I begin to recover.

But I will, and soon we'll be back in business. . . .

Posted by Tom Burka at 1:25 PM in Commentary