Friday, January 13, 2006

Is He or Isn't He?

The news section at Backstreets now has a partial transcript of the Alito hearings from the New York Times. Backstreets links to the full transcript, by the way.

Here's the cut and paste:


As reported below, Supreme Court
nominee Samuel Alito can be counted as a Springsteen fan. The subject of the
Boss actually came up in this week's confirmation hearings, in this exchange
with Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois on January 11:

DURBIN: Let me ask you, if I might, to reflect on a couple other
things. You're a Bruce Springsteen fan?

ALITO: I am to some degree, yes.
[Emphasis mine.]

DURBIN: I guess most people in New Jersey would be. They should be.

ALITO: There was a movement some time ago -- we don't have an official
state song and there was a movement to make "Born to Run" our official state
song. But it didn't quite make it.

DURBIN: We'll stick with Lincoln in Illinois, but I can understand your
commitment to Bruce Springsteen. They once asked him: How do you come up with
the songs that you write and the characters that are in them? And he said, I
have a familiarity with the crushing hand of fate. It's a great line. I want to
ask you about the crushing hand of fate in several of your decisions....

Yesterday, I thought Alito had at least 3 redeeming qualities.

#3: He likes cheesesteak.
#2: He likes firearms.
#1: He likes Bruce.

That mealy-mouthed response means we can cross the most important reason to like Sam Alito right off the list. Nobody is a Springsteen fan "to some degree." Either he is, or he isn't.

My guess: He's trying to appease the liberals. Sorry, Sam. It almost worked, but the folks at Backstreets caught you.

Next time, make up your mind. To some degree.


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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sam Alito, Springsteen Fan

I tried to stay out of this. Honest. I did. Hard for me to do, as a former Democratic consultant.

Do I get an A for my efforts at trying to avoid the topic?

I... did... not... want... to... blog... about... this!

But I have to.

This week, every Republican I know has e-mailed me, linking to this story from the Associated Press (I got my copy for this post from Backstreets, but it's everywhere), revealing to the world that Samuel Alito is a Springsteen fan. And a marksman.

I grew up hunting, so I'd actually like all those Republicans who e-mailed me to know that yes, contrary to popular belief, liberal Democrats can also be marksmen. They even hunt. I have some wonderful venison recipes if you'd like to trade.

Quick note to my Republican friends: I read the clip. You can stop e-mailing copies to me. Why did every single one of you link to the Philly Inquirer's version of the story, by the way? What, the Washington Post's AP cut wasn't good enough? How about the Chicago Tribune's version? The Trib is a Republican paper, last I checked. It's an Associated Press blurb, you know? In other words, virtually identical versions of the same article.

So, hey, Sam, you and I have 2 things in common. Maybe 3. You're from the Jersey side of Philly, so I'm guessing you also like a good cheesesteak. Right on! But you're probably an Eagles fan, too.

Then again, so am I. Boston College had a great season this year.

Oh, right. Your Eagles didn't make the playoffs, and their fans threw snowballs at Santa. But my Eagles won a bowl game. Again.

Back to this Springsteen thing for a minute: You know that Bruce campaigned for John Kerry, right?

In other words, the opponent of the guy who nominated you to the Supreme Court had Bruce on his team. I have pictures if you want them.

I saw Bruce play in Boston twice last year. John Kerry was there both nights. Huge ovations to rattle the rafters, both evenings. I don't know where W was, but it wasn't Boston. Maybe he was taking another vacation on the ranch in Crawford. He seems to do that a lot. Too bad, he missed a couple of great shows.

Come to think of it, I also saw Bruce play in Albany and Providence last year. The four concerts together made my list of highlights of 2005. I think it was number 9 on the list.

Albany was a fabulous show. Bruce played "Spare Parts." I don't want to offend your Catholic sensibilities, but I'm Catholic, too, so I'll risk offending yours.

"Spare Parts." You know that one, right, Judge? It's from Tunnel of Love.

Starts out (and this is the part where I don't want to offend your Catholic sensibilities):

"Bobby said he'd pull out Bobby stayed in
Janey had a baby it wasn't any sin"

I'm guessing that even though you went to Princeton, you've been around the block a few times, so you know what Bruce meant about pulling out and staying in. I don't have time to draw you a picture, and even if I did have time, I don't really want to draw it.

I think you should listen to "Spare Parts" a few dozen times before you vote to overturn a certain 1973 decision your would-be brethren made (8 years before there were any women on the court, by the way, so good for them). Come to think of it, you could also listen to "The River," the song, not the album... You know what part I mean, right?

"Then I got Mary pregnant
and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress"

You'll understand that this isn't really my right, but I don't ever want to get into the business of telling women what they can do with their own bodies. If I were to do that, every woman I know, even the conservatives, would tell me where to go and how to get there. They'd even help me.

If men could get pregnant, this wouldn't be an issue, because nobody would be debating whether a constitutional right to abortion exists. They'd have included that one back in 1787. In Philly, where you hold court now.

I give you points for loving Bruce and for hunting. Which means you can't possibly be the demon some of my fellow liberals are claiming you are.

But then again, you lose points for that comb-over. You're bald. Deal with it and move on. I did. The saint likes bald men (at least, she likes this bald man).

Anyway, since we're both Springsteen fans, and since we both like to shoot, I just wanted to ask you to listen to "Spare Parts" and "The River" before you vote on that case you seem hellbent on overturning.

Oh, while we're talking about Bruce's music, Judge, do you have the 30th Anniversary Born to Run box set yet? You might want to go get that. It'll help you unwind after a grueling day with Kennedy and Biden. "Kitty's Back" is worth every penny of the cover price, and Clarence's sax solo on "Jungleland" is otherworldy.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Pilgrim: Chapter 33

Random Thoughts hits a Random Number. The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 is my favorite Kristofferson song. Kristofferson reportedly wrote it about Johnny Cash.

33 is also the answer to this question:

How many chapters have you outlined for the new novel, Adam?

Now before everybody starts falling all over everybody else congratulating me (I'm actually amazed at the number of people who read this blog), let's put it into perspective: It's an outline.

Outlines, like novels, have first drafts, second drafts, tenth drafts. This is the first outline I've written since law school. So it'll need some work, even after I "complete" it. And then I'll need to change it. After I change it, I'll need to edit it again. Then, maybe, I'll send it to my agents for their thoughts.

In other words, I'm 33 chapters into a draft outline. I could be done with the draft by MLK Day. It's progress, but it's not close to being finished. It's not even close to being started. But it's fun.

May you all still be having as much fun as I am, 33 chapters into your new projects.


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Thursday, January 05, 2006


All right... I can admit when I'm wrong. Really, I can.

And I'm wrong. It's not an inconsequential wrong, either.

The other day, I said Johnny Cash at San Quentin is the best prison album of all time. My fellow Springsteen fan (who is also a Johnny Cash fan) Paul Guyot called me on it. Guyot, you'll remember, entitles all his blog posts with names of Springsteen songs.

My kind of blogger.

Guyot told me that Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison is a better album.

My first thought: Swords or Pistols, Paul?

My second thought (delayed until this evening): Guyot was right.

San Quentin is powerful as Hell, but I hadn't heard Folsom in ages. Folsom is better. All you need to hear are songs like Cocaine Blues and 25 Minutes to Go. Johnny Cash didn't write either one of them, by the way (the great Shel Silverstein penned 25 Minutes...), but you'd never know it. The songs are his.

The clanging doors, the public address announcements, the interaction with the inmates, the handwritten liner notes: This is a guy who gets it.

Folsom is an absolute knockout and I'm glad I ran out and bought it today.

Thanks, Paul. You were correct.

Perhaps I should have entitled this post "Better Days." Or how about: "Dead Man Walkin'", or "I'm Goin' Down," or maybe we're keeping score, so in that case, "If I Should Fall Behind..."

San Quentin is the second best prison album of all time. Folsom is the best. Discussion over.

Back to writing.



Monday, January 02, 2006

The vacation ends...

I go back to work tomorrow. I took the whole week off. It was a good deal. I missed 6 and a half days of work and only used 3 and a half days of vacation.

I had a blast, a wonderful time with the Saint and the kids, got some work done on the new novel (not enough, but I could finish it today, and I wouldn't be making enough progress on it), spent time with family and friends, listened to Bruce, got a new Johnny Cash album, ate good food, and drank some bourbon, but not too much.

I also finished the new Call of Duty game.

So now I have to take down the Christmas tree, and then vacation will officially be over.

My batteries are recharged. Time to go back to work.


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