I am typing at top speed with a deadline looming, and I’m sure to be late (sorry, Pete). The workday ran long. My day job’s current assignment has me watching state legislative action, and today kicked off the 2018 season.

The State House hallways were full of citizens sporting buttons and scarves emblazoned with symbols of this or that bill, thumbs up or thumbs down. An impromptu press conference about a particular bill temporarily blocked access to one hall. Twitter was ablaze with coordinated targeted messages on various measures. Typical stuff, on a day with lots of bills up for votes.

It made for great press, and it all served the long-term goal of influencing public opinion. What it didn’t do, as far as I could tell, was swing a single vote on the most controversial bills.

That work had been done earlier, in one-on-one conversations with those representatives who were cheerfully trying to work their way through the crowd to their seats. This is how things are done close to home.

Conversations without cameras, with no social media posts at stake, one neighbor to another. As occupied with politics as I am, I can’t afford to forget how important those conversations are.

Why be concerned with how things are done on the local or state level? Isn’t that little league stuff? Not to me.

For one thing, these state legislators make up the bench from which parties draw candidates for bigger if not better offices. The more one-on-one conversations a legislator has, the greater the legislator’s sense of accountability to the people who’ve been talking with him. Professional lobbyists know all about that. Smart voters know it, too.

For another, we need the practice. I know I do. I tend to resort to social media even for messages to state representatives. That’s not the most effective way for me to do my job as a constituent. For that, I need face-to-face conversation, or even a brief phone call (remember those?), with the people who claim to represent me at the State House.

When a family has a story about how a bill would affect them, they use media appearances to share that story. That helps shape the environment within which a vote will be cast. If they really want to lock down a particular vote, though, they’ll have a private conversations with a legislator, without cameras or mics in the room.

For the two bills with which I was most concerned today, people on all sides worked relentlessly on such old-fashioned communication, as well as on social media, right up to the minute the votes were cast. The same-day work was important.

And yet it wasn’t as important as the low-key conversations that started back when the bills were introduced (and even earlier). Today’s votes reflected relationships built long ago. Those relationships started with conversations.

It may sound odd for a keyboard warrior to admit, but I’m glad conversation still counts.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues and New Hampshire politics at ellenkolb.com and leavenfortheloaf.com. You can support Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Writers by hitting Da Tip Jar. Thank you!


The Sunshine State . . . but not this week.

Florida temperatures this week are certainly not tropical: As I write this post, it’s 37F. “Feels like 30,” says Weather.com. The UV Index is 0 out of 10 due to the pouring rain.

Yesterday they had snow in Titusville, south of where I live. The forecast shows ‘Bomb cyclone’ to blast East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this week, but at least the “bomb cyclone” is expected to affect coastal locations from Georgia to Maine. Or so we hope.

Floridians are in full freak-out mode.

Tourists at the Orlando amusement parks are shivering.

People are lining up at Walmart buying windproof jackets lined with fleece, sweaters, hats, and what gloves and scarves they can find.

Snowbirds laugh at the panicking locals, remarking that, “back in Fargo, we’d be wearing flip-flops and shorts when the temps hit 30.”

Everybody is talking about the weather. But what to do during bad weather?

I stole this post’s title from Carlos Eire’s magnificent Waiting For Snow in Havana. If you want to curl up and read a good book during the storm,  read this beautifully incandescent memoir. Goodreads describes it,

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. More than that, it captures the terrible beauty of those times in our lives when we are certain we have died — and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn.

Eire earned a National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2003. The New York Times (of Duranty Pulitzer fame) never reviewed Waiting For Snow because it did not meet the Times’s narrative on Cuba.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

As I said in our top 10 post, blogs posts are like record albums, you don’t know which ones are going to be popular and what is not and in 2017 we had our share of very good posts, some which really deserved more attention, that you just weren’t interested in. Here is a smattering of them

Like last year let’s start with the post whose that I really wished got more attention than it did so please check it out award.

Fr Stephen Imbarrato at Our Lady Queen of the Universe Shrine St Don Oriano Boston

I covered Fr. Imbarrato of Priest’s for life trip to Massachusetts extensively, the protest and Eucharistic processions in front of Planned Parenthood in Boston and Fitchburg. This was the final day including his blessing of the city of Boston:

There is one interesting footnote, both Mary Ann Harold and Fr. Imbarrato got a sense during the prayers that it was the desire of Our Lord and Lady to restore the Shrine. At the time it was built Boston was a faithful Catholic City and Massachusetts was a State known for it’s faith, as the Shrine has fallen into disrepair so has the faith of the city and the abominations that have come out of the state to affect the entire country and the world are too numerous to mention here.

So while I as always hope you might kick in a few buck to DaTipJar to make up for the cost of days of work missed and my time perhaps it might be a better use of your funds to raise the funds necessary to make this shrine what it once was, and perhaps help make Boston the city of faith it once was too.

Alas this post and my plea for the shrine didn’t catch anyone’s eye. Let’s hope this update does a tad better for it.

The “I can watch it on TV instead” award:

Voices of CPAC 2017 Donald Trump Single lines from CPAC speech as he makes them UPDATE TBS asks me to setup a fake meme how DARE they! Feb 24th.

I did a whole bunch of posts from CPAC and one was covering President Trump’s speech. I put up a post adding lines I thought key, but everybody who wanted to see the speech could do so. Although there was one line that was significant.

[Would you believe a guy from TBS asked me if I had solitaire on my computer and asked me to bring it up so he could get a shot of someone playing solitaire during Trump’s speech. HOW DARE HE! HOW DARE HE EXPECT ME TO SET UP A PHONY SHOT FOR A PHONY MEME! That’s so dishonorable!]

This was the 2nd least surprising slow post of the year

The Great Question that isn’t as great as I thought award

Two of my 10 top posts concerned the NFL protests, but not all of them

Ok Digiorno, Pizza Hut what’s YOUR position on the NFL Protests? Nov 5th

Pizza Hut has bragged that their sales are up , Digiorno’s frozen pizza has been trolling them and plenty of people on twitter have followed suit, but if you look at all the tweets and the words you’ll not there is one thing that they have NOT done.

They have not taken a position on the NFL Protests

They have not moved to become an official sponsor of the NFL

Now if their premise is correct and that Papa John’s stock/sales slump is just about the pizza and not about their association with the NFL, and if all those who insist that the NFL, with it’s still high rating compared to everyone but their own past ratings, are a great deal than if Papa John’s decides to drop the NFL as this article suggests they might;

Pizza Hut / Digiorno / etc all don’t want those questions asked or answered and they will be pleased to know that nobody was interested in those questions.

The big news that really isn’t award

Trump’s moving of the US embassy was a big story but this story didn’t go very far at all.

Russia Trump’s Trump in Jerusalem April 9th

The significance of this can’t be overstated, by doing what they’ve done Russia not only embarasses Donald Trump by getting to Jerusalem before he does so to speak, but it also throws a gauntlet down to every islamic power, every arab oil exporter and to ISIS itself, literally daring them to do something.

This sure sounded like news to me but nobody else thought so

the I didn’t expect much from this one award:

A Parting Thought on Jen Flanagan a Democrat Class act Dec 27th

As you might guess while I had little in common politically with Ms. Flanagan it’s worth noting that Flanagan never shrunk away from those who opposed her politically. She was happy to appear at Tea Party forums to engage and make her case to political opponents at a time when Democrats and media Nationwide were demonizing the Tea Party.

It’s a reflection on an ex pol who is local so for some reason a national following isn’t all that interested so of all the posts that didn’t get attention this one didn’t shock me.

And now the big award of the day the The 2017 I thought Turkeys Could fly award:

This goes to the post that I really thought would generate a ton of hits and maybe fill DaTipJar but didn’t:

Kevin Spacey joins #HarveyWeinstein as another #CultureWar casuality of Hillary’s Defeat UPDATE: MSM PLAYS DEFENSE Oct 30th

This post had everything a major star in a major scandal, red meat for the GOP base

Ask yourselves why during the Obama years none of those folks who knew about Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacy backed her up or choose that moment to speak out?

it even had an update that was trouble for the MSM

Apparently the MSM hss decided that one high profile A list democrat friend of the Clintons in Hollywood being exposed as an abuser is enough:

Media Downplays Kevin Spacey Child Molestation Allegation, Focus On Sexuality in Headlines

Why on earth would reuters, People, the New York Daily News and ABC choose to lead with Spacey’s orientation and not the accusations against him,

Alas the one thing this story didn’t have was anyone interested in my take on it.

So those were my Lemons of 2017. Lucky for me for most of the year you turned those into Lemonade.