Yesterday I highlighted my short walking interview with Senator Ted Cruz before his speech, today as I wake up just before 9 AM after a very good 1:30 AM breakfast at Bob and Edith’s Diner in Arlington VA I want to tell you a story about what, in my opinion is the most telling and important interview I have done so far in the 60 videos I’ve shot since hitting CPAC.

This CPAC my sons are here as assistants and have, unlike me, taken advantage of the time to explore DC.  Wednesday the younger suggested a meal at a local place called VUK a combination pizza place and pinball arcade in Bethesda.

Machines at VUK

I’ve covered Pinball events and will be doing a big one in MA in about 4 months so it was a good fit but I filed it in the back of my mind but too busy doing what I do here to consider it.  Thursday I was with Deb Heine (PJ Media more from here later)  when John Hawkins and Sierra Marly swung by mentioning a road trip to a Brazilian
restaurant with a group.  The boys were still on the road and I gave them a call when they reminded me of our planned dinner at VUK which I had completely forgotten.

So, with some regret I declined and when my young men pulled up I joined them in the car and as my oldest had been driving a big took the wheel to head for Bethesda.  After about an hour in traffic we arrived.

If you are a pinball person let me highly recommend VUK as a place to go.  It is right across from a local multi story garage so parking isn’t an issue.  The Pizza is NY style, sold by the slice of the 18-20″ pies that are available are not only delicious but priced very reasonably, (particularly when compared to the restaurants at National Harbor).   The machine selection was excellent including classics like Creature From the Black Lagoon and two Jersey Jack machines, the Hobbit and Dialed IN and all the games are only 50 cents.

The Hobbit and Creature from the black Lagoon at VUK

The drink selection is limited to bottled beers, honest teas and some craft sodas, but again they are offered at reasonable prices and complement the experience.  There is seating for just under 30 but they also have a function room upstairs which I think might make an interesting CPAC event (Media vs the bloggers pinball next year?).  If you want to kick back with some Pizza, Pinball and beer, VUK (which stands for Vertical Up Kicker for those who are unfamiliar with pinball)  is the place to do it.

Within a few minutes of hitting the machines I realized what a good idea this had been.  All of the tension of being on the go and constant work disappeared after a just a few minutes of playing the silver ball, but it the real game changer of the night came completely by accident.

Still got the touch

When my sons picked me up I was still in my suit, wearing my press credential with one camera around my neck and a second on my monopod.  It was that along with my grey beard,  rather than my fedora and scarf,  that made me stand out like a sore thumb and peaked the interest of a party of five sitting the window two tables away who asked who I was.  I explained I was down to cover CPAC, talked about my previous pinball coverage and struck up a conversation. with these rather pleasant folks.

it stuck me at the time it would be a good story to compare their answers to the questions I’ve been asking everyone at CPAC so I asked if any of them would consent to an interview.  Of the five one agreed.  Meet Lea

She is right about the quality of bot the pizza and the pinball (and I played that total nuclear annihilation machine she talked about. I’d not seen it before, it’s a unique layout and a fun game) and if you do essential oils I’d give her online business a look but the real story of the night was her answers to my CPAC questions that I’ve been asking everyone here.

Now a person like my self who has covered angry mobs last year, and is constantly bathed in the political fight, not to mention the media narrative of absolute Trump / GOP hatred and constantly in the company of activists both at home and at CPAC I might expect a Democrat woman of color living in a blue state to give answers fitting the us vs them narrative, particularly if filmed and in the presence of her friends.

She did not.

She gave the President mixed marks, complemented him on keeping campaign promises that he made to his people, noted that as a Democrat she’d like to see some more moderate moves. Her answers had none of the rancor or the division that the media has pushed on us for the year or that I’ve seen from angry activists. They were completely reasonable answers that would not have been out of place several decades ago in a saner time when I remembered people could disagree and get along. In other words they reflected who she is, a normal American trying to get by whose primary focus is real live instead of manufactured outrage.

This told me two things that are vital to understanding election 2018 and 2020.

Despite what our media friends are trying to sell us, Regular Democrats, even democrats in a blue place like Maryland are not wedded to the Peloxi/CNN/MSNBC line and are seeing this president for what he is rather than what they are being told he is.

People like Lea are winnable and the media narrative is all about convincing us she is not.

Now you might think I’m making too much of this one interview, but remember, she is a young person, with young friends (I would place the age range of the group from low to mid 20’s to one outlier in the mid 30’s) living in an Twitter/facebook age in an internet social media age. Furthermore the MSM has been telling me that a young woman of color like her has nothing but disdain for conservatives in general and Donald Trump in particular.

If you believe them she shouldn’t exist but there she is and if there is one Lea in a county of 300+ million there are likely hundreds of thousands of others out there not wedded to the MSM narrative of doom and gloom.

It’s a story that isn’t being found, but it can be, all you have to do is go outside the media bubble and see what is there, if one is willing to look.


DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The story so far:

Saturday Feb 24th

Friday Feb 23rd

Voices at CPAC 2018 Senator Ted Cruz Answers Two Question for DaTechGuy

Thurs Feb 22nd

We Interrupt CPAC 2018 for CNN and their Gun Control Galaxy Quest Moment
Voices of CPAC 2018: Ron from PA

Wed Feb. 21st

Voices at CPAC 2018 Vicki from Minnesota

Voices at (or near) #cpac2018 Lea from National Association of Developmental Educators We talk Students and Math

DaTechGuy at CPAC 2018 The Calm Before the Storm and What I’ll be Asking

If you don’t want to wait or my blog posts to see my interviews my youtube channel is here.

Full CPAC 2017 list (for those who feel nostalgic) is here

A reminder I have copies of my Book Hail Mary the perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer available at CPAC with me, price $7 and I will happily sign them for you.

Or you can just order it on Amazon


If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, help defray the $140 a month extra I’ll need for my new hosting site) and think my CPAC 2018 reporting is worthwhile please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Two weeks ago DaWife, DaYoungest and myself took a day away from political coverage for a day trip to Western Massachusetts. The Primary Stop, Yankee Candle.

There is the Museum

The Mancave

The Candy Store

The Bavarian Castle

The Chocolate:

There are trains and of course a large selection of candles

People come from all over to visit and see things like king candle

and

Our next stop was Mystic Pinball but before that we grabbed some very good pizza in Turner Falls

And then came the pinball

This was a great time at a good price (and a lot cheaper than Yankee Candle I can tell you) so if you are in western MA you’ll want to add it to your list of things to do.

You might ask, with so much news why am I posting on candles and pinball, my answer: Everyone talks about unity and coming together, the easiest way to do so is to share things we can enjoy together outside of the political world. Life is more than a political fight and the less you believe that the more you need a road trip like this to remember what real life actually is.

Here are the last Pintastic 2017 Videos and interviews from the show.

I talked to Jessie who was at her first Pintastic

and watched her play a little Wizard of Oz

I talked to Sean who was waiting to play Dialed In

I played a little of the new Star Wars Pinball (only got to play it once)

And that ended the Pintastic Interview on Saturday. On Sunday morning I shot (what I thought) was the last Pintastic interview again with Gabriel D’Annunzio the man who made it all possible at the cost of being flat out taking care of things

If you enjoyed Pintastic he is the man you need to thank the most.

I was getting ready to leave and join my wife and other son at a breakfast/lunch Buffet down the road when internet sensation Todd Tuckey’s partner in crime Frank joined me for an interview filmed by my son, we were shortly joined by Todd Tuckey himself.

That video I shot for Todd that we’re talking about is not up at TNT Amusements yet, I’ll post it once he has it up.  I was wearing two hats and scarfs btw because we were leaving and I had not packed a hatbox.

My full playlist for Pintastic is embedded below

As you can see there was a lot of work along with the play at Pintastic 2017.

I’ll likely have one more pintastic post related to a topic I’ve dealt with before but we now return to our normal blogging, at least until next week when I’ll be at the Catholic Media event in Chicago and I shoot a whole bunch of new interviews to post


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Of course PintasticNE is more than just great pinball machines to play, it also has vendors who provides products that make play even better.

Like the folks at Tilt Graphics

and Pingraffix who demonstrated their wares on their own machine

The folks at Pinbox 3000 who make cardboard pinball fun and affordable

The Bit Bar Beer Garden which is a restaurant/bar/arcade

and of course PintasticNE wouldn’t be pintastic without Maggie the Clown

who keeps the kids smiling between games.

And keeping folks smiling is what PintasticNE is all about

Not much time for a full post so the rest of the interviews will have to wait a day or two but here are still images from PintasticNE 2017 The full gallery is below but we’ll highlight a few

Pinball giants

Jersey Jack and Todd Tuckey

Captain Pintastic and friend in the VIP room

Men of the Internet together at last!

DaTechGuy and Todd Tuckey of TNT Amusements

The Gallery follows below, for some reason wordpress is getting weird about picture rotation but I didn’t want to leave any out

Like Blogging and Quilting etc the Pinball world has its giants and we interviewed several of them at Pintastic NE

Let’s start with the designers like Barry Oursler who was a featured speaker. He is a soft spoken man who approached me because of my Doctor Who scarf and told me he designed a house for his cats based on the TARDIS, that was easy for him as he had designed the Doctor Who pinball machine along with many other favorite over his long career. He was kind enough to wait for my son and I to get a game in before sitting for an interview

Mr. Oursler seems quite humbled with all the attention he is getting these days over his work.

Next let me introduce you to David Thiel whose sound work and composition you have heard a lot of if you’ve been anywhere near a pinball machine.

At this point my camera battery finally gave up it’s ghost so we moved to the emergency backup camera

His description of what he does really emphasizes that what he does is in fact art.

He also spoke at the event here is a very brief clip

The real stars of the show of course are the games and the games that brought the most attention were those by , you guessed it Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball.

His great game DialedIn based on a cellphone is worth a few videos

and here is the legendary Selfie mode

Dialed in is the first totally original product as opposed to the Hobbit which was the star of last year

and a source of success for me this year

I’m sure that score didn’t rule the whole day

But to me my favorite of his games will always be Wizard of Oz

But no matter how cool or well made a machine is, sooner or later it will need some work and that’s where TNT Amusements and Internet Sensation Todd Tuckey comes in. He connected to an interview and for the only time at the event I was on camera with him.

As he said his talk went two hours. Every seat was taken and I had to sit in the far back which is why these two video clips of his “pre-talk” talk

have such poor sound

and he makes a great point that a lot of the machines he works on are 20 or 30 years old or more, machines that David Thiel may have done the sound and Barry Oursler might have designed when we were much younger, yet thanks to Todd and his crew people continue to enjoy them.

Perhaps in a decade he will be fixing Jersey Jack’s machines as well.

So all of these folks should take a bow, because guys like them make this hobby possible.


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

On Day 2 of Pintastic NE 2017 I talked to several people who had come a ways to be here such as Scott and his Son in law who came from PA

Like me their had wives who were hitting quilt shops while they played (although this year mine stayed home),

I also talked to Robert and his Daughter Briana.

I spoke to a Husband and wife in line for the Dinner Buffet for the Superpass

He is also a Catholic Deacon who blessed my new Rosary that I got at St. Anne’s Shrine which is a mile from here.

You can’t of course do Pintastic without interviewing Captain Pintastic of course

and I spoke to Ryan who bought a machine at the location and was automatically upgraded on his badge

but of course the stars of the show are the machines on freeplay like Starwars

I was right I haven’t been able to get near either of the two Starwars games here since they’ve been set up

Games like Ghostbusters which is a lot better than the movie

Which was the best thing that came out of the movie release.

Thanks to a ball stuck I got a shot of the Hobbit machine

and I had to play one-handed.

And for those of you into arcade games you weren’t left out

I did several interviews with some pinball greats like Jersey Jack Todd Tuckey and David Thiel but that’s worth their own post so I’ll put them up tomorrow night as a stand alone, if you can’t wait you can hit my youtube channel and watch em now


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this buy picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

We interrupt our coverage of CNN & the MSM’s heads exploding to remind you that it’s once again time for Pintastic New England 2017

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, forget the politics and come down and have some fun.

Gabriel D’Annunzio is back and he brought a bunch of Machines to the VIP room with him

In the main room which closed much earlier there were plenty of machines that are inexpensive to buy if you want to pay under a grand

In fact some are under $500

And if you’re one of those folks who played for hours for only $15 thank guys like Gabe and Brian Bushey

I should point out there are some classic arcades games and a nintendo tournament as well

so if you are in driving distance of Sturbridge come on down either today or tomorrow and have some good clean fun.


Incidentally my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

and this blog are capitalistic ventures. So if you like what we do here and want to support it please consider buying this book (A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

At Pintastic NE 2016 There were some big names in Pinball one of them is Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball

That’s Dr. Rick Lewis of the silverball Pinball Museum with him.

This is his Wizard of Oz game in play

and here are the guts

The Charity Project Pinball that places machines in children’s hospital around the nation returned

And there were plenty of individual players like Howie

and Mike

But it wasn’t just individual players, there was also associations like the Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club.

If I had a few extra bucks and more time I’d have joined on the spot

And there were plenty of parents and children there which is why Maggie the Clown, Lee Lee and Jane were there

But in end the real stars are the volunteers and organizers who brought plenty of their own machines for people to play for hours on end at their own expense, helped keep them running and full of credits for all three days and then after many days that ended at 3 AM had to get up early on Sunday to pack up their machines to take home.

So give a bow to Gabe who goes through so much for all of us to have a great time.

At Pintastic NE 2016 there were plenty of vendors with all kinds of products for your Pinball needs

Like Mezel Mods

And The Boston Pinball Company

Goto Amusements

Some vendors were players who had developed solutions to pinball problems they ran into and turned them into business like Kahr Circuits

Others had grand ideas and returned from last year Pintastic in triumph like the Pinbox 3000 people

At lest one vendor was there not just to promote their business (Rock Fantasy) but to enjoy the games for himself.

I opened a comic store a year after him, if I had been more sucessful that might have been me with more hair.

And finally the bottomless pit of treasures showing that there is more to pintastic than pinball alone

If you are a pinball fan these are the type of people who will help keep you running and make your experience even better, and the Hobby is all the better for them being there for us.