Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building to the Republican Convention Finale

Danny Medved gives the youth view of the RNC
My son is hoarse, my hands tired from applauding. Speakers last night--notably Susanna Ramirez, Condoleeza Rice and Paul Ryan--at the Republican National Convention in Tampa were that good.

I admit that my hopes from the leadership of Pres. Obama were always tempered. But  he's America's first African-American President, and despite the languishing economy and few of his promises kept, inspires fierce loyalty. I'd assumed when he was inaugurated that he'd be installed for two terms, eight perilous years.

But as his term progressed and many of his former supporters became disgruntled, the landscape changed. With polls showing less enthusiasm across all groups, my husband analyzed history and discovered that the lower numbers portended an Obama loss, a main thrust of his new e-book, The Odds Against Obama (download here!)

Then, sitting in the Tampa Forum listening to Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, I found myself echoing his theme: "We can do this!" Not just because he's a captivating, energetic speaker whose presentation was rife with zingers and inspiration, but because he represents an upcoming generation that is fully embraced. Ryan even joked about the divergence of iPod playlists between himself and his running mate. I don't see our President making room for many--except maybe Michelle--to follow in his path.

Paul Ryan with his mom, wife and children after RNC speech
What I do see is all sorts of desperate reaction against Ryan's speech in liberal media claiming it has "lies" throughout. If you read these accusations, whew, you see they're ridiculous distortions, potshots that'll play only to the Obama core. As I write this, sitting next to my husband who's doing The Michael Medved show on Radio Row in the Tampa Convention Center, wow, he's starting this hour rebutting the objections. The one I love the most says "Ryan hints that Obama is a socialist." Hints? Elaborating, the silly accusers call it a "dogwhistle," ie, a frequency undetectable by the human ear; something, wink, wink, that Republicans catch but the rest of the world doesn't.

But please, don't trust me or my husband on this. Listen to the speech. Anyone who does will cheer, and become infused with optimism for our economy.

Ryan focused on the economy, Pres. Obama's vulnerability, but also introduced himself to the American public. His mom, who beamed and joined the family on the stage at the conclusion of the 20-minute speech, raised him and three siblings in Janesville, Wisconsin, carrying on when her husband died at age 50, when Paul was 16.

I was just as impressed, frankly, by the words of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who described a meeting she'd resisted years ago, as a Democrat, with Republicans who wanted to take her to lunch. She and her husband planned to listen politely and leave. Instead of talking politics, they discussed issues and values, and on the way home in the car, she turned to her husband and exclaimed, "I'll be damned. We're Republicans!"

Gov. Martinez drew huge applause describing how her parents started a security guard business, their first assignment placing her, at age 18, guarding the parking lot for Catholic Church bingo nights. "Now, my dad made sure I could take care of myself," she noted. "I carried a Smith and Wesson 357 magnum."

Secretary Condoleeza Rice addresses the RNC in Tampa
Also memorable were the phrases of former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who focused on America's place in the global economy and internationally. You can't get away from the fact that our enormous national debt diminishes our power, and that we need a strong military commitment to maintain our security. "One of two things will happen if we don't lead," she said. "Either no one will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values."

Mostly, Secretary Rice's theme was opportunity, upbeat memes on possibilities in education, energy resources, trade, and personal success.

What I noticed as the evening progressed was the building of enthusiasm, the electricity and excitement that reached crescendo with Paul Ryan. When he brought his wife Janna and their young children on stage, the room rocked. You expect this at the gathering of the nation's most devoted partisans, but the real excitement was over offering the nation an alternative to disappointment with Obama. That message fueled my 20-year-old son's cheers, his usually non-political Facebook post hailing Ryan, and his bounce with eagerness to take that thrill to his friends, most also voting for their first president.

Posing with Anne Coulter
This morning my husband addressed our own Washington delegation, a masterful analysis of the election. We drove an hour out to Clearwater, our first real view of the gorgeous green sea, on the first day that lacked dreary storm clouds. It seemed a fitting beginning for the final day of the Convention, climaxing later with the appearance of "mystery guest" Clint Eastwood and the nominee, Mitt Romney. Radio Row is jumping as politicos vie for the last segments behind microphones. Our son Danny even gave his opinion of the convention experience on-air, and I posed with the strolling celebrities.

Participants here that I've met are polite, upbeat, enthused. The candidates and speakers earnest and committed. I don't expect to see the truth portrayed in the media, but I suspect that the American people will look into their own lives, decide what they want for their futures, and decide on merit who is best equipped to offer that for them. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coverage of the Republican Convention Misses the Nuggets of Truth

Ann Romney speaking, from my seat at the RNC
Why are Obamaites eager to cry "Repression!" about Republicans' social policy platform planks? Because they know they'll lose if dialog focuses on the economy, but think they can stir up resentment about positions on abortion, same sex marriage and gun ownership. They'll do anything to imply that Romney and all Republicans want to force religiously-based, restrictive laws upon an easy-going, freedom-loving, live-and-let-live citizenry.

But it's baloney. This morning, we attended a massive meeting hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, held in the proverbial Republicans' Big Tent, where about thirty policymakers and organization reps presented their latest accomplishments.  My husband told the reasons why Obama's likely to lose, from his e-book, The Odds Against Obama. One of the other pundits who took the mike for a three-minute summary was the ever-active Phyllis Schlafly. I'll admit there have been times when I've disagreed with the personable, very conservative attorney and author, but today I respected the central role she's had in Republican politics for several decades. She said the GOP platform on all the issues the Dems want to protest--abortion and gay marriage in particular--stayed the same through the many years she's been involved in platform creation. She testified that there's no difference in the content, only that the platform is now better written.

This stuck in my mind as I then read the Washington Post front-page story to which I suspect she was responding. It painted the platform as more constrictive than ever before, misogynous, bigoted and intrusive.

First off, if you ever actually read the platform, you see in big letters at the very top, "Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee." It's signed by the chair and two co-chairs of the platform committee, and it's 62 pages long. It's irrelevant enough for Speaker John Boehner to have said, "Anybody read the party platform? I never met anybody."

Chris Christie tells nuggets of truth at the RNC Tuesday night
But it's fodder enough for the biased press to base a front-page story on it. The same prejudiced press, this time the New York Times, in their lead editorial, called the convention gathering last night in the Tampa Forum, "a blast of propaganda," suggesting outrageously that the entire event was a pack of lies: "Voters looking for a few nuggets of truth would not have found them in Tampa."

From our stadium seats in the last row on the side, our little group of five had a sweeping view of the excitement of the event. Nuggets of truth were liberally available, especially given that under the theme of "We Built It" most of the speakers told personal stories of their families' arrivals as immigrants and creating businesses that over several years of sacrifice eventually succeeded.

How about the autobiographical nuggets of truth expressed by, say, Mia Love, the vivacious African-American Mormon mayor and congressional candidate from Utah? Or the articulate ex-Obama supporter (who seconded his nomination at the Dem convention four years ago) now outspokenly for Romney, Artur Davis, the Harvard-graduate attorney and 4-term congressman from Alabama? Chris Christie described the pluck his mother instilled in him, and  the tough changes needed in our government. But most affecting was Ann Romney, who moved me to tears with nuggets of truth about her non-storybook marriage, and the steadfast devotion of her husband during early years living in a basement, and later, coping with her multiple sclerosis.

Americans don't need statistics to feel the disappointment after four years of Obama. The convention speakers last night expressed that frustration, but there was no "attack dog," despite expectations that Christie would fill the role. Instead, the mantra was about removing roadblocks, especially regulations for small business, to let the economy thrive. Most were irked by the shocking level of the deficit, saddling our children with debt. If I could summarize the gist of all the messages together, I'd say it was, "remove the fetters of taxes and regulations and do-gooding by big government and let US build." And of course, the conduit for accomplishing that increase of freedom is the ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

But this morning, the coverage gap was apparent, when we turned on the TV in our little motel room. CNN was exclusively covering Tropical Storm Isaac. Fox News was covering the convention. By this morning, the raincoat-clad reporters relating Isaac's effects repeated some thankfully not-so-dire impact. You'd think the content of convention speakers would then take over, but no...again I remember how slanted the "objective" news media really are.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann & Gov. Hayley Barbour concerned about Hurricane Isaac
The Michael Medved Show today featured a series of top-notich guests, including Gov. Hayley Barbour, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Ann Coulter. It's so exciting to sit here listening in on headphones on Radio Row, watching the constant activity of celebrity and activism. We're about to head over to tonight's convention speeches, headlined by Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan. Should be another energizing evening.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Handshakes fast and furious--Where the Politicos Meet for Tampa RNC

Marriage to a human encyclopedia like Michael Medved is eminently convenient, as I found out last night when Sen. Norm Coleman (MN) and his charming wife Laurie invited us to join them where the Republican National Convention elite meet, an unusual Tampa institution, a restaurant called Bern's Steak House. Michael's identification of important party players let me appreciate them as they passed close enough to touch.

We're not accustomed to entering such venues, given we're pescatarian and kosher, but accepted for the famed fresh vegetables from the private garden, and mainly, the camaraderie. Despite being unable to avail ourselves of the specially-aged beef, we had a wildly memorable evening.

Outside, you see a monolithic square edifice with an awning marking the entrance. But inside, it's Halloween, a haunted mansion with darkened two-story foyer, clawed chandeliers emitting orange light, and medieval style portraits in ornate frames climbing the walls around a grand curved staircase, complete with gilt gargoyles and maroon velvet-topped banister.

Sen. Coleman and Michael immediately hailed congresspeople, GOP shakers and convention mavens. Among those moving through the entry with a large entourage was Speaker John Boehner, who stopped to shake the hand of everyone in his path (me, too!), delivering each a smile and kind word.

We finally settled in The Rhone Room, one wall of which is a backlit series of photos forming a panorama of the French river. The full restaurant produced a powerful noise level. At our table rested a thick, leather-bound wine list; touted as the largest private collection in the world. We found out later that among the thousands of selections are kosher offerings from Israel.

Staying parked at a table seemed a brief experience amid a parade of exclaiming people so glad to see everyone; a chorus of syncopated shrieks, a cascade of grasped hands and hair-kiss hugs. It'd had been so long since some saw the other; it was so delightful for each to meet. Seconds-long met glances, smiles, what a great occasion, faces with laugh lines melding to a blur.

I'm a political outsider, an observer amused and interested in a process that whirls through Tampa as a reward, really, for the people who have put in time to bring it to this point. Delegates give up weekends months before to rally their neighbors, to endure meetings and speeches and phone trees and organizing for the payoff of the convention. This event is a formality for them, since Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's selection is set. It's also for the American public to see the enthusiasm and energy behind the Republican effort to reset and reinvigorate the economy.

After dinner we--and other groups of diners--enjoyed a tour of the Bern's kitchen, wine cellar and then something I'd never seen:  "dessert rooms." Guides took us though various stations in the meandering kitchen--salad-making, bakery, meat-aging, sprout-growing, plating. Then wine specialists led us into the cellars, where millions of dollars' worth of bottles lay in narrow numbered sections, stewards rushing by locating orders. Finally we climbed a stairway to a warren of barrel-shaped enclosures, each containing only a table set for six, eight or ten. Each quiet, separated space was dark, intimate, cocoonish. And its purpose was ordering and consuming dessert.

Conservative youth rep Danny Medved, on TV at the RNC
Today at the Convention Center, the pace jumped a notch. Folk who yesterday set up electronics wearing polo shirts returned in suit-and-tie. The aisles are thick with publicists, their charges and camera crews, senators and congressmen and candidates. My husband, yellow highlighter and newspaper in hand, this morning attempted show-prep, as Dennis Prager spoke into a microphone a few feet away. Our son Danny, 20, busy as on-site producer, has lined up a full schedule of guests, as well as appearances for Michael on other outlets. Today Danny's in sharp black suit and red tie, gaining the instant respect of others on The Row--enough so that he's already appeared in two TV segments representing the Republican youth view. As I post, Michael's interviewing anti-tax expert Grover Norquist. He's talking now during a commercial break about Michael's chapter in his new book The Odds Against Obama (download it!) that "Demography is Destiny," as Grover cited a study showing Republican legislators have twice as many children as their Democratic counterparts.

Downstairs is the Google-sponsored media room, free coffee drinks and lots of tables with outlets for the bloggers--young, serious and focused--to file their stories. The Row booths host media veterans; the downstairs media center wrinkle-less up-and-comers.

Grover Norquist on the Medved Show, Radio Row, RNC
Tonight's the first of the major convention programs, Ann Romney rescheduled from last night is the grand finale, preceded by Gov. Chris Christie. Rick Santorum is up first, with Speaker Boehner, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and a raft of others. Afterward are scattered parties that run til 2 am. The RNC is a world unto itself; time seems an endless series of hellos, interviews, speeches and applause, hermetically sealed in air conditioned halls. All this creates history and determines the future of the nation. Much more to come.

Monday, August 27, 2012

With Michael Medved at the Republican National Convention--Conventional thinking

Flying into Tampa gives an excellent view of the mansions lining the coastline, each with an elaborate dock--none of which, peculiarly, had a boat nearby. No watercraft floated anywhere on the vast surface of the bay, as residents prepared for then Tropical Storm Isaac to batter their town, just in time for the Republican National Convention. Is it a message from God?

Michael Medved interviews Cathy McMorris Rodgers
If so, God likes Republicans, as Isaac switched trajectory, and the RNC was left readjusting the schedule to make up for the precautionary cancelling of first-day ceremonies. Tampa had vied for a convention for years, and now we saw why they’d been hitherto denied. Threats of hurricanes trump politics, and headlines here ponder: Will Isaac rain on Mitt’s parade? The heavy cloud cover often gives way to pelting rain and fierce wind, swaying the palm trees like hula dancers.

Sunday night events included hail-fellow-well-met reunions, notably the big welcoming bash at St. Petersburg’s Tampa Rays’ sports arena, Tropicana Field. It was sponsored by Bicardi and Grey Goose, perhaps a little incongruent with the nominee’s religiously-dictated tee totaling. Also a bit inconsistent with traditional Mormon modesty were some of the entertainers, scantily clad and wiggling to loud rock music, more expected at a Democratic event. Some participants longed for a few pep talks and inspirational words.

As proud carnivores after consuming scads of Chik Fil-A in support of free speech, RNC’ers grazed at buffets loaded with meat, most with a centerpiece of a whole pig. Not so kosher, perhaps, but the non-Jews chowed down on a dozen fleshy dishes and shellfish galore. Non-Mormons consumed free booze, especially three concoctions loaded with rum in red, white and blue. Many in the crowd were costumed in Revolutionary gear, proclaiming their Tea Party support.  The noise was loud, the ambiance celebratory, the music pumping.

We ran into friends who were definitely in the mood.  One reveler leaned toward me and, oops, the content of her class dribbled over my foot and into my shoe. Hey, folks were having a good time.

Today’s the first official day of the convention, though hurricane fears led to cancelling tonight’s ceremonies, replaced by a quick official opening with dismissal 10 minutes later.  Michael shared a panel dais at a noon Republican Jewish Coalition luncheon, with coalition head Matt Brooks, GOP political consultant Mike Murphy, and former Gov. Haley Barbour (MS). Michael joined the call to include immigrants—Asians as well as Hispanics--in the Republican fold, given that their values tend to be so in sync.  My man also reviewed efforts by Pres. Bush to pass legislation benefiting illegals that was blocked by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelsosi’s refusal to allow a vote—despite a majority of Republicans supporting it. Overcoming Obama’s dour negative campaigning to focus on the economy, and worries  war with Iran also drew discussion. Michael cited polls showing the public favorable on the prez’ likability, and impressed with Romney’s competence to tackle economic woes. The task is to emphasize, especially to key groups like Hispanics and women, that their lot relies on economic recovery. Gov. Barbour offered  a great line: The difference between the left and right on health care is that the left wants to make private health care more like government health care, and the right wants to make government health care more like private health care.

I write this while sitting two feet from my husband, who’s broadcasting today’s show on Radio Row in the Tampa Convention Center. A parade of guests, some scheduled, some aspiring, hovers around the Salem Radio Network booth, where our son, Danny, is acting as show producer, collaring dignitaries, fending off lesser-knowns seeking national exposure, keeping track of the hour. Our entourage contains two Seattle politicos, attorney Rob and his cousin Dan Dixon, who have excellently provided transportation, organization and every kind of support. What an exciting adventure.

Radio show producer Danny Medved and me on Radio Row, RNC
   Guests can drop in for a single segment on the show, and the array is ad hoc and always changing. We saw Newt Gingrich strolling by, followed by reporters and sound-boom carriers. This morning Herman Cain was surrounded by reporters a few feet away. Anyone seeking visibility trolls our aisle. I’ve shaken dozens of famous hands. Some who have visited Michael’s microphone are Washington state congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who had been on Romney’s short list for VP, Utah junior senator Mike Lee, Al Cardenas, chairman of CPAC, Randy Forbes, congressman from Virginia’s 4th district, and Wisconsin junior senator Ron Johnson.
   The weather is ominous. Moments ago, torrential rain slammed at angles and again the palms swooped and bowed, Isaac’s reminder. And so Republicans are conscious that God plays a role in men’s affairs.  Will the hurricane upstage Mitt? Natural disasters rightfully command attention, and we pray for those who might be in Isaac’s path. But politics continues on. By the way, speakers here at the Convention often mention themes in Michael’s e-book, The Odds Against Obama,  though Michael’s got the unique historical analysis to really inspire optimism among Republicans. It’s an upbeat feel here in Tampa, and I look forward to more of this positive excitement tomorrow and in the coming days.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's Isaac, not Akin: Legitimate Rape and the Republican Convention

Republicans are now stuck with the bad timing of Todd Akin's offensive comments that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy because the victim's body fends it off. That he could choose to remain a candidate while watching the national pile-on proves him to be selfish as well as stupid.

With Akin's comments reeking like a smelly bus passenger, I just want to get as far away from them as possible. But now the web-sphere is jumping with response that doesn't lay blame on Todd Akin, but on "Republicans." A clever song by Taylor Ferrera that's already earned more than 70,000 YouTube views lists all the scenarios that count as "illegitimate rape," just so you know--because, as her lyric notes, "Republicans have never experienced ra-aaaa-ape."

YouTube is filled with angry replies to Akin; Facebook is jumping with ire toward the right. Media outlets from bloggers, Huffington and Beast to every cable and print news source suddenly have risen from their summer torpor in righteous indignation. And of course, Republicans are just as shocked and disgusted by Akins' words as Democrats, and equally embarrassed that despite his apology, he won't just withdraw and go away.

This must make Obama strategists smile. They've been trying to distract from the sour economy and polls showing the populace less well-off than when he took office by suggesting Romney is anti-woman. Romney, too, decried Akins' statements and urged him to withdraw, but no matter what, Democrats are going to stretch this out as far as they can, and eager reporters are going to resuscitate the story, because it causes such wonderfully photogenic emotional reactions.

In this context, I'll be off with my husband and son, to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa this coming week. I'll be blogging daily, reporting on the large and small events that the GOP hopes will redirect the conversation to economic issues, the strengths of Romney and Ryan. Party distinctions are sure to emerge consistently in the surge of energy created by this large, enthusiastic group.

So the Akin flap is effectively over, despite efforts by Democrats to maintain the story. He's one guy, and the economy is of much greater importance than his obnoxious gaffe. Plus, there's no controversy--nobody supports him, nobody defends him and given his dead-in-the-water campaign, nobody cares about him.

Already, Akin's replaced in the news by Isaac. Tropical Storm Isaac, that is, which may ramp up and become a hurricane in time to provide a different kind of wind for the Republicans. Even if not a hurricane, the weather forecast includes some powerful displays by Nature to accompany discourse on power by men. Should be fascinating and memorable. On to Tampa!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer in Seattle

The summer has teased us in the Northwest. We've enjoyed perhaps five days of truly sunny and warm weather, though that has not slowed the parade of tourists who cheerfully pay to ride "The Ducks" amphibious vehicle past landmarks and splash into Lake Union, duck-billed quack noise-makers to mouth. It clogs sidewalks with shorts-clad, shivering clusters pointing cameras at gliding ferry boats, Pike Place Market fish-throwers and now, my birthday delight this Monday, the new "Seattle Great Wheel," a Ferris wheel of climate-controlled glass gondolas that allows views from the Cascades to the Olympics.

I was given a choice of activities for my birthday, but our avid patronage of civic attractions and especially, arboreal retreats, left little in town to serve my yen for "N and D" ("new and different"). And then, I remembered the Wheel.

Open since only June 29, the 175-foot ride has changed the silhouette of the city, visible from the West Seattle Bridge, ferries in The Sound, the Space Needle and anywhere on the waterfront. It's a white metal frame by day, but for special events at night glows with spiral-moving colored lights--on July 4th, red, white and blue, reflected to sparkly effect in Elliott Bay.

My photo of Seattle Great Wheel from ferry
We got to Pier 57 about noon, to minimal line for the $13 tix, though finding parking underneath the soon-to-be-demolished Viaduct (Highway 99, a double-decker noisy blight ruining the entire length of the downtown Seattle shoreline) was time-consuming and ultimately, expensive. But the line to board moved well, and soon we entered our glass-walled, roomy car, equipped with its own air conditioning.

The 20-minute ride was glorious, as before our eyes a low-hung, overcast morning cleared to blue skies and expanded views. Inside, we scrambled positions snapping videos, Instagrams and panoramas, a set of exclaimers brandishing iPhones, zoom cameras and point-and-shoots.

After our memorable ride, we joined the throngs sauntering along the water, and entered Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, where famous oddities hang from the rafters and offer their hand-lettered placards in old-fashioned glass cases. My son, who had just discovered that Narwhals are real (rather than mythical) was stunned to see a double-tusked representative on the wall. My souvenirs were stills of the formaldehyded 8-legged pig, taxidermed Siamese twin calves and Sylvia the mummy.

Of course, all this came immediately after SeaFair, the month-long air-and-water races and displays that culminate each summer with a window-rattling visit by the Navy's six exhibition F/A-18 Blue Angels jets, who cause happy gridlock by closing off the busy I-90 floating bridge during two days of practice and two of aerial daredeviling. I'm among those who thrill at their wing-grazing flight expertise, gaining skeleton-vibrating ecstasy from the sounds of sheer power and energy that their overhead passes and maneuvers create.

My best SeaFair pic ever! An eagle with the Blue Angels!
This year, I watched Friday's practice with hundreds of others seated on the sunny (that day) shore of Lake Washington. It's nearly the same show every year, but never a "been there-done that" moment as the sky-scratching force engages the region. Love those guys; love that they remind us of the strength of our military, and acknowledge their beneficiaries seated below them, cheering and gasping with wonder and joy.

Though so far, Seattle's summer is a weather dud, almost always too chilly to swim or cultivate a tan, to the rest of the nation, sweltering and suffering in unbearable heat and humidity, our drizzly cloud-cover looks pretty alluring. You know the joke: "Seattle has two seasons--August and the rainy season." Did you notice that every outdoor scene in "Sleepless in Seattle" featured drenching downpour?

Those of us who live here treasure our sunny days, and even the phenomenon known as "sun breaks." When one occurs--a momentary glint through temporarily parted clouds--we stop what we're doing and turn our pasty countenances to the window, or leap up and run outside to gain fleeting doses of Vitamin D before pregnant gray nimbuses crowd together again.

Or, we ignore the forecast and embrace the day. Seattleites are runners, climbers, hikers, skiers, boaters and bikers. None of us carries an umbrella, ever, though there are three or four in the car trunk, and a dozen more in the closet. You know a tourist not by his street map, but by his umbrella.

We're an optimistic bunch, scheduling Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor farmers' markets, even car washes, seldom cancelled due to inclement weather. Summer is a season of assumptions that our vivifying lengths of daylight will overcome any obstacles from the sky.

Photo by me at the Bellevue Botanical Garden
And so the Seattle Great Wheel is an appropriate celebration. It is certainly uplifting, gratifying, vision-expanding and reminding of the circular nature of all experience. Just as the summer comes to its warm and caressing pinnacle, it, like gawking tourists in gondolas, begins its descent. I notice already a tinge of orange in the maple leaves by our front door; the dawn comes a little later and the sunset a little sooner. The hydrangeas fade and echinacea blooms, and soon the tourists will thin on the waterfront as the Wheel continues circling round and round.