Thanks to a totally unexpected but much appreciated invitation from former Senatorial candidate Jim Neal, I made my way to New Bern Saturday morning to attend the Sanford-Hunt Dinner later that evening.
I had originally planned to drive all the way to the Atlantic Beach area and spend the afternoon body-surfing, girl-watching and sun-worshiping (this is the "research" I had mentioned before), but the overcast and sprinkly weather led me to believe those unhealthy/inappropriate activities were not going to be available, so I headed into downtown New Bern to see what those Democrats were up to.
I'm not going to spend too much time talking about Party business conducted, because a) my ADD kicked in pretty quickly, and I wandered off to explore this fascinating slice of our history that is New Bern, b) any explanation from me would make it even harder to understand the organized chaos that is the N.C. Democratic Party, and c) there are several others here that are more involved and can explain it much better.
I was present when the pro and con IRV resolutions were tabled pending further analysis. Good luck. I'm no Stephen Hawking, but a few weeks ago I scribbled for an hour or so trying to see if IRV would have changed the outcome of the Lt. Governor Primary, and I ended up with the color "teal" and what appeared to be the formula for Boron. I don't mean this in a bad way, I'm just not sure telling voters, "Make sure you vote, and don't forget to bring your calculator!" is going to help things much.
There were some other interesting isues that I don't fully understand, but I will say this: Jerry Meek did a heck of a job. If his career in law fails or he grows bored with it, he definitely has a future in auctioneering. :)
And here's the next U.S. Senator from North Carolina, standing next to some guy:
Everything was going just great until I felt the point of what had to be a finely-honed blade in my lower back, scant millimeters from my spine. "Nobody needs to get hurt, mister Harrison; not yet, anyway. We have some unfinished business to take care of, and if you play your cards right, you might just live through this. Stop looking around; these people can't help you. Now, here's what's going to happen: we're going out that door to the left there...just keep that stupid grin on your face...we're walking, we're walking...just gonna' get some fresh air..." :)
Sorry. That fictional conversation popped into my head on the drive back home today, and I laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes. In reality, Kay was more than just nice: we talked a couple of times and I could tell (I'm psychic) that she wasn't just being nice for the camera(s). She has also refined her public-speaking capabilites and appears to have generated as much support and popularity amongst the N.C. Party as Barack Obama has, and that's saying a heck of a lot.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Sanford-Hunt Dinner last night (thanks, Jim). Pam Spaulding is a jewel. We sat together and had some good conversation and some good laughs. I was pleased to hear Bev Perdue reiterate her opposition to off-shore drilling, and even more pleased at the applause that brought about. But of all the great speakers that we heard last night, I would have to say that former Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus was the best. With folks like him working to get Barack elected, I honestly can't see John McCain getting anywhere near the White House come January.
Now for more of Steve's foolishness: so I've never been to New Bern, and never approached that part of the coast from this direction. A quick glance at the map reveals that Highway 70 is the hot ticket, meaning navigation isn't an issue, right? Wrong.
First of all, whoever decided that running I-40 and Hwy 70 so closely paralleling each other and encouraging unholy alliances along the way should be marched out at dawn and shot, and the guy that designs and places the road signs should be made to watch. Here I am on the Inner Beltline (stressful enough), and the exit for Hwy 70 comes up, so I take it. After about 30 minutes and numerous stoplights (they all got me), I see a sign for I-40 East. No, it's not some other I-40, it's the same one I was cruising at 75 mph on a half-hour before. :( Yes, I'm an idiot, but that's beside the point.
But it was worth it. I had a memorable trip, and here's a parting shot of an area that I fully intend to revisit: