Camden Aquarium & Another Interview

Here are 8 Reflections on the Weekend 
8. The Camden Aquarium is easy to get to, really well maintained, and contains incredible creatures in beautiful displays. If you haven’t gone, you should go. My best aquarium experience was in New Orleans, I was really hungover and I parked myself on a bench in front of a giant tank filled with sharks, tarpon, jacks, barracuda, grouper, and sting rays. I just leaned back on that bench and after an hour of zoning out, I was cured from my hangover. If you go to the Camden Aquarium, I recommend getting there at 2:45PM and leaving at 5PM. It took us about 2 hours to go through the whole thing and we even visited some areas twice. The parking lot was emptying out at 3PM, so I really think you’d have the aquarium to yourself if you got there at 2:45PM and have plenty of time to enjoy all the sights. If you go, don’t do the 4-D show. The fourth D is supposed to be like an environmental twist where wind and mist spray on you during key moments of the show. It really grossed me out, it was like horrible cologne being sprayed on the back of my neck. The outside exhibits are pretty lame, just a couple of seals and penguins, but the aquariums “touch and feel” exhibits make up for it. Jack and I both touched some sharks. The underwater glass tunnel is an awesome experience too, you’ll never20be so close to sharks. 
7. I wish the Cold War Kids new album was better. I was very disappointed by there newest effort, I really thought this group was going to do big things after their first album. I was wrong again. If most great songs are like a phone call with a hot babe, these songs are like text messages from autistic kids. 
6. I have been doing a little weight lifting at the gym. I do five sets of bench press, each set I do ten reps. On the first day, I was barely able to do 2 and a half sets of 135lbs (26 reps). Today I did 10 reps of 135, 10 reps of 145, and 3 sets of 155 (30 reps). My goal is to be able to bench press 225 ten times. It’s been a little over a month and I get stronger every time, it’s pretty cool. I’ll let you know when I get up to 185. The hard part is the endurance, my arms really start to tire out when I get to the 50th rep. Pretty soon, I will look like Moose, but fatter, more hair, shorter, okay, I won’t look like Moose. 
5. Philadelphia fans are the best. I got booed at Acme for wearing a New England Patriots t-shirt and during a Phillies game after a Ryan Howard homerun, the camera panned out to a fan who was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Romo the Homo”. 
4. We visited Giggleberry Fair. Really bad name, it makes me think of dingleberry 
s. By the way, Dingleberry has an excruciatingly detailed entry in Wkipedia: . Anyways. We had a great time at Giggleberry, Winston rode the carousel, I played Whack-A-Mole and we earned enough tickets to claim a plastic shark replica. 
3. On the softball front, I am having my greatest season ever on Wednesday nights. I have come up to bat 16 times and I’ve gotten a hit 15 times, including 4 homeruns. My goal is to get MVP, if so, I will make myself a certificate and hang it up at work. I will keep you posted, I am totally setting myself up to get made fun of when I inevitably fall off and have a terrible game. 
2. I am putting together my annual Fall CD. It’s coming along nicely and would happily send a copy to anyone who wants it. 
1. I have some interviews that I’m very excited about. The following is an interview with Dave. It’s already been a pretty long post, so I will post his interview in two portions. 
I known Dave since elementary school, we’ve been regularly hanging out for over 20 years. He’s now living in San Diego with a girl who treats him right: 
RKDeem: What’s shaking brother? 
Dave: My hands. I just downed 14 Stacker-2 pills, pounded 7 cups of coffee, smoked a little crank, and am sipping yerba mate from a bombilla. I’ve even clamped20a clothespin to each nipple. I think I’m finally ready for this interview. If I stop breathing, just pound on my chest a few times. I should pop right back up. 
RKDeem: How the Hell did you migrate from Furlong, Pennsylvania all the way out to San Diego, California? 
Dave: It’s funny how things work out sometimes. I was working a dead-end job and was tired of seeing the same people at the same places every single day. I was ready for a change. I could have just stopped going to the same places, and flooded the market with my resume, but instead decided it was time for a more dramatic change. San Diego, California was an easy out because I had a place to stay while I got on my feet. It would have been foolish not to try it out at least for a little while. 
RKDeem: Did that trip make you see this country a different way? I mean, you drove across the whole damn continent; does it change your perspective on the US of A? 
Dave: Yeah. It’s cliché to say, but it makes the country seem so much smaller. In the first leg of my trip, I drove straight across to the Mississippi River. After I jumped in the river for a short refreshing swim, I checked out the map I had with me and was astounded at how far a single day’s worth of travel can take you. I think I slowed down after that to soak in a bit more of the ride. Once I hit T 
he Rockies in Colorado is when I really realized how beautiful the country can be. I dipped my feet in the cool waters of the Colorado River which runs through some down-to-business mountains. Then driving through Utah was just the icing on the cake. 
RKDeem: Do you have any advice for people planning on driving across the country? What was the best thing you did in preparing for this journey, what would you have done completely differently? 
Dave: I didn’t prepare at all. That’s definitely the one thing I would change. I am planning on taking on the adventure again, but this time I am going to map out a more scenic route. I want to hit the small towns, the famous diners, the off-beat sites that make every place in every town somewhere special. There are a hundred little towns like Doylestown or New Hope or San Diego, and each one has a little something that you’d love to see, and love to experience. There’s no way to see it all, that’s impossible. But I’d love to try. 
RKDeem: It must have been really difficult to leave your family and friends and arrive on the other side of the country with basically nothing. Most of us would probably never have the balls to attempt a move like that, what have you learned from the experience? 
Dave: There is no substitute for family. And the close group of friends I’ve accumulated over the years, not years, decades, are impossible to replace. It was hard at times in the beginning, but after being out here for a little over two years, I finally feel like I am home. Don’t tell my mom, though. 
RKDeem: Do you like being 3 hours back? How’s Pacific Coast Time treating you? 
Dave: The time difference makes keeping in touch a little difficult. I am working when most people would like to call, and when I get home, most people are winding down for the night. The upside, though, is if Iraq decides to invade the US on the East coast, I have a 3 hour head start to find a really good hiding spot. Other than that, It is kinda cool to be able to catch Sunday Night Football while it’s still light out. 
RKDeem: You own a Triumph, a spectacularly clas
sic motorcycle. Tell me about your favorite ride on that bike. 

Dave: That’s the coolest way I’ve ever heard someone describe the Triumph, spectacularly classic, I love it! The coolest ride has got to be the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) hands down. It’s a beautiful road that runs along the coast of California. I found a cool little record shop along the coast that I ride to regularly. For the most part, the drive consists of riding along cliff sides, with nothing but a long drop off and the Pacific Ocean to check out. It’s a breathtaking view. 
RKDeem: Do you feel like a Hell’s Angels badass on the motorcycle or like The Fonz? 
Dave: Neither, I feel more like Steve McQueen riding his Triumph. Why? I’m glad you asked. Because at any given moment, I might just make the great escape and jump to freedom. 
RKDeem: Do the women…uh…like the motorcycle, if you know what I mean? 
Dave: I had an idea that women liked a badass on a motorcycle, but I had no idea how much until the very first day I rode it. I bought my Triumph about 3 hours ago, and was riding around the coast. There is a very chill road that is basically right on the beach in my town. The road is called The Strand and is a slow, one-way street. It’s kinda like being able to drive on the boardwalk in Jersey. So it was starting to get dark out, and after riding it for about 3 hours I was about to call it a night. But before going home, I hit up The Strand. About half way down the street, a girl ran out in front of my bike, waving her hands, while saying something to me. When I stopped, she told me she loved bikes and asked if I would give her a ride. She hopped on, and I drove down to the next stop sign. Apparently she needed to get back to her parents, with which she was walking with just before she flagged me down. So yeah, after owning the bike for 3 hours, I found out that women like the motorcycle. 
RKDeem: Say a good friend comes to visit you in San Diego and you want to show him something really cool that you can only find in San Diego, what would you show him? 
Dave: I had the pleasure of showing the Edman around last week. One of the coolest experiences of the trip was our trip to LA. We drove through the winding narrow roads that lead up to the Hollywood sign, traversed the walk of the stars, drove down Rodeo Drive, checked out the mansions of Beverly Hills, and hit Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard. All in all, it was a pretty cool day. San Diego has some awesome spots too, but LA has all the sights most people relate with California within a 30-mile radius. 
To be continued… 

Here’s a pic from Dave of the Pacific Coast Highway, or as the locals call it, The PCH:


Because I Can

For anyone who’s been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know that I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to politics.  In fact, when I went to get my new driver’s license, they asked if I wanted to be a registered voter, I just needed to click a button that said, “Yes” and I would have been allowed to vote.  I didn’t.  My feeling on the whole thing is this, I am doing my job and I think I’m doing it well.  I take care of my family, I love my wife and child, I work hard, I give money to charitable causes, and I try to make my community better by supporting local stores, picking up trash, and lending a hand when needed.  It has become pretty evident that politicians are no longer supporting the individuals like me and you, they are supporting special interests, huge corporations, and if they take up an issue, it’s just to polarize the nation.

We can argue about abortion, gun laws, and crime rates, but the fact is these things are ALWAYS (or 99% of the time at least) associated with poverty.  Sure you have a whacko here and there that shoots up a school, but 99% of the gun violence is taking place in the hood.  99% of crime is taking place in the hood.  We know that, that’s why none of us are about to go north of market street in Philly anytime soon.  The symptoms are guns, violence, crime, unwanted pregnancy, poor academic performance, but the cause is poverty.  I still see very little being done by any candidate to help those most in need. 

I do have to admit that I was really wrong about something.  I used to think, “Well, I didn’t vote for George W. Bush because he’s a jackass, but how bad can this guy be, I mean, he’s surrounded by smart people…right?”  Well, after 8 years it seems like he did a pretty bad job.  I am really trying to be objective here, so please here me out if you’re a Republican.  I mean he took a surplus and turned it into a major deficit, the economy is now on the verge of collapse (which is pretty exciting stuff, I feel like that deserves some special recognition), and my all time favorite blunder is he mistakenly started a war.  HE MISTAKENLY STARTED A WAR!  Sometimes I can’t find my X Box controller and I’ll be looking around the house for it.  I’ll look all over, under the couch, behind the TV, in the closet, etc.  When I can’t find it, I’ll be like, “Damn it Jaclyn, where the hell did you put my freaking X Box controller!?”  Then she’ll say, “Honey, you left it in the filing cabinet so Winston wouldn’t destroy it.”  I’ll feel so bad for blaming her, like I am really sorry to have accused her of moving my controller, I can’t imagine how bad I would feel if I blamed a country for having weapons of mass destruction, killed thousands of their soldiers, thousands of their civilians, created a civil war in their country, over threw their government, and had thousands of my own troops killed as well over something that was completely wrong (good thing I don’t have access to troops for finding my X Box controller).  So, how bad can a president be?  Pretty bad I guess. 

John McCain, you’re being ridiculous.  I know you think it looks cool to stop campaigning and focus on the economic crisis, but here’s a couple problems:
1.  You have no experience with economics/finance/banking
2.  You are injecting partisanship into the solution making it more difficult for resolution
3.  This does not come across like you are trying to help the American people, it looks like you’re trying to help yourself.  If you really wanted to get my support, donate your campaign money into fixing the issue, then I would give you a vote.  Donate some of your millions of dollars into it, defray the cost big man.  Put your money where your mouth is, that goes to Obama as well, rich folks have a lot more to lose than me.

Again, I don’t care about who our President is, I have to trust that all of the supporting cast in DC are going to do their jobs.  We’re not voting for the Secretary of Treasure, we’re not voting for the head of FEMA, we’re not voting for the head of an Urban Coalition to eradicate poverty, we are not voting for the Chief at the Government Accountability Office, we are voting for the symbol of all those people supporting him. 

Sorry for the rant, but both candidates are trying to symbolize change and I’ll be a little happier when I start seeing it.  Let’s end this thing with some anti-witchcraft video of everyone’s favorite hockey mom:


Hamilton Grill Room – Lambertville, NJ

We celebrated our two-year anniversary yesterday with a dinner at Hamilton’s Grillroom in Lambertville.  It’s a BYOB and I really considered bringing a bottle of wine just for me, but I thought that it might knock me out of the running for husband of the year if I got crunk while my pregant wife cordially ate her meal.  The dinner was exceptional, I opted for a giant ribeye steak and Jack got the salmon.  I convinced her that we needed to order sides or else we would just have a hunk of meat on an empty plate.  She ordered some pistachio beets thing and I got pomme frites (fancy name for french fries).  When our meals came, my wife immediately pointed out how wrong I was about the sides.  They came with plenty of sides already, so my pomme frites were really unnecessary considering the heaping serving of mashed potatos that was included with my steak.  My meal also came with string beans.  It was a huge meal and everything was exceptional, if you’re looking for a nice place to eat, I highly recommend.  Click here to visit their website.

By the way, the restaurant is tucked away down a back alley in Lambertville and right across from the restaurant is the tiniest coziest, and perhaps most romantic bar in the area, it’s called the Boathouse.  Combine the restaurant and bar for a nice night out with your lady friend.  

After dinner, we walked across the bridge, stopping several times to spot swans and ducks chasing fish behind the pillars.  The water is so shallow and clear, you could see the bottom of the Delaware in the middle of night.  

We made it across and checked out the bars and shops, but it was a pretty quiet night and that was perfect for us.  Eventually we settled at Starbucks just to use the bathroom.  This reminds me of a hot summer day in Manhattan when I kept going to Starbucks to use the bathroom, but I always had to buy something each time I stopped, each time I bought an Iced Coffee and it just made me have to use the bathroom again in 30 minutes.  If I had to guess, Starbucks’ bathrooms really make them a lot of money.

On Saturday, I woke up early and went fishing on the Delaware with my dad.  The river was immensed in fog and I really wish I had a camera, I could barely see the end of my rod.  I paddled a kayak and my father has a kayak with an inboard motor in it, called a Mokai.  He paddled it most of the time, but if he saw a good spot coming up, he could motor ahead to it before me.  In addition, if the current took us beyond a good fishing spot, he could motor back up the river and fish it again, while I would have to paddle my ass off to get back upstream.  Despite his technological advantage, we fished to a draw and both found plenty of success with the Smallmouth Bass.  

Sunday saw the Bulldogs Slow Pitch Softball Team pull out two more victories to remain undefeated.  We have our final weekend this Sunday and then playoffs begin in October.  

More interviews coming up!

One last thing I need to mention.  My wife is named Jaclyn, I call her Jack and sometimes I call her Jackalope, like the mythical rabbit with antlers.  Well, I thought it was interesting to see that the dictionary does not have jackalope, but it has Bigfoot.  The jackalope supporters really need to petition and get their creature recognized by dictionaries of the world.  If you’re interested in buying a mounted jackalope, check out this site.  Jackalope Junctions sells mounted Jackalopes that cost as little as $99.99. but a real nice blue eyed jackalope will set you back $129.95. 

Party Across America – Interview With Mike Guerriero





st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;

We got an interview with the luckiest guy on earth, Michael
Guerriero.  Don’t believe me, take a look
at his bio:


“Michael Guerriero walked into his
meeting at Adams Media publishing in a
tee-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops.  He walked out with a book deal.

Mike never thought that his days of roaming the United
States and attending the greatest celebrations that he could find, would result
in more than some great stories and a few rough mornings
. A born explorer, he has spent years
immersed in a variety of cultures, partying all over the world with colorful
characters in fascinating locations.  

While sitting in a barbeque joint during a Tennessee blues festival
in 2006, a light bulb went on in Mike’s head.  He realized that this great
country is filled with amazing annual events, but they had never been organized
and arranged into a party seeker’s travel book.  He immediately pulled the
checkered napkin from his shirt collar and wiped the barbeque sauce from his
face.  He left Tennessee
to begin work on the greatest domestic travel guide ever.

Eight driving trips across the country, partying from
coast to coast while taking notes, has made him the resident expert on this

Mike’s book, Party Across America: The Ultimate Guidebook to the 101 Greatest Parties in the Country is coming out in November.  Here’s the conversation I had with Mike.

RKDeem:  Hello Mike, I
really appreciate you taking some time to answer a couple of questions for the
RKDeemReport.  I can’t believe I’m
interviewing an author, I feel like Chris Farley interviewing Paul


Mike:  Rob
you’re much better looking than Chris Farley and I’m no Paul McCartney. But
that poor guy really married a psycho didn’t he?


RKDeem:  I’ve always had a mysterious desire to partake in the
Groundhog’s Day celebration in Punxsutawney,
but it has to be the coldest party ever. 
How in the world do you prep for a party that has you standing outside
all night and morning in February?


Mike:  That’s a one word answer: booze.  Actually, Ground Hog day is one of the most
unique and oldest annual celebrations in the country, although a lot has
changed over the past 10 years.  The
tradition used to be to build bonfires on Gobbler’s Knob, stay up all night and
party like a rockstar without going to bed. 
Then everyone would stumble over to watch Punxsutawney Phil make his
6:00 am prediction.  These days it’s a
bit more of a family atmosphere, but a blast nonetheless.


RKDeem:  There’s a
bunch of parties that sound like a wild freaking time, like rules are just
thrown out for a couple days, Halloween in New York City, Fantasy Fest, and Mardi Gras
come to mind.  Has there ever been a time
where you were at a party and you thought the scene was just out of control?


Mike:  Absolutely – you can’t write a guidebook to the 101 greatest
annual parties in the U.S.
without experiencing times like those. 
In fact, Fantasy Fest in Key
West is a perfect example.  The scene at that party is bordering on
lunacy, particularly on the second night which is Saturday.  The crowd basically taps into their deepest
darkest fantasy, even if just for one weekend out of the year, and parties
accordingly.  If you are a shy person or
easily embarrassed then this is NOT the party for you.  If, however you want to experience the
ultimate, anything-goes, societal norms are out-the-window celebration then
Fantasy Fest is a must-go shindig.


RKDeem:  Okay, I have
to ask, what the hell is the testicle festival?


Mike:  Ha!  It’s an annual
party that happens outside of Missoula,
Montana in a humongous biker bar
over the course of an entire weekend. 
The festival’s name comes from the thousands of pounds of battered and
fried bull testicles, or Rocky Mountain Oysters, which are consumed by the
crowd.  They’re actually really good. Of
course – thousands of pounds worth of beer are consumed as well.   The revelers are about as wild and rowdy a
group as you’ll find – cowboys and bikers. 
Metrosexuals may want to steer away from this one.


RKDeem:  I can imagine
my parents giving me a hard time if I spent a couple years “researching”
awesome parties across the nation, but I can also seeing them bragging about
how great I am for publishing a book. 
Has there been a big change in how your family perceived your “career


Mike:  That’s an interesting question.  My family has been extremely supportive and
they’ve always encouraged us in everything that we’ve wanted to do.  That being said, there was definitely a kind
of “what the hell are you doing” to the whole thing.  I mean, I told them about the idea before I
landed the book deal, and they wished me well and then quickly changed the
subject.  What would you do if your 31
year old son came to you and said “I’m trying to write a guidebook to the
greatest parties in the country even though I’ve never had an interest in
writing?” But they were the first people I called when the offer came through –
and yes, they are extremely excited about it. 
In fact, my father recently said “we always knew that we sent him to
school to party – and now it’s paying off.”

I didn’t write the great American novel, but I did write the
greatest American travel guide.


RKDeem:  With your
book coming out in November, I imagine your calendar is packed for the next
month and a half, can you tell me what you’ll be doing to promote the book,
we’ll we see you on C-Span Book TV?


Mike:  Well, I have a publicist whose job is to get the book and
the author in the media.  She is the same
person who did the publicity for Chicken Soup For The Soul, Confessions of an
Economic Hitman, The Secret, and a bunch of other biggies.  She just started working, but has already had
interest from Maxim, Rolling Stone,
USA Today, and
a few others.

I’ve got a bunch of signings and talks line up, and of
course some partying as well.


RKDeem:    I ask
everyone this question, any advice for my two year old son, Winston?


Mike:  You know, I’ve always thought that it’s cliché and cheesy
when someone says “if you set your mind to it, you can do anything.”  But I’ve learned through this experience that
it’s true.  I have never ever written
anything – ever.  But I had an idea that
I acted on.  I bet you that 500 other
people have had the same idea – but it probably entered their minds for 5
minutes and then they talked themselves out of it.  If Winston wants something tell him to go
after it because anything is possible with some hard work.


RKDeem:  Where’s the
next big party we might see you at?


Mike:  The World’s Largest Disco in Buffalo. 
It takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year, and it sells
out in 40 minutes – 9,000 tickets in 40 minutes!  It’s the ultimate one-night stand with music
and fashion that may be best left dead.  
I’ve become friends with the organizer through the whole book process,
and he’s putting us in a limo with Leif Garret and Erik Estrada and sending us
off to the disco.  We’re going to do a
little dance and make a little love.  Not
with Leif and Eric though.


RKDeem:  Thank you so
much for taking the time, I sincerely appreciate it. Best of luck with your
book and wish you continued success.  I
placed my pre-order on and the book was very reasonable (click here to pre-order), can’t wait to read it in November.  


Mike: Thanks for having me Rob – you know it’s been a weird time
with the economy’s downwards spiral, and it feels as though the whole country
has been a bit depressed.  There’s no
cure for depression like some good ole American partying – besides life is not
about work, it’s about celebrating!


Mike Guerriero thinking about his next party

Weird News – Proposed Solution

I saw these in today’s Intelligencer: 
Getting hit by a car sucks, getting arrested for it is even worse: 
Multiple charges: Jason Worman, 19, of Hamburg, Berks County, was
charged with possession of a controlled substance, underage drinking,
public drunkenness and a pedestrian violation following an
investigation that was completed on Wednesday. Police said Worman was
struck by a vehicle on Aug. 13 at 11:45 p.m. while working on Bethlehem
Pike near Reliance Road. 
Hope he was wearing sun screen: 
Indecent exposure: Paul Hott, 51, was charged with indecent exposure
after he was sunbathing naked on the roof of his home on the 2-digit
block of Vaux Drive. He was arraigned before District Judge Daly and
bail was set at $25,000. 
Drinking & Driving…A Bicycle! 
James F. Young 32, was cited for public drunkenness on Sunday at 8:34
p.m. after he rode his bike out of a driveway on the 2800 block of
Byberry Road directly into the path of a police vehicle. 
These people need a politician to stand up for them! I think we should
form a coalition to elect a rabbit’s skull as the new mayor of
Doylestown. We can draft the rabbit’s skull manifesto where we allow
naked sun bathing on roofs, if you get hit by a car – that’s punishment
enough, and if there’s one thing the rabbit skull feels strongly about,
it’s the fact that if you are drunk, ride a bike and not your car.
Rabbit skull also endorses comprehensive legislation that requires all
residents of Doylestown to dot their i’s and lowercase j’s with hearts,
not dots. 
God bless the rabbit skull, god bless you all!

Political Ads – Who’s More Retarded?

I’ve been seeing a bunch of political ads lately and every one of them is geared towards the lowest common denominator.  You gotta wonder if these candidates believe these ads will be effective on the average voter, this election is going to be decided by retards. 

Here’s an ad about how McCain can’t use e-mail:

Here’s an ad telling us that Obama’s not entirely focused on Iran because it’s a “tiny” country

Here’s an ad about Obama passing over Hillary as VP because the truth hurt him

My favorite ad is on Obama’s kindergarten sex education policy

This stuff is so stupid and I’m sure it costs millions of dollars to produce and buy the air time.  $1 million dollars to talk about McCain’s lack of e-mail ability, $1 million dollars about Obama’s feelings being hurt by Hillary, come on you two idiots.  Spend your money on something worth while, if you spent a million dollars on a poor city neighborhood, I bet you would have all of their votes.  If you spent $1 million dollars on education, you’d have a lot of happy parents willing to vote for you.  Imagine if Obama spent the $60 million he raised this month and McCain spent the millions he raised this month spending that money for positive philanthropic activities that advanced their agendas, it would be a lot easier to figure out which candidate to endorse and even if your candidate lost, you’d feel good about the next president earning the country’s love through good deeds, not crappy commercials. 

Here’s a chart to help you pick a candidate in case you didn’t watch the commercials

   McCain  Obama
 Celebrity?  No  Yes
 Maverick?  Yes  No
 Is Iran a Small Country?  No, Iran’s a big deal who will kill us all  Yes, it’s a tiny country
 Ability to E-mail  No  Yes
Comprehensive Sex Education to Kindergartners  Hasn’t made it a focal point of his action plan  Obama made it happen

The Village

We enter the new era of the RKDeemReport.  I’m calling this category/chapter The Village.  My goal is take this blog a little deeper into my life, and get myself deeper into the lives of others.  Everyone is someone, everyone is living a life that takes them down some interesting paths, everyone has decisions, and everyone has a story to tell.  My goal is to bring out these stories & weave them into the blog.  I’ll be reaching out to people around my world and we’ll get their stories…put yourself on notice, you might end up being interviewed by RKDeem.

The first person I wanted to talk to was Jaclyn’s friend Melissa.  Melissa passed the bar exam and now she’s working in this country’s prestigeous legal system.  She keeps her own blog, tames mechanical bulls, and once got beat up by Jaclyn.  Read on and I hope you enjoy.    

RKDeem: Hi Melissa, thanks for being my first interview. 

Melissa: No problem. I’m hoping that by doing this interview, you’ll finally stop signing your emails “regards.”
RKDeem: I know you went to law school and you passed the Bar exam, but
can you tell me about what you do now, your responsibilities and title,
do you get to say, “I rest my case.” 

Melissa: Right now I am a law clerk to a federal judge. I work behind
the scenes to help dispense justice. There is no “I rest my case”ing,
but I do a lot of important work. Most cases never go to trial because
they are either settled by the parties or a judge decides the case on
its merits before it goes to trial. This is where I come in. If a party
moves to have the judge decide the case before it goes to trial, then
I’ll look over the file and write a draft opinion, in which I decide
who should “win.” Then, the judge will look over it and make changes if
he wants, but usually he just signs my draft. My work is interesting,
but sometimes it gets tedious; I have a short attention span, so if an
opinion takes longer than a week, I get bored! 
My job is a two year position, and I’ve got one year left! I am looking forward to moving on to the next step in my career… 
RKDeem: Tell me about the Bar exam, where does passing the Bar exam rank on your list of great accomplishments? 

Melissa: Def. top 5. The bar exam—and studying for it—is like
intellectual boot camp. The bar exam is held on the last Tuesday and
Wednesday in July, but studying for it starts the Monday after
graduation (which yes, means that I had a whopping Sunday off between
graduation and bar prep). The bar exam covers 30 subjects of
state-specific law—law that is not learned in law school. Super.
Therefore, the point of the bar prep class is to teach one all the law
one needs to know to pass the bar exam. 
Every day we had lecture from 8 or 9 a.m. until noon or 1 p.m. The
lecture on any given subject could take a day or up to three days.
After lecture, I would get a quick lunch, and then study all afternoon
and into the evening. I studied in three ways: (1) by making an outline
of the subject that I had just learned; (2) by doing practice essays on
the subject that I just learned; or (3) by doing multiple choice
questions for the multistate section of the bar exam. 
What is the multistate? I guess I should tell you a little about the
format of the bar exam. Day 1 is essay day, in which a bar taker completes nine essays. The subjects of those essays come from the possible
30 subjects that can be tested, so it is a crap shoot as to what
subjects will be tested. Day 2 is the “multistate” section of the bar
exam. It is a nationally administered 100 multiple choice question
exam, which tests the majority rule (read: most common) law of Torts,
Contracts, Constitutional Law, Property, Criminal Law, and Evidence. As
its name suggests, the multistate portion of the bar exam is not
The material that I had to learn for the bar exam was not difficult;
the hard part was forcing myself to work for 8+ hours a day learning
and practicing the material so that I would remember it for the exam. 
My emotions were mixed that summer. On the one hand, I had a set
schedule, which was oddly reassuring. I studied all day. On Tuesdays
and Thursdays, I took a class at the gym with my friends in the
evening. On Sunday evenings, I would get together with my friends to
watch Army Wives. I’d eat hummus on a pita with red peppers for dinner
and sushi for lunch. Sometimes, I’d grab lunch or dinner out with
friends as well. I had a schedule that I knew I had to stick to, but
at the same time, my schedule was flexible enough that I could get my
highlights done in the afternoon if I wanted to—I’d just have to work extra late that day. It was sickly fun. On the other hand, I
had fear of the bar exam and the stress of knowing that my professional
future depended on my ability to pass a two-day test. That part sucked. 
RKDeem: Do you ever secretly wish you went into another career path instead of law? 
Melissa: Not really. I knew that I wanted to be an attorney since about
middle school. Life is short when you think about it. Sure, I’d like to
get my PhD so I can research and write about random things that
interest me, and I’d also love to become a professional equestrienne,
but I wouldn’t have time to do those things AND actually accomplish
something in those fields. 
RKDeem: You’re a pretty tough cookie, I remember that you were the only
girl who managed to beat the mechanical bull at Montana West. Any tips
or advice for aspiring cow girls? 

Melissa: When riding the mechanical bull, the key to success is to
remember to use the points of contact that your body makes with the
bull. The seat (butt) can be used to counteract the forward-backward
movement of the bull. The points of contact of the leg—inner thigh,
knee, and heel—can be used to counteract the lateral forces of the bull
and also provide continuous security. The hand can be used to balance
the upper body. 
RKDeem: Have you ever punched someone? 
Melissa: No, but your wife did try to beat me up (AND made me bleed)
once in her basement because she thought that I bowled twice, when
actually I had only bowled once. I had to wait until the physical
barrage was over, and then I rationally explained to her that I only
bowled once. She finally agreed with me. See, diplomacy can work, too. 

RKDeem: What are you currently addicted to? 

Melissa: Ohhh, hmmm. The Subway next to the courthouse has amazing
muffins. Peach is my favorite. They must be so unhealthy, but I can’t
help but get one every week. This week I had two, I am addicted. 
RKDeem: Do you have a sports hero? 

Melissa: Not really. Last night on the television show Bones (which I
am also addicted to) the protagonist, Dr. Temperance Brennan, posited
that heroes are idolized by weak people. So, I guess it’s a good thing
that I don’t have a sports hero. 
RKDeem: I could be completely wrong, but I think I heard you were going
to Vegas, did you already go? What do you look forward to doing? 

Melissa: I travel to Vegas in two weeks. Gosh, let’s see. I’d like to
gamble somewhere. Maybe see some of the cool casinos? I’m really just
going there to visit a friend from law school (who lives there). She
grew up in Las Vegas and also went to UNLV for college, so I’m sure
I’ll get the full Vegas experience! Have you been? Any recommendations
on fun things to do there? 
RKDeem: A couple years ago, there was this casino called the Westward
Ho Hotel. It was on the “old strip”, a casino built long ago before the
Vegas strip’s hotels evolved to mimick New York or Paris. This hotel
catered to the broke, the ugly, the people who were kicked out of the
Bellagio. Anyways, this hotel had 99 cent margaritas and the largest
damn hot dog I had ever seen. It was bigger than a cheesesteak, it was
grand and spectacular, and it tasted like absolute garbage.
Unfortunately, the hotel shut down in November of 2005, that was
probably my fondest memory. Other than that, work your magic to get into
one of the bars that’s on the 60th floor of a casino. There’s only one
thing cooler than seeing Vegas all lit up at night from the 60th floor
and unfortunately, that one thing became unavailable in November of
RKDeem: If you could go back in time to relive a year in your life, when would you go? 
Melissa: Ohhh tough one! Probably either Ninth Grade or my Second or Third Years in law school. 
RKDeem: Are you following the politics? Politics are getting pretty
pervasive, we’re bombarded with ads, a guy went on a rant about Barack
Obama at our Fantasy Football draft, and now the Vice Presidents are
getting all kinds of attention. Would you consider yourself politically

Melissa: I follow politics because I find political strategy
interesting. I’m less interested in policy because I don’t think that I
know enough to make informed policy decisions. Each candidate has
different views on how to turn around the economy. I have no clue which
is correct, and honestly, don’t professors argue over this kind of
stuff all the time? Political strategy is quantifiable in public
opinion polls, which is why I like it. 
Example: During my junior year of college, I interned in D.C. for a
think tank scholar who studied public opinion. I worked with her during
Spring 2003, which is when we went to war with Iraq. Would you believe
that about 79-80% of people supported invading Iraq without regard to
weapons of mass destruction? (Support for invading Iraq to find WMDs
was slightly higher.) Now, had President Bush just couched the invasion
in terms of liberating an oppressive regime, public support during the
war might have been higher. As we know, the public lost confidence in
President Bush when no WMDs were found because he told us that we
invaded Iraq because they had WMDs. Bush’s decision to use WMDs to rationalize the war ended up backfiring on him. This sort of analysis interests me. 
I should note, however, that because of my job, I cannot support candidates, attend political rallies, or donate money, etc. 
RKDeem: So you’re voting for Ron Paul? 

Melissa: Like I said, I can’t comment on my political affiliation or
politics in general. I will note, however, that when I was in Montana
earlier this summer, there were Ron Paul signs EVERYWHERE. Totally
hilarious. Ron Paul might win Montana by write-in ballot! 
RKDeem: I remember you saying that Global Warming will work itself out,
or something along those lines, do you wish to clarify that? 

Melissa: Sure. It is beyond our comprehension, I think, to know
whether we are causing global warming. I mean, did the dinosaurs cause
the Ice Age? Who knows! We don’t even know what killed the dinosaurs,
right? Humans and the rest of the animals will adapt to global warming,
just like we’ve adapted to everything else OR we’ll die out. It’s not
that shocking, it happens like every million years or something. I
think it is obnoxious for humans to think that we have the power to
control a force greater than ourselves—like the environment of the
Earth. Sure, I support little things, like conserving energy when we
can, but I don’t see the point of freaking out and completely
overhauling the world to prevent the ocean’s temperature from warming a
degree or two. 
RKDeem: A couple more questions. You’ve met Winston and we have another
baby on the way. Do you think the world’s getting worse, better, or
it’s always basically the same? 

Melissa: I think the world stays the same; it is our perspective that
changes. I’m sure your perspective on the world has changed since you
were a child, but the world has mostly stayed the same. I believe this
happens on a macro-level. There will always be diseases; we “cured” all
sorts of wacky stuff, like polio, and then we got hit with HIV. They
will always be cruel dictatorships. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hussein,
half the leaders in Africa, and now we got that crazy guy from Iran
whose name I can’t spell. At the same time, the world will always have
goodness. The Earth’s yin and yang does a pretty good job of balancing
things out. 
RKDeem: What do you want for Christmas? 

Melissa: I don’t know. My parents just got me a digital camera for my
birthday, which is what I had been wanting for a while. Perhaps
jewelry? My material needs are pretty satisfied right now—I can’t
RKDeem: Any advice for Winston? 
Melissa: Respect women but do NOT be a momma’s boy. No one will want to marry you. 
RKDeem: Any last words, a message to the readers? 
Melissa: I appreciate this opportunity; it has enabled me to
procrastinate at work just long enough to prevent me from accomplishing
my goal for Thursday. That means a lot to me—the internet has been
getting boring. 
RKDeem: Well thank you so much for being the first interviewee of the
RKDeemReport. It really is an honor to know you and I really, really
appreciate your time. Thank you. 

Melissa: Thanks Rob. I’m glad Jackie married you! Now please stop having kids so we can go out drinking more often!!

Melissa and a dog named Emma

The Megadog from the Westward Ho Hotel – I ate half of mine and almost died.

End of an Era

Howdy RKDeemers!  I have been writing under The Mix Up category for a couple months now and we’re going to wrap it up tonight.  Thank you all for reading and I hope you keep reading as we roll out a couple new features and start out a new chapter.  I like Laurie’s idea of a History of RKDeem, so you can expect to see key historical moments being featured in my blog’s next chapter. 

The past couple of days have been busy.  Monday, dinner out with the client, got home around midnight, Tuesday, went to Phillie’s game with client, got home around 1AM, Wednesday, birthing class, home around 10PM.  I am whooped.  I know a lot of you reading this blog have yet to give birth, here’s a couple tips for men who are thinking about getting their wife pregnant:

  1. Get ready to spend a lot more on health insurance.  I think I spent about around $100 a month when I was single, $300 a month when I was married, and now it’s close to $600 a month as a family.  Then you throw in deductibles and co-insurance and it adds up. 
  2. Even though this is our second time around, taking a class is highly recommended.  It reminded me about packing a bag well in advance, the logistics of checking in and where we’d stay, what gets done with the baby after it’s born, and they confirmed that they had wi-fi so I could monitor my fantasy football team.
  3. Figure out the car seat before the baby is born. 
  4. Prepare yourself to be involved.  I couldn’t believe it when Jack first gave birth, I never imagined being so involved with the process, but the doc had me right in the thick of things and it was quite a rush, I’m glad I saw a video beforehand, it made the real life event much less shocking.  Oh, they asked if I wanted to cut the ambilical cord, I said no.  I stand by the decision, I’d be happy to do it in a jam, but if there’s a hospital filled with capable staff, I’m letting them cut the cord. 
  5. Sneak out of the hospital for a bit.  You’ll be sleeping on a tiny recliner, there will be a constant rotation of women oogling over your child and you’ll need to get out and stretch your legs.  You can tell your wife that you’re picking her up a special treat that’s not available in the hospital convenience store. 
  6. For the love of God, when your wife is giving birth, do not do anything but pay attention to her every need.  If you change the radio station, blow bubbles with your gum, crack your knuckles, pace, or anything remotely annoying, you will face serious consequences.  Just suck it up and give her everything she needs during the delivery. 

RKDeem’s #1 Rivalry – Best Place To Get Something You Don’t Need

The best place in the world for crap you don’t need but you’ll inevitably buy is Rice’s Market.  I remember when I was little, it was awesome to check out the vendors selling knives, fireworks, baseball cards, and huge boxes of discount candy, good lord, it was heaven!  It was fun figuring out how you’d spend your month’s allowance, would I buy a Rambo knife?  Maybe I’ll use it all on a Jose Canseco rookie card.  Or maybe I’ll put together a diverse portfolio of weapons, ballistics, and candy.  Now days, I stroll the aisles looking at fake replicas of Kate Spade purses or Ray Ban sunglasses, but I mostly go for the weird antique stuff that I really don’t need, possibly a spent bullet from Gettysburg, a collection of old arrow heads, or maybe a Randall Cunningham rookie card. 

RKDeem’s #1 Band – Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ music is brilliant.  I love soul, I love funk.  Ray Charles combines both of them beautifully and he sprinkles in some pop, gospel, and rock n’ roll for good measure.  It’s the perfect music for whisky on the back porch, it’s the perfect music for dancing, it’s the perfect music for driving, it’s classic & it’s fresh.  If I had to choose one person’s music for an extended stay on a lonely island, I’d pick Ray Charles.  I’m too tired to write more, but trust me, he’s the best.

Two For One

Rivalry #3 Best Sandwich – Good lord Philadelphia makes a damn good food.  Philadelphia makes Cheesesteaks, Italian Hoagies, Chicken Cheesesteaks, Pizza Steaks, Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteaks, and the their calzones and strombollis are unparalleled.  But that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about sandwiches.  If I want the best sandwich in town, there’s really no one who comes close to Lilly’s in Doylestown.  People complain about Lilly’s because it can gets crowded with the lawyers at lunchtime, but there’s a good reason it’s crowded, it’s the best.  They use fancy breads, fancy ingredients, and they don’t skimp, these are huge mammouth sandwiches that have you taking half of them home.  I have to throw some love to Panara Bread, they make ordinary sandwiches awesome with Panini technology and you can get half a sandwich with a cup of soup for basically the same price which is a nice option, especially in the winter.  Best sandwich though, belongs to Lilly’s.

Rivalry #2 Best Place to Disappear in Doylestown – If you happen to be in Doylestown and you don’t want to see cars, bars, or any other nonsense, I’ve got the place for you.  Walk down East Street along a cemetary, across the street you’ll see a huge cement gate that’s been there for over a century, walk through the gate along the trail and disappear into the dark trail cloaked by a canopy of trees.  It could be twelve o’clock noon on the brightest of days, but it will be dark and creepy back there on that trail, it’s like Sleepy Hollow, you expect the Headless Horseman to come flying by at any time.  The trail’s not that long, maybe a quarter mile, then it opens up into the most spectacular oasis.  It’s just amazing, what a vision Henry Mercer brought to life.

This is what you emerge to from the Sleepy Hollow trail:

RKDeem’s #3 Band – Johnny Cash – Great music and great stories.  I hated country music until I heard him, I’m not sure if he’s even classified as country, he’s just bad ass.  The stuff towards the end of his life was amazing, he hand selected songs that had lots of meaning to him and I appreciate the perspective, it reminds me of Nirvana’s unplugged, every lyric is sung with emotion.  Standout Tracks – Drive On, Tennessee Stud, I Hung My Head, & Long Black Veil.

RKDeem’s #2 Band – Beck – This guy could very well be the top spot, every time he comes out with an album, I buy it on the day it comes out.  He has not let me down yet.  What’s amazing about him is that he keeps it fresh too.  He’ll make albums utilizing beats from old computer sound cards, he’ll make acoustic albums, he’ll make “alternative” albums, he’ll make party albums, and each album that comes out sounds like the best thing I’ve heard in that genre, I mean this as a compliment, he’s like the a music nerd’s Madonna, he’s always ahead of the curve, moving music along.  I saw him in concert with Edman and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.  Everything he does, he does incredibly well.  I have no Standout Tracks for Beck, every album is a standout album.  If you’re down, tired, or just feeling mellow, buy the Sea Change album and listen to it start to finish.  If you’re ready for a party, you’ve just drank a Red Bull, pop in Guero and listen to it loud.  Don’t forget about his older stuff, it’s all good my friends, just listen to it until you love it.  He’s brilliant, trust me. 

Hey, there’s this insanse physics project going on in Switzerland & France where they’re building a 27 kilometer tunnel underground to accelerate protons along these tracks and then they smash them at unimaginable speeds.  They are predicting that this collision will create a type of matter never seen before, possibly creating a black hole and sucked the Earth into itself (okay, the black hole thing probably won’t happen, but I like to think it is).  Well, I’m not doing a good job of explaining it, but it’s a really important experiment that 60 countries have invested billions of dollars into, hopefully this rap song will help you understand what this is all about.  If the rap doesn’t help, we can ask Brother-In-Law Matt who knows about this kind of stuff.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about Large Hadrom Collider:
As of August 2008 the majority of the LHC ring is now cooled to the
1.9 K (−271.25 °C) operating temperature. The initial particle beams
are due for injection in August 2008,[8] the first attempt to circulate a beam through the entire LHC is scheduled for September 10, 2008,[9] and the first high-energy collisions are planned to take place after the LHC is officially unveiled, on October 21, 2008.[10]
It has been claimed the collision fo the particles has a 1 in 50000
chance to create a small atomic black hole and would create the
Which has brought much cause for concern, including a large
petition to stop the event.

Gas Stations 9 tenths of a cent?

Why the hell do gas stations place a 9/10 of a cent after the price per gallon?  I did some research and there’s several reasons – marketing gimmick, it gives customers a sense of security that the price they’re being charged is super accurate, or it just looks cheaper.  I’ll tell you one thing, if I was a crafty lawyer, I’d file a class action lawsuit against all gas stations in the USA and demand that we receive our tenths of pennies back, just to return the favor of being an asshole. 

It’s Sunday night and it feels like Sunday night, even though I have tomorrow off.  Jaclyn’s visiting her friend Erin up in New York, so Winston and I have the house to ourselves.  He’s battling a cold and I think it’s going to be a long night. 

I wonder if my camera takes panoramic pictures, I would like to start taking more panoramic pictures. 

As we wrap up the rivalries and my favorite bands feature, I am about to unveil a new feature to my blog.  I hope to unveil in mid-September. 

Rivalry #4
Mix Tapes vs. Mix CDs – I’ve been known to make a good mix CD here and there.  Recently, I got really hung up on certain genres and I made mix CDs specifically around the old Elvis sound, or soul music, or CDs where Johnny Horton fits in perfectly.  In general, I think I’m getting worse at putting mix CDs together, I think it just comes down to my inability to focus with a crazy child running around.  Mix tapes were pretty awesome, there was a real labor involved, waiting for the song to start, the synchronization of the record and play button, staying focused to stop it, and hand writing the artist and song name on those tiny little lines.  Mix tapes were a little more durable and they lasted a lot longer than CDs.  Jaclyn recently unearthed a bunch of old Phish concert tapes, I was unfortunate enough to listen to one in her car’s tape player and it was one of the worst things I’ve ever heard.  I’m not the biggest fan of Phish to begin with, but it was recorded in horrible quality, and it just sounds terrible, but Jaclyn still loves them and she was extremely pleased to discover those old tapes.  I give mix tapes an edge for that very reason, it’s cool that they last long.  My favorite mix CDs get carried all over, transported to multiple CD players, and they get scratched up within 6 weeks, plus I can just print out a song list, so the mix CD just doesn’t seem as sincere. 

RKDeem’s #4 Band
Bob Dylan – At this point, all of these bands are favorites, so this isn’t a shot a Bob, it’s just that I was so into him about 10 years ago, I’ve focused on other bands more in the past 5 years.  I still love his music, I enjoy his new stuff, and he’s way up there on my list.  Bob Dylan is known for being a poet with brilliant lyrics, but I really enjoy the folk sound, the story telling, and his perspective on his relationships.  Dylan influenced so many great musicians, he’s been covered by Hendrix, Guns & Roses, Joan Baez, Rolling Stones, The Byrds, and countless others.  His latest album is perfect if you’re head over heals in love with someone, but my most favorite recent album by him is Time Out of Mind.  The standout track for Time Out of Mind is “Not Dark Yet”.  It’s an incredible song that could only come from Dylan, a man who’s seen it all, been everywhere, done everything, and still not finding meaning, it’s hopeless, but there’s some comfort in coming to terms with it as well, great song.