12/29/10

That Girl Named: Iowa Hawkeye Football

From time to time, I have explained Iowa Hawkeye Football as a relationship. Sure, no relationship is perfect. It takes some work. There are ups and downs. We’ve sure had some great times over the past few years… Like those nice little New Years Day dates... unexpected surprises like the catch in the Capital One bowl... The last two Michigan State games... The Ricky Stanzi Orange Bowl post game speech... Bowl wins... Magical bliss... good times.

*hearts*

Hawkeye Football usually goes about the same as that on again/off again girlfriend you have. It starts in the Winter... after the bowl game... we miss her. Sure... from now until the next Fall... we may flirt or even go out with the NFL Playoffs, or the upcoming Major League Baseball season... hell, we might even hook up with the Olympics to keep us occupied. But these gals are no Hawkeye Football... no way, no how.

The Spring Game comes along... You haven't seen her in a while. And booyah! Damn she looks good. REAL good. She's lost some weight. She's doing this new thing with her hair. And that black and gold outfit she's rockin'? Those one pair of jeans that make you go nuts. (humina humina humina)

But you keep it cool. You'll say hello... maybe grab a drink, but that's it. There's no need to get too excited, yet. You're not gonna call or anything... wouldn't want to sound desperate... she'll be back, right? There’s emptiness for most of the Summer. It's a long wait... Time makes the heart grow fonder so to speak.

The Big Ten previews start coming out late summer. Lindy's, Sporting News and Anthlon... all talking about how she is lookin' FINE. You go to the State Fair and pick up your Hawkeye Football Schedule Poster... you just know she's going to be back in your life. And things are going to be great again. Bam! Two weeks until that first game? You're back together... and it's better than the last year. You're heart goes pitter patter. Everything seems to be a little nicer... everything seems to be a little brighter. Iowa Hawkeye Football is your girl... and life is good.

During this preseason? You stopped at the jewelers in Pasedena. You were looking for a ring. A big ring. For some reason, you just felt that this was it. This was the time we were gonna settle down and be immortal for ever... every thing great and smelling rosy...

But this 2010 Iowa Hawkeye Football girl was a little more complicated than the past years. Expectations... dude, you were shopping for a damn ring! Yeah... this was as serious as a dry keg two hours before kick off at Kinnick. Yeah, that serious. For some reason, in the back of your head... you had high expectations... but we've all been here before... you just knew this year was going to be different… But something didn't smell right. Especially when her father got involved.

He's always has been suspect of us. Her father started putting these tailgating restrictions. All of those cops on Melrose. The parking lots at Kinnick weren't making you feel like you lived in the Hawkeye State, but a Police State. We should have known from the beginning that indeed, something was up... and it wasn't gonna end well.

Enter our girl... the 2010 Iowa Hawkeyes.

The season started off great. No problems. Good two dates in Iowa City. All is well. Great times. Then we took a trip with her to Tucson, Arizona...which seemed exotic for us. Things could get a little freaky, right? Like freaky nice. Then there was the whole time change thing and we were both cranky. Bad weekend. We probably said a few things to each other... at a bad time. But hey, that was just the time change and stuff. No problem, we can work this out.

The next week? Good times were had again. She wore throwbacks... because we're into that. Yeah man. It was nice. Then beating JoePa again?! *hearts* A win like that calls for a blissful night in the hot tub if you catch my drift. Beating Michigan? In Ann Arbor? Yeah... nothing could go wrong between us and our girl now, Hawkeye Football. Damn, she's the best girl, ever.

But... Here's where it gets a little rocky... or Bucky if you will. Freaking Wisconsin.

Yeah, she let them have the Bull. You know.... that trophy with the Bull on it. Yes... that hurt... but could you really be hurt about a trophy that was just made a few years ago? Nah. We'll forgive her. Turns out, Bucky was good this year... no Bull trophy could come between us... right? No problem. It's OK. We can forget about this one... Sure... we both said a few things we shouldn't have said. But we made up. Next weekend will be better, she promises.

Ole Sparty came to Iowa City. Yeah... she showed him the door. She's pretty cute when she gets angry and puts a beat down on the conference frontrunner... of the time. It's like when she crinkles her nose when's she's mad. So cute. That's why we love her. She was mad and everything was alright. Which made her mad in nice ways later if you know what I'm sayin’… Hey yo!

Then we took a little trip to Indiana. No problems, right?

Yeah, we stayed in Indianapolis. And yeah... OK, so we may have spent too much time at the Broad Ripple bars the night before. We were pretty cloudy in the morning. Missed the bus... but caught a cab to Bloomington just in time. We got on each others nerves, but that’s how it goes. We won. Things would get better if we just took a little get away to Chicago for the weekend, right? Yeah, that's the ticket. A nice little weekend in the Windy City. We'll go out, maybe take her shopping on Michigan Ave... maybe take in a Second City Show... you know... just for fun. A nice little leisurely trip to Chicago....

Sigh… Yeah, not good. This weekend in Chicago was supposed to the weekend where we make up... maybe we get on a bended knee. We'll get closer to Roses... LA... Become one...

Wrong.

She got all pissy about leaving the seat up in the hotel... lots of yelling... lectures on how I... of all people, I needed to grow up. How'd that go? Yeah... quiet trip back to Iowa from the Windy City. But... all is fair... Brutus was coming to town. How could we not get excited for a date like that, right? Yeah... maybe after a win like that we could make the ask.... forever. Well... that wasn't a good weekend for our girl, either.

We had a great time... it was intense... all of the stuff that keeps you interested in this girl... then... we must have said something wrong. With a 2:30 start... I'll admit, we probably had too much to drink before kick off... but, that never harmed our relationship before, right? Then... Awe dammit... pissed away... in more ways than one. Call us Popeye... because we just got owned by Brutus for our girl again.

Double sigh...

But one last date to make it all better, right? One more and we'll have our selves a nice little New Years getaway where it’s warm and nice.

We love Floyd of Rosedale. He's child to us if you will... One more date up North. Nothing wrong could happen... could it? On to the Twin Cities and at this new joint. They don't serve beer. So... we're gonna need a little help to get her in the mood. We're gonna be outside... and from past experiences all year... we know we're in trouble with our girl. We would fight, make up and do it all again. Just like every single game of the season in the past. We prepared for this. But in the Twin Cities, well... we had a fight. Not just a lovers spat... put the kind of fight that doesn't end well with you're on again/off again girlfriend that is Hawkeye Football. The kind of fight where things are said and she kicks you square in the nuts.

Yeah, not awesome.

Was it something we said? Listen, I know Brutus the Buckeye is a handsome fellow... but him? Goldie? Goldie the freaking Golden Gopher? You had to let him win?! Really? Did that make you feel better? You let them have the pig?!! The Pig?!! Has it gotten that bad between us?! I know it was cold up there and all of that stuff... and yes, we should have bought you that designer winter coat at the Mall of America on our night out... Yeah yeah yeah... I know, it was freezing... but... you had to let them have the pig? You started to face facts... you knew this break up might be... final.

We were officially fighting after that chilly day in Minne-no-place.

That's when we got a little defensive. How could you?! After all the things, the tailgate restrictions by your father... all of our ups and downs... and now you're going to expect us to forgive and forget... and go to some Phoenix suburb for a bowl game?!! This is how this relationship ends?

This fight carried on. Off field problems. Players in trouble. Heroes disgraced... It was like she was playing a sick game of making us hurt. Rumors… charges… The embarrassment… This might be the final straw. It could be over…

Fast forward to this past week. You saw her texts... Missed calls… Voice mails…

Hit ignore... and delete.

Don’t pick up, dude... do not pick up that phone.

No need to put yourself through this again. All you get is hurt. And we all might have had enough pain…

But the funny thing about this girl named Iowa Hawkeye Football… she was your first and only… and it usually… doesn’t take much to get you back. That’s why you didn’t want to pick up that phone…

All that was waiting was more hurt on the other side of the phone...

Then… It happened. Just one spark. All it takes is one spark, and this one was some Ozark hillybilly Mizzou fan’s Facebook status talking smack about our girl…

No one, I mean no one talks about our girl like that. No one.

On Iowa! Go Hawks! AND GAME ON!

You pick up the phone… you dial and don’t even let her get a word in, “Babe, it’s me again. Let's work this out. Put on that black and gold thing you wear that drives me nuts and I’ll be there in a minute to pick you up. We’re going to Tempe.”

All of those heartbreaking losses… forgotten. Off field garbage? Forgotten. Iowa Hawkeye Football is our girl. And are we not going let some toothless low rent Big 12 school mess with our girl, right? Hell no.

We lock arms and head to Arizona. We're together again. *birds chriping*

So we get there and all the chatter for the game builds up. The Hawks have no chance. Missouri is favored. Too many distractions… this isn’t going to end well. Then you remember why we love her. This stuff just makes her pissed… and remember, she gets really really cute when she gets pissed. "Bring it... Mizzzzzourahhhh," she says in that hot chick voice. *hearts*

It’s Game Time at the Insight Bowl. We're baaaaaaack! Man did she look good last night. The Hawkeyes came out on all cylinders. It was awesome! Where was this Big 12 North super power we were sold on? Mizzou ain’t got nothin’ our girl. Then… Hyde’s interception for 6? Are you serious?!! Oh yeah, man. Oh… yeah.

Then, being the drama queen she always is… the review of that pass? It was of course incomplete… but not you and us, Iowa Football… you complete us. And that’s why the hurting has started to begin…

The wait…

We have to wait until next Fall to see you again. I can hear Hawks fans say it, “But, but, but wait?! We just got back together?! You have to go?!” She does, man… She does…

Iowa Football will be back next year… and she’ll look as fine as she did last night.

So start the countdown fellas… I know that I, like many of you Hawkeye fans, are already counting the days until we’ll see our sweet sweet love again… Iowa Hawkeye Football.

12/26/10

CHIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFS!!!!!!

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!!

*tears of joy*

I always believe....


12/24/10

Epic Christmas

Christmas is frigging awesome. Seriously, it's the season that makes me come to grips with the fact that... Though I am 33 years old... I'm basically a big kid. Ain't it cool how this time of year does that to you? Yeah, I thought so.

Anyways... since I'm not gonna be standing in line at a store when Mass starts tonight (Grant speak for "I actually have all my shopping done") I figured... I'd do a random Christmas thoughts post as my little stocking stuffer to all of you loyal readers out there. We'll call this post of random... Epic Christmas...

CHRISTMAS TUNES - How awesome are Christmas tunes? I mean there are some terrible ones (insert "Christmas in Iowa" song here)... It's just straight up freaking awful. When I hear this song it makes me want to tell my buddy of mine to meet me in the backyard and whip 3 dozen snowballs at my junk. Yeah. Not a fan. But... nothing like when you hear someone belt out a good one. I'm not much for the Christmas Radio Station bit... just on the mere fact that you have to listen to the crap songs. What's my Holiday Mix Tape? Anything with Frank Sinatra, Charlie Brown Christmas, Boston Pops (basically anything with horns) and maybe Cheech and Chong. Oh and anything done by the Roots. Oh and that Beach Boys one. And yeah, I'm total sucker for the Churchy songs. You know... the ones sang right by the hot chick in your confirmation class... the ones that brings the tears in the pews. Crazy good. How freaking awesome are those? Freaking awesome. I mean these guys who were writing these songs like a hundred years ago had to be like, "Dudes, some day... peeps are gonna be bawling by the end of this one." I shared that idea with my sister, she said, "They probably were brought to tears composing them." Good point April.
TRADITIONS - No matter if its the ones your ancestors brought over on the boat... Something your family does... or even that Ugly Sweater party... Every one's got em. My favorite? Christmas Eve in Jewell. I grew up on the same block as the church. So here's how it goes down... 5:30 Mass at Good Shepherd... then anyone who's around comes over to my parent's house. Not just like family... but family friends, sometimes the priest... my Dad's buddies... high school pals (and now their kids). They show up after Mass or stop before they head to their church's services, have some cocktails... get fat on all of the epic things my Mom cooked up and just hang out. Which makes for just a great night of laughs and holiday cheer. One year, they thought Midnight Mass would be a decent change. Yeah... still had the party at my folks... but headed to Mass later. Which made the snow drift in front of the parish doors rival most snow drifts on college campuses on a Thursday night. Hey, like I said, we live on the same block... Have road beers and Christmas spirit, will travel.
EPIC FOOD - Dudes... Are. You. Serious! The best evar. I'm not much of a sweets guy... but I can't stop eating Christmas cookies. The best part of having like... 60 aunts... is that they are off the chain in the kitchen. Add to the fact that my family is involved in farming one way or another... yeah, just about any thing you can make with a pork product is served. Big ass Bell's Mill ham... meat trays... pigs in a balnket... And if it didn't come from a pig, they'll wrap it in bacon and drown it in a sauce. Yeah man. No one goes hungry.
SANTA CLAUS - Yes, there is a Santa Claus. No doubt about it. Oh and for you Santa haters out there. Recognize. I know its not a very Christmasy thing to say... but if you say there ain't no Santa... you get what you deserve, nothing.
SPEAKING OF SANTA... and turning into a big kid. So I was outside the mall the other day, you know... smoke break. And a lady with two big crates of candy canes was coming up to the door. She was struggling a little with the large cargo... so I helped load 'em in the mall. I asked, "Hey wait a minute... are these Santa's candy canes?" As my eyes got wide, she grinned back at me saying, "Yep, that's right. These are Santa's candy canes." Then I go, "Dude, that's awesome!" Candy canes were delivered to the big man and I went back to shopping. But I sure had a glow of being important. I, of all people, just got to help out THE Santa Claus. What can I say, I'm just a big kid.
SAYING MERRY CHRISTMAS - Yeah yeah yeah. I hear you. I'm not much for lecturing people that it's Jesus' epic birthday. I say Merry Christmas... You can say Happy Holidays, Happy Festivus, Happy Hanukkah... Happy Saturday... whatever you want. I won't be offended. I don't care. If its this time of year, I say Merry Christmas... Just like I say "Go Chiefs" or just plain "CHIEEEEEEEEFS" to anyone I see on a Sunday.
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS - Shopping... gets a little stressful, sometimes... doesn't it? Is this what he wants? Will she fit in this? Is he into Legos yet or will he choke on 'em? What age is appropriate for Barbie? Don't buy it dude, someone may have gotten it for you... These are the thoughts that come to my head and are asked to better shopping experts than I. Of which I know gets a little annoying at times for them... what am I to do? I'm notta shopping expert. Was asked the other day, "What was the best Christmas gift you ever got?" With out even flinching... An authentic sideline team issue Kansas City Chiefs winter jacket... just like Marty Schottenheimer wore on many of those playoff runs. I think I was like 12 or 13... maye older... when I got it. My Mom says I about hit the ceiling when I opened it... literally. That my friends was a bad ass jacket. It was like before stores had all the authentic stuff. It came directly from Kansas City. Man that was a great jacket. And to answer your question, yes. When no one was around... I'd put it on, wore an old pair of my Dad's glasses and paced around the house... pretending like I was Marty telling Derrick Thomas, "Good job, Derrick. Keep working that guy." Um yeah, I think that's the first time I've ever admitted that.
THE END OF A YEAR - Cool part, I think at least, is that whole reflect on the last year stuff. 2010? I'd say it was decent. Not bad, not bad at all. Big wins in November... The Chiefs win and they're in the playoffs... Decent health... (heavy on the decent)... We can do better too in 2011, don't you think? Of course.

Alright... I gotta start negotiating my way back to God's County. Mass is at 6:30. So I gotta split...

Before I load up my sleigh of presents and head north, I have a brief message to all of you loyal readers, friends, family, haters, stalkers, even Denver Bronco fans... and everyone in between. Back at Good Shepherd up in Jewell, Father Recker would always end his homily with this line that I always kind of digged. He's was longtime drama coach for a big catholic high school somewhere back in the day... and it showed during Mass. Crazy good stuff.

Here's his line and my wish for you all...

"To you and yours. May you have a very Happy, a very Holy... a very Merry Christmas."

12/14/10

QCI's 2012 Iowa Caucus List and Keys


"G$, you gotta list?"

C'mon son... everyone is doing it...

Man oh man, I love Christmas... and the Christmas party circuit! What a rockin' party over at 621 East 9th, am I right?! Great to see so many old friends, new friends, colleagues, acquaintances... and it was even great seeing the people I don't like!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Just kidding. I roll like Rocky Balboa, I like just about everyone. Even you Monte Shaw.

Anyways, per usual, I've been talking to a lot of people since the big November victories. The subjects? Here they are...

What's next? How long are they keeping you on the pay roll? What are you thinking? Hear from anyone yet?

And of course...

Who do you like in 2012?

On the subject of 2012... lately the buzz I keep hearing on the street and reading in the blogs? That little list of 50 people in an article Tony Beaumont wrote a couple weeks back in the Des Moines Register.

Lists do funny things to people... especially in politics. Judging from the blogs and "on the street" chatter I'm hearing... Here are the 4 reactions I get:

1) Peeps who really don't care and don't have time to.
2) Folks who look like Rudy checking the Notre Dame dress list to see if they "get" to suit up on Saturday... because coach promised.
3) Egos who would like you to kiss their rings because they made the list.
4) The rest? They blow up like that movie producer did on CJ Craig on the West Wing... just because he dropped from #2 to #9 on the list of Hollywood's most important people.

Again, lists do funny things...

Hershel chimed in... then I saw a few others who were mostly pissed for not making the list... and/or all their buddies that got left off. Get over yourselves people.... and act like you been here before.

This prompted Tim Bowmount to write another list... Oh, and don't worry. Someone will get pissed again... or want to advocate for someone and something... and the DMR's political guy, Biff Toemont will have to write another list. (sigh...)

My take on all these lists? Yep. Everyone single one should be on there. All accomplished. All influential no matter how great or worthless you personally believe these people are. I'm as serious as a dry keg 2 hours until kick off when I said that. Are there some folks missing? Yes of course... there's always someone who didn't make Selection Sunday. It's OK... there's always the NIT... but enough of the really lame college basketball references...

You want the list? I'll give you the list... well, at least not the Excel Sheet. No way Homey Jomey from Wyoming. You all aren't that cool enough, sorry. And for some of you reading... that chick still thinks you're a creeper and you can't have her cell phone number. Sorry bro.

You're just gonna have to look 'em all up... and since you clearly have this computer thing called "the internets"... you have access to a little website called "Google." Cmon now, who hooks you up? Say it together friends, "G$ hooks us up."

At the urging of loyal readers... let's do this... And I'm sure you will think my list sucks... but hear me out. I break it down different than others... I hope you people in Story City are able to follow along....

MY STAFF AND CONSULTANT LIST

Here's who makes the cut...

1) Anyone who is from Iowa and who has been a staffer/advisor/consultant, at any level, on any campaign or official office in this state for the past 30 years. I know, you may think that's lame, but its true. And if you don't think so... You're drinking some one's or your own Kool Aid.
2) Out of staters who have spent time here. They learned how to say Nevada and Madrid... They've earned you honorary citizenship. We even like the way you talk funny. Never discount honorary Iowans
3) The ones you haven't heard about yet. I'm talking about the kid who comes from no where and gets more than 700 votes for a candidate down in Van Buren County on Caucus Night. Yeah... freakish good.

THE KEYS TO STAFFS AND CONSULTANTS:

1) You can assemble the best, most accomplished, most decorated political staffs in the history of campaigns for your Iowa Caucus staff. But if you don't have anything to sell (candidate)... you will end up with the Giants and Rangers in your World Series. If you don't get the reference (sigh), this is what it means. You can have the best team money can buy... the New York Yankees of politics... but if your candidate sucks and/or can't connect, you're screwed. Staffers and consultants don't win elections. Candidates and ideas do.
2) It doesn't matter if you've been involved since Reagan or just got the job out of college gig today... to put it simple... And I'll probably be the first to say it, you don't need "caucus experience." For real. You can take an entire day to teach a monkey about the Caucuses... and that monkey will get 10 new precinct leaders, tonight.

MY BIG NAME ENDORSEMENT LIST

Endorsements are pretty simple around here...

1) All current City, County, State and Federally elected officials
2) All former City, County, State and Federally elected officials
3) All former candidates who lost City, County, State and Federal elections
4) All heads of interest groups and their organizations... you name the association or concern... hook it up... on the list
5) Iowa Celebs... Movies stars, Athletes, Coaches or basically someone who has been on TV... once... yeah... we're huckleberries about this stuff... deal with it.
6) "That guys" and "that ladys"... You know... "That guy" who is the president of the Lions Club and serves as township fire chief... Or "that lady" who heads up the library board and is chair of the parks and recreation commission... they know everyone and are respected by everyone in their communities.

THE KEYS TO BIG NAME ENDORSEMENTS

1) Just because so and so is with that candidate doesn't mean instant votes. (that's goes for everyone on this list) There is only one organization that can produce 3,000 solid votes in Iowa. They reside on the Southside of Des Moines and are on the other side of the aisle. Do. Not. Let. Anyone. Tell. You. Different.
2) Elected officials are nice and all... but don't count on them doing a whole hell of a lot. Yes, there are exceptions to the rules... A lot of it has to do with their elected duties is why they can't do so much. That whole time thinger. For real... I'm just saying and the honest ones will tell you the same exact thing.

MY GRASSROOTS LIST

Oh yeah... the ones who give their time for free. The most important list there is on this post...

1) Past and present State Party Leaders (chairs, SCC, ect)... all of them
2) Past and present County Party Leaders (chairs, central committees, delegates, IFRW, ect)
3) Leadership of every single past campaign in the past 20 years (chairs, coalitions, precinct leaders, all of them)
4) Past straw poll and caucus attendees for the past four caucuses
5) Volunteers of every campaign in the state of Iowa for the past 20 years. Yes, all of them. Even those crappy campaigns too... all campaigns have great volunteers. Just like all dogs go to heaven.
6) The new activists who join the cause... this year.
7) And everyone else in between.

THE KEYS TO THE VOLUNTEER LIST

I'll put it simple here for you. If you don't know the keys to every single one of these grassroots volunteer lists... Step aside friend. Let the big kids handle this.

CONCLUSION?

Did I leave anyone off? Oh yeah I did. Some on purpose and some not. Why? Call me John Madden... this is the list that matters. If you can put this list together... call them. Get them on board.... maybe 25%... you too can win the Iowa Caucus.

Yes, I can already hear you typing, "G$!!!!! WHY DID YOU MENTION THIS OR NAMES!!!!" Calm down son... When I say, anyone under the above descriptions.... this is what I mean. All of them. And yes, I'll agree with you, as lame as all this sounds. You really do need Iowans from all of the described lists to win.

And if that is lame to you... or think this is way too simplified. I have a great bridge on Loucst Street I want to sell you. I'll give you a good price on it.

Stay thirsty my friends.

12/11/10

Driving with Bob Feller...

I was bummed to hear that the legendary Bob Feller was moved to hospice the other day. And yes... maybe I'm "going Iowan on you"... but this dude is awesome.

We all know his story. Amazing arm... he probably could pierce brick walls with his pitches. But on top of all the strike outs, no hitters and all the things that make him the epic hall of famer that he is... You baseball historians also know that left the game for four seasons during arguably the peak of his career. The Heater from Van Meter signed up for the Navy THE DAY after Pearl Harbor. Becoming the first Major League player to sign up and fight. Talk about bad ass. Over to you Ricky Stanzi. After his decorated stint in the Navy, he came back to doing what he did best... dominating the mound.

Anyways... anytime I hear the name Bob Feller... I'm always reminded of one my early and favorite experiences on the campaign trail.

I was a young college punk when I joined John Kasich for President in 1999. (yes, for you people smirking at home, John Kasich briefly ran for president). Rapid Robert endorsed Kasich early and did appearances for the campaign. It was mid summer and we had a tour for Kasich as we were building up our Ames Straw Poll efforts... and Bob Feller was going to tag along.

A week before our tour, Kasich dropped out of the race and endorsed George W. Bush. But we had already sent the postcards for all of the house parties. Our supporters were bummed John decided to get out of the race, but still wanted host John at their homes. So the campaign decided to make it a farewell tour... And Bob was still willing to tag along.

The day before the last day of the tour we were up in Humboldt County. I was a make shift advance man for the day. Just lending in on what needed to be done. The schedule was an event in Dakota City and end up in Des Moines for a staff dinner with John and Bob at the Iowa Beef Steakhouse on Euclid (great joint if you've never been).

The event up north ended and this is when I was told, "You're going to drive Mr. Feller back to Des Moines." Insert instant feeling of awesome. Good thing I cleaned my car the night before! After being given my instructions... Mr Feller and I jumped in my red Cutlass Supreme (great car) we were on our way. Was told Bob might wanna stop and check out some farm machinery along the way, which was fine. We had all afternoon to get back to Des Moines. (awesome sidenote, you can take the farm kid out of Iowa... but never the Iowa out of the farm kid, right?)

So we were on the road.

Bob was reading the newspaper and I'm just kind of freaking out... in a good way. For the first 15 minutes of the trip, we didn't talk much. I didn't think he would want some young punk political hack being all chatty. Which is when I started saying in my head, "DUDE, you have BOB FREAKING FELLER in your car! When are you ever going to be doing this again?!"

So I started the small talk. And then... we started chatting it up. "Hey Mr. Feller, you knew Babe Ruth, didn't you?" "George?" Feller smiled. "Yep, good man." And it was on. You name the legend? He knew him and had a story. I started rattling all of them off.

"Hey Mr. Feller, Ty Cobb. Everyone says he was a jerk, is that true." He smiled again. "Well, I got along with him. He was a great player."

"Joe DiMaggio, you knew him too?" Remember, Joltin' Joe had just passed away in the spring of that year. He again replied with a smile, "Joe and I were great friends. We went out to dinner all the time if we were in New York or they were in Cleveland."

The great thing about guys like Bob Feller, they love telling stories... and his are off the charts.

"So, when you went out for dinner, did you meet Marilyn Monroe?" "Yes, when they were married, on many occasions."

While I soaked up in my brush with greatness road trip with Bob... I couldn't stop thinking, "Dude, you are in the car. With a legend. And you are having a conversation about Marilyn Monroe. This is epic before things became epic." I kept asking, he kept answering. I'll never forget that trip. We made it back to Des Moines, scored steaks on the Eastside, such a good day. A great freaking day.

The last day of the Kasich-Feller tour ended at my parents' house up in Jewell. We had a great crowd... not only for John and Bob... but the Nadas were going to play in the backyard. You see, we had them signed to play the Straw Poll for Kasich... and since that wasn't going to happen... they played to end the tour.

It was you know, a typical event up in God's Country, Iowa. A politician... pork burgers... a living legend signing baseballs... a good band playing. No big whoop. (smirk)

I'll never forget the way Feller was with everyone on that day and on that tour. Always gracious. Always took a picture when asked. My Grandpa scored a click. I think he was pretty excited. That picture of him and Bob is still up on my Grandma's fridge. Not only was he meeting a great baseball hero of his... but a fellow Navy guy who served in World War II. It was pretty cool.

Anyways... anytime I hear Bob Feller's name... It takes me back to our little road trip. And again, I'll never forget it.

Here's to you Mr. Feller. I hope you're spending your time being comfortable. You're one of the greatest people I've met. Warm wishes and thoughts to you, your family and friends.