Meatballs – Part Deux

Son Number 2 returned from his summer camp adventure this morning, slightly burned, somewhat itchy, and grinning from ear to ear. Details of the week are sparse. I’m sure there’s more information coming from Guantanamo detainees than he’s going to provide. But there were mentions of shaving cream wars and the construction of a giant mud slide on a hill which they body surfed down – which makes me glad his mom is stuck with his laundry. He was a “senior” this year (albeit, a junior senior apparently), and I guess there are advantages to being the BMOC. Seniors get their own campfire party at which they perform skits. It sounds a bit like an episode of Who’s Line for pre-teens, which is right up my budding actor’s alley. There was also a mention of a barn dance, but the details on that are sketchy.

By far the most disturbing thing I heard was the lunchtime verbal competition the two boys were having today over the “exotic” cuisine they tried at their respective camps. We’re not talking chilled monkey brains here or even borscht. They were standing up chicken tenders dipped in mayo against cheese fries. I really have to get these guys out more often.

The Boys of Summer

My eldest spent last week at swim camp with four of his buddies. I had the pleasure of taking the neo-testosterone laden crew up to my family’s cottage for a day beforehand as it was near where the camp was located. The six of us packed in the truck and headed north. Much as you would expect with teenage boys, they broke into the food before we had driven past the edge of our small village. The eating continued pretty much non-stop for the next 3 hours, as did the buffoonery. There was the usual mix of friendly jibes and barbs, peppered with idle chatter.

Several of the boys have girlfriends now which is a source of mystery as well as a lightening rod for being teased. I overheard one boy saying how his girlfriend had a look that when used caused him to be unable to say “no”. He was asking if any of the other guys had ever seen anything like that. I took the opportunity to offer the observation that if they hadn’t, they would. All women have this look. It’s genetic. Some wield it for fun, others for profit. The trick is to run from the latter, as you’re pretty much powerless against it. Get used to it.

Then at other times, the boys regressed more into child-like behavior. Going through one village, they put all the windows down and were hanging their heads out like a rolling kennel full of dogs. Following that, they took to waving at people on the street or in cars, and would giggle when they got someone to wave back. As a parent, it was nice to see the balance.

On a whole, they were a very polite, courteous, and well mannered bunch. A credit to their parents, all. I was happy to have them in my charge for a week. It’s good to know that my son has good taste in friends.

I picked them up at the end of the camp, and they were a bit more subdued for the return trip. They went to enhance their swimming, but the highlights being relived in the truck seemed to have more to do with ping-pong, foosball, and the all-you-can-eat buffet at mealtime. Boys will be boys in any generation. However, one of them was in desperate need of a shave when I picked them up. Which served to remind me, boys won’t be boys for too very much longer.

Going Solo

Michael Bloomberg announced his departure from the GOP yesterday, and the news is abuzz with what-ifs about a potential ’08 Presidential run as an Independent. Bloomberg presents an interesting case. He was most recently a Republican, but holds the job of Mayor of probably the most Democratic city in the U.S. Also, his views are decidedly liberal and he has a long history as a Democrat prior to the run for Mayor. Would he be a spoiler? Maybe, but it’s not clear to who. It would be interesting to see Rudy Giuliani have to run against him. The battle of the two liberal GOP NYC mayors. Especially since Bloomberg knows first hand the mess that Giuliani left behind. But NY is not a popular state on the national scene and the idea of up to three major candidates all hailing from NY could spell trouble for everyone.

To me, the most interesting aspect of a potential Bloomberg run is that it could be self-funded. This would remove him from being beholden to donors post-election, and might help break some of the political stranglehold that corporate and special interest lobbies have on the federal government.

Yet I wonder, given the way that states allow only two parties to control much of the election process, is anyone really electable from a third party? Ross Perot was well funded as well, but still failed to get on all the state ballots. It would seem that for anyone to get elected from a third party, it would require someone of enormous popularity. Someone who literally dwarfed the other major party candidates in terms of charisma, stage presence, poise, and good looks. Because let’s face it, good ideas are secondary to delivering sound bites with credibility and savoir faire in this country. All of which leads me to believe that if Michael Bloomberg really wants to finance a 3rd party candidacy, he should focus on getting Martin Sheen or Harrison Ford to run.