The New Convention Center

Here’s the thing. It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the arguments. Clearly, the old convention center is inadequate. And, yes, people are always going to want to go someplace where they can see all the new boats or all the new RVs or what-have-you. But, as I said this morning, I’m just not sure that the meeting-based convention is going to come back as strong as it was. Being able to sit at your own desk and go home to your own bed has some great advantages from an employee point of view and knowing that you’re not sending your employees on a company-funded vacation has some real advantages from an employer point of view.

I think we also have to face the Bozo quotient. If Tennessee continues to be the go-to state for people to get quotes about how Obama is a secret Muslim who hates Charlie Brown (and he’s black!!!!) and how we hate foreigners and outsiders and liberals and gays, that’s going to limit the pool of conferences and conventions that will come here. That’s just a fact. People are not going to want to send people to a place where they feel unsafe and unwelcome.

Now, I think we all know the state is going to go GOP in the next election and I think we all know what the worst of our Republicans (who have great knacks for getting on national TV are like).

A new convention center might be a good thing. I honestly don’t know.

But I don’t see how we can even begin to guess under these circumstances. If and when the economy comes back, will conventions come back with them?  If they do, will they be the same kinds and the same scale? If we’ve given over the state to folks like Stacey Campfield, will folks want to come to Nashville? If they do come and they bring their families, will we have the public transportation infrastructure to get them out of their hotels and to the nifty family stuff we have to do or are we going to have a reputation as a city where you either have to rent a car or you have to content yourself to being trapped within walking distance of your hotel?

I know other people feel certain that we should absolutely not do this.

I admit to being less certain, but I really, really do wish that we had a couple of more years to decide, to see how things shake out, before we make a decision.

Anyway, I don’t know. I made the mistake of looking at the Nashville’s Priorities website and that billion dollars thing is really sticking in my craw. We’ve got kids who didn’t have school books for almost a month at the beginning of school. Driving down 18th Avenue is like a lesson in all the different ways a road surface can self-destruct. We need sidewalks all over the place. The Parks budget is still fucked. etc. etc. etc.

And I know it’s not as easy as moving this money to those things.

But there’s something fundamentally wrong with building attractions for people who have jobs to fly in and play in while our children suffer from shitty educations and the prospects of people in our state getting to have jobs that fly them places to play continues to be dim.

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My Trip to Liberadio!

So, I got up this morning and rushed almost completely soaking wet over to the WRVU studio to be on Liberadio. It was awesome. First, they gave me these giant headphones, which were too big for me. Now, I mention this because, as you know, I had been living under the assumption that I had the world’s biggest head, but, if they make headphones too big for me, not only does that mean that I don’t have the world’s biggest head, but that someone at Vanderbilt has a head larger than mine!

Then, I sat down on this little rolly seat and their engineer got the mic and the webcam all set up. Freddie was sitting next to me and Mary was across the console from us. The coolest thing about it was getting to see Mary and Freddie work together and just the ease with which they do so and the fun they were having while they were doing it. It was a little bit like watching a baseball team when they get into the groove, every ball thrown and caught with this real elegance.

And it was cool to be in on that. I don’t know. I’m totally fan-girling out here, but it’s one thing to know your friends do something cool. But it’s another thing to be a part of it, to see them in action.

Chaos in the Kitchen!

I had been feeding the two big cats in the kitchen and the new kitty in the Butcher’s room, in part to make sure that the new kitty would take her medicine. But today she came galloping into the kitchen to eat with the other cats. So, I put her at one plate and them at another. It went hilariously poorly. Everyone hissed at everyone else. The orange cat hissed at the new kitty. The new kitty hissed at the tiny cat. The tiny cat hissed at the orange cat. Everyone’s fur puffed out so that everyone looked twice their size.

And then the two older cats rushed into the dining room and the living room as if to say “Check out our hierarchy!” by sitting in their normal spots. And the tiny kitty was then all “Oh, are you leaving all this food for me?” Which, I guess, they were, because now they’re sulking.

In other news, Mount Richmore?! See, this is the thing that drives me crazy about John Rich. That is so fucking obnoxious. Mount Richmore. And yet, also, hilarious.  I also love the quotes Dru got. I wonder how that plays, a couple of rich guys sitting around talking about how someone’s going to have to be strong enough to turn down federal mandates, when people are suffering.

It’s like people who are still harping on foodstamps and welfare and how people should just get jobs.

You wonder at what point that will sound to voters like “let them eat cake.”

And Nate Rau is reporting about how the city is going to divert money from attractions locals actually use to help fund a convention center that locals will rarely use. Nice.

In slightly related news, the Mayor might want to bone up on the term “webinar.” Previous to this year, I had not heard of it. In the last half of this year, I have had at least one a month. They are free. And they mean my boss doesn’t have to fly me some place to meet with people for six hours. I can sit at my desk and meet with them one hour here and one hour there.

The trade show convention may bounce back, but the meeting convention, with a show attached?

Even when the economy comes back around, I don’t see why my boss would pay for me to go some place when people have discovered a way for me to sit at my desk and get the same information and discussion.