CL at the RNC: Dear Diary, Day Two

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Ever question your sanity whilst wandering around an unfamiliar neighborhood, wondering why, despite a relative dearth of intoxicants in your system, a 12-hour day preceded by four hours of sleep preceded by a 15-hour day (etc.) you are still not only standing, but a little wired?

We woke up on day two of the Republican National Convention a few minutes before the alarm, which we never do unless we are really fucking excited about something.

And, once again, our excitement was warranted.

7 a.m., Kalahari Resort, Sandusky.

An hour outside of town, the California delegation gives the words "RNC shitshow" a new meaning, courtesy of norovirus (seriously, get well, guys).

8:15 a.m., Embassy Suites Cleveland, BFE.

Breakfast. Not for us, obviously, but the Florida delegation.

Florida Secretary of Agriculture Adam Putnam hosted them in a banquet hall on the bottom floor of the hotel where the delegation was staying about half an hour outside of town. Our kind Uber driver went out of his way to get our bleary, sleep-deprived ass there on time.

Putnam poked fun at his cohorts for having tied one on the previous night, in celebration of the first night of the convention. 

His cohorts in turn noshed on waffles and quaffed the offerings of the nearby bloody Mary and mimosa bars.

Nearly stealing the show from the waffles were former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and former Republican Congressman Allen West, formerly of Palm Beach County.

Both talked about their love of Jesus and their hate of secularist commies or some such, but mention of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was nil.

click to enlarge Gentle Ben captivates the crowd. - Kate Bradshaw
Kate Bradshaw
Gentle Ben captivates the crowd.

We also noted that there were only two Republican Congressmen from Florida in attendance — Ted Yoho and Jeff Miller; usual suspects, basically. Dreamy current House Speaker Steve Crisafulli attended as well.

In conjunction with the breakfast's theme — Fresh from Florida or something — there was orange juice as well as orange...flowers. They were fresh, so we stole a sprig of yellow spray roses and tucked them behind our left ear.

On the way out, we spotted State Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.

Noon? Downtown.

We arrive safely to downtown Cleveland from our BFE dispatch courtesy of another courteous Uber driver.

Still wired, we scope out the scene: still weird, still colorful, still wonderful. We get lunch.

Maybe we'll finally check out that killer exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later.

A bit later.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a long-ish but pleasant hike from the restaurant where we're currently situated. There's an exhibit there we've been meaning to cover, but there's so effingmuch going on this week it's been hard to get over to the attraction. But let's give it a shot, man.

A bit later.

click to enlarge Shit got real. Almost. - Kate Bradshaw
Kate Bradshaw
Shit got real. Almost.

A block into said sojourn, it was clear some shit was going down in Town Square, another major public park with a tall statue featuring an historic dude.

Law enforcement officials were asses to elbows in our immediate vicinity, clenching the public space around bullhorn-wielding protesters. This is, after all, the place to partake in the exercise of the rights entitled to us all under the first two amendments. At least in this cramped "free speech zone," which is also a free gun zone.

According to multiple witnesses with whom we spoke, anti-Trump protesters and open-carry dudes got into a near tussle. Yet it seemed like there were more cops there than protesters/open carriers.

Peace was kept.

A bit later.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was on the scene, mocking the Westboro Baptist Church at the same site as protesters/open-carriers cleared out, using the same sorts of visuals and placards to mock the church's bigotry. 

Placards featured such phrases as "God hates morning people." 

Our kind of protest.

4:15, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

We thought we'd have this place to ourself, and the idea was to check out the exhibit, "Louder than Words: Rock, Power and Politics."

Instead, we happened upon a fancy soiree with free drinks and proceeded to what we assumed would be the right place, but wound up wandering among the regular collection. John Lee Hooker's guitar. Dee Dee Ramone's bass. The front of Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty's bass drum. Jimi Hendrix's psychedelic velvet outfits. 

It was heaven. Just heaven.

But, also, a wormhole. We'll go back later.

click to enlarge I'm home. Just let me stay here a while. Please. - Kate Bradshaw
Kate Bradshaw
I'm home. Just let me stay here a while. Please.

6 p.m., just outside the perimeter.

Code Pink protesters, who are killing it this week, marry two of the things we most associate with Donald Trump: balls and walls.

click to enlarge A police officer tries to wrestle a pink tennis ball outside of a Code Pink protester's hand Tuesday evening. - Joeff Davis
Joeff Davis
A police officer tries to wrestle a pink tennis ball outside of a Code Pink protester's hand Tuesday evening.

7:12 p.m., the Belly of the Beast.

It's officially official. It's so tremendously official you don't even know. Nothing's ever been this official before, believe me.

Trump is the nominee despite protests from delegates in Alaska and the like.

click to enlarge Meanwhile, outside the arena: Brekkie, anyone? - Kate Bradshaw
Kate Bradshaw
Meanwhile, outside the arena: Brekkie, anyone?

8 p.m., the Belly, continued.

The second lengthy slog through a list of bullshitters commences, starting with RNC co-chair Sharon Day (who calls the Sunshine State home) and ending with a headliner, ...actress Kimberlin Brown? Among names of people we actually know, there was Ben Carson (who, as noted above, tried to lull us to sleep 12 hours prior) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader made word-like noises as well.

And though the theme here tonight is "Make America Work Again," it was more like "Make Bad Hillary Jokes Again." 

The big deal of the night is that Trump's kids spoke, well, the less famous ones anyway. We notice that Tiffany Trump reminds us of Bunny Lebowski. Like, a lot. "My dad doesn't care about anything. He's a nihilist," we imagine her saying.

click to enlarge Trumplings? Trumpdashians? - Joeff Davis
Joeff Davis
Trumplings? Trumpdashians?

Hour undisclosed.

It's well past beer thirty. On our way to the train station, we pass two strippers dressed like dinosaurs (unfortunately the cell phone photos we snapped were too dark).

What does that even mean? 

We don't know, but it seems an apt metaphor for the absurd comedy we've been honored to witness this week.

Wednesday's events are promising, and culminate with a speech by V.P. nominee and current Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Florida Republicans will be there in full force, including Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Senator Marco Rubio.

Oh, and Texas Sen. Ted "Grandpa Munster" Cruz will be there to help us all get our Jesus on. Lovely.

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