Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reflections on the Rally to Restore Sanity

So ... why, exactly, did I go to the Rally to Restore Sanity? The only answer I have is, “Because Jon Stewart asked me to!” For at least the last 6 or 7 years I’ve relied on Jon Stewart and The Daily Show to be the voice of reason and to restore my faith in the general United States population whenever it wavered. When Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist, there was Jon Stewart making it laughable. When Keith Olbermann called Republican Scott Brown "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model”, there was Jon Stewart the next night with a parody. When everyone was pointing fingers during the financial meltdown, there was Jon Stewart hammering Jim Cramer of Mad Money who openly encouraged short-selling by hedge funds as a means to generate profits. And when President Obama inexplicably stated that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” when they arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates as he tried to break in to his own home, Jon Stewart commented, “I also don't have all the facts, but I think it's fair to say that Obama handled that question -- oh, what's the word I'm looking for -- stupidly?"

That’s the truly refreshing thing about Jon Stewart: he plays no favorites. To be sure, he’s a liberal Democrat, but he will skewer anybody or anything that is idiotic, illogical, or just plain stupid, whether it’s the NYC mosque hysteria, the ponderous speaking of John Kerry, Rick Sanchez having himself tased on CNN, John McCain’s willingness to backtrack on any issue in order to stay elected, or NPR’s firing of Juan Williams. After watching an episode of The Daily Show I usually find myself thinking, “Yes! People do get it, they do recognize the insanity! Things aren’t so bad …

So when Jon Stewart suggested a rally at the National Mall for anyone who was frustrated and/or disgusted by the insanity of our national discourse, I knew I had to be there. And I’m damn glad that I went! While it couldn’t possibly compare to the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama almost two years ago, it had the same underlying vibe. The Metro was packed, there were crowds of people marching in the streets, everyone was happy and smiling, and a good time was had by all.

Surprisingly (and noteworthy!), the Rally did not target any specific personalities of the far left or far right. Not Glenn Beck, not Sarah Palin, not Keith Olbermann, not Rush Limbaugh, not Nancy Pelosi, not Christine O'Donnell, not George Bush … not even Joe the Plumber! Instead, ideas were attacked, intolerance was attacked, and inciting baseless fear was attacked, using comedy sketches, video montages and, in one case, a “poem”. Like The Daily Show, it was both funny and deadly serious.

Jon Stewart ended with a short speech that did a great job of summarizing why over 200,000 people traveled to the National Mall on a Saturday afternoon in October. If you haven’t seen it, click here and view it on the Comedy Central website. It's the clip labeled "Jon Stewart - Moment of Sincerity" and it’s worth hearing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On the way to the Rally

Some clever signs!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to the family, Rachael Gilmartin!

Congratulations to Ashling Gilmartin and Tomas Munnelly on the birth of their daughter, Rachael. Rachael was born at 5am on September 14, 2010, and is my newest third cousin once removed. Test your skills and see if you can locate her on the Family Tree. (Hint: start at the dead center.) She looks like this:

Unfortunately, that doesn't give you the slightest clue as to how cute Rachael is in real life!

Welcome, Rachael ... hope to see you in person some day soon!

Rally To Restore Sanity!

I know that you all wish you could be at this event, but rest assured that the Extended Mullen Family will be well-represented at the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, DC. tomorrow. Tom and Mary Kinslow, Marilynn and I will be crashing at Chris Kreamer's house in DC for the weekend and checking out the Rally from noon until 3pm. For those of you who may not know what this Rally is all about, click here for the official web page and here for a fairly short but accurate analysis of what it's all about.

To tell you the truth, though, I'm not sure what to expect. Sure, there will be Tea-Party bashing and a stream of jokes at the expense of Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, but how could there not be? But I'm also expecting the ineptitude and political cowardice of the Democratic Party to be skewered as well. That's the genius of Jon Stewart and what sets him apart from other pundits. Like The Daily Show, I'm expecting the Rally to be funny, silly, occasionally vulgar, but, at its heart, thought provoking and deadly serious in its attempt to point out the truly asinine actions and statements that dominate the U.S. political process. In short, this should be both fun and a catharsis.

I'll do my best to post a couple of blog entries tomorrow to give you a little flavor of the event. Or, even better, just turn on Comedy Central tomorrow at noon at watch it yourself!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Kirkwood!

Cara Mullen and Christopher Kirkwood were married on Saturday evening, October 23, in Syracuse, NY. My iPhone, incredibly handy for so many things, came up woefully short in the picture department. As such, the only wedding photo I have (above) is courtesy of my sister, Karen McGarvey. Rest assured that additional photos will eventually make their way to the Mullenium website.

I think it's safe to say that everyone at the wedding had a tremendous time, and not just because it was an open bar (although that certainly didn't hurt). The food was excellent, the company was outstanding, and, other than one glaring exception, the dance floor was packed. That one exception? When Cara and Chris were blindfolded and swinging a stick in a vain attempt to break a piñata! I may be wrong, but I'm betting that's the first time that a piñata has made an appearance at a Mullen wedding!! Other highlights:
  • Cara with a picture of her late father and my brother, Tom, in her wedding bouquet.
  • Aunt Mary, at 89, being helped out to the dance floor (at her request) for one dance.
  • Aunt Nancy, at 82, coming off a marathon session on the dance floor and saying to me, "I used to be able to dance five fast ones in a row; now, I can only do three!"
  • The DJ playing the entire 7 minute album version of "Light My Fire" by The Doors. In honor of my brother, Tom, every one of my brothers and sisters were out on the dance floor.
  • An impromptu Rockettes-style leg kick dance to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" by a bunch of New York Mullens who should have known better. No, our kicks were not "eye-high".
  • A heartfelt toast to the mother of the bride, Janet Mullen, by my sister Chris Kreamer.
Following the reception, a large contingent of the family -- including the bride and groom! -- made their way to the hotel bar and continued the party. A bunch of pizzas were ordered and we conversated, laughed, and played pool until about 2:30 in the morning when the bartender (who had mistakenly thought that he would have an early night) finally kicked everyone out.

But the wedding festivities weren't over yet! At 10am the next morning Janet hosted a brunch in a private room in the hotel. Over 60 people -- including the bride and groom! -- showed up. Everyone laughed and ate and conversated for another 2 hours until we all finally packed up and began heading back home.

For those of you in the family who need a little orientation on how Chris and Cara fit on the Mullen Family Tree, click on the excerpt below of the NY branch of the Philadelphia Mullens: