One Thousand Page Views In One Day!

Wow. Just wow. When I started this blog back in 2016, I got 963 page views for the whole year. Yesterday I surpassed 1,000 in one day! I’m absolutely amazed.

I’ve had some great traffic days in the last six months, but never reached this height before. 

I am so grateful to everyone who takes the time to read, subscribe, and like my blog!

This is an extra special Thanksgiving holiday because I have so much to be thankful for.

I’ll continue to bring you the most interesting content I can come up with for your reading pleasure. 2021 is right around the corner, and we’ll all grow together.

Thank you, one and all!

Charles

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Thanksgiving Tradition

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s one from 2017

My family has always celebrated Thanksgiving, but Christmas was always our big holiday. I’m always welcome at my older sister Janice’s house every year. She has a big house and we refer to her place as Holiday Headquarters. There was one year many years ago when I was invited to go to my other sister Gabrielle’s house all the way down in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Back then I was newly divorced, and I just didn’t feel like making the drive all the way down there. My daughter was little then and with her Mom and that side of the family for Thanksgiving. I was just happy that my ex-wife was out of the house and out of my life for that matter. I was looking forward to a day of listening to music, watching movies, and eating and drinking. I like to be alone. I’m a very social animal, and I get my energy from those around me, but I just wanted a day of sweet nothing and solitude.

I lived in Woodbury, NJ back then. I drove over to the local convenient store and picked up a box of frozen Ellio’s Pizza. It’s a cheap and tasty treat I have loved since I was a lad. The lady at the counter says, “I hope you’re not eating that for Thanksgiving!” I coolly replied, “Oh, no. My daughter loves these things. I always keep them in for her.” (a bald-faced lie)

That night I happily sat on my sofa watching some cool movies, drinking Ketel One vodka and tonics, and eating my delicious Ellio’s Pizza. I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. I was grateful to have a family that cared about me and most of all that little Lorelei was in the world.

So I joked around with my sisters about that day, and of course, they felt bad for me. They didn’t want me eating frozen pizza and drinking liquor by myself on Thanksgiving, but that’s what I really wanted to do that day. So it’s sort of becoming a family joke every year for Thanksgiving. It came up again this year when I declined my sister’s invitation. It’s not that I didn’t want to see her, but I’ve seen her a lot lately, and my parents have passed, so what’s the point? Once the main anchors of a family die, usually the children retreat to their own little families. She understood and we’ll all get together at her annual holiday party in December at Holiday Headquarters.

I went to the Midtown Diner and had a huge breakfast at the counter. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and french toast. It’s too much food, but I crushed it all and it was delicious. I went back to my house and did some writing. Lorelei escaped the clutches of having to spend Thanksgiving with her mother. She went to her boyfriend’s mother’s house. She’s a hard-core vegan and made some really creative dishes. I’m glad she’s happy and I’m sure they were glad to have her there for the holiday.

I finished a chapter and wanted to get something to eat around 4:30. I left the house and walked down to South street. Everything was closed, but I didn’t feel like going into Walgreens where I’d have to get something to heat up or bake in the oven. Then I looked to the left and remembered there was a new 7-Eleven a block away.

I stopped in and was surprised at all of the people in there buying stuff. Maybe I could start a little Thanksgiving club with them. They could come over with a load of 7-Eleven food and I’d supply the booze. I picked up some things and headed back to the house.

The city was deserted. Dark and eerily quiet because everybody was off doing their family things. I got home, went to my desk, and fired up an old episode of Columbo on Netflix. I poured myself a vodka and club soda. I don’t drink Ketel One anymore at home. Too expensive. I only have it out now in a martini, straight up with a twist. My current brand is Platinum X7 by Sazerac. A 1.75 bottle is $20. My favorite thing to mix it with is Polar club soda with lemon that I buy by the liter at Walgreens. I tore open the small bag of Lay’s potato chips. Then opened the box that contained the quarter-pound 7-Eleven hot dog, and spread mustard along its length.

Changed it up this year! Wanted to send a pic to all of my sisters but decided against it.

A man who can sit in a room alone and be satisfied is a man who has found inner peace.” – My Dad

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Romantic Thanksgiving Date Ideas

A lot of people believe that Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless you spend it stuffing yourself silly with food, surrounded by annoying uncles and aunts. But for couples without children or whose families are far away, Thanksgiving can be a wonderful opportunity to spend some romantic time together without distractions. So skip all of the stress this Thanksgiving and plan a special day for just the two of you with one of the ideas below.

Cook a meal together for two

While playing hostess to your in-laws and simultaneously cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 10 may seem like a recipe for a panic attack, cooking a turkey together with your best guy is filled with sexy opportunities. Envision sipping wine together as you stir the cranberry sauce and let your imagination run wild!

Have someone cook a meal for you

For those of you who think cooking is a chore rather than a delight, there’s nothing like enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner out on the town. Simply make a reservation, show-up and voila! While other women are spending the day slaving over a stove, you and your man can enjoy all of the pleasures of eating a five-course, candle-lit meal with none of the work.

Stay at a B&B

Holidays are so few and far between, why not extend your Thanksgiving into a Thanks-weekend and spend four days being thankful you’re not at home?

Go somewhere warm

Or even better, chuck the idea of a traditionally chilly Thanksgiving and relax the weekend away, basking in the sun at a tropical resort. The trees may not change color in Florida or the Bahamas, but there is still a lot of holiday cheer to be found there.

Watch a parade

You don’t even need to go anywhere to enjoy a romantic Thanksgiving. Sipping hot chocolate and holding hands together while watching a local parade can be just as lovely.

Or snuggle on the couch

Don’t even get dressed! Thanksgiving is one holiday that’s made for sleeping in, so don’t hesitate to ignore that alarm for once. You can always TiVo the parade and watch it later.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen

For couples in pursuit of the true meaning of Thanksgiving, soup kitchens and charity organizations are always in need of volunteers on the holiday when attendance is even higher than usual.

Go see a movie

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is going out to the movies with my boyfriend, just the two of us.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

The Big Flamingo

Wildwood, New Jersey – 1971

This little story takes place a year after my father bought the house at the shore in Wildwood. It was a magical time. We were the only kids I knew that had a shore house and could disappear from the neighborhood in Philly for the entire summer. I remember when I would come home at the end of August my friend RJ didn’t even recognize me at first. “All I saw was this kid with a brown face with white hair!” That’s how tan we all were when we got home after spending July and August on the beach.

Undated Travel Souvenir Brochure Boat Cruises Capt George Sinns Big Flamingo NJ - Advintage Plus

My family obviously wanted to take advantage of all of the wonderful activities the seashore had to offer. The boardwalk, with is wonderful amusement rides and games of chance, the beach, Winterwood, Cape May, mini-golf, and movies.

One day I was probably working on the architectural design of some elaborate sandcastle with my dad and sisters. This cool refurbished blue PT boat cruised by out beyond the waves. I asked my father about it and he told me it was an old warship converted into a sightseeing boat.

j7p3T.jpg

It looked fun, but there was an even bigger boat that did tours through the inland waterway and out into the ocean for the tourists. That was the Big Flamingo.  I always thought it was called the pink flamingo because of its obvious color, but that’s the real name.

1980 Capt. Sinn's Big Flamingo Sightseeing Cruiser Boat Wildwood Crest NJ PC | eBay

I wanted to take a ride on the pink one because it was bigger and looked cooler. I remember reading about it in a brochure we had lying around the house. The tri screw, twin-engine sounded like the more powerful ship. I wasn’t a fan of heights or deep water so the bigger boat just seemed safer to me.

Capt. George Sinn’s “Big Flamingo”. The Wildwoods’ largest sightseeing cruiser – the 85 foot triple Diesel Air Sea Rescue boat, the former P444, sails 10:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. daily from Sinn’s Dock, Cardinal Road, and Park Boulevard, Wildwood Crest, New Jersey.

So dad took us out on the Big Flamingo one evening. My mom didn’t go because she stayed home with baby Gabrielle. I also believe like me, my mom didn’t like feeling dizzy or off balance. We both ate Dramamine for long car rides and always felt a little nauseous when it came to any kind of weird motion.

Illness caused by motion during travel. Travel by car, air, or boat all can cause motion sickness. Motion sickness usually goes away when the motion stops. Symptoms include fatigue, uneasiness, dizziness, and vomiting.
Focusing the eyes on objects straight ahead may help. Avoid overeating, alcohol, and smoking before travel. Oral or patch medications can prevent or treat symptoms.

I remember she once told me that she went out to a restaurant with my dad at a nice restaurant near a harbor. She said she could see the boats going up and down outside the window and she started feeling seasick. We were the same when it came to any unstable movement in our surroundings.

But Dramamine never came into play when thoughts of going out on a huge ship that toured the bay and then a little bit out into the ocean and back. Me, Janice, April and my dad all went on the cruise and it was amazing! It was the first time I’d ever been on a boat and it was super fun! Another great tradition was born for our summers in Wildwood!

Here’s a cute little song to go with the above story.

 

Wildwood, New Jersey – 1972

Wildwood NJ BIG FLAMINGO boat cruise showcard original | #42663641

Here we are a year later and one of the things we kids definitely wanted to do was get back on the Big Flamingo! Capt. Sinn’s giant tour boat docked back in Otten’s Harbor.

So, one fine evening we all headed over there to board the boat for another cool adventure.

Off we go on the boat and it cruises along in the bay through the inland waterway. It was a lovely evening as the sun set over the grassy sound. Good times!

As we rounded the southwestern point of the island, down around Diamond Beach beyond Wildwood Crest, we entered the Atlantic Ocean. This was the best part of the tour. As twilight approached, the ship headed northward, and if you looked off to your left you could see the whole boardwalk. It was a dazzling vision of lights, amusement rides, and music. Probably the best view of Wildwood at night from afar. A view you’d never get to see as a kid.

My favorite spot to stand on the deck was in the absolute front of the bow. It was the best place to be on the ship. You really experienced the power of the ship cutting through the ocean.

But what began to happen was completely unexpected. The ship began to encounter ground swells. A groundswell is a long-period group of waves created by a distant storm system over long distances, at least 2,000 miles away from the coast. The majority of groundswells are produced by mid-latitude depressions between 30 and 60 degrees, and travel from west to east, swinging towards the Equator.

No one told me this could happen, but there was no way anyone could have known what was happening. What this means is, instead of the big ship cruising along placidly in the sea, it begins to go up and down in a sickening repetitive movement. Not little rolling waves. I’m talking this huge ship goes up two stories and then comes back down, causing a jarring feeling in your stomach. This happens over, and over, and over again. This is how people become seasick. It’s a normal occurrence, but being a kid I was absolutely terrified.

My dad told me to stay where I was and just ride it out. I think what made it so horrifying for me was, last year I had a great time. I felt safe and had a wonderful time. Now I was stuck on a boat in the ocean and it felt like it was out of control. It doesn’t matter how big the boat is, it’s simply no match for the power of the sea. If it wants to toss you around, it’s going to. There’s nothing you can do but ride it out.

Apparently, people were getting sick all over the boat. At least I wasn’t alone. My dad and sister Janice were close by, but it was the unexpected, trapped feeling that gripped me. That was the worst part. It was a sudden horror that washed over me again and again.

The captain turned the ship around halfway through the tour and headed back to the bay. We had nearly made it back into the calm water of the bay when I began vomiting. I just chundered right over the side. The wind was blowing, and I remember my dad trying to catch the blowback of my technicolor yawn with his hands. He just didn’t want my puke to splash back on the other guests. (Always the respectful gentleman)

I felt a bit better when we finally got back to the dock, but was badly shaken by this experience. I had always had anxiety since I was little and this sort of event really rattled my psyche. My sister Janice was fine and I think April was okay as well, but I felt a bit shattered after that event. My mind went from trusting a fun event that turned into a terrifying, embarrassing nightmare the second time around.

These are the type of wacky events you laugh off after they happen and you simply chalk them up to, “well, that was awful.”

But the next morning I woke up with an anxiety attack. I didn’t know what anxiety was back then. I was just overcome with sudden fear again. People who don’t suffer from anxiety simply don’t understand. They’re all fine the next day. Me… basket case. That feeling of losing control or going crazy. Heart palpitations or chest pain. Feeling like you’re going to pass out. Trouble breathing or choking sensations are all part of those types of attacks.

It actually traumatized me. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt nauseous. I felt fear. I didn’t want to go to the beach, or near any kind of water. It was an overwhelming post-traumatic terror I had never felt before. But of course, nobody else understands it because they aren’t afflicted with that sort of chemical makeup in their brains. It really sucks.

But my mom was very understanding and just let me take it easy for a couple of days around the house and neighborhood. My mom and I shared some of the same fears and it runs in our side of the family. On the other hand, my father and sister Janice are more stable and they simply go forward. Little April was unaffected by it all because she’s simply tough.

After a few days, my father wanted to take us over to a spot called Dad’s Place Marina. It was a great spot to go with family & friends. Everybody knew about the place but I had never been there. I had heard it was a neat place to go fishing and especially crabbing. I had never gone crabbing but it sounded like a fun thing to do.

My dad had found a couple of old metal rusty crab traps in the storage room behind the house. He asked me if I wanted to go. He said it was just a dock on the bay, and I could walk back onto the shore any time I wanted. I liked the idea of the escape route and agreed to go with him and Janice.  So my mom took April and baby Gabby to the beach and we drove over to Dad’s place in our VW minibus.

When we got out there, my dad bought a couple of new crab traps and some squid for bait and we were good to go. Crabbing is a very passive activity and it’s probably what I needed to overcome my fear of the water and acclimate myself to being near it.

Dad’s Place

1950s/60s Good Fishing and Crabbing, Dad's Place, Wildwood, NJ Postcard / HipPostcard

It turned out to be a fun day, and we caught lots of blue point crabs. (Those are the ones you want for eating, not those little spotted ones that grab your toe in the surf.) It was fun to drop the trap off the edge of the dock on its line and simply wait. After a while, you’d pull it up periodically to check your trap. Sometimes you’d have a crab or two. I even caught a tiny sea robin in mine! I was shocked you could catch a fish with a crab trap.

So, the trip to Dad’s Place and the day of crabbing with my sister and father, sort of reset me. After that, I was fine and resumed trips to the beach and playing in the ocean.

But I never set foot on that goddamn Big Flamingo ever again!

And… here’s a song that seems appropriate for what happened above.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Lorelei – Happy 24th Birthday!

Lorelei,

I love the originality of you..

Your willingness

To stand out from the crowd.

Your unique Perspective

On what’s happening in your world

 

I love the wisdom of you…

The way you trust your intuition…

Your unfailing commitment

To doing the right thing

 

And most of all,

I love your heart…

The genuine compassion, empathy,

And friendship you offer,

To everyone you know

 

You have made me a better person,

And I’m grateful everyday you’re in my life.

 

I love you,

 

Dad

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kat+wiedenmann

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Tales of Rock: 20 Young, Beautiful, And Successful Daughters Of Rockstars

Bono’s daughter Eve Hewson admits she “can’t sing a note.” 
Vivien Killilea/Getty

Some of the sweetest rock ballads were inspired by daddy’s girls: Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel),” Bruce Springsteen’s “When You Need Me,” Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be In My Heart,” and other emotional tracks you’d find on a father-daughter dance compilation album.Even Bono — who came under fire recently when Apple installed the new U2 album on iTunes users’ devices without asking — covered Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” at his daughter Eve’s 21st birthday party.

From models and DJs to actors and musicians, meet the new crop of muses of the most celebrated rock stars.

Alexa Ray Joel, 28, is the singer-daughter of Billy Joel.

alexa ray joel billy

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Alexa Ray released an EP, “Sketches,” in 2006 and was the face of Prell hair care, which previously employed her supermodel mother, Christie Brinkley, as its spokeswoman. Earlier this year, after her first sold-out performance at the Carlyle in New York, rumors swirled that Alexa Ray had undergone plastic surgery (again).

Jemima Kirke, 29, and Lola Kirke, 23, are the actress-daughters of Free and Bad Company’s Simon Kirke.

jemima kirke lola kirke

Getty

British-born Jemima was an artist before close friend Lena Dunham persuaded her to audition for the role of free-spirit Jessa in HBO’s “Girls.” She is the older sister of Lola, who is having a breakout moment of her own after landing a New York Times profile and a small role in “Gone Girl.”

Jessica Rae Springsteen, 22, is the horseback-riding daughter of Bruce Springsteen.

jessica rae springsteen bruce

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Jessica Rae is a senior at Duke University and a champion horseback rider, placing first in her jumping division at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Two years ago, she just narrowly missed out on joining the USA Olympic team.

Georgia May Jagger, 22, is the model daughter of The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger.

georgia may jagger

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Georgia May flashed her father’s famous toothy grin as a brand ambassador for Rimmel London and Sunglass Hut and in the pages of international “Vogue.” She recently revealed in an interview with the British magazine Grazia that her model-mother, Jerry Hall, after a couple glasses of wine, would teach her children how to work the catwalk.

Lily Collins, 25, is the actress-daughter of Phil Collins.

lily phil collins mirror mirror

Todd Williamson/Getty Images

This red-lipped beauty splashed onto the big screen as Snow White in “Mirror Mirror” and in “The Blind Side.” Her father composed “You’ll Be In My Heart” on the “Tarzan” soundtrack just for his little girl.

Zoë Kravitz, 25, is the actress-daughter of Lenny Kravitz.

zoe lenny kravitz

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Zoë appeared in “After Earth” and “X Men: First Class.” Last year, she added Swarovski jewelry designer to her résumé, and she will appear in the star-studded “Mad Max: Fury Road” reboot next year.

Eve Hewson, 23, is the actress-daughter of U2’s Bono.

eve hewson bono

Vivien Killilea/Getty

This Dubliner currently stars in the TV show “The Knick,” a period drama set in a turn-of-the-century New York City hospital. You won’t hear her singing anytime soon though; she told the Toronto Sun in an interview that she “can’t hit a note.”

Daisy Lowe, 25, is the model-daughter of Bush’s Gavin Rossdale.

daisy lowe

John Phillips/Getty

London socialite and model Daisy is the product of a one-night stand between Pearl Lowe and Gwen Stefani’s husband, Rossdale, who didn’t know he was Daisy’s father until she was 14.

Chelsea Tyler, 24, is the daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.

chelsea steven tyler

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Chelsea sports her dad’s lippy pout in modeling campaigns for Andy Hilfiger and Alice + Olivia, and formed a bluesy band badbad, with her newly minted fiance Jon Foster in 2011.

Kat Wiedenmann, 24 is the singer, composer and producer – Daughter of Union Jacks guitarist, Chaz.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kat+wiedenmann

Kelly Osbourne, 29, is the TV personality-daughter of Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne.

kelly osbourne ozzy

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Kelly prosecutes the worst-dressed as a co-host on E!’s “Fashion Police” and recently launched her debut clothing line Chapter One. She and her family starred in MTV’s reality show “The Osbournes” from 2002 to 2005.

Coco Sumner, 24, is the singer-daughter of The Police’s Sting.

coco sumner sting i blame coco

Francois Durand/Getty Images

Eliot Paulina Sumner, who goes by her stage name “Coco,” is the lead singer of the indie-rock band I Blame Coco. After touring the UK with La Roux, Coco retreated from the spotlight to work on her sophomore album.

Riley Keough, 24, is the model-actress granddaughter of Elvis Presley and daughter of Lisa Marie Presley.

riley keough lisa marie presley

Katy Winn/AP

She appeared in the male stripper film “Magic Mike” as the cotton-candy-haired drug addict with a pet teacup pig. Next up, she appears in the star-studded film “Yellow” and the “Mad Max” reboot alongside Mel Gibson, Charlize Theron, and Tom Hardy. Get to know more about her famous history here.

Erin Lucas, 29, is the model daughter of AC/DC’s Cliff Williams.

Erin appeared in MTV’s “Hills” reality spinoff “The City,” posed for “Maxim,” and owns a dog from the same litter as friend Miley Cyrus‘ pooch.

Lara Johnston, 23, is the singer daughter of The Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston.

Lara was a competitor on MTV’s “Rock the Cradle,” a singing competition for rock star offspring, and made her first public performance at the age of 2, singing dad’s “Listen to the Music.”

Amber Le Bon, 25, is the model-daughter of Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.

amber simon le bon 2

Luke MacGregor/Reuters

After starring in Forever 21 fashion campaigns, Amber began dividing her time between the runway and DJ booth. She spins for exclusive fashion parties and product launches.

Frances Bean Cobain, 22, is the daughter of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

Frances Bean Cobain inherited her wild streak from parents Cobain and Courtney Love: slamming Kendall Kardashian on Twitter, hosting a suicide-themed 16th birthday party, and creating provocative and crude art.

Sophie Simmons, 22, is the model-daughter of Kiss’ Gene Simmons.

sophie gene simmons

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Sophie starred in the A&E reality show centered on her family, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels.” The aspiring singer recently modeled in her underwear for Galore magazine, sans make-up and sans retouching.

Theodora, 29, and Alexandra Richards, 28, are the model-daughters of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards.

alexandra theodora richards keith

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Alexandra DJs at tons of lavish fashion and press events, while her older sis, Theodora, has modeled on many magazine covers, for Tommy Hilfiger and other high-fashion brands.

Minka Kelly, 34, is the actress-daughter of Aerosmith’s Rick Dufay.

minka kelly

Robin Marchant/Getty

Minka starred in ABC’s short-lived “Charlie’s Angels” reboot, and she won over hearts in recurring roles on “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood,” and “Almost Human.”

For the record, Rick Dufay played on one Aerosmith album, Rock In A Hard Place.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

The Space Between Us – Part 2

1970 – Philadelphia, PA

My father was talking to me in the living room as we watched what was happening with the Apollo 13 mission. They were going to land on the moon too. But on the way there they had some technical failures. They were losing oxygen. I asked my dad what was happening, thinking the astronauts and NASA were indestructible and infallible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_13

“If they don’t get this fixed son, they won’t make it back.”

Hearing those words drove home the reality of life and how fragile we all are.

What a terrifying moment for Jim Lovell and his crew. Happily, we’ve all seen Ron Howard’s film with Tom Hanks and it has a very happy ending.

 

January 1986 – Wildwood, NJ

I was working at Circle Liquor in Somer’s Point NJ. It’s one of the most profitable liquor stores on the east coast. It’s so big, you can drive your boat up to the place. I was pushing a shopping cart full of Canadian whiskey in the warehouse. I was about to go out into the store and stock the shelves. Another one of the guys came through the doors with his cart.

“Hey man, the space shuttle blew up.”

“What?”

By the mid ’80s, the shuttle missions had become so commonplace no one really paid any attention to them anymore. America was accustomed to going into space. They thought it was getting boring so they let a school teacher go along for the ride.

“Yea, the Challenger blew up.”

“The one with the school teacher, Christa McAuliffe?”

“No survivors.”

I thought about it the rest of the day. I got home that night before my father. But when he did arrive, he went straight upstairs. I walked down the hall to his room and went to see him. I stood at the doorway and he was taking off his suit jacket. He saw me there and stopped. We just looked into each other’s eyes for a moment before we both started crying.

“Tough day.”

“Yea.”

“It’s terrible.”

“Why do they keep showing it over and over on TV?”

“Because they want viewers, son.”

We hugged, and didn’t speak of it again after that. A terrible tragedy that didn’t need to happen. It was a heartbreaking day for the space program and most of all this country.

“The last man to be here was never heard from again.
He won’t be back this way till 2010.
Now I’m riding on a fountain of fire.
With my back to the earth, I go higher and higher.
Why me? Why me?”  – Planet P

 

1990

I was working at the Union Trust Bank as a Branch Manager. I had finally become a banker like my father. He was very proud of me. I cut my hair, put on a suit, and joined the ranks of humanity.

One morning my dad gave me an article he had enjoyed in the New York Times magazine. (Which was included in every Sunday edition back then.)

It was an article about a group of scientists that were working on a project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. It was called SETI.

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

We were both really into the idea of life on other planets and had discussed the prospects at length. We weren’t a religious family, and the notion that Earth was a solitary entity to support life in the universe was poppycock to us.

With billions of stars out there, life would have to exist somewhere else. It’s just good science. I loved the article so much, he let me keep the magazine.

Are we alone? The search for life in the universe | SETI Institute

By the time I read that article I was already well ensconced in every book I could find about alien life in the universe. The Roswell incident, Crash at Corona, Out There, and Communion. Any book I could find, I would read. I had even become a card-carrying member of MUFON. (The Mutual UFO Network) I just knew something was out there and was captivated by the scientists at the JPL making an effort to contact them.

I wrote to one of the scientists (Edward T. Olsen) on that project. I composed a heartfelt letter that described what I had experienced with my father growing up in regard to space. I remember closing my letter with this statement; “I would be happy to mop the floors at your facility just to be near something that you’re trying to accomplish.”

To my shock and awe, he actually got back to me. I was blown away. He had said he was so impressed by my letter, that he read it to the team at his weekly meeting. He wrote to me an extensive four-page letter that was wonderful. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to read it to my dad.

I remember sitting in his kitchen. Just the two of us as I read the whole letter aloud to him. He was ecstatic.

But the one thing  I remember from that night was this; When I finished reading the letter, he had one question for me.

“Do you have a copy of your letter? I want to hear what you said to him.”

I get a four-page letter from a dude from NASA, and my dad is more interested in what my words were to that man to get him to write back to me.

Huge father and son moment.

I’ll dig out the magazine and the letter and publish them on the blog at some point.

Here’s an interesting point. I wrote to that scientist one other time after that. I didn’t tell anyone, but I had some ideas about how an actual flying saucer could navigate it was through space. My father always told me that nobody would come here because they were too far away. But he was thinking about what he learned in books. He only learned about linear flight from point A to point B on a traditional, solid rocket booster.

But I thought that if you could generate enough of a gravitational force, you could literally pull point B to point A in a short amount of time. It was a bunch of theories from a 24-year-old young man about exotic propulsion systems for interstellar travel.

I didn’t hear back from the scientist. Years later, I was scheduled to attend a business junket to California when I worked at a finance company. I called the scientist and actually got him on the phone. I remember sitting in my hotel room and talking to him. He remembered me and my first letter. I told him I wanted to take him up on his offer of visiting the JPL and taking the tour he had offered me in his letter.

But, he said that wouldn’t be a good idea. I asked him what he thought of my second letter, and he said he never got it.

Hmmm…

 

1994

I was working for a finance company, and I read in the paper about a book signing that was happening at a store that wasn’t too far from my office. I really wanted to slip out and attend it.

The year before, Howard Stern‘s book, Private Parts had published. He was syndicated in the Philadelphia market on rock radio WMMR each morning, and wildly popular.

When his book came out, I remember seeing people lined up around the block to buy it. Howard was, and probably still is, that popular! It was the fastest-selling book in the publisher’s history and sold a whopping 1.1 million copies by 1995. Pretty impressive numbers for a guy that talks about farts and sex all morning on the radio.

So, I didn’t know what to expect when I was going to this particular book signing. Were all book signings a manic line of fans lined up around the block to meet their hero? I only have a limited window to do this and get back to the office.

I get to the Barnes and Noble, or Borders bookstore in the next county. I see a sign on the window for what’s happening that day, and head in. I spoke to one of the employees and told her why I was there.

“Where do I get in line?”

“Line?”

“Yea, for the signing.”

“Just go right back there. He’s sitting right back there at that table.”

I walk back to where she told me to go. It felt like slow motion. Through the long aisle of books. I felt small. It was like being a kid again walking through the bookstore with my dad in Bradd Alan’s in Cheltenham, 25 years ago.

I come upon the man at the table. He’s an older gentleman with a kind face, and a sharpie in his hand. Stacks of his book Lost Moon are piled in front of him and in a box on the floor. There’s no line of people to meet this national hero. No line going out the door and around the block.

“It’s an honor to meet you, sir. I’m Charles.”

“Hello Charles, I’m Jim.”

The commander of Apollo 13 is sitting right in front of me in a bookstore on a rainy day in the suburbs of Pennsylvania.

He signs the book, “To Horace,    Jim Lovell.”

My father said it was his favorite Christmas present that year.

What it really comes down to is this. My father wanted to be present in all of his kid’s lives because it mattered. It made a difference. He wanted to be there for us all because of his own father’s absence. He didn’t want to follow in the mistakes of the past. He and my mother helped my sisters and I evolve into the people we are today.

And for that I am eternally grateful.

Thanks for interstellar trip, dad! We stayed on Earth but we went around the sun 54 times together!

Here’s a cool commemorative stamp my dad got me that went to space!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Tales of Rock: Pete Townshend Says Child Pornography Arrest Saved His Life

The Who guitarist Pete Townshend says his arrest on child pornography charges was the best thing that ever happened to him, as it led him to discover he had cancer.

In 2003, Townshend was arrested for using his credit card to access a website offering child pornography, although no images were downloaded.

Townshend was given a warning and put on the Sex Offenders Register for five years. Townshend had claimed that he was only trying to prove banks were complicit with the child porn industry.

“Just for the record, my arrest was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. It probably saved my life,” Townshend said during an interview with The Mail.

Townshend said he had kept putting off being checked for bowel cancer after his father died from the hereditary disease.

“I had a cancerous polyp in my bowel,” he says. “While I was waiting for the police to go through my computers, I decided to have that long-postponed colonoscopy. The doctor showed me the polyp. He said, ‘This would have killed you in six months.’ So it sort of saved my life.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Kamala Harris Breaks Glass Ceiling as First Female Vice President, First Woman VP of Color

The vice presidential glass ceiling has been broken.

California Sen. Kamala Harris will make history as the first woman elected vice president, now that Joe Biden won enough states to capture the White House.

Biden beat Donald Trump four years after Hillary Clinton came up short in her bid to be the first female president.

Harris, 56, was the first African American woman and the first Asian American person on a major party’s presidential ticket.

Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., raise their arms up as fireworks go off on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. Looking on are Jill Biden and Harris' husband Doug Emhoff.

Her husband, entertainment lawyer Doug Emhoff, will be the first “Second Gentleman.”

Harris has said she expects to work closely with Biden, offering him a perspective shaped by a different background.

“It is about a partnership that also is informed by one of the reasons I think Joe asked me to join him, which is that he and I have – we have the same ideals and values but we have very different life experiences,” Harris said during her final fundraiser for the campaign.

President Barack Obama has called her an “ideal partner” for Biden who is more than prepared for the job as “someone who knows what it’s like to overcome barriers.”

Only the second Black woman to be elected to the Senate, Harris was the first Black woman to be elected district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general of California.

Biden had faced tremendous pressure to choose a woman of color as his running mate because of the large role African Americans – and particularly Black women – have played in the Democratic Party and because of the racial issues thrust into the foreground by the coronavirus pandemic and the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police.

“There is no vaccine for racism,” Harris said during her vice presidential acceptance speech. “We’ve got to do the work for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor and for the lives of too many others to name.”

Announcing his choice, Biden called the former prosecutor a “fearless fighter for the little guy, one of the country’s finest public servants.”

Only two ran before her

Harris was only the third female vice presidential nominee of a major party ticket.

Her debate with Vice President Mike Pence was the second-most watched vice presidential debate, after the 2008 matchup between Biden and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was running mate to Republican nominee John McCain.

Harris’ response when Pence tried to cut in on her time, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking – I’m speaking,” sparked a meme. T-shirts, face masks and other products emblazoned with those words were quickly available for sale on the internet.

Biden’s age contributed to the public’s interest in Harris, as his 77 years increase the chance that he might not serve a full term or seek re-election.

Republicans sought to characterize Harris as member of the “radical left” who would control the more centrist Biden.

Voters had a divided opinion of Harris, with 46% “very” or “somewhat” favorable and 47% “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable, according to a VoteCast survey of 110,405 voters by The Associated Press. The difference was as polarized as the rest of the election. Those viewing her favorably almost entirely – 93% – supported Biden, while 87% of those viewing her unfavorably supported Trump, according to the survey.

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks on stage.

Breaking barriers of race and gender

Biden’s selection of Harris gave the campaign a big fundraising boost. Backers sent more than $34 million immediately after Biden announced his pick, and she headlined numerous fundraisers throughout the fall. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., which Harris belongs to, began donating $19.08. The sorority, the oldest Greek-letter organization established by Black college-educated women, was founded in 1908 at Howard University, her alma mater.

Harris was often dispatched to energize voters of color, particularly Black Americans. The first candidate on a major party ticket to have attended a historically Black university, Harris campaigned at HBCUs, barbershops and other places of significance for communities of color. For many virtual campaign events, Harris broadcast out of a studio set up at Howard University.

“I say it’s about time a graduate from a state university and a HBCU graduate are in the White House,” Biden said of himself and Harris at a drive-in rally in Atlanta.

Who is Doug Emhoff?

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and her husband Doug Emhoff take the stage during a drive-in get out the vote rally, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Philadelphia.

Emhoff was also a regular presence on the campaign trail and formed a bond with Jill Biden, who preceded him as the spouse of a vice president.

Emhoff, who will be the first Jewish American in the vice presidential residence, was a regular Biden surrogate for campaign events targeted to Jewish supporters. He was also “sent all the time to probably the hardest spots,” Biden senior strategic adviser Greg Schultz said during an October campaign event.

Emhoff has been offered lots of advice on how to tackle his new role.

“Everyone’s got an opinion on this, which is nice to hear,” Emhoff said during the campaign. “Which means people are actually excited about the prospect of someone like me in this role – and I get that.”

He hopes to tap his legal background and focus on justice-related issues, particularly “access to justice.”

Emhoff still has the voicemail of a congratulatory call from Biden after Harris and Emhoff got engaged in March 2014.

It was Harris’ first marriage and Emhoff’s second. His son and daughter – named Cole and Ella after jazz legends Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald – came up with their own name for their stepmother: Mamala.

“To my brother and me, you’ll always be ‘Mamala,’ the world’s greatest stepmom,” Ella said in a video montage introducing Harris before her convention speech. “You’re a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family.”

During an appearance on Hillary Clinton’s podcast, Harris described how she had been teaching Emhoff how to cook after the pandemic confined them to their Washington, D.C., apartment.

Harris’ own passion for cooking was often a topic on the campaign trail. She has described it as “one of my joys” and recirculated a video of herself making masala dosa with actress and writer Mindy Kaling last year.

She told Clinton that one of Emhoff’s own culinary attempts went awry, setting off a fire alarm. Harris had to wave her briefing book back and forth to clear the air. The couple subsequently agreed that Emhoff should stick to three dishes he knows how to cook – “and we don’t need to experiment with anything else,” Harris said.

Kamala Harris, left, with her sister, Maya, and mother, Shyamala, in January 1970, in Berkeley, California.

Presidential ambitions

Harris had competed against Biden for the Democratic nomination but ended her bid before the first primary votes were cast.

She struggled to place herself in an ideological camp, particularly on how far she would go to enact Medicare for All. She also faced criticism from some on the left for her prosecutorial record.

One of her campaign’s biggest moments came during a debate when she challenged Biden over his remarks about working with segregationist senators. She described herself as part of the second class to integrate her school as a child after mandatory school busing, which forced Biden to apologize for his earlier comments.

Although Biden didn’t hold a grudge, Trump immediately called Harris a “phony” after her selection. He frequently made fun of her first name – which is Sanskrit for lotus – and hurled insults at her from his campaign rallies, included calling her a monster.

Women’s groups spent millions on ads to “push back on disinformation and racist, sexist attacks” on Harris and show her in a positive light.

“She has taken on some of the toughest fights…and she’s done it all with a sense of style,” said the narrator in an ad called “Chucks” that included footage of Harris wearing her signature shoe choice and a young girl dancing in Chuck Taylors. “Someday soon, anyone will be able to see themselves as president.”

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris on the campaign trail in Milwaukee.

Daughter of immigrants

Harris was born in Oakland, California, to Shyamala Gopalan, a breast-cancer scientist who emigrated from India, and Donald Harris, a professor of economics who emigrated from Jamaica.

Her first job was cleaning laboratory pipettes for her mother.

“She fired me. I was awful,” Harris said.

Gopalan would also tell Harris and her sister, “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something.”

Harris frequently mentions the “stroller’s-eye view” she had of the civil rights movement, as her parents marched for social justice – a central part of family discussions.

She wrote in her memoir that she was inspired to become a prosecutor in part because of the prosecutors who went after the Ku Klux Klan and because of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who sent Justice Department officials to protect the Freedom Riders in 1961.

But she had to defend to friends and family her decision to try to change from the inside, rather than the outside, a justice system they saw as too often offering injustice.

Democratic U.S. Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during an early voting mobilization event at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on October 19, 2020 in Orlando.

Prior record

Harris likes to tout a program she championed as district attorney to direct young people arrested for drug crimes into training and counseling programs instead of jail.

As California’s attorney general, she pushed for a tough settlement from five major banks accused of foreclosure abuse. One fellow attorney general who joined the fight was Delaware’s Beau Biden, the former vice president’s oldest son. The two developed a friendship before Beau Biden’s 2015 death from brain cancer.

After Harris joined the Senate in 2017, she put her prosecutorial skills to work grilling witnesses such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Attorney General William Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I thought she was the meanest, the most horrible, the most disrespectful of anybody in the U.S. Senate,” Trump said of Harris’ questioning of Kavanaugh.

Breaking barriers means breaking things

When Harris found herself competing for the Democratic presidential nomination with three of her female colleagues, the rivals enjoyed lighter moments on the campaign trail laughing with each other and comparing notes on the still-rare experience of being a woman running for president.

“We have spent a lot of time together, sharing looks at each other across a room when statements are being made,” giving each other a “knowing look” like “Yeah, that just happened,” Harris said during a fundraiser that included Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Klobuchar recounted how, during one debate, the women had banded together to demand the technicians raise the temperature in the freezing studio.

“I mean, like you couldn’t feel your feet,” Klobuchar said. “And on the break, we’re sitting there huddled together … and we said to the technician from NBC: `You know what? Women do worse when it’s so cold. This isn’t fair. You have got to turn this up, right now.’ And so they turned up the heat, as we did.”

Harris said that women who go first know the sacrifices they’ve made and hope to make it easier for women to come up after.

Breaking barriers, she said, involves breaking things.

“And when you break things, you might get cut. You might bleed. It will be painful,” she said more than once. “It will be worth it, every single time.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States!

Joe Biden has won the bitterly fought 2020 presidential election, bringing the former vice president into an office he had coveted for nearly five decades and ending the chaotic presidency of Donald Trump.

The Electoral College may turn out to be tight: States that appeared relatively safe for Biden turned out to be close, and the result was not the landslide win some polls had projected as possible. The coalition of states Biden assembled included those that had previously gone for Trump, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The drawn-out process put the nation on edge, and led Trump to falsely claim victory in several key states in the early morning hours following a long election night.

But in the popular vote, Biden won easily. He commanded the most votes cast for any candidate ever in a US presidential race, more than 73.5 million. And he defeated an incumbent who was wildly popular with his base — and who exasperated Democrats with a presidency built on racism, lies, and the appeasement of his own ego.

Trump’s time in office was marked by undermining public health measures during a pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans, by weaponizing the functions of government against perceived opponents, and by boosting conspiracy theories and white supremacist groups. Much of Biden’s first months in office will be consumed by attempting to undo what Trump has done, with nothing more pressing than gaining control over the coronavirus.

Biden’s attempts to govern will almost certainly collide with a hard fact: Trump was defeated, but Trumpism was not. Biden ran his campaign on a central, existential argument that Trump represented an aberration in US politics, and that American voters want a moderate, steady hand to return the country to some semblance of normalcy. In short, Democrats wanted this election to resoundingly repudiate Trump and his politics.

That did not happen.

The tensions Trump inflamed and capitalized on were present in this country before he came to power, and those divisions remain strong. While the final vote tally won’t be known for some time, more than 68 million Americans voted for Trump. Many of those voters believe Biden and other Democrats are corrupt, empowered by fraud, and unfit to lead, and they will form a vocal and zealous opposition. Over the summer, the largest protests in American history centered on stopping police violence against Black people and rectifying systemic racism, proposals Trump and many of his followers rejected. Unifying such a divided country, or even mitigating the partisan hostility, will be one of Biden’s most daunting tasks.

What’s more, the control of the Senate is still unknown, with the possibility that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be able to continue exercising his ironclad rule. Early in his campaign, Biden leaned heavily into his years as a DC establishment figure and dealmaker, as a pragmatist with progressive ideals but bipartisan tendencies who would seek to work with McConnell, as he had when he was vice president. But, as many progressive Democrats pointed out, McConnell’s strategy when Barack Obama was president was to oppose virtually everything. There is no reason to think McConnell will act any differently now. And while resistance to the Democrats will make it relatively easy for McConnell to hold his ranks together, the deep splits between progressive and moderate Democrats could make it hard for Biden to keep his party unified.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden rallies supporters on November 3, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Although Trump will leave office, he probably won’t leave the field. He will still wield more than 85 million Twitter followers, hold sway over a Republican Party that has transformed to fit his image, and inspire millions who passionately feel he gives them a voice in a battle against the establishment — whether that means elites, government, or other institutions, including science. He will likely seize every opportunity to oppose and undermine Biden.

Still, Biden will be president of the United States, with all of the official power that Trump has now lost. He won a hard-fought campaign that was historic in a way that no one could have foreseen: COVID-19 forced sweeping closures of the basic functions of society and brought campaigning to a halt in March. Biden chose to follow public health guidelines while Trump went on with large rallies where attendees were not required to wear masks — and many indeed did not. It was a contrast that Trump, who last month was briefly hospitalized after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, hoped would make Biden look scared, weak, and unable to draw a crowd.

Biden, though, made Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic the central point of his campaign, hammering Trump for minimizing the danger early on and failing to control its spread. Biden gave expansive speeches about the crisis and what it would take to recover from it, and he modeled safe behavior by observing strict social distancing and wearing masks at all public events.

The nature of the campaign — distanced, impersonal — was unwelcome for Biden, who has built his career since the 1970s on intimate human connection and visceral emotion. His life and career have been shaped by grief, after his wife and daughter died in a car crash in 1972 and then his son Beau Biden died of cancer in 2015. While meeting voters on the pre-pandemic campaign trail during the Democratic primary, he spent time connecting with them over their own losses, sometimes consoling people as he took selfies with them. Then, as hundreds of thousands of Americans mourned loved ones who died from COVID-19, Biden was able to speak to their pain.

“There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they’re forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments,” Biden said in an address from his home in Delaware in May.

“I think I know how you’re feeling. You feel like you’re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. It’s suffocating,” he said.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after Sunday mass on November 1, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Trump, meanwhile, repeatedly blamed the death toll and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the US on a media conspiracy and his Democratic opponents. He mocked wearing a mask as “politically correct.” It was after a largely maskless event to introduce Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the US Supreme Court that Trump and members of his inner circle contracted the virus and the president himself had to be hospitalized. In the final weeks of the campaign, the pandemic surged across the country, with cases rising in almost every state and the Midwest battleground region hit especially hard.

The two candidates often felt like they operated in alternate realities through the general election campaign. Biden emphasized the very real toll the pandemic took on people’s lives; Trump downplayed it, and emphasized the need to get the economy moving again. Biden spent months cordoned off at home and only emerged for small events; Trump held giant rallies as if nothing had changed, which in some cases likely led to coronavirus outbreaks. But both candidates, for almost all of the race, made the campaign about Trump. For Trump, it was the usual drive to be the center of attention and self-professed savior of the nation, occasionally referring to himself as “your favorite president” or comparing himself favorably to Abraham Lincoln. For Biden, it was a constant invocation of the president’s failures even beyond the coronavirus, from his refusal to unequivocally condemn the white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville in 2017 to his cozying up to foreign authoritarians. Biden invoked Charlottesville on day one of his campaign, arguing that he was leading a battle for the soul of the nation. That theme persisted, a catchall for the existential threat Biden said Trump posed, be it to America’s decency or health and safety.

But near the end of the race, Trump did try to turn the election on Biden’s character, with a frenzied campaign led by Rudy Giuliani to implicate Biden in an unclear nefarious plot in Ukraine and China with his son Hunter (there is no evidence that the claims were true). In their first debate, Trump raised Hunter’s history of drug addiction, a strategy which didn’t gain much traction beyond the far right. “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden responded. “He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him.”

The second debate was canceled, when Trump refused to engage in a virtual debate after contracting the coronavirus. The third was less hectic but did little to change the dynamics of the race.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

President Barack Obama with Vice President Biden at the White House on December 19, 2012 in Washington, DC.

This was Biden’s third run for president, and while he was the national polling leader for almost the entirety of the race, the campaign still carried a feeling of improbability. His campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988 ended in 1987, amid questions of plagiarism. His 2008 bid collapsed after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus, though he would go on that year to be elected vice president under Barack Obama, the first Black president.

Biden routinely attached his legacy to Obama’s in this year’s historically diverse field of Democratic candidates, which included more women and people of color than any previous primary. When Biden stumbled badly in Iowa’s caucuses and finished an embarrassing fifth in the New Hampshire primary, it looked like he might collapse again. But Biden and his advisers argued that the race would turn in his favor in South Carolina, where a majority of Democratic voters are Black — and they were right. Biden’s victory there triggered a mass clearing of the field, just as the coronavirus was beginning its spread in the US. An ideological battle between the moderate Biden and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders quickly flamed out, and Sanders promptly endorsed Biden, emerging as one of his more dependable surrogates.

Trump, during his four years in office, made a concerted effort to repeal legislation and regulations that defined the Obama administration: protections for trans and gender nonconforming children in schools and adults in the military, the DACA program for young people brought to the US as children, housing discrimination protections, and more.

How Biden, 77, will govern is a major question after a campaign so overtaken by both the pandemic and the current president. Before the pandemic, and before police shootings of Black men in Minneapolis and Kenosha, Wisconsin, Biden leaned heavily into reputation as a pragmatist more than a progressive. But as crises multiplied, Biden signaled he’d be more open to systemic and structural changes he never explicitly outlined.

Young progressive Americans for whom this summer’s protests were among the first defining political movements of their lives will be watching what Biden does as president to address insidious institutional racism, as well as crises such as climate change and gun violence.

“I don’t think Biden’s age has to necessarily be the limitation on him being a transformational leader, but it’s going to be up to the decisions he makes and those directing him make,” Chokwe Lumumba, the 37-year-old mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, told BuzzFeed News in June. “We can’t play it safe and assume the energy around Donald Trump will go away.” ●

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!