As the Oriole bullpen continues to implode night after night leaving a trail of gut-wrenching losses in their wake, I feel fortunate not to have invested hours of time watching this hapless collection continue to flagellate themselves. I did attend the opening address of the Special Libraries Association given by Al Gore on Sunday night. I bought his new book, Assault on Reason
, somewhat on a whim at the meeting, and had him sign it. "Wish you were in the White House," I said as I approached. "Me too," he said. I haven't seen the movie yet but I get the gist of it. His speech was entertaining and clearly revealed a new, less wooden orator capable of effective self-deprecating humor. Three thousand people listened as he recalled his days as an investigative reporter using information tools to find "needles in haystacks." He did his best to illuminate the importance of getting the right information against the backdrop of 9/11, Iraq, his new book, and global warming and nearly succeeded. Information is important to him and he shared that 2006 was the hottest year in history and that the country could be in serious trouble with the environment in 34 years (Read McCarthy's THE ROAD). The talk was somewhere between lecture and stump speech. And then, a person asked THE QUESTION. He actually sounded pretty certain he wasn't going to run for President at first. "Right now, I'm on a book tour," he said. He told us his time would be better spent on the Global Warming crusade. "I haven't ruled out running again in the future," he said. Curiously, this was the most impassioned part of the speech. "Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to be President," he said. He just doesn't think that the government cares about the issues and too many people think Saddam caused 9/11 and are uninformed and mesmerized by Anna Nicole for him to make a difference. It was book tour schtick. "I will be in Russia giving my slide show in Russian, In Turkey in Turkish, In Athens in Greek--All next week!" He screamed. "I don't want my grandchildren asking the question thirty years from now, 'What were they thinking?'" After I got back to my hotel I pondered what I had just heard. Here is a man at the height of his popularity, vested in the future of our country, with an opportunity to make a difference. So, if I am getting this right, he would rather take the role of a doomsday prophet and carry his slide show or "side show" around the world. I don't buy it. I just don't.