Konop for Lucas County

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Music and the Campaign...

Anyone who has been closely involved with a campaign, or has been a candidate, can understand the ups and downs that come along with the mission. Music, I think, can give a campaign perspective and even direction. As Tolstoy said, "music is the shorthand of emotion."

While I travel throughout the county, knocking on doors, going to fish fries, and talking about ideas I have for helping our community, I listen to A LOT of music. And I'm always trying to identify with songs that correlate to the way the campaign is going, lend some insight into the whole process, provide encouragement, or just get your mind off things.

Here are a few recent favorites that have been guiding me along as the campaign progresses:

"Try and Try Again" by Billy Joe Shaver. One of my favorite lines in country music, and a good attitude for a campaign: "If all you do is lose, you better find a way to win." Also another great line about community: "It's everybody's business 'till we get the good work done."

"Tangled Up In Blue" by Bob Dylan. Because nothing is black and white in a campaign...or life.

"My Favorite Things" by John Coltrane. One of the great jazz saxaphonists of all time can really calm the nerves after a turbulent day.

"When The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash. The title track to the last album he ever recorded. I read that Cash was inspired to write this song by a dream about the Queen of England and the Book of Revelations. Hmmm... In any event, it's powerful and makes you realize there's a whole other world out there.

"Ball and Biscuit" by The White Stripes. Blues with an edge from my favorite two member band. This song always gives me a little jolt, perhaps because I was introduced to the White Stripes by this song. At a Dylan concert in Detroit a couple years ago, Jack White joined Dylan and his band unannounced during Dylan's encore and they combined on a memorable rendition of this one. I think my ears are still ringing...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Weekend of Door to Door...

I'm convinced the best way to campaign, from both the candidate and the voter's perspective, is by going door to door. After personally knocking on a couple hundred doors this weekend, I can tell you that, as a candidate, the process enables you to learn a lot about the community you seek to represent. I had some great talks this weekend with a variety of folks, was offered food at more than a few houses, and only had to deal with one vicious dog. But along the way I think I made some new friends and got a sense from the voters that they are ready for some new blood and fresh ideas in local government. If you are interested in knocking on a few doors with me in the next several weeks, drop me an email at ben@benkonop.com. Together we can help breathe some new life and ethical representation into local government.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Go Rockets!!!

As a lifelong UT hoops fan (and current faculty member of the University), I'm pretty pumped about tonight's big game in Cleveland. If the Rockets men's basketball team wins the MAC Championship game tonight (7pm, ESPN), they will go to the Big Dance...March Madness! Good luck to the team and to coach Joplin. As a kid growing up in Toledo who loved basketball and played 24/7, Coach Joplin was a hero of mine and also a coach of mine at numerous summer basketball camps. Bring the championship home to Toledo, Stan!

My prediction: Rockets 61-Kent State 54...Justin Ingram tournament MVP.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Little Muskrat Anyone?

I'm back from the dead...probably about 80% strength but good enough to be on the campaign trail. Tonight I'll be out in Jerusalem Township for the annual Jerusalem Township Mens Democratic Club's Muskrat Dinner (also on the menu, ham and kielbasa). The dinner starts at 6pm and is located at 9501 Jerusalem Road. This will be my second trip to Jerusalem Township for a campaign event this year, and if this time is anything like my first stop there, I'm sure it will be a great time. That's a pretty fun group out there to say the least...very soft spoken guys ;-)

If anybody is in the neighborhood and wants to try some muskrat and help a good cause, stop by...


PS. I'm thinking of knocking the last two alleys off my list next weekend...anyone interested in rolling a game or two with me. Email me: ben@benkonop.com?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bowling Tour Day Four--POSTPONED

Woke up this morning with a high fever and massive headache...headed over to the emergency room and after several hours of testing was diagnosed with a sinus infection (I still think it might be bowlingitis). In any event, spent the day sleeping and, hopefully, once the antibiotics kick in I'll be back out on the campaign trail. I've been fighting this for a couple of weeks now and it finally caught up to me. But mark my words, I will bowl those last two alleys, probably later this week. Check my blog for notice of the make up dates...


Friday, March 03, 2006

Bowling Tour Rolls On--Day 3

Another good day at the lanes. It appears my scores have stabilized (sadly) in the 130 range. Today I chalked up a 125, 135 and 127. But as usual, I had the best experiences talking to folks throughout Lucas County. I met a bunch of good people at Secor Lanes this afternoon. Not only were they very vocally supportive of the campaign and my bowling, but I appreciated their very straight to the point observations about what needs to be done in our community. I'll be back to visit my friends at Secor Lanes!

Also had a nice time tonight at Twin Oaks lanes. Another case where my Dad beat me by a couple pins...what the heck is going on here?!?! But also had a lot of good talks with a pretty diverse group. And thanks to the husband and wife ownership team for making me feel so welcome...there is a lot of generosity here in Lucas County.

On the last stop tonight, at Westland Lanes, we enjoyed the best bowling blooper of the tour courtesy of my friend and supporter Joe McNamara. I'll let him explain it to you in the comments. But in any event Joe, thanks for taking the time and effort to help plan this tour...greatly appreciated.

One more day left...hope to see you at our last two stops tomorrow:

1:00 PM, Imperial Lanes 5505 W. Central Ave.

3:00 PM, King Pin Lanes 1124 W. Sylvania Ave.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bowling Tour Recap--Day Two

Only two stops on the agenda today and while neither of them brought out the best in me as a bowler (my scores: 135, 100) I really did meet some wonderful people. At Jug's Bowling Alley, I talked at length with a retired firefighter about the local economy and the future of our community. He was worried about the prospects for his son in terms of finding a good job so he can raise a family. I think we agreed on some steps our county needs to take to move forward (ethical government for one) and he agreed to volunteer one my campaign.

Also had a fun time at Jug's with the guys at the bar. They talked a little smack about the fact that I ordered a water instead of a beer, but I think they came around after they found out I was a diehard Detroit Tiger fan. We got a great picture with this crew and, as I promised them, it will be up on my website shortly. Thanks for the support guys.

At my evening stop in Oregon at Bay Center Rec Lanes, I was once again joined by my parents and, I'm sad to report, my Dad actually beat me tonight on a clutch 10th frame strike. Nice job Dad!
Ran into some old friends there and made some new ones too, including a group of twenty somethings who were pretty excited that a young person was trying to make a difference in the community. They were all Michigan fans too, so we got along just fine.

Another day of the tour down, and two more to go. I'm really enjoying it, meeting a lot of great people, and learning a lot from the working men and women of Lucas County.

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bowling Tour Day One

Friends, thanks to those of you who stopped by and bowled a game with me today on the first leg of my tour. My scores today were inconsistent (146, 98, 155, 125), but more importantly I met a lot of good people at the alleys and learned a lot from my fellow bowlers. Several small business owners I spoke with at Miracle Lanes really gave me some good insight on what it's like to operate a business in our local economy. With tax burdens and health insurance costs rising, it's not a pretty picture. Also heard a lot of worries about public schools in Lucas County. On the positive side, several gentlemen out at New Glass Lanes were very happy with the Powertrain announcement.

A special thanks to the owners of Timbers Bowling Alley in Maumee for your hospitality. I enjoyed our talk as well...you guys have got a great family business.

All in all, a fun and interesting day at the lanes and I look forward to day two in about twelve hours.

Last but not least, must give a big thanks to my parents who spent the evening bowling with me. Dad has some skills on the lanes! Plus, today also happened to be my 30th birthday, so it was great to spend it with my folks. They are the best, no doubt.