Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Brushes with Well-known People

Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has been garnering a lot of public attention lately, thanks to his speech to the U.N. General Assembly accusing President Bush of being "El Diablo" (The Devil). Hugo Chavez also has the sole distinction of being the one international public figure my husband has laid eyes upon in person.

Micah grew up in Venezuela, where Chavez finally achieved the presidency in 1998 (after agitating and even attempting a coup for years before that), shortly before Micah's family moved back to the US. Just like all good dictators, Chavez knows that he has to try to keep the masses subdued in order to retain power, so he makes sure that he throws them a few bones now and then. Soon after becoming president, Chavez decided to kick up his public relations efforts by gracing "the commoners" with his presence. He took car rides all over the Venezuelan countryside, to every little village and town, to let his subjects gaze upon their new, um President. And so he came to Micah's village and drove down Micah's street, and Micah watched him pass by in all his glory.

It's a good thing Micah's family left Venezuela in 2000, because it has deteriorated rapidly since Chavez took control. Crime and anti-American hatred run rampant. Though Micah was born and grew up there, it has become too unsafe for us to make a return visit, and probably will continue to be for most Americans (except for, perhaps, Cindy Sheehan) until Chavez is replaced by someone less--may I say?--"demonic"...and preferably someone who isn't best buddies with Fidel Castro.

Micah and I were talking about all this the other day after we somehow got on the subject of famous or well-known people we've either seen or met. Just for fun, here are mine:

Presidential hopeful, Bob Dole: My family attended one of his rallies and heard him speak during his candidacy. It was part of my witness American politics first hand. I've also been to a few national conventions where my dad was a delegate. (I bet you can't guess for which party!)

President George W Bush: He was our governor at the time, and on the stage with Mr. Dole at his rally.

Chelsea Clinton: I lived down the street from her when we were both at Oxford. I probably saw her about 4-5 times walking around with her boyfriend and secret service person. One time, when I was sitting on the steps of my flat, a strange guy (a stalker? a member of the paparazzi?) came up and started asking me a bunch of questions about where Chelsea lived...I told him I didn't know and ducked back inside as quickly as possible.

Michael Moore: I went to hear him speak at the Oxford Union, knowing nothing about him except that he had recently released a documentary called "Bowling for Columbine" (which I hadn't seen). He arrived an hour late, dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and ball-cap, and began his speech with no apology or reference to his lateness whatsoever. (At this point, I was thinking WHO is this guy?) He proceeded to give a very eloquent (seriously...he is impressive with words) speech about how evil and "war-mongering" President Bush is, how clueless many Americans are, and how the British and Europeans in general were the world's hope for avoiding war (it hadn't officially started at this point) and maintaining sanity. Now realize, Mr. Moore was speaking in Great Britain. Ah, how wonderful it is when our citizens go abroad spreading their love for our country! After his speech, adoring fans lined up for a booksigning. I waited in line with a friend, but when we reached Mr. Moore and he looked expectantly at me, I ignored him and averted my eyes. That's right, I snubbed him. Subtle and probably totally inneffective, but I hope it at least caused a flicker of confusion in his mind:o)

It's funny that the well-known people Micah and I have seen are all political figures. What about you? Any anecdotes to share?


Anonymous Shelby said...

I saw Vanna White. Well, sort of. She was in a parade we went to and I had brought my first camera (I was five :)). Everyone thought I should be taking a picture of Vanna. Boy were there chuckles at my expense later when the film was developed and I had gotten a great shot of the guy dressed up in the smurf suit ;)...and we weren't even allowed to watch the smurfs!

5:07 PM, September 21, 2006  
Anonymous Renee said...

Hey! I remember that Dole rally. Lots and lots and lots of balloons! What a fun question..let's see...

President Gerald Ford (when I was 12 and in D.C. for the spelling bee.)Signed my autograph book. (Now that dates me. No one has autograph books any more.)
John Erickson (author of Hank the Cowdog) He autographed a copy of his book for Nestle, our dog.
Trace Adkins, country singer. Signed my copy of the speeding ticket I got on the way to his concert.


1:25 AM, September 22, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

Interviewed Kathy Ireland and Jaclyn Smith last year...was amazed at how TALL Ireland is and how SHORT Smith is!

Both women are really smart business women. I especially enjoying talking with Kathy Ireland, who is a very gracious woman and a committed Christian.

5:11 PM, September 22, 2006  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I was on the same plane as Janet Reno one time...and she is a very tall woman....and my husband has met a pro wrestler, the Newsboys, Micheal James, Rick Cua, Rebecca St. James, Accapella, and Pat Robertson. Oh, and my husband took Knox to hear Tom Tancredo (senator from Colorado)recently and got to chat with him and his wife afterward...I live vicariously thru my husband...LOL

5:39 PM, September 23, 2006  
Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

Chavez seems like a real freak!

Probably my most random encounter with a famous person was seeing David Bowie leaning against a street lamp on an empty street in London waiting for his car. I met his eye but kept right on walking because I didn't want to bother him. I think he had just been at a record signing in Picadilly Circus a few blocks away.

I've had lots of other random encounters mainly because a lot of famous people send their kids to my high school. I once gave Sade (the singer) directions to the ladies room. Norman Mailer spoke at the Senior-Faculty dinner the year I graduated. Congressman Patrick Kennedy was a couple years ahead of me in school along with one of the first President Bush's nephews. And John Berman, who is on ABC world news tonight, was a year behind me.

/end name dropping.

1:55 PM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

I don't think I have met anyone famous, randomly.

I have been to a Sarah Brightman concert (front row, yes she is in pretty good shape for being in her late 40s). I have seen Allison Kraus and her band from the third row. I have seen Randy Travis from very far away.

I have seen John McCain from a few feet away. I was too shy to stick my hand out for him to shake. He was a very exciting speaker. It had been my first political rally and I was a first-time voter. He isn't very tall and is very normal. I remember being very excited. I also have seen The Deniac (Howard Dean). Being raised in VT I would always go to Montpelier once a year when I was in public school. The govener would always come out to see the students. I don't remember what he looked like, but it must have been him. (ftr: he didn't let out any kind of whoop. ; ))

My husband has seen Bob Dylan (worst concert he ever went to), James Taylor (best concert he ever went to). He also saw that guy on "Full House," the younger brother with big hair. He saw him and his wife at Epcot.

8:59 AM, September 26, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

My friend and I got VIP tickets to see President Bush back in October of 2004. We stood right in the front while Sen. John McCain and our own Sen. Rick Santorium gave speeches; then the President came out and after the speech he came around to shake hands. My friend got to shake his hand but all I got was grazing his shirt sleeve:o) Oh well. My one claim to meeting an important person;)

9:06 PM, October 01, 2006  
Blogger Mrs. J said...

My grandparents took my sister and me to Jim and Tammy Baker's resort in NC about a year before everything hit the fan. We both won some kind of drawing and got to go up and shake their hands.

9:14 AM, October 02, 2006  
Anonymous Janet said...

I saw President Jimmy Carter at our Wal-mart about 10 years ago. He had men with him. I KNEW it was him, but thought it must not be, for him to be in WM. But in the news report that night, they said that it was him!

4:28 PM, October 07, 2006  

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