set

(This is the first post in the TRex Virtual USO Tour, 2006!  You can donate to the Rodriguez campaign through ActBlue!)

Back in the day when I was younger and crazier, I used to go to a lot of fairly wild parties, and I would always see this girl in a chicken suit.  That was her thing, you know, to get really wasted, put on a chicken suit and go to parties.  One time I asked her why and she just shrugged and smiled and said, "Every party needs a chicken!"

The Robert Rodriguez campaign has a chicken, and they're not afraid to use it.

See, Rodriguez is running as a progressive Democrat in California's 25th Congressional District.  His opponent is Republican Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, a calcified old mossback who claims to support the troops but has killed a bill to provide assistance for the families of servicemen and women overseas.  When Buck McKeon says "support the troops", he means buy a magnet for your car, but that's it.  He has also voted to increase the interest payments on higher education loans (a move which earned him a troop of angry students in his California Congressional office), and is carrying a 0% rating from the Defenders of Wildlife Action fund and a meager 4% rating from Republicans for Environmental Action.

But the constituency who seem to find McKeon the most objectionable are senior citizens, specifically the Antelope Valley Seniors Network who organized a debate between Rodriguez and McKeon to ascertain the two men's positions on the issues facing seniors.  Rodriguez happily signed on, but "Buck" was a no-show, claiming a sudden "scheduling conflict" in spite of the fact that he and his campaign staff had known about the debate for six months.

So, the Rodriguez campaign happily brought their own 6'4" chicken to stand in for "Buck-buuuuck" McKeon.  (See fig 1-A above.)

And again:

 long shot

I like these kids already, but let's get to know them all a little better.

Here's the deal.  Roberto Rodriguez was born and raised in the 25th.  He graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2002.  He and his campaign staff have set up their headquarters in a small two-story house in a low-income area of Barstow.  Some campaigns feel like they live at their headquarters, but these guys literally do.  All crammed into various rooms of the house like the Beatles in "Help!", yessir.  Rumor has it that campaign manager Armen Meyer has the most comfortable bed in the house, so naturally other staffers nip upstairs to sleep in it when he isn't looking.

 noerena

That's campaign outreach director Noerena Limon in Armen's vurrrrry comfortable bed.

 sarah

Finance Director Sarah Apsel, doing the same.

 sonia]

Deputy Finance Director Sonia Bonsu.  Do these people ever do any work?

 armen outside

Poor, poor Armen, ever the gentleman, is forced to sleep out on the lawn in spite of his bad back, awwwww.  Armen, listen, you've got to convince the ladies that your bed is even more comfortable when YOU'RE IN IT, TOO!  I know that you guys are all crazy busy right now, but after the election, you could perhaps woo one of these beautiful young women…just a thought. 

Robby, the young man in the chicken suit?  He doesn't sleep.  He just drinks coffee.  REALLY.  STRONG.  COFFEE.  In fact, he's not allowed to make the coffee if anyone else is planning on having any.  He will only drink water if all supplies of coffee in the house are drained dry.  Sometimes at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, Robby will glaze over, sitting off in a corner talking to himself or tunelessly droning Def Leppard lyrics.  That's when someone puts on a fresh pot and pretty much pours it straight down Robby's throat and slaps him a couple times to bring him back into focus.  Naturally, when the time came to put someone in the chicken suit, the job fell to the tallest (6'4"), most hyperactive, gonzo member of the staff.  Chicken, thy name is Robby.  Give em hell!!

The campaign's word and language geek is Ankur, who, according to this press release that I have is "brilliant, charming, devastatingly handsome, and writing what you are reading right now".  Oh.   There's Tato, who is the campaign's centrist, which means he sulks a lot because the rest of them are such flaming liberals.  Tato is known for cooking huge, utterly delicious, bad-for-you meals for everyone on staff.  Yaaaaaaaaaay, Tato!

Candidate Rodriguez is known for his natty appearance at public events.  This is because he only dresses at the scene of the event, preferring to travel in pants and a plain white t-shirt and carry his pressed shirts with him.  Here he is ironing while Noerena bitches at him for making them all late, not realizing that she hasn't taken the curlers out of her hair yet:

 rob and naerena

What woman can look that gorgeous with curlers in her hair?  For those of you who are feeling decidedly inferior, just remember that in this photo, Noerena has no idea where her keys are.  None.  How do I know this?  Because Noerena NEVER knows where her keys are!

See?  Campaigns are just like real life, only with twice as much stress and everybody's jobs riding on whether or not you're successful in your mission.

Here's a sweet picture of everybody all together.  Armen called this their "St. Elmo's Fire" shot:

 group

Hey, where's Sonia?  Is she looking for Noerena's keys?  Tell her to look upstairs in Robert's bed!  (Everything else seems to turn up there, eventually.  It's the campaign's de facto Lost and Found office.)

So, firedogs, you can help these brave and hard-working progressives make a difference by donating to Rodriguez '06 through ActBlue!  If they make enough money, maybe they can send poor Armen to a chiropractor rather than him having to roll around groaning on a back-roller on the living room floor.

 poor armen

See what being a gentleman and sleeping on the ground will do to you, Armen?  Take some Advil, don't drink any of Robby's coffee, and call us in the morning, okay?

And those are my new friends on the Rodriguez campaign!  Aren't they awesome?  DONATE NOW.   Let's send "Buck" McKeon to the Old Republicans' Retirement Ranch!  Put Mc-PEON out to pasture!!  VOTE FOR RODRIGUEZ!!

I hope you've enjoyed this first stop on the Virtual USO tour!  We've got more on the way.  Thanks Armen, and everybody at the campaign, and special thanks to my personal political power-house, Howie Klein.  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

Thanks and have a good night.