Anyhow, Sen. Jay Rockefeller dropped by the office today. Where else can you say that but in West Virginia? I mean, the dude is a senator, and he’s so tall he’s gotta duck his head to walk through the door, plus — you know — he’s A ROCKEFELLER, which is only, like, synonymous with riches beyond your wildest dreams.
Despite all that, I’ve always found him to be really down to earth and chatty and approachable.
He was actually here at the newspaper to talk about heavy stuff like coal politics and the federal budget. But this is Nerd Living. If you want that other stuff, ya gotta read the paper. Herein I offer some nerd content from the Jay-Rock meeting:
– He showed up with a big fat folder — it looked like a Trapper Keeper for people who serve in the U.S. Senate — filled with pages and pages of policy notes, both underlined in pen and highlighted with a pink highlighter. He kind of joked about the folder and showed us one page literally labeled “Fairly good news.” I’m not sure the specifics of what the fairly good news was.
– He’s a big-time reader and is very upset about the Borders bankruptcy. “It breaks my heart.” He said he likes the tangible nature of books (and newspapers!) and estimated he gives away about 150 books a year as gifts.
– He’s a coffee drinker but doesn’t actually like the way it tastes. “I hate the flavor of coffee,” he said. “I drink 3 cups of coffee a day because I think it makes me smarter when I get to the office.” (This issue came up because we were trying to offer him a cup of coffee.)
– He watched one episode of ‘Coal,’ the TV show on Spike that was filmed in McDowell County. He was a) intrigued by the miners and b) had some serious safety concerns about the mine.
“That is classic West Virginia,” he said and added, “I loved the miners because they were so good. How they could have been so natural being filmed…”
But, he said, “I had another thought. ‘What’s this mine doing open?’ He referred generally to productivity pressures depicted on the show but more specifically to a roof collapse shown in episode 1. “A guy had been right under it just a second before,” Jay-Rock said. “He would have been dead.”
– He made a Gene Hackman pop culture reference, and he made it while talking about the federal budget deficit. Actually, he was asking us whether we wanted to hear the details of how he’d like to manage the debt. So he brought up a Gene Hackman character who says, “Don’t worry I don’t take rejection easily” in some movie that none of us could recall. All Jay-Rock could remember is that the movie took place in the Cayman Islands. I think he probably meant ‘The Firm,” but I can’t actually find a reference to the quote.