We Didn't Nail Palin, But We Heard A Mighty Powell

Today's Get Motivated Seminar at the Toyota Center had been touted for months as the premier event for local entrepreneurs and business folk to come and hear words of wisdom from some of the giants of industry, finance, military, and politics. Oh, and it would also feature none other than probably-more-likely-maybe 2012 Republican candidate for president, Sarah Palin.

These seminars are a boon market. The organizers can line up various business and financial acts as warm-ups in between the bigger speakers and charge businesses a premium for no-fuss training while also bringing in randoms who just wanna be in the same room as a celebrity at whatever cost. We saw a lot of that Monday afternoon.

All the messages are usually heavy on Power Point slides, down-home humor, and sprinkled with a few rah-rah patriotic homilies about how the assembled are the backbone of the country. That's very much true but the delivery is laced in crass book-shilling, light shows, and Lee Greenwood songs drowning the intent in unintentional comedy. Speaker Krish Dhanam all but asked us if we wanted to bring Jesus into our hearts at one point, recounting his "troubled" past.

Hair Balls didn't show up at the event, heavy on oxford blues and khakis, until close to 11 a.m. We had hoped that maybe the organizers would stack the deck light early on and possibly make it easy for us to snag a Palin pic or two. But alas, she had gone around 8 a.m, right when the eight-hour parade of salesmen, quasi-clergy, and esteemed speakers were to begin their parade of somewhat intellectual generosity.

Her set was little less than thirty minutes in length and from what we heard from those assembled earlier it was light on the fireworks she has become known for over the past two years in the public eye. They didn't even let us in the local media know the set times for the featured speakers, making it difficult to gauge when it was safe to arrive. 

The scene at the noon hour was coated with tension. The fire marshal was not letting any more people in until a few would trickle out. Some people were waiting in line to see Palin, not knowing that she was probably on a jet somewhere headed to do more water-carrying in another state. Once word came forth that Mama Palin was long gone, many began demanding refunds. Some of them looked like Santa Claus had come and went leaving nary but pocket lint in their stockings. 

The seminar was packed to the gills and by the time a lunch break was announced at 12:30 p.m., the venue's concession stands groaned with people snagging chicken strips and other of the usual Toyota Center fare. Sadly, the beer and concessions were closed. The post-lunch entertainment came complete with a hip-hop DJ spinning MC Hammer and Journey and emcee rhyming about achieving goals.

Following the hip-hop show, there was an awkward Beach Boys beach party complete with beach balls fanning out in the crowd. The best dancers were brought onstage to prance for the packed house to win a trip to Disneyworld while "Surfin' U.S.A." blared. A comely brunette was sure to win but she was edged out by an oldster and a girl who cheated and did a faux strip tease. The brunette was our favorite. She kind of had a Megan Fox thing going on.

It's hard not to see these motivational seminars as mere exploratory committee busywork on the part of the politicians on hand. It's just a quick excuse to maybe hit up cities that you otherwise wouldn't bother with by the time election year heats up. Colin Powell's after-lunch speech was heavy on his own achievements and touched on the current situations in Afghanistan, the economy, and....Twitter. Long story that.

It was nice to see the former Secretary of State in a slightly calmer setting than we last saw him in the first Dubya Administration. He seemed more at ease waxing nostalgic than explaining WMDs. His 45-minute presentation seemed to Hair Balls to be telegraphing a Palin/Powell ticket in 2012. Everyone's Favorite MILF teaming up with the black guy from the first Iraq One to rid the country of Obamanism.

We left before speakers Rudy Giuliani, Lou Holtz, and Zig Ziglar could further indoctrinate us, fearing that we would go muttering lines about not giving up and striving for achievement and success onto the street of downtown and not make it back to the office by suppertime.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty