Welcome to San Francisco, the former home of plastic bags. The big story here, outside of the IHRSA Conference, is that the City by the Bay is doing away with plastic bags in most grocery stores and drug stores. It's the first city in North America to take this big a leap in protecting the environment. Way to go, San Fran!
A note on Jenn Shaver's first blog when we arrived here: I have a couple of other movie references to add to our adventures in cab flying Wednesday. Jenn mentioned "Speed 3", but had we gone up and down those famous hills of San Francisco in that cab, we could have easily been in "What's Up, Doc?" or "Foul Play".
Speaking of movies, the real highlight of the day for me came when Jenn, Pam Kufahl and I heard Frank Abagnale speak. He was the guy who was the subject of the film "Catch Me If You Can" with Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. A former check forger and imposter, Abagnale eventually became a multi-millionaire as a legal fraud detection consultant.
It's not often that you feel compelled to give a standing ovation to an ex-convict, but this guy deserved it. He was clearly one of the best public speakers I've ever heard. He never once paused or stammered; his fast-paced delivery kept you on the edge of your seat. And his message about the importance of family and fatherhood was inspiring.
On Wednesday night, we went to a gathering for Les Mills International, a licensed group exercise program company. The founder is not some guy named Les Mills -- as I had thought -- but rather Phillip Mills, whom we met at the reception. Mills, a native of New Zealand, attracted a gathering of his company's people from all over the world here at the conference. Keeping with the movie theme, we got to talking about how everybody thinks of "Lord of the Rings" when they think of New Zealand. We told him we're from Kansas and chimed in with "The Wizard of Oz" references. I'm never felt so Kansan in all my life.
Later, we hit IHRSA's opening reception at the Marriott. The smoked chicken ravioli was d-lish, but it left you thirsty. The band was good, too -- and loud. One of the members had a hairdo that was a cross between James Brown and Sanjaya from American Idol.
The cameras spotted a few of the attendees dancing the night away with the band, and they were shown on the giant projection screens in the room. If you didn't want to end up on the screen, then you didn't dance. It was that simple.
On Thursday morning, I'm going back to the Marriott to hear a speech by Michael Eisner, the former head of Disney. I wonder if he'll discuss how Mickey Mouse fares on an elliptical.