By Nick Bayless/Staff Photographer

Keeping in our apparent tradition of finding interesting characters to talk to before we even got to close the event we were heading for, Day Two started off on a wild foot. We initially started off from our hotel on foot, but after realizing the true distance to our destination (which involved Karan and I both frantically using our mobile phones to figure out where the hell we were) we decided to call for a taxi. But this way no ordinary taxi. This was “Crazy” Carl Carroll’s “69” cab — it said as much on his business card. I never quite figured out what the “69” part of the cab was all about, but the “crazy” part was no mystery.

Crazy Carl was ex-Navy, and according to what another cab driver later told us, “something happened to him in there.” What that something was, I can only imagine, but it definitely did a number. Among the political views he shared with us were a declaration that he was going to run for president (“and when I get in there, first thing I’ll do is find the guy who invented speed bumps and execute him”) and who’d he’ll be voting for this year (“I’d like to see McCain/Thompson on the same ticket.”) When we asked his how he felt about Mike Huckabee, he responded, “Would you vote for a man whose last name is Huckabee?” He felt that McCain has the support of the military, “which really runs this country,” so that’s who he’s thrown in his lot with. Carl also admitted to being “the kind of guy who votes for the best person, but if Hillary or Obama win, I won’t be standing up next to ’em, cause some redneck’s gonna shoot ’em.”

Carl also warned us to “watch out on June 17th … watch for something big in the military.” When we questioned this eerily prophetic declaration, he quickly asked us if we’d ever popped a pimple by squeezing both sides of it. Apparently, in the minds of military strategists, that metaphor is applicable to the Middle East, and on June 17, we’re going to launch a massive assault on Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to “pop the pimple” of Iran. And according to his “friends up in the Pentagon” we’re going to pop a pimple with 1800 bombers and 5 carrier fleets. So, the comparison of a Middle Eastern country to a facial blemish aside, here it is. I’m passing on Crazy Carl the Cabbie’s warning: Watch out on June 17, 2008. It’s gonna be big.

We’ll see.