Monday, January 21, 2008

McCain/Obama in '08

Why not?

If Senator Clinton wins the Democratic primary (and let's remember that it is she who is running, not Bill, Release 3.1), why would Obama run with her? It would ruin him. She would never allow him to play a meaningful role in her government, and he'd be slowly filled with the special poisons that seem to be dripped into people who spend an extended period in Washington.

If Senator McCain wins the Republican primary (I think Romney is the more likely winner), why would he want any of the third-stringers, vacuum-brains or bean-counters as a running mate? He has nothing to lose by picking up the phone and calling Obama.

Given that everyone would expect McCain to be a one-termer, thousands of independents and maybe 5-10 percent of Ds would defect. I think McCain/Obama would run above 55 percent in a general election.

Even better, that kind of ticket would not have much effect on House or Senate races, except to encourage the extraction of time-serving nitwits of both parties.

I'd rather see Obama as the Democratic nominee and McCain as the Republican, which would be good for the country and pretty much ensure a serious hosing-out of Washington. But if we can't have that race, let's see them team up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Parasites or Symbiotes?

For some years now I have lived in the flatlands of southern Eugene, Oregon, a community that goes out of its way to attract and retain a wide variety of people who are unable to support themselves through conventional means. Among these are a collection of more-or-less amiable drunks and urb-edge ne'er-do-wells who seem to make a significant part of their income from the collection of cans and bottles from the 12-block-long zone between the University of Oregon campus and the Albertson's supermarket, which has an automated can and bottle sorter that produces chits refundable for cash at the store.

I have always felt a faint revulsion as these draggletropes stagger past my house on their daily systolic rounds with big santa-sacks of cans and shopping carts of bottles. I have wondered why so many people in this neighborhood allow, even encourage, the collectors. At the same time, I have always grumbled to myself about the necessity of taking cans and bottles in for refunds myself. The refunds - at most a couple of dollars for a large paper bag of cans - are hardly worth the energy of taking them back.

I have started to wonder whether in fact the collectors are both a natural phenomenon, no more to be despised than politicians, and useful social symbiotes for we yuppies. Last week I decided to test myself. I took a large sack of cans that I didn't feel like dealing with out to the curb by my driveway and parked them in an obvious semi-public place where no one could fail to detect my intent to be rid of them. A few hours later they were gone !

I should have been outraged, as usual, that someone would live this way, on the frosty edge of theft, but I found myself all but giddy at the prospect of not having to deal with those cans. They were gone and could be removed from my list of things to do. The relative value of time and money has changed as I grow older, and the parasites of five years ago have become the symbiotes of today. In exchange for about $1.50, an inconvenience was painlessly removed from my life. The price is right.

Monday, January 7, 2008


(for Howard Shore)

Songwind born in stars,
endless golden spiral
from ancient furnace deeps
relentless, burning, choral.

Notes incised through dusk,
each edged in frozen flames
chipped rainbows from the sky,
reforging them as names.

Blazing iris flowered,
unsheathed its primal glow,
unknown scintillations,
spectra heretofore unknown.

A rushing breath of silence
frosted the cold Ring,
exhaling ghastly riders
astride foul leathern wings.

Brazen portals glimmered,
unleashed their lance of song,
aureolan escort
for a tempered iron throng.

Bold blustering of horns
burst on the sanguine stone,
brought argent riders steeled
down the edge of crumbled hope.

Scything bows of chaos
resolve in measured joy
throw back the noontide dusk
as misty swords deploy.

Except in dreams no sound
to equal scarlet thunder,
except in dreams no firewand
to crack black stone asunder.

How to paint this soundstorm,
How to classify the dawn?
It is enough that I lived through it;
It is enough that I lived on.

(On the occasion of hearing the Seattle Symphony and Chorus perform the Lord of the Rings Symphony under the direction of composer Howard Shore, July 17, 2004)