Friday, May 23, 2008

Veeps Sweeps

Every four years, I love playing the VP Sweepstakes.

And so the talk is now being walked, if not paraded just yet. You know McCain is bar-b-queing for his buddy ups before having serious sit downs. And Obama? Obama has to wait until he can figure out how to, at once, knock Hillary out AND win her over (her and her millions of loyal and even rabid fans).

Since he can't pick Hillary, McCain (yes, John McCain) would do well to pick...

... Bill Richardson as his running mate. Yep, do the cool crossover thing and put a real dent in the Democrats. McCain might have picked Kerry in 2000, and Kerry seriously considered McCain in 2004, and so a crossover is not out of the question. It's just unlikely. A neighborly Arizona-New Mexico alliance, and Richardson could bring both experience, youth and a darker shade of skin to the Republican side.

Chuck Hagel? A friend and a tough, manly campaigner, also a maverick. For two gray-white guys, they'd make a strong team.

You know, there just aren't that many quality Republican guys around these days. Who would be his best match? Sandra Day O'Connor, but then that is sticking to Sun City a bit much. Newt, back from academic purgatory? Mitt is chomping at the bit, and he is an ingratiating shoe salesman. McCain probably doesn't think much of him and dreads seeing his name so high on the list, right above monkey man Huckabee, who would be cool. I vote for Huckabee to bring the most to the ticket, if a daring crossover is out of the question and Margaret Thatcher turns down the offer.

OK, Obama actually has it easier than McCain does this round. The way I see it, he's got a top three right now, without all this vetting and circling the wagons. Currently, Al Gore tops my list. He's the only person on Earth better for the ticket than Hillary Clinton. She's a runner up in every way to the former VP who knows how to do the job better than anybody.

And then, a few guys deserve honorable mention: Bill Richardson again, though he is a fuddy duddy on the campaign trail, he does have the cred and could bring along some Hispanics, if Hispanics actually matter enough to bring not popular votes but Electoral College votes. Remember, this is all about, not us, We the People, but they, the SUPER SUPER delegates, the Electoral College (and let's hope not the Supreme Court this time). And so the fourth and only other top candidate, I'd say, for Obama, is Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania. Rendell might put PA in the electoral bag, and he's got clout with the blue collar throngs Obama needs to carry him over the top.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


OK, so not that many of us ride the bus much, but hey, you heard it here first: trains, bikes and BUSES are the future.

Whether near or far, buses are a pretty cool way to go. And you'll be proud if you ride the bus.

Each year, I tend to ride the bus at least a few times. One of those trips tends to be a 1500+ mile, 48+ hour or so trip from Texas to Montana or Texas to Ohio or Minnesota or some such far flung place. And yeah, that can become tiresome. And it's true, going Greyhound can seem a truly UN professional and even Third World experience these days. Make note that Mexico has better buses than we do. Brazil has better buses than we do. They're not just for the marginalized underclasses there.

Last week, in NYC, when the subway wasn't going where I wanted or needed to go, I rode the bus, and I was proud to be on that bus! But don't wait to visit the Big Apple. There's a bus near you!

Perhaps you'll this first here at ABN: Trains, bikes and buses are the future. Yep, the future. Think $6.299 gas. We've seen the fiddling while the world burns. Think Finite Resources. And in the future, buses won't be so bad. Indeed, they'll be better.

So near or far, take the bus, and be proud!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The woman I'm not looking for

A friend wrote asking, basically, how my love life was going.

"Was" is the appropriate tense of the verb here, as my quixotic love life seems to be a thing of yore, relegated to the past. But then perhaps that is because I may have experimented enough for one grand and storied lifetime. Or... or the nature of the experiment has changed, morphed into something more internal, more calm, more patient, more self-assured.

Which just goes to show that most people should probably NOT get hitched until they are past 35 or 40, at least. You can't know what you want until you know yourself. The more variables there are, the more dynamism, the more there is to know, and the more you are aware of the nuances and the cul de sacs, the longer it takes.

My friend had written to say she was glad to have her boyfriend, though, as I see it, their ties are tenuous, their communication, much less dedication, often obtuse, even absent or obfuscated. I know that we are all limited in different ways, and he comes close to satisfying some of her basic desires. She said he veered from feeling weak and withdrawn to "being the jovial prankster."

I did write back to my friend, and here are a few paragraphs, here revised, from that letter:

I really like that phrase: "the jovial prankster."

I think all the most interesting guys (myself included, of course) go back and forth between melancholia and being the jovial prankster. From "life of the party" to "contemplative" at best, "melancholic" at worst. Not as far flung as bipolar. Bipolar would be the extreme version. Something less extreme is best, of course. Of course most men are not particularly contemplative, at least not articulately so. So no wonder women wonder about them. Men crave virile strength and something to hunt or fix, then the down time to rest up for the next big kill. Pushing papers or shuffling stuff around doesn't bring out the best in any one.

As me right now, I am not inspired or motivated to jump in and do the work. I am drawn to those who are both witty and gracefully self-assured. But many seeking a partner seem rather edgy and reveal resentment and even anger issues, which, in anyone, seem not the best choices of attitude. We all know the radar on "needy." Well, there is also radar on bitter.

We owe ourselves grace and peace, and that's more important than anything we might think anyone ELSE owes us. We owe ourselves our own good behavior, which is based on patience and peace and a lack of competition or expectation, much less guilt and painful fear or fretting.

I don't think I need to experiment with women any more (meaning dabble in a relationship that clearly has limitations or discomfort, much less potential animosity).

Meanwhile, I do know the kind of woman with whom I'd like to share some quality time: She is above all compassionate (without being slovenly sentimental). She is empathetic yet intellectual, alternately sassy and soothing, also lyrical, even literary. She risks flippancy and deep concern. She is witty, wily, and worldly (a passionate and wise citizen of the globe, aware of and engaged in the world, not overly domesticated, nor decidedly parochial or provincial or patriotic). She is Aware with a capital A and yet still sees dashing Absurdity (also with a capital A) as the sparkling and stellar antidote. Seize the day, seize the precious ironies and the scope of human drama, woeful and wonderful.

Carpe Godot.

I think keeping my eyes open and seeing those around me, but not looking, not seeking, is the best way to go, for now.