Thursday, October 16, 2008

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial on Why They Endorse Obama for President

This is superbly written and states exactly what I believe:


Over the past nine months, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, has emerged as the only truly transformative candidate in the race. In the crucible that is a presidential campaign, his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure consistently have been impressive. He has surrounded himself with smart, capable advisers who have helped him refine thorough, nuanced policy positions.

In a word, Mr. Obama has been presidential.

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, became the incredible shrinking man. He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane immigration policy. He shrank from his universalcondemnation of torture and his condemnation of the politics of smear.

He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, "County First," by selecting the least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall ran as William Jennings Bryan's No. 2 in 1896.

In making political endorsements, this editorial page is guided first by the principles espoused by Joseph Pulitzer in The Post-Dispatch Platform printed daily at the top of this page. Then we consider questions of character, life experience and intellect, as well as specific policy and issue positions. Each member of the editorial board weighs in.

On all counts, the consensus was clear: Barack Obama of Illinois should be the next president of the United States ...

John McCain has served his country well, but in the end, he may have wanted the presidency a little too much, so much that he has sacrificed some of the principles that made him a heroic figure in war and in peace. In every way possible, he has earned the right to retire.

Finally, only at this late point do we note that Barack Obama is an African-American. Because of who he is and how he has run his campaign, that fact has become almost incidental to most Americans. Instead, his countrymen are weighing his talents, his values and his
beliefs, judging him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

That says something profound and good — about him as a candidate and about us as a nation.

Billy Collins and synchronicity

I love Billy Collins' poetry and eagerly awaited his new book of poems titled Ballistics.

This morning I received an update from Jess on GoodReads about a book she just finished and gave 4 stars by an author I'd never heard of named Jose Saramago.

Just a few minutes later, I read this poem in Ballistics

Old Man Eating in a Chinese Restaurant

I am glad I resisted the temptation,
if it was a temptation when I was young,
to write a poem about an old man
eating alone at a corner table in a Chinese restaurant.

I would have gotten it all wrong
thinking: the poor bastard, not a friend in the world
and with only a book for a companion.
He'll probably pay the bill out of a change purse.

So glad I waited all these decades
to record how hot and sour the hot and sour soup is
here at Chang's this afternoon
and how cold the Chinese beer in a frosted glass.

And my book - Jose Saramago's Blindness
as it turns out - is so absorbing that I look up
from its escalating horrors only
when I am stunned by one of his arresting sentences.

And I should mention the light
which falls through the big windows this time of day
italicizing everything it touches -
the plates and teapots, the immaculate tablecloths,

as well as the soft brown hair of the waitress
in the white blouse and short black skirt,
the one who is smiling now as she bears a cup of rice
and shredded beef with garlic to my favorite table in the corner.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My worms are escaping!

So I finally got my worm bin set up. Followed the directions that came with the bin. They were not very detailed, but then, it's supposed to be easy. I purchased some red wigglers from a bait shop. (Did you know that you only use worms for fresh water fishing? I didn't.) My worms do not seem to like the environment I created for them, though. They continue to try to leave. Of course, when they do that, they die. The on-line information says if you change their environment, they don't like it. It's definitely changed - they were in plain dirt at the bait shop as far as I could tell. It didn't look like worm castings. Anyway, I don't think enough bedding was provided in the kit after studying the on-line posts. I've added more shredded paper, but I still have some evacuees. I'm actually not sure how many live worms are left inside the bin at this point, but for now I'm just see if they adjust, perhaps? Who knows?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This comparison to dry-stone walling of poetry reading is apt

"To do it's noticing and judging, poetry balances itself on the pinprick of the moment. Slowing down, stopping yourself completely, to read and understand a poem is like trying to acquire an old-fashioned skill like dry-stone walling or trout tickling."
Ian McEwan, Saturday

Although I have yet to do any dry-stone wall work, I have wanted to for many years. It is certainly on my bucket list (with qualifications - I want to learn it while helping restore an ancient village in Italy or southern France). Guess I could combine that with learning Italian....maybe learn Italian while quoting poetry during the wall sessions!!