February 4th, 2008

Odd thought...

I wish I could remember the exact quote, and which contemporary artist said it, but the quote went something like this: "Our sculptures, paintings, recordings, and writings ultimately have no intrinsic merit - they are merely the detritus of having lived a creative life."

Put in another way, for everyone short of a Beethoven or a da Vinci (and additionally excluding working architects), perhaps the relationship between an artist and their art can be compared to that between a child and their stuffed animal: in either case we imbue the object itself with so much meaning, when in reality all that was truly special was inside the person the object mattered to.

Super Tuesday

As I see it, this is the bigger picture: that there are several huge issues which essentially every American (Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative) would agree need to be addressed. EVERYBODY agrees we should reduce our dependence on foreign oil, NOBODY likes the high cost of our health care system, NOBODY likes the fact that our students academically underperform those of our country's competitors, etc.

What's more, I think in each of those cases there are obvious directions for improvement which would be acceptable to a substantial majority of the population.

So, at this point in history what we need more than ever is a leader who will not polarize the electorate, i.e. who won't begin and end their presidency with a near-majority of the electorate constantly lobbying their representatives to oppose every one of their initiatives just because they made it.

And to me that means, regardless of what their other personal or political virtues may be, that this is not the right time for either Romney or Clinton.

I admit to a soft spot for McCain both because of his concern about our national debt, and because of the genuinely disgusting mistreatment that may have cost him the 2000 Republican nomination (click here for a first-hand account). But I also have a soft spot for Obama, stemming from his academic record and my associated belief that (to set a good example for our youth if nothing else) presidential candidates should represent our nation's proven best and brightest. I also like Obama because I suspect he could re-engage into the political process folks (especially youth) who have written off the U.S. Presidency as a cynical cash-and-carry corporate game.

But either way, I believe a McCain/Obama race is exactly what this country needs.

Equipment

Other than clothing items and the bike itself, here are the two pieces of gear I've been the most impressed by on this trip:
  1. My primary bag, i.e. the one with my repair tools, personal items, and clothing, which hangs off the bike's rear rack. The Ortlieb company has definitely earned one very loyal customer, and a definite convert to the no-zipper nautical style for 100% waterproof storage.
  2. This phone. If you are not currently with AT&T and your commitment to your existing cell provider has expired, I think switching to the Blackjack II with AT&T is a no-brainer, particularly if you travel. Worst-case scenario is they charge you $99 for the phone and then toss in some additional discounts on service, which is an amazing deal given this thing's capabilities (including true GPS functionality in a compact/rugged design that still includes a keyboard).