Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Thoughts

While I haven't been posting here much of late, I haven't gone completely into hybernation. I've written several comments over on Blog Critics Magazine and a few at other blogs. Also, I've become involved in Blog Critics Radio. I have taken part in broadcasts of the "Big Tent Roundtable" political discussion program at Blog Critics - not one, but two (count 'em, two!) scintilating hours of highly intelligent political discourse. (Well, maybe not scintilating, or highly intelligent, or even particularly intelligent at all, but discourse, nevertheless.) Both programs were recorded, and I invite any and all to listen. Or catch all of us zany folks live at 5:00PM (EST) on upcoming Thursdays. You'll be glad you did, er, uh, maybe.

With the holidays looming and the weather becoming truly wintry in many parts of the country including here in Indy, the year coming soon to an end, many of us tend to take stock, as it were, regarding just where we are in life. Actually, I don't generally. But, my anti-religious bias notwithstanding, I am a sucker for good seasonal - okay, I'll say it - Christmas music, Christmas trees and all the trimmings and the rest. We have one of our two sons at home. That's half good, I guess. I truly love the one with us, and truly miss the one not.

The nation is starting to be consumed by the presidential campaign. Even as we complain and deny having an interest in it, most of us will maintain at least a tangential awareness of its ebbs and flows, noting who is charging forward into the light or fading back into the gray. Again, we will feign disinterest, but at heart, regardless of which side of the political aisle our druthers lay, we will be emotionally rooting for one and wishing hexes on the rest.

I'd say that as of this writing both races remain pretty much wide open. The recent and sudden rise of Mike Huckabee who is now a front runner in some states and is surging in others is testament to that.

Of course I keep more abreast of things on the left side of the ledger. Sadly, there are none who will embrace a secular banner, but I'll take what I can get. Hillary? Barack? John? Joe? Chris? Dennis? Bill? Mike?

Presently, it still appears to be a no more than 3 candidate race. Obama's surge, owing to Oprah's hearty endorsement has changed the complexion of the race for the present, but there is a long way to go. While Edwards shows strength in some quarters, overall I see him as a weak third right now. But things change. An unexpected confrontation such as that between Mitt Romney and Huckabee, a seemingly small misstep, an errant comment, an unintended slight, a revelation regarding some past peccadillo, could send any of the candidate's campaigns into a tail spin. Who knows?

Back to Christmas. My wife and I took in a recent performance of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and its holiday presentation. It included the usual mixture of religious and secular pieces, all nicely performed. The Symphonic Choir is around 100 voices strong, and more importantly, well balanced - no shrill sopranos, no growly basses. It is led by Eric Stark as its director. I was a member of the smaller Indianapolis Arts Chorale for three seasons under Eric's direction. He is great. It was an enjoyable evening of good music. I think their holiday shows may be over, but if you live around Indy and enjoy good choral music, check out the Symphonic Choir for coming performances.

Any of you reading here who believe that the religious right has been stymied or have gone dormant, keep in mind that there are at least 3 Rep candidates - namely Huckabee, Romney and, of course Ron Paul who is surging on his own - who are openly and strongly on the evangelical christian side of things. (I know, Romney is one of the truly nutball Mormons, but still.) None would openly admit to being theocrats, but any of them, upon reaching the White House, might well provide a willing ear to those who have made it their mission to bring about an American Theocracy. Remember what Romney just said in his recent speech about his belief that secularists are wrong about the separation of church and state. Don't forget! Don't get caught unawares! They're still out there, and they still want all of us to live under the cowl of biblical law. Tell them to kiss your ass, loudly and with verve!

The above image is that of "Elizabeth on 37th," a truly great (and rather expensive) restaurant in Savannah, GA. The former owner, Elizabeth Terry and her daughter Alexis have published a really great cookbook, Savannah Seasons. Check it out - literally - at a library, or purchase it through here, directly from Amazon or wherever good books are sold. (Member FDIC. Batteries not included. Void where prohibited. Side effects may include, but are not limited to, vomiting, hemorrhoids, sudden, agonizing death and drymouth)