Odds and Ends

A few random, unrelated thoughts:

1) Who would have predicted a political convention could have been this satisfying and heartening?  Several months ago, l watched both Obama and Hillary Clinton being interviewed on Sixty Minutes.  Every time Clinton was asked a question, you could sense she was jumping ahead to how she would answer and “frame” the question.  Obama, in stark contrast, appeared to listen and give very thoughtful answers.  That kind of thoughtfulness would be especially valuable in a president — but unfortunately, less so in a presidential candidate.  Still, I’m very hopeful for him, particularly after last night’s incredible speech.

Comparing him and McCain, now, reminds me of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s famous remark about FDR, that he had a second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament to govern.  I do think Obama has a first-class temperament for governance, far better than McCain’s hot-tempered, peppery personality.  Truth is, I also think Obama has a first-class intellect.

2) Yesterday, one of my friends announced that Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was going to be McCain’s pick for veep.  I should have known it wasn’t true.  McCain would never be seen in public with a woman that close to his age.

Oops!  Just noticed he chose the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.  I see she’s 44.  Figures.

3) My friend Roger wrote to chide me about my use of “medal” as a verb when I was so caught up in Olympic fever.  He was aghast, he wrote.  If Roger was aghast, then I was certainly chagrined.  I struggled to point out that at least I hadn’t used “podium” as a verb, as many of the commentators did.  But, no deal.  Roger held firm.

I feel especially bad that I offended Roger, since he’s from New Zealand.  Do you know how much New Zealanders suffer?  Every time Roger or one of his countrymen come to visit us, they have to listen to comments about “puttin’ a shrimp on the barbie” and “I just love the Great Barrier Reef!” and paeans to Australia, since no one really believes New Zealand is a separate country.  Once, someone in rural Texas even complimented a visiting Kiwi on his mastery of the English language.

I won’t add to that world of pain by using medal as a verb.  Mea culpa.

4) Speaking of worlds — no, make that universes — of pain, Texans have their own crosses to bear, starting with the Current Occupant of the White House.  Now, I read that Oliver Stone is making W, a movie about said Current Occupant.  One of the early scenes takes place in Midland, where I went to high school and the city where my husband was born and grew up.  Evidently, the movie places cowboy hats on most of the men at the barbecue where George and Laura met.  I am heartsick.  Men in Midland never wore cowboy hats, except, maybe at Halloween.  That’s because they were too busy trying to look like Dallas men, who also never wore cowboy hats.  But I guess you’d never know that unless you visited those places, would you?

All I can think is, If they’re getting the hats wrong, nothing else counts.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

4 comments… add one
  • Looks to me like the choice of Palin was a cynical attempt at appealing to Hillary voters. Seems pretty insulting to me to suggest that you can just slot in a woman — with extraordinarily different policies and experience — and women will just vote for her!

    Good to have people like your friend Roger keeping your prose clean.

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    Your highness, I’m inclined to think McCain is a big-time sexist and throwback. Glad Obama came up with lines about how McCain “just doesn’t get it” — because I don’t think he does.

    Should have mentioned, too, that McCain’s choice of an Alaskan over a Texan emptied a barrel of salt in our still-festering wounds. We’ve never recovered from not being the biggest state.

  • ((you could sense she was jumping ahead to how she would answer and “frame” the question. ))

    Wow, them’s some wicked mind-reading skills!

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    Yes, I am noted for those skills in many circles of people with deep emotional problems. But I thought we were Beyond the Bitterness of the nomination squabble. Thought the Clintons both acquitted themselves admirably at the convention. Oh — did I forget to mention that? Guess so.

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