24 August 2009

Books

I read Down to the Crossroads: On the Trail of the 2008 Presidential Election by Guy Rundle. I had already read some of the content as it was published in Crikey last year, but it was easier to read in book form. It seemed an appropriate book for a flight to New York.

I enjoyed the acerbic wit, viz my favourite sentence: 'It was inevitable that John McCain would talk about prescription drugs to this crowd, this gathering of sun-kissed retirees in a conference centre in the vast hinterland of Florida sprawl, a place whose sense of instantaneous history-less-ness makes Surfers' Paradise feel like Rome under the Medicis.'

I did surprisingly well for a non-fiction book, i.e. I finished it within days. It is psephology of a kind. (The study of public elections; statistical analysis of trends in voting; (now usually) the prediction of electoral results based on analysis of sample polls, voting patterns, etc. see the OED). The great thing is that this word was invented in 1952, although largely defunct relatives such as psephomancy and psephism have been around for a while. Psephos is Greek for pebble, with reference to the ancient Athenian method of voting by putting a pebble in a ballot box.

I am now trying to read Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt. I am not a big history reader, but I enjoyed watching Rome, the TV series by HBO. Funnily enough, last time I came to New York I only got about a third of the way into Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland. Perhaps when people rave about how good pseudo-fictionalised-history books are it is best to bear in mind it is all relative. Relative to translating knotted string. No, I will persevere. Having some visual imagery to draw upon will help.

I am also reading How to Argue with an Economist by Lindy Edwards. It is arduous, but insightful in respect of the key challenge of government, in as much as that is determining the degree of market intervention it should undertake to achieve its social agenda.

23 August 2009

Talking poetry

It nearly was that my previous post was my last post. Why? A truth once flamed in my breast, afore it paraded through my mind undressed: my best expression of self will only ever need two sentences.

I reap and I sow,
I sow and I reap.
My joy is full of troubles,
My trouble is full of joys.

I remain really satisfied with this poem. Nothing is beyond scope. It is a eulogium to experience and an encomium to existence. Concise, precise, surmise, but tenaciously tenable. Hear and see here my adamantine face.

The truth is simple and anything else is lies.

In the realms of personal epic, significant revelations scar the landscape of our being and change it permanently. Amidst the sturm und drang, new roads fill in the blank pages of life's street directory. Gone is the necessity to travel familiar routes of behaviour when new ways open to us. But the practice of change is no pleasantry. Either we have made the familiar easy or the familiar has made easy of us. In the kingdom of infinite possibility, cities of wonder crumble for lack of the bold. We, the pusillanimous, live in a death-hold.

My heart is calling for a new melody:
A song unknown
That will awaken truth.
Today I am sailing for a faraway land.

So I will continue to exalt in epiphanic verse when it is possible, but tell my plain stories otherwise.