Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rock of Ages

Listening to snippets of John McCain’s Top 10 favorite songs on the radio yesterday, I laughed out loud. The Beach Boys? (I am pretty sure my flesh actually crawls when I hear “Good Vibrations”) The Platters? How old are you?

Abba was seriously over-represented on his Top 10, with two songs making the cut. I like dancing to Abba at weddings as much as the next gal, but the image of John McCain sweating to these oldies makes me very uncomfortable. And since he doesn’t know how to use a computer, does he listen to these faves on a hand-crank gramophone? Paris Hilton’s recent spoof video came to mind several times as I listened to the Top 10, especially the part where she refers to McCain as “old white-haired dude” ( Normally, I’m not a fan of dumb celebrities who are famous for being shameless, but her video is clever and even funny. I wonder how much she had to do with it though.

And Barack Obama’s favorite songs? Not surprisingly, I loved them. Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” is my all-time favorite song and gets more play on my ITunes than almost any other. It’s hard for me to believe that someone with such great taste might actually be our president. He also had a song by The Fugees that I love but didn’t know the name of or who sang it. He totally out-hipped me on musical taste (admittedly this is not hard to do since I have little kids and don’t get out much), but still. I pretty much loved all his Top 10 songs: Louis Armstrong, U2, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin.

I pick my presidential candidate based on their public policy positions, but I’ve never understood how most voters decide whom to support. Paper, rock, scissors perhaps? There’s no other explanation for George Bush’s second term. This year, they could do worse than to pick based on musical taste. Maybe if a lot of young people with good musical taste decide to get out and vote, we’ll end up with a president we can be proud of. One who won’t bring The Beach Boys to the White House.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Achieving a Goal

Two weekends ago, I achieved a goal. Let’s call it one small step for Cosmo, one giant leap on my life-list of things to do. More likely it was about 6,000 small steps because I ran my first-ever 10K race.

Last Spring, faced with not having a part-time paid job for the first time since having my two kids, I felt like a needed a goal. It had to be something to anchor me more firmly in the real world. Of course, there is the challenge of the meta-goal of keeping the 2 small humans alive and happy. But I wanted to do something that was just for me and something a little different than child-rearing. So I started running. Fortunately the running bug hit 3 of my friends at the same time. I now have “training partners” who live in New York, Marin and just down the road in Los Gatos. They each played a role in helping to keep me going, whether it was a quick phone call to see how we were all progressing or a much-needed 6 a.m. trail run to be sure we could do six miles.

When the race came, I had two of my running buddies with me. But since we got separated immediately in the mosh-pit of 15,000 runners, what really fueled me that day was probably the music. We ran the Wharf to Wharf race in Santa Cruz. The course included 52 bands along the way. They ranged from Insecto Man -- a guy in a green sparkly bodysuit playing a matching green-sparkly accordion -- to teenagers playing death metal, and everything in between. I never had time to think about being tired or how my nearly-40-something year old knees ached. As soon as I’d run by one group of Taiko Drummers, it was on to the aging hippies playing their recorders or to a lone Scot tooting his bagpipes. If the music didn’t do it for me, the people-watching did. A cute guy in a full-body banana costume ran next to me for a while. A woman with shockingly large breast implants bobbed near me for a while which led me to ponder why she did that and if a sport other than jogging might suit her better.

I doubt I’ll become a serial 10K racer, but I’m still working on my next goal: the half-marathon. After that, I’ll probably hang up my running shoes and take up something else. Maybe I’ll get a sparkly bodysuit and learn the accordion.