Eugene McCarthy died today. I remember meeting him in college during the run-up to the ‘80 campaign, one of the many times he ran for President. He spoke one evening to a gathering of supporters and others of us who were mostly interested because of what he’d done in ’68, when he forced LBJ out of the primaries. At the time I was a registered Republican (This was going to be short-lived as I had a conversion experience and left the party with John Anderson and have never looked back). I remember thinking at the time that McCarthy said a lot of things that made sense. More importantly, he kept us laughing. The one thing I still recall is how he chided automobile makers for building cars with speedometers that go to 120 or 130 miles per hour. At the time, the speed limit was 55 mph and he proposed that having the gauge only go to 85 would allow a "reasonable disregard for the law." The next morning, Eugene was in the philosophy department drinking coffee. I’d stopped in to drop off a paper or something and was invited to sit with him and some of other students and professors. He asked questions and listened to us, seemingly interested in what we had to say. McCarthy served as a representative and senator from the great state of Minnesota, which has given us many fine figure skaters, statesmen and some of our most colorful politicians (their last governor being a prime example of the later).
In other news, Richard Pryor also died. I saw him in Silver Streak… (it was a train movie)
In other news that you’ll not see anywhere else, tonight I read to my daughter L. Frank Baum’s (the Wizard of Oz guy) short story "A Kidnapped Santa Claus." It’s really good; a fairytale that speaks volumes about how good trumps selfishness, envy, hatred and malice.