Last night we drove out to Frigiliana to see an exhibition opening of paintings by our friend Rosalind Burns. Apart from the fun of sharing in a friend's success, this show is of particular interest to us because in it Rosalind exhibits new works that represent a project initiated a little over a year ago, the origin of which is very familiar to us. The works are landscapes of the port of Malaga and it all began when Murphy was here in the same apartment down the street he had almost ten years ago. The apartment's little balcony has the same wonderful view of the entrance to the port that our balcony has. I remember Rosalind doing her first drawing's from that balcony and also recall her joy when she found some wonderful aerial photos of the port. The show's centerpiece is a large painting titled "El balcón de Murphy". I couldn't resist and purchased a beautiful oil painting of the port at night which offers the very view we have from our apartment's balcony. We can't wait to have it on display at home. I wish I could afford to buy the whole series, which totals around twenty works, if I recall correctly, as it constitutes a beautiful meditation on a unique and dynamic landscape. We met Rosalind and her husband Chris Lach when we were graduate students at UMass. Chris was also doing graduate studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Rosalind, who is from Chile, was a recent graduate of Smith College. By unlikely coincidence, Rosalind also has a drawing in the most recent issue of Sirena. It's funny how things go: although they spent many years in Washington, we had been basically out of touch, but thanks to Asun we hadn't lost touch completely. Then they decided to relocate to Frigiliana two years ago and now it's like they were neighbors. Frigiliana is a beautiful village about forty-five minutes East of Malaga. (In the photo, a night view of the port from the perspective of Gibralfaro. We live in the second tall building on the left, from the top, looking out to the bay at the left, so we see the entrance to the port, but not the inner part you see in this photo.)
A cold, cloudy day in Malaga, perhaps appropriate weather for our Thanksgiving celebration. There are so many thanks to give I feel compelled (and incapable of anything more–a little under the weather with sore throat) to just say THANK YOU everyone and everything. It seems to me that my good fortune is so beyond what any organic being in this universe could possibly hope for that a minimal sense of cosmic justice suggests I be giving back a whole lot more than I am. We'll just have to keep trying. This afternoon we will walk over to Pepe's Restaurante Tormes for a big turkey dinner. Students, friends, and family. It will be fun. Daniela is here, which is wonderful. Too bad she has to go back tonight.
It's 8 am, but it was early rising today and I've gotten some good reading in: Fernando Savater's autobiography, Mira por donde, and the short stories we'll be discussing in class today: "Volver" by Carme Riera, and Garcia Marquez's "La luz es como el agua". In this latter story there is a great line describing some floating objects (floating in light!) as being in la plenitud de su poesía. I sure didn't wake up this morning feeling in the plenitude of anything, but good reading is a wonderful tonic. Savater writes at length about reading in his memoirs. So now I've got to get on with the day and do work. I'll try to get excited about it, but it's not always easy. If I work hard and efficiently, then I'll have more time to read at the end of the day. If I keep that in mind I'll have a better day. And it will be a little easier having that wonderful image in my head: the possibility of something finding the plenitude of its poetry. Speaking of efficiency, I was just reading Bob Herbert's op-ed piece in today's Times about Obama's job creation plan and the importance of infrastructure investment. He points out that many countries invest 7 to 9 percent of GNP in infrastructure, but that for the US in recent years it's been much closer to zero. I don't know how accurate that is, but I was thinking along those lines Sunday on the train. Here the investment in high speed rail has been and continues to be huge. It takes more political will now because the EU subsidies are gone, Spain having recently become a net contributor to the EU budget. But there seems to be little debate regarding the intelligence of spending generously on big infrastructure projects. It's not brain sugery–you invest to create future wealth. Nonetheless, Spain is on the cusp of a big unemployment problem too. Over the weekend Zapatero announced a huge spending program to try to stimulate the economy, putting more people to work on more infrastructure projects. My fear is that education will get left behind in this mess, and that's the most critical infrastructure of all–our brains! I don't feel too optimistic about the present and future of education here in Spain. More on that another day.
This weekend instead of Daniela coming down to Malaga, it was up to Madrid. Unfortunately Asun was really knocked out with the flu so I had to go by myself. The AVE still impresses me. What a pleasure to not have to deal with either airports or the car. Just relax and all of a sudden I'm in Madrid and just a short subway ride from the hotel and Daniela. Business first: we went to the market and got Daniela well stocked with food for the next several days. That was such a demanding task that after twenty minutes we felt rather fatigued and decided that some chocolate y churros would prove to be a good restorative. Indeed. (And such a delight to be in a noisy, crowded, unpretentious market bar on a Saturday morning. Life!) Leaving the bar Daniela commented that she really liked life in Spain because here she has almost all the things she likes from the States, plus lots of Spanish things that aren't available back in the US. I know exactly what she means.) After getting back from the market and an hour of studying for Daniela, we took the subway downtown and after meandering for a bit decided to go the Thyssen-Bornemiza museum. What a collection! It's hard to fathom two people accumulating such a treasure of European and North American painting, but there it is. Daniela made some wonderful observations on the differences between medieval and renaissance painting. It was a great lesson for her. (Today she has a test on the Middle Ages in her social studies class.) After an hour and a half we still had yet to venture towards the temporary exhibit (the vanguards during World War I), so we took a break and went to the museum restaurant for some food. Excellent! The good food (cous cous salad, cream of squash soup, and squid in its ink with noodles for both of us, then for the main course big shrimp "oriental style" for Daniela and cod for me) dulled our brains some so our tour through the ravages of Europe circa 1915 was brief. Well, the rest of the weekend was quite nice and included a visit to the Prado yesterday with Jenn and Jill, the latter a friend of Asun's, and former CPYB employee, and the former Jill's sister. (Jill was on her way to Geneva to visit her sister, who works for the WHO.) A very nice visit. Beautiful weather, too. On the train coming home last night: I'm in business class, relaxing in an oversized seat that is very comfortable and finishing Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. The train is speeding towards Malaga at 270 km. per hour. It's quiet. The attendants come around with drinks and snacks. It's all very professional, high tech, an environment in which it's hard to not find yourself thinking "this is what it's like to live in a prosperous, advanced society." And for those of us who knew train travel in Spain thirty years ago, you might find yourself thinking "wow!" Then the attendant (stewardess?) came around with a glossy cardboard menu, printed up to suggest that we were about to enjoy a luxurious, elegant meal. There were no choices to be made so it's not clear why they bother with the menu. In any case, the main dish was cazón, a so so fish that is a standard in the markets but which you rarely find on restaurant menus. A member of the shark family, and actually rather common along the North Atlantic coast. It doesn't enjoy a great reputation in Spain. And the translation: "spiny dogfish"! Talking about breaking a spell. Imagine being a tourist on that train. We're going to be served Dogfish? And spiny, to boot. But not to worry, it was dogfish fillet. In England they call it rock salmon. So I tip my hat to the translator, either in empathy for the awkward choice, lapse that none of us are immune to, or in admiration for having a wonderful sense of humor. And a nod to the AVE chef: the darn thing was actually pretty good. (In the photo, one of Zurbaran's Inmaculada's, in the Prado. Doesn't charm quite like Murillo's, but I find myself becoming ever more endeared to Zurbaran generally and I'd never be able to thank him enough for that Virgin Child Sleeping masterpiece!)
It's one of those weeks when I have the sensation of days slipping by too fast. It's Thursday morning and I'm wondering what happened to Monday. It was here just a moment ago. When I temporarily misplace my keys I don't worry because I know they'll turn up. But Monday? I can't find it. I sip coffee. Here it comes: Monday afternoon Asun got back to Malaga. (When we left Madrid with the students back on November 3rd she stayed behind with Daniela, spent that week with her, then went up to San Sebastian. Then Sunday night back in Madrid with Daniela before coming back to Malaga, where she arrived just in time to come down with the flu.) On Tuesday Aurora Luque visited my literature class (in a combined session with Antonio Hierro's class) and she gave a great reading. It was a very successful event. And it's been a busy past few days with just routine work. This morning on the front page of the web version of El País, Spain's most important daily, photos and news of a good friend (Pablo García Baena getting his big prize from the Queen) and someone we know and who plays a very important role right now in our lives (Víctor Ullate, Daniela's ballet teacher). That doesn't happen every day! Yesterday the Ministry of Culture announced that Víctor will direct a new National Ballet Company, with inaugural performances scheduled for September, 2009. The company will have sixty dancers. Well, if Daniela continues on her path, this could, perhaps, constitute a very interesting possibility a few years down the line. But that's in the future. The article in El País refers to the well known irony of Víctor training future international ballet stars who make their fame in places like New York and London because there are no important ballet companies in Spain. This project hopes to address that situation. The article also refers to the talent in Víctor's school as a feeder for the new company. Right now that would be Daniela and a handful of others–it's not a big school. I wish I could have been in Madrid last night with Pablo, but that was not to be. (In the photo, Víctor Ullate.)
Walking around Malaga is always pleasant and interesting. How nice it is at around 8 pm these days. The evenings are cool and at this hour change is in the air. People are coming and going and the city seems to be in the midst of a big healthy exhale just before it slides into a slumberous state. Heading towards the center from the Cursos last night, it occurred to me that our urban landscape is also in a gradual but constant state of flux. A minor but perhaps quite telling detail: in recent weeks one sees flyers taped to utility poles and just about any available surface advertising homes for sale. Price reduced! Must sell! The desperation is palpable. Last week our corner of the Malagueta was inundated with flyers, put under the windshield wiper of all the cars on the street, announcing the availability of two apartments at scandalous prices. Some of these ads do the financing calculations for the potential buyer, demonstrating how low the monthly payments will be. But as we all know, credit is not easy these days. They say it's a buyer's market, but it must be a pretty lonely place. No one seems to be buying. But other, more regularly seasonal changes are also on display in the streets. The roasted chestnut sellers continue to fill the air with their wonderful aroma. Workers are busy getting Christmas lights up, and the distinction between locals (winter coats) and tourists (light sweaters, if that) is different but still stark. Calle Larios looks as busy as ever at just about all hours, with hordes of people walking up and down the long promenade, but I imagine there's more window shopping and less getting out the plastic. Another sign of a slowing economy: on Monday evening Asun and I went to the movies and there was only one other person in the sala. (Sólo quiero caminar, with Victoria Abril and Ariadna Gil. A curious film, centered on the conceit of turning a macho, shoot em up action romp on its head by making it a chic flick. Not quite convincing, but Ariadna Gil is, as usual, marvelous. There is something about her that's just magnetic. In any case, going to the movies with Asun on a Monday evening-totally decadent and wonderful.) It's obvious that the pubs in the Malagueta are not making any money during the week, but that's a change that has been evolving for some years now, as Spaniards in general have been somewhat domesticated by Europe. When I took Waldo down last night at around 11:30, it was almost silent and the Paseo was completely deserted. It seemed like there were just a handful of people in Malacca, the pub right below us. (In the photo, a chestnut vender.)
I've been around for close to half a century now and ever since I can remember I've been asking the same dumb questions: What is nothing? What is infinity? I still remember lying awake in the quiet of that big old house on Elmwood Road wondering what nothing might look like. The frustration! Everything was always something. No fair! Or sitting under that blue spruce trying to figure out how in hell I was going to count to infinity. And I'd conclude that it couldn't be done; it doesn't exist; infinity is a lie, so what's this all-powerful God stuff? At age four I was no doubt unaware that my metaphysical underpinnings (if you can't visualize something it doesn't exist) were perhaps somewhat dubious. But then again maybe I was on to something: everything that can possibly be can be imagined; I could imagine nothing, thus nothing was something and not nuttin'.) You might think that one would go crazy insisting on the same two questions over the course of several decades and never finding an answer. Alas, life intervened. Life and all its quotidian distractions. Maybe there hasn't been enough life the past several days: Emilio Lledó's essay and other readings derived from it have been threatening to drive me to philosophical despair. (Nothing matters! It's all pointless!, etc.) But, I'm easy to convince and this morning I think I've found an out thanks to zooming in on the word tendency as it appears in some definitions I've read of the second law of thermodynamics. Closed systems tend towards entropy. So movement towards entropy is 99.999999999999999almost adinfinitum percent likely to continue. I'm holding out! Hey, it's just a tendency. Don't count out that odd exception. Order may yet be restored. Shit happens. And besides, I'm not so certain the universe is a closed system. Imagine the Creator as an alcoholic: he's got a glass of wine and Mrs. Creator says just one dear, just one glass. Big Daddy nods. So she's relieved, it's a closed system and thus Mr. Creator can't mess things up more than he already has. But, in fact, Mr. Creator keeps adding wine to his glass on the sly. Mrs. Creator thinks he's just drinking really slowly, but in fact he's getting wasted. Because it's an open system! (This is one of those rare instances where skepticism can be an inducement to faith. I'm a skeptic; I've seen lots of lying about how many. So maybe what applies to booze holds also for the universe: God's got one hand on a big, big bottle we haven't seen yet. Maybe.) Double besides: in other writings, Lledó shows great interest in friendship, a direction that really interests me. Friendship is, well, it's not everything, but it is HUGE. I think I had at least some intuition in that regard all the way back when I started to discover the world of books in the Fells Library, shown in the photo. So many stories involved great friends and I wanted to be a part of that. (And why, oh why, do I so badly want to recover a book I read when I was four years old? All I remember is that is was the story of a frog and it had simple illustrations in green ink on a white background. Not remembering the title has been a big frustration. And I have no idea why. Who knows, maybe that frog had some answers.) Now, can we get Big Daddy off the sauce and somehow have him keep us in an open system?
Bedtime reading has been maybe a little too heavy the past week or so. I've been working my way through Emilio Lledó's El silencio de la escritura (The Silence of Writing), a 160 page meditation on engagement with the Western philosophical tradition, originally published in 1992. Last night it got to me. After just two hours sleep I was wide awake, wondering about my identity, the possibility of faith as a mere survival posture, and the bounds of the universe. So I just kept plowing through Lledo's essay until sleep finally overcame me and I got three more hours in. In spite of sleeping just five hours, I feel well rested, and very happy that Daniela is here for the weekend. I've also been thinking about a Spanish Jesuit I was reading about the other day in the Sunday supplement of El País, but now I can't find the magazine and can't remember the Jesuit's name. Anyway, what impressed me about the article was the nature of this man's faith, seemingly just rock solid. He describes it as a gift he received as a young man. Perhaps the antithesis of Unamuno's anguished agnosticism. Whereas Unamuno had a crisis of faith as a young man (simply put, he lost it), this Jesuit had the opposite- the gift of certain belief, accompanied by an intense desire to orient his life towards ever closer communion with God. But, as seems to be the case with Jesuits, this communion has little to do with prayer. It's all about good deeds. This guy has been in Cambodia for many years, helping the poorest of the poor. I think he's got the right idea. Theology? There's work to be done! Human suffering should shame us all. Lledó writes about the inability of human reason to successfully overcome our problem, our awareness of our finitude. No kidding! No, I certainly don't have the answer, but I think I've been fortunate to learn a little bit from others regarding the benefits of getting out of self. A basic paradox: self-interest suggests we be less self-centered. So, maybe it's in my best interest to have some kind of faith, something to hold onto as I approach my fin. Can you just pretend? Because, as one can comprehend, there are hard to resolve conflicts between a rational education and a received faith centered on irrationality. For now, my faith is oriented towards imagination and the magic of human creativity. (In the photo, Emilio Lledó.)
Yesterday Juvenal visited my literature class. The students had read two very challenging poems ("Dickinson College" and "El bosque de Homero") in addition to the long essay/note that accompanies the latter poem, published earlier this year in the collection Cielo de septiembre, which I probably wrote of briefly in one of the early blog entries. In any case, the class was excellent and the students had some interesting questions. Juvenal spoke at length about the passage of time, about memory, and the ways in which time affects our sense of self. This morning, another crisp, beautiful day in Malaga, I'm feeling o.k. with time. No anguish. Today's the deal. In some respects I suspect the ways in which humans think about time are quite constant over time, no pun intended, but I also believe technological progress impacts our ability to consider time in new ways, or, at the least, with new metaphors. We talked about this some yesterday in discussing travel. Ulysses had quite an adventure there, getting back to Ithaca. Twenty years! Today I could be at the airport in less than twenty minutes and then hop on a plane and be in New York this afternoon! And it keeps evolving: last night we had another odd, multiple party video/text chat. Some family reunion: Cristina on screen from Ithaca, Asun and Daniel on screen from San Sebastian, Alma texting from work in Ithaca, Daniela on the cell phone from Madrid, and me on screen from Malaga. I had Daniela on the speaker phone so she could talk to everyone except Alma, who could at least participate with text messages. Crazy! The time needed to overcome physical separation is greatly reduced and even when we are physically separated, we can still communicate in real time. But it's not all good: sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the speed of contemporary life. So when I'm waiting in line for something here (post office, supermarket...) and start to get impatient, I should immediately slow down and enjoy the opportunity to just wait. Usually I do, but sometimes I fear I let my blood pressure rise a point or two before I stop myself. I'm working on it. (See April 28th entry for more on time.) And now it's Time to go: the clock doesn't stop. Got to meet Julio Neira for coffee.
This morning's paper brings some curious news. The poet and university professor Luis García Montero has just been found guilty of having insulted his departmental colleague, José Antonio Fortes. Wow, if what goes on at American universities ended up in courts of law then we would have true judicial gridlock! Just a little context: García Montero is a very well known, politically left, contemporary poet. He's also published several books of criticism and essays. He teaches in the department of Spanish Literature at the University of Granada. His colleague Fortes has argued in published articles that the writings of famous poet Federico García Lorca were fascist. Remember, we're talking about Lorca, the major saint of the romantic left and the most famous of all modern Spanish poets, assassinated in Granada by the Falange at the start of the Spanish Civil War. The notion that Lorca in any way had fascist leanings is patently ridiculous. (From the little I've read, Fortes writes with an anachronistic Marxist mumbo jumbo that could get a laugh out of your coffee table.) Well, apparently a couple of years ago García Montero lost his cool and let go with some standard insults after a department meeting. Ouch! He then followed that up with an article published in El País in which he questioned Fortes' mental stability and level of intelligence. Now, could someone sue me in the US just for hurling horrible insults? I suppose so. But what if your insults have a real basis in reality? Could calling someone a stupid ass, for example, lead you to a court date? My mother taught me about "sticks and stones" at a very young age. Good lesson, mom! The judge's sentence was quite interesting. He wrote that although García Montero pidió disculpas (basically, that he recognized he had been wrong), both orally and in writing, that was insufficient, and he would have had to have begged forgiveness for his insults. Strange. Also strange: the sentence suggests that, as a highly regarded poet and university professor, García Montero should have known better. Does this imply that the same insults from an uneducated low life would receive a more indulgent treatment? And if so, is that a bad thing? In any case, the poet was fined ten euros a day for six months plus three thousand additional euros for "moral injury", daños morales. Oh well, meanwhile, Fortes is free to continue lecturing and writing his nonsensical hogwash. No wonder Luis wants a break from the university. (In the photo, García Montero.)
Strange. I woke up this morning thinking about Spud Webb. Remember him? He played in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks back in the eighties and I think into the early nineties. Spud was the first of the modern day really small guys to make it in the NBA. He was usually listed as 5' 6'', but he looked closer to 5' 8'' to me. Still, not exactly a tall guy. (Well, there was Calvin Murphy, going back to the seventies, but he was just short, not super short like Spud and a few others later, Muggsy Bogues being perhaps the most memorable among them.) And Spud won the slam-dunk contest one year! I read somewhere that he was just 5' 5'' when he dunked for the first time in H.S. Imagine that! Anyway, I'd like to meet Spud, hear what he has to say about his playing days. As I write this it occurs to me that I've been tremendously fortunate in that I have, in fact, met so many really interesting people, some well known and others just as anonymous as the rest of us. If I could get together with Spud, it might be fun if Manute Bol could join us. Remember him? He was the super tall guy who played at the same time as Webb. Spud once dunked over him. Forget basketball for a moment. I'd also like to meet Ildefonso de Matías Jiménez. He's the guy he runs Madrid's subway system. Stephen Hawking, I'd like to have some time with him, too. None of this, of course, has anything to do with Malaga. But when I wake up in the morning and I'm preparing the coffee I'm definitely not ready to start focusing on work. And I can't exactly turn my brain off completely. I'm working on it, but I'm not quite there yet. About as close as I am to my first dunk. (But the jump shot is still there!)
It's Obamamania big time in Malaga. On election day I brought two of my students to a radio program to talk about what was going on and to offer an American perspective. I didn't want them to feel nervous so didn't tell them that we were going to be on the largest audience program in the local market, with a listenership of over 50,000, or so I was told, anyway. They did real well and spoke articulately about issues and the candidates. We were on the air for about 45 minutes. Last night I participated in a tertulia on the Málaga A Debate program on a local TV channel. Over ninety minutes! Lots of time to talk. It was fun and the other participants were extremely knowledgeable. This morning in the op-ed page of Sur, Teodoro León Gross expresses pretty much what I was trying to say at the end of last night's program: European attitudes towards the US are sometimes rather condescending. OK, Spain, are you ready to elect a gypsy president? How about even someone with an immigrant background? Not a chance, not now anyway. True, immigration is a recent phenomenon in Spain, and eventually the children of today's immigrants will find themselves involved in the political process, but the gypsies have been here for hundreds and hundreds of years and they are still completely segregated from mainstream society. Many Spaniards will tell you that they exclude themselves, that they don't want to integrate. As they say here, y un pepino! So thanks, Teo, you expressed my thoughts much better than I could. (In the photo, Moncloa Palace, site of the presidency of the Spanish governmnet.)
With the excitement of our historic election still fresh, it's easy to get confused. It took me a few seconds this morning to become oriented, having woken up unclear about my location (Malaga) and time (Thursday). It's nice to get the basics taken care of before getting out of bed. After our trip to Madrid with the students this past weekend, Asun stayed behind with Daniela, so it's just Waldo and me this week in Malaga. (Poor Waldo had to be left at a kennel, albeit a very nice one, and when I went to pick him up they told me he's a big crybaby. I knew that! Apparently he just cried and cried the whole time. He's happy now, but man, does he need a bath!) We actually began the trip early Thursday morning and went first to El Escorial, where Philip II built his imperial palace. It's known as a Monastery (Monasterio de San Lorenzo el Real de El Escorial), and there is indeed a monastery within the palace, but its principle purpose was to serve the dual function of royal residence and administrative headquarters for the empire. It's a sober, impressive edifice, with a grill-like design that alludes to the martyrdom of its namesake, St. Lawrence, who was roasted on a grill. And the Monastery was given that name in honor of the Spanish victory over the French in the Battle of San Quintín in 1557, which took place on August 10th, the Feast of St. Lawrence. It's a very interesting visit and the students enjoyed it. On the way to Madrid we made a brief stop at Franco's monstrous Valley of the Fallen, a lugubrious place if ever there was one. On Saturday we took the students to Segovia and the nearby palace at La Granja. (See entry for August 18th). Then back to Madrid, more visits, and a morning in Toledo on our way back to Malaga on Monday. The Prado, as always, a joyous visit. Las Meninas never fails to move me. I can't help it, it's so beautiful, so stunning, it just leaves me speechless and all tingly. It was great fun to get to spend some time with Daniela. She has settled in nicely. She was the one leading me around on the metro. Oh, to have a country hick for a father! On Sunday evening we went to the theatre and saw a great comedy with two amazing film actresses who rarely appear on stage: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and Maribel Verdú (That's them in the photos above.) They were both fantastic and didn't disappoint. To the contrary, I hadn't enjoyed a theatrical production so much in years. Today is one of those days when the tired expression "bathed in light" can be appropriately applied– a crystal clear morning in Malaga.
No big surprises in this election, at least with regard to what the polls were suggesting. To me Obama's victory feels like waking up from a long nightmare. Oh, if only Bush's rotten destruction were just a dream, how nice it would be to wake up! Obama's got quite a mess to deal with, so I wish him great luck. Listening to the speech he just gave a couple of hours ago in the park in Chicago, I was struck by his eloquence. A president who can speak the English language! Bush will leave office (eight interminable years!) without having given a single memorable speech, not one paragraph to inspire future generations. It's night and day between him and Obama. Congratulations to all the youngsters who got involved! They really did make a big, big difference. Here in Malaga the mood is euphoric. The phone calls began at 5 am (Alma!) then after a pause and two hours' sleep, lots of calls and text messages from friends in Malaga. People are really excited. And relieved. Good luck to the Republican party: Sarah Palin? I don't think that's the direction they want to take. If the news reports I just heard are accurate, the Republicans now have a New England congressional delegation of zero. Zilch! And they sure aren't going to fix that with Sarah Palin. And how about Elizabeth Dole pandering to the cultural neanderthals with last minute ads showing her opponent with a voice-over crying "there is no God". She's being sued for that one, given the ad's blatant lies and defamation. It's 2008 for God's sake! Someone who campaigns like that is not just shameless, she is truly despicable. Good riddance Elizabeth Dole-what a creep! She should go to Alaska and take a long, long hike with Sarah Palin. Maybe they'll find their real America up there in the tundra. Dole was another of these "values" Republicans. Yah, great values, Lizzie. (P.s.--In Minnesota a Charles Aldrich is on the ballot, running as a Libertarian. He's racked up 0.5% of the vote.)