February 11th, 2008

Hillary's Daughter Complains

Chelsea Clinton, who works for a hedge fund, complained publicly about her health care coverage:
"If you have health care and you're not happy with it -- like me who has employer provided health care, but I'm not happy with it -- and if you are one of the 100 million who are uninsured at some point throughout the year... you'll be able to buy into a Congressional health plan," Chelsea Clinton said in a Milwaukee appearance broadcast, in part, on MSNBC today, in which she described her mother's healthcare plan.
Your mom just loaned herself 5 million dollars.  You're working at a hedge fund.  Quit complaining about your own health care.  You can afford to pay for everything out of pocket.

If you think it's bureaucratic
And doesn't pay enough
But you think you'll be ecstatic
When your mother's plan gets in...

I'd ask you, please, to think again.
Eventually they'll start to ration stuff
And that's when the going gets rough.

Light's Iliad

I recently acquired a little book by Frederick Light, O Goddess Chant It Out, which is a translation of Book One of Homer's Iliad. It's an ambitious project, put out by Rapid Traffic Press, in New York. I'm not quite sure how you would buy a copy at this point, but I expect it will become available soon.

Looking into it, I was once again startled by the way Apollo takes the Trojan's side against the Greeks (a.k.a. the Achaians). The following takes place after a Trojan priest prays to Apollo to kill some Greeks:
Phoibos Apollo laid to heart his prayer.
From mountain-dome Olympos down in quick
Descent he sprang, downright indignantly
To shoot the camp and make Achaians sick.
Note also that we think of Apollo as a god of healing, but here he is spreading a killing illness. The Greek gods were not of the all-benevolent variety!

In correspondence, Light pointed out that the plot of the Iliad bears a curious resemblance to the plot of Atlas Shrugged: both involve a man of tremendous talent going "on strike." I don't think we should make too much of it, but I like to joke that Atlas is "the men of mind on strike" but that the Iliad is "the man of muscle on strike." In a way that's unfair to Achilles. He's more than just "a man of muscle." But strong, fast, and deadly he certainly is.

Light translates the Iliad into sequences of sonnets, each consisting of 3 quatrains and a couplet. The quatrains, as you see above, usually only have the even lines rhymed. I'm not sure I think this schema is a good idea, but it's certainly an interesting one!

The verse often turns heavily alliterative, reminding me a bit of Old English:
"The man's possessed whose mind is poisonous.
Not fore and after in purveyance will
Atreyedes take heed to save his horde
Beside the ships, who mandates would fulfill
With madness."
Anyway, it's a very interesting and idiosyncratic effort. Sometimes it loses me, but there are places where it flashes some real power.

In the story, most of the gods
Choose one or the other side.

Who can calculate the odds
When divinities collide?