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February 23, 2000

Carlos Santana had a good night, didn't he? I can't say I remember much of the Grammys between Jennifer Lopez's outfit and Santana's performance, but there were some interesting combinations of presenters. My favorite would have to be Phil Collins, Macy Gray and Andy Williams. The tribute to Latin music was one of the highlights of the show; it was stirring to hear the voice of Ibrahim Ferrer and see him perform. And the look on Christina's face when she won best new artist was priceless, especially since Britney was already on stage, ready to accept. Although I have nothing against Limp Bizkit and Korn, I was happy to see Metallica win in the hard rock category. (No, they didn't show it. You had to pay attention to the graphics leading into the commercials.)

Does that about cover it?

I'm sure people think there are too many Grammy categories, but I love it. I get excited this time of year about tracking down some of the winners that I haven't heard of before. I have an eclectic CD collection already, but I'm always looking to explore new and different kinds of music. I must find a copy of Mambo Birdland by Tito Puente, the winner for best traditional tropical album, and Livro by Caetano Veloso, the best world music album.

One benefit of working at home is that I can program my own musical environment, and today I looked over the list of nominees and played some of the CDs I already own. Supernatural, of course, and the nominated music by Macy Gray, Jonny Lang, Etta James and Sting. They didn't all win, but they're all winners.

All music has value to someone. It's a direct, heart-to-heart form of communication between the creator and the audience. If you listen you can become tuned in to the awesome diversity of cultures and conditions and emotions the world has to offer. Every life has a story, and every work of music tells part of someone's story. You just have to be open enough to hear it.

In thinking about the March 7 presidential primary, I've come to the conclusion that it's only a primary and doesn't really have any bearing on who's going to be the next president. That will be either Al Gore or George W. Bush, no matter how I decide to vote. So I've pretty much decided that it's worth helping embarrass the Republicans by voting for John McCain. Bush will get the most votes among party members, and that will give him all of California's delegates to the convention. I'd really like to see McCain get a big popular vote margin, and leave it to the Republican regulars to try to explain why he gets shut out of the nomination.

Don't get me wrong. Even if I vote for McCain in March, that doesn't mean I want him to become president. I would trust him to do a decent, honest job in the office, but I don't want him nominating the next four or five Supreme Court justices. However, he's not going to be the Republican nominee, no matter what California decides, because Bush has the party faithful firmly on his side.

In light of McCain's big win in Michigan Tuesday night, he has a dilemma of sorts. He has shown that he can attract a broad spectrum of voters, which should be enticing to members of his party who actually want to win the presidency. On the other hand, he doesn't have much appeal to the religious right, the core of the Republican voting base. If he moves to the right, he loses the Reagan Democrats and some independents. If he stays the course, he can't get the nomination of his own party.

Despite my disagreements with McCain's stand on abortion and other social issues, I believe he's a man of integrity. I don't think he'll do anything to jeopardize his reputation as a person of principle, simply to get votes. I hope I'm not wrong about that, because it would be comforting to think that there's one politician who won't compromise with the fringe groups and special interests. He's certainly the most interesting candidate in an otherwise lackluster election year.

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