Letter From New York 12 14 14 A grey and gloomy day on the road to Christmas

The light is beginning to fade here in the Hudson Valley; it has been a painfully grey day. Not once has been there a burst of sunlight to shatter the exterior bleakness. Christmas carols are playing and they sound dirge-like against this shadowy day. It has been a day to cuddle inside and to read, reflect and do interior things.

I am having friends for dinner so started the day making fresh asparagus soup and prepping things for dinner. When I finish writing this, I will move on to the kitchen and start the meal.

Today, I also started doing Christmas cards, a few, adding personal notes to folks I have not seen for a long time and for who Christmas is seemingly our sole touch point.

A Climate Treaty has been signed in Lima though it seems that while all agree few are enthused. Scientists, I read, feel it falls far short of the actions needed to curtail climate change while some nations feel it costs them too much.

Cheney, to no one’s great surprise, is highly critical of the Senate “Torture” Report. Jeb Bush is giving some indications he is considering a 2016 run for the Presidency. Certainly Rick Perry is prepping for the race. He’s getting some coaching and has declared that the run for the Presidency is NOT an IQ test.

The good news/bad news story of oil continues. It slipped beneath $60.00 a barrel, which caused prices up here to drop to under $3.00 a gallon but which also shaved 350 points off the Dow on Friday, making for a scary Wall Street ride.

Some folks are saying it could go down to $40.00 a barrel, which would be very bad for the shale oil industry in North Dakota. It only makes money at about $60.00 a barrel. There are those who speculate that the Saudis are letting the price of a barrel of oil fall so as to get rid of the pesky shale oil producers here in America. After years of declining crude production in the US, the shale oil boom has made us something like the third largest oil producer in the world.

It’s certainly causing some hurt for Mr. Putin; Russia depends on its oil sales. The ruble has been crashing. Must seem like a grey day to him as well. Put Venezuela in that camp as well, hurting badly with the fall in prices. Same with Nigeria. Same with a few other countries, too.

Regardless of what is happening in the oil realm, all over the world we are moving toward Christmas.

It seems some Americans are eschewing an expensive Christmas and moving back toward simpler times with less extravagant celebrations of the Holiday. It will be interesting to see how this holiday shopping season works out in the end. Up? Down? We’ll know the figures right after Christmas.

On this grey day, Newtown is marking the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings with a private ceremony and quiet reflection. It is a town where the wounds have yet to heal and may never heal.

In another gruesome story, hundreds attended the funeral of Jessica Chambers, a Mississippi teenager who was doused with an accelerant and burned alive on the side of a road.

The mind boggles at the act while the heart revolts at the cruelty.

A reward fund has risen to $11,000 for information leading to her killer.

It is stories like that which darken my day and make me feel as grey and gloomy as the weather.

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