Letter From New York 02 17 15 Also with a lighter note…

This morning I woke up in Manhattan, in the pied-a-terre that I have here. For a moment, as the alarm was going off, I was sure that I was in my bedroom in the cottage and only slowly realized where I was. It was interesting to have that sense of momentary confusion. The Bose radio at the cottage is ivory; the one in New York is grey. Seeing the grey Bose reminded me where I was.

With bright sun blurting down on the city and with the temperatures in the twenties, it felt positively balmy.

The apartment is on the Upper West Side and my meeting was on the Upper East Side so I jumped in a taxi, being met with one of the most garrulous taxi drivers I have encountered for quite some time. We had a romping conversation about the weather and the newly posted speed limit in the city. You cannot drive faster than 25 miles per hour and only 10, which I didn’t know, at cross walks.

Following my morning meeting, I made my way to one of my favorite places, Café du Soleil, at 104 and Broadway and had French Onion Soup and grilled salmon for lunch, with a good, cold, crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc. While eating I chatted with Jeff, who like me, was seated at the bar. When not chatting with him, I read the NY Times on my iPhone.

It was a pleasant ninety minutes. Finishing, I returned to the apartment to do today’s blog and then I am off to drinks with a friend and a screening of a documentary about Pope Francis, the man who will, I am sure, one day be a saint.

As usual, the world is not a pretty place.

In Ukraine, the fragile truce is not holding near Debaltseve, the vital rail hub. Nearly 8000 Ukrainian troops are pinned down there, surrounded by rebels and fighting for their lives. Neither side seems to want to honor the truce in this strategic town.

The US has said that it is not in the interests of anyone to wage a proxy war with Russia in the Ukraine, a sign, perhaps, that this country is considering carefully whether it will supply any arms to Ukraine.

In another side effect of Ukraine, Fifa has awarded the World Cup to Russia in 2018. It is now wondering if they made a mistake, given that by 2018, if things continue as they are, Russia will be an international pariah. Not that that will change Russian policies.

Hungary, which has been leaning towards Russia for some time now, was rewarded with a gas contract, showing that it pays off to play nice with Vladimir [Putin].

In Paris, a Jewish journalist, Zvika Klein, walked around for ten hours with a camera. He caught all the anti-Semitic things said or done to him on video. It is disturbing.

The Boko Haram detonated bombs that killed 8 in Nigeria, while attacking Cameroon at the same time. Cameroon responded and claims to have killed 86 of Boko Haram, which, by the way, means “western education is forbidden.”

Having made such a splash with the burning to death of the captured Jordanian pilot, IS has now burned at least 45 to death in a captured town in Iraq.

In a much lighter note, and we know we need lighter notes, Chelsea Handler tweeted a topless photo of herself from Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Not that I wanted to see her topless but evidently she has a penchant for showing skin.

The market is back over 18,000 today as hope rises that some deal will be done with Greece.

And our favorite international bon vivant, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on trial for pimping, has had the prosecutors in the case recommend his acquittal. It is up to the judges. The prosecutors never wanted to move forward in the first place but were overruled by the judges.

Mad Men, our favorite show about that wonderful time, the 1960’s, will be honored by having Don Draper’s suit, fedora and bar cart put on display at the Smithsonian!

As we go into the final episodes, Don Draper’s future looks uncertain. Mine, however, for at least this evening, is rock solid. I am off to drinks and a screening.

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