Letter From New York 07 30 15 A party on the train and a missing dentist…

The moment I stepped out of the apartment this morning, my glasses steamed up. It was that kind of day. Stopping at CVS to pick up prescription, I exited into a torrential downpour. I stood for ten to fifteen minutes getting a cab, while balancing a suitcase, knapsack and CVS bag before one arrived.

The reason I was weighted down with all this “stuff” is that tonight is July 30th and I was appointed bartender for tonight’s Empire Regulars’ Retirement party for Ray, one of the most beloved conductors on the Empire Service. I think tomorrow is his last day; today is his last time conducting on one of our regular trains.

Emails have been racing back and forth all day about who was going to bring what…

Cheese and crackers and cold meats and Italian sausages, soft drinks and my “Ray Martin” drink, a concoction of limeade, seltzer, ice, and vodka, topped by a maraschino cherry.

It’s been my job for nearly ten years this fall to come up with a signature drink for our train parties. I did “Baby ‘Tinis” for a baby shower, held for a couple of regulars having their first child. One was pink; one was blue. They had opted not to know the sex of their child so I did one for each possibility. For a Halloween party, I created a “Pumpkin Tini” and so it has gone for all these years.

Ray has been great to all of us and we want to send him off in our signature style, a party on the train.

Not very much a party was Gay Pride in Israel. An ultra-Orthodox Jew named Yishai Schlissel stabbed six people in the Pride Parade. Just a few weeks ago, he was released from prison, having served his time for stabbing three people in the 2005 Pride Parade.

The plane part found on Reunion Island, a French territory in the Western Indian Ocean, is being closely examined to make sure that it is truly from a 777. If it is, it is probably from MH 370, as there are no other missing 777’s. There is no desire to give friends and relatives of the flight’s passengers anything but 100% certainty.

Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati policeman, has been charged with murder of a black man, Sam Dubose, after he shot Dubose following a stop for a missing license plate. Tensing was wearing a body camera. The Cincinnati prosecutor has called it “senseless and asinine.” Tensing has pleaded not guilty and is held under a million-dollar bail.

The Greek Debt Crisis continues roiling. Tsipras is being confronted by the far left of his party and he has thrown down the gauntlet to them. Germany wants the IMF to be part of the bail out. The IMP says not right now; it wants to know Greece can succeed. Who knows what will happen?

Tsipras remains incredibly popular, even after his U turn. He seems refreshing to the Greek populace, so used to career politicians.

Walter Palmer, the Bloomington, Minnesota dentist who has brought down the world’s wrath by killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, has disappeared. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife law enforcement officials have been relentlessly attempting to contact him. It’s not the first time they’ve been in touch with him. There was an incident a few years ago here in the States.

No success. Silent as a tomb, where some people would like him to be.

But if I am going to be successful at tonight’s party, it’s time for me to finish this and head for Penn Station to join my fellow revelers. Shhhh! It’s a surprise.

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