Letter From A Train… 08 21 15 Of lights, meeting and trains…

It is Friday afternoon and I am on the Acela heading north from Washington, DC. Tuesday I left New York and went to Martha’s Vineyard for a quick visit to see The Grand Illumination, the lighting of the cottages in the Campground in Oak Bluffs. It was a spectacular if short visit to the Vineyard.

Arriving Tuesday afternoon, I ended up immediately going on a sail with Jeffrey and his hired mate, Tim, scudding across the harbor and out into the open waters, a good sail with a good wind. They worked; I watched. We sailed past a boat called “Infinity” which was the first super yacht launched in 2015. It was a beautiful boat, registered in the Cayman Islands and, though we tried, we could not find out who owned it, a secret well shielded.

We went into town, had dinner at Behind The Bookstore, and then headed home. I fell asleep with my Kindle in my hand, the light still on, waking at one and turning it off and drifting from there into a deep, rich sleep.

The next day was spent on the veranda, reading, looking at the stunning views and napping.

Jeffrey drove us to the Grand Illumination and while he looked for parking, Joyce and I wandered amongst the cottages, all lit with lanterns, some older than my grandparents. People sat on their porches, ready to tell you the story of their cottage.

The crowds were deep and only once did I engage with the owners, an elderly couple who bought their place in 1992. She was eighty; I have no idea how old he was. They were dressed in costume. They came from the theatre and had performed in thirty musicals together and had been married for 57 years. They were charming and worth the visit.

Yesterday morning I went with Jeffrey to the restaurant, had breakfast while he had coffee and then off to the airport.

Direct flights from the Vineyard were ruinously expensive on the return so I chose a flight that connected in DC. Alas, all flights yesterday afternoon to LGA on US Airways were cancelled because of “traffic congestion.”

I went to Baltimore, stayed with Lionel and Pierre, and had a lovely dinner with them. Today there was business in DC and now I head home.

The market is swooning, having had its worst day since 2011. There are fears the slowdown in China is worse than thought. The specter of a rate hike by the Fed hovers over the market and the price of oil has slipped beneath forty dollars a barrel, the lowest it has been since the depth of the Great Recession, signaling the world economy is slowing down.

Oh my! Not good. My portfolio is battered as I expect yours is too.

I think I mentioned in my last Letter that the site AshleyMadison.com had been hacked. It’s the site for married people who want to have an affair. One of the married people who wanted to have an affair was Josh Duggar, of “19 and Counting” who has admitted to molesting his sisters and a baby sitter. The kink just goes on.

15,000 of the hacked email addresses are .gov and .edu. Why would people use their work email addresses in a situation like this? I don’t know but it causes me to wonder about the intelligence of the American public.

On a French train a man with an automatic weapon and a knife wounded passengers and was subdued by two Americans on the train. No motive is known at this point for the attack. Kudos to the Americans on the train.

Ted Cruz sparred with actress Ellen Page over LGBT issues at the Iowa State Fair. Scott Walker equivocated about whether he would meet with folks from “Blacks Lives Matter.”

Two women have qualified as Army Rangers, the first time this has happened. I don’t think they can fight with the Rangers but they have qualified and it’s a great first step. Congratulations to 1st Lt. Kristen Griest and Capt. Shaye Haver. Good job!

A male colleague described one of them as a “physical stud.” Wow!

Not a physical stud is the pudgy, petulant dictator of North Korea who has declared his state to be in a “quasi” state of war with South Korea. He is upset about a number of things. The US is staging “war games” with South Korean troops. South Korea has been blaring propaganda over loudspeakers into North Korea.   North Korea is now blaring propaganda into South Korea. If only he didn’t have nuclear weapons…

And, lastly, alas, Trump is moving from sideshow to main stage and that is a particularly harrowing statement about America in the 21st Century. Oh my…

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