Letter From New York 12 21 2015 Car rampage and a Miss Universe Gaffe

It is Monday morning and Christmas is four days away.  It is noon and I am sitting at the dining room table looking out at a grey world.  Across the creek, barren trees are swaying in the gusting wind.

My friends, Lionel and Pierre, arrived at their home across the street late last night and we had breakfast together this morning, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast while carols played in the background.

While we breakfasted news came flashing across our devices that some dozens had been injured and one killed in Las Vegas when a woman plowed her car into a crowd on the sidewalk outside the Paris Hotel and Casino.  With a toddler at her side the woman repeatedly plowed into the crowd. 

The police said it appeared intentional but not an act of terrorism.  The three year old with her was not harmed and the woman was taken into custody after doing her damage and then leaving the scene, parking some blocks away.

The 1996 Oldsmobile had Oregon plates and the woman had reportedly recently moved to Nevada.

How?  Why?

Lindsey Graham has suspended his presidential campaign. Not so long ago he complained that he couldn’t believe that Trump had so outdistanced him in the polls.  Obama has stated that Trump is “exploiting” anger and fear among working class men to propel his candidacy.  Yes, I think that’s true.

Also true is that Blatter and Platini, the two most powerful men in world soccer, have been banned from the sport for eight years for ethics violations. 

Near Bagram, Afghanistan, six NATO soldiers including some Americans, have been killed by a Taliban suicide bomber who plowed his motorcycle into a NATO/Afghan foot patrol.

Donald Trump sold the Miss Universe Pageant.  It was held in Las Vegas last night not far from where the car rampage occurred.  In a ghastly gaffe, Steve Harvey, the host, announced Miss Columbia was the winner when it was actually Miss Philippines.  Miss Columbia was first runner-up. 

You can imagine what the Twitterverse was like!  Lots of jokes about where was Trump when you needed him?

In other entertainment news, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has broken all box office records for a weekend opening, topping “Jurassic World.”  538 million dollars worldwide.  The Force has opened our pocketbooks.

Space X, Elon Musk’s space company, is launching from Cape Canaveral a payload of 11 satellites for Orbcomm, a communications company.  All eyes will be on what happens after the launch, to see if the rocket can land safely on land.  It would be the first time a rocket carrying an orbital payload will have done that.

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, successfully launched and landed a test rocket last month.

Space is becoming the last frontier for billionaires, out to make even greater fortunes by making space more accessible.

It reminds me a bit of the 19th century’s railroad millionaires, battling it out to conquer the continent with their rail lines.

Shortly, Lionel and I are going grocery shopping for dinner, having our friend Matthew Morse over.  I have a few more packages to bag and need to start packing for my Christmas trip.  It is a funny sort of day for a funny sort of beginning to winter.  It will be in the 50’s this week in the Hudson Valley.

It will be a white Christmas only in our minds.

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