Letter From New York 03 21 2016 Of Nicotine Addiction and murderous souls…

A young, good looking man fell into his fifteen minutes of fame last month when he had sex with a strange woman on the Ferris wheel in Las Vegas, one of the biggest in the world.

Phillip Panzica III had had a falling out with his fiancé, went partying, drinking and gambling and got into trouble 550 feet in the air.  His fiancé bailed him out two days later and they kissed and made up.

Back in Dallas, they were carjacked.  Phillip was fatally shot while his fiancé was told to get out of the car once they had taken her money.  It’s a tragic ending to a story that had me smiling a bit when I read about the Ferris wheel.  As a sex scandal, it seems pretty tame in this day and age.

Vadym Kholodenko, a 29 year old renowned pianist, Ukrainian by birth and now Texas based, went to pick up his two young daughters from his estranged wife only to find them dead and his wife covered in blood from what appear to have been, according to police, self inflicted knife wounds. 

Both stories remind me of the uncivilized ways we can behave in civilized places, that there are moments when murderous madness descends and death ensues.  Phillip looked a bit like one of my students and Vadym and his wife appeared in earlier pictures as a textbook happy couple.

It is a stark contrast to my place in the world.  I am in the process of replacing items in my bathroom now that young Nick and his team have finished their work, making my bathroom all fresh again.

It was so lovely today I could wander about with just a sweater for most of the day.

My friend Patrick and I met at Kozel’s Restaurant here in Claverack and had lunch in a place that reminded me of nothing so much as the best restaurant in Bemidji, Minnesota when I was a youngster and we stayed part of the summer at a lake nearby.

He and I chattered about the lot of things, from The Donald to the joys of life in Columbia County, particularly on sunny, crisp days like today.  It felt a carefree day as a meeting in the city was moved and I could spend the day here, doing errands, some cleaning and visiting with friends.

Moments ago, Lionel texted me “martini time” which he does most evening when he is about to make one for himself.  I’m going to join him, finishing this while sipping one.

A very civilized ending to a day when events almost everywhere reminded me that we have evolved but still are sometimes victim to our murderous souls.

The former Vice President of Congo was convicted at the ICC in The Hague of war crimes; murder, rape and pillage.  It apparently is a landmark case.

Also a landmark moment is that death in the US from heart attacks is falling, continuing a forty year trend.  That’s good and the result of work on the betterment of man.

My father had a massive coronary two years before he died from a stroke.  He was younger than I am now when he passed, a moment I noted when I reached the age he died.  We tend now to be healthier and more sensitive to our bodies and we have decreased the amount of smoking.

My father could never quite quit smoking.  After his heart attack he had packs of L&M’s stashed here and there, like an alcoholic has his bottles stashed.  He rolled his own, telling us they were better for him.  Nicotine addiction contributed to his heart attack and his death.

So long ago…

But not so long ago, Governor Rauner of Illinois, said he would support whoever the party nominates, which means he will support Trump if nominated.  Some Republicans have begun to move away from being party liners, saying, ah, no, anyone but Trump.

Kasich, however, has not ignited the fires of any Republicans, including the establishment, who I rather thought would choose him over Cruz.  But apparently not…

Pink clouds dance on the horizon; I expect then good weather.  Good night and good evening…

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