Archive for April, 2016

Letter From New York 04 29 2016 Protesting Trump to bombing Aleppo…

April 30, 2016

The day began with a conversation over coffee with my friend Robert Murray about Wednesday’s remarks by former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, that Ted Cruz was “Lucifer in the flesh” and that he “was the most miserable son of a bitch” that Boehner had ever worked with.

Ouch!  Gloves off, totally off.

Boehner, apparently, has never forgiven Cruz for his part in the 2013 government shutdown. 

We discussed how stunning it was that such a prominent Republican has said such harsh words about a front runner for the Presidential nomination of their own party.

It is probable that Trump will be the Republican Presidential nominee and Boehner said that he would vote for him, if he was, which is far short of an enthusiastic endorsement. 

Is there anyone we are enthusiastic about in this election?  I don’t think so.

At the Republican Convention in California, there was a tense stand-off between Trump protesters and police as hundreds stormed the convention in protest of Trump.  Railing at the man doesn’t some to be doing much good.  He is the juggernaut the Republicans did not expect.

To my surprise, though it shouldn’t be, 75 years ago “Citizen Kane” premiered and changed movies forever.  Lili St. Cyr, last of the great strippers, who I knew in Los Angeles, briefly had an affair with him while he was making the movie.  Filmmaker after filmmaker has given him homage in their own films and his legend will live on.

Obama is seeking to shore up his legacy, if not his legend, with interviews about his years as President.  I suspect, though I know many will not agree with me, that history will be kinder to him than his contemporaries.

Prince, recently dead, had a bad hip and being a Jehovah’s Witness, was not going to have a replacement.  He had been given pain pills to help and it may be that they played a part in his demise.  Police have obtained a search warrant for his home and have raided a Walgreen’s Pharmacy where Prince had his prescriptions filled.  Results from his autopsy will be available in a month or so.  As he died without a will, it will be an epic battle, probably, over his estate, including all the songs he never released.

In Syria, the fragile truce has frayed and Aleppo has returned to full scale war.  A hospital was bombed and the fatalities rise.  Secretary Kerry has been on the phone with Lavrov of Russia, working to get some sort of end to the tragedy.

It is being wondered if Syria’s President Assad has been dealing with IS, buying its oil.  Which would certainly give another wicked twist to the tragedy in Syria.

The Romans, in their day, ruled Syria and Spain and today, in Seville, in Spain, a group of workers repairing water pipes found 19 amphora or jars filled with Roman coins from the time of Constantine — the Emperor who embraced Christianity.  The find is worth millions of Euros.

While all these things go on, I am now back at the cottage,   There is a fall like chill in the air so I have lit a fire in the Franklin Stove and cranked up some jazz from Amazon Prime Music.  It is cozy and comfortable, a contented Friday evening.

The creek at twilight tonight…

Creek at twilight 04 29 2016

Letter From New York 04 27 2016

April 28, 2016

Twilight has passed and I am curled up with the laptop and a martini, allowing the day to begin to slip away.  It was not a bad day at all; quite the contrary.  My rambunctious students were less so today after I told them that if they were rambunctious today,  I was going to ask them to leave.  They knew when they had arrived they had gone a little over the top on Monday and were quite subdued as they arrived, giving me looks to see how annoyed I might be with them.

It was actually a bit amusing.

After office hours, I went to the gym and then to an early dinner at Coyote Flaco, a small Mexican restaurant not far from the cottage.  At home, there were lots of things to gather as I am going down to New York City tomorrow for an Odyssey meeting and a dinner at which Odyssey has purchased a table, all in support of a film they have made on “moral injury.”

It is beginning to shape up that I am going for at least a couple of weeks to help my friends who own the Edgartown Bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard.  Might be two weeks or a month but will be good for me to do that and I think they need the help in the time before college students start showing up looking for summer jobs so it looks like just before Memorial Day to sometime in June, with a trip down to New York to see my brother and sister-in-law when they are there to celebrate their wedding anniversary in between, I will be on the Vineyard, the place my friend Jeffrey calls “the land of off.”

It was a good day yesterday for Donald Trump, who swept all five races and for Hillary, who triumphed in four of the five.

The Donald said that Hillary was playing “the woman card” and that if she weren’t a woman she wouldn’t be getting five percent of the vote.  Like Hillary or not, she does have some pretty good credentials.

The Donald outlined his foreign policy directions today, carrying forward his America First! theme into foreign policy.  He criticized Obama for not standing with our allies and then went on to diss them himself.  Some thought it rambling and incoherent, others thought it a great step to the middle.  What I heard of it sounded like a big muddle.

Ted Cruz has chosen Carly Fiorina as his running mate.  Wait, don’t you have to be nominated before you announce your running mate?  Or is that just old politics? Regardless, it is not a pretty thought from where I sit.  Cruz is as concerning to me as Trump.

It was not a good day for Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, who was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for a bank crime, committed while he was paying off a young man he had sexually abused.  Apparently there were five of them who Hastert abused, all distraught, now middle-aged men, with one of them dead.  The man he was paying off has now sued for the remainder of the money. 

The Saudis, in an overdue awakening, are working to get beyond oil and to diversify so that when, someday, the oil runs out — and it will — they won’t drift back into a medieval state.   It will be a hard road to success.  The Saudi kingdom is not as open or as business friendly as the United Arab Emirates, who saw the future long ago.

Elon Musk wants to land an unmanned craft on Mars as early as 2018 and I say: go for it!

Salah Abdeslam, the surviving member of the team that perpetrated the Paris attacks last year, is back in Paris.  His lawyers have described him as a “little jerk” who is “falling apart” in jail and is ready to cooperate.

The evening is fading.  My martini is gone and I am ready for sleep, grateful for the day and the day that is, I hope, coming.  Life is an interesting mystery.

Letter From New York 04 25 2016 From beheadings to Deflategate…

April 25, 2016

I’m not sure where the term “dog tired” came from but that’s what I am today, “dog tired.”  When I woke it was a grey, chill day, unremittingly grey.  At class I was struggling to get my rambunctious students to pay attention while I was helping them fill in the background of what they needed to know about media history.   

Most of them are graduating in three weeks and there are only four more classes for them and you can sense them stampeding toward the doors. 

Leaving them, I went down to Relish, the little cafe by the train station and had an egg white omelet, reading a mystery by Louise Penny while eating.  Coming home, I did a conference call and then prepped for some interviews I am doing for our community radio station tomorrow.

The American Dance Institute has purchased a rundown lumberyard in Catskill and is converting it to performance spaces and living quarters for artists while they’re in residence.  It’s an exciting project…

I am talking to Chris Bolan, their Community Relations Manager, tomorrow about the project.

So right now, I am listening to jazz, sipping a much needed martini and working on  figuring out kitchen organization.  I have more stuff than space.  What goes?  What stays and where does what stays, go?

One of the reasons I felt tired or maybe a bit depressed was that as I was walking toward my class, the phone pinged and the BBC reported a leading gay activist in Bangladesh had been hacked to death, not too long after a liberal blogger had been similarly dispensed.  I felt sad, angry, helpless, wanting to do something to change the tide of hate sweeping the world and not knowing at all what to do about it.

The afternoon brought news that a Canadian in the Philippines has been killed by an Islamist militant group.  His name was John Ridsdel, described as brilliant and compassionate; he was a 68 year old tourist from Calgary, Canada.  Beheaded, of course, in keeping with tradition.

On the American political scene, Cruz and Kasich made a pact to stop Trump by Kasich withdrawing from Indiana in favor of Cruz and Cruz withdrawing from Oregon in favor of Kasich.  After great fanfare this morning, it seems to have fallen apart by the afternoon.

It was not a good day for the New England Patriot’s Tom Brady as the courts upheld his suspension from the first four games of the season.  Deflategate has not gone away; its repercussions are still being felt and Brady’s legacy is at stake.  He could still appeal but his chances aren’t good.  The NFL may well have won.

Hard for me to figure this out as I am not a football fan; never a big fan, I was totally lost to the sport when the concussion revelations began to happen.

It is a mellow night at the cottage.  It is 7:30 and the sun has not yet gone away.  There are buds on the trees and the rhododendron are starting their bloom.  The jazz has energized me and I am happy now.  Somehow, in writing this, I have shed this day.  And I am grateful.

Thank you.

Letter From New York 04 23 2016 Prince is gone and Shakespeare is remembered…

April 23, 2016

On Thursday, I was sitting at Molly Wee, an Irish Pub a block from Penn Station, having lunch with Mark Sklawer, a filmmaker who is working on a film about the music period in the life of Howard Bloom, who is a client of mine.  As we talked, my phone buzzed in my pocket and I took it out to see what was going on.

Both the AP and BBC were sending alerts that Prince had died.  It was shocking as Prince wasn’t ill as far as I knew and still relatively young at 57, younger than me.  We are both natives of Minneapolis though I had left about the time he was beginning his ascent.

What struck the three of us was that the news hit us as we were talking about Howard, who had been Prince’s PR guru at the time of “Purple Rain.”  It was, in fact, Howard who persuaded Warner Bros. to release the film.  After a screening, studio executives were terrified of what they had on their hands and some wanted to kill the film.

It was Howard that convinced them that the film was brilliant and would be a hit.  And he was right. 

The papers on Thursday were filled with paeans to the musical legend, as well they should have been.  He helped turn many a corner and, through it all, remained close to Minneapolis, his place of origin.  He died at his estate in Chanhassen, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Prince Picture


It is spring like and the last two days have been singularly beautiful though rain fell Friday evening, the day the Hubble turned 26 years old, sending back glorious pictures of deep space.

Friday, in honor of Earth Day, was a day to go without a car in New York City.  It did seem traffic was lighter.  I used subways to get about.

The weekend will be full of chores, which I will have to accomplish on my own.  “Young Nick,” the young man who helps out every weekend, left today for a week’s vacation.  He’ll be back a week from Saturday.  After all the years of Saturdays when he has helped me, Saturday doesn’t feel like Saturday without a bit of “Nick time.”

Last Wednesday, in my class, students were talking about cyber bullying and how it leads to suicide.  Today, it has been reported that suicide has increased in this country by 24% since 1999.  I am sure someone will do a correlation between the rise in suicides and the rise of Social Media.

Barak and Michelle Obama attended on Friday a dinner at Kensington Palace hosted by Princes William and Harry after he had  lunched with the Queen, who is celebrating her 90th birthday.  She has reigned longer than any other British monarch and is the oldest monarch in history.  Good on her! 

In popular news, “Live with Kelly and Michael” has been in turmoil.  Kelly was informed this past week that Michael Strahan, her co-host, is leaving the show to become a full time co-host on “Good Morning, America.”  Feeling blindsided and hurt, Kelly did not appear on Wednesday.  She is supposed to be off for a few days to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary to soap star Mark Consuelos.

However, she has now announced she will return on Tuesday as scheduled and it will be interesting to see how they interact.

Today is a brilliant day, sun out but with a chill wind.  Following my Saturday round of the Farmer’s Market, I went to The Red Dot for brunch, where I worked on the final exam for my class, “Media & Society” after finishing my food.

It is a good day; off tonight to dinner with some people I haven’t yet met but with whom I am working on a project for the community radio station, WGXC.

While I write this, the world is still absorbing the death of Prince, that North Korea has apparently fired a ballistic missile from a submarine, that 8 relatives were killed execution style in Ohio, including a woman lying next to a four day old baby and markingß today, the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death at the age of 52.

He wrote 37 plays that will live on and on and on…  He wrote about life and no one will tire of that…

Letter From New York 04 16 16 The way we once were…

April 17, 2016

When I was kid — and perhaps when we were all kids — there was one house we all gravitated towards, to hang out, to be around.  When I was a kid, it was the McCormick house.  They were a large family, six kids, in a big house and every year the back yard became a skating rink. In the freezing Minnesota nights the whole neighborhood of kids was there.  During the summers we played kick ball in their enormous driveway.

Still close to the McCormick family, I had lunch with Mary Clare McCormick Eros yesterday at Cafe du Soleil on New York’s Upper West Side.  Sarah, whom I have known since before Kindergarten and I were planning yesterday when to get together when she is in New York next month.  Her son, Kevin, thinks of me as his “Uncle Mat,” even now when he is 31.

Today, I went to Rhinebeck to return to Robert and Tanya Murray innumerable egg cartons as they had donated dozens of eggs from their chickens to my Easter Brunch Church adventures.  When I arrived, two of his children and one of their friends were preparing to do a car wash and I was their first car.  Robert and I sat on the steps and watched them, sipping deep, rich coffee with steamed milk while they soaped up my car.


I suspect Robert and Tanya have the house in the neighborhood to which everyone gravitates.  Sitting there, it reminded me of John and Eileen and the parade that made its way through their home on Aldrich Avenue in Minneapolis.  Robert got up from the stoop and swooped in and helped them.  It took me back to a much simpler, it seemed, time.

It is very doubtful that time was all that much simpler but it seemed that way to us as kids.  I am sure when Tanya and Robert’s five are grown, they will look back on now and think it was a simpler time.

In a gesture of simplicity and love, Pope Francis, sure to be a saint, went to the isle of Lesbos, the epicenter of the refugee crisis and made a speech on the exact spot where orders for deportation back to Turkey were given two weeks ago.  In a stunning surprise, a dozen Syrians returned with him to the Vatican to be resettled in Italy with the help of a Catholic charity.  All had lost their homes to bombs and six of them were children.  It was an act to “prick the conscience of the king.”

Tuesday is the New York Primary.  Bernie and Hillary slugged it out, in an increasingly strident fashion in a CNN debate in Brooklyn earlier this week.  Both hoarse, both looking exhausted, both fighting tooth and nail, they harried each other and some wonder, no matter who the nominee, if the Democratic Party is suffering wounds as deep as the Republicans have been absorbing with their phantasmagorical season?

It is pitch black outside except for the floodlights on the creek and the lights on my house.  It is quiet, except for the thumping of the dryer with a load of clothes. 

In the early evening, I went to an event, “Prose and Prosecco,” a fund raising event for the little Claverack Library which is working to raise the money to finish moving into its new building. 

Local writers read from their works, two good, one questionable, at least from my perspective.  I chatted with a few people but was not in my aggressive meet people mode and left a bit early to come home, do a few things and write my blog.

I relished watching Robert and his children and Maya, the friend, work through their carwash.  It was an hour filled with the squeals of delighted children, embracing the joy of being children.  The way we once were.

Letter From New York 04 14 2016 Moving down the Hudson River…

April 14, 2016

The Catskills are covered with a soft haze as I move south on the train; the Hudson River glistens like rippled, burnished steel.  I am headed to the city for a few social get togethers, more about pleasure than business.  Tomorrow morning, I am going to the exhibit “Pergamon” at the Metropolitan Museum.  It chronicles the art of the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander to the rise of the Roman Empire.

I have a late lunch with my childhood friend, Mary Clare, and then drinks with Nick Stuart, of whom I have seen too little in the last few weeks and then back to Hudson on tomorrow’s 5:47.

The sun glitters but it is not yet warm and yet so pleasant that it feels decadent.  Speaking with friends this morning, we reminded each other that we were incredibly lucky:  we are not Syrian refugees or fleeing Boko Haram or fearing suicide bombers in Baghdad.

Nor am I in southern Japan where an earthquake measuring 6.5 struck, toppled houses and buckled roads.

All those things happened today, the 14th of April, 2016 CE.

It is a good day for Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who will not be charged with battery over his altercation with a reporter recently.

It was a good and bad day for mothers whose daughters were kidnapped two years ago by Boko Haram.  CNN aired a “proof of life” video that showed many of the lost girls alive and at the same time highlighted the failure of the Nigerian government to free them.

For 3 hours and 40 minutes Putin fielded questions on his annual call-in show.  He described the Panama Papers as an “American provocation” and assured viewers that the economy will get better next year.  He ordered an investigation into two women’s complaints they hadn’t been paid in months.   It gave him a chance to seem grand and magnanimous while underscoring the illusion that Russia is a democracy.

As he chatted with his constituents, Putin’s jets flew low passes over a US warship, something that disturbed Secretary of State John Kerry.

We are putting combat troops into the Philippines as the South China Sea dispute ratchets up with the Chinese, who have now deployed combat jets in the area.

Isn’t there a better way?

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, a Republican and a supporter of gay sex marriage, was booed off the state at an event in Boston when he didn’t say he would support a bill that would give transgender people the right to use the bathroom of their gender identity rather than that of their gender at birth.  It’s not what he expected.

Trump and Cruz are accusing each other of strong arming delegates to the Republican Convention, which has been pointing out to the general population on both sides of the political spectrum what an arcane world convention politics is, with super delegates, strange rules, and all sorts of other traditions that can manipulate the popular vote.

That is what Kasich and Cruz are hoping for the Republican convention, a brokered one that will allow one of them to grab the nomination.

Hillary is counting on those same things in the Democratic Party to ensure that she gets the nomination on her side.

Brings up images of “smoke filled rooms” from past generations.

The Hudson River in the afternoon sun is impossibly beautiful and I am privileged to enjoy the view, comfortable that I am probably not going to have to flee in the night, that I will get an evening meal and that I will be safe as I sleep.

Hudson River

It is these simple things we need to keep remembering or, at least, I need to keep remembering.

Letter From New York 04 12 2016 Too hard to think about children suicide bombers…

April 13, 2016

It has been a long day; I was up early because I am getting new appliances and the Columbia County Habitat for Humanity was coming early for my old stove.  They came and went and I waited for the new appliances to arrive. 

It all started with my dishwasher finally starting to give up the ghost which proceeded to all new appliances — a new stove, refrigerator, over the stove microwave and, of course, a new dishwasher.

When they arrived, the dishwasher, which started all of this, was the wrong one and so it had to go and the right one finally arrived.  In the meantime, I spent the day preparing for tomorrow’s lecture on magazines for “Media & Society,” the class I teach at Columbia Greene Community College.

Term papers were due last week and I graded them over the weekend, sending three back for revisions as I was working to help them achieve their goals for “good” grades.  One of the students got very upset with me for trying to help her get a better grade.  She had too many other things to do.

Such is the life of a teacher.  It was this way when I taught high school and it is now when I am teaching at a community college.

The good news story of the day is that a 72 year old woman, who was lost in the Arizona wilderness for nine days, was found alive after drinking pond water and eating plants.  She spelled help in twigs, stones and bones and was seen.  Suffering from exposure, she’s in the hospital in fair condition which is pretty good for an elderly lady who had been lost in the wilderness.

Paul Ryan has told the world to count him out.  He is not, repeat NOT, going to be the Republican candidate for President if it comes to a brokered convention. 

That is what Kasich is counting on; a brokered convention that will take him to heart as the only sane person in the party who could conceivably win. 

The Governor of North Carolina is back pedaling on the anti-gay law he signed into law as he is, rightfully so, rocked by the backlash he has received.  Hell hath no fury like corporate CEO’s who don’t agree with what you have done.

And that includes the very important banking community that has moved into North Carolina in recent years.  Deutsche Bank, who was going to build a presence there, has said:  no, not now, not because of this.

It was a year ago that Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore and there is a feeling there that the mindset has changed.  I hope so.  It was one of those shocking moments in American life that leave you gasping.

What I have also learned in the last year is the passionate way people who live in that city have love for that city.  My friends, Lionel and Pierre, moved there the week before the riots and are now huge boosters of the city, passionately engaged there and loving it.

David Gest died in London today.  A successful producer, he married Liza Minnelli and that may be the thing for which he will be forever remembered.  It was a huge affair with Elizabeth Taylor as a Maid of Honor and Michael Jackson as Best Man and in a year they were divorced with all kinds of ugly rumors abounding.  He had been living in York in England for the last few years, far from the madding crowd, regretful for the cosmetic surgery he had, which did not turn out well.

Tonight, I am focussing on lighter things.  It’s the mood I’m in —  who wants to process that Boko Haram is manipulating children into being suicide bombers?

Yuri Milner, a Russian businessman, has joined forces with Stephen Hawking, wanting to send probes about the size of iPhones to Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to us.  They need to raise ten billion dollars but it sounds interesting.

I have always been a great proponent of space exploration.  “Ah, but man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?”  Robert Browning…

Letter From New York 04 09 2016 As it happens…

April 10, 2016

It is one of my favorite times at the cottage; the sun is setting and twilight is arriving.  As I look out the front window, seated on my sofa, the view slowly becomes very like a black and white photo.  There are only woods, slipping away into the night, a few branches slowly blowing in the soft wind of a cool spring evening.

Touring Amazon Prime Music, I added a playlist of “Classical for Reading” while I sip a martini and type, laptop balanced on my lap.  It had been my intention to go out and attend a gallery opening down in Hudson but after Nick and his father, Martin, left after completing a few finishing touches to my newly painted bath, I sat on the couch, read for a while and decided that, no, I wasn’t headed out; I was staying home to enjoy my cottage.

Last night, I did the same.  Watched “Grantchester” on line and then drifted off, reading a book on my Kindle.

As I sat, as I normally do, having lunch at the bar at The Red Dot, reading and bantering with Alana, the owner, the individuals around me were chattering about the New York Primary, scheduled for the week after next.  Bernie will be in Albany on Monday and one woman is calling in sick in hopes of getting into the rally.  The once solid upstate affection for Hillary has seemed to cool this year and it’s Bernie that is capturing the attention.

Hillary is playing well downstate and I think is headed upstate soon.  It’s a big contest for the two of them, particularly now that he has won Wyoming.  “Pivotal” is the word newspeople are using to describe what happens in New York on the Democratic side.

Hillary herself says she needs to win big, according to the Washington Post.

Ted Cruz had a relatively warm reception in upstate New York when he spoke at a Christian school here but did not fare as well downstate, which finds his “New York values” statement more than a little offensive.  He was, I do believe, booed in Brooklyn.

Donald is trumping through the state, playing on Cruz’s statement and is leading on the GOP side here in New York. 

Arianna Huffington has become a great promoter of sleep.  Yes, that’s right, sleep!  She said in a radio interview that The Donald is exhibiting signs of sleep deprivation.  It’s a point of honor with him that he only sleeps four hours a night.

Meanwhile, Turkey, a country I visited some years ago and was one of my favorite places, is facing warnings from the US and Israel about tourists going there; credible reports of potential incidents in Istanbul and elsewhere have caused the warnings.  A bomb in a bag was exploded today in Istanbul by police, two slightly wounded when they did so.

In Brussels, “the man in the hat” was arrested. He has been ardently searched for by authorities for weeks and was apprehended.  Mohamed Abrini admits to being there, being “the man in the hat” and while he has been apprehended the threat remains all over Europe.

It was a very good day for three sailors in Micronesia, who had been reported missing.  They spelled the world “Help” in palm fronds and that was spotted by a rescue helicopter and they were picked up from the uninhabited island.

Tomorrow night there will be a documentary on HBO about the legendary Gloria Vanderbilt, done with her son, Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor.  She reveals in the new memoir accompanying the documentary that she seduced both Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, not to mention Errol Flynn and Howard Hughes.  What a life she has led…

She is 92, by the way, and doing quite well, thank you!  The book is called, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes.”

And now, outside, it is dark, the music plays and I will end and cozy up with a book.

Letter From New York 04 07 2016 Wild emotional rides, probably weather induced…

April 8, 2016

It’s quiet in the cottage; I haven’t decided on what music I might want to hear. For right now, the silence is good.

The snow is almost gone, what was left was melted by yesterday’s sun and today’s rain.  When I woke this morning, I was in an awfully good mood for no good reason.  Later in the day, with torrential rain falling, I was not in so good a mood.  I followed the day into darkness and had to work to be out of it.

Last night I went to The Dot for an original one act play by a local writer. Actually, it is a three act play being played out over three weeks.  So last night was really Act One.  I’ll be back for Act II next week.  And Act III the week after that…

It is a night when it is good to be cozied in the cottage.  It is chilling outside though the day was warm, if wet. 

While running my errands today, I heard Hillary Clinton talking and she sounded hoarse and exhausted.  I felt sorry for her.  Bernie Sanders is sounding chipper and he should be — he has won all of the last six contests.  Now the focus is on New York State where Hillary and Bernie seem running neck and neck. 

It may be a pivot point in the Democratic run for the Presidential nomination.  We’ll see.

Ted Cruz is not doing so well here; it appears all New Yorkers, upstate and down, are having more than a little trouble forgiving him his “New York values” statement about Trump.  From what I have been reading, his New York stumping is not doing well. 

67% of Americans don’t like Donald Trump but that might now be enough to stop him from getting the nomination.  Cruz desperately wants Kasich to drop out, something he seems to have no intention of doing.  In a brokered convention, he might have a shot.

It is the wildest year in politics I have seen in my lifetime and I am watching it all play out.  As a registered independent, I cannot vote in the Primary.  I will follow the results avidly.

In the meantime, IS, driven out of Palmyra where they made ruins of the ruins, have kidnapped something like 300 in a suburb of Damascus, factory workers who have now entered a nightmare. 

We have the Panama Papers.  David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, has benefitted from an offshore company set up by him late father but it all seems inconsequential.

Many of Putin’s friends have been named.  Putin says this is all a Western conspiracy to weaken Russia.  He has not been named and he points that out.  What the West is trying for is “guilt by association.” I wonder what future weeks will bring?

It is getting later and there is still no music in the cottage.  I am ending for today.

Today reminded me of the wild ride of emotions we all live through on a given day.

Good night.

Letter From New York 04 05 2016 The Panama Papers and other things…

April 6, 2016

Dusk is descending on the creek; I am watching the light fade from my dining room table while classical music plays.

And I am thinking over the day, one of seemingly endless frustrations with an email problem Apple could not seem to fix and a group of errands squeezed into a short period because of all the time Apple had consumed.

When they couldn’t fix the issue, I turned to the local computer guru, Jonathan Simon, who does not work on Macs but who solved my problem in about twenty minutes.  My Apple Faith is shaken.

There was a meeting this afternoon in which one of the participants became so upset they walked out; unnerving for all.  The rest of us retreated to a local restaurant, had drinks and food and attempted to continue.

In other words, a day that did not run smoothly.

Last time I wrote, the predicted snow had not fallen.  The next morning it was all there and more; instead of three inches we had close to seven.  Only five intrepid students made it to class.  We called it early and went home.

Last night, I fell asleep reading a mystery and woke lazily into a sunny but chill day.  Predictions are that tonight and tomorrow are to be two of the coldest of the season.  What climate change?

“The Panama Papers” have exploded onto the world stage and the President of Iceland is no longer President, having resigned today after he was named in them.  As were several of Putin’s closest friends including one who was once close but had a rift with Putin and is now dead after blunt force trauma in a DC hotel.

It seems the President of Ukraine, a chocolatier billionaire did not, as he said he would, divest himself of his holdings but transferred them to offshore companies.  Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan is distraught that relatives are named with having accounts.  China has tightened censorship; one can only wonder what will happen there? 

These leaks create messy, messy situations while one cannot help occasionally having a moment of schadenfreude, relishing the misfortunes of others;  thinking these others deserve their misfortune.

While I am typing exit polls are being held in Wisconsin.  Cruz and Sanders are both hoping to take a little wind out of the frontrunners’ sails there.  Hillary has not had a good history in Wisconsin, having lost it in 2008 and Trump is facing a coalition of conservative talk show hosts who are determined to bring him down, exploiting all his wonderful gaffes to the fullest.

Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed into law a bill that allowed for anti-gay discrimination.  As in North Carolina, he is facing a barrage of blowback.  Long lamenting the lack of a Fortune 500 company in his state, he is less likely to get one now.  Mississippi’s largest employers are not happy, including Toyota and Nissan and MGM Resorts.

Is the Civil War being fought again over gay rights?

As a gay man, I am astounded at the progress made in my lifetime.  Gay marriage was something I thought would never happen and yet, here I am, not yet dead and it has happened.  That states like Mississippi and North Carolina would attempt to turn back the clock is disheartening, if not surprising.  They are setbacks, not defeats and they are not on the right side of history.

What is amazing is that the Governors of those two states are ignoring the businesses in their states; pandering instead to bigoted voters. Well, they do have to re-elected!

The soft classical music is mellow, comforting and encasing the living and dining rooms with a gentle feel.  I’ve turned on the floodlights over the creek and am thinking it is close to time to curl up with my mystery and slip out of the night into the land of Nod.