Letter From Claverack 09 08 2016 A Creekside view…

Three days of grey clouds portended but did not produce rain.  Tonight, after seeing Woody Allen’s “Café Society,” I left the theater to be greeted by a soft rain falling, driving home over glistening roads.

Mixed reports had me slightly ambivalent about seeing “Café Society.”  Some said it was good.  Some said it wasn’t.  One wag commented, “It isn’t the worst Woody Allen film.”  No, it definitely wasn’t.  It wasn’t “Annie Hall” or “Manhattan” or “Bullets Over Broadway.” It was a slightly overlong, mostly charming view of a family in the late 1930’s in New York and Hollywood.  As usual, there was a pantheon of stars giving good performances including Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carrell, Blake Lively [the first time I have liked her], Parker Posey, Corey Stoll and Kristen Stewart.

Mostly it looked beautiful and poignant and timeless and full of love gone round the wrong corner.

It was the second day of class and we’re all still alive and at least all my students seemed moderately engaged, except, perhaps, for the young woman who seemed to be fighting off falling asleep.  When I did a survey, all but three of my students are working jobs as well as attending school.  Some of them, many of them, have full time jobs as well as being full time students.  No wonder they sometimes yawn.

Out there in the world, beyond my quiet Creekside world, the strident tone of politics continues.

Last night, Matt Lauer moderated interviews, not at the same time, of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, supposedly about their views on issues related to national security.

Lauer, who, once upon a time I liked, devoted a third of Clinton’s half-hour to her email server issues.  Then, according to the news reports, didn’t handle the rest of the interview well.

It is the general consensus of the press that Lauer screwed up; was unprepared and unable to stand up to Donald Trump when he repeated he had been against the Iraq War when, in fact, he is on record of supporting it in 2002.

Alas, no TODAY for me going forward.  Shame on NBC for blowing this opportunity.  Shame on Matt Lauer for blowing his opportunity.

Depending on who you listen to, Trump is beating Clinton or Clinton is beating Trump.  The polls are rocky right now. There are only 60 or 61 days left to the election.  While I can’t conceive of it, there is a possibility Donald Trump will be President.

Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, who has been getting close enough in the polls that he might be included in the debates, made a major gaffe the other day when he had no knowledge of Aleppo.  “What is Aleppo?”

Aleppo is the epicenter of the catastrophe that is Syria, where it has been reported Assad’s forces used chlorine gas on citizens.  There are frightful images of Syrian civilians needing oxygen.  Chlorine gas was the scourge of the WWI and now it is back in Syria.

In news of the future, Google and Chipotle are experimenting at UVA with drone delivery of burritos.  Buzzing in the sky will become normal…

In other news from the present, Apple’s stock was down 3% today after the announcement of the iPhone 7.  The no jack situation has many people [and investors] spooked.  Me too.  My iPhone 5s will not connect, for whatever reason, wirelessly with my speakers.  Everything else, easy peasy, but not from my phone.  And, in the end, I might succumb to the iPhone 7 Plus but might end up choosing the iPhone 6 Plus because it has a jack.  I have been waiting for the iPhone 7 and feel just a little cheated. Much thought ahead.

Fifteen years ago tomorrow, my now ex-partner and I made an offer on the cottage, from where I write this.  Which means that two days later we will have the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.

It is an anniversary that always brings me back to my experience of horror on a scale I had never known.  It takes me to the corner of West Broadway and Spring Street, looking at the Towers burning and feeling stunned and knowing at that moment there was nowhere to turn.  We had just turned a page in history.

 

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