Archive for the ‘Greene County New York’ Category

Letter From Claverack 07 14 2017 Thoughts on Bastille Day, from the creek side…

July 14, 2017

 

It’s Bastille Day today and that is also the anniversary of the opening of the Red Dot Restaurant and Bar.  Happy 19th Anniversary!

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Today, I woke to the drumbeat of rain upon the roof, another grey day in a summer of grey.  Last night, at dinner, friends quipped that the weather reflected our mood.  We discussed hygge, and we agreed it was a great defense mechanism in these days of our political travails.

Tuesday morning, I rose at five to catch the first train from the city home, ran around, prepared for that night’s radio drama [a success by all accounts].  I produced it, helped direct it and catered it, took some tickets, tended bar a little, set some lights, announced it, broke it down, cleaned up, came home, too wired to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 5:30 Wednesday morning, I just couldn’t.  By force of will, I made it to the station for my program but it was with the help of a great quantity of caffeine.

As I drove to the station, I thought, rather randomly about how amused, bemused, confused I am by everything going on in our political universe.  We have had days of the most amazing revelations regarding the actions of Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.

Tuesday morning, the New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, upholder of the Conservative Way, editorialized that the one takeaway from all these revelations is that Donald Trump, Jr. is an idiot.  Wowza!  The New York Post.  Mine eyes dazzle.

At the end of my radio program today, I spoke a little about hygge.  We need a lot of hygge these days.  This morning, I’m having it as I sit at my dining room table, sipping strong coffee, a mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, the land across the creek a verdant riot of green, leaves dripping water; there is smooth jazz playing and I am prepping for a quick trip to Florida to help a friend drive his parents’ car back to New York.

Last night, Dena, owner of Olde Hudson, which is the stalwart of fine food in Hudson, her husband, Dick, came over for a dinner we have worked for months to organize because of complicated schedules.

And that felt very hygge.

And I think we need hygge these days.

Our President, caught in the thrall of Russian scandals, real or not, is jetting back from Europe after spending Bastille Day with Macron in France.  The White House has released a partial transcript of the President’s comments to reporters on his way to France.  You can read them here.

And make your own judgment.

Tuesday, an iceberg the size of Long Island broke off in Antarctica, the map of which will need to be redrawn as a result.  It’s a big deal but it won’t cause flooding in cities.  Yet. We need to keep watch as the ice shelf is holding back the real danger and if the ice shelf goes there will be many cities that will be under water. It makes me think of my friends who own a condo next to the water in Miami.

Are they going to be okay?

Are any of us going to be okay?

Yes, I think so but we’ll need a lot of hygge between here and there.

 

Letter From Claverack 07 08 2017 Tornado Weather

July 9, 2017

Summer Dusk Sky Thunderstorm Silhouette Clouds

 

The sky yellow with

Whipping wind, dust stinging my face.

 

We called this tornado weather

Back home.

 

When I was young,

Sat an evening

On the steps of the house

called home.

 

The sky like this.

 

The ruby lipped neighbor,

Our local harlot,

Drew deeply on her cigarette, looked up and

Declared tornado weather.

 

Sagely, mother nodded as father

Cupped his hands to light his own smoke.

 

Before dawn, tornadoes came

Ripping roofs north of us.

 

Nights like this,

They’re familiar, frightening.

 

Letter from Claverack June 30th, 2017 Beginning the weekend of the 4th…

July 1, 2017

At some point, I decided this was the year I was going to get over my fear of grilling.  Last night, I grilled a steak using a Bobby Flay recipe.  And asparagus on the grill: c’est magnifique!  Put the spears in a plastic bag with olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple other spices and grilled them for three minutes on high.  I’m hooked.

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So today I went to the market and got boneless pork chops and was going to broil them about half an hour ago but thunder rattled the house and rain fell from the skies.  My mouth turned down.  However, the sun has returned and I am going to try it, pork chops on the grill.

It is Friday, June 30th, as I write, the beginning of the long 4th of July weekend.  As I ran an errand near the train station, I saw visitors piling off the train, bags in hand, being greeted by friends, relatives, lovers and others.  Zagat, today, sent an email which had an article about 8 reasons to take the drive to Hudson; all of them being restaurants.

You can read the article here.

As someone who is here most of the time now, I took a bit of umbrage with the list.  It included Grazin’, a diner restaurant with local beef and I will need to give it another try because when I was there, it wasn’t good and the wine was south of awful.

It included Fish & Game, which is, I’ve heard, a good restaurant and I haven’t been there because it opened with an attitude.  I’ve been around the carousel too many times to need attitude.  [Hey, once I had “my table” at Ma Maison in Los Angeles, which was cool while it lasted.]

It included, deservedly, Swoon Kitchen Bar.  I don’t go there often; my ex left me for one of the waiters there; that has weighed on me ever since but it is great.

It did not include, and I think it should have, my beloved Red Dot, which is one of the hubs of Hudson nor did it include Ca’Mea, which I think should have gotten a mention nor Vico, which has upped its game lately.

We are a food town.

And now, in a break in the rain, I did grill but not the pork chops I bought as most of the recipes for grilling told me I should brine the chops and that takes some time so I grilled some sausage and finished my asparagus.  Oh, so good.

Beyond my little world, it has been a bit mad.

Our President has created a twitter storm over his tweets about Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding face lift.”

Even Paul Ryan found it too much.

Several news sources, including conservative ones, thought maybe he should have been in a meeting rather than tweeting.  But no, President Trump was tweeting and creating a painful moment for his party.

And, today, NASA had to issue a statement it was not operating a slave state on Mars; it was NOT sending children there to be body parts for future colonists, a claim made by a guest on “The Alex Jones Show,” which airs on 118 radio stations.  Alex Jones is most famous for claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and was interviewed by Megyn Kelly on her new NBC show, which isn’t doing so well.

As I sit here in my very hygge cottage, I am astounded by what is going on out there.  We have a President who seems devoted to Twitter attacks more than he is about governing and who, according to a variety of reports, starts his day at 6:30 AM speaking to lawyers about that pesky Russian matter.

And he is going to meet with Putin at the G 20 Conference and has been asking his advisors what he can offer Vladimir Putin.  What?

There are times I feel I am living in an alternative universe.  And I know I am not the only one.

So, doesn’t it make sense I want to conquer my fear of grilling?  That’s concrete in a world that seems spinning out of control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 06 28 2017 Too beautiful a day to waste…

June 28, 2017

Yesterday, I determined I would go down to the city to attend the Producer’s Guild Annual Meeting.  This morning, walking out of the studio after my program, I made an abrupt determination that I was not going.  It is just too beautiful a day to be in the city; when I left the studio, I knew what I wanted to do was to be sitting on my deck, a good strong mug of coffee next to me, with my fingers tapping on my laptop, which is where I am now.

The sky occasionally greys over but it is still a pleasant day, a little cooler than I would like but not by much.

The creek is clear, meandering gently to the west where it will eventually pour itself into the Hudson River.  The coffee is a rich mix of Honduran and Nicaraguan beans, freshly ground, from Tierra Farm, a local business that is at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and from whom I buy my coffee.  Now that I know they have a retail store, I won’t need to worry about stocking up between the Summer and Winter Markets.

On Wednesday afternoons, during the summer, there is a smaller market in the park across from Proprietor’s Square.  Perhaps I’ll go down there this afternoon; I have friends who sell their flavored D’arcy butters there.

Once I made the decision not to go the city, I felt playful.  When I woke this morning, as the sun was just beginning to ascend in the eastern sky, I was thinking it would be fun.  Then I read an article about the deteriorating state of the subway system and remembered the achingly long waits for the C Train last time I was in the city but was still determined to go.

Until the moment I walked out and saw how beautiful it was and breathed in the sweet air and thought: why?  Yes, I would like to go to the Annual Meeting but was it worth a two-hour ride down and two hours back, an overnight stay, especially when my other meetings had cancelled or not confirmed?  And I decided the beauty of where I was would beat the beauty of where I was going.  I came home, threw my overnight bag onto the bed to be unpacked, made coffee and came out to the deck.

Opening my email inbox, I ruthlessly deleted anything that was not personal.  Delete, delete, delete to all the emails from all progressive causes pleading for money.  Delete, delete, delete to all emails referencing politics while savoring several teasing me with recipes I would like to make one day.

In the political chaos of our time, I have been seeking solace in the carefully laid out steps in recipes, promising a decent outcome if one follows the road map.  Out there in the real world, there is no real road map and anyone attempting to create one, is not having much success.

McConnell’s gamble on secrecy in creating the Senate version of the American Health Care Act, seems to have backfired on him, leaving him postponing debate and a vote until after the July 4th recess.  It does not go far enough for the conservatives and too far for the moderates while the Democrats are not having any of it.

The U.S. spends more than any other country on healthcare and, in at least some studies comparing it to other countries of similar economic status, comes out dead last in quality.  Just fix it, please. Go ahead, guys, get together and put together a plan that works. Republicans! Democrats! Please.  Aren’t we all Americans?  Can’t we do better?

Everywhere I wander on news sites today, I am flooded with ads for Pepper, a Soft Bank Robotics robot, that they are offering to help in retail and offices.  One package will replace your receptionist.  It’s about 4 feet high with big eyes, a wide range of movement and what looks like an iPad plastered to its chest.  They may be coming for us.

There is another ransomware attack hitting, mostly in Europe and Asia right now.  It’s called “Petya” and is derived from code hacked from the NSA.  Perhaps the next war won’t be fought with tanks, ships, planes and soldiers but by bunkered hackers working to bring their enemy to its technological knees.

Outside, it’s a beautiful day, a good moment, jazz standards are playing on my Echo and I am going to head to the Wednesday Market and see what’s for offer today instead of plying the subway lines of New York City.  Yes, that sounds like a very good idea on a beautiful day.

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Letter From Claverack 06 11 2017 Returning to hygge…

June 12, 2017

It is delightfully quiet as I sit on the deck, the fierce heat of the day receding and all the noise of the city left behind.  About four o’clock, I returned to Columbia County from four days in the city, a delightful time, packed with adventures and sights and people.  And I was glad to return to the quiet of the cottage and knit it all together.

The occasion of my trip was that it was my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary.  They were married in New York four years ago and return every year to celebrate.  Last year, I was absent, selling books in Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard.

dessert

This year, I was present.  On Wednesday, they went for a private celebration of their anniversary while I had dinner with my wonderful godson, Paul Geffre.  We had a wonderful dinner and then went to the Parker Meridien for after dinner drinks with Joe and Deb, who had not met him.

Joe, Deb and I went, over the days of the visit, to the Intrepid, Ellis Island, the site of the deadly Triangle fire, to “Spamilton,” which Deb and I enjoyed more than Joe as we got the Broadway references.

JoeandDeb

As I type, the Tonys are being broadcast and I am not watching.  It seems more important to gather myself together after these hectic days, wonderful, full of visiting and fun and feasting and I’m sure my waist has expanded and I must handle that.

Today, after Joe and Deb had left for the airport, I brunched with old friends from California, one of whom has residences in both places and Meryl and Ray, who were in for a visit and work for Meryl.

Before I met them, I had a quick coffee with my bestest friend, Nick Stuart [Lionel, you are more than friend; we are family of choice], and we spoke of things and we talked about how I have been working on living in an “attitude of gratitude,” appreciating the good things in life and not yearning after what I don’t have and celebrating what I have, which is quite, quite wonderful.

Deb and Joe gave me a wonderful book about hygge and I laughed at getting it because I have been writing about hygge ever since I heard about it and, gosh, don’t we need it now.

hygge

At this moment, I am having a very hygge moment.  Sitting on my deck, the creek is calm, birds are chirping.  My neighbor’s dogs are romping some distance away.  Far away there is a sound of a truck traversing the road a third of a mile away and I am not caught in the cacophony of New York, which is wonderful and now wearying for me.

When I was moving to DC, I lived for a time in an apartment in Georgetown, across from Dumbarton Oaks, and thought: wow, Mathew is getting to live in some of the great cities of the world.  That has continued.  And now, in the third act of this life, I am always glad to return to the quiet and the hygge of the cottage.

At dinners and brunches, we all discussed the political madness of our time, which is, at least to me, the most serious since Watergate, and all wonder how we got here and where will we go.  The Democrats are in disarray; the Republicans fleeing or feeding the strangeness that is Trump [the kindest way I can describe this presidency].

The Clinton impeachment was a distraction, a hounding of a serial sexual player who didn’t want to admit in public what we all knew.

This is not a distraction.  It is serious.  This is Watergate level.

Theresa May in the UK, having lost [and it is almost impossible to believe she did] her gamble to get a greater majority to support her Brexit negotiations, was described tonight in some UK papers as “dead woman walking.”

Macron, in France, has seized the government in a way no one has since De Gaulle [I think] and we have a new day there.  Angela Merkel looks to be re-elected in Germany.  The political scene is exciting, if more than a bit scary.

 

Letter from Claverack 06 04 2017 Comforting things in touchy times…

June 5, 2017

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The pearl grey of twilight is settling on the Hudson Valley and I’m playing the Joan Baez station from Amazon Prime Music in the background, wrapped in the warmth of a fleece pullover as the day has been infused with a chill closer to October than June.

We have had 4.5 inches more rain than normal this year.  Last year was a drought; this year a flood. Saturday started with rain and then became a brilliant early spring day – except it’s not quite early spring anymore.

At the Farmer’s Market, I picked up fair trade coffee and some incredible chevre from an amazing artisanal cheese maker that I discovered at the winter market.  In a way, I feel disloyal to the other cheese purveyors I frequent and her cheeses are over the top wonderful.  She is in the market, center aisle, on the east end.  Goats and Gourmets.

And all this is very hygge.  And oh, my god! Do I need hygge right now!

Donald Trump has removed us from the Paris Climate Accords.  It was not unexpected and it is disappointing.  As I watch, from my point of view, I am witnessing the President of this country diminish us with every move he makes.

It is something that saddens me every day and I know I must live with this for the rest of his term, be it four or eight years.  All this impeachment talk is not very real as it is hard, as it should be, to impeach a president.  It’s my hope that we will have only one term of this man and that the country will elect someone in 2020 who will deal with the very real problems we face.

Trump trumpeted he would spend money to restore the infrastructure of this country which is in desperate need of restoration.  His plan for that seems, to me, a little incoherent.

As is my custom, from my Catholic childhood, I light candles at church on Sunday when I come back from communion.  One candle is for me.  Call me selfish but one candle is just for me.  Another is for the people I know who are having health issues.  It includes the daughter of my friend Clark Bunting, whose daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury and the son of a former boyfriend who has a son who also suffers from that and seems to be doing well as well as all the others I know who are dealing with health issues.

And I light a candle for Donald Trump and the world in which we are living, praying we will get through this.

Then I light a candle for all the things I said I would light a candle about and have forgotten.

It is very comforting for me to do this.

One of the reasons I attend Christ Church is that I am getting older and at some point, in this getting older process, I won’t be here and I would like a community of people to mourn me.  Christ Church will.  In the last few years, I have become an integral part of that community.  My coffee hours after the 10:30 service are legendary as are the Easter brunches I have organized the last two years.

And I would like there to be a great good party on the deck of the cottage or, if that’s not possible, at the Red Dot.  I’m part of that community also.

It’s my hope it will be some long time before there will need to be a celebration but I am laying the ground work for that.  That, too, is hygge for me.

Sitting here in the cottage, I am grateful and that is so comforting, to be grateful.

Letter From Claverack 05 24 2017 Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

May 25, 2017

This morning one of my guests on the radio show was Tadd Mann, who is an astrologer and, in these parts, is THE astrologer.

He has been a guest at the cottage several times, including the last beautiful night of last year; the next day the damp and dark fell upon us but that night was a moment out of eternity.

He told me that among his skills are those of feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, and that he had just returned from advising some people on the best places to build on their new property.

His belief is that the cottage is so coddled in peace because of its feng shui; whether consciously or not the house was built in the perfect spot on the land, the creek flows correctly, all is good by the rules of the art.

Every time I walk in the door, I feel the pressure in my body fall.  And I need the cottage’s coddling sorely these days.

It feels like I am living in the time of King Richard, off to the Crusades, and Prince John is the keeper of the kingdom.  Prince John, with the Sheriff of Nottingham, is raping the land [and the maidens] while the King is away.

Trump is Prince John and someone is the Sheriff [there are many candidates for that role in this administration].

It feels we are living through an interregnum.  The real king will return someday.

And I am feeling much of this because Trump’s budget has been revealed and it seemed to be a steal from the poor and give to the rich kind of budget.  It is an outrageous plan for America and avoids so much we need to be worried about and hurts, deeply, many of the people who voted for him.

It is outrageous.

The policies being put forward by this administration are mind boggling.  Seriously mind boggling.

Churchill quote on Art

 

Everything needs to be fixed and it doesn’t need to be destroyed.  The ACA was flawed.  So, fix it.  Medicare was flawed and people worked to fix it.  There isn’t anything that can’t be improved and throwing something away isn’t always the best way of fixing.

The CBO analysis of the Republican AHCA has come out, revealed to be more harmful than the first version.

May the Senate stand strong.  On Health Care.  On this cockamamie budget.

If you have been reading me, you know I take breaks from all of this because I can’t take it.  Last week one day, I went through the wormhole and surfaced hours later, dazed, and feeling like I needed a good, long, hot shower with copious amounts of soap.

The New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, is reporting that our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, did not reveal meetings with Russians in forms he filled out.  Nor did Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, reveal meetings with Russians he had had when he applied for security clearance.

Sessions says he didn’t think he needed to because he met them as part of his Senatorial responsibilities. Gosh.

The liberal press will be all over this.  What I find interesting is that the Post is all over this.  The New York Post.  The effing NY Post, the most conservative paper in New York, generally the excuser of all Republican foibles.  Is this the work of James and Lachlan, not fans of Trump?  Or is it that Rupert smells blood in the water and wants to be on the right side of the story?

All of this, and I mean all of this, is so extraordinary it boggles the mind.  Apparently my word for the day.

Which is why I am so glad I can return to my cottage, feng shui perfect, listen to jazz, have a martini or two, and center myself in the earth and realize that there are some things I can do and many things I cannot.

It is my obligation to be aware and to comment.

And it is my obligation to myself to center myself in the universe to survive all this, all of which feels like some dystopian novel I am living through and it is not a novel: it is reality.

So, go be good to yourselves and don’t forget we need to get beyond the interregnum.  The King will return.

Letter From Claverack 05 15 2017 Messy in the life politic…

May 16, 2017

As I ride south on the train, white caps lap at the island which hold the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, a building designed in the 19th Century to look like a medieval European fortress, purposed for holding ammunition and which began its slide to ruin when the ammunition blew the building up.

It’s one of the sites on the journey down into the city, where I am going today for a doctor’s appointment, a lunch and afternoon drinks with my friend, Ann Frisbee Naymie, in from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Back in the day, we worked together at A&E in Los Angeles before life took her north of the border.

Across from me now is the citadel of West Point, the redoubt of American military might. The Catskills are covered in the verdant green of spring and the sun is attempting to break through the clouds which have hovered over us for several days now.

Riding in the café car on a train that has no café, people sit at the tables working; Stephen sleeps and there is a quiet.  Most of us in here know each other: we are Empire Regulars, folks who ride this line enough that we are on the email list which informs us of all train developments.  It’s been busy this past week as Amtrak is planning repair work on several tunnels in Penn, which may result in some trains going in and out of Grand Central.  Whatever happens, it will be messy.

Messy, too, is the life politic.  Some Republican Senators seem to be backing away from Mr. Trump, alarmed by his “inconsistencies,” a few shocked by his weekend threats to fired FBI Director Comey that he should hope there were no “tapes” of their conversations.

Republicans still support him though his overall ratings remain low, 39% in a WSJ/NBC poll, not low enough for mass defection but low enough for wariness.

A friend in California, a Trump supporter, is convinced Trump has a plan.  This presidency seems improvisational and some improvisations go well and others…

If we didn’t know the definition of ransomware before the weekend, we are likely to know it now as hundreds of thousands of computers around the world have been infected with the “Wanna Cry” virus, locking them down until a ransom in bitcoin has been paid or a workaround is found.  China is a mess today because of it; their use of pirated software making them especially vulnerable.  Britain’s National Health took a blow as did the German national rail company.

That pudgy, pouty, unpredictable little man who is North Korea’s dictator, fired a rocket into the Sea of Japan, ending in the water not terribly far from Vladivostok.  I doubt Tsar Vladimir is amused. But who knows?  It may serve his purpose to look away.

And President Xi of China is finding that North Korea is more of a headache than he’d like these days, as he announces a new “Silk Road” to knit together some 60 countries with hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments.

We are gliding through the stretch of towns that line the Hudson, bedroom communities, passing by Metro North stations, all of it testifying to the hum and thrum of New York City, not far away now.

Letter From Claverack 05 07 2017 It was a dark and stormy night…

May 7, 2017

“It was a dark and stormy night,” is the much-parodied opening line of Bulwer-Lytton’s novel, “Paul Clifford.”  But it was a dark and stormy night Friday night in Columbia County; wind whipped, too.  Around 4 in the afternoon, the wind blew out the power as I was running errands to prep for a dinner party I was giving that evening.

Knowing that National Grid might not meet their expectation that power would return by 5:30, I made a quick detour and bought a dozen candles.  It was a wise investment; power only returned at about four on Saturday.  There were a half dozen of us, who dined, bathed by candlelight, looking our best.  In her later years, Madame du Pompadour only allowed herself to be seen by candlelight.  She was wise.

Martinis were ready in a pitcher and we toasted our decision not to cancel dinner.  We managed to not discuss politics [an increasingly difficult thing to avoid]; we laughed and since there was no background music, it was the sound of our voices which danced through the night.  It seemed as if we were in the first half of the 19th century or doing glamourous glamping in our own time.

We made the evening work.  It was magic.

When I woke Saturday, a tree from the opposite bank had fallen into the creek and the morning air thrummed with the sounds of neighbors’ generators as there was no power.  Out of habit, I asked Alexa for the weather and was met by stony silence.  We were cut off.  From each other.

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Eventually, I did my morning errands.  The Post Office lot was crowded with folks discussing what they had suffered during the night and driving into town, one home had lost five trees.  Farther down, a great old pine had been uprooted, never to again be adorned by Christmas lights.

The Farmer’s Market was sparsely populated by vendors, most probably at home dealing with the storm’s effects.  I realized there was little I could buy as it might all go bad before power returned.  National Grid was estimating now that it would be about midnight on Saturday.

In an interesting way today, when I was at the Post Office, looking around at the klatches of men talking, and it was all men, I felt I was looking at a scene in “Midsomer Murders,” a British mystery series that started in 1997 and is still going.  The village was gathering at the Post Office to talk about the storm.

It made me feel like I was a part of a community.  A little like the community Jessica Fletcher had in “Murder, She Wrote.” Except we’re not in Maine and we don’t have as much death as Jessica encountered in her little town in Maine.

With my batteries now exhausted on all my toys, I ensconced myself at the far end of the bar at the Red Dot, close to an outlet, and charged my laptop and phone.  And had superb Eggs Benedict on potato latkes with a side of American bacon.  Totally, totally decadent.  If in Hudson on a weekend day, indulge yourself.  The Red Dot’s Mark makes the most succulent Eggs Benedict this side of paradise and, at this point in life, I have had a bunch.  And when I am on the other side, I want to know I can order his up whenever I want.  Please God.

Do you notice how I am avoiding anything substantive?

Sometimes you just have to do that.  Give yourself a little breathing space in all the craziness.

Because it is crazy out there.

It is just unbelievable to me.  Whenever I look at the news, I just go:  WTF.

So, I have taken a moment to not worry.  To celebrate my life and the joys I experience on a daily basis, knowing I must return to the dialogue soon.

 

Letter From Claverack 05/04/2017 The time is nigh…

May 4, 2017

Well, the time is nigh.  Today Republicans voted, successfully, on “Repeal and Replace,” hoping to end the Affordable Care Act with their own American Health Care Act.  “Obamacare,” long despised by Republicans, may be gone and they will have had their way and many of them will be holding their breath that it does not go badly wrong because if it does, the piper will need to be paid.

We will find out if, as President Trump says, pre-existing conditions will be covered or as Democrats are saying, they will not.  If they are covered, it does seem coverage will be much more expensive.

Not a fan of Jimmy Kimmel, I was profoundly moved by his discussion of his newborn son’s heart surgery.  If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch it.  It is from the heart. [Yes, pun intended.]  Please look here.

As I ponder this, I am, not surprisingly, listening to jazz, being all hygge at the cottage, sitting in my favorite corner on the couch, starting preparations for a Friday night dinner party.  Have I mentioned I tend to look at the Food Section of the New York Times before I read the news?  First thing, comfort and coffee, and then I hit the hard stuff.

Yesterday marked the month anniversary of my once a week radio program.  My first guest was Jeff Cole, CEO of the Center for the Digital Future at the Annenberg School of Communications, part of USC.  We talked futures.  How we are changing and being changed by technology.

His great concern, and I share it, is how we will, as individuals and society, adapt to the coming advent of AI, artificial intelligence, which is already shaping our lives.  Last night, as I was heading to bed, I paused and asked Alexa to set two alarms for me and they went off flawlessly, a soft chirping sound in the dark which could be eliminated by a command:  Alexa!  Snooze! And she snoozes.

I am experimenting with Siri, changing her responses from American English to British English.  All fun and games until we get to the moment when the machines decide we are superfluous.  Think the Terminator movies or the Hyperion novels which, to me, are more likely than the Terminator scenario. [In some respects, particularly Book One.]

Since I was very young, I’ve been a space enthusiast. Stephen Hawking, the phenomenon of a physicist, has warned us we have about a hundred years to get off the planet.

We could do it if we put all our energies to it but I don’t think jihadists are going to put down their guns to get us into space.

Outside, there are soft sounds and the trees are blooming.  In the morning when I wake, I thank God that I get to look out at the creek and am here, in Claverack, a place that centers my soul as no other place ever has.  When I look out, I am sometimes nostalgic for the time fifteen years ago when the geese formed a flotilla on my waters.  They are mostly gone now.

It sometimes reminds me of an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation” in which Jean Luc’s brain is infused with the memories of a dead civilization and one of the signs of their passing was the drying up of a creek.  Occasionally, I stand on the deck and think: if the creek is gone, so are we.

However, today the creek still flows.

Generally, I am not fond of George Will, the conservative writer.  Today, I read an article of his that encapsulates my ongoing sense of unreality.  Read it here.

Encased in the safety of the cottage, I am doing my best to live in hope because we must live in hope. Hope is what has driven the race forward; it is what has brought millions of immigrants to our shore, who have shaped the country in which we live.  My great-grandparents, on my father’s side, were among them as were my grandparents on my mother’s side.  They came to the United States, buoyed by a sense of chance, of opportunity.

It’s hard for me to think that could change.