Posts Tagged ‘Blake Lively’

Letter From Claverack 09 08 2016 A Creekside view…

September 9, 2016

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.


Letter From New York, November 22, 2009

November 22, 2009

Or: As it seems to me…

The exciting news of the week, to me, was that water was found on the moon. To me, that was huge news and while it didn’t make banner headlines [which, by the way, to me, it should have] it was a momentous discovery. The fact it didn’t make banner headlines goes to show just how far down the news pecking order space has gone. Water on the moon? Not so long ago it was pretty much gospel that the moon was arid, not a drop to be had at all. Yet that’s not true. Water is not flowing in rivers but it’s captured in the soil.

Where did it come from? That’s the question I’m asking. How on earth is there water on the moon? Why aren’t the papers full of discourse and debate about how this has come to be? Water on the moon? And there’s water on Mars… just not a lot of talk about it and there should be. We’re talking about mysteries of the universe and the world press is more concerned about the outfit Blake Lively wore to some premiere than it is about the wild mysteries of the universe that should be being debated.

I was space nut kid. I created my own mission control in front of the television when there was a space launch. I hauled every futuristic piece of gear I could find in the house and made my own Houston. It lifted me up, excited me, and made me feel engaged not just in what was happening in that moment but in the fate of the human race. Space, to me, was already the final frontier before Star Trek claimed the phrase.

The exploration of space excited me as a child in the way I assume children were excited, entranced, intrigued by tales of the New World back in the day when it was being discovered. It gave everyone, from child to grandparent, a sense [I think] of wonder of what MORE there was to the world. Just as the idea of space exploration gave me, as a child, the sense of what MORE there was to the universe in which I lived.

Similarly, in the first part of the 20th Century, people became excited by other people accomplishing feats that stretched the concept of what man could do. Lindbergh became famous for flying the Atlantic solo for the first time. Amelia Earhart catapulted to fame for being the first woman to do the same. Adventurers became heroes because they expanded our concept of our abilities as humans.

We live, it seems, in a time of diminished expectations. We do amazing things – just this week, men walked in space while working on the International Space Station. Certainly not the first time a man has walked in space but none the less amazing, no less so because it’s not the first time. The fact we do it is amazing. It’s something that should take up a bit more space in the public consciousness than the dress worn by a television star.

There are many amazing things happening, in space and on earth though we seem to discount them, make them small while aggrandizing the trivial – like the exploits of our favorite television and film stars. I don’t really care that we do [well, okay, I find it a bit annoying and overblown] but I do really care that we give such short shrift to the amazing things that are happening every day – things that are steps in changing the way we live forever.

I can’t use a solar powered calculator without remembering it’s a by-product of the space program, as are so many things we use in daily life. Up there in space, as well as down here on earth, men and women are slowly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and showing us the way to do things differently, better.

Robert Browning’s quote: “Ah but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for…” has been used by me before. It’s very true and is part of the essence of man, to reach to do more, something man has been doing since he emerged from the primordial soup. We can’t help ourselves so let’s do more celebrating of it.