Posts Tagged ‘computers’

Letter From Claverack 03/02/2017 From Saba to a Trump Speech…

March 3, 2017

It has been about ten days since I’ve written; I just went back and looked.  Last time, I was on Saba, writing when I wasn’t able to sleep.  Tonight, I am back at my dining room table, floodlights on, looking out over the creek, having just returned from Coyote Flaco with Pierre, sharing chicken fajitas.

When I reached the cottage this afternoon, I felt I’d been away for a week, at least.  Monday morning, I went down to DC for some meetings for the Miller Center on the Presidency and then to New York last night to have a wonderful dinner with my friends, David and Annette Fox.  It’s a quarterly event; we gather at their marvelous UWS apartment, order Indian and catch up on our lives.

It is very hygge.  As was the dinner party I gave last Friday night for Fayal Greene, her husband, David, Ginna and Don Moore, Lionel and Pierre.  Leek soup, sautéed scallops in a brown butter sauce, and carrots in a lemony oil garlic sauce, with a baked polenta to die for, followed by a flourless chocolate cake provided by Ginna and Don, via David the baker.


It was an extraordinary evening.

And I, at least, need evenings like this to keep me sane in these extraordinary times.

On Tuesday evening, in Washington, after an early dinner with my friends Matthew and Anne, which followed drinks with my ex-partner and his now fiancé, I watched the address to Congress by our President, Donald Trump.

To the great relief of almost the entire world, he did not go off the rails and sounded presidential.  It was, Tuesday night, all about the delivery.  Wednesday morning people started to parse what he said.  Even the conservative writers that I read, and I do read some, found a lot of flaws with the speech.

Short on specifics.

Fact checkers found a lot of fault, pointing out Trump claimed as victories some things which had been in play for a year at some corporations.  Ford isn’t keeping production in the US because of Trump; they are pulling back on their Mexican plans because those plants would have built small cars and people aren’t buying them.  They’re buying gas guzzlers because gas is cheapish again.

When talking with David and Annette, I said that if Trump had not held it together last night, his presidency would have begun to unravel.  He would actually be President but, in reality, his claim to power would have begun collapsing.  Lots of people on his side of the aisle are slightly unhinged by his behavior.  McCain and Graham are frankly, I think, apoplectic.

And he held it together and while he should have been able to take a victory lap, Wednesday morning brought the revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had said in confirmation meetings he had not met with any Russians in the run-up to the election, actually had two meetings with the Russian Ambassador, one in his office on Capitol Hill.

Republicans are excusing while Democrats and some Republicans are accusing.

This is a wild ride and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Sessions has since recused himself from all investigations regarding anything Russian but there are those on both sides of the aisle who smell blood in the water.

While we were having political meltdowns, Amazon’s vaulted cloud computing world went offline yesterday for 4 hours and 17 minutes because of a typo in a command.  OOPS.

It’s a little scary.  150,000 websites were affected.  Amazon is the king of cloud storage and that’s a big oops for the King.  I would not have wanted to be the head of that division yesterday.

And, before Tuesday’s Trump speech, we had the foll der wall of the biggest Oscar mistake in history.  First “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture but it really was “Moonlight.”  Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were humiliated and PwC, the accountants, were more than humiliated.  They handed out a wrong envelope.


When it happened, I was safely in the arms of Morpheus, having strange dreams of Mike Bloomberg dating the pastor of my church, Mother Eileen.

Snap Inc. had a very successful opening on the market today; it was the biggest initial offering since Facebook and they have a rocky road to travel and they are a force to be reckoned with and it will be wonderful to see how it plays out.  The next Facebook? Or the next troubled tech company, which is where Twitter is today.

It’s time for me to say goodnight.

By hygge.  Regardless of your political persuasion, it will help us all get through.




Letter From New York June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009

This week’s letter is not the usual letter; it’s abbreviated and has only one go through by me. Usually I sit down on the weekend and write a draft which gets honed over a couple of days and then gets out on Tuesday evenings.

Last weekend, my brother Joe came for a visit and we had a wonderful New York weekend: dinner on Friday with my friend Gary, Saturday a leisurely brunch at a little slice of Britain, Tea and Sympathy, a restaurant that could have been transported from any British village to the West Village of NYC, followed by a leisurely stroll past Ground Zero, which is now mostly a construction site and which is still a magnet for people who want to come and see where the future we’re now living was born. We spent part of the afternoon on the sundeck of my apartment building, having eschewed the country for the delights of the pagan city and then went to a long, leisurely dinner at Café Luxembourg before seeing an Off-Broadway play starring Tracy Thoms, daughter of my good friend Donald Thoms. She is one of the stars of CBS’s COLD CASE.

Sunday late morning he left and I became involved in some impromptu business meetings between shopping and catching TERMINATOR SALVATION. Between all that and keeping up with the email stream there really wasn’t time for a rough draft, Monday was chock a block with meetings and on Tuesday evening I had dinner scheduled with my friends Annette and David Fox. It seemed more important to have dinner with them than to put my fingers to the keyboard. In a sobering time, and it is a sobering time in which we are living, it is better to take time to connect with other living beings than to labor over the computer.

General Motors has gone bankrupt… It is almost unimaginable — and would have been when I was a child. “What is good for General Motors is good for the country,” was a phrase famously said by one of its CEOs. Well, if that’s true, bankruptcy would be good for the country and there are those who are concerned that we might just go the way Argentina did a decade ago. The Chinese Economic Minister is busy lobbying behind the scenes for a new reserve currency, afraid the American dollar will cease to be effective. He’s getting some good listening to by others who have the same fear. It’s a bit self-serving, of course, as China sees this as a time when the Yuan can find itself in the position of the dollar in the foreseeable future as China works to make the 21st Century the Chinese Century.

It was sobering that an Air France Airbus went down – anyone who flies with any regularity has been on an Airbus and they have had a sterling record. This particular plane disintegrated over the Atlantic, reasons unknown though today it is being speculated that the plane may have suffered a computer glitch that cascaded into tragedy. Computers! The blessing and the bane of our time. Everything is being computer automated which is lovely when it works and possibly catastrophic when it doesn’t. Yet we could not return to the pre-computer world – without these machines we couldn’t handle the velocity we have created with them.

It has felt in the last few weeks that I’ve been living under the tyranny of emails – the volume has become ridiculous; 300 a day is not uncommon. When friends ask me what I read in my spare time I jokingly respond: my emails. It’s not a joke and I haven’t learned yet how to get through it all and I must or soon it will seem I have no life beyond my Mac. The volume and velocity is becoming almost terrifying. So, on Tuesday evening, when normally I would be getting out my LETTER FROM NEW YORK, I took a deep breath and went to visit friends. Let’s all do that this week – visit with someone and get our faces off the computer screen.