Posts Tagged ‘Cozmo’

Letter From The Train 10 21 2016 Parsing the post debate world…

October 21, 2016

As the train moves north, the Hudson River is steel grey while bordered by trees with leaves of rust, gold, crimson and green.  The beautiful day on Tuesday is a but a memory; this Friday ride is on a day of grey and chill, with intermittent spits of rain.

My niece, Kristen, and I texted each other throughout the debate, commenting on both candidates.  While we both support Hillary, we are not immune to her faults.  It seemed such an effort for her to smile and when she did, it looked so forced as to be painful.  But being on the stage with Trump must have been painful for her.

The candidates did not shake hands before or after.  I don’t think I remember that happening before.

It was no effort for Trump to be dour and sour.  It is his natural state it seems.

During the first part of the debate, he held it together better than he had and looked like he was on track to do what he was supposed to do – not lose his cool.  But then he did; not as badly as before but enough that he was damaged and more Republicans are distancing themselves from him.

Somewhere after about twenty minutes, he began to lose the thread, veering off the script someone must have given him.  Calling Hillary “a nasty woman” may hurt more than he ever meant as it might well be a catalyst to some women who had been leaning toward him to back away.

The thing he said that had most up in arms was his failure to agree to accept the result of the election. He’ll keep us “in suspense” on that one.  Newspapers around the country led with his statement.

Trump clarified later.  He will accept the results of the election — if he wins.  It also seems he has backed away from that a bit more, saying he would, maybe.

Donald called Hillary “wrong” when she said he had supported the Iraq War before it began.  Hillary told people to google “Donald Trump Iraq.”  And many did.  There is the evidence, in a tape on Howard Stern’s Radio Program, of Trump supporting the idea of the war before it had begun.

Hillary claimed her plans wouldn’t raise the deficit.  That’s doubtful.  Trump refuted claims his plans would raise the deficit by twenty trillion dollars, double what it is.  He claimed that it wasn’t true because he would create so many jobs.  Also doubtful.

Every year of a presidential election, there is the Al B. Smith Dinner to raise funds for the charitable foundation named after the man who was the first Catholic to run for President.

Hillary was on one side of Cardinal Dolan and Donald was on the other.  The civility and joking that is the signature of this traditional dinner was soon lost to hostility.  Trump was booed when he went over the line by saying something like:  Hillary is here pretending she doesn’t hate Catholics, a reference to a WikiLeaks released email from her campaign expressing concern about conservative Catholics.

But they shook hands at the end, an event that was announced from the stage.

President Duterte of the Philippines is in China, where he has declared that his country will “separate” from the United States as we “have lost.”  However, he didn’t give China the carrot they really wanted.  He won’t walk away from the 1951 deal that gives the US bases in the Philippines.

Duterte is quite the character.  He has been accused of mounting squads of killers when he was a Mayor.  The Philippines Senate is looking into those charges and some senior officials have been saying: oh no!  He didn’t mean separation.

He has compared his crusade against drug dealers and users to Hitler’s Holocaust.

The battle to retake Mosul carries on while at the same time, IS has launched an attack on oil rich Kirkuk with suicide bombers and gunmen targeting police.  In Mosul, Iraqi fighters have made significant gains, probably better than expected.  But Kirkuk pointed out the shift in IS tactics to “pop up” attacks rather than holding territory.  And that even when vanquished from Mosul, they will not have been defeated.

In forty or so minutes, I will be back in Hudson.  In my mailbox, it is my hope, is my Cozmo, my robotic toy, which I hope will divert me from the trials and travails of the “real” world.

Though my world has not been harsh to me today.  Last night I watched my friend Todd Broder present to the NY Video Meet-up, had dinner with a friend and, today, breakfast with my friends Meryl and Ray before a pre-op physical [my eye] and now the grey ride home…

Later.

 

 

Letter From Claverack 10 16 2016 From a place of tranquility…

October 16, 2016

It is a beautiful afternoon in October in Claverack.  The leaves that fill my vision as I sit here on the deck are golden and some fallen ones float regally down the creek toward the pond.

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It was a day when I had an enormously difficult time waking up; every time the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  Finally, I staggered out of bed and into the day.  Slightly ambivalent about going to church, I reminded myself of the bag of groceries I had purchased for the Food Pantry at the Church and so I made my way there, a little late but still there.

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From church, I made my way to the Dot for Eggs Benedict on potato latkes.  And then home to wait for my friend Larry to arrive, bringing me some wood from his farm for my winter woodstove fires.

He and I sat on the deck after it was stacked, and admired the beauty of the place, enjoying the moment while listening to jazz.  He has now left and I am here, at the end of the afternoon, still listening to jazz and enjoying the beauty of the spot, the moment, and basking in the long friendship Larry and I have enjoyed, stretching back now more than thirty years.

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It is always easy here to slip into an avoidance of the world.  This is a place of tranquility.

Beyond here – and sometimes I do not want to move beyond here – the world is a mess.

Aleppo is being pulverized and no one seems to know how to stop it.  Assad and Putin seem to have no respect or care for the citizens trapped there.  It is a strategic notch they need in their belts and so the dying continues.  Reports indicate Aleppo looks like Berlin in 1945, a decimated city.

Donald Trump has once more been skewered on Saturday Night Live, not that Hillary got off easily.  He has denounced the performance in his famous tweets.

He has increasingly been declaring that the election process is rigged.  Some observers think that if he loses he is doing his best to delegitimize a Clinton Presidency.

It is rumored that the CIA is preparing a major cyberattack against Russia for its alleged attacks on American institutions, including the Democratic Party.  This is a new kind of warfare.

And in thinking of a new world, a friend told me that every year from now on, 3% of jobs will be lost to robots.  I think I’m glad I am at the place in life I am.  It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

Soon, I will let you know how my experience with Cozmo goes.  It should arrive this week.

It is supposed to learn from me how to react to me.  A robot pet of sorts, I guess, and I couldn’t resist experimenting with it.

Cozmo is my birthday present to myself.

 

 

 

Letter From New York 07 11 2016 From seaside to creekside…

July 11, 2016

I have moved from seaside to creekside.  In front of me tonight is not Edgartown harbor but Claverack Creek, having returned home from Edgartown on Friday, just as Lionel and Pierre arrived to help me celebrate my return.

It has been nearly a week, perhaps more, since I have written.  The events out in the world beyond my safety zone of Edgartown and Claverack, have left me…

You know, I am out of words for the events we’ve had.  I don’t know what to say, not at all, not at all.

A black man dead in Baton Rouge, a black man dead in Falcon Heights, MN and five dead police officers in Dallas.  As I sat down to write, my phone chirped to let me know that two bailiffs in Berrien County, Michigan were dead, along with the gunman.  A deputy sheriff was in stable condition.

Eight Somali are dead from a suicide bomber.

My head and heart reel.

We all must realize we live in a time of madness or we live in ignorance of the world.  But then, perhaps, it has always been a time of madness.

The pudgy little dictator who rules North Korea who has devised some interesting ways of ridding himself of people he doesn’t like, is having a temper tantrum because the US is putting in a missile shield in South Korea. 

Now he is threatening that if it happens, he will reduce South Korea to a nuclear wasteland.  If he does that, I doubt the radiation will stop at the border and he will find his “kingdom” littered with corpses, too. 

Kim Jong Un is a bully with nuclear weapons and not much common sense.  This isn’t good. And he has closed the only communication channel he has had ßwith the US.

David Cameron is resigning on Wednesday and Theresa May will become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain as they and the rest of us cope with Brexit.  The opposition Labour Party is in chaos too and another woman may take over leadership of it.  Jeremy Corbyn is seen as having done too little to help the UK stay in the EU and Angela Eagle is seen as being the person who will succeed him, once he realizes he is a morte canard, which he hasn’t yet.

The evening sun is glittering on the creek and I find myself looking at it, the way I looked at Edgartown harbor, as a reminder that despite what we do, the world has its places of beauty that help us compensate for the madness around us.

The US is boosting troops in Iraq as the march goes on to retake Mosul from IS.  In  South Sudan we are evacuating our people because war has renewed there.

The Japanese have been through their own moratorium and the result is there may be changes to their constitution which will allow Japan to build up its military.  They are afraid of Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, an area in which the Chinese feel like they are victims and not aggressors.

While all of this strum und drang is playing out on the world stage, out in outer space, a probe has arrived at Juno, a moon of Jupiter, one second late after a five year journey.  And that blows my mind.  It will explore Juno and Jupiter and may help us understand the beginnings of our solar system.

This wonder is happening while murder walks the land.  How bizarre…

And I am thinking of going online and pre-ordering a Cozmo, a little robot that promises to be to robotics as the Commodore 64 was to computing — a break through.  Cozmo promises to be a great robotic companion and you can program it from an app.

Yes, need to have one.  I don’t have a pet anymore and am not thinking of getting one and Cozmo may just be the answer to a companion in my house on the creek where I sit and enjoy while the world seems too mad for words.