Posts Tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

Letter From New York 07 04 14 Happy Birthday, America!

July 4, 2015

Today is the birthday of the United States and I am spending it in Baltimore, sitting in a lovely apartment in the Inner Harbor area called Fell’s Point. Outside it is, as almost everyday seems to be this summer, grey.

We all went to see “Inside Out,” the new film from Pixar and it was everything I didn’t expect it to be. It was heartwarming and brought tears to my eyes. I highly recommend it. A young girl from Minnesota migrates with her parents to San Francisco. In a mishap, the emotions and characters Joy and Sadness get lost with all her good core memories and poor Riley, the girl, finds herself left with Disgust, Anger and Fear. Not a good combination. But the combination of elements in the film make it wonderful and so, once again, I highly recommend it.

We are waiting to see the fireworks tonight – unless they pull a rain check and decide to do them tomorrow though the forecast for Sunday isn’t better than today’s.

While America is celebrating its birthday, the Dalai Lama is celebrating his July 6th birthday all weekend with a whole series of parties. Happy Birthday! The venerable Dalai Lama turns 80 on Tuesday.

As America celebrates its nationhood, Vladimir Putin has sent holiday greetings to President Obama and suggested there were many things they could work on together, like global terrorism. Obama apparently reminded him of the necessity of living up to the Minsk Accords, which require Russia to pull back men and armaments from Ukraine. I suspect it was not a jolly conversation but at least they’re talking, always a good thing.

Yesterday, I mentioned that IS has begun destroying some of the ancient artifacts of Palmyra. One of the noted spots in the ruins is an amphitheater where, I suspect, the plays of the ancients were performed. I’m sure there was nothing quite like a good comedy by Aristophanes to lighten a moment in Roman times.

Yesterday, the amphitheater was used by IS as a stage for killing 25 captured soldiers. The firing squad was composed of militants as young as 13 and 14.

Iraqi jets soared over Mosul earlier today, dropping not bombs but leaflets promising that soon a campaign to free the city would begin. A new radio station, Mosul FM, would soon begin broadcasting and the city’s citizens should listen to it for instructions when the campaign to retake the city begins.

IS did its best to keep people from reading the leaflets.

In the meantime, bombs in Baghdad killed 19.

Tomorrow is the fateful day for Greece. They will go to the polls to vote yes or no about the bailout that has already expired. Apparently, media is encouraging people to vote yes while the government is encouraging a no vote. Lots of Greeks aren’t really sure for what they’re voting. Polls indicate it could go either way, with the country seeming to be split almost exactly down the middle.

European leaders are predicting a Greek collapse if the vote is a no. The Greek leaders are telling the Greeks that it will give them a stronger position in negotiating with their creditors.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t bring a collapse for the rest of us if Greece votes no.

While Greece is voting, the British will be celebrating the christening of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge which will occur on the Queen’s Sandringham estate at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the grounds. The Princess is fourth in line to the throne and generally someone this close to the throne would be christened in London but the Cambridge’s are breaking with tradition.

It will give the world something happy to focus on while watching the vote in Greece.

Right now, I am munching on cheese and crackers while writing and sipping a martini made by Lionel. Our chairs are on the balcony, facing the Inner Harbor, ready for the fireworks.

It was here, in Baltimore, that Francis Scott Keyes composed the “Star Spangled Banner” during the war of 1812, a song set to a ditty that was making the rounds of London’s Gentleman’s Clubs in the late 1700’s.

I hope all of you have exceptional and safe 4th of July’s.

Letter From New York 01 05 15 Pays to be honest…

February 5, 2015

There is a soft, golden light piercing through the trees as the sun begins to set in the west. After several dark days, the sun was out in all its winter brilliance today. As I sit down to write, the temperature is going down with the sun and tonight will be the coldest one of the winter so far. Predictions, without wind chill, are for minus seven. It will be another night of letting the cold-water faucet in the kitchen drip through the night to avoid a freezing of the pipes.

It’s been a busy day, mostly inside busy with emails and conference calls, a few errands that were run and now my time to write. In the world of good intentions, I intended to bundle up and go for a walk but seemed to run out of time to fit that in before leaving for a dinner tonight with friends at Coyote Flaco, a little Mexican restaurant up the road. It is owned by an Ecuadorian and is staffed by folks from Guatemala. The food is good.

As the sun sets, so does the career of Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures. She is departing her job but as these things happen in Hollywood, she will have a production deal at her old company, a soft landing after all the leaked emails damaged her reputation in the Sony hacking event of last fall.

Perusing stories online today, I found one from the Telegraph in the UK positing that Europe is “too civilized” to take on Putin. There are more high-level meetings happening in Kiev. Angela Merkel of Germany and Hollande of France were in Kiev today and are flying on to Moscow tomorrow to have a sit down with Putin, who will probably nod as he listens but will go on doing what he wants.

The Russian voters are standing with him; they have a history of standing by their besieged leaders and they are used to suffering after centuries of it under the Tsars and the Communists. Even though they are buckling from the collapse in oil prices and the effects of Western sanctions, the majority of Russians are standing by their man. And he seems quite determined to either take part of Ukraine or have part of it as a vassal state.

Dreams of empire dance in Putin’s head. NATO is putting rapid response forces in a number of former Communist countries that feel threatened by Russia’s aggression, reassuring countries like Moldova that they chose the right side at the end of the Cold War.

In the hot war world, Jordan launched an air assault on the city of Raqqa and other ISIS targets today in retaliation for the gruesome murder of their pilot in January. They promise more. ISIS apparently was thinking that the death of Moaz al-Kasaesbeh would turn Jordan from continuing on with US led coalition bombing them.

They were wrong.

Preaching peace, the President and the Dalai Lama were both at the National Prayer Breakfast in DC but they were not “together.” Acknowledging the Dalai Lama though, Obama irked the Chinese.

That other great proponent of all things peaceful, Pope Francis, will become the first Pope to address Congress this fall when he visits the United States.

In the category of it pays to be honest, Brian Williams, NBC News Anchor, apparently had told the world he had been on a helicopter that was hit during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was corrected by the crew of the stricken helicopter; the newsman had not been onboard. Apologizing for his “confusion” Williams has damaged his credibility and has been made fun of by jokesters who have shown him broadcasting from the moon.

One man who was aboard the group of helicopters with Williams just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever.”

The light has faded and I am leaving soon to go to Coyote Flaco and have something different than my usual chicken fajitas. I am going to do some culinary exploring.