Posts Tagged ‘David Wolf’

Letter From New York 07 07 15 Of anniversaries and Quaaludes…

July 7, 2015

The forecast for this afternoon was scattered thunderstorms, dark and gloomy with possible flash floods but… It hasn’t turned out that way, yet! Right now the sun is shining down; it’s warm and more than a little muggy but no torrents of rain have appeared.

Today I started the day with a long conversation over coffee with my friend, Robert Murray, who mentioned that his daughter, Fiona, likes art. I am going to recommend he take Fiona to the John Singer Sargent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

That was what I did after coffee with Robert. I went to the Met, met my friend David Wolf and strolled through a beautiful array of Sargent’s work. He was considered the greatest portrait artist of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. An American born in Florence, he managed to stride both sides of the Atlantic, earning kudos almost everywhere.

One painting caused a Parisian scandal. It showed a woman with one strap of her dress slipping down on her arm. Sargent had to depart Paris for London until the scandal simmered down.

Following our museum experience, David and I lunched at a small French bistro on 86th Street on the east side. I felt quite the boulevardier this morning and then went off to the office and have been grinding through emails in the afternoon.

It is the tenth anniversary of the London suicide bombings that claimed the lives of 52 people, the worst terrorist attack in that city’s history. Two days afterwards, I arrived on a business trip and walked through a city that felt not unlike New York in the days after 9/11, stunned, silent, mourning. As I rode in a black taxi to my hotel, the silence was pierced by a wailing siren as a motorcycle policeman roared by, answering the call of a jittery citizen.

It was a beautiful summer day that day. The normally crowded London streets seemed rather empty. A few days later, on the tube to go to dinner with some friends, a man entered my car, wearing what seemed to be too many clothes for the temperate evening. I was nervous, as was everyone else in the car. He was revealed to be a homeless person. The tension was palpable.

Ah, I spoke too soon. Rain has just begun falling, splattering against the windows of the office where I’m working, big, heavy drops.

ESPN has pulled a game from a Trump golf course as a sign of protest for The Donald’s remarks about Mexicans. It is a celebrity charity tourney held to benefit a foundation that provides cancer help for minorities.

In the world of television, summer scripted series are swooning in the heat, drawing abysmal ratings and giving, I’m sure, some network executives in the television world are having the equivalent of heat stroke.

Subway is having a public relations problem. Jared Fogle, their spokesperson, is being investigated for child pornography. They have suspended their relationship with him.

Bill Cosby is in the spotlight again over his drug and sex scandal as court documents have been released from a case settled out of court where he admits that he gave the woman in the case Quaaludes. Oh my. BET and Bounce TV have pulled re-runs of his program from their schedules.

Greece has until Thursday to put together a new set of proposals for its creditors. They will then hold a meeting on them on Sunday. The IMF came out with a report that states Greece will need some kind of debt relief, causing the other EU creditors to feel a little cranky.

Some of them are beginning to think they need to give Greece some debt relief while the others are demanding a continuation of austerity.

The markets here closed higher while China’s sank some more. The Shanghai index is down 30%, much of it happening while the world was watching Greece. The Chinese are upset with the government for not doing something about it quickly enough.

The original deadline for the Iranian Nuclear talks was June 30, pushed to today and now the deadline is being pushed again so talks can continue. So close yet so far.

Three people got too close to the bulls in Pamplona as the Annual Running of the Bulls and were gored.

Jerry Weintraub, legendary Hollywood producer [“Ocean’s Eleven” among many others] died after his colon ruptured and he suffered two heart attacks. RIP.

The rain has stopped. I am going to use the pause to finish and then head up to the UWS for a bite. I am reading “My Townie Heart” by my friend Diana Sperrazza, who was Exec Producer on a couple of my projects at Discovery. It’s good.

Letter From New York 01 20 15 After Viewing El Greco…

January 20, 2015

Waking to the sounds of the city this morning, I sipped coffee while listening to the beep beep beep of trucks backing up on the street outside the apartment. After the quiet of the countryside, it was interesting to be surrounded by the urban roar.

This is the closing week for the El Greco exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and I met my friend David Wolf there just as the museum opened so that we could explore without the midday crowds. Once we knew where to go to find El Greco, we found ourselves waylaid by the wonders of the museum.

Eventually we reached the exhibit, not monumental but incredibly impressive. Gathered in the R H Macy Gallery were perhaps forty of the master’s works, each one demanding time to process.

It is easy to see why El Greco is considered a major influence on modern painters. Picasso, Monet, the German impressionists, all claimed he inspired them. His work seems out of sync with the times in which he painted, his works bolder, brighter and more dynamic than those of his contemporaries. At least that is how it seemed to me.

We tarried a good long time and then went our separate ways, David to his lawyering, me to an inbox chock a block with emails.

While I was taking in the works of El Greco, the Mayor of New York, Bill DeBlasio, was in Paris, paying respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack there. He laid flowers at a memorial.

And while I was perusing El Greco, the Mayor of Paris announced that she was going to sue Fox News for defaming her city by declaring there were “No Go” zones in the city, off limits to anyone who was not Muslim.

Fox has apologized at least four times for the inaccuracy of its statements. Apparently it is not enough to placate Madame Hidalgo. One of Fox’s terrorism “experts” declared that Birmingham in England was also a “No Go” zone. That nearly caused Prime Minister Cameron to choke on his porridge.

As I sit writing this the residence of the President of Yemen appears to be under attack, causing fears of a coup in that country. The brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo attack proclaimed their allegiance to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.

I doubt anyone wants more instability there.

Tonight, President Obama goes in front of the nation to deliver his sixth State of the Union address. He will be going back to his theme of raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing fees on banks. I doubt he thinks he will get this accomplished with a Republican Congress and Senate but I am sure he is framing the conversation for the Post Obama era, which is rapidly approaching.

I hope no ones boos him this year. Remember that?

Usually, I don’t watch the State of the Union address because I have unwittingly made a social engagement for the same evening, as I have done this year. As President Obama outlines his plans for the coming year, I will be sitting at dinner with a friend who works for Fordham. I will catch up later, when I get home and all the dissection is happening.

Out in space the Dawn spacecraft is closing in on the dwarf planet, Ceres, and soon we’ll get a look at the largest chunk in the asteroid belt. Scientists are all a titter over their first close look at this celestial body.

And in Herculaneum there is a villa destroyed in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius some 1900 years ago. In its library there is a treasure trove of manuscripts, which were scorched and have been unreadable. With technology, it looks as if they will be able to be read again without damaging them.

It is nice to think that we may recover more knowledge from the ancients after all this time. It should be a good library; the villa was owned by Julius Caesar’s father-in-law.

Letter From New York 01 09 15 Glad to be living in a peaceful place…

January 9, 2015

To the east of me, a family of deer have gathered, huddled together, perhaps against the cold though it was warmed considerably since the plunge of two nights ago. To the south of me, on the creek, are gathered hundreds of geese that have made their first appearance on Claverack Creek in at least year.

Once was that there would be some geese there year round with a massing of them in the fall. Then they went away, just gone. It confused all of us in the neighborhood. Rosemary, one of my neighbors, phoned me of an afternoon to ask me if I had geese on the creek? No, they’ve gone. She told me they were gone from the pond, too; the first time in her forty years of coming to Claverack that there were no geese.

Coming home from the city last yesterday to see if my pipes had frozen, I arrived back in the light and to my amazement found my creek populated again with geese, noisy and rambunctious and almost as plentiful as ever.

This morning, to my great surprise, I woke to find four inches of fluffy white snow on the ground transforming our little circle once again to a winter wonderland. It was deep enough the snowplow came to dig me out. It felt good to wake to the clean and bright countryside.

As I was waking to the geese and fluffy white, two hostage dramas were being played out in Paris. A man held hostages in a kosher market while the Kouachi brothers, suspects in the Charlie Hebdo killings, were holed up, ironically enough, in a printing company. The man at the kosher market claimed he had coordinated his efforts with the brothers.

The man at the market claimed he was with ISIS, which, I think, is normally at odds with the group the Kouachi brothers were involved with, Al Qaeda in Yemen. I guess terror makes for strange bedfellows.

As I sometimes do when news is breaking, I went to twitter to see it unfold in almost real time. And while looking at the twitter feed and reading rapidly updated articles, I was sitting at my window, looking out at the snowy landscape and feeling distanced from the murder and mayhem in Paris.

Wednesday I had dinner with my friend David Wolf, a lawyer in New York, who also has a house in Connecticut, far out of town, surrounded by acres of land. We discussed the perspective being in nature seems to put on the news, how it softens the hard edges of the headlines.

It is quiet here; the only occasional sound is the snowplows clearing the street and the constant chatter of the geese. Quiet and peaceful in Claverack while half a world away there is chaos. I suppose it has always been like this, that there is peace and quiet in most places while others erupt in spurts of violence.

I am delighted I live in one of the peaceful spots where I can watch the sun slowly set in the west, a slight tinge of pink in the sky, a harbinger of better weather tomorrow. May the weather be better and may there be an outbreak of peace tomorrow, too.