Posts Tagged ‘Grexit’

Letter From New York 06 17 15 On the meaning of unlimited and other things…

June 18, 2015

It is a sunny Wednesday afternoon, with just a bit of haze, as I ride the train toward Hudson, to spend a few days at the house. I’ve been moving from meeting to meeting to meeting the last couple of weeks and I have a ton of follow-up work to do and I thought, why not do it on the deck at the cottage rather than office in New York City? So I am off for four days to organize my life and enjoy the view from my deck.

It’s been a pleasant day, a couple of meetings and a phone call and then off to Penn Station to catch the 2:20. I’ll get home, change clothes, refresh a bit and then head down to the Red Dot for dinner with my friend, David, who is spending part of every week in the Berkshires helping his ex-wife deal with her husband’s terminal stage Alzheimer’s. He likes to take a mid-week break and come down to Hudson for dinner. It’ll be nice to join him and catch up, not having seen him for a few weeks.

At Penn Station, I dropped a worn slipper at Drago’s Shoe Repair for a stitch job. It is going to cost twenty-five bucks, which is about twice what the slippers cost but they’re my favorite pair. It is interesting what we do for things we have come to love.

Last fall, I spent the money to have a desk made by my grandfather repaired. It just seemed so wrong to let it go. My home is filled with things with meaning and I like to say that everything I own, pretty much, has a story. There are three wooden plaques I purchased as a young teenager in the market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and a settee that my mother napped on as a little girl.

Speaking of things we treasure, it was 130 years ago today that the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York harbor, carried on a ship into New York in 300 pieces. Once assembled, it has become a national treasure and a forceful symbol of all that America hopes to be.

In an unexpected happy ending to a story that hit the press last week, Disney has decided not to terminate 35 employees whose last task for the company was to train their replacements, lower cost overseas employees provided by an outsourcing company. If they didn’t, they would not receive severance.

Mickey Mouse was making out like Simon Legree.

Word leaked out. An investigation was announced. The layoffs were rescinded. No one at Disney nor the outsourcing company is returning calls. The employees are told to act as if nothing had happened. Until further notice.

That sounds a little ominous: until further notice. Until the hoo hah has settled down?

I wish this were a happy story but it’s not. European leaders seem to be battening down the hatches and preparing for the “Grexit,” Greece departing from the Euro Zone. There is a meeting tomorrow but it is doubtful an agreement will be reached. As Bette Davis said as Margo Channing in “All About Eve, ” “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” I am not sanguine about it though there is nothing I can really do. It feels a bit like a crisis that didn’t need to be, to me, at least.

As all of us know by now, I suppose, Donald Trump has jumped into the race for the Republican Presidential nomination saying he will restore “America’s Brand.” Jon Stewart is delighted. This, he says, will make his last six weeks his best six weeks.

Trump will provide many a comic with interesting fodder though Stewart will be the sharpest critic of them all, I suspect.

At some point I signed up for AT&T Wireless. Part of the reason was the promise of unlimited data. Then in 2011, AT&T began to throttle that data after a certain point of consumption. I was one of millions of unhappy customers though not so unhappy I changed companies. But it rankled. Today the FCC fined AT&T $100,000,000 for having “unlimited” that was not “unlimited.” I smiled.

I’ll be signing off for today. We’re on the last leg into Hudson. The Catskills are covered in a blue grey haze while the river resembles burnished silver. It’s been a lovely ride home.

Letter From New York 06 12 15 Of the price of eggs and things…

June 12, 2015

It’s a lovely day in New York, warm but not too muggy. I’ve enjoyed being outside today though as I was sitting at lunch my phone dinged with a message from The Weather Channel that there were tornado warnings until 11:00 tonight. That didn’t seem too nice.

Because I wasn’t feeling well last night, I went back to the apartment and curled into bed with a good book and after fending off sleep for some time, slipped away into the arms of Morpheus, waking to a fresh day.

It’s been pleasant, a couple of short conference calls and a quick lunch at The Greek Corner, a very basic coffee shop on 28th and Broadway that I have begun to habituate, enough that the young Spanish waitress there knows me and that I like Diet Coke with my lunch. It’s comforting to go into places where they know you.

What is not comforting is that at a meeting in Bratislava, EU Ministers have actually discussed the possibility that Greece will default, formally. It still seems that no one wants that to happen but the brinksmanship continues. Tsipras speaks confidently about an agreement being reached on June 18, the next meeting of the Euro Zone creditors with Greece, while others scratch their heads and wonder: what is Tsipras thinking?

Markets have been wobbly because of all of this. It’s not a comfortable place.

But comforting for those who aren’t keen on human interaction is the news that RealDoll is working with robotics experts to make a sex doll that moves and chats. The prototype is named “Harmony.” Let’s hope she doesn’t get the hots for the Dyson in the closet.

Do you tweet? Lots of us do. The CEO of that company, Dick Costolo, resigned yesterday, rewarding the company with a brief uptick in its stock price at the joyous [to investors] news of his departure. Not well liked, he oversaw a company whose share price has fallen by 50% and seen a number of high profile departures, including Vivian Schiller, formerly of The NY Times, NBCUniversal and NPR.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome [MERS] has taken hold in South Korea. One man contracted it in the Middle East and now nearly 4000 are in quarantine. The cities have become ghost towns while everyone hides until the outbreak is contained. Officials are encouraging people to continue their normal lives. They’re not listening.

David Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, of Standard Oil fame, turns 100 today and has had six heart transplants. To celebrate his birthday, he is giving away $2,000,000 worth of coastal land in Maine to the non-profit Land and Garden Preserve. He has been going to that part of Maine, near Seal Harbor, since he was three months old. He was born on the site of today’s MoMa, once the location of the family residence, largest in the city of New York. His mother, Abby, helped create that institution and so MoMa threw a grand party for him. According to Forbes, he is the oldest billionaire in the world.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the randy French politician, has been acquitted of the charge of pimping. He attended sex parties around the world, he admitted. It gave him recreational release while he was helping the world through its global financial crisis. But he didn’t pimp. The jury believed him. Free to go but probably he won’t be running for office again.

Wholesale prices will be up this month, partially because the price of eggs will be at its highest level ever. Avian influenza wiped out millions of birds. Oil is up too, again, though still below its record levels of a year ago.

And in sad news, the Iowa Straw Poll, conducted every year since 1979, has been called off this year. Too many candidates decided it wasn’t worth it. Another tradition gone away.