Posts Tagged ‘Hubble’

Letter From New York 04 23 2016 Prince is gone and Shakespeare is remembered…

April 23, 2016

On Thursday, I was sitting at Molly Wee, an Irish Pub a block from Penn Station, having lunch with Mark Sklawer, a filmmaker who is working on a film about the music period in the life of Howard Bloom, who is a client of mine.  As we talked, my phone buzzed in my pocket and I took it out to see what was going on.

Both the AP and BBC were sending alerts that Prince had died.  It was shocking as Prince wasn’t ill as far as I knew and still relatively young at 57, younger than me.  We are both natives of Minneapolis though I had left about the time he was beginning his ascent.

What struck the three of us was that the news hit us as we were talking about Howard, who had been Prince’s PR guru at the time of “Purple Rain.”  It was, in fact, Howard who persuaded Warner Bros. to release the film.  After a screening, studio executives were terrified of what they had on their hands and some wanted to kill the film.

It was Howard that convinced them that the film was brilliant and would be a hit.  And he was right. 

The papers on Thursday were filled with paeans to the musical legend, as well they should have been.  He helped turn many a corner and, through it all, remained close to Minneapolis, his place of origin.  He died at his estate in Chanhassen, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Prince Picture

RIP.

It is spring like and the last two days have been singularly beautiful though rain fell Friday evening, the day the Hubble turned 26 years old, sending back glorious pictures of deep space.

Friday, in honor of Earth Day, was a day to go without a car in New York City.  It did seem traffic was lighter.  I used subways to get about.

The weekend will be full of chores, which I will have to accomplish on my own.  “Young Nick,” the young man who helps out every weekend, left today for a week’s vacation.  He’ll be back a week from Saturday.  After all the years of Saturdays when he has helped me, Saturday doesn’t feel like Saturday without a bit of “Nick time.”

Last Wednesday, in my class, students were talking about cyber bullying and how it leads to suicide.  Today, it has been reported that suicide has increased in this country by 24% since 1999.  I am sure someone will do a correlation between the rise in suicides and the rise of Social Media.

Barak and Michelle Obama attended on Friday a dinner at Kensington Palace hosted by Princes William and Harry after he had  lunched with the Queen, who is celebrating her 90th birthday.  She has reigned longer than any other British monarch and is the oldest monarch in history.  Good on her! 

In popular news, “Live with Kelly and Michael” has been in turmoil.  Kelly was informed this past week that Michael Strahan, her co-host, is leaving the show to become a full time co-host on “Good Morning, America.”  Feeling blindsided and hurt, Kelly did not appear on Wednesday.  She is supposed to be off for a few days to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary to soap star Mark Consuelos.

However, she has now announced she will return on Tuesday as scheduled and it will be interesting to see how they interact.

Today is a brilliant day, sun out but with a chill wind.  Following my Saturday round of the Farmer’s Market, I went to The Red Dot for brunch, where I worked on the final exam for my class, “Media & Society” after finishing my food.

It is a good day; off tonight to dinner with some people I haven’t yet met but with whom I am working on a project for the community radio station, WGXC.

While I write this, the world is still absorbing the death of Prince, that North Korea has apparently fired a ballistic missile from a submarine, that 8 relatives were killed execution style in Ohio, including a woman lying next to a four day old baby and markingß today, the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death at the age of 52.

He wrote 37 plays that will live on and on and on…  He wrote about life and no one will tire of that…

A week’s worth of thoughts…

May 19, 2009

Letter From New York
May 18, 2009

A week’s worth of thoughts…

There are, here and there, some brighter spots in the economy – a sense we might, at last, be bumping along the bottom – certainly not out of the woods but with a sense we might actually be halfway through the dark forest. Searches online for luxury goods have gone up while those for flea markets are down.

A commentator last week noted that, perhaps because of the financial crisis, few have made much about the fact Obama is African American – ethnicity of the President is less important than the handling of this great crisis. For the most part, Americans think he is doing well while, at the same time, it appears he is now engaged in the delicate balancing of National Security issues.

Obama has been forced to look at some issues differently now that he is in the White House — what to do with those folks in Guantanamo? Right wing pundits are saying this is casting a better light on Bush’s legacy. To me, it is simply another sign of the disastrous situation in which we have found ourselves as a result of the Bush idiocies. The profound failures of the last administration would have left any new President in a quandary as to how to handle them. It is not easy to undo the Gordian knot of Bush’s regime. In this delicate world we do not have the luxury of doing as Alexander did and simply using one’s sword to cut through the knotted rope.

In New York City, Swine Flu is rearing its head. A well-liked educator, Assistant Principal Mitchell Weiner, has died from the H1N1 virus [a renaming has been going on in deference to both Mexicans and the pork lobby]. Five more schools have been closed and the number of suspected cases has been growing just as the world was beginning to breathe more easily. Upstate the flu news is calmer and locally in my part of the Hudson Valley there seems to be quiet on the flu front. It is, however, not over until the fat lady sings and she hasn’t sung yet.

Spring will not settle upon the Northeast; it has been unseasonably cool and wet. An occasional day of warmth arrives only to be followed by a week of cold and damp, with spirits following the weather lead. The never-ending winter has most everyone testy and annoyed, holing up at home as opposed to venturing out into the streets. It was, at home in Hudson and Claverack, a brutally quiet day for shopkeepers on Saturday, normal business off dramatically with a walk up and down Warren Street almost as depressing as the weather – the number of empty storefronts is growing. That’s happening in Hudson and it’s happening in the city. New York real estate is suffering and rents are falling, actually so much it is encouraging people to stop fleeing to the outer boroughs, either to remain or return to Manhattan. The impossible is happening and there isn’t much joy in Mudville these days except for those who are able to take advantage of the travails of others.

Out in space a final repair journey is being made to the Hubble Telescope, an observatory that is giving us glimpses of the magical beyond of deep space. After this mission, no more will be made and when it begins to fail again, Hubble will be allowed to drift down and burn up in the atmosphere having more than served its purpose. For the scientists who have nurtured the observatory through its life, it is hard to know it will go – a bit like having a terminally ill child who may laugh and play now while all the time you know the end is approaching.

The entire Hubble adventure has been an example to what can be accomplished. Early, almost fatal flaws, were rectified, software adjusted, work done, repair missions flown. Hubble has always seemed to me to be a living example of what Browning was describing in his line: Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?