Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas Car Rampage’

Letter From New York 12 23 2015 Peering through the fog…

December 23, 2015

It is relatively early in the morning and I am on the train, heading to New York City, where I will board a train to DC where I will board a train to Martinsburg, WV where I will be picked up by my friends Sarah and Jim Malone for the Holidays in Shepherdstown.

As I move south, rushing now between Rhinecliff and Poughkeepsie, the fog is so dense, it is impossible to see the Hudson River to my right.  It provides an eerie atmosphere to the morning, so warm that a light jacket is all one needs.  It is supposed to be seventy in Claverack on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, I celebrated Christmas twice.  Once with young Nick, his partner Beth, and their three year old daughter, Alicia.   It gave me great smiles and bright eyes to see a three year old devour Christmas.  Earlier I gave her a “communicator” that allows her to talk with Santa Claus each day from December 1 to Christmas.  Nick and Beth tell me she is having a blast.

Then I cooked “Christmas” dinner for Lionel, Pierre and myself, mushroom soup, salad, a roast pork loin, mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus with a butter garlic sauce.  We had no room for dessert.

All day yesterday, I pretty much ignored the world, living in the solitude of the cottage, listening to Christmas carols and prepping for dinner.  The exception was at the gym, on the treadmill where I listened to the sad story of the young woman accused in the car rampage in Las Vegas.  A troubled youth who turned her life around and then…Las Vegas.  People are attempting to understand.

Then there was a long exegesis of the Middle East with Wolf Blitzer, the CNN perennial, and a Congressman and retired General, that left me feeling depressed.

The Congressman predicted that we will be engaged there for decades and the retired General opined our efforts are inadequate.  The Congressman wants more bombing, forget the civilians.  They are the necessary sacrifices to move the needle.  It underscored for me that “W” let the genie out of the bottle and he’s never going back in.

The Afghans have the best army they have had in years but corruption in Kabul is keeping them from getting bullets.

The Iraqis are fighting to retake Ramadi and have sent more troops in to help in the effort to hand IS its biggest defeat in two years.

The Donald keeps marching forward in the polls, up to 39% at this point, twice Ted Cruz’s standing and, according to recent polls, the Republicans are beginning to accept that Trump will be their standard bearer.  What?  Is this really happening?  Can’t I change the channel?

I lightened my mood a bit by reading the wild adventures of Madame Claude, arguably the most famous brothel owner in Paris’ history.  Her clients included most of the great names of the ’60’s and ’70’s.  She died in France at the venerable age of 92. 

The fog is still thick as we begin the last leg into New York, having just pulled out of Croton Harmon.  There are forty minutes left before we hit the city.  At noon I will board an Acela for the next leg.

Behind me there is a woman who has been on the phone now, non-stop, for well over an hour.  Occasionally when she needs to do something, she puts her caller on speakerphone.  I didn’t realize anyone talks on the phone that way anymore just like I can’t believe the Republican Party is thinking Trump is the hope for 2016.

Letter From New York 12 21 2015 Car rampage and a Miss Universe Gaffe

December 21, 2015

It is Monday morning and Christmas is four days away.  It is noon and I am sitting at the dining room table looking out at a grey world.  Across the creek, barren trees are swaying in the gusting wind.

My friends, Lionel and Pierre, arrived at their home across the street late last night and we had breakfast together this morning, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast while carols played in the background.

While we breakfasted news came flashing across our devices that some dozens had been injured and one killed in Las Vegas when a woman plowed her car into a crowd on the sidewalk outside the Paris Hotel and Casino.  With a toddler at her side the woman repeatedly plowed into the crowd. 

The police said it appeared intentional but not an act of terrorism.  The three year old with her was not harmed and the woman was taken into custody after doing her damage and then leaving the scene, parking some blocks away.

The 1996 Oldsmobile had Oregon plates and the woman had reportedly recently moved to Nevada.

How?  Why?

Lindsey Graham has suspended his presidential campaign. Not so long ago he complained that he couldn’t believe that Trump had so outdistanced him in the polls.  Obama has stated that Trump is “exploiting” anger and fear among working class men to propel his candidacy.  Yes, I think that’s true.

Also true is that Blatter and Platini, the two most powerful men in world soccer, have been banned from the sport for eight years for ethics violations. 

Near Bagram, Afghanistan, six NATO soldiers including some Americans, have been killed by a Taliban suicide bomber who plowed his motorcycle into a NATO/Afghan foot patrol.

Donald Trump sold the Miss Universe Pageant.  It was held in Las Vegas last night not far from where the car rampage occurred.  In a ghastly gaffe, Steve Harvey, the host, announced Miss Columbia was the winner when it was actually Miss Philippines.  Miss Columbia was first runner-up. 

You can imagine what the Twitterverse was like!  Lots of jokes about where was Trump when you needed him?

In other entertainment news, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has broken all box office records for a weekend opening, topping “Jurassic World.”  538 million dollars worldwide.  The Force has opened our pocketbooks.

Space X, Elon Musk’s space company, is launching from Cape Canaveral a payload of 11 satellites for Orbcomm, a communications company.  All eyes will be on what happens after the launch, to see if the rocket can land safely on land.  It would be the first time a rocket carrying an orbital payload will have done that.

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, successfully launched and landed a test rocket last month.

Space is becoming the last frontier for billionaires, out to make even greater fortunes by making space more accessible.

It reminds me a bit of the 19th century’s railroad millionaires, battling it out to conquer the continent with their rail lines.

Shortly, Lionel and I are going grocery shopping for dinner, having our friend Matthew Morse over.  I have a few more packages to bag and need to start packing for my Christmas trip.  It is a funny sort of day for a funny sort of beginning to winter.  It will be in the 50’s this week in the Hudson Valley.

It will be a white Christmas only in our minds.