Posts Tagged ‘Matt Tombers’

Letter From Claverack June 1, 2017 And they wonder why…

June 1, 2017

Thunderstorms pummeled the Hudson Valley last night.  This morning is as sweet a morning as one might wish.

The sky is a color of blue for which I cannot find a word; sweet, clear, refreshed from the rain.  The sharp green of the trees outside my window almost glow in the sunlight cascading down in an almost magic morning.  It is not hard to imagine that across the creek woodland nymphs are gambling in delight.

A big mug of strong coffee is at my side and jazz is playing, upbeat and uplifting.

A letter has been fermenting in my mind the last few days, ever since a couple of my friends who are supporters of Donald Trump questioned me on why he has had such a vitriolic reception as President?

I found myself surprised by the question.

It surprised me they did not understand; didn’t see what I see and I need to remember we are all individuals who are interpreting current events in different ways.

We have a President who didn’t win the majority vote and is still the President of the country, an event that has happened twice in this century, brief as it has been, and that has made a lot of people angry, uncomfortable and questioning our Founding Fathers’ wisdom in setting up the Electoral College.

We have a President that doesn’t seem to know the truth.  We like our Presidents to at least sound like they’re telling the truth.

We don’t like them saying things that are verifiably not true, things that are conflations of their own imaginations.  People notice things like that. It does not breed respect.

His Inauguration speech depicted an America which inspired despair, not hope.  His picks for almost every office inspires deep concern for many people.  Scott Pruitt as head of the EPA? Rick Perry as Secretary of the Department of Energy, the department he couldn’t remember in a debate that he wanted eliminated.  Sort of a come down from people like the Ph.D.’s who were running it before.

NOTHING this President has done is very Presidential.

In his European trip, he may have handed the mantle of the leader of the Free World to Angela Merkel.

He is picking a trade fight with Germany but not addressing the real issues and potentially hurting workers in the South, where German car companies have been manufacturing.  People who elected him may be the victims of this fight.

If he repudiates the Paris Climate Accords, he will link us with Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not agreeing and will be doing another thing that will cede leadership to China, which remains steadfast in its support.  And is capitalizing on it.  China’s Premier is in Europe right now, cozying up to Merkel.

If we are disrespectful, it is because this man has given us so little to respect – from my point of view and that is not the point of view of everyone. I acknowledge that.

My family was Republican.  The first President I remember is Dwight Eisenhower.  Wow.  Dwight Eisenhower then.  Donald Trump now.  Is it any wonder I shiver at night?

Weeks ago, I texted one of the smartest people I know, an Independent, who has voted both for Republicans and Democrats, not married to a party.  I asked him what he thought of Trump.  There was no response, until this weekend.

He said: I used to think Trump was just a jackass but he seems to be a jackass and an idiot.

Our White House is occupied by someone who seems a jackass and an idiot who is being unfaithful to the people who elected him.  Everything he has proposed is supportive of his class and destructive to the people who elected him.

He is bringing the Billionaire’s Boy’s Club to the White House.  He’s not cleaning out the swamp. He’s enlarging it.

Bucking a long-standing tradition, he hasn’t, still, released his tax returns.  His aides have “forgotten” meetings with Russian officials during the campaign.  His sons have contradicted him in terms of his financial relations with Russia.  There are all kinds of dangling Russian connections that are, at best, unseemly, and, at worst, criminal and maybe treasonous.

So, I shiver at night and tremble when he speaks.

This is all, of course, my humble opinion.

And thus, I do things that are very hygge to comfort my soul, make me feel at one with the universe, and give me a smile, such as enjoying and savoring the view out my window, like enjoying this cat on display on Main Street in Catskill, where I was doing some errands yesterday.

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Or enjoying this reflection by Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut, as he readies himself for his return to earth.  See it here.

 

 

 

 

Letter From Claverack 05 07 2017 It was a dark and stormy night…

May 7, 2017

“It was a dark and stormy night,” is the much-parodied opening line of Bulwer-Lytton’s novel, “Paul Clifford.”  But it was a dark and stormy night Friday night in Columbia County; wind whipped, too.  Around 4 in the afternoon, the wind blew out the power as I was running errands to prep for a dinner party I was giving that evening.

Knowing that National Grid might not meet their expectation that power would return by 5:30, I made a quick detour and bought a dozen candles.  It was a wise investment; power only returned at about four on Saturday.  There were a half dozen of us, who dined, bathed by candlelight, looking our best.  In her later years, Madame du Pompadour only allowed herself to be seen by candlelight.  She was wise.

Martinis were ready in a pitcher and we toasted our decision not to cancel dinner.  We managed to not discuss politics [an increasingly difficult thing to avoid]; we laughed and since there was no background music, it was the sound of our voices which danced through the night.  It seemed as if we were in the first half of the 19th century or doing glamourous glamping in our own time.

We made the evening work.  It was magic.

When I woke Saturday, a tree from the opposite bank had fallen into the creek and the morning air thrummed with the sounds of neighbors’ generators as there was no power.  Out of habit, I asked Alexa for the weather and was met by stony silence.  We were cut off.  From each other.

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Eventually, I did my morning errands.  The Post Office lot was crowded with folks discussing what they had suffered during the night and driving into town, one home had lost five trees.  Farther down, a great old pine had been uprooted, never to again be adorned by Christmas lights.

The Farmer’s Market was sparsely populated by vendors, most probably at home dealing with the storm’s effects.  I realized there was little I could buy as it might all go bad before power returned.  National Grid was estimating now that it would be about midnight on Saturday.

In an interesting way today, when I was at the Post Office, looking around at the klatches of men talking, and it was all men, I felt I was looking at a scene in “Midsomer Murders,” a British mystery series that started in 1997 and is still going.  The village was gathering at the Post Office to talk about the storm.

It made me feel like I was a part of a community.  A little like the community Jessica Fletcher had in “Murder, She Wrote.” Except we’re not in Maine and we don’t have as much death as Jessica encountered in her little town in Maine.

With my batteries now exhausted on all my toys, I ensconced myself at the far end of the bar at the Red Dot, close to an outlet, and charged my laptop and phone.  And had superb Eggs Benedict on potato latkes with a side of American bacon.  Totally, totally decadent.  If in Hudson on a weekend day, indulge yourself.  The Red Dot’s Mark makes the most succulent Eggs Benedict this side of paradise and, at this point in life, I have had a bunch.  And when I am on the other side, I want to know I can order his up whenever I want.  Please God.

Do you notice how I am avoiding anything substantive?

Sometimes you just have to do that.  Give yourself a little breathing space in all the craziness.

Because it is crazy out there.

It is just unbelievable to me.  Whenever I look at the news, I just go:  WTF.

So, I have taken a moment to not worry.  To celebrate my life and the joys I experience on a daily basis, knowing I must return to the dialogue soon.

 

Letter From Claverack 04 26 2017 Surviving a bad emperor…

April 27, 2017

It’s been a busy day.  At 5:30 the alarms starting going off as today is Wednesday, the day I do my morning show on WGXC and I need the time to be good when I go on air.   Once I was a morning person, when I lived in LA and worked for New York based companies and had to be up to catch New Yorkers.

Mornings were always best because after lunch, particularly in the early 1980’s, was not a good time.  The three martini lunch was slowly fading but not yet gone.  It was an early lesson in my career.

So, for most of the time I lived in LA, I was up about the time dawn was cracking so I could catch people before I lost them.  It won me many friends and a few who wished I would sleep longer so that I wasn’t around to harass them.

The memories I have of that time are quite fond.

Knowing myself, I am up early on the day I do my show so that I am fully functioning by the time I reach the station around 8, letting myself in, sipping coffee and getting organized.  I want to be at my best.

Today, I was pretty good, if I say so myself.  The first interview was with Brenda Adams, Executive Director for Columbia County Habitat for Humanity and the President of their board, Peter Cervi.  It went well.  They are having an event which they were there to publicize and I also wanted people to know about all the other good things they are doing, including helping people remain in their homes as opposed to having to go to a nursing home.

That was followed by an interview with an environmental journalist, Susan Zakin, which was good and funny and fun.  She is appalled by what Trump is doing.

Which brings us to our unpredictable President, Donald Trump.  It is dizzying to me and disturbing to me as I can’t seem to find a coherence to what is going on though I am not sure why I am surprised by that.  He hasn’t been, to me, coherent from the beginning.

And now he is President.

He, the President, announced today a reform to the tax code. Details to follow.  No one I’ve read today seems to “grok” it.

He signed an Executive Order today that potentially takes away protection from something like 24 national monuments.  Why?

Trump summoned the whole Senate to the White House to brief them on North Korea.  No real reports on what was revealed though some Senators said they came out of the meeting “sobered.” Though it seems diplomacy is being chosen rather military action.

A long time ago, there was a remake of “On the Beach,” a story of nuclear destruction.  In the remake, the President of the United States ordered a nuclear strike on China and it resulted in the end of human life on earth.

That haunts me right now.

North Korea is playing with fire and we’re playing with North Korean fire.  It worries me how this will turn out.

Look, I am in the last act of my life and if the world blows up, I’ve had the best of it.  And I think about the children who were playing at OMI, an art center, I visited last week.  There was such delightful young life in that room.

I think that should be protected.

Look, ladies and gentleman, the Roman Empire went through a number of really bad Emperors so I am hoping we can get through a really bad President.

Less than a hundred days out, I think he is a bad President, dangerous, more so than “W” who I thought was a bad President and dangerous.  He gave us the morass of the Middle East.

And now it is later at night, the lights are on the creek, Nina Simone is playing on Echo and I am moving toward bed in my freshly cleaned home.

The lights are on and I am looking at the creek, flowing on, hopefully forever.

Earlier, as I was settling in, I looked out my window and saw my hedgehog sniffling around the house, looking for food.  And its presence gave me hope.

The world is changing and the hedgehogs remain, constant against change.  A part of life…