Posts Tagged ‘North Korea’

Letter From Claverack 09 25 2017 Fear, fear mongering, theater and more…

September 25, 2017

While it is now officially fall, the weather is summer-ish, scraping at ninety degrees today.  The train is rumbling into the city where I will be attending a talk today by my friend Jeff Cole of the Center for the Digital Future on “Driverless Cars and the Battle for the Living Room.”  I’m eager to see how those two very disparate topics get pulled together – or not.

Yesterday, I returned to the cottage from Provincetown where I had been visiting friends and attending the Tennessee Williams Festival, now in its twelfth year.  Mixing Shakespeare with Williams this year, I saw five plays, the most laudable being “Gnadiges Fraulein,” an absurdist Williams from the tail end of his career in which some see an allegory for that career.

The Festival was marred by weather from the last of Jose for the first three days; yesterday was magnificent.  Leaving after Shakespeare’s “Antony & Cleopatra,” I drove home, listening to the omnipresent exegesis of President Trump’s Friday comments on kneeling during the national anthem and Sunday’s reaction by athletes and owners of teams.

Trump had said that owners and coaches should get “the son of a bitch” players who kneeled during the national anthem off the field, suspending or firing them.

Owners and athletes defied the President.  Even Tom Brady locked arms with his teammates.  The Steelers stayed in the locker room until after the anthem had been played. All but two of the NFL’s owners and CEO’s issued statements calling for unity.

Some fans booed.  Most didn’t walk out.

Trump praised those who booed.

Such is life in today’s America.

And I’m on the side of the players and the owners in this kerfuffle.  The right to protest is as American as apple pie.

My weariness is growing daily with this President’s ability to be divisive.

Defying top aides, he has escalated the war of words with North Korea to the point that as I am writing this, the foreign minister for the pudgy, pugnacious little man who is the ruler of that country has said that Trump has declared war and they have the right to shoot down American planes.

This will not end well, I fear.

In Germany, Angela Merkel is on her way to a fourth term though diminished.  The far right AfD has won a troubling 13% of the vote and will have a place in the German parliament, a feat that no other far right German movement has managed in decades.

It is representative of the fear that threads its way through our societal fibers, in Germany and here at home, in France and the Netherlands.  The world is changing and change often results in fear and the world is changing so quickly right now.

Abe in Japan has called a snap election, riding high on North Korean nuclear fears.

The Senate is desperately working to pass another bill to repeal Obamacare but with McCain, Rand Paul and probably Collins and possibly Murkowski against it, tough sledding is a generous description of what is facing McConnell.

Trump is saying today that Congress doesn’t have “the guts” to repeal Obamacare and I’m hoping he’s right as this version seems to be the most mean-spirited of all the versions proposed so far.

I’m off soon to the presentation.  I’ll let you know how driverless cars and the battle for the living room fit together!

Have a good day!


Letter from Claverack 08 11 2017 Wanting to be home before the apocalypse…

August 11, 2017

As is not unusual, jazz is playing in the background as I am sitting at the kitchen table of my brother and sister-in-law’s home in Bloomington, MN.  Last night, after my arrival, a magnificent thunderstorm slashed across the sky and I sat for a while, watching out the window.  In a strange way, it felt warm and comfortable, evoking some good childhood memory.

Sleeping in later than usual, I found myself feeling plastered to the mattress from a heavy sleep that had wrapped itself around me.  Morpheus kept blowing tenderly on my face.

The weather today promised more thunderstorms though none arrived, though the sky is mostly leaden and threatening.  Soon a friend from high school will pick me up and we’ll go off to see other friends.

When and how I return to the cottage is undecided.  I arrived by train and maybe I will train back, maybe fly or drive or…

For reasons I don’t understand but which I accept, I am wanting not to feel boxed in by a defined schedule even though I am scheduling lots of time with family and friends.

Ah, I looked up and a soft rain has started.  Best I take my umbrella this evening.

This morning, I deleted every email that contained news.  I didn’t want to know until after a couple of cups of coffee because our world does seem more and more unsettled.  A few minutes ago, I opened Google News and the top story was “Meet Kim Jung Un, A Moody Man with a Nuclear Arsenal” from the New York Times.

Well, as I pondered whether I was going to click on the link, I thought of our president, who I think of a as a moody man and he has a bigger nuclear arsenal than Kim Jung Un and I just don’t know what to think any more about much of anything.

As I am away from my home as I write this, I jokingly [but not totally] said to a colleague, I want to be back home before the apocalypse.

The president has raised the verbal ante and has declared we are “locked and loaded,” which, according to reports from retired generals, we are not anywhere near.

China has declared it will remain neutral if North Korea strikes first and not if we do.  Russia is saying we are both being belligerent and they’re right.  We are. Well, President Trump is being belligerent; everyone else is trying to keep things calm.  I feel sorry for John Kelly, now Chief of Staff.  What a job he has! And not one I would want.

The president is taking on Mitch McConnell, which pundits are saying is not a wise move.

And do we expect wisdom from this president?

Not now, not ever, I am sad to say.



Letter From Claverack 05 15 2017 Messy in the life politic…

May 16, 2017

As I ride south on the train, white caps lap at the island which hold the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle, a building designed in the 19th Century to look like a medieval European fortress, purposed for holding ammunition and which began its slide to ruin when the ammunition blew the building up.

It’s one of the sites on the journey down into the city, where I am going today for a doctor’s appointment, a lunch and afternoon drinks with my friend, Ann Frisbee Naymie, in from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Back in the day, we worked together at A&E in Los Angeles before life took her north of the border.

Across from me now is the citadel of West Point, the redoubt of American military might. The Catskills are covered in the verdant green of spring and the sun is attempting to break through the clouds which have hovered over us for several days now.

Riding in the café car on a train that has no café, people sit at the tables working; Stephen sleeps and there is a quiet.  Most of us in here know each other: we are Empire Regulars, folks who ride this line enough that we are on the email list which informs us of all train developments.  It’s been busy this past week as Amtrak is planning repair work on several tunnels in Penn, which may result in some trains going in and out of Grand Central.  Whatever happens, it will be messy.

Messy, too, is the life politic.  Some Republican Senators seem to be backing away from Mr. Trump, alarmed by his “inconsistencies,” a few shocked by his weekend threats to fired FBI Director Comey that he should hope there were no “tapes” of their conversations.

Republicans still support him though his overall ratings remain low, 39% in a WSJ/NBC poll, not low enough for mass defection but low enough for wariness.

A friend in California, a Trump supporter, is convinced Trump has a plan.  This presidency seems improvisational and some improvisations go well and others…

If we didn’t know the definition of ransomware before the weekend, we are likely to know it now as hundreds of thousands of computers around the world have been infected with the “Wanna Cry” virus, locking them down until a ransom in bitcoin has been paid or a workaround is found.  China is a mess today because of it; their use of pirated software making them especially vulnerable.  Britain’s National Health took a blow as did the German national rail company.

That pudgy, pouty, unpredictable little man who is North Korea’s dictator, fired a rocket into the Sea of Japan, ending in the water not terribly far from Vladivostok.  I doubt Tsar Vladimir is amused. But who knows?  It may serve his purpose to look away.

And President Xi of China is finding that North Korea is more of a headache than he’d like these days, as he announces a new “Silk Road” to knit together some 60 countries with hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments.

We are gliding through the stretch of towns that line the Hudson, bedroom communities, passing by Metro North stations, all of it testifying to the hum and thrum of New York City, not far away now.

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…







Letter from the Train, returning… Passover arrives and Tillerson departs…

April 10, 2017

The train is rumbling north from Baltimore to New York City where I change trains to Hudson, arriving there around 3:30 this afternoon.  It is a sunny day and the fleece pullover and winter jacket needed on the way down are unnecessary on the way home.

Hudson River

As I travel north, I have trimmed down the email inbox, sent some electronic Passover cards and started reading how to make large quantities of scrambled eggs as this coming Sunday is Easter Sunday and I am in charge of preparing the Easter Brunch that follows the 10:30 service.

It’s my hope that Mother Eileen’s clipboard filled with some people to help me. If not…

The weekend visit with Lionel and Pierre and Marcel, the poodle, was wonderful, overflowing with good food at various venues:  Modern Cook Shop, Peter’s Inn, Red Star, Rusty Scupper, Nanimi, Petit Louis.


On “The Avenue” [36th Street] I shopped the antique stores and found some Christmas presents, tucked in my luggage; that it is expandable saved me from buying another piece.  At BJ’s with Pierre, I stocked up on Excedrin, Prilosec and more.

Long train rides give one a time to think and I enjoy them for that, for being able to see the countryside glide by without the responsibility of driving.

Pierre sings in the choir at the Church of the Advent in Baltimore.  While Lionel and I were preparing to go to hear him at church, the television flashed pictures and video of the Palm Sunday explosions in Egypt, targeting Coptic Christians, who represent about ten percent of that country’s population.  Last word I heard, forty-seven have died and scores are injured.  At Christ Church this week, I will light a candle for them.

In response to the bombings, responsibility for which was claimed by IS, Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency.

Rex Tillerson, our low-profile Secretary of State, heads to Moscow for meetings, either strengthened or weakened [depending on your view] by the US bombing of the airfield in Syria where chemical attacks against a rebel city were initiated.  Tillerson called the Russians incompetent for allowing Assad to keep chemical weapons.

Putin is thinking of revoking the award he gave to Tillerson.

This should be an interesting week for watching Syrian affairs.  How are they all going to react?  Niki Hailey is talking regime change; Tillerson is not. Trump is unpredictable and Putin a risk taker; Assad seemingly a wily survivor who managed to turn peaceful protests into a civil war no one seems capable of winning or willing to negotiate an end.

Syria is bringing five questions about the situation to the head, outlined in an article in Bloomberg, available here.

We have ships moving toward the Korean peninsula, possibly to be in place in case there is a decision to attack North Korea and its pudgy, vindictive, unpredictable little dictator, Kim Jong Un.

President Xi of China and Trump managed to get through their summit without damaging each other and we will await to see what China will do vis-à-vis North Korea.

In 2013, Democrats used the “nuclear option” and McConnell said they would live to regret it, which they did last week when Gorsuch was successfully nominated to the Supreme Court and sworn in this morning.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right French candidate for president, has declared that France was NOT responsible for the deportation of Jews during WWII, a statement that has created, as one might imagine, more than a soupcon of controversy.

New York is the first state offering free four-year public college to its students in families with incomes under $100,000, a move to help residents avoid crushing college loans and to help the state have a work force ready for the future.

May it work.

For all my friends celebrating Passover tonight, Chaq Kasher veSameach! [Happy Passover!]

Letter From Claverack 09 06 2016

September 7, 2016

The day painted itself grey this morning, from the moment light crept into my bedroom, it was grey, the kind of day that promises rain and provides none, save a few drops when I was running an errand on Warren Street.

Fresh from what I thought was a successful first day in the classroom, I stopped at the Post Office and picked up my mail and sat on my deck, opening it, and just staring out at the day.  The air was lightly water touched by not too much.  But for the grey, it was a perfect sort of day.

At the college, I talked with one of my colleagues for whom there is terminal election fatigue.  She knows for whom she is voting, nothing in the shouting is going to change her position and so she feels no need to participate more.  It simply makes her crazy.

As it has for many people in this oddest of election seasons.  A few months ago, a commentator I was listening to said something like:  Who knows?  It’s 2016.

And that remains true.  It’s the wild and wooly 2016, an election season they will be talking about as long as politics is discussed, which is a very long time.  We are still discussing the politics of the Athenian democracy 2500 years later.  Countless tomes have been written about the Romans, their Republic and their Empire.  A thousand years from now some crepe skinned academic will be dissecting one small sliver of this campaign in a form of media we probably can’t conceive of but it will be happening.

Me?  I generally wake up happy and go to bed happy and know there is only so much I can do to shape events but what I can do, I do.

Tonight, I am writing earlier than I did last night and the verdant green in its grey frame fills my window.

Directly in front of me are two Adirondack chairs made for me by John McCormick, father of my oldest friend, Sarah.  He had made some for his daughter, Mary Clare, for her home in West Virginia.  When I bought the cottage, he asked me if he could make anything for it.  Adirondack chairs I said and there they are, in front of me, a wonderful bonding to a man now gone and a testament to all he and his family mean to me.

In this calm and quiet, I feel celebratory to have made it alive through the first day of class.  As I was preparing to head over to the college, I played music that pleased me, from the Great American Songbook.  Tonight there is no music.  The only sound is the ticking of an old clock that has been in my family for more than 125 years.  I think of it as the heart of the house.  But it drives some people crazy.  It just makes me smile.

The EpiPen conversation goes on.  Some say it actually costs only $30.00; some say it’s only about a dollar that goes into the actual medicine.

Isabelle Dinoire, the world’s first face transplant recipient has died, aged 49.  She was transplanted when her face was mauled by a dog.  RIP.

Obama cancelled a visit with the Philippines President after he called Obama “the son of a whore.”  Later President Duarte regretted his comment.

There was an incident when Obama arrived in China.  No one seemed to have agreed upon the protocol.  Everyone looked bad.

Kim Jung Un, the little paunchy, pudgy dictator of North Korea, celebrated Labor Day by sending off ballistic missiles that landed within 300 kilometers of Japan.  No one is happy except for the pudgy dictator who is now facing a new set of sanctions which he doesn’t care about.  He will let millions die because of them as long as he keeps his power, his toys and the instability he creates.

One can only imagine what this man’s childhood was like…

Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift have broken up after three months. This is HUGE news.  OMG!

Fox has settled with Gretchen Carlson in her lawsuit with them and Roger Ailes.  Twenty million dollars.  At the same time Greta Van Susteren has left the network under cloudy circumstances but then what is not cloudy in the world of Fox News these days?

And now it is dark.  I will turn on my floodlights and enjoy the creek at night.

It is a good day.  I survived the first day of a new class and felt good about it.

Today I woke up happy and I go to bed tonight happy.  May all of you who read me do the same.




Letter From New York 07 11 2016 From seaside to creekside…

July 11, 2016

I have moved from seaside to creekside.  In front of me tonight is not Edgartown harbor but Claverack Creek, having returned home from Edgartown on Friday, just as Lionel and Pierre arrived to help me celebrate my return.

It has been nearly a week, perhaps more, since I have written.  The events out in the world beyond my safety zone of Edgartown and Claverack, have left me…

You know, I am out of words for the events we’ve had.  I don’t know what to say, not at all, not at all.

A black man dead in Baton Rouge, a black man dead in Falcon Heights, MN and five dead police officers in Dallas.  As I sat down to write, my phone chirped to let me know that two bailiffs in Berrien County, Michigan were dead, along with the gunman.  A deputy sheriff was in stable condition.

Eight Somali are dead from a suicide bomber.

My head and heart reel.

We all must realize we live in a time of madness or we live in ignorance of the world.  But then, perhaps, it has always been a time of madness.

The pudgy little dictator who rules North Korea who has devised some interesting ways of ridding himself of people he doesn’t like, is having a temper tantrum because the US is putting in a missile shield in South Korea. 

Now he is threatening that if it happens, he will reduce South Korea to a nuclear wasteland.  If he does that, I doubt the radiation will stop at the border and he will find his “kingdom” littered with corpses, too. 

Kim Jong Un is a bully with nuclear weapons and not much common sense.  This isn’t good. And he has closed the only communication channel he has had ßwith the US.

David Cameron is resigning on Wednesday and Theresa May will become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain as they and the rest of us cope with Brexit.  The opposition Labour Party is in chaos too and another woman may take over leadership of it.  Jeremy Corbyn is seen as having done too little to help the UK stay in the EU and Angela Eagle is seen as being the person who will succeed him, once he realizes he is a morte canard, which he hasn’t yet.

The evening sun is glittering on the creek and I find myself looking at it, the way I looked at Edgartown harbor, as a reminder that despite what we do, the world has its places of beauty that help us compensate for the madness around us.

The US is boosting troops in Iraq as the march goes on to retake Mosul from IS.  In  South Sudan we are evacuating our people because war has renewed there.

The Japanese have been through their own moratorium and the result is there may be changes to their constitution which will allow Japan to build up its military.  They are afraid of Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, an area in which the Chinese feel like they are victims and not aggressors.

While all of this strum und drang is playing out on the world stage, out in outer space, a probe has arrived at Juno, a moon of Jupiter, one second late after a five year journey.  And that blows my mind.  It will explore Juno and Jupiter and may help us understand the beginnings of our solar system.

This wonder is happening while murder walks the land.  How bizarre…

And I am thinking of going online and pre-ordering a Cozmo, a little robot that promises to be to robotics as the Commodore 64 was to computing — a break through.  Cozmo promises to be a great robotic companion and you can program it from an app.

Yes, need to have one.  I don’t have a pet anymore and am not thinking of getting one and Cozmo may just be the answer to a companion in my house on the creek where I sit and enjoy while the world seems too mad for words.

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


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…

Letter From New York 03 02 2016 The future keeps arriving…

March 3, 2016

On the nights before the days I teach, not only do I set my iPhone alarm, I also set my clock radio.  I want to be sure I am up in plenty of time to get myself centered, caffeinated and to gather everything I need for class.

Since I taught today, the clock radio went off, loudly, and the very first thing I heard this morning was “Trump.”  Loudly, gratingly, irritatingly…  The moment I heard his name I knew he had won big last night and I shuddered, hit the snooze alarm and buried myself underneath my pillow.

Trump did win big last night.  On the way to class I purchased copies of the New York Times, The New York Post, The Albany Times Union and our local Register-Star.  I broke the class up into four groups, giving each group a copy of the four papers and asked them to judge them against the points that Rex Smith had made about the ethics of journalism.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the New York Times got the best reviews for objectivity, followed by the Albany Times – Union.  One of the students pointed out that in the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, that all the coverage of the Republicans was in color and had more pages than they gave for the Democrats, whose coverage was all in black and white.  Very interesting…

The poor Register Star didn’t really even register.  It had almost no coverage of Super Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton won but not as decisively as her supporters would have liked.  She battered Bernie but didn’t knock him out.  Yesterday did make his march to the nomination more difficult and possibly impossible.  Hillary won Massachusetts, which had been expected to go to Bernie.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, is expected to give a speech shortly about the 2016 race.  He has been very hard on Trump in his Twitter feed of late.  It will be interesting to hear what he has to say on Thursday.  I didn’t much like him as the Republican nominee as it seemed, to me, that he had no center which I had once thought he did.  Perhaps now that he is finished with running he will have returned to the center and will say things from his heart.

Ben Carson has signaled he may be ending his candidacy.  Ted Cruz is positioning himself as the only one who could possible beat Trump. Rubio won Minnesota, my home state, last night.  I think they thought of him as the least of all evils.

Aubrey McClendon, an energy entrepreneur in Oklahoma, died today in a fiery crash while he was speeding down a road.  Yesterday, he had been indicted.  Today he is dead.  It will take two weeks to figure out what really happened.  He was fifty-six.  He was accused of rigging bids.

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to earth today after nearly a year in orbit.  He has an identical twin brother, also an astronaut, and NASA is attempting to find out just what a year in space does to a person.  They are thinking toward Mars.  Pretty amazing, don’t you think? 

The UN has imposed the severest sanctions on North Korea in twenty years as a result of its continuing to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems.  From what I have observed and certainly I am not a foreign policy expert, it’s the people of North Korea who will suffer and there is no way I can see they will push for a regime change.  The pudgy little dictator of North Korea will still find ways to get his delicacies while his people resume eating grass.

The Pentagon has begun using Special Forces to capture IS leaders.  They have had one success and aim for more.  But the Pentagon doesn’t want to get back into the prisoner business so after questioning, the IS individual will be turned over to the Iraqis. 

The evening is coming to a close.  The dryer has just buzzed, announcing that the last load of clothes has been finished.  The only sound I hear now is the ticking of an old clock that my parents had which one of their parents had.  I think of it as the heart of the house, ticking time away, each moment taking us further into the future, which none of us can know.

I have some friends who live down in the Caribbean. I am tempted to ask them what it would take for me to go there should Trump become President.

Letter From New York 08 24 15 Of market crashes and treasures ruined…

August 25, 2015

The day started peacefully, coffee on the deck, a reading of the New York Times which presaged the market fall today, with a good article about hanging on, breathing deep and not panicking.   It was that kind of day. I was getting ready to go into a meeting when I had an alert from the AP that the market plunged 1000 points at the open.

With that in my mind, I walked into my meeting and did my best to push that out of my consciousness and center myself in the moment. I’m not sure anything will come of it but the local community college, Columbia Greene, is interested in me as a potential adjunct professor. Their enrollment is down but they won’t really know until the end of next week when open registration ends. They seem to be considering me for two potential positions, Public Communications and/or Intro to Journalism.

There isn’t much pay involved but I would love to go back to the classroom. We’ll see but it has been a fun thought with which to play.

So the big news of the day in the conversations around me is the Dow’s Dive, which follows a dive of similar proportions on Friday.

But that’s not the only news of the day. The Dow will go up; the Dow will go down. But the fluctuations, which do affect us, don’t last for millennia. What has lasted for millennia are the ruins of a temple of Baalshamin, until now. IS planted it with explosives and destroyed it. It may have been yesterday or a month ago but it is gone, destroyed. It was part of the ruins of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has seen empires rise and fall, markets rise and crash and it endured. Until now.

Once I walked amongst the ruins of Ephesus and marveled at what they were and Palmyra was so much more. This week, IS beheaded the man in charge of Palmyra’s antiquities and destroyed one of its major temples.

Barbarians walk the earth again.

As I write this, I am in one of my favorite restaurants, Thai Market. It is at 107 and Amsterdam. My friend Lionel, whose New York apartment was not far from here, introduced me to it. I come, about once a week. Some of the staff knows me and it is a good place to come, eat, and write sometimes, as I am doing now.

It is the Chinese slowdown that is so roiling the markets; I thought it would be the Greeks but the market seemed to have, over the years, factored that crisis into its workings. China was not expected.

The Greeks are going through their own drama. Tsipras has resigned, triggering snap elections. Right now an anti-Euro, pro-drachma party is attempting to form a government but without much success. It will be interesting to see what happens in Greece. Tsipras, defiled by some for his U-turn on anti-austerity, is incredibly popular because he represents something “different.”

Also representing something “different” is our Donald Trump.

Howard Bloom, my writer friend, author of “The Lucifer Principle” and three other books, is doing a podcast. The second one taped tonight. I am fresh from that. At the end, we all talked about Trump and Howard posited that he is sending out all kinds of male dominance signals, which are resonating with those who need to have their male dominance plucked up.

It makes some sense.

He holds a resounding lead in the Republican polls and that makes me think Howard may be onto something. The Donald is primal if he is anything.

Three Americans and a Brit have been honored by France with the Legion of Honor for their participation in overwhelming a potential terrorist on a fast train between Amsterdam and Paris. They took him on and subdued him. It prevented a potential tragedy. No one died and no one was critically injured. Bravo!

Ukraine is unsettled even as it celebrates its independence. More trouble will come from there before the year is out.

South Korea and North Korea have reached an agreement to ratchet down their escalating crisis. North Korea has, sort of, apologized for the landmines they placed across the border, which cost two South Koreans soldiers their legs. The South Koreans have agreed to quit their loudspeaker broadcasts across the border. The countries have gone off war footing, a good thing.

And a good thing is that my friend Robert will be coming shortly to join me and we will get some food because I am now very hungry.