Posts Tagged ‘Red Dot’

Letter from the train… The rhythm continues…

September 18, 2017


Last night, there were insects buzzing around me as I typed out on the deck, following a warm summer like day, wearing shorts all day, even to church.  How scandalized the good Sisters would have been at my temerity to do so sacrilegious a thing as to wear shorts to church on a warm day.  But I did.

I knew Leonard would and so I wouldn’t be alone.  In fact, there were about six of us out of about fifty attendees who were wearing shorts.  It occurred to me that God was happy we were there and not concerned about what we were wearing.

Sunday’s sermon from Mother Eileen was about forgiveness and I thought about someone to whom I felt I owed an apology; I had said harsh things to her about her sister and had felt crummy about it since so I sent myself an email to myself to remind to seek her out.

She was seated at a table at the Red Dot when I walked in, we spoke and she hadn’t remembered the incident.  It was a good moment.

Post lunch, I crossed the Hudson and went to the little gem that is the Bridge Street Theater to see the current play, “How to Pray.”  As always, John Sowle’s sets were inventive and fun.  The cast was superb.

Three actors play myriad roles.

Steven Patterson played what seemed a dozen roles, including an aged transgender chanteuse who finally gets her moment as well as a dog and a cat.  His dog was spectacular; I got it and rolled in laughter.  He is a wonderful actor, having now seen him do several things, including a one-man performance of a play on Frankenstein.

Morgan Cooper must have mastered a half dozen, claiming each one with authority.  His three-year old was especially endearing.

Susan Slotoroff is the only actor who plays only one part.  She, too, held the stage and held my interest as she made a journey which an unexpected ending.

The playwright, Michelle Carter, has won several awards, rightfully so, for the work.

If you are in the area, you have one more weekend to catch it, next weekend, the 21st through 24th. Advance tickets available at or by calling 800-838-3006.

Today, I am going into New York, which is going to be a zoo because the U.N. is gathering global leaders.  Trump will be there and most of the global leaders are – and I don’t care if you are pro-Trump or not – trying to figure out what to make of President Donald Trump.

Aren’t we all?


And if you are not aware of it, something strange is going on at the American Embassy in Cuba.  21 Embassy staff are having health issues that stem from who knows what but staffers are suffering hearing and cognitive issues from some unexplained and undetermined attack.  Raul Castro has offered to allow FBI agents to come to Cuba to investigate and the entire diplomatic community in Cuba is concerned because no one knows what’s going on.

A case for the X-Files.

The trees are beginning their turn as I ride the train into New York City.  A heavy fog played over the creek when I woke.

The rhythm of life continues.

Letter From Claverack 07 07 2017 Musings on being home…

July 8, 2017

As I begin writing, it is twilight at the cottage.  The day began damp and grey, changing mid-day to blue and lovely.  Sitting on the deck, the torches burn to ward off mosquitoes and to give a sense of atmosphere.  It is lovely.

Of course, as soon as I typed those words, I felt the first of the raindrops and had to scutter back into the cottage.

Out there in the world, momentous things have been happening.  Trump and Putin met for the first time. Trump:  It’s an honor.  Putin: ?

It’s certain we will be hearing the parsing of the meeting for days to come.  They talked election tampering.  Putin: we didn’t.  Trump: okay. [At least according to some early reports.]  No agreement on Crimea.   Not expected.

We are to agree on a ceasefire in southwest Syria.  Good for everyone if it holds.

In Washington, Mitch McConnell faces the daunting task of passing the Republican version of healthcare legislation.  It seems to be the single most unpopular piece of legislation of the last thirty years.

Over the weekend, I listened to some interviews with people from around the country who were absolutely opposed to Obamacare and absolutely loved the ACA, not realizing they are one and the same.  It left me shaking my head in amazement and then, why should I be amazed?  We, on both sides of the fence, don’t always analyze and we just react, ideologically, and that seems to be on the increase.

In a bright moment in the world, Malala Yousafzai, a young woman targeted by terrorists, terribly wounded, and who miraculously clawed her way back, graduated from high school today.  She is also a Nobel Peace laureate. She celebrated graduation by tweeting her first tweet.

Amazing human being…

Closer to home, Etsy has cut its workforce by 15% and I wonder how that is going to affect the offices on Columbia Street in Hudson.  While that is happening, the stock has been upgraded to a buy by some brokers.

It’s interesting to me to walk down Warren Street and see all the businesses that are there that weren’t when I came and to see the ones that are still here, still pulling along.  One of my favorites is Carousel, next to the CVS on Warren.  One of my friends collects mid-century hammered aluminum pieces and I go in there and sometimes find things for her.

The Red Dot has been here since I arrived and I remember the transition of Brandow’s to Swoon Kitchen Bar.  Seems Ca’Mea has always been there since I arrived, though I am not sure about that.  That’s a little foggy.

It’s been interesting to watch all of this.  The cottage has been my home longer than any place I have lived, including the home I grew up in.  That’s sobering.  That’s rooting.  I like the sense of roots I have created here.

Yesterday, I had my car serviced at Kinderhook Toyota and ran into someone I knew.  At the Red Dot, I am always running into people I know.  Same for Ca’Mea.  It’s wonderful to go into places and be known or to know people there.

The places I’ve lived are many:  Minneapolis, Toronto, Carbondale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Eugene, OR, New York City and now Claverack.  The places I have visited seem innumerable. They’re not but…

Of all those places, including my hometown of Minneapolis, the only place that has felt like home is here.

And I am enormously grateful for that.  It is sweet and satisfying and that is how, I think, it should be as I enter this third act of my life.

Letter from Claverack June 30th, 2017 Beginning the weekend of the 4th…

July 1, 2017

At some point, I decided this was the year I was going to get over my fear of grilling.  Last night, I grilled a steak using a Bobby Flay recipe.  And asparagus on the grill: c’est magnifique!  Put the spears in a plastic bag with olive oil, salt, pepper, a couple other spices and grilled them for three minutes on high.  I’m hooked.


So today I went to the market and got boneless pork chops and was going to broil them about half an hour ago but thunder rattled the house and rain fell from the skies.  My mouth turned down.  However, the sun has returned and I am going to try it, pork chops on the grill.

It is Friday, June 30th, as I write, the beginning of the long 4th of July weekend.  As I ran an errand near the train station, I saw visitors piling off the train, bags in hand, being greeted by friends, relatives, lovers and others.  Zagat, today, sent an email which had an article about 8 reasons to take the drive to Hudson; all of them being restaurants.

You can read the article here.

As someone who is here most of the time now, I took a bit of umbrage with the list.  It included Grazin’, a diner restaurant with local beef and I will need to give it another try because when I was there, it wasn’t good and the wine was south of awful.

It included Fish & Game, which is, I’ve heard, a good restaurant and I haven’t been there because it opened with an attitude.  I’ve been around the carousel too many times to need attitude.  [Hey, once I had “my table” at Ma Maison in Los Angeles, which was cool while it lasted.]

It included, deservedly, Swoon Kitchen Bar.  I don’t go there often; my ex left me for one of the waiters there; that has weighed on me ever since but it is great.

It did not include, and I think it should have, my beloved Red Dot, which is one of the hubs of Hudson nor did it include Ca’Mea, which I think should have gotten a mention nor Vico, which has upped its game lately.

We are a food town.

And now, in a break in the rain, I did grill but not the pork chops I bought as most of the recipes for grilling told me I should brine the chops and that takes some time so I grilled some sausage and finished my asparagus.  Oh, so good.

Beyond my little world, it has been a bit mad.

Our President has created a twitter storm over his tweets about Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding face lift.”

Even Paul Ryan found it too much.

Several news sources, including conservative ones, thought maybe he should have been in a meeting rather than tweeting.  But no, President Trump was tweeting and creating a painful moment for his party.

And, today, NASA had to issue a statement it was not operating a slave state on Mars; it was NOT sending children there to be body parts for future colonists, a claim made by a guest on “The Alex Jones Show,” which airs on 118 radio stations.  Alex Jones is most famous for claiming that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and was interviewed by Megyn Kelly on her new NBC show, which isn’t doing so well.

As I sit here in my very hygge cottage, I am astounded by what is going on out there.  We have a President who seems devoted to Twitter attacks more than he is about governing and who, according to a variety of reports, starts his day at 6:30 AM speaking to lawyers about that pesky Russian matter.

And he is going to meet with Putin at the G 20 Conference and has been asking his advisors what he can offer Vladimir Putin.  What?

There are times I feel I am living in an alternative universe.  And I know I am not the only one.

So, doesn’t it make sense I want to conquer my fear of grilling?  That’s concrete in a world that seems spinning out of control.







Letter From the Train 04 06 2017 Thoughts through mist and fog…

April 6, 2017

It is dusty grey; mist and fog lay lightly on the Hudson River as I head south toward New York City and then on to Baltimore to visit Lionel and Pierre.  It will be a long weekend; I return on Monday.


It had been my intent to drive but when I woke this morning to predictions of thunderstorms and tornadoes along my route, I opted for the train.

Last night, I sat down to begin a letter and could not find words.  Ennui swept over me and I wandered off to bed, watched an episode of “Grace and Frankie” and fell asleep, waking early to prepare to leave.

Yesterday was my first day as host of the Wednesday version of WGXC’s “Morning Show,” from 9 AM to 11 AM.  The night before, I had a night full of crazy dreams in which I got to the studio on Wednesday morning only to find they had changed all the controls and I had no idea on how to work them.  In another dream, I decided to sleep at the station the night before to make sure that I didn’t miss the program but did anyway.

No psychiatrist is needed to interpret these dreams.

And the program went well; there was much praise from friends and colleagues and I relaxed, thinking I can manage this.  It was fun and for my first guest, I had Alana Hauptman, who owns my beloved “Red Dot.”

Probably no one remembers Texas Guinan anymore; she ran the biggest, best, brassiest, funniest, speakeasy in New York during Prohibition.  She was loved and admired and imitated.  She was known for her big heart and saucy character.  Alana is all of that and is the Texas Guinan of Hudson.  The Red Dot has stood for nineteen years and been an anchor to the town and certainly my world.

There is a slew of people lined up to be guests on the show including the folks who run Bridge Street Theater in Catskill, world premiering a new play shortly and Jeff Cole, who is the CEO of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication as well as Howard Bloom, who is a multi-published author and once press agent to every major rock group in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  And Fayal Greene, who has lived in Hudson for a long time, civically active, and is leaving at the end of the month for Maine, where she and her husband will live in a retirement community near their summer home and many relatives.

The farewell party will, of course, be at the Red Dot.

All of this is very hygge.

And I roll around in the hygge-ness of my life as outside my bubble I am often stupefied by my world.

Politics has never been this raucous in my lifetime and perhaps not this much since the founding of the Republic, which, I understand, was a very raucous time.

As I was getting ready to board the train, Representative Devin Nunes, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has now recused himself from the Russian investigation over ethics concerns.

In Syria, eighty plus people, including children, died in an apparent gas attack.  Trump says the incident crossed “a lot of lines for him.”  Tillerson has said that it was undoubtedly Assad’s regime.  Assad is saying bombs ignited a store of gas weapons in the attacked town.  Russia is demanding the US lay out its cards on how to solve the Syrian problem.

This all sounds like a lot like another replay of the last few years, with some new players and no new results.  In the meantime, Syrians continue to suffer; something like five million of them are refugees, many living in squalor with their only drinking water coming from septic tanks causing typhoid and a further circling down into this hell that has been created.

A radio report from a Syrian refugee camp yesterday may have been the cause of last night’s ennui.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago today and tomorrow.  It is a high stakes meeting reports say.  Wide chasms exist in trade with Trump the candidate picking on China through most of the campaign and the Chinese, unlike some Americans, have long memories and play a long game.

If this turns out to be the pivot point for the United States, future historians might look at our tendency to be focused on short term goals as a factor in creating this pivot.

And in this miasma of non-hygge news, is a report that Jeff Bezos, second richest man on the planet, is selling a billion dollars of Amazon stock a year to finance Blue Origin, his space venture.  That makes me smile.  Money at work on building the future.



Letter From Claverack 12 24 2016 Ho Ho Ho…

December 25, 2016

Tonight is Christmas Eve.  The floodlights illuminate the creek in front of me; my trees are lit and Christmas carols are playing on my Echo.  Shortly I will leave to attend Christmas Eve festivities at the Red Dot, closed this evening to the public and home to the party Alana, the owner, has prepared.

Every year the Dot is decorated to the nines.  This year is in honor to Wendy Frost, the artist who helped Alana every year create magic and who passed away during the summer, not long after moving to Florida.

When I was a wee boy, Christmas Eve was Christmas.  It was the night we celebrated and opened presents.  My Juettner cousins would come and we would all frolic in the basement or play games in the living room until it was time for the Christmas Eve feast and then we would rip into our packages.

When they had gone home, we opened our own family presents, then sleepy I would head off to bed while my older siblings and parents attended Midnight Mass.

As things do, the traditions changed and the Juettners ceased coming and things toned down a bit.  My older siblings departed, my brother to medical school, my sister to the convent.  The next Christmases were quiet.

After my father’s passing, it seemed Christmases picked up again after a while.  My brother returned to Minneapolis, post internship, a year in Honduras giving medical care to children and a couple of years in the Air Force.

In college, it was fun to leave where I was living and return to my old bedroom, sometimes with an out of town roommate in tow.

For me, tonight is Christmas.

Christmas Day always seemed a bit anti-climactic.  The big presents had been given and Christmas exhaustion had set in.

Tonight, this Christmas of 2016, I wish all of you who celebrate the holiday, the merriest of Christmases.

It is also the beginning of Hanukkah, which rarely coincides with Christmas but it does this year.  So Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!

I am off to a party, with two quiches and some gag gifts, as Alana requested.


May this day be very merry, safe and happy for all of us.

Letter from Claverack 11/05/2016 All about Hudson…

November 6, 2016

It is fall like but not November fall like.  In Minnesota my brother went to a football game wearing Bermuda shorts; it was 75 degrees there.  In Claverack, it scraped 65 and I was warm in my pullover fleece.

When I left home this morning, I wandered the Farmer’s Market, picking up a few things I craved like the Sea Salt and Onion cashews from Tierra Farms and some of their Free Trade Honduran coffee.  Meandering over to the Red Dot, I had the omelet of the day and then went wandering the streets of Hudson, marching up one side of Warren Street and returning on the other side, an adventure that took me three hours.

There are all kinds of changes on Warren Street and while I have been aware of them, I haven’t walked the street the way I used to when I first arrived here.  Some antique stores are gone and seem to have been replaced by clothing stores.  Several times I thought I could be in SoHo in Manhattan.

A fancy pizzeria has opened and Olde Hudson has expanded beyond belief.  Dena, who owns it, is a friend so I had seen that.

Many of us have been joking lately about the number of expensive cars seen on the street.  Not so long ago I spotted a Ferrari parked on Warren Street as I was on my way to meet Larry Divney for lunch.  We both said it was the beginning of the end.

When I arrived here fifteen years ago there were no expensive cars on the street.  My Acura was an anomaly for the time as was Larry’s Infiniti.

Hudson is becoming a destination.  For better or worse.  Better for my house value but perhaps worse for those who liked the edge Hudson had when I arrived, a little bit of rebelliousness that was a treasure.

The center of it was the Red Dot, owned by Alana Hauptman who is the Texas Guinan of our town.  Don’t know Texas Guinan?  She ran the hottest speakeasies in New York during Prohibition.  After 16 years, the Dot is still here and still a center of life in Hudson.  And Alana is our Texas Guinan.

And walking Warren Street today, I was astounded by the changes.  To think that I would be thinking it was a bit like SoHo, which is where I was living when we bought the house, is something I would never have thought then.  Sometime, long after I am gone, it will be a lot like Provincetown, I suspect.  Or Edgartown on The Vineyard.  It’s becoming that kind of place.

But will never be exactly that kind of place.  That’s what makes Hudson so special.

There were Porsches everywhere on the street today.  When I went back to the Dot after my tour of the street I ran into James Ivory, the director of films like “A Room with a View.”  He’s become a bit of friend,  has been at parties at my home and dinners too, and one Christmas I spent with him at his house.  With Alana…

It has been an interesting escapade to have lived here through all this, to witness the transformation of a community from rough and tumble to almost respectable.  It was and is an artist’s haven, a place where writers and painters and actors gather.

Across the river in Catskill, there is the Bridge Street Theater and I went last week to a performance of “Frankenstein.”  It was brilliant.  And I mean brilliant.  Steven Patterson, who did every role, was as riveting as Paul Scofield [“A Man For All Seasons”] when I saw him in London on my first trip there.  It was a forgettable script but his performance was transcendent.  Steven Patterson’s performance was like that.


John Sowle directed.  Equal kudos to him.

Tonight, I am not talking about politics or world events.  I can’t tonight.  We are at the near end of the most awful political period I have ever experienced.  No matter who wins, the contentiousness will not end.


The creek at night.


Letter From Claverack 10 16 2016 From a place of tranquility…

October 16, 2016

It is a beautiful afternoon in October in Claverack.  The leaves that fill my vision as I sit here on the deck are golden and some fallen ones float regally down the creek toward the pond.


It was a day when I had an enormously difficult time waking up; every time the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  Finally, I staggered out of bed and into the day.  Slightly ambivalent about going to church, I reminded myself of the bag of groceries I had purchased for the Food Pantry at the Church and so I made my way there, a little late but still there.


From church, I made my way to the Dot for Eggs Benedict on potato latkes.  And then home to wait for my friend Larry to arrive, bringing me some wood from his farm for my winter woodstove fires.

He and I sat on the deck after it was stacked, and admired the beauty of the place, enjoying the moment while listening to jazz.  He has now left and I am here, at the end of the afternoon, still listening to jazz and enjoying the beauty of the spot, the moment, and basking in the long friendship Larry and I have enjoyed, stretching back now more than thirty years.


It is always easy here to slip into an avoidance of the world.  This is a place of tranquility.

Beyond here – and sometimes I do not want to move beyond here – the world is a mess.

Aleppo is being pulverized and no one seems to know how to stop it.  Assad and Putin seem to have no respect or care for the citizens trapped there.  It is a strategic notch they need in their belts and so the dying continues.  Reports indicate Aleppo looks like Berlin in 1945, a decimated city.

Donald Trump has once more been skewered on Saturday Night Live, not that Hillary got off easily.  He has denounced the performance in his famous tweets.

He has increasingly been declaring that the election process is rigged.  Some observers think that if he loses he is doing his best to delegitimize a Clinton Presidency.

It is rumored that the CIA is preparing a major cyberattack against Russia for its alleged attacks on American institutions, including the Democratic Party.  This is a new kind of warfare.

And in thinking of a new world, a friend told me that every year from now on, 3% of jobs will be lost to robots.  I think I’m glad I am at the place in life I am.  It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out.

Soon, I will let you know how my experience with Cozmo goes.  It should arrive this week.

It is supposed to learn from me how to react to me.  A robot pet of sorts, I guess, and I couldn’t resist experimenting with it.

Cozmo is my birthday present to myself.




Letter From Claverack 10 02 2016 We, of this island planet…

October 2, 2016

It is twilight outside the windows; classical music plays, a gentle piano sonata.  In the trail of grey days that we have left in our time wake, the leaves have begun to change outside.  Most are still green but yellow branches now sway with the green in the twilight wind.

It is a quiet, magical moment here in the cottage.  Marcel lays sleeping on the couch, tired after taking me on a tour of his domain across the street. I am a bit tired too, for no great reason.  Waking at a reasonable hour, I did some early morning work, showered and went off to church.

Going home, I briefly walked Marcel and went off to the gym and from there to the Red Dot for my normal Sunday brunch, visiting with all the folks I know who also frequent there.

While sitting at the Dot, I read the NY Times on the phone and perused my emails.

The world was rocked today that Trump in 1995 claimed a loss of nearly a billion dollars.  It shielded him from many taxes for the next eighteen years.  It was legal and staggering at the same time.  A billion dollars in losses in one year?  In 1995?

Badly managed businesses provided that loss, especially the catastrophe of his Atlantic City Casinos.  And it seems to me that those catastrophes kept happening over the decades.

The returns were mailed to the NY Times anonymously with a return address of Trump Tower. His campaign called the NY Times an arm of the Clinton campaign.

In another report today, a commentator reminded us that several weeks after the death of Princess Diana, Trump was on Howard Stern’s program declaring he thought he could have “nailed” the Princess.  He was apparently between wives and sent Princess Diana mountains of flowers. A few years ago, a woman who had been close to Diana said that she felt creeped out by them and a bit like she was being stalked by the American billionaire.

Barely cold in her grave, he was boasting he could have “nailed” her.  How gallant!

How disgusting.

A person very close to me sent me an email, asking me to disseminate it widely.  It was in support of Trump.  Having known this woman for eons, I wondered how she possible could be thinking I would do anything to support Trump?  Perhaps she was just tweaking me, even though she knows I know she will vote for Trump.

Columbia has been at war for over fifty years with the rebellious FARC.  A peace deal was negotiated and put to a national referendum.  It appears to have been voted down, leaving all of us to wonder if Columbia is to face another fifty years of internal war?

My sister lives in central Florida and has been wondering if Matthew [spelled with two t’s} was going to land upon them but it appears it will weaken once it has scoured Haiti, a country that can’t seem to get a break.

Another young black man was shot in Los Angeles and activists are calling for transparency.

There is no transparency or mercy, it seems, in Aleppo.  The Syrian government of Assad, supported by Russia, are pummeling Aleppo into submission, apparently deliberately targeting the resources they have to handle the bombings: hospitals.  The healing capacity of the city has been halved.

And where is the boy?  Where is the boy?

We, the US, have been warned by Russia to not target the Damascus government.

We are living on this island Earth, not really paying attention to the tectonic shifts in the eco-system while we kill each other all over the place.

It is now totally dark outside but it is not totally dark in my soul.  When I witness what is happening in the world, I also remember that for every dire act there is an act of kindness, of balance, of work to make this place, this planet, a better place.

It is why I still go to church.




Letter From Claverack 09 13 2016 Thinking and ruminating by the creek…

September 14, 2016

It is a pleasant night in Claverack, after a pleasant day in general.  The weather was gorgeous, hot for just a moment, but mostly it hovered in the 70’s.  I spent the latter part of the afternoon on the deck, a good book in hand, while also doing a bit of work, making a few phone calls.

This evening I went to the little Mexican restaurant down the road, Coyote Flaco, with my friend Patrick O’Connor, who bumped into some people he had not seen for a long time.  We shared a shrimp appetizer and chicken fajitas and left happy.

The lights are on the creek as it flows softly toward the south.  The first serious leaves have begun to fall; my drive is strewn with them and it is fine.  I do not need to cling to the summer that has passed.  It has been lived fully and well.  As I hope will be the fall that is unfolding.

As I do most days, I spoke with my brother and he asked me if I had a take on the day’s news regarding Hillary and I had to say no.  I had looked in the morning but not since.  In the morning, her campaign announced she thought her pneumonia “no big deal” and so held back saying anything about it.

I was infuriated with her.  How many times has she felt something was “no big deal,” only to have it turn around and bite her in the ass?  How many times does this woman need to have a lesson learned?

Aye, Chihuahua!

Trump is fending off assaults on his Foundation which may – or may not – have given money to various charities.  Some who said they didn’t get gifts found that they did and some just didn’t get them.

And then there is the gift of $25,000 to Pam Bondi, Attorney General for Florida, which might have swayed her to not investigate Trump University. Six months after she dropped her investigation, he hosted a $3,000 a plate fundraiser for her at Mar-a-Lago, his great Florida estate, country club.

Aye, Chihuahua!

To my amazement, Barak Obama’s approval rating is the highest it has been for years.  It has always been my thought he will be remembered by history with more kindness than by his contemporaries.  In my lifetime, I have known no President who has elicited such visceral hatred from so many people.  Maybe I missed something along the way but what this man has endured is remarkable.  And I give him high marks for trying, very hard, to be the best President he can be.

Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky, used violent metaphors to describe a Clinton Presidency, evoking images of blood on the ground.

My fear is that we are returning to the politics of the 19th Century when Andrew Jackson created the “Trails of Tears” as scores of thousands of Native Americans died by his direction.  We, as a nation, do not have a good track record of dealing with those who are not “us” as “us” is defined at any exact moment.

I was raised Catholic in Minnesota.  My 8th grade teacher, Sister Anne, told us that we would be persecuted because we were Catholics.  At that moment in my life, it seemed nonsensical.  No one was persecuting me because I was Catholic.  I mean, really…

When I was in college, helping my friend Bill paint his garage, he told me that when he was growing up in Arkansas he would not have been allowed to know me because I was Catholic.  Looking at him with incredulity from my ladder next to his, I realized there were places in my life that I did not know where my Catholicism was a liability.

Now I understand more as I see Christians slaughtered on the beaches of Libya and Christians in Iraq slaughtered.  We live in world of intolerance that I did not expect or accept as a child.  When I was in 8th grade and heard Sister Anne, I thought the world had moved beyond that.

It has not.  No, not in any way.  Shame on us.


Letter from Claverack 09 05 2016 On a Labor Day…

September 6, 2016

It is evening.  The floodlights illuminate the creek and we are losing daylight at the rate of about two minutes a day.  A month ago it would not have been this dark.  It is Labor Day, the unofficial official end of summer.  We start with Memorial Day and we end with Labor Day.  And Labor Day is ending as I sit here tapping out words on my laptop.

Tomorrow I start teaching and I have now pushed past my anxiety and am looking forward to the moment when I walk into class.  Oh, okay, ask me in the morning.  I am sure I will have anxiety in the morning but I will do it.  I’ve agreed to do it so therefore I must do it.

I have spent most of my time this weekend at home, secluded in the cottage, enjoying my home and being alone, having a good time with myself.  Yesterday, though, I went out to Larry Divney’s guest house, located a couple of miles from his own home.  There was a great and grand barbeque which included gluten free things, as that is what I am working to do.  Larry knows and so he took care of it, as is the way with Larry.

During this weekend, I have not paid particular attention to the world.  What is going on right now is redundant.  Syria continues to be a catastrophe.  Trump and Hillary continue their march across the nation, each besmirched by their own failings.  I will vote for Hillary because the idea of a Trump Presidency sends me to thoughts of expatriate life.  While flawed, deeply flawed, she is at least sane and not bombastic.  Could neither party come up with less flawed candidates?  Apparently not, because this is what we are dealing with…

We are also dealing with the first real beginnings of climate change.  Towns like Norfolk, VA are experiencing flooding that threatens them.  They are not the only ones.  It has, I am afraid, begun.

The Governor of Texas vetoed a bill to give assistance to the mentally ill based, at least in part, on a group of Scientologists who told him mental illness was a falsehood.  Texas gets the Stupid Award of the week.  Mental illness is not false; it does exist.  It is a plague upon the land and can we not find a place to help these poor souls?  Not in Texas.

The night has descended.  I alleviate it with my floodlights but it is here.  The fall is arriving.  And while I look forward to the fall and winter with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I will miss this soft summer and its delights.