Posts Tagged ‘San Pedro Sula’

Letter From New York 06 17 15 On the meaning of unlimited and other things…

June 18, 2015

It is a sunny Wednesday afternoon, with just a bit of haze, as I ride the train toward Hudson, to spend a few days at the house. I’ve been moving from meeting to meeting to meeting the last couple of weeks and I have a ton of follow-up work to do and I thought, why not do it on the deck at the cottage rather than office in New York City? So I am off for four days to organize my life and enjoy the view from my deck.

It’s been a pleasant day, a couple of meetings and a phone call and then off to Penn Station to catch the 2:20. I’ll get home, change clothes, refresh a bit and then head down to the Red Dot for dinner with my friend, David, who is spending part of every week in the Berkshires helping his ex-wife deal with her husband’s terminal stage Alzheimer’s. He likes to take a mid-week break and come down to Hudson for dinner. It’ll be nice to join him and catch up, not having seen him for a few weeks.

At Penn Station, I dropped a worn slipper at Drago’s Shoe Repair for a stitch job. It is going to cost twenty-five bucks, which is about twice what the slippers cost but they’re my favorite pair. It is interesting what we do for things we have come to love.

Last fall, I spent the money to have a desk made by my grandfather repaired. It just seemed so wrong to let it go. My home is filled with things with meaning and I like to say that everything I own, pretty much, has a story. There are three wooden plaques I purchased as a young teenager in the market in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and a settee that my mother napped on as a little girl.

Speaking of things we treasure, it was 130 years ago today that the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York harbor, carried on a ship into New York in 300 pieces. Once assembled, it has become a national treasure and a forceful symbol of all that America hopes to be.

In an unexpected happy ending to a story that hit the press last week, Disney has decided not to terminate 35 employees whose last task for the company was to train their replacements, lower cost overseas employees provided by an outsourcing company. If they didn’t, they would not receive severance.

Mickey Mouse was making out like Simon Legree.

Word leaked out. An investigation was announced. The layoffs were rescinded. No one at Disney nor the outsourcing company is returning calls. The employees are told to act as if nothing had happened. Until further notice.

That sounds a little ominous: until further notice. Until the hoo hah has settled down?

I wish this were a happy story but it’s not. European leaders seem to be battening down the hatches and preparing for the “Grexit,” Greece departing from the Euro Zone. There is a meeting tomorrow but it is doubtful an agreement will be reached. As Bette Davis said as Margo Channing in “All About Eve, ” “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” I am not sanguine about it though there is nothing I can really do. It feels a bit like a crisis that didn’t need to be, to me, at least.

As all of us know by now, I suppose, Donald Trump has jumped into the race for the Republican Presidential nomination saying he will restore “America’s Brand.” Jon Stewart is delighted. This, he says, will make his last six weeks his best six weeks.

Trump will provide many a comic with interesting fodder though Stewart will be the sharpest critic of them all, I suspect.

At some point I signed up for AT&T Wireless. Part of the reason was the promise of unlimited data. Then in 2011, AT&T began to throttle that data after a certain point of consumption. I was one of millions of unhappy customers though not so unhappy I changed companies. But it rankled. Today the FCC fined AT&T $100,000,000 for having “unlimited” that was not “unlimited.” I smiled.

I’ll be signing off for today. We’re on the last leg into Hudson. The Catskills are covered in a blue grey haze while the river resembles burnished silver. It’s been a lovely ride home.

Letter From New York August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

Letter From New York
August 10, 2014
Or, as it seems to me…

Sunday mornings usually have a bit of a ritual. I wake up, start the coffee I’ve prepared the night before and while sipping that first, oh so important, cup peruse the New York Times on either my iPhone or my iPad. If I am ambitious, which is not as often as I think it should be, I go down to Christ Church for services.

At some point on Sunday, I go through the “Weddings/Celebrations” section of the Times. It gives me great pleasure to see same sex wedding announcements. I didn’t think that would ever happen in my lifetime. So I honor those folks by reading their stories. Many of them cause me to smile.

I think I enjoy it because it gives me a sense of hope for the world; that we’re actually moving on from old prejudices. It is heartening in a frequently disheartening world, a gentling of the world, reflected in one major thing having changed in the universe.

My good friends, David and Annette, came up this weekend and stayed with me. We celebrated years of friendship over an excellent dinner of farm fresh foods – salad fixings direct from the garden, recently butchered organic meat, summer squash, potatoes pulled from the earth only the day before. They brought an excellent Pinot Noir and we ate at the dining room table after David had grilled the steaks on the barbeque. Spectacular.

We had great conversation. The world is fodder for it and it is impossible to run away from the trouble that is assaulting the world. Ebola is now an International Health Crisis. Ann Coulter has raged against the doctor who contracted the disease while serving as a Christian missionary in Africa. He should have stayed home according to her.

ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now controlling a great swath of the both Syria and Iraq, seems determined to drag the region they control back to feudal times. Christians have been driven from their homes, as have Yazidis, who practice a faith that seems to combine Christianity, Islam and Zoroasterism. They, along with Christians and Shiites are “infidels” who deserve to die according to ISIS. Some Yazidis have been reported buried alive and some women taken as slaves while other have fled to the desert hot Mount Sinjar, where there has been some relief provided by the US dropping humanitarian supplies while fighter planes and drones attack the advancing ISIS troops, who are proving hard to beat back.

There is not a huge amount I can do about the Christians and Shia and Yazidis, except to donate to relief services – though I haven’t seen many appeals.

We are a world in need. I agonize over the daily pleas I get from any number of worthy causes, sometimes slipping toward a kind of despair because the needs are far greater than my wallet. We have a border crisis that revolves around children, illegal immigrants, yes, but children too. Many of them are fleeing San Pedro Sula in Honduras, now the murder capital of the world, a city I visited as a teen when my brother was running a clinic for children in nearby El Progresso, itself then described as the “armpit of Central America.” Things have gone from bad to worse there – as they seem to be in so many places, going from bad to worse.

It is unbelievable to me in some ways that I can have a wonderful and civilized dinner with two wonderful and civilized friends while some thousands of miles away ISIS is burying alive people because they believe differently. It reminds me of the way Catholics and Protestants treated each other several centuries ago during the Thirty Years War.

We live, so many of us, blessed lives here in the West while in other parts of the world madmen seem to roam freely, seeking to enforce a way of life that appears insane to us in the West. I wouldn’t call the leadership of ISIS enlightened.

But then we are the Infidel.