Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

Letter From New York 09 01 2016 From the Creek, thinking about space…

September 1, 2016

When I was a young boy, I was a voracious reader.  I devoured Greek myths and stories of ancient Egypt.  When night came, I would hide under my covers and read Tom Swift books by flashlight.  Finding that ineffective, I convinced my parents I was terrified of the dark so they let me keep a light on.  It made reading so much easier.

I discovered Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. The first time I read the Foundation Trilogy by Asimov I loved it but didn’t quite understand it all.  The third time I reveled in his artistry in creating a universe.  I still, once and again, read Heinlein’s “Citizen of the Galaxy.”

In later years, friends and I would gather and watch “Star Trek,” at an age when we would enhance the experience with cannabis.  I have looked toward the stars.  When the Challenger exploded, I was driving down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and nearly rear ended the car in front of me in my shock.

Yesterday Elon Musk’s Space X rocket, during a test, exploded, destroying not just itself but also a satellite Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had invested in to bring internet to Africa.

It is unlikely I will meet Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.  And I credit them for using their wealth and technology to work to expand our efforts toward space.  It’s always been my belief that we, as a race, need to long beyond now to something more.

We have conquered this planet.  Maybe to its detriment, but there is little left undiscovered here and so much undiscovered beyond the gravitational fields of this planet.

Okay, I am a great supporter of space exploration.  I think we need it as a species.  We’re, as humans, driven to look for more.  Always been that way and hope it will always be that way.

When I was young, I was in a theater troupe and we all stopped that night in 1969 to watch the landing on the moon.

In my life, I’ve met the famous and the once famous and have never asked for an autograph.  Except when I met Buzz Aldrin, 2nd man on the moon.  It’s framed, in my study.

Okay, I have now exposed myself as a space geek.

And I admire, no matter what we think of them, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Richard Branson of Virgin everything, and Elon Musk of Tesla and Space X, for wanting to take us out there.

Since we retired the Space Shuttles we have no way of bringing personnel to the International Space Station so we use the Russians.  But Elon Musk’s company has brought supplies there for a fraction of the cost of other means.

It is my belief that we need to be looking outward because looking outward gives us, the human race, a sense of hope in the future and it is the hope of a future that has propelled us from the caves to here.

Letter From New York 10 15 15 From the Kardashians to real issues…

October 15, 2015

Columbia County. P.D. James. Obama. Afghanistan. Alexander the Great. Pluto. Tom Swift. Tom Swift and His Atomic Blaster. Hardy Boys. Lamar Odom. Khloe Kardashian. The Kardashians. Love Ranch. Star Trek. Hillary Clinton.   Democratic debate. UN Security Council.

The sun setting in the west is crowning the trees on the far bank of the creek with a golden glow; the mirror still creek is golden, too, with the same light. It was a brilliant fall day in Columbia County, the air crisp and bright with a sky of soft blue across which scudded a few billowy clouds.

While observing this sun kissed fall chill day, I struggled with faulty Internet access, a recalcitrant printer and a scrum of personal paperwork that worked my nerves. In frustration, I left and went for lunch at Relish, running into Jeremiah Rusconi, between house restoration errands as he labors on a huge project across the river, in Athens.

Returning home, my stomach went tetchy and I decided it best to stay close to home, spending the afternoon continuing with the paper scrum.

Now as the day ends, I began to feel reflective, attempting to light a fire [not going well] in the Franklin stove while listening to music from the 1940’s and early ‘50’s.

In the future, I see a continuation of my reading of a P.D. James mystery while eschewing food for the rest of the evening.

Evenings like these are pleasing to me, giving me time to think, sort the world, at least in my own mind, and to enjoy the particular solitary life I lead.

While I was driving into town for lunch, I heard the confirmation of what was expected this morning – Obama will keep troops in Afghanistan for at least another year. Alexander the Great, the British, the Russians, all came to a nasty place in Afghanistan and I hope we don’t either.

While things on this planet are fairly grim, scientists are excited by the unexpected variety Pluto has to offer. It has an atmosphere. It has mountains. It is not what we expected. Information from the planetary flyby continues to come in and each new drip of information is a bit stunning. That excites me.

I was always a science fiction fan. Instead of the Hardy Boys, I read Tom Swift. One of my favorites was “Tom Swift and His Atomic Blaster.” A devotee of “Star Trek,” I hope we will continue our exploration of space. It does feel like the next frontier.

Also, while I was driving there was a radio report on Lamar Odom’s condition. The basketball and reality television star, not quite divorced from Khloe Kardashian, apparently ingested alcohol, cocaine and herbal sexual stimulants during a stay at a legal brothel, Love Ranch, in Nevada. He paid $75,000 for his stay and may also pay with his life.

Khloe is with him. He has been intubated. Not a good sign…

I have never understood the titanic appeal of the Kardashians. Boggles my mind.

While I didn’t watch the Democratic Debate on CNN, Hillary apparently, according to the pundits, is the winner while Bernie Sanders scored some points.

The United Nations has five new members on the Security Council, its most important body. They include Japan, Uruguay, Ukraine, Egypt and Senegal. It will be very interesting to watch. Ukraine is not exactly friendly with Russia, a permanent member of the Council and Egypt, usually a U.S. ally, has been playing footsie with the Russians.

We all thought this was going to be simpler when the Iron Curtain fell. Wrong.

For me, the sun has set and the golden light on the trees outside my window is from the spotlights I have installed. The mournful sound of jazz comes out of Pandora and my fire has almost come to fruition.

Tomorrow, I will continue the scrum with paperwork. But that is tomorrow.

Enjoy tonight.

Letter From New York 02 27 15 About missing a day…

February 27, 2015

For anyone who might have noticed, there was no Letter From New York yesterday. It was my intention to write it after a mid-afternoon appointment with a former client to do some more consulting for them. The client, Nick Stuart, has also become one of my closest friends. There were three of us at the meeting and when were finishing, Nick suggested that the two of us play hooky and go see KINGSMAN, the new Colin Firth movie, which we did. It was a chocolate cake piece of old fashioned spy fun with high tech tricks.

Then I went on to drinks and dinner with Leo Brunnick, the CEO of Patheos, largest Internet site devoted to religion, who has become a friend. We started with martinis at Sardi’s, the venerable theater haunt down in Manhattan’s Theater District, followed by tapas at Buceo 95, a wine bar on the Upper West Side, a part of New York that Leo does not usually visit.

We had a great time but by the time I sent him home in a taxi and walked back to my place, it was late and I was exhausted.

Now, I sit in the Acela Lounge at Penn Station, waiting for my friend Lionel, who lives across the street from me in Claverack; we’ll ride the same train back home.

When I was kid, one of the many things I wanted to be was to be an archeologist. So I was shocked this morning as I perused the Times to find that IS is systematically destroying ancient monuments and treasures in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, which has been under their control since last summer.

The treasures date back to the ancient Assyrians, who ruled a vast Middle Eastern Empire three thousand years, which at the time was the largest empire the world had yet seen. They left behind stunning works of art to which IS is now applying the delicate touch of sledgehammers.

The present day descendants of the Assyrians are Christians and another group of them has been kidnapped from their villages by IS. The IS militants are swarming across the territory they control intending to remove from it, one way or another, anyone who subscribes to a different religious view than theirs. There is a stretch of 30 Assyrian Christian villages that now stand deserted, residents having fled to safety or been captured by IS.

Against this backdrop, the Assyrians have joined forces with the Kurds and are fighting back, with some success.

Eric Holder, still Attorney General, has encouraged Malls around the country to enhance their security. The fear of a homegrown terror attack is what keeps him up at night, he says.

What might keep up many at night is that tonight funding for the Department of Homeland Security will expire. The Senate has passed a bill to keep it going but the House remains riven and Boehner is scrambling.

To my great sadness, Leonard Nimoy, creator of the character of Spock, our favorite human/Vulcan half-breed in the Star Trek television series and series of movies, passed away today.

In Mexico today, “La Tuta” [The Teacher] was arrested. His real name is Servando Gomez who started his life as a teacher and became a Drug Lord. For years he has taunted authorities with videos, boasting of his close ties to politicians. He swore never to be taken alive. He was captured, without a shot, while eating a hot dog at a hot dog stand.

In another sad story, seven people killed, and another one wounded, in a shooting spree by a 36 year old man who then fatally turned his gun on himself. Tiny Tyrone, Missouri is reeling. A lonely little town 50 miles from the Arkansas border, it is the kind of place where everyone knew everyone else.

The top news story this morning when I woke was that “Jihadi John,” the IS militant believed to have beheaded western hostages, had been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwait born, London bred 27 year old who once upon a time was “the boy next door.” He studied computer science at the University of Westminster. He is now one of the world’s most wanted men.

Speaking of being wanted, it will soon be time for my train and I must sign off, gather my belongings and head for Track 5.

Letter From New York May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

Letter From New York
May 10, 2009

The economic news is not so grim; there are signs of hope. The number of jobless did not grow as fast as most expected. In certain hard hit areas of the country, real estate seems to have begun bottoming out – places like Las Vegas, Florida and Sacramento. Hope is stirring in the country though the recovery will most likely be anemic; the entire economy is beginning to change, shifting from all out spending to something different – more akin to the world of most folks’ grandparents; a life of conscious non-consumption. Saving seems to be the new cool in America. Which also is probably ecologically correct.

The banks have been going through “stress tests” and all are solvent now and all they have to do is raise just $75 billion by November. Since when did $75 billion become “just $75 billion”? Well, this is an age where we are now talking about trillions of dollars so I guess $75 billion is “just” a little compared to a trillion dollars.

We seem to have survived swine flu – there are thousands of cases but we seem to have escaped the terror of a world pandemic. The global community seems to have managed this one well, with special kudos to Mexico who did a heck of a lot better with swine flu than China did with SARS a few years back — though we have to admit the Mexican drug wars aren’t pretty. Maybe our economic downturn will depress the demand for illicit substances and therefore help. Or not.

While not being felled by a pandemic, the Taliban/Al Qaeda/whoever fundamentalist Muslim group seems to be taking over more of Pakistan – a country with nuclear arms. I am more worried about this than I was a pandemic. Imagine what suicide bombers could do with a mini-nuke strapped around themselves. Doesn’t comfort me when I fall asleep.

As I write this Mother’s Day is coming to a close; walking the streets of New York there were a seemingly never ending series of placards outside restaurants offering Mother Day brunches though none of the restaurants looked overflowing – another sign of the carefulness of our new age. It was during this week that Elizabeth Edwards released her book RESILIANCE, depicting both her courageous battle against cancer and her reactions to her husband’s infidelity. Based on the reviews of the book, it will be a long time to forgiveness. While John Edwards is looking like a cad, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, who is probably a genuine cad, is being applauded in his country for his dalliances. His wife excoriated him in public while that public thought, apparently, it was quite wonderful that their 70 something PM was capable of bedding a number of women other than his wife, including, apparently, an eighteen year old who delights in calling him “daddy.” Europeans and Americans are far apart in the way they view infidelity. We have a puritanical view and Europeans shrug their shoulders or delight in it. Mitterrand’s mistress and his daughter from that liaison attended his funeral and stood near his family during the services. Such a thing would not happen in America.

Perhaps in the future of STAR TREK. A new film in the franchise seems to have rebooted it and brought excitement back to the forty-year-old phenomenon. I will be seeing it this week and am eager for the new take on the franchise, a mythic story which has given us an opportunity to dream of a future that could be better, where we have mastered our earthbound demons and are now concentrating on facing the process of integrating ourselves not with those who are truly different yet somehow like us.

We have a long way to go here on earth. Two little boys killed themselves this past week because they were taunted by their peers who called them “fags” and “gays” which they might have grown up to be – or not. We won’t know because the pain they were in resulted in their ending that pain in the most final way. It is my hope that we can move beyond that kind of behavior before we begin to travel the star lanes to other worlds.