Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

Letter From Shepherdstown 12 30 15 The eve of New Year’s Eve…

December 30, 2015

It is the eve of New Year’s Eve and I am in Shepherdstown, WV with my childhood friend Sarah and we are prepping for the return of Sarah’s son, Kevin and his wife, Michelle Melton.  Her husband Jim has gone on to Alabama to see his parents.

The balmy weather has passed and we are in a string of grey, chill days.  I have been a bit under the weather today; some small stomach bug has bitten me and I have had only tea and dry toast.

It has been a pleasant day though.  I am prepping my mushroom soup and a salad for dinner while doing my best to take it easy.  We went to the store, Sarah and I, and picked up some foodstuffs and wine for tomorrow.

Mary Clare, Sarah’s older sister, and her husband Jim own the house we have been occupying for the Christmas party. Tonight they are returning from New York, with their son Michael and we’ll all toast the New Year in tomorrow.

My eyes have been turned from the world while watching movies, including “Steve Jobs” with a wonderful turn by Kate Winslet as well as Michael Fassbinder.  Today, Sarah and I were watching “Suffragette” with Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep.  It is about the struggle for women in Britain to get the vote. 

The hard life of lower class women of the time, both in Britain and America, is almost unimaginable yet it was…

I remarked that it was the other side of “Downton Abbey.”

We have come a long way since then but not nearly far enough.

The rest of the world has remained away because I have not turned to face it.  I’m not eager to right now though it will need to be faced when this respite is over.

I’ve been ploughing through my textbook for “Media and Society” and beginning to organize the class.

Checking my emails, there is almost NO business going on in my world.  I am assuming that everyone, like me, has retreated into the Christmas Week mode. 

The stomach bug has made me a bit weary so I am going to sign off.  But not before wishing all and any who read this, a very, very Happy New Year!

Letter From New York 06 10 15 Wow! Wow! Wow!

June 10, 2015

Today’s Letter will likely be pretty short. The time I allot in my day to write the Letter was taken up today by a task I have been attempting to avoid.

My friend, Tim Sparke, has been fighting brain cancer for two or three years now and is slowly losing the battle. He has outlived the doctors’ predictions by so much they have begun to call him their cockroach, impossible to kill. But the reality is that the horizon is very finite for Tim.

Some weeks ago, he asked me to write a piece about our friendship for a book he is compiling for his children, so they will have some sense of him when he is gone. I have dawdled on doing it because I have not wanted to really contemplate the world without Tim.

We’ve been friends for twenty years and have kept close though he and his family live in England and I am in America. His children are very young, six and eight, and their memories of him will fade. He wants them to have a sense of him as a man through the eyes of us who have known him.

It was a sad task but I have done it. I will let it sit overnight and then will edit in the morning and send it off.

It is also possible that I have hesitated writing because it brings me close to my own sense of mortality, a thing which has been growing over the last few years as I and my friends have been crossing into the third acts of our lives. Sobering thoughts, all of that…

The sun is shining today in New York, which made it easier. The grey days of the last week would have made the writing more melancholy than it was.

A year ago today, Mosul fell to IS and they are flying their blacks flags everywhere in that city today, even as they dig in for the inevitable counter-attack to wrest the city back from them. Obama has ordered 450 more advisors to Iraq to train the troops and put some metal in their backs.

War happens and life happens and cancer happens and we plow on, going through the complex motions that constitute life. What a mystery it all is.

Tim fights for his life, about to undergo a new treatment they think will give him three more months while IS occupies a swath of the world, lording over the inhabitants, making their lives mostly miserable while I sit in a sun blessed room in New York and type away.

Wow! Wow! Wow! were the words of Steve Jobs as he lay dying. Wow is right.

Letter From New York 03 25 15 First full day in Delhi…

March 25, 2015

It is late afternoon in Delhi and I am just back at India International Center where I am staying, after spending the afternoon with my friend Raja Choudury. We made a drive past Connaught Place where I commented that it was much better looking than I remembered it. He said yes, they had done much to clean it up over the last years. It was, twenty years ago, one of the great shopping areas of Delhi but it also looked like a rundown claptrap of a place. Now it is white and shiny again.

We went on from there to the Oberoi Hotel where we lunched at Taipan, a dim sum restaurant on the top floor with views out across Delhi, the sky tinged with the pollution for which the city is famous. It was a long and leisurely lunch; with Raja catching me up on the work he is doing, including the launching of a new web adventure, onegreatidea.com.

This was the first time that Raja and I had met in person. We have known each other for years. He encountered me on LinkedIn and asked me for some help with a project that he was working on, which I was, luckily, able to provide. We have continued talking and skypeing but in all this time we haven’t met each other in person so today was a good day.

Tomorrow, all of India will come to almost to a halt. It is the day of a cricket game between India and Australia and is, according to reports, the biggest game in years. A huge number of Indians are going to call in sick. It’s the game NOT to be missed, a bit like asking people to work during the Super Bowl in the U.S.

So I should be able to get around quite easily tomorrow. I am going to delve into my tour books and determine what I would like to see. Today, I visited India Gate and drove by the President’s House and the Houses of Parliament, great, grand structures built in the last days of the Raj. Back then; I think the President’s House was the Viceroy’s Palace.

It was in the 90’s here but not yet humid so it didn’t feel so bad. In my room, I have the air conditioning running and the fan turning. The IIC, India International Center, is a private club on the nature of the Yale Club or Harvard Club in New York though very Indian in feel. The accommodations are nice if rather Spartan compared with the Oberoi but very adequate with excellent Wi-Fi.

As far as I can tell, I am the only American staying here; the rest are from all over India. In the bar, groups huddle together discussing business or art. Last night, I read and sipped Johnny Walker.

Being in India, I am very careful about the water. No ice cubes. I only drink what can be drunk neat.

This morning there was an Indian paper at my door, mostly filled with news I had read online before going of to bed.

Getting back from tour round Delhi, I went online and found the, to me, blockbuster news that Heinz and Kraft Foods are to merge, becoming Heinz Kraft, in a deal nurtured by legendary investor Warren Buffet with a Brazilian investment company.

My, oh my!

There is a new Steve Jobs biography out, “Becoming Steve Jobs” that is reputedly better than Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs.” He still comes across as monumentally conflicted but a bit more human, according to reviews.

In a case of life imitating art, Jon Hamm, Don Draper in “Mad Men,” has just exited a 30-day program for alcohol rehab. Years of playing the world’s most famous alcoholic may have found its reflection in Hamm’s own life. I wish him well. The last season of “Mad Men” starts soon.

In the category of the world is challenging: The UN last year announced that same sex married couples could receive the same benefits of married straight couples. Russia introduced a resolution to withdraw benefits from same sex married couples. 43 countries, including India, China and the UAE, supported it. It was defeated. 80 countries voted against the resolution and 37 abstained.

The day is drawing to a close as the day begins in America. I am going to work on my speech again and then go read for a while before an early night. I feel good but one more good’s night sleep would be a great thing.