Posts Tagged ‘Steven Saylor’

Letter from Claverack 11 07 2016 God help us, it is almost over…

November 8, 2016

How could this not be a strange night?  Tomorrow we will be voting [if we haven’t already] for the next President of the United States.

This has been the wildest, most contentious, most upsetting campaign I have ever witnessed in my life.  It has been appalling.

Reading Steven Saylor’s mysteries set in ancient Rome, the democratic process then was even more horrible than now and maybe not by that much.

In some ways I have worked to insulate myself from the craziness.  Returning home from New York after a quick round trip, I came into the cottage, turned on the floods over the creek and reveled in my home and the beauty that surrounds it.  It is my anchor in this time of troubles.

While it is unbelievable to me, there is a path to victory for Trump.  On Sunday, I lit a candle at church, praying that path would not be found.

Soft jazz is playing as I write this, another comfort in all of this.

Because I am having cataract surgery on Wednesday, I may go to bed not knowing who will be President.  If that happens I will be afraid to open myself the next morning to the news.  In the past week or two I wrote to a Republican friend of mine that I was terrified Trump would become President.

I have not heard from her since…

Apparently, his team has found a way to control his access to Twitter and has “cut him off.”  No more Tweets from The Donald.

Several newspapers have reported that Ivanka Trump is attempting to distance herself from the campaign.  On my way to lunch at Sarabeth’s at Lord & Taylor, I passed the Ivanka Trump Collection.  No one there.

What I find horrible is that Trump’s supporters feel that even if loses, they win.  He has given legitimacy to their radical views.

We have always been a flawed republic and I am just praying that we get through this most flawed moment successfully.

In the meantime, the jazz plays and will continue to play no matter who wins.  No one will take that away from me in my lifetime.

Comey is, I suspect, on the coals after announcing today that the emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer amounted to nothing and so there will be no FBI movement against Hillary.  The Daily News trumpeted:  NOW you tell us.

The Dow jumped 371 points once Comey announced there was no reason to pursue Hillary Clinton.

I speculated that Comey is cooked, having lost the respect of nearly everyone.

Today, Janet Reno, the first female Attorney General, passed away.  Sadly, I had almost forgotten her, though she weathered all the storms of the Bill Clinton administration.

Oklahoma suffered an earthquake today, linked, perhaps, to fracking.

And, really, can I make a request of the universe?  Let’s end daylight saving time, okay.  I am sorry. It just doesn’t seem worth it.  I am discontented this year, as I am every season when it happens.  Is there really a reason for this?

In New Delhi, the air is terrible and schools are closed.  It is worse than Beijing.

As the Iraqis advance on Mosul they are finding mass graves with beheaded men and I have no idea how they justify their behavior.  But they do.

It is not late and I am tired.

I am tired of this election season which has worn me beyond all reason and it will be over tomorrow, after which will come the next rancorous season and I will be here.

Commenting.

Thank you for reading.

I am honored.

 

 

 

 

Letter From New York 09 22 15 The Pope, Putin, Syria, Refugees and so much more…

September 22, 2015

As I am sitting in the Acela Club at Penn Station, I am watching CNN, which is covering the arrival of the Pope. He landed at Joint Base Andrews and at this moment is arriving at the Diplomatic Mission of the Vatican in Washington, DC, on Massachusetts Avenue.

When Francis touched down, President and Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden were present to greet him, an unprecedented honor. He is waving to the crowd as he slips into the residence for a night of rest.

Tonight is Yom Kippur, the holiest of nights to Jews, and Pope Francis does not want to detract from that. Tens of thousands have been mobilized to keep him safe. The Secret Service sent a man to Rome to watch how Francis interacts with crowds so they might anticipate what they needed to do.

While waiting for Francis to address a Joint Session of Congress [a first], we are, once again, facing a shutdown of the government. The Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood and the Democrats are opposed to that. Somehow I fail to see why the Republicans are SO against Planned Parenthood.

My Republican respect keeps descending.

While all eyes are watching Francis and his movements, EU leaders have been meeting, working to decide how to handle the thousands of refugees and migrants. I found the information a little confused and oriented to dealing with the future rather than the present.

While the EU is determining what to do with the refugees there, Turkey and the US are working to figure out what Putin is up to in Syria. He intends to start bombing ASAP. They’re not sure who it is he will be bombing. Will it be IS as he says OR will it be the anti-Assad Syrian rebels who are also fighting IS? Turkey and the US fear it will be the latter as Putin and Assad have been playing footsie for decades.

I’m now on the train, heading north, on my right the Hudson River glides by with the setting sun glinting off its surface. It’s been mostly a grey day in New York but now the sun is bursting out from behind the clouds as it descends in the west.

All the way out west, in Burbank, CA, a 24 year-old man was taken into custody after he punched a 78 year-old in the face over Nutella Waffle Samples at a Costco. It seems like something that should be in “The Onion” and not real news. But it is real. The young man could face up to 11 years in prison.

There is a soft, golden glow in the west as we move north. The landscape is inescapably beautiful. I am closing down now for the night, wanting to enjoy the beauty around me before the sunset and we are gathered in the dark.

I am coming to the end of reading Steven Saylor’s Roman novels – at least all the ones he’s written so far. Another one is coming out in October. But they remind me that world has always been full of travail and that gives me hope that we will survive this time and find our own next future.

Letter From Martha’s Vineyard 08 18 15 A good day, a good sail…

August 19, 2015

As I begin this, I am sitting in Terminal 5 at JFK, waiting for the short flight from here to Martha’s Vineyard. In front of me, I am facing an iPad, from which I have just ordered a latte and on which I can check the status of my flight, though that shouldn’t be necessary as I am right at the gate. I am surrounded by people of a myriad of backgrounds and speaking a variety of languages.

Terminal 5, which services Jet Blue, feels a little bit out of a science fiction film; we could all be waiting for flights to the stars. But we’re not, we’re waiting to go to domestic and international destinations, people laughing and enjoying, caught in the pleasure of departure and arrival.

A kind young man delivered me my latte and then circled back to make sure all was well with it.

I am continuing my binge reading of the “Roma Sub Rosa” series by Steven Saylor, up to number eight or nine now, I think, out of twelve. I downloaded two more last night to tide me over, coming and going from the Vineyard as well as reading time on the island.

Perusing the New York Times this morning, it now appears that Donald Trump has a commanding lead among Republicans. Ad Age yesterday had an article that stated Trump was JUST what television needed; his polarizing personality will revitalize viewing and boost ratings. He has boasted that he is “a TV ratings magnet.” And it is apparently too true…

As I finished typing the above sentence, they called my flight and I am now on the Vineyard, having just returned from a two-hour sail and having showered to get all the salt water off me.

The wind was good; we made twenty knots at one point and were thoroughly doused at more than one point. It was great fun.

A humanoid robot went for a walk through the woods today. I hope there were warnings out that he was coming. He looked a bit frightening to anyone just stumbling upon him.

22 were killed and 120, at least, injured in a bombing in Bangkok at a Hindu shrine. CCTV footage has police looking for a man in a yellow T-shirt and black-rimmed glasses. One minute he has a backpack; the next he doesn’t.

The world is tripping on, violent as ever. There are lots of trials going on of police officers all over the country for homicide, something like five of them right now.

Greece is stumbling through two crises. One is their financial one and the other is the flood of immigrants striving to make it to the island of Kos from Turkey. It has been overwhelming resources in that already battered country.

Out the window is Edgartown Harbor. The sun is beginning to set and I must leave you tonight to go meet my friends and see what dinner plans we have. Or take a book and read. It’s been a lovely day for me; may it have been for you too.

Letter From Claverack 08 16 15 Thoughts as the sun sets…

August 17, 2015

It is moving toward six in the evening. The sun is beginning its slow set to the west; bright light glimmers through the trees and pools of sunlight litter the drive. I am sitting at my desk, looking out, keeping watch. A friend is coming over and I’m helping him think through his website, a first for him.

It has been a lovely weekend. Lionel and Pierre arrived on Friday evening, a bit ragged from a drive through heavy traffic from Baltimore. We ate at the Red Dot and then came home. Lionel and I had our traditional Friday night “cleansing vodka” and then I drifted off to a good night’s sleep.

Saturday was a lot of running around; neighbors came for cocktails and a visit with Lionel and Pierre.

This morning, I woke early. Heavy fog drifted above the creek, making the place look otherworldly, almost mystical. I prepared breakfast for the three of us and saw them off on their return trip to Baltimore. While I was doing all of these pleasant tasks, the world continued.

An Indonesian plane lost contact with air controllers and there have been reports it crashed into a mountainside. E’Dina Hines, step-granddaughter of Morgan Freeman, was stabbed to death last night in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan by a deranged man, thought to be her boyfriend, who was attempting to cast demons out of her.

Premier Li Keqiang of China visited the port city of Tianjin, the scene of a huge warehouse explosion that was so big it registered on seismic meters. The warehouse contained dangerous chemicals, including sodium cyanide. The warehouse was close by apartment complexes; at least 112 have died and 95, many of them firefighters, are missing. 721 are injured. There is a huge evacuation zone; protests are being held at the hotel used for press briefings.

Sadly, Julian Bond has passed away. He was a young firebrand in the 1960’s and went on to become a respected state legislator in Georgia and head of the NAACP for some years. He was a voice for civil rights and agitated against the Vietnam War, a man to be admired I always thought. And now he’s gone, after a short illness. I will miss knowing that he is alive.

Donald Trump is still leading the Republican polls; he is calling for an end to “birthright citizenship.” Hillary Clinton is trailing Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, which must be causing her some sleepless moments.

Sleepless in Syria are all kinds of people. Assad bombed a suburb of Damascus over the weekend. The war is going badly for him; Damascus is his nominal seat of power though he has long been rumored to have left the capital for the coast. His troops are being defeated and seem to be in slow retreat. Iran has sent ministers to Russia, seeking some kind of political solution.

Iraq, long riven by Shia/Sunni conflicts seems to be facing a Shia/Shia conflict too. I will need to do more reading to understand. I don’t right now. A few days ago, an American General stated that Iraq might have to be partitioned. And it is beginning to look like that might be a viable solution. Iraq was created a century ago by the Brits for their own reasons, mostly, one suspects, oil.

Amazon is one of my favorite suppliers. I don’t want to work there. Reports about the environment for employees indicate it’s a brutal, brutal, brutal place to work. I am, nor ever have been, up for brutal. I still use them, enormously. I am an Amazon Prime customer. Probably will be until the day I die. But not to work there. Oh my!

Apple is apparently building a self-driving car. As is Google. I will bet on Apple. Google’s devices…

Night has arrived. The floodlight on the fountain has turned on. Outside the cicadas are making noises. I am at the end of my day, about to step into yet another Steven Saylor book. I have been binge reading instead of binge watching. Actually, it feels good.