Posts Tagged ‘The Queen’

Letter From New York 06 24 15 But it looked good in the movies…

June 24, 2015

It is a sunny day in New York City, the temperature is in the 80’s but the air is not sodden with humidity, as it was yesterday. Pleasant enough, with breezes, that I walked a mile to the restaurant where I met a friend, Guy McCarter, that I hadn’t seen in some years. It was nice, in that we picked up again as if no time had passed at all. We visited and then he headed to a meeting and I sauntered back to Todd’s office.

Tonight I am meeting a friend at 5:30 at the Blue Bar at the Algonquin Hotel, home of the “Round Table” back in the 30’s, and then to dinner with another friend at Nirvana, then home to read I suspect.

Last night, I stayed up too late finishing Evelyn Waugh’s “Scoop,” a funny book about the newspaper business pre World War II.

Joseph J. O’Donahue IV, who I had the great pleasure of knowing, was born in 1912 and passed away 88 years later. He was a great bon vivant, considered one of the best looking men of his generation, and sailed, mostly, through life with grace and elegance.

Mismanaged trust funds left him hard up at the end of his life but he carried on with huge style and was a fixture on the San Francisco social circuit.

He declared that civilization had ended with World War II.

I don’t know that is true but certainly sometimes it seems that on some levels the world was more civil then.

Treatment of blacks was worse in this country. Joe once brought Josephine Baker, the African American dancer who had wowed France, to El Morocco in New York and was turned away. He never returned to the Club. If Josephine wasn’t good enough, he wasn’t either.

Now that I think about it, it wasn’t so terribly civilized then but it sure looked good in the movies.

There were the Nazis. And there had been the “War to End All Wars,” which was merely a prelude to the big show, World War II. Joe was asked to leave Germany by Adolf Hitler after protesting the arrests of Jewish friends.

And there had been the Great Depression, not a good time for anyone.

No, civilization didn’t end with World War II, a new age opened up.

And that new age, in which we live, isn’t particularly pretty either. IS militants blew up a couple of tombs in Palmyra yesterday. They were about 500 years old and held the remains of important Shia. IS is, you see, Sunni. They have also mined the classical ruins to discourage any efforts to take them back.

Palmyra was a place that was on my bucket list. It will probably have to stay in the bucket. In interesting news, if not a media stunt, is that Lexus is developing a hoverboard like the one used by Marty McFly in “Back to the Future.” They plan to test it out in Barcelona in the next few weeks. I’ll be following.

The Queen [Elizabeth II of Great Britain] is visiting Germany. While there, a small robot performed for her and charmed her.

She may not be charmed by the fact she may have to move out of Buckingham Palace for an extended period of time, as there is so much updating to be done. Wiring, plumbing and decorating all need to be brought into the modern age as, for the most part, nothing has been done for at least sixty years.

In September the Queen will become the longest reigning British monarch. She will overtake Queen Victoria that month. Given that her mother lived to be something 103 or 104, I am guessing we may have the Queen around for a while.

One of the things which has been around for awhile is the Greek Debt Crisis, described by one as the slowest moving financial train wreck in history, which could be a good thing. Had a collapse happened three years ago it would have been much worse.

Monday’s optimism that a deal could be done has faded and a meeting broke up early because of “major policy differences.” There are only six days left to the month. At the end of June, Greece needs to make a payment and it doesn’t have the money. The European Central Bank is propping up Greek banks as depositors remove a billion Euros a day.

I feel a little like I need propping up after having stayed up too late reading. I’m off soon to drinks and dinner and hopefully a pleasant night in New York.

You have one, too, wherever you are!

Letter From New York 05 04 15 A series of glorious days…

May 4, 2015

As I wend my way toward New York this morning, the sun is splashing off the Hudson River, a small boat cruising north as I trundle south, green beginning to tip the trees that line the river bank. It will be another in a short string of beautiful days that have blessed the Hudson Valley.

Saturday was an exquisite day. I rose early and went to the Farmer’s Market, sourcing from there everything I would serve for dinner that night. Ron Eglash, who also spoke the Indian Institute of Technology/Roorkee when I was there, came down with his wife, Audrey Bennett, who is also a professor at RPI in Troy.

Every moment of Saturday felt joyful, even blissful. I don’t know that I have ever experienced a day quite like it. Everything I did seem to bring me pleasure in a soft, delightful way. I reveled in the sheer pleasure of each moment.

I did not write a Letter on Saturday or Sunday. To do so would mean that I would look out into the world when all I wanted to do was savor the inner universe I was so pleasantly experiencing.

But now it is Monday morning and I am headed back to the city. My old friend, Michael DiPasquale, who lives in Los Angeles but was born in New York, is here to visit family and is coming into the city today from Long Island to visit with me.

As I have been typing, a CNN News Alert came crossing my screen to let me know that Carly Fiorina, once CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has announced she is running for President. I believe this marks the first time in history that two women have been seeking the Presidential nomination of their individual parties. Ms. Fiorina is a Republican. Hillary, as we all know, is a Democrat.

Also joining the Republican field of candidates is Ben Carson, popular with Republicans under thirty.

In Nepal, aid is beginning to flow and a 101-year-old man was dragged from the rubble alive, with only minor injuries. The Nepalese government has stated they will need much aid over a long period of time to rebuild. The death toll is over 7300 and still climbing.

In happier news, in case anyone missed it, their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, welcomed a baby girl, yet to be named, into their family. They are going up to their country house, Anmer Hall, which is two miles from where the Queen is at Sandringham House, so they may introduce her to her newest great-grandchild.   Sounds so civilized.

Not so civilized is the continuation of the air strikes in Yemen, as more and more Yemenis find themselves displaced by the bombings. More women and children have been rescued from Boko Haram in Nigeria as have some thousands been picked up in the Mediterranean, as they attempted crossing from Africa to Italy. Ethiopian Jews in Israel rioted over the weekend, hurling bottles and rocks at police, as they protested against racism toward them. Israeli police have said the protestors crossed the line.

In Garland, Texas, near Dallas, police shot down two gunmen when they leapt out of their vehicle and began shooting at a security guard at an exhibit of drawings of Mohammed. Muslims believe that you cannot depict The Prophet in a drawing. It was hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group noted for its anti-Islamic stands.

In Vegas, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. won “The Fight of The Century” against Manny Pacquiao and pocketed a reported $180,000,000, though the crowd at the end of the fight booed him. They apparently had feelings about his record of domestic violence.

In Boston, Russian relatives of Tsarnaev are going to testify in the penalty phase of his sentencing. His defense team ceded his guilt and is trying to win him life in prison rather than death.

A light haze now floats about the Hudson River, adding a moment of magic to the day. Not long ago we slipped past West Point, that formidable redoubt, passing by marinas prepping for the summer season, the river calm, still and probably very cold.

The day won’t be chill. It is predicted to hit in the 80’s today, the warmest weather yet of the year. I look forward to a good day.