Posts Tagged ‘Todd Broder’

Letter From New York 12 10 15 River ramblings…

December 10, 2015

Global warming. Todd Broder. Broderville. Uber. Trump. Goldwater. Lyndon Johnson.  West Point.  Penn Station. Moynihan Station. Grand Central. Union Station. “Newtown.” Odyssey Networks.

It’s Thursday afternoon and I’m riding north, leaving the city for the weekend.  It’s the 10th of December and the sky is bright and the temperature is hovering near 60 degrees.

Gallows humor jokes about global warming proliferate.  Burdened with things I am returning to the cottage, I got an Uber to take me to Todd’s office for a call. Chiek, my driver, and I discussed it most of the time between the apartment and office.

He just became an American citizen and so we talked about the election scene.  He said in the six years he has been in America, he’s never seen anything like it.  I must be twice as old as he and I’ve never seen anything like it either.

Trump barrels on, his foot firmly inserted in his mouth, a condition which does not seem to prevent him from topping the Republican polls.  As far as I can tell from newspaper accounts, Republicans are terrified of him and too terrified to do anything about him.

Some are saying that if he is nominated it will be the harbinger of a defeat of the magnitude of 1964, when Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson and was overwhelmingly defeated, taking down much of the party with him.

If that happens, there is a part of me that says they deserve it if they give the nomination to him.

The Republican circus is dismaying me.  And probably most other thinking adults…

We are gliding past West Point, the redoubt looking splendid in the afternoon sun as we move north.

When I got on the train today, I remarked to myself what a depressing place Penn Station is, especially when compared with Grand Central or Union Station in Washington DC.  Those places put a bit of pep in your feet while Penn grinds down the soul.

If I live long enough, they may eventually move train traffic from Penn across the street to what is now being called “Moynihan Station.”  Named after the late New York Senator, Daniel Moynihan, the new station will be forged from the old Post Office, designed by the same architect who built the original Penn, torn down in one of New York’s greatest moments of folly.

I woke up grumpy this morning and made a conscious choice to be happy, to enjoy the day – and I am.  Yesterday, a project I have been working on died with a whimper.

Yesterday, I was surrounded by friends and a dinner held by Odyssey for its Board and friends at which were shown clips from the films they are working on.  “Newtown” has been accepted into Sundance and The White House has asked to see their film on mass incarceration.  Much to celebrate.

But when I got home and the laughter passed, I took a little time to mourn my project, falling asleep wanting my teddy bear.

When I woke, the sadness was still hanging on me so I got a grip on myself and reminded myself that the sun had still risen, it was a remarkable weather day for the 10th of December, that other opportunities will come and there are other project joys to be found in the future.

Letter From New York 04 17 15 Clouds billowing, going north…

April 17, 2015

Stepping out of the apartment this morning, I encountered a world that was grey and filled with the promise of rain. Luckily, I had found an umbrella squirreled away so I faced the world with some verve, with a bit of jauntiness to my step.

It was cool but not chill, feeling a bit more like a fall day than one in spring but not unpleasant. Walking over to Amsterdam, I picked up my favorite pair of shoes from the cobbler and headed down to my friend Todd’s office.

He and my godson, Paul, are friends and the three of us went to lunch with another one of their mutual friends, Nick. It was good to see Paul again, for another farewell before his Sunday return to Los Angeles.

I had a couple of conference calls and then headed for the train, crowded with folks heading north for the weekend, now that the weather is better.   The sun came out, teasing us with hope for a fair weekend.

As the train travels north, I am perusing the news of the world, a rather grim pursuit, I’m afraid.

The market plunged today by 280 points. Greece’s woes are rearing their ugly heads again, rattling markets. China is working to temper its runaway stock market. Adding to the concerns, Bloomberg Financial Terminals went offline for two hours, causing the British government to delay a sale of bonds for a week because the terminals are so central to trading.

Not that I am sure I object, the Time-Warner/Comcast deal seems to have run into some serious obstacles. Certain sectors are giddy with relief; I am sure that M&A lawyers are in a funk.

Al Qaida is tightening its noose in Yemen with 150,000 now displaced.

Iran, as I recall no great fan of the UN, is appealing to that body to do something about the Saudi bombings in Yemen.

In Iraq, things happened: a car bomb went off outside the US Consulate in the Kurdish capital and Saddam Hussein’s #2, on the run for all these past twelve years, was killed today while forty more were killed in bombings in Baghdad. Despite the loss of Tikrit, IS continues to control much of northern Iraq and part of Syria.

China, flexing its muscles to the dismay of its neighbors, is building some artificial islands in the South China Sea. On them it is building a significant airfield. The Spratlys are also claimed in whole or part by Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines. China seems to be operating on the “possession is 9/10ths of the law” rule.

The British elections are hotting up, with no clear leader right now. Labour has declared the Tories “in a panic.” However, the Tories are feeling a bit bolstered by some good economic news. May 7th is the election.

Anti-immigrant attacks have now spread to Johannesburg in South Africa, drawing rebukes from both within the country and without.

Two weeks after a “framework” for a deal with Iran was announced, the gaps between the two sides seemed to be widening instead of narrowing. Obama will sign a bill that would allow the Senate to reject the treaty if more than 2/3rds disapprove, another wrinkle in the process.

There was a moving ecumenical service in Cologne’s Cathedral today for the 150 victims of the Germanwings crash. 500 relatives attended. The city stopped to mourn.

And as has been for days, there is a war of words going on over whether the Turks committed genocide on the Armenians a hundred years ago. Some in Congress want to officially call it that but doing so is complicated by Turkey’s role in the current fighting going on in the Mideast. The Turks have hardened their stance in recent years about the events of a century ago, defiantly denying that there were any acts of genocide committed.

The sun is setting through billowing grey clouds over the Hudson River as I move north. Everyone is working or sleeping, winding down from the week. At the end of my trip is a dinner with friends at the Red Dot and then home to my own bed and a weekend full of activities.

Letter From New York 04 14 15 Working to see with tourist’s eyes…

April 14, 2015

All around me the city of New York is thrumming, filled with the sounds of a city growing, being alive. Sitting in the office of a friend doing some work for him, the street below is filled with the clatter and the clanging of building.

This morning, as I was waking and sipping my first cup of coffee, I decided that I wanted to look at the world a little differently, as if I was a tourist in spots that were well known to me, to keep my eyes and ears open for new sensations and experiences.

Walking to the subway, I noticed the play of grey light on the sidewalk, through a cloudy sky that was hinting of rain, which didn’t seem to want to come.

There is a plastic milk box between what was the Radio Shack store and the upscale mart for sports shoes. Every day there is someone sitting on that box, begging. But it’s often a different person and today it was someone I’ve never seen before. I wonder if it is first come, first seated or do they change shifts during the day?

Certainly, it’s been an interesting day out there in the world. I’ve attempted to keep up with the world while I’ve been hunched over my laptop, doing research for my friend/colleague Todd Broder.

I have discovered that we haven’t discovered any other life in the hundred thousand galaxies we have been searching. We thought that if some civilization had advanced enough that it could have a galaxy wide imprint, we might be able to detect them but no such luck. But there are more than a billion galaxies out there and a hundred thousand is just a small fraction of the possibilities.

It is also noted today that it’s Equal Pay Day though it remains to be seen if employers will step up to achieve equal pay for equal work for women. But we have a day to mark the effort to that goal.

And also today is the 150th Anniversary of the shooting of Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth, the first assassination of an American President but not the last.

150 years – an amazing amount of time and a huge chunk of American history has happened since then. The Republic wasn’t yet a hundred years old when Lincoln died.

The somber visage of Lincoln stares out at us from those haunting photographs, a window into a time long gone and just beginning to be chronicled by photography.

In Washington, Obama wants to set Cuba free by lifting its designation as a state sponsoring terrorism. If that happens, the floodgates will open. There was also a story of how ubiquitous the American flag has become in Havana, flying everywhere and on t-shirts and painted on jeans.

Currently at the Acela Club in New York, there was a huge delegation of important people heading out on the 6:00 Acela to Washington. There were police guarding the doors and the group and then they slipped out and down to the train. One was a military figure from some European nation. Everyone seemed to be paying a great deal of attention to him.

A great deal of attention is also being paid to what is happening on the first steps taken on the campaign trail. Hillary has driven to Iowa and is doing her listening. Paul Rand is back from a five state tour and Marco Rubio is facing scrutiny about his immigration and tax stands. No news of Ted Cruz today.

Today Space X successfully sent another capsule toward the space station, carrying supplies. Its first stage attempted once again to land on a platform at sea. It hit the platform but too hard.

Still, to me, it’s a step forward. Have to admire Elon Musk and his steadfastness to his vision.

The markets today seemed to do well though Google will likely face anti-trust charges in Europe.

The world in the Middle East is still very complicated. A drone attack killed a leading Yemeni Al Qaeda cleric. Russia is planning on selling missiles to Iran. Iraq’s PM was in Washington, where he got some money and a warning that Iranians in Iraq should be reporting to Baghdad.

And now I am going to go out into the streets of New York and do my best to keep my eyes open and see what I can see, with open eyes. I am off to get a martini and a bite to eat, while I continue reading a very good book, “The End of Life Book Club.”

Letter From New York 02 02 15 Amidst the snow and cold…

February 2, 2015

Fleeing in front of Winter Storm Linus, I arrived in the city last night before the snow started. After a light dinner, I snuggled in and feel asleep reading, warm in the comfort of the little New York apartment where I stay when I am in town.

The Super Bowl, of course, was last night. I didn’t watch but do know the Patriots won in a heart stopping finish and Tom Brady has been declared by some to be the best Quarterback of all time.

Today I had a couple of meetings, one with Touchcast, which is a video technology that is REALLY cool, allowing you to interact with a video playing over the internet, on your desktop, tablet or phone. Way cool, the kind of cool that gets me incredibly geeky excited.

During the afternoon it snowed in New York but it stayed warm enough that everything is slush. Soon the temperatures will drop and all that slush will freeze. And so I expect that by time I finish dinner at some friends’ apartment, the sidewalks will be perilous. Hope I make it home without skidding too much.

Upstate they are buried in two feet of snow. It stops. It starts. It stops. It starts. Good thing I came to town yesterday.

Obama’s four TRILLION dollar budget was released today. It includes a couple of trillion dollars in new taxes, which isn’t going to happen with the Congress he is facing.

Sorry. I have trouble getting my mind around that number. FOUR TRILLION!

Over in the rebellious part of Ukraine, the military leader there is calling for 100,000 men to be called up to service. Some have pointed out there may not be 100,000 men in the rebel controlled region to be called up, so many have fled. And some are speculating that it is just a cover for more Russian “volunteers” to come into Ukraine, which, of course, Putin denies.

The stock market had a good day and that was good. Oil is rebounding a bit and there seems to be rejoicing about that. The dollar is stronger which is good for tourists but not so much for industry. Our exports cost more but a meal in Paris is less expensive.

My friend Arthur returned from his gastronomical pilgrimage to Paris conducted within days of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and saw little evidence in the streets of Paris of the terror attack. He had expected gendarmes on every corner but there weren’t. It felt mostly normal to him.

In Egypt, they are making a tradition of mass convictions of criminals, herding them off to be executed. Today it was 183 men found guilty. 188 had been charged. Two were acquitted. One was given ten years because he was a minor and another two were off the hook because they had died.

Amnesty International is outraged. The UN calls the mass convictions “unprecedented.” Thousands have been sentenced to death or life in prison since the overthrow of Morsi. I want to see the pyramids but don’t think this is the time to do it, for lots of reasons.

Sitting in the conference room of my friend Todd Broder’s company, the sky has turned dark and everywhere lights burn. Soon I will head out for dinner, braving the cold and snow, looking forward to a long and lazy evening with old friends and good food.