Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Letter From Saba 02 14 2017 Happy Valentine’s Day from a sliver of paradise…

February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  While I don’t have a specific Valentine, I do have many people to whom I would like to send Valentine’s greetings.  Consider them sent.

This is a day devoted to love.

Unless you live in Saudi Arabia where celebrating Valentine’s Day could get you into a whole lot of trouble.

When I was in grade school, we always sent everyone else in our class a Valentine’s Day card.  Years ago, I stumbled upon a cache of them and smiled at our cursive, much struggled over.  Now they don’t even teach cursive writing, which seems a shame.  Handwritten letters are such a joy to receive in this day of electronic communication.

At this minute, I am sitting on the deck outside my room at Selera Dunia, the little hotel on Saba where I am ensconced for the next few days.  It is owned by a Dutchman, Hemme, and his wife, and their raison d’être seems to be making me happy.  YES!  I’m all for that.


It is decorated lavishly with objects they have brought back from their sojourns abroad, mostly from Indonesia but beneath me, I’m told, is a treasure trove from their time in Africa to be utilized when they add the next few rooms.

I slept wonderfully last night, my doors unlocked.  Crime has not crept onto Saba yet and may it long stay away.

Ah, but here I am, far away, in a crime free piece of Caribbean paradise while at home who knows what crimes are afoot?

Michael Flynn, the NSA Advisor to President Trump, has resigned after he seems to have had discussed our sanctions against Russia prior to the time when he should have and then misled Vice President Pence as to his actions.

MIC, a website devoted to news by millennials for millennials, wrote today that the crime, to them, in the Trump Administration seems not to be the crime itself but the crime of being caught. Is this what millennials are thinking about our government?

JFK was profoundly flawed in so many, many ways.  At least his words lifted us to some better place and inspired us.  Not so in these our Trumpian days when Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor to the President, declared there would be a time when the President’s word would be absolute.

Seth Meyer mocked him, saying it could only be more frightening if he had said it in German.  And Stephen Miller is Jewish.

So, this is what millennials are seeing:  a young man [he’s 31] saying the President’s word will be absolute.  Do call me horrified.  There are three branches of government [as Trump, to his annoyance, is finding out].

Mitch McConnell is saying it’s “highly likely” there will be an investigation of Michael Flynn’s actions.  “Highly likely?”  Mitch, oh Mitch, my low opinion of you sinks even lower.  Had you said, “Absolutely,” I might have thought you were standing on the right side of history.  And you’re not.

Thanks to Lindsey Graham and a few other Republican Senators who are working to see this is not brushed under the rug until we know the truth.

The Ethics Office has suggested it would be appropriate for Kellyanne Conway to be disciplined for her “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” moment from the White House Briefing Room.  They felt it was tantamount to a TV commercial.  Let’s see if it happens.  Personally, think it should but…

If you are a millennial, you probably know PewDiePie, a Scandinavian YouTube star with millions and millions and millions of followers.  He’s been the hottest thing on the net for a few years now, making 14.5 million dollars last year.  He has deals with Disney and others and it’s all falling down today because he made some anti-Semitic jokes in his postings and Disney and YouTube are running in the other direction.

The sun is beginning to set; the mountain across from me is sun kissed at this moment, full of deep foliage and limitless green though now the island is beginning to move into its dry season.  Water is scarce.  My friends are taking what once was a pool and making it into a cistern for grey water to help with the plants.

Tonight, we are going down the hill to a BBQ joint in the little enclave that is their town.  Hygge.  More soon.




Letter From New York 02 14 15 Privileged to know…

February 15, 2015

Outside my window, as I write, soft snowflakes are falling. The roads are treacherous and I am just home from an afternoon at friends. Five of us who ride the train regularly got together and shared wine and nibbles. It was a lovely few hours. It was our Valentine’s Day get together.

Tonight I was invited to join some friends for a Valentine’s dinner but begged off. I am single and it is sometimes not easy being the fifth wheel, particularly on Valentine’s Day. I am glad I stayed home, enjoying the soft quiet that is my cottage.

While it is quiet here in Claverack, it is not quiet out in the world.

In Copenhagen, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, there was an assault on a conversation about blasphemy that was attended by the French Ambassador and Lars Vik, a cartoonist who has been the target of attacks since he did a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed as a dog back in 2007. One is dead, three policemen are injured and the gunman is still on the run.

Here in the Northeast, we are bunkering down for more snow and brutal cold. Poor battered Boston is expecting another foot and we’re expecting another seven inches. On top of that, the cold is going to be brutal. Temperatures are expected as low as minus twenty-five wind chill factor, a temperature I don’t recall living through since I left Minnesota.

As I am writing, it is now past midnight in Ukraine when the truce is supposed to go into effect. I am praying that it does. The last hours leading to this moment have been a free for all on both sides, juggling for supremacy. This is the one of the greatest challenges the world has faced since Chamberlin gave away parts of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. The West wants peace at any price and Putin wants his way at any price. It is a deeply disturbing moment in a deeply disturbing time, when we are assaulted on all fronts.

In Canada, that most peaceful and placid of countries, a plot was uncovered and foiled. Four people intended to shoot masses of people in Halifax. Apparently they had no ideological reason for doing this. They just wanted people dead.

Speaking of people wanting other people dead, ISIS launched some suicide bombers on a base in Iraq with a number of American soldiers. They didn’t succeed, either killed by the Americans or by detonating their vests prematurely. But in Iraq, the carnage continues. I am slowly beginning to understand the Shia/Sunni nuances and it seems as much as they want to kill us, they want to kill each other more. I don’t think this was on the agenda of the Prophet.

In Houston, a mosque was set on fire this morning. It doesn’t appear to be an accident.

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Khamenei, is apparently in a secret correspondence with Obama as the two countries work on an agreement about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It has to do with the Sunni/Shia divide. Iran is Shia. ISIS is Sunni. Never, it seems, shall the twain meet. If a deal is made between Iran and the West about the nuclear issue, perhaps we work together on the ISIS issue. Ah, the Sunni issue.

In religious issues, Pope Francis, has named twenty new Cardinals, many of them from developing countries. Most are under eighty, which means they will have the voice at the next conclave, which will choose a successor to Francis.

And in the world of media, we’ve lost Bob Simon and David Carr and Stan Chambers. The last person is probably not as well know as the first two but he reported on air for KTLA in Los Angeles until he was eighty-seven. He pioneered the first live coverage of a news event. He was a gracious good man that I met once. May he rest in peace.

And the world has also lost Gary Owens. Most famous for his part in Laugh-In, he was also a world-class voice over artist. I worked with him at KMPC in Los Angeles and on several radio benefits for the US Committee for UNICEF. He was a lovely, generous man. I was privileged to know him.

Letter From New York February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

As I begin to write this, it is the end of the long President’s Day weekend, following on Valentine’s Day. Now the origin of Valentine’s Day, as I heard it recounted on NPR, goes something like this. There was a priest named Valentine who, during the reign of Claudius II, performed marriages even though the Emperor, for whatever reason, had decided no one should be getting married so he forbid it. Valentine got caught and thrown into prison and was sentenced to death by being beheaded [or clubbed to death, I’ve heard both].

While in prison he got friendly with the jail keeper’s daughter and before being led out to be beheaded [or clubbed to death], he left a note for her signed “Your Valentine.” It was February 14, 269 that he met his fate and February 14th has become Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love.

My Valentine’s Day celebration was punctuated by finding roses at my doorstep when I got home on Friday night, a remembrance from my friend Christine Olson, who gathered from the universe by some great sensitivity that I could use a bit of an uplift this Valentine’s Day. I spent Friday night arranging them in their vase and finding a place of pride for them in the cottage. It was, for me, the perfect uplift.

And the spirit of the day was carried through the weekend, with a surprising number of people wishing each other Happy Valentine’s Day.

Against the good spirits of the Holiday, the world itself was not so love filled. The largest NATO offensive since the invasion of Afghanistan itself was happening there, seeking to rout the Taliban from Helmand province – an adventure that seemed to be progressing well, despite the number of IED’s left everywhere as welcoming gifts for the soldiers.

Iran continues its mad plunge toward nuclear arms and Secretary Clinton has indicated that she thinks that Iran is becoming a military dictatorship. Yes, could well be given all that we’ve seen there since the last elections there. In the meantime, the world can’t seem to come to a consensus on how to respond to Iran and so they continue their mendacious ways.

Iraq, which is slowly taking control of its own security, is beset by recent bombings, with female suicide bombers making their mark, bedeviling that country’s efforts to climb back into civil stability.

The Winter Olympics have begun, with shadows. A young Georgian luge team member was killed in a practice run, casting a pall across the Games, which have been suffering from a surfeit of warm weather, causing delays in some sports as the runs are too slushy for competition. NBC says it will lose a couple of hundred million on the Olympics – the result of a too high bid for the rights when the economy was flush. All the computer modeling didn’t take into account the Great Recession.

So against Valentine’s Day, the celebration of love, there are a lot of things happening in the world that have little to do with love – from the nuclear ambitions of Iran to the suicide bombers of Iraq. It has been said that onstage dying is easy, comedy is hard. On the world stage, hate is easy, love is hard…