Monday, October 31, 2016

Hillary in History



A novelist, writing in the New Yorker, imagines Hillary as entering the White House with a bitterness
that reminds him of Richard Nixon.   When I think of Hillary, the Duke of Windsor comes to mind. The one who gave up his place at the top for love.

She was a star at Yale Law School and a rising star in Washington, even earning a spot on the Watergate Committee.  Then the move to Arkansas that stunned her friends and admirers.

And now?  Is it regret or revenge?

P.S.  I've said all along that having the first black President followed by the first female President is messing with too much primal stuff.  It's not going to be over when it's over.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The End of Secrecy










Harry Browne, a famous Libertarian, said:  "Don't do anything that requires your signature."  His lament was in response to "big brother" when "brother" was small, very small.  So now, what to do? What to do?

Spies meeting on a park bench?  A cell phone or long range lens gives them away.  Meeting with Deep Throat?  Garages have cameras everywhere.
Having an affair?  Think you're safe because you're not texting?  If you keep your phone turned on, that motel location can be easily identified.

When everything can be hacked, it's foolish to make Ed Snowdon into a traitor.  Hillary suffers from "not wanting to be bothered" syndrome rather than evil intent.

Maybe it's time to just give up and give in.  No more "Lock 'em up!" We're going to have an "examined life" whether we want one or not.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A White Sox Fan Gets Ready to Watch the World Series








Am I remembering this wrong?  About when the Sox won it all in 2005?  Wasn't there a lot of griping (or maybe just scratching of heads) about how the "other team" won it first?  Everyone was happy  -- as in "I'm happy for you." And that was about it.

 I'm happy for Steve Bartman.  I really hated Cubs fans during the whole ugly, ugly Bartman episode.  How despicable.  Blaming the team's ineptitude on an innocent who did what we all would do instinctively?  That's about as bush as it gets.  So I hope Steve is excited about the Series.  I hope he has a good seat -- even if it's still in his den.

I'm happy for my friend Myles who got tickets for Sunday's game!  He's taking his superfan son.  Yes, he reached deep into the bank account.  But he reached with a grin.  I'll try to spot him on TV.

I'm happy for one of my favorite sportscasters : Mike Wilbon.  And, of course, Michelle.

 I'm happy for you Cubs.  You've got a great team and a great manager.  I hope -- like the Sox -- you win it all.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Robots Rising








Ever since I read the book The Rise of the Robots and discussed it with a group of very smart people, I have been startled by the amount of artificial intelligence (A.I.) already among us and wonder how much of the future it will determine.

I'm sure the article "Adding a Zero" in this week's New Yorker (the one with Donald Trump as Miss Universe on the cover) was written with the "wow" factor in mind, and it doesn't disappoint.  If you think self-driving cars, airbnb, Uber, and Dropbox are pointing to the future, you are a fossil.  And so am I.

One takeoff point in the article is a profile of Sam Altman who plants a very large footprint in Silicon Valley.  He's tired of people saying he is on the autism spectrum but he is certainly aware that many of autism's "drawbacks" work to his advantage.   Even as Altman and his colleagues work on A.I. being able to incorporate social skills and empathy,  his leadership does not draw upon them.  This makes me wonder if autism will turn out to be a useful adaptation in the evolutionary march ahead.

In the meantime, I know it's boring -- not cute -- when I say I haven't been able to figure out all of the functions of my computer or cell phone. I do like reading about this stuff even as I am left in the dust.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What We Wore


Elsa was telling me about Open Studios Day in Newburgh, NY.  It's a poor town whose Mayor has encouraged art as a way of bringing joy and notoriety to the community.  (Elsa said it reminded her of Cuba.) She was thrilled by an art installation of dresses.  First the dresses, then the story of their significance to the women who wore them.

I immediately thought of wedding dresses.  For in the galaxy of gowns, these surely are bright stars.  My dress was ankle length (did that idea ever last?) purchased at Bonwit Teller.  I wanted one from Saks Fifth Avenue because I had worked happily at their Detroit store one college summer.  But this Saks was so snooty they demanded an appointment before they would let me look. So friendly Bonwit's got my business.

My dress was worn three times.  By me, and two good friends.  The result?  Two divorces and one enduring marriage.  I'd say this is tough but common for my generation.

Another wedding dress with a story was the one my friend Marcia -- as a widow -- bought years after her husband's suicide.  She didn't have a groom or even a romance at the time but she was determined to have hope.  "I can see myself wearing this some day," she smiled.

Marcia died before the imagined wedding.  Since it was cancer that killed her, I'd say this too was sadly all too common.

P.S.  to Ruth:  I still have the book you gave me:  Love and Loss and What I Wore.