Me: "What do you think Madeleine will be like as a teenager?"
Wednesday, August 31
Me: "What do you think Madeleine will be like as a teenager?"
Tuesday, August 30
Justin and I hang a print (behind the kids) - real man's work, which requires a new drill, leveler and various other power tools. I apply my metro-sexual as we contemplate this, and other hangings, in the apartment sans fee, as I indicate to Natalie.
Me: "This is good cake."
Surrounding Verbier, further up the mountain and above the village, are 400 km of hiking trails, covering the chamois and ibex through the mountains, some of them covered with snow all year round. I see a number of healthy middle-age and elderly people powering along with sticks or ski poles eating fromage or salami and skipping to their joie de vivre. They will live forever. Another 200 km of mountain bike piste , carved into the mountainside, offers sweeping views of everything below. Our luck with us, too, as the weather mostly pristine accept a few puffy clouds on Saturday that break the endless blue.
Photo, from Nat and Justin's deck, of wester Pennine's Grand Combin - at 4,314 meters, one of the largest mountains in the Alps - eternally covered by snow and glaciers (hidden by the cloud bank).
Thursday, August 25
Wednesday, August 24
Tuesday, August 23
From the John F. Kenney Library:
"On October 14, 1960, at 2 a.m., Senator John F. Kennedy spoke to a crowd of 10,000 cheering students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor during a presidential campaign speech. In his improvised speech, Kennedy asked, "How many of you, who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?" His young audience responded to this speech with a petition signed by 1,000 students willing to serve abroad. Senator Kennedy's challenge to these students—to live and work in developing countries around the world; to dedicate themselves to the cause of peace and development—inspired the beginning of the Peace Corps."
John F Kennedy
"Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed—doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language.
Monday, August 22
My Mercury Redstone V Kit Specifications:
Length: 13.75” (34.93 cm)
Diameter: .95" (24 mm)
Motor Mount Size: 18mm diameter
Fin Span: 2.00" (5.08 cm)
Weight (without motor): 1.25 oz (35.5 g)
Recovery Method: Plastic Parachute
Sunday, August 21
Prior to America, I spend a good month building the Mercury V, a model rocket that broke me in my yuf. My 11-year old fingers, and patience, unable to construct the red escape tower, pictured : then, tears. This time I demonstrate , ahem, maturity, and allow, you know, glue to set or paint to dry before moving forward - basic stuff that drives me nuts.
Madeleine and I drive into Surrey and the kennel where Rusty has been these past five weeks. Madeleine can barely contain herself as the handler retrieves the pooch. We hear Rusty first - yap! yap! yap! - and then mother and child reunion is only a moment away.
"now is a ship
"No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away, oh, little darling of mine"
Friday, August 19
Thursday, August 18
It has been one great , long, month as we pack the SUV for one last trip : DIA. Been here before, I feel. Our flight departs 8PM so we go to Whitney's pool club to burn off energy (kids) and sunbathe (Sonnet) before the long-haul home. Me, I swim some laps and contemplate my office and the future : summer almost over and another year nearly gone by somehow.
We head to Denver - Beecher and Whitney, pictured - where we enjoy a Sonnet family reunion : Robin, Bill, Bill, Martine, Frank, Maire and Turk and their tots. This has not been a year without cancer and loss but we are together and happy to be so. Bill's cancer has caused cracks in his upper vertebrae which require cement fillings : The good news : His mind sharp as ever and his doctor allows him to ride. Bill a photographer and we compare notes on practices and places to shoot; his backyard not so bad. Beecher makes a huge spread followed by strawberry shortcake and ice cream; the kids chase each other around the backyard despite the heat.
Tuesday, August 16
4AM, hello!, and I am up for Arches National Park. Eitan, who beforehand agrees-interest in joining me , immobile and snoring , so I leave him be. It is pitch black upon exiting Moab, Sunday morning, and not a car on the 191. Since 70 degrees I am in shorts and a tee-shirt and have the air conditioning "on" as I pass the deserted park-entrance (Arches open to the public 24/7, 365 days a year ) and curve up a windy rd on to the mesa. Adding some drama , my SUV informs me with a loud "beep" : no gas. I figure the fumes can get me to where I wish to be, and back , but my calculation based on nothing other than a hope , and a prayer, with a slight anxiety expressed in my mid-section.
And so here I behold Balanced Rock . The height of this magnificent ancient geo formation about 128 feet, with the balancing rock rising 55 feet above the base. The big rock on top is the size of three school buses and weighs 3,577 tons. Until recently, Balanced Rock had a companion - a similar, but smaller balanced rock named "Chip Off The Old Block", which fell during the winter of 1975/1976. It is a spiritual place and I remain in darkness , awaiting sunrise. To pass the time I do some deep breathing and yoga exercises. Magic, man. Plus I make it to a gas station.
The plateau, where I stand now, surrounded by 2,000 ft cliffs with a narrow neck of land maybe 30 yards wide connecting the mesa to the main plateau. It was easy for cowboys to fence off the neck and round up wild horses. Legend has it that one group of horses left fenced and eventually died of thirst in view of the Colorado River - hence the name. This where final scene of Thelma & Louise filmed.
Our first night in Moab, >100 degrees, Sonnet, Madeleine and I explore a local park behind the fancy part of town (Eitan remains in the room, smartly, to watch TV). Our reward : a brilliant sunset followed by the moonrise, pictured, which otherwise appears much bigger than my camera records
The Biblical name "Moab" refers to an area of land located on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Some believe the name used because of William Pierce, the first postmaster, believing that the biblical Moab and this part of Utah were both "the far country". However, others think the name has Paiute origins, referring to the word "moapa" meaning mosquito. Some of the area's early residents attempted to change the city's name because in the Christian Bible, Moabites are demeaned as incestuous and idolatrous. One petition in 1890 had 59 signatures and requested a name change to Vina. Another effort attempted to change the name to Uvadalia. (Source: City of Moab website)
Monday, August 15
Gateway Canyon Resort, and its surrounding area, owned by John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel (Hendricks got his start, in '85, with a $5 M investment from Allen & Co, whose partner - Botts & Co. - my first opportunity in London. Allen's investment worth $ billions ). Hendricks' father, a home builder, knew of the area and , since public land, told his son that, should he ever have some money, he must own it. The rest of the story, as they say, history.
"Ma'am, I don't know much about thoroughbreds - horses or women. Them that I did know, I never liked. They're too nervous and spooky; they scare me. But you're one high-bred filly that don't. 'Course, I don't know what you're talking about half the time."
“I've had three wives, six children and six grandchildren and I still don't understand women”
Friday, August 12
Silver recounts Quaker boarding school - The Grove, in Maine, before Vassar : 9:30PM lights-out! No matches (cigarettes!). No boys (heaven, forbid!). Students achieving certain minimum exceptional performance allowed to pursue extra-curicular studies and Silver chose . . vocabulary. She learned one-hundred words a week and has not forgotten one.
Thursday, August 11
We hike into Sneffel Wilderness while our trail takes us to the first of three Blue Lakes : this one 10,980 feet. The lake unnatural blue , filled by a stream from the towering Mt Sneffels, which has some scant snow. The water freezing cold - I last a few moments before too painful - while Eitan does a full-on cannonball then scrambles out, Dear Reader, in something near shock.
"Mount Sneffels is a fourteen thousand foot mountain peak located in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness of the northern San Juan Mountains, about 5 miles west of Ouray. The mountain named after the volcano Snæfell, which is located on the tip of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in Iceland. That mountain and its glacier, Snæfellsjökull, which caps the crater like a convex lens, were featured in the Jules Verne novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth. An area on the western flank of Mount Sneffels gives the appearance of volcanic crater. Seen from the Dallas Divide on State Highway 62, Mount Sneffels is one of the most photographed mountains in Colorado."
The riots : like everybody, I am upset by the ransacking of London and other UK cities. This is violence fueled by boredom and opportunity : looters can do it, so they do. There is no Great Cause, like suffrage or the Arab uprising, motivating these people. Where is the imagination? Thatcher's coal miners thuggish yet fighting for their livelihood . Blacks in America , equality. We see criminals stealing electronics. We hear inarticulate, bored , yuf who believe they are owed yet fail to get educated or working. They contribute nothing yet receive health care, opportunity, and roads to leave. Cameron has it right, quoted in the NYT : "The sight of those young people running down streets, smashing windows, taking property, looting, laughing as they go, the problem of that is a complete lack of responsibility, a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals."
"Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."
Wednesday, August 10
Tuesday, August 9
As I am up at 4:30AM for some horrible reason , I rouse myself from bed to sneak from the hotel to the SUV to drive to Black Canyon. The temperature a perfect 70 degrees , despite the hour , while HW 50 deserted. I turn into the National Park and curve along the mesa, passing the empty ranger station, a number of look-outs, the closed visitor center and eventually Painted Wall , pictured, where I set up my camera and await pre-dawn. The gorge, cut by the Gunnison River over millions of years, puts my balls into my stomach : one slip and it is a long ways down. I jump about the rocks with my tripod in a reckless fashion that would make Sonnet scream.
"At a sheer 2,300 feet, the Painted Wall, a prominent segment of the Black Canyon's north rim, is Colorado's highest cliff. The darker rock is Black Canyon Gneiss. The bold white and pink bands are granites and pegmatites injected during Middle Proterozoic (1.4 Ga) through Cambrian (~510 Ga) intrusions. Large books of white mica (muscovite) and crystals of pink potassium feldspar and translucent quartz give the pegmatites their lustrous pink look.
And no vacation would be a vacation without football for Eitan. Thanks to Stan, Eitan joins 75 kids, ages 10 to 14, for three hours of evening action, Wednesday to Friday. The well groomed pitches offer sweeping views of the mesa and Rockies. Two-thirds of the players female. Photo by Sonnet.
Big J's Pawn Shop on Main Street across from the Coffee Trader, the best coffee in Montrose. The founder-proprietors Fong and Will, both gay, from Las Vegas where Fong responsible for Harrahs Hotels entertainment and Will same for MGM Grand. In short, better than a sitcom. The duo moved to the Western Slope twelve-years ago, buying a derelict house, and turning it into their vision : a stately Victorian with a lovely coffee garden filled with flowers, tables , a few lounge chairs and a happy vibe. Many new proprietors followed their lead and, today, downtown Montrose celebrates a Main Street festival every Thursday evening of summertime.
Sunday, August 7
We cross the Rockies on familiar tarmac , heading for the Western Slope and Montrose.
Up and at 'em, 4:45AM, to the Newark Airport. We watch a spectacular sunrise over the Empire State Building. Kids pretty good about it, too, while me : I just drink more, and more, coffee. Does anybody else notice that the more you imbibe the more you need ?
Saturday, August 6
The Fed, the US central banking system, created in 1913 in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907. Sound familiar ? Over time, the Fed's role has changed in response to things like the Great Depression. Its duties today "are to conduct the nation's monetary policy, supervise and regulate banking institutions, maintain the stability of the financial system and provide financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions" , according to their charter.
The Fed's structure composed of the presidentially appointed Board of Governors (or Federal Reserve Board), the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks located in major cities throughout the nation, numerous privately owned U.S. member banks and various advisory councils. The FOMC is responsible for setting monetary policy. The Fed designed to serve the interests of both the general public and private bankers. The result : a unique structure among central banks.
The Fed independent inside government, ie, "its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government." However, its authority from Congress and subject to congressional oversight. Uncle Sam receives all of the system's annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks' capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained. In 2010, the Federal Reserve made a profit of $82 B Band transferred $79 B to the U.S. Treasury. (Source: Wiki &c.)
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. "