Wednesday, June 29, 2016

No Place to Hide!

In the not so long ago days of yore we thought we could avoid trouble or catastrophe by avoiding certain places or situations.  Don’t stray into a war zone.  Stay away from mobs.  Get inoculated.  Don’t drink the water.  Make sure the door is locked.

All that doesn’t work any more.  If we move around, can we avoid airports or subways or movie theaters?  If we live normal lives, can we avoid schools or malls or sporting events?  Not a chance.  There’s no place to hide.

Fatalism may be the best antidote.  Hey, since I can get killed or maimed or otherwise harmed at any time in any place, I might as well just go on with my life and not worry about it.  I can’t do anything about it.  Whatever will be will be.  Que sera, sera.

It’s either that or crawl into a cocoon, assume a fetal position and hope that nothing bad happens.  Then, of course, there might be an earthquake.  Oh, well . . .

Have a great day!

Friday, June 24, 2016


A bad move for Britain and Europe.  An unnecessary political risk by David Cameron has come back to bite him in the ass, so it’s appropriate that he lose his job.  The trouble is that his arrogance and stupidity carries with it a lot of collateral damage.

England’s love/hate relationship with the continent goes back to Roman times, so its no surprise that dissatisfied Brits want to take out their frustrations on their long-term scapegoat.  The trouble is, is won’t help.  In that sense it is the same phenomenon as angry Americans opting for Trump as an antidote to a dysfunctional government.  Won’t fix the problem.

In the short term this vote will result in some chaos and disruption.  Later, one can hope, self-interest and common sense will lead to ways in which life will go on – until the next stupid move unleashes a new cycle of foolishness.  It’s hard not to be cynical about people learning from the past and not repeating it. 

And so it goes . . .

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Morning After!

I wanted the Warriors to win.  It didn’t happen.  After sleeping on the loss, and absorbing what was a bitter pill, I have this to say:

The Cavs deserved to win.  They were the better team, emphasis on team.

The Cavs wanted it more.  Reflect on how they played during the last three games, crashing the boards, scrambling for every ball, making fewer sloppy plays than we did.

LeBron was not to be stopped.  He was a force not to be denied.  He was the gold standard for what a superstar should be.

So congratulations to Cleveland!  They are worthy champions.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Routines are a blessing and a curse.  They are useful insofar as they support us in doing useful things.  They are not useful insofar as they lock us into rote behavior that becomes a matter of “I have to” rather than “I’m choosing to do this.”

I notice I have many routines:

I read three newpapers in the morning.
I watch Charley Rose every day.
I make lists of things to remember.
I alternatively read two books at a time – one fiction and one non-fiction.
I alternatively watch two lectures a week from two of The Great Courses syllabus.
I am consciously grateful every day for my blessings.
And more . . .

Every once in a while I step back, look and assess these routines.  Am I their prisoner?  Should I change my ways?  Looking at oneself can be an exercise is self-justification.  Its easier not to challenge my assumptions than it is to take a hard, honest look.

In the end I can’t know for sure whether I’m really telling the truth to myself.  But that’s no reason for not trying. 

On the other hand, deep introspection is not necessary.  I can simply ask myself, “Does this routine give me pleasure?  Is it satisfying?”  If the answer is “Yes,” I’m probably on the right track

Thursday, June 09, 2016


Indian Prime Minister Modi has been in the U.S. this week.  He met with the President.  He addressed a joint session of Congress.  He has been prominent in the media.  He wants a stronger relationship with us.  He’s put India on the right side of the climate change conversation.  He has positioned himself and his country on the right side of the angels.

T’wasn’t ever thus.  As a Foreign Service Officer I went to India to live and work in 1962.  I was to be there for seven years.  Nehru was Prime Minister.  While titular head of what was called the non-aligned block, Nehru leaned in the direction of the Soviet Union.  In the U.N. his man Krishna Menon ranted against the U.S.  As the Vietnam War ramped up, more and more Indians saw us as the enemy.

But it wasn’t all negative.  The best Indian students dreamed of studying in the U.S.  During the famine in the mid-1960’s we provided millions of tons of food to people on the verge of starvation.  Indians loved John F. Kennedy and mourned his passing.  Economic and cultural ties to the west were strong.  As an American in India I was the beneficiary of warm and respectful relationships.

In the years since, we’ve had ups and downs between our two countries.  We’re clearly in an up cycle these days, and I’m glad to see it.  It is more than trite to acknowledge that India and the U.S. are the world’s two largest democracies.  I’m pleased to see that the children (and even grandchildren) of Indians who emigrated to the U.S. when I was living there are leaders in business, science, medicine, and more.  And it is satisfying that many have chosen to return to India to contribute to their home country’s success.

From the minute I arrived in New Delhi on a warm, humid August night in 1962, I felt at home in India.  That has never changed.  I’ve been fortunate to return many times over the years, and have plans to make another trip early next year.  In some ways I miss the India as it was way back then.  I arrived only 15 years after Independence was achieved.  It was an old society with a brash new outlook.  Now it is a country in the midst of maturing.  The problems are different.  In many ways the people are different.  But there is enough of what I loved still in place so that I still feel at home.

Jai Hind!