Anjali and family are in Evora, a picturesque town, with its Roman temple of Diana.
Anjali spotted the ducks, venturing out of the shadows, as well as the reflection in the pond.
The stones look old. It’s Portugal.
When Laura was covering the great Algarve soccer tournament two years ago, she sent us daily photos of the specialty at her restaurant:
O Rei dos Frangos – The King of the Chickens, printed on every plate.
Today she sent us a photo of the main course in an outdoor cafe in Evora.
Cada um na sua, as they say in Portuguese.
To each his own.
Friday evening I was hugging them goodbye at JFK Airport.
Eighteen hours later, I texted with my grand-daughter.
“Yo Kid,” I typed. “How’s Lisbon? Send me a photo every so often.”
“Okay, I will,” she said.
But you never know.
“Hills. Old buildings. Flowers. Photos!” I urged.
“Not any that are impressive,” she said.
“You’ll find stuff,” I said. I know her.
“Hold on,” she typed. Then this popped in:
“Real peacock?” I asked.
“What I’m talking about,” I typed.
She’s on notice.
The latest output from the family is by David Vecsey, who normally spends days and nights editing others but occasionally exercises the writing part of the brain.
David made a journalistic foray into the heart of darkness known as sports fantasy gambling. He emerged with his shirt still on his back, plus a story describing mood swings based on the doings of athletes, some previously unknown until he drafted them. His article on Gothamist:
Then there is my wife’s cousin, Paul Grundy, MD and MPH, IBM's Global Director of Healthcare Transformation. He and two colleagues have written an entry-level primer on the mysteries of health care including trends toward industrial-size health complexes, concierge doctors and the vanishing of the actual family doctor. (You noticed.)
The book is: Lost and Found: A Consumer’s Guide to Healthcare by Peter B. Anderson, Paul H. Grundy, MD, and Bud Ramey (contributor).
Next is Laura Vecsey, former sports columnist and political columnist, currently covering the U.S. women’s soccer team, World Cup champs, on their victory tour of America, for Fox. Her latest article on Carli Lloyd’s candidacy for player-of-the-year:
The family legal wing is in Pennsylvania, where Corinna V. Wilson is the energy behind the consulting firm Wilson500.
Corinna helped write the Pennsylvania right-to-know act of 2008, and she flexes her writing skills when that important law is threatened by nervous politicians:
Finally, my book that has done the most good for others has been revived.
I helped Bob Welch write “Five O’Clock Comes Early: A Young Man’s Battle With Alcoholism,” first published in 1982 soon after Bob’s return from a rehab center, to be a star pitcher for more than a decade.
My friend Bob passed in 2014 – a lot of us are still reeling from it – but his book, updated, is a handbook for anybody, particularly the young who cannot believe they are powerless over addiction.
I’ve heard from people who say Bob's book helped save a life. The new e-book version is from Open Road Media:
Fortunately, some of us also have visual talents. Marianne Vecsey is a painter (above) and Anjali takes photos with her smartphone (below)
I heard the girls were heading south on I-75, known in the mountains as Hillbilly Highway because it takes people home on weekends and holidays.
Get off and take the Valley View Ferry, I urged. I used to do it whenever I could, from Louisville to Eastern Kentucky.
Stop at the Kentucky Horse Park, I insisted.
Don't forget the Boone Tavern at Berea.
I sometimes forget how much I love that part of the world.
* * *
It's not Appalachian, per se, but treat yourself to the Gary Bartz version of "I've Known Rivers," adapted from the Langston Hughes poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."
Anjali was looking into a pool and saw the sky.
What else does a photographer need?
She is embarking on a soccer road trip that will include rivers -- the Susquehanna, the Monongahela, the Allegheny, the Ohio, the Kentucky and the Tennessee.
I have ordered up photos.
That reminded me of "The Water Song" by the Incredible String Band:
Anjali was looking deep into Cupcake's eyes..
Cupcake was looking somewhere else.
A lawn chair, matter of fact.
Isn't that how life is, really?
"You're just seein' things through a cat's eye, baby."
---49 Bye-Byes, Crosby Stills & Nash, 1969.
Anjali was in biology class with her nice teacher. Somebody came in and told the students to look out the window, at a red-tailed hawk with the remains of a pigeon.
At first it made me think of the cave paintings at Lascaux, France, not far from where our rellies Jen and Sam live. But when I asked Anjali about it, she reminded me that she had been to upstate New York over the holidays.
So it wasn't Paleolithic work by early humans from 20,000 years ago?
"We went for a walk in the woods," Anjali told me.
She spotted some wood by the side of the path.
"It was termites," she said.
Happy new year.
More photos by Anjali:
The glow of the galaxies, during the longest nights of the year up north? Celestial Hanukkah candles perhaps or star of wonder, star of night?
This could be a job for Neil deGrasse Tyson.
I called Anjali, our grand-daughter.
"What is that?"
I wondered if she had been fiddling with some supra-lens, up in some observatory, aiming toward the night skies.
"I was hungry," she explained with a giggle. "I was making some mashed potatoes in the microwave."
She used a glass plate to cover the dish. When she took out the plate, there was condensation on it.
"I went outside and got some leaves and put them on my table. Then I put the plate on top of it."
She usually takes about 15 seconds for a photograph. She points her iphone 5s and knows something will come of it.
No re-takes. She just knows.
"I was just messing around," she said.
So life is not a fountain, as the guru maintained.
Instead, life is a plate of nuked mashed potatoes.
Happy solstice. Happy carbs. Happy comfort food. Happy New Year. Happy mysteries.
* * *
For more photos by Anjali, please see:
Got yourself quite an improvisor there, George.
Dear Mendel, thank you for noticing. We just put away our menorah, all is well. Happy Holidays, GV
Anjali has a wonderful combination of imagination and a keen eye.
Thanks for the link to her web site. We do not have to depend upon your occasional postings to enjoy her work.
Dear Alan, thanks for the nice words. She gave us actual photos of 20 of her best....Our best to you both up north. Happy Holidays, GV
Really interesting article!The quotes here you mention about happy new year messages for friends are really great and i like it.Thanks for sharing the article about happy new year messages for friends and happy new year in advance:-)
<a href="http://dailyhindisms.com/happy-new-year-2015-sms-messages-in-english/">happy new year messages for friends</a>
Thor A. Larsen
Enjoy this relaxing post-Christmas period and encourage your very talented grand-daughter Anjali to keep them coming! I love her beautiful, imaginative creations!
Very Best Wishes to all for the New Year.
Figured it couldn't be a golden sun shining through dense leaves at this time of year -- pretty cool. But inasmuch as we just cleaned up 22 multi-course place settings over two days of holiday feasting, your granddaughter just gave me an idea......a very bad idea......
George, it might be of interest to take your granddaughter to see something we just saw week before last at the Met Museum that blew us away. They recently created a room to house the Thomas Hart Benton mural he had painted for the New School. What a incredibly moving story it tells of our country during the depression years. An inspiration piece!
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Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.