where we’re getting some crisp Fall weather and finally seeing the leaves turn red and yellow. The hiking is great in Harriman State Park with the beginning of that open winter view through the trees as they slowly shed their foliage. I’m really looking forward to snow.
On a much less happy note, I’ve been reading some of the hundreds of hits on the Facebook site, Support the Monks’ Protest in Burma, a group of advocacy organizations with over 430,000 members. I’m still wary of the recent visit to Myanmar of the UN special envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, feeling that it was anything but effective, but it looks as if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is moving toward her own talks with the junta leaders. This could be good if it deals with the severe problems of the Burmese people and doesn’t just give the junta a way to calm western criticism while continuing its repression.
I also wrote an opinion piece about putting pressure on China through the Olympics. I received several replies from people who had similar opinions. It seems that this is the only leverage we have with this country, since it owns so much of our paper and we are increasingly dependent on its cheap goods (maybe not dependent…but we sure buy them!). This is a sorry state of affairs, but an understandable result of our crippling national debt.
I’ve attached this link from today’s NYTimes, which summarizes the situation at this moment. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/world/asia/10myanmar.html?hp
I’ve also attached a link about the riots, shown in a video on http://www.kaltura.com/index.php/browse?kshow_id=20444
It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in New Jersey. On Nov. 3rd I played with the Plainfield Symphony in a splendid concert under the direction of Sabin Pautza. We performed Franz Schubert’s string quartet #14, Death andThe Maiden, this time as a world premier orchestral transcription by Maestro Pautza. The highlight, however, was Chopin’s Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No. 2, played magnificently by the young pianist, Allen Yueh. In addition to his flawless performance, he played two encores–by Mendelssohn and Liszt (variations on a theme of Paganini), which enchanted and wowed the audience. Here is a young man to watch! This will be the last concert until March, when Maestro Pautza returns from teaching and conducting in his native Roumania.
I’ve posted my second album on Facebook and here are both links. Be sure to click on the first picture to enlarge it, and read the captions. I hope to tell the story of my journey and of the condition of these people as they struggle to live in a repressive military dictatorship. If any of you wish to join as a friend on my Facebook site, please let me know.
I haven’t been neglecting the theater these past two weeks, having seen some superb plays such as Mauritius, a revival of The Ritz, and the energetic spectacle, Curtains, which gave David Hyde Pierce the 2007 Tony award. Daughter Martha and I went together and waited to talk with David afterwards, since we had a mutual connection with the summer camp on Lake Winnipesaukee, Camp Kabeyun, where he had been the drama counselor and where my sons and grandsons had gone. What an enjoyable conversation we had about mutual friends. He is one charming, delightful person.
I think I attended the best concert of my life last Tuesday at Carnegie Hall. The Bergen Philharmonic, under the superb direction of Andrew Litton, performed Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony, and Andre Watts played Grieg’s Piano Concerto. There was also a modern piece by Vaage and the Festive Overture, Op. 96 by Shostakovich. Spellbinding is an understatement for the evening.
This week I went with my old classmate from Syracuse, Peggy Menafee Henning, and her friend, Milly Kohlman, to see Kevin Kline in Cyrano. He is one actor you don’t want to miss! We had hoped to meet Jerry Stiller, another classmate, after the performance, but he couldn’t make it. So we sat at a Vietnamese restaurant on 48th Street and heard the story of Milly’s amazing six years (1976-1982) sailing a 41-foot ketch around the world. She did this with her husband and then 6-year-old son, Robert. During that time they visited 42 countries and 7 territories, stopping at ports where they discovered whole communities of sailors (mostly families), making for lots of camaraderie and a core group of new friends. Robert was home-schooled and at 12 wrote (long hand, of course) a story, “Cruising By A Kid,” which was published in Cruising Magazine. This is some ingenious and go-getting child! During those six years he continued to write, starting a magazine, which he printed by hand, using carbon paper and making four copies at once. This was the first magazine ever published afloat, for sure, and it sold for ten cents. In Cyprus one winter he started a newspaper and gave it away free. Fortunately, someone in the marina offered a mimeograph machine so the writing went easier. Robert continued writing and had his last essay published in the newspaper when they returned, entitled “A Cruiser is a Friend Waiting to Be Found.” By this time he was in public high school where he graduated with honors. Since then he’s been a journalist and is now a practicing lawyer. Let’s hear it for travel, adventure, and home-schooling!
Perhaps the best story of all is Milly’s description of a Thanksgiving feast held in Cyprus. It started with six American boats, but an invitation was sent out to all who might want to join. One hundred and eight people signed up, a church gave the hall, the British Air Force gave the tables, the school provided folding chairs, and a bakery baked three huge turkeys. Everybody brought something and at the end people from ten countries arose and gave special thanks in their language. I shall think of this when I sit down for my Thanksgiving dinner in two weeks.
Milly has not slowed down one bit. Among her present activities are tennis and hiking. I can certainly relate to the latter, but have always had trouble hitting the ball in the former.
The off-Broadway show, Three Mo’ Tenors, completed this delightful evening.
Again, I call your attention to my daughter, Cary’s, blog. She has some interesting things to say about China. Evidently they are still angry about the reception Congress gave the Dalai Lama last month. So censorship is tighter than ever. www.carypeterson.wordpress.com