First, I want to thank Rawrahs for covering last week and writing a damn interesting essay in a manner only he could do.  Much appreciated.  And of course, thanks for the nice things you wrote about Sue and me.

A whole lot has happened since my last post so I’m going to land on a few of the things that caught my attention and actually stayed in my head.

First, of course, was Sandy, which crushed New York and New Jersey and wreaked havoc for a swatch of about a thousand miles.  I hope none of you who read this have suffered serious losses, but my heart is with you if you have.  My friend Bruce Turkel, who I’ve mentioned before, posted a list of places to donate for any of you want to pitch in.

What struck me other than Sandy’s devastating impact were the acts of kindness displayed throughout the storm.  We are a nation strongly divided along fundamental issues that play out politically, but New Jersey Governor James “Chris” Christie said, and I paraphrase, “We don’t need no steenkin’ politics here.  We got an emergency!”  The caring and assistance folks have given each other, friend or stranger, speaks to something significant about our people.

Also, the Federal Government showed that it had learned from past mistakes and or incompetence (see Katrina) which re-enforces my notion that government is capable of change and has the potential for helping those in need.  People who want to castrate government really need to turn this horror into a learning experience.  Without the federal government working hand in hand with states, many more lives would have been lost or ruined with little or no chance of recovery.

And finally, it actually seems as if climate change is back on the table.

On a much more joyous note, last Sunday brought me together with many friends and family who helped celebrate Sue’s and my marriage.  It was a great night, at a great place, with great people.  Thank you.  I know the out-of-towners were staring Sandy in the face and I just want you to know how much we appreciate your chancing it.  And how much we appreciated the loving emails, letters, and Facebook comments.  It all turned the night into our finest.

On the campaign front, is it too much to ask that politicians’ ads be fact-checked before they’re aired?  After all, it takes about three minutes for people on the Internet to put out the truth after the ads have been seen.  Why can’t both state and federal election commissions do it first?  If we can’t keep astronomical money out of our politics (two billion dollars and counting, thanks Citizens United), can we at least try to control the outright lying?

I ain’t gonna hold my breath.

Despite all that’s been going on, there was still a bit of time to turn my attention to popular culture. (I Want My MTV!!!)

Tonight is the last night of Anthony Bourdain’s television show, No Reservations, on the Travel Channel.  Bourdain first made a splash with his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential, a back scene look at how restaurants–and especially their kitchens–operate.  A chef himself, Bourdain chronicled little known aspects–the sociology if you will–of the business with a keen eye and superior writing.

He brought those same skills to nine seasons of traveling around the world to famous and little known countries.  Ostensibly, his show was about the different foods in the countries or areas he visited.  It was–but also about far more.  Bourdain’s spotlight on each region extended way beyond food, digging in to the different cultures and the reasons behind them.  It was always a breath of television fresh air to listen to his script given his talent as a writer.  No Reservations will be missed.

And speaking about television fresh air, I still can’t say enough about Showtime’s Homeland, based upon the Israeli series Hatufim (English translation: Prisoners of War). I’ve written about this show before, but the second season maintains and perhaps surpasses the last.  This isn’t blood and guts tv with violence seeping out of every scene. This is an hour where the story and character interactions keep your ass on the edge of your seat with its twists, turns, and tension.  Claire Danes is simply terrific in her role as a driven, obsessed C.I.A. agent and Damian Lewis right there as a returned prisoner of war after eight years of captivity.  No surprise to me that the show, Danes, and Lewis all won Emmys because they sure as hell deserved them.  If you have Showtime and On Demand, you can watch the beginning of the series until the present.  Absolutely worth the time.

Finally, I’d like to again thank everyone for all their wonderful comments about Sue and our marriage.  We felt the love.  And I got the girl!!

“We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” Margaret Mead