This past winter I really improved my skiing. Dad took me to St. Moritz and Zermatt in the Alps where we spent a couple of weeks in a really neat lodge he borrowed from some Arab shiek who owed him a favor. All the bathroom fixtures were solid gold, I think! The place came with a helicopter which whisked us to the various mountains we wanted to ski. And back in the United States, Mom and I skied Aspen and Vail. Our winter places in both places are really beautiful and our full-time ski instructor lived there with us. He’s a great guy, even filling in as our chef when our kitchen staff was off.
The weather was warmer than usual this winter so we put our skis away in the middle of February and flew down to our place in Barbados, all three of us. That’s where the big sailboat and the yacht are permanently docked. We fished and ate and swam and really had a lot of fun together all spring. For my birthday, Dad brought down Beyonce’ who put on a great show for us and some old business friends he flew in. The Arab shiek who had that place in the Alps even came, complete with that towel wrapped around his head. Ha, Ha. Dad thought that next winter we might want to alternate visits between our ski lodges and our Caribbean house (which is much bigger) every two weeks or so.
You might wonder when I went to school. I don’t think I mentioned that Mom and Dad had three teachers permanently on staff for me. There was always one living with us wherever we were at the time. They told me I am doing at least as well as the top students at those schools like Groton or Phillips Exeter where some of my friends go. Since Dad and his father both graduated from Harvard and were in all the right clubs there, I don’t think I’d have any trouble getting in there. Anyhow, our family foundation gave them a few million or so every year, so there wasn’t any problem that way.
The Middle East, Russia, Israel and Beyond
This is not unlike the unspoken position of Israel which has tolerated Assad's government as an unfriendly but acceptable neighbor so long as they don't make trouble on the Golan Heights. To them, Assad is the devil they know, and preferable to a more extreme Islamic government in Syria. So long as Assad keeps Hezbollah and other extremist groups in Syria from bothering Israel, apparently they are not interested in seeing him thrown out, by either ISIS or his other opposition.
on Vladimir Putin in Moscow. I don't recall reading a report on what they discussed but It is my guess that Putin told Netanyahu what he was planning to do in Syria ... and that it would pose no additional danger to Israel, in fact it would better Israel's position since Russian support of Assad would enable him to crack down on more extreme Islamic groups opposing him such as Al Qaeda and Al Nustra, as well as ISIS , all of which are more hostile to Israel than Assad's actions have shown him to be. Bibi was accompanied by several Israeli military leaders which suggests the nature and extent of Russian military involvement in Syria was discussed. It is inconceivable to me that this information was not passed on to the United States government by Israel so Barack Obama and John Kerry were probably not surprised by Putin's current actions.
Russia's involvement is like a chess game. The pieces on the board include all of the countries and leaders mentioned above as well as the Ukraine and the Crimea. Everything is interrelated. This is a time for Bobby Fisher and Boris Spassky. And of course, all of this is within the context of the Sunni - Shiite division within Islam, which can never be ignored. JL
ISIS - The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - Implies that it is located in these countries. Most common usage.
ISIL - The Islamic State in the Levant - Implies that it is located in that region of the world, without naming countries and is the preferred usage by U.S. government.
Islamic State - Caliphate - Implies an unlimited domain.
What is a Mondegreen?
About sixty years ago, a writer named Sylvia Wright wrote an article about new and unintended meanings which people attach to certain words when they "mishear" them. A typical "mondegreen" (for that is what these things are called) would be the lines from the Twenty-third Psalm which describe a kindly Irish woman who watches over you, sort of a super-nanny for adults. The psalmist tells us that "Surely good Mrs. Murphy will follow you all the days of your life..."
Two mondegreens relate to our National Anthem. Some Latinos believe it starts off with the words, "Jose, can you see ..." And the following words of that opening line describe to many a solid lighthouse perched on a rocky New England coast, and known to all as "The Dawnsery Light."
Earl O'Moray and what Lady Mondegreen might have looked like. No actual portraits of her exist.
There's a 17th century Scotch ballad about the Earl of Moray. It seems, according to the poem, that "They slew the Earl O'Moray, and laid him on the green." Many take these words to mean that when they he was slain, his girlfriend, Lady Mondegreen, was also killed, for don't the words clearly say, "They slew the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen"? And that, my friends, is why these things are called "mondegreens," at least since the aforementioned Ms. Wright gave them that name.
HOW TO BE ALERTED TO FUTURE BLOG POSTINGS.