Report from Jerry: Phoebe’s gone again

Anna reported yesterday that, after spending a day with Honey in the pond, Phoebe departed again. Perhaps this time it’s for good, but it was time for her to leave, and at least she had a grand reunion with her mother before taking off.

Now I’m not sure whether Phoebe really has flown the coop (or the pond), as she’s disappeared before. But if she’s emigrated, I’d prefer her to go this way than to be scared into flight by chainsaws. I will of course report if I get more news.

Honey remains, and according to Anna is looking “happy and beautiful”. I’m sure she’ll be there when I return Sunday, and I’ll be around to see her annual departure with a champagne toast.

The KentPresents meeting is wonderful, with lots of really absorbing talks. Last night I got to have dinner at a table with the art critics for the New York Times and New York Magazine respectively, a molecular gastronomy expert, the former head of Homeland Security, and CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl (one of my news heroes). I learned a lot, and was pleased to find that both art critics agreed with me that the Isenheim Altarpiece, by Mathias Grünewald, is one of the greatest paintings of all time. We even did a fist bump when we found our agreement.

I had a long conversation with Robert Lang, who happens to be a reader here and is one of the world’s experts on making Origami. He’s speaking Saturday.

I will report all this when I return, as I have lots of news and pictures, including one of Henry Kissinger, who’s being interviewed by Lesley Stahl onstage today. I have an idea what she’ll ask him (we rode back to our inn together last night), but more later. Yesterday I went to discussions about the Supreme Court, Trump versus his Justice Department, photographer Diane (pronounced DEE-ANN) Arbus, and a absorbing discussion by Michael Pollan about his latest book on psychedelics.

This is all I have time to report; it’s off to breakfast and the meetings to hear my own University President, Robert Zimmer, talk about free speech. Sean Carroll, our resident website physicist, is also speaking. I talk tomorrow.

16 Comments

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Here’s hoping the lovely and talented Ms. Stahl doesn’t let that bag of old bones Henry the K slide with his customary mendacity.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 17, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I would think Leslie could find a more interesting interview – maybe he would compare Watergate to the current office holder. Maddow will be interviewing Brennan on her show tonight and this could be a bit more interesting. If she could get William McRaven to sit for an interview, that would be good too.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 17, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        Yeah, in addition to Adm. McRaven (Ret.), a dozen bipartisan former CIA and DNI chiefs have issued a joint statement condemning Trump’s stripping Brennan of his security clearances. Good to see bona fide patriots coming to the aid of their country.

        We’re in a slow-motion constitutional crisis. These things tend to unravel bit-by-bit, then all at once.

        • mikeyc
          Posted August 17, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          I saw the take down of Trump by McRaven. Hard hitting and I’m glad to see it is being supported widely among the military minded. Trump must be boiling. All I can think of is Steve Irwin; “Oi, That’s gonna leave a mahk”.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 17, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            Can you imagine how piss-poor the morale must be right now among the rank-and-file in the US intelligence agencies and the Justice Department?

    • Posted August 17, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      According to her, that ain’t gonna happen.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 17, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Good; get a front-row seat. Will this eventually be broadcast to TV-land?

        • Posted August 17, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          I’m told all the talks and conversations will eventually be online.

  2. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    During university, when I moved out of the dorm and into my first apartment, one of the first “coffee table” books I bought was a Diane Arbus collection. A difficult to describe view of people. I found the unblinking frankness caused me to rethink my emotional reactions to all sorts of people. She had an ability to bring out layers of complexity.

  3. Christopher
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Just bought that Michael Pollan book “How to Change Your Mind”. I enjoy his books, even when I don’t totally agree with him. He is a very engaging communicator.

    • George
      Posted August 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I think I need to read Pollan’s new book. I have listened to a couple of interviews with him. Long ones so I have a feel for the book. But I am not sure how to approach it.

      Let’s say, hypothetically, that you ingested psychedelics 25-30 times when you were younger – say age 17 to 28. What you were taking is not of verifiable quality or dosage. But no bad trips. Not a carefully guided trip with some electronic music in the background. Maybe at a Grateful Dead concert or in a room with friends, a stereo at high volume and plenty of beer. How would that change you. There is no way of knowing what you would be like if you had not had those experiences. Not sure how to even speculate about this.

      Not that I know anyone like that. Just curious.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        So, strictly hypothetically, what might the consequences be? Asking for a friend.

        • George
          Posted August 17, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Pollan says that research shows that psychedelics can be used therapeutically – treatment for depression, alcoholism, and other things. He also says they can be used to “improve” an otherwise healthy person. I have to read the book to get a better understanding of what that means. So was your friend “improved” by use of psychedelics? Would there be no more improvement later in life? How much of an effect would the earlier use of psychedelics potentially have on him/her?

  4. Mark R.
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    That must have been a fun table to be sitting at. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 17, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      I’ll say! I’m very envious! What a wonderful conversation to listen to.

  5. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted August 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    You’ve just given me two things to do. I have Robert Lang’s famous (to origamists’ book ‘Origami Design Secrests’. I must get it out and try to fold some of his models, and there is an exhibition of Diane Arbus’ work on at our art gallery, so I must go and see that as well.
    Sounds like a fantastic conference, and I look forward to some/all of it going online.


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