Discovery Channel: Three minutes on the airports of tomorrow (WheelTug at 1:57).  Some of it pretty silly — but not, I hope, WheelTug.

Holland.  You have to read/watch this about Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands and his press conference there.

Book #1.  You know the old guy you always see sitting on the stoop of his brownstone, or else on the bench outside the supermarket?  Rumpled white T-shirt and shorts, seemingly not crazy — nor homeless — often reading, never muttering to himself.  Maybe mid-seventies?  Overweight?  Not much white hair left?  No?

Well, I do.  A little.

And not long ago, as I passed him on his stoop, he urged me to download and read a copy of his e-book: Fifty Years And Counting: One Man’s Journey Through A Half Century Living In New York City.

The autobiography of a talented man who didn’t hit the jackpot.

In a way, Fifty Years reminded me of one of my all-time favorites — Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground — whose fictional narrator begins, “I am a sick man.  A wicked man.  An unattractive man.”  A man who lays it all out there.

Well, John Elari is neither sick nor wicked — nor Dostoevsky — but boy does he ever lay it all out there.

He had a ten-year run as celebrity florist-to-the-stars that brought him into contact with everyone from John Lennon to Meg Ryan. But that was a long time ago.  He has lived in the same one-room rent-controlled apartment for nearly 50 years (paying about 20% what your or I would, were he ever to give it up) and in this book chronicles 50 years of New York (as well as some of its earlier history), 50 years of the nation, and 50 years of loneliness and a certain amount of bitterness.

If you happen to be a gay man of a certain age living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, you have to read this book — ah, the memories.  If you’re anyone else, I’m not sure what you will make of it.  It’s sooooo raw, soooooo honest.  (Soooo long and un-copy-edited!)

But for the price of a latte, he gives you his whole life.  Which in and of itself is a remarkable thing.

Book #2Homo Deus.  Yes, I keep plugging this one.  It is beyond fascinating, riveting, and important.  (Thanks, Matt!)

Book #3. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.  You may be sick of hearing about it or feel that, with all the excerpts, you don’t need to read it.  But oh my gosh.  Read it.  Or listen to it at 1.5X . . . which I prefer because one of Trump’s speeches (to the CIA), read verbatim at that speed, will leave you reeling.

Bikes.  Backpacks.  George Mokray points us to China’s test of a solar highway — here.  But then goes on to write us about solar backpacks and energy-capturing bikes:

This is the future I’d like to see where every individual who wants to can have survival electricity easily, affordably, and in perpetuity.  That future is available to the present now through off the shelf commodity products produced in gross quantities – small solar devices and bicycle generators – but it is not a possibility recognized by the vast majority of people because we are so unused to thinking of the power of the small.

My experiments with solar backpacks have gone on for about a decade and a half and I am still the only person I see walking around Cambridge, through the Infinite Corridor of MIT, or in the halls of Harvard with such devices.  I go to lecture after lecture on energy and climate change and only rarely mention my solar backpack.  I don’t want to embarrass the bigwigs.  Most people don’t even notice that I carry solar power on my back.  In the bicycle shops, every one I’ve asked about solar bike lights doesn’t even know that such products exist.

Oh well.  I think this is an important message and am trying to let the people in Puerto Rico, the American and British Virgin Islands, throughout the Caribbean and the world know that these tools are available NOW, affordable NOW, and work so that at least you can have a light at night and some communication through phone, when the cell towers are operating, or through the radio if they are not.  This is real NOW and I am doing what I can to help others realize it.

Like many problems, the solution is right in front of us but we don’t have the eyes to see the obvious.

Click here for pictures and links from George’s blog.

Have a great weekend!



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