Agreeing to disagree

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Rooftop banter. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021.  Yesterday was very warm, warmer than the day before, with sunshine and humidity to match. Last night when I sat down to write this Diary at 11 pm, it is 92 outside.

Blair knows well enough to hydrate — especially in that dry heat and all!

Today the forecast is forecast as hotter with more humidity. It kind of slows you down. Was on the phone in the morning with Blair Sabol out in Scottsdale. Out there they’re hoping for some monsoon weather which delivers a little moisture, which they’ve had very very little of in the past few months. But, I just learned from Blair, that the high temps in the desert (averaging around 115) are not humid which is what makes the difference between them and us.

From the desk. The NYSD pulls in a lot of emails numbering daily in the 100s that have nothing to do with anything for this potential customer except to delete it. Mainly ads or promotional ($$) material is the phenomenon of internet advertising. I suppose it saves the sender on postage as well as print advertising fees but rarely if ever does it catch my eye to provoke the product consideration.

For those of us who don’t look but simply delete, it doesn’t pay for the advertiser, but I suppose it’s all a numbers game. It has definitely changed the once brilliant and prosperous creativity of the advertising industry which used to engage your potential curiosity. Now it’s either jumping into the in-your-face promo or pressing the delete button.


I’ve got two just in case.

Another aspect of this “mail” phenomenon is the political “fund-raising.” This is relatively new. It really got going during the last election pre- and post-. In the past year, my mailbox has seen an enormous flow of daily solicitations for campaign fund-raising, or just plain political fund-raising for all kinds of candidates — from both parties — from all over the country everyday and for candidates for Congress, for state politics as well as cities.

Money, Money, Money … Please!

It’s a constant flow of messages about the candidates, with the two political parties pushing their agendas (always with a request for more $$$). Obviously it produces financial results for the parties and the candidates since they’ll take any amount you offer, which is not surprising. What is surprising, judging from the massive amount of soliciting, is that whatever you give, to whomever you give, the hand is back out the next day (or week or fortnight) for more. The question that it raises is: For WHAT?

I’m not in the financial position to give much if I were so inclined (which I am not). I’m left with the impression from ALL of them that whatever they raise, they need more. From us. I can relate; you probably can too: Most of us need more just to cover our own expenses in our campaigns to feed ourselves and stayin’ alive. Unlike those who are engaged in running the cities, states, and national government which the winners can then rely on their taxpayer-(that’s you) funded positions, I can only rely on whatever I earn with little or no guarantees or pensions.


Now here’s a “political” cause I can get behind.

Celebrating a Life. On Friday UN Women For Peace Association celebrated the life of their founder, the late Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser. Their new board president, Rema Dupont welcomed more than 100 friends reading messages from Muna’s family, a tribute from the organization’s patron, Ms. Ban Soon-taek, and another from her husband, former UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon.


Muna Rihani Al-Nasser.

Other speakers included Muna’s husband Ambassador Nassir Al-Nasser (former President of the UN General Assembly), Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN;  former US Ambassador to the UN, The Honorable Rosemary DiCarlo, Dr. Aida Saliby Masri, Francine LeFrak, Susan Gutfreund, Leila Heller, Dr. Hanifa Mezoui, Dr. Kevin Cahill, and finally Muna’s son, Aziz Al-Nasser. 


Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani.
Dr. Hanifa Mezoui.
Rosemary DiCarlo.
Rema DuPont.
Susan Gutfreund.

Muna’s friends gathered for the live ceremony with more from as far away as France, Lebanon, Monaco, Qatar, Switzerland and California were listening in live via Zoom.

UN Women for Peace Association is creating the Muna Rihani Al-Nasser Scholarship Fund in collaboration with the University for Peace. Donations can be made here.


Adrian Neritani, Aziz Al-Nasser, and Maged Abdelaziz.
Adrian Neritani, Valbona Neritani, Giorgio Kolaj, and Vera Djonovic.
Dr. Aida Saliby Masri, Dr. Bassem Masri, with Leila and Henry Heller.
Aziz Al-Nasser and Martha Stewart.
Edward Toptani, Rema DuPont, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Rita Cosby, and Tomaczek Bednarek.
L. to r.: Sheikha Paula Al Sabah, Jana Jaffe, Jonathan Marder, and Pat Kerr Tigrett; Jean Doumanian and Jacqui Safra.
Elbrun Kimmelman, Kevin Cahill, and Peter Kimmelman.
Martha Stewart and Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.
L. to r.: Rick Friedberg and Francine LeFrak; Catherine Petree Bellis and Andrew Bellis.
Sheikha Paula Al Sabah, Sharon Bush, and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia.

Last Thursday night, Emily Eerdmans hosted a book signing garden party for Christopher Spitzmiller’s A Year at Clove Brook Farm.

Despite the rain, they had an amazing turnout. For many guests it was a little surreal being with so many people after the past year of being mainly isolated from the company of others. Cathy Graham did some “bonkers” (Emily’s word for it) arrangements to celebrate the book which included radishes, carrots and peas amongst the ravishing flowers.



Guests were served mint ice tea from Chris’ book and Pimms cups. Among those attending — including the author of course — were Hamish Bowles, Susan Gutfreund, Mish Tworkowski, Richard Keith Langham, Wendy Moonan, Mary Hilliard, Nick Olsen, Alexandra Forbes, Jane Stubbs, Michael Lorber, etc.

It was the first time since Covid that Emily had a major event in her newly expanded space, and it was a splendid, positive evening for all.


Chris Spitzmiller and Michael Lorber.

Chris and his partner, landscape architect Anthony Bellomo, are both confirmed garden addicts. They report there is nothing more satisfying than tending and fostering a garden, and watching it develop and mature. It’s all documented in A Year at Clove Brook Farm (Rizzoli, 2021), with forward by Martha. Martha who? you ask? Why that indefatigable gardener herself, Martha Stewart.


Sam Bowman, Caren Bokuniewicz, Emily Eerdmans, Nick Olsen, and Haleh Atabeigi.
Chris Spitzmiller, Cathy Graham, and Anthony Bellomo.
Hutton Person, Emily Setter, Derek Thompson, Emma Woodberry, and Alison Hops.
Ellen Hamilton and Kelly Light.
David Kelleher Flight and Cathy Graham.
Susan Gutfreund and Chris Spitzmiller.
Jimmy Kaston and Katie Musorrafiti.
Troy Pittenter and Olivia Adams.
Chris Spitzmiller and Maureen Footer.
Haleh Atabeigi.
Anthony Bellomo and Seth Raphaeli.
Peter Murdock, David Boatman, Corey Damen Jenkins, and friend.
Andrew Mckean, Michael Diaz-Griffith, and Alonso Diaz Rickards.
Matthew Smyth and Brigitte Ple.
Jean Garrett and Michael Henry Adams.
Seth Raphaeli, John Marglotti, and Alexandra Brunetti.
Peggy Kennedy, Kerry Robinson, and Shani Mims.
Emmie Ruth Wise and Quentin Bacon.
James McDonald and Harry Walker.
Emily Eerdmans, Wendy Moonan, and Keith Langham.
Stephanie Stokes and Michael Diaz Griffith.
Scott Meacham Wood, Emily Eerdmans, Polina Proshkina, and Kerry Robinson.
Katie Musorrafiti, Luis Accorsi and Jimmy Kaston

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