Happy Holidays to Everyone and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Dear relatives and friends,

Yesterday, Sunday, we attended a Christmas service in the Long Island Anglican Cathedral in Garden City, “A Festival of Carols” Anglican churches are soberly furnished; putting an emphasis on the excellent church choir. It put us in a great Christmas spirit.

Brigitte has sold her house in Neuburg an der Donau. I will miss the view of the Neuburg Castle from the upper floor. Last week we went to the German consulate in Manhattan to have the papers certified. Since the Japanese Cultural Center was right next door we visited an art exhibition there. Bold brush strokes morphed into detailed color illustrations on large flat screens. A whole new digital art experience. I have thought for some time that except for astronomical price increases, not much is happening in the market for fine art world – I was wrong.

Our health is fine and business is good. The Chinese are still our best customers and suppliers. The 6 feet of snow that fell in New York and was reported around the world by the media in November did not hit us. However, we did have a lot of snow in the spring. Not only was our company building’s flat roof ruined, we also had severe water damage. The cleanup lead me to simplify and I am now embracing minimalism. In my company office (see picture) I display a single piece, of the many arts and crafts objects that we possess, at a time and rotate them out monthly.

The furniture in the photo is from the year 1824. Last month, on the 10th of November, this heirloom, from a direct ancestor of mine, turned 190 years old. To celebrate its two hundredth anniversary I will have to make it to age 91. It will be worth it, hopefully, to get that old.
In the meantime, we are celebrating our birthdays with the entire family. Last year my 80th was celebrated in Rome and next year, with any luck, in Hawaii. In January Brigitte’s birthday will be celebrated with the whole family in Miami.

One of the challenges with smart phones is to continue to keep our aging memory in shape, while simultaneously actively participating on the Internet. I believe, however, that my lifelong learning is going faster now. Additionally, I have picked up a Chinese concept – from a Time Magazine article – to employ the computer to automatically and independently sort out all the private and business data that I generate daily.

In “Der Spiegel” last week a dark picture was drawn of the digitized world and the future potential threat of artificial intelligence. I, on the other hand, think that with a little trust in God technology could provide great opportunities for humanity, even appealing to those with a Christian outlook. George Dyson expressed it well in his book “Turing’s Cathedral” where he quotes Alan Turing’s 1950 views on how we should approach true machine intelligence: “In attempting to construct such machines we should not be irreverently usurping His power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children: rather we are, in either case, instruments of His will providing mansions for the souls that He creates.”

We are happy to be celebrating this Christmas with all three of our children and their partners. It is wonderful having them all here.

We hope this letter finds you in good health and spirits!

Gerhard and Brigitte