Friday, October 8, 2010

Fortieth Week

Monday, October 4, 2010
Are we running out of electrons? Are electrons, like the rest of us, slowing down as a result of the aging process? Are there too many electrons, so that they are crowding each other out?
Recent events give rise to these questions.
This morning, around 10 AM, my cell phone informed me that I had a message. Playing it back, I found that my dear British friend David Mervin, in New York to visit his Brooklyn-based five-month old granddaughter, was available for lunch today, Monday. However, the message came in 6:22 PM Sunday. I don’t care so much that I missed the call while the phone was turned on, because I was shopping at Trader Joe’s and Fairway between 6 and 6:30 PM, and it is likely that I missed the ring in the hubbub. But, why did it take about 16 hours for the message prompt to pop up?
Not long after the cell phone did not ring on Sunday evening, I returned to my palatial home positioned between the Hudson River and Central Park and looked at my e-mail. I found a message from the widely-admired Stanley Feingold confirming his attendance at an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York on John V. Lindsay, former New York City mayor. The message appeared in my electronic Yahoo in-box at 6:51 PM, Sunday, October 3, 2010, in response to my announcement of the event sent to Stanley and others at 9:20 AM, Thursday, September 23rd. The event itself was held on Tuesday, September 28th and Stanley and his lovely wife Fumiko attended. I was not able to identify the time Stanley sent his message, but I imagine that it was probably later on the same day I announced the event, that is Thursday, September 23rd, because Stanley is a fastidious person, personally and intellectually. The lag time, therefore, was something like 240 hours; it took 240 hours for Stanley’s e-mail message to get to me telling me that he and Fumiko were coming to an event 111 hours in the past.
16 hours for a cell phone message to be registered. 240 hours for an e-mail message to be received. What’s up with that?
Is it possible that all that stupid twittering, friending, texting, sexting has made it difficult for adults to exchange information efficiently? Where have my electrons gone?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
An unexpected call to take someone home from the hospital, pulled me out of the office most of the day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
A nice, mild, dry day with moderate temperatures and all sorts of things going on outside and I forget to take a pen with me at lunch time. So, working from memory, I first noted on the courthouse steps a group of 30 or so lawyerly types arrayed behind a speaker endorsing Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., the Republican candidate for New York State Attorney General. Facing them were about 15 reporters and cameramen capturing the historic moment. I did not recognize the endorser. Around the corner, near the Moynihan Federal courthouse, a blond lady was primping before saying something for the benefit of those watching CNN maybe live or maybe later. There were two other television satellite trucks parked nearby, but no other signs of activity so I rolled right by. I entered Danny Ng’s Place, 52 Bowery, thinking I was entering the Golden Bridge Restaurant, directly opposite the Manhattan Bridge. However, the staircase and escalator to the Golden Bridge, likely a large dim sum establishment, were closed off and, where they reached the second floor, dry wall covered the former entrance to the restaurant. Instead, walking straight led me into Danny Ng’s, a medium-sized restaurant which promised to also be a dim sum establishment. The familiar green-eyed phoenix and red-eyed dragon were on the back wall. The long wall to the left held six attractive Chinese paintings and scrolls. Six small crystal chandeliers illuminated the premises which contained mostly large round tables. The long wall on the right side, however, was mostly covered with photographs of presumably Mr. Ng with all sorts of people, often police in uniform. I have to note that Mr. Ng, judging by the photographs, is not aging well. Right above my head was a framed white, Harvard tennis team polo shirt, celebrating its Ivy league championship for 2004-05, signed by the team members, two of whom apparently were Chinese.
All lunch specials were $5.25 and I ordered roast chicken with garlic sauce. Now, I’ve commented that chicken with garlic sauce appears on virtually every Chinese restaurant menu and never is served the same way twice. This dish, however, was the epitome of roast chicken with garlic sauce. A very small piece of chicken, maybe one-eighth, was gently roasted and topped with slices of (aromatic) sauteed garlic. No more no less. I enjoyed it very much, making up for the small portion by inhaling the white rice served on the side.
I also did not mind the small portion because America’s Favorite Epidemiologist has cooked a beef vegetable soup and beef stew to lay in for the winter ahead, leaving portions out for tonight’s dinner. However, I thought to add a little fruit to lunch and, noting the pints of strawberries at $1, a best buy, I bought one pound of rambutans for $4. According to our friends at Wikipedia, rambutans, also the name of the tree it grows upon, are round to oval and 3-4 cm broad, growing in a loose cluster of 10-20 fruit. The leathery skin is usually reddish and covered with fleshy pliable spines. It looks more like an animal than a fruit, a red, hairy golf ball that is about to propel itself across the room. Be sure and see for yourself. According to (go ahead, I dare you), one approaches a rambutan "by either cutting part way into the rind or, if fresh, biting into it as the spines are quite soft and pose no threat." Well, I cut away and tasted a pleasant fruit similar to a grape. Officemate Michael accurately likened it to a litchee. I think it should be prized for its decorative value, but I'm finding it impossible to insert a picture right here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
King of Casserole, 21 Division Street, looks like a Chinese luncheonette. No effort has been made to make it look nice (although such efforts in Chinatown often have the opposite affect). It is medium-sized, busy only with Chinese customers. The menu consists entirely of noodle or rice dishes including pulled noodles and knife cut noodles. One grouping of dishes was labelled South Wind Rice. Could they have meant South Park rice?
I ordered roast duck fried noodle ($6.25 no tax added) with a choice of noodle. I chose Ho Fun, which is Chow Fun (my favorite) by another name. The fried must have meant stir-fried, because the noodles were cooked the same as the better Chow Funs of my acquaintance, while I was expecting something crisp and crackley.

Friday, October 8, 2010
Friend and neighbor Steve came downtown to join me for lunch. We went to Jing Fong Restaurant, 20 Elizabeth Street, the marvelous, cavernous dim sum joint, ate up a storm and paid $10 each including a generous tip. A good way to end the week.

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