Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simon Gurvets, Stuyvesant ‘12, sent me some shocking information. When I went to Stuyvesant High School, named for Peter Stuyvesant, the notoriously anti-Semitic Director-General of Nieuw Amsterdam, who lost his right leg to a cannonball in a battle for the island of Saint Martin in 1644, it was all boys. Therefore, all of our athletic teams were known as the Peglegs. Today, there has been a mad proliferation of team nicknames, as provided by Simon.

Baseball: Hitmen
Basketball: Runnin’ Rebels
Bowling: Pinheads
Cross-Country: Greyducks
Fencing: Untouchables
Football: Peglegs
Boys’ Golf: Eagles
Girls’ Golf: Birdies
Girls’ Gymnastics: Felines
Girls’ Handball: Furies
Boys’ Handball: Dragons
Boys’ Track: Hitmen
Girls’ Track: Hitmen
Boys’ Lacrosse: Peglegs
Girls’ Lacrosse: Huskies
Boys’ Soccer: Schoolers
Girls’ Soccer: Mimbas
Girls’ Softball: Renegades
Boys’ Swimming and Diving: Pirates
Girls’ Swimming and Diving: Penguins
Boys’ Tennis: Hitmen
Girls’ Tennis: Lobsters
Girls’ Volleyball: Vixens
Girls’ Volleyball Jr. Varsity: Warriors
Boys’ Volleyball: Men of Steel
Boys’ Wrestling: Spartans

Cui bono? Does the family tree of some member of the Stuyvesant athletic department include the manufacturer of t-shirts and sweatshirts? Almost every day, when I go to work, I get off the subway at Chambers Street and West Broadway, the nearest station to the current Stuyvesant building, further west on Chambers Street. As a result, I see dozens of kids wearing their respective Stuyvesant team shirts on their way to school. In addition to the disparate names, there seems to be anarchy in the color palette for the teams. We all know that Stuyvesant’s colors are blue (near-royal) and red, so what’s with the purple and green and maroon? I believe that, once we reform Wall Street, we need to bring discipline to Stuyvesant’s sports teams for the future of this country.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Upper West Side’s Power Couple spent the last two days at the Rhinecliff Hotel, a lovely inn, right on the Hudson River. Every one of its nine rooms has spectacular river views since only a small parking lot and railroad tracks separate it from the Hudson. Of course, this results in some interesting sound effects when the midnight special comes by at full throttle. It's like having a big set of trains in your basement. It made me want to break out the banjo and start singing "The Wabash Cannonball," "Casey Jones," and "City of New Orleans." Room 204's bathroom was the size of a Manhattan studio apartment. The kitchen and service were very good, as well. We had a Groupon deal and, under the circumstances, I recommend it very highly for a getaway with or without the colorful display of autumn leaves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tom Adcock, distinguished novelist and journalist, came by for lunch. Befitting this special occasion, we went to Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth Street, probably large enough to seat most of our comrades occupying Wall Street. Because of the flow of stimulating conversation, I did not keep track of what we ate, but I estimate that we had about 10 different items even as we turned back many other ladies with their dim sum carts.

Then, a very curious New York thing happened. I mentioned my still-surprising involvement with West End Synagogue. Tom, of distinguished Irish-Catholic lineage, sort of froze as a memory came back to him. His wife, the lovely actress Kim Sykes, comes from New Orleans and had family who severely suffered from Hurricane Katrina. As I later pieced together the story, Kim's good friend Jonathan Sobel told his mother Eileen Sobel about Kim's family's plight. Eileen, a WES member, repeated the story to Yael Ridberg, then WES's rabbi, who arranged for a grant to the New Orleans folks that, according to Tom, proved very helpful in getting them back on their feet. Maybe because my New Orleans relatives seemed to have literally and figuratively weathered the storm pretty well, I feel the need to thank Kim's family for their courage, and Jonathan Sobel, Eileen Sobel and Yael Ridberg for their concern.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I’m so glad that I ignored common sense on this cold drizzly day and walked about a half mile for an initial visit to Thai Angel, 141 Grand Street. The food was excellent. I started with Bangkok beef soup ($4.75 small) to fight the chill. It had slices of beef in a dark, perfumed broth. Then, I had Pad Cee Eiw with chicken ($7.95), essentially chow fun, only the wide, flat noodles did not clump together. The portion was very large and delicious. The medium-sized place was deservedly busy, but service was efficient.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today, October 28, 2011, a clear, bright, chilly day, the new basketball court and a half, in the southern tip of Columbus Park, was finally in use. It may have opened earlier this week while I was away, but it was getting its workout today. Two park workers (“Parkies” to those raised in Brooklyn) were sweeping the court clear of autumn leaves, which will be an ongoing problem because of the trees along the Mulberry Street edge of the park. Without daily grooming at this time of year, wet leaves will pose a problem to players scampering up and down the court (and a personal injury lawyer’s delight).

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Monday, October 17, 2011

Shanghai Asian Cuisine, 14A Elizabeth Street (April 7, 2010) served me a very good dish of Shanghai lo mein with mixed meat and shrimp ($7.50). It should have been a slightly larger portion, not so medium-sized. The lo mein itself was interesting. Usually, lo mein is close to, if not exactly, spaghetti; round in cross-section, about 1/8" diameter. Today’s lo mein was square in cross-section, about 3/16" per side.

I walked through Columbus Park when I returned to the courthouse, an almost daily occurrence. The beautiful weather attracted a large crowd of elderly Chinese men and women clustered around the stone tables, playing or kibitizing the Xiangqi and card games. I’ve noted the lively activity before, but I realize that I’ve kept a secret about the card playing. The Chinese (men and women both) deal the cards counter-clockwise, while we, you, me, Las Vegas, Atlantic City deal clockwise. It’s not like they are in Australia where the toilets flush backwards. It turns out that we are backwards. Wikipedia tells us that the Chinese invented playing cards, with examples found from the 9th century. It took another five hundred years for cards to get to Europe. So, we’ve got it wrong, which may explain some of my debacles at the card table.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I took the day off to take some medical tests. The treadmill stress test is supposed to analyze your risk of a heart attack, but I think that it was designed by cardiologists to get more patients.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sam Sifton was restaurant critic for the New York Times for two years. Last week, he published his final review, a four-star rating of Per Se, Thomas Keller’s East Coast outpost of serious cuisine. I’ve never eaten in Per Se, but we ate at the French Laundry, Keller’s mother ship, in the Napa Valley about a half-dozen years ago, when my bride wanted to celebrate my birthday. As a result, I probably will not bother with Per Se and not just because the French Laundry was the most expensive meal I never paid for. It was too disciplined, too serious, too careful. I was tempted to imitate Harpo Marx and have silverware fall out of my sleeve to see the reaction of staff and patrons. I appreciated the meal at the French Laundry, I admired it, I respected it, but I did not enjoy it. I did not emerge from the restaurant exclaiming "Hoo hah," "Whoopie," or some similar expression of glee. There was nothing happy about the dining at the the French Laundry, and for hundreds of dollars per person, I expect a grin, maybe even giggles.

Today, Sifton wrote a column summarizing some of the highs and lows of his tenure dining out. What I want to mention is his new job, national news editor of the Times, after two years as restaurant critic, almost the same amount of time that I have been navigating Chinatown. Unlike Sifton, I have no expense account and often have had to deal with language and cultural barriers. Under these circumstances, I think I should be ready for a big promotion as well, maybe Secretary of State once Hillary steps down. Consider my proven adeptness at dealing with foreigners, coping with diverse manners and mores, and avoiding food poisoning. A true diplomat.

Rain and wind removed any desire to search for a restaurant at lunch time. So, when the three young, Chinese-American lawyers randomly in the elevator with me agreed that they were going to Big Wong, 67 Mott Street, my mind was made up, although my previous visits were disappointing (March 17, 2010, August 24, 2010). This time, it was a success. I ordered lobster with pan fried noodles ($15.50). This was a whole lobster in pieces, over mei fun (vermicelli) fried to a crisp, then dumped into a brown sauce loaded with ginger, garlic and scallions. The sauce softened the noodles, but they retained an underlying crunchiness. Of course, handling the lobster pieces was messy, but a good time was had by all my fingers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bun Soho, 143 Grand Street, is a pretty slick Vietnamese restaurant. Actually, it is Bún Soho, so don’t mistake it for a dim sum place. After much deliberation, I have chosen to ignore diacritical marks in identifying restaurants with the exception of the e in café. This is particularly unfair to the Vietnamese whose typical menu rivals a Hebrew prayer book in the appearance of squiggles and wiggles and angles and dangles above and below the letters. In any case, this long narrow restaurant supposedly has an active social scene after sundown, but I wouldn’t know about that. One half the space is devoted to an attractively-lit bar and then a food preparation area. Opposite is a line of booths with good artwork on the wall above.

I had short beef ribs wrapped on lemon grass skewers, served with hoisin peanut sauce ($10) and duck confit ($12). The beef was dry and the only sauce on the plate was used to draw an outline of Cambodia. By contrast, the duck was wonderful, juicy in a red vinegar soy sauce. In fact, extra sauce was served with the duck unnecessarily, while the beef was parched. The only obstacle was how to eat the fried duck egg on top with chopsticks alone. Fear not, gentle readers, Grandpa Alan pulled it off without even a dribble on his chin, no less his tie.

My digestion was also improved by the $10 discount coupon that I bought for $1 from This is a good site as long as you take the trouble to read the fine print. Typically, the coupon value must be applied to a check twice as large. Tips are excluded, drinks may or may not be. The cost of a coupon is itself usually discounted subject to a promotion found somewhere on the web site. Just don’t expect Le Bernardin.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Muammar el-Qaddafi (as the New York Times identifies him) was born on June 7, 1942, just a few months after me. During my New York City school days, the cutoff for the next grade was May 1. So, he would have been placed one grade behind, that is, when I was in third grade with Miss Delaney in PS 159, he would have been in second grade. In fact, because I skipped the eighth grade at JHS 64, he would have been two years behind when I got into high school, unless he also skipped a grade, keeping the one-year gap. In other words, our paths did not cross and I don’t even think that we had any mutual friends.

As I passed Columbus Park on my way to Joe’s Ginger, 25 Pell Street, for its very good scallion pancake, I realized why the carefully laid out basketball court and a half remain closed to the public even as the days grow shorter and colder. I can’t believe how dumb I am, not picking up on this sooner. The National Basketball Association has locked out its players since July 1, 2011 in an effort to force a more favorable collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations are continuing, but, as of now, the earliest that play may begin will be the beginning of December. So, if there’s going to be no basketball indoors, there ain’t going to be no basketball outdoors.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Liquid Assets

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Italians took off for Columbus Day. Oh, there must have been a power outage at the center of magical coincidence, because my lottery tickets did not win anything.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yummy Yummy Bakery, 35 East Broadway, halfway back, beyond the cakes and bakery items, has a small counter with prepared foods. For $4, you get a spoonful of four items, soup (a tasty broth) and white rice. I had chicken of some sort, sweet and sour pork, a piece of fried fish and eggs scrambled with vegetables. There were about 8 good-sized booths, and I left under my own power. I admit that I might not have patronized Yummy Yummy were I not accumulating restaurants, but I’m on a mission. 

Today’s New York Times reports: "As more Americans turn to government programs for refuge from a merciless economy, a growing number are encountering a new price of admission to the social safety net: a urine sample. Policy makers in three dozen states this year proposed drug testing for people receiving benefits like welfare, unemployment assistance, job training, food stamps and public housing." That’s fine with me as long as we apply the same tests to corporate welfare recipients. Let’s have all those bankers who took bailout funds whip it out and whiz one for Uncle Sam. Same for the auto companies’ bosses. Before the folks in Miami, Minneapolis, and Nassau County are tapped to build ballfields for millionaire private owners, I want to hear zippers unzipping at the urinals. If putting peanut butter in the pantry with foodstamps is worth a little liquid donation, I think we can expect the same when a few hundred million are at stake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I have a lot in common with Representative Michelle Bachmann, Governor Rick Perry and Representative Ron Paul. We are all on the public payroll. Among other active Republican presidential candidates, this was once also the case with Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. Other notable Republicans who have been mentioned in the presidential race, if only by themselves, who are or have been on the public payroll include Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and Mitch Daniels. Only Herman Cain and the beloved Donald Trump remain free of the taint of public service, the only ones who cannot be accused of Working for the Enemy.

Which brings me to Columbus Park, actually the southern tip of the park which was torn up in early August. Since then, in fits and starts, about 80% of the area was excavated, filled in, resurfaced and equipped. Now, the project is nearing completion. A full court basketball court, with a green surface, carefully drawn lines for the key and the three-point arc, and sturdy stanchions holding fiberglass backboards has been installed along the Mulberry Street edge of the park. Next to it, a half court has been installed, with exactly the same detail and equipment, except in half. The Attica Annex exercise area was never disturbed, possibly because of the air of menace that I always observed among its users. The whole site has been barricaded since early August and, even now, there is no indication when it might be reopen. In other words, for over two months during good weather, valuable playground space has been lost to the public, but, as harsh weather approaches, this outdoor facility is being readied for use. Is this a great country, or what?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last night began another holiday in the string that introduces the Jewish New Year. Succoth (Succos to us old-timers) is characterized by the construction of a temporary shelter (Succah) in which meals are taken for a week. It combines a celebration of the completion of the harvest and a reminder of the flimsy accommodations the newly-liberated Hebrews had as they crossed the Sinai Desert, way back when. Each year, our Englewood relatives invite us to their Succah for dinner. Remember that this is Aunt Judi from Englewood, the Kosher Julia Child, we’re talking about. Staying away is grounds for committal.

Because of the rain, we started our meal in the Succah with blessing the wine and the bread and then, as our ancestors sought the Promised Land, we headed right to the dining room inside. Without distraction by the climate we were able to enjoy the food and wine, all strictly Kosher and strictly superb. We started with Aunt Judi’s Famous Meatballs, served over Israeli couscous. Then, there was a shredded cabbage salad (but not cole slaw), a strudel filled with spinach, potatoes and mushrooms, roasted portobello mushrooms, cauliflower and onions, breast of veal, bones served separately, honey baked chicken, and a berry fruit relish. By special request, dessert included chocolate chip mandelbrot (Jewish biscotti) and I saved room for brownies. However, I passed on the marble cake since I didn’t want to overdo it.

Even though I skipped the marble cake last night, I still wasn’t hungry today, so lunch was a small strawberry yogurt ($3.95) at Sweetberry, 34A Mott Street. It wasn’t bad, a little pricey, but since no one else came in, I sat on one of the two stools for about ten minutes doing the crossword puzzle.

I had paused for a funeral on Mulberry Street, not an unusual occurrence with three Chinese funeral parlors in a row just above Worth Street. However, the picture of the deceased atop the flower car, a typical local Chinese custom, showed a young man in an Army uniform, not a wizened elder. The cortege of about 20 cars and limousines was accompanied by six middle-aged non-Asian men on Harley Davidson motorcycles, identifying themselves as Patriot Guard Riders who attend funeral services in "an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security." After they passed by, I found out that the young man died in Afghanistan, but no one could tell me whether he was killed in combat. It was very sad, no matter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today, we venture forth into New England to visit Noam who walks and Boaz who runs. Maybe we can divert the two of them sufficiently to give their parents a chance to just sit.

As a byproduct of travel, I read today's Wall Street Journal, and was particularly interested in the story "Hollywood's Favorite Villain: Business," written by Rachel Dodes, daughter of my former dentist. She inventories many instances, from Metropolis (1927) through The Social Network (2010), where the the lives and crimes of captains of industry (never the captainettes it seems) are held up to scorn. WSJ did its part in righting the cultural/ideological balance with its front page headline: Social Worker Caught Stealing Pencils. Oh, I'm sorry. I had a dyslexic moment there. The actual headline reads: Trader Draws Record Sentence. Something to do with Wall Street.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Information You Could Use

Monday, October 3, 2011

Since family is very much on my mind these days, I’ll cite two things that happened outside the normal scope of this endeavor, that is, not in Chinatown, not at lunchtime and not on a weekday. Saturday was Susan Gotthelf’s birthday, celebrated widely in Buenos Aires. She’ll have to tell me if there are any other Gotthelfs in Argentina. Speaking of other Gotthelfs, America’s Favorite Epidemiologist, Alan Gotthelf and Allan Gotthelf had dinner together last night, at Dhaba Restaurant, 108 Lexington Avenue, an excellent Indian restaurant. No, I’m not stammering. My cousin Allan (middle initial S where I have none), ten months younger, also Brooklyn-born and Stuyvesant-educated, was visiting from Pittsburgh, where he now teaches. Considering the closeness in our age and upbringing, the cases of mistaken identity have been relatively few. Now, sometime I’ll tell you about the Alan Gotthelf who I think grew up in Detroit, maybe was a twin and served in the Army in the late 1960s in Colorado. Two or three times, people from across the country have sought me out as him. Then there is the Alan Gothelf (one T), who grew up in Encino, California, whom I employed as a delivery boy in 1979 just to confuse people.

ABC Chinese Restaurant, 34 Pell Street (January 22, 2010), delighted me again. I had baby shrimp with scrambled eggs ($5.95) from the lunch menu, white rice and tea included. The shrimp were not baby, and the food was delicious.

CSI: NY was filming on the courthouse steps when I returned from lunch, with ersatz cops, lawyers, reporters and suspects mingling with us real-life specimens.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I had either a head cold or a cold head this morning, so I stayed home.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Since I did not feel 100% today, I went into 69 Bayard Restaurant only to have a bowl of chicken rice soup, increasing its potency with a couple of spoonfuls of hot Chinese mustard. There was excitement, however, when I came to pay my bill. When the waiter brought over the traditional, cellophane-wrapped fortune cookie (which I would not eat, see February 6, 2010), he was in a highly-animated state. The hermetically-sealed package contained two fortune cookies, seemingly a rarer occurrence than human multiple births, and an omen of good fortune. He showed it to other waiters, and they urged me to “Buy ticket” and “Play lottery” in order to take advantage of this sooth-saying mutation. These days, I buy a lottery ticket at rare intervals, usually when the prize approximates Greece’s national debt. However, hail fellow and friend of the working class that I am, I left the restaurant promising to share 10% of my after-tax lottery winnings with the waiters, as long they may legally accept the funds in Alabama.

I bought $5 worth of lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing on the way home.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

While the winning numbers were picked last night in the New York lottery, to which I committed $5, I decided to hold off on checking my tickets until Sunday, when the period of atonement and spiritual renewal would be behind me, and I can focus on which luxury Paris hotel to languish in as a reward for walking into the right candy store.

I was delighted to have Michael Ratner join me for lunch today. Michael, having retired from operating one of New York’s leading construction firms, now is engaged in the domestic equivalent of bullfighting, trying to buy a co-op apartment in Manhattan. When he asked to go to a classic Chinatown joint, I immediately headed back to ABC, where I had been earlier in the week. We ordered dishes that were not quite on the lunch special menu, but were delivered and priced as if they were. We had beef with ginger and scallions and Singapore chow fun. Both were delicious. Michael also had hot and sour soup and a can of iced tea. With tax, the meal was just over $18, but gave several times chai in satisfaction.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Michelin announced its star ratings for New York City 2012 on Wednesday and Zagat followed on Thursday with its top 10 New York City restaurants. Since I fasted from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown in the always futile attempt to mend my ways, I thought that listing their selections would be the appropriate way to return to the dining table. Michelin is in alphabetic order, Zagat’s by rating.


Eleven Madison Park
Jean Georges
Le Bernardin
Per Se

Gordon Ramsay at the London
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Four Seasons Hotel New York
SHO Shaun Hergatt

Zagat’s Top Ten

Le Bernardin
Per Se
Jean Georges
Eleven Madison Park
Sushi Yasuda
La Grenouille
Peter Luger Steak House

Reflective of my taste or more likely my wallet, I’ve only been to a couple of these places over the decades, Jean Georges and Peter Luger. Even at Jean Georges, we ate in the café section, Nougatine. Additionally, I went to Bouley and La Grenouille at previous locations. Obviously, trickle down ain’t trickling fast enough for my sake.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Orleans/New Year

Monday, September 26, 2011

We flew back from NOLA today and return to work tomorrow. I’ll provide a quick recap of the balance of the weekend. Saturday night, we ate dinner at Tujague’s, 823 Decatur Street, founded in 1856, owned since 1982 by Steven Latter, a member of my Grandmother Gotthelf’s family. Tujague’s serves one five-course meal for about $40 a person plus drinks, tax, tips: shrimp remoulade, sweet potato crab meat bisque, beef brisket in horseradish sauce, choice of main course only (blackened shrimp over pasta, filet mignon, fish with crab meat – but, if you know to ask, chicken bonne femme, roasted chicken under about 1/4 inch of fresh chopped garlic), bread pudding for dessert. Certain relatives and friends should note that a non-overtly-treyf meal was made available, as needed.

Sunday, Cindy and David left and we visited the National World War II Museum, a fascinating enterprise. Besides a large permanent exhibit loaded with photographs, memorabilia, artifacts, constructs and recorded memories, a separate building houses a theater which shows Beyond All Boundaries, a multi-dimensional, multi-media movie on a very large screen, narrated by Tom Hanks. The presentation included special effects beyond light and sound to capture the feeling of combat, flight and bomb explosions very effectively. Even though the seats rocked and shook at appropriate places, I felt that I had not merely wandered into a thrill ride at an amusement park. An overarching flaw of the museum is its US-centricity, although modest recognition is given to the efforts and sacrifices of other nations and populations, including the Soviet Union. On the other hand, it is not the International World War II Museum. Additionally, while ultimately the museum is an expression of American patriotism, it honestly acknowledges our inability to abandon domestic racism while professedly fighting international racism. It gave credible support for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, to avoid massive casualties in the invasion of Japan. However, the bombing of Nagasaki three days later was mentioned in one sentence without any rationale. There weren’t many people visiting on this beautiful afternoon, with the New Orleans Saints playing at the Superdome nearby at exactly the same time. I wonder if the museum will survive in the future even without the competition of a professional football game, especially as Americans increasingly turn to myths to support their beliefs.

Sunday dinner was at Chef Duke’s Café Giovanni, 117 Rue Decatur (as they prefer), a very good Italian restaurant, where I had chocolate paté, a real dessert. Afterwards, we walked about ½ mile (a rare occurrence for a NOLA tourist who either hails a taxi, rides in a horse-drawn buggy, jumps on a street car or staggers) to Mulate’s–The Original Cajun Restaurant, 201 Julia Street. We had already eaten, so I had to pass on the fried alligator platter ($18.99), fried crab claws ($12.99) and, most regrettably, the Oreo cream dirt cake ($6.99, ice cream $2.99 extra), but this large room features live Cajun music all evening, without a cover or minimum if you sit at the bar. When it cost only a little over five dollars for a draft beer and an iced tea, I gladly left ten dollars on the bar.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The weather was lovely on my first day back in Chinatown. Either because of or in spite of the nice weather, I chose not to wander in search of a new restaurant, but instead returned to Yee Li Restaurant, 60 Bayard Street (March 26, 2010). I had spicy beef chow fun ($7.75), a very good, large portion that was everything but spicy.

As you are probably aware, I am attracted to interesting words and phrases properly and improperly used. After all, as the philosophers teach us, language is what distinguishes us from Sarah Palin. I read some of this week's New Yorker as I semi-slurped my noodles at lunch, and was caught by the following comments about the influences on a young, hot artist. "He also came under the spell of the Minimalists. ‘Robert Ryman’s huge!’ Kassay said." Hmm, is this the "jumbo shrimp" of the art world?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I know that turkey and chicken are the focus of the holiday menus for the next few days, so I had my mind set on beef as I entered Hop Kee, 21 Mott Street (February 9, 2010). I was a bit surprised at the absence of orange beef on the menu and more surprised at the high prices on the menu. Two egg rolls for $7, for instance. I ordered moo shu beef ($14.50), but I can't complain about its value. The portion was very large, accompanied by four pancakes. The preparation was excellent, thick with beef, eggs, mushrooms, green onions, yellow onions, celery, bean sprouts. Grandpa Alan did not make All Gone. One pancake and enough moo to stuff it were left over. Also, included at no extra cost were white rice (why?), fried noodles with duck sauce and mustard to dip in, tea and a fortune cookie. Not a bad way to end 5771.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The fifty-seven hundreds are flying by. We attended services last night and this morning. We invited some special friends to lunch this afternoon, and America's Favorite Epidemiologist dazzled them with her culinary prowess, something usually omitted in her CV.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The abundance of food we had yesterday provided enough leftovers to have more friends over lunch after services today.

The Jewish High Holiday period focuses on reflection of past behavior and provides an opportunity for a course correction going forward. That's okay by me, on the whole. We're expected to emphasize many of the familiar qualities of honesty, humility, courage, which I've been devoted to since my Boy Scout days. I do fine usually, when in a room by myself. I'm able to look myself in the eye, assuming a mirror hung high enough on the wall, recognize my weaknesses and take corrective action. The only problem arises when other people are around. They so often interfere with my spiritual journey and my modest attempts to change the world. Sartre, the Nazi collaborator and Communist apologist, was otherwise correct. H**l is other people.