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.

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