Monday, November 21, 2011
Heath and Deborah Campbell, the New Jersey parents of three children with Nazi-inspired names, lost custody of their fourth child 17 hours after he was born, the Express-Times of Lehigh Valley, Pa., reported this weekend. The Campbell family stepped into the spotlight in December 2008 when a ShopRite grocery store declined to decorate a birthday cake for their son Adolf Hitler Campbell’s third birthday. I understand that they settled for rugelach on that occasion.
There is a new addition to Columbus Park. Surrounded by the elderly, but animated, Chinese card and Xiangqi players is a statue of Sun Yat Sen. At bottom is an octagonal plinth, about one foot high, of black concrete. Resting on that is a trapezoid of shiny black marble, inscribed on all four sides in gold paint or gold leaf. One side gives a brief biography and outline of his philosophy in English, repeated on another side in Chinese. A third side lists donors to the structure, but the fourth side had me stumped. The trapezoid stands about seven feet tall, supporting the actual statue, fashioned in iron I’d say from its slight reddish-rusty surface. I imagine the statute is life-size, which would mean that Sun Yat Sen was between five and six feet tall, closer to five. I can’t comment on the likeness since his face was about 12 or 13 feet off the ground, 6 or 7 feet above my eyes. Of course, my recollection of his features is somewhat blurred with time.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I knew that I had eaten at 19 Henry Street before, but I thought I was going to a new establishment when I entered Noodle King Restaurant. The windows said JJ Noodle and the big sign across the front said Family Noodle. I figured with those changes, I was about to add to my inventory. But, when I visited on May 10, 2010, I recorded the name as Noodle King, which is how the menu identified it today. The major difference, as I reread my earlier comments, is how many customers were sitting and eating this time, while the last time almost all the activity was confined to take-out and deliveries. In any case, I ordered beef with orange flavor ($9.95). This came with hot and sour soup, but white rice was $1 extra. Had I stuck to the lunch specials, I could have had chicken with orange flavor, soup and white rice for $5.50. However, with Thanksgiving looming, this is not a week for poultry dishes, and I enjoyed the large portion of beef cooked with tangerine peel, hot peppers, garlic, and green onions. Vividly green American broccoli rimmed the plate.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Using data on the links among 721 million Facebook users, a team of scientists discovered that the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the United States was 4.37, and that the number separating any two people in the world was 4.74, according to the New York Times. Last night, I discovered how shockingly close I came to a genuinely nasty character, Daood Sayed Gilani, now known as David Coleman Headley. Raised in Pakistan by his Pakistani father after his American mother returned to the United States, Headley is now imprisoned as the architect of the Mumbai attack on November 26, 2008, which killed 164 people and wounded almost twice as many. As an adult, Headley traveled back and forth between the US and Pakistan, apparently operating on both sides of the law. For a time, he lived on the upper West Side and that’s where I come in. “A Perfect Terrorist,” a PBS documentary shown last night, said that he owned Flik’s Video, 175 West 72nd Street, a couple of doors in from Broadway. When he closed it down in 2006, I still had about 25 video rentals due on a prepaid plan. Now, he is in a high-security prison and I use the New York Public Library to get DVDs. I just wish the intervening time had not proved so devastating for so many innocent people.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Tomorrow is a big day. Mother Ruth Gotthelf will be 102 years old. That’s a lot of years. We had our birthday party on Thanksgiving Day, with Bertha and Judi and Ivan and David and Harold and Allison and Boaz and Lily and Elaine and Myron and Amanda and Noam and Stu and Howard and Irit and Brian as guests. The dinner was delicious, another tribute to the non-academic skills of America's Favorite Epidemiologist. If somehow you were not among yesterday's crowd and you wish to help celebrate the 102nd birthday of Mother Ruth Gotthelf, we suggest a Good Deed. Take the time, maybe only a moment, to perform a Good Deed. Or, transfer a Good Deed to her name. We’ll handle the paperwork.