Thursday, June 7, 2012

Returning to Normal

Monday, June 4, 2012
We have returned, leaving a legacy of peace and understanding in the Middle East. The Ruling Spirit of the Universe seems to be pleased with our accomplishments, signified by the three victories of the Mets over the Cardinals this past weekend, including the first ever no-hit ball game thrown by a Mets pitcher. On the other hand, I am personally off to a slow start, somewhat inhibited by digestion problems (of all things) that arose as we approached the continental US. For the last several days, the list of what I skipped eating is far more interesting than the list of what I ate. I hope to restore the natural order soon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Facing a root canal this afternoon, and my cast iron stomach having nearly returned to working order, I dipped back into Chinese food at lunch. A mild dip admittedly at Wo Hop downstairs, 17 Mott Street, for egg drop soup and chicken fried rice. I took into consideration my digestion and the dentist’s sense of sight and smell as he approached my gaping maw. This meal was Chinese food with training wheels, but was satisfactory nevertheless due to Wo Hop’s consistent high quality.

Surprise! After a pleasant walk to the dentist’s office, I learned that he has something in his eye and prudently defers my procedure until next week.

One byproduct of our vacation was the accumulation of reading material awaiting us, catalogs, periodicals and a near-complete edition of the Sunday New York Times, preserved by dear friends. I have been diligently trying to catch up and get current, but it has been a slow process. Two issues of the New Yorker were central to the dilemma. Fortunately one issue is a double issue, so, if I could get through it soon, I could return to the future. My problem was solved when I opened this double issue today, which is devoted to science fiction, and found it almost unreadable. While all the articles were written in English, not some invention to embroider “Avatar” or “Star Trek,” they contained almost no interesting, useful or even curious information to my mind. The result was that, on the subway ride back from the dentist, Fulton Street to 72nd Street on the #3 line, I read (scanned, skipped through, ignored) most of the magazine. For those of you whose knowledge of the New York City subway system is limited to the chase scenes in “The French Connection,” I have to note that the #3 line is an express train, stopping only a handful of times between the House of Dental Pain and the Palazzo di Gotthelf, leaving only a minimum amount of time for reading. Under these circumstances, I expect to be all caught up by tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Not only D-Day, but D&I Day. Congratulations to that wonderful couple celebrating their eighth anniversary.

Here is your latest Chinatown Fruit Report:
Red cherries are $2 per pound everywhere; white/Queen Anne cherries are $3 per pound or $5 for 2 pounds. Those juicy champagne mangoes (not a trademark lawyer’s favorite appellation) are $1 each for hefty-sized ones. Today’s best bet are donut peaches at $2 per pound on the east side of Mulberry Street, just south of Canal Street. Fairway has them at $4 per pound, although slightly larger in size thereby improving the flesh-to-pit ratio.

Heading back to the courthouse, I came across the largest ensemble of Chinese musicians this side of the Beijing Opera. Gathered at the northeastern corner of Columbus Park, with sheet music in front of most of them, were 4 Erhu (Chinese fiddle) players, 2 banjo players, 1 saxophonist, 1 percussionist, 1 Yangqin (hammered dulcimer) player and 2 singers, 1 male and 1 female. They made quite a sight, and quite a sound. Take that as you will.

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Because Michael Ratner and I agreed to have dinner together before attending a lecture at West End synagogue, and because Michael’s wife does not like Chinese food as much as Michael and I do, we two plan to eat at Grand Sichuan, 307 Amsterdam Avenue, sibling to Grand Sichuan, 125 Canal Street (October 18, 2010). Therefore, I skipped Chinese food at lunch and brought in a nice lamb/chicken combo over rice with pita from a nearby food cart. There are usually three or four Halal food carts operating within one block of the courthouse and I have patronized them randomly. I’ll have to concentrate and compare them systematically soon.

After a good, but inevitably fatty, tea-smoked duck at Grand Sichuan, Michael and I strolled over to WES. Lo and behold, at the corner of 72nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, I spotted Jon S. Hall, law school classmate, walking with his charming 5-year old daughter. Jon, as you may not remember was the singer-songwriter with the hit “Detachable Penis” (, which is now 20 years old. In the 2004 presidential election, Jon and I went to Reading, PA together as legal poll watchers. I recall driving back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, listening to radio reports that led us to believe that John Kerry was the next president of all the United States except Ohio. Jon works as an intellectual property lawyer, but continues his artistic pursuits.

Friday, June 8, 2012
Today is the courthouse’s 9th Annual Unity in Diversity Program, which, as I have observed in the past, features a phenomenal array of food provided by organizations within and without the court system, such as the Dominican Bar Association, the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the Guild of Catholic Attorneys, the Gay Straight Alliance of the New York State Courts, the Jewish Lawyers’ Guild, the Hispanic Court Officers Association, the New York Women’s Bar Association, the Columbian Lawyers Association and the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Each tries to outdo the other in offering ethnically-representative or otherwise memorable food to anyone wandering by. It seems as if an implicit aspect of diversity here is, “We’re different, but we taste good.” I find this event ill-timed today because my gastrointestinal system has just been restored to its laser-like efficiency, and I may have to consider exercising restraint and moderation as I circulate around the rotunda this afternoon, or maybe not.

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