Friday, March 8, 2013

Goings and Comings

Monday, March 4, 2013
Have any of you found an appropriate card to send Benedict?

Cha Chan Tang, 45 Mott Street (January 5, 2011) has a much more interesting interior than most Chinatown restaurants. There are four notable architectural/design elements. Most of the right-hand (north) wall is exposed brick. A room divider angled against the opposite wall is made of cups and saucers of different sizes, precisely stacked. In front of that is a chandelier made of soda bottles, and, my favorite, on the front half of the left-hand wall are three video screens running looped scenes of Hong Kong streets at night. Little distinguishes the scenes as Hong Kong, since mostly you see McDonald’s and other familiar stores with buses running in front of them. But, I marvel at the quality of the video; at first, I thought it was live feeds, especially because Hong Kong is 12 or 13 hours opposite us, so that lunch time here would be the middle of the night there. However, I learned that these were recordings, which I might have eventually deduced from seeing the same bus passing by every 93 seconds.

I ordered curry beef brisket with fried rice ($6.50), a hearty, well-spiced dish. However, I must note that one man’s brisket is partly another man’s fat and gristle. The meat that I ate was good, but I would have enjoyed it more if less of it did not have to be pushed to the side of the plate.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
It’s such a clear, bright day that I had to find a new restaurant and I did. Fu Zhou Cuisine, 118 Eldridge Street, sits on a corner. Like many of the joints in this area, it gets few style points. The menu is on a big card pasted to the wall and features simple noodles, soups and dumplings. There are about 10 narrow tables pushed up against the two outer walls and a round table sitting dead center. The ordering and prep area are cater-corner (catty corner as we said in Brooklyn) from the entrance. The place was crowded solely with Chinese people enjoying the cheap food.

I had won ton soup ($2) and rice noodles with peanut butter sause (sic) ($2). Both were good and piping hot. The won tons were in thin, near-transparent wrappers, the filling unidentifiable. While there were containers of plastic spoons about, my adeptness with chop sticks was needed to handle the noodles in the absence of forks.

My e-mail inbox contained some information today that I requested from Moshe when he told me that my take on the Jerusalem Marathon was wrong. Moshe is second only to Natalie Portman as my favorite Israeli ex-pat. To the United Nations and most countries of the world, all the land taken by Israel after the Six-Day War is "occupied." Israel claims, however, to have "annexed" East Jerusalem. Under international law occupiers may enter or use occupied land for various military or health purposes, but may not run through the streets in their underwear. That was the kernel of Palestinian objections to the Jerusalem Marathon.

In looking at the basic rules of international humanitarian law, I found this nugget: "The emblem of the ‘Red Cross,’ or of the ‘Red Crescent,’ shall be required to be respected as the sign of protection." Further, "[t]he provisions of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols establish that the red cross and red crescent are symbols protected by international law." Please note that the Red Mogen David isn’t just a wine, it’s the Israeli version of the other two, apparently more benevolent, organizations. By some strange coincidence, the Red Mogen David doesn’t have major league status under international law. I really wish that I felt otherwise, but I remain skeptical about the even-handedness of international law and opinion as applied to Arab-Israeli matters.

By the way, Ethiopian runner Abraham Kabeto Ketla won the Jerusalem Marathon. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
What a wonderful evening yesterday. I went to the Rangers game with Anglo-American media mogul John Mervin and saw virtue triumph. Before the game, I spent time in the aisles of Jack’s World, 110 West 32nd Street. This large store has gone beyond its 99¢ origins, but still fills its ground floor with hundreds of items at that price. Serendipitously, I found those solar-powered dancing flowers, which seem to be the Chinese national plant, at 99¢, as well as several items which I had my eye out for, including yellow sponges for our color-coded, choreographed kitchen routine.

My pleasure peaked when I found the store well-stocked with Barricini dark chocolate-covered pretzels, 2 to a 2 ounce package @ 99¢.  Dark chocolate-covered pretzels are known to be one of the Pillars of the Universe. Note, avoid products described as "chocolatey" or "chocolate-flavored." That only means cocoa powder stirred into vegetable fat, an offense to your taste buds, wallet and waist line. While pretzel rods may occasionally be found covered with chocolate, bent pretzel-shaped pretzels are the more typical platform. Asher’s, a Pennsylvania company, offers the real thing loose and packaged, available at Fairway and Zabar’s. A 6.5 ounce package sells for about $6.95. Harder to swallow are the chocolate-covered pretzels made by Li-Lac Chocolates, a long-time Greenwich Village institution, at $24 per pound by mail order and, shockingly, $28 per pound at their stall in Grand Central Terminal’s food hall. Such pricing could make me lose weight.

Friday, March 8, 2013
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, visited my workplace neighborhood this morning in order to plead not guilty to charges of terrorism at the federal courthouse around the corner. We in New York Supreme Court had our star turn earlier this week, however, when Martha Stewart appeared in the case that Macy’s has brought against her and J.C. Penney. Since she was appearing in a civil matter no (openly) armed guards escorted her, and the many reporters and photographers lining the courthouse steps were able to get real close. Her testimony did not prove conclusive to the judge handling the trial on the rights to sell Martha’s branded household merchandise. After she stepped down from the witness box, he ordered the parties into mediation. I’m really anxious for the resolution of this dispute, because I soon expect to  be in the market for a new bath mat.

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