Monday, May 27, 2013
It’s no surprise that I was thinking about weddings this weekend. It is 10 years since America's Favorite Epidemiologist and I got married for the last time. Even on a normal weekend, I faithfully read the social pages of the New York Times, deceptively named the Sunday Styles section, for the marriage news. Among other things, I learned where Ruth Bader Ginsburg was Saturday morning, conducting a marriage ceremony in her chambers at the United States Supreme Court. Also, Eastern District federal court judge John Gleeson and Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge Gerard E. Lynch picked up some spare change performing nuptials over the weekend. Need I also point out that the feature story of the bonding of Alexis DiMartino and Kevin Cocca had a lovely photograph of the couple standing under “an archway of flowers and vines,” as the paper genteelly described the chuppah staring us in the face. As a reminder to those of you who have not completed your conversion to Jew by contagion, a chuppah is the traditional canopy that shelters Jewish weddings.
My interest in marriages was especially piqued by the article on the weddings of high tech billionaires, such as Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg. I was galvanized by the description of the wedding of Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, to Anne Wojcicki, in 2007. “The bride and groom, both 33 at the time, and many of 60 guests wore swimsuits (mandatory attire if you exchange vows on a sandbar).” Now close your eyes for a moment. Take a deep breath; keep your eyes closed. Let your mind go back to any one of your weddings, and imagine you and your beloved and many of your guests in bathing suits. This would certainly have eliminated the need to serve food, but would have made strong drink an absolute necessity for all concerned.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Up until today, I had only found one Korean restaurant in greater Chinatown, Jup She, 171 Grand Street (December 10, 2010), a very good choice. Kori Tribeca, 253 Church Street, is another fine choice. It occupies a long, narrow space with a tin ceiling high above. A handful of Korean musical instruments hang on one wall. A large white vase sits in front of a 4' x 4' damask cloth on another wall. Several delicate boughs are set back in a sort of shadowbox effect. Yet, the walls are so long and tall that room retains an open, understated feel. Another notable design touch was the aluminum chopsticks, something I had not seen before.
The lunch menu is quite simple, and a complimentary bowl of miso soup and a small dish of edamame, salted soy beans in their pod, are given to you while you choose. You can’t help but notice the “Lunch Liquor Specials,” Sapporo on draft at $3 and wine by the glass at $5. I noticed but passed. I ordered the Bulgoki Lunch Box ($12.99), thin sliced beef in a delicious sweet, spicy, salty sauce with two fried dumplings, two small omelet slices, a small portion of Japchae (sweet potato noodles), a large green salad with a more flavorful dressing than usually offered in Japanese restaurants, and a large portion of white rice. Excellent on the whole. Adding to my pleasure was the background music, which I usually find repellant. They were playing, at just the right volume if you wanted to ignore your companion, ‘60s bop, in the vein of Horace Silver, but not Horace Silver. Even though I had the Sunday Times magazine to distract me, I was tapping my toes. I almost danced right back to work.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
John F. Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, making today his 96th birthday. Several of us met to commemorate the occasion at Mott Pho Bang Restaurant, 157 Mott Street, a Vietnamese restaurant appropriately enough. The six grandfathers at the table had no military exposure at all beyond hesitantly reporting for Army physicals in their late teens, early twenties. However, all were (and remain) avid newspaper readers and the chaos in Southeast Asia was well-reported then, with the inevitable heavy-handed Washington gloss which was not hard to spot. Keeping out of uniform was not a casual matter for us, although I think that we all, in the spirit of Apple’s tax payments, stayed within the law. I imagine that, to those of you males under 60, “selective service” is just a term for expedited check-out at Wal-Mart. But, in the goldie oldie days, it often meant bullets and grenades and sharp sticks pointed up in camouflaged trenches, not what your average Stuyvesant High School graduate foresaw in his future. So, in that spirit, we ate and reminisced about our youth and what we did to preserve it.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
A movie opened in New York this week entitled “Hannah Arendt.” It deals with the period of time that, in the words of the New York Times reviewer, this “writer of long books and  maker of complex arguments” was reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Her work resulted in substantial controversy because she concluded that Eichmann was ultimately a bland bureaucrat, representing “the banality of evil.” Her critics quickly found her representation of Eichmann to be factually incorrect; he relished his role as an exterminator of Jews before, during and after the war. However, Arendt’s concept of the banality of evil caused the greater furor because it might make any one or all of us perpetrators. Many accused her of ultimately blaming the victims.
But, let’s go back to the top of the previous paragraph stating that a movie opened in New York this week entitled “Hannah Arendt.” Might we anticipate future releases of “Bertrand Russell,” “Ludwig Wittgenstein,” “Simone de Beauvoir,” “Isaiah Berlin” and an all-singing and dancing version of “Jacques Derrida”?
Friday, May 31, 2013
New York City will elect a new mayor this November. Although overwhelmingly a Democratic city in state and national elections, New York City has had a Republican mayor for the last 20 years. Nevertheless, the most interest at present is with the Democratic candidates. The favorite so far has been Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council, who may have peaked too early according to Sid Davidoff, the very wise observer of local politics and authority on hotels and restaurants in Sicily. I have not announced my preference yet among the several candidates, but Ms. Quinn has gravely endangered her standing by one of her revelations in her memoir just released in time for the Democratic primary battle. This is how the New York Times reported it this morning: "When her future wife made clear during one of her early dates that she could only be with a Yankees fan, Christine C. Quinn did not hesitate: 'I dumped the Mets in a hot second.'" While I don't expect my politicians to be uncompromising in their beliefs, there are some tenets that define a person's being and may be abandoned only at the risk of losing one's soul, and my vote.