Friday, November 8, 2013

Teaching Old Ducks New Tricks

Monday, November 4, 2013
If our trip to the Balkans in June/July interested you, take a look at the 2014 version.
While next year's trip omits Bulgaria and Macedonia, it adds a four-day Aegean cruise with a visit to Turkey.  I commend the experience to you.  I approached our trip with little interest and less knowledge of Jewish life in the Balkans, or the region in general, and came away informed and enthused.

As you are probably well aware, language is important to me.  I use it almost every day.  Therefore, I was challenged by a couple of words in a US Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion reported today in the New York Law Journal.  Defendant Jiau’s conviction on insider trading was upheld for a scheme where she received information from “tippers” inside publicly-traded companies and passed it on to “tippees” at hedge funds.  Tipper, in this case, is unnecessary since “tipster” would do fine.  Tippee is perfectly silly here, although found in dictionaries.  The word for a hedge fund manager who trades on inside information is “crook.”

I got some news from Boaz’s kindergarten class that I find intimidating.  First, however, let me note that each week parents and grandparents get a delightful, thoughtful report by e-mail of his class’s progress accompanied by photographs of the young scholars at work.  Each time I receive it, my reaction, which I am sure other grandparents share, is to reach for the checkbook to keep this endeavor going.  The latest report had a picture of the class’s “Ask the experts!” board, which listed the child(ren) skilled in certain vital subjects, such as, “Zipping” and “Reading tricky words.”  Although I was thrilled that Boaz appeared as an expert in all the reported categories, I was reminded how far I lagged behind him and my peers in my early days.

Boaz is rated as an expert in “Shoe tying,” while Grandpa Alan was unable to tie his shoes until the Sixth Grade, and those were the days before Velcro.  For decades, I relied on the excuse of  the disparity between my right-handed parents and brother and my left-handedness.  They always had it backwards.  So, until I engaged in independent study, I could not learn how to tie my shoes.  Now, of course, I recognize what a prodigy Boaz is, especially because only one other child appears as an expert in “Shoe tying,” but fails to qualify in “Putting on jackets.”  

Hoy Wong, 81 Mott Street, offers a Peking duck for $30.  By myself, I ordered half at $16.  It came with five puffy buns, scallion threads, but no cucumber slivers, and hoisin sauce.  The waiter did not demonstrate technique, which I prefer because they usually make the package too small.  The duck had some fat, which is more typical than not, although much of the skin was crispy.  There was just enough meat for the five buns plus one leg and a piece of wing on the side, evidently from the same duck.  There was no sign of the carcass, however.  It was a decent duck for the money.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Election day in New York with the race for mayor almost ignored because of the lack of competitiveness in the race.  The good news is that it’s a holiday for the public sector.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
My biggest surprise in yesterday's election was the dramatic failure of the proposed amendment to raise the retirement age of  Supreme Court judges to 80 years old from 70 currently.  While there were many political reasons to oppose this (see, I thought that it would appeal to our aging population (present company included).   I also liked the idea of immediately increasing the number of sitting judges to relieve very busy calendars.  Of course, relieving the pressure to select new judges was the reason why many politicians opposed this measure (usually in private, but effectively), because it also relieved them of the opportunity to dole out rewards.

The Boy’s Club gathered for lunch at New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, 50 Mott Street, sharing a couple of Peking ducks and other treats, shrimps with lobster sauce, beef with scallions and spicy eggplant.  I had enjoyed Peking duck here before (September 19, 2013) and thought it worth an encore.  It was as good or better this time, firming New Yeah’s position as number one duck in town.  They serve it with flat pancakes, 4 for half a duck ($22), 8 for a whole duck ($38), a generous amount of scallion threads and cucumber slivers, and hoisin sauce.  
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Today is a big CCNY day.  Lunch with the Feingold crowd and the alumni association dinner honoring Sid Davidoff, political savant and the youngest member of Nixon’s Enemies List (see's_Enemies_List or  While this is a very notable day, I will have to do without Chinese food.

In case you are concerned about the quality of contemporary legal reasoning, I offer this headline from today’s New York Law Journal: “Mother Can’t Share Estate of Kids She Killed, Judge Says.”

Friday, November 8, 2013
I think I went out of control today, having my third Peking duck in five days, this time at Fuleen Seafood Restaurant, 11 Division Street, one of Chinatown’s better restaurants.  I had half a duck ($19) and was treated generously.  Before the duck came, I had a (lukewarm) hot towel and a dish of salted peanuts that would have mated perfectly with a beer were I not planning to return to work.  The duck was accompanied by eight puffy buns, not pancakes, which were too many, outlasting the meat, but certain to fill you up.  The waitress was prepared to make all the packages until I stopped her after the first four.  The only scarcity was the absence of any cucumber slivers with the few threads of scallions.  The plate of duck also had a handful of Pringle-style potato chips, the uniform type.  When the food was gone, I got another (lukewarm) hot towel, orange slices and a fortune cookie.  Aside from the excess of buns, the duck also had too much fat which compromised the meal, and left New Yeah’s duck in first place.

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