Friday, December 20, 2013

Starting Somewhere

Monday, December 16, 2013
Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, has been shooting lava and ash into the sky over this weekend.   The airport in Catania, Sicily, where we departed from 2 months ago, is temporarily shut. As you may recall, my ordinary boldness disappeared about halfway up the volcano, and I spent several hours in the parking lot while those intrepid explorers Jill and Steve, guided by America’s Favorite Epidemiologist, scaled the heights.  I wonder if this is the volcano’s delayed anthropomorphic reaction to my slight.

On the other hand, if want an eruption, how about the academic boycott of Israeli universities just voted by the American Studies Association, which “[a]s an organization with a longstanding commitment to social justice, the ASA has a responsibility to take a position on one of the leading social justice and human rights issues of our time.”  This is the first academic boycott ever undertaken by the association, whose president, Curtis Marez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego, said to the New York Times that “one has to start somewhere.”

By chance, the NSA spying program captured, in addition to the communications of senior European Union officials, Israeli government leaders, African heads of state and their family members, officials of United Nations and international aid organizations, officials overseeing oil and finance ministries, energy companies, and others, the ASA’s policy planning session leading up to the boycott resolution.  While the speakers are unidentified, the transcript indicates that there were at least four participants, and the first male is thought to be Marez, the group’s president.

Female 1: “It’s time that we take our commitment to social justice seriously considering the terrible state of human rights throughout the world.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 2: “One party political systems are invariably oppressive.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 2: “Only a small number of regimes proclaim themselves to be one party, notably China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea.  That’s quite a collection.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Male 2: “Imprisonment so often entails human rights violations.  I think that we should look at incarceration rates.”
Female 1: “I have it here from the International Centre for Prison Studies, a British group.  First, would you believe, is the US.  The next few, you’d never guess – Seychelles, St. Kitts & Nevis, the US Virgin Islands.  Sadly, Cuba comes next.”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Male 2: “Actually, I think capital punishment is the ultimate human rights violation.  Amnesty International keeps track of that.  The top offenders make an even stranger collection – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and us, I mean the US”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
Female 1: “It seems to me that there’s a natural choice when you read the newspapers.”
Female 2: “Syria, gassing its own people?”
Several voices at once: “No, Israel!”
Male 1: “Right, we have to start somewhere.”
[Chatter ensued.]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I thought I would try Division 31 Restaurant, to see if they finally are serving lunch on a plate, not in a hot pot.  No luck.  Worse luck possibly is the fate of Gold River Malaysian Cuisine, just a few doors down from Division 31.  Last week, I had a first-rate meal there and, finding Division 31 inhospitable, I thought to extend my examination of the menu at Gold River.  However, it was closed; the aluminum gate firmly pulled down over the storefront.  Nothing indicated its fate, and I hope this was only a momentary disruption in its new life.  For lunch, I joined hundreds of rollicking Chinese folk at 88 Palace, 88 East Broadway (May 21, 2010), for dim sum Hong Kong style.  $10 got me shrimp dumplings (4), shu mai (4), pork and vegetable dumplings (3), a plate of sticky rice and 3 crescent-shaped, fried dumplings containing something pleasantly obscure, and good, hot tea.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Boyz Club met for lunch today at Dim Sum Go Go, 5 East Broadway.  We ordered one dim sum platter for each person (11 different pieces for $12), and extra plates of duck dumplings, steamed roast pork dumplings, spinach dumplings, and fried shrimp balls, about $4 each.  One interesting thing about Dim Sum Go Go, in contrast to its popularity and high Michelin rating, is its remoteness from the myriad of subway lines in downtown Manhattan.  Maybe that’s a good thing to keep the crowds manageable.  Check your map before heading out.  Let me remind you though, don’t order the scallion pancake.

Thursday, December 19, 2013
One more day with my mouth open, not saying a thing.  It is supposed to be the last session of my Magnus Dentus Opus, although the need for some post-impartum adjustments may be inevitable.  After all, I’ve paid a lot for this new grimace.
Friday, December 20, 2013
After my three hour session yesterday, I returned to work with new teeth, an unfamiliar bite and sore gums.  I hope that the teeth remain, I grow accustomed to the bite and the pain wears off.  For the rest of the day, I am sticking to simple, soft foods, fried rice at Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, for lunch.  Mind you, that’s not in the way of a compromise.  Wo Hop’s fried rice (I often mix and match ingredients, today beef and shrimp) is probably the best fried rice in Chinatown, and served in large portions.  The only thing wrong with that is that you can’t reasonably order fried rice as a complement to another dish when eating alone, unless you don’t mind leaving over a lot of food, which simply is not my style.

Those of you who live around here, or just about anywhere in the Northeast, know that precipitation in the form of snow or rain has been the prevailing weather pattern for the last couple of weeks, combined with cold temperatures.  So, I’m stuck trying to explain what I have observed during this period.  Many of the racks in New York’s bike sharing program have loads of empty slots, presumably meaning that the bikes are in use.  For instance, this morning, admittedly a bit milder than recent days, around 9 AM, I counted seven bicycles in the rack on Reade Street, east of Broadway, which has 40 slots. Later, near 11 AM, the bike rack directly in front of the courthouse on Centre Street, just below Worth Street, had 24 bikes and 19 empty slots.  Where have all the bicycles gone?  Have they flown south for the winter?  Are Century Village and Pembroke Pines in Florida as full of blue bikes as blue-haired ladies from New York?

No comments:

Post a Comment