Friday, March 28, 2014

Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

Monday, March 24, 2014
There are a couple of things to note since my last publication. First, Dean Alfange, Jr., distinguished United States Supreme Court scholar points out that the WASP-less panel discussing (the uber-WASPy) John Lindsay's tenure as Mayor of New York, while out of line with overall American demographics, is a near-perfect reflection of the current Supreme Court, Jews, Italian-Americans, a Latina, an African-American -- no Protestants of any flavor or color. How interesting.

Secondly, while I devote myself almost entirely to discussing eating lunch in Chinatown, I feel obliged to report on the excellent meal that we (in the company of intrepid traveling companions Jill and Steve) had Friday night at MP Taverna, 31-29 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria. It’s a very busy two-story place, with a long bar, properly equipped with television sets tuned to sports events, on the first floor. Many more tables are upstairs, where, although slightly further from the kitchen, service was prompt and generally efficient.

The menu was slightly off-putting at first. It seemed more Greekish than Greek, with either the chef reinterpreting classic dishes or omitting them altogether. Additionally, prices for the appetizers (mezzes in the local lingo), the first things seen on the top of the menu, were pretty high, $9.50 to $13.95. But, then I saw that main courses, such as roasted lemon chicken ($15.95) and grilled branzino ($20.95) were much more down to earth. I had a lamb burger, nearly a 1/2 pound of meat with bacon, smoked mozzarella and trimmings, with a side of "smashed fries," potatoes that had been smooshed flat before frying, an excellent execution. Two others ordered the branzino, and Jill ventured into a special concoction of orzo, mushrooms, and other vegetables that was pronounced delicious. Hot, thin pita wedges, a plate of three dips -- yoghurt with cucumber & dill, chick peas with sundried tomato & herbs, and eggplant with roasted peppers & garlic -- a glass of sauvignon blanc, and a chocolate halvah brownie for dessert. This meal would certainly soften the blow of moving to Queens, if we were ever pressed to leave the Palazzo di Gotthelf.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
"2 Killed in Shooting at Virginia Naval Base," reads one story this morning, right next to "Georgia Proposes Sweeping Pro-Gun Law." I’m convinced that the gun nuts (distinct from some hunters and competitive shooters) are ultimately afraid of the people (world) around them, and, imagining their inability to cope with the hustle-bustle of modern life, turn to firearms to provide the illusion of safety and control. Of course, the irony (unfortunately, a concept that seems to be totally absent from the gun nuts’ mentality) is that the greatest danger here – not Cairo, not Caracas, not Kiev – comes from other gun nuts. We only have to go to today’s newspaper, and tomorrow’s and tomorrow’s and tomorrow’s, to learn that guns kill people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported for 2011: Number of firearm homicide deaths, 11,101 (out of 15,953 total homicide deaths); number of firearm suicide deaths, 19,766 (out of 38,285 total suicide deaths). Now, do you feel safer?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The Boyz Club ate today at Kori Tribeca, 253 Church Street, an excellent Korean restaurant, and apparently the only one nearby, now that Jup She, 171 Grand Street, closed. We riffed on the topic of "If a corporation, enjoying the privileges and immunities of the corporate form, is owned/controlled by people professing ________________ religious beliefs, it should be able to treat its employees like crap."

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Noodle Q Inc., 2 East Broadway, has a bright new sign on both sides of its corner plot. The interior also appears fresh and bright. However, the menu still reads Food Sing 88 Corp., although the prices have been raised from a previous iteration (December 6, 2010). I’m treating this, therefore, as a new restaurant, adding to my count.

Noodles, hand-pulled and otherwise, are the focus here. I had lamb with dry noodles ($6.75) which was accompanied by a bowl of dark, rich (fatty) beef broth, served piping hot. The lamb was in small cubes, sometimes attached to a piece of bone, sometimes with a little gristle, but not cooked beyond recognition or digestion. Eggs, celery, onions, and bok choy were cooked in with the lo-meinish noodles. Quite tasty. I eschewed the waitress’s offer of a fork and made all gone with chop sticks.

Friday, March 28, 2014
"How to Investigate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie," by Randy (Big Shot Lawyer) Mastro: 

1. Ask Governor Christie if he was involved with the punitive closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
2. Don’t ask anyone who was likely to have been involved with the punitive closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge whether Governor Christie was involved with the punitive closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
3. Announce that Governor Christie was not involved with the punitive closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

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