Friday, February 13, 2015

T For Two

Monday, February 9, 2015
We awakened this morning in Massachusetts, near Boston, having celebrated Boaz’s birthday yesterday with him and his family. We then braved that area’s latest snowstorm in driving home, sometimes no faster than 20 MPH. Lunch was at the Blue Colony Diner, Newtown, Connecticut, exit 10 on I-84, as typical a diner as you might find outside the state of New Jersey. Its proximity to the highway in the bad weather was its major attraction, although I can recommend its very eggy challah in a simple sandwich or just with butter.

Since my visits to Chinese restaurants are almost entirely confined to lunch time in greater Chinatown (walking distance from the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street), I recognize that there are other sources of information on the subject, of varying reliability. Zagat’s, of course, is well known, and just published a list of "must-try" dumpling joints. The only one that has come within the scope of my endeavor, Mission Chinese, 171 East Broadway, is not open for lunch, as I discovered a couple of weeks ago (January 20, 2015). All the others are beyond my boundaries, so I can’t affirm Zagat’s choices.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Once upon a time, conservatives were regarded as attentive students of history. After all, a central tenet of conservative thought was the protection of established institutions from the vagaries of transitory impulses. Many of today’s conservatives, however, have adopted a particularly ahistoric view of our most intransigent domestic issue, black/white relations. Segregation is a tiny speck in their rear view mirror, while they now see racial preferences as a threat to our society.  Getting one white guy into medical school so that he might go to work for a drug company is more important than allowing one black kid to be trained to serve his community.  Rudy Giuliani rushes to Fox News to opine on black-on-black crime at a moment’s notice. He ignores the American history of interracial violence, that is the behavior of good old white folks, usually unpunished, often incited or abetted by the forces of law and order.
Perhaps, Rudy chooses to ignore the past, because it also reveals some white-on-white crime pretty close to home.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
A man’s home is his castle, says the old adage. That should apply to his palazzo as well, where I now face a bit of a dilemma. Palazzo di Gotthelf is known to the postal authorities as apartment or unit 17P, a mere formality. However, as I came home from dispensing justice today, I looked at the name plate on the newly-occupied apartment 17M. It read, "E&H Gothelf." Oh, my, what a potential for confusion. I knocked on the door, but no one responded. Obviously, I’ll find out more in days to come. By coincidence, inspired by the brilliant genealogical research of Ittai Hershman, Jerry Latter and Steve Schneider, I have lately been probing the Gotthelf line, that is my father’s father. I have learned very little so far, but there seems to be reason to believe that the family name in downtown Poland may have been Gotelf, not Gotthelf, the result of an invasion of Cockneys, notorious for dropping Hs.

Thursday, February 12, 2015
Speaking of history, New York State public employees stick to the classic celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday today, because of our devotion to this great American hero and our refusal to give up a day off.

The has compiled a collection of Jon Stewart's memorable moments, now that he has declared his impending retirement from "The Daily Show."  There's some real good stuff here.

Friday, February 13, 2015
My return to 21 Shanghai House, 21 Division Street, on this very cold day, was far more enjoyable than my initial visit shortly after it opened (September 29, 2014).  I ordered a scallion pancake ($2.75) to start and then kung pao shrimp ($5.75) as a lunch special, including a small bowl of egg drop soup and white rice.  The small, not baby, shrimp were cooked with peanuts, hot peppers and celery in a spicy sauce.  Everything was very good, and I found the décor pleasing, not often the case in Chinatown.  I was especially taken with the ceramic teapot with a bamboo handle affixed with copper wire. 

We all know that the post office's creed is "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  But, modern times has introduced a new obstacle, as I learned today:

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