Friday, May 22, 2015


Monday, May 18, 2015
For several reasons, the society pages (I’ll never call them anything else) of the Sunday New York Times gave prominent coverage to the wedding of Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson, stars of the Women’s National Basketball Association, on competing teams. The space must have been allocated well before Friday’s announcement that each was suspended without pay for seven games after they were arrested in their home on charges of domestic violence. But, as often, my interests are more parochial. Near the bottom of the story, we read that the minister "performed the ceremony under a white canopy adorned with hydrangea and coral and white roses." 

As I have noted before (February 1, 2013, May 27, 2013), all sorts of people are being married under a chuppah, the traditional open-sided shelter for a Jewish wedding. Of course, the label is changed to protect the innocent, and this symbol of the newlywed’s home, sheltered from the sky, but open to the world, is called a canopy, gazebo or some other polite term far removed from the shtetl. Now, we have to promote Kosher catering.

Headline: "Wall Street Is Back, Almost as Big as Ever." You only have Obama to blame.

There is currently a kerfuffle over whether Pope Francis greeted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week as an "angel of peace" or merely encouraged him to "be an angel of peace." Were it Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instead, no one would have suggested calling him an angel of peace.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I have to report on a failing experiment in progress. I enrolled in the MilkMade Ice Cream program recently that delivers two pints of hand made ice cream to your door monthly, at the extravagant price of $15 per pint (April 22, 2015). The price was a deterrent, but curiosity about amarena cherry ice cream with chipped dark chocolate and a white chocolate ganache, witch finger grape ice cream with fresh peanut butter, and chocolate ice cream with a hint of birch bark led me on. The first delivery was early May, but we are still nibbling away at it, which is an indictment in itself. I started with the Open Sesame (MilkMade reaches a bit in its nomenclature), black sesame ice cream, with a toasted sesame caramel swirl. It’s not even as good as it sounds. My young bride, limiting her sense of adventure to being married to me, stuck to the Tim Tam Slam, chocolate mint julep ice cream with chunks of Tim Tam biscuits, somewhat similar to Kit Kat bars. This concoction, linked to the Kentucky Derby, is flavored with bourbon, but that was not enough to make me want to substitute it for Häagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate chip or Baskin-Robbins Pralines ‘N Cream. I’m going to give MilkMade one more month to convince me that ice cream belongs with heart transplants in the realm where money is no object. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Devotion to a sports team may be passed down in a family, or connected to place of residence. Generally, persuasion or reasoning has nothing to do with it. I am known as a fan of the New York Rangers hockey team, now engaged in the third round of their league’s championship. I credit my brother for getting me started. However, for those of you with little or no rooting interest in the New York Rangers versus the Tampa Bay Lightening, who play a game tonight, I wish to influence you with reason or good sense. When Tampa Bay learned that it had qualified for championship contention, it announced that "any tickets purchased with a credit card not attached to a Florida address will be cancelled and issued a refund without notice . . . [and] only Lightning team attire will be allowed in the Chase Club section during playoff games." The Chase Club is the high-priced section, where television cameras might scan the audience. Let’s go, Rangers!

I read an item in today’s New York Law Journal as an ordinary human being would, since I have no involvement with criminal law. Bernie Madoff’s former controller was sentenced in federal court yesterday only to time served and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service. The judge said that she believes that the perp was genuinely remorseful for knowingly falsifying records presented to the Securities & Exchange Commission and the IRS. The perp told the judge that she was "truly sorry" and "completely ashamed." As in so many other instances, the perp’s remorse only kicked in after she was apprehended. The record is free of any suggestion that she felt sorrow or shame while she was abetting Bernie in cheating Yeshiva University, Hadassah, Town of Fairfield – Connecticut, Dorset County (UK) Pension Fund, Stony Brook University Foundation, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and hundreds of other groups and individuals out of billions of dollars. The train has left the station, lady.

Friday, May 22, 2015
I seem to have been the last to know, but this morning, on the way to work, I saw a young man wearing a sweatshirt saying "Stuyvesant Cricket." In fact, in New York City, 30 high schools now play competitive cricket, and there is a city championship tournament. How about that, David Brodie?

I first entered the Four Seasons, 99 East 52nd Street, in the summer of 1980, just after I started a job in a building around the corner.  Several of us would regularly repair for drinks there after an exhausting day of management consulting.  Eventually, we were acknowledged with extra servings of the veal sausages and steak tartare provided during the cocktail hour.  My name appeared on so many credit card receipts that I was offered, and gladly accepted, a house account. 

My attraction to the Four Seasons was not based on a hope or dream of being asked to join a table of the high and mighty who patronized it.  I was and remain conscious of Balzac's epigram, "Behind every great fortune there is a crime."  It was the place itself, beautifully designed, kept in excellent condition, operated near flawlessly for the comfort of the patrons, even those of us new to middle class respectability.  Yes, it felt as if we had taken a step above and beyond our modest backgrounds.  

Now, the institution is threatened by a dispute with the building's owner, someone who seems to be easily caricatured as a greedy landlord.

My visits to the Four Seasons have been few and far between in recent years, for while it may have stayed much the same, my life changed considerably.  I don't even expect that I will seek it out at its prospective new location, unlikely to be in Chinatown.   

"A Mesa [Arizona] woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of aggravated assault after running over her husband with a Jeep because he didn’t vote in the November 2012 presidential election, police said. . . . [She] started arguing with her husband when she found out that he didn't vote because she ‘believed her family was going to face hardship’ as a result of President Obama’s re-election." According to USA Today. According to my sources, she felt frustrated in not reaching her childhood dream of moving to Greenwich, Connecticut and operating a hedge fund.

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