The Godfather part one and two were shown repeatedly during the holiday by a cable television network, which gave me the chance to record these two brilliant movies. It wasn’t a perfect experience; the shows included a glut of commercials and some language was obviously edited, although quite sanitary by current standards. I was amused to notice, in that fabulous scene where Michael takes revenge on the five families, that Barzini was shot on the courthouse steps here at 60 Centre Street, an imposing backdrop, often seen in “Law & Order.” Even after 40 years, that scene and several others still take my breath away, and, unlike some other old favorites when viewed today, do not seem like filmmaking or acting of an earlier day.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Last night, I went to a Rangers game at Madison Square Garden, offering me the opportunity to see if Jack’s 99 Cent Store, 110 West 32nd Street, has returned real chocolate-covered graham crackers and pretzels to stock. When they offered these two-to-a-package delights for 99¢, an unimaginably bright glow illuminated West 32nd Street and gave me comfort and joy that more than balanced any sadness accompanying a Rangers loss. Last night, the Rangers won and there was no need to ingest a mood-elevating substance, which was not available, in any case. Nothing on the shelves even came close to offering the gustatory delight of real chocolate-covered graham crackers or pretzels. The chocolates that Jack’s offered, ordinary varieties of Lindt, Guylian and Ghirardelli, were being sold above typical supermarket prices, not likely to get my interest.
Today is Woody Allen’s 80th birthday. He came to mind when I was considering a couple of recent encounters which illustrate the implacable black/white divide in our society. A black woman on the subway complained to a white man that his brief case had hit her 4 or 5 times. He apologized, but asked why she had not told him sooner. She replied that he should have noticed it himself sooner. Then, she added that he hadn’t taken care because she was only a black woman. A couple of weeks earlier, we were waiting for bus to go home after a musical show in midtown Manhattan. A young black man approached us and asked for money. I forget his story, but I turned him down, my customary response to any such appeal. He did not immediately take No for an answer and asked again without success. Then, he asked, “Is it because I’m black?”
I am almost certain that there have been circumstances where the woman on the subway and the young man on the street were slighted, ignored or refused because they were black, but not necessarily this time. As a bleeding-heart liberal, I was disappointed that each reached for a stereotype that may have been absent, and, at the same time, I was sorry that it so easily came to mind for them. Could either imagine an encounter that did not reflect the racial differences? Or, am I naive to think that black/white encounters actually occur in a color-blind fashion?
Which brings me to Woody Allen. In Annie Hall, which he wrote, directed and starred in, a movie that stands next to The Godfather, Allen’s character says, “You know, I was having lunch with some guys from NBC, so I said, ‘Did you eat yet or what?’ And Tom Christie said, ‘No, JEW?’ Not ‘Did you?’ JEW eat? JEW? You get it? JEW eat?” While Annie Hall appeared in 1977 and was supposed to be a comedy, I think that many Members of the Tribe would react seriously the same way today, as ethnocentric or predisposed to victimhood as the woman on the subway and the young man on the street.
Wednesday, December 1, 2015
[NB - This was written hours before the terrible events in San Bernardino, California.]
It’s time that progressive forces adopt some of the operating principles of the Domestic Enemies of Sanity. First, since the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun, let’s arm all Planned Parenthood employees. Second, grant armed Planned Parenthood employees amnesty for all acts of gun violence against unaccompanied white males, since the appearance of an unaccompanied white male in or near a Planned Parenthood facility is a reasonable basis for a Planned Parenthood employees to fear bodily harm.
After a day spent coughing and blowing my nose in private at home, I decided to come to work and share my discomfort. A lunch date with the Boyz Club was the main incentive to venture forth on this chilly, drizzly day. We ate at Wok Wok Southeast Asian Kitchen 11 Mott Street, a joint that deserves your patronage. We had roti wrap with curried chicken and curry dipping sauce, roti wrap with rendang beef and curry dipping sauce, (very spicy) Thai beef salad, crispy Thai veggie spring rolls, KL Hokkian char mee (fat, round noodles in a dark soy sauce, with pork, shrimp, squid), Mee siam (rice vermicelli with egg, tofu, bean sprouts, chives and crushed peanuts - vegetarian), babas chili chicken (cooked with roasted chili and carmelized onions), tangerine beef, young chow fried rice (with everything), and tropical coconut fried rice (vegetarian). With a generous tip (as always), the bill came to $18 each. I also got temporary relief from my head cold with a cup of hot lemon juice and honey.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
“How Often Do Mass Shootings Occur? On Average, Every Day, Records Show”
And many of our politicians, bold in the face of the undeserving poor, unionized public employees and distant populations, are only able to offer impotent piety in the face of home-grown tragedy.
Friday, December 4, 2015
Tom Adcock called my attention to the obituary of Russia's Favorite Epidemiologist-Spy.