Saturday, March 26, 2016


Monday, March 21, 2016
A letter to the New York Times this weekend explains the writer's (and much of the public's) support of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump because of his exposure of "the primary tool that has allowed liberalism and secularism to control the debate for decades: political correctness."  I won't try to explore the causal connection asserted by the writer, but, rather, I challenge his understanding of the phrase itself, and I extend the challenge to the candidate and others who seem to have uncovered an infectious intellectual disease.

I won't rattle off a bunch of definitions, but, as you  may confirm, here is a representative one: "the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people."

In other words, it is not nice to call people niggers, kikes, spics, wops, micks, wetbacks, towel heads, retards, fags, bitches, bimbos, sluts, gimps, gooks, or chinks, at least where you might be overheard.  Within Mr. Trump's lifetime and my own, such language was commonplace in conversation, usually in settings where the referenced group or person was absent or vastly outnumbered.  While most of us learned at an early age the rhyme about sticks and stones, few of us would volunteer to be exposed to gratuitously offensive name calling.  Of course, a healthy, straight, white American male of Northern European origin has probably never been addressed in such a fashion and may be puzzled by the reactions of the rest of us.
I just can't find the reason to regret the absence of insulting language from public, if not private, discourse.  Does American greatness require some of us to marginalize and degrade others?

I find the legal issues surrounding the Hulk Hogan invasion of privacy action challenging.  What privacy is left to someone who has fashioned himself into a cartoon?  Closer to home, I feel particularly challenged by a quote about the case in today's paper.  "'Now that "everyone" has a "sex tape" — and everyone is at risk of having their sex tape published online,' the publication of celebrity sex tapes is less justified in the eyes of readers, said Max Read, a former editor of Gawker."  Guess who doesn't have a sex tape?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
When I was in England 2 months ago, I was not murdered, kidnapped, beaten, blackmailed, robbed or roughed up, nor did I act feloniously in any regard.  Therefore, I had no contact with any British police force, nor have I had on any previous visit.  However, if I am watching television and it's not a sporting event, it is likely that I am watching a British crime show, appearing on public television, BBC America or Netflix.  Only early "Law & Order" reruns, starring the late Jerry Ohrbach, appeal to me as much.  What I find particularly interesting, even though I suspect that it is unrealistic, is the preponderance of female detectives employed, to wit:
"The Fall"
"Happy Valley"
"Prime Suspect"
"Scott & Bailey"
"Above Suspicion"
"New Tricks"

Is this one area where stodgy British institutions have outpaced us?  Or, are they simply more politically correct?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The DT campaign for the Republican presidential nomination received a huge boost as Jeb! announced that he will be touring the country campaigning for Ted Cruz.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
In my six years eating lunch in Chinatown daily, I encountered every Asian cuisine with minor exceptions.   There are no Lao, Singaporean, or Cambodian restaurants in Chinatown.  The one joint in the area that claims to be Indonesian, along with Malaysian, shows little evidence of it on its menu.  While one Singaporean restaurant lasted a short time in Curry Hill, I never heard of a Lao place anywhere in Manhattan.  

The New York Times had a mixed review of a new Cambodian restaurant yesterday.

This is a regular restaurant, tables, waiters and the like.  On the other hand, Num Pang Sandwich Shop is a successful small chain of Cambodian restaurants, founded in this century.  I went to 28 East 12th Street, across the street from what had been its original location, until the building was torn down.  It's very small, about 10 feet wide and six feet from the front window to the counter.  Six stools are pressed against an L-shaped ledge; its very busyness is mostly takeout and delivery.

Num Pang offers 11 sandwiches, 5 salads, 3 rice bowls, 3 noodle bowls and 1 soup, all of which sound appetizing.   The sandwiches come on a 7" soft roll, unlike the crunchy baguettes used for a Vietnamese banh mi, with cucumber, pickled carrots, cilantro and chili mayo.  These flavors somewhat hid the innate taste of the ginger barbecue brisket sandwich with pickled red cabbage ($9.75) that I ordered, but the hodgepodge was really good, primarily because the tender meat was in 1" thick chunks.  

Num Pang now has 8 locations, the nearest just over 1 mile away.  I'll be able to try more of its menu without much trouble, which may be the only thing about Cambodia that is untroubled.

On-line, the New York Times poses 13 questions to ask before getting married.  I think that it represents a very interesting test of compatibility, but should probably be applied retroactively with great caution.

Friday, March 25, 2016
Yesterday, a jury in San Diego held for the law school defendant being sued by a graduate who failed to get a job as an attorney after graduation.  She argued that the false employment statistics provided by the school lured her into enrolling and rolling up significant debt, ultimately to no avail.  This was the first time that such a case reached a jury; other actions, including one in New York involving New York Law School, were dismissed before trial.  I recall that, while the inaccuracy of the employment data in all instances was never disputed, judges and now a jury "concluded that law students opted for legal education at their own peril and were sophisticated enough to have known that employment as a lawyer was not guaranteed."

About six months after I graduated law school, it published employment statistics for my class that were patently phony.   I could rattle off the names of more unemployed graduates than the percentages indicated, myself included.  The placement director was marched off the premises a few months later.  

Fortunately, I found work, worked and retired.  Now I have time to run around delivering holiday packages for my synagogue  -- not Easter, Purim, one of those frequent Jewish celebrations of "They tried to kill us; they failed; let's eat."  I had the company of Simon G., one of my favorite college students.  After three hours hitting addresses on the Upper West Side, we had lunch at Richie's Burger Joint, 2665 Broadway (100-101 Streets), carved out of Schatzie Prime Meats, an old-time butcher shop.    

Richie's menu (service by Richie himself) is simple: hamburgers and a few other sandwiches, chicken wings in a variety of flavors, two salads, some side dishes, a few desserts.  I had the Prime Blend [Beef] Ground in House ($11) with cheddar cheese, a dollar extra, and fries ($4), which we shared.  The hamburger weighed about 1/2 pound, was cooked to the barely medium-rare that I requested, and came with fresh onion and tomato slices.  In these days of two digit hamburgers, the food was very good.  

Richie's was recommended by Melanie S. née L.  Her trimness would normally disqualify her as a source of food tips, but I have found her reliable in the past in spite of her ability to avoid the appearance of having ingested real food.  She is also a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, as is Simon, so I'll be true to my school.


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