Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hot Stuff

Monday, August 8, 2016
A recent book review by Marilyn Stasio, the New York Times crime/mystery specialist, refers to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst as "once considered 'the most violent campus in the country.'"  This caught my attention, because Dean Alfange, Jr., taught there for decades.  Was it possible that his retirement was a factor in pacifying the campus?  Stasio provides no attribution to this comment and my Google search uncovered at least a half dozen lists of campus crime with absolutely no consistency.  According to one source, UCLA was at the top of the list (where obviously the bottom was the desired destination); in another, Tufts University held the unwelcome distinction.  In fact, one publication crowned Amherst as the place to be feared, that is, Amherst College, the elite private institution about one mile south of the far larger public campus.  NB - Google replaced "violent" with "dangerous" and all the lists seemed to rely on that adjective as well.  So, clarification is needed.   Meanwhile, Dean remains at large.

In a rare television appearance today, Japan's Emperor Akihito suggested that he might step down from the throne because of his age, his physical limitations and his rigorous daily schedule.  By a seemingly unrelated coincidence, Alex Rodriguez, possibly the most controversial baseball player ever, announced yesterday that he was retiring from the New York Yankees at the end of this week.  To protect the tens of millions of dollars owed him under contract, Rodriguez will continue with the team as a "special advisor."  

I smell a rat, however.  Rodriguez was not only a superb athlete, but, not unlike DT, he rarely allowed a publicity opportunity to go unexploited, often without applying a filter of taste or judgment.  On the other hand, Japan is crazy for baseball and has become a major source of baseball players for our major leagues.  By another coincidence, Ichiro Suzuki, who came to American baseball 15 years ago after establishing himself as a star in Japan, got his 3,000th hit in American baseball yesterday, only the 30th person and fourth born outside the USA to accomplish this (third if baseball puts Puerto Rico on the same level as the states of the union, an act Congress is unwilling to countenance).  So, don't be surprised if Rodriguez assumes an imperial role in Japan and Akihito winds up in a Yankees uniform. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
It might have been my eagerness at having lunch with Jerry S. at a Chinese restaurant in midtown that caused me to dig a new furrow on my upper lip as I was shaving.  Applications of toilet paper, ice and aluminum chloride finally stopped the bleeding, but I feared that during my subway ride to or fro the wound would open and, with red blood coating my lips and teeth, cause a vampire panic on the IRT.  So, I canceled reluctantly.  I later slunk off to Fairway Market and bought kosher tongue and kosher corned beef to make a larger than average sandwich, salvaging the day somewhat.

By the way, America's Favorite Epidemiologist left earlier today for a few days in Southampton, possibly adding to my inability to hold my hand steady.

The mail contained a screening questionnaire from the New York County Clerk for jury service, preliminary to a notice to serve.  I look forward to returning to the courthouse in this capacity.  While I was called for a panel about 10 years ago and dismissed, I haven't actually sat on a jury for much longer (I can't even remember).  Generally, judges get rid of lawyers as jurors to avoid being second guessed.  If and when asked, I'll emphasize my retirement, although that might call attention to my age and make me suspect as a dithering coot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
I remain alone in the nest, so I invited Mossad Moshe and his nephew Ofer, a lawyer from Israel, for drinks before we went to Boulud Sud, 20 West 64th Street, for dinner.  The food was very good, approaching the quality of the   company.  There were only a few Hebrew asides, so I didn't feel isolated.

And where it counted, the menu, there was no language barrier.  Boulud Sud, one of a three related restaurants in a   cluster opposite Lincoln Center, has a summer dinner special, three courses for $42, not cheap, but the location, the service and the food, of course, justified it.  I had a fig and prosciutto salad, roasted leg of lamb with couscous, Tunisian eggplant, and tzatziki, and what was called Dark Chocolate Biscotti, a thin slice of brownie, chocolate mousse and pistachio-black cherry gelato (worth half the price of dinner right there).  The check did not float entirely off the table, because we had liquored up first, so we passed on alcohol, usually the budget buster.

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Gil Glotzer, semi-retired attorney to the stars, joined me at the Mets game this afternoon, something that we had done so often before he relocated to Dixie.  With that auspicious start, the wretched performance of the Mets, one of the worst that I can recall witnessing in person, was especially deflating.  It was a very hot and humid day and we watched the entire game on a screen indoors in one of the "clubs" scattered around the field, not substantially different than watching the game at home.  

I anticipated retirement because it would allow me to go to the ballpark during the day, sitting in the great outdoors, getting home in time for dinner with my favorite wife.  However, on days like this, really enjoying the game, results aside, avoiding perspiration and sun stroke, may be best accomplished within the walls of the Palazzo di Gotthelf.  I better write a note to myself in case my memory gets fuzzy next year.  "Remember, New York in July and August is hot and steamy, and you don't want to spend money to sit fully exposed to the Sun for three or four hours.   That doesn't make any sense, does it?"

Friday, August 12, 2016 
After yesterday's fiasco at the ballpark, I was pleased that Gil was still willing to spend some more time in my company.  Or, maybe the presence of our respective wives allowed him to give me another chance.  In any case, the four of us had dinner ar Room Service, 690 Ninth Avenue, a Thai restaurant.  A long, narrow restaurant with a dramatic decor, it was very popular, too popular.  Possibly the 90% of the clientele under 30 had no trouble with the noise level, but our collection of Social Security collectors found it hard to hear each other's complaints.  

Noise was the only thing, however, to complain about Room Service.  We shared two salads, green papaya avocado salad ($6.50) and beef green apple salad ($9.90), large portions and good tasting.  Our main courses had those same characteristics.  I had "Peanut Sauce Fried Rice and Big Shrimps Satay" ($16.20), a portion I couldn't even finish.  The half dozen shrimp were not big, but nicely grilled.  The peanut sauce, as I have commented before, is a can't-fail ingredient, just like drawn butter or maple syrup.  If we only could keep the people away.

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