Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is There A Cardiologist In The House?

Monday, January 16, 2017
They voted for him because he tells it like it is, and then Kellyanne Conman tells them to judge the president-neglect based on “what’s in his heart” rather than “what’s come out of his mouth.”

Professional football has never had a profusion of Jewish players, no less Jewish stars.  While I had no reason to suspect that Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, was Jewish in spite of bearing the name of Moses's brother, a story this weekend entirely buried the prospect.

It seems that Rodgers maintains close ties with his hometown of Chico, California, delivering a video pep talk to his high school football team before a championship game, buying equipment for the team, dining locally with his junior college coach.  What's wrong with this picture?  He has not spoken to his parents, who continue to reside in Chico, since 2014.  A nice Jewish boy could never get away with that.  

I recall a conversation that I had with a female colleague at a professional services firm, who came from Seattle.  When I asked her how often she spoke to her mother, I was shocked at her answer of about once a year.  At that time, my mother was only in her seventies, so I could expect that she would personally lead the search party rather than allow the state police to proceed on its own if I had not telephoned in more than three days. 

The Sunday book review carries several pages of advertising for vanity presses, companies that publish books at the author's expense.  Yesterday, one work, which shall remain nameless, carried this promotional message: "Copies of this book were sent to US President Obama, England's Queen Elizabeth and India's Prime Minister Modi."  Don't feel bad if you did not also receive a copy of the book.  The author is an only child and unmarried.  The initial print run was probably seven copies.

When I go to Chinatown now, no longer working in the vicinity, I'm faced with a strategic choice.  Return to one of my tried and true favorites or seek out a new place?   Today, I went to a new joint, Lian Jiang Restaurant, 88 Division Street, a very small space on a triangular corner, which had previously housed Reach House (November 17 2010).  I noted at the time that Reach House's menu included "Lucky Intestinal," but I didn't press my luck.  

Lian Jiang resembles your basic high school cafeteria or Army mess hall, plopping things down on your plate as you move down the line.  However, there is no room to move, so you stand in one spot and the server picks 4 items from 16 chrome steam table pans.  There is also a menu of about 50 items, but no one seemed anxious to order or serve from it.  And, the place seemed so small that I thought that they would have to order out if asked for anything not sitting in front of our nose.

I sat on a stool at the ledge that, along with one small table, provides the only seating.  A big mound of white rice and a bland, colorless broth are included in the $5 price, regardless of your choices.  In fact, I put a heaping cup of rice into the hot soup, making a satisfying porridge.  I ate chicken stir-fried with onions in soy sauce, grilled shrimp with head and tail attached, something chewy on a bone, and something chewy without a bone.  It was just about worth the $5.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
C Bao, Asian Buns & Bubble Tea, 197 Worth Street, is brand new and succeeded a flower shop, not another restaurant.  It's only similarity to Lian Jiang is the tiny, triangular floor space it occupies.  Its attractive interior has walls that are either exposed brick or unfinished pine planks.  Seating is limited to a short ledge with four stools and a mezzanine with three small tables up a few stairs.  It is all about baos, a term often interchanged with buns in China and Vietnam.  I think of baos, though, as the spongy discs that are folded over their contents.  For instance, some restaurants serve baos instead of pancakes with Peking duck.    

C Bao offers 12 baos, duck, pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, fish, tofu, some fried, some grilled, some roasted.  9 out of 12 are $5.95, soft shell crab peaking at $9.95.  "Meals" combine a bao and a drink, saving about two bucks.  This month, C Bao is featuring a grilled chicken bao, with shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and "black pepper sauce" tasting like bottled teriyaki sauce, at $5.95, buy one get one free.  Obviously, I started there and added a Korean bulgogi beef bun meal, with unsweetened peach oolong iced tea ($9.25 total).  While the chicken was okay, the beef was excellent, marinated in soy sauce and rice wine, cooked with green and yellow onions.  Best to wear a short sleeve shirt, so that you might lick the sauce off your forearms.  Note two baos would amply serve a normal human being.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Today's New York Times quotes a Republican woman, who voted for the president-neglect.  "I think he's going to put his money where his mouth is."  That's not my concern.  I want him to put his money where I put my money -- the IRS.  

Fortunately, the newspaper had more to offer than clichés today.  A too brief print article describes a survey of the economic status of students at elite colleges.  While I was not surprised that the haves typically outnumber the have-nots, the gaps are eye-opening.  "At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent."  Get the math? 1 > 60.  That's like 62,979,636 > 65,844,610 votes.

The on-line version of this article gives a more complete picture.

Ironically, this brings me to a column in the Sunday paper which "harks back to the mid-20th century, when City College of New York cost only a few hundred dollars a year and was known as the 'Harvard of the proletariat.'"  

This vital essay looks at the class/wealth divide from the perspective of public institutions of higher education, which did so much to bring low-income students into the middle class (Hello!), now being squeezed (choked) by legislatures obsessed by bathrooms.

Tom Adcock, in early years often confused with Jimmy Olsen of the Daily Planet, Stony Brook Steve and I had lunch at Le Soleil - Haitian Cuisine, 858 Tenth Avenue.  It's a small, casual   place, with 5 four tops and 2 two tops.  The kitchen struggled to keep up, even thought there was only one other customer most of the time that we were seated.

The menu is bilingual, with three or four specials for every day of the week, although a couple for jeudi were unavailable.  I had turkey stew ($12), which contained pieces of meat that I could not identify as parts of a turkey.  They were in a tasty sauce, however, and fried plantain discs, lettuce and tomatoes, and a big plate of brown rice and kidney beans were served along side.  

Friday, January 20, 2017
I'm a coward.  I can't read past the headline on most newspaper stories about our current national politics.  I mute the nightly news when certain faces appear.  I kept the television off throughout the daytime today.  I haven't retreated to alcohol or opiates to dull my senses, just bobbing and weaving to avoid the slings and arrows of a deluded populace and its clown-in-chief.  How does one proceed in the face of DT's "spiritual advisor" claiming that he has "a heart for God, a hunger for God”?  

I hope that I soon recover the will to act, to do more than write checks to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and  Please keep your courage, while I try to revive mine.

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