Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lincoln's Doctor's Dog

Monday, April 24, 2017
Last week, in response to my discussion of crosswords and other puzzles as a safe harbor from the randomness and confusion of the modern world, friend Cindy (a/k/a Ciel)   recommended  "Thank You for Being Late" by Thomas Friedman "as a continuation of your search for answers."   Actually, as a Jewish existentialist my search centers mainly on my next good meal.  I don’t believe that there are any transcendent answers, even if at times I might wish that there were.  Solving puzzles is comforting, but not life defining.   

Saturday night, we saw "Oslo," a creative non-fictional account of the events leading to the 1993 agreement between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, culminating in the historic handshake on the White House lawn between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.  In a message to a friend later that night, I described the play as "thrilling," the same word appearing in the headline of the New York Times review a few days earlier, which I skipped in order to preserve my own initial impression.
Well, we were both right.  Only warmongers should skip this production, although they prevail in the long run.  

I came across an old, interesting study of the supposed influence of titles on book sales, produced by a vanity press (self-publishing service) as a guide to its authors.

While the sponsor has an interest in publishing as many books as possible, the study seems to have been conducted with some rigor.  It examined the title of every hardcover fiction bestseller (per New York Times) from 1955 to 2004, compared to less successful works by the same authors.  It concluded that "Sleeping Murder," the last novel published by Agatha Christie, had the perfect title and that John le Carré had the "best" collection of titles.  

However, I'm skeptical about the predictive value of the findings, identifying three differentiators among 11 variables.  I think that book choices are substantially based on familiarity with or reputation of the author and reviews.  Movies may not necessarily benefit from "good" or snappy titles, but I believe that "bad" titles may deter attendance, putting aside the Disney oeuvre and anything "Star Wars."   Without any other information, would you spend money on current releases, such as, "Slack Bay," "The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki," "Rupture" or "Ghost in the Shell"?  
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The Boyz Club met today at XO Restaurant, 148 Hester Street, in honor of Mark Nazimova's birthday.  In fact, we pretended to let him order for all of us.  We wound up with scallion pancake with curry sauce, pan fried dumplings, steamed dumplings, Hong Kong-style spring rolls, chicken fried rice, lo mien with braised black mushrooms and oyster sauce, and beef chow fun with black bean sauce for $11 each, with every dish good or better than good.    
As Tom Adcock, Michael Ratner and I walked to the subway together, we came across Penquin Ice Cream, 143B Hester Street, and we were moved to explore.  Penquin is one of a new crop of Asian ice cream shops that make their product in front of you on super-cold metal discs, looking like leftover pizza pans.   They smoosh and chop and scrape and fold and shovel the contents around, starting with six basic flavors and over two dozen mix-ins (bananas, kiwi, lychee, Oreos, Cheerios, sprinkles, marshmallows, M&Ms, graham crackers among others), finishing with a choice of toppings and sauces once the mess has hardened.  This results in a medium-sized cupful of pretty good ice cream for $7.  As a business, though, it's not going to be a winner, unless it's a money laundering scheme for nefarious Asian enterprises, since it took several minutes to create each serving.  While there were two pizza pans available for use, only one of the two Penquins on the premises seemed to be smoosh-chop-scrape-fold-shovel qualified.  Go by yourself and be patient.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I came across Korean Express, 807 Lexington Avenue, by chance.  It's a long, narrow room, bereft of character.  Almost half the floor space is taken by the cooking and prep area.  18 small tables take the rest of the room.  Service is efficient from a friendly staff, but the food is the main attraction, good and cheap, at least for the lunch special.  For $9.95 you pick two main dishes; I had spicy chicken and bulgogi, thin sliced steak in a predominantly soy sauce sauce.  You also get a side dish; jab-chae (glass) noodles for me.  A lot of good food, at a reasonable price.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Urbanspace is a food court at the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and East 45th Street, near Grand Central Terminal.  Ignore the nominal street address of 230 Park Avenue, if you want to get there.  I recently visited Mr. Bing there (April 4, 2017), late morning and had the place to myself.  Today, however, hundreds of people 1/3 my age were packed in, eating tacos, lobster rolls, hamburgers, sushi, hummus, pizza and almost anything else that could be pushed across a counter quickly.  

I decided on a sandwich at Mayhem & Stout, its name a mystery, although there might be a link to some of the 8 brews on tap.  M&S describes itself as an "artisan sandwich company" and that's the heart of its menu.  I had "the Old Timer," appropriately enough, brisket, creamy horseradish and sauteed onions on a soft, 6" roll ($10.10), the flavors clear and present.  It wasn't even too sloppy to eat and I found a seat at the end of one of the dozen or so picnic benches in the center of the room, so I wouldn't have to eat standing up and risk dropping food on my shoes.    

Friday, April 28, 2017
Looking back on this week, I thought that I would be absorbed with learning to say, "Yes, we have a reckless maniac, too" in Korean.  Instead, I kept finding new places to eat, a less consequential, but more satisfying, pursuit.  Today, Stony Brook Steve and I headed north, not quite to Canada, but to La Salle Dumpling Room, 3141 Broadway, proximate to Columbia University, Barnard College, Manhattan School of Music, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary, although, as Steve pointed out, the latter is least likely to provide patronage to this little Chinese restaurant.  

La Salle (the intersecting street) has a simple menu, some appetizers; soup dumplings (xiao long bao); steamed dumplings; pan fried dumplings; noodles, in or out of soup; and, a dozen familiar main courses.  We assembled an excellent combination of cold sesame noodles ($7.95), chicken dumplings in a spicy vinaigrette ($8.50) and beef and scallions wrapped in a scallion pancake (burrito-style) ($8.95), elevated by a schmear of hoisin sauce.  La Salle's prices are high according to the CSPI, the Chinatown Standard Price Index, but, if you are either matriculating or heading to Montreal, it's worth a visit. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Square Peg Seeks Square Hole

Monday, April 17, 2017
I was moved by a comment in this short essay about mathematics.    The author describes his engagement with KenKen, a kind of puzzle involving putting numbers in boxes, "when . . . all the pieces fit nicely together and you get this rush of harmony and order."  I get that same feeling from my regular bouts with crossword puzzles and Free Cell, a computerized card game, as well as my occasional games of KenKen, Sudoko and their variants.  For a moment, the complex and weird world assumes an order, a pattern, a rhythm that you can move to fluidly.  Without these moments and the accompanying feeling of accomplishment, I think that my ability to deal with the many daily stresses and strains would be substantially diminished.  I cherish the reassurance, if only for a moment, that things can fit, that there are answers.

Which brings me to this past Saturday's crossword puzzle, 43 Down: School closing?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Sundown brought the end to Passover, 8 full days, not Lent's 40 days or Ramadan's month-long duration.  Each has its own guidelines; Passover excludes broad varieties of food and requires certification of those allowed; Lent requires the giving up of luxuries; Ramadan involves daily fasting during daylight hours.  Religious services attach to at least part of each holiday.

Sundown, the usual beginning or end of Jewish holy days, was officially 7:39 PM in New York City today, a point at which the New York Rangers held a 1-0 lead over the Montreal Canadiens in the fourth game of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Just as the journey across the Sinai Desert was perilous for the Israelites, the Rangers faced difficult moments until they eventually succeeded by a score of 2-1.  The Passover story contained in the Haggadah, read at each of the two seders that begin the holiday, directs us to see ourselves as though we left Egypt, to experience the feelings of slavery and liberation that characterize Exodus.  Well, it might not be the same thing, but I was at Madison Square Garden for the game. Amen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Wednesday is the day that the New York Times includes a food section in the daily paper, including restaurant reviews and recipes.  Today, it has a feature on the typical day of a local food cart vendor.

The article claims that there are "more than 10,000 people, most of them immigrants, who make a living selling food on the city’s sidewalks: pork tamales, hot dogs, rolled rice noodles, jerk chicken."  To celebrate this, I had lunch today by Skyway Halal Foods, west side of Broadway between West 70th Street and West 71st Street.  Actually, the use of a name is pointless to identify the food cart, just as the old-fashioned shuls in Brooklyn were known simply by location, such as, the Sutter Avenue shul or the Fountain Avenue shul, regardless of any name that might appear on or above the door.  

In this neighborhood, I patronize the guys between 70th and 71st or the guys at the northwest corner of West 67th Street and Broadway.  The problem they present, however, is the lack of a place to sit down and eat.  My typical order is a combination (chicken and a hybrid beef/lamb mixture) over rice and chopped lettuce with a pita bread on the side.  This costs $6 or $7, maybe $1 more in dense business areas.  Add $1 for a Diet Coke and I usually head to a bench on the islands separating northbound and southbound traffic on Broadway.  

It would have been particularly interesting if the two guys in the cart between 70th and 71st were Egyptian so soon after I celebrated my flight from Egypt, but I only know that they are Muslim, maybe from South Asia, not even Arabs then.  Since Islam emerged thousands of years after the Exodus, there were no hard feelings on either side.

A new book about Hillary Clinton's campaign has just been published and the   review was very illuminating.

The book is entitled "Shattered," written by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, who have written favorably about Clinton in the past.  After reading the review, I rushed over to my New York Public Library app to line up for an electronic copy of the book.  Well, I beat the rush.  In fact, I beat the library to even offering the book electronically.  Instead, I found that there are twelve other books entitled "Shattered" available for electronic distribution, ranging from a tale of Atticus O'Sullivan, the Iron Druid, "whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he's been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities" (Kevin Hearne, author) to a novel about criminal psychologist Dr. Sarah Jacobs and the New Orleans underworld figure Jax Fontaine, who "may be worlds apart, but when they're skin to skin, nothing matters but the heat between them" (Cynthia Eden, author).  I'm sure that a fascinating article in The Atlantic or The New Yorker could result from reading, comparing and contrasting them all.  

Back to Hillary's "Shattered."  I was able to reserve a print copy, along with half of the registered Democrats in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island.  NB -- Brooklyn and Queens each have their own library system.

Thursday, April 20, 2017    
Every so often, I forget my roots and aim for a bit of respectability.  Today, I led Stony Brook Steve and Michael Ratner to Pinch Chinese, 177 Prince Street, a restaurant located in a neighborhood now of fashionable boutiques and exclusive galleries, once simply the lower end of Greenwich Village.  Pinch has garnered some very good press and appeared on some prestigious lists.  I found the long rectangular room very attractive, with a bold mural against one wall, red painted chairs on one side and black opposite.  However, lunch may not be the time to really enjoy this place.

A 4" by 11" card is offered to each diner, with a cup of pencils on the table to mark your choice among a very simple set of alternatives.  Three "Mains" set your base price: Taiwanese beef noodle soup ($18), Chicken Sao Bing Sandwich ($18) or vegetarian fried rice ($13), with an optional pork chop at $5.  Then there is a choice of dumplings and salad.  I started with the chicken sandwich, which actually came last, and chose pan fried beef dumplings, very good, and cauliflower and scallion salad, not what I usually dream about, but more desirable than seaweed and tofu, for instance.  Extra dumplings, $5 glasses of iced tea, and $7 half glasses of wine were the only other items on the menu.

My sandwich was good, strips of chicken, shiitake mushrooms, and scallions between two flaky, sesame-coated pieces of flatbread.  The problem was getting it into your mouth, as the floppy flatbread couldn't stand up to the contents.  Eventually, the chopsticks (it would have been cowardly to ask for knife and fork) were used to pick pieces off the plate.  The  on-line and professional reviews of Pinch describe dishes that obviously cannot be seen by light of day, so consider that when headed this way.  

Friday, April 21, 2017
The day started murky, but I anticipated going to my first Mets game of the season with the 48th President of the United States, William Franklin Harrison.   He is only 16 now, but his name alone is worth 200 electoral votes.  Before heading out to the ballpark, we went to Hell's Chicken, 641 Tenth Avenue, an establishment focusing on the Korean method of frying chicken.  Service was very attentive in the long, narrow space, just one storefront wide.  Of course, we were the only customers at 5 o'clock, but I think that our waitress was pleased to have the chance to discuss living in New York after growing up in Seoul.  

William and I shared a 14 piece order of fried chicken, 8 wings and 6 drumsticks ($22, a couple of dollars cheaper at lunchtime).  We got two sauces with that, spicy soy garlic and spicy soy ginger and both lived up to their name.  We added sides of rice, $2 for white and $3 for brown.  The food was very good; it's worth returning to.  Additionally, the menu has a nice selection of Korean specialties that I would like to try, including japche, glass noodles that have thrilled me at other joints.  

[Answer] DOTEDU

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mind The Gap

Monday, April 10, 2017
Having recently finished reading Tim Weiner's fascinating book about Richard Nixon, One Man Against the World, I've just begun his history of the FBI, Enemies.  I found this interesting observation in chapter 6, electronic page 56 (different in the print edition):  "The Harding Administration, from the top down, had been led by men who worshiped money and business, disdained government and law, and misled the American people."  Can you believe it?

The weekend New York Times has a special section on education, featuring articles on the "gap year," usually taken between high school graduation and college entrance.

While I appreciated reading about young people's experiences in Senegal, New Zealand, and Thailand, I reflected on my gapless, homebound education path from high school through graduate school.  Money (the absence thereof), the Vietnam War, a narrow worldview, and cultural inhibitions kept me on Woodhaven Boulevard until college graduation.  Moving to Ithaca, New York for graduate school did little to change the other factors and, in fact, I secured my first passport seven years after being thrown out of graduate school.  While I was very much in need of "finding myself" back then, I traveled no further than Minneapolis, Minnesota and Mount Carroll, Illinois on separate occasions.  I am certain that a gap somewhere along the way would have been very beneficial to me for the same reasons that I never had it.

We are attending the first Passover seder tonight in Massachusetts, at the home of the second and third generations, the first time that they are hosting this event.  America's Favorite Epidemiologist, drawing upon her vast skill set, aided our daughter-in-law Irit in mounting a fabulous meal, in spite of facing the massive handicap of keeping it strictly vegetarian.  I realize that that skirted the outer fringes of Jewish customs and practice, but the presence of four different chocolate-based desserts picked up a lot of the slack.  The menu included vegetable soup with matzoh balls, matzoh lasagna (matzoh replacing the noodles), "Sfongo" (potato and spinach casserole topped with parmesan cheese), butternut squash soufflé, and eggplant moussaka.  Note that Law Professor David's masterful conduct of the ceremony could lead him to be mistaken for an Elder of Zion.  
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
We packed up and headed for the Holy Land in order to enjoy the second Passover seder at Aunt Judi's and Uncle Stu's in Englewood, New Jersey, as we have in the past.  Aunt Judi approaches her menu in a more traditional fashion, so, after beginning with the deep-fried gefilte fish (something that reaffirms my Zionism year after year), we were served her famous sweet and sour meatballs; beef ribs, cooked with cranberry sauce, bouillon and onion soup mix; chicken, cooked with French dressing, apricot jam and onion soup mix; vegetable kishke; matzoh kugel with apples; broccoli soufflé; Israeli cous cous, bigger and more assertive than ordinary; rhubarb and strawberry compote.  Desserts included chocolate mousse, chocolate chip mandelbrot, chocolate chip cookies, and almond drop cookies.  It was almost worth 40 years in the desert.  

Speaking of Passover, the New York Times had an essay entitled "Don't Make Passover Too Easy."
It makes the interesting point that the explosive growth of Passover food items, "more than doubl[ing] since 2011, to 52,000 from 23,000," have "made the holiday far less onerous," and thus less genuine.  This parallels the development of products that emulate some of the forbidden fruits of non-Kosher (treyf) cuisine, such as bacon and shrimp substitutes, and products that allow the evasion of the rules, such as non-dairy cheese and non-dairy ice cream which may be eaten alongside meat dishes.  

These trends are consistent with other modern innovations to ease the burden of Jewish observance, for those who take their observance seriously, maybe to an extreme.  For instance, hotels in Israel as well as apartment houses in Brooklyn have Shabbos elevators that stop at every floor, obviating the need to push a button, considered work not allowed on the Sabbath.  Similarly, timers turn on and off lights and appliances on the day of rest, because the ignition of an electrical circuit, akin to lighting a fire, is also banned.  

Why take the trouble?  The essayist says the "challenge of making a meal with so many restrictions serves as a reminder of where Jews have come from and the importance of retelling the story of a time when they were not so fortunate."  This is perfectly reasonable to me and I would honor this as I honor fasting on Yom Kippur, bringing a touch of humility and continuity into modern life.  But, I think that many Jews follow the Passover and Kosher strictures, because that's the way it always was, not unlike our originalists in Constitutional law.  If it was good enough for Rabbi Gamliel, a leading Hebrew scholar of the first century, or Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, signer of the Constitution from South Carolina, it should be good enough for you.  While I cannot claim to channel either the rabbi or the delegate, I would hope that both would accept, if not welcome, change, without abandoning their overarching values, as the world that they knew moved ever faster into new and unpredictable directions.  Overarching values, after all, should not be tied to a time or place.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Law Professor David not only led Monday's night's seder masterfully, today he has an essay published in the Washington Post

I won't spoil it for you, but our family's legal eagle indicates that some big companies are trying to keep their owners (shareholders) from exercising any control over their property.  Sounds un-American to me.

Friday, April 14, 2017
I can't attest to all of Time Out New York's recommendations for cheap eats, but many are familiar and worth a visit.   Of course, omitting Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street, is a near-fatal deficiency, I'm not a fan of Shake Shack and I suggest that you purchase knishes at Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston Street, to take home because they usually reheat them in a microwave which eliminates the crispiness of the wrapper.  A few minutes in a hot oven brings out their exceptional character.  

This is the time of year that Jews and Christians alike celebrate enduring traditions -- the Stanley Cup playoffs.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Don't Bother, They're Here

Monday, April 3, 2017
If you can remember back to election night, the minority president promised that "[t]he forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer."

Indeed, the president has made heroic efforts to unforget the forgotten, that woeful sliver of society that is left holding most of the money.

Let's not forget Betsy DeVos, whose net worth is no less than $580 million.  Tie a string around your finger to keep in mind Gary D. Cohn, worth no less that $253 million. Remember Steven T. Mnuchin, worth at least $154 million.  Promise kept.

Stony Brook Steve and I headed to Auntie Guan's Kitchen 108 (sic), 108 West 14th Street, a bright new restaurant in a neighborhood that continues to be upgraded.  The floor space is awkwardly configured, with 5 booths, 3 round tables and more than a dozen two tops variously pushed together.  All the tables were covered by white butcher paper on top of white tablecloths.  No crayons were supplied, however.  The random arrangement of the tables left a narrow path to get from front to back.  Maybe this was the reason that service was uneven, patience and waving of arms needed to get a pot of tea refilled.   

The food, on the other hand, was commendable.  The menu is an illustrated laminated sheet with pictures that don't always correspond to the captions.  While there were lunch specials, we made a meal of individual items, Fried Dumplings (6 for $6.99), Sliced Lamb w. Cumin & Chili Oil ($15.99 bought a large portion), and Scallion Pancake w. Shredded Meat (chicken) ($7.99).  The scallion pancake was a particular treat, a lot of chicken chunks cooked in cumin and hot oil wrapped in a scallion pancake, much spicier than the lamb dish which advertised its spiciness.  All good.     

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
I had an appointment with my periodontist today.  Having gotten his kids through graduate school, I am now working on a modest villa in Tuscany for him.  The visit, however, was not entirely to my disadvantage.  It gave me the opportunity to go to Mr. Bing's, 230 Park Avenue, a new establishment that offers jianbings, Peking-style pancakes.  Ignore the Park Avenue address if you head that way.  Mr. Bing is one of about a dozen stalls in a food court at the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and East 45th Street, providing Thai, Italian, burgers, chicken, German, Japanese, soup, coffee, smoothies, pizza, "sushi burritos" and donuts.  

Mr. Bing (apparently a translation of the name of its founder Brian Goldberg), occupies an 8' x 8' booth preparing jianbings to order by spreading a thin film of mung bean and rice flour batter onto a griddle, break an egg on it, add herbs, crisp noodles and roast duck, marinated chicken or roast pork, flip it, roll it and cut it in two.  Three levels of spiciness are available.  I had the roast duck version medium spicy ($15), interesting but not compelling, and only large enough to satisfy a modestly-sized woman.  

Speaking of satisfying a modestly-sized woman, I wonder if Roger Ailes would share the secret of his sex appeal?

Thursday, April 5, 2017
My wife left me today ------- to go to Massachusetts to assist our second and third generations prepare for their very first Passover seder at home.  I will follow in a few days to conduct a final inspection and enjoy their culinary efforts, as Jewish men have done through the centuries.

Alone on this cold rainy day, I followed the path of least resistance, took the subway to Chinatown and had lunch at Wo Hop, 17 Mott Street.  Fortunately, they had their lunch soup special, so I was able to have a large bowl of egg drop won ton soup for $2, hot, delicious and brimming with 7 plump won ton.  If I ordered Wo Hop's world class crispy noodles, I could have stopped there, but I chose as my starch shrimp fried rice ($7.95), with hot mustard and soy sauce to add some complexity to the flavor palette.  

Friday, April 7, 2017
I've never liked David Brooks, one of two conservatives regularly publishing op-eds in the New York Times, normally the voice of limousine liberalism.  Too often, his writing strained to add intellectual embroidery to Republican nonsense, rather than offer an independent conservative perspective.  Today, however, I have to admire his piece on the clown-in-chief.  I wish that I had written some of it.

"[T]he personnel process has been so rigorous in its selection of inexperience that those who were hired on the basis of mere nepotism look like Dean Acheson by comparison."
"I worry that at the current pace the Trump administration is going to run out of failure."  
"Trump’s greatest achievements are in the field of ignorance."

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Driving Mr. Daisy

Monday, March 27, 2017
I'm not quite sure how they arrived at this list, but Trip Advisor has come out with another "best of" lists, best travel destinations.
In contrast to some of the lists of the most outlandishly expensive, pretentious restaurants, I fare pretty well here.  I hit 7 of the top 10, missing Bali, which I don't miss at all, Crete and, you'll pardon the expression, Phuket, Thailand.  

As you scroll through the whole 25 locations, you'll notice the absence of Washington, DC.  Maybe folks feared getting stuck in the swamp.  In the future, it's possible that it will come to rival Pompeii as the site of a ruined civilization.

The chasm between Republicans and Democrats in this country is well known, but there is another division, not as rancorous, but equally profound -- pet owners and the rest of us.  This is clearly illustrated by the following story, dealing with pet custody disputes in divorce cases.

As a confirmed animal ignorer, my admittedly cold reaction to these struggles is "Knock it off."  Yet, when I worked in "divorce court" for 3-1/2 of my almost 14 years in the court system, I occasionally encountered one of these Fido fights and witnessed the emotions aroused.  Unfortunately, professional considerations kept me quiet, but privately dubious.  

An article this weekend compared the nutritional value of blueberries vs. red cabbage at a reader's request.
Blueberries prevail in what has to be a purely academic comparison, since there is no way that I am putting red cabbage on my corn flakes.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Nate Cohn, thought to be a reliable political prognosticator until the 2016 election, revisits the scene of the crime and concludes that the winner  "flipped millions of white working-class Obama supporters to his side."  

A very interesting study suggests a motive for this change of attitude.
The authors found that "while midlife mortality rates continue to fall among all education classes in most of the rich world, middle-aged non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. with a high school diploma or less have experienced increasing midlife mortality since the late 1990s. This is due to both rises in the number of 'deaths of despair'—death by drugs, alcohol and suicide—and to a slowdown in progress against mortality from heart disease and cancer, the two largest killers in middle age."  When Trump called out to African-Americans "what have you got to lose," he seems to have been heard best by white working class voters.  Ironically, many of the new administration's policies seemed destined to exacerbate the ill health and living conditions of these swing voters.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
One group that seems dedicated to Trump is professional golfers.  When a New York Times sports writer conducted "an anonymous survey . . . in February of 56 players on the PGA Tour, 50 (or 89 percent) said they would play with Trump if extended an invitation. Three said they would not, and three declined to answer."   The attitudes of women golfers were different, but not dramatically.  "[I]n mid-March, [at] the first L.P.G.A. event of the year held in the United States, I conducted an anonymous survey of 40 players.  Twenty-four (or 60 percent) said they would play with Trump, nine said they would not and seven declined to comment."  Fore!

I hit the road on my own today to visit Francesca H., Smith College '19, and Alex G., Amherst '18, in my on-going quest for a peer group.  Both kids are doing fine and we enjoyed a good meal at Paul & Elizabeth's, 150 Main Street,   Northampton, MA, a pescatarian restaurant serving large portions at low prices.  After sharing three appetizers, two of which were large enough to be a main course, I had fish and chips ($15), scrod (the official fish of New England) fried in a tempura batter.  Additionally, I picked fish chowder rather than salad to start, and got a creamy bowl (not a cup) with white fish, potatoes and carrots.  Confession: I left food over.
Miraculously, by the time we left the restaurant and walked around the corner, I was able to find room for ice cream at Herrell's, 8 Old South Street, a local institution for over 40 years.  I counted 40 ice cream flavors plus some sorbets and frozen yogurt.  I had two scoops, "Emerald City," peppermint ice cream with Andes (chocolate) mints and green sprinkles, and mudpie, espresso ice cream with Oreos and a fudge swirl.  Alex had a scoop of coffee with chopped chocolate on top; Francesca ventured into "Hamentashen" (I would include a "c"), vanilla ice cream with the traditional Purim cookie mixed in.  
Thursday, March 30, 2017
I left the motel in Hadley, MA,just after ten this morning, expecting to have an early lunch at Nardelli's Grinder Shoppe, 540 Plank Road, Waterbury, CT, where I had stopped on the way up.  Yesterday, I had an excellent roast beef hero (Nardelli's uses the term grinder, which makes no sense at all), and even as I drank a free cup of coffee in the motel lobby, I was running through the possible alternatives that Nardelli's offered, meatball or eggplant parmigiana, shrimp salad. maybe "Barbecue Bacon Cheddar Chicken."  However, just after 1 PM I was first   finishing my eggs and toast at the counter at the Blue Bonnet Diner, 324 King Street, Northampton, 6 miles from where I started.  I won't bore you with the details now, although I'm certain that I'll do so on future occasions.  Let me just say that you can't drive from Massachusetts to New York on three tires.

Friday, March 31, 2017
Happy Birthday to Law Professor David.  

Stony Brook Steve and I ventured forth on this crummy rainy day to Café China, 13 East 37th Street, a well-reviewed establishment.  Improbably, enough other people had the same stupid idea, so that there was at least a 30-minute wait to sit down, an unacceptable alternative for these two alte kockers.  We quickly located Evergreen on 38, 10 East 38th Street, a reputable Chinese restaurant just around the corner.  While nearly fully occupied, Evergreen's large premises offered us room to sit down right away.  We shared six steamed pork dumplings ($5) and then each had a lunch special, Steve sesame chicken ($10.95) and me Singapore rice noodles (mei fun) ($8.95).  We both started with wonton soup, a perfect example of its type, looking like beef bouillon and tasting like China.  My noodles were very good, the mild curry flavor surrounding shrimp, pork, eggs, green and yellow onions.  After a good meal, you'll only be a half block from Lord & Taylor to replenish your wardrobe.