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 CafĂ© 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.       

1 comment:

  1. After being by staggered by the description of the enormous multi-course lunch you consumed with the students in western Massachusetts, followed by two scoops of ice cream with trimmings, I discovered later on in your writing that you had warmed up for the lunch by stopping off shortly beforehand for a roast beef hero. I am in awe.