Saturday, July 22, 2017

Away From Home

Monday, July 17, 2017
I'm sorry to have to report the untimely demise of a dear one.  Another Fork in the Road, 1215 Route 199, Milan, New York, a joint that properly could be called funky, has closed (July 10, 2015).  It had a ragtag collection of kitchen tables and chairs, a counter with half a dozen chrome stools, and a few broken sofas to hold you while waiting for a place to eat.  It was a very reliable spot for breakfast and lunch, about one mile off the Taconic Parkway, convenient if you were traveling to Rhinebeck, further north in the Hudson Valley or over to the Berkshires.  We discovered the sad news today as we headed to Housatonic, Massachusetts, to spend a week with our second and third generations in a large rented house with bedrooms and bathrooms to spare.

The closing of Another Fork in the Road was not the only disappointment that we faced on the trip up.  At the intersection of Seekonk Road and Boice Road, a mile or two from our destination, Officer Krupke allegedly observed that I ignored a stop sign and brought the full and expensive majesty of Massachusetts motor vehicle law down on me.  While his version of events may be correct (and unimpeachable), I remain unconvinced because I was driving slowly, looking at road signs carefully, due to the imprecision of our GPS.  
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My young bride brought the following article to my attention, which asks us to deep six a modern collection of clichés.  Indeed, many of them should be taken out to pasture, but imho they at least consist of full words, not the telegraphed letters that have moved from teenspeak into general usage.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
To celebrate the (partial) gathering of our clan, we engaged Austin Banach (, a talented young chef to prepare our dinner tonight.  In all, a night to remember.  The menu was roasted beet tart tatin with herbed chèvre and nasturtium salad, sweet corn soup with micro pea tendrils, pan seared cod with ginger and chili salsa, asparagus with egg and caper vinaigrette, faro risotto with mushrooms, and frisée salad with fresh apricots and walnut vinaigrette.  For dessert, Austin made us blueberry and lavender galette with vanilla ice cream (the only store-bought component of the meal).  The children had been fed earlier and he served them a thick, chocolate moussey dessert that reminded me of the superiority of chocolate to all other items on the Periodic Table.  I confess that I selected the otherwise excellent blueberry creation, a bow towards adult respectability that I will forgo next time when such a chocolate experience presents itself.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Once upon a time, I managed or employed white collar staff, office workers and computer people.  It was long enough ago that I did not have to face the plague of flip flops, skimpy slabs moved out of the shower stall onto the office floor.  I would object to them even in a back office setting, unless cars or circus animals are being washed.  For a discussion of the topic, see
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Today's paper, which I am reading on-line even on vacation (as if a retired person can go on vacation), has a much more disturbing article about a steam pipe explosion immediately adjacent to Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan.
One person died, many were injured by the scalding steam and flying debris; there was extensive property damage and disruption in the densely-occupied area.  All of that might or might not be considered under the heading of an accident beyond normal human control.  What troubles me is the report that the trial of liability for the July 18, 2007 event is first scheduled for October in New York Supreme Court, my last employer.  Technical and factual complexities and the number of parties, plaintiffs and defendants (anything that happens on the streets of New York always pulls in lots of defendants), added to the delay, no doubt.  However, I am sure that my former colleagues did not cause this seeming rupture of the judicial process and probably pushed, pushed, pushed to move things along.  Yet, it is ten years later and justice seems not only blind, but severely hobbled.    

Thursday, July 20, 2017
We all had a mid afternoon treat at SoCo Creamery, 5 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, originally South County Creamery.  It was impossible to track all the flavors that we ordered among the 7 of us, but Dirty Chocolate was a popular choice.  Far be it from me to quibble, but it was mislabeled.  I anticipated a deep chocolate with nuts, raisins, maybe coconut mixed in.  Instead, it was a blend of chocolates, very nice, smooth, with nothing chewy or granular, however.  Other options included banana brownie, ginger and peanut butter mudslide.  Worth a visit.

Friday, July 21, 2017
I read another woe-is-me commentary about America's neediest -- white men, Christian more often than not.  These lamentations usually point to those liberal college professors, social workers, lawyers and politicians who have relegated them to the socio-economic sidelines, while advancing all sorts of undeserving strangers to positions of power and influence.  Of course, the current collection of billionaires assembled in Washington will, no doubt, reassert the greatness that was wrenched out of real American hands.  

What caught my attention in this particular cri de coeur was the claim that the New England Patriots professional football team is widely disliked because they are called PATRIOTS.  The writer obviously knew as little about professional football as he did about American history and politics.  The New England Patriots are widely disliked because they are the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, a team noted for inventive methods of cheating.  Everyone does it?  Where have you heard that one before?

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