Saturday, July 15, 2017

Movie Time

Monday, July 10, 2017
The web site has just published its list of America's best sandwiches.  The 23 selections are far-reaching, but only 2 reach anywhere close to home: Saltie, 378 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, for hard-boiled egg, feta, capers, black olives, pickles and pimento aioli on focaccia; and Milano's Deli, 41 Montgomery Street, Jersey City, for a chicken parm.  Not having sampled any of the 23 choices, I can't insist that the voting was rigged.

However, for the list to be taken seriously it has to include, or be expanded to include, something from Ben's Best Kosher Delicatessen, 96-40 Queens Boulevard, Rego Park, at least a corned beef, pastrami combo; the buttermilk-battered chicken sandwich with apple/celeric slaw and sambal (chili-infused) mayo from Genuine Roadside at Gotham Market, 600 11th Avenue, New York City; and, the brisket sandwich at the Bolivian Llama Party, 1000 Eighth Avenue (really the southern end of the Columbus Circle subway station, enter at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue).  

For a Hall of Fame entry, possibly clouded by the mists of time, I nominate the Bo Burger at Obie's Diner, Ithaca, New York, a repurposed trolley car with either 10 or 20 stools, according to different sources.  I cannot find a precise address for the downtown institution, which closed in 1966.  In any case, the Bo Burger was a cheeseburger, with fried onions under the meat and a fried egg on top of the cheese.  Adding to Obie's appeal was the aura of sexual tension exuded by all the Cornell men parked there after depositing their Cornell women dates obeying their midnight curfews.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
According to High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of An American Classic by Glenn Frankel, which I just finished reading, Dwight Eisenhower showed the movie three times at the White House, while Bill Clinton, possibly thinking it was an aphrodisiac, watched it 20 times.  Want to suggest an appropriate film for the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?   Psycho vs. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?
. . . 

Just as I finished nominating the buttermilk-battered chicken sandwich at Genuine Roadside in Gotham Market, 600 11th Avenue, for sandwich immortality yesterday, I heard from Dr. Marcel L. that he was interested in trying it.  So, we met there at lunchtime today and the good doctor agreed with my assessment after having a chicken sandwich.  

We were both so pleased that we proceeded to the Ample Hills Creamery stand a few feet away.  Marcel had a scoop of their deep, dark chocolate, while I had, you'll pardon the expression, "Ooey Gooey Butter Cake," described as vanilla ice cream made with cream cheese and "St. Louis-style" butter cake.  For more information, see  For the empiricists among you, just try it -- and this is from a chocolate person.

Thursday, July 13, 2017
I couldn't do it again if you paid me, but this afternoon I essentially did a cartwheel when attempting to lift a telephone (the old-fashioned kind) off the floor and place it on a stand across the room.  I wound up with a variety of bumps and bruises, some rather dramatic in color and shape.  We'll see if this limits my gallivanting in the next few days, but real champions play hurt. 

The big news not having to do with the abandonment of honesty, decency, integrity and the rule of law, is the breaking apart of a huge iceberg in Antarctica.
The New York Times first described the broken piece as "roughly the size of Delaware," a comparison repeated by others outlets, but not all.  CNN, in the article above, observed that the hefty baby berg has "a volume twice that of Lake Erie in North America and is more than three times the size of the greater London area."  Even though I have spent far more time in the greater London area than in Delaware, I am unsure that I comprehend the size of the breakaway. 

The New York Times did a delightful riff on this subject.  It suggested alternatively imagining the newly-independent iceberg as 2 Samoas, 1/2 Gambia, or 1/10 Latvia.  

It reminds me of the inventive MIT students who recalibrated the Harvard Bridge, carrying Massachusetts Avenue over the Charles River, in Smoots, the recumbent length of then first-year (f/k/a freshman) student Oliver Smoot, '62.  
Expressing the length of the bridge as 364.4 Smoots seems friendlier than 659.82 meters, but how do you feel about 3 Londons vs. 1 Delaware?

Friday, July 14, 2017
The California Supreme Court, supreme like the U.S. version and unlike the N.Y. version, has just ruled that the state's famously hard bar exam is too hard.  
California had a pass rate of 62 percent for first-time test takers last year, compared with 83 percent in New York.  Only Delaware was tougher, possibly preparing to float out to sea.

I'm not comfortable with opening the portals to legal practice too wide.  There are frequent complaints about the plight of un- or underemployed lawyers, saddled with huge student debt.  While I think that there is a problem with access to the law by many marginal groups in our society shunted aside by geography (too urban or too rural) or economics, an abundance of lawyers has not improved the situation, as seen in the last 10-15 years. 

I am also not quick to dismiss the value of standardized tests as gateways to advancement.  Lawyers, like doctors and Stuyvesant High School students, for instance, should be expected to possess a reasonable level of information,  analytic and expressive skills to support their mission.  In the dozen-plus years that I read legal briefs, statutes and judicial opinions during most daylight hours, I battled incoherence, illogic and ignorance on a regular basis.  

One often unmentioned factor that influences California's situation is the presence of 22 unaccredited law schools in the state, whose graduates are allowed to sit for the bar examination, a leniency not found in many other states.  These students generally perform very poorly on the bar examination, about 1 in 5 passing, compared to about half the California law students who attended nationally-accredited law schools.  Repeat test takers generally have much less success, pulling the overall pass rate down (62% of California first-timers pass vs. about 50% of all test takers).

More lawyers, no matter how well- or ill-prepared, are not the answer to improving the availability of legal services to the underserved.  The market has failed here again.  Apparently, lawyers are willing to cluster around lower Broadway in Manhattan or Court Street in Brooklyn vying for scraps off the legal table, rather than reposition themselves geographically or vocationally purely for economic advantage.  I'm not criticizing such choices.   As a Holy Land chauvinist, I understand the desire to stay near Madison Square Garden or Chinatown when considering job offers.  Thanks to Marjory Fields and Joe Forstadt, I avoided having to choose between a rock and a hard place.

1 comment:

  1. It's quite simple. The iceberg breakaway is a quarter the size of Wales.