I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
March 21, 2012 - 1:29 p.m.
As usual I did not get enough sleep and that makes writing tough but I'll see what I can do. I had a busy day yesterday so I should have things to write about.
Last you heard I was rushing out the door because I didn't want to be late meeting Alison at the Port Authority. To my great shame I left late and called Alison to let her know. Then when I was halfway to the subway station I realized I had forgotten my ticket for the Knick game that night and I had to go back to my apartment and get it which made me 10 minutes even later. The bus terminal is not the most pleasant place to wait for someone and I felt bad for Alison.
When I got there the first thing I went to do as soon as I got a signal was call Alison. I couldn't because as soon as I got a signal the phone rang. It was Alison. Her bus had just arrived. Things worked out perfect, we got there at the same time. We had to figure out where to meet, Alison said outside and I said in front of the statue of Ralph Kramden/Jackie Gleason. Have I mentioned that I love New York? Does your bus station of a statue dedicated to the Honeymooners?. I think not. New York wins.
We didn't have much planned for the day. It was really about seeing each other. The first order of business was lunch. This is often not easy with me and Alison as our taste in food is different though after much debate we always find something we both like and usually love. This time we didn't need to debate, Alison came up with a winner the first shot. She's only known me my entire life, that should happen more often. Her suggestion was Popovers on the Upper West Side. I know it because Melissa used to live in the neighborhood and it was one of her favorites, perhaps her very favorite restaurant. Alison knew that it would make me think of Patricia Murphy's, "home of the hot popopver" a restaurant our parents took us to when we were kids. What I really loved about Patricia Murphy's was the fish tanks especially the one with the piranha. There are few things more fascinating to a six year old boy that man-eating fish with really sharp teeth on display at a family restaurant.
We then hit a snag; we didn't actually know where the restaurant was. Alison thought of looking it up in Zagat's so we went to the Hudson News at the Port Authority to look at it. They had Zagat's, for Washington DC. Apparently they ordered the wrong one and didn't know it till pointed it out to them. We decided to just head up to the neighborhood and see if we could find it or at least find a place with a New York Zagats. Then I thought of calling Melissa! That was a brilliant idea but my call went straight to voice mail. I should have left a message or text but figured there was a good chance we'd get there before she could get back to me so we winged it. I figured out about what street it was on and Alison remembered that it was near a Jewish Deli. I wasn't, it was a Jewish Fish place but that was enough that we found it very quickly.
Popovers is a great restaurant but touched with bad-neuro. Alison of course wanted a popover but thought the entrees were too much in addition to the popover and went for the borsht. I had no such problem and ordered the Kobe Beef burger ON a popover. Actually the popover is so big it was IN the popover. Mine was amazingly good. Alison's was bad neuro. Does everyone know what borsht is? If you aren't of eastern European extraction is it just something you've heard of in books and movies? It's a cold beet soup with a deep purple color usually served mixed with sour cream. What did Alison get? A hot tomato soup! She complained and was told that was how they served it there. A little research shows that is a relatively rare regional variation but no one is going to expect that when ordering. How they don't say that on the menu is beyond me. Everyone at the restaurant, with the exception of the chef, thinks it is wrong but chef is the one that makes the decisions. Of course the waiter should have told Alison that it wasn't what the rest of the world calls borscht. She sent it back and got "Eggs Benedict Arnold" instead. Watch out for the Arnold. After ordering but before he sent it in the waiter came back and said, "I should have told you that we don't make the Eggs Benedict the normal way either. The eggs aren't poached they are fried." I didn't see it but that listed on the menu so Alison knew it when she ordered. Of course it is served in a popover not on an English muffin but that we knew and would have been disappointed if it weren't. I said we because I had some of it. It was too much for Alison as she already had the popover from that came with the borscht. It wasn't too much for me even after eating my large burger with cheese because I'm a bottomless maw of hunger.
I've just written about one commute and one meal and I'll already 936 words into this blog. I should write two blogs, "Wise Madness" and "Food and Commutes."
Alison wanted to go to the Jewish Museum on the other side of Central Park to see an exhibit The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951. Not exactly my cup of tea but I figured I'd enjoy it and I mainly wanted to hang out with Alison. It struck me later that the last time I was at the Jewish Museum it was with Melissa. I wonder if that was when we ate at Popovers. Was the day a rerun? I also walked around that end of the Park with Melissa. Was that three separate days?
Oh yes we walked across the park. It was the first day of spring and a beautiful day and I'm rarely that far north in the park so I knew I'd enjoy that. When we got to the reservoir Alison got excited because there were birds there that you can rarely see in the area and never so close up. And yes when I was there with Melissa we also saw rare birds and afterward I discussed them with Alison to figure out what kinds they were.
First we saw coots. I don't know if they were old. It's the dark bird with the white bill. A much more colorful but more common mallard is standing between two of them in this picture.
Alison and I fought over who gets to live on the top floor of the building with the three windows and balcony.
Now let's go straight to the videotape! I videoed the birds but I also videoed a high school track team. I then for the first time really edited a movie using Movie Maker and added a sound track. Here is the world premiere of Ministry of Silly Walks Central Park Edition.
We finally made our way through the park and then had to find the Jewish Museum. When we got to Fifth avenue someone came over to us and asked, "Where's the Jewish Museum?" We found it. We didn't have that much time by then but we saw the special exhibit and a quick look at the permanent collection. The people that work at the museum were mean, especially this one security guard. There were no signs in the gallery about taking photos. I asked if I could and he got mad at us and lectured us on how there was a sign in the museum lobby. Some people should just not deal with the public.
Alison and I looked at the pictures, and found ones that reminded us of our parents. I kept making cultural references to things from when I was a kid. It showed poor black kids living exactly like they showed Stymie and Farina in the Little Rascals.
By then it was time for Alison to head back to New Paltz. We walked back through Central Park along the north end of the Reservoir but first checked out the TV show they were taping on the East Side. We hopped on the Subway on the West side. Alison went back to the Port Authority and I went down to Penn Station. I actually still had room for dinner and treated myself to Nathans! Yes that's still a treat for me.
The Knicks won again! They won't keep it up but I think they should pay me to go to games. The way they are now I have more fun talking to Alan than watching the games. Of course talking to Alan is a lot of fun.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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