Entries from January 2004 ↓

Dining in New York

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The Big Apple is home to almost 4,000 dining establishments, enough to eat at a different one every night of the week without repeating yourself for ten years. You can enjoy cuisine from every corner of the globe, as well as some of the newest culinary creations from the best chefs in the world.

And now restaurateurs are joining forces to make it even easier to eat out.

Winter Restaurant Week 2004 runs from January 26 – 30 and February 2 – 6. Some of this city’s best restaurants–174 of them to be exact–are offering three-course lunches for $20.04 and three-course dinners for $30.04 (beverages, gratuities and tax not included). You can even make reservations online.

Cold weather shouldn’t be an excuse for missing a great meal at an even better price.

Pop Quiz

Alright class, settle down. Youíve gotten off easy for long enough. The first month of the new year is almost over and you havenít been quizzed in awhile now. So put away the notes, books under your desks, thinking caps on. And remember to show all work.

1. Do you expect to receive a Valentineís Day wish from someone special this year?

2. What is the biggest fib youíve ever put on a resume?

3. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about your financial future in 2004?

4. Which of the following would you most like to be, and why:
a. A famous artist or entertainer
b. A world class athlete
c. A wealthy business owner.
d. An influential politician or community leader

5. Have you ever engaged in a sexual act (including masturbation) at a place where you worked?

6. Do you have any tattoos or piercings? How many and where?

7. What did you eat the last time you had a late night hunger craving?

8. Do you know for whom youíll be voting for president, either in a primary or the general election?

9. The Super Bowl is this weekend. Will you watch for the game, the halftime show or the commercials?

10. If either were to come your way today, which would be more welcome; a check for $200 or two hours of hot, sweaty, butt nekkid sex?

Pencils and pens down. Time to share your answers.

1. I donít expect to receive a Valentineís Day greeting, but I may send one out to try to move a relationship along.

2. Not a fib really. Just not full disclosure. Through creative writing, I managed to hide eleven years of an acting career to make it appear I had spent the whole time doing the side jobs I was also doing. Corporate types can’t really relate to performers in their midst and I was advised to make that work disappear from my resume.

3. I am cautiously optimistic about my finances this year. Awaiting word on the status of my continued employment would sway those feelings one way or the other.

4. While I like being an artist, Iíve never wanted fame. I already enjoy a measure of behind the scenes influence in many communities. Iíll go for the wealthy business owner.

5. UhmÖyes, parenthetically speaking.

6. Not a one. Growing up the only people with tattoos were sailors or ex-cons, and while I know thatís changed, it has subconsciously influenced my decision. And piercings? Please. Deliberately puncture myself? I think not.

7. Either sorbet or cheese and crackers. Late night itís usually either sweet or salty I need.

8. Dean in the primary. Anybody but Bush in the general election. That muthafuckuh gotta go!

9. As a diehard football fan, I will be watching for the game. Iíll make my official prediction this week. Iíll also watch the commercials with interest to see who comes up with something clever. But I hate halftime shows. All season long they NEVER show us halftime shows, but now during the most important game of the season, they put on this bullshit that runs longer than the usual halftime period? What a waste.

10. I get paid the end of this week anyway, so Iíll take the butt nekkid sex.

Riffs and Rants

Is it just me or does anyone else believe that men also have monthly periods? I donít retain water, and I havenít sat down and charted when they come and go, but I swear I go through regular cycles of moodiness, horniness and irritability. And there ainít no pill for it neither.

Iím seeing all these young boyz walking around with their pants hanging off their butts. In the middle of winter! Are they freezing their asses off just to look cool?

And if prisons started making inmates wear suits and ties, would young Black men imitate that too?

Everybody (on the right) is making a big deal over Howard Deanís ďenthusiasmĒ following the Iowa caucus. Unlike Bush, at least Dean can name all 50 states.

Four years ago, Al Gore was criticized for being brainy, yet somewhat dull. Now Dean is being picked on for being animated and outspoken. What do people want, a president who is stupid yet likeable? Duh, we already have that!

Dean went to college, worked hard and studied medicine.
Bush went to college, partied hard and took drugs.
Thereís a big difference.

I have to get parochial for a moment. The New Jersey Nets basketball team is about to be sold to a real estate developer who wants to move them to Brooklyn and build a brand new arena with office towers right downtown. I think this is the stupidest, most disruptive idea that could every befall a community. It would displace thousands of residents, destroy neighborhoods and local businesses, create congestion, traffic jams, air pollution and not benefit anyone other than a few already rich people. Aside from the fact that New Jersey deserves to keep a team more than New York City and Brooklyn need another one and that it would be easier to build a new arena in Newark, this is just more of the overbuilding of this city and lack of regard for the people who live here that must be stopped. I donít even live there, but I hope people all over New York will stand up and oppose it.

You know you’re getting old when your medicine cabinet actually has medicine in it. And when you don’t dare travel anywhere without taking them all with you. At my age, that little purple pill is far more necessary than the blue one.

Every day we are getting a few more minutes of sunlight. It feels good to leave the office when itís still bright. Changes my whole mood.

Honors for Robeson

He was one of the most accomplished men of his or any other time. A star athlete at Rutgers. Admitted to the New York Bar in 1923. A star actor on stage in All God’s Chillun Got Wings, Show Boat and Othello, and on screen in Emperor Jones, among others. Singer and recording artist.

Activist and author. Self-taught in 20 languages. Staunch supporter of the Soviet Union and the ideals of a collective society in the midst of the Cold War. Outspoken critic of fascism and racist policies in the United States. Supporter of organized labor and working people everywhere. Called before Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. Blacklisted. Stripped of his passport. Ignored and to many segments of society, forgotten.

Paul Robeson lived his life holding fast to strong convictions, with few regrets. In this day and age of non-political celebrities, it is hard to imagine someone so willing to sacrifice his own status for his beliefs, but Robeson did so because he understood his personal accomplishments meant little if others still lived lives of oppression and hardship.

Now some 28 years after his death, the United States Postal Service has honored Robeson by putting his likeness on a 37 cent postage stamp. Officially issued on Tuesday, January 20 at a ceremony in his hometown of Princeton, NJ, the stamp will be the 27th in the Black Heritage series. The Black Heritage series began in 1978 with the issuance of the Harriet Tubman commemorative stamp.

Largely because of his controversial stance on many social issues of the 20th Century, Robeson has received less recognition than other Black civil rights figures. He was a hard-liner before it was popular and long after others had mellowed.

Hopefully this new awareness will spur people to examine his overall contributions to not just the fight for human rights, but worker rights, the artistic community, and international relations.

HOW TO ORDER THE FIRST DAY OF ISSUE POSTMARK

Customers have 30 days to obtain the first day of issue postmark by mail. They may purchase the new stamps at their local post office, by telephone at 800-STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site at www.usps.com/shop. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to: PAUL ROBESON COMMEMORATIVE STAMP, POSTMASTER, 213 CARNEGIE CENTER, PRINCETON NJ 08540-9991. After applying the first day of issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by February 20, 2004.

Words for a Troubled Time

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968)
photo credit: Bob Fitch/Black Star

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution “, 3.31.68

Whatever career you may choose for yourself — doctor, lawyer, teacher — let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man . Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.

- Martin Luther King Jr., 4.18.59

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided man.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love”, 1963

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “The Trumpet of Conscience”, 1967

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter From Birmingham Jail “, 4.16.63

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

- Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech , 12.10.64

If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Justice Without Violence”, 4.3.57

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love”, 1963

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love”, 1963

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.

- Martin Luther King Jr., “Strength to Love”, 1963

With thanks to the People for the American Way