Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From this week's "Diary"

so the first one is a bit over the top, but it's kinda touching in a way, i think.

Dear Diary:

I was coming out of a “Can this marriage be saved?” weekend in early March, when I headed downtown to report for jury duty at Federal District Court. As I walked into a courtroom for my first voir dire with roughly 30 other prospective jurors, I noticed the judge’s name on the door: Leonard Sand.

I remembered him as a legendary guy my then boyfriend, now husband, had covered in his days as an Associated Press reporter, back when he and I drove each other wild in a very different way than we had over the weekend.

Judge Sand looks like a legend: the demeanor of Moses, with a Santa Claus beard cut like that of an Amish farmer.

Courteous and occasionally downright charming, he asked us for basic details, like our occupations and those of our spouses or significant others. One young man replied, happily, “I’m not married — but I will be in three months.”

Judge Sand stopped writing on his legal pad, looked up from beneath his white eyebrows, paused, and with exquisite delivery, said, in a voice resonant with meaning that carried throughout the courtroom:

“Good luck.”

The whole courtroom burst into laughter.

That night, I said to my husband, “Given our current state of marital bliss, you might enjoy this,” and told the story.

He eyed me suspiciously, but I could see cracks in his icy demeanor.

Later that evening, after story time and tucking kids into bed, I punched him lightly on the shoulder.

“Hey,” I said. “Good luck.”

The ice broke. Big time.

Thank you, Judge Sand.

And to that optimistic young man: Good luck.

-Kate Rice


aight, if you're looking for the entry of the week, this is definitely it..

Dear Diary:

After having been in exile for a while, I relished being back in the city. I waited for that serendipitous moment that would prove to me I was back in New York, the place that jumps to a different drummer.

Now, the Roosevelt tram had passed directly over me, I had seen Trisha Brown dancing with robots, I had seen Kathleen Turner and Jon Stewart on the street (not together), but still...not quite there.

The moment came in my local Johnny Rockets diner. I was eating a late breakfast when Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” came through the jukebox. As one, the white-hatted waiters formed a line in the center aisle and danced to the song, to my delight.

I thought that was the moment. But it wasn’t. The real moment came when I looked around the room to share it with my fellow New Yorkers.

No one was paying the slightest attention.

-Paul Peacock

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a priceless moment (one of countless)

(Note to world: going to Israel and not keeping a diary is a sin)

... i'm trying to reach Rehov Ememk Refaim but there's the old train station and an industrial area l'hakkif, so i try cutting through an empty lot behind the Doar and i discover that the lot is not so empty after all, there are two very trendy restaurants in the middle of nowhere, very interesting spot for a restaurant... Anyway, i finally get to Derech Beit Lechem and it still looks like you're in the middle of nowhere, but there are plenty of people walking up and down.

so i stop and ask a couple for directions and (with a heavy European? accent) they reply just s'molah and you're there. So i'm about to do just that onto a street that used to be train tracks, it doesn't look unsafe in any way, and i can see Emek Refaim not more then say, 50 yards away, but the guy shouts and calls me back

Adif shetamshich ad hapniyah habaah, v'az s'molah


Kacha! Shaaltah eich l'hagia? ken? Az amarti.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quote of the Year

We pick politicians by how they look on TV and Miss America on where they stand on the issues. Isn't that a little backwards?

-Jay Leno


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Week's Metro Diary. Which's Your Fave?

Dear Diary:

Time: 10:30 p.m., weeknight.

Place: No. 1 uptown train, from Sheridan Square.

Date: Twenty years ago today (more or less).

A large group of people enter the No. 1, heading home from the theater. The subway car is packed as if it were a rush-hour morning. Moving along, then suddenly the train halts. The lights go out, pitch black. The engine stops. We all smell smoke.

The seconds tick on. Anxiety heightens. Although probably only a minute passes, of course it feels like 10. The smoke is smelling more intense. Everyone is close to panic.

My dear friend Steve (long since departed this world and never forgotten) leans over to me and, in his best stage whisper, declares, “We really should have had dessert!”

The car erupts in laughter. With that, the lights come on. The engine restarts, and on we go, as though it had all been a dream. Can one’s attitude change one’s reality?

-Linda Maryanov

Dear Diary:

Arriving at work in Midtown a few months ago just before 9 a.m., I glimpsed a man walking uptown on Fifth Avenue. He was neatly dressed in a business suit, walking briskly, carrying a large cup from Starbucks in his left hand. Nothing special about this.

But under his right arm? A huge live, clucking rooster. No one gave him a second look. Only in New York. (Perhaps that was the breakfast special of the day?)
-Beth G. Kneller

Dear Diary:

For those of us old enough to remember the opening scene from “A Thousand Clowns” with Jason Robards: Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in front of the library. Mr. Robards’s character tells his 12-year-old nephew that he is about to see a horrible, horrible thing: people going to work.

I grew up in New York and now live in California. Every time I come back to the city, I stay in a Midtown hotel and get up at 6:30 or 7 and go stand on the same corner. Almost 50 years later it is still the same: New Yorkers marching off to work by the thousands. We all have our private memories of New York and what it means to each of us. This scene is my New York.
-Charles Slesinger

Dear Diary:

I was in line waiting to buy a BART ticket (for our Bay Area subway system in California) when this lady started to push herself ahead of me. I promptly told her, “Don’t pull a New York on me.”

She replied that she was from New York.

I quickly replied that my wife is from New York also.

The lady says, “Tell her I said hi.”

New Yorkers, go figure.

-Charles H. Greene Jr.

Dear Diary:

Overheard outside a florist’s shop on Third Avenue near 71st Street in Manhattan:

Potential customer, older man: “Got any doyt?”

Clerk: “What’s doyt?”

P.C.: “Ya know ... ya dig it ... outa da oyt.”

-Conrad Eberstein

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

More Metro Diary (4)

Nothing really noteworthy this week, a nice picture though.

Dear Diary:

Following is an incident that happened a couple of months ago.

I was driving down the West Side Highway, and as usual, had on WQXR. They were playing a Brahms symphony. I was enjoying the trip and, as a former librarian for the Metropolitan Opera, the music as well.

The driver of the car in front of me kept waving his arm out the window. As I kept watching, I realized he was keeping beat with the Brahms symphony.

He was good. Pickups, cutoffs, silent moments all picked up by this “conductor.”

As he approached 79th Street he put on his directional signal to exit. I had to go on. As he left, I picked up the beat.

John Grande

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More Metropolitan Diary (3)


My wife and I often spend our vacations in New York City. We love the serendipitous mix of cultures, neighborhoods and people, but we have difficulty explaining to friends who’ve never been there what makes the city so fascinating.

On our last visit, we joined the runners in Central Park one clear, crisp morning for a jog around the reservoir. After completing one circuit of our route, I took a seat on a bench, while my wife continued for another lap.

As I watched the usual parade of joggers, cyclists, and pets on leashes, I spotted what struck me as a uniquely New York sight. Approaching me along the running path and headed in the general direction of Lincoln Center was a young woman pushing a harp on a small wheeled platform.

“Only in New York,” I tell my friends. They still don’t get it.

-Scott Hunsicker



A lark entertains those who pass by the band shell

As young lovers populate the benches

Sharing their lunch with a squirrel

The elderly walk hand in hand

Soaking up the lengthening rays of the sun

Only a few in this tableau will notice

Some drops of ice

Giving them a sly wink

From the top of one

Extremely sleepy bud.

-Ellen Fuchs



One sunny day last fall I was in the playground with my 3-year-old son. Ezra, as usual, was wearing his hot pink sandals. A boy, slightly older, came over with a curious look.

“Why is he wearing pink sandals?” the boy asked.

“Well,” I said, “pink is his favorite color.”

“But pink is for girls,” the boy replied.

“If he’s a boy and he likes pink, pink must be for boys and girls,” I said.

The boy hesitated and leaned in closer. Quietly, he said “Pink is my favorite color, too.” And off he went.

-Corinne Schiff



My 11-year-old son, Simon, had agreed to call me during his school lunch and let me know if he was coming home by himself or with a friend.

Much to my surprise, he wrote me from his computer class at school while I was working at my desk computer.

It perfectly represents where we are in our relationship at his age, when “cool rules” and parents embarrass. Below is the actual exchange:

Simon: I am taking the bus.

Simon: dad?

Ahvi: ok

Simon: k

Simon: bye

Ahvi: bye

Simon: bye

Ahvi: love ya


-Ahvi Spindell

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Are We Losing Our Vocabulary?

My friend asked me to send a link to my "favorites" on YouTube. i decided to also send him another link saying "This video is one of my favorites" but then it dawned on me, how will he know what I mean by "favorite"? They are all under the "Favorites" category! So instead I wrote "one of my all time favorites".
I wonder if it's the technology age that is forcing us to add more and more adjectives (haha 'more and more' get it?) to validate our claims. Wasn't the term "good" good enough once upon a time? Because today, if your response is "I'm good" that can be taken as a lie. You have to say "I'm REALLY good (really!!)". How'bout if you asked me about someone and i said "He's nice." Hmmm that doesn't sound to good does it? "No he's really like crazy nice! like for real! unbelievably amazingly nice!" Ok, thats better....
I'm just thinking of the day when we will be forced to elucidate when talking about friends; "Well s/he is my REAL friend, not a Facebook one!"

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