Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fish Food

As I attempt to reign in my cholesterol, I have taken to eating more fish. The oils are good for you, the meat is tasty and if you do it right it is it can be extremely sustainable. There has been a big rush of crazy fish stories and in honor of my new pesca-intense diet here is a food clip round up:

Carp-et Tariffs
GAVULT! Israel has levied (not like the like Levy’s) a huge and somewhat prohibitive tariff on the import of Asian carp from the US. Why is this a problem, you ask? In that it is spring time, it is almost Passover, and with so many Jews from European roots in the Middle Eastern state, they need to import the gefilte fish for the Seder. (So you know, gefilte is spell checked to guilt) Oy, but don’t worry so much: the fish you have in the back of the fridge will still be fine. (There is an interesting side environmental story as well about the evil Asian carp screwing up the Mississippi River eco-system as well.) NPR

Give me Lox or Give Me Death
A bunch of nutty ultra-Orthodox Rabbis say that Lox is not kosher. In fairness, the less-nutty Orthodox Union has said this is a dumb ruling, but I have never been happier to be a Reform Jew. New York Post UPDATE: The still nutty ultra-Orthodox say the Lox treif issue was a lie, but I am still happy to be a Reform Jew. JTA

Bumble Bee Tuna? Bumble Bee Tuna…
Japan, well known for its less than stellar environmental record thanks to a soft-ball Oscar-award winning documentary about dolphins (when there were many others films about human suffering in places that no one cares about), has let the international community know they can blow it out their collective blow hole (see below) regarding the proposed blue fin tuna fishing ban. Wall Street Journal

The Free Willy Course
A sushi restaurant in LA got nailed by the same people who were upset about killing dolphins in Japan for serving whale. The story is all 007 meets Berkeley tree people and a touch of Radio Shack nerd. Best part of the article is the part about the vegans eating fish and whale and then putting it into their bags. (Haha vegans had to eat fish and whale!) New York Times

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mohamed the Mench

There was about a full foot of snow on the ground by the time I was ready for my ride to arrive to take me to my 7:30 am meeting. Complete with box of 50 presentations and name-tags, I called the car service to see if my ride was outside.

“Oh no sir, it isn’t outside. We are running two hours behind because of the weather.”

“It is 7am and I called for the car for 7am. Do you think you could have let me know it was two hours behind a few minutes ago?” (NOTE: I didn’t say that but I really wanted to let it rip.)

So, I make a dash for the door, lugging easily 40 pounds of paper, in a clean suit and shined shoes. I run outside into the snow and start doing the time tested New Yorker Cab Dance. Related to other ritualistic dances, the Cab Dance includes jumping with one hand in the air while leaning as far into the street as possible, uttering words phrases like, “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE,” and following it up with statements about the cabby’s mother when the cab does not stop.

By the time three cab drivers look at me, flip on their “Off Duty” lights and drive on it is getting to the point where the blood pressure is heading towards stroke-ville and my face looks something out of a Tim Burton movie.

Then finally, a Limo-style SUV pulls up and asks me where I am heading.

I tell him and ask how much.

“I can’t take you there but I can get you to the subway,” said the driver.

I reply with many thank yous in rapid succession, the traditional end of the ritualized New Yorker Cab Dance, and ask again about the cost of the trip.

Mohamed “Mo” Mahdy, driver and general good guy, ignores my ask again to tell me that he is waiting for his boss to be done with a meeting and he just needs to be in the neighborhood, so he can take me to the subway. Then he drops some serious wisdom on me:

“When you see your fellow human beings dying in the streets, you know you have to help other people out when you can.”

What do you say to something like this? I was standing shin deep in snow, with a heavy box, cursing passing cars and he stops and gives me a lift to 77th and Lex and shares what could possibly be the essences of every religion and cultural norm in the world: Be good to the people around you if you can, because life can be short and cruel.

We talked for the trip. I got out at the subway and took the train getting there in time for the 7:30 meeting. I sent him a thank you note and mentioned that I would let my office, family and friends know that if they ever needed a car service to pick them up for an airport run or meeting or anything else that they should get in touch with him.

I am sure he doesn’t know the impact he had on me personally and my day, but it was a profound experience at 7:10 am on that snowy Friday morning. There are good people all around us and we all have the power to be good; my friend Mo proved that by giving me a ride to the subway, saving my sanity, my presentations and my shoes. But I suppose, as he said, you know you have to help out when you can.

Mohamed Mahdy
Certified Professional Chauffeur
Times Limo
917.337.4173 or 917.415.5847

Monday, March 1, 2010

Tall Latte, No Whip and a Side of Smith and Wesson

I support the people who say the Second Amendment gives them the right to carry guns. I really do. Law abiding citizens should be permitted to exercise their rights as outlined by the Constitution and the subsequent Amendments to said document.

Granted, there need to be limits. I can’t really see much of a need for a Howitzer in say, anywhere in the United States, but a hand gun use for legitimate protection purposes, while not for me and I believe counterproductive to the goal of safety, makes some sense.

Now…how does said gun protect you without bullets?

There seem to be some crazies out in California (shocking I know) who think they should be tucking their pistols into their belts before going out for a day of errands and lunch with the girls (but really most like the boys). The law states that one can carry an unregistered weapon as long as it isn’t loaded. So as these activists go out on the town, they make sure to grab the keys (to get into the car or back home), their cell phone (complete with batteries), sunglasses (with tinted glass) and their gun (without the active ingredient of bullets…).

AP is reporting that Peet’s Coffee and California Pizza Kitchen have banned the gun toting activists, you know so they don’t get shot by mistake…cause that can happen, even without bullets. Starbucks, described by the non-biased University of Mississippi political science professor, John Bruce as “a special target [of the activism] because it’s from the hippie West Coast, and a lot of dedicated consumers who pay $4 for coffee have expectations that Starbucks would ban guns …and here they aren’t,” didn’t ban the gun activists. They are sticking with, we are going to follow the law and keep our safety measures up.

I understand activism, trying to get media attention and doing things that may seem like pushing the envelope to prove your point…but this is stupid.

Come on California! Don’t let people carry unlicensed fire arms, you need the revenue. Call for all guns to be registered. You make people do that with cars, boats, pets and electricians, you would think that guns could also get checked in by the state. Put the money you get from that registration drive to emergency room doctors, because the longer these wackos walk around with their “unloaded” guns in their pants the more visits we are going to see to the state’s over run ERs.