Bits ‘n pieces

I fly a lot. About 70 segments last year. That being the case, I don’t waste a lot of time at airports. I get there when I need to be there, not any sooner. LGA is part of my extended nervous system. But JFK can still be a bit of a mystery. It’s the damn traffic, you see. Unpredictable. I can swing arriving at the gate at 6:00 pm for a 6:10 flight, like I did on Tuesday. But I don’t recommend you try it.

I love those moments. Those, “here I am in Seattle, eating dinner at the bar at Trader Vic’s, 10:30 local time, 1:30 am my time. Had another funny experience there two nights later. Ducked out of a (non-vegetarian-) catered business event to have some semblance of a proper dinner. This time, I sat in the dining room, which was packed to the rafters with wealthy ladies of a certain age. They were all dressed up, but everywhere I looked, people had their coats over their chairs. Washingtonians look somehow Canadian to me. I ducked back into my event. Later that night, I heard the most interesting story of the visit. Over a nightcap at the Westin, PB told me the story of how, 20 years earlier, he and his girlfriend had been attacked on a beach in the Caribbean. The two young attackers were after their passports, which they got and then started shooting, intending to kill the both of them. PB, shot, with more bullets flying at him, turned on his attackers instead, and probably would have killed them had he caught them. As the two teens were running away, they both emptied on PB, missing him a dozen times between the two of them. PB showed me the scars on his arm where the one bullet entered, then exited.

Some like it hot. And that someone’s a-gonna be me. I got my start with Thai food in Toronto, and back then it was the kiddie version. Pad Thai at the Queen Mother. Or sticky rice with a sauce that honestly could have been one of those President’s Choice “Memories of…”. Bland, bland food at Young Thailand. Canada’s first Thai restaurant (that what’s the food tasted like, too). At the time, Salad King, a little Ryerson hole-in-the-wall was our favourite. They had this spicy squid that really did it. NYC, on the other hand, is very different. An embarrassment of riches–so many smokin’ places to choose from. For a long time, Jaiya was the reigning champ. Naked Shrimp. The Tom-yung-koong is even hot to me. The “special sauce”. Wow. Zero ambiance and questionable service. But, wow. Recently, we found that Holy Basil was a worthy addition to the repertoire. But now, we have a new contender, Pam Real Thai. Two Clinton locations two blocks apart; the original 49th Street location has the decor of a typical IHOP, the 47th Steet Pam Real Thai Encore aims at a hip retro modern style and attracts a younger crowd. Either location could be the best Thai food we’ve ever had. On my first visit, I had a catfish fried in chili sauce. It had the kind of heat that I often plead for, but rarely receive.

Pan’s Labyrinth is excellent.

Professor Downie is coming to town.

PD sent me Mike Watt’s bass-eye-view of a tour with the Stooges. I think I just picked up some new lingo.

Rejoined the Vanderbilt Y today, after a lapse of a few years. In the past, Tina Louise was one of the regulars. Didn’t see her today. No sign of the professor, either.

The Tait Ball Buster is a really nice value in a $20 wine.

Now we’re all caught up.



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