Monday, March 21, 2016

Cuba nostalgia

When I was a tot, I remember looking through my parents' rather dusty collection of books and finding a book called "The cabby took my rum" or something like that. It was an H. Allen Smith type of travelogue about Havana, but not, I think by him. I remember it started with how cab drivers in Havana always double their rates in "season". Then there is a description of various sites in Havana and surrounding areas with the emphasis on nightclubs, casinos, and bars. The book described a place where well heeled Americans could travel in the the winter, swim, hear some salsa, and perhaps even do things that the wives wouldn't need to know about. Needless to say, the book described the pre-Castro era.

About the same time I remember going to the Bergen County Democratic headquarters in Maywood to see Governor Richard J. Hughes with my parents. Everyone there was staring at the tv. Kennedy was speaking, and the news wasn't good. That night we all went home with the knowledge that the Russians had missiles in Cuba. For a week or two people were planning fallout shelters.

Little by little Cuba got off the front pages, until there was the occasional hi-jacking. We all got used to Cuba as it was, and the politicians knew not to change the status quo if they wanted to hold onto Florida. Of course there were a few hiccoughs along the way. There was the Mariel boat lift, the little boy who went ashore in Florida but was returned back to Cuba. I always said that Reno sending that boy back to Castro cost Al Gore the election.

Now we are entering a new era of relations with Cuba. The Democrats are willing to lose Florida this time around because it looks like the Republicans are going to lose big enough that one state won't matter. People are already talking about traveling to Cuba. I suspect that once most of us get there it will be ruined, and about as exotic as Hoboken. Still it would be something to talk about at parties. I'm holding out til they re-institute the ferry.

Editor's note: I was seriously thinking of bringing back Dear Aunt Agnes to talk about Cuba. The punchline would have been "and don't talk to me about Trump. He'll probably want to open a casino there."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Irish egg rolls

When the British took over Hong Kong in the 1850's a few restaurants were established, including one by Wo Hop Harrigan, the Irish inn keeper. Here you could get a glass of Irish whiskey or draught and an Irish breakfast. One invention of Wo Hop Harrigan's was that of the Irish egg roll. This egg roll, with a filling of corned beef and cabbage, tofu, and soy sauce was a local favorite.

The Irish egg roll spread to America as American sailors hungered for this international treat. Irish egg rolls were served in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Chicago. Today I had an Irish egg roll in Morrisville Pennsylvania. So many things that claim to be Irish or Chinese are neither but the Irish egg roll is a true authentic Hong Kong delicasy. Happy Saint Patrick's day and enjoy your Irish egg roll!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Philadelphia Flower Show

After hearing about it for years, I finally went to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It wasn't worth the $31 but I guess it was okay. The theme this year was "National Parks". In addition to the big displays I liked the little displays towards the back of the hall where ordinary people had submitted individual plants and had won awards. They had a Christmas cactus with a gold ribbon that was punier than my Christmas cactus. There was also a crummy looking geranium that looked as crummy as mine. I never knew I was such a great gardener.

I bought some cinnamon basil seeds that I planted once I got home. It will be fun to see how they do. Someone was making a fortune on selling brooms. It seems every other woman who left the show had one of those brooms in her hand. I bet you can find them all flying over Montgomery County at night.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Downton Abbey with a few revisions

My eyes are finally dry and I am recovering from one of life's most emotional moments. Yes I have seen the finale of Downton Abbey. I  used up all of the tissues and am now onto the toilet paper. I can tell them at work that I have hay fever.

Still I would have made a few changes in the finale. It ended too well with every character either getting married, in a relationship, with a new job or a new business. Here are a few revisions I would have made.

Lady Eve:
I would have the long missing Michael Gregson show up the day before the wedding. He would have wanted to take dear Marigold away. Eve would have had a stroke and spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair, unmarried and miserable.

I would have had Lady Mary's new husband Henry Talbot take one last trip around the track in his Rolls. He would have died, like the first husband.

I would let the Dowager have a slug fest with the step daughter of Lord Merton. She would go through the rest of the show with a black eye.

Right after have the birth of the baby, Inspector Vyner  would have entered the room, arrested Anna and Bates and kept the baby as a witness. The crime would be that of sabotaging Henry Talbot's car.

Finally for the last scene I would have a bevy of creditors come and cart off all the belongings of Downton Abbey. Lord Grantham and Lady Mary would be carried off in their chairs. And Thomas would leave England, headed for Tangiers. And we know what sort of Englishmen are attracted to there.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Aunt Agnes on the Supreme Court

Dear Antonin Scalia isn't even cold in his grave and those women on the court are running things. They are even fighting the Texans on the safety of abortion clinics.