Peace Trek

On the eve of renewed peace talks, I think about my time working at Republic National Bank of New York where I got my first job after leaving Western Massachusetts in 1980. The bank was owned by Edmond Safra, a Lebanese Jew who had business connections all over the Arab world and South America.

The bank was headquartered in an ornate eight-story landmark chateau building next to the New York Public Library. On the open international lending 4th floor, we were comprised of men and women from Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Brasil, Philippines, France, Netherlands, U.S. –  Muslims, Christians & Jews.

As I reflect back, I can conjure up their hearts, faces and names- Husni, Mehani, Souraty to Wasserman, Ernst, Bremer. I have never worked with a more caring group of colleagues. Most of them came to my wedding. I couldn’t tell you who was what religion. I did learn to swear in Arabic, which they all spoke.

Cup Caked

Why the cup cake fad? Hate cake, in cups, frosting, doo-dads on top. Don’t get cup cakes. Magnolia Bakery cup cakes, neither. Hope Cynster had good bday camping in the Adirondacks yesterday, warmer and dryer than here. Hope no cup cakes. JeanJean will be teaching sex, drugs, rock & roll at middle school this fall. Maybe she can make cup cakes with her class.

Speaking of cup cakes, stumbled upon Hummus recipe. Had can of chick peas sitting in cupboard. Took out the blender and added Drew’s Lemon Goddess dressing (like quarter cuppish), hot pepper flakes, a little more lemon juice. Blended it all to a semi-dense dip substance, not too thick. Good, but wouldn’t use it in cup cakes. You could.

Mad Treks

It’s a mad world on MadMen these days. Betty is getting more evil. Is she revealing an incestuous past? Did she allow Sally to get too close to her Dad, Sally’s grandfather? Meanwhile, Joan and Peggy are running the show in the AdWorld. Don’s still dating Bethany, the Mount Holyoke “gymnast”. Pete Campbell went to Deerfield, someone on the show must be from ’round here.

Trailer for new movie “Howl” looks interesting with James Franco playing a young Allen Ginsberg, activist poet; Jon Hamm as lawyer in his obscenity trial. Today’s guest Judy Belushi, John’s widow 11am

Shuckin’ Good

So, lots of opportunities for left-over cooked cobs of corn these days. What to do with them? Shave and put in salads, soups, chilis, souffles, fritters. That’s what. What do you do? Great garnish, too. Any which way, shuckin’ good.

JeanJean’s pulled pork, potato salad recipes, both perfecto. Red potato salad- best I’ve ever had. In new book RecipeDetours soon. Hit 10,000 views over the weekend, thanks for visiting thesidetrek.


As the last combat troops leave Iraq, I have one question, “Can you drive from the airport to Baghdad without security?” When the Saddam statue toppled you couldn’t. How many lives, dollars, years later, can you now? Surreally tragic.

I came out of my writing bunker to watch the few embedded reporters all these years later. It breaks my heart, so much for so little.

Shylock Trek

“Merchant of Venice”, Central Park, August 1, 2010
by Ben Levine, NYU

‘Al Pacino captures the tragedy, complexity, and stereotype that is Shylock in his show-stopping performance in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice…The Delacorte Theater in Central Park was transformed into a wonderful, simplistic scene… The stage was set up with concentric rings of tracks on which black metal set pieces and fences glided back and forth…Framed by trees and the romantic backdrop of Belvedere Castle, the theater seemed totally removed from the bustling city around it…

Merchant, like all of Shakespeare’s plays, can be understood and performed in many different ways… this play can either be a tragic, sympathetic story about the plight of the Jewish people in 17th Century Europe, or an anti-Semitic romp to please and entertain the equally intolerant audiences of Shakespeare’s day. However, this performance of Merchant left…us cheering for the complex and tormented Shylock.

In the play’s most moving and poignant moment, Shylock the Jew is baptized in an actual pool of water in center stage. The lights were dimmed except for a shaft of blinding light in which Pacino dragged himself, in a procession reminiscent of Christ’s Passion, to the rippling pool of water. There, as he was thrown into the baptismal waters, not a word was said but so much was understood. It was telling that in this scene with no lines and simple action, a slow but sincere applause rang out as Pacino left the stage for the last time.

This year’s run of Merchant has been so successful, it is moving to Broadway for a limited run this coming fall. It is sure to sell out quickly, but it is nice to know that this terrific performance will continue to captivate audiences for a little bit longer.’       (excerpted from original review)