The SJC golf team was reunited in New York City this weekend. We stayed at Joel’s temporary accommodation (for which he is paying 112% too much) on the upper west side. Joel’s neighborhood is on the left hand side of central park (barely visible in the left middle background in the picture above). I took this picture from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. I’ve always loved tall buildings and I’m glad we went up to the top, despite the $16 charge, the lineups, and the security hassles. At one point I thought Joel was going to kicked out of the building, as he managed to have an altercation with a security guard at a walk-through metal detector (airport style). Joel was wearing pants with a lot of zippers. Anticipating the problems that the zippered pants might pose, Joel naturally assumed that the rent-a-cop would appreciate being told how to do his job. Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case. Joel was told to either calm down or exit the building. It was a close decision, but Joel decided to stick it out and be a good sport.
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We crammed a lot into two nights and two days, including a meal at the Carnegie Deli, where we had encounters with not one, but two celebrities. Pictured on the left is the president and founder of the Siblings Day Foundation (the inventor of “Siblings Day”; to be celebrated on April 10th). Look for “Happy Sibling Day Cards” to come to a Hallmark store near you in time for the next Siblings Day.
The second celebrity encounter came when Andrew Dice Clay, accompanied by the flavour of the week (or maybe the evening?) sat down at a table across from us. Andrew Dice Clay has had a show in Las Vegas for many years.
When I saw Andrew Dice Clay, I was reminded of an incident that happened to a buddy of mine (Ryan) in the Monte Carlo poker room on one of our first trips (of many) to Las Vegas.
There was a woman at our table who was one of the worst poker players we had played against in our young poker careers. The game was seven-card stud (yes we’re so old that we started playing poker before the explosion of Texas hold’em). She was also one of the luckiest poker players that we had ever had the misfortune of playing against. Ryan and I had both been losing to her miraculous river cards. I gave up and went to play blackjack. Ryan stayed long enough for her to bust him out of his entire rack when he was “fortunate” enough to start out with rolled up trip fours (3 fours on his first three cards; the odds against getting trips rolled up are 424 to 1).
Of course Ryan went unimproved all the way to the river and Mrs. Lucky ended up catching a third Queen on the river to beat him. Normally her bad play would almost guarantee that she would spill her chips back. However, before Ryan had a chance to get his money back, Mrs. Lucky cashed out all her chips saying that she was going to go see Andrew Dice Clay. Ryan was left to try and earn his money back against a table of tight old ladies. It’s amazing how some poker hands are unforgettable.
The picture on the left shows the Tosser “enjoying” a completely dry burger. There were no condiments of any kind. It was a dry patty on a bun. I wonder if Tinkleberry was reliving his 15 hour voyage from the UK in his mind as he choked it down, asking himself if the whole thing was worth it.
When we paid our bill, after having Tommy do the math for us as usual, the waiter came and counted the cash at the table. He informed us that the tip was supposed to be double the tax. Having heard Tommy’s limey accent, he proceeded to instruct Tommy on the proper tipping procedure in America. Unlike back in England, waiters in America only earn $2.75 per hour and depend on tips to earn a living. The minimum acceptable tip is 15%. Of course we all knew that the Kid was well aware of this and had been deliberate in the amount he had left, which was just under 10% (he doesn’t make many mathematical mistakes). Still, the Kid feigned ignorance and succumbed to the waiter’s demand for a tip. I would have rather heard the Kid tell the astonishingly up-front waiter to “sod off” instead.
Unlike the dry burger, at least my mountain of pastrami had a covering of melted cheese an inch thick (below). I like cheese.
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We also squeezed in a whirlwind tour of lower Manhattan, where we saw the NYSE (above right), ground zero, canal street (I bought a ROLEX), and the craziest department store I’ve ever seen. It was packed full of people fighting for space to claw over, frankly, shitty merchandise. I couldn’t stand the place. This free-for-all shopping orgy, right across the street from the memorial for 9/11, is the definition of juxtaposition.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was a visit to a Goth club (below) at about 3 AM on Saturday night. I’m glad we even made it there because both Tommy and Adam were crying, wanting to end the evening at the W hotel. Luckily the old men prevailed in convincing the children to stay up past their bedtimes. At the Goth club, I was so surprised to see everyone in costume that I think I lauged out loud. I found myself unexpectedly amused and entertained by the spectacle. The Kid, who looked ridiculous in the Goth club wearing his bright white pants and golf shirt, advised me to adopt the Goth look as I’m “already halfway there”. I was wearing black jeans and a black leather jacket. My shaved head works. I just need a little face paint, or maybe just some black eye-liner, and I’m good to go.