Stories

donald-trump_49021t.jpgPerhaps there should be a college course on Donald Trump – after all they have been lecturing on Barbie for decades! He is the last of the great Think Big, Act on Inspiration, and Let the World Know Just How Great You Are kinda guys. Like two gods in one room, the world may not be ready for too many Donald Trumps, but it is our luck that we have at least one!

Even luckier that he delights/infuriates us in Palm Beach! Only so much time can pass in Palm Beach before Donald’s name comes up, or you are sitting at a table in his grand ballroom for The International Red Cross Ball, or his private Bocelli concert. Of course I am referring to “The Donald” who because of Donald Duck’s fading career absolutely owns the name!

Truly, not since Donald Fauntleroy Duck has there been a Donald so internationally famous – and so rich – as Donald John Trump. Comparisons are in order:

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12yearsSlaveYesterday I sat through two and a half of the most excruciating hours of my life. Sat through, twisted my torso through, felt like throwing up through. But I stayed there riveted, horrified, sickened and saddened beyond belief.

I was at a movie, "Twelve Years a Slave." A movie that should, in my humble yet convinced opinion, be required viewing for every American over the age of fifteen. It is based on the true story of a black man, a father, a husband, a violinist, a cultured, educated, middle class citizen of Saratoga Springs New York in the 1840's who is kidnapped, brought to the south and sold into slavery. It is the story of what he witnessed, endured, and survived for twelve years before being rescued and reunited with his family.

The movie, directed by Steve McQueen, gives it to us full strength, undiluted. The camera lens takes us into the open, oozing, purple wall of the wound. Close up and into the bubbling beads of fresh blood made by the long taut leather lashing out, slashing, ripping red rivers into chocolate skin.

It's a story of a despicable part of our history and needs to be told correctly for many reasons. And it is torturous to sit through.

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fingerlingpotatoes.jpg Last year I traveled quite a lot and had memorable meals in Houston, Providence, Block Island, Bristol (Rhode Island), and Los Angeles.  When it comes to food, America seems on fire.  Locavore is the new black.  Eating seasonally keeps us connected with nature and ourselves.  "Flavor profile" is now used in ordinary conversation. It's all good.

One of my favorite eating moments last year was, in the scheme of things, a small one, but it made a lasting impression on me.  At Jose Andres' Bazaar, I had his Rojo Canary Island Potatoes.  They are simply prepared.  Small potatoes are boiled in heavily salted water until the water boils away and the potatoes are coated in salt.  Served with a cilantro-parsley dip, they are simple, elegant, and delicious.

What made the dish so memorable was that I could duplicate it at home with excellent results.  Andres goes to great lengths to import his potatoes from the Canary Islands.  I stay closer to home and buy mine at the Palisades and Santa Monica Farmers' Markets.  I discovered that any small-sized potato will do.  To the eye the little salt dusted potatoes look very unimpressive, which makes a first-time eater's response all that more fun to watch.  Their eyes go wide when they taste the salty-sweetness of the potato and they marvel that something so ordinary looking could have such an extraordinary flavor.

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weddinginvite.jpgI am at That Age. The age when once every couple of weeks, you check your post mail and instead of a bill (yes, I still use the United States Postal Service to pay my bills) or the 1,000th solicitation from Doctors Without Borders you've received that week, you have a real letter. Or, at least what looks like a letter - it's got a handwritten, maybe even calligraphied address and a return label with the name of your friend or... wait... the name of the parents of your friend...

I am at The Wedding Invitation Age.

Full disclosure, I'm actually a little behind the times. I'm among that "Creative Class" where people are either too poor, too career-focused, too gay, or too anti-establishment to marry in the "typical" mid-20s. But, at 30, I have finally arrived.

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