26 November 2009

Baste Not, Want Not

Benjamin Franklin said, "I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country...The turkey is much more a respectable character and, withal, a true original native of America."

Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Singapore had me running around like a chicken with its head cutoff. I went from grocery store to market place not in search of a farm fresh or free range turkey. Only Butterball and Norbest were available. My quest wasn’t for pumpkin puree – not a single can to be found. Bell’s seasoning? Nope, I didn’t even hope for that. The missing ingredient I was in hot pursuit of was a baster.

After nearly a week I finally found a baster at the Japanese department store, Takashimaya. What’s the retail cost of a basic plastic syringe with rubber suction cap found at Kroger’s, Fairway and every corner bodega? 40 Singapore dollars! When I asked the stockperson, an old Chinese woman who stood as tall as my waist, where I might find a cheaper brand, she replied with a laugh, “There is no Wal-Mart here.” What a turkey.

Pictured above are the turkeys on my property/road in Garrison, NY

18 November 2009

Raemarkable India

A few weeks ago I tagged along with James on a business trip to Mumbai. The city formally known as Bombay is home to the Gateway of India, a monument built as a triumphant arc to celebrate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. When the Raj ended in 1947, the last British ships set sail from the Gateway. When the Taj Mahal hotel was under siege in 2008, the boats carrying the terrorists anchored at the Gateway.

Mark Twain wrote, "India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only." I’ll leave the prose and poetry to the masters and spare you my observations and reflections.
We have a better understanding of the essence of India by reading Rudyard Kipling’s stories, watching Sir Ben Kingsley play Gandhi, and surviving every Slumdog Millionaire metaphor. They’re non-violent people, yet have a nuclear bomb.