Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

I’m still deciding what to think about the correct responses to injustice.

Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology and President (1998-2008) of the Chicago Theological Seminary wrote Do Not Tolerate the Intolerable: Public Shaming Can Be a Justice Action. “Jesus of Nazareth publicly shamed those leaders he saw were committing injustice in his time, calling them out (Matt. 23:13). Jesus didn’t hesitate to be confrontational. ‘You hypocrites!’ he cried out.”

She points to Professor Gene Sharp, “often called the ‘grandfather of nonviolent direct action,’ who compiled a list of 198 Tactics for The Politics of Nonviolent Action. “Both publicly ‘taunting’ officials and withholding services are on the list.”

I get that. Still, one has to be strategic in this manner. Some of the suggestions from the Sharp list, such as not voting, I’d oppose in the US in 2018, yet would have supported in Russia, when Putin eliminated any real opposition.

Some actor named Hugo noted, and I agree, that actor Robert DeNiro cursing out some guy during the Tonys was a bad strategy. “Sinking ships aren’t saved by succumbing to anger… Progressive change isn’t brought upon society through verbal abuse. Decency and maturity are more effective — a levelheaded, well planned and swift takedown of a demagogue…”

In that manner, I’ve come to understand the owner of the Red Hen restaurant: “Several… employees are gay, which is one of many groups of people targeted by the Trump administration. They were uncomfortable to see the president’s chief propagandist in their midst, so they called the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, who drove in from home…

“They wanted Sanders to leave. Wilkinson did not attempt to publicly embarrass Sanders. She asked her to step out on the patio, where she explained why she wanted her to leave. The reason… why millions of Americans know about what happened… — is that Sanders used her government Twitter account, which has more than 3 million followers, to try to ruin The Red Hen, which seats 26 people.

Sarah Sanders is a bully. Any discussion about her that raises the issue of civility is nothing but an intellectual exercise by people who aren’t worried enough about the harm her boss, the bully in chief, is inflicting on this country. Trump attacked The Red Hen on Twitter, too. Of course he did.

“Civility requires mutual respect. The Red Hen employees apparently understood this. If someone spends her days making clear her disregard for you and her willingness to harm you by parroting her boss’s bigotry, no one should expect you to act as if it doesn’t matter when she’s not talking into a microphone.”

BTW, I had forgotten when a baker turned away Joe Biden and received praise from conservatives.

An article in GQ notes: “Restaurant owners routinely deny service to obnoxious Yelpers, noisy children, and even critical restaurant reviewers—this is the norm. These are not protected classes, which include race, religion, disability, and gender, under anti-discrimination laws. Just as posting a ‘no shirts, no shoes, no service’ sign is not equivalent to Jim Crow-era ‘white-only’ policies—there is a wide chasm between bad behavior and immutable characteristics.”
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Read this piece from Tucker Fitzgerald, a “straight, white, male. I have a Master of Divinity from a Christian seminary,” who “voted for W both times”. He addresses his own shift in Intolerant Liberals, which should explain to conservatives WHY we protest.

I suppose, at the end of the day, in responding to injustice, as our Congressman Paul Tonko said on July 4, we need to resist, to protest, to protect, and to heal. There will be differences of opinion about what that means. I’m still idealistic enough to hope that it’s done with love in our hearts.

I had not yet seen the review of the Cuckoo’s Nest restaurant when I saw it referred to on Facebook. But once I read it, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Below is my buddy Mark Mishler’s response to the review, and the only things I changed were the reference date and adding the reviewer’s name.

As this mostly terrible year comes to a close, a mostly irrelevant article in the December 28 issue of the mostly insignificant Albany Times Union caught my attention as an tiny example of what could charitably be called complete insensitivity to the history of slavery and racism in the US (and, therefore, a neat little coda to a year filled with a resurgence of violent neo-Nazi and racist activity and apologies for it from those in power.)

The article is a review of a new restaurant in Albany, te Cuckoo’s Nest, which apparently has a “Southern” theme, whatever that means. The headline is “Rebel Yell”. Describing this new restaurant (in what used to be a wine bar), the Times Union reviewer, Susie Davidson Powell, writes that the changes to the previous decor serve to “recalibrate the familiar wine bar with antebellum warmth.”

Does the Times Union not understand that there is nothing quaint about the violent and terroristic “rebel” culture that supported slavery and Jim Crow? Or, that there were many, many people – primarily the African-American people who lived there the time – who did not find the antebellum period in the Southern slavocracy states to be filled with cozy “warmth”? How could this nostalgic elegy for the period of slavery pass the eye of the editors at the Times Union?

I should add that I have no idea whether the views of the reviewer reflect the views of the restaurant’s owners. Maybe the reviewer did not do them a positive service by couching the review in these terms. I look forward – though not really optimistically – to a new year in which the horrors of racism and slavery in this country are fully acknowledged and addressed.

I’ve not been to the restaurant, located where the Gingerman used to be on Western Avenue. (I’d been to the Gingerman several times over the years.) Let me reiterate that this is a reflection of the review, not the restaurant.

There was an announcement back in February 2017 of a Mediterranean restaurant called Kismet coming to my Pine Hills neighborhood. It would be replacing the Bruegger’s bagel shop that had been there for over three decades.

I used to frequent Bruegger’s there, at a site downtown, and up at Stuyvesant Plaza. I liked the sandwiches – my favorite, tuna salad on cinnamon raisin (don’t judge) – but they started to become parsimonious with the cream cheese and the like in the period before they all closed.

On Saturday, May 13, my wife and I walked by the place at the corner of Madison and South Allen at about 1 p.m. The brown paper that had covered the windows was down, the table settings appeared to be in place, but the sign read CLOSED, so we went further that block and had lunch.

Yet by the time we walked back towards home an hour later, the OPEN sign was showing! So we walked in. The server, Colin, jumped out of his booth. Were we going to be their first customers? Well, no. But the place looked really nice, so we said we’d back on Monday, which happened to be our anniversary.

Two days later, return we did, around 6:30 p.m. three or four tables were occupied when we got there. Colin remembered us. The food was delicious; mine was a beef and rice thing with a side salad. And the prices were reasonable.

Indeed, there was a point where most of the tables and booths were filled, mostly with pairs of people, though there was also a party of six. But the service was fine. But the service was fine, and the chef/owner came out to meet people at the various table. The two women at one side of us happened to see that the place was open, but the pair on the other side were friends of the chef from cooking he had done elsewhere and had encouraged him to start his own place.

Apparently, from the Yelp reviews, others were equally impressed by the new restaurant. See much better pics than mine, taken on my Amazon Fire tablet, from the All Over Albany article.

The real short-term failing of Kismet, as Colin acknowledged, is that the website is inadequate. It doesn’t have the MENU, for one thing. Ditto the Facebook page. This, I trust, will be rectified.

I found this at something called Monday Mayhem, only the URL spells it “mahem”. Whatever. It’s rather like Sunday Stealing except the lists tend to be shorter. I thought this one from January was rather interesting.

1. You see a strange car pull up to your neighbor’s house every day at lunch time. You accidental glance into the window of the house and notice that your ‘happily married neighbor’ is fooling around! What do you do?

Well, it depends very much on my relationship with the neighbor and the neighbor’s spouse. It might be that I would do absolutely nothing at all if I didn’t know them well. If the one fooling around was my friend, I probably would mention it to him/her. If the neighbor’s spouse was my friend, I would almost certainly mention it, not to my friend, at least initially, but to the cheating spouse, with a recommendation to end the affair; whether I told my friend would depend on the actions of the person “fooling around”.

2. You are at the mall and a mom with really annoying screaming little kids is walking in front of you. She goes to give her kids a quarter for the giant gum ball machine and she accidentally drops a $10 bill and doesn’t realize it. What do you do?
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