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olt! is a way station and oasis on the ancient road from Bedlam to Bellevue, dedicated to free and open discussion of topics moving heart and spirit.
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Where to begin. Well, first, the place hasn't changed in ten, fifteen years since it opened in Chelsea and later here in the East Village and elsewhere in town. It's still the same tex/mex taste from way back, filling, heavy cheesy dishes, refried refried beans, with a hint of inoffensive ethnicity. But there is a table by the window which is a plus.
Mary Ann's is a place for tequila and beer; we order Cabernet, no doubt causing the waiter to drop the unfamiliar carafe while fumbling back in a dark corner of the bar and, as these things happen, he clumsily slits his wrist in the process ... well not actually cutting the artery. There is much noise dealing with broken glass, spilled wine and blood. There is a call for the emergency first aid kit.
After some time, a busboy with limited knowledge of English delivers cooling nachos but no libation. Three tries later with three different waiters gets us a full carafe of a pleasing Cabernet, at a very reasonable price yet. We enjoy East Village traffic passing our window during the rest of the meal, only slightly interrupted by a gawking street person until we realize he is staring at a tv screen up above behind, not at us.
Now the problem is the tip for the waiter. My position is that bad service should receive a sharply curtailed tip while Roomie thinks the poor guy deserves extra for wounds incurred in combat. He did come within a quarter of an inch of hitting the artery. We settle for a normal tip. At the door our waiter offers thanks, proffering his bandaged wrist, as we make our way out the door and waddle home through a darkening East Village.
dang, forgot to put my pudding in the freezer ... got to run ...
New York, New York
The one of an apparent male walking the possibly aroused horse and carriage, carrying an bucket for feed grain, I may get. The other appears to have a narrow cloth hanging out of the trunk of an unlicensed car with at least the rear window removed (shot/broken out) with a waiting chauffeur bears flowers. That these together represent 'NY, NY' commons is believable given the few real NY-ers whom I have known.
Don't know where you get the arousal from, neither the horse nor the carriage, and for that matter the guy with the bucket, look all that enthusiastic to me.
The yellow cloth in the second pix is a mystery but the rest of the car looked abandoned, burnt out in last night's riot?
go figure ...
Look closely under the horse near the left hind leg -- there is a sore or something less than really horny.
mmm ... there does look to be an odd bump ... I think we need someone more familiar with horse anatomy to chime in ...
In Germany the Christ Child comes on Christmas with gifts, Santa comes on St. Nikolaus Day, December 6. After all these years I still remember the last time he came to visit.
My Aunt was doing Santa that year. Cousin Walter had overheard the planning and told everyone, after swearing us to eternal silence of course. We weren't about to ruin things by letting on we knew as we're sitting there on the bench by the kitchen table enjoying my favorite Eierkuechelchen, with apple sauce as I recall, while going over the story of the Bishop who gave away his riches and was martyred for his kindness, and his assistant Belzebub with chains and a black bag to take away bad kids. My friend Fritz heard they actually dragged off a neighbor's boy in a huge bag, but then let him go on the street.
We wait an awfully long time, even the grown-ups get impatient. Suddenly, downstairs, the house door slams. Dead silence. Not a sound in the kitchen either. There is a lone step on the stairs. Great-Grandma stares at the door, hands clasped over her mouth, eyes wide open. Another ominous step is followed by a thundering crash of chains. I get goose-pimply all over and feel my hair rising. Walter starts sobbing.
By the time Belzebub crashes through door the three of us are huddled at the far end of the bench with our arms around each other, bawling. He jumps into the room, contorted, a chimney sweep black with soot, dragging a huge bag and heavy chains, heading straight for us. A deep, resonant "Zurueck!" orders him back. It's St. Nikolaus, heavenly, awe-inspiring, with flowing white robes, a tall Bishop's miter and golden staff. He is very much aware of all my bad deeds, some good ones as well. They're right there in his huge book! Belzebub argues over each entry, they check with the grown-ups on some, but by the time they're done, none of us will have to be dragged off. Belzebub is clearly disappointed. Now and then he even tries to grab us when St. Nikolaus isn't looking, our screams save us every time.
St. Nikolaus gives us Lebenkuchen and cookies, though later we discover there is nothing but coal in Walter's package. He warns us that next year we won't be so lucky unless we behave, then heads down the stairs shooing a reluctant Belzebub in front of him.
That was Santa's last visit. The following year they knew we knew, so the visit was called off.
It's getting dark and very cold by five early in December but it's warm and cozy in the back of the car taking us through the city woods. We slow for a boar leisurely rooting acorns on the side of the road, I shrink back into my seat. I'm alone in the forest, years ago, frozen, not moving a muscle, as 'ein Keiler mit seiner Frau und drei Kinder vorbei kommt.' 'What's a Keiler?' says Sister. Werner, behind the wheel, translates for me: 'A wild boar' he chuckles '... comes by with his wife and three kids.' Those beasts can get mean; I still see his very white tusks, those beady red eyes, daring me to even just look at his piglets.
We cross the river on a high bridge, heading into Frankfurt, right below us glitters the Weihnachts Markt, the Chrismas Fair where everyone is heading. I get impatient in the traffic jam but Werner zips around some corners and pulls into an underground garage where there happens to be just one open parking space, right next to a small staircase leading up. He bounds ahead, pushes open a door and stops in his tracks while my Sister and I stand stunned.
There is the Roemer, fullly restored from hits taken by Allied bombings in WWII. Lights illuminate the building where the Holy Roman Emperors where proclaimed. An overwhelming scent of every Christmas ever celebrated rushes in. First there's the smell of anise, followed by cookies, cakes, mulled wine, sausages and hams. The square teems with people, booths selling tree ornaments, I want just one of those huge gingermen. There is a slowly spinning powder-sugar-white, gold and red carousel, three stories high, with staircases! and people sitting at tables!
On cue the bells of St Paul's Church start ringing, as they did hundreds of years ago when the emperors were crowned right there.
Colorful signs in Chinatown, I don't know what they say, and then there is the food. Restaurants up the stairs, down in the basements and up elevators. Pork Bun vendors on the streets, open stalls sell unfamiliar vegetables, roots, the scent of dried herbs mingles with the smell of dried fish, dried octopus! There are endless fillets cooling on ice or, if you prefer, live fish flopping in buckets, occasionally spilling onto the sidewalk where they scare the tourists.
Snails! Look they have snails. Ok ... why not? I'll give it a try! I recall having them simmered in a stew. Some nice thick stew for a cold evening, with leeks, potatoes, carrots and peas, lots of garlic. That should work.
Back home with my haul I'm greeted by a hissing radiator in the vestibule. We have hot water! which has been iffy lately; there even is a note letting people know that the intercom is working again ... but the buzzer to let people in is still out.
I figure the first thing to do would be to wash the snails, they all look to be sealed with some waxy membrane. I pile them into a colander under the faucet and drizzle lukewarm water over them. Just then the door bell rings. It's Bobbie dropping by for a visit. I hurry downstairs to let her in, slamming the apartment door shut behind me. Big mistake! I didn't take the keys! Well, it's not that big of a problem, Roomie should be home any minute. Bobbie and I catch up on the latest, sitting on the stairs until Roomie shows up in just under 10 minutes and lets us in.
There are the snails, waving their eyestalks at us, crawling all over the sink and counter top, making a dash for freedom away from the water. We decide to have a nice garlicky vegetarian stew with leeks, potatoes, carrots, peas and thick slices of bread.
Afterwards we take the snails to our friendly neighborhood pet shop.
Did you know snakes love snails?