Schubin Chronicles

Mistakes

I accidentally stuck an extra “firmly” into the end of the last report. It was a mistake. It wasn’t my first, and it’s unlikely to have been my last. I’m not alone. To err is human. In a recent radio report on Vladimir Putin, the commentator compared him to “subsequent” Russian leaders. When American Airlines […]  More

Fortunately, humor is hard to translate

Responses to our Thanksgiving Dinner invitation are trickling in. So far, it’s just a large dinner. It’s not yet at the “Yikes!” level. The biggest one we did had 34 sitting down to eat at some point or another, not counting deliveries to those who didn’t want to (or couldn’t) leave their apartments. That was […]  More

The formerly hirsute

Sometimes a picture does seem worth a thousand words. When the Northern Alliance forces headed towards Kabul, the New York Times ran a photo sequence of someone being beaten, stripped, and shot by the advancing fighters. Then, when Kabul had been freed from Taliban rule, photos showed women revealing their faces, a VCR being purchased, […]  More

Not "until"

Taliban shmaliban. Many aspects of New York have been influenced by Jewish culture, including such speech patterns as the dismissive repetition of a word with the initial consonant (if any) removed and the repeated word begun with shm. Concert shmoncert. Taxi shmaxi. Latte shmatte. There are other interesting forms of New York speech repetition, including […]  More

The twain have met

Rudy Giuliani now has just a month and a half left in office. I don’t think it’s going to be enough time for him to realize his master plan. Aside from his being prevented from selling off our water supply and our hospitals, our prosecutor-mayor’s greatest failure in eight years as the city’s chief executive […]  More

Buttercup's lament

The city is still repairing the sidewalk outside our apartment building. That has meant hearing jackhammers and pavement saws when decent (and indecent) New Yorkers are still trying to sleep, breathing and walking through concrete dust, and learning a new maze every day to leave and enter our front door. This week it has meant […]  More

An island again

Today, hundreds of people lost their lives in the crash of a jet aircraft in New York. And today ALL New Yorkers felt the impact. It wasn’t just that the neighborhood where the plane crashed had already lost many of its residents — both financial workers in the World Trade Center and emergency personnel. It […]  More

Dates and places

There was a terrible smell in parts of Central Park today. It wasn’t a broken sewer line or a chemical-warfare attack. It was the female ginkgo trees, what we refer to as the “stinko ginkgoes.” Older Asian Americans have been gathering the trees’ malodorous “fruit” or seed. I understand it’s considered a treat. Oh, well. […]  More

Today is Terrorist Day

In New York, the conversational phrase “You’re welcome” is almost invariably spelled “Sure” and pronounced as a variant of either a synonym of farrier or the verb for baking eggs. Although millions of people use the term, I have yet to find a single dictionary that lists that definition, so I don’t know its etymology. […]  More

The wilds of New York

A wild deer was hit by a car a few days ago. Normally there wouldn’t be much that’s newsworthy about that statement. But it took place in Manhattan. Actually, it was in northern Manhattan, which is very different from the southern end. There’s a stand of virgin forest in northern Manhattan. There’s a real medieval […]  More

Colors of New York

Years ago, there used to be searchlights forming a powerful rotating beacon on the Empire State Building. The beam could be seen sweeping through the sky miles away — even where the building wasn’t visible. Unfortunately, the light confused birds, so the beacon is no more. The tower is now normally lit to match the […]  More