Monday, February 25, 2013

1140 That Old Gang of Mine

1140 That Old Gang of Mine

Shlomo Tzedaka, the last Bronx Jew and Bernard Weinstein, the other last Bronx Jew are at Moishy’s Bakery on Lydig Ave. It’s mid-afternoon.

They were going to split a blintz to go with their glasses of tea, but ‘Mo wanted cherry and Bernie wanted potato and, as usual, compromise would mean defeat.  So each ordered his own and blamed the other for forcing up the cost.

‘Mo pops a sugar cube in his cheek takes a first sip of tea.  Bernie opens a packet of Splenda, pours it into his drink and then goes for a spoon, which isn’t there.

‘Mo says “how can you eat that dreck?  Use a cube like everyone else.”  Bernie doesn’t hear because (1) he don’t hear so good no more and (2) he’s off to find a spoon, which he does.

Bernie:  I miss the evening papers, used to come out about now.

Mo:  Speaking of that, you see the story about Khan the Deli King?

Bernie:  Khan?  A new Jewish Deli?

Mo: Nah, some A-rab.  Saheeb Khan or Sasquatch or something, owns a bunch of stores in Staten Island, got knocked for a loop by Sandy and wrote 82 million dollars in bad checks to cover his losses.

Bernie:  No!  I guess I’d better start reading the stuff from Jersey.

Papers say Khan is Pakistani, comes from a prominent family (doesn’t everyone) was a doctor in the old country (wasn’t everyone?) comes here starts doing business with the mob.  Make that The Mob.

Anything left of the five families?  The Feds want you to think “no.”  The five families want you to think “no.”  The Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Colombian, Mexican, Nicaraguan, social clubbers want you to think “no.”

And yet, every now and then, an Italian name surfaces. In this case it’s Fat Johnny Bull, who was arrested in 2006 on one of those vague federal laws that prohibits Italian Americans in business attire from loitering on street corners in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

‘Mo and Bernie don’t agree on much.  But they’re both history buffs.  They miss the evening papers.  The black and white TV sets, phonograph records and the mob.  Make that The Mob.

Somehow it seems fair that every once in awhile some guy with a name that ends in a vowel gets busted for something like watering down cement or selling protection.  It brings comfort and stability to the hearts of guys like Shlomo and Bernie, nearing the end of their journeys.

Shrapnel (Self-congratulators’ edition):

--The Oscar for best picture went to “Argo” which is a movie about a fake movie... the announcement made by the 21st century version of the Huntley Brinkley Report...   Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles and Michelle Obama in Washington... only there was no “good night Goodnight Chet, Goodnight David.  It was, of course, not night anymore... it was Monday morning but the Academy Awards telecast has never... ever... ever... ended on time.

--The Daytona 500 winner turned out to be one of the regular good ole boys, Jimmie Johnson.  But most of the attention was on Danica Patrick, the first woman to win the pole position and later the first woman to lead the race.  It didn’t last... she finished 8th... but you can bet attendance and viewership was up -- maybe way up -- because of her.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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