Diddakoi Walt Whitman
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Updated: 11/02/04

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dinner tonight

Tuesday, 02 November, 2004

Happy Birthday to Gary! He decided to wait to open presents until tonight, much to the cat's dismay. She seemed to know it was his day, though, as she went up and demanded a full cuddle from him this morning.

We're going to dinner at The Striped Bass tonight. I haven't been there in a long time - it was one of the first impressive additions to Philadelphia's "Restaurant Row" in the early nineties, taking its place near Le Bec Fin and Susanna Foo's. The space was an old brokerage firm - lofty ceilings and huge marble columns - with a giant metal sculpture of its namesake on the wall above the open kitchen. The location was used for the anniversary dinner scene in the movie "The Sixth Sense".

Unfortunately the restaurant's creator, Neil Stein, has had some troubles of late. Last I saw of him in September, he was being arrested for tax fraud, accused of skimming the employees' federal taxes in his restaurants. He was once the top restauranteur in the city, responsible for such places as Rock Lobster, The Fishmarket, Rouge, Avenue B and Bleu. The only one he still owns is Rouge, and how long that lasts is anyone's guess.

Philadelphia is fortunate, however, in that we have another high-flying restauranteur: Stephen Starr. His operations are almost too numerous to mention - I believe he is opening his 13th or so in town. He bought The Striped Bass earlier in the year for $1.3 million, and, recognizing the good reputation the place enjoyed, has reopened it under the existing name. He spent about $1 million renovating the place and has brought in Alfred Portale (of Gotham restaurant in New York) as head chef. The reviews have been good - it's not cheap, but it's a special occasion so what the heck!

[And best of all . . . we'll have a few hours away from the election results!]

Well, work is actually progressing on the house. But it's always something. Today I got a call from the contractor who said that the copper surface they are using for the counters is not bending the way the distributor said it would and that we'll have a black seam on the edge. I had expressed my reservations over using a laminate when they were ordering it - I spoke to both the contractor and the distributor who assured me it would be fine.

Update: the distributor has agreed to exchange the laminate for real copper. *Huzzah*

Update again: but the real copper is too short - it comes in 24 inch width and the countertop is 25 1/2 inches, so we'll have a seam at the back.

Kay's solution: run the tile backsplash onto the very back of the counter with a thin strip to cover the difference.

[It never ends.]

I voted this morning around 11:30. The polls are actually in the lobby of my condo complex, but I was out of the house at 6:30 this morning and didn't think they were open yet. Several people in my office were late arriving as they stopped to vote and it took them over an hour. I had a lunch meeting at 12:15, so figured I would give it a try.

I caught a cab across town and passed another polling location a couple of blocks from mine in Old City. Line was out the door and halfway down the block. Figured I would be late for lunch.

Voting in Old City

Nope. Walked in and upstairs to the second floor lobby. Two polling stations, no waiting. One of our front desk concierges was running the voting, so I didn't even have to spell my name for her, although it took her a while to find my card. I voted fairly predictably, although I did go for the Libertarian Senatorial candidate, since I find both of the other candidates to be repulsive.

Time spent: 4 minutes.

[Democracy feels good.]

Quick birthday update: Gary got an e-mail today from my cousin Jeff. He forwarded it to me with a big smiley face on it:


Hope you have a great day and Kay doesn't surprise you too much

Lucia and I enjoyed meeting you in Scotland. Hope to see you again


That really meant a lot to him - thanks, Jeff

[What a great family I have.]

Quote du jour:

"There are three hundred and sixty-four days
when you might get un-birthday presents
... and only one for birthday presents, you know."

-- Lewis Carroll

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