Monthly Archives: May 2016



A Renegade Muscles In on Mister Softee’s Turf – Andy Newman and Emily S. Rueb, The New York Times

Mister Softee drivers don’t go to midtown Manhattan for fear of literal, physical violence by drivers for rival New York Ice Cream.

It’s the latest chapter in decades of violence for the New York ice cream truck business.

Mister Softee says he has been muscled out of Midtown.

New York Ice Cream, staffed by drivers who used to cover Midtown Manhattan for Mister Softee, has had the area locked down for at least a year, Mister Softee said. The renegade is enforcing its dominance with threats and intimidation that sometimes get physical.

“If one of my drivers goes to Midtown, they’ll bring their trucks in and surround them — a bunch of guys,” said Peter Bouziotis, who runs the Softee depot in the Bronx, which covers Manhattan. “They’ll start banging on the windows.”

At the corner of 40th Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, a New York Ice Cream man in the window of his purple-trimmed white truck was unapologetic.

“From 34th to 60th Street, river to river, that’s ours,” he said on a recent afternoon, moments after handing a chocolate cone to a delighted-looking little boy. The vendor would not allow his name to be published for fear of losing his job.

“You will never see a Mister Softee truck in Midtown,” he continued. “If you do, there will be problems, and you won’t see him there very long.”

Boxing in a Softee truck so the driver cannot do business. Getting up in his face. Grabbing his collar and delivering some unsolicited advice.

“Happens all the time,” the New York Ice Cream man said.


“Let me tell you about this business,” Adam Vega, a thickly muscled, heavily tattooed Mister Softee man who works the upper reaches of the Upper East Side and East Harlem, said on Wednesday. “Every truck has a bat inside.”

And this:


Former Trump University Workers Call the School a ‘Lie’ and a ‘Scheme’ in Testimony – Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder, The New York Times

Trump University staff encouraged financially strapped students to max out their credit cards and then get more credit cards to pay for classes.

One sales manager for Trump University, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway.

Trump says the accusations come from a small group of disaffected former employees.


He had low turnout for his Rolling Thunder rally, his campaign staff are fighting each other more than the Democrats, and his shotgun attacks on Republican leaders are looking pathetic. Have we seen peak Trump?

I say: Way too soon to call, but hopeful signs.

Trump’s tragic, rolling bluster – Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post


Apple is said to be extending iPhone refreshes to once every three years – Martyn Williams, Macworld

Apple has previously been on a tick-tock cycle with the iPhone. Even-numbered years it makes big breakthroughs in design. Odd-numbered years it refines the previous year’s design, with phones that look identical to the previous year’s version but have faster guts.

In 2014, Apple came out with the iPhone 6, which was its big phone, and the 6 Plus, which was its REALLY big phone: Last year, faster versions of the same.

Now Apple is reportedly going from a two-year to three-year cycle, as phone hardware innovation gets harder to achieve.

I’m like many Apple enthusiasts, on a two-year upgrade cycle for my iPhone. And I’ve already been thinking about skipping this year, even without any hard information on what the 2016 iPhone will look like.


The dog gets billing with Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason. That there is the sign of fine cinema.


Did Cincinnati Zoo really have to kill a rare gorilla? – Madison Park, Emanuella Grinberg, and Tiffany Ap, CNN

Predictably, Internet busybodies are looking for someone to blame here.

The busybodies say the zookeepers should have held their fire or used tranquilizer darts, busybodies say. Seriously? Would you gamble your child’s life on that?

The busybodies say the parents shouldn’t have let their kids wander into the gorilla cage, the busybodies say. But in reality, kids do stuff. You take your eyes off them a second and they get into trouble.

And then there’s this guy on Twitter who is auditioning for a role as a serial killer on a CSI spinoff:

This is a relatively happy ending to what could have been a tragedy.

I was feeling jangly Saturday. Restless and fidgety and nothing I could think to do seemed satisfactory.

So I decided to go for a very long walk with Minnie. We usually go three miles, to the park, partway around Lake Murray, and back. Saturday I decided we should go as far around the lake as you can go, to the chain-link fence that bars the way to the dam. That was eight miles. It tired me out nicely. I thought it would tire Minnie out, but nope. As soon as I let her off the leash in the backyard, she ran around in circles as fast as she could for 10 minutes.

I took this photo at the halfway point, at the fence that blocks the way to the dam, before turning around and retracing our steps home.

I did not touch the bulls-eye so I guess it doesn’t count.


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine In 82.5 Hours – Max Temkin, Medium

In Deep Space Nine, “a man and his son arrive at a frontier town on the edge of known civilization.”

Not just a man – a widower. That’s a very Western thing.

DS9 is essentially a Western with an ensemble cast. Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe said, “We had the country doctor, and we had the barkeeper, and we had the sheriff and we had the mayor, we had it all, it was all there. We had the common man, Miles O’Brien, the Native American, Kira.”

But also:

Reader Evan Jacobs sees a more contemporary theme in the politics of Deep Space Nine: “To me, DS9 was largely about the Jewish diaspora. Cardassians are Nazis, Ferengis represent Jews as the world sees them (i.e., anti-Semitism), and Bajorans represent Jews as they see themselves (i.e., Israel). Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it always seemed that way to me.” I’ve always read themes of Jewish history into Deep Space Nine as well (in my view: the Federation is the Catholic church, it’s post-currency society is the prohibition on usury, and the Ferengis are the Jews) it’s one of the reasons the show speaks so personally to me.

We’re slowly rewatching Deep Space Nine. We’re a good way into the first season, which Temkin says is a turkey, but I’m enjoying it.

I’ve already watched most of Deep Space Nine — not when it first aired, but in reruns. I’ve forgotten almost all of it. We stopped watching a few episodes after Terry Farrell left, when the TV station stopped airing reruns. This was in the primitive dark ages before Netflix.