Sunday, September 16, 2012

Teddy; Russian & Turkish; Quantum Leap

I headed out into the bright, beautiful fall afternoon into the city.  I returned to the scene of the birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt, but first had to forage.  I found a place called Beecher’s that had some absolutely immaculate cheese.  I had one bite and it literally melted in my mouth.  Just melted.  I had another sample, and another.  And another.  I sucked on it as one would really fine chocolate, and it just kinda melted in my mouth.  But I digress.

I had been to the Roosevelt house once before but had arrived too later for the tour.  I visited the little museum which chronicled the 1912 election, and read some fiery and moving speeches by Theodore Rex.  F’ing Teddy was shot on the campaign trail.  Yep, shot.  Not only did he save the man whom shot him from the mob who was going to tear him limb from limb, but he went on to deliver a speech.  Not the speech he had prepared, mind you—because that helped slow the bullet that hit him, but rather a 90 minute off-the-cuffer.  Takes a lot more than a bullet to stop a bullmoose, he declared.  Fuck yeah, Teddy.

But still was not enough to get him elected.  I can only imagine what the Great War would have looked like if it was Teddy not Wilson at the helm.  I can’t see Teddy staying out the way Wilson did.  What if, indeed.  But I digress.

This time I caught the tour of the place.  The place was not quite Teddy’s birthplace.  It was the location where Teddy was born, but the original house was demolished years prior.  It was built to look like his original home and period.  No bother, the tour through Teddylandia was excellent.

A tribute to Teddy, one of our finest presidents the country has been honored with.  So who was Teddy?  Roughrider.  Legislator. Governor. Vice-President.  Youngest President to assume office.  Nobel prize winner—the first American to do so.  Bullmoose. 

For starters, he didn’t like being called “Teddy”

Theodore Roosevelt, Junior.  “Teedy” to his friends and family, at least as a young man.  Theodore was born into privilege, the scion of a glass merchant family.  As in the glass contract to rebuild Chicago after the great fire of 1871.  Mrs. O’Leary’s cow made the Roosevelts quite wealthy.

Theodore Roosevelt, Senior, cast a distinguished shadow.  A philanthropic lesson, and a life of service that was impressed upon young Theodore.  Roosevelt spent his youth sharpening his skills and his mind.  He attended Harvard, and had an allowance that was larger than the salary of the university president.  Teddy was active.  As required of sporting gentlemen, he boxed.  And really could he scrap.  And jui jitsu.  And Japanese stick fighting.  And the MMA of its day.  Teddy was a bad dude.  When Teddy was president, he would scrap with his secret servicemen.  One time he got roughed up so good he lost his vision for days.  Yep, president was blind for days because he got he was playing Fightclub in the White House.  Fuck yeah, Teddy.

In his own way, Teddy was connected to Lincoln.  His father was quite close with John Hay, Lincoln’s top assistant.  Hay used to come to the Roosevelt residence when Teddy was a boy.  Later, Hay went on to serve as Roosevelt’s secretary of state.

I could do little justice to sum up Teddy’s life of adventure and achievement.  I need to read his bio because he was a bad dude.

The tour was excellent because the guide was excellent.  He really gave a wonderful and enthusiastic tour.

After the tour concluded, I asked the guide a very serious and earnest question: why did Teddy keep losing the presidential races?  Was it because of his asthma (a condition that plagued the young Teddy)?

It’s a fix, he declared.

I wondered aloud if it was due to the Tammany Hall bosses fixing the race.  They had essentially forced the vice-presidency on Teddy to get him out of New York politics, only to see their gambit backfire on McKinley’s assassination. 

Anywho, I made my way out and off to meet Dani Disco for an afternoon of steam and soak at the Russian and Turkish bathhouse.  Dani had a pass so I got to go for free.  For the next hour and a half, we alternately baked in wood saunas, vapor saunas and pools of ice chilled water.  It was immaculate.  The smell of peppermint filled the subterranean sweathouse. 

After our sweat, we stopped upstairs for some delicious Russian food.  I had a bowl of wonderful borscht.  Beet soup swimming with onions, parsley and a dollop of cream.  Dani and I split an order of varneki- tasty dumplings filled with cabbage, potato and cherry with a touch of cream on top.  Dani had a ground chicken cutet with kasha, and some mustard that opened your sinuses with a wollop of horseradish.

We regrouped back at Dani’s uptown haunts, then by way of Dara Matthews (who I hadn’t seen in about 5 years or so) and out to a floor party.  A floor party because all the apartments on the floor had different variations of 70s, 80s and 90s.  The 90s room was my jam.  Kinda had to be, as I was rocking the Quantum Leap t-shirt (since expropriated from Dani).  All I want to do is zum-a-zum-zum-zum in your boom-boom.  I was rockin’ out to Mama said knock you out.

And I was climbing on the roof with nimbleness, as I chatted with a Jamaican guy who told me of his Jewish ancestry.  Shake that family palm tree.

See previous entry of how the night ended….

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