Wisdom from Kaifeng, China, and More

Kaifeng, China (michaeljung / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

In a Senate hearing, Rand Paul and Elliott Abrams talked about Venezuela. Or rather, Paul harangued Abrams, and Abrams got in a few words — all of which were very good. I discuss this in Impromptus today. I also discuss Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, the GOP state chairman in Mississippi (an old friend of mine), and other pertinent subjects.

In a post on Tuesday, I discussed books and CDs — specifically, throwing them out, in the interest of space. A reader of ours writes,

You should try to hold on to physical copies of things you treasure (or simply might want to listen to, watch, or read again). I realize it may be hard in Manhattan. But formats change, and publishers may erase things from online sources.

For example, Fox dropped the episode of The Simpsons where Michael Jackson voices a character from all streaming/digital services after the Leaving Neverland documentary came out. In a few years, there will be no evidence online that this episode ever existed.

A very important issue, to be sure.

In an Impromptus on Tuesday, I told a little story about a boy, in an Italian restaurant, ordering apple juice (and settling for water instead). A reader writes,


Your story took me back to my childhood, growing up in Boston. Do you remember “Prince Spaghetti Day” and “Anthony”? [Do I ever.] The Prince Spaghetti Company had an iconic commercial that ran for 13 years about Wednesdays being Prince Spaghetti Day. Because of this, our family always had spaghetti on Wednesdays — for years and years!

Anyway, Anthony, who was the star of this commercial, passed away this week at the age of 63. Joyful memories of Boston in the ’70s . . .

For an obit, go here.

My friend Buntzie Churchill writes,

Your story about the little boy and the juice reminds me of this: In the early 1980s, I was leading a group of World Affairs Council members in China. One of my travelers asked the national guide whether there were any Jews in China. The guide replied, rather incensed, “Of course we have Jews in China: orange juice, grapefruit juice . . .”

Buntzie also shares a story from Bernard Lewis, her late companion, the great historian of the Middle East. One day, Bernard met a man from Kaifeng, China, where a Jewish community once lived. He asked the man whether he knew anything about Judaism. The man thought and delivered himself of four words: “One God, no pork.”

A model of succinctness.

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