Women Are to Blame For Moral Messes

So says the Rev. George Szal of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere, MA:

ELLEN GOODMAN (“Trumping women’s rights,” Op-ed, April 20) accuses politicians (mostly male) of playing God. May I remind her that it was the first woman playing God in a garden and deciding for herself what was good and what was evil that got us into the moral mess that we find ourselves in today. While her man stood mutely by, Eve blithely destroyed the lives of her future children. Perhaps the politicians are just now trying to right that wrong.

Pushcarts: Their sidewalk meal tickets

From the NY Daily News:

Like Neno, Mohamad Ali, 39, also from Egypt, started in 1995 as a hired hand, selling food on the corner of W. 41st St. and 6th Ave. For six years, he learned the business while he saved until he could take the next step – owning his own cart.

It wasn’t cheap: The city only charges $200 for a permit, but with the number that are issued capped at 3,000, there’s a thriving secondary market for the documents. Ali paid $6,000 for his permit.

When it came to the cart, Ali went for the best. At $15,000, the custom-made cart has a grill cooktop, and containers for rice, condiments and hot dogs. It also has a faucet with hot and cold water, making it builder Steve Econopouly’s version of “the works.”

“It’s the top of the line,” said Econopouly, whose Woodside, Queens, sheet metal shop specializes in building the carts. “You get everything.”

Between broken axles, engine blow-outs and various dents and dings, Ali estimates that he pays $3,000 a year to maintain the cart. He pays another $400 a month for his space in a garage, where he stores the cart overnight, takes delivery of supplies and does his morning prep work.

Ali’s location, across the street from Bryant Park in midtown, is a coveted spot. Although he declined to say how much money he makes, he acknowledged that on his best days he can make “hundreds of dollars,” and said one good week can make up for three bad ones.

The shipwrecked memory of the L’Utile slaves

A corvette drops anchor near a small island, lost in the Indian Ocean, on November 29, 1776. The island seems completely deserted, a stretch of white sand with a few palm trees. Yet the sailors discover a baby and seven women, all former slaves from Madagascar. Dressed in tunics of woven feathers, they are the only survivors of a shipwreck 15 years earlier. They survived by eating birds, turtles and shellfish.

Max Guérout, former French navy officer and vice-president of France’s marine archaeology research group, GRAN, tells the story: “L’Utile left Bayonne in southwest France for the Mascarene Islands on November 17, 1760. It called at Madagascar to replenish food supplies, and the captain, Commander La Fargue, decided to take aboard 60 slaves, against the governor’s orders. He set sail for the Ile de France, now Mauritius. Blown off course by the bad weather, the ship was wrecked on the reefs of a small island, one kilometer square, which now bears the name of the man who saved the last few survivors: Tromelin.”