Soup and movies

I got to do two things this past weekend that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

I ordered soup from the real-life Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame
(click on the image to see full-size photos). I have never really understood
the nickname. Even on the show, he did not advocate the rise of one race
or the destruction of another. He did not rebuild a country out of the ashes
only to create a war machine bent on world domination. He was just stern, gruff,
and strict to the point of intolerance. I would have called him the Soup Stickler
or Tyrant or Despot or something, but maybe that doesn’t have the same ring.
Anyway, the character is based on a real guy named Al Yeganeh, and he refers
to himself as The
Soup Man
and scoffs at his Seinfeldian nickname. His place is called
Al’s Soup Kitchen International and it’s on 55th St. and 8th Ave. in Manhattan.
Al himself is pretty gruff and unsmiling,
but I didn’t see him refuse soup to anyone. The restaurant itself differs from
the place as portrayed on Seinfeld in that no customers are allowed
inside, since the entire inside is pretty much occupied by the kitchen. You
order from the sidewalk (fresh, hot soup or refrigerated, reheatable soup)
and find your own place to eat. The rules for ordering as portrayed on TV were
no exaggeration. This sign appeared in no fewer than five languages at the


  • Pick the Soup You Want!
  • Have Your Money Ready!
  • Move to the Extreme Left After Ordering!

The quality of the soup was also no exaggeration. I ordered the chicken and vegetable soup, and it was without a doubt the best soup I have ever eaten, even if I couldn’t identify every ingredient (there were some big, bulbous, yellow things floating around that I have never seen in my life). All in all, a good experience. And, having also eaten at the diner that provides the exterior shot of Seinfeld‘s coffee shop last year, I have now had my fill of Seinfeld experiences.

Second, I finally took my wife to see The Return of the King,
a satisfying end to perhaps the best movie trilogy ever. Mrs. Happy generally
eschews any form of entertainment that suggests science fiction, fantasy, or
superhero comics. I’ve had to find others to accompany me to T3, X-Men,
the last two Matrix movies, and Underworld, and I had to see Freddy
vs. Jason
all by myself. But she saw the first two Lord of the Rings films
with me, and though she has protested every day since ROTK opened, she finally
agreed to see it. I loved it, she enjoyed it, and as long as she doesn’t hold
it over my head for more than a few days, we’ll consider it a successful outing.
Now I’ll probably have to take her to see Mona Lisa Smile to make up
for it, but marriage often involves give-and-take, and I’m happy to do it.
I’ve discovered a few gems by seeing movies I had no interest in (Gothika and
He Loves Me…He Loves Me
, to name a couple), and she’s had her horizons
expanded by a couple of movies I dragged her to (she enjoyed both Spider-Man and
The Dangerous Lives of Altar
Marriage and movies don’t always mesh, but it’s a beautiful thing when they

Check out the Where We’re From page for a new poem from Tina. Also take a look at her blog. Keep those poems coming!

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