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This is Keith Benson. He’s from Bristol, and he loves Chinese food.
Benson is back in New York for the second time. He comes because his son, Rob, lives here with his (American) wife, Rachel. They live in Queens. Keith is retired and so traverses the ocean to see his expat offspring. That, or be consigned to seeing each other via Skype, or when Rob can afford to visit.
It’s 7:15 p.m. on Saturday night and he’s crowded into a small area in the front of Han Dynasty—one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the city—where patrons wait for up to an hour for a table. He stands with his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and I, and a throng of other people, jostling, failing at patience—in a city known for anything but—also on the waiting list. Outside it’s raining. Benson is relaxed. He’s ushered to another waiting area, which a hallway, lined with chairs, leading to the bathroom. He moves each time a person walks past, and again when they leave. And he waits longer. Still, he’s cool.
Through it all, Benson doesn’t seem to mind much. In fact, he doesn’t seem to mind much, much at all. He’s an easy-go-lucky kind of guy, quick with a chuckle, some banter, and a good-natured jab if you leave yourself open to it. He is down for whatever. He sits mostly quiet, wide-eyed, soaking up everything in sight like a newborn. The only thing bigger than his curiosity—maybe—is his appetite, and in that his love of Chinese food.
Finally at the table, Benson sits down and devotes his attention to the food, ruminating over every morsel, every bite rolling over his tongue for its full flavor and texture.
Later he’s back in the rain. It’s windy and cold, but he gives no complaints. Soon he’s rewarded, sipping whiskey at the Brandy Library, telling stories of misguided youth and listening intently, without judging, at stories of our own ill-advised endeavors. He stares off. “What are you looking at?” He faces me. “Well now, I’m looking at ugly, aren’t I?” I’ve been had. We laugh. He’s quick for a good ribbing.
Soon, it’s back in rain and cold, and then a crowded subway ride. Still not one foul word about any of it.
Benson proves himself to be a good guy and easy companion. I’m sad to see him leave.
This week, military veterans finally received a better crack at getting jobs. High unemployment for veterans has been a perennial problem, for everyone from those who fought in the Gulf War to those who were recently in Afghanistan.
The veterans’ unemployment rate has been dropping, but many are still frustrated as the Guardian explored in a recent package of stories about misunderstood veterans in the job hunt, job tips for them, and the financial snake-oil salesmen who lie in wait for them.
There were 733,000 veterans without jobs in 2013, though the unemployment rate varied by state, “ranging from over 10% in Michigan and New Jersey to under 4% in Delaware, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest measures, which were released in March.
The government has been working on solutions. This week, the Labor Department put into effect new guidelines that required federal contractors – companies that do business with the government – to make veterans around 8% of their workforce and disabled workers around 7% of their employees.
Those companies that do business with the government, known as federal contractors, include some of the biggest names in business, including Boeing, Dell, General Electric, AT&T, UPS and Pfizer among thousands of others.
The Guardian’s package prompted a veteran to describe his extensive job hunt and the lessons he learned from it. Because he cannot speak publicly without endangering his current job, he asked to remain anonymous. We share his impressions here in the belief that they can help other veterans – and their families – understand civilian life and the job hunt.
Job hunting for veterans: ‘My resume went into a black hole’ | theguardian.com
This is great news!! And a very smart solution!
I SMELL EMMY -
When the Emmy for Cinematography was announced, longtime Zero Point Zero cameraman, Morgan Fallon was up and out of his seat like a shot. He’s a strapping guy of well over six feet, and he took off down that aisle like a wide receiver going out for the long one. He bounded up the…
This is brilliant!
We’re excited to announce the return of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown for season 3! First stop: Punjab, India.
Tune into the season premiere Sunday, April 13 at 9PM, ET on CNN! Details here
I cannot wait!
I feel like they just conspired together…
THE WINK, THE WINK IS KILLING ME.
This is so adorable!!
My heart is melting!
Many Glacier Hotel at Glacier National Park
This Instagrandma Single-Handedly Justifies The Existence Of Social Media
After she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, 80-year-old “Grandma Betty” started an Instagram account with the help of her 18-year-old great grandson. Now she has almost half a million followers and her own logo.
More> Fast Company
Omg! This is wonderful!
A headline is like a promise. Always deliver on that promise. — Overheard at The Washington Post (via washingtonpost)
Such great, simple advice!