829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Random Post

In this season of the onset of Presidential primaries and the 
attention that will be paid to popularity polls and the like, I heard 
the Gallup Poll mentioned the other day and immediately thought 
about my personal connection to that Ivory Tower of American
opinion research. Alec Gallup was a regular customer of ours 
for decades before I was able to say "ours".  He was a grizzly
bear of a man, but as kind and self-effacing as the day was long.
The Gallup Organization was started in Princeton in the thirties, 
and well after it was acquired in the late eighties by a Nebraskan,
with whom I am also familiar, and who insisted many times on 
smoking cigars in the restaurant by the way, Alec and his close
associates came often for lunch around 1 pm.  He did his best
to uphold the 3 Martini lunch, although if he made it past 2 it
was unusual.  Soup was the appetizer almost always, and 
entrees varied.  One thing I'll never forget was him asking about 
the accompanying vegetables on a given plate.  " I don't like sticks.
I don't want any sticks on my plate."  Julienne vegetables. 

My two favorite memories of him were these:  watching the 2000
vice presidential debate between Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney
in the back of our bar, near the mens' room where our little TV was.
He was going back and forth between the private room where the 
Gallup Org. was having dinner and the mens' room where the TV was.
Sitting on a wine crate watching at the same time was Arthur 
Schlesinger, who was attending another PU function upstairs.
And then there was me.  Picking my nose.

The second memory is actually more meaningful, because it does
not involve politics, but flavor.  Alec was sitting at the bar waiting
for his dinner guests one night and decided to have some steamed 
clams to hold him over.  Upon finishing the clams, he asked Chris
to take the buttery broth in the bowl and pour it into a glass, and 
make a spicy bloody mary on top of it.  Chris asked him if he had a 
name for this drink and Alec quickly replied, "the clamdigger!"
This man was as old school as they come and I'm fortunate
for him to have known me, even if it was just as a servant. 


  1. Awesome. You and I have a lot in common in terms of the people we "happened" to rub elbows with. Not that it's the same people, but rather that us "ordinary" guys rubbed elbows with some "extraordinary" ones.

    Picking my nose. I can relate to that also. ;^)

  2. Wow! How many people can claim to have picked their nose with Arthur Schlesinger AND Alec Gallup?

  3. Nose pickers of the world! Out of the closet and united!

  4. Great story! Gosh, I haven't picked my nose around anyone famous.

  5. You can "pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose", even if it is Arthur Schlesinger.

  6. I challenge the next commenter not to mention anything about picking one's nose.

  7. I've been away far too long. And except in dire circumstances, I try to find a tissue and blow my nose if I need to clear it out.

  8. Very interesting, I have noticed that the Author of 90.8 % never puts his foot in his mouth, he writes his posts before 12:00 AM. On the other hand, Baydog, you seem to have some interesting thoughts after 12:00 AM, could that indeed be the "Witching" hour?
    By the way, I'll have to tell 90.8 that his pizza looked awesome.

  9. Gallup was picking winners, Schlesinger was picking his next campaign.

    You had to pick something!

  10. And to think, this comment thread might have taken an entirely different direction had Baydog instead observed that he was sitting there...

    ... scratching his ***

  11. Why, yes... oh, my!

  12. With you, sister Bea.

  13. Mojo, I thought you were referring to my b***s.

  14. "I don't know what you're talking about?"