Pre-EMP mid-week this and that and more besides

Things are quite full today — hey, perfect timing for a quick vacation, even if EMP is one of the busiest and most thoughtful gatherings out there even as just an audience participant, trust me. So more elaborate thoughts will have to wait a bit, but I did want to touch on a few things briefly that I’d addressed before:

  • The Petraeus/Crocker reports to the Senate went off as expected — meaning there wasn’t much going on beyond restatement of previously stated positions. Today’s testimony in the House was more crabby but otherwise the kabuki continues. We’ll just have to wait on what happens in between now and the next reports closer to the election…which will be of no consolation to all the dead and wounded in between then and now.
  • The fallout from the grand jury testimony regarding Theo Lacy Jail in OC is set to run for a while, as noted yesterday — what I had hoped to point out, but had no time to do, is the tension noted in some of the OC Register reader comments, between law-and-order types who were excusing the behavior and…law-and-order types condemning it. Which I’m more than happy to see in the latter case — there were folks angrily, and rightfully, denouncing the dereliction of duty and abuse of the power of the badge, who in more than a few cases were speaking from the perspective of those who had in fact worn the badge, or served in the military or something similar. (In another instance, someone who had been a victim of a violent attack made clear she would not have wanted this kind of beyond-vigilante justice wielded against her attacker — as cogent a case as any against the odious mindset that supports it.)
  • You’ll note that I’ve not had much chance to post on food lately — it’s because I’ve not had much chance to do some proper cooking! (Trips plus start of quarter crunch = me wondering what to quickly stir-fry tonight and have done with it.) But more upon my return — but in the meantime, there are three amusing food-related stories to share that I stumbled across.
  • “Latest College Reading Lists: Menus With Pho and Lobster” reads the headline, and while this is clearly the province of more elite colleges it is an interesting example of the power of tastes changing as well as the power of expectation — the same impulse that drives the worldwide push to the ‘Western model’ in many ways (cars, varied diets, etc.). A simplistic statement but the two are connected conceptually, and reflects the idea of demanding higher and higher baselines. But are they affordable in the end?
  • This profile of Washington-area chef Patrick O’Connell is simultaneously an incredible celebration of good food and its preparation and the portrait of a personality that’s a classic example of someone who it might be best to admire from afar. Just a guess, really, and maybe I’m wrong, but if after thirty years in the same location you refer, even off-handedly, to the folks in the place where your business is as ‘bumpkins,’ I’d like to think you might need to get a better handle on what to say to who, really…
  • Bobby Egan — New Jersey barbecue joint owner, fishing fanatic, pal to the North Korean representatives at the UN. Uh.

With that, hope everyone’s well — probably a couple of other posts before my trip to come, otherwise get ready for a flood of EMP liveblogging over the next few days!


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