Friday, September 12, 2008

EAT READ PLAY: Friday Metapost

Not much has really happened since the last entry but somehow I still accumulated a lot of material.  First there was the Century Bike Ride last Sunday.  Unfortunately I didn't take my camera, so here are some crappy shots I made with the iPhone.  Apart from feeling great from the 40 mile bike ride in unbelievable weather, it was a further expansion of my NYC horizons.  Highly recommended as a sight seeing tour of places you will probably never go otherwise.  Also the last straw for me in my decision to get a new bike.  It's just insane how many options there are.. I need someone to hold my hand in the store.

Then, another week - another fun work trip!  Last week was LA, the city - this week was LA, the state, as in Louisiana.  The picture above is a shot of the river in Baton Rouge.  Kind of pretty, I guess.  The whole town felt deserted since they were just recovering from Gustav and there was still a curfew in place.  The culinary aspect of the trip would have been probably amazing, if I ate fish.  Alas, even heavy layers of southern hospitality and niceness couldn't hide the annoyance on the waitress' face when I told her I can't order anything on the menu.  A whole lot of drama later, they ended up making me an amazing dish out of their sides.  I hate to admit that the totally not vegan white chocolate bread pudding looked so good that I couldn't resist taking a bite, only to spend the rest of the trip with a giant stomach ache, fueling my suspicion that at this point I am probably lactose intolerant.  The bright spot, if there was one, was that on the way back to civilization, I saw the most amazing sunset from the plane - I am really such a sucker for them.  Here's a pretty week attempt to capture it.

On the campaign front, not much to comment on since not much actually happened if you don't count pigs with lipsticks, but quite a bit of good commentary (or maybe that is all I read while travelling..). Especially enjoyed Herbert's reminder that the fasionable derisive use of word "liberal" completely disregards that it is liberal values that have made this country better.  Great article from congressman Frank about Palin and family values.  Well not much happened until yesterday, when Palin spoke for the first time since her nomination acceptance speech and did reasonably well, that is, if you standard of "reasonably well" is that she can answer questions without hesitation and with confidence.  Clearly we are well beyond applying the same critical standard to her than we would to anyone else who ever thought of being involved in this election.  I do have one major gripe, however, which I posted today as a comment responding to Krugman's sharp column.  

Another significant case in point is last night's ABC interview with Ms. Palin. What I am referring to here is her response to the question of her readiness and her initial reaction to being approached by Mr. McCain's team. Every normal human being would have a moment of hesitation or self-reflection and - if formulated properly - it is a perfectly understandable emotion, something one should not be afraid to admit. But no. She chose to claim that she "didn't blink". The idea we're supposed to get is that she is determined and sure of herself.

But really, in the world we're living in with all its complexity and all its problems she expects us to believe that she didn't stop for a moment to think if she can handle the task, if she is ready? I can confidently say I don't know anyone who could honestly say that. I can't help but think that Ms. Palis is either lying or completely naive.

In fact, I would take this even further and suggest that her inability to even so much as recognize why she _should have_ hesitated (i.e. that she actually acknowledges the difficulty and complexity of governing this country AND that she possesses the critical thought to assess her own readiness) in and of itself makes the prospect of her being the VP truly scary.

(update- the Saturday editorial in the Times sort of picked up on the same theme "This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.  In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.")

Finally, how could I forget the anniversary of 9/11?  On that note, here's a photo tribute and a good book I started reading this week on my way from Louisiana that deals with the post 9/11 world and the role of the US in it: "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman.  Love the idea of Chapter 18 - see here.

Meanwhile, two more strike outs in alternative careers:  first a reminder that going back to school isn't just about passionate discussions of politics and economics even if Krugman is your professor; later, a blog which provides enough details about the life at CIA to turn a reasonable person off from culinary school.  So, so much for being a chef.. but at least this looks like a promising read!

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