August 31, 2008

On the edge   {Comments: 0}

We had some friends over tonight, and we made this gazpacho. The picture is from a couple years ago, but I followed the recipe pretty closely and it seems to be a good one. But more important than the recipe -- for me, anyway -- is that all of the constituent parts need to be cut consistently for a nice texture, crunchy but not too chunky. We followed it up with some nice grilled cheese sandwiches.

August 30, 2008

Sarah barracuda   {Comments: 0}

Some evidence of Sarah Palin's charm: audio from earlier this year in which Sarah Palin giggles after a radio host refers to a political opponent -- Republican Alaska senate president and 69-year-old cancer survivor Lyda Green -- as a "bitch" and a "cancer" and then says she'd be honored to have them (the radio hosts) down to listen to her state of the state address. Yikes.

Here's was Green's response when she heard that Palin was the nominee: "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"

The promise of America   {Comments: 0}

Before it's completely forgotten, I should also say something about Obama's convention speech. I think it was tremendously important, probably for several reasons, but especially because Obama laid out a serious case for liberal values and liberal policies, a case which hadn't been made convincingly by any national candidate in my lifetime. Obama still hasn't honed his message to the point where it can compete with the simplicty of Ronald Reagan's transformative anti-government message or the anti-intellectualism that went with it. But he showed that he has both the ability and the will to stand up and fight that fight. I've always supported him on the off chance that he'll be able to crystallize the liberal message in a transformative way that makes people believe in the power of government again, and Thursday night he came as close to doing that as anyone has come in a long, long time.

How our leaders are chosen   {Comments: 2}

I'm still not sure what to make of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP choice. I've been worrying for some time that McCain could pick a woman to pick off some estranged Clinton supporters, but I'm not sure if Sarah Palin is a realistic Clinton surrogate for that crowd, even if they are still a little pissed. I see some obvious political benefits to picking her, both as a sop to conservatives and regarding as image that a lot of Americans will relate to and find compelling. But it also seems insane to select someone with so little experience to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

And maybe you'll come back with the retorts we've all heard about her having as much experience as Obama or more executive experience than Obama, Biden, and McCain combined. But I don't think either of these statements is true. Have you read the post-mortems on the Democratic primary? If building and running perhaps the most improbable successful primary campaign in history doesn't count as executive experience, I don't know what does. Obama has demonstrated an astonishing ability to lead, to inspire, and to organize, and the fact that he's never held an elected executive office doesn't diminish that.

I also think it's odd to even make the comparison between a person the country has gotten to know over a year and a half and 18 million Americans voted for to a person the overwhelming majority of Americans had never heard of before one man decided to put her into a position of national prominence. Obviously if she actually becomes the Vice President, Americans will have voted for her, but to me the idea that they are somehow equally untested at this moment just feels naive.

MORE: Here's an article actually suggesting she would have to resign and appoint someone else to fill the position (a la Geena Davis?) if McCain were to die early in office. I don't know how that bizarre notion can be compatible with the idea that she's a reasonable choice, but that's where the article seems to end up.

August 27, 2008

Very cost-effective, with a lovely temperament   {Comments: 0}

It's been a long and difficult summer, but I think I am finally back for some blogging. This week we're in Wisconsin, and I'll have a few pictures to post when we return (although the big opportunity was missed last week when the Wisconsin River was temporarily drained in this area). Of course I've been watching the convention, but I don't have anything to add that you couldn't read in dozens of other places. For now, these links, all food-related:

1. This article on molecular gastronomy deals specifically with how to cook eggs, which is interesting enough, but which I mention because I photographed a food science class at Dominican University in River Forest a couple weeks back where they were teaching some of the same principles. The class was taught by a microbiologist.

2. The idea of underground restaurants has a lot of appeal for me.

3. My friend often tells me about the side of beef he bought and stores in the freezer, but I doubt he has enough grass to raise his own cow. (I wonder what the carbon footprint for that looks like.)