Wednesday, July 01, 2009

McDonalds and restaurants, Lithuanians, Cap and Trade

Another potpourri day! First up...

McDonalds takes over France!
From Slate:
As reprehensible as Bové's tactics were, it was difficult for a food-loving Francophile not to feel a little solidarity with him. If you believed that McDonald's was a blight on the American landscape, seeing it on French soil was like finding a peep show at the Vatican, and in a contest between Roquefort and Chicken McNuggets, I knew which side I was on. But implicit in this attitude was a belief that McDonald's had somehow been foisted on the French; that slick American marketing had lured them away from the bistro and into the arms of Ronald McDonald. However, that just wasn't true. The French came to McDonald's and la malbouffe (or fast-food) willingly, and in vast and steadily rising numbers. Indeed, the quarter-pounded conquest of France was not the result of some fiendish American plot to subvert French food culture. It was an inside job, and not merely in the sense that the French public was lovin' it—the architects of McDonald's strategy in France were French.

Just as a prophet is without honor in his own country, not even the French are willing to pay more to preserve their national cuisine. Let the bourgeois tourists pay for it! Give us a quick, cheap meal.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I've never been one to hate McDonalds, even though I haven't eaten there in years.

And speaking of food, I'll have what he's having...or else!
Here's an interesting insight into the world of high cuisine...which I'll probably never experience first hand:
When I talk to people in the kitchen after their meal, people frequently tell me they made a special trip to Chicago just to eat at Alinea. Of course I find this completely flattering. They call two months before to the date they want to dine and plan their trip around the event. One can hardly blame them for expecting the maximum experience, given the commitment that they have vested.

But what does the maximum experience require? As it turns out, this was the main reason we created the Tour menu to begin with. When I was at the French Laundry it was common for the kitchen to give selected guests extra courses. Perhaps they were repeat diners, people in the industry, or friends of the chef. Of the 12 meals I had there, nine were in the 17- to 20-course range, and they ranked as the best I had ever had. Not that the typical nine-course menu they offer is lesser, but it is...after all...less.

Evidently people have been known to burst into tears to find out that someone else gets special treatment they didn't know was available. Silly me. I probably just would have thought I'd missed something on the menu, decided whatever it was probably wasn't worth the extra they were probably paying, and go on with my meal. But then I am a barbarian.

Michael Yon reports on our Lithuanian allies in Afghanistan:
The base itself is an international potpourri with soldiers and civilians from Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Romania, the USA, and probably a few more countries. And today there are Italian pilots whose helicopter is having difficulty. From above, this base is just a sesame seed on the body of Afghanistan, but down here it’s a little Starship Enterprise. When I met the Lithuanian base commander, Colonel Alvydas Siuparis, I wanted to call him Captain Kirk, but he’s pretty big so I didn’t push my luck.

Read the whole thing here. It's the typically high-quality background piece we've come to take for granted from Michael Yon.

Waxman-Markey will cost much more than we're told
Robert Zubrin reports in Roll Call:
On June 25, the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate stabilization act, which would institute a cap-and-trade system to restrict Americans’ carbon emissions. While proponents of the bill have sought to argue that the costs of such a system would be negligible, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the bill proposes a massive and highly regressive tax on the U.S. economy, and could potentially cause not only extensive business failures, unemployment and privation within our borders, but starvation among poorer populations elsewhere.

It really distresses me to see how quick the administration is to mess with complex systems. They seem to have no idea what they're doing..and they don't seem to care.

No comments: