Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Just Desserts?

The result of the election in Alabama yesterday caused a general sigh of relief in most of the country outside the Beltway, but for the current leadership of the Republican Party, it's probably the worst possible outcome.

We rank-and-file Republicans -- I still count myself as a member of that embarrassed band -- have long known that the party has been hijacked by angry libertarians. I'd say most of us have reacted by tut-tutting, more or less openly, and by quietly voting for Democrats more often; I know that's been my response, being not really politically involved.  But the loss of what should have been a sure Republican senate seat points up the scruples of much of the party leadership. To be sure, there were those, like Mitch McConnell, who initially criticised the party's candidate. That small clique of Republicans can at least claim to have some fundamental principles in line with the mainstream of America.

But too many -- far, far too many -- Republican office-holders in this political stageplay have demonstrated that, for them, power is everything. No sin is too reprehensible for these people to overlook where even a bit of political control is available.

Had the Party organization reacted to the (thoroughly believable) allegations against its candidate in a proper way, even at the cost of a senate seat, it would have come out of the election with a shred of integrity intact. Instead, taking its cue from the angriest people who, cynically, claim the mantle of Republicanism, the Party rallied 'round the flag-cloaked sleaze produced by that angry crowd, and lost. And now it has neither senate seat nor integrity.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

El Mariachi
1442 North Broad Street
Tazewell, Tennessee

It may be, as other reviewers on have
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claimed, the best Mexican food for miles around. The style is GuerrereƱo, which is not as familiar to me as other distinct varieties of Mexican cooking. It was good, though. The salsa -- one of the most important aspects of any meal in a Mexican restaurant -- was fair, as were the tostadas; not great, but not bad. I ordered one of the lunch-menu burritos, filled with ground beef and cheese and served with beans, rice, salad and crema. The portion was large enough to satisfy without being as large as I'd have expected for the price (which was otherwise reasonable). The beans seemed unusually light, which I found gratifying; the rice was not as highly seasoned as Mexican (or "Spanish") rice generally is. I'll put that down to the culinary style of Guerrero. The service was okay; the atmosphere was reasonably pleasant and the place seemed clean. It was well after the lunch rush, about 2pm, so I suspect the servers were feeling that I'd interrupted their down-time. On the plus side, there was Mexican music playing lightly and no sound coming from the televisions (which were showing a SEC football match; my Lord, do those teams play EVERY day? It was probably a re-run.)
El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 
Pete's Place
2460 East 1st Street
Blue Ridge, Georgia

This place has a prosperous look to it, and a prosperous feel. I got there just about the time the after-church crowd from the early service starts to clog the parking lot, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that it took so long for my order to arrive. At least the waitress made it a point to refill my glass and bread basket during the wait, a courtesy not always extended by harried servers.

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Having had a conversation earlier with a guy who had just learned how to fly-fish for trout in a nearby stream, I decided it'd be a good idea to order trout. And so I did: grilled trout on a house salad. The fish was clearly fresh, marvelously so, and very nicely seasoned and perfectly grilled. If the kitchen had hewed to the wise maxim that nothing in a salad should be larger than a lady's mouth, the meal would have been perfect. That rul
e, even today, is good policy mostly honoured in the breach, but let's be honest: you cannot efficiently cut a thin slice of red onion (or just about anything else) served in a bowl atop many varied ingredients. You get inadequate support under the item you seek to cut, and just push it down into the mix, which moves aside to slop out of the bowl.
Pete's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato