The Wednesday Curator – 2/18/15

February 17, 2015

Waiting for the Conservative Jon Stewart by Oliver Stewart appears at on February 14. It’s a good and interesting read! Alert to my readers—or is that reader, singular—from Far Right-i-stan: You may not like this one!

Well, tolerance for the filibuster didn’t last long in the Republican Senate. Joan McCarter wrote Republican Senators Reportedly Starting to Agitate for Filibuster Reform for on February 17. Running something is a lot harder than bitching about it!

Wisconsin has for a century had the Wisconsin Idea, embodied in the University of Wisconsin’s commitment to a search for truth. “Not so much,” said Governor Scott Walker, who then claimed dumping the search for truth, in favor of meeting “the state’s work-force needs,” was a drafting error. (If you’re going to be a jerk, be a consistent one, and stand up for your jerkiness!) 2016 Ambitions Seen in Walker’s Push for University Cuts in Wisconsin by Julie Bosman for the New York Times on February 16 summarizes the situation, and it’s a crying shame that getting ahead in politics means bashing the search for knowledge.

The Holdouts by Priscila Mosqueda for the Texas Observer on February 16, courtesy of, looks at the whole picture regarding fracking. It’s not pretty!

My oh my, but I need to eat at Bestia in Los Angeles. Cathy Chaplin is a first-rate Los Angeles food writer. Her blog,, provides great reviews.

From Tyson Ho, the Brooklyn ‘cue joint owner I’ve mentioned before, here’s How I Built a Barbecue Restaurant in Brooklyn: What Happens When a Restaurant Dies from on February 4. I posted this piece not for its instructions about picking over the carcasses which are failed restaurants. Rather, it’s these words that I want to share:

When a restaurant closes, there are often a few people who cackle about it. You’ll see blog comments like, “They took an hour and a half to deliver me my food, I’m so glad they’re gone,” or, “I asked if I can get my wings grilled instead of fried and they wouldn’t do it, so I’m posting this so that everyone avoids this place and they shut down.” I’ve seen some internet commenters gleefully look forward to my own restaurant closing.

I wish those people could see a restaurant closing in action. I want them to look into the eyes of staff members who’ve just realized their paycheck isn’t coming when the rent is due. Before anyone posts any more comments about restaurant closings, watch a grown man break down in public as he recounts how 12 years ago he hung up the very pictures he now has to take off the walls.

On the public side of hospitality, we talk about gracious, photo-ready chefs giving their all to provide unforgettable experiences to guests. But the public doesn’t see much of how deep that pride in one’s work goes. Much of New York’s restaurant workforce is new immigrants far from home, family, and friends. They don’t have much, so they often take pride in the small stuff.

Talk to a superstar short order cook. He might make $9 an hour (without tips) and live with four other guys in abject squalor, but when he throws down a Saturday brunch he is a champion, cooking plate after plate of eggs with pride. Talk to the devoted porter who spends some of his paycheck on buying new air fresheners for the bathrooms because they smell better than what the owner buys.

That’s the pride that caring employees have to swallow when their workplace collapses all around them.

Hospitality people are mostly terrific people, and few make lots of money! If you get treated well and you can show a bit of extra appreciation, it’ll make a real difference in someone’s life!!!


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