Worth reading, 06/20/13

Tom Sietsema: Just say ‘No, grazie’ to La Tagliatella (Washington Post)

La Tagliatella in Arlington makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics. The Italian concept, an unfortunate import from Europe that plays up 400 combinations of pasta and sauce, is so distasteful on so many different levels, I was tempted to dismiss it after just one visit. I changed my mind when I considered its prime corner real estate in Clarendon and the Poland-based chain’s intention to expand elsewhere in the United States.

Someone needs to put a stop to this threat to our nation….

The slick menus with their commercial-grade food shots suggest the sort of reading you might find on the desk of a budget hotel or the seat pocket of an airplane….

The wines by the glass will remind you of the stuff you left behind in college, but the drinks here are generous and strong. Cocktails, it turns out, are one way to get through a meal at La Tagliatella, a brand unleashed on America last year with two branches in Atlanta, poor thing.

Yeah, he didn’t like the place. And the Washington Post asks on its homepage if this may be its harshest food critique ever. But Sietsma’s review pales in comparison to the standard set last November in the New York Times, Pete Wells’ unforgettable review of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar Restaurant in Times Square.

Bon appétit!


Wait, Am That Baseball Dad? (Slate)

Excessive behavior is embarrassing to your child, it’s embarrassing to yourself, and it teaches your child all the wrong lessons about sportsmanship, character and grace. But even if you’re not risking those outcomes, there is a challenge to finding the line between unconditional love and intensity. Even if you stop short of acting like the horrible parent, there’s a finer line to walk. You don’t want to smother the experience for them with too much engagement. It’s their game—just as it’s their life. Know when to butt out.

I’ve seen the worst of parents at Little League games. Smoking was not allowed on school grounds where my kids played Little League. One day, a mom lit up a cigarette from her seat on the grass berm behind the team I managed. One of the kids complained to me that she was smoking. I asked her nicely to put out her cigarette. She stood up, and loudly — so that everyone at the game could hear — told me she’d do whatever she want. Then she flipped me the bird, for added effect.

I once was umpiring a game at first base. A dad sat down in a chaise longue (yes, I spelled that correctly) with a six pack of beer and booed every call I made throughout the game.

I was umpiring behind the plate once when my second-base umpire made a bad call. But it was HIS call and I couldn’t reverse it. The fans from the team that got screwed spent the next inning booing loudly at every ball or strike I called. It got ugly. I told them if the abuse continued, I would have to stop the game, which would mean a forfeit. I was told that if I did, I wouldn’t make it to my car in the parking lot. They were serious. A kid I knew was on the team and he literally told his teammates, the umpire is OK. It’s Mr. Bromberg. I felt bad for him, because he felt bad for me.

Little League parents are the worst.


‘Ex-gay’ group says it’s shutting down; leader apologizes for ‘pain and hurt’ (nbcnews.com)

A Christian ministry that led the so-called ex-gay movement, which professes to rid people of their homosexuality, has announced that it will shut down, and its leader apologized extensively to gays for causing “pain and hurt.” . . . .

The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, said late Wednesday on the ministry’s website that he had “conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions” but now accepts them “as parts of my life that will like always be there.”

Addressing gays, Chambers, who is married to a woman, wrote: “You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours.”

“Sorry” doesn’t quite cut it here. The damage Exodus International has done for more than a third of a century is incalculable.


Strategist Out of Closet and Into Fray, This Time for Gay Marriage (New York Times)

As the Supreme Court considers overturning California’s ban onsame-sex marriage, gay people await a ruling that could change their lives. But the case has already transformed one gay man: Ken Mehlman, the once-closeted Republican operative who orchestrated President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election on a platform that included opposition to same-sex marriage.

Now Mr. Mehlman, a private equity executive in Manhattan, is waging what could be his final campaign: to convince fellow Republicans that gay marriage is consistent with conservative values and good for their party. His about-face, sparked in part by the lawyer who filed the California lawsuit, has sent him on a personal journey to erase what one new friend in the gay rights movement calls his “incredibly destructive” Bush legacy.

To his credit, Mehlman is trying to undo much of the harm he helped inflict before he came out.


Tea party scalds Marco Rubio (Dana Milbank in the Washington Post)

The tea party returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but this time the don’t-tread-on-me crowd trod upon one of its own.

Much of the scene was familiar: the yellow flags, the banners protesting tyranny and socialism, the demands to impeach President Obama and to repeal Obamacare. But there was a new target of the conservatives’ ire: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and his “amnesty” plan for illegal immigrants. The loathing of this onetime darling of the movement — Rubio rode the tea party wave to office in 2010 — could be seen in the homemade signs on the East Lawn of the Capitol proclaiming, “Rubio RINO” (Republican In Name Only) and “Rubio Lies, Americans Die.” Rubio antagonism became a main theme of the event, held by Republican Reps. Steve King (Iowa), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and other opponents of the bipartisan Senate immigration legislation that Rubio negotiated.

Et tu, Tea?

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