Saturday, July 26, 2008

My thoughts from Rome

I'll be home soon, but a few observations:

- This whole Obama trip is getting a lot of coverage here in Europe. I'm on the fence as to whether it will help or hurt him in the American polls; prior to today, I felt that it would hurt him , but I'm thinking a mild positive bump for him at home as a result as of this afternoon. I don't know. McCain could be countering better (at least from what I see here). He seems weak for an election battle; if Obama can continue to upstage him without attacking him directly, it could be a landslide by November.

- Right before I was in Istanbul, there was a shooting there at the American embassy (or at least near it). At the time, and I haven't seen anything since, they attributed it to Al Qaeda. This felt wrong right from the get go. I haven't seen anything since, but I'm curious how it plays out. It is not like them to have a car full of shooters who do their deed and then flee the scene.

- Ice is a big deal here; if you want it with your soda, you have to ask for it. Which got me to thinking: If you want to preserve the ice as long as possible, do you a) pour the glass full, drink a small amount and then keep filling the glass to the top level, or b) fill the glass to the top, drink it to the bottom, then fill it once it is empty back to the top? Each soda fills roughly two glasses, if used by the latter description. I'm thinking that the former approach leads to better preservation, but the assumptions abound. Fieldwork seems to confirm my suspicions.

- I have discovered the best pizza in the world; Pizza di Leoncino surpasses anything pizza I've taken in, by a fair margin. I've been twice already, and plan on at least another trip before I make the trek back on Wednesday.

- One quick note: My column on Friday dealt with the privatization of the West Virginia worker's compensation system. I received an email from a member of BrickStreet who noted that they actually have no shareholders; as a mutual company, they are owned by their policyholders. That makes for some interesting incentive situations-- those pursuing surplus on the demand side are the same people pursuing surplus on the supply side-- but problems likely arise only in small number scenarios. Anyhow, my apologies for the oversight. I may well write about this aspect in the near future-- it's an interesting scenario.

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