Summery Summer in August

The last episode of “Top Chef Masters” was great fun. Keller v. Bayless v. Chiarello, with Kelly Choi as host – this was great. (nothing really against Padma Lakshmi, but I have watched way too much Kelly on “Eat Out New York” and got too accustomed to Kelly’s good spirits and enthusiasm). I haven’t watched Top Chef Masters consistently, but I liked watching the masters cook (considering that some of them have their own shows or have been on “Iron Chef America” – well, it’s not like they’re unfamiliar; it’s nice watching the familiar having fun (or getting frustrated in Top Chef style; how do they find time to do these gigs? They’re such busy people!).

Reading this week’s Frank Bruni column in the NY Times’ Dining section made me wonder — it sounded too much like a farewell type column. I mean, sure, the guy has a book out and all (admittedly, not what you do if you’re going to continue trying to go undercover to critique restaurants, but I never quite believed that he really went to great lengths, since he used to be a political reporter – come on, people can kind of know and you did other stuff and had another life), but he couldn’t possibly be stepping down from the pretty cool position as food critic (putting aside the bad food he must have eaten along the way).

But, then came reading the Time Out New York interview, confirming that it is his last week. Aww. Ok, so, I’m behind the news (as usual). But, say it ain’t so, Mr. Bruni! Has it been that long since he took over William Grimes’ beat? (I was a little weirded out when Grimes stepped down as food critic, since he actually revealed himself). Time flies!

So, my denial must end; great little feature on how Bruni’s friends and family put up with his beat (which apparently is fun, but can be exasperating) – plus now hiding his successor, Sam Sifton (Times stayed in-house again; that’s ok, I guess).

Bruni’s writing has been great reads; past links: here, here, here, here, here (where I acknowledged reading Bruni back on the political news beat and wondered if he could combine politics and food); Bruni on the Momofuku thing and how I tried to get on it.

Wonder what Bruni will do next; would he become a book critic/critic-at-large like Grimes? Or head back to political coverage? Ok, apparently, he’s off to the Times’ Sunday Magazine, but still… anything can still happen, right? Hmm… I am sorely tempted to get his book; excerpts of it read like solid Bruni.

Slate’s Explainer explains why we call Galileo “Galileo” and not “Galileo Galilei” (his actual name).

The passing of Don Hewitt, the creator of “60 Minutes.” Time’s James Poniewozik makes some interesting observations on Hewitt’s (mixed) legacy (on the one hand, “60 Minutes” outlasted a bunch of other tv news magazines; on other hand, “60 Minutes” started the concept of high concept tv new magazines – even the crappy ones can trace their lineages back to Hewitt’s work).

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