• Frozen Shakes in Tehran: One of the favorite lunch stops for staff writer Scott Peterson when he's in Tehran is a hole-in-the-wall joint that sells excellent shwarmas, a sandwich similar to the Greek gyro.
In this case, Scott's shwarma is made with thick slices of beef, carved off a sizzling vertical spit, and mixed with grilled onions and tomatoes. Next door, on Vali Asr Street, is Scott's favorite frozen shake shop. He likes the shir horma, the date shake. But for the first time in 12 years of buying shakes there, Scott found a generator outside – indicating that the electricity was out. And business was suffering (see story).
"The shop owner has to rein in his expectations when the power goes down," says Scott. "He has three refrigerator-freezers, and six electric mixers (for each flavor). But one generator can't handle all that."
• Paralympic Marching Orders: At the Summer Olympics in Athens (2004) and Sydney (2000), the Paralympics have been a pale afterthought to the main event in the eyes of the organizers. But in Beijing, says staff writer Peter Ford, "the government has proclaimed its principle of 'Two Games, Equal Splendor' and it is making the Paralympics a high-profile event."
"However inspiring the disabled athletes' performances are, they still do not attract the same attention as those of their able-bodied colleagues, and the public does not flock to watch them in such numbers."
So, the Chinese government orders its citizens to attend. "I came across a column of more than a thousand students from Jili University outside the Olympic Green," says Peter. "I asked them where they were going and they told me the National Stadium. I asked what they were going to watch and they had no idea."
– David Clark Scott