Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for June 29th, 2007

A cruise ship filled with Right-wingers

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Via The Liberal Avenger, this article from The New Republic:

I am standing waist-deep in the Pacific Ocean, indulging in the polite chit-chat beloved by vacationing Americans. A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. “Is he your only child?” I ask. “Yes,” she answers. “Do you have a child back in England?” she asks me. No, I say. Her face darkens. “You’d better start,” she says. “The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they’ll have the whole of Europe.”

I am getting used to such moments, when holiday geniality bleeds into—well, I’m not sure exactly what. I am traveling on a bright-white cruise ship with two restaurants, five bars, and 500 readers of National Review. Here, the Iraq war has been “an amazing success.” Global warming is not happening. Europe is becoming a new Caliphate. And I have nowhere to run.

From time to time, National Review—the bible of American conservatism—organizes a cruise for its readers. Last November, I paid $1,200 to join them. The rules I imposed on myself were simple: If any of the conservative cruisers asked who I was, I answered honestly, telling them I was a journalist. But, mostly, I just tried to blend in—and find out what conservatives say when they think the rest of us aren’t listening.

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Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 7:36 pm

Posted in GOP

Thermocule report

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Last night I slept with both the Thermocule blanket and the Thermocule mattress pad. Wonderful comfort. Last night was warm at times, but I never once woke up feeling sweaty, which is a new thing (post-Thermocule). Bedding can be found here.

If you try this, I’ll be interested to hear about your experience. I love it, myself.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Iced coffee

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I made this last night and just had a glass. It’s wonderful.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Time: 5 minutes, plus 12 hours’ resting

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
Milk (optional).

1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.  [If you want to make a larger batch, use 2 1/4 cups of water to 1/2 cup ground coffee. – LG]

2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.

Yield: Two drinks.

NOTE: To make hot coffee, dilute concentrate one-to-one with water and heat in the microwave. [The hot version tastes like instant, IMHO – LG]

The background article includes this information:

Cold-brewed coffee is actually dirt simple to make at home. Online, you’ll find a wealth of forums arguing for this bean or that, bottled water over tap, the 24-hour versus the 12-hour soak. You can even buy the Toddy cold-brew coffee system for about $30.

But you can also bang it out with a Mason jar and a sieve. You just add water to coffee, stir, cover it and leave it out on the counter overnight. A quick two-step filtering the next day (strain the grounds through a sieve, and use a coffee filter to pick up silt), a dilution of the brew one-to-one with water, and you’re done. Except for the time it sits on the kitchen counter, the whole process takes about five minutes.

I was curious to see how it would taste without all the trappings. The answer is, Fantastic. My friend Carter, something of a cold-brewing savant, turned me onto another homegrown trick: freeze some of the concentrate into cubes. Matched with regular ice cubes, they melt into the same ratio as the final blend.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 11:58 am

Posted in Caffeine, Drinks, Recipes

The Authoritarian Mindset

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Glenn Greenwald has a good post today in which he explores how eagerly the Right embraces the Authoritarian Mindset. Just one extract:

… One specific exchange between Tucker and Jonah as they explored the Greatness of Dick Cheney:

[Tucker] CARLSON: But I’m bothered by Cheney’s — but does — Cheney’s secrecy, his penchant for secrecy. I mean, this is a cliche, a stereotype, but it’s rooted, apparently, in truth. The guy really is secretive to a degree we haven’t seen in a while. That is — I mean, we do have a right to know what our government is doing, don’t we?[Jonah] GOLDBERG: Yes, sure, although I think you would concede, even though you and I disagree about some foreign policy stuff, you and I would agree that there are some things that should be kept secret. We might disagree about what they are.


GOLDBERG: And you know, but I do think that what Cheney has learned after a lifetime in Washington as a power player, is that the person who holds the secrets has power. And he is using that for what I would say, or probably what he believes to be certainly good ends. A lot of people disagree on that, but he’s trying to do best as he can and he sees holding onto power as a tool to do that.

That, of course, is the defining mentality of the Authoritarian Mind, captured in its purest essence by Jonah. Our Leaders are Good and want to protect us. Therefore, we must accept — and even be grateful — when they prevent us from knowing what they are doing. The less we know, the more powerful our Leaders are. And that is something we accept and celebrate, for our Leaders are Good and we trust that the more powerful they are, the better we all shall be. No inferences or interpretations are required to describe Jonah’s mentality this way. That is precisely — expressly — what he said. And though it is rarely expressed in such explicit form, this is the mindset which, more than anything else, has enabled the rampant lawbreaking and unprecedented secrecy of the last six years.

We do not need open government, do not need to know what our Leaders are doing, must not demand that they act only within the limits of law — because we place our faith in them, trust in them as warriors for the Good who want only what is best for us. Transparency and oversight diminishes their power, makes them weaker. And we want them to be as powerful as possible. Or, as Jonah so succinctly put it: “the person who holds the secrets has power. And [Cheney] is using that for what I would say. . . to be certainly good ends.”

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 9:50 am

What’s it like to work at Google?

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It has its drawbacks, from this report, especially if you want a life of your own, you have kids, etc. Read about it.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 9:11 am

Megs at the screen

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Megs at screen

It’s rather warm here today—the living room was 73º F—so I opened the sliding glass door for the first time from necessity. Megs immediately plopped herself in front of it: warm sun, interesting sounds, and fascinating smells—her little nose is going a mile a minute. It doesn’t appear in this photo, but if it did, it would be blurred from the motion.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 8:11 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Spy Sweeper “upgrade”

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Here’s the ticket I sent in:

I have Spy Sweeper with Antivirus. I use Firefox v.

Since installing the new update of SS a couple of days ago, whenever I exit Firefox, all my cookies and log-ins are removed. When I return, I have to log-in EVERYWHERE. This is, as you can imagine, a great flaming pain. I’ve looked for a SS setting to stop this behavior. Didn’t find it. I reinstalled Firefox, thinking that SS must have overwritten some Firefox settings. No help.

First, this amounts to a damned bug, from the point of view of an inconvenienced and irate user. Second, when can I get a version that will not do this?

No response as yet. If I didn’t have Roboform Pro to do the logins automatically (in most instances—a couple I have to do by hand), I would be even more irate.

UPDATE: Got the fix:

If the cookies are being instantaneously removed, this means that the tracking cookies shield in Spy Sweeper is most likely activated. This shield prevents cookies from ever entering your computer. They are deleted almost the instant they are downloaded. To disable this shield, please open Spy Sweeper and click on the ‘Shields’ button. From here, click on the ‘Web Browser’ tab and uncheck the box labeled ‘Tracking Cookies’.

That did indeed work. Hallelujah.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 7:35 am

Posted in Software

Violet morning

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The soap: Victorian Violet, by Mama Bear. The brush: Rooney Style 1 Size 1 (small) Super. Lather: good. I need to practice more with the short, stubby brushes to learn how to make a good enough lather.

The razor: the British Aristocrat, but which one I don’t know. Excellent shave in any event, using a Wilkinson. Aftershave: Aqua Lavanda.

The feeling: priceless.

Written by Leisureguy

29 June 2007 at 7:33 am

Posted in Shaving

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