Later On

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

Archive for July 1st, 2007

Jerk chicken evaluated

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Amazingly good—and beer is a superb accompaniment. This is the first jerk chicken that seems to carry the flavor I’ve read about. I was going to take photos, but was too hungry. Excellent—and somewhat messy. But well worth it.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 4:38 pm

Posted in Food

Inspiration strikes!

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Not in the sense of being on strike—something not enough American workers do these days because of their inexplicable fears of unions and management—but rather in the sense of the muse descending and whispering in the ear: a new book: Become Wealthy by Shaving Yourself Thin and Happy Through Celebrity Appearances in Reality TV. I already have the opening word: “Worried?”

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Books

Fertility rates and the future

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From TCS Daily:

As the debate over illegal immigration from Mexico rages in Washington and across the country, and as the administration’s reform bill hangs by a thread, few Americans are aware that this problem will automatically decline and eventually become a vague memory.

There has been a stunning decline in the fertility rate in Mexico, which means that, in a few years there will not be many teenagers in Mexico looking for work in the United States or anywhere else. If this trend in the fertility rate continues, Mexico will resemble Japan and Italy – rapidly aging populations with too few young workers to support the economy.

According to the World Bank’s 2007 Annual Development Indicators, in 1990 Mexico had a fertility rate of 3.3 children per female, but by 2005, that number had fallen by 36 percent to 2.1, which is the Zero Population Growth rate. That is an enormous decline in the number of Mexican infants per female. The large number of women currently in their reproductive years means that there are still quite a few babies, but as this group ages, the number of infants will decline sharply. If this trend toward fewer children per female continues, there being no apparent reason for it to cease, the number of young people in the Mexican population will decline significantly just when the number of elderly is rising. As labor markets in Mexico tighten and wage rates rise, far fewer Mexican youngsters will be interested in coming to the United States. Since our baby boomers will be retiring at the same time, we could face a severe labor shortage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Daily life

Lessons from Spaeth

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Driving home from the library, I fell to thinking about some lessons I learned from my friend Spaeth, may he rest in peace. One is that when someone states that something is a matter of principle, ask what is the principle they have in mind. (Surprisingly often, the principle turns out to be the principle that he should be able to do anything he wants and not have to do anything he doesn’t want.)

Another was a comment he heard (or made) in conversing about politics: that a politician who says, “I may have compromised, but I have never compromised my principles” has really never compromised at all: it’s not a compromise if you cede only things of little moment to you, while holding fast to everything that’s important.

A third was to note with suspicion “principles” that few, if any, would oppose. For example, someone stating loudly, bravely, and resolutely, “I am opposed to war!” Well, who isn’t? The problem is not that people favor war in general as an attractive activity, but that war is sometimes the best available option. The issue is not to take a position on the generality, but to focus on the specifics of the war at hand and the other options available to that war.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Daily life

Review of Glenn Greenwald’s book

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Good review—i.e., both favorable and thoughtful.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 11:49 am

The contradictions of conservatism

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Well, just one contradiction for now, pointed out by The Anonymous Liberal:

… The cognitive dissonance on display in this cartoon is actually quite typical of conservative commentary. On the one hand, there is a high degree of paranoia; we’re supposed to believe that all of the major news organizations are controlled by liberals who are constantly cramming their liberal views down our throats. On the other hand, there’s a belief that markets—if left alone—will always produce the “correct” outcome. These two elements of conservative thought are constantly at war with one another.

The easy way out of this intellectual bind, at least in this context, is to simply concede that the “mainstream media” is not, in fact, liberally-biased. Journalists, like all professionals, probably are, on average, more socially liberal than the population as a whole (and more fiscally conservative). But market forces and journalistic norms make it virtually impossible for there to be any sort of pervasive liberal bias in news coverage itself.

Of course, conservatives will never concede this. Not in a million years. The “liberal bias” argument is just too convenient; it’s a ready-made rejoinder to just about anything, an excuse to ignore and marginalize anything that contradicts their worldview. And so we’re left with cartoons like the one above that are internally contradictory and self-discrediting.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 9:40 am

Posted in GOP, Media

Jerk chicken today

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I finally got around to making the jerk chicken recipe. I haven’t used the protective gloves yet—no need to, in making the paste, since you just pull the stem off the habañero and dump it whole into the blender. I will probably wear the gloves in handling the chicken, just because it’s messy. (I have a little box of disposable gloves for things like this.)

I spatchcocked the chicken, then cut it into the two halves. I do the oven cooking, since cooking chicken on the grill requires too much time/attention.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 6:07 am

Posted in Food, Recipes

James Fallows was right about X1

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I blogged earlier about X1, and now I have some experience with it. Mr. Fallows, as is so frequently the case, was right: it’s a terrific addition. I use it in particular for emails, since the Outlook search function is both lame and slow. X1 is immediate and I can readily find the email I want. (I keep emails—sent and received—around for a long time and often refer back to them.) It6’s also quite useful in finding documents, of course. Great program, and free to boot. Windows only.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 6:00 am

Posted in Software

Thermocule test

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If you want to try the Thermocules, the best thing is to get one of the blankets—easiest and most obvious in results. And the best source is Hammacher-Schlemmer, which has them in all sizes (Twin, Full, Queen, and King) and three colors. Give it a go—you can always find a use for an extra blanket in any case. Then, if you like it, you can consider the mattress pad, duvet, etc.

I have to admit, though, that the pillow didn’t work for me. Once you’re used to a buckwheat-hull pillow, nothing else is as good. Wonder if a buckwheat-hull and Thermocule mix would work? 🙂

Written by LeisureGuy

1 July 2007 at 5:56 am

Posted in Daily life

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