Later On

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

Archive for September 1st, 2007

The Katrina Windfall

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From Mother Jones, Windfall: How Conservatives, Contractors, and Developers Cashed In on Katrina. It begins:

In those first emotional days after Katrina laid waste to the Gulf Coast, widespread predictions of a political sea change arrived from liberal and even some conservative commentators. “Americans are ready to fix their restless gaze on enduring problems of poverty, race, and class that have escaped their attention,” Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter wrote in a September 2005 cover story. Some went so far as to forecast the dawn of a new America, one stunned out of both complacency and conservatism by the images of suffering on the Gulf Coast. Katrina, one commentator suggested, would permanently “redefine the political landscape.”

But within just a few weeks of the hurricane, something had changed in the press coverage and the public response: As the floodwaters receded, so, too, did the powerful images—the portraits of racially segregated suffering, of death by poverty. America’s—even liberal America’s—focus appeared to be moving away from the experiences of Katrina victims and the deep, systemic problems they revealed. In the end, the leap from pathos to policy was never made. Instead, a narrower lens was focused on the foibles of the Bush administration—for instance, its hiring of a political crony, Michael Brown, to head FEMA (and, later, Brown’s infamous emails about wardrobe choices and dinner plans as New Orleans residents were literally drowning in their homes). Democrats were quick to attack President Bush, but when it came to advancing meaningful policy changes, they came up short on momentum.

It quickly became clear that the public “meaning” of Katrina, which had initially seemed so obvious to so many, was actually up for grabs—and so, too, was its impact on U.S. politics.

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Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 4:52 pm


with 10 comments

There’s a thread on B&B that, in spite of my best efforts, became acrimonious. The last post, before the moderator locked the thread, included this:

Being one of those three I can now say that it seems that you are way too invested in this blade being represented as something it is not. Why is that Michael? Is it that the vendor who sells this blade also sells your “book”? Is this about profit and gain wrapped up in the guise of “helping the newcomer”? I don’t know.

There are a couple of misleading implications here. I requested that either the moderator (who wrote the above) or the overall forum leader post a correction, but I got a refusal: “The thread is locked, it’s old news — let’s move on.” Since it’s my good name at issue here, I want to make sure the correct information is available.

First, as the forum leader well knows, Razor and Brush no longer sells my book. R&B did sell it at one time, but there were objections to my linking to R&B (and its blade sampler packs, for example) because R&B sold the book. So I asked Giovanni to discontinue selling it, and he agreed, and I so informed the forum leader and asked him to let the moderators know. So: the vendor who sells the Treet Blue Special blade does not, in fact, sell my book.

Second, the only representation I have ever made about the blade is that it works well for me, a statement that always includes things like “for me,” “YMMV,” and the like. As I have repeatedly noted, different shavers experience the same brand of blade quite differently—which is why we have sampler packs in the first place.

And in the thread, you’ll note that several other shavers have the same experience with the blade as I. None of us were representing the blade as anything other than a blade that works well for us, YMMV.

As a point of interest, so far I’m still in the red on the book—which, like B&B, is primarily a labor of love. It would be nice to make some money on it—I have nothing against making money—but I’m not holding my breath.

I really don’t know what made this particular pot boil over, but it did. So it goes. But I did not want the final word to be an inaccurate accusation damaging to my own reputation.

Sorry for this. Back to our regularly scheduled programming now.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Shaving

Alcohol content of Thayers witch hazels

with 2 comments

Thayers has quite a line of witch hazels, and the question of their alcohol content was recently raised. So: those labeled “astringent” are 10% alcohol, those labeled “toner” are alcohol-free. The Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Aftershave is 20% alcohol. A good way to get to know them is the sampler pack.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Health, Shaving

Syllabub: my kind of dessert

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At least this recipe from Saveur is:

For a variation, Day-Lewis sometimes fills the glasses halfway up with the syllabub, adds a little raspberry purée or a few chopped white peaches or strawberries, and then tops them off with the remaining syllabub, to create a fruity middle section to the dessert. Put 1⁄3 cup superfine sugar, 1⁄4 cup oloroso sherry, 2 tbsp. cognac, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, and the zest of 1 lemon into a large bowl. Stir well, then cover and let sit out at room temperature overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Add 1 3⁄4 cups plus 2 tbsp. cold heavy cream (preferably unhomogenized) and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (just “a suspicion”, says Day-Lewis) to the sherry mixture and whip with a whisk until soft peaks form. Spoon into 4 glasses and garnish each with a bit of lemon zest and a sprig of rosemary. Serves 4.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 10:39 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Inverted tabs for your Moleskine

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Cool idea: cut inverted tabs to index your Moleskine.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 9:53 am

Posted in Daily life

Aquatic apes

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I was discussing this morning Elaine Morgan’s book The Scars of Evolution
and her thesis developed in the book that we are descended from aquatic apes. She points out many strange characteristics and inefficiencies of humans today that make sense if we are descended from an aquatic environment. My correspondent pointed out this BBC radio programme (two episodes) on that very topic.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 9:28 am

Posted in Books, Science

X1 indexing vs. Vista indexing

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I’ve mentioned before that I really like X1 as an indexing, quick-search program. James Fallows blogs this morning about how Vista’s indexing program doesn’t scale, so as you add more items, it goes slower and slower and bogs down the entire computer.

I’ve noticed that Office 2007 is eager to install a Microsoft indexing program in Outlook 2007, but I keep refusing it—X1 is fast and efficient and everything I need. And it’s free.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 9:20 am

Posted in Software, Technology

Free-diving—not my hobby

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I was having an email conversation with a reader, and the topic of freediving came up. The world records in freediving are amazing, and the movie The Big Blue is entertaining, but the idea of it…. I don’t know. Competitive freediving seems to me like posting a sign at every sharp curve on the road that states the highest speed the curve has been successfully driven.

Of course, hobby and work freediving is a fine thing. But competitive freediving? Bad news, it seems to me. He notes:

Freediving has a long history as a means of finding food or other products from water. Most famous are perhaps the Japanese Ama pearl divers, but even today there are still small human populations still relying on it. Some of these live in South-East Asia, such as the Orang Suku Laut (also known as Sea gypsies or Sea nomads). The competitive side of freediving is a lot more dangerous, as the dives performed by competitors are much more extreme and the occasional accident usually ends really bad. However as a hobby it can be a fantastic way to see what underwater life has to offer. Snorkeling is an increasingly popular pastime.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 8:49 am

Posted in Daily life

Office 2007 a little later

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Okay, I do like it, now that I’m getting used to it. Word certainly has many nicer features, though with some omissions—for example, if you address an envelope, you can no longer get the PIM barcode included. The explanation is that the USPS sometimes changes the coding (and, presumably, that part of Microsoft doesn’t know about on-line software updates). But still, it’s a big step forward. And OneNote 2007 is really great. If you use MS Office and you’re a student, I think it would be an extremely powerful tool to have.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 8:25 am

Posted in Software

Weekend menus

with 3 comments

I’m going to make both the Tomato Bread Soup (with scallops again, but crushed red pepper this time instead of jalapeños, and I’ll add olives again) and the Soba Noodles with Sesame again, though with scallops sashimi instead of the Kona kampachi. I can’t wait…

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 8:23 am

Posted in Food

Books that make you laugh out loud

with 3 comments

I was trying to think of some such books after a reader of the Guide to Gourmet Shaving said that he was laughing out loud at some parts of the Guide—I assume (and hope) it was the chapter “What to Expect.”

At any rate, I had trouble thinking of books that produce audible laughter in the reader. An occasional passage in the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. A collection of Dave Barry’s columns will produce some laughs, but that’s cheating, I think. I’m trying to think of books that were conceived and written as books.

One that did come to mind: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. This one works particularly well if you’re reading it aloud to someone else, as on a car trip. Somehow the reading aloud highlights the comedy.

Can you think of others?

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 7:57 am

Posted in Books

Oranges in the morning

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I used Honeybee Spa’s Orange Burst shave stick—great orange fragrance. The Simpsons Key Hole 2 Best Badger worked up a fine and fragrant lather, and I shaved with a Gillette NEW using a Croma blade. I don’t recall where I got the two Croma blades I have, but it was a fine blade for the NEW and for me, and I got a smooth and flawless shave.

The aftershave was, naturally, Royall Mandarin.  Now I wish I had a glass of fresh orange juice to top it all off…

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2007 at 7:46 am

Posted in Shaving

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