Later On

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

Archive for September 11th, 2007

Broiled eggplant

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This recipe, from Slashfood, sound delicious. Tomorrow I’m going out to buy eggplant.

2 medium sized eggplants, sliced into half inch rounds
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (I use parchment paper because I imagine it is slightly more ecologically friendly than foil. I may be mistaken in this assumption, so don’t quote me here). Lay the eggplant circles out so they don’t overlap. Put into the hot over for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are tender. Spread each circle with a thin layer of mayo (if you don’t like mayonnaise I recommend that you try it anyway. Once the eggplant is broiled, you don’t taste it at all, it just adds moisture and a way to make the wheat germ and cheese stick). Sprinkle with the wheat germ, cheese, salt and pepper. Broil until browned. Eat as soon as you can because although it is good cold, it is transcendent warm.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Letter to my US Senators and Representative

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Just sent this (via email: paper mail never gets there because of anthrax fears). Easy to email US Senators or US Representatives.

Monterey County just reluctantly made Medical Marijuana ID cards available, conforming belatedly to state law. But when I asked my doctor, he said he was not signing the form for any patients because of the possibility that he would lose his license (and thus his livelihood).

The DEA and our drug laws are simply out of control. Doctors nowadays are reluctant to prescribe pain medication because the DEA, not the physician, decides whether the medication is needed in the amount prescribed. Doctors have been sent to jail for trying to treat their patients’ pain.

And now, despite clear approval of the medical use of marijuana, doctors (and patients) rightly fear that the DEA or state or local law officials will bring charges, despite state laws and referendums approving the practice. The DEA claims that they are not pursuing cases against individual patients and doctors, but that is clearly false. The DEA is, of course, quite comfortable with making false statements – they’ve been doing it for years.

Please sponsor legislation to make medical marijuana legal nationwide, with no prosecution of doctors, patients, or licensed dispensaries.

At the very least, make the DEA respect state laws regarding medical marijuana.

Our drug laws are obsolete, detrimental, expensive, and stupid. If the US would legalize, regulate, and tax drugs (cf. alcohol, tobacco), we would save much money on pointless prosecutions and imprisonment and make much money through the tax revenues. Is this so hard to understand?

Marijuana is a more benign drug than alcohol or tobacco. Is that so hard to understand?

I hope that Democrats in Congress will start to move on this issue. Let an individual state outlaw it if necessary, but in general I think the American public is ready to move on.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you even more for any action you might take.

Sincerely yours,

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Congress, Drug laws, Medical

Medical Marijuana in Monterey County

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I’m just back from getting my flu shot, and while I was there I asked my doctor if he had received any requests to approve medical marijuana. (Monterey County just began to issue medical marijuana ID cards; story below.)

He said that he had received a dozen or so requests, most of which obviously were of merit (e.g., a patient with a closed head injury). However, because of the possibility of the loss of his license (and thus his livelihood), he was not going to approve any requests.

Understandable, especially since the DEA has lately begun to target doctors and patients, while claiming that they are not. So it goes.

The news story from the local paper:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 3:50 pm

Destroying the wilderness

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From Wired:

At 4 o’clock every afternoon except Sunday, the blasting starts in the mountains around Judy Bonds’ home in Whitesville, West Virginia.

There as elsewhere in the Appalachian coal country that stretches through Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky, coal is produced by what’s self-descriptively known as mountaintop-removal mining.

Mining companies clear forests from mountaintops, dynamite the peaks, excavate buried coal, and dump the waste into nearby valleys. It’s cheaper and more efficient than old-fashioned mining, but the effects of mountaintop removal — or MTR — are devastating.

In just two decades, hundreds of mountaintops, more than a thousand miles of stream, and hundreds of square miles of forests have been obliterated by the practice. Opponents say the pollution is also dangerous to people who live in the region.

“There is no place on earth like this place, and it’s being destroyed,” says Bonds, the outreach coordinator for Coal River Mountain Watch, an anti-MTR activist group. “They call West Virginia ‘almost heaven,’ and it is, until the coal industry bombs your home.”

Activists have fought a losing legal battle against MTR. First they claimed the practice violated Clean Water Act rules against dumping waste in waterways. But in 2002, the Bush administration rewrote or “clarified” the rule, so that MTR debris wouldn’t be classified as waste.

MTR opponents then turned to the stream buffer-zone rule, a Reagan-era regulation for streamside mines. They say the rule forbids any mining within 100 feet of a stream, which would effectively end MTR. Mining companies, on the other hand, say the rule only requires that mining be done as cleanly as possible.

That’s the interpretation favored by a new rule issued August 24 by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining. The regulation is currently scheduled to take effect after a 60-day public-comment period ending October 23. As written, it will make life even harder for MTR opponents.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 3:43 pm

What Iraqis think of the surge

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“How long do you think US and other Coalition forces should remain in Iraq?”

Iraqis say leave

“Who do you blame most for the violence that is occurring in the country?”

Whom to blame

“The United States has increased the number of its forces in Baghdad and surrounding provinces in the past six months. Please tell me if you think this increase of forces has made it better, worse, or had no effect?”


The BBC has done a poll (PDF file) and it shows that the Iraqis don’t think much of the surge—or of the US presence at all, for that matter. Of course, the Administration isn’t listening to the US public (the great majority of whom think we should leave now), so scant chance they’ll listen to the Iraqis. Still, it’s something to think about: we’re occupying a country that does not want us there. Here’s the story:

About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military “surge” of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

The survey for the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared with 50% for Shia.

The findings come as the top US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, prepares to address Congress.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 3:38 pm

Easter eggs for Mistress Megs

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Megs, checking

Megs, checking for possible prey in the camera box.

I’ve mentioned how hunters, particularly those evolved for the activity (like cats), are perennial optimists. They can’t afford to get discouraged, since they must hunt constantly for food.

So Megs will check various spots for possible prey, and she checks pretty much daily. Never any prey there, but predatory optimism drives her to check anyway. One of the spots she checks is behind the bathroom wastebasket: crouching down, peering around behind—nope. Nothing today.

So I put one of her little mousies back there, and waited. Sure enough, the next morning she comes in, peers behind the wastebasket—and WOW!! A mouse! She immediately dragged it out and batted it around for quite a while, extremely happy.

So now empty boxes, empty bags, niches, and corners will be getting a mouse placed therein. It’s good to keep her amused.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 12:04 pm

Posted in Cats, Megs

General Petraeus’s record of statements

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An excellent summary.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 11:33 am

Posted in Iraq War, Military

Breathtaking: propaganda at a new level

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It’s generally recognized that the Fox network is a safe haven for conservatives, which is why many conservatives (Cheney for example) will appear only on Fox TV (and on Rush Limbaugh’s program on the radio).

But Fox, courtesy of Brit Hume acting in his capacity as a White House spokesman, has decided to provide outright propaganda, ignoring facts, contradictory data, and the common view of the American public.

Read this column and be amazed. It’s like a program out of the old Soviet Union, pushing the Central Committee’s propaganda.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 11:31 am

Great investment!

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I’m sending this guy $300 today to invest for me. He knows what he’s doing.

First, he buys an antique bottle of ale on eBay for $304. This was June 21 this year.

Then he posts it on eBay with the name spelled correctly, with more and better photos, and with a better description. Sold on August 12 for $503,300.

Very wise investment, I think. 52 days for 167,767% increase. Per year that would be… Well, a lot.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 11:23 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

Chocolate-covered potato chips marketing idea

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The Wife tells me that she has seen chocolate-covered potato chips for sale. I immediately thought of a couple of good marketing ideas for such a product. First, print on the package the current week’s TV schedule. Right? And then people would automatically buy a new pack the next week. Probably should be the large pack—about the size of a bushel basket.

Second, include a thin plastic remote protector in the package—use it for a week, then discard it and wrap the remote in the new protector the next week.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 11:17 am

Posted in Daily life

Shaving historical timeline

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Here is a timeline of the history of shaving. And no, I’ve never before heard of QuikShave, nor have I used it.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 10:42 am

Posted in Shaving

Back-to-school software: NoteSake

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Interesting Web 2.0 application: NoteSake, which allows for collaboration in note-taking (maybe your team member understand part of the lecture better than you did—or, more likely, eh?, the other way around).

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 10:17 am

Posted in Education, Software

Preparing for retirement

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Zen Habits has a good post on things you can do today to help prepare for your retirement. Assuming that at some point you want to retire, it’s worth reading.

I did add one thought: The balance shown in tax-deferred plans (such as the 401(k)) is highly deceptive. You do not have that much money to spend. Close to 30% is destined to go to pay taxes. (And you also have to pay taxes on your Social Security income.) The amounts from tax-deferred plans and Social Security are taxed as ordinary income. So when you look at that balance, consider that only 70% is yours.

So your after-tax savings becomes VERY important. You can probably save 10-15% of your after-tax income with no significant detriment to your lifestyle. Put that money in ING Direct until it’s enough to buy one of the balanced plans at Vanguard, for example. Keep adding to your after-tax savings the rest of your life.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 10:13 am

Posted in Daily life

Soft spots in your thinking

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Being human, we are prone to make certain errors in our thinking. Quite a bit of recent research has gone into discovering these standard errors, which particularly afflict the self-taught (who lack the benefit of an instructor who points out the common errors). This post talks about just some of the common errors, and it’s worth reading.

Also, I recommend Russo and Schoemaker’s book Decisions Traps, which was revised as Winning Decisions. Either is excellent. If you read both, the second provides a review and reminder of the points in the first, plus takes you a little further. The books are particularly useful if you ever make decisions.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 10:07 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Science

White beans and sausage in tomato sauce

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This looks very tasty, doesn’t it? Also easy.

Note, this recipe calls for preparing dried beans. You can substitute steps 1 and 2 in the recipe by using 4 15-ounce cans of beans, rinsed and drained. [But why would you want to do that? Much more expensive, and cooking dried beans is easy: soak overnight, bring to boil, simmer until done. What’s the prob? – LG]

1 lb dried cannellini beans
2 Tbsp olive oil
4-5 fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 black peppercorns

Beans with sausage
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3-4 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup tomato purée
Salt (about 2 teaspoons) and freshly ground black pepper

1 Sort through the beans, removing any stones. Rinse the beans under cold running water. Place beans in a large pot and cover by at least a couple of inches with cold water. Let soak for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

2 Drain the beans. Add 3 quarts of water back to the beans in the pot. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, the sage leaves, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and the peppercorns. Cover, bring to a simmer on medium heat, and simmer beans for one hour. Season to taste with salt. Lower the heat so that the beans are barely simmering. Cook for an additional 1-2 hours, until beans are just tender. Note that the fresher the beans the shorter the cooking time, the older the beans the longer. Remove from heat and let cool in cooking liquid. Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the rest from the beans.

3 Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Remove sausages from their casings (if the sausage has come in casings), and fry on the skillet until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Do not stir that much and do not crowd the pan, or the sausage won’t brown well. Add the reserved bean cooking liquid, 4 Tbsp olive oil, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

4 Add the reserved beans and tomato purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer a few minutes longer, stirring gently, until sausage is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Be careful not to break up the beans.

Serves 4-8.
Adapted from a recipe in Saveur Magazine.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 9:57 am

Drug laws lead to weird situations

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And weird judicial rulings. Take a look at this transcript of an interview, noting especially this part:

RU: So let’s talk about the recent wrinkle in your medical marijuana case. Why were you re-convicted, and why didn’t you present a defense?

ER: We would’ve liked to have presented a defense. When you’re on trial, you would like to do that. But the judge said he didn’t like our defense. For instance, we wanted to talk about the prosecutor’s RICO relationship with one of the witnesses. But we weren’t allowed to present any of our defenses. One by one, the judge said that we couldn’t present witnesses. For instance, we wanted to present Nate Miley, who had been a city councilperson in Oakland. He would’ve testified that what I was doing was in line with the city of Oakland’s regulations, and that I had been deputized as a city officer. I would’ve brought in Barbara Parker with the city attorney’s office, and she would’ve verified some of those things. And I would’ve brought end users. You know how prosecutors often bring victims in to court? Well, I would’ve wanted to bring in the “victims” of my actions. Those “victims” would’ve been the people who actually received either starter plants themselves, or the marijuana that was grown from the starter plants.

But the judge wouldn’t let me do that. He wouldn’t let me say to the jury that I was an officer of the city of Oakland. I couldn’t testify that I had been deputized to do this and that I had been assured that I was free from prosecution.

RU: You mentioned something about the prosecutor having a RICO relationship with one of the witnesses. What’s that about?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 9:36 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

The worst-designed cars

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Business Week has a little slideshow of the worst-designed cars

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 9:20 am

The pint lives!

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Britain’s officially adopted the metric system, but the pint and mile and Troy ounce still can be used. Note, of course, that the British pint and the US pint are not the same: the Imperial pint is 25% greater than the US pint (20 oz vs. 16 oz). And, of course, the US pint (wet measure) is not the same as the US pint (dry measure). But it’s a great system, eh?

Here’s the story:

The pint lives on: The European Commission has ditched its attempt to impose the metric system on Ireland and Britain, where a grocer was once convicted of selling bananas by the pound rather than by the kilo.

European Union rules drafted in 1999 aimed to phase out imperial measures such as miles and pints by 2009, but the EU’s executive body decided on a U-turn Tuesday in the face of public opposition.

The decision “honors the culture and traditions of Great Britain and Ireland, which are important to the European Commission,” said Guenter Verheugen, the EU’s industry policy commissioner.

Britain and Ireland, like almost all countries around the world, officially use the metric system, but imperial measures are often still used alongside metric counterparts.

Under the EU decision, they can maintain miles on road signs and pubs may continue to serve draft beer in pint mugs. Pint-sized milk bottles will also be retained, along with the Troy ounce for weighing precious metals.

Other goods must already be sold in metric quantities, although traders can also display imperial equivalents.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 9:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

Lilac morning

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Yesterday I got my bottle of Booster Lilac aftershave from Shaving Essentials, so today naturally was a Lilac day. I used Honeybee Spa’s Lilac shea-butter soap, and got a fine lather with the Rooney Style 1 Small Super. I should mention that the Booster Lilac aftershave smells like lilac. This you might expect, but then you’ve probably never used Pinaud’s Lilac Vegetal, which smells nothing like Lilac. I think that one probably smells like Vegetal, the variety whose color is lilac. That’s the only thing I can figure out.

I picked the Rooney to compare it to the Simpsons Commodore X3 that I used yesterday. The Rooney has a much longer loft (as along as the Style 3 Small Super that I have, though the Style 1 knot looks to be larger than the Style 3’s), so naturally it feels somewhat less scrubby. It’s a fine brush, and quickly I had a fine lather.

After linking to Gordon’s comment on the importance of sticking with the same razor and brand of blade for a while, I thought I’d give it a go. So for the next while, I’ll be using the English open-comb President along with the Treet Black Beauty blades. And do you know? I think it’s already starting to work. Got a great shave today, and the double-Lilac experience was extremely pleasant.

Written by Leisureguy

11 September 2007 at 8:49 am

Posted in Shaving

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