Later On

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

Archive for September 15th, 2007

Leisureguy Cooks

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Someone just suggested that I write a cookbook. Hmmm. Wonder whether that’s a good idea. I do like to cook—but there are an awful lot of cookbooks out there. And I do like to vary recipes and to cook by approximation, so the book would be oriented to help people learn to vary recipes and cook by approximation. Dunno. Any thoughts?

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 1:22 pm

Aftermath of the Great War

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A chilling look back:

One hazy morning in 1917 the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School For Girls stood up in front of the assembled sixth form and announced to her hushed audience: “I have come to tell you a terrible fact.

“Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a statistical fact.

“Nearly all the men who might have married you have been killed. You will have to make your way in the world as best you can.

“The war has made more openings for women than there were before. But there will still be a lot of prejudice. You will have to fight. You will have to struggle.”

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Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 11:09 am

Posted in Books, Daily life

Answering before asked

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One of my peculiarities is that I hate to be asked a question that I know will be asked. I do all in my power to forestall such questions. So, for example, as I approach the USPS service window to mail a package, I immediately say, “Nothing perishable, liquid, fragile, or potentially hazardous. No insurance or proof of delivery,” and then state whether I want it sent First Class or Priority Mail (to forestall the question, “When do you want it to get there?”). I say the last even when the package is clearly stamped “First Class” or “Priority,” because the question will come anyway if I don’t prevent it.

Okay, so you’ve been sitting outside the café, drinking your coffee, when a guy knocks a woman over, grabs her purse, and runs away. A copper shows up and comes over to you as a witness. Because you’ve read this post, you are able to run through a little alphabetic checklist and provide a description without having to wait for the (otherwise inevitable) questions.

The checklist:

  • A – approximate age
  • B – build (estimated height, stocky, thin, beefy, muscular, fat, etc.)
  • C – clothing (shoes, pants, shirt, jacket or coat, scarf, hat, gloves)
  • D – distinguishing marks (tattoos, acne, scar, mole, birthmark, sunburn, freckles)
  • E – ethnicity. (Also, eye color if you saw it)
  • F – face (shape, mustache or beard (and color), type of nose, heavy/light eyebrows)
  • G – gait (does he have a limp? (which leg?) long strides, etc.)
  • G – gender
  • G – glasses
  • H – hair (color, cut, length)
  • I – items (was he carrying anything? cane, book, briefcase, package, etc.)

Memorize that, and practice as you ride the subway or the bus or sit in front of the café: look at a stranger, look away, and run through the checklist to see how many you get. Try using the method to describe to your partner someone you saw during the day. Practice daily and it soon will become second nature. Like the International Spelling Alphabet * : another good thing to know that you can quickly learn with a little practice. And teach this to your kids, too: both how to describe a person and the International Spelling Alphabet.

In fact, if I were teaching fifth grade again, I’d get the kids all to learn this—first learn the alphabetic list of things to describe, and when they knew that cold and could recite it backwards and forward, then call on volunteers: have the volunteer walk back and forth once at the front of the class, then wait in the hall while the class wrote down their descriptions. The volunteer will then return for the students to check and correct their descriptions.

The list comes from a good mystery I’m currently reading: Visibility, by Boris Starling.

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Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 10:19 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Education

Essential kitchen tools

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Good post over at Accidental Hedonist on essential kitchen tools. I agree on some, disagree on others. A few points:

Wüsthof knives are noticeably better than Henckels—the Wüsthof knives keep an edge significantly longer. I do find, though, that I more and more am using my Dexter-Russell Chinese knife.

The Kitchenaid food processor is (in my experience) much easier to use and to clean than the Cuisinart.

A large sauté pan—I have an All-Clad Copper Core 4-quart—is useful for all sorts of things, many of which you would normally think of cooking in a pot (for example, chili). Instead of sautéing and transferring, I just continue cooking in the sauté pan. (BTW, I was able to buy it on eBay for a lot less than the price shown at the link.)

It took me a long time to realize how useful it would be, but I finally got a good carving board with a deep groove around the edges to catch the run-off juices. It makes carving a lot easier and is kind to my knives.

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 9:25 am

Megs in Saturday sun

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Megs discovers string Megs pulls string Megs plays with string

Megs this morning. It’s Saturday, one of the days when she takes it easy. Lying in the morning sun, she discovers the string to her current favorite mouse (attached by the string to a little stick). The string, she finds, is just as good a toy as the mouse.

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 8:41 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

D.R. Harris

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There’s something special about the lather from D.R. Harris soaps. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the lather has a recognizable character: denser than other lathers, finer, … better, dare I say it. This applies to lather from the bowl soap or the shave stick. (I haven’t used the D.R. Harris shaving cream for a while, so I can’t recall whether it shares the magical qualities of the soap lather.)

This morning I used D.R. Harris Arlington soap in the bowl, from which the Rooney Style 1 Size 1 Super quickly generated yet another superb Harris lather. On it went, and the English open-comb Executive with a new Treet Blue Special blade whisked it away, effortlessly and smoothly. (Each individual Treet blade is double-wrapped, and the wrappers are glued at just two points: the outer wrapper to itself, to keep it closed, and the inner wrapper to the outer wrapper, so that as you pull the outer wrapper away, it brings along the inner wrapper. Very nice.)

I don’t have D.R. Harris Arlington aftershave, so I used the Marlborough. Who will know? And then a few sprays of Floris No. 89. Ready for day.

Because the Rooney Style 1 Size 1 has a good loft, it’s not really in the category of scrubby, stubby brushes, so I’ve replaced it in that rotation with the Simpsons Chubby 2 Best.

Written by Leisureguy

15 September 2007 at 8:17 am

Posted in Shaving

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