Later On

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

Archive for December 25th, 2007

Ecuador interview

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Greg Palast has an extremely interesting story, which begins with an interview that takes a surprising turn.

I don’t know what the hell seized me. In the middle of an hour-long interview with the President of Ecuador, I asked him about his father.

I’m not Barbara Walters. It’s not the kind of question I ask.

He hesitated. Then said, “My father was unemployed.”

He paused. Then added, “He took a little drugs to the States… This is called in Spanish a mula [mule]. He passed four years in the states- in a jail.”

He continued. “I’d never talked about my father before.”

Apparently he hadn’t. His staff stood stone silent, eyes widened.

Correa’s dad took that frightening chance in the 1960s, a time when his family, like almost all families in Ecuador, was destitute. Ecuador was the original “banana republic” – and the price of bananas had hit the floor. A million desperate Ecuadorans, probably a tenth of the entire adult population, fled to the USA anyway they could.

“My mother told us he was working in the States.”

His father, released from prison, was deported back to Ecuador. Humiliated, poor, broken, his father, I learned later, committed suicide.

At the end of our formal interview, through a doorway surrounded by paintings of the pale plutocrats who once ruled this difficult land, he took me into his own Oval Office. I asked him about an odd-looking framed note he had on the wall. It was, he said, from his daughter and her grade school class at Christmas time. He translated for me.

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Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 10:33 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

Megs, working on one of her projects

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Megs working on project

Here’s Megs, hard at work on one of her projects around the house. This one is to creat a Megs-shaped depression at the top of one of the back cushions of the sofa. It’s going pretty well.

Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 10:06 am

Posted in Cats, Megs

Movie animation: increasingly complex

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Read this description of what goes into movie animation these days—and think what it’s going to be like ten years from now. With high-definition TV—and the likelihood if not inevitability of ultra-high-definition TV—the physical imperfections of actors will become so obvious as to be distracting. (Death knells have already been sounded for the careers of Cameron Diaz and Brad Pitt, for example, once high-definition is the norm.) So perhaps S1m0ne is simply an early documentary…

Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 9:59 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Courts smack down health insurers

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A little Christmas present from the courts: health insurers in California are no longer able simply to cancel policies that result in the insurers paying for medical claims:

 California health insurers have a duty to check the accuracy of applications for coverage before issuing policies — and should not wait until patients run up big medical bills, a state appeals court ruled Monday.

The court also said insurers could not cancel a medical policy unless they showed that the policyholder willfully misrepresented his health or that the company had investigated the application before it issued coverage.

The unanimous decision by a panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana is the latest blow to California insurance companies and the way they handle policy cancellations after patients get sick and amass major medical claims.

The insurers’ practices are under scrutiny by the state Legislature, the Department of Insurance, the Department of Managed Health Care and the courts. In recent months, state agencies have fined, cited and sued the state’s major health insurers for the way they have handled cancellations and treated policyholders.

The decision came in a closely watched case involving Steve Hailey, an Orange County small-business owner whose coverage was canceled by Blue Shield of California after he had a disabling car accident. The ruling in favor of Hailey sends the case back to the lower court for trial and requires Blue Shield to pay Hailey’s appellate costs.

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Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 9:25 am

Liking miso

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For some reason—well, probably this post—I got turned on to miso recently. I have packs of the four Eden organic miso types: genmai, hacho, mugi, and shiro. (More details are available on each type via a link on the page for that type.)

Right now I’m working through the shiro pack, and I have to say it has a wonderful flavor—not just in miso soup, but (for example) mixed in with yogurt. I can definitely see using it in salad dressings, sauce for stir-fry, sandwich spread (like mustard or mayo) and the like. And of course, I checked the library and found a book on miso, which I have placed on hold: The book of miso : savory, high-protein seasoning. It’s always fun to explore a new food. More info here.

Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 9:03 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

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TOBS double Sandalwood irresistible

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Couldn’t resist a reprise of the Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood shaving cream followed by the Sandalwood aftershave.

The brush was the Simpsons Chubby 1 Best, and the razor was the English open-comb Aristocrat. And the blade, of course, was a new Treet Blue Special.

I don’t even have to tell you how excellent the shave was.

Dianne Reeves Christmas album on the stereo, a fresh cup of coffee, life is good.

Written by Leisureguy

25 December 2007 at 8:45 am

Posted in Shaving

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