Later On

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

Archive for March 28th, 2008

Made the fish tapenade

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Very tasty. I used less butter, added a dash of Worcestershire and one of Tabasco. Wonderful

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

US-British differences

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A graph—and an interesting on, at that.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Daily life

Good story

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Good thing to happen:

Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you go,'” Diaz says.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 5:34 pm

Posted in Daily life

Wonderful pork recipe

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Check this one out. Lots of photos, and this interesting twist:

Now for the vital step that totally makes this dish. After the meat is shredded, and while the liquid is reducing and transforming, roast the meat in a 450 oven until it begins to crisp. I can hardly type due to the heart palpitations.

The recipe at the link above is a variation (using an rub and an overnight rest for the pork shoulder) of this recipe, which also includes the roasting step. Read ’em both and make your own variation.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 5:25 pm

More good red-wine news

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I am pleased to know this:

A new study shows an antioxidant found in red wine destroys cancer cells from the inside and enhances the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy cancer treatments.

Researchers say the antioxidant found in grape skins, known as resveratrol, appears to work by targeting the cancer cell’s energy source from within and crippling it. When combined with radiation, treatment with resveratrol prior to radiation also induced cell death, an important goal of cancer treatment.

The researchers note that although resveratrol might reduce pancreatic cancer’s resistance to chemotherapy, “the impact of red wine consumption on chemotherapy remains unclear.”

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Food, Medical

Singulair depressing?

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I use Singulair, a 24-hour anti-allergy pill. It works quite well, and I use them at about the rate of one a month, just when I get an allergy attack. But now some questions about regular (daily) use:

 March 27, 2008 — The FDA today announced that it is working with the drug company Merck to investigate a possible link between Merck’s asthma and allergy drug Singulair and behavior/mood changes, suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior), and suicide.

The FDA’s investigation may take nine months. As of now, there’s no proof that Singulair directly affects suicide risk.

Meanwhile, the FDA calls Singulair “effective” and advises patients with questions not to stop taking Singulair before talking to their doctor.

The FDA also asks health care professionals and caregivers to monitor patients taking Singulair for suicidality and changes in behavior and mood.

Singulair is used to treat asthma and the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, itching of the nose) and to prevent exercise-induced asthma. It’s in a class of drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 5:18 pm

Pentagon holding thousands of Americans

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Interesting point. Penny Coleman writes:

Sgt. Kristofer Shawn Goldsmith was one of the many soldiers and Marines, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who gave testimony at last weekend’s Winter Soldier investigation. They spoke from personal experience about what the American military is doing in those countries. They gave examples of what they had done, what they had been ordered to do, what they had witnessed, how their experiences had wounded them, both physically and psychically, and what kind of care and support they have, or most often have not gotten since coming home. The panel Goldsmith was on was called “The Breakdown of the U.S. Military,” so he surprised the audience when he said that he was going to talk about prisoners of war.

He was not, however, going to talk about the three soldiers listed as missing in action on the Department of Defense website. He was referring to those who have been the victims of stop-loss, the device by which the president can, “in the event of war,” choose to extend an enlistee’s contract “until six months after the war ends.” The “War on Terror” is this president’s excuse for invoking that clause. Because that war will, by definition, continue as long as we insist that there is a difference between the terror inflicted on our innocents and the terror inflicted on theirs, American soldiers are effectively signing away their freedom indefinitely when they join the military. They are prisoners of an ill-defined and undeclared war on a tactic — terrorism — that dates back to Biblical times and will be with us indefinitely.

According to U.S. News and World Report, there are at least 60,000 of them.

“I was a great soldier once upon a time,” Goldsmith says. He graduated at the top of his class in basic training and was on the commandant’s list in the Warrior Leadership Course with a 94.6 percent average. He aced every test, mental and physical, received commendations and medals and promotions, but by the end of his first deployment he knew he was in serious trouble. His CSM (command sergeant major) Altman, however, had told his battalion, “If any of you go try to say you’re depressed and thinking about killing yourself, you’re going to get deployed anyway, and when we get there, you’ll get to be my personal I.E.D. (improvised explosive device) kicker!” So he self-medicated; he drank. A lot. “All I wanted to do was black out.”

What kept him going was the end that was in sight. He just had to hang on till his contract was up, and then he could go home, go back to school, and finally be a 20-year-old kid. Then days before he was scheduled to get out, his unit was locked down, stop-lossed as part of the surge. He was looking at another 18-month deployment.

At first he thought he was having a heart attack. It turned out to be a panic attack. He was diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder, given a lot of pills and told he’d be fine. Or at least fine enough to go back.

The day before his unit was to deploy, Memorial Day 2007, he went out onto the memorial field at Ft. Stewart, where trees are planted for every soldier from 3rd Infantry Division killed in Iraq. He mixed pills and vodka, and tried to die.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 1:55 pm

Bush’s EPA (Environmental Polluting Agency)

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From TPMmuckraker:

Last April, the Supreme Court found in a landmark ruling that the EPA could no longer avoid regulating greenhouse gases. It had to make a decision. Even then, it was apparent to all observers what the EPA’s finding must be. The EPA’s scientists, wonks and lawyers went to work on it. And they found, not surprisingly, that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, which means they must be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Johnson himself reviewed that work, disputed part of it, but agreed with the overall thrust of the finding. The EPA then, having dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, sent the finding to the White House in December. And there things stopped.

So the finding is finished. It is sitting on the shelf at the White House. Also sitting on a shelf is the EPA’s 300-page draft of a rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. But such regulation can go nowhere until the endangerment finding is made official.

We reported earlier this month that Johnson was transparently stonewalling. His stated rationale then was that the energy bill which the president signed into law last December had complicated things, a transparently bogus argument, since the only law at issue is the Clean Air Act.

But as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) noted in a statement last night, the Heritage Foundation has been floating an alternative strategy for stonewalling: the EPA should call for public comment on the rule. Such a move would delay any endangerment finding for months. And, The Los Angeles Times reports, “during an economic downturn, seeking comprehensive public comment and a ‘go-slow’ approach would be far better,” the think tankers reasoned (presumably they’re all for environmental regulation during boom times). At the very least, the move would push the issue into the next administration, which is really all pro-business conservatives can hope for.

And yesterday, that’s exactly what Johnson did. As he proudly proclaimed in his letter (pdf) announcing the move:

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 1:51 pm

Something else from Jeremiah Wright

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From Huffington Post:

In March 2007, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor published a brief story about how Rev. Jeremiah Wright had been uninvited from delivering the invocation before Barack Obama’s official presidential announcement.

Wright responded by writing the following letter:

March 11, 2007

Jodi Kantor
The New York Times
9 West 43rd Street
New York,
New York 10036-3959

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in sixty-five years. You sat and shared with me for two hours. You told me you were doing a “Spiritual Biography” of Senator Barack Obama. For two hours, I shared with you how I thought he was the most principled individual in public service that I have ever met.

For two hours, I talked with you about how idealistic he was. For two hours I shared with you what a genuine human being he was. I told you how incredible he was as a man who was an African American in public service, and as a man who refused to announce his candidacy for President until Carol Moseley Braun indicated one way or the other whether or not she was going to run.

I told you what a dreamer he was. I told you how idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn’t I think it would be incredible to have somebody in the Oval Office who not only knew about Muslims, but had living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told you how important it would be to have a man who not only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how important it would be to have a man who knew what Sufism was; a man who understood that there were different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others because they believed something other than what he believed.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 1:28 pm

Citrus mesquite spareribs

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This sounds extremely tasty. (Much more on mesquite flour, plus other recipes, found here.)

Citrus mesquite spareribs
Total time: About 3 hours 15 minutes, plus marinating time
Servings: 6

Note: Mesquite flour can be found online at, and, as well as at select health-food stores.

1 rack spareribs
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons mesquite flour, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rings
Juice and grated zest of 2 oranges
Juice and grated zest of 2 limes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 habanero pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Peel the silverskin from the spareribs, then rinse, pat dry and place in a large, nonreactive baking dish. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons mesquite flour. Massage the rub into the ribs along with the olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

2. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the onions on the bottom of a large roasting pan and place the ribs on top of the onions.

3. In a food processor or blender, blend the juice, zest, oregano, habanero, ginger, brown sugar, dark rum, coconut milk, mustard and the remaining one-half tablespoon salt and one-fourth cup mesquite flour. Pour the marinade over the ribs, and cover the roasting pan with heavy foil.

4. Place the ribs in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender and curled away from the ends of the ribs (you should see about one-half inch of bone at the end of each rib). If finishing them on the grill, save the drippings for basting. The ribs can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to a day (warm them in the same pan, covered, for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees before finishing).

5. To finish the ribs in the oven: Remove the cover from the pan and cook the ribs an additional 20 to 30 minutes (at 250 degrees), so the ribs form a “crust” on top. Serve immediately.

6. To finish the ribs on the grill: Heat a grill over medium heat. Oil the grill, then grill the ribs for 10 to 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes and basting with the pan drippings, to caramelize the outer skin and get a good “crust.” Reduce the heat if the ribs start to burn. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 588 calories; 28 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 38 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 106 mg. cholesterol; 1,972 mg. sodium.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 11:56 am

Genetic underpinning of PTSD

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I missed this when it was first reported, but it’s interesting. Perhaps the military can do a genetic test as part of determining military assignments.

A gene that helps regulate the body’s response to stress can make certain people more apt to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than others exposed to similar trauma, researchers said on Tuesday.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can appear after a person experiences a terrifying event such as physical abuse, rape, military combat, war, torture, accidents and disasters.

The study involved 900 people, primarily low-income blacks, who sought general medical care at an Atlanta hospital. Many had experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse.

After genetic screening of these people, the researchers focused on a gene called FKBP5, which helps control hormones released in response to stress.

Among the people who had experienced the childhood abuse, those with certain variants of the gene were more likely to develop symptoms of PTSD after a trauma in adulthood. People with other variants were less likely to have such symptoms, even after a trauma in adulthood.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 11:43 am

Friday cat blogging: Megs action photos

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Megs yawns Megs falls asleep

This is action for Megs: she wakes up and yawns, then she falls asleep again. Exciting times.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Megs

The Museum of Online Museums

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A meta-museum for you online browsing. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 9:48 am

Posted in Art, Daily life, Education

A look at Guantánamo today

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From the LA Times:

Under gray skies all but obscured by an opaque canopy and high concrete walls topped with razor wire, two bearded young men in tan tunics are having “rec time” inside separate chain-link pens. One jogs frenziedly back and forth in the 30-foot enclosure; the other is curled like a fetus at the base of a cement block.

It’s a dreary winter afternoon, but the scene could be any time of the day or night. The hour for rec time is one of the few unpredictable features in a day in the life of a detainee.

Visitors to the Guantanamo Bay detention center get few, brief glimpses of the detainees. But in reporting trips over the last three years, details have emerged through tours of the camps, conversations with lawyers, chance encounters, and the military commission proceedings that offer outsiders their only sanctioned opportunity to see the prisoners.

Reveille is at 5 a.m., when guards collect the single bedsheet allotted to each detainee. That precaution has been in effect since June 2006, when three prisoners were found dead, hanging from nooses fashioned from their bedding.

Breakfast, like all meals, comes from the Seaside Galley. The Styrofoam containers are ferried to each of the camps three times a day, delivered to each prisoner in his cell by an unseen guard through the “bean hole,” a small, covered portal at waist level in a cell’s steel door. The bean holes are also opened during the five-times-daily Muslim prayer call, the only times prisoners can catch a glimpse of one another.

Detainee meal preparation has become part of the tour offered to visitors to Guantanamo. Visitors are told by civilian contractor Sam Scott that each prisoner gets more than 4,000 calories a day, with five meal choices to accommodate vegetarians, the overweight, the toothless and the sensitive of stomach.

Prisoners eat their meals in their cells. They seldom leave them. Each is equipped with a bunk, sink and toilet. Only the most compliant detainees can keep a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. Those being disciplined or segregated from others must ask for their hygiene items from guards, who monitor their use, then remove them. To prevent a toothbrush from being shaved into a shank, the detainees are issued stout plastic rings with bristles attached.

When they do leave their cells, prisoners are shackled and escorted — to and from showers, recreation pens, interrogation interviews, and a meeting or two each year with their lawyers. They leave their cells in the “hard facilities” of Camps 5, 6 and the new 7 for no other reason, unless they are found to need medical or dental treatment when corpsmen make periodic rounds.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 9:34 am

End of Guantánamo?

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Perhaps—though it’s already done its damage to the detainees, guards, and US reputation. Here’s the recommendation:

Five former U.S. secretaries of State on Thursday urged the next presidential administration to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and open a dialogue with Iran.

The former chiefs of American diplomacy, who served in Democratic and Republican administrations, reached a consensus on the two issues at a conference in Athens aimed at giving the next president some bipartisan foreign policy advice.

Each of them said closing the prison in Cuba would bolster America’s image abroad.

“It says to the world: ‘We are now going back to our traditional respective forms of dealing with people who potentially committed crimes,’ ” said Colin L. Powell, who served as President Bush’s first secretary of State.

Powell was joined by Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Warren Christopher and Madeleine K. Albright, who sat in a round-table discussion sponsored by the University of Georgia at a sold-out conference center in downtown Athens.

Kissinger called Guantanamo a “blot on us” and agreed it should be closed, but wondered aloud about the consequences of a closure.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 9:28 am

The story behind the story: NSA surveillance

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Fascinating excerpt from an upcoming book.

This article is adapted from Eric Lichtblau’s upcoming book, Bush’s Law: The Remaking of American Justice, to be published next Tuesday, April 1, by Pantheon. He and fellow New York Times reporter James Risen won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story of the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program.

Read the excerpt at the first link.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 8:50 am

The Visible Body

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Via Healthbolt, a highly instructive site The Visible Body. Here’s an intro:

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 8:47 am

Posted in Education

Make your own REAL butterscotch sauce

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A great recipe for a great topping.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 8:44 am

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Hollandaise balls

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Very cute:

When to sauce a dish?  That is always a question. We have continued to work with re-heatable hollandaise sauce.  Today we took another step.  We wanted to incorporate hollandaise sauce in a dish and we wanted to keep its integrity  and consistency intact until the diner actually began to eat the dish.  The solution was to encase a spoonful of warm sauce in a thin skin of pectin which is easily pierced by fork or spoon. Using our method the sauce stays warmer and may be released at the last moment.  The sauce may be dipped in, spread, moved about or even eaten in one luxurious bite according to the whims of the diner.

Hollandaise ball

Tonight we used our sauce on demand to complement shattered shrimp.  A few leaves of tarragon act to pique the sweet flavor of the shrimp and unify the sauce.  We are quite happy with the composition and with the control of the sauce which we have now handed over to the person enjoying the dish.

Ball burst

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 8:42 am

Posted in Food

Thursday’s steps: 4230

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A more reasonable rate of growth from Tuesday’s total (10% more than Tuesday). Wednesday was an exception, though for today I’ll definitely shoot for 5000 or more. No parking lot exercises, just a walk.

Written by Leisureguy

28 March 2008 at 7:55 am

Posted in Daily life, Health

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