Later On

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

Archive for November 20th, 2008

More vanishing foods: capon

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I’ve commented on how some foods that I love gradually are kept away from people: stores won’t carry them because not enough people eat them. Examples: sweetbreads (hard to find but sometimes available), veal heart, veal shanks (in some areas—e.g., Phoenix), mountain oysters, cow’s foot, calf foot. I imagine kidney will soon be hard to find. And this year I find that I can’t buy a capon, of all things. You wouldn’t think this would vanish, but yes: Whole Foods says it can’t get them, Nob Hill can’t get them, … And I wanted so much to try this recipe.

I’m really saddened to see capon vanish as a holiday bird.

After sitting down with the phone book and calling around, I’ve made two discoveries: Grove Market in Pacific Grove (the quonset hut market) no longer has capon, but does provide fresh (not frozen) high-quality roasting chickens. The Safeway in Carmel (Crossroads Shopping Center) does have capon, but only frozen. The problem with frozen fowl is that the skin never cooks right. (Those who have compared fresh roasted turkey to frozen and then thawed roasted turkey know what I’m talking about.)

So what do you think: get the frozen capon? or go with the fresh roasting chicken?

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Food

Krugman on auto companies bailout

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Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 11:58 am

Homemade beer

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I used to make my own beer—this was back around 1964-65, when it was illegal. I got the yeast, hop extract, and some equipment by ordering from Canada, and some books from the UK. All before the Internet, so harder to find info. At any rate, the beer was excellent and easy to make, and since making beer at home has been legalized, more people are doing it and better information, equipment, and supplies are readily available. I was reminded of this when I received an unsolicited catalog from Lots and lots of beer toys, and very tempting.

I drink very little alcohol these days (type 2 diabetic), but if I still did imbibe, I would definitely be looking at home brewing: back in the day, you get brew much better beer than you could buy, though with today’s microbreweries, some excellent beers (and lagers, pilsners, ales, porters, and stouts) are readily available. Still, it’s cheaper to make your own: the initial investment is not all that great, and the payback is quick. And with the economy, it’s good to save where you can.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 11:47 am

Posted in Daily life

Good appointments

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Obama’s appointments are, I believe, very good. They clearly reflect his intention to do big things and to work closely with Congress. Take his appointment of Tom Daschle to Secretary of Health and Human Services. Howard Dean (an MD) was one possibility: strong executive experience, knowledge of the health industry, BUT: little experience working with Congress, and not a particularly amicable relationship with the DC establishment. Daschle, OTOH, was the Democratic Senate leader and has an excellent network and relationships with Congress—and thus is in a position to accomplish more. And see what Jonathan Cohn (author of Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis—and the People Who Pay the Price) has to say:

Daschle at HHS = Good News for Health Reform

So much health care news, so little time to blog. But let me weigh in on the news, via, CNN, that Tom Daschle will be Secretary of Health and Human Services. He will also serve as the White House point person on health care reform.

This is a perfect role for Daschle. Although he was always been interested in health care, in the last few years he’s become a true wonk on the subject, publishing a book called Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. It urges precisely the sorts of reforms President-Elect Obama and his congressional allies are promoting right now.

Daschle is particularly interested in creating a “federal health board”–an independent govenrment-chartered body, structured like the Federal Reserve, that would both help set up the new system and then play a role in running it. One of its major goals would be to set basic coverage guidelines, to weed out payments for wasteful or unnecessary care. It’s a complicated and politically dangerous notoin, but one that’s necessary if we ever want to improve health care quality and get costs on control. (For more on the concept, and how to avoid its political pitfalls, see Ezra Klein’s interview with Daschle from a few months ago.)

Daschle has also thought long and hard about the failures of the 1994 reform effort–and how to avoid them. He was actually the first person I heard mention the possibility of using the budget reconciliation process this time around. (Under reconciliation rules, it takes only 50 votes to pass something, since there are no filibusters.) He did it during an appearance at the Chicago Tribune/Printer’s Row Book Fair, back in June, during a session I moderated.

Like Senator Max Baucus, who has also raised this possibility, Daschle was careful to say that reconciliation should be a fallback option–something to use only if bipartisan progress became impossible because Republicans were reprising their role from 1994 and refusing to compromise. But he also noted that it was an option Democrats had to keep on the table, in order to make cooperation more likely.

Dasche has, to my knowledge, always had open-minded views about how quickly to push health care reform. When I’ve spoken to him in the past, he’s suggested it would depend on the political environment. But given Barack Obama’s substantial victory and the numbers in the Senate (58 Democrats and counting) I imagine that Daschle, like incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, will be inclined to “throw long and deep.”

Update: There’s a video of that Chicago book fair session here. It’s the entire afternoon, via C-Span; the Daschle session is the last one and begins at around the 6:00:00 mark.In addition to speaking about reconciliation, Daschle also discusses his ideas about a Federal Health Board.

Update 2: Karen Tumulty at Time has a nice write-up on Daschle, covering–among other things–an early conversation he had with Obama.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 9:44 am

Obama has his job cut out for him

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Thanks to Jack in Amsterdam for the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 9:32 am

Posted in Daily life

It’s a long road that has no turning

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And for Bush, the road has turned.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 9:25 am

Folding stool for small apartments

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Cool Tools has a nice tool today: a small stool, 9″ high, that folds to less than 2″ flat so you can tuck it between refrigerator and wall. And it’s inexpensive.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 9:11 am

Posted in Daily life

Another NaNoWriMo interview

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Keep on writing, guys: only 10 days remaining. Here’s the interview.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 8:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Writing

Tagged with

Handy Lorem

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This probably looks familiar:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

This is the text used in mockups in lieu of real text. As anyone who has ever developed mockups (print or computer screen) knows, as soon as you show the mock-up to potential users (or managers), they immediately start picking apart irrelevant details. If you use regular English, they’ll look at the entries for inconsistent information instead of looking at the layout. So the use of the pseudo-Latin text helps keep their attention on what they should be looking at.

I copied the above from the handy site Lorem2, where Andrew Boardman has provided short paragraphs, long paragraphs, list items, and long list items that you can copy into your layout. Via Download Squad.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 8:49 am

Posted in Daily life

“DIY” overuse

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DIY (do it yourself) is lately being affixed to recipes, for the love of God! Recipes are, may I point out, the epitome of do it yourself—that’s why it’s called a recipe: instructions for you to follow to make the dish. This morning my ire was raised by seeing this recipe for hot sauce—or “D.I.Y. Hot Sauce,” as the thing is titled. Later today I’m going to make a DIY roast chicken, and right now I’m drinking DIY coffee.

Sorry to be a curmudgeon. I must need more DIY coffee.

BTW, note the comments at the link, which offer much good advice.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 8:28 am

Posted in Daily life

Military “honor” includes coverups

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The military, as is increasingly apparent, lies immediately to coverup any wrongdoing and, as in this case, even accidental and unintentional harm it does. Lie, lie, lie: what the military loves to do. Whatever the military concept of “honor” is, it certainly doesn’t include truth as a value. The current lie concerns two friendly fire deaths. At the link is a 12-minute video made with a helmet camera that recorded the incident. The article begins:

Last month, Salon published a story reporting that U.S. Army Pfc. Albert Nelson and Pfc. Roger Suarez were killed by U.S. tank fire in Ramadi, Iraq, in late 2006, in an incident partially captured on video, but that an Army investigation instead blamed their deaths on enemy action. Now Salon has learned that documents relating to the two men were shredded hours after the story was published. Three soldiers at Fort Carson, Colo. — including two who were present in Ramadi during the friendly fire incident, one of them just feet from where Nelson and Suarez died — were ordered to shred two boxes full of documents about Nelson and Suarez. One of the soldiers preserved some of the documents as proof that the shredding occurred and provided them to Salon. All three soldiers, with the assistance of a U.S. senator’s office, have since been relocated for their safety.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Oct. 14 was a long and eventful day at Fort Carson. The post had been in an uproar. The night before, Salon had published my article airing claims that two of the base’s soldiers, Pfc. Albert Nelson and Pfc. Roger Suarez-Gonzalez, had been killed by friendly fire in Iraq on Dec. 4, 2006, but that the Army covered up the cause of death, attributing it to enemy action.

Based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and on video and audio recorded by a helmet-mounted camera that captured much of the action that day, my report stated that Nelson and Suarez seemed to have been killed by an American tank shell. The shell apparently struck their position on the roof of a two-story ferro-concrete building in Ramadi, Anbar province, Iraq, killing Suarez instantly, mortally wounding Nelson, and injuring several other soldiers. I included both an edited and a full-length version of the video in the article. The video shows soldiers just after the blast claiming to have watched the tank fire on them. Then a sergeant attempts to report over a radio that a U.S. tank killed his men. He seems to be promptly overruled by a superior officer who is not at the scene. An official Army investigation then found that the simultaneous impact of two enemy mortars killed the men.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 7:47 am

More on urban chickens

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The urban chicken post has been collecting comments, including one by the author of the blog Urban Chickens, which draws my attention to a Newsweek article that begins:

For Brooklyn real-estate agent Maria Mackin, the obsession started five years ago, on a trip to Pennsylvania Amish country. She, her husband and three children—now 17, 13 and 11—sat down for brunch at a local bed-and-breakfast, and suddenly the chef realized she’d run out of eggs. “She said, ‘Oh goodness! I’ll have to go out to the garden and get some more’,” Mackin recalls. “She cooked them up and they were delicious.” Mackin and her husband, Declan Walsh, looked at each other, and it didn’t take long for the idea to register: Could we have chickens too? They finished their brunch and convinced the bed-and-breakfast owner, a Mennonite celery farmer, to sell them four chickens. They packed them in a little nest in the back of their Plymouth Voyager minivan and headed back to Brooklyn.

The family has been raising chickens ever since, in the backyard of their brick townhouse in an urban waterfront neighborhood called Red Hook. Every Easter, Mackin orders a new round of chicks, now from a catalog that ships the newborns in a ventilated box while they are still feeding from their yolks. When they are grown, she offers up their eggs—and occasionally extra chickens, when she decides she’s got too many—to friends and neighbors, and sells a portion to a local bistro, which touts the neighborhood poultry on its Web site. She gives the chicken manure—a high-quality fertilizer—to a local community garden in exchange for hay, which she uses to pad the chickens’ wire-fenced coop. Occasionally, she kills and cooks up a chicken for dinner—though, she says, her chickens are egg layers and aren’t particularly tasty. “We joke and call ourselves the Red Hook Poultry Association,” says the former social worker, who at one time housed 27 chicks inside her kitchen—for six weeks. “Sometimes people are like, ‘This is really kind of weird’.”

As it turns out, Mackin is hardly an anomaly, in New York or any other urban center. …

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 7:08 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

A new soap and the Futur

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An excellent shave this morning. The soap is Vintage Blades’ own brand: a triple-milled soap made in the UK. On sniffing the fragrance, I was immediately reminded of Truefitt & Hill shaving soap. In any event, the soap made a top-notch lather with the Sabini silvertip shown. (I should also mention that the wooden bowl is absolutely the best quality I’ve seen in a soap bowl.) The Futur with the blade it held delivered a great shave, and I went with Paul Sebastian aftershave again. Based on my use, the soap is a great bargain. Those who know traditiional shavers might want to keep this one in mind for a holiday gift.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 November 2008 at 6:59 am

Posted in Shaving

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