Later On

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

Archive for December 3rd, 2008

A play in three acts about the US auto industry

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From John Cole’s Balloon Juice:

A Play in Three Acts

Dramatis Personae

BIG THREE, a manufacturer of automobiles
UAW, Big Three’s employee
MITT ROMNEY, an idiot


BIG THREE: I have plans to build automobiles, but I need labor to do so!
UAW: I will labor for you if you will pay me $40 per hour.
BIG THREE: I will not pay you $40 per hour.
UAW: But I need to save for my inevitible retirement, and any health concerns that may arise.
BIG THREE: I will pay you $30 per hour, plus a generous pension of guaranteed payments and health care upon your retirement.
UAW: Then I agree to work for you!


UAW: I am building cars for you, as I have promised to do!
BIG THREE: I am designing terrible cars that few people want to buy! Also, rather than save for UAW’s inevitible retirement when I will have to pay him the generous pension of guaranteed payments and health care that I promised, I am spending that money under the dubious assumption that my future revenues will be sufficient to meet those obligations.


UAW: I have fulfilled my end of the deal by building the automobiles that you have asked me to build.
BIG THREE: Oh no! I am undone! My automobiles are no longer competitive due to my years of poor planning and poor judgment!
MITT ROMNEY: This is all UAW’s fault!


Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 11:45 am

Posted in Business, Daily life

More on Mormons and Prop 8

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Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 11:02 am

Slow-cooker pulled pork

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This recipe looks quite good. I think I’ll make it, but I’ll use my Dutch oven in a 300º F oven (the “high” temperature on a slow cooker) or a 200º F oven (the “low” slow-cooker temperature).

Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 10:12 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Nepotism in government

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Political families and dynasties are (unfortunately) common in state and federal government now. Glenn Greenwald has an interesting column tracing some of the families.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 9:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

Bush and the environment

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It’s not clear to me why Bush (and the GOP in general) have such a grudge against the environment. I suppose it’s part of their overall philosophy that big business should be allowed to do whatever it wants because nothing bad will ever happen—the Free-Market Fairy will keep everything right. Only, of course, the Free-Market Fairy, like the Tooth Fairy, is just a story. The latest attack:

The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys.

The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush’s last weeks in office.

James L. Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, confirmed in an interview that the rule had been approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget. That clears the way for publication in the Federal Register, the last stage in the rule-making process.

Stephen L. Johnson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, concurred in the rule, first proposed nearly five years ago by the Interior Department, which regulates coal mining.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, dated Tuesday, Mr. Johnson said the rule had been revised to protect fish, wildlife and streams.

Mining activities must comply with water quality standards established by the federal government and the states, Mr. Johnson said.

But a coalition of environmental groups said the rule would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”

Edward C. Hopkins, a policy analyst at the Sierra Club, said: “The E.P.A.’s own scientists have concluded that dumping mining waste into streams devastates downstream water quality. By signing off on this rule, the agency has abdicated its responsibility.”

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Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 8:51 am

When Harry Met Sally

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A friend of mine—let’s call him David—also likes movies and likes to talk about movies. He has lots of interesting insights, of which this is one: When he saw Groundhog Day, he hated it. His wife liked it, though, and I liked it, and a great number of people liked it. But David hated it. He noted his anomalous reaction and started seriously thinking about the movie and why he didn’t like it.

It became obvious that the problem was that the movie was about issues that he was trying to avoid: Bill Murray plays a guy who’s finding his life unsatisfactory because he’s stuck in a rut—in the movie, literally stuck doing the same day over and over. And he can’t escape until he himself changes. David at that time had an unsatisfying job that was draining him, and he was still trying to avoid facing the changes that would be required—so naturally he didn’t like a movie that faced him with things he was trying to ignore.

I first saw When Harry Met Sally years ago, and this is only my second viewing. I really didn’t like it much at all, yet last night I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was a wonderful movie. I haven’t quite located the difference between the viewings yet, but I strongly suspect that at the time of the first viewing, I was having relationship problems, and the movie is all about relationships and their problems (and joys). I was not at all attracted to a movie about an aspect of my life I didn’t want to look at. Or so I figure now.

Anyway, it’s a fine movie. And if you ever have a VERY strong reaction to a movie, it’s interesting to try to figure out why.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 8:44 am

Posted in Daily life, Movies & TV

Mark Bittman profile

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If you like Mark Bittman’s cookbooks—as who does not?—you will be interested in this profile of Mr. Bittman by Jesse Wegman. It begins:

Mark Bittman, the New York Times food columnist and best-selling cookbook author, was ambling unnoticed through the tight aisles of the Fairway at 74th Street and Broadway on a mild Friday evening earlier this month, shopping for dinner. He nosed briefly around the fish counter before settling on a two-pound slab of monkfish. He had some Savoy cabbage at home, but he wasn’t sure what else. This seemed to fortify rather than trouble him. “If you can go get whatever you want,” he said, “there’s no challenge left at all.”

It was a quick cab ride 25 blocks north to his kitchen, which, as Times health blogger Tara Parker-Pope noted recently, is exceptionally small: 7 feet by 8 feet, Mr. Bittman claimed, but this seemed generous.

Lanky and loose-framed in blue jeans and a sweatshirt (he has lost 30 pounds over the past couple of years), he rooted through his refrigerator and tossed, among other things, a Ziploc bag full of roasted vegetables on the counter. He had cooked them that morning with Meredith Vieira on The Today Show, where he is a regular guest.

“I have chestnuts!” Mr. Bittman said from halfway inside the fridge. “That’s interesting.”

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Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 8:21 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Embedding stories in your computer

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Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times has an interesting post:

Installing the Tumbarumba extension in Firefox will hide stories in your browser; they’ll remain tucked away for an undisclosed amount of time, slowly surfacing on the Web pages you’re browsing. The emergence is subtle and gradual, and you’ll need to interact with the story text to get it to open up and expand. How can you tell the story text from the text of the website you’re on? Tumbarumba’s developers say it’ll show up “as textual absurdity.” And one of the 12 stories has the word “mermaid” in its title, which will probably look kind of absurd in the middle of your bank statement.

Checking out the story titles is easy enough on the Tumbarumba site, but it’s kind of cheating. The idea is to secret the stories away and let their appearance be a surprise, a gift.

Our intention is for the reader to not only have the pleasure of finding and reading the stories, but also the momentary disorientation of stumbling upon a nonsensical sentence. …

But if you want to kick Tumbaruma’s tires, you might want to know whose stories are included; the author list is after the jump.

The project is a collaboration between author Benjamin Rosenbaum and installation artist Ethan Ham. They created Tumbaruma for the website of New Radio and Performing Arts, based in Boston. I found out about it because of blogger Gwenda Bond’s enthusiasm.

If you’ve tried it, tell us about it in the comments.

— Carolyn Kellogg

The authors of Tumbarumba.

  • Haddayr Copley-Woods
  • Greg van Eekhout
  • Stephen Gaskell
  • James Patrick Kelly
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj
  • David Moles
  • John Phillip Olsen
  • Tim Pratt
  • Kiini Ibura Salaam
  • David J. Schwartz
  • Heather Shaw
  • Jeff Spock

All bios and credits are available on the Tumbarumba site.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 8:11 am

Posted in Art, Books, Technology

Creed’s Green Irish Tweed

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Creed’s Green Irish Tweed shaving soap made a very fine lather with the Simpsons Harvard 3 Best badger brush. The Futur with a Gillette blade quickly took out the stubble with a quiet clicking sound from the blade, and Lustray Spice finished the morning ritual with a fine fragrance.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 December 2008 at 7:27 am

Posted in Shaving

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