Later On

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

Archive for November 1st, 2009

Food notes

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I tried the habanero oil on my chicken today: brushed chicken pieces with habanero oil, sprinkled with salt & pepper, and roasted them. Very tasty.

The Wife tossed some winter vegetables with the oregano oil I made and roasted those. She said the oregano oil was great.

Finally, I sautéed some chopped onion in a fair amount of a mix of habanero oil, olive oil, and butter. I let it sauté over medium heat until the onions were a deep golden, then added a roasted Idaho russet potato that I cut into chunks, along with salt and pepper. I stirred that, then set the clock for five minutes and went in the other room to let it sauté (so I wouldn’t be tempted to stir). Then back when the bell went off, turned the potato chunks, and let them cook undisturbed for another four minutes. I let that cool a while, then ate. It was wonderful. The fresh habanero oil is a slight bit hotter than the habanero oil I just used up, but still just a noticeable warmth in the mouth. What’s much better with the fresher batch is the duration: my mouth stayed nicely warm for 15 minutes after finishing the potato.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 9:02 pm

Kitties who hunt

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What’s the evolutionary advantage of the butt wiggle just before the run-and-pounce?

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Cats

Resurrecting mezcal

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Fascinating article in the LA Times Magazine by Wyatt Peabody:

You find yourself tearing down a seemingly endless dirt road in Ron Cooper’s Jeep—a rooster tail of dust marking a path as your body jolts in the backseat. The radio signal renders faint traces of a Mexican narco-ballad on the blown-out speakers, punctuating his diatribes on purity.

At this point, you’re living out a scene from Apocalypse Now. Then the stark landscape pulls you back: a labyrinth of trails among steep mountains adorned in a sea of maguey plants—the raw material behind mezcal, one of the most complex and misunderstood distillates on Earth. Your destination is a Zapotec village nestled along the Rio Hormiga Colorada, 8,000 feet up in the Oaxacan Sierra, where village elder and master mezcal distiller Paciano Cruz Nolasco awaits.

Hunched over the wheel is Cooper, the architect of mezcal’s resurrection, who has single-handedly revitalized the misunderstood Mexican spirit. His eyes gauge your awareness in the rearview mirror, and with a 500-foot drop a hair to your right, you realize you’re in the hands of a crusader and that his sense of danger is different from yours. They might someday write corridos about Cooper, chronicling his odyssey battling corrupt government regulators, multinational thugs and cutthroat rivals. But mostly they would speak of his drive.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Drinks

Molly on her table

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Molly-on-her-table

Carrying a camera in my pocket (a Casio Exilim EX-S880) is working out quite nicely. Here’s Molly this morning sitting on her table. It functions as her living-room perch.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Cats, Molly

15 free guides that really teach you useful stuff

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Take look at this post, which includes links for:

1 – Internet Guide for the Movie Addict
2 – Internet Guidebook for An Audiophile
3 – The Incredible Free Manual for Every Mac User
4 – The Underground Guide to the iPhone
5 – Twitter: Best Practices & Tips
6 – The Ultimate Guide to your Windows Mobile Phone
7 – A Computer Geek’s Smart Productivity Guide
8 – Building a Media Center for your Home
9 – The Only Easy Guide To Computer Networks
10 – The Big Book of BitTorrent
11 – A Newbie’s Getting Started Guide to Linux
12 – The Idiot’s Guide To Photoshop
13 – The Big Book of iTunes
14 – The Idiot’s Guide to Building Your Own PC
15 – Laptop Buying Guide for 2009
(BONUS) PSP Up- and Downgrading Guide

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 12:42 pm

Average color of the universe

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cosmiclatte_jhu

That’s the color the universe—same color as a cheap apartment.

Read this post for an explanation.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 10:26 am

Posted in Daily life, Science

NaNoWriMo starts today

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NaNoWriMo

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 10:21 am

Posted in Daily life, Writing

Goldman Sachs bet opposite its advice

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Very bad show. Greg Gordon of McClatchy has the story, and there’s a video at the link:

In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.

Goldman’s sales and its clandestine wagers, completed at the brink of the housing market meltdown, enabled the nation’s premier investment bank to pass most of its potential losses to others before a flood of mortgage defaults staggered the U.S. and global economies.

Only later did investors discover that what Goldman had promoted as triple-A rated investments were closer to junk.

Now, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are facing large losses, and a five-month McClatchy investigation has found that Goldman’s failure to disclose that it made secret, exotic bets on an imminent housing crash may have violated securities laws.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission should be very interested in any financial company that secretly decides a financial product is a loser and then goes out and actively markets that product or very similar products to unsuspecting customers without disclosing its true opinion," said Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor who’s proposed a massive overhaul of the nation’s banks. "This is fraud and should be prosecuted."

John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor who served on an advisory committee to the New York Stock Exchange, said that investment banks have wide latitude to manage their assets, and so the legality of Goldman’s maneuvers depends on what its executives knew at the time.

"It would look much more damaging," Coffee said, "if it appeared that the firm was dumping these investments because it saw them as toxic waste and virtually worthless." …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 9:36 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Law

More on the value of homemade cat food

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Just in passing in this WaPo story:

Cats are especially susceptible to diet-related ailments. They are "pure carnivores who don’t drink much water," Murray said. So dry food, which is typically carbohydrate-heavy, can lead to urinary-tract problems and kidney failure.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 9:30 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Food

Good batch of habanero oil

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Habanero-oil

Got a pint and then some. (The bottles are 1 cup each.) And, of course, I use in cooking the crushed habaneros left over from making the infusion. It’s trivially easy to make: chop up a bunch of habaneros (I actually used scissors to cut them up), cover with good quality olive oil, bring to a boil, take off the heat, crush with a potato masher, let cool, and then strain and bottle.

The oil is terrific when used to sauté veggies and in a stir-fry, for example.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 9:14 am

Fall back

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I, of course, use only clocks and watches that set themselves nightly by the radio signal from the NIST atomic clock—only for some reason last night none of the clocks and watches picked up the signal, so they’re all an hour off. So it goes.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 8:14 am

Posted in Daily life

Pet deductions?

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Interesting post by Margaret Gates on her blog at the Feline Nutrition Education Society:

At the end of July a bill (H.R. 3501) was introduced in the House by Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) that would make the costs of pet care tax deductible. The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years (HAPPY) Act, amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax deduction, up to $3,500 per year, for pet care expenses, including veterinary care. It has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Citing that 63% of US households own a pet and that the “human-animal bond has been shown to have positive effects upon people’s emotional and physical well-being," the bill would allow amounts paid in connection with providing care for a qualified pet (other than acquisition costs) to be deductible. A qualified pet is defined as a legally owned, domesticated, live animal. Exceptions would exclude animals used in conjunction with a trade or business, or animals used for research. If passed, this would take effect for the 2010 tax year…

Continue reading.

The question is, of course, whether encouraging pet ownership is in the national interest. I can’t quite see that it is. Certainly I would support government help for pets in nursing homes and residential care—the health benefits of interactions with pets is well established, and I think the government support in that area could be desirable. But for the individual family, it is considerably less urgent than other priorities that are clearly in the national interest: cutting back on military spending, ensuring that every US resident gets good healthcare and a good education, building up the nation’s infrastructure (including true broadband), and the like.

Written by Leisureguy

1 November 2009 at 8:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

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