Later On

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

Archive for July 2nd, 2010

Duck carnitas

with 3 comments

This recipe sounds truly delicious: a celebration meal for when I hit goal. 🙂

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 6:22 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Time for a shot of H.L. Mencken

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From the Baltimore Evening Sun, 9 December 1929:

The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Daily life, Politics

Made the ginger-scallion sauce

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Finally. And he’s quite right about the volcano effect. The peanut oil I was using got up to around 500Âş F before I thought I saw a wisp of smoke—and I was eager to dump the oil on the salted scallions and ginger as soon as possible: I was getting nervous as the temperature continued to rise with no smoke.

Now it’s cooling and smelling very tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Maybe the GOP has simply gone crazy

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Perhaps it’s an election strategy, but GOP politicians are making increasingly unhinged statements. Take Arizona Governor Jan Brewer—please! Steve Benen:

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) continues to try to defend her anti-immigrant policies, and isn’t above using shameless demagoguery to scare people into agreeing with her.

In an interview on Fox News last week, for example, she claimed: "We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and to the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings …"

There’s no better way, it seems, to make the case for strict anti-immigration laws than to claim that undocumented immigrants are pouring into the country to decapitate innocent Americans. But just because she says it on television doesn’t make it true.

Brewer didn’t just slip up; she seems to seriously believe immigrants who’ve entered the U.S. illegally are engaged in "beheadings." Offered a chance to walk it back on a local public affairs show this week, Brewer insisted that there have been "bodies in the desert … that have been beheaded." When told that media research could find no such incidents, the governor didn’t care.

Eventually, a spokesperson for Brewer said that the Arizona governor may not have been referring to incidents in Arizona, but could have meant illegal immigrants beheading people in other states.

First, Brewer was clearly talking about Arizona. Second, there aren’t reports of beheading in other border states, either. Third, this is probably the most unpersuasive spin I’ve heard since the RNC spokesperson tried to explain Michael Steele rejecting the RNC’s line on Afghanistan.

There’s no great mystery here. For Republicans like Jan Brewer, the goal is to literally terrify the American public. In this case, that means connecting illegal immigration to images Americans have seen of terrorists beheading the innocent, and hoping people are confused enough to miss the distinction between a Mexican worker, hoping to provide for his/her family, and members of al Qaeda.

But trying to connect crime to immigration problems is a losing proposition.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

Shrimp salad for lunch and dinner

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I made the recipe, more or less—well, less, actually:

  • 1.5 cups quinoa cooked in chicken stock (I used what was on hand; I would have used seafood stock had I cooked it for this dish)
  • 8.4 oz shrimp, which I poached in stock and then chilled.
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 cup chopped basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 2 tsp high-quality olive oil
  • 2 tsp flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • Black pepper to taste

I mixed that up just now. Very tasty. The way I enter this in my food journal is:

protein: 8.4
starch: 3 (1/2 c. quinoa is 1 starch)
veggies: check (don’t have to list quantities)
oil: 2 flaxseed, 2 olive, and that’s my oil quota for the day

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

For those considering a leap into the world of shaving enjoyment

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Phil of Bullgoose Shaving (which does have the Irisch Moos shaving stick, I notice) points out this fine offer at the shaving forum DamnFineShave.com.

I would like to see DFS prosper and believe adding a few more productive members would be a benefit to the whole community. To that end, I will donate a DR Harris 3-piece razor to a new membership contest. Hopefully other vendors will contribute to the pot. Here are the guidelines.

1. Join DFS between June 19, 2010 and August 15, 2010

2. Reply to this thread stating that you would like to be entered in the contest.

3. Make at least 25 productive posts (no +1 posts) before 11:59 PM Pacific Time on August 15, 2010.

4. The winner will be selected by random number generator during the week of August 16th.

The DR Harris 3-piece razor is basically a re-branded Edwin Jagger Chatsworth razor with a MĂĽhle head.

With others kicking in, the grand prize now consists of a DR Harris 3-piece razor (Chatsworth), a Semogue Owners Club Brush, Personna Blades, a Gem G-Bar, SE Blades and more. I’ll add a copy of my book as soon as I can log on.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Beyond Conservatism

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I always thought that William F. Buckley, Jr., scored a coup with the title of his book Up From Liberalism. (Buckley, for the young, was a highly educated, highly racist Catholic conservative who would undoubtedly have some choice sesquipedalian words for the Tea Party, Boehner, Cantor, Mitch McConnell, and Sarah Palin.)

A new reader/commenter has an interesting post on his own political evolution. It begins:

I have a confession to make.

I used to be a conservative.

I am now a liberal.

This is my story.

To be honest, this article may not be of interest to anyone but me. It describes changes in my political views that have occurred over the course of 40 years or so. There may or may not be some insights in here – insights that might apply to politics in general. Regardless, I feel the need to write this – partly because I want to get some of it off my chest, but also because I increasingly find myself having to defend my peculiar political trajectory.

Birth of a Conservative

Conservatives are born, not made…..

I suspect I would have difficulty backing that statement up – but in my case it applies. I was a conservative in my younger days because I was born into a conservative family, lived in a conservative neighborhood, played with conservative children, and went to conservative schools. I would be unusual – perhaps even inexplicable – if I had started out any other way.

When I say I was born into a conservative family, I mean …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 11:07 am

Posted in Daily life, Politics

Diaspora*

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I contributed (via Kickstarter.com) to the development of Diaspora*, so I get regular reports on their progress. They’re doing well. What they are creating is an open-source, privacy-aware alternative to Facebook and the like. Since I don’t like Facebook at all (partly because of the privacy issues, but also because I can’t figure out the damned interface, which seems to have a mind of its own and change regularly), I’m eager for them to launch. And following the development is fun.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 10:51 am

GOP sensibilities are so delicate

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Steve Benen:

President Obama hosted a town-hall meeting in Wisconsin yesterday, and appeared to be in campaign mode. Apparently annoyed by 18 months of Republican nonsense, the president even chided the opposition party a bit.

"Before I was even inaugurated, there were leaders on the other side of the aisle who got together and they made the calculation that ‘if Obama fails, then we win,’" the president said. "That was the basic theory. They figured if we just keep on saying no to everything and nothing gets done, then somehow people will forget who got us into this mess in the first place and we’ll get more votes in November." He proceeded to highlight recent history, and the ways in which Republicans have managed to be wrong about practically everything.

"[W]e’ve tried the other side’s theories," he added. "We know what their ideas are. We know where they led us. So now we’ve got a choice. We can return to what we know did not work, or we build a stronger future. We can go backwards, or we can go forward. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward in this country."

Roll Call reports today that presidential remarks like these hurt Republicans’ feelings.

President Barack Obama has been pleading with Capitol Hill Republicans to work in a bipartisan way on key measures such as climate change legislation and immigration reform, but many of his most likely GOP allies say the president has lost all credibility since he bashes them every time he hits the campaign trail. […]

House Republicans whom the White House has previously looked to for bipartisan help say comments like these are the reason Obama’s vows to work together fall on deaf ears on the Hill.

"A day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear one thing and see another. The outstretched hand by the left with the clenched clock across the face by the right…. It just seems to be their method of doing things," Budget ranking member Paul Ryan said. […]

"This administration’s got a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach to governing. One day they want Republican support, the next they are out blasting us," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.

Take a moment to consider exactly what congressional Republicans are saying here. They can root for his failure; they can oppose every proposal; they can stoke the fires of hate and paranoia; they can engage in truly scandalous legislative obstruction on a scale unseen in American history; they can even lie uncontrollably throughout key policy debates.

But if Obama hits the campaign trail and has some unkind words for the party that’s desperate to destroy his presidency, then Republicans believe it’s his fault there isn’t more bipartisan cooperation.

This is painfully silly. The White House has made repeated good-faith efforts to work constructively with Republicans, and they’re not interested. It’s hard to blame Obama for calling the GOP out once in a while.

Because the GOP has unanimously and unilaterally opposed and tried to block every single initiative of Obama’s and every proposal from the Democrats (even when the Democrats have embraced a GOP idea), there’s no cost in hurting GOP feelings. The GOP is not going to cooperate in any case, so why not call them out on their obstructionism?

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 10:47 am

Movies

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I watched again Jet Li’s Fearless and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, the latter because Shane Black, the writer, talked about the movie on Tales from the Script and made me want to see it again. All three titles are fully enjoyable.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 10:33 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Agave syrup: not so good as I thought

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I was very nigh on agave syrup because it has a very low glycemic index. But, it turns out, there’s more to the story than that. I think I’ll discontinue the use of agave for now.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 10:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

2 lbs gone

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After a bit of stubborn resistance, 2 more lbs have departed my frame. The elimination of the evening snack probably helped significantly. That’s 9 lbs to date: still in single digits, but…

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 10:20 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

A history of the Catholic church’s cover-up

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Very interesting and lengthy article by Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger in today’s NY Times, laying out quite clearly and comprehensively the case against the current Pope and the modern-day Vatican for their efforts to ensure that priests could continue their program of rape. A bit from the article:

… The Vatican took action only after bishops from English-speaking nations became so concerned about resistance from top church officials that the Vatican convened a secret meeting to hear their complaints — an extraordinary example of prelates from across the globe collectively pressing their superiors for reform, and one that had not previously been revealed.

And the policy that resulted from that meeting, in contrast to the way it has been described by the Vatican, was not a sharp break with past practices. It was mainly a belated reaffirmation of longstanding church procedures that at least one bishop attending the meeting argued had been ignored for too long, according to church documents and interviews.

The office led by Cardinal Ratzinger, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had actually been given authority over sexual abuse cases nearly 80 years earlier, in 1922, documents show and canon lawyers confirm. But for the two decades he was in charge of that office, the future pope never asserted that authority, failing to act even as the cases undermined the church’s credibility in the United States, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere.

Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, an outspoken auxiliary bishop emeritus from Sydney, Australia, who attended the secret meeting in 2000, said that despite numerous warnings, top Vatican officials, including Benedict, took far longer to wake up to the abuse problems than many local bishops did.

“Why did the Vatican end up so far behind the bishops out on the front line, who with all their faults, did change — they did develop,” he said. “Why was the Vatican so many years behind?”

Cardinal Ratzinger, of course, had not yet become pope, a divinely ordained office not accustomed to direction from below. John Paul, his longtime superior, often dismissed allegations of pedophilia by priests as an attack on the church by its enemies. Supporters say that Cardinal Ratzinger would have preferred to take steps earlier to stanch the damage in certain cases.

But the future pope, it is now clear, was also part of a culture of nonresponsibility, denial, legalistic foot-dragging and outright obstruction. More than any top Vatican official other than John Paul, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who might have taken decisive action in the 1990s to prevent the scandal from metastasizing in country after country, growing to such proportions that it now threatens to consume his own papacy…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 9:11 am

Fighting fat

with 5 comments

Taking away the evening snack kicked the weight-loss back in gear. I think I just lost 2 lbs. (I go in for my weigh-in this morning.)

The more I’m following this path, the more I see my previous food encounters in terms that are typically used to talk about alcoholism: a kind of powerlessness to reverse my course, with strong denial and self-deception undermining my efforts in that direction. I simply blasted through the danger signs without acknowledging them, like a suicidal drunk driver plowing through a “bridge out” sign without slowing down. And the signs were clear: larger and larger clothes, getting type 2 diabetes, shirt size going to XL (if that isn’t an obvious warning…) and then XXL. And my efforts to lose the weight always failing, and fairly quickly.

That would seem to indicate clearly that (a) I was in serious trouble, and (b) I was unable to recover on my own (the proof is the many failed attempts). But still I would not recognize the actual problem and contented myself with living in a trance.

I don’t know what really changed my mind. I do recall when I went to the diet counselor and was told the price of the program, I realized that, though it was expensive, it was worth it if the program could actually help me. And it has.

I can see that, for me, the answer seems to be a life of food journaling and being conscious of my food choices. Some people don’t need this kind of help, but I seem to be one who does and I’m thankful I can afford it.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 9:07 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

Castle Forbes Lime and TOBS balm

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Castle Forbes Lime Oil shaving cream is exceptionally pleasant, though I use it under false pretenses. (It says on the label that it’s for skin that is easily cut or nicked—I don’t have that kind of skin.) A great lather using the Grosvenor boar-badger combo brush, and my 1940’s Gillette Aristocrat, one of the best razors made IMO, with a Swedish Gillette blade did a very fine three-pass shave. A rinse, and then TOBS Mr. Taylor’s Luxury Aftershave Balm, which is very liquidy despite being packaged in a tube: you pour a little into the palm of your hand. That also was extremely nice—maybe I’m getting over my dislike of balms.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2010 at 8:57 am

Posted in Shaving

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