Later On

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

Archive for January 6th, 2011

Nice dinner

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I took a center-cut boneless pork chop that was exactly 8 oz, and cut it in half. Half I then cut up as a sort of stir-fry at lunch, and used the other half to make my dinner (recipe below serves one):

Dust chop with a little 5-spice powder.

Roast the chop in 300 º F oven for 30 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Slice thinly for slaw (I actually used my Swismar V-Slicer to cut small julienne):

1/4 head Savoy cabbage
1 carrot
1/4 sweet onion

Slice pork into small slabs. Add that to salad along with 1/4 c lemon quinoa and then toss with this dressing (which I got from TYD, along with the idea for the whole dish):

a little sesame oil [I used 2 tsp – LG]
ground red pepper (I keep a mixture of flakes and small dried peppers in a glass grinder)
brown rice vinegar
low-salt soy sauce

As you see, this has the basic meal skeleton: 4 oz protein, 1 starch serving, and vegetables. The 2 tsp oil are within daily limit of the reducing diet.

Great stuff.

UPDATE: The last-minute additions I did:

1/2 Brae Burn apple, julienned
juice of 1 small Meyer lemon

Additions I thought of as I was eating it:

currants or raisins
pine nuts
lemon zest
Bac’Uns (I now buy these in bulk from Amazon)
capers

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 4:03 pm

The US government feels quite free to treat citizens like this

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This is completely amazing. Our government is quickly becoming totalitarian. Read the whole account. From it:

. . . Approximately two weeks ago (on December 20), Mohamed went to the airport in Kuwait to have his visa renewed, as he had done every three months without incident for the last year.  This time, however, he was told by the visa officer that his name had been marked in the computer, and after waiting five hours, he was taken into a room and interrogated by officials who refused to identify themselves.  They then handcuffed and blindfolded him and drove him to some other locale.  That was the start of a two-week-long, still ongoing nightmare during which he was imprisoned for a week in an unknown location by unknown captors, relentlessly interrogated, and severely beaten and threatened with even worse forms of torture.

Mohamed’s story was first reported this morning by Mark Mazzetti in The New York Times, who spoke with Mohamed by telephone, where he is currently being held in a deportation center in Kuwait.  I also spoke with Mohamed this morning, and my 50-minute conversation with him was recorded and can be heard on the recorder below.  Mazzetti did a good job of describing Mohamed’s version of events.  He writes that during his 90-minute conversation, "Mr. Mohamed was agitated as he recounted his captivity, tripping over his words and breaking into tears."

That was very much my experience as well.  It may be difficult at times to understand all of what Mohamed recounts because he is emotionally distraught in the extreme, but it’s nonetheless very worth listening to what he has to say, at the very least to portions of it.  Mohamed says he was repeatedly beaten with a stick on the bottom of his feet and his palms, hit in the face, and hung from the ceiling.  He also says his captors threatened him with both the arrest of his mother and electric shock, and told him that he should forget his family.

He still does not know why he was detained and beaten, nor does he know what is happening to him now.  Indeed, although Mazzetti writes that he was detained and beaten by Kuwait captors, Mohamed actually has no idea who was responsible, and told me that at least some of the people interrogating him spoke English.  He has been told that he will be deported back to the U.S., but is now on a no-fly list and has no idea when he will be released.  American officials told Mazzetti that "Mr. Mohamed is on a no-fly list and, for now at least, cannot return to the United States."  He’s been charged with no crime and presented with no evidence of any wrongdoing, , .

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 1:12 pm

Nice touch in the movie "Harry Brown"

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I watched Harry Brown; or, The Pensioner’s Revenge, with Michael Caine and Emily Mortimer, last night. Quite a good movie. That’s not the actual subtitle, but it seemed fitting: Michael Caine is the pensioner.

At one scene we see him in the cemetery. He has brought flowers, and we have just witnessed the death of his elderly wife. Harry kneels down with a bunch of flowers, putting one by a small granite headstone that includes a sculpture of a teddy bear—obviously, his child’s grave. The rest he puts by a grave at whose head is a simple wooden cross, painted white, with a photograph at the intersection of the arms and upright, stapled in place and protected by plastic: his wife’s grave.

No comment is made, but the two markers poignantly mark how Harry has fallen on hard times compared to his earlier life. Very well done.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 11:06 am

Posted in Movies & TV

28′ and moving up

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28′ this morning on the Nordic Track, and I must say that listening to a novel makes one look forward to the exercise, especially once one is in good enough shape that the exercise itself is not so daunting. I do work up a sweat, but I no longer feel that I have to stop or keel over.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 10:59 am

Posted in Fitness

The collapse now underway

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I mentioned the documentary Collapse, available currently on Netflix Watch Instantly. Michael Ruppert discusses the perfect storm into which the world is heading, climate change and Peak Oil being the critical factors. We are doing nothing about climate change, and yet when the climate changes, massive crop failures result, which leads to food shortages and famine, with war close behind.

Notice this story in today’s NY Times, titled "U.N. Data Notes Sharp Rise in World Food Prices":

World food prices continued to rise sharply in December, bringing them close to the crisis levels that provoked shortages and riots in poor countries three years ago, according to newly released United Nations data.

Prices are expected to remain high this year, prompting concern that the world may be approaching another crisis, although economists cautioned that many factors, like adequate stockpiles of key grains, could prevent a serious problem.

The United Nations data measures commodity prices on the world export market. Those are generally far removed from supermarket prices in wealthy countries like the United States. In this country, food price inflation has been relatively tame, and prices are forecast to rise only 2 to 3 percent this year.

But the situation is often different in poor countries that rely more heavily on imports. The food price index of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization rose 32 percent from June to December, according to the report published Wednesday. In December, the index was slightly higher than it was in June 2008, its previous peak. The index is not adjusted for inflation, however, making an exact comparison over time difficult.

The global index was pushed up last year by rising prices for cooking oils, grains, sugar and meat, all of which could continue to remain high or rise.

“We are at a very high level,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist for the organization, which is based in Rome. “These levels in the previous episode led to problems and riots across the world.”

Mr. Abbassian said that bad weather affecting commodity crops in many exporting countries might help keep prices high over the next several months.

“The concern is that the long duration of the high prices for the months to come may eventually result in these high prices reaching the domestic markets of these poorer countries,” he said. “In the event of that, there is the chance of the repeat of the events of 2007 and 2008.”

At that time, high petroleum prices, growing world demand for food and poor harvests in some areas combined to sharply push up food prices in poorer importing countries. That led to shortages and sometimes deadly riots in several countries, including Egypt, Haiti, Somalia and Cameroon.

Mr. Abbassian said there were several crucial differences this year…

Continue reading. And, of course, last year Russia suspended its train exports due to crop failures.

I see it as overwhelmingly likely that our governments and other institutions will do nothing effective to halt (much less reverse) climate change and it seems obvious that Peak Oil has arrived, and I would guess that the collapse referred to in the documentary could well occur within a decade: "slowly at first, and then all of a sudden."

So how should one act in the face of the end of civilization and possible extinction of the human race? I’ve been thinking about this, and it seems obvious that unremitting despair is ineffective and unhealthy—physically, mentally, and spiritually. And the situation is not that different from the familiar destiny we face in our own mortality: we ourselves are individually going to be extinct sooner (the elderly) or later (most children). What we have learned is to make the best of the time we have: treat each other well, enjoy the pleasures that come our way, enjoy learning about the universe in which we live and the things we have created, and face death with equanimity, having done our best and even (hopefully) some good.

So I’ll continue to work on fitness, try to learn Spanish, read more history, and treat people well. In time, we all will die. That is not news, and we know how best to act.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 10:56 am

The Wee Scot

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The Wee Scot is by no means a toy: it’s a fully functional—and effective—shaving brush, and a good size for travel and camping. I got three good passes of lather from the fully loaded Wee Scot—and the third pass was by no means sparse: I had enough for another pass easily.

The iKon open-comb was its usual comfortable self and carried its usual Swedish Gillette blade, and a splash of Mr. Taylor’s aftershave set me up nicely.

Written by Leisureguy

6 January 2011 at 10:50 am

Posted in Shaving

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