Later On

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

Archive for January 10th, 2011

Chili twice

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This was excellent, so I’m having it twice for two reasons, appropriately enough. Regarding the chop: apparently the standard size for a boneless pork chop is now 8 oz—half a pound. That’s two servings, and I cut such chops in half. So in addition to the other “half” ingredients, I used 1/2 center-cut boneless pork chop.

4 oz center-cut boneless pork chop, trimmed of fat and cut into small, chili-appropriate chunks
1/4 large onion, chopped relatively small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped relatively small
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1/2 can Ro-Tel tomatoes of some sort
1/3 c canned beans (rinse if appropriate)
2 tsp spicy olive oil
1 tsp chili powder (vary to taste)
dash liquid smoke

Heat oil in sauté pan or saucepan. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to turn golden and caramelize.

Add chili powder, stir and sauté briefly, then add the pork, garlic, pepper, and jalapeño and stir.

Sauté that for several minutes, turning occasionally. You want some browning to occur.

Add the tomatoes, beans, and liquid smoke, stir, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

That’s one serving—i.e., that’s dinner.

Sometimes canned beans are in a sauce you want to keep, sometimes they’re in a cooking liquid that you want to drain and rinse away.

UPDATE: For the second half, all as above, except:

When you begin to cook the onions, add also 6 kumquats, each sliced crosswise into several slices. Cook with the onion until both onion and kumquats begin to caramelize.

After it had simmered 10 minutes, I added 2 Tbsp ketchup, stirred it in, and continued to simmer on slightly higher heat with the lid ajar.

This is best one yet.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 7:03 pm

Food for thought

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Where is this country going in terms of authoritarian government unchecked by law?

From the update to the above column:

(1) The Los Angeles Times has a surprisingly strong editorial today condemning what it calls the "indefensible" conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention;

(2) McClatchy‘s Nancy Youssef has a very good article examining why American journalists — in contrast to journalists from around the world — refuse to defend WikiLeaks from government attacks;

(3) Forbes notes that in the wake of speculation that the DOJ’s pursuit of Twitter data may include the names of those who follow WikiLeaks on Twitter (I personally don’t think it does include that), WikiLeaks quickly lost 3,000 followers on Twitter, presumably people now too afraid to continue to follow them; and 

(4) The Miami Herald‘s Carol Rosenberg notes the latest glorious milestone of our National Security State:  "Guantanamo prison camps enter their 10th year tomorrow."

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 2:57 pm


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I mentioned that my Pilates trainer has a new device: CoreAlign. I got some work on it today, and I think it will help restore correct posture.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 2:49 pm

iKon razor review

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Here’s a thorough review of the long-handle straight-bar iKon from a guy who apparently doesn’t use double-edged blades regularly.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 2:47 pm

Posted in Shaving

Vaccine-autism link exposed as a deliberate fraud

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An article at

Parents of children with autism need science — good science.

Unfortunately, this baffling disorder has for years been thrown into further confusion by a “study” linking the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine with autism spectrum disorder.
That now thoroughly discredited study was published in The Lancet in 1998 by British researcher Dr. Andrew Wakefield and 12 co-authors — most of whom have since withdrawn their names from the work. The respected medical journal itself published a partial retraction in 2004, and fully retracted the study last February.

If parents take away no other message from this awful tale, they need to hear this loud and clear: There is absolutely no credible link between the MMR vaccine and an increased risk of autism.

What’s new in the case is that the 1998 paper has been exposed as not merely sloppy science, but an outright fraud. While the findings have been strongly questioned for years — because other labs were unable to reproduce the results, methodologies were improper and serious conflict-of-interest concerns arose — the death knell to this research dead end was sounded loudly Wednesday when the British Medical Journal published a report by investigative journalist Brian Deer. The report demonstrated that Dr. Wakefield falsified the medical histories of all 12 patients in the study, and that he was hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers and to create a vaccination scare.

He did set off that scare. Countless well-meaning parents, especially in Britain and the U.S., chose not to vaccinate their children, believing they were sparing them from the risk of developing autism. Instead, they were exposing them to the risk of contracting one of the serious diseases against which they should have been vaccinated. Further, a generalized, and dangerous, distrust of all vaccines began to form among the public.

Dr. Wakefield, who now lives in the U.S., is denying wrongdoing, and continues to suggest “Big Pharma” is just trying to protect itself.

Don’t believe it. The preponderance of hard evidence says otherwise.

It is incredibly galling when a breach such as this occurs in science, a rigorous pursuit for which facts are fundamental and reason is embraced. Progress in science brings not only the delight of new knowledge, but the hope of some measure of help to mankind. Dr. Wakefield’s fraud was the opposite of all this. It was an atrocious betrayal of his profession, it wasted research time and money that could have been much better spent, and it helped create a public health setback with harmful repercussions for countless people.

This drawn-out episode is a case study in the clash of emotion with the slow progress of steady, careful science. Parents desperately want to protect their children; and parents of children diagnosed with autism or a related disorder understandably seize on any indication of a possible explanation. A vaccine-autism link idea was plausible as a hypothesis, but it was soundly vetted and rejected by proper science — yet it became a monster myth nevertheless.

The truth is that scientists still don’t know what causes autism spectrum disorder. We must place our trust, our patience, and our funding with researchers who are gradually teasing out the real answers to this urgent question, using real science.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 10:25 am

Posted in Daily life, Medical, Science

Diana Krall

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I saw her perform with her trio in Santa Cruz a few years back. Fantastic.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 10:21 am

Posted in Jazz, Video

Mindfulness therapy no fad

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Interesting article by Chris Woolston in the LA Times:

Of all fields of medicine, psychology seems especially prone to fads. Freudian dream analysis, recovered memory therapy, eye movement desensitization for trauma — lots of once-hot psychological theories and treatments eventually fizzled.

Now along comes mindfulness therapy, a meditation-based treatment with foundations in Buddhism and yoga that’s taking off in private practices and university psychology departments across the country.

"Mindfulness has become a buzzword, especially with younger therapists," said Stefan Hofmann, a professor of psychology at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

Mindfulness therapy encourages patients to focus on their breathing and their body, to notice but not judge their thoughts and to generally live in the moment. It may sound a bit squishy and New Agey to some, but Hofmann and other experts say mindfulness has something that discredited theories of the past never had: solid evidence that it can help.

"I was skeptical at first." Hofmann said. "I wondered, ‘Why on Earth should this work?’ But it seems to work quite well."

Hofmann and colleagues burnished the scientific credentials of mindfulness therapy with a review article in the April issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. After combining results of 39 previous studies involving 1,140 patients, the researchers concluded that mindfulness therapy was effective for relieving anxiety and improving mood.

The treatment seemed to help ease the mental stress of people recovering from cancer and other serious illnesses, but it had the strongest benefits for people diagnosed with mood disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder and recurring depression.

Jordan Elliott, a 26-year-old marketer for a New York publishing company, said mindfulness training had helped pushed his once-disabling anxiety — about work, the weather, the meaning of life — into the background. "The anxiety is still there, but it’s not as bad as it was," he said.

Elliott started getting one-on-one therapy four years ago at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York. It was hard at first, partly because he was skeptical of the technique and partly because he didn’t feel particularly mindful. "I was such a nervous wreck I could hardly sit still for three minutes," he said.

Now he starts every day with a 10-minute meditation. He sits cross-legged in his apartment, TV and music off, and thinks about his breathing. . .

Continue reading. I’m convinced by the demonstration in my last Pilates session that (a) breathing correctly and deeply is therapeutic, and (b) I did not know how to breathe properly and I bet many people share my ignorance. Our modern lifestyle (and furniture) undercuts the correct exercise of many natural functions, including breathing (and sleep and eating and…).

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 10:09 am

New theme

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The Search function stopped working in the theme that I was using, so I’ve moved to a new theme.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 8:57 am

Posted in WordPress

Another fine shave

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This morning shave shows some ignorance. For example, I’m not sure about that tiny Omega brush: is it all badger? or a badger/boar combination? I think the latter, but I’m not sure. (I have another tiny Omega brush, which I’ll use tomorrow to compare.) At any rate, I got very nice lather from the soap—and I don’t recall which soap now inhabits this bowl. Previously, it was The Soap Opera’s Himalaya shaving soap, but I think I switched it out, and I don’t recall for what. Still: good lather. Then three passes with the gold-plated iKon and its Swedish Gillette blade, followed by a good splash of Alt Innsbruck.

UPDATE: Using the Search function I have now regained with the new theme, I see that the soap is Gentlemen’s Best Chilled — see this post.

Written by Leisureguy

10 January 2011 at 8:56 am

Posted in Shaving

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