Later On

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

Archive for December 8th, 2012

Good opening paragraph to good interview/column on Mitt Romney

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Gene Weingarten has a terrific opening paragraph in his column in the Washington Post:

Some months before the presidential election, my funny feminist friend Gina Barreca wanted to discuss how and why Mitt Romney was going to lose because he creeps out single women. I lectured her about the perils of prognostication in a fickle political landscape, and told her I’d be happy to talk to her after the election, but only in the unlikely eventuality that Romney clearly lost entirely because he creeped out single women. Hi, Gina. . .

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Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

Extremely bad idea: Allowing Murdoch to buy more newspapers

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In particular, allowing him to buy the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune. He is a festering sore in the body of journalism and the FCC should step in. They won’t. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship report:

Until now, this hasn’t been the best year for media mogul Rupert Murdoch. For one, none of the Republicans who’d been on the payroll of his Fox News Channel — not Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin — became this year’s GOP nominee for president.
Oh sure, when Mitt Romney got the nod instead, Murdoch’s TV and newspaper empire backed him big time, but on Election Night, Fox pundits like Dick Morris and Karl Rove — the top GOP strategist and fundraiser — had to eat crow as Barack Obama won a second term in the White House, despite their predictions of a Republican landslide. (When the network called Ohio and the election for Obama, a desperate Rove tried to keep Fox statisticians from doing their job until the facts couldn’t be ignored or denied. New York magazine reports that Fox News programming chief Bill Shine now “has sent out orders mandating that producers must get permission before booking Rove or Morris.”)

On top of all that, just this week, Murdoch’s News Corp announced the shutdown of The Daily, its multimillion dollar attempt at a national iPad newspaper. And last week in London, the thousand-page report of an independent inquiry into the gross misconduct of the British press came out — that big scandal over reporters illegally hacking into people’s cell phones and committing other assorted forms of corruption, including bribery. Murdoch’s gossip sheet, The News of the World, was right at the center of it, the worst offender. The fallout cost Murdoch the biggest business deal of his career — the multi-billion buyout of satellite TV giant BSkyB — and the report attacked his now-defunct News of the World for its “failure of management” and “general lack of respect for individual privacy and dignity.”

But Murdoch’s luck may be changing. Despite Fox News’ moonlighting as the propaganda ministry of the Republican Party, President Obama’s team may be making it possible for Sir Rupert to increase his power, perversely rewarding the man who did his best to make sure Barack Obama didn’t have a second term. The Federal Communications Commission could be preparing him one big Christmas present, the kind of gift that keeps on giving — unless we all get together and do something about it.

All indications are that Murdoch has his eye on two of the last remaining big newspapers in America — the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, each owned by the now bankrupt Tribune Company. He could add one or both to his impressive portfolio, but even though the media mogul is splitting News Corp into two separately traded companies — one for its print entities, the other for TV and film — he would still come under current rules restricting media companies from owning newspapers and TV and radio stations in the same town. However, the FCC may be planning to suspend those rules, paving the way for Murdoch’s takeover of either of the two papers. . .

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Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 3:52 pm

Dr. Oz’s inconsistency

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I don’t know Dr. Oz from Adam’s off ox, but I do know that he cannot be trusted. Consider these two quotations:

“So you’re being told organic food is no more nutritious than conventional and it’s not worth your extra money. Well I’m here to say that it is worth the investment. Why do I say that? Pesticides.” — Dr. Oz, Oct. 19, 2012

“The rise of foodie culture over the past decade has venerated all things small-batch, local-farm and organic – all with premium price tags. But let’s be clear: you don’t need to eat like the 1% to eat healthily.” — Dr. Oz, less than two months later

This is not a guy you can trust. Full story here.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 3:16 pm

Boredom and attention

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This article on boredom immediately made me think of Joanna Field’s marvelous book A Life of One’s Own (secondhand copies for $1 at the link). Specifically, I was reminded of the several techniques she discovered to reconnect herself to her surroundings (the countryside on a walk, the music at a concert, and other situations) when she felt disconnected—merely an on-looker, with no emotional connection and thus tending to boredom. Her methods, described in her book, were brought to mind byMaria Konnikova’s article in the Boston Globe:

YOU’RE DRIVING TO WORK one morning when you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam. You’re sitting in math class, listening to your teacher explain the afternoon’s lesson. You’re labeling envelopes to send out party invitations, letter after letter after letter. What do these seemingly unrelated experiences share? They have the potential to be unbelievably boring.

Boredom is more than just one of life’s minor irritations. It has been implicated in drug use and alcoholism, problematic gambling and compulsive behavior—and has even been tied to potentially lethal errors in job execution. Bored nuclear military personnel perform less reliably than colleagues engaged in their work; bored airline pilots become more likely to rely heavily, and dangerously, on automated processes.

Philosophers and scientists alike have found ways to describe boredom as an experience, from the ochlos of ancient Greeks to the unresolved conflicts of modern psychodynamic theory. But when it comes to what actually triggers boredom, an answer has remained elusive. Boredom can occur in a perplexingly broad range of situations and seems to involve both our external environment and our inner resources.

Now, after an exhaustive survey of every study they could locate that mentioned boredom—over 100 are referenced in the final ­paper—a group of psychologists from York University in Canada has proposed an answer, essentially a new unified theory of boredom. In a new review paper published this fall in Perspectives on Psychological Science, cognitive psychologist John Eastwood and his team suggest all boredom may result from essentially the same thing: a conflict of attention, or attention misfocused in a way that disrupts our engagement. Sometimes the problem is that there is too much competing for our attention, sometimes too little. In all cases, they argue, boredom has as much to do with our inner response to our circumstances as to the circumstances themselves.

If they are right, and boredom is closely connected to the well-studied field of attention, then it may pave the way to seeing boredom as something that we can manipulate deliberately—and perhaps even alleviate. “Boredom is a neglected topic in psychology,” noted Timothy Wilson, a leading social psychologist at the University of Virginia who is undertaking boredom studies of his own. He calls the new review a “good, solid paper,” adding, “There is a lot of research on attention and mind wandering, but [until now], no attempt to bring it together under the topic of boredom per se.”

The team at York has now begun experimental work to test the precise connection between boredom and attention. What they’re learning . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 2:22 pm

Food in the 200ºF oven…

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Making Boston baked beans again. Changes from last time:

a. I put a smoked ham shank in the covered Staub pot overnight in a 200ºF oven. This morning I let it cool and with my hands separated meat from bones, shredded the meat, discarded the bones. “Shred” is an exaggeration: “pulled apart into little chunks.” Lesson learned: next time I’ll put an inch of water in the pot so the skin doesn’t toughen. I think it will soften as it cooks with the beans, but I’ll try the overnight with a little water anyway. The water will go into the beans, of course.

b. I remembered the mustard this time.

c. I used more onion (2 large Spanish onions) and I stirred the onion (and the ham shank meat) into the beans rather than a layer.

d. I used only 1/4 lb bacon, and only made a top layer.

e. I was going to add 1-2 Tbsp gochujang sauce but forgot. Next time.

So that got put on early. Then I made braised turkey thigh again. Changes:

a. Less salt: salt only on the top of the thigh. Used pepper on both sides and on vegetables.

b. Skipped the carrot: onion, mushrooms, celery, black olives, and (Roma) tomatoes.

c. Less red wine than last time.

d. Once again diced chorizo sausage instead of prosciutto.

So that’s in the oven with the beans. Tonight, we’ll have them for dinner.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

Feather and iKon

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SOTD 8 Dec 2012

A few comparisons today. First, a reader asked whether the Plisson HMW 12 and the G.B. Kent BK4 were similar. Yesterday I used the Plisson, today the BK4. It is not close enough together to compare exactly, but they do indeed seem quite similar in feel, capacity, performance, and quality. Both are absolutely top-notch brushes.

I got an excellent lather from Mama Bear’s Spellbound Woods, which has a very nice fragrance. And I tried the two razors, the new iKon satin finish razor and the Feather with a similar finish, both holding Kai blades.

The head design of the two razors, on inspection, is quite different. The guard of the Feather seems to extend more and is of a different shape, and the baseplate has a more noticeable drop. Both razors performed well, but the Feather was indeed more comfortable than this iKon. (The comfort of the aysmmetric iKons is greater, quite in keeping with the Feather comfort.) Certainly neither razor is to be sneezed at, and I ended with a smooth shave on both sides of my face.

A splash of Klar Seifen Klassik, and I am ready for the weekend.

Written by Leisureguy

8 December 2012 at 11:01 am

Posted in Shaving

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