Later On

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

Archive for December 24th, 2012

Xmas dinner: Roasted rack of lamb

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I don’t have my Cook’s Illustrated collection which had the recipe I always use for rack of lamb (and if The Eldest could email that to me, I would be grateful), so I went to Google and found this recipe at Simply Recipes. The rack is now marinating as described. As I recall, Cook’s Illustrated had me brown the fat side in a hot cast-iron skillet, then turn the meat bone-side down—actually, their recipe is for two racks, so they leaned them against each other, fat side out—and roast at something like 425ºF or higher (475ºF?) for 14 minutes or so. But I have a good meat thermometer, so I can make it come out right at whatever temperature.

I do think letting the rack rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours before roasting is cutting it close. I’m going with 3 hours.

Veg will be sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts, starch will be black rice. Wine will be drunk.

UPDATE: Just got a call from The Eldest with the missing recipe:

Roast rack of lamb from Cook’s Illustrated

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Heat a large cast-iron skillet, and brown the ribs: first, the side with the meat and fat, for 4 minutes; then turn it onto the meaty bottom and brown it for 2 minutes longer.

Turn the rack ribs-side down, and put the skillet into the oven and roast until a meat thermometer reads 135ºF, which will take 12-15 minutes (for me, it seems to run about 14 minutes).

Take skillet out, cover rack loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest 10-15 minutes so you don’t lose all the juice the instant you cut it into chops.

Pretty simple and fail-proof. I just couldn’t remember the few data points: the temperature and the times.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 December 2012 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes

The demise of jazz

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I recognize much truth in this article in Salon. While I didn’t live through the golden years of jazz—that would be someone born in 1930 or a little earlier—I was close enough that those years were readily accessible through recordings, and the advent of the LP record brought loads of them to market—in high school, I belonged to at least two jazz record clubs, who every month offered 2-4 LP records of great jazz (at modest prices). But now that cultural meme is fading and soon will be but a relic, performed like other great music from the past, rather than as a living tradition.

I also lived through the golden age of air travel, which also will not return. It’s interesting to look back at the swelling and subsequent diminution of some aspect of our culture and realize you’ve been there for the peak.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 December 2012 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Daily life, Jazz

5 Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole for Pot

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Kristen Gwynne reports for Alternet:

Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff. They are all more than 60 years old; they have all spent at least 15 years locked up for selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners, serving life without parole. As time wrinkles their skin and weakens their bodies, Michael Kennedy [3] of the Trans High Corporation has filed a legal petition [4] with the federal government seeking their clemency. Otherwise they will die behind bars for selling a drug 40% of American adults have admitted to using, 50% of Americans want legal, and two states have already legalized for adult use. Since these men were convicted of these crimes many years ago, public opinion and policy related to marijuana have shifted greatly. Should these five non-violent senior-citizen offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?

1. John Knock, 65, has been incarcerated for more than 16 years. The only evidence against him was the testimony of informants; Knock was convicted of conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana. The judge sentenced him to 20 years for money laundering plus not one, but two terms of life-without-parole — a  punishment typically reserved for murderers. Despite the uniquely unjust sentence, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his pleas for reconsideration via appeal or court order.

Waiting for death in jail, Knock suffers from chronic sinus problems linked to an untreated broken nose. Due to circulatory problems, one of his ankles swells to twice its size. Knock also suffers from what the legal petition called “untreated” hearing and vision problems. Easing some of his pain are visits from his family and his participation in prison programs. He has taught home building and physical education inside the prison that has become his home. According to the legal petition, he is assured employment and a home should his sentence be commuted.

2. Before he was incarcerated, Paul Free obtained a BA in marine biology and was starting a school while teaching English in Mexico. Now 62, he has continued his passion for education behind bars, where he has lived for the past 18 years. Free helps inmates prepare for the General Equivalency Diploma tests, and according to the petition, prison officials have applauded Paul’s hard work and his students’ high graduation rate. Paul suffers from degenerative joint disease, failing eyesight, sinus problems, and allergies, and he has had 11 skin cancers removed.

3. Once a union carpenter, Larry Duke, a 65-year-old decorated Marine, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 December 2012 at 9:09 am

Posted in Drug laws

Failed prophets don’t change their minds

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Paul Krugman in the NY Times:

Back in the 1950s three social psychologists joined a cult that was predicting the imminent end of the world. Their purpose was to observe the cultists’ response when the world did not, in fact, end on schedule. What they discovered, and described in their classic book, “When Prophecy Fails,” is that the irrefutable failure of a prophecy does not cause true believers — people who have committed themselves to a belief both emotionally and by their life choices — to reconsider. On the contrary, they become even more fervent, and proselytize even harder.
This insight seems highly relevant as 2012 draws to a close. After all, a lot of people came to believe that we were on the brink of catastrophe — and these views were given extraordinary reach by the mass media. As it turned out, of course, the predicted catastrophe failed to materialize. But we can be sure that the cultists won’t admit to having been wrong. No, the people who told us that a fiscal crisis was imminent will just keep at it, more convinced than ever.

Oh, wait a second — did you think I was talking about the Mayan calendar thing?

Seriously, at every stage of our ongoing economic crisis — and in particular, every time anyone has suggested actually trying to do something about mass unemployment — a chorus of voices has warned that unless we bring down budget deficits now now now, financial markets will turn on America, driving interest rates sky-high. And these prophecies of doom have had a powerful effect on our economic discourse.

Thus, back in May 2009 the Wall Street Journal editorial page seized on an uptick in long-term interest rates to declare that the “bond vigilantes,” the “disciplinarians of U.S. policy makers,” had arrived, and would push rates inexorably higher if big budget deficits continued. As it happened, rates soon went back down. But that didn’t stop The Journal’s news section from rolling out the same story the next time rates rose: “Debt fears send rates up,” blared a headline in March 2010; the debt continued to grow, but the rates went down again.

At this point the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond is less than half what it was when that 2009 editorial was published. But don’t expect any rethinking on The Journal’s part. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 December 2012 at 9:03 am

Posted in Business, GOP, Government

Sandalwood celebration

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SOTD 24 Dec 2012

I went for a full-sandalwood shave this morning to celebrate the development (with the help of a redditor) my new warning on skin reactions some guys have to some shaving products:

Some men turn out to have a skin reaction to some fragrances, and sandalwood and menthol+eucalyptus seem to be common culprits, but depending on the guy, almost anything can trigger a reaction—reactions to lime are not unknown, for example. If you know your skin is fine with fragrances in general, charge ahead; if you’re unsure or if you’ve had skin reactions to anything in the past, you should at least test a new product by smearing some on the crease inside your elbow joint and letting it sit 10-20 minutes to see whether your own skin reacts. It’s better than smearing on your face and making it red and burning.

I am fortunate not to have a sensitivity to sandalwood, so I thought today would be sandalwood day. I again picked my Monarch High Mountain White shaving brush from Wet Shaving Products, which I believe is now my favorite brush: terrific quality, terrific performance, terrific feel. And only $75, though the next batch will sell at a more reasonable price of $110 (given the quality). I saw one left at Razor Emporium still at the $75 price, so strike while you can. It’s a fantastically good brush.

I worked up a really superb lather from the Mystic Water Sandalwood Rose shaving soap: thick, luxurious, fragrant, and highly effective: the bakelite slant with a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge blade simply glided through the stubble: three passes to perfect smoothness.

A good splash of TOBS Sandalwood aftershave and I’m enjoying Christmas Eve. This is what shaving can be—indeed, what it should be. My heart goes out to all those men who still fine shaving a tedious, boring, hateful chore, dragging a multiblade cartridge through dry canned foam. May the New Year (and perhaps an opportune gift) open their eyes to the pleasure they’re missing.

And my best wishes to you, dear reader, as we wrap up another year.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 December 2012 at 8:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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