Later On

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

Archive for December 29th, 2012

Keeping an eye on consequences

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This NY Times story is joyful and appropriate to a season of love and good will and new beginnings: the first same-sex marriages in Maine, the law allowing such marriages having passed by popular vote.

Now a number of people who feel they have great authority and knowledge of human behavior and culture have told us (repeatedly) that allowing same-sex marriage will undermine “traditional” marriage (one man and one woman, though that was certainly not the tradition in the Holy Bible, Old Testament part) and cause people to lose their Christian foundations. Of course, the highest divorce rates in the country are in the most fervently Christian states: the Bible belt. And divorce has a more obvious destructive effect on a traditional marriage than some other couple (of the same sex) getting married: divorce ends the marriage on the spot. So apparently evangelical Christianity undermines traditional marriage—but that is not the point they’re trying to make. These authorities say (frequently) that same-sex marriages will “damage” or “destroy” traditional marriages, presumably ending them through divorce.

So let’s watch the Maine statistics. If those authorities are right, we should see a significant spike in divorce rates in traditional marriages in Maine—within a year or two, I would think. And if we don’t, I’m sure those authorities will acknowledge that they were wrong and shut the fuck up.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2012 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Daily life, Religion

Interesting: Many people, on reading of the slaughter of school children, rush to buy guns

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I truly do not understand the public “mind”: we have a terrible slaughter, and people stampede to buy as many of the weapons as they can. I simply cannot understand what they are thinking. Are they planning slaughters of their own? I understand that they fear the guns, which have killed many, may be restricted, but what exactly are they planning to do with all those weapons that they are in such a hurry to buy? That is, beyond the upcoming restriction, why are they buying these guns? They are not hunting weapons.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2012 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Daily life

Beef meals

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We rarely eat beef—expensive, for one thing—but we’ve hit a beef patch, as it were.

Beef short ribs: When I went to Safeway to pick up some prescriptions, they were not ready, so during the 20-minute wait I wandered around the store with a shopping cart. The first thing I checked was the sale shelf in the meat department, and there I found two packages of beef short ribs at 50% off. Okay, that’s worth thinking about, particularly in winter weather. I do have a good recipe for boneless beef short ribs that I have used several times. But I wanted to use what I had on hand, so:

Salt the bottom of the 4-qt sauté pan, then heat it well over medium-high heat.

Brown the short ribs well on most sides. (I skipped the bone side.)

Deglaze pan with 1/4 c red wine, then add:

2 of the big stubby carrots cut into chunks
1.5 Spanish onions cut into chunks
3-4 stalks celery cut into chunks
1 package thick-sliced crimini mushrooms
a small handful of garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp horseradish
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar (I would have used lemon juice if I’d had it)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp dried thyme
good grinding of black pepper

I covered it and left it in a 200F oven overnight. Very nice looking this morning. I’ll use the fat-skimmer to get the fat off the liquid and serve it with black rice and steamed broccoli.

Then for New Year’s, we’re going to splurge on a prime rib roast, following this interesting guide—for example, from the link:


Does it really matter when I salt my meat?


Absolutely. Take a look at the picture above, which shows the same piece of salted meat with photos taken about 13 minutes apart. In the top row, the salt is still in large crystals, just beginning to dissolve. Because of a phenomenon known as osmosis, the salt will initially draw liquid out of the meat and onto the surface. By the 25 minute mark (bottom left corner), those juices form distinct droplets on the meat’s surface. Meat cooked at this stage will lose moisture fast, giving you a leathery crust.

Eventually, as we hit the 40-minute mark, the salty meat juices have begun to react with the muscle fibers themselves, dissolving some of their proteins, and causing the structure of the meat to open up, like a sponge. The extracted meat juices soon get reabsorbed, and the salt goes along for the ride. The result is better, more deeply-seasoned beef.

Given a few days, unlike a marinade, salt can actually slowly work its way deeper into the meat. I like to heavily salt my prime rib at least four days before roasting before covering it with plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge.

And don’t forget to put salt on the table as well—after you slice that beef, there’s a huge expanse of pink meat in the center that needs to be seasoned too!

The roasting method I’ll use is described/derived in this post, and the final recipe is here (but without the salt secret).

UPDATE: This looks like an excellent horseradish sauce for the rib roast.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2012 at 11:02 am

Step 2 of comparison: Strop Shoppe’s Special Edition Teakwood

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SOTD 29 Dec 2012

Yesterday was Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, today is Strop Shoppe Teakwood Special Edition with Tallow, and tomorrow Mystic Water Sensitive Skin—as I shaved this morning, I was thinking that I should include Mystic Water, and then I read a comment that also suggested it. To me, this amounts to a mandate.

Turning to today’s shave, I once again used the Wee Scot to eliminate the brush as a variable. The Special Edition soaps are much softer than Creed’s GIT, a triple-milled soap. Thus the Creed puck, ounce for ounce, will probably have a longer life, but of course you get more ounces in the Strop Shoppe package: more than half a pound of shaving soap.

The lather worked up quickly, and again the Wee Scot held an ample quantity for more passes than I would ever do. The lather is certainly as good as GIT, and I have the feeling that it leaves my skin feeling better: softer and more moisturized. This is something I would have to recheck with another comparison shave, perhaps using both soaps in the same shave (left side vs. right side).

Both provided excellent prep for shaving and supported the shave wonderfully. It’s perfectly obvious that, in terms of bang for the buck, Strop Shoppe is clearly superior, but in absolute terms, just in quality of shave, price be damned, it’s not clear at all. They are in fact very close. I’m going to have to do left side vs. right side to decide. And it may be that it is simply too close to call.

They both have good backstory: GIT made for Cary Grant, Strop Shoppe the creation of a biochemist turned soapmaker in central Oklahoma. I like Strop Shoppe’s ingredients—even the plain first formula, also completely excellent, used Rice Bran Oil, of all things. You pay your money, you take your choice, though of course when you do pay your money, you pay a lot more of it for GIT.

The iKon S3S—which, like the Pils, requires loading the blade on the baseplate (where the alignment studs reside) rather than on the cap—did a fine job with a Swedish Gillette blade. As James Cameron remarked, “Size does matter,” at least sometimes, and the mass of the S3S really makes for a nice shave with a straight-bar/open-comb cutting action.

Given the Teakwood of the shaving soap (not an overwhelming fragrance—GIT wins the fragrance sweepstakes), I went for Saint Charles Shave’s Woods aftershave, and I could take a good splash of that instead of a tiny dab as from the GIT sample vial.

Altogether a great start to the weekend.

Written by Leisureguy

29 December 2012 at 9:45 am

Posted in Shaving

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