Later On

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

Archive for February 8th, 2015

A certain satisfaction of regular life

with 4 comments

So when I moved in with The Wife, I had an enormous moving sale and got rid of truckloads of possessions, which (strangely, given their bulk and cost) I have not missed.

But after a very nice restaurant dinner in which I indulged in a Martini, I wanted to make a Martini at home and wanted a good one—straight up, an olive (or two) on a toothpick (actually, I prefer bamboo toothpicks), with a twist of lemon.

Oddly, I could not find my Martini glasses. They must have been included in The Purge. No great problem: at home, I prefer stemless in any event, and Libby makes one, sold by Amazon in a set of 4. However, the Fortessa stemless Martini glass is carried by Sur Le Table, and we have a store here. And I need only one.

But where was my little 12-oz stainless cocktail shaker? I certainly do not shake my Martinis—see my earlier post on how I make a Martini—but a cocktail shaker is easy to use: fill with ice cubes, pour in gin and vermouth, swish it around for a while, and then remove the shaker cap and pour into the chilled Martini glass.

I could picture the shaker perfectly in my memory, and I even had the tactile memory of how well and securely it fit together, and how easily it was taken apart. Note the chef’s-hat cap, that makes the cap easy to remove.

Cocktail shaker

And yet, despite the clarity of my memory, I could not find it. I looked first in the two china cabinets—not there. Then in the topmost shelves of the kitchen cabinets—not there. Then in the pantry (rather crowded)—not there. Then in my closet shelves (getting desperate, as you see).

Then I told myself I was being silly. I couldn’t imagine having gotten rid of it in the The Purge, but perhaps I did. I checked all the previous locations again, checking the most likely several times. It was so clear in my mental image.

I calmed myself and tried reading, and… wait! Perhaps it’s still packed in a box in the storeroom—a small room with a striking resemblance to Fibber McGee’s front hall closet, which those of my generation will understand immediately. Every few broadcasts (it was a radio program of the 1940’s), Fibber McGee, ignoring the shouted warnings from his wife Molly, would open the closet door, and the sound effects would go berserk.

Still, that was the most likely place. I decided first to search for it on-line.

That particular design (and size) is incredibly hard to find—most do not have a cap of that sort, and I worried about the fit. (Full disclosure: I couldn’t remember the exact size, so I ordered a 16 oz cocktail shaker, but it was too large and did not fit together securely.)

I clearly had a bee in my bonnet, and today I ventured to the store room and went through everything. I found one likely box, which had several things I had been missing, but no cocktail shaker. But I did find a bottle of Plymouth gin and a bottle of Noilly Prat, pre-reformulation. That was a very good find.

I spent a long time doing Google searches on various descriptions. I did find one that I think looked like my old one, and it was not expensive: $7. But it was sold in a four-pack from a bartender supply house. I was prepared to buy the four pack to replace the one I had lost—clearly, by this point, I had lost at least my perspective if not my sanity. I was totally obsessed.

While I pondered about it, I went to put away the gin and vermouth in our liquor cabinet. There, in the back, was the missing cocktail shaker!

And it’s just as excellent as I remembered. 🙂

It does seem to match those I found sold in a four-pack. I note that they are on clearance, and I’m wondering if I should buy the quartet in case I lose it again. But that’s clearly crazy.

But it’s a story with a good outcome: storeroom was cleaned out and organized (a whole raft of things went into the dumpster), I found my shaker, and my Martini glass is chilling in the freezer.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2015 at 4:43 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drinks

Extremely good 5-minute audio on the measles outbreak

leave a comment »

And it points the finger squarely at the media, which seems to be run by ratings-chasing idiots. Listen here.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2015 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Health, Medical, Science

Recent Muck Reads from ProPublica

leave a comment »

It’s worth checking ProPublica’s Muck Reads site from time to time. For example, a few current stories flagged at the link:

In Program to Spur Affordable Housing, $100 Million Penthouse Gets 95% Tax Cut

Nearly 1 in 7 schools have measles vaccination rates below what’s adequate for immunity, @usatoday reports

Mexico looks the other way as contractors fleece oil giant Pemex

Look at the first link for a roll-call of investigative stories.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2015 at 1:00 pm

Williams Affair: Reagan and Bush Lied about Military Records but Get a Pass

leave a comment »

I don’t understand why Brian Williams is getting such heat for his false recollections of his wartime experience when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were treated quite gently. Nor does Juan Cole, who writes at Informed Comment:

NBC nightly news anchor Brian Williams is under fire for repeatedly having told an embellished story of being in a Chinook helicopter that took RPG and small arms fire at the beginning of the Iraq War and was forced down. His critics, and military personnel present on the four helicopters then flying in a convoy or nearby, largely dispute his account, saying Williams arrived an hour after the Chinook that had been forced down. One eyewitness did confirm to CNN that the helicopter he and Williams were on took AK 47 fire (he is contradicted by his colleagues). Williams has in any case withdrawn the anecdote, though he played down how often he had told it.

Williams’ critics accuse him of just making stuff up, and for all I know he did. But we all know that stories grow in the telling, and it isn’t impossible that over time Williams’ memory played tricks on him. If his helicopter did in fact take some light arms fire, as a soldier present on it alleges, that is a kernel of experience for Williams’s later faulty memory. It is also suggested that the story of what happened to the lead Chinook was broadcast inside Williams’s own helicopter and that he may have lived it vicariously and then over time inserted himself into the story.

In any case, those who haven’t risked their lives in a war zone (which is what Williams did) maybe shouldn’t be so glib in condemning someone who did. His story is false; the danger was real. The anger and feeling of betrayal of the military personnel on the helicopter that was hit, on the other hand, is understandable, though at least one of them says he is ready to move on.

Many of Williams’s fiercest critics are conservatives, for whom network television news is a liberal conspiracy– a charge that is wholly unfair and untrue (otherwise we on the left wouldn’t risk a stroke every time we watch it). Worse, many of them think that Fox Cable News really is fair and balanced.

The same conservatives, however, go on idolizing Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both of whom much more egregiously made stuff up about their military service than Williams (who never claimed to be more than a hapless civilian). The same voices that allege that Williams has been deprived of credibility by the incidents would never dream of impugning the credibility of the lying GOP presidents.

Ronald Reagan told visiting Israeli premier Yitzhak Shamir in fall of 1983 that he had helped liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp as a soldier in the European theater and had taken footage of the horrors of the camp. Later, he said, when family members questioned him as to whether those horrors had really occurred, he showed them the footage he had captured. He also told a version of this story to Simon Wiesenthal. Dan Meridor confirmed to journalist Lou Cannon that Reagan had made these assertions, and said that Shamir relayed them to the Israeli cabinet to demonstrate Reagan’s sympathy for the Jewish people.

Reagan was in uniform during WW II, but was detailed to Hollywood. He never left the United States. He sometimes maintained that he had access to classified US Army footage of the concentration camps because of his film work during the war. But Cannon shows that Gen. Eisenhower had ordered these reels shown in movie theaters in the US in 1945 and that they weren’t secret or classified at all. Reagan later denied to Cannon that he had told Shamir and Wiesenthal that story, but there isn’t much doubt that he did.

Reagan had an over-active imagination and seems sometimes to have remembered himself right into movies or newsreels he had seen. Whether he was already showing Alzheimer symptoms in 1983 (which would be scary) isn’t clear, but the problem anyway doesn’t seem to have been one of forgetting things but rather of remembering other people’s experiences as his own. Cannon, in his biography of Reagan, made allowances in a footnote, saying that “Reagan became so emotionally engrossed in the story that he told it from the point of view of the photographer witnessing the scene.”

Surely one could, if one wanted to, charitably suggest the same thing of Brian Williams. But those who most admire Reagan are the least likely to be even-handed here.

The great Joe Conason sleuthed out George W. Bush’s lies about his military service. Bush avoided Vietnam by using family connections to get assigned to the Texas Air National Guard. Many of the soldiers who died in the jungles were too poor to afford college or had no family connections (Dick Cheney took five college deferrals). The wealthy power elite could avoid service if they wanted to. Conason writes, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2015 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Daily life

Israel destroys water lines feeding Palestinian areas in Jordan Valley

with one comment

How much longer before Israel recovers from its genocidal policies toward the Palestinians? From Informed Comment:

Israeli forces on Thursday destroyed a water network which feeds Palestinian villages and Bedouin dwellings in the northern Jordan Valley, the head of the village council of al-Maleh and its surrounding Bedouin dwellings said.

Arif Daraghmah told Ma’an that Israeli troops escorted excavators which destroyed a 2,000-meter-long water pipeline near the village of al-Atuf. The pipeline, he said, was funded by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees.

In addition, Israeli forces confiscated 250 meters of water pipes near the village of Yarza east of Tubas.

Written by Leisureguy

8 February 2015 at 11:41 am

Posted in Mideast Conflict

%d bloggers like this: