Later On

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

Archive for December 25th, 2016

Astonishingly repulsive person: Carl Paladino, friend of Donald Trump

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David Goodman reports in the NY Times:

Carl Paladino, a western New York builder, one-time Republican candidate for governor of New York and political ally of President-elect Donald J. Trump, came under fire on Friday for racially offensive comments about President Obama and the first lady, who Mr. Paladino said should be “let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.”

Mr. Paladino’s comments were published in Artvoice, a weekly Buffalo newspaper. They came in response to an open-ended feature in which local figures were asked about their hopes for 2017.

“Obama catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford,” said Mr. Paladino, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010, making an apparent reference to the Hereford cattle breed. He said he hoped the disease killed the president.

Asked what he most wanted to see “go away” in the new year, Mr. Paladino — who has a reputation in New York political and business circles for speaking in an unfiltered manner reminiscent of Mr. Trump’s — answered, “Michelle Obama.”

“I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” he said. . .

Mr. Paladino, in the interview with The Times, said he was “not politically correct,” though he disputed the notion that his comments were racist. Asked why he wanted to see the first lady live with a gorilla in Africa, he paused for a long time, then said: “What’s wrong with that?” . . .

Continue reading.

This is so bad as to raise the possibility of a mental problem, and definite evidence of a personality defect.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 7:20 pm

My God! They really DID improve that site.

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Just read your way down this page. Terrific introduction that really does give you a balanced take on the language. In the first lesson, hover the mouse over the Esperanto to get the translation. Click a specific word for a translation.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Esperanto

Much improved and updated site for learning Esperanto

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If you don’t know any foreign language but are interested in learning one, it turns out that if you first learn Esperanto as your first foreign language, the learning of your target language is facilitated and improved—see this Wikipedia article.

At first blush it might seem that the time studying Esperanto would be better spent in studying the target language, but note the following from the Wikipedia article on Esperanto:

The Institute of Cybernetic Pedagogy at Paderborn (Germany) has compared the length of study time it takes natively French-speaking high-school students to obtain comparable ‘standard’ levels in Esperanto, English, German, and Italian.[68] The results were:

2000 hours studying German = 1500 hours studying English = 1000 hours studying Italian (or any other Romance language) = 150 hours studying Esperanto.

So the time it takes to learn Esperanto is a fraction of the time it takes to learn a national language. The same article notes:

Third-language acquisition

(Main article: Propaedeutic value of Esperanto)

Four primary schools in Britain, with some 230 pupils, are currently following a course in “propaedeutic Esperanto”—that is, instruction in Esperanto to raise language awareness and accelerate subsequent learning of foreign languages—under the supervision of the University of Manchester. As they put it,

Many schools used to teach children the recorder, not to produce a nation of recorder players, but as a preparation for learning other instruments. [We teach] Esperanto, not to produce a nation of Esperanto-speakers, but as a preparation for learning other languages.[69]

Studies have been conducted in New Zealand,[70]United States,[71][72][73]Germany,[74]Italy[75] and Australia.[76] The results of these studies were favorable and demonstrated that studying Esperanto before another foreign language expedites the acquisition of the other, natural language. This appears to be because learning subsequent foreign languages is easier than learning one’s first foreign language, whereas the use of a grammatically simple and culturally flexible auxiliary language like Esperanto lessens the first-language learning hurdle. In one study,[77] a group of European secondary school students studied Esperanto for one year, then French for three years, and ended up with a significantly better command of French than a control group, who studied French for all four years.

The reason I bring up this notion now, is that the on-line Esperanto study site,, has been revamped and significantly improved. From an email I received:

In July 2016, the site was completely rebuilt from scratch. The work on the new site took several years: it was necessary to create the course with many exercises, design hundreds of illustrations, write a new grammar guide, find a variety of texts for the library, voice and comprehensibly translate the texts, and lay out and program everything. The new site now looks and works better on modern computers and mobile phones, and is also easier to navigate. The changes go far beyond the appearance of the site; the entire contents of the site were redesigned as well. The site now has a comprehensive and interesting course, a rich library, and a completely new forum. We warmly invite you to visit the new site, if you haven’t yet done so.

“Lernu” is the imperative of the verb “lerni” (to learn).

Take a look at the site, and consider using Esperanto as an introduction to foreign-language learning.

UPDATE: Read the first section of this page for some good examples of how Esperanto vocabulary is quite rapidly and easily acquired. Click the speaker icon by each word to hear it said aloud.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 10:55 am

Posted in Education, Esperanto

How to meditate—and why

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David Gelles has an interesting piece on meditation in the NY Times, which includes links to various other articles and resources.

As readers of the Guide know, I consider the morning shave as a golden opportunity for mindfulness meditation: your attention is easily focused on what is happening in the moment, and paying close attention to what you’re doing suspends the nagging concerns of modern life that are the parasites of the mind.

If you haven’t considered using the shave as a meditation opportunity, give it a try. The experience encourages a meditative approach, and the meditative aspect enriches the experience. The cumulative effect of daily meditation can be significant in reducing stress and providing resilience to daily crises and frustrations.

Something to try in the new year.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 9:25 am

No shave today, but holiday wishes to all my readers

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As you know, I skip shaving on Sunday (which reminds me of Jules Dassin’s movie Never on Sunday with Melina Mercouri—a treasured memory from my college days) so that I can start the week Monday morning with the pleasure of shaving a two-day stubble. So no shave post today, but I do want to send my best wishes to all who read the blog. Your comments are always welcome.

Today we’re having a roast beef, and for those who read only my shaving posts, I’ll share again the recipe for the horseradish sauce, which sounds intriguing:

Whisk together:

  • 2 cups crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup white horseradish
  • Grated zest of half an orange (orange zest is pretty strong, so that’s plenty)
  • Salt and pepper

Enjoy the holidays, and have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 9:04 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Something to consider as you think about resolutions for the new year

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Oliver Burkeman has an interesting piece in the Guardian, long but worth reading. One extract:

. . . Given that the average lifespan consists of only about 4,000 weeks, a certain amount of anxiety about using them well is presumably inevitable: we’ve been granted the mental capacities to make infinitely ambitious plans, yet almost no time at all to put them into practice. The problem of how to manage time, accordingly, goes back at least to the first century AD, when the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote On The Shortness of Life. “This space that has been granted to us rushes by so speedily, and so swiftly that all save a very few find life at an end just when they are getting ready to live,” he said, chiding his fellow citizens for wasting their days on pointless busyness, and “baking their bodies in the sun”.

Clearly, then, the challenge of how to live our lives well is not a new one. Still, it is safe to say that the citizens of first-century Rome didn’t experience the equivalent of today’s productivity panic. (Seneca’s answer to the question of how to live had nothing to do with becoming more productive: it was to give up the pursuit of wealth or high office, and spend your days philosophising instead.) What is uniquely modern about our fate is that we feel obliged to respond to the pressure of time by making ourselves as efficient as possible – even when doing so fails to bring the promised relief from stress.

The time-pressure problem was always supposed to get better as society advanced, not worse. In 1930, John Maynard Keynes famously predicted that within a century, economic growth would mean that we would be working no more than 15 hours per week – whereupon humanity would face its greatest challenge: that of figuring out how to use all those empty hours. Economists still argue about exactly why things turned out so differently, but the simplest answer is “capitalism”. Keynes seems to have assumed that we would naturally throttle down on work once our essential needs, plus a few extra desires, were satisfied. Instead, we just keep finding new things to need. Depending on your rung of the economic ladder, it’s either impossible, or at least usually feels impossible, to cut down on work in exchange for more time. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

25 December 2016 at 7:30 am

Posted in Daily life

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