Later On

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

Archive for January 1st, 2017

Great news! “The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe” is on Amazon Prime—and a very good print

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It is so much better than the American remake with Tom Hanks, as is immediately obvious from the change in the title: the American version is titled “The Man with One Red Shoe.”

Watch the real thing, and watch it now. Terrific movie.

Have I ever steered you wrong?

It has its own subtitles already, so don’t turn subtitles on.

UPDATE: I would add that, fittingly, has a wide range of humor, as a symphony has a wide range of loudness—from close to daily-life ordinary to hysterical farce for one, from pianissimo to fortissimo for the other. American comedies, like (say) rock and roll, tend to have a much narrower range, the music played all at one volume, the humor, all of the same punch-line type, being continuous throughout, like I imagine would be a conversation with Henny Youngman.

The set-up is Hitchcockian (cf. North by Northwest et al.).

Wonderful movie. Don’t rush it.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Bibi Netanyahu Makes Trump His Chump

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Thomas Friedman writes in the NY Times:

For those of you confused over the latest fight between President Obama and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, let me make it simple: Barack Obama and John Kerry admire and want to preserve Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the Land of Israel. I have covered this issue my entire adult life and have never met two U.S. leaders more committed to Israel as a Jewish democracy.

But they are convinced — rightly — that Netanyahu is a leader who is forever dog paddling in the middle of the Rubicon, never ready to cross it. He is unwilling to make any big, hard decision to advance or preserve a two-state solution if that decision in any way risks his leadership of Israel’s right-wing coalition or forces him to confront the Jewish settlers, who relentlessly push Israel deeper and deeper into the West Bank.

That is what precipitated this fight over Obama’s decision not to block a U.N. resolution last week criticizing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlers’ goal is very clear, as Kerry put it on Wednesday: to strategically place settlements “in locations that make two states impossible,” so that Israel will eventually annex all of the West Bank. Netanyahu knows this will bring huge problems, but his heart is with the settlers, and his passion is with holding power — at any cost. So in any crunch, he sides with the settlers, and they keep pushing.

Obama ordered the U.S. to abstain on the U.N. resolution condemning the settlements (three months after Obama forged a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package for Israel — the largest for any U.S. ally ever) in hopes of sparking a debate inside Israel and to prevent it from closing off any chance of a two-state solution.

Israel is clearly now on a path toward absorbing the West Bank’s 2.8 million Palestinians. There are already 1.7 million Arabs living in Israel, so putting these two Arab populations together would constitute a significant minority with a higher birthrate than that of Israeli Jews — who number 6.3 million — posing a demographic and democratic challenge.

I greatly sympathize with Israel’s security problems. If I were Israel, I would not relinquish control of the West Bank borders — for now. The Arab world is far too unstable, and Hamas, which controls another 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, would likely take over the West Bank.

My criticism of Netanyahu is not that he won’t simply quit all the West Bank; it is that he refuses to show any imagination or desire to build workable alternatives that would create greater separation and win Israel global support, such as radical political and economic autonomy for Palestinians in the majority of the West Bank, free of settlements, while Israel still controls the borders and the settlements close to it. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 9:09 pm

Richard Nixon was an evil man: He sabotaged the 1968 peace talks in Vietnam for his personal gain

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Nixon was perfectly willing to sacrifice lives to realize his ambition. John A. Farrel writes in the NY Times:

Richard M. Nixon always denied it: to David Frost, to historians and to Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the strongest suspicions and the most cause for outrage at his successor’s rumored treachery. To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.

Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.

The 37th president has been enjoying a bit of a revival recently, as his achievements in foreign policy and the landmark domestic legislation he signed into law draw favorable comparisons to the presidents (and president-elect) that followed. A new, $15 million face-lift at the Nixon presidential library, while not burying the Watergate scandals, spotlights his considerable record of accomplishments.

Haldeman’s notes return us to the dark side. Amid the reappraisals, we must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.

Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.

But Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said. . .

Continue reading.

Nixon betrayed the American people. Just counting American lives lost (disregarding North and South Vietnamese deaths, which I can’t find tabulated by year), 21.257 American lives were lost in the period 1969-75. Had the peace talks proceeded without Nixon’s successful effort to kill them, those lives would not have been lost, nor would the thousands of Vietnamese who lost their lives in that period.

Nixon deserves permanent infamy. He not only was willing to have Americans die so that he could be president, he in fact made sure of it. What a terrible person. Kissinger is no better.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 7:29 pm

Posted in GOP, Military

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Roasted Chicken Provençal

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I’ve made this recipe multiple times (and made it again this evening), and it’s always good. I pretty much follow the recipe, with these exceptions:

I use 9 chicken thighs, since my roasting pan holds nine: three ranks of three thighs.

I don’t season the chicken with salt and pepper but season the flour: probably 2-3 teaspoons of salt and an equal amount of black pepper. I put that in a plastic bag with the flour, and shake the thighs in the bag (three at a time) to coat them.

I use two lemons, not one, and after cutting the ends off, I halve the lemons vertically and then cut each half vertically into thirds: six sections per lemon.

I use like 14-16 cloves of garlic, and probably 10-12 shallots, peeled and halved if large.

I tuck the lemons, garlic, and shallots around the chicken so each chicken thigh is surrounded.

I don’t mess with the thyme: the 2 tablespoons of herbes de Provence seems plenty to me.

Roast 30 minutes at 400ºF, use a baster to baste the chicken, then roast another 30 minutes.

The cooked garlic, shallots, and lemon are very tasty, not to mention the chicken. Well worth trying. A family pack of chicken thighs provides enough thighs, with some left over to roast by themselves.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Taking care of The Wife with ginger tea

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The Wife has been suffering with some sort of respiratory virus (stuffy nose, cough, weak and tired), and she leaves for Paris in a few days. So I’ve made chicken soup from scratch (this recipe, though next time I’ll make this recipe) and serve her many cups of ginger tea, which I make as follows:

In a 1-qt heatproof measuring cup (e.g., Pyrex, Oxo), put 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and juice of two lemons. Pour boiling water over that to the 1-qt mark and let steep 10 minutes. Use a tea strainer to strain it into a cup with ≈ 1/2 tsp Manuka honey. That’s enough for a few cups of tea, but forcing fluids is a good idea, and this fluid is pretty easy to force since it’s tasty.

I’d never previously heard of Manuka honey. It comes in various levels of goodness, with the higher levels costing more. Before, I just used regular honey.

A shot of brandy or bourbon in the cup is not a bad idea: it will make you sleepy, so you can go to be and sleep, which is also good for you.

She does seem to be improving, and I like to believe that the chicken soup and ginger tea (and Manuka honey) are helping, but it may just be the passage of time with the body’s immune system doing the heavy lifting.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 4:45 pm

Dave Barry reviews 2016

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Dave Barry writes in the Washington Post:

In the future, Americans — assuming there are any left — will look back at 2016 and remark: “What the HELL?”

They will have a point. Over the past few decades, we here at the Year in Review have reviewed some pretty disturbing years. For example, there was 2000, when the outcome of a presidential election was decided by a tiny group of deeply confused Florida residents who had apparently attempted to vote by chewing on their ballots.

Then there was 2003, when a person named “Paris Hilton” suddenly became a major international superstar, despite possessing a level of discernible talent so low as to make the Kardashians look like the Jackson 5.

There was 2006, when the vice president of the United States — who claimed he was attempting to bring down a suspected quail — shot a 78-year-old man in the face, only to be exonerated after an investigation revealed that the victim was an attorney.

And — perhaps most inexplicable of all — there was 2007, when millions of people voluntarily installed Windows Vista.

Yes, we’ve seen some weird years. But we’ve never seen one as weird as 2016. This was the Al Yankovic of years. If years were movies, 2016 would be “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” If years were relatives, 2016 would be the uncle who shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner wearing his underpants on the outside.

Why do we say this? Let’s begin with the gruesome train wreck that was . . .

Continue reading.

He offers a month-by-month summary of events. To give you an idea, the entry for March begins:

. . . the Republican presidential race grows increasingly nasty, spiraling downward in tone to the point where Ted Cruz makes the following statement, which we swear we are not making up: “Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.” This sounds as though Cruz is saying that he would copulate with a rat, as long as the rat was not Donald Trump.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2017 at 7:26 am

Posted in Daily life

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