Later On

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

Archive for August 22nd, 2018

Fun day again

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The Younger Daughter and I went to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to start the day. Good art and interesting exhibits, including some Japanese swords (one from 1430 CE) and a doll house to die for, along with a fair number of Emily Carr paintings. Here’s one, but they had a lot more, and TYD bought me a book of reproductions of Emily Carr paintings.

We also saw quite a stunning fire truck in screaming yellow—for me, much more visible than the traditional red. It was not doing anything, just sitting at the curb.

We all (including The Wife) then went to Abkhazi Garden for tea and a walk through the garden. We had high tea, which was extremely nice. On the bottom are little pastry-wrapped lamb sausages, some mini-tarts of a savory kind. The scones on the next level up were extremely nice, and we finished up with the sweets on the top level—or perhaps they finished us up.

After walking through the garden, we drove to Silk Road Tea on the edge of Chinatown, the source of the teas used at the Abkhazi Garden tearoom.

I was surprised to find that they had tea cakes—tea leaves pressed into a cake, which you break apart, little by little, to make tea. Tea cakes are often aged (since they improve with aging), and I bought a White Pu-Erh tea cake from Spring 2015. (Pu-erh teas are interesting.)

At the left is a photo of it in its box, and below a photo with the lid off. It is wrapped simply in a square of paper, folded and not sealed. This one tea cake will make a lot of tea. Below is a tea cake I’ve been using, breaking off enough each day to make a pot of tea. The leaves are tightly compressed but form layers, so with a little twisting and pressure you can break off—and then break up—enough to make a pot of tea. The cake is lying on the paper it was wrapped in, and I rewrap it (artlessly) after breaking off enough for a new pot of tea.

The tea cake I’m working on is one of several I ordered from China from Teasenz, a site that offers an excellent selection of white teas. I drink white tea because in terms of anti-oxidants and cancer-preventive it is superior even to green tea. (Google “health benefits white tea” for more info.)

All in all, a very good day. Tomorrow TYD and I will walk around Beacon Hill Park, and tomorrow night we’ll enjoy enjoy a dinner at Q at the Empress. And the next morning TYD returns home and I return to Nordic walking.

UPDATE: I found some useful (and interesting) videos on pu-erh tea cakes. First, how the tea cake is made (and you’ll notice that the cake contains a lot of tea):

Next, how the tea cake is aged:

And how to break the cake and how to rewrap it. (There’s much more to this than I realized.)

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drinks, Food

Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.

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Glenn Kessler, fact checker for the Washington Post, writes:

The first denial that Donald Trump knew about hush-money payments to silence women came four days before he was elected president, when his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, without hedging, “we have no knowledge of any of this.”
The second came in January of this year, when his attorney Michael Cohen said the allegations were “outlandish.” By March, two of the president’s spokesmen — Raj Shah and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — said publicly that Trump denied all the allegations and any payments. Even Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, got in on the action, saying the president “was not aware of any of it.”
In April, Trump finally weighed in, answering a question about whether he knew about a payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”
It’s now clear that the president’s statement was a lie — and that the people speaking for him repeated it.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Donald Trump’s presidency has been his loose relationship with facts. As of the beginning of this month, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker had documented 4,229 false or misleading claims from the president — an average of nearly 7.6 a day.
Trump’s allies have defended the president by suggesting that facts are debatable. Early into his presidency, one aide famously said he was operating with “alternative facts.” On Sunday, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani declared: “Truth isn’t truth.”
How to characterize Trump’s statements has become its own pitched political battle, with many of the president’s critics demanding that they be called “lies.” The Fact Checker has been hesitant to go that far, as it is difficult to document whether the president knows he is not telling the truth.
On Wednesday, Sanders said during a White House briefing that it was “a ridiculous accusation” to say the president has lied to the American people.
But this week’s guilty plea by Cohen, offers indisputable evidence that Trump and his allies have been deliberately dishonest at every turn in their statements regarding payments to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Here is the definitive story of a Trump lie:
The initial lie: ‘no knowledge’
Nov. 4, 2016: The Wall Street Journal reports days before the election that the National Enquirer agreed to pay $150,000 to McDougal, a former Playboy centerfold model, for an account of an alleged affair with Trump but did not publish it, part of a “catch and kill” operation.
The publisher of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., issues a statement: “AMI has not paid people to kill damaging stories about Mr. Trump.” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks says: “We have no knowledge of any of this.”
What we know now: In August 2015, Cohen; David Pecker, the chairman of AMI; and “one or more members of the campaign” forged an agreement under which AMI would deal with negative stories about Trump’s “relationships with women” by purchasing the stories and then not publishing anything, according to the criminal information filed by federal prosecutors in the Cohen case. (In court, Cohen said he took action “at the request of the candidate” and knew it was illegal.) In August 2016, McDougal was paid $150,000 by AMI for the rights to her story – which the National Enquirer never published.
More revelations, more disinformation
Jan. 12, 2018: The Wall Street Journal exposes the $130,000 payment to Daniels. Cohen and the White House sidestep questions about the payment but deny an affair between Daniels and Trump ever took place. “This is now the second time that you are raising outlandish allegations against my client,” Cohen tells the Journal. “You have attempted to perpetuate this false narrative for over a year; a narrative that has been consistently denied by all parties since at least 2011.”
Jan. 18: White House spokesman Raj Shah dodges questions about Daniels by telling reporters: “This matter was asked and answered during the campaign, and anything else could be directed to Michael Cohen.”
The lie evolves: Cohen made the payments on his own
Feb. 13: Cohen tells the New York Times he used his own funds to pay Daniels. “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” he says. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”
What we know now: Cohen, in pleading guilty to two felony violations of campaign finance law, said he was reimbursed by the Trump Organization. Court filings showed that the company “grossed up” the payments to cover Cohen’s taxes and also added a bonus, for a total of $420,000 in payments, according to the criminal information.
Trump’s spokespeople keep saying he ‘was not aware of any of it’
March 7: White House press secretary Sanders asserts that the president told her he was unaware of the payments. “I’ve had conversations with the president about this,” she says. “There was no knowledge of any payments from the president, and he’s denied all of these allegations.” She adds: “Anything beyond that, I would refer you to the president’s outside counsel.”
March 9: Michael Avenatti, Daniels’s lawyer, discloses emails showing that Cohen used his Trump Organization email address when he arranged the $130,000 wire transfer. Cohen tells ABC News that he used his own funds: “The funds were taken from my home equity line and transferred internally to my LLC account in the same bank.” He said the use of the Trump Organization email address meant nothing because “I basically used it for everything.”
March 26: After Daniels appears on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to describe the alleged affair, White House spokesman Raj Shah sidesteps a question about whether the Trump campaign violated campaign finance laws, referring reporters to Cohen. “The president strongly, clearly and consistently denied the underlying claims,” he adds.
March 28: David Schwartz, an attorney for Cohen, tells CNN that Trump was completely unaware of the payment. “The president was not aware of the agreement. At least Michael Cohen never told him about the agreement. I can tell you that,” he says. Asked whether Trump was aware of the money, Schwartz affirms: “He was not aware of any of it.”
What we know now: Cohen, in making his guilty plea, said he worked “in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” referring to Trump, to make payments to thwart McDougal and Daniels from telling their stories.
March 29: Schwartz tells NBC News that Trump “100 percent” did not reimburse Cohen.
Trump weighs in: ‘I don’t know’
April 5: Trump flatly tells reporters he did not know about the $130,000 payment.
Reporter: “Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?”
Trump: “No, no.”
Reporter: “Then why did Michael Cohen make [the payment], if there was no truth to her allegations?”
Trump: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael’s my attorney, and you’ll have to ask Michael.”
Reporter: “Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?”
Trump: “No. I don’t know.”
What we know now: Every answer was false. Trump knew about the payment, he knew Cohen made the payment as part of an effort to kill damaging stories, and he knew Cohen was reimbursed.
The lie shifts again: Trump ‘did know about the general arrangement’
April 26: The White House spin starts to shift after Cohen’s office is raided by federal prosecutors on April 9. Trump tells Fox News: “Michael would represent me, and represent me on some things. He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”
May 2: Giuliani tells Fox News that Trump paid Cohen back for the $130,000 payment, but it could not be considered a campaign finance violation.
“They funneled it through the law firm, and the president repaid it,” Giuliani says, adding that “is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money, no campaign finance violation.”
Giuliani suggests Trump was largely in the dark about what the money was used for. “He didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this,” he says.
May 3: Trump tweets about the supposed arrangement. “Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA,” he says, adding: “Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll [sic] in this transaction.”
What we know now: This was a lie. Cohen did not get repaid through a monthly retainer. He sought reimbursement for the payment, and the Trump Organization agreed to pay $420,000, at a monthly rate of $35,000, according to court filings. The company then falsely listed the payments in its books as a retainer for legal work. “In truth and in fact, there was no such retainer agreement, and the monthly invoices Cohen submitted were not in connection for any legal services he had provided in 2017,” prosecutors wrote.
The lie unravels
May 4: Giuliani releases a statement in which he claims the payment to Daniels was intended only to “protect the president’s family” from painful publicity about an alleged affair and that “it would have been done in any event, whether he was a candidate or not.”
What we know now: The deal with Daniels was part of an arrangement to shield Trump from negative stories that was hatched by Cohen, AMI and the Trump campaign shortly after he started running for president, according to court filings.
July 24: Cohen attorney Lanny Davis releases a recording Cohen had secretly made of a conversation with Trump two months before the election, which the two discussed the arrangement with the National Enquirer to pay $150,000 to McDougal.
Aug. 21: Cohen, in court, implicates Trump by admitting that the hush-money payments had been intended to help the campaign. The payment to Daniels was deemed an excessive campaign contribution by Cohen — and the McDougal payment from AMI violated a ban on corporate donations to campaigns.
Aug. 22: In a Fox News interview, Trump sought to reframe the issue. He insisted that the payments had not been a “campaign violation.” The payments “didn’t come out of the campaign,” he said. “They came from me.”
After months of denial and deception, Trump was still not telling the truth.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 6:17 pm

ICE detained a US citizen for 2 years and tried to deport him

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ICE needs to be abolished. Morgan Gstalter reports in The Hill:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly detained a U.S. citizen for nearly two years and tried to have him deported.

Levy Jaen, a father of four, was held in a New Jersey ICE detention facility as his attorneys argued with federal prosecutors over how immigration is passed from parent to child and how ICE determines “family,” BuzzFeed News reported Monday, the same day the White House held an event honoring immigration agents.

Jaen, 46, was born in Panama, although his parents were living in New York at the time. His father later became a citizen.

His mother was allegedly having an affair at the time, and his original birth certificate lists another man. His mother stayed in the marriage, and Jaen spent his life with the man he considered his father.

BuzzFeed News reports that Jaen came to the U.S. in 1988 at the age of 15 on a visa and has lived in New York ever since, assuming he earned American citizenship through his father.

He was, however, detained by immigration officials in May 2016 after he completed a two-year sentence for his second drug possession conviction.

ICE tried to have him deported for overstaying a visa and his drug charges.

His attorneys argued that he was born into a marriage where one of his parents — the man he always considered to be his father — was a U.S. citizen, so he was as well.

ICE attorneys said that his father could not pass on citizenship to Jaen without a biological relationship.

“It is really striking for the government to be running around telling marital families that ‘no, this isn’t really a family,’ ” Ian Samuel, one of his attorneys, said. “That offends some of the oldest instincts we have as a civilized people.”

Jaen remained inside the Hudson County Correctional Facility, away from his four children, the youngest of whom is autistic.

“ICE seemed totally unconcerned they were imprisoning and deporting a U.S. citizen,” his immigration attorney, Andrea Saenz, told BuzzFeeed News. “I felt that they only saw him as a person with a criminal history.”

It wasn’t until April when a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed his citizenship and ordered for him to be released, BuzzFeed News reported.

He was reunited with his children at their home in Queens that same day.

“I felt that weight uplifted from my back. It was the happiest day of my life for me, my kids and my family,” Jaen told the outlet.

The court issued its written opinion last week, arguing that the country has long recognized that a child born into a legally married couple is considered the child of the husband — regardless of biological relations.

That has been the standard at the state and federal level for decades, the judges ruled.

“This presumption has reflected the traditional ‘aversion to declaring children illegitimate,’ as well as an interest in promoting familial tranquillity through deference to the marital family,” the court wrote in the ruling obtained by BuzzFeed News. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 1:53 pm

All career advice for women is a form of gaslighting

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Ephrat Livni has an interesting article in Quartz:

If you’re a working woman, you’ve likely been inundated with advice about how to ensure that gender double standards don’t impede your brilliant career. Assert yourself boldly at meetings in an appropriately low tone of voice, yet purr pleasingly when negotiating salary. Be smart but never superior, a team player though not a pushover, ever-effective yet not intimidatingly intellectual. Calibrate ambition correctly, so that none are offended by your sense of self-worth, but all seek to reward your value. Dress the part.

Inevitably, even in the most allegedly enlightened workplaces, women contend with subtle biases. And so the fairer sex gets the message that we can’t just work. We must also contort and twist and try not to seem bitchy as we lean in.

But the obstacles that come with working in a sexist culture are beyond any individual’s control. And so advocating a do-it-yourself approach to on-the-job equality may actually be a kind of gaslighting—just one more way for institutions to deflect blame and make women question themselves and doubt their sanity. It’s the society we operate in that needs fixing, not how we ask for money, the tone of our voices, or our outfits.

In fact, research by Duke University department of neuroscience professors Grainne Fitzsimons, Aaron Kay, and Jae Yun Kim, to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that overemphasizing messages of individual female empowerment diminishes people’s sense of systemic obstacles that require societal redress. It puts major historic problems on the shoulders of individuals, who are actually minor players, they write in the Harvard Business Review (paywall).

The problem with “Lean In”

Empowerment advice for women provides an “illusion of control” that’s not realistic, the researchers say. The advice may be good insofar as it gives us hope, but it fails to recognize larger, much more powerful forces at work, like a long history of discrimination and patriarchy.

“We suspected that by arguing that women can solve the problem themselves, advocates of the ‘DIY’ approach may imply that women should be the ones to solve it—that it is their responsibility to do so,” they write. “We also hypothesized that this message could risk leading people to another, potentially dangerous conclusion: that women have caused their own under-representation.”

To test their theories, the researchers conducted six studies on 2,000 male and female subjects in the US. Participants read text from Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, or listened to audio clips from her TED talks that describe the problem of women’s under-representation in leadership. Sandberg’s work was chosen for its prominence and because it advocates a DIY approach while also laying out the systemic problems that women face. This ensured that subjects got different messages from the same messenger—Sandberg.

Some participants read or heard the DIY messages telling women to be more ambitious, speak confidently, demand a seat at the table, and take risks. Others read or listened to information about structural and societal factors causing under-representation, like discrimination. It turned out that people who heard the DIY messages were more likely to believe women have the power to solve the problem and were also more likely to believe women are responsible for both causing and fixing gender issues. Meanwhile, subjects who heard about structural problems tended to see a need for institutions and society to address discrimination.

“What’s more, these effects were even associated with people’s policy preferences,” the scientists write. For example, people who encountered the DIY messages were more likely to blame women in a subsequent study showing that code written by female engineers at Facebook was rejected more often than code written by men.

The roots of the phenomenon at Facebook were ambiguous—meaning it might have come down to the quality of coding, or could have been because the managers were biased against women engineers. However, study subjects exposed to Sandberg’s arguments about leaning in didn’t think policy changes—like having managers review code anonymously, or training managers on bias—would be worthwhile.

The researchers note that there are limitations to their findings. The study hasn’t been replicated by other scientists, for one. Also, the work focuses, as Sandberg’s book did, on women in leadership positions, and doesn’t address working class women’s issues at all. Still, they say they’re concerned, writing, “Humans don’t like injustice, and when they cannot easily fix it, they often engage in mental gymnastics to make the injustice more palatable. Blaming victims for their suffering is a classic example — eg, that person ‘must have done something’ to deserve what’s happened to them.”

May it please the court

The truth is that women face biases that are far too profound and complex to expect any individual to resolve them on their own. Consider women attorneys. As Deborah Rhode, a Stanford Law professor, wrote in 2001 (pdf), women in the courtroom face a “double standard and a double bind.” They must avoid being seen as too soft or too strident, too aggressive or not aggressive enough.

That’s still true today, as University of San Francisco law school professor and former federal public defender Lara Bazelon explains in a recent post in The Atlantic. Women trial attorneys must do argumentative gymnastics to ably represent clients while also seeming like they are fighting nice. Unlike male lawyers who impress judges and jurors when they’re aggressive or tough, female counselors have to tread carefully, lest they displease an audience that still expects them to be mild.

“Sexism infects every kind of courtroom encounter, from pretrial motions to closing arguments—a glum ubiquity that makes clear how difficult it will be to eradicate gender bias not just from the practice of law, but from society as a whole,” Bazelon writes.

The double standard for male and female attorneys applies to attire, too. Men show up in a suit and tie and they are fine—that’s it. Women lawyers are much more intensely scrutinized—the height of their heels, length of their hair and skirts, and whether they wear pants or pantyhose or makeup is all up for discussion among judges, counselors, jurors, and clients.

I can confirm this based on my own experience. As a public defender in Palm Beach County, Florida, I heard a lot about my look and I took it to heart, mostly, dressing for my clients’ success. Notably, during my first week handling 100 clients in a domestic violence court, my mom was serving on a criminal trial jury in Massachusetts, where she told me that her fellow jurors spent much time discussing the defendant’s female counselor’s suit and shoes rather than the evidence presented. As a result, she was less concerned about my difficulties representing the indigent accused than with me finding the right outfit to do so.

My mom wasn’t wrong, though it also wasn’t even possible to dress in exactly the “right” way. As sociolinguist Deborah Tannen notes in her essay “There Is No Unmarked Woman” (pdf), there’s no such thing as a standard style for women that will enable their appearance to go unremarked upon.

Personally, I solved the problem of preferring pants to skirts and flats to heels by becoming an appellate attorney. A written brief never shows the lawyer’s outfit, and my name is too confusing and foreign to reveal my gender. But when my husband and I were partners at our own small law firm together, I was quickly reminded of bias again, as clients almost invariably assumed that I was his secretary, rather than a person who’d be fighting for them in court. Except of course—as did happen on occasion—when I’d write the motion and send a male attorney in my stead so as not to disadvantage a client in a rural part of the state where neither my name or gender would go over well. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a job I kept long.

Similarly, Bazelon escaped the courtroom after seven years and found her way to academia. Now she advises aspiring female attorneys, offering counsel she’d rather not have to share:

I tell my female students the truth: that their body and demeanor will be under relentless scrutiny from every corner of the courtroom. That they will have to pay close attention to what they wear and how they speak and move. That they will have to find a way to metabolize these realities, because adhering to biased expectations and letting slights roll off their back may be the most effective way to advance the interests of their clients in courtrooms that so faithfully reflect the sexism of our society.

Bazelon acknowledges that women are forced to play by different rules; anything less would be unfair to students. But she doesn’t disguise that reality as a pep talk, nor does she pretend that the career advice she offers is anything other than than an indictment of the larger sexist system in which she, and her students, operate.

Getting on with it

Although there’s lots of talk about equality in the workplace today, eradicating sexism from our culture is no easy task. For one thing, it starts early in our families. Disparate treatment of boys and girls begins at home, where girls do more chores (paywall) yet allowances for male children are greater than for females. The pattern continues in schools around the world, where children are socialized differently, with boys encouraged to express ideas more and girls praised for their neatness and niceness.

Despite advice to lean in, it’s still difficult for women who already know they’re equal and perform as well as men to assert themselves and be rewarded accordingly. Making your case doesn’t always result in a raise or promotion—sometimes you actually pay for the audacity.

We can even be punished for just being ourselves. For example, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 1:39 pm

We Are Not Born Human

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Bernard-Henri Lévy writes in the NY Times:

What does it mean to be human? The immensity of this question can be boiled down to an old principle proposed by the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, which he attributed to fellow philosopher Baruch Spinoza: “Determination is negation.”

But negation of what?

First, of God. In the beginning there was God — the source of infinite action. In the Western tradition, man has no purpose without God. For Christians, man was created in God’s image; for Jews, God is a good worker who lends a hand. For atheists (who, let’s not forget, are Judeo-Christians in their own way), man’s purpose is in part to topple God from his throne. If this isn’t a complete negation of God, then it at least limits his power, as humans come to occupy the space formerly reserved for God alone.

Determination is also a negation of nature. Nobody will deny — most of all not Spinoza — that a human is “natura naturata,” a thing among things, a nature among natures, a figure of the world woven from the same fiber as all other ordinary figures. But to be human is also to desire transcendence, to aspire to be more than merely a sliver of nature.

In his day, the philosopher René Descartes pondered the difference between humans and machines. Today, on the cusp of a revolution in artificial intelligence, we are pondering a similar question: How will we be able to tell a real human from a synthetic one?

A real human is “res cogitans,” a thinking thing, as Descartes put it. A source of “intentionality,” as the philosopher Edmund Husserl wrote. Being human means taking a leap out of the natural order. To be human requires an escape, in one way or another, from that mass of atoms, cells and particles from which you and I and everything else is composed. It is to be endowed with a soul, which — even if it is immaterial, without expanse or density, even if it is perfectly invisible, impalpable and inconsistent — acts as a passport out of nature and into our human essence.

This systematic denaturalization, this confidence that a piece of oneself can escape from the natural order of the world, is akin to a second birth. Nature is the first stage of humanity; but it can, under no circumstance, be its horizon.

But there is also a third birth. To be human, of course, is to be part of another entity that we call society. With all due respect to the “Rousseauism” of those who have never truly read Jean-Jacques Rousseau, man has never existed entirely on his own, with no attachment to a community of others.

But here, we must be very careful. To idolize the social sphere, to passively accept the constraints that result from the imposition of social laws and norms, can prove fatal for human striving. Here lies the bleak realm of Martin Heidegger’s “we.” Here are the nameless, faceless mobs prophesied by Edgar Allan Poe and who today have been unleashed on social media.

To be human is to preserve, inside oneself, against all forms of social pressure, a place of intimacy and secrecy into which the greater whole cannot set foot. When this sanctuary collapses, machines, zombies and sleepwalkers are sure to follow.

This private power may not be accessible to us at first. We aren’t born human; we become it. Humanity is not a form of being; it is a destiny. It is not a steady state, delivered once and for all, but a process.

To be human also means knowing that one can win battles, but never the war. Death will have the final say. If this seems all too tragic, if we are troubled by the sense that the inhuman is the rule and the human the exception, we must come to understand it as a source of salvation.

Ultimately, I am sure of nothing. Philosophy is strictly concerned with the field of the possible, not the knowable, so I can only wager on what may be.

But I do know one thing: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Daily life

Tagged with

Local spirits

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It turns out that Vancouver Island is home to quite a number of distillers. I have been sampling the products. The photo shows some recent acquisitions, but falls far short of the full range available. Victoria Distillers make(s) the first three shown: Empress 1908, Victoria Cocktail Gin (a London Dry gin), and Victoria Oaken Gin (aged in oak). Sheringham Distillery makes Seaside Gin, whose botanicals include winged kelp. De Vine Vineyards, which we visited yesterday, makes the remaining: New Tom, an Old Tom gin (rather than a London Dry) aged in bourbon barrles; Vin Gin, a gin made from wine; Honey Shine Amber, a rum made from honey rather than sugar cane/molasses; and Moderna, a sweet vermouth (a fortified) wine. I wanted to buy their De Vine Kiss (a vodka made from strawberries), but the last bottle of current production was sold the day before I arrived (though I think a customer-oriented answer would have been that the last bottle was sold a month ago). Also not in stock but I want: Ancient Grains (a whisky made from ancient varieties of wheat) and Glen Saanich, a Scotch-like malt whisky (Saanich being the area in which De Vine Vineyards is located).

As you can see at the links, the range of offerings goes well beyond the spirits listed. We also bought a few wines from De Vine: a 2016 Foch, a 2017 Fleur, and a 2017 Siegerrebe.

It’s pleasant to have such local delicacies available (when they are).

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 9:45 am

Posted in Daily life, Drinks

WSP Monarch, Meißner Tremonia Strong ‘n Scottish, The Holy Black SR-71 slant, and Chiseled Face Easy Street

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Meißner Tremonia shaving soaps all contain clay, so I wasn’t taken by surprise by having to add water during loading, though in fact today I had to add very little. The Holy Black slant is quite nice: same head as the Merkur 37 but with a very hefty handle (which, oddly, makes the handle feel shorter than the 37 handle, though it’s the same length). Three passes, totally smooth, and a good splash of Easy St.

Great way to start the day. Still no morning walk, both because The Younger Daughter is here and because the smoke level from the forest fires is so high (10+ on a 10-point scale). I ordered a box of N95 approved filtering facepiece particulate respirators, and those will be here Friday. I’ll use them when the smoke’s bad. When TYD and I were driving back from De Vine Vineyards we saw people who were working on highway construction wearing the masks.

Written by Leisureguy

22 August 2018 at 9:26 am

Posted in Shaving

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