Later On

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

Archive for May 27th, 2019

Not bad: The day’s intake

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Here is how today’s food panned out. I entered my typical day’s meals in the analysis program at, which provides a breakdown by micronutrients (and also allows you to see, if you want, sodium, net carbs, cholesterol, etc.). UPDATE: I just found a much better free site that provides a more detailed analysis of micronutrients: I’ll be using that from time to time to check my diet.

Fat 49g – extra-virgin olive oil mostly, but 1 oz of peanuts for a snack was 15g of that and amaranth was 4g.

Carbs 271g – goodbye, low-carb diet. However, still very low in simple carbs, and the carbs were all chilled after cooking, which makes the starch resistant and not so quickly digested, avoiding spikes in blood glucose. Still: 2 navel oranges, 2 oz pomegranate juice, 1/3 cup hulled barley, 1/2 cup baby lima beans, the leek scapes (13g carbs), 1/3 c amaranth (43g), kaboucha squash (9g), 1/4 cup whole-grain rye (29g), 1 cup berries (21g—no fat, though).

Fiber — and here’s where I shine: 69g – “USDA’s recommended daily amount  for adults up to age 50 is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Women and men older than 50 should have 21 and 30 daily grams, respectively.” That’s from the Harvard Health Blog. Only 3% of Americans meet this goal, so I figure only 3% of Americans eat a plant-focused diet. Biggest contributor was the bowl of berries: 9g. But all the vegetables, fruit, and grains pitched in, and it adds up. I certainly exceed the 30g recommended minimum for my age group and indeed the 38g minimum recommended for younger men. And as a result, my net carbs were 202g. From a low-carb point of view, that’s a lot, but I’m hoping the resistant starch and the high fiber intake will still result in blood glucose control. I have a new blood glucose meter on its way to me (Contour Next One), which they give away if you ask (making their money on the strips). It has excellent reviews regarding accuracy.

Protein 62g – I now know that’s way more than adequate. I posted this video earlier:

Altogether, things look on track. I won’t be doing a detailed analysis every day, but just from time to time to see whether I’m on tract.

The breakdown:

The acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR) are 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs, 20–35% from fats and 10–35% from protein. (That’s from this post.)

UPDATE: Bonus fun video:

After you watch the video, click this link and look at the article titles.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2019 at 7:15 pm

Tasty lunch of purple asparagus, leek scapes, and green garlic, topped with amaranth and pepitas

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I really have switched diets, haven’t I?

I heated my No. 10 Field Company cast-iron skillet in the oven, and while it heated I chopped:

• 12-14 large purple asparagus stalks
• about 14 leek scapes (photo at the link)
• 4 green garlic and leaves

When the pan was hot, I added

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

and all the vegetables, along with

• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon dried marjoram

I used my wooden spatula to stir the vegetables as they cooked, and after about 15-20 minutes decided they were done. I put in a cup in a bowl, squeezed

• juice of 1/2 lemon

over them, and topped them with

• 1/3 cup cooked amaranth
• 1 tablespoon roasted, salted pepitas

It was really tasty. One thing I’m learning is that, though the dishes are not what I’ve had before, they are very good. They are not, however, low-carb meals. So far today: 167g total carbs, but 38g dietary fiber, so 129g net carbs—none of which are refined, fast-digesting carbs, so I thin my blood glucose will stay on an even keel. (I’m getting a new blood-glucose meter in the mail so I can check.) Fat so far is 19g and protein 40g.

Total: 6 WW Freestyle points. My breakfast was 9 so I have 8 left for dinner. Easy peasy.

I also scraped the seeds out of a kaboucha squash, cut into into chunks (this is a squash that requires no peeling), tossed with just a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and roasted at 410ºF for 30 minutes. After it cooled a bit, I had a bowl of pieces that I sprinkled with cinnamon. Excellent dessert, at most 1 point from the little olive oil.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2019 at 12:58 pm

Why do the wealthy want their children to study the liberal arts?

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Full disclosure: My undergraduate studies were intensely liberal arts (the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD) and a decade after I was graduated, I was director of admissions for three years (so I can describe the program and its goals to a fare thee well).

Valerie Strauss writes (and quotes) in the Washington Post:

A new analysis by two economists takes issue with those who argue that liberal arts education is not worth the investment.

Catharine B. Hill and Elizabeth Davidson, of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, looked at how much graduates with a liberal arts education can earn. They found that while liberal arts majors may not earn as much engineers, they do well, showing that critics are incorrect about the worth of the degree.

That brings us to the post below, written by Donald Lazere, professor emeritus of English at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, who asks and answers the following question: If a liberal arts education isn’t worth the money, as critics contend, why do the United States’ wealthy families want their children to get one?

He is co-author, with Anne-Marie Womack, of the third edition of “Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy: The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric,” forthcoming from Routledge. He is also the author of “Political Literacy in Composition and Rhetoric,” “The Unique Creation of Albert Camus,” and the editor of “American Media and Mass Culture: Left Perspectives.”

Donald Lazere writes:

The recent scandal over wealthy parents bribing their children’s way into Ivy League-level universities intensifies a long-standing anomaly: The curriculum at the United States’ most selective and expensive private undergraduate colleges has always centrally been the liberal arts, yet little public attention has been paid to what in that curriculum has made it so desirable by the children of the wealthy or those aspiring to wealth.

Those who ridicule the liberal arts love to focus on bizarrely titled or narrowly specialized college courses in literary or philosophical study, or doctrinaire-sounding subjects in identity politics.

The accuracy of such accounts is often disputable, but to whatever extent they may be accurate, I agree that such courses often abandon the most important mission of liberal education, which is to embody what sociologist Alvin Gouldner termed a “culture of critical discourse” that is the common language of bachelor of arts students, faculty, and graduates, whatever their class, ethnic, or gender identities may be.

What constitutes that culture? One root of it was in the philosophy of Socrates, who, as recounted in Plato’s “The Apology,” urged his students to question both established authority and their own beliefs, to “know thyself,” because “the unexamined life is not worth living.” One of many contemporary reaffirmations of Socratic questioning is philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s book “Not for Profit: Why Society Needs the Humanities”:

If a nation wants to promote . . . democracy dedicated to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to each and every person, what abilities will it need to produce in its citizens? At least the following seem crucial: The ability to think well about political issues affecting the nation, to examine, reflect, argue, and debate, deferring to neither tradition nor authority.

Such formulations might seem sensible enough, yet they lead into vexing dilemmas.

First, why do they tend to emanate from “elite” colleges such as the University of Chicago or Ivy League schools, where Nussbaum has taught. And why do we presume that they have value for the elite of students there, but not for students in every college in the country, as well as in every K-12 school?

In fact, such a policy was advocated in 2010 (though still not widely implemented) by the much-maligned Common Core State Standards Initiative commissioned by the National Governors Association, advocating nationwide instruction in K-12 “to demonstrate the cogent reasoning and use of evidence that is essential to responsible citizenship in a democratic republic.”

Perhaps the wisest view on these issues ever articulated in the United States was that of Thomas Jefferson in an 1813 letter to John Adams titled “The Natural Aristocrat,” in which Jefferson described a model he had devised (but that, alas, was never implemented nationally) for making free, quality education through the university level accessible to all social classes, “at the public expense” — i.e., tax-funded.

“Worth and genius would thus have been sought out from every condition of life, and completely prepared by education for defeating the competition of wealth and birth for public trusts.”

Moreover, this model of universal access to education would have “raised the mass of the people to the high ground of moral respectability necessary to their own safety, and to orderly government, and would have completed the great object of qualifying them to elect the veritable aristoi [or ‘meritocracy’], for the trusts of government, to the exclusion of the pseudalists [those born to wealth and power].”

As for the content of this education, Jefferson included in a letter advising his nephew Peter Carr on his studies: “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there is one, He must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”

So it becomes clear that much of what conservatives revile as “liberal bias” or “moral relativism” in today’s education is precisely the tradition of skeptical, or critical, discourse from Plato to Jefferson and other American founders in the 18th Century Age of Reason. Both educated liberals and conservatives should cherish the liberal arts-educated “cultural elite” as our society’s Socratic gadfly — but with entry to it extended to those of “worth and genius … from every condition of life.”

The knottiest paradox of the identification of liberal education with the rich might be that many “classic” writings in the liberal arts curriculum, especially in the humanities, have virulently condemned wealth and the wealthy, as Socrates did in teaching his students in Athens to embrace a life of poverty in quest of wisdom and virtue — a doctrine so subversive that it led to his arrest and execution.

Socrates foreshadowed the New Testament, whose dominant theme is again condemnation of wealth — though centuries of propagandists for the wealthy have rationalized that the Gospel does not say it is all that hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Among the subsequent classics written by the much-reviled dead white males taught in “Western Civilization” courses — whatever their justly criticized gender and racial biases and inconsistencies were — the vast majority fiercely opposed wealth and the wealthy, especially following the rise of industrial capitalism, with its “dark satanic mills” (William Blake).

In mid-19th century America, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” sounded like his European contemporary Karl Marx: “Young men of the fairest promise … are hindered from action by the disgust which the principles on which business is managed inspire, and turn drudges, or die of disgust—some of them suicides.”

Emerson’s disciple Henry David Thoreau (like Emerson, a Harvard graduate) concurred in his essay “Life Without Principle:” “The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward.” And, “There is nothing, not even crime, that is more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.”

Mark Twain, who coined the term “the Gilded Age” in the late 19th Century, wrote then,

It was impossible to save the great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. . . The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.

What, then, can we make of the anomaly that the elite liberals arts education so coveted today by the rich or those seeking to get rich consists largely of diatribes against the rich?

Possible answers are deeply tangled up in the history of education, such as the concept of a “gentleman’s education” for those so secure in their social rank and beyond needing to work for a living that they can disinterestedly consider and write criticisms of their own class — in some cases, going so far as to act against it politically, in the mode of Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Another, more cynical theory is that, despite all the desperate effort expended on being admitted to, and graduating from, liberal arts colleges, maybe the actual subject matter and academic rigor of a liberal arts curriculum are basically a facade for the primary worth of an Ivy-level diploma, which is the social contacts made while attaining it and the prestige associated with it, like a designer label or secret handshake.

Then there are the stereotypical rich students, often legacy admissions, who seek only the “Gentleman’s C,” putting in minimal academic work while mainly partying and networking socially.

Even so, it remains a mystery why four or more years of rigorous immersion in “the culture of critical discourse” remains the price of the ticket to the financial and social elite.

Years ago I taught a GE&B-required introduction to literature course at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, in the midst of prosperous farm country. One student, whose family owned a large ranch, kept ragging me: Why should he have to waste time on general education instead of taking just Ag Management courses?

I tried repeatedly, and I hope cordially, to review justifications for liberal education and to explain why it is favored by society’s movers and shakers, including Jefferson’s notion of moral responsibility and Nussbaum’s “ability to think well about political issues affecting the nation, to examine, reflect, argue, and debate.”

After one of my efforts, he burst out, “Are you telling us that we should study this stuff just so we can talk about it on the golf course?” Maybe he had a point — though I can’t envision a discussion of Socrates or Thoreau at any country club I know of.

Other possible explanations or resolutions for these paradoxes are too complex even to speculate about here. Suffice it to say that we will have far from the most desirable system for education that enables students to become active critics of the politico-economic status quo, so long as access to it is limited to students who are, or are likely to become, the prime beneficiaries of it.

More pertinent to the practical consequences of these paradoxes is this: It is a national disgrace today that instead of making liberal education in K-12 and college more accessible to those from “every condition of life,” access is being fatally curtailed through legislative budget cuts, skyrocketing tuition and student loan debt, and political anti-intellectualism.

Little defense of liberal education for an enlightened citizenry has been heard from any prominent political leader — even Democrats such as Barack Obama, whose education, two books written before his presidency and speeches were more steeped in liberal arts than any president in memory, but who as president caved in to lobbies for STEM education and school privatizers.

I see several sources for the national abandonment of liberal education. First, many conservatives, especially among orthodox religious believers and those who have not attended college, resist any notion of education “deferring to neither tradition nor authority” — the traditional authority of the family, church and nationalism.

Second, the large lobby for privatization of K-12 and for increasing corporate control over higher education seeks both to turn education into a profit-making enterprise and to replace liberal-leaning teachers and students with corporate-compliant ones. The ferocious tax-cutting and privatizing lobbyist Grover Norquist has admitted that his political goal is to “crush the structures of the left” in education and other public employment.

Moreover, among the wealthy who have gained the upper hand in virtually every branch and level of American society and government, many are quite aware of the value of liberal education, so want to restrict it to their children precisely, in Jefferson’s terms, to prevent the less privileged classes from “defeating the competition of wealth and birth for public trusts.”

The pretexts of these conservative forces for heartless budget cuts in public education are budgetary austerity (not a problem when it comes to military spending,astronomical personal fortunes, corporate profits, and campaign contributions) or the need to stamp out political correctness in liberal teachers and students. These conservatives would throw out the precious baby of universal liberal education with the bathwater of perceived liberal bias.

Finally, it is not just liberal education for anyone except the rich that is endangered. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2019 at 11:16 am

Wow! I was worried about the wrong nutrient

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I was worried that going to plant-focused diet meant that I would have to be very careful to get enough protein. Not so. But in fact the American is considerably lacking in some things. Watch this 5-minute video:

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2019 at 9:41 am

Products I must use more often: Otoko Organics and Diplomat aftershave

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Dedication: This post is dedicated to Eddie T. in Australia. UPDATE: Eddie identifies a US vendor for Otoko Organics!

Once again I find myself saying, “Wow! What a great lather!” and remind myself to use this shaving “soap” more often. Otoko Organics is not a true soap, but it does make a fine lather. The website at the link is cryptic to a fault (for example, it doesn’t give you any hint as to how to buy the product or contact the vendor), though it does note:

  • Jojoba extract
  • Deionized water
  • Proprietary no-ionic surfactants derived from soy and corn
  • Aloe vera
  • Glycerine

That’s well and good, but how do you buy it? The Razor Shop in Australia sells it (and has more information about it).  The price is AU$21.95 (US$15.18, CA$20.42). Fortunately, I have a tub on hand and picked it up this morning. It made a terrific lather, and I do love the fragrance (from pear essence). I used the Maggard 22mm synthetic brush shown, and I think this works best with a synthetic brush of the angelhair/Plissoft variety. It’s really remarkably good, and it is definitely back in my rotation.

I used my Above the Tie S1 on a UFO handle and enjoyed an extremely nice shave with a very smooth result. The lather really did its job and the razor glided easily.

I haven’t picked up this Diplomat aftershave for a while, and I was struck by the fragrance. It has a very nice note in it that I (of course) cannot identify. It’s a Czech aftershave and not easy to find, but my bottle is almost full—though, after enjoying the fragrance this morning, it won’t be full for long.

Written by Leisureguy

27 May 2019 at 7:36 am

Posted in Shaving

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