Later On

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

Archive for December 23rd, 2020

100 Tips for a Better Life

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The end of the Gregorian calendar year seems to bring forth many listicles. Here’s another one, which nabbed me with its first tip:


1 .If you want to find out about people’s opinions on a product, google <product> reddit. You’ll get real people arguing, as compared to the SEO’d Google results.

2. Some . . .

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Daily life

An Open Letter to the Woman in Smith’s Food and Drug Who Was Enraged That Land O’Lakes Removed the Native American Logo from Its Butter Tub

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A wonderful missive by Liz Reuss in McSweeney’s:

Dear Smith’s Food and Drug Shopper,

I couldn’t help but overhear your tirade in the dairy aisle as you loudly complained about how Land O’Lakes kowtowed to the “libtards” by removing the image of the “Indian” woman from its butter tub.

I would apologize for eavesdropping, but the decibel of your voice indicated you wanted us all to know the “PC Police are coming for our freedoms.” Assuming “freedoms,” in this case, means being able to look at a drawing of a Native American woman holding a stick of butter while eating that same stick of butter. And assuming PC Police are not a deputized group of individuals but rather a general shift in our collective consciousness away from exploiting stereotypes in order to sell products.

Perhaps I misread your tone. Maybe you’re upset about the lack of representation of Indigenous Peoples and are using your white privilege to speak on behalf of a group that for centuries has been mistreated by white Europeans and their descendants. However, based on how heavily you stressed the first syllable of “INdian,” I’m making assumptions. So shame on me, who’s stereotyping now?

You might be right that I am a “slave to woke culture” by assuming Mia, the Land O’Lakes maiden, is a stereotype. According to Robert DesJarlait of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, whose father redesigned her image in 1954, “Mia seems to have stirred a sense of remembrance and place” among many Native Americans who never objected to her representation. Maybe you only wanted to amplify their voices when you pivoted from butter to football and declared that to you, they will always be the Washington Redskins. You, a white woman of indeterminate older age, living 1,873 miles away from FedEx Field.

We could both be wrong, and Land O’Lakes told the truth when it said the logo redesign was to recognize the dairy farmers who make its products. Butter was never a part of the traditional Native American diet anyway. Particularly for the Ojibwe people, whose diets revolved around beans, wild rice, berries, and game meats. But look at me — telling you this as if you don’t know it already!

I was troubled to hear you threaten to take your business to Trader Joe’s, where they have resisted the “Strong Arm of the Left” and continue to sell their vaguely ethnic foods under the Trader Ming’s, Trader José, and Arabian Joe banners. First, it is my duty to inform you there isn’t a single Trader Joe’s in Edgewood, New Mexico. You’ll have to drive to Albuquerque, which is 60 minutes round trip, unless it’s rush hour, and then you’re looking at 90 minutes, maybe two hours. All for butter? It’s madness! Second, Trader Joe’s butter is just called “Butter,” not something racist and catchy, which I think is what you’re looking for.

I implore you to consider . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 11:51 am

Posted in Daily life

Oddly compelling series on Netflix: The Uncanny Counter

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I didn’t expect all that much when I decide to watch some of the first episode of The Uncanny Counter, but I find it strangely gripping. It’s one where episodes are released weekly, but right now 8 episodes are available (and I’m in episode 4).

You might try watching the first episode and see what you think. Korean, subtitles, police/supernatural.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 11:35 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Emotional moment worth watching: California Senatorial appointment

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Watch this brief clip.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 10:37 am

“I’m Haunted by What I Did as a Lawyer in the Trump Justice Department”

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worked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department from 2016-18, writes in the NY Times:

I was an attorney at the Justice Department when Donald Trump was elected president. I worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, which is where presidents turn for permission slips that say their executive orders and other contemplated actions are lawful. I joined the department during the Obama administration, as a career attorney whose work was supposed to be independent of politics.

I never harbored delusions about a Trump presidency. Mr. Trump readily volunteered that his agenda was to disassemble our democracy, but I made a choice to stay at the Justice Department — home to some of the country’s finest lawyers — for as long as I could bear it. I believed that I could better serve our country by pushing back from within than by keeping my hands clean. But I have come to reconsider that decision.

My job was to tailor the administration’s executive actions to make them lawful — in narrowing them, I could also make them less destructive. I remained committed to trying to uphold my oath even as the president refused to uphold his.

But there was a trade-off: We attorneys diminished the immediate harmful impacts of President Trump’s executive orders — but we also made them more palatable to the courts.

This burst into public view early in the Trump administration in the litigation over the executive order banning travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, which my office approved. The first Muslim ban was rushed out the door. It was sweeping and sloppy; the courts quickly put a halt to it. The successive discriminatory bans benefited from more time and attention from the department’s lawyers, who narrowed them but also made them more technocratic and therefore harder for the courts to block.

After the Supreme Court’s June 2018 decision upholding the third Muslim ban, I reviewed my own portfolio — which included matters targeting noncitizens, dismantling the Civil Service and camouflaging the president’s corruption — overcome with fear that I was doing more harm than good. By Thanksgiving of that year, I had left my job.

Still, I felt I was abandoning the ship. I continued to believe that a critical mass of responsible attorneys staying in government might provide a last line of defense against the administration’s worst instincts. Even after I left, I advised others that they could do good by staying. News reports about meaningful pushback by Justice Department attorneys seemed to confirm this thinking.

I was wrong.

Watching the Trump campaign’s attacks on the election results, I now see what might have happened if, rather than nip and tuck the Trump agenda, responsible Justice Department attorneys had collectively — ethically, lawfully — refused to participate in President Trump’s systematic attacks on our democracy from the beginning. The attacks would have failed.

Unlike the Trump Justice Department, the Trump campaign has relied on second-rate lawyers who lack the skills to maintain the president’s charade. After a recent oral argument from Rudy Giuliani, Judge Matthew Brann (a Republican) wrote that the campaign had offered “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.” Even judges appointed by Mr. Trump have refused to throw their lots in with lawyers who can’t master the basic mechanics of lawyering.

After four years of bulldozing through one institution after another on the backs of skilled lawyers, the Trump agenda hit a brick wall.

The story of the Trump campaign’s attack on our elections could have been the story of

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 8:36 am

Why are there so few children’s books set in the suburbs?

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Philip Reed, a professor of philosophy at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, writes in Psyche:

Once upon a time, there were four little rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. They lived with their mother in a sandbank underneath the root of a very big fir tree. One day, their mother dropped them off at soccer practice and picked them up promptly afterward. When they got home, they all had bread and milk and blackberries.

That is roughly how the classic Beatrix Potter story from 1902 would go if it had been set in the American suburbs. But even if Potter hadn’t set her books in England’s Lake District, she would never have chosen a suburban setting. The suburbs kill the narrative adventure that is the lifeblood of children’s literature.

Reading picture books to my children over the past 10 years, I’ve noticed how many of the stories shun a suburban setting. This is no accident: the tales that most grip the imagination of children (and adults), with few exceptions, require rural or urban locations for their drama and vitality.

To simplify, the antithesis of North American suburbia is walkability, and picture books with literary merit love walkability. Compelling children’s stories require that their characters are able to navigate their setting at a pedestrian scale and pace. For example, in the US author Arnold Lobel’s classic stories of the 1970s, Frog and Toad never appear in a car, despite being thoroughly anthropomorphised. What most draws the reader into the stories are the adventures that the amphibians experience between their houses – in the meadow, the woods and the tall grass. They climb mountains and swim in ponds, but they also walk everywhere: to fly a kite, to buy ice-cream, to fulfil a to-do list.

The plots of the Frances stories of the 1960s and ’70s written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban also revolve around walkability. Frances can walk to the general store and buy a tea set or a Chompo bar. Her trips on foot to her friends’ houses frequently initiate narrative adventure. ‘Today is my wandering day,’ announces Frances’s friend Albert, on which he likes to catch snakes, walk on fences and look for crow feathers. ‘Wandering days’ in American suburbs, however, are infrequent or nearly impossible. Walkable environments preserve independence for the young, who are often the main characters in children’s stories.

Consider George and Martha as yet another example. The only cars we see them in are the bumper cars at the amusement park. The US writer and illustrator James Marshall’s beloved hippopotamuses of the 1970s and ’80s consistently engage meaningful, walkable destinations rather than sprawling subdivisions. They can hopscotch home after a visit to the store, comfort each other on their walk home from a scary movie, or push a bed to a picnic using roller skates.

In urban settings, walkability is closely linked to public transport, which is another narrative avenue for rich engagement with one’s environment. Accordingly, the number of picture books that feature trains and buses is significantly greater than the number of trains and buses that most Americans experience. Yet I’ve never seen a picture book that features a minivan or an SUV.

The zookeeper in Peggy Rathmann’s Good Night, Gorilla (1994) lives within walking distance of the zoo. In Erin and Philip Stead’s A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2011), the zookeeper takes the bus to work. Both commutes are integral to the stories’ plots, enabling shenanigans for the zoo animals.

Besides public transport, urban settings give other ample opportunities for  . . .

Continue reading.

I find his point about the importance of “walkability” an interesting insight, which, now that I live in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, I understand. Think of places you’ve lived in which you mostly got around by walking (and perhaps public transportation as well) rather than by car. Being in a car is isolating, walking among people or being among them by using public transportation involves you more in the daily lives of others.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 8:30 am

Posted in Books, Daily life, Memes

Trump moved cyber security budget to pay for his wall before major hacking assault

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Stuti Mishra reports in the Independent:

A former FBI deputy has alleged that President Trump has been diverting money from cybersecurity resources to build a wall at a time when the “nation is under attack”.

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday about a report published in Politico that revealed that hackers accessed systems at the National Nuclear Security Administration, Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI deputy director for counterintelligence, said that the reason such attacks are occurring is that the budget for cybersecurity under the Trump administration had been squeezed in order to prioritise other things.

“Make no mistake, our nation is under attack and it appears to be ongoing,” said Mr Figliuzzi. “How does something like this happen of this magnitude? Where 300,000 clients of a private company are potentially impacted including the most sensitive agencies in our government, it is because the Russias were able to find a single point of failure in our supply chain.”

“Meaning this product that comes from SolarWinds is a network management product used by too many, quite frankly, of all government agencies and too many of our top telecommunications companies. Ten of which were compromised as far as we know — so far. So, it is a larger issue, Nicolle, of supply chain management.”

He also said that it’s more than merely an intelligence failure but rather “it’s a national defense failure.”

“This is the defence of our nation and systems and failure to oversee our supply chain in a form of allowing one company to service so many of our government agencies,” he said.

“The Russians found that weakness and exploited it and we’re still learning the extent of the damage and Natasha reported that hour now our nuclear components have been impacted and one of the words that jumped out there the reporting is damaged.”

On Thursday, Politico reported that the Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 8:24 am

Kushner OK’d Trump Campaign Shell Company That Secretly Paid Trump’s Inner Circle

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Rachel Olding in the Daily Beast describes the details of how Trump’s scam “send me money to fight election outcome” works:

ared Kushner approved the creation of a shell company that operated like a “campaign within a campaign” and secretly funneled millions of dollars in campaign cash to Trump family members, Business Insider reports. The company, American Made Media Consultants Corporation and American Made Media Consultants LLC, took more than half of the Trump campaign’s massive $1.26 billion war chest and was largely shielded from having to publicly report financial details. However, a source told Business Insider that Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump was the company’s president, Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew was its VP, and Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman was treasurer and secretary.

The mysterious company caused consternation among other campaign staffers, who had no idea how it was spending money, and the Campaign Legal Center filed a civil complaint with the FEC in June accusing the Trump campaign of laundering $170 million largely through it. A campaign spokesperson . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 8:13 am

Otoko Organics, the wonderful odd shaving soap

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Otoko Organics has an odd formulation, with a distinctive (and mild) fragrance from the pear essence in it. Its lather also is distinctive, an odd stiffish lather, pleasant to apply and highly effective. I treasure my tub — which, incidentally is made so that top interlocks with the bottom. This clearly is a design to facilitate stacking, but it also means that the top performs perfectly as a pedestal. Previously, I had not noticed that, but ever since Steve Riehle pointed out that using the top as the tub’s pedestal solves the problem of where to put the top (in my bathroom with its paucity of counter space, I’ve been using that method. This is the first tub I encountered where the top interlocked with the btom, but I bet my Eufros shaving soap in the plastic tubs might do that as well. We’ll see.

At any rate, a very fine lather emerged using my Yaqi Target Shot brush, and the Yaqi DOC razor did its usual superb job. This is an exceptional razor. Three passes always produce a totally smooth result, and it never so much as threatens to nick.

A splash of Barrister & Mann’s Fougère Classique finished the job. A great start to an overcast but not rainy day, so another walko — 6600 steps yesterday, gas a few oing for 8000 today. And on the way way I pass a store that has a few remaining heads of locally grown red Russian garlic, which I will scoop up (if any are left by time I arrive), since that garlic will not be seen again until October at the earliest.

Written by Leisureguy

23 December 2020 at 8:03 am

Posted in Shaving

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