Later On

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

Archive for July 5th, 2021

Tempeh bacon? Nah, just marinated tempeh.

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You could use firm tofu, but I prefer tempeh because it is a whole food. The marinade for the Game Changer recipe has these ingredients:

• 2 – 8oz packages of tempeh
• 3 tablespoons low sodium tamari
• 1 tablespoon white miso
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

But I suddenly realized that: a) I don’t have to think of it as “bacon,” which means I can use any marinade ingredients I want; b) I don’t have to cook it in the oven — I can just fry it in a non-stick pan; and c) I can have a bunch of slices marinating in the fridge and just take some out to cook for a meal, either as whole strips or after cooking cut them into squares, and toss them into a salad. [Full disclosure: I got the idea from one of these videos, although he uses tofu and I prefer tempeh because it’s a whole food.]

So the marinade tonight:

• Louisiana hot sauce
• tamari
• Wright’s liquid smoke
• brown-rice vinegar
• maple syrup
• garlic powder

I put in 8 thin strips sliced off the chickpea-peanut tempeh (I’m on the last little block of that). I’ll fry up 4 of them tomorrow morning and let you know how they came out. Obviously, you can vary the marinade as you want. I’m thinking of pomegranate molasses for the next batch, and perhaps then I’ll include some miso (though that makes the marinade a little grainy — I think liquids probably work best). Hmm. I wonder how just a little instant coffee would work — or instead of maple syrup, blackstrap molasses.

Update

Above left, tempeh strips resting in marinade (overnight); above right, four of the strips after frying. I fried in just a little olive oil, otherwise the strips would have no oil at all.

Very tasty, though not particularly bacon-like: chewy rather than crisp, not nearly so much grease so different mouthfeel. The hot sauce added a spicy kick that bacon lacks. The maple syrup requires you to keep an eye on the strips, otherwise the sugar will burn; I did, so they didn’t.

It was fairly salty — hot sauce and tamari, I reckon — but not bad at all. Obviously, you have considerable flexibility in your choice of ingredients for the marinade.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 7:44 pm

Former Murdoch Exec: Fox News Is Poison For America

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Preston Padden writes in the Daily Beast:

Rupert Murdoch, whom I served for seven years, has many business and journalistic achievements. He owes himself a better legacy than a news channel that no reasonable person would believe.

It was my great honor to join Rupert, Barry Diller (who now is the chairman of IAC, The Daily Beast’s parent company), Jamie Kellner and many others in the early days of Fox Broadcasting Company, the network that’s the home to The Simpsons and the NFL. I worked closely with Rupert and I found him to be brilliant, courageous, optimistic, and a gentleman. (Everything that follows regarding Fox News and Rupert Murdoch represents my opinion.)

I had first-hand exposure to all of those qualities as he defied all of the odds to build a fourth network—a network that an expensive government study in the 1980s had concluded was “not likely to be viable.” He ignored the ridicule from ABC, CBS, and NBC, whose president called us the “coat hanger network”—a reference to the loop antennas required to receive our weak UHF local affiliate stations. Rupert never lost his confidence or his optimism. He snatched the Sunday afternoon NFL games away from CBS. He recruited strong VHF local affiliate stations from all three of the old networks. And by 2005 he had built the most watched broadcast television network in America. Amazing!

Initially Fox News followed the standard Murdoch playbook: find a market in need of new competition, jump in with both feet and shake up the status quo. Clearly there was an opening for a responsible and truthful center-right news network. And that is how Fox News started. I played a cameo role in the birth of Fox News by accompanying Roger Ailes to meet with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to seek his help in persuading Time-Warner CEO Gerry Levin to carry Fox News on the all-important Time-Warner Cable systems in New York City. Levin did not want to provide “oxygen” for a new channel to compete with Time-Warner’s CNN. Ultimately Murdoch had to pay a massive “tribute” to cable operators to get Fox News added to their systems. But as always, he was confident—confident that his new channel would be a success and that he would get all the money back. And he did.

But, in recent years things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News. Fox News is no longer a truthful center-right news network. The channel (especially the leading prime-time opinion programming) has contributed substantially and directly to:

  • divisions in our society by stoking racial animus and fueling the totally false impression that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are engaged in nightly, life-threatening riots across the country;
  • the unnecessary deaths of many Americans by fueling hesitation and doubt about the efficacy and safety of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines [Fox News provided me examples of pro-mask/vaccine on-air comments, but in my opinion, they were heavily outweighed by the negative comments of the highly rated primetime opinion hosts];
  • former President Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him by providing a continuous platform for wild and false claims about the election—claims refuted by more than 60 judges, Republican State election officials, recounts in numerous States and Trump’s own Attorney General; and
  • the Jan. 6, 2021, violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by continually promoting former President Trump’s “Stop The Steal” rally.

Fox News has caused many millions of Americans—most of them Republicans (as my wife and I were for 50 years)—to believe things that simply are not true. For example, Yahoo News reports that 73 percent of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters” for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Of course, that is ludicrous. All one has to do is look at the pictures or videos of the attack to see that the violent mob was comprised of Trump supporters. Similarly, a poll by SSRS in late April found that two-thirds of Republicans either believe or suspect that the election was stolen from Trump—60 percent saying there is “hard evidence” that the election was stolen. As noted above, this ridiculous notion has been thoroughly refuted. But millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because they have been drilled into their minds, night after night, by Fox News.

The greatest irony is . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 7:01 pm

Plant-based-diet food tips

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Unless you eat only meat, eggs, dairy, and fish, you will find yourself eating vegetables and other plant-based foods, and this guy actually has some useful, interesting tips, plus he does show how a the foods on a plant-based diet can be tasty and intriguing.

However, he is a vegan, so he happily eats a certain amount of processed food (the pasta he likes, for example). Since I eat whole foods, I am not so inclined as he is to accept highly processed foods — for example, I prefer tempeh to tofu. And I am not so inclined to drink a smoothie — I’d rather eat the whole foods. (Chewing, for me, is not a problem.)

He does seem a little too excitable — I wish he’d turn down the enthusiasm and energy a few notches — but I understand that some believe that a high-pitch of excitement is required in videos (cf. fast-food commercials in which people are close to manic excitement over their hamburger). Still, I would like to say to him, “Cool your jets, man. Take a deep breath and calm down.”

Nonetheless, take a look at these three videos and see if you don’t find some tips you can use.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 6:39 pm

Are emulsifiers that are routinely added to processed foods totally safe to eat?

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I think I’ll try to avoid eating emulsifiers since I want to avoid eating anything that causes inflammation or is hostile to the gut microbiome. (Splenda and other synthetic sweeteners are toxic to the gut microbiome, but erythritrol seems safe.) I do use a bottled salad dressing from time to time, but its ingredients are safe.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 5:24 pm

Art techniques from around the world

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Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 12:34 pm

Posted in Art, Daily life, Technology

When a bureaucracy becomes totally stupid

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Kim Willsher reports in the Guardian:

The trouble began in 2016. When Jeanne Pouchain’s passport application was declined, she was annoyed – but assumed she must have forgotten an important piece of paperwork.

Several weeks later, at a doctor’s appointment in her town of Saint-Joseph, outside Lyon in south-east France, both Pouchain, then 53, and her GP were perplexed when his computer spat out her carte vitalethe green card that gives access to the French public health system. Pouchain put it down to a technical blip. She assumed that was also the reason her pharmacy suggested she would have to pay in full for her diabetes drugs.

It seemed like a series of annoying coincidences; the kind of red tape many in France find themselves tangled up in at one time or another in a country notorious for bureaucracy. It was irritating but would, she assumed, eventually be resolved.

But when the former cleaning company boss received her bank statement and discovered her business account had been plunged into the red, even though she had paid in dozens of cheques, she started to become seriously concerned. “I knew money should have been going into my account, but there was nothing in it. So I went to the bank. It’s only a small branch; I’ve been with them for 27 or so years and they all know me,” she says. “The director came out and told me, ‘I’m sorry, you don’t exist.’ I said: ‘But I am here, you know me.’ He told me: ‘I don’t have an explanation for this. But what can I do?’ He said there was no record of a Jeanne Pouchain and no accounts in that name. “They had all been closed. He wanted me to hand back my chequebook, but I refused. As we were leaving, he gave me an envelope full of cheques worth about €14,000 that should have been paid in, apologised, and said there was nothing he could do.

“There was no explanation. I knew something wasn’t right. All my life, I’ve been precise about everything: keeping records, documents, tax receipts. I like everything to be correct. Pierre-Jean, my husband, said there must have been some mix-up with papers and not to worry, we’d sort it out.”

Over the next few months, Pouchain noticed odd, annoying things happening, but assumed it was nothing more than a glitch in a computer somewhere. She carried on working and driving, and applied again for her passport, submitting even more documents. But in October 2017, Pouchain’s passport application was returned, marked “REFUSED”. There was no explanation.

Then on 12 November 2017, two bailiffs turned up at Pouchain’s home with a recorded delivery letter addressed to Pierre-Jean. She had no idea that she was signing for a document announcing her own death.

The letter informed her that a lawyer in a court case relating to her cleaning business had told the court that she had died, aged 53, in February 2016. Somehow, this unverified claim – there was no official death certificate, how could there be? – was allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged.

Pouchain was shaken. “I thought I was going to collapse. How could I be dead? Someone said I was dead – did the judge just believe them, with no death certificate?” she asks. “I felt like I’d been punched in the face. But we thought it would be quickly resolved. I went to my doctor, who gave me a certificate to say I was still alive, then we went to the administrative offices at Saint-Étienne and reported there had been an irregularity. But all they said was that nobody can be declared dead who isn’t dead and it wasn’t within their competence to deal with it.”

Since then, Pouchain has spent more than three and a half years engaged in an existential battle to prove to the French authorities what remains obvious to all – her family, friends, neighbours, the local mayor, and even visiting strangers like me: that she is very much alive.


.
A
s she opens the electric gates of her home, surrounded by blossoming cherry trees on a chilly morning earlier this year, Pouchain greets me briskly. “If you’ve come to talk about my death… well, you can see for yourself, I’m not dead. If you want to know how we arrived here, then let’s talk.

“This has been my nightmare every day for the last three years,” Pouchain says, settling into a chair and lighting a long, thin cigarette. “It’s like Groundhog Day: it’s the first thing I think about every morning, and the first thing my husband and I talk about. Every day is a day without end.”

For Pouchain, being “administratively dead” means having no access to the public health system and no medicines for her diabetes and thyroid condition unless she pays for them privately. Dead people don’t need cars or cash, so her driving licence has also been cancelled, and neither her expired passport nor her carte d’identité can be renewed, ruling out travel. During the Covid lockdowns, when people could be fined for not carrying identification papers, Pouchain was virtually housebound. Job applications are also impossible as she has no proof of address and her name has been taken off the electricity bill, the item that acts as an “open sesame” to all French bureaucratic procedures. As things stand, she will not be getting a pension.

“People complain about Covid lockdowns, but that has been my life for the last three years,” says Pouchain. “I’m better now, but I’m not proud to admit there were some days I couldn’t even be bothered to wash and get dressed, or do my hair, and I always used to take care of myself.” She gives a defeated shrug. “In any case, I don’t go out; I am getting bigger and bigger.” Her weight has ballooned by 30kg (4.7 stone), and the stress has led to severe depression, including three attempts to take her own life. She admits that some days it can feel as if she is going a little mad, caught up in a grotesque conspiracy designed to drive her to a real grave. “I used to be on antidepressants and anti-anxiety tablets but I cannot afford them now. I can do nothing. I have the right to nothing and I have nothing despite having worked all my life. How can they have wiped me from the face of the Earth?”


.
T
hough she has now been officially “dead” for five years, the story of Jeanne Pouchain’s demise began in 2000 when . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 12:25 pm

Two great beef recipes

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The Niece made a barbecued brisket for the celebration of The Grand-Nephew’s first birthday, and I was reminded of a favorite recipe using brisket: Boeuf à la Flamande, from Myra Waldo’s fine book Beer and Good Food.

And that in turn reminded me of the best Beef Stroganoff recipe I’ve ever found.

Both of these are more autumn and winter dishes, but these recipes are so good you might want to put a reminder in your calendar for when the days grow shorter and colder. This, of course, applies only to those who still eat beef, something I now very seldom do. (I did yesterday, and my fasting blood glucose this morning shows the effects.)

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 10:36 am

Kakeibo method of planning and tracking income, savings, and expenses

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I developed a method, described in this article, and I created a Google Sheets workbook based on those ideas (with some extensions to track daily spending) that I continue to use. The individual worksheet tabs in that workbook are:

“Daily”- Here I record all income and all money out (spent or transferred to savings).

“Groc+Misc” – the money I spend on regular daily expenses like groceries, paper towels, detergent, and so on. That page also includes a separate column that tracks discretionary expenses — money spent that is a free choice: books, wine and spirits, meals out, and the like. (Things like Netflix and newspaper subscriptions are covered in Savings as monthly expenses.)

“Budget” – this is my plan: monthly income, monthly expenses, savings (including a breakdown of showing what the savings are for: reserves, annual payments for various things (insurance, subscriptions, etc.), replacements (based on estimated life: computer, hearing aids, glasses, mattress, etc.), periodic expenses (dentist, eye doctor, etc.). The money left over is allocated to Grocery+Misc and to Discretionary spending. I don’t do any tracking on this worksheet — it’s just for planning.

“Monthly”- monthly totals of money spent and variance from budget, plus on the first of each month a snapshot of money on hand (in checking account and savings), money owed (debt), and the difference (my net assets at that point).

“Groc Avg” – Monthly total expenses in Groc+Misc and Discretionary and how that total varies from budget

“Scratch sheet” – a page to do various ad hoc calculations and financial plans/breakdowns

But this morning I read “This Japanese Budgeting System Is Helping Me Define What Matters in My Life,” and found it interesting. The article links to this article, which focuses specifically on the system and how to implement it, including a PDF of printable worksheets.

You can also find Kakeibo journals set up for the method.

It certainly seems worth a try, particularly for young people who are just starting to live an independent life, with their own income and expenses.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 10:24 am

I love this slant — and Chiseled Face’s Sherlock is a fine soap and aftershave

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This morning Sherlock‘s fragrance brought to mind another Chiseled Face product: Summer Storm. Both are excellent soaps, and my Yaqi “soft cashmere” shaving brush easily made an excellent lather. (Yaqi offers a great variety of good brushes at modest prices. Note that the page at the link is 1 of 3.)

iKon’s stainless-steel slant is remarkably good, here seen plain but now available only with a B1 coating, though seemingly always out of stock. I’m so glad I got one when they were available. Three easy passes left my face remarkably smooth.

A splash of Sherlock and the day begins.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2021 at 9:03 am

Posted in Shaving

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