Later On

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

Archive for January 24th, 2022

Willem Dafoe Breaks Down His Career, from ‘The Boondock Saints’ to ‘Spider-Man’

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Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Business, Movies & TV

Kimchi-inflected red-cabbage kraut

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Los Tres Amigos, ready for their Big Adventure

A new batch of fermented vegetables is now underway. Here’s what’s in it:

• 1 large head red cabbage (This time I discarded the core.)
• good-sized chunk of daikon radish
• 1 enormous Cosmic Crisp apple, halved vertically
• 1 large red onion, halved
• 2 large jalapeño peppers, including core and seeds

All of the above were thinly sliced (see below).

• 6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Next three items were pulverized in my spice & herb grinder.

• 2 guajillo chiles
• 2 ancho chiles
• 1″ piece of ginger root, chopped reasonably small


• 60g coarse grey sea salt (Celtic is what I have)
• 1 packet Cutting Edge starter culture, hydrated before adding

Cabbage, radish, apple, onion, and jalapeños were slicked using my OXO large handheld adjustable mandoline, with the adjustment set at “1,” the first line after the “Lock” position (photo at right shows the adjustment dial). From a catalog entry: “It has an adjustable dial with 7 thickness options from 1mm to 4mm with 0.5mm intervals.” Thus my slices were 1mm thick.

I removed core and seeds from the guajillo and ancho chiles, toasted them in a skillet, then tore them into pieces and put them into my spice & herb grinder along with the chopped ginger, ground all that to a damp powder, and added it to the bowl of sliced vegetables and chopped dates, along with 60g of coarse sea salt. All that filled the largest bowl I have heaping full, but the vegetables collapsed a fair amount as I massaged them. 

I massaged them for 5-10 minutes — going not by the clock but massaging until everything was well-mixed, the cabbage had become soft and supple, and liquid gathered in the bottom of the bowl. I then added the water with the starter culture and mixed that well with the bowl contents for a couple of minutes, still massaging.

Lesson learned: I though the daikon radish slices would break apart as I massaged the mix with the salt. They didn’t. Next time I’ll quarter the daikon lengthwise and then slice: small pieces.  Or, more likely, just coarsely grate the daikon.The apple did break up pretty well, but I think next time I’ll also quarter that before slicing.

I used 60 grams of salt because the total weight of ingredients was 3030g (6 2/3 lbs!). (I weighed the empty bowl before I began and subtracted that from the weight of the full bowl.) I took 2% of the ingredients’ weight and used that much salt. (TBH, I used 57g because I’m trying to ease up on salt.)

I tried to leave more room at the top in the three jars (two 1-liter, on 1.5-liter), but they were pretty full by the time I had packed them will all the kimchi/kraut mixture. They are firmly packed: I have a kraut packer that works well.

I distributed the liquid left in the big bowl equally among the packed jars, added spring water to barely cover, put a fermentation weight into each jar, and then screwed on a pickle-pipe fermentation airlock and took the photo above.

Lesson learned: After 3-4 days, open each jar, remove fermentation lock, and push a table knife down through the kraut to loosen it a bit. Liquid gathered at the top will then drain back down through the kraut, and I believe that this will assist the fermentation activity. I just did this on the 5th day after starting the batch, and I think a day or two earlier would be even better.

In two weeks I’m going to have a lot of kimchi-ish kraut. Fortunately, it will keep a long time in the refrigerator. This homemade stuff is sweeter than store-bought, probably because of the apple (and, this time, the dates) and also perhaps because I don’t ferment it so long as commercial krauters do. 

I’ve added a link to this post in my reference post of vegetable fermentation.

Update: Next time I’ll grate the daikon radish and also include a good amount of grated carrot to see how that affects the color.

Update 3/21/2022 on making new batch: Forgot the carrot, decided to half the daikon piece and then slice it. Details in this post.

Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 3:13 pm

“Multitasking Isn’t Progress—It’s What Wild Animals Do for Survival”

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Ted Gioia writes:

I plan to write a series of posts outlining some unconventional or dissident conceptual frameworks I’ve found useful in understanding contemporary society.

These aren’t the usual tired ideas or dead metaphors already familiar to us. I won’t even mention those stale truisms, because you already know every one of them—in fact, we would all probably be better off forgetting them.

Fewer things are more destructive than a dead-end concept. They are much like dead-end roads—they take you on a trip to nowhere. They provide an illusion of motion, but actually bring you further away from any useful destination.

The concepts I’m sharing are less familiar, and all the more valuable for that reason. They have forced me to look at everyday situations in new ways, requiring me to challenge some of my own preconceptions and attitudes. Even when they fail to encompass all of a particular reality, they still add value by disrupting the labels and assumptions that I use—and all of us use—to navigate through day-to-day life.

In this installment, I want to focus on Byung-Chul Han’s concept of the Burnout Society.

Han is one of the most significant German philosophers of our time, but his background is unusual. He was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1959, and studied metallurgy before moving to Germany to immerse himself in philosophy, theology, and literature. He received his doctorate in 1994, writing his dissertation on Martin Heidegger. His philosophy career didn’t start in earnest until his forties, yet he has now published at least twenty books.

Until recently, Han gave no interviews. In a celebrity-driven culture, he refuses to play the game, remaining stubbornly reluctant to discuss his own life and personal background. But that hasn’t prevented him from gaining a large audience, much broader than you might imagine a German philosopher attracting in the current day.  His lectures draw a capacity audience, and his ideas are now crossing over into other disciplines. In particular, a number of people in the art and culture world have started to pay close attention to his concepts and opinions.

Those who have read my book Music; A Subversive History may recall my use of Han’s aesthetic concepts—notably his view that the cult of smoothness is the defining quality of contemporary art. He applies this concept to everything from the design of the iPhone, with its comforting smooth contours, to the Brazilian bikini wax, which aims at a similar endpoint on our bodies.

In this instance, I want to focus on a different concept, namely Han’s notion that we are living in a “Burnout Society” that causes a wide range of characteristic dysfunctions and ailments. These are difficult for society to address because the assumptions built into our inquiries are actually causing these problems.

What follows below is mostly from Han, but reframed and focused by some of my own ideas.


Everywhere around us we see the signs: depression, burnout, hyperactivity, anxiety, self-harm. Sometimes the disorders get classified as medical syndromes with impressive acronyms, such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).

In other cases—a suicide or fatal breakdown, for example—things have gone too far for even medical intervention. All the acronyms in the world won’t help you then. But in every instance, something similar can be seen: the victims are at war with themselves.

That’s misleading, Han would say. They only seem to be the instigators of their problems, which are coming from . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

This reminds of something I’ve come to realize in recent years. FOMO (fear of missing out) is pointless because you (and I and any individual) will miss out — inevitably. There is too much in the world — and even too much in human culture or even just in our own particular culture — to absorb. You (and I) will miss out on many more things than we don’t miss out on.

I blogged recently about two brief videos about areas of knowledge and activity on which I’ve totally missed out in the sense that I have no concrete and specific knowledge, experience, and skill in those areas: 1) making movies and 2) making small airplanes. I watched those two videos with fascination because they showed me how much i’ve missed out on in just those two specific areas.

I’ve made my peace with that, and I focus on enjoying (and doing as well as I can, which is generally far short of expertise) things I do encounter and like. Rather than being frustrated by all that I’m missing, I luxuriate in all that I have. That seems the sensible choice, given the ineluctable realities of life. I leap joyously into those things I am not missing out on, and I continue to pay attention to what I encounter, and occasionally seize onto something new (fermenting vegetables, for example).

I believe it’s a big mistake to miss what you actually encounter because your attention is focused on worry about things you’re missing. We taste but a tiny sliver of what life has to offer, so it’s important to enjoy the slice we get.

Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 12:13 pm

Rejoice! Bookworms live longer!

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Rhea Hirshman writes in the Yale Alumni Magazine:

The next time you talk to a clinician about how you’re taking care of your health, you might want to include a discussion of your
reading habits.

Although sedentary activities are not usually regarded as promoting health, a recent study by Yale researchers showed a significant link between book reading and longevity. (The work was published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.) Researchers examined data from 3,635 individuals who have been involved over several years in a nationwide health study of people over age 50. Based on their answers to the question “How many hours did you spend last week reading books?” respondents were divided into three groups: those who read no books, those who read books for up to three and a half hours, and those who read books for more than three and a half hours.

The study showed a marked advantage for book readers. Over 12 years of follow-up, those who read books for up to three and a half hours per week were  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 10:24 am

This week brings the baby-brush brigade. Today: Simpson Wee Scot, with Rose of Sharon

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I thought I’d run through my smaller brushes, and the star of that particular show is my (pre-Vulfix-acquisition) Simpson Wee Scot, which made a fine lather from Dr. Jon’s Rose of Phrygia — fine lather, good fragrance, and — with the Above the Tie’s S1 slant — an excellent Monday morning shave. I think I will change the blade, though. Excellent is good but superb is better. 

A splash of The Shave Den’s Patchouli Rose aftershave, and a new week begins. Today I’m going to make some kimchi-inflected red-cabbage kraut and will blog the recipe. I’ve been mulling this over, and today I suddenly am moved to make it.

Written by Leisureguy

24 January 2022 at 10:18 am

Posted in Shaving

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