Later On

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

Archive for June 6th, 2022

There’s Something Wrong With Suburbia (The Orange Pill)

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This short film portrays a dystopia, but not a science-fiction dystopia — it’s a non-fiction dystopia, and many spend their lives trapped within it.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 7:02 pm

A Mental Health Clinic in School? No, Thanks, Says the School Board

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Reading the NY Times article by Ellen Barry (gift link, no paywall), it strikes me that many on the school board would themselves benefit from therapy and increased self-awareness. They seem to be governed by fear.

One evening in March, a high school senior named Sydney Zicolella stood before the school board in this rural, blue-collar Connecticut town and described her psychiatric history, beginning in the sixth grade, when she was “by definition, clinically depressed.”

Ms. Zicolella, 17, who wore her dark, curly hair pulled back, is the third of four children in a devout Christian family, and the editor of the newspaper at Killingly High School.

Many students there were struggling, she told the board. She had seen kids “walked, carried and cradled out of counseling, hysterical, not wanting to go to the hospital, but also not wanting to be sad anymore.”

It was not uncommon, she said, for friends to “disappear for months, only to find out that they had been at a mental health hospital right down the road to my house.” She urged the board to approve the placement of a mental health clinic in the school, part of a push by the state of Connecticut to dramatically expand access to care for teenagers.

Convincing the board was a long shot, she knew that. Her own mother, Lisa, 49, who, by her own account, grew up in “the generation of toughing things out,” didn’t support the clinic.

It wasn’t that Lisa entirely disapproved of therapy — when Sydney was in crisis, she scoured northeastern Connecticut in search of a therapist who would take her insurance — but she feared school-based therapists would end up advising teens on matters like gender identity or birth control, which she felt belonged firmly in the grip of parents.

“I do personally believe there’s a lot of agendas out there,” Lisa said. “And children are very malleable.”

This debate has divided Killingly, and its families, since January, when Robert J. Angeli, the superintendent of schools, presented a plan to open a state-funded mental health clinic in the high school.

Legislation to expand Connecticut’s network of school-based clinics had sailed through the legislature, passing the House by a vote of 143 to 4. When Mr. Angeli presented the plan before the town’s Board of Education, though, it ran into a solid wall of resistance, mostly on the grounds that it infringed on the rights of parents.

In March, Killingly’s board members rejected the plan by a vote of 6 to 3. After that, dozens of supporters of the clinic filed a complaint with Connecticut’s Board of Education, asking the state to “investigate and take corrective action.”

Continue reading (gift link, no paywall). There’s much more. It’s disheartening.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 6:56 pm

“Trances People Live,” by Stephen Wolinsky

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I suddenly recalled the book Trances People Live, by Stephen Wolinsky, and I’m adding it to my list of recommended books:

Trances People Live, by Stephen Wolinksy, PhD. Slipping into a trance is not unusual, and a trance can last a long time — a person in a cult may be living in a trance for years and even decades. Being in a trance goes unrecognized by the person in the trance until they emerge from it — because it is a trance, one is as unconscious of it as the proverbial fish is of water because being always immersed in it makes it “just the way things are.” Inveterate gamblers are an example: they just find themselves in the casino again, doing things without really thinking about why or about alternatives. (Indeed, slot machines in particular are designed to trigger a trance.) Many people eat in a trance, consuming foods without conscious thought, but just in a sense drifting from bite to bite (and the goal of “intuitive eating” is to break the trance). Many spend money in a trance (for things in general or for specific types of things), as a compulsive habit done without thinking or being truly conscious of the full action (for example, what the effect will be on their overall budget). The trance becomes noticed only as one starts to break free of it. As that happens, one stops and suddenly (and consciously) thinks, “No. Why am I doing this? I don’t want to do it.” and feels some confusion about the source of the interrupted impulse.

The book came to mind as The Wife and I were talking about our own recent emergence from some long-lived trances we’ve inhabited, and how we are now surprised by being conscious of things we previously did automatically.

It’s a very interesting book with many useful insights. I doubt that one can completely escape trances, but it’s useful to know that they exist and to become conscious of those whose effects on us are detrimental to our well-being. Doing an inventory of one’s trances is naturally difficult but can be rewarding — and just knowing about trances and how they affect one’s behavior increases one’s awareness of them.

Update: I think one reason people fail to listen is that they are in a sort of trance that disables their attention to (and consciousness of) what the other is saying — not just the words, but what the other is trying to communicate. See this post.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 11:47 am

Thinking about — and then making — tempeh chili

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I make chili in a spur-of-the-moment manner, putting in what comes to mind, using my memory instead of a recipe. As a result, my chilis vary quite a bit. I just watched a video by America’s Test Kitchen an their chili variant, and that got me to thinking about making a chili with some of my new batch of soybean and rye tempeh.

I do disagree with several things in the video:

• I see no reason for a horizontal cut when dicing onions; the onion’s layers make that cut redundant.
• I use tomato paste, not tomato sauce. I add the tomato paste to the vegetables when they are almost cooked and continue cooking until the paste darkens (which increases the umami).
• When I made chili con carne, I used a chuck roast, which I cut into small-bite-sized pieces. Ground meat is a bad idea for many reasons, including food safety. Beef works better than pork because a long slow simmer seems to tenderize beef more than it does pork.
• I use a greater number umami-inclined ingredients (see recipe thoughts below).

No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, and for me no recipe remains unchanged/unadjusted during cooking. That said, here is what I’m thinking about for my chili:

• Extra-virgin olive oil (Evo-spray skillet)
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• 1/2 large red onion, chopped – U ( = umami)

Cook onions until wilted and transparent. Add:

• 6 cloves garlic, chopped small – U

Cook garlic for a minute or two then add:

• 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (with core and seeds)
• 2 cayenne peppers, used scissors to cut into short segments (with core and seeds)
• 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped (without core and seeds)
• 4-6 mushrooms, thickly sliced – U
• 3 chipotles and 2 ancho chiles, ground in spice grinder after being cut up with kitchen shears
• 8 oz soybean and rye tempeh, diced large (how I make tempeh)

Cook that, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to release liquid. Add:

• 2 Tbsp tomato paste, cooked until darkened – U

Cook that until it darkens. Add the remaining ingredients:

• 1 small can Hatch green chiles, diced
• 1 can Ro•Tel Original Green Chiles and Tomatoes – U
• 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz or 18 oz can, not 28 oz) – U
• 2 Tbsp miso, either Shiro (white) or Aka (red) or Gemai (made from brown rice) – U
• 1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
• 1 Tbsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp ground coriander
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp Wright’s liquid smoke
• 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
• 2 squares Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tsp instant coffee
• 1 pinch MSG – U

Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes. (Long simmering is not need because recipe includes no meat.)

“U” signifies umami source. MSG, of course, is the essence of umami, and I’ve been using it more often lately. New Yorker article from 2018 tells the history of commercial MSG (and points out the racism that undergirds the bias against MSG). See also this post.

It’s cooking now in my 4-qt sauté pan, a good size for this: pan is full, but not too full. Some differences from the above:

• Used an entire large red onion instead of half — it cooks down, and I like the taste.
• Forgot the yellow bell pepper
• Didn’t have canned green chiles so skipped those for now — will get some for next chili
• Added 3 chiles de arbol when I ground chipotles and anchos
• Included 1 Tbsp flaxeed, ground (flaxseed was already in grinder when I added dried chiles)
• Used Aylmer’s 18-oz (540ml) size of Chili-Seasonings Diced Stewed Tomatoes (along with Ro•Tel)
• Used a small can of tomato paste instead of just 2 tablespoons (and did cook it until it darkened)
• Used Shiro miso (which is what I had)
• Added 1/4 tsp cloves and 1 tsp cinnamon
• Added a good dash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.

It was thick — too thick — so I added about 3/4 cup water. It’s simmering nicely now.

Eating a bowl of it now. Very tasty, good heat (but not overwhelming: just a little head sweat). The tempeh works well in this. I’m going to top it with some sliced avocado. And some lime juice. — That (avocado and lime juice) was very good.

I note that the mushrooms were a good idea: If they had been a bit smaller, I would have just quartered them. But thick slices worked well. I think two more mushrooms would have been better — I used 6, but 8 would have been better.

The tempeh held up very well and is just the right amount of chewy. Large dice works well here.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 10:33 am

Zi’ Peppino, the Amici, and iKon’s great slant

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I do like Zi’ Peppino — both lather and fragrance — and my RazoRock Amici brought forth a fine lather today. 

Because I use a different razor for each shave, I don’t become so accustomed to a razor that I no longer notice its unusual attributes — that is, the contrast is feel and performance does not become obscured by repetition. Today I noticed (again) the crisp and distinct acoustics of the iKon slant: the cutting sound seems amplified, and it provides a pleasant accompaniment to the shave. I also noticed that the razor currently has an Above the Tie handle.

The three passes were each fully pleasurable, and the splash of Zi’ Peppino (with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel) finished the shave perfectly.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 10: “Named after the famous No. 10 Downing Street, Murchie’s No. 10 Blend is a mild, sweet combination of Gunpowder and Jasmine greens and Keemun and Ceylon black teas, perfect for any time of day. Originally blended: 1909.”

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 9:32 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Interactive quiz: How has the right to choose an abortion changed women’s lives?

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The Washington Post has a very interesting interactive 6-item quiz (gift link, no paywall) on the changes brought about by the recognition of the right to choose an abortion. Each question shows today’s situation for some aspect of women’s lives (for example, the and you slide an indicator to indicate what you think the situation is today — for example, the first question is “In 2020, 43 percent of women between 25 and 34 years old were married. How many were married in 1970?”

The introduction to the quiz:

It’s been 49 years since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade allowed the right to an abortion. Since then, women have transformed their lives. They have seen their roles in the U.S. workforce vastly expand and their economic power grow.

Many women have far more input at home and in the workforce. Some see those changes at risk after a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion suggested the right to an abortion could be overturned, limiting their decision on when or whether to have children.

Do you know how much women’s lives have changed since before the Roe ruling in 1973?

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 8:13 am

Initiated new habit: brushing my teeth first thing in the morning

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After reading yesterday an article on the optimal timing of brushing one’s teeth in the morning (before breakfast? or after breakfast?), I applied my new knowledge and initiated a new habit. As soon as I rolled out of bed, I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth thoroughly, using a Bass toothbrush (scroll down at link for video) and OraWellness’s HealThy Mouth Blend (again, scroll down at link for video).

When I start some new dental-care routine, I’m always interested to hear why the dental hygienist has to say at my next cleaning. (A previous comment noticeable improvement cemented my loyalty to HealThy Mouth Blend.) So come next cleaning, I’ll see whether this new practice results in noticeable improvement.

Written by Leisureguy

6 June 2022 at 6:41 am

Posted in Daily life, Health, Science

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