Later On

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

Archive for July 15th, 2022

12 Thought-Terminating Clichés That Aren’t Doing Your Mental Health Any Favors

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Kells McPhillips writes in Well + Good:

When you’re ready for a conversation to come to an end, it’s natural to reach for an easy phrase that signals that you want to change the subject. Maybe you say something like, “well, it is what it is” or “just forget it.” While this places an insistent period on the end of a stale exchange, it may also be compromising your health. Psychologists refer to such phrases as thought-terminating clichés. And while they’re necessary on occasion, they can take a mental toll if employed too often.

What are thought-terminating clichés?

The term “thought-terminating cliché” was coined by Robert Jay Lifton in his 1961 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, which outlined his theories about the ego formation. “The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché,” writes Lifton. “The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis.”

In less academic language, Lifton is pointing out the human tendency to take complex feelings, concepts, and politics, and shrink them into short, clever phrases that aren’t necessarily untruthful, but don’t tell the full story. A great example is when political parties say something like, “this is all part of the liberal agenda…” or “this is all part of the Republican strategy to…” While these dismissals aren’t totally false, they bring conversation to a grinding halt and keep people from thinking more deeply about important issues.

12 Common Though-Terminating Clichés

Below, find a few thought-terminating clichés specifically targeted at mental health. And remember, if you’re struggling to care for the well-being of your brain or finding yourself relying on these clichés often, it’s worth talking to a professional who can help you develop more sustainable self-talk skills.

  1. “It is what it is.”
  2. “So it goes.”
  3. “It could be worse.”
  4. “Time heals all.”
  5. “Someone out there has it worse than you.”
  6. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  7. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
  8. “This too shall pass.”
  9. “It’s all about balance.”
  10. “Try to look on the bright side.”
  11. “The sun will come out tomorrow.”
  12. “The only way out is through.”

How To Avoid Thought-Terminating Clichés

Once you start listening in for thought-terminating clichés, you will hear them everywhere (often disguised as toxic positivity). Even commonly held pieces of folk wisdom, like “everything happens for a reason” technically fall prey to this human need to simplify, simplify, simplify. Some of the most harmful, reductive ones can be found in the realm of mental health. For example, if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, and someone says something like, “just hang in there,” you’ll probably feel worse, not better.

That said, now that you know the terminology, you can . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 6:28 pm

Love Song to Costco

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Yuxi Lin, a poet and writer living and teaching in New York City, writes of what Costco can mean to an immigrant family:

It’s 2004 and my first year in America. I type the word “wholesale” into my digital translator.

noun
definition: the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others.

I’m 12 years old and all I want to be is whole and wholesome. The ability to buy it is even more appealing.

In front of me, the glass display case contains all the luxury I’ve ever known. Watches, earrings, and necklaces, all sleeping under the fingerprints of strangers. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine anything costing more than a Costco diamond. During ESL class, my teacher asks how I would like to be proposed to one day. I tell her that I want my future husband to take me to Costco, where I would ask the salesperson to open the case and take out the $1999 ring. My future husband will have also made reservations at a nearby Pizza Hut, my favorite restaurant, and kneel down on its fake wooden tiles.

While my parents and their friends peruse the enormous shelves, I prowl the sample stands. This is one of the only times I get to eat American food. My parents don’t patronize American restaurants out of a combination of fear and disdain. For a while at lunch I was dumping out the fried rice my mother cooked because the white kids said it looked funny, but I quickly ran out of allowance money to buy chicken nuggets.

I make a beeline for the old ladies in hairnets doling out cut-up Hot Pockets or lone nachos with salsa. More than anything, I lust after the microwavable cheese-filled pierogies. “Trash food,” my mother calls them. I tell her that I aspire to be a trash can.

Almost always, the samples come in grease-stained cupcake liners. I fold them into halves, then quarters, hide them in my palm, then wait a few minutes before circling back for another round. I don’t want to appear too greedy, too needy, the way immigrants feel starved for that unnamable thing, no matter how many years they live in their chosen country. I go back for thirds, sometimes even fourths, unable to stop myself. The aproned ladies occasionally look askance in my direction but never stop me, and to this day I am grateful for their silence.

My parents are self-satisfied at Costco in a way that I rarely see except when they return to China. Their coworker sometimes joins us on our trips, picking up a 15-pound sack of flour so he can make mantous and noodles for every meal, less expensive than rice. After we drop him at his house, my mother makes fun of the guy for being cheap.

“These northerners don’t know how to enjoy seafood like we do,” she says smugly from the front seat.

My father agrees. “Let’s invite them over next time and show them a proper feast.”

“They’ll talk about it for weeks after!”

“How do you know he doesn’t just like lots of mantous and noodles?” I ask.

My mother whips her head around and casts me a disdainful look. “Because that’s food for poor people. We are different.”

***

2005 is the year Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. It’s my favorite movie. I enjoy watching the Bennets complain about their poverty while being waited on by five servants. When my Korean American friend Stephanie mentions that she has the movie on DVD, I don’t believe her. I’ve seen the price tag for the movie at Costco, $25.99, and multiplied it by eight in my head, the approximate exchange rate between USD and RMB. In China, I could have eaten out for a whole week on that money. It seems impossibly luxurious for a 13-year-old to own such a thing. How could she afford it, even if her father is white?

“Do you want to borrow it?” She offers.

“Sure, if you can bring it.”

She hands it to me the next day. “You’re so funny. Why didn’t you believe that I had it?” Stephanie asks, puzzled at my look of surprise.

I stroke the smooth plastic cover over Keira’s half-turned face and shrug, wishing I could disappear.

***

Once a year, I look forward to the most special time.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 4:23 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Fermented hot sauce / pepper sauce

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This recipe looks very good. Scroll down at the link to get recipe and step-by-step photos. The recipe begins:

One of my favorite hot sauces is Marie Sharp’s Hot Habanero Hot Sauce . It stands out with its great natural taste and by using carrots and onions instead of sugars, which adds an earthy natural sweetness to it. If you haven’t tried it, I can really recommend buying a bottle!

Inspired by Marie Sharp’s, I decided to make my own version based on fermented chilis, carrot and parsnip. It turned out really well and I am putting the recipe online to make it easy to share and improve on.

Preparation tips

• Brad, from It’s Alive by Bon Appétit, has a great episode, where he does a fermented chili sauce.
• Use gloves and work fast! 🙂
• (optional) Checking pH. See below.

Ingredients

• ~400g Habanero Chilis
• ~250g Piri Piri Chilis (exchange with Cayennes, Birds Eye or similar)
• A couple of yellow Jalapeño peppers for mild fruity heat (optional. I had them lying around)
• One large Carrot (~160g)
• One large parsnip (~130g)
• Three garlic cloves
• 5% Brine –> Per Liter; 950g chlorine-free water [e.g., bottled spring water – LG], 50g salt without additives (sea salt, rock salt or kosher salt)

Wide-mouth clean jar to ferment in.

Steps

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 2:41 pm

Compare images, Webb v. Hubble

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Look at this. Amazing difference.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Science

Cool sunclock

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A 24-hour clock that shows sunrise, sunset, golden hour, and twilight times for your current location. You can set latitude and longitude manually if they don’t set from allowing location. Take a look.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Soybean and barley tempeh at 24 hrs

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It’s coming along fine. Now transferred to the table to continue at room temperature. The complete post for this batch.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 1:12 pm

The backstory of the Haas avocado

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Haas Avocado

I eat quite a few avocados in various ways — added to hummus when I make it, in the sauce whose recipe is in the preceding post, the whole thing with a spoon, chopped in green salads, etc. — because avocados are both delicious and a very healthful fruit. But the backstory of the Haas avocado I did not really know. (It’s important in the story to know that avocados, like apples, do not grow true to seed.)

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 11:17 am

Whole-Food Spicy Avocado-Lime-Cilantro Sauce

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I’m promoting this recipe from a previous post to make it easier for me to find. It’s a whole-food version of a sauce that Derek Simnett created. (He’s created quite a variety.) Simnett is a vegan, so he avoids meat, dairy, and eggs (as do I), but he’s comfortable with refined and highly processed foods, which I want to avoid as well. So I took one of his recipes that I like a lot and replaced refined/processed ingredients with whole foods:

Whole-Food Spicy Avocado-Lime-Cilantro Sauce

• 1 avocado
• 2 limes, peeling cut off and discarded (see this post for a good method)
• 2 Medjool dates (or 4 Deglet Noor dates), pitted and chopped
• 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
• 3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
• 1 chopped scallion (including leaves)
• 1 jalapeño or 3 cayenne peppers, chopped; can substitute 4 tsp hot sauce
• small pinch of MSG (it’s okay)
• 3/4 (or so) cups of water

Put the above in a blender — or in the beaker that comes with an immersion blender — and bland until smooth. Add water to get the consistency you want. Note that dates must be chopped and (ideally) scattered through the other ingredients because dates can really jam the blades.

Using fresh peppers seems better than pepper sauce, and using fresh cloves of garlic better than garlic powder, and using a fresh scallion better than onion powder. Including the lime pulp instead of merely the juice is another win. MSG does make a difference, and only a small pinch is needed. (More info on MSG.)

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 11:09 am

Defiance and the Adjust

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Dr. Jon’s Hancrafted Defiance produce a very fine lather with my Maggard Razors 22mm synthetic brush. The soap does not seem to be in his current lineup, but its quite a name soap with a good fragrance: “Mandarin,  Sandalwood, Allspice, and Black Pepper.”

The Adjust adjustable razor continues to surprise me with its excellence in handling (and pleasing me with its excellence in shaving). It’s a large razor that is nimble — it’s like a sledgehammer that can do delicate work. And the shave this morning left a superb smoothness, though I think some credit goes also not only to the shaving soap but also to the new tub of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave.

Three passes, rinse, dry, and then a good splash of a very old favorite, Pinaud Lilac Vegetal aftershave (with a couple of squirts of a new favorite, Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, mixed in).

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Baker Street Blend: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.” Yesterday I got a Brita filter, and the tea this morning is my first pot using filtered water, and I have to say the tea tastes exceptionally good.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 9:09 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Couples should share household tasks and rotate task responsibilities

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Jessica Bennett has an interesting column with a clever idea. Couples should not merely share household tasks (groceries, cooking, dishes, laundry, bills, yard, etc.), but they should rotate who is responsible: this month I do cooking, next month you do cooking; etc.).

One benefit is that each becomes more capable by being able to do any of the household chores. Another benefit is that each gets an understanding of the challenges of each type of chore — and, moreover, they can share what they discover on how to make chores easier and/or more enjoyable.

The problem with a static division is that each accumulates ignorance. For example, if the same person always pays the bills, the other doesn’t understand the couple’s financial position (limitations, opportunities, obligations, and so on). If the same person always does the cooking, the other never gains the knowledge and skills to prepare a meal for the table. And so on.

The column is worth reading. Also, click that link to watch the bear play with the soccer ball.

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2022 at 7:50 am

Posted in Daily life, Memes

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