Later On

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

Archive for September 8th, 2022

The Secret of Vintage Jeans

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Brian Howe has a fascinating article (updated by Todd Oppenheimer) in Craftsmanship. At the link, you can list to an audio version of the article. The article begins:

1. The Selvage Secret   
2. A Machine’s Fingerprints    
3. Pushing Denim’s Limits    
4. The Shackles of Legacy    
5. The Myth of the Lost Looms    
6. Where Will All Those Drapers Go?    
7. The Soul of a Heritage Machine

If you’re lucky enough to own a pair of authentic, “selvage” denim jeans, you know what you love about them: their visible engineering, their durability, and the almost living way they fade and mold to your body. What you might not know is that their existence has long relied on an odd combination of obsolete machinery, working class necessity, retro fashion, American mythology, and foreign ingenuity.

Today, most denim, both here and abroad, is produced in extremely high-tech environments—at sprawling factories full of computer-controlled looms. These machines are big, fast, and exact, programmable to the tenth of a millimeter. That’s all very nice for a textile factory’s bottom line, but it doesn’t do much for the life or uniqueness of your pants. If you want character in your jeans, and that extra ounce of longevity, you have to go old school.

Nowhere in America was the old-school approach more vividly on display than at Cone Denim’s White Oak plant in Greensboro, North Carolina. Founded in 1895, Cone long served as the primary source of fabric for legendary American jeans makers such as Lee’s, Wrangler, and of course the granddaddy of them all: Levi Strauss. Cone’s White Oak plant, opened in 1905, is where textile makers “literally filed the patents for denim production in America,” says Victor Lytvinenko, co-founder (with Sarah Yarborough) of Raleigh Denim, a North Carolina-based vintage denim workshop.

After more than a century of continuous operation, the White Oak plant finally closed in November, 2017. I was lucky enough to visit just months before that sad end, and as I walked through the cavernous weave room, technicians and robotic arms roved among long rows of electronic looms, long-chain dye units, “slashers,” and other modern textile machinery. At one point, I saw the flooring change from concrete to old wooden planks. Resting on those planks were 51 mechanical power looms, all made in the 1940s and all painted green, loudly clacking away like oversized manual typewriters.

These machines were made by the now-defunct Draper Corporation of Hopedale, Mass., and this particular model, the Draper X3, represented the last generation of “fly shuttle” looms that America ever made. The period authenticity in this room was more than aesthetic; the vibrations of the Drapers bouncing on the wooden floor provided White Oak denim’s unique terroir. The plant’s signature was in every swath of denim it made, like cursive vibrations written in weft yarn.

When the International Textile Group (ITG), which bought Cone Denim, announced that the White Oak plant (then the last American factory to make selvage denim) would soon close, eliminating 200 jobs, the corporation wasn’t vague about its reasons. Orders at White Oak had dropped too low to sustain the plant’s high capacity.

One reason for the drop in Cone’s business was that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 5:48 pm

Spanking is harmful to children. Why do schools still allow it?

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The obvious answer to the title question is that schools don’t care that it is harmful to children and/or schools have carefully avoided learning about the research regarding the effects of spanking (that is, deliberate ignorance concerning highly relevant information).

Joel Warsh, a pediatrician in Los Angeles specializing in integrative medicine, writes in the Washington Post (gift link, no paywall):

What decade are we in? A school district in southwestern Missouri has decided to bring back corporal punishment — otherwise known as spanking, in this case with paddles — as a way to discipline students.

Parents in Cassville, Mo., learned recently that spanking would once again be allowed in school, the Springfield News-Leader reported, adding that “each family will be asked to opt in or out.”

Perhaps more shocking than a school district reinstating paddling is that parents would opt in. And they are. Speaking to the Associated Press, one grandparent-guardian of an 8-year-old defended the practice: “The child is getting spanked once; it’s not beatings.”

As a pediatrician and child wellness advocate, I am here to tell schools but especially parents: Written permission or no, reviving this archaic form of punishment is a horrendous idea.

When it comes to parenting, there are few topics with enough data to support one clear, “right” approach: Should I sleep-train “cry it out”-style or try the “fade-out” method? Should I use timeouts or redirection? Based on the available evidence, reasonable people can disagree. But if ever there were a practice with a mountain of research supporting its abolition, corporal punishment is it.

As recently as 20 years ago, physical punishment of children in schools was often accepted by educators as an appropriate method of discipline, distinct from physical abuse. But this perspective began to change as studies found links between physical punishment and child aggression, delinquency and spousal assault later in life. Research has also vividly underscored spanking’s negative effects on children’s social-emotional development, self-regulation and cognitive development.

In 2016, a meta-analysis of 75 of the most rigorous studies on the effects of spanking — representing more than 160,000 children — found that despite its widespread practice, there was no evidence that spanking improved behavior. To the contrary, spanking was associated with an increased risk of negative outcomes, such as aggression, antisocial conduct, mental health problems, negative parent-child relationships, impaired cognitive ability, low self-esteem and risk of further physical abuse from parents.

Researchers also concluded that for adults, prior experience of spanking was strongly associated with . . ..

Continue reading. (gift link, no paywall)

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 4:40 pm

Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Guts of Vegetarians vs. Meat Eaters

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I continue to encounter many reasons why a good diet — i.e., with good variety and a sensible selection of foods — that excludes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and alcohol (and also refined and highly processed foods) is much better for one’s health than a diet that includes those foods. Moreover, I have been happy to discover that a whole-food plant-based diet, which is what the previous sentence describes, is also a good diet in terms of enjoyment: the foods I prepare are tasty and satisfying and not like the foods I previously ate. 

And now here’s another reason to avoid meat:

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 4:10 pm

Peppers galore!

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Our produce market had many peppers of different varieties so I got a selection:

• Red cayenne peppers
• Red habanero peppers
• Pale green Hungarian peppers
• Banana peppers, some red, some yellow, some orange
• Dove peppers, some yellow, some red

I just made a dish to use a bunch of the peppers. I sprayed my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet with a few sprays of EVOO and then added:

• 3″ or so of ginger root, sliced thin and then minced
• 3 large clove Russian red garlic, sliced thin on garlic mandoline

I let that rest for 10 minutes, then put it into the skillet along with:

• 2 San Marzano tomatoes, diced fairly large (quarter lengthwise, then cut into pieces)
• 1 seedless lemon, peeled and then diced (as described at the link)
• 1 large yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into thick pieces
• 3 red cayenne peppers, chopped small
• 1 Hungarian pepper, seeded and chopped
• 3 banana peppers (2 red, 1 yellow) seeded and chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, chopped
• about 1/4 cup walnuts
• about 8 oz soybean and Kamut tempeh, diced medium-large
• about 8 stalks asparagus, chopped
• 4 or 5 leaves kale, chopped
• 1 large baby bok choy sliced
• about a tablespoon of dried mint
• about a tablespoon of dried majoram
• about two tablespoons dried oregano
• about 1 teaspoon MSG
• about 2 tablespoons Red Boat fish sauce
• about 2 teaspoons Windsor salt substitute (iodized)

I covered the skillet turned my induction burner to “3” and cooked it for six minutes. The I stirred to mix, covered again, and cooked on “3” for another six minutes (the last two minutes with cover removed).

This will be enough for several meals. I have some Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce and some Kikkoman Stir-Fry Sauce and I’ll use one of those on a bowl. I also have some fermented raw Stokes Purple potatoes, diced, and I think I’ll put some of those in a bowl, top with the dish I made, and add some sauce.

When I write up what I’ve done to make a dish, I’ll often forget an ingredient or two; when I remember, I return to the post and revise the recipe — in fact, I just remember something I left out: a diced peeled lemon — so I’ll add it now.

I’m having a bowl. Damn good.

A couple of additional notes

First, I use tempeh just because I like it, and also it takes care of two Daily Dozen categories: each meal (if you follow the Daily Dozen) includes both beans (or lentils) and grain (or pseudograin like quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat). By making tempeh that includes both, in a 50-50 ratio, I can use a serving of tempeh to meet that requirement. And, as I said, like tempeh. I also like to make it. But certainly one could just eat some beans and also some (intact whole) grain.

Second, I put the above meal together by just looking around and seeing what I had on hand. But take a look at how it relates to the Daily Dozen and, parentheses, what I had in mind.

• ginger root – Other Vegetable (good health benefits, says Johns Hopkins University)
• garlic — Other Veg (good taste, health benefits, with excellent prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS))
• tomatoes — Other Veg (good source of lycopene if cooked; umami; adds liquid)
• lemon — Fruit (vitamin C, acid to brighten taste, adds liquid)
• zucchini — Other Veg (good fiber, good taste, adds liquid)
• cayenne peppers — Other Veg (capsaicin good for diabetics, good taste)
• Hungarian pepper — Other Veg (good taste, vitamin C, fiber)
• banana peppers — Other Veg (ditto)
• scallions — Other Veg (good fiber (FOS), good taste, leaves with good flavonoids)
• walnuts — Nuts&Seeds (omega 3, good fiber, good texture and taste)
• soybean and Kamut tempeh — Beans and Grain (fiber, protein, minerals, taste)
• asparagus — Other Veg (FOS, taste, phytonutrients)
• kale — Greens; Cruciferous Veg (fiber, minerals, phytonutrients)
• bok choy — ditto
• mint, marjoram, oregano — Spices&Herbs (loads of antioxidants, good taste)
• MSG — umami and flavor enhancement
• fish sauce — umami
•  Windsor salt substitute — potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iodine; no sodium; taste)

One thing I omitted that I should have included: turmeric (and of course black pepper so I can get the benefit of it). I have some fresh turmeric root, or I could have used dried turmeric or turmeric paste. I’ll add that when I warm up a serving.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 3:20 pm

A celebrated surgeon, a trail of secrets and death

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A stunning report of how a hospital betrayed its trust for the sake of money — a Catholic hospital. (Catholic organizations have often shown a pattern of betrayal and greed.) The report by Rebecca Ostriker, Deirdre Fernandes, Liz Kowalczyk, Jonathan Saltzman, and Spotlight editor Patricia Wen appears in the Boston Globe. That link might encounter a paywall, but the report is also available here (though without some animations). It begins:

MANCHESTER, N.H. – From the day he first stepped into the hospital, Dr. Yvon Baribeau had the makings of a star.

In the operating rooms at Catholic Medical Center, where he started working three decades ago, he was a forceful presence — tall, self-assured, ambitious, tireless, a cardiac specialist who relished the toughest cases and was gifted, peers noted, with “natural” hands that moved swiftly and smoothly through long hours of surgery.

He was also the kind of bold new player who might help a community hospital become something more. CMC executives soon marketed him to the public as an innovative, accomplished cardiac surgeon.

His face appeared in advertisements and news articles promoting the 330-bed hospital and its flagship heart institute. In one newspaper ad, a smiling Baribeau in surgical scrubs is described as a pioneer in minimally invasive heart surgery.

“Benefit from the experience,” it reads.

Baribeau, born and trained in Canada, became one of the hospital’s busiest and best-paid surgeons, ultimately earning more than $1 million a year. The hospital sometimes received more than $200,000 from a single Baribeau case and built one of the biggest heart centers in New England north of Boston.

Even after Baribeau abruptly retired at age 63 in 2019, hospital officials continued to describe him only in glowing terms.

“Dr. Baribeau was absolutely among those folks that were revered,” Alex Walker, the CEO of the hospital, said in a recent interview.

But a Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation has found that the reality could not have been further from the carefully crafted public image — and that the executives who treated him as a star, and promoted him to the public, knew the truth and its consequences.

The facts are blunt and chilling: Baribeau has one of the worst surgical malpractice records among all physicians in the United States.

He has settled 21 medical malpractice claims tied to his work at CMC, including 14 in which he is accused of contributing to a patient’s death. There is no US physician with more settlements involving surgical deaths in the last two decades, and no physician in New Hampshire with more settlements of any kind, than Baribeau, according to an analysis of a national physicians’ database that goes back to 1990.

Even cardiac surgeons at Boston’s academic medical centers, which take on many of the most challenging cases, come nowhere near Baribeau’s statistics. A Globe analysis of 125 current, retired, and other non-practicing cardiac surgeons affiliated with the city’s top teaching hospitals found that only 12 had malpractice settlements, and of those 12, none had more than two, state records show. Ten of those 12 doctors had just one settlement to this point in their careers.

A national study in 2016 painted a similar picture, finding that heart surgeons and other surgical specialists typically face only one or two malpractice claims in their careers.

Baribeau’s 21 settlements do not capture the grievances of all the families of patients treated by him. About a half-dozen other patients or their families have criticized his medical care, including two who filed lawsuits but later dropped them.

Meanwhile, for years, the public had virtually no way to know of his troubled history. To this day, the website of the New Hampshire medical board, which licenses physicians in the state, shows Baribeau with a spotless record.

Hospital executives were well aware for years how dangerous he had become. They knew because they had been repeatedly warned by surgeons and other medical professionals at Catholic Medical Center that Baribeau’s errors were harming, even killing, patients. It was an extraordinary staff uprising in a field that puts a premium on professional deference and chain of command. One former CMC cardiologist even filed a federal whistle-blower suit detailing the disastrous outcomes of a dozen of Baribeau’s cases.

And yet for years hospital management resisted reining in one of their leading rainmakers.

This case out of a little-known community hospital in New England reveals painful truths that apply far beyond its halls and operating rooms and point to some common realities in today’s health care world: Medical consumers — patients in need — are often kept in the dark about the performance history of their physicians, even when that history is grim. And hospital officials can in some cases evade accountability for years, even when confronted repeatedly by alarmed medical staff, as happened in this case. It is one hard edge of a helping profession.

Baribeau’s alleged malpractice in this Manchester hospital ran the gamut from surgical mistakes so basic they surprised other doctors to not showing up when some patients were in crisis. And every time, according to physicians’ accounts, a human life hung in the balance:

A retired Army officer, for instance, died after alleged surgical errors by Baribeau caused so much blood loss that she needed transfusions equal to nearly five times her blood volume.

A construction contractor passed away after Baribeau, while on call that night, did not come to the hospital for hours despite repeated phone requests to deal with this life-threatening situation.

And a garage owner whose sternum Baribeau allegedly sawed off-center at the start of an open-heart procedure suffered severe complications and spent months in the ICU.

Baribeau has also been accused of keeping some patients with little or no hope for recovery on life support for at least 30 days after surgery — perhaps, it is suspected, to improve his surgical metrics and avoid having the death blamed on his work.

Baribeau kept alive one patient even though his chest cavity had turned “black and necrotic,” said a doctor who witnessed this. . .

Continue reading. — Second part of the report is blogged here.

One hospital in New Hampshire — it gives new meaning to the state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 9:55 am

Plisson Grey and the inestimable iKon Shavecraft #101 have a good time on Planet Java Hive

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I am quite fond of this brush, with its pleasant grainy feel on the face. It has a hefty brass handle and was a special purchase by The Wife on a Paris trip from the last Master Barber in Paris — and in fact, it was his recommendation. The lather from Planet Java hive emanated a wonderful coffee + honey fragrance and was wonderfully thick and creamy: long loading and CK-6 shaving soap.

The iKon Shavecraft #101 is a favorite razor that always does an excellent job and never so much as threatens to nick. Three passes smoothed my face, and a splash of Planet Java Hive aftershave (with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel) finished the job.

The tea today is Murchie’s Library Blend: “This blend of Ceylon, Jasmine, Keemun, and Gunpowder teas has a rich, full base with the sparkle of aromatic Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2022 at 9:02 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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