Later On

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

Archive for January 30th, 2023

Tofu leeks

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Another ad-hoc meal. This time I used my MSMK 12″ nonstick skillet.

I’ve mentioned that freezing tofu and then thawing it in the fridge makes it like a water-filled sponge. The slightest pressure causes water to gush out of it, and by controlled firm squeezing it with your hands over the sink, you can pretty much empty it of water, leaving the sponge ready to soak up a marinade.

The texture is different — more like a fine sponge than the normal smoothness of tofu — but it is still tofu, and — especially when combined with some grain.

I had frozen half a block of tofu. I squeezed out the water and diced the squeezed-out tofu. Then I made a marinade, looking at this page for ideas. This is what I made:

Ponzu sauce
maple syrup
liquid smoke
onion powder
garlic powder
ground black pepper
Montreal steak seasoning
smoked paprika,
Frank’s RedHot Xtra Hot
sweet vermouth
extra-virgin olive oil

I whisked that together in a bowl, dumped in the cubes of tofu, and stirred with a silicone spatula. The tofu immediately absorbed almost all the liquid, but I left it for a while.

I brought two medium-small leeks from the store and halved those vertically and rinsed them well to remove all traces of dirt, then sliced them thinly including the green leaves. (I can’t believe I used to discard the leaves. What was I thinking?)

I drizzled some olive oil in the skillet, added the chopped leeks, and let it start cooking. I added:

1/2 cup cooked intact whole-grain Kamut®
1/2 teaspoon Windson salt substitute
about 5 dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

And stirred well to mix. I let that cook for five or six minutes, then I added:

marinated tofu cubes with leftover marinade

One nice thing about plant-based cooking: you can use leftover marinade in the dish you’re cooking, or as a sauce. (With meat — such as chicken — that would be a bad idea.)

After the tofu was heated through and had cooked a while, I had a bowl. Very tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 4:28 pm

This report sees journalistic “bias” less as partisanship and more as relying on too-comfortable habits

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A fascinating report by Joshua Benton from NiemanLab:

When people say the news is biased, what do they mean? Versions of the critique can range from the cartoonishly simple to the paralyzingly complex.

On one end of the spectrum lie straightforward claims of journalistic corruption. (“George Soros pays reporters to write fake news!” “No reporter can tell the truth without getting fired by their corporate masters!”) On the other, there’s room for nuance. (Who was in the room when that story was pitched? What were the underlying assumptions that shaped it, and what drove those assumptions? What perspectives weren’t considered important enough to seek out, or understand, or publish?)

It’s easy for journalists to get so annoyed at the cartoonish claims of bias that they ignore all the other ones. Nobody likes to be told they aren’t doing their job well. So the critiques that bother to dive deeper — to complicate the mechanics of bias — are worth paying special attention to.

That’s why I’d like to highlight a new report from the U.K. today that seems to do just that. It has the thoroughly bureaucratic title of the Review of the Impartiality of BBC Coverage of Taxation, Public Spending, Government Borrowing and Debt and it is, um, a review of the impartiality of BBC coverage of taxation, public spending, government borrowing and debt. Important, nation-shifting topics all — but ones notoriously difficult for news audiences to understand (much less enjoy).

The review did not find any systemic political biases in the BBC’s economics reporting — in the sense that it consistently favored one party’s views or others. But what it did find is more interesting. (All emphases mine.)

We found widespread appreciation for BBC coverage of tax, public spending, government borrowing and debt, and plenty to applaud. But against a test of broad impartiality, we also had concerns — about gaps and assumptions that put impartiality at risk.

These weaknesses can lead to output that appears to favour particular political positions, but curiously these lean left and right. That makes a charge of systematic political bias in this area hard to sustain. So while the risks to impartiality may look political, we think they need a better explanation, which is that they’re really journalistic. This is no less serious and raises questions for the BBC and its journalists about what kind of journalism they want to do and how to do it. Inevitably, we focus on what could change. Much could apply at least equally to other UK media.

We think the emphasis on broad impartiality in the BBC’s response to the Serota Review timely and necessary. We found that significant interests and perspectives on tax, public spending, government borrowing and debt could be better served by BBC output and were not protected by a simpler model of political impartiality. We would not call this bias. But we don’t see how BBC coverage can be described as always fair to different interests if it’s unbalanced in this broad sense. This is an exacting and exciting ideal that drives much that follows.

The 50-page review was written by Michael Blastland and Sir Andrew Dilnot — a journalist and economist (respectively) who have collaborated on a BBC series and a book on the subject of statistics in the news. They examined coverage across platforms from October 2021 to March 2022, reviewing 11,000 pieces of BBC content (focusing on about 1,000 of them), and interviewing over 100 people inside and outside the corporation. (It’s also a much clearer, more enjoyable read than most 50-page reports I’ve come across over the years.)

They say the BBC is doing a good job on the subject overall. (Most people they interviewed “thought the output good (we agree). There was huge appreciation for its quality, seriousness, and especially the strengths of specialists.”) So what were the sources of the imbalance and journalistic weaknesses they found? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life, Media

A 20-string Doolin Harp Guitar

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I had never heard of a harp guitar, and now I see them a lot. Here’s one with a set of treble strings as well as the usual bass strings.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 1:27 pm

Green Tobacco and Blue Tea

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A shaving brush with a white "keyhole" handle (a bottom is a truncated cone that holds a sphere, which holds the knot — in profile, the traditional keyhole pattern), with a tube of shaving soap whose label shows tobacco flowers, next to a clear glass bottle of aftershave. In front is a slant razor on a stainless steel handle with a barber-pole spiral design.

Today is sunny and clear, and I’m celebrating with the photo uplifted a bit. My RazoRock Keyhole brush made quite a nice lather from Tcheon Fung Sing’s Tabacco Verde shaving soap. I think “The first Hard Shaving Soap” must mean the first in Italy — TFS was founded immediately after the war, so perhaps the Italian market still had only the soft shaving soaps — croaps, as some call them, a portmanteau word packing in “cream” and “soap” — and Tcheon Fung Sing made the first actually hard soap. I think hard shaving soaps were already common in, say, the UK.

At any rate, it’s a very nice little soap, and I loaded the brush well to get a thick lather. The razor is the iKon Shavecraft X3, an excellent little slant, mounted on a RazoRock Barber Pole stainless-steel handle. It did a sterling job and my face is wonderfully smooth — the Monday shave always starts the week on a very pleasant note.

A splash of another Prospector Co. aftershave, K.C. Atwood today, augmented with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept’s Aion Hydrating Gel, and the shave is done.

The tea this morning is special, a gift The Wife brought back from Paris. This tea is, as the label says, “Thé Bleu Parfume” — Fragrant Blue Tea — and specifically Bangkok in Love. The color is actually pink, presumable from the rose petals, and the aroma is a delight.

Mariage Frères Blue tea™ sounds as though the tea is blue — and there are teas that are blue (in color), typically from including butterfly pea flowers in the tea. But for Mariage Frères, “Blue tea™” is a term of art (thus the ™).

Blue tea™ represents a half-way stage between green and black tea. The leaves undergo a brief oxidation. Blue tea™ is also called Oolong which means “black dragon”, and occasionally Bohea (or Bohe or even Bou) which is a deformation of Wu Yi, the name of the famous mountain in China’s Fujian Province where the most highly esteemed blue tea is made.

So when Mariage Frères says “Blue tea™”, they are, in effect, saying “oolong” (no ™). My beloved Murchie’s Hairy Crab Oolong would presumably be Blue Hairy Crab for Mariage Frères.

Written by Leisureguy

30 January 2023 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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