Friday, May 12, 2017

Thoughts of the day

Dan Hanegby died suddenly in a freak accident. He had an enviable life - beautiful successful wife, 2 young children, Brooklyn Heights home, affluent job - that was cut short randomly in its prime. Although an experienced bicyclist, he somehow was struck by a passing charter bus. Hanegby fell under the bus's rear wheels and was run over.

The butterfly effect lends to activist theory.

Dean Awn has stepped down.

Ohm Youngmisuk ESPN article, quoting from Randy Foye's podcast with Jeremy Lin, about the racism that Lin experienced as a Harvard basketball player. It makes me ashamed for not being stronger for my interpersonal competitive challenges. Learn, evolve, and be better. Mastery learning orientation.

Add simple machines to the list of basic man knowledge. It's important to understand the physical math of mechanical advantage as well as the theory.

Sal Licata and Pete McCarthy on the Sports Zone at WOR 710 AM are good on their own and good together as co-hosts. I was unhappy when the Mets left WFAN, but the dedicated Mets pre- and post-games at WOR are a better listen on WOR with McCarthy and sometimes Licata than their predecessor on WFAN.

I'm a Mets fan, but I would rather have been a baseball New York Giants fan for their rich New York baseball roots and uniform design and colors.

The Sandman: Overture, a prequel to the series, is fine work by Neil Gaiman and his teammates.

La La Land (2016); Night of the Comet (1984); Collateral Beauty (2016); Passengers (2016); Batman: Gotham Knight (2008); Operation Chromite (2016); The Hateful Eight (2015); Flight 7500 (2016); Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016); Weiner (2016); The Lego Batman Movie (2017); Kubo and the Two Strings (2016); Kong: Skull Island (2017); Gattaca (1997); back 2/3 of Sing (2016); Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016); back 3/4 of xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017); back 6/7 of Logan (2017); Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016).

I felt bad for Huma Abedin in Weiner. She comes across as a normal wife who sincerely wanted to encourage, support, and stand by her husband. Anthony Weiner was glib, selfish, and self-centered in the movie, but that may be normal for a political candidate of his then-stature. There is a hint from Weiner in the movie in the Rodney Dangerfield joking scene with Barbara Morgan in the cab that his wife was frigid, his friend-partner more than a lover. Weiner has a petty shameful habit, sexting, that he denies yet barely covers up ("Carlos Danger"), which has multiply blown up in public and been seized upon by the tabloid press due to his high-profile political life. It's unclear why Sydney Leathers chose to blow his cover and embrace the sordidness of it all. His wife and professional teammates trusted him, and his stigmatization tainted their efforts. The lowbrow scandal trapped his politically important, image-conscious wife in a squalid public indignity. As of May 2017, Weiner's petty shameful habit has made him a felon. There isn't an obvious indication in the movie Weiner would have been a bad mayor. Nor was he a bad Congressman. With his personal idiosyncrasies, he seemed like a typical politician who glad-hands and gaslights, but over-all, approached his official duties seriously. I don't believe he was ever accused of official misconduct as a Congressman. I can empathize with an otherwise talented man whose talents propel him onto professional, social stages where he's painfully felled by an enduring personal flaw. The movie also showed there's a blurry distinction and perhaps overlap between constructive intuition and instinct, and self-destructive impulsiveness. Campaign staffer Jessica Provenz fills some gaps in the movie narrative.

A political takeaway from Weiner is the overwhelming tide of a narrow-minded narrative judgement of a media gang-up. The movie shows seasoned politicians and their media handlers anxious, fearful, and defensive with the press, and continually warping their own plans and actions in reaction to the press. All considerations factor the press narrative, which takes precedent over integrity, fairness, actual truth, and what's ethically and morally right. The movie offers insight on elite political workings since Weiner's camp, including his wife, was drawn from top-line Democratic operatives from the Clinton faction.

I enjoyed Kong: Skull Island. It's not thoughtful fare, except I object to its anti-military ethos. Otherwise, the movie was tightly made and reined in a cohesive plot. Its grasp doesn't exceed its reach. A little scene at the end of the credits implies there'll be a sequel, which I hope to see. I was surprised to find out it's in the same series and universe as the worse, loosely made 2014 Godzilla.

I watched the animated Batman The Dark Knight Returns, part 2 (2013) and didn't remember I already watched it in 2014 with part 1 until I was reminded by my comments.

This year's Hudson Riverflicks, Big Hit Wednesdays (7/5-8/16) line-up is Moonlight, Keanu, Arrival, Lego Batman, Hidden Figures, La La Land, and Logan. The Hudson Riverflicks, Family Fridays (7/7-8/18) line-up is The Secret Life of Pets, Trolls, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, Kubo and the Two Strings, Sing, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Karate Kid (1984).

Uncle Vanya's story of bitter disillusionment and economic reality over a hopeless aging speaks to me as red-pill personal and social truth, but it's diagnostic with no prescriptive cure for me. Its prescription as such is a beautiful and/or gentle wife, children, and family. Romantically idealized work (farm labor, teaching and helping the poor, medicine, reforestation, political activism, art criticism, academic scholarship, music) is shown to be a sop that's actually bereft of depth and personal fulfillment. Everyone except the doctor depends on Sonia and Uncle Vanya's economic toil yet they're desperately unhappy and the least appreciated and rewarded. It's revealed by Vanya that Sonia owns the farm when her father presumes to sell the property to serve his own comfort. In the play's commentary on the professor, Yelena, and Vanya's mother on one hand, and Waffles on the other hand, the political values of the play presage Communism.

3-day GI cycle - May24AM-27AM-30AM-Jun2AM-5AM-9AM-13AM-16PM-17PM(D)-21AM-24PM-27PM-29PM-Jul3AM(D)-6PM-7AM(D)-10?AM(D)-12?PM-13PM-16AM-19AM-20AM(D?)-25AM-29AM-Aug2AM-5AM-5PM(D)-8AM-11PM-13AM-18AM-19AM(D?)-22AM.

My stomach has hurt for a week, and it seems to be better now, but not completely. There's still some pulsing and welling of dull pain. Baking soda and water has helped at least as a temporary pain reliever. Drinking water and eating has provided shorter-lived relief. The prime suspect is a few spoons worth of uncooked brownie batter I impulsively ate ranger pudding-style, which I've suffered for doing before, because the eggs I used for the batter were older, thick, and cloudy. A 2nd suspect is some 3+ years old Premio hot sausage I took out of my freezer that taste off. Update: I don't believe it's the sausage. I've finished off the 6 pack of sausage, but while the flavor is still off and my stomach still isn't all right yet, my stomach has been gradually improving. I think the cause was diseased brownie batter.

My Toastmaster burner now heats up when it's plugged in and the switch is set at off or 0 degrees. I wonder whether the other temperature settings are off kilter, too. 21 0000 JUN17 RIP: The Toastmaster 6420 burner just died. It emitted loud clicks, then puffs of white acrid coppery-smelling (toxic?) smoke, then no more heat. For a while, the burner had stayed warm in the off position, but otherwise worked normally. I guess it was a sign that some part of the heating element, likely insulation, was breaking down. The Toastmaster was the workhorse in my kitchen for 3+ years. My general cooking devices are now down to my 2nd Salton rice cooker, bottom burner only Proctor-Silex toaster oven, George Foreman grill, and Sharp Carousel microwave.

Based on this review, I bought a Continental CE23309 single-burner hot plate for $10.88 including tax. I'm not certain yet it heats up below the MED setting, but it's worked MED and up. The Mirro fits better on the Continental than the Toastmaster because the Continental's heating element is smaller diameter. The review didn't say anything about durability. It's relatively cheap, but it's new, so I hope the burner lasts.

Chicken liver, usually $1.99 per pound, is flavorful, filling, and versatile to cook. I bought about 4.5 lbs on sale for $1.28/lb and I wish I bought more. It doesn't make tasty jus for canned pink salmon, though.

Chicken gizzards need to be boiled over an hour to be passably tender, otherwise eating it is like biting into chunks of hard rubber. They're not filling and don't taste like much, either.

Canned pink salmon, marinated in a tasty pork shoulder jus, spread with sour cream on bannock is tasty. The same salmon's flavor is lost when spread on bannock with mayonnaise.

One area store sells chicken liver for $1.79 per pound as the regular price, and I caved in and bought a $2.12 pack. Price per pound is the standard way to count cost, and that's how I've made purchasing decisions. Another, more suitable way to count cost is price per meal which is usually the same as price per day. (I usually eat 1 big meal a day and otherwise impulsively snack 1-3 times in a day with the snacks sometimes bordering on meal size.) For example, a usual sale price for chicken thigh is .99/lb, but I usually eat 2 chicken thighs for a meal, which together usually account for roughly a pound or 99 cents. Whereas $1.99/lb italian sausages and $1.79/lb chicken livers will work out to about 70 cents worth of amount (eg, 2 sausage links) consumed in a meal despite the higher dollar cost per pound. A $1.99 can of 14.75 oz pink salmon will usually be consumed over 1 proper meal and then 2-3 snacks over the next 2-3 days, usually half or more of the can consumed at the 1st sitting with rice, then the rest of the can more frugally portioned as a spread on bannock with sour cream or as an extra flavor besides another meat. A $1.25-1.50 can of mackerel will be consumed over 1 meal, maybe 2 meals. Of course, variety matters, so sticking to the most cost-efficient-per-meal meat is not a pleasant way to live.

A good deal is Sugardale Prestige shank-portion hickory-smoked ham for .99/lb. It normally costs $3.49/lb. Pros are the sale cost, the ham is fully cooked and ready to eat, thick smoke flavor, it tastes good with mayonnaise like regular ham, and it doesn't need to be frozen to prevent spoilage. I've kept the ham in the refrigerator for over a month, though the smell does turn some after a few weeks. Cons are its thick smoke flavor is artificial and leaves some icky after-feeling like processed food, it has a lot of fat, and heating reduces its flavor. In contrast, Cook's brand shank-portion hickory-smoked ham, with the same sale and regular price, is exceptionally flavorless, and remains flavorless whatever flavoring I add to it, but doesn't leave the same icky after-feeling. The Sugardale ham didn't leak any fluid while the Cook's ham leaked a good deal of fluid.

I brought a 10-pack of chicken legs on sale for .69/lb. I cooked 3 on my George Foreman grill, microwaved 2, baked 2 in my bottom burner-only toaster oven, and boiled 3 while making rice. The worst outcome was the George Foreman grill, where the meat was either overcooked dry or undercooked, plus hard to scrape off burned-on bits stuck to the cooking surface. Baking was okay; the meat was tender and the skin crisped but took too long to cook - over an hour. Microwaving and boiling with rice worked about the same - tender meat, no crispy skin.

I microwaved a 4.01 lb Springer whole chicken for about 40 minutes (or 10 minutes per pound) starting with 70% power, following these directions. When I checked the chicken at about 20 minutes, parts of the chicken still felt cool to the touch, which may be partly due to the chicken wasn't completely defrosted, so I raised the power to 80%. It worked. The meat was moist. I ate the chicken over 5 days. The downside of microwaving the chicken is I couldn't add ingredients for a chicken stew, like I can when I boil a chicken using the 3-quart mixing bowl or the Mirro deep pan.

Best-tasting sweet sausage: Cooked by boiling with rice, then browned in the bottom-only toaster oven at 400 degrees in the 1-quart mixing bowl for about 15 minutes.

I've had three packs of different kinds of 4?-year-old Premio sausage in my freezer for which I paid 99 cents each. In addition, I had a pack I paid $1.99 that's maybe 3 years old. I was loath to eat the Premio sausage because I bought them on such a good deal. I've occasionally used slices mixed in scrambled eggs or on bannock pizza. I recently decided to cook whole sausages from the packs. The whole sausages tasted off. Some of it tasted gross, a mix of leached Styrofoam flavor, curdled spices, and stale meat, which possibly made my stomach sick (though I believe the culprit was more likely uncooked brownie batter with old clotted eggs). I finished off the $1.99 pack and one of the 99-cent packs, and half the 99-cent pack that's been open for slices. My discovery is that the old sausage tastes okay as slices mixed in scrambled eggs or on bannock pizza, but does not taste good eaten whole.

Green cabbage, which I've bought on sale for 49 to 59 cents per pound, is tasty and can be stored unrefrigerated for quite a long time, although it does eventually grow mold on cut portions.

The George Foreman grill bakes a decent bannock pizza when the front legs are propped up to un-tilt the grill and the lid is propped up so its held up off the bannock pizza.

I scavenged a box with a 3-ounce tin of Crown Prince naturally smoked oysters. I don't know what "naturally smoked" means, but the smoked flavor of the oysters is thick. The olive oil is also flavorful. The oyster texture is mealy, somewhat like canned salmon. The oysters are best eaten by breaking off bits and spread thin on bannock.

I scavenged a bag of Beigel brand individually plastic-wrapped whole wheat bread and white bread slices. There were no artificial ingredients in the ingredient list printed on the whole wheat bread wrapping. The white bread slices didn't have ingredients and nutrition info printed on their wrapping. One whole wheat slice had a mold patch inside the sealed bag so I scarfed down all the wrapped slices over 4 days. Every application with the whole wheat and white bread slices was worse eating than bannock except the white bread worked better for a peanut butter and grape jam snack.

Duncan Hines milk chocolate brownie tastes like a cheap hot chocolate or an artificial flavored creamer for coffee. Baking with strawberry and sour cream is tasty. It works a la mode with Avenue A rum raisin-flavored and coconut-flavored ice cream, which I bought on sale for $2 per 48-oz box. I previously bought a box of Avenue A cookies-and-cream-flavored ice cream on sale for $2.50, which tasted right but shouldn't be combined with brownie since the oreo cookie flavor is somewhat neutralized by the brownie flavor. The rum raisin and coconut flavors provide a good contrast with brownie.

Pillsbury chocolate fudge tastes more like a proper brownie. Interestingly, its listed ingredients are the same as Pillsbury dark chocolate (chocolate fudge has more sugar: 18g vs 17g per serving), yet they don't taste the same. I prefer the chocolate fudge flavor. The tag price on the box is 90 cents cheaper than Duncan Hines milk chocolate brownie mix, but I prefer the more proper brownie-tasting Pillsbury chocolate fudge. Pillsbury milk chocolate brownie tastes proper, too.

At the same 300 degrees in the bottom-burner-only toaster oven, the Pillsbury chocolate fudge batter was still mostly sludgy liquid after 10 minutes baked using the stainless steel 1-quart mixing bowl yet burnt at the bottom after 7 minutes baked on the aluminum tray. The best baking method is 5 minutes in the George Foreman grill.

Bannock dough can be boiled as dumplings. But brownie batter breaks down into barely tasted foam when dropped into boiling water.

The foil cover of a 6 oz mango 1% milkfat La Yogurt opened in the bag on my way home (I hope it opened in the bag and wasn't opened and poisoned before purchase), so I decided not to eat it from the container. Instead, I mixed about 2/3 into bannock dough with baking soda and some corn oil in the 1-qt mixing bowl. I added 3 or 4 sliced fresh strawberries with the remaining yogurt as filling in the pocket in the middle and baked it at about 370 degrees in the bottom-burner only toaster oven for 45 minutes. It baked acceptably. The bottom was burnt, but the sides and top were baked through and light brown. The strawberry-and-yogurt filling was nearly tasteless, so I added sour cream and Aunt Jemima pancake syrup for flavor. The yogurt-added bannock's texture was more interesting - soft like cornbread and a bit creamy - in contrast to the more biscuit-like crumbly and oily texture of mayonnaise or corn oil-added bannock and the more French bread-like drier water-only bannock.

A decadent dessert is milk chocolate brownie (with ginger chips and extra flour) + chunky peanut butter + grape jam + sour cream + coconut-flavored ice cream. Interestingly, the real dairy flavor of the real dairy sour cream helped offset the artificial taste of the much artificial ice cream. Omitted ingredients were ripe banana and Dole frozen sliced strawberry in sugar. Add: I added strawberries and banana. It was good, still decadent, but the strong tartness of the strawberry dominated more than worked with the other flavors.

Dole frozen sliced strawberries in sugar works well as a lone topping on a brownie because its tartness dominates rather than complements other flavors. The Dole frozen strawberries are significantly more tart than fresh strawberries.

Frozen whole-milk coconut La Yogurt is not an a-la-mode substitute for ice cream with brownie. It's different. It adds a mild yogurt flavor. Aunt Jemima artificial maple syrup adds an interesting flavor to brownie, but the syrup comes with an uncomfortable after-feeling.

Pillsbury chocolate fudge brownie with La Yogurt guava yogurt is interesting, tasty.

Junk food, either sweet (eg, chocolate candy cookies) or salty (eg, Doritos), is not a meal replacement. I can, and usually do eat an excess, but then I feel compelled to eat a real meal to make up for the queasy after feeling as the heavy sugar, salts, oils, chemicals, and other unhealthy ingredients are processed by my digestive system.

Nature's Garden (Cibo Vita) pitted dates are a tasty sweet natural snack. The older one gets, the more one gravitates to natural foods because the older body responds worse to junk food while natural foods process more comfortably.

I scavenged a Chef's Choice 460 kitchen knife sharpener. PDF instructions. Video instructions with the similar Chef's Choice 450. It worked to sharpen a Farberware 5-inch utility knife that I also scavenged. According to bushcraft knife videos, normal kitchen knives are made from soft steel, in contrast to the hard steel used to make knives designed for fieldwork. The trade-off is kitchen knives lose their edge quickly but they also can be sharpened quickly and easily.

Eric

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