Sunday, March 09, 2014

Thoughts of the day

The start of Daylight Saving Time (Sunday, March 9, 2014: 2:00 AM forward to 3:00 AM) is as good a reason as any to start a new thoughts of the day post. I've lived with the DST 1-hour switches all my life and don't understand how the time change makes "better use of the daylight in the evenings by setting the clocks forward one hour during the longer days of summer, and back again in the fall." While moving the clock forward an hour for summer and back an hour for winter moves the clock roughly in accordance with the changing evening daylight, it seems to me that we reduce the benefit of extra daylight in the summer by moving clocks ahead an hour. The time change make more sense as making better use of morning daylight by waking up later in the winter to match the later winter sunrise and waking up earlier in the summer to match the earlier summer sunrise.

The start of Spring is the March Equinox: March 20, 2014, 16:57 UTC (12:57 EDT).

Semper Fi and rest in peace, Major Lee. Thank you, Sir. New York Times coverage. Marines Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee was the subject of Smithsonian documentary, Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin. Like Medal-of-Honor recipient, Army Colonel Lew Millett, Major Lee served in World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam.

Asian American political scientists offer a description and prescriptive recommendations for GOP Asian outreach. (h/t)

The Overton Window is "a political theory that describes as a narrow "window" the range of ideas the public will accept." Activists alter the Overton Window.

Activism is sociology or "behavioral economics" weaponized. (h/t)

This Malcolm X speech is like a primer for activism.

"Trashing" is a particularly vicious form of character assassination employed by feminists. It's mean girls, and I've experienced it. Know it, recognize it, prevent it, cure it. (h/t)

Textbook Russian propaganda in the US, EU, Ukraine, Crimea, Russia confrontation.

Iraq again, and why setting the record straight on the Iraq enforcement is urgently relevant today.

Prominent California state senator Leland Yee was arrested by the FBI for public corruption and conspiracy to traffic in international arms. The CBS news report is a dramatic account worthy of a B-level action film. It suggests Yee was depressed and in debt due to his failed election campaigns and had lost his bearing on top of his alleged corruption. This article by Matt Continetti provides insight on the sophisticated inner-circle, behind-the-scenes machinations of money, connections, favors, public-manipulating, and policy-making required to succeed in politics. Overview of the patronage system by Walter Russell Mead. Related, a snapshot of the system at work. I wonder whether the crude corruption scandals involving Asian American officials is a consequence of trying to meet the competitive bar in politics while lacking access to the privileged network of influence and funding. I knew the author of the Free Beacon piece in college; he wrote well of ROTC although he didn't participate in the return movement. Good for you, Matt. Add: Matt on experiencing 9/11 at Columbia.

Grantland articles on approaching high-level team competition from a professional front-office perspective and a college head coach's perspective.

This Grantland article emphasizes culture, coaching, and contextual (structural) fit in team sports, in this case NBA basketball, as non-statistical factors when analyzing individual performance.

I'm curious to find out how Phil Jackson will do as the Knicks president of operations, whether Jackson will translate his on-court success as an 11-time NBA championship coach (and 2-time NBA champion as a player) to front-office team-building success. I'm rooting for Jackson because of Henry Abbott's column deriding Jackson's intuitive, visionary method as inferior to Abbott's favored trend of quantitative analytics. I want the intuitive visionary to succeed versus analytical competitors.

ABC's Resurrection has a heart-tugging hook, dead and buried loved ones returning to life years later, but early indications are that once the hook is used up, the rest of the show will become cheap, likely derivative primetime soap opera. It reminds me in that sense of Lifetime's Army Wives: interesting premise that plateaued with generic TV drama.

Storm of the Century, a 1999 TV mini-series by Stephen King, is pretty good. The caricatured characters and speech are typical King.

Found it, finally. For months, I heard this song play on a pop music track when I shopped in my neighborhood supermarket. I also occasionally heard the song play in the background during radio broadcasts of Nets games. I liked the slippery, airy techno club beat, which reminded me nostalgically of 1990s techno club music. However, I couldn't make out the lyrics, which prevented a google search. Instead, I tried tracking down the song by listening to 2013 top-40 and top-100 compilations on youtube. That the song was in the Nets' arena music hinted it was more than a year old but, at the same time, the other songs on the supermarket track were current. The problem was I couldn't remember the tune, either, and for a while, I thought doubtfully that the song might be Ellie Goulding's 2013 hit, Burn. Tonight, I heard the song during a Nets radio broadcast, focused on catching a lyric and got "we found love in a hopeless place". I did a google search and, presto, I finally identified the song as Rihanna's 2011-2012 hit, We Found Love, which of course, wouldn't appear on 2013 pop music lists. The music video reminds that defining Rihanna and Chris Brown's passionate relationship only by its publicized DV aspect is a reductive and misleading characterization.

I'm a fan of the Backstreet Boys. One, their peak popularity coincides with my peak nostalgia so their classics are part of the soundtrack. Two, they're unexpectedly good.

Judd Apatow's This is 40 (2012) is the stand-alone sequel to Knocked Up (2007). The construction of This 40 is poorer. It seemed like a bundle of parts inspired by personal experience that weren't reformulated in a clean narrative. Knocked Up lurched, but otherwise provided a clear thematic narrative. Whereas the original was uplifting, the sequel was depressing throughout with a tacked-on happy ending. I don't understand how Pete and Debbie live such an extravagant lifestyle with their alarming money problems with no safety net. The movie tries to sell the idea that the lows of family life are richer than the highs of a carefree single life, but there are serious problems in Pete and Debbie's marriage. Knocked Up presented the alternatives and made a choice. For This is 40, we just have to take Apatow's word that Pete and Debbie's romantic love overrides the demonstrated dysfunction and their daughters are okay despite their parents' open hostility.

Terry Malick's Thin Red Line (1998) is as self-important and ignoble as I remember. It was no Saving Private Ryan.

I agree with her Japanese fans that Crimea's 33-year-old attorney general, Natalia Poklonskaya, looks like a cute anime cosplayer in her uniform. She looks younger in her press conference than she does in her personal photos. I wonder whether that was a deliberate effect. Poklonskaya sounds as nervous as I might have in her situation and demonstrates that not all lawyers are natural public speakers. She seems to be trying hard to appear grave and serious. She'll get better with more experience.

Be His Soft Place to Land. The benefits of dyad: anchor in the light, making a house a home, feminine beauty, purpose, family.

Inside Amy Schumer's Hello, M'Lady skit mocks the romantic algorithm of nice guys. (h/t) "M'lady" is a reference to pedestaling, tribute-offering, self-deprecating, romantically fallacious chivalry. According to Schumer's skit, what do girls think of doting nice guys? "Human hobbits", half-men with lower sexual value than stalkers. Ouch. Been there, done that. Wake up.

Demographic Winter, documentary. (h/t) It's confusing because I thought we were over-populated, ie, the population bomb. But I've also heard of the 'inverted pyramid' economic danger of aging baby boomers outgrowing outsizing the productive younger generations. What are the cultural incentives? What are the economic incentives?

Mount Everest climbing documentaries.

The thrill-seeking kid who trespassed at the Freedom Tower and got up to the roof antenna is going to have an interesting life. At least, he'll try. He's got the smirk. I envy him. He also punctured the often-punctured illusion of social guarantees.

Youtube video of Nassim Taleb interview regarding anti-fragility. (h/t)

Good points about internet abuse that's like turning off my mind and vegging out with television. I like the prescription of thoughtful use of the internet to add value to real life, but stepping away when passive learning crosses over into a recycling rut and I should be moving to the next, active stage of applying the internet content to real life. However, there is a balance. Unfocused, meandering internet browsing has yielded valuable nuggets that I most likely wouldn't have found with a tightly controlled reading schedule.

A thumbnail sketch of typical Manosphere advice.

I identify with this post by Martel about why he pulls his punches and avoids conflict. It points to why positive masculinity is essential. Anxious, sensitive boys need to be taught to expand their capacity for conflict – that the wounding and scarring from challenging and fighting are necessary pieces of growing to robust manhood. The scarring is how we become men. Moreover, pain, discomfort, defeat, and failure are normal, and healthy building blocks when processed constructively. Embracing hurtful results as lessons fosters our innate strengths as men. Fearfully avoiding hurtful results stunts our growth and limits what we accomplish with our lives.

M3 relates a heart-wrenching story of how his self-belittling, "happy wife, happy life" social programming led to banal decisions that caused an unredeemable mistake that jarred him into making positive masculine fundamental changes to his life algorithms and schema.

Asian Masculinity and Asian American reddits.

3 ways + 5 more ways to manage anxiety without drugs. They seem common sense and simple enough.

Popular Mechanics: 25 Skills Every Man Should Know: Your Ultimate DIY Guide; 100 Skills Every Man Should Know: The Instructions.

10 Reasons You Should Become a Survivalist.

This story touches me in several ways. The crime, what I can glean about his girlfriend's behavior leading up to the murder, and her TOP recall my old job. I went to college with Jason, although I don't remember having more than a nodding acquaintance with him. His crime is an extreme example of inner demons or bad wiring from early in life that persist and can't be cured with the acquisition of expensive, social-proof academic credentials. Childhood is prologue. Jason was a struggling law grad; academic credentials were a false promise that herded us into pens even as we believed we were opening doors. (I don't think his work and money problems are the proximate cause, but the pressure, frustration, and stress likely contributed to his mental state.)

17 (Math) Equations That Changed the World. (h/t)

HTML instructions on hyperlinks (and here), superscripts, which usually work with same-page hyperlinks, and highlighting text.

I discovered another "annoying known issue" with blogger. Warning: When editing a post in the HTML editor, don't switch to the Compose editor. Just opening the HTML-edited post in Compose will corrupt some tags. Apparently, it's okay to edit in Compose first and then switch to HTML, but not vice versa. I was in the middle of installing endnotes here with <a href="#1" target="_self"><sup>1</sup></a>, and <a id="1">1</a> in the HTML editor when I switched to the Compose editor to center-align headings in the post. The <a href="#1" target="_self"><sup>1</sup></a> turned into <a href="" target="_self"><sup>1</sup></a> and the <a id="1">1</a> turned into <a href="" id="1">1</a>. That happened to a post before and I didn't know why. Now I know. < > </ >

On eating healthy by Keoni.

My usual-use spoons are teaspoon size (.166 ounce). My big spoons are tablespoon size (.5 ounce).

2-day eating binge, with a lot of junk: all of a bachelor meat sauce (24 oz can Hunts garlic & herb pasta sauce (FYI), 2 chicken legs, 1 box frozen spinach, 2 carrots, 1 potato, rice, Ronzoni gemelli pasta), 2 bags 11-oz regular Doritos (BOGO), brownies, bananas, 1 bag instant McCann oatmeal. Variety of eating does matter, though eating junk gives me a crappy after-feeling. I ought to develop variety with healthier foods. I feel sick of Doritos and the rest of the junk now, but the next time Doritos are on sale, I'm sure I'll want them again. My natural expellant follow-up to the bachelor meat sauce was an interestingly voluminous and costly experience.

Hearty meal to kick off weekly fast: crackling made in Salton pot and 1-quart mixing bowl, 2 baking soda-and-vinegar bannocks, french fries and pernil chop cooked in rendered grease in Salton pot and 1-quart mixing bowl, chicken bone broth with ginger flakes and vinegar, and banana-and-ginger brownie. The baking soda-and-vinegar bannocks were as good as I've ever made.

Contrary to some advice on-line, crackling does cook faster in grease.

Cooked-on grease is very, very difficult to clean off of cookware. Dishwashing liquid, soaking, and a nylon scrubbing pad aren't enough. After making crackling in my Salton pot, the same cooked-on grease coating the inside of my toaster oven is now coating the inside of my Salton pot. Update: I boiled a solution of water, Dawn dishwashing liquid, baking soda, and vinegar in the Salton pot. That didn't lift the burnt-on grease stains. I scrubbed the pot with a metal scouring pad, which removed some of the stains, but much more of the anodized surface layer, exposing the raw aluminum underneath. Salton pots are apparently composed of anodized aluminum. See forum discussions on the issue here, here, and here. Interestingly, my nylon scrubbing pad has been mostly degreased while trying to clean the Salton pot; it was mostly char black for a long time and now is mostly clean green again. However, despite the scrubbing that has cleaned the scrubbing pad, burnt-on grease spots and streaks remain clinging to the Salton pot like black and brown enamel.

Another lesson learned from the destructive experiment making crackling in the Salton pot using the 1-quart mixing bowl: Cooking over direct heat dry with thin-walled stainless steel mixing bowls warps their bottoms. My 1-quart mixing bowl is no longer flat-bottomed. Cooking the crackling in the 1-quart mixing bowl in the Salton pot over the burner caused the bottom of the mixing bowl to pop inward. The bottom of my 3-quart mixing bowl was popped outward when I scavenged it, and I may have caused the bottom of my 2-quart mixing bowl to pop inward. Cooking with the 1-quart mixing bowl in the Nesco, which uses indirect convection heat from the sides as opposed to the direct conduction heat from the bottom with the burner, didn't cause that to happen. I also had cooked with the 1-quart mixing bowl in the Salton pot over the burner with water in the Salton pot outside the mixing bowl without warping the mixing bowl. My toaster oven pan also warps over and under the heating rods of the toaster oven.

I was able to scrape off most but not all the burnt crud on the toaster oven pan using a disposable plastic knife without, from what I can tell, scratching the pan. Earlier, I had used a metal spoon to scrape the crud, which did leave scratches on the pan. Scraping with the plastic knife didn't work on the remaining burnt-on grease in the Salton pot, though.

Quick snack: Slices of frozen pernil chop, sauteed, flavored with seasoned salt, sour cream, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, etc..

Start-fast and break-fast meal: Bachelor stew with 1 can mackerel, 1 can sweet yellow corn, rice, rendered grease from crackling, 1 jumbo egg, carrots, okra, ginger, onions, garlic, chicken leg bones, seasoned salt, salt, pepper, hot sauce. Eaten with combinations of chunky crushed tomato sauce, sour cream, peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce. BC dark chocolate brownies made with 1 egg and much too much water. For break-fast, I also had a bannock with peanut butter and jelly and a bannock pizza with pernil slices, onions, and garlic, sour cream, and chunky crushed tomato sauce. I experimented mixing in sour cream with the watery brownie batter and the bannock, and it seemed to make them chewier.

Short-cut meal: In the Salton pot and 1-quart mixing bowl, uncooked rice, water, 2 frozen chicken legs, frozen okra, carrots, garlic, onions, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce. No need to thaw the chicken or cook the rice separately. I started with the Nesco. Everything cooked except the rice, so I transferred the 1-quart mixing bowl to the Salton pot and burner. The rice was done quickly. I cooked everything together and it came out fine. Sour cream and hot sauce dipping sauce. I finished off the rice with chunky crushed tomato sauce and sour cream.

I experimented adding a big dollop of plain yogurt to my over-watered, 1 egg, Betty Crocker dark chocolate brownie batter in the 1-quart mixing bowl, cooked in the Nesco. I wanted a denser brownie. I thought adding 1 egg only would make the brownie less cake-like since adding an extra egg is supposed to make brownies more cake-like. Instead, 1 egg just made the brownies flatter while still cakelike. It turns out the way to make brownies denser is adding a milk product, not by reducing the egg content. I've added evaporated milk before with the same effect. The yogurt worked just as well.

I used up a 32-oz container of La Yogurt all natural whole milk Probiotic unsweetened plain yogurt, experimenting with it as a sour cream substitute. Yogurt is thinner than sour cream and less flavorful. The yogurt worked adequately as a topping for bannock pizza and brownies and as a mayonnaise substitute in a bannock sandwich. The yogurt didn't work well as dipping sauce and was poor cream in bachelor stew. I mixed yogurt into bannock bread and bannock pizza dough. I think it made the bannock softer, but not soft enough to preclude the impression was biased imagination only. Sour cream, in contrast, made the bannock noticeably softer.

I also mixed instant oatmeal into bannock dough, but the oatmeal didn't change the flavor.

A 15-oz can of Healthy Choice zesty gumbo with chicken & sausage soup doesn't work as a base for bachelor stew like a can of Progresso soup, plus: can of mackerel, diced fatback, rice, Ronzoni small shells, Barilla thin spaghetti, 1 egg, Goya okra, carrots, garlic, ginger, onions, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper. Added for flavor: Yogurt, Hunts garlic & herb pasta sauce. The yogurt dissipated. The HC zesty gumbo didn't add any flavor I could discern. I ought to buy more beans; I've been waiting for a sale on dry beans, but there hasn't been one.

Canned mackerel has similar texture and much less flavor compared to canned salmon, but the canned mackerel costs half as much as the sale price for canned salmon.

With the bachelor stew, I ate a yogurt, baking soda, and instant-oatmeal bannock that was one of the best I've made. The lesson reinforced was the amount of liquid in the dough is key to the structure of a leavened bannock. Think of the bannock like an interlocking lattice-support structure. If the dough is too watery, it will puff up and collapse like a bubble. The lattice supports will be too spread out to expand and fill the bannock with a dense bread-like structure. Watery dough doesn't contract and reform as densely packed interlocking lattice supports when baked; instead, it just dries in place with the thinned out structure.

Ssips pina colada drink is okay, like their ginger and green tea drink. So far, Ssips drinks made from natural ingredients are acceptable. Ssips drinks made from artificial ingredients are gross.

My sweet tooth is toning down, I think. I bought a 15.25-oz box of Pillsbury german chocolate cake mix on sale for $1. I used 2 eggs, instead of 3 eggs, reduced the water, and increased the oil to roughly match brownie mix water, oil, and egg amounts. I added yogurt for density, but it puffed up like cake, anyway. In the past, boxed mix cake was unsatisfactorily low in flavor as a brownie substitute. This time, I was satisfied with the cake. There are many more artificial ingredients in the cake mix than brownie mix, though. Update: I added sour cream, which is thicker than yogurt, to the german chocolate batter; the result was cake noticeably moister and thicker though still cake-like. Update: A mom says reducing sugary products in her family's diet heightened their taste and physical reactive sensitivity to sugar and improved their energy and health.

If I can buy the ingredients on sale, I may try making mix-style brownies from scratch. The hurdle is the cocoa powder. The scratch recipe at the linked site for the equivalent of a box of brownie mix says to use 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, or about 2.7 ounces. The regular price for a 9-oz box of Hersheys cocoa powder at my local supermarket is $4.19. In other words, 1/3 cup of regular-priced cocoa powder alone costs about the same or more than a box of brownie mix on sale. The linked blogger says the ingredients she used totaled 30¢. Hm.

I've continued my recently developed habit of eating peanut butter, sour cream, and grape jelly/jam straight out of their containers like pudding, which has used them up quickly. I bought 6 16.3-oz jars of Skippy creamy peanut butter on sale about 2.5 weeks ago and already consumed 3 jars; it's smooth like pudding.

I tried using my 2-qt and 3-qt mixing bowls as pots on the Salton pot with steamer over burner. I boiled water in the Salton pot for steam heat. The mixing bowls were heated enough to cook pasta and heat bone broth, but not enough to cook rice.


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