Archive for August, 2014

Cause for Scepticism

August 25th, 2014 Comments off

One thing is that we are from a generation that was lied to so often, so thouroughly, that it is nearly impossible to blithely accept what scientists are saying.  Scientists are presented as authorities, and the authorities have led us astray so often that we are “fact-shy,” like horses, brushing facts from our eyes.

It was scientists and doctors who were telling us that sure, go ahead and smoke tobacco, it’s good for you, even help dry out overly-moist lungs.  It was scientists telling us of the wonders of leaded gasoline.  Science that told us that nuclear power plants were clean and perfectly safe, don’t worry your little heads.  Experts it was who told us we had to stop communism’s domino-like domination of the world.

Experts told us of the quick in-and-out victory in Iraq, and experts who let Afghanistan’s battle stagnate.  Experts who told us the economy could only expand, and the market would have no limit and could now never collapse.

So when now, “experts” scientists or not tell us that GMO foods cannot possibly harm us, are surely perfectly safe—any wonder there is scepticism?

Categories: Economics, food, Uncategorized Tags:

A Coming-Our Story

August 25th, 2014 Comments off

I’m taking this opportunity, to announce: I’m coming out of the closet. This may come as a shock to a lot of you; I’m not all that obvious, I think, and I try not to let it show all the time, but here it is: I am an old person.

Oh, I’ve been gay all my life. I came out as a gay man at the age of nineteen, about when I admitted to myself that I was gay. But now, let’s face it: I’m an OLD gay man. A whole different barrel of fish. Or no, not fish…think of something else. Anything else.

At any rate, here’s how old I am: I was at Stonewall! Wow–I bet you don’t know anyone else who was at Stonewall. Here’s a kicker: I was 27 years old at the time–getting close to the age above which one is not to be trusted. You can trust me on this, though. I was there. At Stonewall. June 29, 1969. Very early morning.

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

An unknown statistic

August 21st, 2014 Comments off

Back in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, a staggering 83 percent of white murder victims were killed by fellow Caucasians.

This is not to say that white people are inherently prone to violence. Most whites, obviously, manage to get through life without murdering anyone. And there are many countries full of white people — Norway, Iceland, France, Denmark, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom — where white people murder each other at a much lower rate than you see here in the United States. On the other hand, although people often see criminal behavior as a symptom of poverty, the quantity of murder committed by white people specifically in the United States casts some doubt on this. Per capita GDP is considerably higher here than in France — and the white population in America is considerably richer than the national average — and yet we have more white murderers.

Categories: Economics, Uncategorized Tags:

Return of the Gilded Age

August 13th, 2014 Comments off

NYTimes, Aug 11,2014:

Better Than First Class, an Entire Suite in the Air

LOS ANGELES — AIR travel in coach being more uncomfortable than ever, I was receptive when a woman with Etihad Airways flagged me down on the trade show floor at the Global Business Travel Association convention here recently and led me to a display of the newest example of luxury in commercial flying.

That was “The Residence,” a three-room suite that Etihad will install in first-class sections of its A380 superjumbo airplanes, the first one scheduled for service on Dec. 27. The 125-square-foot suite has a living room with two couches, a 32-inch television set and a refrigerator, a bathroom with a shower, a bedroom with a double bed, and a private butler.

Harper’s Magazine, Aug. 13, 21014

Phony Capitalism

Americans are finally beginning to appreciate the magnitude of the inequalities in income and wealth that mark our society. Lately, this realization has been helped along by an unexpected source: the French economist Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the surprise bestseller of the year. Piketty has collected the most extensive evidence available of the increases in economic inequality and inherited wealth over the past forty years, which are creating a new plutocracy.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Castello Avis Wine Blend

August 11th, 2014 Comments off

Many people (okay, a few) have asked me how I make my wine blend,  Castello d’Avis.  Since reading the column in The Atlantic about the quality of box wines (reviewer liked the Franzia cabernet sauvignon), I thought I should post my own blend.

The idea behind this blend came from our liking of a Californa blend, Menage a Trois; a tasty wine, but getting more and more expensive: last I looked, it was $11 at CostCo.  That’s getting a bit rich for my blood.  It’s a blend of cabernet, merlot and zinfandel.  I haven’t found a cheap zinfandel in a box, so I am using the shiraz.

7 Parts  (350 ml) Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon
5 Parts (250 ml) Carlo Rossi Merlot
3 Parts (150 ml) Black Box Shiraz

Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon: it has a fresh, hearty flavor, with a pleasant bouquet (some overtones of chocolate): unusual in a box wine.  I’ve tried all (that are carried by Total Wine), and this is the best.  $14 for 5 liters.

Carlo Rossi Merlot:  Gives a fruity body to the blend.  Best of the big boxes: $15 for 5 liters.

Black Box Shiraz:  The spiciest of the boxes.  $15 for 3 liters.

That comes to $41 for a total of 13 liters, which is 17.33 bottles at 750 ml each, or $2.37 per bottle.  Pretty good price, and a pretty good wine.

Categories: food, Uncategorized Tags: