I don’t see the black moon arising

We have at last attained peak moon phase naming:

Rare Black Moon to rise on Friday in night sky of Western Hemisphere

So, it’s a second new moon, happens once every couple-three years, and you can’t see it. Not unusual, not rare, not visible. Got it.

“Rare” used to describe something common like this is related to the fact that teasing, please-click-me headlines that ask a question can nearly always be answered “No” and “arguably” in a news story almost always means “It’s not true that…”

My sincere apologies to Creedence Clearwater Revival for associating them with this.

Details, details

The first Mars flight could take place in 2022, according to SpaceX’s timeline for Mars colonisation.”

So Musk is going to solve those pesky radiation, bone density loss, and optic nerve problems, amongst several others, in just 72 months, eh? Impressive if true.*

Buy why is there no mention of these forthcoming almost miraculous developments in that BBC article? Perhaps it’s simply a rewrite of a press release that didn’t mention them due to their peskiness.

marvin

“Yes, I have a follow-up question, please: Huh?”

 

*Headline used in some Civil War era newspapers, often above bogus stories: “Important If True”

But only for an hour or two after your dilated pupil exam

banff-hdr

You’re supposed to bring sunglasses for after the exam, numbnuts.

More often than not, HDR boosting is reminiscent of 1950s postcard oversaturation and produces much the same effect as cyclopentolate drops. If the world actually looked like that, I’m pretty sure I’d stay indoors during daylight hours. I hate it when my retinas melt.

Nice guys finish first

Larry Sanders Show

Garry Shandling invented what I believe will always remain the best sitcom ever, “The Larry Sanders Show,” for which I’ve been grateful for almost twenty-five years. He died this week, as did my boss of many years, five or six bosses ago.

Shandling was the guest on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” just several weeks ago, and was hilarious as usual. His appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF” in 2011 is here, out from behind the paywall in tribute.

It’s been a sad week, so my antidote of choice is to watch some of Garry’s shows.

I can feel it working.

Nice guys finish first. If you don’t know that, then you don’t know where the finish line is.

– Garry Shandling

Magical fruit

The first part of Christmas dinner is done: Jasper White’s Boston Baked Beans, from this updated version of his recipe originally published in Jasper White’s Cooking from New England. In the updated recipe, he boosts the oven temperature by a hundred degrees to speed baking, but I like the low and slow method in the original recipe, primarily for the extended olfactory hit, so I baked them at 250º F for about five hours.

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The menu this year:

  • Beautiful burger buns, using this recipe, so we can make…
  • Pulled pork sandwiches from a dry-rubbed shoulder slow-roasted for five hours at 275º F in an oven bag, with condiments of…
  • Cider vinegar barbecue sauce and bread & butter pickle slices – and a little extra pickle juice drizzled on
  • Jasper White’s Boston Baked Beans
  • Maybe a side dish with corn, maybe not
  • Cane syrup pecan pie from John Thorne’s Outlaw Cook, using Lyle’s Golden Syrup, not the corn syrup laughably presented as another choice at the link, because it’s the golden syrup and the rum – or bourbon if you like – that make this recipe special
  • Indian pudding – New England’s corn meal-based adaptation of hasty pudding – with vanilla ice cream

I’ll make most of these ahead of time, with the exception of the buns and the pork shoulder.

The end of projectors

I recently bought a 17″ Dell laptop and didn’t find out until yesterday about a little feature it has – and most recent PCs and laptops have – called Miracast. The 50″ 4K SUHD Samsung TV I bought in an irresistible deal last week also supports it, as do most new Smart TVs. To use it in Windows 10, you simply click the Connect button in the Notification Center, then on the TV that shows up on the network listing – that’s it. Miracast is essentially HDMI-over-WiFi projecting (Intel’s version is called WiDi), and it’s so good that I’d advise selling any projector manufacturer stock you own. To wit:

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My Samsung phone also supports screen mirroring, so I can display its screen live on the new TV as well.

For fixed setting projection needs, I don’t see why anyone should ever again shell out US$700 or $800 for a projector – that was the price last time my company bought one six years ago – when one can spend the same amount and get a 50″ TV with 3840 x 2160 resolution, triple that of a typical projector, or spend a hundred or two more for a 60″ version. The quality is several tons better than projecting on a white screen, the speed is fine on 802.11n wireless, and you don’t even have to turn the lights off.

A happy Thanksgiving

It must be said that six days off is enough to make me happy even without a holiday.

Thanksgiving dinner

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Thanksgiving dinner this year was a tasty Bell & Evans turkey with roasting pan instant stock that made a perfect quart of deeply flavourful gravy, mash, some Trader Joe’s corn (frozen but pretty good), light and fluffy freshly-baked Parker House rolls, and just for me, butternut squash with white pepper and nutmeg.

In past years Market Basket has stocked a few Bell & Evans turkeys, but this year they had quite a large selection priced at a little more than twice the price per pound of, say, a Butterball bird. That might sound expensive, but Bell & Evans birds are miles above others in terms of flavour, texture, and a complete lack of injected saline solution. At other shops, they’re most often priced at 3-4 times the Butterball price per pound.

The next time I cook butternut squash, I’m going to try roasting or steaming them. Boiling infuses far too much water into the porous flesh, which forces you to cook down the mashed result for 20-25 minutes on a medium heat to get it to an unwatery state where its flavour is properly highlighted. Two whole foot-long gourds produce just 3 cups/.7 litres of delicious cooked squash in the end.

The first leftover dish, an hour ago, was a turkey sandwich on lightly toasted sourdough with jellied cranberry sauce and herb & garlic boursin cheese:

Turkey sandwich

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I’ll likely be making turkey noodle soup with most of the remaining bird, but more sandwiches are definitely in my future.