The mind boggles

Still no hope of ever having a hobby of any sort? Thumb-twiddling too mundane? All dully waking moments must involve a dully glowing screen? Why not try chasing your own tail for a while as we track you, serve up some ads, and gain some micro-revenue? Satisfying? Of course not. But it does occupy time.

Vote early and often! Allow all cookies. Attempt no ad-blockers there.

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“A dead certainty”

December 2017 California wildfires from the ISS

Now is a good time to watch Professor Iain Stewart’s excellent four-part BBC documentary “Journeys into the Ring of Fire” again. Of particular interest this week is part 2, the only one that seems to be on YouTube. The others can be found at MVGroup – you can get there from the page linked above.

While most of the series focuses on the geology, volcanology, and plate tectonics of the Pacific Rim, this California episode includes a discussion of the extreme and inevitable fire risks – some avoidable but not avoided – inherent in parts of Southern California. That segment starts at 42:15, but I think you won’t be disappointed if you watch the whole episode.

Edited to correct the link

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All you really need to know about the term

From Sky & Telescope:

“Astrologer Richard Nolle first coined the term supermoon in a 1979 issue of Dell Horoscope magazine.”

If I recall correctly, Dell Horoscope was found almost exclusively at supermarket checkouts, next to the National Enquirer and Weekly World News, the latter of which featured cover stories such as WORLD WAR 2 BOMBER FOUND ON THE MOON! and MOON TO EXPLODE IN 6 MONTHS! and – possibly a tie-in with Dell Horoscope – MOON DRIFTING TOWARD EARTH!

Today’s headlines are almost as silly:

  1. Keep eyes open
  2. Look up – chances better at night
  3. Will be mysteriously invisible if cloudy
  4. Will appear slightly larger than usual if not

Edited to add: This post is a few years old, but everything still applies. The cut of his jib? Admirable.

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Heckuva profit margin, bub

I have a slow leak in one tire and, when the pressure monitor warning lit up again on Saturday, I stopped at a place near where I was that I’ve had previous good repair experience with. They found the leak is unfortunately on the shoulder and therefore not repairable, so I asked for a quote on a replacement. They said US$195 for the one, with installation, balancing, disposal, &c. included in that price.

That sounded a bit high to me, and it’s time I got a set of four anyway, so I checked Costco’s site when I got home. Their price for the same is $131 apiece, also including everything, but with their recurring $70 off a set of four Michelins deal that ended yesterday, it came down to $113 each. They’ll be at the warehouse tomorrow. My savings is the equivalent of five years of Costco membership fees.

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I can’t recall exclaiming at my telly so much in a short period as just now, when I caught this fantastic UK Channel 4 promo for Rio Paralympics 2016, which I didn’t see at the time, on a Gruen episode from last year (S12E05). Wow!

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Eggs on a seesaw

“The people who told us about sunblock were the same people who told us, when I was a kid, that eggs were good. So I ate a lot of eggs. Ten years later they said they were bad. I went, ‘Well, I just ate the eggs.’ So I stopped eating eggs, and ten years later they said they were good again. Well, then I ate twice as many, and then they said they were bad. Well, now I’m really fucked! Then they said they’re good, they’re bad, they’re good…the whites are good, the yellows…make up your mind! It’s breakfast…I gotta eat!”
Lewis Black

In case you’re keeping track, eggs are now good again ’cause, for most people, it turns out that dietary cholesterol intake has little to do with cholesterol levels in the blood. Whoopsie doodle!

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Thankful for turkeys and French soft cheeses

Tonight’s dinner – white and dark turkey, whole cranberry sauce, and Gournay cheese with garlic and herbs on toasted sourdough, accompanied by a glass of cider – was almost as good as last night’s. A tad bit less effort, too.

I’ll try warmed turkey, stuffing, and gravy in the next sandwich

The gravy definitely improved the problematic mash (see below)

Good results yesterday: Five wins, one tie, one loss.

  • Best turkey I’ve roasted, tying with two I’ve done in recent weeks
  • Best gravy I’ve made
  • Best cornbread, bacon, and sage stuffing – we winged it, combining recipes of Julia Child and Martha Stewart, modifying to suit us
  • The slow-roasted sweet potatoes worked nicely – we added maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and pepper only; no need for butter
  • Best banana cream pie, made more subtle and luxurious by decreasing the sweetness slightly and adding a half-teaspoon more than the usual two teaspoons of banana extract (the real stuff)

Neutral: The peas with mint and finely shredded wilted lettuce were good, but I missed my usual butternut squash with nutmeg and white pepper and will restore it at Christmas.

Loss: I cannot recommend slow-roasted potatoes for making mashed; there was a graininess that refused to be riced away and the taste was not right. To be honest, if there had been a store open yesterday where I could get a half-dozen potatoes, I would have tossed the lot and started again. Back to the usual boiling or steaming next time for silky smooth and pure potato-flavoured mash.

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Crunchy eggs? Ova my dead body.

America’s Test Kitchen’s idea of the perfect fried egg – offered in their weekly recipe email this morning – differs from mine in one respect: I consider fried eggs with crisp edges to be partially burnt and, like a typical Starbucks roast, a bit unpleasant. I also disagree with their use of oil in addition to butter; I think it’s in there primarily so they can burn the edges but not the butter. Oil is also going to give you rather greasy eggs unless you pat them with a paper towel before serving.

If I got such eggs at a diner, I’d cut the crunchy edges off and drop any daft plans I might have for a return visit. The same goes for scrambled eggs that look and taste like a pile of sunbaked boulders. Standards must be maintained.

Below, my perfect butter-fried over-easy eggs in progress. All they need from this point is a flip of the wrist and another couple of minutes on medium-low heat.

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