Incredibly Thankful

I hope this post does not come off as self-serving. (I would never wait on myself. The tips are lousy.) I occasionally get involved in things that turn out more to be the work of others than mine. This is why I am thankful.

I do appreciate the connection everyday I can have here. I get so much out of the experience of reading your stuff.  You make the site what it is.

This next part is like saying water is wet. John Walker is a great programmer.

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61st Anniversary of the launch of Vanguard 1

The fourth satellite to reach orbit and the oldest one still in orbit was launched in 1958. My father, Roger Easton, designed it. Air Force colonel Asa Gibbs that the Navy place small payloads on the Test Vehicle launches.  I’m wearing the red coat in this picture which was taken a week or two before its launch.

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I Follow My Heart to San Francisco

I am going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks, to visit my two sons and my daughter-in-law.  Yes!  My darlings live and work in Calcutta-by-the-Bay.  They have done so for a few years now, and this is my first visit. I’ll behave myself.  May I call on you if I seem to be in danger of misbehaving?

We have plans! O, Ratty,  as our WiseWoman says, would you care to comment on these plans?  Your judgment and advice I prize most highly.

  1.  San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, at the Davies:  Bach, the Passion of St. John.  I’m studying up and listening to it ahead of time.  Listening to music is a skill that I have let slide over the years; clawing back some of it is an arduous but worthwhile project.  I bought one of those miniature scores and a yuppie-style travel vest in which to stow it.  We will see how that works out!  I am also reading up KJV, always a good thing, even though Bach obviously lived some other version.  In the beginning was the Word . . . 
  2. Legion of Honor Museum with all the Rodin sculptures and European paintings.  As I ‘splained to the offspring, I have superior museum stamina, ergo the fact that I have no Smartphone and must be escorted everywhere shall be offset by the fact that they can drop me off there in the morning and forget about me until late afternoon, when it shall be time for rendez-vous for the Saturday organ concert.
  3.  Twilight Cruise of San Francisco Bay which unfortunately includes a nighttime tour of Alcatraz prison.  Oh, dear.  I lived in real time through the  “occupation” by “Native Americans.” However!  I plan to behave myself when on the spot at the time.
  4. Tour the Hornet!  They claim to offer special tours behind the scenes, conducted by Navy veterans.  I would love to clamber all around to torpedo rooms and suchlike;  I hope that works out.  Anybody done one of those?
  5. Visit the Liberty ship S.S. O’Brien.  No cruise scheduled while I shall be there; what were they thinking?  Any road, it is a Liberty ship not done over to anything else.  That makes it attractive to me.
  6. 17-mile drive, although Jimmy Stewart will not be available to drive me around.  I will just have to make do.
  7. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s only a little over a mile.  We will see what sort of weather we have.  But really, how could I cross the continent and not walk across the Golden Gate Bridge?  My ancestors crossed the Atlantic Ocean, not too comfortably, took the Erie Canal in little canal boats with not a lot of amenities, and once they reached Buffalo they sure did a lot of walking.  So I should demur? or squawk?

Can I take on commissions for any of you?  Some San Francisco artifact to acquire?  Gladly would I take on such a commission.

Your counsel is, as ever, precious to me.  Gratias tibi ago omnia.

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Reviewing Principles

For those who are new, one of the first things I wrote on the site was a draft of principles. Here are the principles.

PRINCIPLES OF AGREEMENT

  1. This site is for entertainment. Posts need to add not subtract from the site. Fun is important.
  2. No attacking the person. Attacking words are okay. People get to openly disagree and have vigorous debates over ideas not personalities.
  3. Keep it clean. This site should be family and children friendly. (The web has plenty of places to express non-family thoughts.) This does not mean that we don’t handle in John Walker’s words “gnarly subjects” but we do it without the coarseness of most of the Internet.
  4. Keep it legit. Respect copyright toward images and text. Give attribution when needed.
  5. This is a conservative site. If you can’t respect those principles please find a site more conducive to your ideas.

I don’t want to bore you so I will just focus on Number One.

  1. This site is for entertainment. Posts need to add not subtract from the site. Fun is important.

I want this site to be enjoyable and beneficial. It shouldn’t be work. Anyone who takes part needs to add and not subtract to the site.  To understand what I mean please read the following from an earlier post, Disagreement Versus Disruption.

In a pluralist society disagreement is its mother milk. People need to keep true to their beliefs. I am a firm believer in, there is more unity in diversity* than uniformity. It works because hopefully there is enough commonality on the basics that people can live in peace. What a society or community can’t handle is willful disruptions. I would put Antifa in this group.

There seems to be a trend where people want to shut down the discussion rather than have it. Many tactics are used. One is the extreme pejorative. “You’re a racist.” “You hate poor people.” “You have no principles.” The next is to heckle. This person wants to stop a good conversation from happening. They don’t rent the room or gather the people. But they figure they have a right to disrupt the people who do. Third, there are the thought police. One can’t even bring up the subject. Certain words need to be bleeped out. “You are part of the patriarchy. ” “Meritocracy is code for keeping people down.” “We know what you really mean.” “One giant leap for [Redacted].”

Whereas disagreement is how we learn. We challenge and listen and respond respectfully. We might go to the lecture and ask questions but we don’t try to shut it down or picket it. We gather people who are like minded and form groups who agree to disagree. Many of the best movements started this way. They disagreed with the status quo and persuaded people that there was a better way.

Good disagreement does not demonize the other person. It does not heckle or shout down the other argument. It does not limit the discussion to only a certain set of words. It should be a marketplace that ideas can be exchanged and positions can change.

* Don’t confuse this with the current use of the word where diversity is used to be anti-opposing views.

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The Plane Crash: I feel guilty

I knew a family with four children. At different times in my life I had a relationship with each of them. Many years ago I asked the youngest to do something for me. He said, “Yes.” Then a short while after he asked me if he could get out of the commitment to go fishing with his dad. I said, “Yes”.  Then it happened.

It was a small float plane that crashed shortly after takeoff. The day of the crash a friend called me to say the news bulletin with no names was about our friend and his dad. I told him, “We don’t know so there is no need to worry till we do.” It was a short time after the names came out. It was them.

I still feel guilty for letting my friend out of his commitment. Things probably would not have change but who knows they might have. It would be nice to think that a tragedy could have been avoided by my actions.

When it comes to death, I am of two minds. One mind wants to cherish that life and remember the good I was blessed with. The other mind feels the sting of losing. Depending on the closeness of the person that can be debilitating. That sting can last a long time. Sometimes the two mind mix. What I learned from my experience or better yet I am learning, is the two things are not a right and a wrong. Both can be valid in the right time and place. It was okay for people to cry and feel the sting just as it was okay for people to rejoice that  “death is swallowed up in victory”. (It was a religious family.) It was wrong to think each side could understand the other in the moment.

The family was some comforting to the grieving friends at the time of the funeral. I heard later that the shock set in while few people were around.

It does get me that one of the final things the young friend who died said to me was a flippant joke I had told his sister. It would have been nice to be remember for more than a gag. The joke was basically, “I plan to be evil, that is where the money is.”

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Monday Meals: Kelsay Carrots

Do you wake up some mornings knowing that you have to have cooked carrots that day?

When that happens, one must act.  Drag out a pot and a tightly-fitting lid.  While the pot preheats on the stovetop at low heat, trim the bacon.

This bacon is made with no sugar: it is smoked, but not cured.  I asked the local butcher; before too long he had a nice supply in his meat case. We like it for the flavor, because it is the flavor of the bacon, not breakfast cereal, and for the fact that it never leaves burned sugar in the bottom of a pan.

The bacon gets trimmed around here because the cook dislikes the heaviness of bacon fat, preferring lighter fats such as butter, chicken or goose fat, or olive oil.  This trimming is fun to do with a boning knife.  Here are three:

They are all 10-inch boning knives, but each is different.  Cooking is like anything else, in that you try out different tools, methods, and effects, to discover that you have preferences.  Here the top knife has a stout, thick blade; a big handle, clunky for me but comfortable for a man; and that big stop going down from the forward edge of the handle.  That one is perfect for removing a hide, disjointing a carcass, or deboning  a large roast. That   is wonderful, but not what we seek this day.

The bottom one is excessively recurved. The carbon-steel blade has been sharpened so much that it has become shorter, back-to-cutting edge.  The ratio of that height dimension to blade length is off-target for use in my hands. Were I six inches taller, my arm would be more straight as I stood at my workspace, and so I could wield the thing properly.  But I’m not, so I just lend it out to the taller cooks, and otherwise keep it around out of respect for its years of service to our family.

The middle one is just right: the blade is recurved just enough to be useful and thick enough not to waver.  The handle fits my hand.  The weight and balance are just right.  It’s like fitting a sword, but more practical these days.  So my general advice is to try various examples of the necessary tools and trust your own assessment of their fitness for you.

Add some butter to that pan on the stove so that it will melt while the bacon is cut to small pieces.  Yep, we are going to cook bacon in butter on low heat.

A “French cook knife” is most satisfactory for this bacon-cutting, as the cutting edge is convex.  You can rock it back and forth, with one hand on the handle and the other flat on the back of the blade.  But that is only when you are not holding a camera at the same time.

There, I’ve just used the back of the knife blade to shove the bacon off into the pan.  The bits will separate when stirred around.

At no time do we make bacon “crisp” in this kitchen.  When in your own kitchen, do just as you like, but for authentic Kelsay Carrots keep the bacon cooked, but soft.

Cut up some onion next.  You need one of those thin-bladed Oriental slicing knives with a straight cutting edge.

A knife like this can slice beef so thin as to be translucent.  We can achieve thin slices of onion which will cook through quickly and curl nicely around the carrot chunks.

Do you have an in-law who tells you that you must cut up an onion along some x-axis, then some y-axis, then some z-axis, in that order?  My sympathies.  Pay no attention.  It’s your onion.

Boldly take up your French cook knife and cut up the carrots however you darn please.  Now attend: when you have added them to the pot and stirred things around, you may not then leave.  To soften these carrots, you need liquid.  A little water, a little white wine, or a little broth will do the trick in just a few minutes.  Today I have some pork broth handy, so I add enough to cover the carrots halfway, no more. We are not doing soup here.

Put the lid on to fit tightly.  Search around for the final ingredient: either sour cream, crème fraîche, or cream.  Now learn this the easy way: crème fraîche is resistant to curdling under heat; cream and sour cream comparatively susceptible. For any of them, a minute or two to heat through is all that is needed. If you are using cream or sour cream, wait for the last minute to make the addition.

Now, when is the last minute?  The last minute is when the carrots are just soft enough to be nice; you might say al dente.  Stand facing the stove, lift off the lid, and stick a fork into a carrot.  We need fear no Banshee Beep of Cardiac Arrest to tell us when to proceed to the final addition.

Just a minute or two, now.  That’s all that is needed.  There:

The plain nature of cold sliced roast beef complements the complexity of Kelsay Carrots at supper.  A green vegetable laced with herb vinegar will complement the color and the richness of these carrots.  Enjoy the contrasts.  Bon appétit!  Smacznego!  Don’t put your knives in the dishwasher.

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What is going on with the Boeing 737 Max?

I just saw on Drudge that another one went down. It sounds like a design flaw. Does anyone know?

From Wiki

On October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after take off from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport, Jakarta, Indonesia. The flight was a scheduled domestic flight to Depati Amir Airport, Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia. All 189 onboard died. This was both the first fatal aviation accident and first hull loss of a 737 MAX. The aircraft was delivered to Lion Air just two months prior.[117][118] Following the Lion Air accident, Boeing issued an operational manual guidance, advising airlines how to address erroneous cockpit readings. The crash is currently under investigation.[119]

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, registration ET-AVJ, crashed approximately six minutes after takeoff at 0530 UTC from Addis Ababa. [120] The flight was a scheduled flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya.[121] All 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board died. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was only 4 months old.[122] The cause of the accident is unclear as of 10th March 2019, however The Guardian reported “The flight had unstable vertical speed after takeoff”, based on a tweet from flight tracking service Flightradar24.

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