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Russia’s long-awaited invasion of Ukraine looks to have arrived

Russia’s long-awaited invasion of Ukraine looks to have arrived

Yesterday Ukraine declared, with video to back it up, that they’d captured 10 Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory — not Russian paramilitaries, not Ukrainian militias who had been trained and/or equipped by Russia, but genuine, regular Russian soldiers. Today, it seems clear that a full-on Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine has begun in earnest. The “rebels” are suddenly making serious…

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Gone baseballin’

Gone baseballin’

Butter. Butter? Butter.

Anthony Bourdain from Kitchen Confidential (via):

I don’t care what they tell you they’re putting or not putting in your food at your favorite restaurant, chances are, you’re eating a ton of butter. In a professional kitchen, it’s almost always the first and last thing in the pan. We sauté in a mixture of butter and oil for that nice brown, caramelized color, and we finish nearly every sauce with it (we call this monter au beurre); that’s why my sauce tastes richer and creamier and mellower than yours, why it’s got that nice, thick, opaque consistency. Believe me, there’s a big crock of softened butter on almost every cook’s station, and it’s getting a heavy workout. Margarine? That’s not food. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter? I can. If you’re planning on using margarine in anything, you can stop reading now, because I won’t be able to help you. Even the Italians-you know, those crafty Tuscans-spout off about getting away from butter, and extol the glories of olive oil (and it is glorious), but pay a surprise visit to the kitchen of that three-star Northern Italian, and what’s that they’re sneaking into the pasta?

And the risotto? The veal chop? Could it be? Is it … why, I can’t believe it IS butter!!

Ah, butter.

Butter.

Israel, Hamas agree to do this all again sometime

Israel, Hamas agree to do this all again sometime

Well, this was worth busting in on vacation to mention: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreedto an Egypt-brokered, open-ended ceasefire agreement. The terms reportedly include the easing of the blockade on Gaza, reduction of the buffer zone that Israel imposed inside Gaza’s borders, an extension of Gaza’s permitted fishing zone in the Mediterranean from 3 miles to (eventually) 12 miles,…

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Failure to communicate

You may remember a 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, that killed 308 people and wound up causing seven members of Italy’s National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks to be convicted of manslaughter for their failure to predict the quake. I had forgotten all about this case until I found a piece on Mediumcalled “The Aftershocks,” by David Wolman. It’s a great case study in…

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Where are they now

Where are they now

Hey, if you’ve been wondering what former British PM Tony Blair has been up to, and I can’t see why you wouldn’t have been, you’ll be pleased to know that he’s found a real niche as an image consultant for horriblly repressive dictators (via):

Tony Blair gave Kazakhstan’s autocratic president advice on how to manage his image after the slaughter of unarmed civilians protesting against his regime.

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Taking a break

I’ll be on vacation this week at least from heavy writing, if not from reading/watching the damn news altogether. Not doing anything exciting, just stepping away for a bit to recharge. Posting should resume sometime around Labor Day.

This site is in the midst of its best month ever, which I grant you is not saying much. I started this blog in July 2012 on Blogger, as a way to do something other…

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heyfunniest:

Someone took a candid photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament that is as well-composed as the best renaissance art.

heyfunniest:

Someone took a candid photo of a fight in Ukranian Parliament that is as well-composed as the best renaissance art.

At Medium: “On James Foley and grieving”

At Medium: “On James Foley and grieving”

I thought I’d give this Medium thing that the kids are talking about a try, and I’ve been wondering why the murder of James Foley has resonated so much with so many people while the equally innocent and equally irreplaceable people who are dying in places like Syria, Gaza, Iraq, and Ferguson aren’t evoking our grief in the same way. So I wrote a longish thinker about the subject over there at the…

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Saturday Night Tunes: Blues and Roots

Saturday Night Tunes: Blues and Roots

I’ve mentioned tunes from Charles Mingus’s Blues and Roots on a couple of other occasions, but here we are again because, well, I love this album. Released in 1960, it represents basically Mingus’s attempt to troll critics and record company execs (like his producer, Nesuhi Ertegün) who were complaining that his music was too complicated and esoteric. Why don’t you do an album of blues, they…

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