7 Quick Takes (7/6/12)

7 Quick Takes (7/6/12) July 6, 2012

— 1 —

My next post is going to be a contribution to the Patheos Book Club for Reborn on the 4th of July, a memoir by a soldier turned conscientious objector.  It’s been delayed a little, since I had a couple topics I wanted to cover, so instead of one post, you’re going to get enough to take us at least through Sunday.  In the meantime, you might want to review some of the things I’ve written on radical forgiveness, since I’m going to refer back to those posts.  (I think they also satisfy some of the requests for links to posts that made my friends think I was always a Catholic at heart).

— 2 —

I ended up quite enjoying the new Spiderman movie.  I went with a group of friends, but, since we were going to a show in the late evening, I had time for yoga class beforehand.  To be more specific, I had time for extremely-apropros antigravity yoga.

Life is a great big bang-up. Wherever there’s a hang up, You’ll find the Spidermaaan

But seriously, the new movie was very funny, and Emma Stone is a fabulous, proactive, and concussion-safety aware Gwen Stacy, so I was utterly delighted.  Also delightful: this Spiderman humor video (in which someone has appropriate priorities).


— 3 —

And speaking of costumed heroism, I’m pretty interested in this larping documentary web series from the Nerdist Channel.  It looks like they’ve done a nice job using overlay on the video to give you an intuitive idea of how the  battles and encounters work, without having to drill viewers on all the rules.

— 4 —

Meanwhile, I’m having a very good genre week because it’s the absolute best time of the year!  Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best in Science Fiction is out!  I did plenty of nice, mostly spiritual reading this week during the power outage (C.S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms — fantastic, Reborn on the 4th of July — thought-provoking, see today’s second post, Stages on the Road – excellent, and Death Comes to Pemberley – wretched).  But everything else is on hold until the anthology is finished.

So my prose may end up a little bleary eyed.  Or have surprise robots.

— 5 —

In fact, I’m going to pop off and read another one of the stories while you guys listen to this story titled “Two Little Girls Explain The Worst Haircut Ever.”  Most parents don’t respond to this kind of situation by interviewing their children, but most parents aren’t NPR reporters.

— 6 —

Ok, hope you enjoyed that while I was reading an Elizabeth Bear short story.  Anyway, the arrival of the scifi anthology late July 3rd meant I had to show heroic forbearance on July 4th.  We had people over for a barbeque and, between hosting and cooking, I did not get to start the book at all, yet I managed to resist the urge to set my own house on fire in order to read quietly amid the embers.

On the menu, King Arthur’s Sourdough Pretzels (with grated parmesan cheese melted on top) and the red, white, and blueberry cake from Smitten Kitchen (I followed my usual rule of doubling the quantities of lemon and/or garlic if they appear in a recipe).  The result was still a little too sweet for my liking, but other people enjoyed it.

— 7 —

But all baking is necessarily anti-climactic after I read the “How to become a Seafood Anesthesiologist and Kill your 4th of July Lobster” post at Cooking Issues.  I love these guys.  For example:

Over the years, Nils and I performed many side by side taste tests killing lobsters various ways, and the ones we knocked out with clove oil always tasted best –sweeter, cleaner. When tasted side by side, the lobsters killed by simple boiling or steaming had a muddier, dirtier finish on the palate…

To get you prepped for your 4th, here’s a list of lobster-killing techniques I’ve tried and my thoughts about them, plus a recipe for a fish and lobster anesthetic you can easily make at home.

1. Boiling or Steaming: the standard way, but not the best way, to kill a lobster. The lobster knocks around the pot for quite a while. Dan Ward, then a grad student at the University of New Hampshire, once hooked an electrode up to a Lobster heart for me and boiled it. The heart beat for 1 minute 53 seconds. I’m not saying the lobster felt anything for that long, but I can say for sure that physiologic processes like heartbeat continued long enough for stress-related factors to affect meat quality.

I may not like cooking meat (or eating it), but I can still appreciate the heck out of their very experimentally minded posts.


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  • I love lobster, but that gives me the willies!

  • grok87

    Hi Leah,
    Thanks for the tip on CS Lewis’s “reflections on the psalms.” I like Lewis’s writing in general (though not his foray into sci-fi, the Perelandra stuff) but haven’t read this book yet, so I’m keen to do so. Looks like it’s well reviewed on Amazon, though some folks thought he was a little disrespectful of the old testament- did you find that?

  • I would recommend David Foster Wallace’s story in The Atlantic, “Consider the Lobster.” I’m not a lobster fan, but his description about what happens to the lobster really put me off eating it. Here’s a link: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster

  • #1 I’m curious what you’ll have to say about Reborn on the 4th of July. It sounds like it would be good book to read.
    #2 Love the picture of you hanging upside down. Your face is so red. How long had you been hanging there?

  • Hi Leah,

    I read back several posts of your “Radical Forgiveness” tag as you requested and I’m looking forward to your post about the book.

    One thing I’ve always appreciated about your writing (since being introduced to it by Mark Shea several months ago) has been your ability to muse about complicated issues and your willingness to admit to your own uncertainty. I hope that you keep writing like that even though you have with your conversion asserted certainty.

    Also, loved the lobster link.

  • Doragoon

    I love that someone is finally showing LARPing seriously and respectfully. I’m not a fan of LARPs with hit point systems, but that video was great. The hit point bars help a lot, it’s too bad they don’t have them in real life.

  • BenYachov

    Feser does a little analysis of Dan Fincke on teleology.

    Call it quick take eight.


  • Love the reading at night graphic. I’m in the middle of “A Clash of Kings” and that’s really hard to put down at night! Although then it leads to weird dreams…

    • Rachel K

      Yeah, the reading at night graphic spoke to me, too, particularly since it just happened to me last night. >_o (I’m a bad nerd who had never read “The Martian Chronicles.” I decided to read just one more story before going to bed, little knowing that you can’t just read “The Off Season” and then not read the rest of the book. And then I had to hide under a blanket and shake for an hour or so because you can’t go to bed right after reading “There Will Come Soft Rains.” Sigh.)

  • TheresaL

    Leah, I’m amazed at how much you manage to get done in a few days…a job, this blog, cooking, hosting a barbeque, reading several books, a yoga class and you went to a movie! Plus you had time to choose a great 4th of July outfit. And it doesn’t make me feel lazy because my days are seriously full. You must have a super fast tempo!

  • deiseach

    If you never hear from me again, it may possibly because I drowned.

    On dry land.

    Just heard the official Met Éireann weather forecast, and they’re saying the east coast (and I’m in the south-east) will get three weeks’ worth of rain in one evening – this evening.

    Three weeks’ worth. This is 40mm, which is 4 cm, which is just over 1.5 inches, which doesn’t sound so bad, but not all at once and in July! (Oh, and with the wet summer, water levels are apparently “quite high” already). They say “this may lead to localised flooding.” Goodness, you don’t say! Better start praying for the intercession of Noah!

    Though they also said “the rain is not expected to be as bad as that being experienced in the UK this afternoon”, so there’s that.


    • David Inc

      Ah we’ll be grand! Thankfully I live high up in Dublin. 🙂 Think of the poor Brits, they’re hosting the Olympics very soon. I love how it says at the end of the article on the RTE site, “Any good photographs of the heavy rain? Please send them to yourphotos@rte.ie“, which is a way of saying, “If you’re drowning but can still press a few buttons on your mobile phone, send us a few pictures, sure why not?”. 🙂

  • Liz H.

    The “worst haircut ever” bit was hilarious! I lost it at: “I didn’t know you were gonna scream like THAT.”

    • Peggy Hagen

      You did better than me – my breaking point was the explanation for the haircut: “It was down to her tush, and…”

  • Char H.

    Regarding the Red, White and Blueberry Cake…not sure about the glaze part, but you can always cut the sugar down in recipes and they turn out just fine. I usually go by whatever the amount of flour is, I use half the amount of sugar. Otherwise, all baked goods are much too sweet for my liking.

  • Noe

    In days of yore I had SCAdian dabblings, Whitewolf LARPing friends, of more recent it was Darkon, having since been exposed to My Barbarian’s “Unicorns LA”, I lost the capacity for suspension of self-consciousness necessary to do more than just watch from…very afar (their “Dance you Witches” has flummoxed widershins my friendships with pagans ever since); http://youtu.be/jjrVg7eRHrc