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Food Corner: Two Different Calzones

Back when I worked in the kitchen in a Pizzaland in London, the other chefs used to make their own calzone’s for lunch. Man they were good. Since, then, I have not gone back to calzone making, and after watching these two videos below, I wonder why not!!

First is Same, hamming it up with his calzone (with a recipe). This would be good as long as the Italian sausage has a lot of flavor. BTW, you might just want to use the filling that Sam makes for a lunch time meal. Check it out!

Chef John offers a more traditional filling with prosciutto

Chef John uses “Wolfgang Puck’s pizza gough” and has done a separate video on how to make that.- Enjoy!

I am not putting these into my digital recipe book as I don’t think I will be making these very often. But I may change my mind on that one. Stay tuned!

Book Alert: Kill all the Skeptics?

As Steve Pinker brings out, the enlightenment did not posit, let alone prove, that humans are rational. Instead, the core idea was that humans are capable of reason, and using that capacity can add value to their experience of reality.

That was important at the time in light of the long, long history of enforced beliefs that restricted how people thought and lived. Yes, I refer to state imposed Christianity. And over the last several hundred years, our experience has been that using reason to gain a more nuanced understanding of reality has enabled us to add tremendous value on many fronts.

Pinker has a point about this tremendous improvement. Society is far from perfect, but things are a hell of a lot better than they were three hundred years ago.

At the same time, removing an enforced belief structure from our cognitive routines opens up other issues. Mainly, if we do not have a fixed set of beliefs about reality, how do we find meaning in life? And it is no coincidence that in the 20th century, there arose an aesthetic of the “absurd”. The absurdists were right. Life is absurd unless we give it meaning. Folks like Sam Beckett made sure that we got that message

Samuel Beckett's Shorter Plays – BIG OTHER

And of course, giving meaning to reality is a subjective process — not strictly rational. Because it is subjective, enlightenment thinking doesn’t really help us there.

Having said all that, we still cling to our faith in “critical thinking”. But what is that? And how do we use it to live better? These are questions worth pursuing in order to avoid getting trapped in beliefs that are not consistent with reality. QAnon? And to avoid that danger, it is helpful to get some expert advise on the subject. So we have this book

Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye: Shermer, Michael:  9781250119636: Amazon.com: Books

I was clued into this by this video from Big Think, where Shermer and others talk about skepticism and critical thinking. Great stuff!

At the same time, I recognize that to really use this tool, we need to understand its social implications. As skeptics, we have a choice about how to relate to others. Choice A is to disdain believers. See them as lost in their subjective worlds. Hopeless. Choice B is to feel their need for belief, and gently pull them towards reality. Choice B is an “advocacy posture”. Choice A is a recipe for loneliness.

You choose!

If you want to purchase “Skeptic“, you might wander over to my booklist on “Buzzed Books”. Why there? Buying there will enable bookshop.org to share a portion of the profit with indie bookshops. And of course, it gives me a microscopic commission.

Again, you choose! Uggh! life is so complicated!

Covid-19 Update

Of Special Note

  • Israel is reopening for vaccinated citizens
  • Danger of a new surge from covid variants
  • Comparing vaccine efficiency numbers can be misleading
  • US passes 90 million vaccinations

From NYT

  • Israel / Vaccinations – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoyed a cappuccino and cake on the terrace of a Jerusalem cafe on Sunday to signal the broadest reopening of Israel’s economy since the first coronavirus lockdown began a year ago. Some 55 percent of the population has received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and more than 41 percent has gotten two doses.
  • Israel / Restrictions – Under Israel’s “Back to Life” program, restaurants have reopened with social distancing and restrictions on occupancy. Indoor seating is available only to Green Pass holders — people over 16 who are fully vaccinated. After weeks of tight restrictions on entry to the country, all citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to return to Israel, with a cap on numbers that will increase over the week from 1,000 to 3,000 people per day.
  • People ( Vaccinations – The Dalai Lama, 85, received his first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on Saturday in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala.
  • United States / Covid Relief -The U.S. Senate passed its version of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Saturday. The measure now goes back to the House of Representatives, which must approve the Senate’s changes before President Biden can sign it into law.
  • Global / Travel – Across the globe, the pandemic closed borders, halted air travel and emptied destinations of tourists. Parisian restaurants pivoted from crème fraîche to healthy takeout, while Singapore’s iconic Changi airport, above, decided to focus on its only market: Singapore residents. Hong Kongers, too, have become tourists in their own backyards. We look at how six places dependent on tourism have adapted. Though the absence of tourists saw animals such as sea turtles and elephants returning to places from which they had long since disappeared, the loss of tourism revenue led to cuts to conservation budgets, resulting in increased poaching and illegal fishing in some areas

From HuffPo

From Vox

From The Guardian

Book Alert: How to Change the World in Your Spare Time

Around twenty seven years ago, I left my law practice in Philadelphia to move to my mom’s homeland, Estonia. WTF! Why? Well, as you may recall, the Soviet Union unexpectedly came crashing down in 1991.

Collapse of the Soviet Union by David Hamidy

When it did, Estonia and all the other Soviet republics jumped out of that union to start their own independent countries. In the case of Estonia, this was a chance to regain its independence — something that was lost when Estonia was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. I thought having a chance to be part of that adventure was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Estonia celebrates the Day of Restoration of Independence

BTW, my dear sister Kaia is writing a book about events that took place in Estonia during the Second World War, and it is an eye opener. She has completed her initial draft of the book, and will get final editing done this year. Let me know if this interests you and I can put you on a pre-order list.

Back to my story. In 1994, I had the chance to come to Estonia as the American Bar Association Liaison. I was to be the last American lawyer to have that position, and i took that “job”. I was on a one year tenure. As you will see below, while my ABA affiliation ended, that year is apparently not over yet.

Another aside — why was I to be the last liaison? You can thank good old Senator Jesse Helms who in those days was pressuring USAID to pull out of countries. He didn’t like that the US was providing assistance to other countries. He thought trying to help other countries was a waste of money. Anxious to please, Estonia was the first country to agree to the pullout. Here is good old Jesse in his younger years

An Unwise and Dangerous Precedent”: Jesse Helms' War on State Department  Inspectors General - CAFE

So there I found myself in my micro cubical office in Tartu (with the fax machine in a neighboring office), and I admit that at that moment I had no clue what to do. But I stuck it out, and towards the end of my ABA tenure, I was asked to help create a new professional legal training center to upgrade the performance of Estonia’s legal community — especially judges. That kept me busy for a number of years, and I learned a tremendous amount about “advocacy”. Since those days, I have been teaching negotiation, conflict management and consulting on change management and advocacy.

That was a very long windup for this pitch. My learning was greatly accelerated by certain books. Books that I read and used day in and day out. I have started to compile a list of those books on “Buzzed Books”. Here is a link to the list.

Check it out! And if you are interested in the subject of change management and/or advocacy, check out one or more of these books. And yes, if you do buy, I will indeed get a microscopic commission. My creditors will thank you! So too will indie bookstores who also get a cut.

I will be adding to that list and to my other lists on bookshop.org. And btw, I love how this platform is helping indie book shops. I hope you will too!


Book Alert Wellness and Your Diet

Over the last ten years or so, I have learned a lot about the connection between what I eat, and how I feel The bottom line is that while I thought I was eating well, my diet was creating chronic inflammation. I got my first hint about what was going on when I developed a fairly intense food allergy to white bread. And as I learned about the connection between diet and health, I began to learn how to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions just be eating better and doing some daily walking. I am still working on that one!

BTW, last year, I lost over 50 pounds doing this walking regime.

With that background, I welcome books that combine chit chat about tasty recipes with enlightened chit chat about how diet and wellness intermingle. This book by Giada De Laurentiis does that, and goes on my “Buzzed Book” list for “Ultimate Food and Booze”.

Eat Better Feel Better by Giada De Laurentiis

You can find out more fromthis Wiliams Sonoma post.

You will find a few recipes there too. Go for it!

Full disclosure: If you click through the above link and buy from bookshop.com (which I hope you will), I will get a microscopic commission on the sale. My creditors will thank you for that.