Our daily bread

Makes one 21 oz loaf.

1# bread flour (Gold Medal or whatever you prefer)
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water

Mix as straight dough (combine dry ingredients except salt) until combined. Add salt, knead/mix until smooth dough is formed. Check for adequate gluten development with the windowpane test.

Allow to double in a buttered bowl, form into a loaf in a 9×3 pan until doubled. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, remove for pan to cool.

The milk powder adds sweetness and color to the crust. Yields a nice crumb and a nice sandwich bread, suitable for toasting or just as it is.20120430-000401.jpg20120430-000428.jpg

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noted in passing novel ideas

The Thing

Idea for a comic book/graphic novel for kids with anxiety, depression, OCD, whatever (when we take mental health as seriously and non-judgmentally as physical health, we’ll be better people living in a better society).

The Thing is the disorder or problem and the idea is that the kid (or adult) has to overcome the power of The Thing. It wants you to hide behind it and blame it for problems or mistakes, as a way of keeping you in it’s power: you can’t let it. It wants to tell you what you can’t do, but you have to fight it off, ignore it, tell it to shut up and stop bothering you.

It could be funny, could be creepy, or all of the above. I should get a list of common disorders or issues and see what physical representations work for them: small, simpering creatures or large imposing things, distorted versions of the sufferer, etc.

novel ideas


I read an article recently about a cosmonaut who was lost in the early 60s and was reportedly close to existing the solar system (at the publication date). What if he was found by some civilization that could reboot his consciousness. What would he tell them? Where would loyalties lie? To the old USSR? To humanity as a whole? Would he want to return? Would he permitted to and what would be his reception?

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Surplus as the basis for modern society

When people bring up the fact that everyone in the US is in the global 1%, it’s kind of hollow. We didn’t earn it, most of us. We were born to it. And it’s not like the guy making $1 a day in Wherever is living the way we do. He doesn’t have the same choices as we do but he also doesn’t have to meet the same requirements. Clothing and what it costs to buy and maintain, hygiene and the water and products it requires, transportation to get to a job, meals are purchased either as ingredients or as finished goods, not gathered or grown… these are all things that are encumbrances, for lack of a better word. Obligations we have to fulfill that our man (or woman) in Wherever doesn’t have to.

And then there is the notion of buying power. How much of our daily/weekly needs are met by our daily/weekly income? The folks at the Economist offer the Big Mac Index [] as a handy way of mapping currency values and buying power across the overlaid continent of McDonaldstan. But what of places where that isn’t useful?

The basis of a complex society is the surplus, the bit left over when we left hunting and gathering behind in favor of agriculture and livestock. I would define buying power as the amount of time we exchange, what part of a day’s labor, for the wages that sustain us. At what point in our day could we knock off and go fishing?

For many of us, the first hour or two of a $500/hour attorney’s day might seem like enough. But what costs does he have to meet? Suitable office space with staff, either hired for himself or managed as part of of a partnership; clothes and personal grooming; entertainment/social obligations, business licenses and insurance — many of us don’t deal with any of that. Our workplaces are arranged by others, our appearance is not tied to the billing rate we command, etc.

In modern industrial society, we don’t have the freedom a hunter and gatherer would of taking it easy when the herds are at hand or the fruit is ripe. At the same time, we don’t have the stress of looking for food when it’s scarce. So what value is the surplus? I wonder if we don’t have the stress of the competitive hunter/gatherer without the downtime of nature’s harvest.

This should be on our minds as we look at the financial crises around the world and the job situation for many, where there are too few jobs or the wrong sort of jobs or where jobs have migrated to cheaper labor, leaving behind unemployed or unemployable people and stripping knowledge and intellectual capital from whole nations. I think we need every kind of job and every kind of worker but we don’t need to fit them to a 40 hour/week model. We need to value workers and the work they do for both work performed and the potential or promise of work to come.

Repurposed from

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