Monday—Tradition Pure Green Matcha Powder

Or more precisely, Tradition Pure Green Tea Powder, Matcha Tea Powder, Product of Taiwan, 8.8 Oz. Cost $9.30.

91PrO0XBEwL._SY679_.jpg

How do you poor saps jump start your day? With orange juice, almond milk, cofvefe, wrong, wrong, wrong. There’s only one way to begin the day and that’s with a green tea latte and you can’t achieve green tea latte nirvana without excellent matcha powder like this. One bag lasts about two months and I always have a spare in the refrigerator. You never, ever want to get caught matcha-less.

Just as with mashed potatoes, the enemy of good matcha is clumps. This stuff, like my jump shot and putting stroke, is silky smooth.

There are lots of uses of this matcha magic, but here’s my suggestion on how to use it to revolutionize your life. Pour 16-17 ounces of the milk of your choice, I use non-fat, into a mason jar and one quarter cup of water in a small glass bowl. Heat the water, which takes 30 seconds in my smallish microwave oven. Next, heat the milk, which in my case means about 4 minutes in my micro, less time in medium-sized, more powerful ones. You now have 4 minutes to add 2 TSP of matcha powder to a bowl, 1/2 TSP of sugar (way less than Starbucks at about 10% of the price), and some vanilla extract*. To avoid any spraying, add half the water and mix it with a small metal whisk. Once it’s pasty, add the remaining water and whisk until there are no signs of clumps. Clump rhymes with Trump, to start your day well, avoid both.

Add those contents to your large cup or travel mug of choice. Then, unless you’re a slave to the dish washer, use the remaining time, usually about 2 minutes, to clean the bowl and whisk, leaving the soapy water in the bowl to add to the mason jar. Once the milk is supe-hot, add it to the matcha/sugar/vanilla extract concentrate residing in your cup or mug, and drink slowly, savoring the matcha goodness as long as possible.

* I’ve steadily reduced the amount of sugar I use, but simultaneously increased the vanilla extract. I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed. Remember, fat is not the enemy, sugar is. And perfection.

Review Week—One Consumer Product Review a Day

Everyone is saying my consumer products reviews are brilliant, but infrequent, and you dear readers, deserve better. Thus, beginning in an hour, I’m going to review one consumer product a day for seven days. Plan your week accordingly.

This overview is intended to make Review Week even more life-changing than it otherwise would be. Before we get going, scrape together $1,042.64, the cost of all seven products combined. The cool-factor (and prices probably) of these products is about to sky-rocket and you don’t want to be left on the outside looking in.

Most product reviewers write in a way that suggests our quality of life hinges on their uber-detailed, super serious deconstruction of the product at hand. I will take a different tack. Since we are not our consumer purchases, my aim is to lighten up the genre with ample doses of sarcasm. So the not-so-hidden-agenda is to poke fun at the mindless materialism perpetuated by reviewers.

According to economists, we often buy consumer goods to “signal” things about ourselves to others, look I’m well-to-do, look I’m on top of the trends, look I’m smart, look I’m an environmentalist, etc.

The following reviews are informed by my fondness for the ancient Stoics who believed status, wealth, and hedonism are impediments to tranquility or “inner joy”. But even Stoic sympathizers like myself have to buy things on occasion.

The reviews are also informed by books like True Wealth by Juliet Shor. Shor argues we should be more materialistic, by which she means more thorough and thoughtful in our purchasing of products, so as not to waste money and contribute even more to our ever expanding landfills. Shor, and other progressive social scientists, argue that we should signal, if anything, environmentally conscious, pro-social values through our consumer purchases.

As one of the 7.6 billion people on the planet, my goal is to find products that “just work”, offer good value, and last a long time. I concede, that may come across as boring, but I’m also susceptible to beautiful materials and design, as my current love interest, the new Audi A7, illustrates. In the interest of keeping the week’s price total down, I decided not to purchase and review that. Yet.

See you shortly.

 

Make America Safe, From Well Armed, Troubled Teens

Yesterday, before “Parkland”, I read this story. I can’t help but wonder how little the public probably knows about similar stories of averted shootings, meaning the problem is worse than we realize.

Related, sometimes the Onion isn’t funny, just damn perceptive. “No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

Out of respect for the Parkland families, can we stop the “Make America Great Again” bullshit?

Wednesday Assorted Links

1. Dammit, this makes me sad. Forget the “sooner the better” sentiment. Extend the innocence as long as possible.

2. What inflation?

3. Okay Dan, Dan the Transportation Man. I concede, engineering can be cool.

4. What happens when primary health care is universal? The case of Costa Rica. What are we waiting for?

Post Malone

Dude makes music. Haven’t I aged out of hippity hop by now? Hell no. If I make it to 66, 76, 86, or 96, I will still be rocking the hippity when I’m bench pressing the 45lb. bar.

For the uninitiated, give these three tracks a whirl:

White Iverson

“When I started ballin’ I was young
You gon’ think about me when I’m gone
I need that money like the ring I never won, I won

Saucin’, saucin’, I’m saucin’ on you
I’m swaggin’, I’m swaggin’, I’m swaggin’ oh ooh
I’m ballin’, I’m ballin’, Iverson on you
Watch out, watch out, watch out, yeah
That’s my shot, that’s my shot, that’s my shot, yeah
Spendin’, I’m spendin’ all my fuckin’ pay”

And of course. . .

“Fuck practice, this shit just happens, know y’all can’t stand it
I have it, I’ll never pass it, I work my magic”

I’m working on a parallel track. White Bird.

Congratulations!

“My mama called, seen you on TV, son
Said shit done changed ever since we was on
I dreamed it all ever since I was young
They said I wouldn’t be nothing
Now they always say congratulations
Worked so hard, forgot how to vacation
They ain’t never had the dedication”

Forgot how to vacation. Reminds me of me.

Up There

“I wanna go up there and I don’t ever wanna come down
I wanna see what’s up there, actin’ like I got it all figured out
I wanna go up there and I don’t ever wanna come down
I wanna see what’s up there, must be better than the hell on the ground”

The Trump administration getting to him too.

 

Friday Assorted Links

1. No rules recess. “Parents don’t tend to sue schools.”

2. In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize Climate.

Today’s science lesson—apparently, there are lots of invertebrates in the Idaho state legislature.

3. What $1.4m buys you in London.

4. Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?

“William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell and critic of the SPLC, says the group has wrapped itself in the mantle of the civil rights struggle to engage in partisan political crusading. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he says. “For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson adds. ‘It taints not only the group or person, but others who associate with them.'”

5. Will Millennials Kill Costco?

Conscience Has No Color

A flag in Vermont reminds us conscience has no color

Originally published February 4, 2018 by Leonard Pitts Jr., Syndicated columnist.

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

Except it’s not really failure. It’s actually unwillingness to communicate, fear of what communication might mean. After all, if you communicate, you might understand some painful truths — and then where would you be?

That’s why discussing race with a white person is often one of the most vexing things an African-American person can do. You quickly come to understand that understanding is the last thing they want.

Take “Black Lives Matter.” Those words, if you are black, are both an assertion of self-evident truth and a way of saying you are sick of unarmed people like you being killed under color of authority while juries and judges shrug and look away.

That message would seem to be clear as mountain air, which, for many white Americans, is precisely what’s wrong with it. So they do everything they can not to comprehend.

They pretend confusion: “Black lives matter? Don’t all lives matter? Are you saying black lives are more important?”

They rationalize: “It’s not the cop’s fault. If the man had stopped moving/talking/breathing hard, he wouldn’t have been shot!”

They feign outrage: “Black Lives Matter is an anti-police terrorist group. They’re the black Ku Klux Klan.”

At some point, you begin wondering if the words you hear in your head are coming out in English. How is it you’re both speaking the same language, but you’re doing such a miserable job of being understood?

It’s a frustrating, exhausting experience. If you’ve ever had it, you’ll likely be touched by a recent story out of Vermont. It seems that, with the unanimous support of the school board, the Racial Justice Alliance, a student-led anti-racism group at Montpelier High, is commemorating Black History Month by flying a flag on campus. A flag that says, “Black Lives Matter.”

Lord, have mercy. Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

It’s stunning, you see, because there are no black people in Vermont.

OK, so that’s not quite true. There are some, but so few — 1.3 percent out of a population of 623,000 — that Vermont didn’t muster its first NAACP chapter until 2015. For the record, the student who founded the Racial Justice Alliance is a black senior named Joelyn Mensah. Still, we’re talking about one of the whitest states in the Union. So this flag flying at one of its schools is no small thing.

Not that everyone is pleased. State lawmaker Thomas Terenzini — you’ll be shocked to learn that he’s a Republican — told the local NBC affiliate that Black Lives Matter is “a national anti-police organization.”

That isn’t surprising. But the moral courage of these students and administrators is, pleasantly so.

We are indebted to them for a message that couldn’t be more timely. As appeals to our lowest selves flow down like sewage from the nation’s capital, they remind us that conscience has no color. It is a point proven in the past by white people like Elijah Lovejoy, William Lloyd Garrison, Andrew Goodman, James Zwerg, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and Viola Liuzzo who fought — and sometimes died — for black freedom.

One hopes white people of today will take note. And black ones, too.

Because, for as much as that flag flying in that place speaks to the broad sweep of conscience, it also rebukes excesses of cynicism, shows what can still happen just when you think you’ve seen it all. To be black talking to white people about race is never easy. You’ll be frequently frustrated, often exhausted. But once in a while, you will also be something you never expected:

Heard.