HOUSEKEEPING

1. Sorry about yesterday’s typos and garbles. I cleaned them up yesterday afternoon.

2. Sorry if you’ve me-mailed recently. I have more than 1,000 backed up and may for a brief time have to welsh on my normal practice of reading them all.

3. For those of you who may have come to this column because of the election, and thus not know what it’s about or how it works . . . it started in 1996, when Ameritrade asked me to write a daily comment for their web site. You can read about that here, on the occasion of my 750th and final column for Ameritrade . . . or here, on the occasion of the 2000th. (You don’t see the numbers, but today’s is #2154).

I keep the subscription price low because I learn at least as much from my readers as they do from me. I often feel as if I should be paying YOU. (Predictably, the feeling passes.)

But in return you have to suffer a lot of bad columns and a great deal of self-indulgence on my part (such as this parenthetical rumination on the topic of: ‘on who else’s part could self-indulgence be than one’s own?’) . . . with, I greatly hope, the reward of, here and there, from time to time, a thought on personal finance that makes you money. Or a thought on a political or economic issue that makes you think. (I particularly value those of you who come here who do not necessarily share my view of the world.) Or a thought that makes you smile. Or a recipe from my ongoing series, Cooking Like a Guy™, so fundamentally appalling that it makes you better appreciate your partner’s cooking.

SEA SCALLOPS

Sometimes my cooking is so good it dazzles even me.

1. Get rich enough so you can afford sea scallops, at $14 a pound, at the fresh fish counter of your supermarket. (They’re big white lumps, but not slimy. Be a man. Don’t be afraid to touch them.) Get half a pound for each of you.

2. Take your magic pan – everyone needs a little magic Teflon-coated pan – pour in a little olive oil and rub it around with your fingers so it coats the bottom of the pan.

3. Turn on the burner and, after a minute or two, when the pan is hot, drop in the scallops. This is far easier for the squeamish guy than lobster. The scallops are white lumps. They don’t scream little scallop screams the way lobsters do.

4. Sprinkle some interesting salt and ground pepper over top, sing a bawdy song . . . turn the scallops over and push ‘em around a little. Think about the Bears and the Bruins and the Bengals and the date you wish were watching you admiringly from the couch – guy stuff.

5. Stab fork into pan, lift sea scallop triumphantly, allow to cool a few seconds, and eat.

6. Is that not completely delicious? You’re telling me it is!

7. Now look skyward as you lift the pan above your mouth and drain the remaining olive-oily salt-and-peppery sea scallop juice down your gullet. Never in your life have you found a superior happiness.

8. Rinse out the pan and wipe dry with a rag.

  • Elapsed time from commencement through consumption to completed cleanup – 7 minutes.
  • If you do have a date on the couch, serve on plates instead, with some frozen green beans you tell her are “haricot vert” and microwaved before she came. Low light, a candle, and a bottle of Chardonay . . . man, are YOU ever going to score points.

BLACK TUESDAY

Professor David Kaiser began a blog last month that included this snippet from a long October 30 post, just before the election:

The election pits two entirely different philosophies against one another. On the one hand, the Democrat John Kerry wants, essentially, to continue building upon the achievements of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson, with a nod to Bill Clinton’s remarkable budget-balancing achievements. On the other, George W. Bush wants almost entirely to undo the work of the twentieth century, vastly reducing public services, effectively ending environmental regulation, reducing or eliminating progressive taxation, privatizing social security, and essentially substituting faith for reason as our guide. Abroad, meanwhile, he has already junked 60 years of multilateralism and commitment to international law in favor of a belief in the efficacy of unbridled American force.

These changes are so dramatic that many in the major media refuse to believe they are taking place. Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has expressed astonishment at his many friends who see catastrophe lurking if Bush should be reelected, and when Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind told Chris Matthews that many Bush supporters see the President as a messenger from God, Matthews exclaimed, “Oh, come on!” – prompting Suskind to exhort Matthews to get out of Washington and see what was happening in the rest of the country.

The wholesale repudiation of the beliefs of our educated elite at the highest levels of our government—amply documented in Suskind’s recent New York Times Magazine article—does come as a shock, but Strauss and Howe’s historical scheme helps understand how it has happened. Nor is it without precedent in western history, as something quite similar happened in Great Britain at the end of the eighteenth century . . .

☞ If you have time, it’s worth reading the whole thing.

Happy birthday, Marc!

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