Fausta's buys

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Hsu, Sunday shoes, Sunday book and Sunday Carnival

Several readers have asked me when will I post about the Atlantic City revolving mayors. You can read my article Forget it, Jake, it's Atlantic City at Pajamas Media today.

I'm sure you all remember that line from Chinatown.

Sunday Hsu, via Instapundit:
Hsu's love of wine and Clinton on display:
Until recently, Hsu, 56, traveled in glittering circles as one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's most prolific supporters, raising more than $1.2 million for the New York Democrat and other Democratic candidates in the last three years.

In August, however, The Times revealed he was a fugitive, wanted in connection with a 1991 theft case. Since then, federal prosecutors have accused the Hong Kong native of masterminding a $60-million Ponzi scheme and breaking election laws by reimbursing associates for political donations made in their names.

Hsu also has been sued by investors in Southern California and New York who say he defrauded them and, in some cases, pressured them to make campaign contributions.
What I want to know is, who was bankrolling Hsu?

Sunday shoes:

The Delman Xosa pumps in patent leather, available in red or black. A classic style that will carry you through every ocassion from the office through the weekend.

Sunday book:

Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why

Anecdotes on cricket matches and beach houses aside, this is a very entertaining book explaining the when and how of ettiquette without lapsing into metrosexual/henpecked/women on pedestals mannered foolishness. Post (Emily's great-grandson) is especially good in explaining the why for manners (page xxi):
Etiquette is governed by three principles: consideration, respect, and honesty. These provide the framework for defining every manner that has ever been formulated. Each of these principles is timeless. These principles transcend cultural boundaries, cross socioeconomic boundaries, and apply equally to all ages.
In today's world, where everybody's life is laid bare on the internet, cell phones and emails, this is most valuable advice.

While the book is aimed at men, women need to learn how to behave appropritately, too, particularly towards men. I recommend this book to women not so they find fault in men's behavior and go nagging them into propriety, but to understand that there are limits to a man's forebearance (which many women tend to forget), and that it is appropriate for a man to not want to be with a woman who only demands (but can't deliver) consideration, respect and honesty.

May we all live by all three.

This week's book selection at the WSJ is by Michael Barone, who says, "These books illuminate the shared heritage of America and Britain." I also include a link to Churchill's A History of the English Speaking Peoples.
Churchill won a Nobel for Lit (1953), not for peace.


Dr. Sanity has the Carnival of the Insanities

Cross-posted at Fausta's blog

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday fashions, books, shoes, and a Carnival

It was due to happen: first the ads, then the crib, after that, the TV series, and this morning, a full-page ad in the NY Times Men's Style Magazine, with a caveman modeling a Weatherproof parka.

Will Caveman chocolates be far behind?

Speaking of style, the WSJ has a great selection of 5 books on classic fashion style:
The Glass of Fashion, by Cecil Beaton, 1954, currently out of print,
The Fashionable Mind, by Kenneth Fraser, 1981,
DV, by Diana Vreeland, 1984,
Couture, by Caroline Rennolds Milbank, 1985,
and Alan Flusser's Dressing the Man, 2002.
Of the five, I've read DV, which left me totally cold (I never really "get" Vreeland's vapidity), and Dressing the Man.

Dressing the Man is a most interesting book on style, on what looks good, and why proportions and colors are important. Don't be misled by the title, it's a book women will want to read when studying what looks good on them. I like the author's concept of personal architecture, which he explains in his book. It's also a beautiful book, too.


Today's shoes:
Charles David's high heel ankle-straps in leopard print:

I'm wearing them right now with black tights and a red dress.

This is a high heel and therefore the shoes are not suitable for a lot of walking (some of you can walk a lot in high heels but I don't really enjoy it), but they do look very nice on, particularly if you have thin ankles.

It's Sunday, and Dr. Sanity has the Carnival.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tea and Mma Ramotswe

I have enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book series for several years, and just finished reading the latest installment, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive.

Smith's love of his characters and his deep affection for Botswana are palpable in each installment of the series. His characters respect and love each other deeply, and strive to lead lives of purpose and decency. To build an entire series of books based on these values while at the same time bringing humor and insightful commentary on the human condition and holding his readers' hearts is a remarkable accomplishment, yet, he succeeds again and again.

In The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, the traditionally-built Mma Ramotswe, her excellent husband Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and their clients struggle to find the truth about a possible series of murders, and about a difficult marriage. At the same time, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentice Charlie, and Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe's right-hand woman, travel down different paths.

Mma Makutsi, who wears glasses and is as fond of shoes as I am, has a moment of insight (page 104),
She looked down at the broken shoe on her lap. It was such a sad thing, that shoe, like a body from which the life had gone. She stared at it. Almost challenging it to reproach her. But it did not, and all she heard, she thought, was a strangled voice which said, Narrow escape, Boss. You were walking in the wrong direction, you know. We shoes understand these things..
And now, for the tea
Mma Makutsi's fond of Indian tea, while Mma Ramotswe loves bush tea.

I like coffee in the morning, but tea in the afternoon.

The owner of the b&B where I stayed the first time I went to England taught me how to make tea:
In a teakettle, boil the water. Use freshly drawn water. When water is re-boiled, or stands for a while, it loses oxygen which prevents the full flavor of the tea being released.

Once the water boils, warm the teapot by swirling some of the boiling water in it. Pour out that water, and add 1 teaspoon of loose tea for each person, and one for the pot (I prefer to use a large tea ball so I can remove all the tea after it steeps. If you use a tea ball, make sure it remains less than half-full). Add boiling water.

Let the loose tea steep for 3-5 minutes. Stir and serve. I like my tea "black", with no milk, and no sugar. Sometimes a slice of fresh lemon is nice.

Here's where you can get the materials:
You can find a selection of fine loose teas basically everywhere.

The Chef's Choice teakettle turns itself off once the water boils, is cordless (the heating plate remains puggled), and keeps the water warm for cocoa:

We have had nearly every brand of teakettle by now and this one is worth it.

The Brown Betty teapot is the traditional English teapot:

Here's a nice tea ball:

and a mesh one:

While serving the tea in a porcelain cup and matching saucer is nice, ceramic mugs and hot tea glasses are good, too. Remember to pour the tea on a silver spoon in the tea glass to absorb some of the heat in order to avoid cracking the glass (the tea glasses also should not feel cold to the touch). I don't like drinking tea out of plastic.

I like buttered toast with my tea, and maybe a Pepperidge Farm sugar-free Milano cookie. Serve some for a friend, or sit on the porch and enjoy some of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels.



Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday reads

It's time for a book post:

In today's Opinion Journal, Robin Aitken writes about The Beeb's Bias
Britain's public broadcaster is a major source of anti-American propaganda.
On every issue of public policy and political controversy, the BBC's instincts are to side with the progressive, liberal wing of politics.

The war in Iraq? Opinion within the London newsrooms was overwhelmingly opposed to military action from the start and has never wavered since. Man-made climate change? The BBC has jettisoned all semblance of impartiality on the issue; it now openly campaigns with a constant stream of scare stories. The Arab-Israeli conflict? The BBC's sympathies are firmly on the side of the Palestinians, who, having achieved the status of permanent victims, escape skeptical examination of their actions and motives.

The same biases color attitudes on moral issues. Abortion? BBC reportage invariably starts from the premise that it is an unquestioned social good, and the company has close links with pro-abortion groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Multiculturalism? The BBC enthusiastically embraces a relativism that treats all cultures, no matter how backward, as equally valid and gives our own democratic traditions no special weight. Homosexuality? The BBC has consistently pushed the agenda of gay-rights activists on issues like same-sex marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples.

The reverse of the coin is that the BBC has its own in-house pariah groups: the "Christian Right," neocons, climate-change skeptics, "homophobes," George W. Bush. These people will never get the soft interview or helpful publicity.

This week's WSJ's book selections:
Author David Gelenrter chooses the "Best 5" books about America:

Also in Geletner's list, The Religion of Abraham Lincoln by William J. Wolf, and The Two-Ocean War by Samuel Eliot Morison, both published in 1963.

The WSj also has reviews of

While I was at the beach I was reading,

But before you buy your books, don't miss Dr. Sanity's Carnival of the Insanities,


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bear sightings

Yesterday three dozen people came to my blog from googling "Bear Grylls", plus two who were searching for "Bear Grylls naked".

At first I was puzzled as to why the sudden interest, but later last night when I was watching Mythbusters, I realized that Bear's new season starts tomorrow.

I'm sorry to dissapoint the latter two, but here's a shirtless Bear Grylls YouTube:

Monsters and Critics World Premiere Friday, June 15, 9 PM ET/PT
EVERGLADES: This premiere episode finds host Bear Grylls stranded in the swamps of the Florida Everglades, where each year at least 60 tourists need to be rescued. With more than a million alligators, thousands of snakes and even black bears roaming these waterlogged lands, the area has more than its share of hazards. Bear demonstrates how to keep alligators at bay, deal with vicious razor-sharp grass and find stomach-churning food that will keep you alive if you find yourself stranded in this beautiful but dangerous destination.
The first thing I'd do if stranded in the Everglades would be calling my sister on the cell phone, since she lives in the area. But then, she'd probably come along so then the two of us would be stranded.

The Phoenix is quite insulting, calling Bear "English boy adventurer".
Over on the Discovery Channel, English boy adventurer Bear Grylls backflipped off a chopper into the ultramarine waters of the Pacific, swam two miles to a desert island, scaled a cliff, descended through the root system of a banyan tree, and finally found a hospitable little cove, where he subsisted for a few days on coconuts and tiny fish ( MAN VS. WILD , Friday at 9 pm). A juicy turtle passed within harpoon range, but Bear courteously forwent a feast on account of the turtle's position on the endangered-species list. Both Bear and Criss, as they go about their respective tasks, make a selection of animalistic grunts and coughs. Shinning down the coconut tree seemed particularly hard on Bear, who grimaced against the chafing bole and warned the viewer against it "as a bloke."
Last month Bear glided over Everest
Flying over the top of the world A British Everest summiteer has become the first man to fly higher than the top of the world in a powered paraglider.

Bear Grylls, who at the age of 23 became the youngest British climber to scale Mount Everest in 1998, achieved a feat that had been deemed impossible by many critics prior to the mission.
The Telegraph carried his arcticles,Flying into a dream and has a video you can watch here

Here's a selection of books authored by Mr. Grylls,

I haven't found Man Vs Wild on DVD yet, but when I do I'll link to it.

Meanwhile, if Mr. Grylls is reading this, please email me at faustaw-at-yahoo-dot-com. I'd love to have you as my podcast guest.

In other diversions, I have become addicted to Facebook. I'm learning the ropes and just this morning asked a question, but then I made a mistake and the question got sent to all my friends, which probably means I've annoyed everyone early in the morning. My apologies to all.

Jeff Jarvis (who is a lot better at figuring out Facebook than I am) has a terrific post, Facebook: the platform of people?

Does Bear Grylls have a Facebook page? Well, I looked and there are dozens of Bear Grylls Facebook pages. Will the real Bear Grylls please stand up?
Technorati tag: Bear Grylls
Share on Facebook

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This weekend's WSJ picks

On time for Father's Day, the WSJ has a delicious list of books this weekend:

Alan Murray wants an outdoor propane grill:

Theodore Dalrymple, who wrote

picks his five favorite books on the criminal mind:

The WSJ book section also has reviews on

On the DVD aisle, there's an article by Peggy Noonan on The Sopranos. Here are seasons 1-6

Tom Selleck selects his favorite performances by leading men:

I would add to the shopping list The Illusionist: a romantic movie men will like.

On the CD aisle,

More Father's Day items here

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ethanol and wealth creation

In The Economist, an article about ethanol, Fuel for friendship
Firms around the world are trying to make biofuel out of everything from trees to cooking oil. To make ethanol from corn or wheat, as Americans and Europeans tend to do, distillers must first convert the starch in those crops into sugars. But Brazilian distillers dispense with this expensive step, as they use sugarcane as a feedstock. So Brazil can produce ethanol for 22 cents a litre, compared with 30 cents a litre for corn-based ethanol, according to Icone, a Brazilian think-tank. That makes it cheaper than petrol, and therefore lucrative for farmers without subsidies.
U.S. sugar is too expensive to convert to fuel, thanks to a complicated system of tariffs and quotas that keeps the U.S. price of sugar artificially high, and the US can't produce enough sugar to meet an increasing demand in ethanol. Those are two reasons why import it.

However, as I mentioned in yesterday's Blog Talk Radio with WC of The Gathering Storm, the ethanol produced in Brazil is subject to a 54-cents-a-gallon US tarriff.

Since Brazil's ethanol has too much water (and is quite similar to rum), the way to get around this tarriff is for Brazil to ship its ethanol to dehidration factories in one of two dozen Caribbean countries that are exempt from the tarriff, and then take it to the US by tanker where a gasline refiner makes it undrinkable and blends it with gasoline. The blended ethanol is then shipped to gas stations.

The lobbyists are to blame for this tarrif:
The ethanol industry not only receives billions of dollars in subsidies each year, but governmental protection from international competitors as well.
But back to The Economist,
Brazil is not the only country in Latin America that sees great promise in ethanol. Colombia now has five distilleries amid the sugarcane fields of the Cauca Valley, which produce 360m litres a year. Two more are under construction elsewhere. These producers are guaranteed a market, since regulations oblige fuel merchants to mix ethanol into petrol. By 2009 the required blend will be 10% ethanol and will gradually rise to 25% thereafter. Costa Rica has a similar policy, and Panama is contemplating one.

Indeed, since sugarcane is grown throughout the region, most Latin American countries could benefit. A recent study from the Inter-American Development Bank argued that replacing 10% of Mexico's petrol consumption with locally refined ethanol would save $2 billion a year and create 400,000 jobs. Several Caribbean governments hope that the ethanol boom could help revive their ailing sugarcane farms.

The greatest lure would be access to the American market. Various Central American, Caribbean and Andean countries can already send ethanol to America tariff-free, thanks to concessionary trade agreements. Maple, an American energy investment group, plans to spend $120m on an ethanol plant in Peru to take advantage of such a waiver. A pipeline running out into the nearby Pacific Ocean will deliver the plant's output directly to tankers bound for America. Proponents of the project say it will create 3,200 jobs. If all goes well, exports could reach 120m litres a year by 2010, and perhaps as much as 400m in the more distant future.

The United States, for its part, has several reasons to encourage ethanol production in Latin America. For one thing, it will need seven times more of the stuff than it currently produces to meet Mr Bush's 35 billion-gallon target. There simply is not enough spare land in America to grow adequate feedstock for such an amount, unless scientists find a way to make ethanol cheaply from abundant materials such as wood or grass. Although Mr Bush's ultimate goal is energy independence, he would presumably prefer to be dependent on ethanol from friendly countries such as Brazil and Colombia than on oil from hostile places like Iran and Venezuela.

An ethanol boom in Latin America would also attract investment to rural areas and create lots of jobs. That might help to reduce the steady northward stream of illegal immigrants. It would certainly burnish America's image, and stem support for anti-American tub-thumpers such as Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. He has won friends throughout the region by selling oil cheaply. By sharing technology and promoting investment in ethanol, America would also be reducing Latin America's fuel bill. If it bought lots of ethanol from its neighbours, it would be providing them with a lucrative export of their own.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Brazilian counterpart signed an energy agreement making ethanol an internationally traded commodity.

This can be a first step that the US takes to unleash a new area of prosperity in Latin America. Let's create free markets, and create wealth by abolishing all farm subsidies and trade barriers with Latin American countries that are willing to provide property rights, democracy and the rule of law for their citizens.

President Bush went to Brazil and will also visit Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Robert Mayer has more thoughts on the subject.

In yesterday's Blog Talk Radio show with WC of The Gathering Storm, I mentioned several books:
Journalists Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner, and Alvaro V. Llosa's

Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has written several books that I highly recommend on the subject of property rights, rule of law, capital creation and free markets:

Later in the conversation we talked about Dinesh D'Souza and Robert Spencer, who I met at CPAC last week. Their books are:
Dinesh D'Souza

Robert Spencer


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,