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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My last supper is a Li'l Butterball Turkey and a Birthday Cake

Li'l Butterball Turkey 8.84 lbs. Nov. 27, 2014

PHOTO: A very hard to find and very small 8.84 pound Frozen Li'l Butterball Turkey brand (typical weight 6 to 11 lbs.) is shown on my kitchen cutting board ready to be thawed in the refrigerator, breast side up, for 4 days before Thanksgiving Day. I was able to find one 6 pounder in a previous year and this year every turkey below 10 lbs. in weight was sold out several months before Thanksgiving Day Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. I love buying the smaller of these turkeys instead of the traditional turkeys, which are often more than 20 pounds and suitable only for a huge family gathering instead of for what the Butterball info page calls "more intimate gatherings." Sure, even with the smaller turkeys I have to freeze leftover turkey in vacuum sealed bags, but it is not so many leftovers that it fills up the freezer and gets freezer burned because it takes so long to consume it.

Reynolds cooking bag instructions

PHOTO: Cooking instructions provided inside of the Reynolds Kitchens Large Oven Bags (See Reynolds Large Oven Bags Cooking Chart (PDF)) that the manufacturer says is for, "Making tastier, juicier turkey and in less time -- Cooking moist and tender meats and vegetables -- Making a one-pan meal with easy clean-up." The instructions suggest a 350 degree F. oven and to distribute 1 Tablespoon of flour inside the cooking bag to prevent sticking, and after brushing the turkey with seasoning, then close the bag and cut a few slits in the top of the bag for venting while baking for about 2 hours for an 8 pound turkey. Using an oven meat thermometer placed in the thigh as directed until it read 180 degree F Fahrenheit (and the center of the stuffing read 160 degrees), it took about two hours of cooking time for this 8.84 pound turkey, which had been thawed for four days before cooking.

Birthday cake Ditto for 60th 2014

PHOTO: A traditional custom baked and decorated birthday cake with two candles to be put on top.

In an act of pure gluttony and pleasure, on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27, 2014 I plan to cook and eat part of the above 8.84 lbs. Li'l Butterball Turkey along with a birthday cake for my "last supper" because I am not sure if I will live to see another Thanksgiving Day -- if this sounds too melodramatic and macabre, please note that as a child I set the goals for myself to grow up to be six feet tall, a millionaire and live to be the age of 100 years old. Ironically, I achieved the first goal to be six feet tall and I want to go on record stating that I still aspire to meet all of my childhood goals, however, I must note that being a millionaire today is even harder because it requires accumulating assets of more than $8 million given inflation.

I've written about cooking technology before (See previous post Sous-vide cooking method for steaks and eggs (4/24/13)) and perhaps my current interest in it is a form of psychic channeling from my late father who had a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and contributed to the invention of engineered food at General Mills in the middle Twentieth Century. Similarly, the plastic mesh bag surrounding this turkey was made from nylon, which is also channeling my Ph.D. grandfather Elmer O. Kraemer who led the invention of it at DuPont. (See previous post Elmer Kraemer, chemist, nylon, synthetic rubber pioneer (10/8/09) and Elmer Kraemer (Wikipedia

For example, the science of heat transfer and thermodynamics theory can be applied to the Web page calculator "How To Thaw," by Butterball, accessed Nov. 10, 2014 on the site, which calculates that a 9 lb. turkey will take 2 days 6 hours in the refrigerator, but given my past experience, and the fact that my refrigerator is set colder than normal, it will probably take longer to thaw it and so I plan on starting the thawing process on Sunday Nov. 23, 2014 at 8am four days before I cook it. The manufacturer's safety instructions state a fully "thawed turkey may be kept in the refrigerator up to 4 days before cooking" and so I should safe from it spoiling on me.

For easy cooking and cleanup of the oven, I like using Reynolds Kitchens Large Oven Bags instead of their bags they also sell for cooking turkeys because the Large Bags are smaller and fit a smaller turkey better. Using a cooking bag also helps keeps more moisture in the turkey, which eliminates the need for constant basting during cooking, and allows faster cooking time because the cooking temperature can be set to Reynolds' recommendation of 350 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the 325 degrees F recommended by Butterball. The Reynolds Large Oven Bags Cooking Chart (PDF) also recommends coating the bag with flour before inserting the turkey so it will be less likely to stick and be easier to remove after cooking. Using this cooking bag method in a previous year for a 9.48 pound turkey took a little over 2 hours to cook to the thigh temperature of 180 degrees recommended by Butterball and a little less time to reach the 170 degrees F in the deepest part of the breast recommended by Reynolds' instructions. The temperature was confirmed with a digital temperature probe in the thigh (not drumstick) of the turkey making sure it didn't hit bone and also the stuffing where the temperature in the center of the stuffing was 160 degrees F when the thigh was at 180 degrees F. (See "How To Place A Meat Thermometer," accessed Nov. 10, 2014)

The quality, taste and size of the L'l Butterball Turkey brand has pleased me for years as a customer eating one has always felt to me like it was a guilty and pleasurable diversion from my normally healthy diet of low fat, high fiber foods, which has caused me before to pause and look at the Frozen Li'l Butterball nutrition label, which states the serving size is 4 oz. (as standardized by food labeling laws meant to allow easy comparisons), which is comically less than the typical serving size most people eat for Thanksgiving Dinners. Nonetheless, the standard 4 ounce serving has: "Calories 170 with Calories from Fat 70, Protein 21g, Total Fat 8g and 250mg of Sodium." The turkey meat contains no "Dietary Fiber" and the package ingredients label lists: "Whole Young Turkey. Contains up to 8% of a solution of Water, contains 2% or less of Salt, Natural Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Phosphate to enhance tenderness and juiciness." This so-called "solution" injected in this turkey evidently to make it easier to cook and also to taste better than the typical organic turkey, which I've bought before, proving that engineered food can taste much better than organic or natural food, but it comes with the lingering fear in the back of your mind there might be something harmful about it. Of course, there are also many food safety issues with non-engineered food, which likes to call itself organic or natural, but the risks are little better understood than some of the yet to be determined health issues with genetically modified organisms, etc.!

See the following links:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Oregon sodomy law invoked in sugar daddy lover spat

Sunday Oregonian headline 'Terry Bean's ex-boyfriend helped police find alleged 15-year old victim in sex abuse . . .

PHOTO: Front page story about Terry Bean, 66, and his former boyfriend, Kiah L. Lawson, 25, who are accused of having sex with a 15 year old boy at a Eugene hotel on Sept. 27, 2013 according to the newspaper story by Maxine Bernstein, "Bean's ex-boyfriend helped police find teenager, former lawyer says," Sunday Oregonian, Nov. 23, 2014, p. A14. Also see "WATCH: Obama Bundler, HRC Founder Terry Bean Arrested on Sex Crimes Charges," posted Nov. 23, 2014 for more background on Terry Bean, who was a founder of the Washington, D.C. Human Rights Campaign, along with Steven Endean, and who recently visited Obama with his former boyfriend.

What is noteworthy about this case is that the age of consent in Oregon was raised in 1971 as a compromise to legalize sodomy between consenting adults for all Oregonians, including gay men. The Oregon sodomy law was usually used to target adult gay men, but because it also applied to oral sex between heterosexuals, straight Oregon legislators were motivated to change it and raised the age of consent as a compromise.

Today the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) -- Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 163.385 Sodomy in the third degree, which Terry Bean is charged with violating, says, "A person commits the crime of sodomy in the third degree if the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under 16 years of age or causes that person to engage in deviate sexual intercourse." As used in chapter 743, Oregon Laws revised in 1971 say, "Deviate sexual intercourse means sexual conduct between persons consisting of contact between the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another."

This case is really more about intergenerational sex and a case of ephebebophilia instead of pedophilia, because it is about two adults that are sexually attracted to a boy who is sexually mature and past puberty, but under the age of consent according to current laws, instead of an adult being sexually attracted to a pre-pubescent boy. The difference is significant because until recently sex with post-puberty persons over the age of 10 or 11 was considered legal in many places and cultures. Many of these volatile and emotional issues that have real legal consequences are discussed in the book by Theo Sandfort, Edward Brongersma, A. X. van Naerssen, "MALE INTERGENERATIONAL INTIMACY: Historical, Socio-Psychological, and Legal Perspectives," Harrington Park Press, 1990 , simultaneously printed in "Journal of Homosexuality," Haworth Press, ol. 20, No. 1/2, 1990.

The research done by Stephen Robertson, "Age of Consent Laws," Children and Youth in History, Item #49 (accessed January 22 2009, 3:22 pm) Children and Youth in History, Center for History and New Media at George Mason University says the age of consent in Oregon was 10 years old in 1880, 16 in 1920 and 18 today.

George Painter, "The Sensibilities of Our Forefathers, The History of Sodomy Laws in the United States," Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest, Last edited: August 10, 2004 says the age of consent was raised to 18 by the state legislature in 1971. A law review article by Edward N. Fadeley, "Sex Crime in the New Code," 51 Ore.L.Rev. 515 (Spring 1972) was critical of the fact that the new code raised the age of consent from 16 to 18, especially since the reason for the action "is not at all clear." Some participants I've talked to recall that raising the age of consent was a compromise for legalizing homosexual sodomy.

Source: Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) -- Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 163.385 Sodomy in the third degree - "A person commits the crime of sodomy in the third degree if the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under 16 years of age or causes that person to engage in deviate sexual intercourse. . . Deviate sexual intercourse means sexual conduct between persons consisting of contact between the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another."

Also see previous posts:

Friday, November 21, 2014

OSU trans awareness week does drag again

Please accept my apologies in advance for the double meaning title to this post, but I've blogged before about queer and transgender. (See previous post OSU students discuss ethics of blackface, drag and definition of trans-asterisk (5/24/13))

Therefore, I will only briefly list the following items, without much comment, just for my own notes:

Rural electric co-op history provides lesson on net neutrality

MAP: 1555 NW Monroe Street Corvallis Oregon (Google Maps) across the street from the Oregon State University campus in 1948 was the headquarters of Consumers Power Inc. (CPI is a rural electric power utility and Pioneer phone company headquartered in Philomath, Oregon, which is also the ISP run by PEAK Internet Services that was spun off from OSU where it was started as a "Public Education And Access to Knowledge" (PEAK) service to the university in the early days of the internet). In the small world department, CPI's headquarters were bought in 1948 by the local daily Gazette-Times newspaper and today is now the office of a professional engineer, who works on OSU projects, Sam Graves, P.E. 1555 NW Monroe St. a Glumac Associate Principal and a Senior Mechanical Engineer with 27 years of hands-on industry experience. Another former address of the G-T newspaper was later occupied by the restaurant Headline Cafe 300 SW Jefferson Ave, Near SW 3rd Str. Corvallis, which closed several years ago.

My local co-op electric power provider Consumers Power Incorporated, commonly known as CPI, which was created by a 1930's President's Executive Order, recently printed a limited number of copies of a book on their history by Pat Swinger, "Shedding Light on the Willamette Valley: The History of Consumers Power Inc.," published 2014 by Consumers Power Inc. (PDF) 75 pages.

I first noticed a mention of this history in my local electric power co-op provider's monthly magazine on the back cover piece by Roman Gillen, President and CEO of Consumers Power Incorporated Inc., "President's Report," Ruralite, Oct. 2014, p. 32. He mentioned they had printed a limited number of copies of a book they produced on CPI history since it was founded 75 years ago. (Also see in the same issue another mention of the 75th anniversary bySusan Decker, "A mutually Beneficial Relationship," Ruralite, Oct. 2014, p. 8)

"Seventy-five years have passed since the men and women of rural Oregon began envisioning a better life for themselves and their neighbors and organized the Benton-Lincoln Electric Cooperative. In the years since, so much has changed that the current operation of Consumers Power Inc. bears little resemblance to the earliest days of the cooperative. Bucket trucks and digger trucks have made new construction much easier and safer than it was when a lineman's day often meant eight hours of climbing and working on poles. In the office, automation and computers have replaced the clunky and clumsy equipment of years past. So, too, have the members' lives changed since those early days.

"The backbreaking and often dangerous labor of everyday life in rural America has been exchanged, in large part, for a life of greater ease, albeit one of much greater complexity. And while the service Consumers Power Inc. supplies has become almost as necessary to our existence as the air we breathe, the irony is that we too often take it for granted. The truth is the people of Consumers Power Inc. work with the same dedication as did the people who organized and worked the cooperative in its earliest days. They are committed, now as much as ever, to serving their communities . . . their friends, their families, their neighbors, and this is their story." (Quoted from "75 Years of Cooperative History," accessed Nov. 11, 2014)

When I first arrived at Oregon State University over 40 years ago, one of the first lectures I attended on electric power engineering was by an OSU professor who had helped design and engineer long-distance electrical power distribution networks used by CPI. At the time, I did not fully understand the significance of his contribution, nor the politics surrounding it.

The history of CPI is interesting to read because it reflects the political shifts in America between conservative country voters and liberal city dwellers. Here is letter to the editor I wrote that occurred to me after reading the CPI history book:

The current political debate over President Obama's net neutrality proposal has many parallels to the history of a Depression-era Executive Order signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on May 11, 1935 to establish the Rural Electrification Administration.

Republicans criticized Roosevelt's REA as being socialism and attempted to undermine it late as President Nixon's administration, but were overruled by rural constituents who had been denied good service by commercial utility companies.

Similar political disagreement exists today between Democrats who want to defend the common good via net neutrality utility regulations, versus Republicans who want to defend capitalism by letting the marketplace decide how Americans are connected to the world's internet information superhighway, even if many citizens are left behind.

Hopefully, America's national security will not have to be threatened by cyber-world wars before Republicans will support internet laws for the common good, similar to how the Republican President Eisenhower finally supported the Interstate Highway System under the guise of national defense.

These political parallels occurred to me while reading the local history of May Grant (1893-1969) who was elected in 1946 to the Board of Directors of the Corvallis Consumers Power rural electric co-op, which CPI posted for free online and also printed in a limited number of copies to celebrate their 75th anniversary.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Battle over net neutrality recalls events of 1930s," Gazette-Times, Nov. 21, 2014, p. A9

Ironically, after I had submitted my letter, but before mine was published, a letter on a related topic was printed talking about "the collective good":

"In the past, eminent domain was used for real exigencies. During World War II, a segment of what is now our farm was taken by the federal government for a water treatment plant, a well and several pipelines for Camp Adair -- all needed for the collective good of the entire populace. Later, during the Eisenhower administration, eminent domain was applied for acquisition of land for the interstate highway system -- also deemed necessary for the good of the nation. . . ." (Quoted from Louise Snyder, Albany, "Letter: Development of bike path on farm land an unnecessary 'slippery slope,'" posted Nov. 20, 2014)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cost of OSU outpaced inflation letter to the editor

Thomas Kraemer letter Ed Ray's salary Barometer Nov. 3, 2014, p. 7 PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) letter to the editor as printed by Thomas Kraemer, OSU Class of 1977, Founder OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, "President Ray, Salary Increase," OSU Barometer, Nov. 3, 2014, p. 7. I read with the interest the OSU student newspaper opinion pieces by Staff, "Editorial: Measure 86 could combat tuition crisis," OSU Barometer, Oct. 30, 2014, p. 7 posted Oct. 29, 2014, Claire McMorris, "Ray's salary increases," OSU Barometer, Oct. 29, 2014, p. 1, 4 Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 8:59 pm Updated: 11:21 pm, Wed Oct 29, 2014 and Staff, "Board of trustees discusses increased reporting of sexual misconduct, approves salary increase for Ray," OSU Barometer, Oct. 29, 2014, p. 1. 4 posted Oct. 21, 2014, which prompted me to write the following letter to the editor:

In 1976, I knew many Oregon State University resident students who were able to pay for college with only the cash they earned while working summers as a choker setter for a logging crew or on the green-chain in a lumber mill, but doing this today is impossible.

The reason is because, while student wages have kept up with inflation over the last 40 years, the cost of going to OSU has risen at a rate of more than twice inflation because Oregon Legislators have reduced the taxpayer's funding of OSU to pay for more tax cuts, expecting it would be made up with more charitable donations, scholarships, student loans, and family wealth.

Anybody trained in the mathematics of finance can verify my calculations are based on the U.S. government's "CPI inflation calculator," which says something costing $1 in 1976 costs more than $4 today, and the facts that OSU tuition and fees in 1976 dollars were $720 for a 9-month school year compared to $9,123 for 2014-2015, plus the actual room and board cost of Weatherford Hall in 1976 was $1,140 versus approximately $10,000 for the equivalent today.

President Ed Ray has done an excellent job restructuring OSU finances given this new reality and he deserves every penny of his salary, which would be paltry if he were a company CEO with equivalent responsibilities.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, OSU Class of 1977, Founder OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund, "President Ray, Salary Increase," OSU Barometer, Nov. 3, 2014, p. 7)

On the same day and on the same page my letter was printed there was also printed a student editorial by Staff, "Ray's salary increase poorly communicated," Daily Barometer, Oct. 3, 2014, p. 7 posted Nov. 2, 2014

My first draft of the letter was more opinionated than the one I submitted, which I hoped could be read and understood by both conservative and liberal students -- my first draft spelled out these budget cuts for public colleges were led by Republicans and if students wanted a more democratic (with a lower case 'd') access to higher education, then they are going to have to elect representatives to the state legislature who will raise OSU funding instead of lowering it because Republicans "hate those liberal university types" who are educated enough to stand up to greedy plutocratic politicians and theocrats. I realized that the limited space of a letter would not permit me to explore this idea in a way too easily dismissed by conservative students who are the ones who must grow up and undo the anti-intellectualism agenda started by President Nixon and President Reagan along with other Republicans over the last few decades -- you don't have to be stupid or greedy to be a conservative.

I had previously sent a similar letter to my local daily newspaper -- See previous post OSU costs outpace inflation due to Republican tax cuts (4/18/11)

Some related links of interest:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Apple CEO apes Ellen's 'Yep, I'm Gay' Time magazine coming out

Ellen DeGeneres 'Yep, I'm Gay' Time Magazine cover April 14, 1997
PHOTO: In 1997, the famous comedian Ellen DeGeneres came out on the cover of the national "Time" magazine with the caption, "Yep, I'm Gay." (See "The Best TIME Covers: Yep, I'm Gay," Time Magazine cover April 14, 1997 at )

The Apple computer company CEO Tim Cook has been widely known to be gay , but he had never publically come out until BusinessWeek magazine published his opinion piece: Tim Cook, "Opening Remarks: Tim Cook Speaks Up," BusinessWeek, Nov. 3-9, 2014, p. 12-13 posted Oct. 30, 2014, in which Tim Cook starts off by excusing his silence by saying, "Throughout my professional life, I've tried to maintain a basic level of privacy," which is a statement I find eerie to read because one of the key insights recognized by Stonewall activists in 1969 was that the historical demand by society to "keep homosexuality private" was a method society used to oppress gay people. Likewise, Cook eerily wrote, "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy," which I suspect he wrote to counter the common homophobic accusation that the act of someone "coming out" makes you a political activist unworthy of respect. Of course, in 1969, it took bravery for Stonewall era activists to come out and they did view it as a political act, however, today coming out has become so normal it is no longer a political act. Cook also gently addressed the common racist assumption that the gay rights movement is not comparable to the black civil rights movement by saying, "When I arrive in my office each morning, I'm greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don't pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I'm doing my part, however small, to help others."

Also see newspaper story by Mae Anderson, AP, "Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he's gay," Gazette-Times, Oct. 31, 2014, p. A6 and "Tim Cook" accessed Oct. 31, 2014 -- Cook was born November 1, 1960 and joined Apple in March 1998 -- B.S. degree in industrial engineering in 1982 before working 12 years in IBM's personal computer business, VP for Corporate Materials at Compaq for six months until 1998 when Steve Jobs hired him to work at Apple.

Although I view Time Cook's coming out as a positive event that he should be thanked for doing, I also find it sad how Tim Cook's background represents the quintessential closeted gay person who becomes successful by marrying his job at the expense of being able to also have a husband and a family to share his life. I hope the next Fortune 500 Company CEO who is gay will be able to better balance their professional and family life.

From a business perspective, I find Tim Cook's background of being an industrial engineer and MBA (Masters of Business Administration) to be a perfect fit for Apple -- I saw people with his type of background excel in hi-tech Silicon Valley companies where I worked because it provided them with a perfect balance between the engineering nerds who start these companies and their technical genius that often lacks the business and human side of things necessary to be a broadly successful company, not just a niche supplier of components for computers or software.

Just as Tim Cook was handpicked by Steve Jobs, John Young, an Oregon State University electrical engineering graduate from the Class of 1954, was similarly handpicked by Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett to be the first non-founder CEO of Hewlett-Packard where he lasted in the job for 20 years and built it into to a large company. It will be interesting to see if Tim Cook will also be able to the same for Apple Computer over the next two decades.