Category Archives

56 Articles

Future Bites 6 – Generous Google

The sixth in a series of un-forecasts* little glimpses of what may lie ahead in the century of two singularities.

It is 2044. Around the world, machines have taken over many of the jobs that humans used to do. Professional drivers were the first big group to succumb to what is now commonly referred to as cognitive automation. Many of them struggled to cope, eking out unsatisfactory existences in the gig economy. Call centre staff and retail workers were next, and then, in the early 2030s, most of the professions started to see large reductions in employment levels too.

Dole queue Unemployment levels in different countries now range from 40% to 75%, depending mainly on the level of technological sophistication of their economies. Countries with deep expertise in artificial intelligence tend to have relatively low unemployment, as do countries where wage levels were extremely low, as the incentive to automate is less.

Some countries tried to resist the encroachment of the machines, but the effect on their economies was devastating, as they became woefully un-competitive. All the countries which tried it have experienced a change of government, sometimes violently. Argentina is an interesting exception: its people believe themselves and their nation to be unique, and they are willing to tolerate deep poverty levels as a by-product of their search for a different path. The collapse of the Russian government was especially violent, although fortunately there were no mishaps with its nuclear arsenal. What happened to president Putin is a mystery, although there are persistent rumours of a grisly end.

Putin down

No economists were harmed in the making of this un-forecast, but their profession is now depleted, as they almost unanimously refused to accept that automation could cause lasting unemployment until well past the time that it was obvious to everyone else.

Overall, the situation is satisfactory because of a Great Accommodation that was reached between the AI giants and everyone else. Thanks to their mastery of advanced AI, eight American firms and half a dozen Chinese ones now generate almost 75% of the world’s GDP. President Michelle Obama chaired a series of seminal meetings in the pivotal years at the end of the 2030s in which these firms agreed to pay extremely high taxes in order to keep everyone else alive by means of so-called Citizen’s Income Payments, or CIP. The result is now known as the “generous Google” scenario. Only one tech giant CEO held out in opposition to the agreement, and as a result his firm was nationalised and transferred to a consortium of the others. He now tours the world in a very fast yacht, complaining bitterly to anyone who will listen to him.

Some countries introduced land taxes in an attempt to supplement their incomes, but since the land was not contributing much to GDP, their main effect was to severely depress the value of the land.

President Michalle

For a while it looked as if the world faced a serious problem because the AI giants were all based in China and the US. Fortunately the profound wave of isolationism, nationalism and protectionism that broke across the world in the late 2010s had by now reversed. President Obama was able to secure an agreement that the AI giants would be taxed at the point where they delivered their services rather than where they were domiciled.

The payments received by citizens are modest because the profits of the AI giants are constrained by the normal forces of competition. To the surprise of many the payments are not called universal basic income (UBI) because they are not universal. People who still have jobs do not receive them. The payments are easy to sign up for in most countries, and policing is light.

Almost all unemployed citizens (and many employed ones) spend a good deal of time in virtual reality, which is now highly compelling. Government guidelines recommend that people spend at least four hours a day outside VR, but many people ignore this. There was talk in some countries about adjusting the CIP according to how much time the recipients spent outside VR on the grounds that this would improve health outcomes. But it turns out that many people get significant exercise while in VR, so that proposal has generally been dropped.

crowd in vr

People are generally stuck economically, in the sense that they have no way to improve their financial situation. Drug use is widespread and is de-criminalised almost everywhere. The view is widespread that humanity’s goal should be to advance towards what is known as a Star Trek economy of radical abundance, where goods and services are virtually free. No-one knows how long this will take, and its arrival does not look imminent.

* This un-forecast is not a prediction.  Predictions are almost always wrong, so we can be pretty confident that the future will not turn out exactly like this.  It is intended to make the abstract notion of technological unemployment more real, and to contribute to scenario planning.  Failing to plan is planning to fail: if you have a plan, you may not achieve it, but if you have no plan, you most certainly won’t.  In a complex environment, scenario development is a valuable part of the planning process. Thinking through how we would respond to a sufficient number of carefully thought-out scenarios could well help us to react more quickly when we see the beginnings of what we believe to be a dangerous trend.

A spaceship and some geese

Ive had a very busy couple of weeks that I thought Id tell you about.

On the 14th of February I was at Waterside Arts Centre taking part in Creative Industries Traffords To The Stage scratch night. I performed a brand new 15 minutes from a new show I have been working on called Im Building a Spaceship. The show involves me building a spaceship onstage out of metal and wooden poles, bits of cardboard and gaffa tape. In the show I tell stories of how I figured out how to build y spaceship and the things I encountered along the way.

The performance went fairly well, about as well as a brand new show goes on its first outing. It was really fun to do something completely new and share it with an audience, especially an idea that I find really exciting and that has so much scope for exploring different ideas. I got some really useful feedback from To The Stage and Im taking it all in as I continue developing the show.


The next day I got on a train to Lancaster where I spent 8 days working with Paper People Theatre on our new show Do Geese See God? at Lancaster Arts. The development period was part of Foot in the Door a new artists development programme being run by Lancaster Arts and Making Room.The artists taking part were; Theatre 42, Tin Can People, James Monaghan and Ali Wilson. They were developing brand new work whilst taking part in workshops provided by some absolutely fantastic theatre professionals. Whilst they were doing that we spent the time cooped up together in a room developing the show. It was a lot of hard work but in the end we are very pleased with the work in progress performance that took place on the 22nd, expertly teched by David McBride (again, very sorry about making a mess of your stage)

Click to view slideshow.

It was a great week, were very grateful to everyone at Lancaster Arts and everyone that took part in Foot in the Door for providing us with rehearsal space, support and for being so welcoming. Were looking forward to continuing to develop the show, theres still plenty of work to do. We hope that itll be finished by the end of the year ready for some touring in 2017/18. We are running a crowdfunding campaign for Do Geese See God? to support its continued development. Id very much appreciate if you could have a look, maybe chuck us £5 and share it with your friends and family. Ta. 

So thats what Ive been up to recently, thanks for having a look.

Are you ready to fight for Healthcare as a Human Right?

Healthcare is a Human RightJoin our campaign today today!

We know the 2016 election and GOP agenda means attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Health Care Act are imminent. We know any GOP “replacement” to the ACA will fall well short of what we need to ensure a single standard of quality healthcare for all. In fact, if we don’t act, we can surely expect the numbers of uninsured and underinsured to vastly increase. That is why we must act—starting right now.

Immediately following the election, the Campaign for a Healthy California joined with the AllCare Alliance and convened leaders from around the state to form a Medicare for All Collaborative aimed at winning Medicare for all in the Golden State. Our movement unites the two single payer statewide coalitions which is jointly comprised of 226 union and community organizations representing over four million Californians (see our joint statement here). The attacks on our healthcare will require a sound solution. The good news is that we already have the solution: Medicare for All! We already know that 81% of Democrats, 60% of Independents, and 37% of Republicans support a Medicare-for-All style single payer system…and those numbers are likely even higher in California.

Now is the time for states like California to lead, to stand against the inhumane cuts proposed and for Healthcare as a Human Right. Through building a grassroots movement we have a true opportunity to achieve healthcare for all California residents. And with that achievement, comes a high quality of care, lower prescription drug costs, an end to astronomical health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, and most importantly—healthcare security for everyone. Together, we can achieve that dream! Join us today to make Medicare for All a reality in California!

Crawfish Bisque

About this time last year, I posted a Blue Crab and Chipotle Tabasco Bisque that quickly because one of my most-cooked soups (and this is coming from a guy who cooks a lot of soup). Ive been playing around with the formula a bit, to the point where I felt it was appropriate to post another one using shellfish (and that Shellfish Stock recipe from last week).

Quick reminder I am giving away eight $25 Costco gift cards, and the giveaway ends on Thursday, so jump on it if you havent already.

And now for the big news: I found out that my cookbook, Paleo Takeout, made it onto the New York Times best seller list for July! How cool is that? Now I need to go through all of my social media profiles and add my new title to everything. Im super excited and tremendously thankful for the support Ive received in getting this book off the ground and into peoples hands. And to think, less than six months ago I planned on releasing it as an eBook because I didnt think it would have a large audience thank you for your readership and enthusiasm, which convinced me to release it as a hard copy book! Okay, enough gushing, lets make some food.

This is one of those rare treats in cooking where it really doesnt matter how you cut the vegetables theyre all going to get blended anyway. So go nuts, keep the skin on your carrots, and have some fun.

Crawfish Bisque (Gluten-Free, Perfect Health Diet-friendly)Servings: 4Time: 1 hourDifficulty: EasyPrint

6 tbsp butter, divided1 medium onion, coarsely chopped2 carrots, coarsely chopped2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves or dried parsley2 cups white wine2.5 cups cooked basmati rice2 quarts shellfish stock1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milksalt and white pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)1 lb crawfish tails or raw shrimp, peeled1 handful chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, warm 2 tbsp of the butter over medium heat, then add the chopped onion, carrot, and tomatoes; sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs, sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute, then add the white wine. Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes, then add the rice and stock.

2. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to med/low; simmer until the rice is very tender, about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

3. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you can transfer the soup to a blender and blend in batches before returning to the pot. Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in the cream or coconut milk and add salt and white pepper to taste. Stir in the crawfish or shrimp, simmer until warmed (or cooked through if using raw shrimp), then divide into bowls and garnish with parsley and a cube of the remaining butter.

** While adding rice to thicken the soup sounds like the most brilliant thing Ive ever come up with, it isnt this is actually the traditional method for thickening bisques.

** For a fancier, more authentic flavor, use 1/2 cup brandy instead of the white wine.

Gifts from Bowie: remembering a legend

David Bowie 1By now, most people know we’ve lost the legendary artist, David Bowie, who was battling cancer for the last 18 months. His musictotaling 25 albumsoffered something for everyone, and has been the backdrop for countless memories since his first release in the late 1960s. Today, many are mourning his passing, but also celebrating the works hes left behind, including his latest album, Blackstar, which just came out on Friday, January 8th – his birthday.

I’m not an expert on Bowie, but he no doubt imparted many gifts to his fans over the years, for which his life and his artistry will always be remembered. To celebrate some of these gifts, Ive compiled a list of articles that explore Bowies many contributions to this world:

1. Forward-looking songwriting David Bowie Dies at 69; a Chameleon in Music, Art and Fashion via The New York Times​Mr. Bowie wrote songs, above all, about being an outsider: an alien, a misfit, a sexual adventurer, a faraway astronaut. His music was always a mutable blend: rock, cabaret, jazz and what he called “plastic soul,” but it was suffused with genuine soul. He also captured the drama and longing of everyday life, enough to give him No. 1 pop hits like “Let’s Dance.” Read more

2. Proof that anything is possible How David Bowie redefined what it meant to be a rock star via the Portland Press HeraldDavid Bowie made clear, in a way that was exhilarating and sometimes frightening, what every rock star since Elvis Presley and Little Richard had been telling us all along – that anything was possible. With his unpredictable range of styles, his melding of European jadedness with American rhythms and his ever-changing personas and wardrobes, the gaunt and erudite Bowie brought an open theatricality and androgyny to popular music that changed the very meaning of being a rock star. Read more

David Bowie 2A woman and child place a flower alongside other tributes beside a mural of British singer David Bowie by artist Jimmy C in Brixton in south London Monday, January 11, 2016.

3. Breaking down barriers David Bowie: Weirdo Broke Down Barriers, Inspired Legions via NBC NewsHis immediately identifiable voice urged listeners to Turn and face the strange — and for decades thats exactly what David Bowies music did. But beyond a massive catalog of hits, Bowie left behind a legacy of breaking down barriers in music and beyond. He was the best weirdo out there — and made being one OK for legions. Read more

David Bowie 3

4. Helping to bring down the Berlin Wall  David Bowie at the Berlin Wall: the incredible story of a concert and its role in history via Vox CultureIn June 1987, David Bowie returned to the divided city of Berlin for a concert that some Germans, rightly or wrongly, still view as having helped change history.

Bowie knew West Berlin well. Hed lived there for three years in the late 1970s, sharing an apartment in the Schöneberg neighborhood with Iggy Pop, escaping from the drugs and over-the-top glam of his early career into the citys expressionism and art pop. It was there that Bowie recorded three of the albums for which, upon his death today from cancer at the age of 69, he is still remembered and cherished. Read more

5. Unforgettable acting performances David Bowies 10 best film and TV roles via USA TodayDavid Bowie was many things. Glam rocker, style icon, father, husband, White Duke and incredible performer. But for all the amazing contributions he made to the world of music over the course of his long and storied career, he also gave the world of film and television plenty to talk about. Read more

6. Lazarus David Bowies last release, Lazarus, was parting gift for fans in carefully planned finale via The TelegraphDavid Bowies final record was a carefully-orchestrated farewell to his fans, his producer has confirmed. Lazarus, released on the Bowies 69th birthday just two days before his death, opens with the lyrics: Look up here, Im in Heaven! Read more

Rest in peace, Bowie.

Filed under: Music heroes Tagged: #davidbowie #ripbowie #musiclegend

Jill Freeman, “A Handmade Life.” A Review

1 Jill Freeman coverA Review:Jill FreemanA Handmade Life


All Lyrics by JILL FREEMAN

I dress in rags, I suck on stonesSometimes hunger shakes my bonesBut deep inside, below the strifeI have a precious handmade life

From A Handmade Life

A masterpiece of audacious proportions. A stunning, truly ambitious achievement. The kind of album songwriters talk about someday making. As in “Yeah, someday I am going to choose, like, thirteen of my favorite fairy-tales – including some really dark ones – and write a song about each.” And you go, yeah, yeah! Good idea. Some day.

Well, she’s done it. A Handmade Life is a remarkable journey through the mystic world of myth. Each song is lovingly and luminously inspired by a fable, some of which are ancient – while others, such as “Completely Unaware, ” based on The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum  are slightly more modern. This is timeless and visionary stuff, resonant with the symbology of the ages, yet also brand new. Though many of these myths have been around for eons, they speak directly to modern times.

If Rickie Lee Jones, Lou Reed and Laura Nyro were to collaborate on songs with Kurt Weill and Edgar Allen Poe and made an album produced by Tom Waits and Daniel Lanois, they might create something like A Handmade Life. Or not. Words fail to define that which is beyond words, so we reach for convenient comparisons. But some things – including deeply felt, beautifully executed art – exist in a realm beyond words. And that’s why God invented song.  And songwriters like Jill Freeman to write them.

Mythic, mystic and magical, this is  a song-cycle that unfolds like a great theatrical spectacle. We meet a multitude of characters, some wounded, some wicked, all mysterious and essentially human. Within each story comes a distinct facet of  the human psyche, and the struggle to make sense of an illogical world. We journey through a great procession of stories, all united by the voice of “heartache’s daughter,” the deep yearning love in the heart of these songs. It’s a cycle that weds human darkness – and hopeful “bits of light” – with melodies of great heart, charm and mystery. At the start and end of this journey of much darkness, some murder, mayhem, hunger and death, there is redemption. There is the light at the end of the human tunnel.

My aching searchFor loving kindnessIs the light that leads me there.

From “The Light That Leads Me There.”

A deeply gifted songwriter, she compresses these fables down into beautifully rhymed and metered verse like romantic poetry of yore, finding the essence of each myth and making it musical. She unwinds these tales with an elegant economy of language.  As in the core of great storytelling, there are no wasted words.

Crazy wisdom ancestorPit of my desireGrant me your blessingsGive me eyes of fireFrom “Eyes of Fire”

Other examples of language use both stark and stunning abound. The Inside Room, based on the Arthurian legend of The Fisher King, uses short, poignant haiku-like lines to embody this character of few words, forever fishing in the mystic:

Barefoot, cold rockDrops of waterMidnights maidenHeartaches daughterHook, no barbOn a bamboo poleIn the deepening silenceI fish for my soul

From The Inside Room.

She’s long been beloved on the L.A. songwriting-singer scene. With the Life Is Grand Band and as a solo artist, she’s not only one of the best songwriters around, but also one of the finest singers. Bringing a powerfully poignant and focused tenderness to her lead singing, she’s also a remarkable harmony singer, lending a warm, loving blend to anything she touches.

Her vocals on this new album are resplendent:  ethereal and earthly, dynamically delicate, combining all the voices she has and more to tell these stories with all the darkness and co-mingled light intact. Sometimes it’s a voice jazzy and cagey, sometimes strong and pointed. Other times its wispy and vulnerable – like a little girl lost in the woods, abandoned maybe, as the sun starts going down. Her voice, raw and open, set against a single ukulele strum and the sounds of the world roaring around her, opens the show:

I have slept in cold and lonely placesWith no comfort but the ground

From The Light That Leads Me There

But often it’s the omniscient voice of the story-teller, that ancient soul who has woven magic into our lives for centuries. The soul who dances in the forever joy of music itself, as in the great scat section of “No Hands,” just jamming, beyond words, celebrating the joy of life even without hands.

She’s always been a remarkable songwriter, one who – like John Prine and Randy Newman – can bring humor and sorrow to the same song. Beautifully poignant yet whimsical gems like “Everything Makes Me Cry,” about being a raw nerve in the world (aka artist), from her previous album, resound like standards.


But this might very well be her definitive album. Every artist at some point creates the one album that defines them forever. This is that album. Its a dream nurtured and born, a vision realized.

Songs, and these songs especially, are the ideal vehicle for the surreal landscapes of fairy-tales. Written in meter and rhyme and wed to melody, these myths become even more potent than the spoken word. As revealed at every stop on this musical journey, within a song a full story can be contained. Revelations often emerge in the middle, in the chorus, like the sun around which all planets spin. The songform propels the narrative in a non-linear way, with time flowing from the center, as if in a series of dreams. The result is chilling and unforgettable.

Listen to “No Hands.” It’s all there. A jaunty and jazzy plea based on “The Handless Maiden” by The Brothers Grimm, its about a woman navigating the world without hands. Hands stolen by the haunted man inside of her. It’s dark, beautiful territory. And it swings with soul. Its an extreme equation, this human so destitute in every way, forced to steal a pear from a tree, homeless, hungry and, yes, handless. Yet the character speaks with a simple and brave dignity. And with yearning for something so fundamental. These are bold and brilliant brush-strokes, crystallized with a powerfully simple yet visceral melody,and the picture is stunningly complete:

Oh God, to hold a hand in mineWatch the fingers intertwineTo feel with my own fingertipsThe softness of my lovers lips

From No Hands.

These tracks are all based on arrangedments by Jill, and produced by her husband, the great Joel Wachbrit. With sonics dynamic and dimensional throughout, the production of each song is as beguiling as the vocals and the songs. That the producer and artist are married makes sense, as the production here is intimate and perfect, so sensitive to every element of every element, like the beautiful symphonic splendor of the Oz song, “Completely Unaware,” with strings arranged by Jack Van Zandt. It’s absolutely sumptuous, as majestic and ageless as that mythic Emerald City. It’s an ending that’s absolutely exultant, with Jill scat-soaring over the orchestra of strings and muted horns, evoking such diverse spirits, from Oz itself to old Hollywood and beyond.

Get up and dance a jig with me, as if it was your lastI’m not trying to be coy, it’s essentialThen write down all your thoughts, quicklyThose future and those pastDon’t lie, don’t cheatHere’s a pencil

From “Welcome To The Bonehouse.”

She explores the hidden interiors of these tales, the stories that resonate, and the reasons for that resonance. It’s about the child in all of us yearning always for stories. And some stories – that ones that last, speak directly to the deepest parts of our soul: the ancient, primal parts, the human essence forever fearful of forces too big or mysterious to fight.

“Letters From Murdertown” resounds like the theme song of the album, like notes from dreams sent to the waking self. It contains an understanding that some things we encounter are beyond understanding, some darkness perhaps too dark to fathom, and maybe even beyond capturing with words. But in songs the fullness of the dream can be captured, as it’s bolstered by this mesmeric ¾ dark waltz-time groove, both compelling and creepy. And Jill’s earnest vocals in the midst of it, like the last sane voice in a crowded asylum, is aching and perfect, as she sings in finely-detailed lines of perfect rhyme:

I miss my home of originThat dusty cornered land of sinWhere good and evil all mix inCotton candy, bathtub ginSo if you see me smilingAll wistful and beguilingYou’ll know my heart is filingLetters from MurdertownLetters from Murdertown

From “Letters From Murdertown”

Add to that Mike Nelson’s outrageously elastic clarinet solo in the middle, set against a choir of Jills, and the result is like a great surreal movie, brand new and now and yet timeless, evoking ghosts which have been dormant for decades.

The musicianship throughout is stellar, led by Jill on acoustic guitar with Joel  on electric and acoustic guitars throughout. Debra Dobkin provides deep grooves throughout on  percussion and drums, with Steve Nelson on bass, Tommy Reeves on keyboards, Judy Rudin on harmonica, Claudia Russell, Aeone Watson and Severin Browne on harmony vocals, Bruce Kaplan on mandolin, George Landress on dobro and harmonium, Bob Sheppard on bass clarinet, the Eclipse String Quartet on strings, Mike Nelson on baritone sax, tenor sax and clarinet. The luminous April Hava Shenkman (aka my brilliant cousin) provides the manic voices in the head of “Welcome to the Bonehouse.”


As mentioned, this album of considerable darkness begins and ends  wrapped with light,  in the sweet top and tail of  “The Light That Leads Me There,” based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling.” Set out in the wild in the opening, the sounds of bedlam brewing, by the end we have reached a peaceful place. Jills no longer alone in the wild world, but now joined beautifully by full band and then many voices, sharing this crucible of life, underscored hauntingly with Uillean pipes played by Dave Champagne.

I’ve seen many things on this brutal earthThe horrific and the sweetFrom the way the violence tumbles forthTo the flowers at my feet

And I’ve pondered as I wandered On the mystery of man Why does such a privileged creature squander All the gifts that he commands?

Still I shall find my wayAnd I will know my peopleThey’ll embrace me with deep careYou see my aching search for loving kindnessIs the light that leads me there.From “The Light That Leads Me There.”

It brings to mind Warren Zevon’s excitable message to co-writer Jorge Calderon after writing another great song: “Jorge, he said, You know, this is high art.” He knew it, and it’s true. High art. It’s stuff for the ages. Both inventive and inspired, these are paintings by artists aiming for masterpieces. Gratitude abounds that even in these modern times, these times in which many declare the album format dead forever, there are still artists like Jill and Joel still aiming so high, still making the kinds of albums we always lived for.

For more on this album and this artist:



Pipikaula, like many dishes in Hawaii, is the result of several cultures colliding. First, lets talk about how beef became part of the Hawaiian diet, since cows are not native to the islands. In 1793, famous British Navy explorer George Vancouver gifted King Kamehameha I (the chief who first united the Hawaiian islands) a bull and five cows; the king placed a kapu (Hawaiian taboo) on the hunting of these cattle and their descendants that lasted through 1830; by 1845 there were an estimated 25,000 feral cattle on the big island of Hawaii.

John Palmer Parker, an American who allegedly first arrived in Hawaii in 1809 by jumping off of a ship (theres probably a good story there), quickly gained the favor of King Kamehameha I upon his infamous arrival. In 1815, after a bit of travel, he returned to Hawaii with a state-of-the-art American musket; the king gave him the honor of hunting the first cattle in Hawaii. Over the next 20 years, he helped to thin the number of feral cattle on the island, and was gifted some land as compensation. Parker founded Parker Ranch in 1847, one of the oldest and largest ranches in the United States, with 250,000 acres that remain today.

To help manage livestock, Parker brought in cowboys (Vaqueros) from present-day California (Mexico at the time); these cowboys were called Paniolo (a Hawaiian pronunciation of the word Español), and the name sticks today. The Paniolos would dry strips of beef in the sun, to chew on while driving cattle; this food was eventually named Pipikaula (literally beef rope). To flavor the beef, they would use soy sauce, as it was locally available thanks to Chinese and Japanese immigrants.

So thats how Pipikaula came to be, through a joining of Hawaiian, British, American, Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese cultures. Today, Pipikaula is served in Hawaiian restaurants and sometimes at luaus. It is commonly dried in wire boxes in the sun, or by hanging it to dry, then broiled or pan-fried before serving. The recipe that Im sharing today is modeled after my wifes favorite Hawaiian restaurant, Helenas Hawaiian Food, on N. King Street in Honolulu. For efficiencys sake, well dry the beef in an oven and pan-fry it to a crisp.

Pipikaula (Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free, Perfect Health Diet)Servings: yields about 2 lbsTime: 6 hours to dry, 10 minutes to cook, plus time to marinateDifficulty: Easy

Marinade:4 cloves garlic, minced1 ginger, peeled and minced (or 1 tsp ground ginger)1/2 cup tamari or 2/3 cup coconut aminos2 tbsp coconut palm sugar or 3 tbsp honey1 tbsp Hawaiian salt (or sea salt)1/4 cup mirin, sake, or other rice wine (dry sherry okay)2 tsp white pepper1 tsp red pepper flakes1 tsp Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce

4-5 lbs cross-cut short ribs or flank steak, cut into thin strips2 tbsp coconut oil

1. Combine the marinade ingredients. Cut the short ribs between each bone piece, to form 2 long pieces. Combine the short ribs and the marinade in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, overnight preferred. Turn the bag periodically.

2. Preheat your oven to 170F. Lay the short ribs across a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack (you can also line the sheet with tin foil to make it easier to clean). Bake in the center of the oven, with the oven door cracked open a few inches, until mostly dry (a bit wetter than beef jerky), about 6 hours.

3. Store in the fridge, in a resealable plastic bag lined with paper towels, for up a to week. To serve, heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add the Pipikaula; pan-fry until browned and the fat starts to render (similar to how bacon looks as it finished cooking), about 1 minute per side, then drain on paper towels and serve.

** Common accompaniments to Pipikaula include sliced sweet onion, coarse-ground Hawaiian salt, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Kalua Pig, and Poi (here is my recipe for Sweet Potato Poi).

** Cross-cut short ribs are sometimes hard to find, and can carry all sorts of names, from flanken cut, to LA style. Here is a good guide on the different short rib cuts.

TV Ratings Saturday: ‘Deadline’ stays on top, Baseball lands high

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Saturday, June 10, 2017

Note: Live sports broadcasts on FOX may result in greater adjustments than usual for those networks. 

The numbers for Saturday:

TimeShowAdults 18-49 Rating/ShareViewers (millions)8 p.m.Major League Baseball (FOX) (8-10 p.m.)0.5/22.31World of Dance (NBC) R0.4/21.82Bule Bloods (CBS) R0.2/11.829 p.m.Dateline (NBC) (9-11 p.m.)0.5/22.6720/20: In an Instant (ABC) (9-11 p.m.)0.4/22.2648 Hours (CBS)0.3/12.3510 p.m.48 Hours (CBS)0.3/12.72

The Saturday ratings were predictably quiet once again this week, with some continued live sports broadcasts landing on top.

FOX scored high in the night with its regional Major League Baseball coverage scoring an average 0.5 rating in adults 18-49 spread across two hours, with an average 2.31 million viewers. Meanwhile, NBCs Dateline led the night, also with an average 0.5, but with slightly more viewers (2.67 million) than FOX had.

Following its premiere last week on ABC, 20/20: In an Instant dipped one-tenth from a 0.5 to a 0.4 this time around. The only other original broadcast of the night was 48 Hours on CBS, which scored two back-to-back 0.3 ratings.

Network averages:

NBCFOXCBSABCAdults 18-49 rating/share0.5/20.5/20.3/10.3/1Total Viewers (millions)2.392.312.602.04


Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings are available at approximately 11 a.m. ET the day after telecast. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. Time Shifted Viewing: Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live +Same-Day and Live +7 Day. Time-shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+SD includes viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3 a.m. local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live +7 ratings include  viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Born In China – Review

I love nature documentaries.  I really really do.  I dont know why exactly.  Perhaps I find them soothing.  Perhaps, despite my grades in certain classes in school, I actually really enjoy learning.  For whatever reason, this love of nature docs made the chance to see Disney Natures latest outing, Born in China, seem like a great way to spend my Earth Day.  Armed with a predisposition for the love of baby pandas, we headed to the theater, ready for an overload of cuteness.  So is this Chinese themed wilderness trip worth exploring, or are you better off with a copy of Kung Fu Panda?  Read on to find out.


Director Chuan Lu, utilizing the voice of John Krasinski, quickly sets the scene of Chinese nature being a sort of mythological stories as well as the idea of life, death and rebirth and from here we are introduced to the major players of the film.  In reality, this is mostly done with the use of adorable baby animals.  Mei Mei, a baby panda is really a show stealer and watching her grow to be able to leave her mother is both very moving yet also quite heartbreaking.  Despite this, Mei Mei provided many of the Aww moments and hearty chuckles as she rolled down a hill after being spooked by a falling leaf.  How can you not love these animals?!


Another show stopper here is Tao Tao, a Golden snub-nosed monkey who quickly finds that he loses the affection of his parents when his baby sister is born.  He leaves the nest and joins a group of ill mannered male monkeys who enjoy breaking branches and not having a care in the world.  By the end of the film, we see see Tao Tao forced to grow up and protect his sister as the harsh reality of the world sets in.


Speaking of harsh realities.  No one knows this better than Dawa, a snow leopard who easily wins the most devastating story of the film as she tries desperately to obtain food for her cubs, only to come up short through the harsh winter.  Dawas story shows us that life is not always easy and doesnt always have a happy ending, and while her pain is certainly family friendly in what we see, it was deeply depressing to watch, despite the cuteness of every other story around her.


Character: Dawa and her cub Snow Leopard

We never really get to know the Chiru, or Tibetan antelope, by name, but I will point out that watching the males strut to win the affection of the females made me laugh hysterically.  I cant even describe it.  Its just hilarious.  I wish real males did this, because that would make flirting a laugh worthy event every single time.


Born in China is adorable.  There is 100% no denying that.  As a fan of Nature Docs though, I found that so much attention was put on the cuteness and telling these stories of these animals, which really felt like characters, that the actual documentary part seemed very lacking.  What I mean to say is that one of my favorite parts of a Nature Doc is the piece where we learn fascinating tidbits about natures rarest creatures, but I didnt feel like I got that here.  Sure, we got a lot of footage, but I left the theater not really feeling as though Id learned very much, and thats a shame, because while the stories were super cute and fun, I would have loved to walk away with a bit more knowledge.


The flip side of this, however, is that the lightness of this film makes it extremely family friendly and perhaps a great starting point if you are looking to get the kiddos interested in this sort of film.  And despite my want of more facts, one cant deny that Born in China is visually stunning and, because we really get to know these animals, incredibly touching.  All that said, if youre looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day with the family, I fully endorse Born in China.  If youre looking to really learn about the animals of our awesome planet, head on over to Planet Earth or any other BBC Nature show.


Will you be checking out Born in China?  If yes, tell me what you think of it!  If not, tell me what amazing thing you did on Earth Day instead!  I want to hear about all the things in the comments!

Filed under: Vault Disney Tagged: Born in China, China, Disney, Disney Nature, documentary, Earth, Earth Day, film, Monkey, nature, panda

Furikake Ahi

Im really starting to find beauty in simple meals. Like I mentioned a few weeks ago when sharing my recipe for three-ingredient Spaghetti Squash Bolognese Boats, Ive had less time in the kitchen than usual (new babies will do that). Its always tempting to reach for a takeout menu, but Ive been determined to simply find quicker solutions for dinners. For example, Ive been making a lot of pressure-cooker risotto, since it reheats well for lunches throughout the week.

This weeks recipe is similar in its approach it contains just a few ingredients, and comes together in minutes. Its a popular preparation in Hawaii, found on many restaurant menus. But to be honest, once I figured out how easy it is to prepare at home, Ive had a hard time shelling out money to let someone else make it for me.

Furikake is a Japanese rice seasoning typically made with dried fish, sesame seeds, and seaweed. It was initially distributed in the early 1900s under the name Gohan No Tomo (A friend for rice) as a possible source of calcium (early recipes used ground fish bones). At first, the seasoning was too pricey for everyday eaters, but by 1948 it was commercially produced by Nissin foods (most famous for their Top Ramen), to help combat malnutrition in the Japanese population.

I prefer Urashimas All Natural varieties of furikake. The bottle on the left, which I use when making Furikake Ahi, contains nori seaweed and sesame seeds. The bottle on the right contains nori seaweed, sesame seeds, and bonito (dried skipjack tuna), which we tend to use for everyday uses. The bottle on the right is available on Amazon, and we buy the bottle on the left at our local market (alas, its not on Amazon).

Furikake Ahi (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Whole30, Perfect Health Diet)Servings: 4Time: 10 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Dipping sauce:1 tsp tamari or coconut aminos1 tsp rice vinegar1 tsp water1 dash cayenne peppersesame seeds

1 tsp tamari or coconut aminos4 yellowfin (ahi) tuna steaks (~6oz each)4 tbsp furikake (more if needed)2 tbsp coconut oil

1. Combine the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside. Rub the tamari all over the tuna steaks. In a shallow bowl, add the furikake, then roll each steak in the furikake until coated; set aside.

2. Warm the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking, about 2 minutes. Add the steaks, in batches if needed, and sear on each side, about 30 seconds per side for rare (pictured above), 45 seconds per side for medium-rare.

3. Thinly slice and serve with the dipping sauce, some rice, and a vegetable side of your choice (pictured above are Chinese Greens from The Ancestral Table, which Ill share next week).