BAN #243: Don’t be a dick, Refreshing summer lemonade recipe

10 August 2020   Issue #243

[Spiral Galaxy M81 image credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona]

Subscribers are a cool, refreshing, splash of lemonade in the long hot summer of life.

Piece of mind

I have opinions. I try to base them on evidence.

<tl;dr: Don’t be a dick>

My cousin Dave Razowsky is a funny guy. I mean that literally: He’s a professional comedian, and an expert improvisationalist. He teaches improve (check that link for info if you’re interested; he gets rave reviews).

Recently, he posted a really funny photo on Instagram. This was the day that Trump, in all his brain-decayed glory, spoke at a White House event and mispronounced the word Yosemite, pronouncing it as yo-semite, because of course he did.

Here’s the photo Dave posted in response.

Ha! I laughed out loud when I saw this.

Now here’s where things get weird. I reposted his photo on Twitter, and of course got a lot of replies from people who got the joke.

But I also got a reply from a guy who, well, did not.

Yeah. Now, at this point, I will gently mention that both my cousin Dave and I are Jewish. I don’t practice (well, I like matzoh and the occasional bagel and schmear), which probably doesn’t surprise you, but we were both raised Jewish.

So. Well.

I checked the guy’s bio, and he’s from another country. But he clearly knew enough English to know how “Yosemite” is pronounced (ironically better than Trump knows), but didn’t know enough about American news to have heard about Trump’s gaffe of the day (or hour or minute or nanosecond).

So he took it upon himself to call me an idiot, and also call me anti-Semitic. The irony is substantive. Like the-core-of-the-Earth laden with iron.

He blocked me, so I have no way to tell him he really misunderstood the situation. I would’ve, too. Maybe he’d have learned not to jump to conclusions.

And that’s why I’m writing this. I can’t tell him, but I can tell you.

People make snap judgments on Twitter all the time; it’s like a defining characteristic of the service. I know that (duh), but it doesn’t have to be that way. If he had thought for literally five seconds about it, or maybe taken an extra moment to look through my feed to see what kind of stuff I usually post for context, it would’ve been clear what was going on. Or if he hadn’t been, y’know, a dick. Because misunderstanding or not, the guy was absolutely a dick.

I block a lot of people because they act that way. I always — always — check their feed first. If they’re clearly MAGAts or whatever, then I block away. But if they don’t usually post that way, then maybe I’m the one misinterpreting their reply. I mean, not in this case, obviously — I may have mentioned the guy was a dick — but it does happen. It’s like the principle of charity: Don’t assume the worst. Check to see first.

When you do that, maybe, just maybe, you’ll reduce the suck of social media by some tiny amount.

And hey, just to increase the joy of social media by some amount, here is a video of my cousin Dave doing a very funny sketch with a couple of people I expect you’ll recognize. Dave’s part starts at around 4:27, but don’t skip ahead; you need to watch the whole thing for the setup or else it will make no sense at all. Also, incredibly, while being the straight man Dave completely steals the scene. Doing that with those actors is no small feat.

What’s Cookin’?

It’s a newsletter. Of course there will be recipes.

I am about to make your summer a whole lot better (Australians and other southerners: Save this issue for six months and then read it).

Lemonade is one of the best drinks on a sweltering hot day. You can argue, but you’d be wrong (note I didn’t say the best, just one of the best).

Years ago, when we lived closer to Boulder proper, we’d go to the Farmer’s Market downtown every week, which was always fun. Good food, friends, a chance just to lazily idle away an afternoon…

While getting some grub, I saw a booth selling lemonade. Yeah, I thought. Good call. I went over and to my surprise she was making ginger lemonade. This had never occurred to me, and I tried some eagerly, and JACKPOT. It is the near-perfect drink for a hot day. The ginger adds a wonderful zing to the lemonade that makes it even more refreshing.

We tried making it at home with little success — just putting slices of fresh ginger in lemonade didn’t work, nor did mincing it with a knife. The lemonade wouldn’t absorb the ginger flavor.

Then we tried a microplane, one of those graters with extremely fine blades. It scrapes the ginger into very small bits and the juice comes right out. A few cubic centimeters of root planed that way and added to a container (1.5 liters) of lemonade, steeped overnight in the fridge, and BAM. Amazing.

This isn’t a recipe per se — I have some coming, I promise — but dang is it good, and you just have to feel your way around it to get the right balance of lemon and ginger. But give this a try, and you can thank me by making sure you’re registered to vote and telling others to do so as well.

Blog Jam

What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI

[Artwork of ancient Mars showing it to be warm and covered in liquid water. New research indicates it may actually have been locked in an ice age. From Wednesday’s post. Credit: lttiz / wikipedia]

Monday 3 August, 2020: How many habitable planets can one star have? Turns out, about 6.

Tuesday 4 August, 2020: Because the Universe isn't weird enough: Black hole planets may exist.

Wednesday 5 August, 2020: Was young Mars warm and wet or cold and frozen?

Thursday 6 August, 2020: After nearly a century, elusive CNO neutrinos are finally seen from the Sun

Friday 7 August, 2020: Astronomers use Hubble during an eclipse to detect life on Earth

Et alia

You can email me at (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!