Daily Archive: 01/28/2012

Jan 28 2012

What’s Cooking: Super Bowl Chicken Wings

Next Sunday is the NFL’s big day, Super Bowl XLVI. It’s the New York Giants and the New England Patriots facing off in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The  National Anthem will be sung by former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Madonna will be the performer for the Super Bowl halftime show. Naturally, the commercials will be as entertaining as the game and Madonna.

But we here to talk food, specifically a game time favorite, Chicken Wings. For variety, I have two recipes that are easy to make and can be made ahead of time and warmed in the oven on game day. Both recipes are easily doubled, tripled or whatever.

The first recipe is for a spicy oriental wing and the second is for the traditional Buffalo style wing that will be a keeper.

Spicy Lacquered Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

3 pounds meaty chicken wings, tips removed

Salt

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine or sherry

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon grated ginger

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 small cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)

6 scallions, slivered

2 or 3 small hot red chiles, very thinly sliced (or hot green chiles), optional

2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 handful cilantro leaves

2 navel oranges, sliced.

Preparation:

1. Rinse the wings, pat dry, season lightly with salt and put them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, cayenne and orange zest, then pour over the wings and massage well. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or refrigerate (overnight is fine) and bring to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the wings in one layer in a low-sided baking dish or roasting pan (or use 2 pans) and place on middle shelf. Every 8 to 10 minutes, brush the wings with the marinade from the pan, adding 3 or 4 tablespoons water to dissolve the juices as necessary. Continue until well browned, glazed and cooked through, about 40 to 45 minutes. The wings may be cooked ahead and reheated if desired.

3. Pile the wings on a warm platter. Quickly assemble the garnish. In a small bowl combine the cucumber, scallions, chiles, crushed peanuts and sesame oil. Season with salt, toss lightly and scatter over the wings. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Surround with orange slices and serve.

Time: 1 hour, plus at least 1 hour’s marinating

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (18 to 20 wings).

Buffalo Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dip

The only hot sauce that I use is Frank’s Louisiana hot sauce. These wings can also be made with boneless chicken breast strips.

Ingredients:

Sauce

4 tablespoons Unsalted butter

1/2 cup Hot sauce , preferably Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon Dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons Cider vinegar

Wings

1 – 2 quarts Peanut oil (or vegetable oil) for frying

1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Table salt

3 tablespoons Cornstarch

3 pounds Chicken wings (18 wings), cut up (see illustrations below)

Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing and Vegetables

2 1/2 ounces Blue cheese , crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

3 tablespoons Buttermilk

3 tablespoons Sour cream

2 tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 teaspoons White wine vinegar

4 stalks Celery , cut into thin sticks

2 Medium carrots , peeled and cut into thin slices

Preparation:

1. For the Sauce: Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in hot sauces, brown sugar, and vinegar until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. For the Wings: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line baking sheet with paper towels. Heat 2 1/2 inches of oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 360 degrees. While oil heats, mix together cayenne, black pepper, salt, and cornstarch in small bowl. Dry chicken with paper towels and place pieces in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle spice mixture over wings and toss with rubber spatula until evenly coated. Fry half of chicken wings until golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer fried chicken wings to baking sheet. Keep first batch of chicken warm in oven while frying remaining wings.

3. For the Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing and Vegetables: Mash blue cheese and buttermilk in small bowl with fork until mixture resembles cottage cheese with small curds. Stir in remaining ingredients (up to carrot and celery sticks). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Can be covered and refrigerated up to 4 days.

4. To Serve: Pour sauce mixture into large bowl, add chicken wings, and toss until wings are uniformly coated. Serve immediately with the carrot and celery sticks and blue cheese dressing on side.

5. To Make Ahead: The fried, unsauced wings can be kept warm in the oven for up to 1 1/2 hours. Toss them with the sauce just before serving.

Serve with lots of napkins. Bon Appétit  

Jan 28 2012

Random Japan

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SIGNS OF THE TIMES

       Making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, large posters at an Osaka department store trumpeted a “Fuckin’ sale” with everything 20 percent off.

   Also from the good people in Osaka, a burger joint was advertising a “Fuckin’ yummy hamburger!!” We’ll take two … fuck yeah!

   Coming of Age Day in Japan saw a record-low 1.22 million people who will turn 20 this year, the fifth straight year the figure has decreased.

   The decline marks the first time the number has been less than half the record of 2.46 million set in 1970.

   “The roughly 620,000 men and 600,000 women comprise 0.96 percent of Japan’s population, down for the eighth consecutive year,” according to an estimate by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

   An ornery 65-year-old Japanese man was arrested by FBI agents in Hawaii for assaulting a flight attendant on a Delta flight from Tokyo to Honolulu. Apparently, the guy “hit the flight attendant once with an open hand and once with a closed fist after drinking multiple glasses of wine.” So he hit the bottle then hit the stew.

   A court in Kobe found a former president of West Japan Railway not guilty of professional negligence over the 2005 high-speed train wreck in Hyogo Prefecture that left 107 people dead when a train hopped the tracks and hit an apartment building.

   The US magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which created the so-called “Doomsday Clock” in 1947, said in a statement there are still “approximately 19,500 nuclear weapons [in the world today], enough power to destroy the Earth’s inhabitants several times over.”

   A researcher in Hokkaido has concluded that marimo balls-“a type of green algae that grows in a round shape”-have been spread around the world from Japan through migrating birds.

   ANA passengers who flew on the airline’s Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” on New Year’s Day got a nice greeting from staff wearing long-sleeved kimonos while bearing gifts and souvenirs.

   A marathon in tsunami-hit Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture was held once again this year, attracting some 1,500 runners, although the course did have to be altered due to the events of March 11.

   A very pissed-off Chinese dude threw four Molotov cocktails at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul because, he says, “his great grandfather on his mother’s side died of torture while fighting against Japan’s colonial rule,” according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency.

   Three crew members from a disabled North Korean fishing boat found drifting off Shimane Prefecture were shipped back home via China. A fourth man, who had died, was also heading home in a body bag.

Jan 28 2012

The Baltic Dry Index

The Baltic Dry Index

tracks worldwide international shipping prices of various dry bulk cargoes.

The index provides “an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 26 shipping routes measured on a timecharter and voyage basis, the index covers Handymax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain.”

Since 1744.  Because Cargo Ships take a long time to build and are very expensive, capacity is relatively stable and rises and falls in the price are a leading indicator of Economic Demand for Raw Materials.

Handymax is the smaller sizes, Panamax is the largest size that will fit through the Panama Canal, Capesize are so large they have to sail around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

Unlike stock and bond markets, the BDI “is totally devoid of speculative content,” says Howard Simons, an economist and columnist at TheStreet.com. “People don’t book freighters unless they have cargo to move.”

The companion index is the HARPEX which doesn’t have it’s own Wikipedia entry, but which measures shipments of cargo packaged in containers.  Some raw materials yes, but mostly manufactured items being transported for assembly and sale.  Your Foxconn iPhone came from China in one.

Last week Louis Basenese of Wall Street Daily (not Journal) published this piece that made some Economists nervous.

The Most Alarming Chart I’ve Seen All Week

Louis Basenese, Wall Street Daily

Published Fri, Jan 20th, 2012  

While (almost) everyone finally agrees that the United States has avoided a nasty double-dip recession, a slowdown’s brewing elsewhere in the world.

How can I be so sure? All I have to do is look at the latest chart for the Baltic Dry Index.



(T)he Index is down 48.4% in the last month. And it’s down 54.4% in the last three months.

The culprit? Why, Europe, of course.



On Wednesday, the World Bank cut its world economic growth forecast explicitly because of Europe’s never-ending debt crisis. Meanwhile, as Europe’s debt crisis persists, Bloomberg reports that the IMF plans to cut its global growth forecasts, too.



A recession is afoot, if not already underway.

And thus it has come to pass, exactly as predicted.

U.K. Teeters on Brink of Recession as King Signals More Stimulus: Economy

By Scott Hamilton and Jennifer Ryan, Bloomberg News

Jan 25, 2012 7:38 AM ET

The U.K. economy shrank more than economists forecast in the fourth quarter as manufacturers cut output and services stagnated, leaving Britain on the brink of another recession

Gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent from the third quarter, when it increased 0.6 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. The median forecast of 33 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey was for a drop of 0.1 percent. Public-sector strikes over pensions on Nov. 30 had “some impact” on GDP in the quarter, the statistics office said.

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said yesterday that policy makers can increase stimulus again if needed to guard against a “renewed severe downturn.” The U.K., the first Group of Seven nation to report fourth-quarter data, may not be the last to report a contraction. Germany’s statistics office estimated GDP fell about 0.25 percent in the period and the International Monetary Fund has forecast a euro-area recession.

That would be Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor.  Elizabeth Mountbatten is still preparing for her Diamond Jubilee and Prime Minister David Cameron’s idea of economic stimulus is to give her a $2 or $3 Billion Yacht she doesn’t need and says she doesn’t want.

Now the Wall Street Bull Shill Artists don’t like bad news getting in the way of their Ponzi schemes so there’s been some push back-

The Blame Game: Revisiting "The Most Alarming Chart I’ve Seen All Week"

Louis Basenese, Wall Street Daily

Published Fri, Jan 27th, 2012

Readers responded that I unfairly pegged the three-month, 54.4% drop in the Baltic Dry Index on Europe’s never-ending debt crisis. Instead, readers said I should have also pointed a finger at China.

Well, readers, I admit it: You’re right.

As I noted on Wednesday, China’s economy is decelerating. And as the biggest consumer of raw materials, it’s definitely having an impact on the Baltic Dry Index and global economic activity. In fact, the IMF cut its global GDP forecast this week from 4% to 3.3%.

Shame on me for not blaming China, too. Can you ever forgive me?

But wait!  It’s all about the Supply Side!

The supply of bulk ships only increased 8.9% over the last year and 2.8% in the last three months. Do you really think a 2.8% increase in supply is entirely responsible for a 54.4% drop in the Baltic Dry Index over the same time period?

Even if we look at the increase in capacity – which is up 12.7% in the last year and 3.9% in the last three months – there’s no way it’s the only factor sinking the Baltic Dry Index.

And how about that HARPEX?

In the last six months, the number of container ships only increased 0.3% and capacity only increased by 1.9%. Meanwhile, the HARPEX Index is down 46.9% over the same period.

Louis is not the only one noticing this.

Chart of the Day: The Baltic Dry Index

Sebastian Walsh, Financial News

25 Jan 2012

According to (Nick) Bullman (managing partner at risk consultant Check Risks), its initial collapse in October was driven primarily by a fall-off in demand from China, where declining housing prices pushed purchasing managers to cut back on orders for the raw materials whose transport the Baltic Dry Index reflects.

He said: “This collapse looks similar to the falls we saw in the Baltic Dry ahead of the recessions of the late 1970s and early 1990s – but this drop is actually steeper.”



“US unemployment is in high double digits at moment, not 9% – the way the US government collates the data means the long-term unemployed just fall out of the numbers.”



Bullman said that shipping companies have also been deliberately slowing down their journeys to save fuel, with trips from China to the US going now taking around 50% longer than they were early in 2011.



(H)e said he was surprised by how long the Baltic Dry took to fall.



“What this is signalling is that the world economy is slowing down much more quickly than people have been thinking.”

Even if the problem is over capacity, this is not good news.

Business Insider quoted Basil Karatzas, the chief executive of Karatzas Marine Advisors, as saying European banks could face nearly $100 billion in losses to restructure the $500 billion in shipping loans on their books.

(h/t Lambert Strether @ Naked Capitalism)

Jan 28 2012

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Lunches to Take to Work

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Many people who have chimed in on the Recipes for Health page on Facebook have requested recipes for lunches they can take to work and eat at a desk. [..]

I so enjoyed working on these recipes, as they provided me with great lunches all week long. They’ve kept all week in the refrigerator, and they don’t require refrigeration during those few hours between the time to get you work and the time you eat your lunch, though all of them will taste fresher if they have been in the fridge.

Martha Rose Shulman

Tuna, Chickpeas and Broccoli Salad With Yogurt Dressing

The broccoli will not retain its pretty green color once in contact with the acid in the dressing, so for best results keep the broccoli separate, along with a tablespoon of the dressing. Just before you want to eat, toss in the broccoli and extra dressing; or eat the broccoli separately with the dressing.

Egg Salad and Greens Wrap

These these delicious wraps are made with the whole-wheat lavash purchased in Middle Eastern markets. Beet greens and Swiss chard are both good choices.

Black Rice and Red Lentil Salad

This colorful mixture is hard to resist, with its contrasting chewy and crunchy textures and the nutty Asian dressing. Black rice is high in antioxidant-rich anthocyanins

Israeli Couscous and Chickpea Salad

You can find a whole-wheat version of the spherical couscous marketed as Israeli couscous in some whole foods and Middle Eastern markets.

Broccoli, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Coleslaw With Quinoa

It’s much more economical to buy broccoli on the stem, which gives you the fixings for this salad. It takes minutes to peel and then shred them in a food processor. Don’t use the food processor for shredding cabbage, though – that’s better done by hand if you don’t want mush.

Jan 28 2012

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Matt Taibbi: Is Obama’s ‘Economic Populism’ for Real?

There is a lot to digest in a recent series of events on the Prosecuting Wall Street front – the two biggest being Barack Obama’s decision to make New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the co-chair of a committee to investigate mortgage and securitization fraud, and the numerous rumors and leaks about an impending close to the foreclosure settlement saga.

There is already a great debate afoot about the meaning of these two news stories, which surely are related in some form or another. Some observers worry that Schneiderman, who over the summer was building a rep as the Eliot Ness of the Wall Street fraud era, has sold out and is abandoning his hard-line stance on foreclosure in return for a splashy federal posting.

Others looked at his appointment in conjunction with other recent developments – like the news that Tim Geithner won’t be kept on and Obama’s comments about a millionaire’s tax – and concluded that Barack Obama had finally gotten religion and decided to go after our corruption problem in earnest.

Mark Weisbot: Obama’s SOTU Played to Media, Not Human Needs

To understand President Obama’s state of the union speech, you have to understand his political strategy. From the beginning of his 2008 campaign, his main constituency has always been the major media. His calculation has always been that he can win without the energy companies and even some other big campaign donors, but not if the mainstream media doesn’t like him. So, a little bit of populism on the tax issues – for example, the Buffet Rule – is now acceptable, especially in the context of deficit reduction and Republicans’ pro-1% extremism.

The other key constituency is the swing voters – he is taking Democrats for granted – who, for the last four decades, have been composed largely of white working-class voters. According to the leading Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, the speech was effective with swing voters. So, overall, a success for Obama.

Lawrence Lessig: After the Battle Against SOPA-What’s Next?

January 18, 2012 could prove to be an incredibly important day, and not just for copyright policy or the Internet. On that day, two critically important things happened: First, with its 6-2 decision in Golan v. Holder, the Supreme Court shut the door, finally and firmly, on any opportunity to meaningfully challenge a copyright statute constitutionally. Second, millions from the Internet opened the door, powerfully if briefly, on the powers that dominatepolicymaking in Washington, and effectively stopped Hollywood’s latest outrage to address “piracy”-aka, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

The constitutional battle began over a decade ago. Conservatives on the Supreme Court had long rumbled about the need to respect the “original intent” of the “framers” of our Constitution by enforcing the affirmative limits of the Constitution. In 1995, a 5-4 Court decision shocked conventional wisdom by striking a law regulating commerce because, as the Court found, it exceeded those original limits. Three years later, the Court did the same, this time with a law regulating violence against women. The Court seemed eager to read the Constitution the way the framers wrote it, regardless of how the current Congress read it.

Laura Flanders: Not A Peep About President’s Praise for War

The grades for the president’s State of the Union are in and the critics have been kind. In fact, it’s chilling to see just how few hits the president takes for couching his entire address in unqualified celebration of the US military.

Speaking of the troops, President Obama began: “At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.”

Post-show pundits on cable news praised the president’s comfort with his commander-in-chief role but none saw fit to mention recent news — of marines urinating on Afghan corpses, say, or Staff Sgt Wuterich walking free after participating in the killing of 24 unarmed men, women and children in Haditha, Iraq. Accompanying Obama’s next phrase, “Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” no one thus far has played vile viral video. The critics have been kind.

Brian Moench: Physicians in Congress Committing Malpractice on Millions

What would you think if your physician told you, “Keep smoking because quitting would kill tobacco and health care jobs.” Or, “Don’t take your high blood pressure medicine, you can’t afford it.” And, “Don’t lose weight, no one has proven obesity is bad for you.”

That’s exactly the quality of medical advice we are getting from the 18 Republican physicians currently serving in Congress. Some of the most well known are the father and son team of Rep. Ron and Sen. Rand Paul and Sen.Tom Coburn. Almost all of these physician/Congressmen have been key soldiers in the Republican war on the EPA; calling it a “job killer,” pronouncing relevant health science “unproven,” claiming we “can’t afford” their regulations.

George Lakey: How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘1 Percent’

While many of us are working to ensure that the Occupy movement will have a lasting impact, it’s worthwhile to consider other countries where masses of people succeeded in nonviolently bringing about a high degree of democracy and economic justice. Sweden and Norway, for example, both experienced a major power shift in the 1930s after prolonged nonviolent struggle. They “fired” the top 1 percent of people who set the direction for society and created the basis for something different.

Both countries had a history of horrendous poverty. When the 1 percent was in charge, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to avoid starvation. Under the leadership of the working class, however, both countries built robust and successful economies that nearly eliminated poverty, expanded free university education, abolished slums, provided excellent health care available to all as a matter of right and created a system of full employment. Unlike the Norwegians, the Swedes didn’t find oil, but that didn’t stop them from building what the latest CIA World Factbook calls “an enviable standard of living.”

Jan 28 2012

On this Day In History January 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 28 is the 28th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 337 days remaining until the end of the year (338 in leap years).

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominates Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court. After a bitterly contested confirmation, Brandeis became the first Jewish judge on the Supreme Court.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Brandeis quickly earned a reputation in Boston as the people’s attorney for taking on cases pro bono. Brandeis advocated progressive legal reform to combat the social and economic ills caused in America by industrialization. He met Woodrow Wilson, who was impressed by Brandeis’ efforts to hold business and political leaders accountable to the public, during Wilson’s 1912 campaign against Theodore Roosevelt. Brandeis’ early legal achievements included the establishment of savings-bank life insurance in Massachusetts and securing minimum wages for women workers. He also devised what became known as the Brandeis Brief, an appellate report that analyzed cases on economic and social evidence rather than relying solely on legal precedents.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Europe. He enrolled at Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of twenty with the highest grade average in the college’s history.

Brandeis settled in Boston where he became a recognized lawyer through his work on social causes that would benefit society. He helped develop the “right to privacy” concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished “nothing less than adding a chapter to our law”. Years later, a book he published, entitled Other People’s Money, suggested ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts, which partly explains why he later fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to the “Jewish problem” of antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to “revive the Jewish spirit.”

When his family’s finances became secure, he began devoting most of his time to public causes and was later dubbed the “People’s Lawyer.” He insisted on serving on cases without pay so that he would be free to address the wider issues involved. The Economist magazine calls him “A Robin Hood of the law.” Among his notable early cases were actions fighting railroad monopolies; defending workplace and labor laws; helping create the Federal Reserve System; and presenting ideas for the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC). He achieved recognition by submitting a case brief, later called the “Brandeis Brief,” which relied on expert testimony from people in other professions to support his case, thereby setting a new precedent in evidence presentation.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. However, his nomination was bitterly contested, partly because, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible. . . [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.” He was eventually confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 on June 1, 1916, and became one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the high court.

Jan 28 2012

Popular Culture (Music) 20120127: A Brief History of The Who. 1975

If 1974 had been a bizarre year, 1975 was more structured in some ways.  Several events happened in 1975 that were important to their financial security, for both good and ill.

The most significant events of 1975 were the release of the motion picture Tommy, the release of The Who by Numbers, and the beginning of a huge tour of Europe, the UK, and North America.  Now, there were certainly some problems associated with all three of these events, but 1975 turned out to be a pretty good year for them.

However, Townshend was not a really good frame of mind for much of the year.  He was very unhappy with his place in the band and whether or not there even should be a band called The Who, at least with him in it.  It is sort of an interesting turn of events that kept them together, and there is more on that later.