This is Not Normal

This is not normal.  It is far from normal yet, in order to get through the day, we must each determine how we process and internalize this information.  Some of you ignore it.  Some of you will not believe what I write.  Many of you are repulsed and have been moved to action.  This is not normal.

The president of the United States is a liar.  Period.  I should not need to prove it to you.  It is well documented that he tells roughly 5 new lies per day.

The president of the United States loves dictators and killers.  Again, this is well documented.  He even invited Duterte of the Philippines to visit, knowing that he has personally killed people and ordered many other deaths.

The president of the United States breaks the laws and constitution of the United States each day.  He believes he is above the law.  He decided the anti-nepotism law did not apply to him and appointed his daughter and son-in-law to key posts.  Oh, they are volunteers you say?  Well she has a Chief of Staff and staff.  She sits in meetings with every foreign dignitary that can help her business.  The son-in-law seems to be responsible for everything.  Way more authority and responsibility than a volunteer.  Did I forget to mention that he lied on his security forms?  He’s left off meetings with Russians and business dealings and debts that should have been included.  As one person noted recently, a barber’s license is denied for less.  This goes beyond ignoring a law,

The president of the United States does not know shit about U.S. History.  Again well documented.  See his remarks on Fredrick Douglass and (notes racist) Andrew Jackson among others.

The president of the United States encourages racism and hate.  No?  Haven’t you seen his supporters taking pictures in the White House with the White Power sign?  I have, they aren’t hard to find.  He often uses the language of the neo Nazi’s and White Supremacists.  He is quick to comment on the perception of Muslims (even when he’s wrong) committing violence, but NEVER comments on white radicals killing people of color.  If you don’t see this, it is either because you hold similar feelings or choose not to.  Oh, and don’t forget the multiple fines he paid through his business for racial discrimination.  Just because the decree had no admission of guilt doesn’t mean he’s innocent.  And recently he endorsed the racist candidate in France for Prime Minister.  The US president does not generally comment on the free elections of other countries.  But since this one is known, outspoken racist it is particularly appalling.  Consider taking your blinders off, he is the Racist in Chief.

The president of the United States has worked hard to alienate our allies.  Mexico, Canada, UK, Australia and Germany among others.  That’s the trade he’s made to become a puppet of Russian authoritarian Vladimir Putin.  Hard to miss this.  He has never ONCE criticized Russia, where critics and loose ends are often killed.  Like several this year.  Of course you can choose not to see this and determine its normal to try and ruin the relationships with our neighbors and long time allies.

The president of the United States has not nominated over 500 people to key posts.  He blames the opposition party of stonewalling them.  You can’t stonewall what doesn’t exist.  He also fired every ambassador on his first day in office.  This is not unusual, but not hiring any more is.

The US Attorney General is a known racist.  He is anti civil rights.  He was too racist to be a judge under Reagan.  And for good measure, he lied to congress.  Twice.  Nevertheless, he is still the attorney general.  This is not normal. This is criminal.

The president of the United States fired every single US Attorney well after his inauguration. Probably because one of them was investigating him.  Nevertheless he hasn’t hired any replacements.  This is not normal.

The president of the United States appointed a spy to the top national security job in White House.  It is probable that he knew this when he appointed him.  When the issue was raised to him, he waited until it appeared in the national news to act on it.  I guess it normally takes 3 weeks to fire a traitor, that the previous president had fired. A+B=C  Nope, this is not normal.

The president of the United States requires us, the taxpayers, to pay $500,000 per day for his wife and child to live in a golden tower, away from him.  This is not normal.  It is very excessive.  As a “billionaire” a rational person might  think he would work to defray some of this personal expense.  That silence you hear is a “no”.

The president of the United States requires us, the taxpayers, to spend $3 million most weekends so he can play golf and entertain at his private club in Florida.  How much of that $3 million goes to his club and other business concerns?  How much more is generated by Foreign Governments spending money to meet him there?  I’m guessing at least $1.5 million each trip.  This is a clear violation of ethics and the constitution. This is not normal.

The president of the United States has declared today that the government should shut down in September to teach the opposition party a lesson, because hurting the citizens is the best way to help the country grow and prosper.  Seems more like a move a dictator would make.

The president of the United States thinks it is important to roll back the regulations that help keep our water and air clean.  I don’t.  I think this is criminal.

The president of the United States blames all his problems (and even some that are made up) on the previous President of the United States.  He says something along these lines several times a week.  Can you think of another president that criticized any of his predecessors?  Me neither.  This is not normal.

I could go on for a few thousand more lines.  You see what you want to see.  This is not normal and this needs to end.  Pay attention, this is the worst scandal of many lifetimes.  He can’t suppress everything.  He has no power over state laws.  The congress is clearly compromised. But the courts (other than that one illegitimate SCOTUS judge, the seat was stolen and more will come out) is not beholden.

You can choose to drink the cool aid.  You can choose to be an ostrich.  I value my freedom and yours.  What I’ve described above is not freedom.  It is the slide into authoritative fascism.  It is the need to recreate White Power.  You don’t have to listen to me.  But that is the choice you make.  You are still mostly free.  Today.  Will you still be free tomorrow?

 

 

The GOP Hates You

The GOP hates you.  Well, not if you are rich and white.  Not if you are a white woman that likes the fact old men want to control your health care.  But they hate pretty much the rest of us.

Women’s Healthcare

Somewhere along the line, the GOP decided that Planned Parenthood was the enemy.  Yes they facilitate and perform abortions, but making it illegal for PP to use federal funds for abortion was not enough.  They are intent on obliterating them because women should not have access to healthcare focused on their needs.  They want to make sure you can’t get birth control, cancer screenings and other key services focused on women’s needs.  Yep, they hate women who use Planned Parenthood. Why else would they work so hard to destroy this asset to women?

Death via Trump/Ryan care

Right now there is a huge debate going about the new health care initiative.  Let me boil it down simply.  The GOP (mostly Paul Ryan, but the leadership is behind him) need you to lose your health insurance.  That’s right you.  If you are older and have health issues, you know the population that needs health care, they are working hard to raise the rates beyond where you can afford them. They call this freedom of choice.  You can choose the health insurance you want, but if you can’t afford it, that’s your choice.  See what they did there?  The screwed you then made it your fault.

Then, one of two things happens – you lose your insurance and/or you die.  Period.  That is the goal.  Once you lose your insurance and die, there are fewer people buying insurance.  Those that do buy it are younger and healthier, lowering the risk.  As the risk reduces, so do premiums.  Paul Ryan thinks it’s a great plan to help you along to the grave so that insurance premiums can do down.  Yes, I’ve simplified this, but this is the core of what’s going on.  Insurance premiums go down, the rich get a tax break and the government saves money because they are not subsidizing the sick.  They want you to die. Period.  I’d call that hate, no matter how they spin it.

The air you breathe, the water you drink

Have you seen the water in Flint Michigan?  Yes, it is brown and full of lead.  It is dangerous and deadly.  Luckily the EPA, well mostly Dishonest Donald and Scott Pruitt, have decided that cleaning up the water supply anywhere in the US is a luxury we can’t afford.  They have cut the budget for the Great Lakes clean up drastically.  In fact, they are so ecstatic they have repealed a law so that the creeks and water supply in Kentucky can again be fouled with coal waste.  Yes, there might be 10-20 new jobs for people to dump the waste, but thousands if not millions of people will be exposed to tainted water.  Let them buy bottles right?

But why stop there?  Let’s ignore climate change and pollution.  Do you remember what NYC and LA looked like in the early 70s? I do.  Smog, smog, and more smog.  A lot like China now.  Luckily for us Trump and Pruitt think you deserve that again.  They must surely hate us if they want to poison our water and our air.  I think they believe it won’t be bad in their lifetime, so fuck your grandkids.  The rich will buy filtration.  Yes, they hate you.

Good Bye Civil Rights, Hello Corruption

It was very important to confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General.  In fact 20 or so Democratic Senators voted for him.  (You should vote them out.)  Do you recall Mitch “call me turtle” McConnell telling Elizabeth Warren she could not read a letter from Coretta Scott King from 1986 about Beau’s rampant racism and civil rights violations?  I do.  From here on out, no one is to discuss what a racist Beau was in the past.

Instead, let’s focus on the racist views and actions of Beau today.  We are seeing a rise in hate crimes.  Brown people are being attacked and killed while being told to “go back to your country.”  Interesting.  All are legal residents and some are citizens.  You know what he has said?  Nothing.  Bob threats are made to Jewish centers every week.  What is being said?  Nothing.  Are you brown or Jewish?  Are you appalled at what’s happening?  He hates you.  Why else would he act this way.  By extension, so does every person that voted for him.  They all hate you.

Do you know what has being said?  That the DOJ will not support/pursue cases involving voters rights.  Since most voting rights cases involve those pesky brown people, it is a good thing.  If you value voting rights, they hate you too.

The DOJ will also not pursue the consent decrees with law enforcement agencies that were found to be guilty of excessive force.  Let’s pretend that never happened.  It is now wonderful for gung-ho cops to shoot first and ask questions later.  So what if few more undesirables get hurt or killed.  So what if brown people get profiled and hassled more.  They hate you.  They don’t care what you think.

But at least the DOJ will work towards the benefit of the country right?  Nope.  Doesn’t it seem odd that they fired all 46 US Attorneys nearly 2 months into the administration?  Doesn’t it seem odd that the one attorney they assured they would keep on was summarily fired as it came to light he was working on some corruption cases?  Oh and that his jurisdiction included Trump Tower? It’s a silly coincidence right?  You don’t care if corruption is taking place.  But if you do, like I do, they hate you.  This administration, supported by the entire GOP is about self-enrichment, not improving the country.  They hate you.  Don’t be naïve, even though they think you are.

Welcome Back Klu Klux Klan

Just this week, Representative Steve King of Iowa made several comments about how America is a white country and white culture.  I won’t repeat them, you can find a summary and analysis here.  It isn’t a secret that King would be more at home at KKK rally than at my Seder table, but the response from Washington is appalling in its silence.  Not one member of leadership has censured, rebuked or taken action on this disgusting behavior.  To make matters worse when King is questioned on it, he doubles down, affirming his position.

We shouldn’t be surprised that 1800 Pennsylvania Avenue is silent.  The white house wants  to “keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms.”  This is from a speech Trump gave in late 2016.  Make no mistake population share is about what immigration to the US.  None of those pesky brown people or Jews, let’s just keep the nice white Western Europeans.  Jews aren’t white.  Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, Dishonest Donald’s key advisors and policy makers, have not been shy about their feelings toward non-whites.  They hate them, believing other races and beliefs to be a cancer on white society.   Don’t be surprised, but if you aren’t white or actually care about the other people in our country, they hate you too.

The silence and tepid statements of “oh, we don’t like that” are dog whistles to the haters in the country.  The KKK and their ex Wizard David Duke applaud the White House often for their inaction and racist actions like the Muslim ban.

I could go on for days.  I haven’t even touched on Russia, the destruction of the public school system, the end of the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the 24/7 commercial for Mar-a-Lago, filling Dishonest Donald’s pockets.

The GOP wanted this.  The GOP support this.  Make no mistake, they hate you.  The sooner you die, the better this country will be for them.

Is this what you want?

The High Cost of Change

You’ve read enough of my humble blog by now to know I’m far from perfect.  I’m opinionated and perhaps too direct too often, but I do believe at my core my ethics and morals are solid.  I’ve never needed to be bailed out and I try to do the right thing, as opposed to doing things right.  That last sentiment lead to the end of employment more than once.  That being said, I would take the same actions again in similar situations.  I want to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with who and what I am.

I sit here, troubled, as I am sure many of you are.  I think back on how I was raised.

I was taught to compromise, it is not my way or no way; it is not all about me and my desires.

I was taught it was wrong to lie.  Too many lies and you won’t be believed.

I was taught that honor meant something.  My word was important.  I’ve tried to keep it.

I was taught that people deserved respect, regardless of color or religion.  This included tolerance for other religions.  Just because I didn’t share their beliefs didn’t mean those beliefs were invalid.  We share a world.

I was taught that women were to be respected.  The words “equality” and “consent” weren’t used, it was a different time.  But I was not brought up to think I could paw (that was the word used) women just because I wanted to.  I wouldn’t be using pressure to extract consent.  I’d like to think I lived up to that standard.

I was raised to help.  I’d like to think I work to help others before thinking of my needs in many situations.  Again, I’m not perfect, but that thought is there.

I was taught that we don’t know everything.  Sometimes you have to wait to see the truth or facts that are beyond your knowing.  You aren’t always given all the information to process at once.

I was taught not be a bully.  I was bullied a bit at young age.  More than once I’ve stood up for those that were under some sort of attack.  Sometimes, the defense was ill timed or unwarranted, but I’d rather be wrong trying to help someone than stand by and let a bully take advantage of another.

I was taught it was important to try and leave the world a better place than you found it.  If I’m cleaning up my trash, I’ll clean up some of yours.

I was shown what prejudice and hate do to the world.  Being Jewish the Nazis, their values and their genocide was taught yearly and passionately.  Never again.  Never again.  I didn’t think it only applied to Jews.  It applied to all people.

Somewhere along the way, I learned it was important to stand up for what I believed in.  It is not always easy making a stand, but it is part of having integrity.  I’d like to think I have some.

It was hard for me to realize the people that raised me, provided me values and moral compass have disavowed each and every one these of things.  In one 90 second exchange, my father’s disgust for my views illuminated his position.  We’ll ignore the unsubtle racism he lead with.

“You are probably one of those people who says ‘not my president’,” He barked, each word dripping with revulsion and bile.  It was clear. His president.  HIS.

The one who lies.

The one who knows everything and makes sure he tells you he is smarter than you.

The one who is a bully and uses his position to embarrass others and manipulate the stock market, creating fear in any business he attacks.

The one who assaulted women and bragged about it.

The one who has used his wealth to intimidate others by being overly litigious.

The one who routinely doesn’t pay his bills, forcing others to endure endless lawsuits and  potential bankruptcy to attempt to gain the payment promised.

The one who had to pay $25million dollars to settle a fraud claim after raking in $175 million or more via a “university” that was more of a seminar selling the veneer of success, targeting those that could least afford to pay.

The one who’s integrity is void, showing conflicts of interest and corruption each and every day.

The one who claimed Mexicans were rapists and Muslims needed to be banned, showcasing his racism.

The one fined more than once for discriminatory business practices.

The one that was fined for on-going money laundering.

The one that wants to eliminate the EPA and ruin our water, air and climate.

The one that sold our government to Goldman Sachs and Russia.

The one that sold your children’s education to the highest donor, crippling public education so that that rich can get a discount on private school.

The one that sold women’s health and the right to choose to the religious right.

The one that will inevitably take away LGBTQ rights to appease his religious donors.

The one that insults our allies and embraces other bullies and dictators, ruining our reputation in the world.

The one that slanders the previous president regularly.

One that dog whistles hate.

The one that made common cause with Nazis and White Supremacists.

While this laundry list is overwhelming, it is far from complete.  For those of you that didn’t believe this last election was for the soul of our country and for the definition of who and what we are – read it again, slowly.  Each and every item takes away more of our freedom and future.  Each item on this list makes us less as of a productive, peaceful society and reduces our influence and leadership in the world.  Each item tears away some of my soul. But the last item is the final straw.  It is the final saw stroke on the frayed foundation of my being.

You might not know this, but growing up I was not allowed to watch Hogan’s Heroes.  It presented the Nazis as buffoons. It was impressed upon me that the threat and danger was real and should not be allowed to return.  Yet today, the man that said that embraces the administration that give life to the views and policies of Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller.  And their hate is not subtle.  It is about being white and Christian.  Nothing else.

So, in this abyss that I find myself, trying to decide what to do.  There is no discussion to be had.  Those that have fully embraced Fox News as their one and only source for news are lost to rationality.  I see no need to bang my head against that wall. I’ve tried and failed. After all, Obama was the devil. He gave us death panels and took away your guns.  You know, the guns you never bought.

We aren’t discussing taxes or foreign policy. This is not business as usual. Hell, we aren’t even discussing why withholding hearings on a Supreme Court nominee until “the right candidate” won was a major brick through the window of our government.  No.  This was everything.  It is everything.

I alternate between sadness and anger; it haunts my dreams and limits my slumber.  It’s my problem, but I don’t want to pretend that selling away the soul of our country and reducing our civil rights for the potential tax break isn’t evil.  It is to me.  I won’t visit and pretend that all is well.  I won’t call and act like I haven’t been betrayed.  I have.  Others have also been betrayed.

For now, I’ll remove myself.  Every action has a cost.  Sometimes you gain in karma or experience.  Other times you lose something precious.  No one said life was easy.  Neither is believing in and acting on your principles.

 

My Last Election Rant

As with most days, today I find the 2016 Election troubling.  I hear about how horrible Hilary Clinton is, how she’ll bring about a constitutional crisis and that her email server is the worst thing ever.  IT IS WORSE THAN WATERGATE.  We aren’t talking about taxes or the size of the government, we are hearing how she’s terrible and there will need to be a violent revolution.  Exaggeration?  I’ve heard two different sound bites of Trumpers saying they are willing to take up arms, be a patriot and “do what needs to be done.”  You tell me if I’m overstating the potential.

And then today the KKK newspaper, the Crusader, endorses Trump.  The “Trump  Campaign” repudiates the KKK endorsement.  Has Cheeto Jesus?  Has he ever said he respects all people and wants to see harmony in the USA?  No.  He wants the guys with yarmulkes counting his money, not the blacks.  He retweets people who espouse hate, anti-Semitism and see the diversity of our country as “white genocide.”  How is this a thing?  If he doesn’t support it, he sure doesn’t dismiss it.

I see too many references to Clinton as “C*nt”.  Really?  Let’s be honest, Everything Cheeto Jesus does encourages hate.  He calls on people’s fears and assures them at only he can save them.  He’s working by the axiom that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public.

He hates everything the Clinton has done in her career as a public servant.  Ok, he’s entitled to an opinion.  What has he ever done for the public good?  I cringe when he talks about being a job creator.  If he wasn’t making money off the backs of others there would be no jobs.  And how do we hold someone up as a “job creator” who refuses to honor contracts and proudly threatens to bury in people in legal expenses when they are upset about not being paid.  This is not about quality of service, it is about his need to increase his profits, or lower his losses when he mismanages his business.  After all, no successful business person will hold up a man with 4 bankruptcies as a role model.  That is the model of failure that got lucky.

But let’s get back to how bad Hilary is.  Yes, she used a private email server and was less than forthcoming about it.  I know as you read this you are perfect and never did anything wrong.  But, let’s be clear.  She wasn’t selling state secrets.  She wasn’t trying to make confidential information easily available.  In fact, the State Department Information Security processes were described as woefully inadequate.  So other than originally trying to stay out of the press, what the issue?  It wasn’t an ongoing criminal conspiracy.  Watergate was.  There wasn’t an order to break in someplace.  That was Watergate too.  There wasn’t illegal wiretapping?  Again that was Watergate.  So, let’s stop the uneven comparisons.  It’s demeaning and ridiculous.

Then there is Benghazi.  While I’m tempted to tell you to go fuck yourself, let’s look at a few facts.  4 lives were lost. That was a tragedy.  Congress cut the security budget; that was not on Hillary.  Trey Gowdy and his misfit witch hunt team have found no smoking gun.  There have been more inquires here than Watergate.  Oh, and many, many more State Department employees were killed under George W. Bush, but we don’t talk about that.

But, you say, Hillary is untrustworthy. Got it.  Let’s look at your heroes.  George W. Bush?  He and Cheney lied to get us into the war in IRAQ.  They abused the public’s trust by manipulating fear to start a war that we did not need to be in.  Thousands of lives lost.  No, I don’t think she’s fallen to that level.

How about George H.W. Bush?  Meh.  But he does bear the burden of knowing about Iran Contra and saying he did not.  I think that’s pretty bad.  Oh, you don’t remember Iran Contra?  Let me remind you.  The US government funneled money Nicaraguan Contras by selling weapons to Iran.  But Hillary negotiated with Iran.  Stop it.

Reagan?  He was President during the Iran Contra affair and it was shown he knew about it.  But he, like Cheeto Jesus, was Teflon, so the public ignored him while Oliver North took the fall.  Of course during Reagan’s administration over 130 officials were investigated, indicted or convicted.  That’s a record to be proud of.  Remember, Clinton has not been charged with anything.  Even today there may be nothing, but people are talking like she’s a mass murderer.

But I digress.  Trump blasts Hillary for “pay for play politics”.  Seriously, people, what other type are there?  What are pork barrel politics, if not a version of pay for play? What was Trump’s donation to Biondi about?  He brags about paying politicians.  Mitch “I’m a turtle” McConnell holds up the Supreme Court nominations because “the NRA needs to approve” them. And that’s not pay for play? That’s not corrupt?  Remember Hillary is accused of quid pro quo, accused of having a few meetings.  There is no proof. There is no indictment.  There still is no smoking gun.  But still the Republican Congress looks for it.  Clearly the Republican Congress thinks this is a better use of our tax money than infrastructure, creating jobs or embassy security.  Pay for play hints at bribery.  There is no proof of bridery.  Shit, there may not have been any meetings.  Next you’ll tell me the Clinton Global Initiative (where nearly 90% of every dollar goes to saving lives, not admin – check that against The United Way) is evil.

How about we stop talking about the monsters under the bed that Hillary must have put there.  There are no fucking monsters so stop acting like you are 6.  Own up and admit that you just don’t like an uppity woman that deigns to think she can be president.  That’s 90% of what bothers you about her.  You think she’s overreaching her station. She’s not in the kitchen making you a pie.  She thinks for herself and **gasp** she listens to others in a world where we prize men that stand and talk about themselves.  Yes she’s not perfect.  But she’s way better than most of our politicians.  And on political matters she’s far more truthful than most.  Of course Rush, Hannity and Alex Jones will poo poo Politifact.  Think for yourself.

I know, she’s no role model like our past Speakers of the House.  You know, pedophiles and serial cheaters.  Those are the people that judge her.  Glass houses are breaking all over the country.

Unlike most, I actually like Hillary Clinton.  There are aspects of her you don’t like. There are aspects to my personality you don’t like either and sometimes I’m not your biggest fan, but we get along.  Why is she held to a different standard? She’s not Teflon.  She cares.  She tries.  So don’t like me. Don’t like her.  But stop dragging her through the mud with half-truths and witch hunts.  Because, let me remind you about the alternative.

Donald Trump is facing a civil suit over the the alleged fraud he perpetuated with Trump University, stealing the money from those who could least afford it.  Fraud. That’s like lying isn’t it?

Donald Trump is going on trial for allegedly RAPING a 13-year old.  I know it is hard to fathom.  He only grabs them by the Pussy.

Donald Trump admits to being a sexual predator (he’s bragging about it) and more than 11 women have stood up to say that he did it to them.  I know that a partisan conspiracy.  Taking him on his own merits, isn’t this troublesome?  If we can open our eyes to the Evil that was Bill Cosby, why do we dismiss these egregious acts?

Donald Trump was indicted twice over racial discrimination practices with his company.  Paying large fines and “not admitting guilt” is not the same as being innocent.  I don’t believe he is innocent.

Donald Trump loves to repeat and retweet anti-Semitic and White Supremicist memes.  Last I saw, it was reported that he had retweeted 75 different people who believe in #whitegenocide.  And I’ll never believe his picture, taken from a racist website, with Hillary and the Star of David was not meant to be Anti-Semitic.  I believe Donald Trump is a Racist dog whistler, at the minimum.

Donald Trump support violence if he doesn’t get his way.  Remember when he encouraged people at his rally to incite violence, take them out on a stretch, etc.?  I do.  What about suggesting 2nd Amendment people to “take care of it” if Clinton gets elected?  No, I have never believed that was a joke. All the talk of a “rigged election” has people wondering about the potential violence after the election from his most ardent supporters. Words have consequences.  Cheeto Jesus doesn’t believe those consequences apply to him.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to think Donald Trump is at minimum being played by Russia to affect their goals.  He won’t say a bad word about them.  In light of National Security Agencies announcing Russia was behind the DNC and Hillary Campaign hacks, he says “I don’t know.”  But no one near Trump or his campaigns was hacked.  I do not believe this is a coincidence.  We are all vulnerable to hacking. Period.  Ponder that. (edit: and now we have been told the Campaign was in frequent contact with Russian officials…. why do we let that slide?)

Remember how Trump is engaged in a  (civil, class action suit) trial over the Trump U fraud?  Doesn’t it seem odd that NOW he wants to help the common man, the disenfranchised worker?  Why yes, he is offering the middle class a 1% tax cut.  He’s also offering the very wealth a 10% or more tax cut.  So if you make $50k, you will get an extra $35-50 a month or thereabouts.  But if you make $5m, you get an extra 40k (and probably much more) per month in benefits.  But let’s say you are that 1%, you know the people making $500m (you know, like all the Trumps), you just earned an extra 4-6m in tax breaks.  Really? Like they couldn’t survive the 400m or so they already took home?

When Trump brags about not paying taxes because the government would squander it, think about how he spends his money.  His home was described as the tacky furnishing of an Iraqi hotel lobby.  Have you seen his bathroom, covered in gold?  Who squanders what?

Donald Trump hates global markets.  But his clothing line is made in China and Mexico.  He’s not announced any plans to bring jobs back, just that he will.  And I want to be 6’2”. Wanting isn’t a plan.

Donald Trump wants to close our borders.  Not to illegal immigrants, but to all immigrants.  He wants to go back to racially proportionate norms.  Let me translate that.  No more brown people, but white people who want to come from Europe, you folks are ok.  And you wonder why the KKK supports him.

Not all Trump supporters are racists.  But to my knowledge all Racist groups support Trump.  That should bother many more people than it does.

Donald Trump runs a charity that he stopped funding in 2008, according to various press reports.  The charity was used to settle lawsuits, buy personal items and pay personal expenses.  Funded by donations from others, it seems.  And it was shut down by the NY Attorney General.  Hell, he’d never even filed the right paper work to make the charity legal.  But he’s smart enough to be President.

Donald tells it like it is.  He mocks the disabled.  He calls a beauty queen that gained a few pounds Miss Piggy and humiliates her on TV.  He tells Hillary “you’re the puppet.”  Whose puppet I wonder?  He mocks his political rivals (Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, Low Energy Jeb – what is it with ‘L’?).  He has told us that Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers (oops a few of them might be good people he supposes).  He told us a Federal judge, born in Indiana, wasn’t fit to preside over a case because he was Mexican!  Seriously.

His battle cry is “LOCK HER UP!”  This is the fitting end for a woman guilty of the crime of being a woman who challenges him.  I wonder if he should have been locked up?  He’s been found liable or settled over 200 law suits over the past 40 (or so) years.  Remember he doesn’t settle.  That’s some sort of judgement or payment every other month.

I get it. There is so much shit swirling around Cheeto Jesus you’ve blocked it all out.  But should you? have we as a country lowered our standards so low that we would even consider this selfish, egotistical blowhard to babysit our kids, let alone the President of our nation?

So when you go to the polls, do you want to vote for the woman continually investigated and never charged (because mistakes aren’t criminal) or do you want to vote for the man about to go to trial fraud (the rape suite has since been dropped).  The man with what seems to be a fake charity so that others can pay his expenses.  The man who brags about degrading and assaulting women.  The man that lies, lies, lies – but it’s ok, he doesn’t mean it.  How much actual bad judgement, illegal behavior and selfishness will you ignore while you hold another to the standard that suspects she is evil?  Think about the world you want to create.

The Coffee Brined Rib, Why Not?

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It seems the world is on its head these days.  People are being paid to hurl insults at rallies and others are openly talking about a revolution.  One is rude and unethical and the other is treason.  Both may be illegal. Up is down and down is sideways.  Let’s shuffle off to realm of food.

I’ve been playing with a coffee brine for my ribs.  I’ve seen recipes that say to soak your ribs in coffee for several hours prior to smoking.  Nope too simple.   I have done this twice and I think I have a good feel for what works.

A brine is a salt water solution that imparts a great amount flavor to meat while keeping it moist.  I almost always brine my chicken breasts.  A brined, smoked and grilled pork chop is to die for.  But I haven’t brined my ribs often.  Brining pork, especially ribs takes time.   A short marinate or brine is just that, short on flavor.  I have brined my ribs for 36 and 72 hours.  I will stay with Alice Waters’ recommendation to brine chicken 24 hours and pork 3 days.  I’m pretty sure there is never a time NOT to take her recommendation.  There was a remarkable difference going the full 3 days.  Don’t skip on time.

I hear you; you don’t like coffee, blah, blah, blah.  Ok then.  Move on, this isn’t for you.  But if you stay, you’ll have some mighty fine eats.  I promise.

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I cut the racks of ribs in half, because my brine buckets won’t really handle the length of a full rack (that’s what she said).  I prefer to remove the silver skin from the ribs, you might not.  It’s a matter of personal taste.  I also rinse of the ribs prior to brining to remove excess blood and stuff. There is always stuff.

Coffee Brine
1 pot of hot coffee (Philz’ Jacob’s Wonderbar)
1 cup kosher salt
1.25 cup sugar
1 tsp Cumin
8 Allspice berries, crushed
10 Juniper berries, crushed
6 whole Cloves
10-20 whole, peeled cloves of garlic
1 bunch of thyme
3 Bay Leaves
1 TBS Honey (add after the coffee to help disolve it)
1 TBS ground pepper or 10 – 15 whole pepper corns.  I like the ground better for more heat
1 TBS Fermented Pepper sauce (recipe on my blog) you could use some tabasco or other hot sauce
Water to cover, Ice to chill

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I like Jacob’s Wonderbar for this as it has a very rich flavor and chocolate tones.  I set up all my ingredients in my brining tub, while the coffee is brewing.  I have a 12 cup pot and I make it strong.   Pour in the coffee and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar.  I like to let everything steep for 30 or 40 minutes after the salt and sugar are dissolved.

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The brine should be cool.  At this point I add some ice and cool water to roughly double the volume of liquid.  I add in the ribs slowly as not to make a mess; this is no cannonball pool party.  At this point I add more water so the liquid covers the ribs by 1/8”.  I put a plate on top to keep them submerged.  The brine goes in the fridge for 3 days, so if like me, you are smoking on Sunday, I start the brine on Thursday so I get 3 days plus a bit, instead of less than 3 days.

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About 2 hours before the ribs go on the smoker, I take them out of the brine.  I remove any bits that are stuck to them (like the cloves) and rinse them off.   I let them drain in a colander for about an hour.  Then I rub them heavily with my rub on all sides and loosely cover them with saran as they come to room temp.

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Lee’s Coffee Rub
0.5 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
0.25 Cup Smoked or Hot Paprika
1 TBS Coarse (Salad Grind) Black Pepper
1.5 tsp Chili Powder (I like the New Mexico chili powder specialty sellers like Berkeley Bowl or Whole Spice or the Chili Powder from Rancho Gordo)
1 TBS Granulated Garlic
1 TBS Onion Powder
1/4 – ½ tsp Chipotle Powder)
1 TBS Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Oregano (I crush dried Mexican Oregano)
1 TBS unsweetened Cocoa Powder (I like Scharffenberger)
¼ cup whole coffee beans, ground semi-fine.

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Ground coffee. Not the full amount in the rub

Mix the brown sugar with the paprika, until fully incorporated.  I prefer a manual whisk to my stand mixer.  Then add the ingredients 1 at time, mixing fully at each step.  Most of the salt in this recipe comes from the brine.

I get the fire started and smoke as I normally do.  I try to keep the fire at 225, using mostly oak, with some apple and cherry mixed in.  I rotate the ribs every few hours for even cooking as I’m cooking on two levels, one slightly hotter because heat rises.  I don’t use a water pan.

I do spare ribs for approximately 5.5 hours and baby backs for 4.5.  I think that’s because my heat spikes a few times throughout the cook.  It’s a manual process filled with human imperfections.

I often spritz my ribs every other time (every 45-60 minutes) I stoke the fire after the first hour.  My spritz is approximately 4oz apple juice, 2oz apple cider vinegar and 1TBS liquid margarine (seriously). Mix it up and spray liberally during the cook.  This keeps the rub from burning and helps create a nice color.  Totally not necessary, but it does make the ribs a bit prettier and tastier.

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I generally serve my ribs dry, with a sauce on the side.  In this case, the saltiness of the brine in the smaller ribs plays well with the sweetness of the sauce.  I coat the ribs 3 times in the last hour or so, letting each layer caramelize for 15-20 minutes.

Lee’s Coffee BBQ Sauce
2 Cups Ketchup
0.25 Cup Molasses (I like the heavier Brer Rabbit, you might need more with other brands)
3 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Juice from 0.5 Fresh Lemon (or more if you like the tang)
1/4 tsp Tabasco® Brand Hot Sauce
3/8 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
1 TBS Honey
1/4 tsp Cayenne (Red Pepper)
4-6 Cloves Minced Fresh Garlic
1 TBS Coarse Black Pepper (the pepper adds heat over time as the sauce sits, you may want less)
0.5 Cup Strong Coffee (again, using Philz’ Jacob’s Wonderbar)

Add everything to a pot over low heat. Stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Let the ribs sit for 15 minutes or so prior to cutting.  Enjoy.

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Random Thoughts in a non-random world

Assuming Keith Scott actually had a gun (which I don’t believe) and that we are now seeing that good guy with a gun gets shot by the (plainclothes) police in North Carolina, why is the NRA silent?  Is it a stretch to say that the 2nd Amendment only applies to white men?  I’m guessing Anton Scalia would say yes, “Guns move too fast for blacks.”

Why does North Carolina put up with politicians that believe “blacks hate whites” and that transgender citizens are bathroom predators?  What has there been, 1 maybe?  There are more conservative politicians with sexual predatory convictions (or clearly shown cover ups) than transgender bathroom issues.  See:  Dennis Hastert.  I’m not dismissing liberal sexual criminals, but they aren’t the ones driving the laws in North Carolina.

Why must a black man with hands up, assumingly following police commands in Tulsa, be a “bad dude”?  Is the false accusation of being a “bad dude” automatically a death sentence?

In a world where many (90%?) of our Law Enforcement officers are good, if not great people, why must they protect the minority that abuse the power and make mistakes (yes I’m being kind) that end lives?

Why do people think that I am anti-police?  I’m not.  I’m against injustice and the policies and practices that protect the abusers.

In a country where we are proud of our freedoms, including the freedom to protest, why are we focused on one man kneeling during the national anthem as a crime against the country and ignoring what his message is?  Why are the angry conservatives ignoring the message in light of recent tragedies that are on point with his message?

Why do people think that kneeling during the national anthem is a slight against the Military?  The Military defends the constitution and our rights, not a flag and a song.  Peaceful protest is a protected right.

Why do people think that after hundreds of years of slavery and 100+ years of Jim Crow and continued rights violations (see NC and voter restrictions), do people not understand that the black experience in this country is different from all (most?) others?  Why do we think there are easy answers? There aren’t any easy steps.  We are good at easy.  It’s hard. It’s painful to look in the mirror and say, “I’m part of the problem” in some way.  But for the most part, if you are reading this, you are.  So am I.

In the 30’s, the US ignored Europe.  We were worried that Jewish refugees were spies.  Then 6 million were executed, along with other targeted peoples.  Why don’t more people worry that we are doing this again?  Is it because Muslims scare us?  Jew were thought to have horns, so let’s get over our Muslim fear.  For the record, no one in my family has horns.  I won’t speak for other Jews.

Why is it so hard to embrace our heritage of the freedom to practice our religion, when it comes to Muslims?  Yes, there are elements of their texts that are harsh and talk of killing those that are different.  So does the Christian bible, but we conveniently ignore that.  Isn’t that a tad hypocritical?  That’s not to say there isn’t an ISIS, terrorism issue in this country.  There is.  Again, hard problems and difficult work.  Profiling and registration database will inflame those given to intolerance of “Western” values.  Why can’t we be smarter?

Yes, I think there are too many guns in this country.  Yes I think it is too easy to get a gun and way too easy to get a gun capable of killing a great many people in seconds.  I’m in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them.  See: Sandy Hook.  I’ve never heard a major candidate for president say we should round up the guns; TAKE THEM AWAY!  Never.  I guess not. But that is what the NRA is advertising.  Do people really believe that?  Why don’t people realize the NRA is a lobby for the gun manufacturers and survivalists?  Who really needs 100 guns?  5 isn’t enough?  Because once you go past 5, what are your really saying about your need for guns?

After all the 2nd Amendment guaranties the rights to guns. Do people forget that it takes most of the states to ratify a constitutional amendment?   The odds of your guns being taken away in the next 20 years is 0.  And if you are worried about 20 years from now, you are being ridiculous.  Start worrying about 2036 in 2026.  None of us can see that far.

Why aren’t we all working to make this world a better place?  What stopping you?

 

Smile!!

Just because it’s not happening in my field of vision doesn’t mean it’s not happening or not worth our attention. The continued recent events matter. We must stop pretending they don’t. Change starts with us. Speak up. Be heard. Create change. Our world needs it.

I've Got Cake

SMILE!!

The man who runs the cafeteria at my job, he’s been saying this to me off and on for the past 3, 4 months and he doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall.

Any man with half a fucking brain knows not to tell a woman hedoesn’t know, to ‘smile!’

Finally today –

Me: You keep telling me to smile, is there a problem?

Him: *startled expression*

Me: I’m asking if my smile is your problem?

Him: Well…..it’s…it’s not…you just have a lovely smile…you should smile more….

Me: Oh yeah? You wanna know why I’m not smiling today?

Him: …ummm….well…should I even ask….I mean, from the look you’re giving me right now, I’m not sure I want to know.

Me: *speaks slowly* Because they’re still killing defenseless black men. Shooting them, over and over. MURDERING them. And. It’s. LEGAL.

Him: *jaw hangs*

View original post 49 more words

A Modest Proposal or Happiness is a warm gun

The recent tragedy in Orlando brought gun control back into the spotlight.  Immediately, liberals over reacted and started taking about what they perceive as needed gun control legislation, some even previously endorsed by the NRA.  Simultaneously, the gun lobby, NRA and Donald Trump – the great hope of America – reacted in the other direction, mobilizing their followers to make sure there were no restrictions on gun ownership in the USA.  After all the Second Amendment is the most pressing issue in the US today.

This is a recurring cycle.  A massacre happens in the United States.  Amidst the sadness over our loss and senseless violence, some people immediately blame the ease of access to guns in the country.  Those who oppose any legislation in regards to guns voice concerns over terrorism, mental health and the phase of the moon, for guns themselves do not harm others.  Politicians posture about making changes, while the NRA funds opposition. After much handwringing and rhetoric, nothing happens.  Slowly the cry for gun control legislation quiets a bit and other items dominate the news cycle.

Nothing happens until the next tragedy and then it is only talking points that lead nowhere.  Columbine, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Orlando.  Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  It is time to change our actions and end the insanity.

These arguments over guns, take away from the more important issues facing our country and our world.  We should focus on what we prioritize as important, and clearly that is not gun legislation.
The Second Amendment of the US Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms and form free, albeit well regulated, militias.  Previously, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms does not mean that there can be no regulation or legislation over guns and other arms.  I’d like to propose that we abolish that Supreme Court ruling and we address the gun issue in a way that will remove it from the public discussion forever.

I propose that gun ownership be mandatory in the USA.  It can be done in such a way to spur the economy, reduce the distractions that take away from the larger issues facing this world, and unify the US into a new, more effective society.  With a few minor tweaks to how guns are bought and sold, this issue becomes moot.

Once that Supreme Court ruling is overturned, we define “arms” as used in the Second Amendment as “weapons”.  Period.  All Weapons will be deregulated.

 Guns will no longer be bought and sold as they have been

The US Government will be the sole purchaser of guns in the US.  Individual citizens may not buy or sell guns.  The US will work with US manufacturers of weapons to determine how many guns are needed and will be the exclusive buyer of guns.   A profit margin will be guaranteed to the manufacturer.  All guns (and their components) must be designed, manufactured and distributed solely in the US.

Because weapons cannot be bought and sold, does not mean that there won’t be a pipeline to criminals.  But, because every good guy will have a gun, criminals now know that any action that they take could, and probably will, lead to violence.  Many criminals will be killed trying to commit crimes, reducing the crime rate further than the simple deterrent of knowing there are weapons in every home and business.  Of course a few citizens will be casualties, but compared the innocent victims of recent massacres, these people will be martyrs to gun deregulation and hailed as heroes.   A new national holiday will be created in their honor, so that everyone can celebrate their personal sacrifice for gun ownership.  Society has already deemed that the death of 50 or so innocent civilians at any time is an acceptable cost, a national day of celebration, and relief from work seems appropriate.

As importantly, because US guns and weapons cannot be sold outside the US, there will be no fear of terrorist and US enemies gaining weapons to use against us.  What this also means is that we, as the US, can tell who our enemies are by who supplies our enemies with weapons.  This will galvanize and focus our military, increasing efficiencies.

The US Department of Arms will distribute weapons to citizens

There will be a new government department that is solely focused on arms.  They will oversee the gun manufacturers to make sure they make appropriate profits and adjust the profit margin up or down to be reflective of the economy.  The gun manufactures, their employees, their executives and their distributors will make a good income, but they will not be allowed to make super profits or become robber barons.  Prices will be set annually, and there will be significant oversight making sure there are no abuses.

The US Department of Arms will be a large government branch.  It will have armies of distribution workers, transportation options and economic over-sight analysts.  As this is all in support of making sure every citizen has the arms they are entitled to, this is the ultimate constitutional process.  This will reinforce each citizen’s understanding of the US Constitution and their belief in our federal government.

Economic Benefits

The new US Department of Arms will create a new economic growth cycle. First, staffing the new government agency will add tens of thousands of positions immediately.  While supporters of smaller government might be initially resistant, once people see that the department only distributes the guns mandated by this proposal and provides minimal oversight to distribution, redistribution, guaranteed gun manufacturer profitability and product quality, those issues should be overcome.   The rise in demand for truck drivers, maintenance workers and logistic experts will be a boon to the economy, staving off any looming recession.

Clearly, there will be no more gun stores.  But there will be a call for more shooting ranges, weapons training, kill tactics, self-defense and ammunition.  Overall, there will be more opportunities created.  Arms maintenance, safety and shooting will be new required subjects in our school, increasing the demand for vocational teachers.

Additionally, as the US weapons manufacturers will see their increased market place, they will expand, as will their suppliers.  A national think tank estimates the growth in jobs to be over 2 million in each of the next 15 years.

Arms will be distributed throughout a citizen’s life

Starting at the age of 1, US citizens will start receiving their weapons according to a detailed life plan.  No rational person will ever want for a weapon.  The selfish and greedy will always want more, but this will be a level playing field.  Much like aging, one’s weapon cache will grow over time and citizens will have the ability to modify their arsenal.  Initially people will receive their Arms at major life milestone – age 13, graduating High School, age 18, age 21 and every 10 years starting at age 30.  Extra arms will be issued upon marriage, birth of children, starting a career and opening a business.

There will be opportunities to add additional weapons for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Baptism, religious conversion, Quinceañera and other milestones.

On a citizen’s 16th birthday they will also be given 3 hand grenades.  The only weapons not distributed to the average citizen will be nuclear weapons.  Those will be distributed to local, state and national officials to be used at their discretion.  As they have been elected to do the will of the people, it makes sense that they should be in a position to exercise whatever that will turns out to be.

This begs the question of what happens to arms when a citizen passes on or leaves the country.  They may leave their weapons to a family member or members or bequeath them to an approved Militia.  If there are no arrangements made, their weapons will be collected and redistributed.

Well Regulated Militias

As the Second Amendment does call for the existence and formation of well-regulated Militias, there will be no hindrances allowed to prevent their formation.  Once a Militia is formed, it will be acknowledged by the government and given and extra 2 arms per member.  Weapons will be distributed semi-annually based on membership increases, insuring each Militia has the enough arms to be effective.

There will be no significant requirements to form a Militia and they can be formed for any and every purpose.  Some purposes include local defense, border defense, racial defense, religious defense, terrorist hunting and perhaps illegal immigrant deterrence.  Each Militia will determine what well regulated means to them as the government will not interceded, but will support each Militia equally.

, there will probably be Militias for the Jehovah Witnesses, the Catholic Church, various White Supremacist factions, Rotary, the ACLU, the Clampers, NAACP, Greenpeace, PETA, the Hell’s Angels, AARP, Mensa and other cultural free thinkers. Clearly, not every Militia will see eye to eye with every other Militia.  Over time, it is anticipated that there may be small skirmishes between these groups, but as this is by-product of allowing for free Militias, it is to be expected and accepted.

Legal Changes

Clearly, there will need to be some legal changes.  Open carry will be made legal across all venues.  School children will be mandated to take a weapon to school and no business may bar a patron carrying a weapon.  There will be good guys with guns everywhere:  in schools, churches, bars and casinos.

Self-protection and stand your ground laws will be expanded in light of the increased weapons in society.  There is no need for the courts to get bogged

Non-citizens may not own or carry a gun in the US.  This may help some the refugee concerns that are cropping up.  If anyone gets wind of a non-citizen with a weapon, they will be encouraged to report them to the police, so that the matter can be addressed appropriate.

Societal Benefits

As with any major change, there will several changes in society and many will occur quickly.  As everyone will carry arms, though some may choose not to, there will be more deaths.  Guns do not cause deaths, people do and people will die.  Those with mental health issues will probably be eliminated in the early days.  As they often intimidate and provoke others, they will most likely be killed in a series of “stand your ground” and self-defense events.  This will reduce the need for mental health efforts and free up professionals for more important and serious work.

In every society there are those that are clumsy and haphazard.  A great many of the uncoordinated and unobservant will ultimately either be killed through a series events placing them in avoidable harm’s way.  As these events could have easily been avoided, the dead will be a fault.  Some people won’t learn to use and care for their weapons.  The lack of attention will back fire on many, leading to their self-destruction.

There will inevitably more children dying.  Children often make poor decisions; some will choose weapons to solve their problems.  It is anticipated that bullies, braggarts and the socially inept will heavily impacted.  This will help improve the adults in society in later years as various problems are eliminated before they can start.  These events have the potential to improve the school system and education in the US as distractions and overcrowded conditions decrease.

Well-meaning and oblivious parents will probably meet an untimely end.  There is already a noticeable amount of toddlers accidently killing adults.  There is no reason for this pattern to dissipate in the near term.

Having arms on hand will provide alternatives to the lonely, elderly and terminally ill.  Over time, the number of people in these situations will find new ways to eliminate their personal issues, improving our society little by little.

In all the various scenarios that occur, some poor souls who should be shining examples in society will be eliminated.  These citizens will be martyrs.  Their names will be engraved on the various weapon depositories and monuments erected as reminders of how important the Second Amendment is.  Their sacrifices will be immortalized and appreciated.

Ultimately, these deaths will be the new millennium’s Darwinian exercise.  There will be a significant thinning of the herd and only the strong will survive.  This will be the ultimate technology aided natural selection, leading to a leaner, stronger US.   Guns will not be our focus, real problems can be focused on and our quality of life improved.  Isn’t that what we really want?

Today’s ideas are brought to you by John Lennon, Mark David Chapman. and the NRA.  Stay armed America.

 

Lee’s (not so secret) Pepper Sauce 

It was a Sunday, much like any other Sunday.  What made this different was that I had made up my mind on Friday that it was time for a new batch of fermented pepper sauce.  Much like many of you, I have a bottle of Tabasco in my pantry.  I also have at least 5 other types of hot sauces in the fridge.  about 18 months ago, I found a recipe for a fermented pepper sauce on Tasting Table.  Since then, I’ve played around and developed my own take on it.  Mine is not some watery  heat.  It is complex, deep and rich.  It balances subtle heat with a hint of sweet.

It is never exactly the same, but it is always in the same realm of deliciousness.  Being the callous man I am, I thought I’d share my secret (not secret) and process with you.  Now let’s be honest, I have a secret weapon. Living in the bay area, I can go to Berkeley Bowl and grab more chilies than you can imagine with ease.  I also tend to have 3-5 types of dried chilies in my pantry at any time.  Below you can see my selection for this batch.

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Clockwise from upper left:

2 mini sweet red bell peepers

1 Jalapeno

3 Fresno chilies

1 Anaheim Chili

1 medium Shallot

8 or 9 cloves of garlic

1 dried guajillo chili

3 dried New Mexico chiles

2 dried Ancho chilies

2 dried Cascaabel peppers (the little round ones)

5 Habeneros

7 red Thai chilies

1 Poblano Chili

2 long funny named chilies whose name I forgot

Yes that is a mess of stuff.  Highly unscientific.  Many of the dried chilies came from Rancho Gordo, whose products you already know I love.

The dried peppers are roasted for 2 minutes or so at 375 until fragrant.  This deepens their flavors.  The seeds are discarded and stems removed.  then they are ripped up into 1/2″ chunks in a non reactive bowl.

The fresh chilies and peppers are seeded (and veins removed)  and chopped roughly into 1/4″ pieces.  I did not seed or vein the Jalapeno, Habeneros or Thai chilies as I wanted heat.  The garlic was roughly chopped and the shallot was diced.  Everything went into the bowl with the roasted dried chilies.

To the bowl I added 1 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1.5 Tablespoon salt and 3 Tablespoons of sugar.  Everything was mixed up, laying happily in their bath.  I stirred it every 30 minutes or so for 2 hours, let the marinade help the flavors meld.

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After two hours, everything went into my super de duper blender.  I have one of those fancy Ninjas, perfect for Margaritas, smoothies and pepper sauce.  I let it puree on various speeds until it seemed highly liquefied and smooth.  I washed the bowl and then put the liquid back into the bowl, covered with a layer of cheese cloth.  The  bowl went to the corner of the kitchen counter, out of the sun, to ferment.  I like 5 to 7 days.

Nothing terribly exciting about the bowl covered in cheese cloth is there?  I gave it a smell test a few times during the week and could tell the fermentation was in motion.  On Saturday, I removed the cheese cloth and peaked, stirred and tasted.

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The evil brew had a brown tinge on top.  It had small fermentation bubbles popping constantly.  After stirring, it looked like this.

img_3912Now it was a deeper red.  It smelled wonderful.  It tasted delicious.  A nice subtle heat that rose steadily after the bite.  Sweet and layers of flavors, staying with me for several minutes. 115 minutes later I still had a delightful afterglow, similar to that morning after smile.

This made about 3/4 of a quart.  Kept in an air tight container, it lasts for a few months.  Probably longer with the salt added, but I always run out before it goes bad.  Honestly, this might be the best batch I’ve made.

I use a few tablespoons in my hummus.  Sometimes it goes in my BBQ sauce when I’m looking to up the mysterious heat factor. This really is a great condiment to add to your arsenal.  All it takes is patience and the desire to make something wonderful.  Go forth and make sauce.

 

Loneliness is Crowded Room

Sometimes the universe sends us signals.  You know what I mean and you see it all the time.  There is that horrid Prius commercial that is so ubiquitous that I’m now nauseous when it airs.  Clearly it was that man’s time to buy a Prius and change his life.  Other times, the universe sends us false signals.  On one unnamed TV show, the lead sees the same number over and over and over.  Realizing it’s a sign, he engages is risky behavior centered on that number with disastrous results. (I’m sure many of you will binge the show later so I’ll keep the title covered.  Hint: it is not Firefly, Game of Thrones or Real Housewives of Atlanta.)

Similarly, I’ve been a bit of a funk for a while.  I’m not great at hiding that, and my four loyal readers know I often process my moods here.  And by often, I mean about 10% of the time that I start to.  I do edit myself a little and I really don’t want to turn this into a forum people avoid.  No, not you Sir. I know you are here for the Ashley bashing, that is located here.  But today, the fingers type, the words flow, and the Oxford Comma prevails.  What is going on around me?

The commute and the attitudes around me in the office weigh heavy on my generally happy soul.  For those of you that don’t know, I leave the house at 6am and return home generally after 6, too often towards 7.  That’s 75-90 minutes in the morning and 2 hours on the way home after spending day in a cube where there is limited human interaction and too much of it revolves around not meeting hidden expectations and the constant implication that no one is working enough hours.  Keep in mind that I am not a piecemeal factory worker or laborer (and both are fine, honorable jobs) – I think, I plan, I influence to gain results.  There is no clock measuring my thoughts thinking &  ideas.  When a thought hits me and I work on it, it can be driving, doing dishes or at 3am coming out of a dream.  I’m generally engaged 12-18 hours a day on what I work on.  So why the ridiculous obsession over time?

Just because I’m paid hourly doesn’t mean I don’t put in lots of time that is not technically on the clock.  Oh, and 40 hours a week is the absolute maximum.  I once made the mistake of working 2 hours on a Sunday, because something came to me late on Friday, which I would need to act on early the next Monday.  My hours didn’t exceed 40, but I was told in no uncertain terms that anything other than 8 per day, Monday through Friday would require advance approval.  I keep forgetting that not everyone sees me as the adult I believe I am.

Every day for the last week and way too much for way too often, I keep hearing the seminal hard rock anthem “Closing Time” by Semisonic.  (I looked for the sarcasm sans font, but couldn’t find it and I know WordPress does not feature it.)  As silly as the song is about the hook up life at 2am, one phrase stands out.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Is the universe trying to tell me to move on and find a new beginning, a new cubicle?  When do I become too old to be attractive in the new economy of disposable workers?  Are my experience and skills an unwanted commodity, the Filet-O-Fish of the work world?  How heavy is the baggage that is my gray hair and wrinkles?  Can I embrace the reality of my fading youth, yet still see that experience and wisdom are liabilities in my world?  What is my place?  Is there a new beginning to be sought?

And no, I’m not having a midlife crisis. But much weighs heavy.  And I consider the adage about the grass being greener elsewhere and see my lawn turning brown due to drought based water restrictions.  I’m not one to take the easy route. I’m not quitter.  Of course I think about it all the time, but in the end I do the right thing, even when it’s the more difficult, arduous path.  Maybe I should have been a mountain goat.

Today, I sat in traffic behind some unseen delay on the approach to the bridge.  Of course I heard the song about the “last call for alcohol”.  Seriously? People paid for that record?  But then I realized that it was part of a shock and awe bombardment of sad, aching songs.  Like a train wreck, I couldn’t turn away.  Horrified at the sonic sneak attack on my already fragile emotional state, I embraced the sadness.  For more than 30 minutes I sat, not hearing an uplifting note.  8 stations, making sure I paid attention.  Of course I skipped over the Eagles and Journey, it is in my DNA.

There were songs about the  break ups to come.  And then the actual breaking up and the aftermath that follows – longing, regret, and sadness.  Lonely sailors waiting for their bitter end, stranded on an island without Gilligan.  No wonder I spent my youth listening to mostly progressive rock, there are very few love songs and their opposite numbers.  And in those days I had nothing to measure songs of the heart against.  With age comes experience, and those experiences yield so many different yardsticks to use as needed.  I had several in use today.

I sit here, silent, typing, and reflecting on how I’ve been feeling; the loss of empowerment and the shrinking of my ego.  The sadness of the forgotten wrench in the bottom of the tool box, replaced by a shiny new tool straight from a well-produced Kickstarter campaign, left to rust in the dark.

Years ago, I was driving to pick up a date.  Yes, this was over 30 years ago.  One of my favorite songs came on the radio.  “Dance Away” by Roxy Music.  I always loved that song.  But in that instance, that song of finding solace in music and motion, became something different.  It became the manifestation of a rough break up a few months prior.  Tears flowed and I think I finished processing the pain I was holding.   Decades later, I still love that song and I still feel the emotions of that relationship ending. And sometimes I feel the relief of finally recognizing how to move on.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, just musing aloud.  Much like music this morning, this silent, six by six cubicle is quite sad and lonely.  Perhaps I can figure out a way to make these days better and repurpose that discarded wrench.  Just typing this out helps.

Here are few songs to help you see the frame of my day.

Dance Away, Roxy Music

A Salty Dog, Procol Harum

Childhood’s End, Pink Floyd

Train in Vain, The Clash