Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Quick-and-dirty chili

If tongue-scorching heat is your thing, this recipe probably isn't for you; but if you'd like a mild little chili that's done in less than an hour, you might give this one a try.

Take:

2 pounds chili-ground lean beef, or venison. (Hamburger meat will do, lean.)
1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 medium-to-large yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 Chipotle cube
3 teaspoons(ish) chili powder (if you're not mad at Penzeys, sub in 1 teaspoon(ish) of their Chili 9000 for one of the regular chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1 can Rotel Fire-Roasted tomatoes & chilies
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted, but up to you)
1 small can Hatch diced mild green chilies
Glug or so of a decent red table wine

Dice your onion, toss it into a frying pan, bung in your meat, and brown the whole mess.  Drain off any grease, and dump into your chili pot.

Mince your garlic cloves, and drop them in.  (I use squeeze garlic, but I'm lazy.)  Put the chipotle cube into a bowl, and mush it into powder, add your chili powder and the smoked salt, muddle the mix a bit with a spoon, and toss it into the pot.

Stir in the Rotel, all of the other tomato, and the chilies.  Simmer for about twenty minutes, glug in the wine, stir, simmer another ten minutes (plus or minus), then serve with shredded Mexican cheese mix and crackers.

Voila!  Quick and dirty chili.

(Again, if you're looking for a spicy chili, this isn't for you.  However, if you're not sure of the heat tolerance of your dinner guests, and don't have all day to simmer a proper chili, this might do you.)

LawDog

Support starving authors!

Friend Peter has a new book out.

This time he's trying his hand at fantasy.

If that's your thing, you might have a go at it.

LawDog

Monday, August 14, 2017

And Voltaire wept

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in "The Friends of Voltaire".

As a man of fifty-plus years on this little green dirtball -- and a significant portion of that life outside of the United States -- I'm accustomed to thinking that if I haven't seen it all, I've seen enough to be able to handle the rest.

That was until recently, when the sheer number of folks calling for outright bans on the right to free speech -- and especially folks who should bloody well know better -- hit epidemic proportions.

Gentle Readers, free speech is messy.  It is ugly, precisely because free speech that everyone agrees with does not require protections.  Why would you protect speech that upsets no-one?  Why would you need to?

Even worse is the call for the government to declare that certain speech is "hate speech" -- because getting the government involved always works out so well -- and to give the government (and the flawed, flawed humans who make up that government) the power to declare bans on certain speech.

To put it in simple language even a college student can understand:

Do you really want President Mike Pence deciding what is protected speech, and what speech should be banned?

Because that is what you're going to get in the future.

How about President Greg Abbott after Mission Creep gets into the mix?

 How would you feel about President Ted Cruz deciding what speech you should go to jail for?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what you're setting yourself up for when you start yick-yacking about the government banning speech.

"But, LawDog," I hear you snivelling, "Some speech is an incitement to violence, and should be against the law."

You know what?  Let's look at that.

I have heard folks chanting, "What do we want?  Dead cops!  When do we want it?  Now!" rather recently.  About me, and those like me.

Is that not an incitement to violence?  Ask Dallas PD, and their dead brothers.  Should it not be "against the law"?

No.  It is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

I can show any number of YouTube videos of imams calling for jihad, for the slaughter of Westerners, for the genocide of an entire people.

Is this not an incitement to violence?  Ask the dead in San Bernadino, at Ft Hood, at Orlando, at the Boston Marathon.  Should it not be "against the law"?

No.  It is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

"But, LawDog, Nazi-related speech is banned in Germany!"

I don't give two hoots in hell about how they do things in Germany.  You like their restriction on free speech -- move.  Delta is ready when you are. Scram.

So.  To break it down Barney-style:  your calls to ban speech -- even Nazi speech -- is un-American.  And once you've begged government to pass that first law banning speech, it's a simple amendment to expand those bans.  Think about the absolute worst politician you can think of in the White House.  Worse than Trump -- because they're out there, and they've got as good a chance at the Oval Office as Donald J. Trump had -- think about that politician being able to amend a law banning speech.

The wearing of the burqa is a free speech issue.  Think there isn't a politician out there somewhere that would love to ban the wearing of the burqa?  Just one little quiet midnight amendment to an already existing law you're trying to give to government.

Pro-choice?  How's that work out when free speech regarding the issue is banned?  Anyone reading this think there isn't a politician who wouldn't dot their cupcakes at the ability to ban speech about abortion?  You really want to let their nose under the tent?

Think about whatever hot-button issue you have that gets people into a tizzy, and realise that somewhere there is a politician who thinks your hot-button issue is an affront to their Dear and Fuzzy God; or your hot-button issue is a Danger to the Morals Of The Children -- and then think about that politician with their paw on a Ban-Button you already handed to the government.

If you get your little ban passed -- for all the right reasons -- and  a future President and/or Congress expands those bans -- for all the right reasons (and they will) -- and you come crying to me and those like me to fix the issue you demanded ...

... No.

I'm warning you now:  your proposed ban on Nazi speech will be expanded in the future to ban speech you don't think should be banned.

And when that happens -- you called down the lightning, you deal with it; you take your casualties, and your lumps.

LawDog

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Book, the Second

Well, the second LawDog Files book (Africa and other stories) goes live tomorrow.

I think most of my Gentle Readers will be happy to discover that there are some Africa stories in there that have never graced the pages of this blog.

Then I think I'll go catatonic for a bit, because pounding that one out so quickly was one ... interesting ... experience.

It'll have to be a short spell of not thinking, because I've got a short story due for a zombie anthology, another short story for a mil-sci anthology; and I'm going to dabble my fingers in the world of self-publishing with a Rural Fantasy book that's been kicking it's way around my brain for a while.

For now, though, I'm going to turn off my brain and sleep for a bit.

LawDog