December 22, 2009

Obamacare Kills the Baby Jesus

Like, if an all-knowing and all-powerful god manages to get himself aborted, it isn't his own damn fault?

Or, is that actually the point? Is abortion the new crucifixion? The fetus paraphernalia popping up everywhere says "YES" . . . it's becoming as fetishized as the cross.

According to the logic of the of the anti-abortionist, abortion is actually worse than crucifixion, since the dead babies are completely innocent, and even the Lord Jesus talked sass to some pharisees, killed a fig tree in the desert, and kicked some moneylender ass in the temple.

Actually, someone can clear this up for me: a child is born into original sin, but has the stain of sin removed by baptism, right? So, it stands to reason that the unborn child, having begun his/her life at conception, was actually stained by sin at that very point. The unborn child is not innocent. I have heard the concept, rarely articulated, that there are unborn babies stacking up in purgatory . . .

See here, too, the stain of life . . . Christianity as the anti-human. Anyway, back to the topic . . .

Of course, like most religion, this discussion of original sin is convoluted and ridiculous, mixing seeds of ideas, facts, and concepts with distortion and nonsense. And so, Chuck Norris:

[ . . . ]

I'm not going to quote him. He's a fucking idiot.

The general idea is that baby Jesus, returning to today's America complete with Obamacare, would be aborted before he had a chance to save the world.

Uh, let's see . . .

First, that assumes that Jesus would return to America, and not to his old haunts in the holy land. Of course, any American Christian knows that God will come to the new holy land, America, not Israel, where all those non-believing Jews and Muslims hang out (I'm not kidding, or even exaggerating, about this - go ahead and google it). All those retorts about Israel's healthcare system being more socialist than ours (isn't everybody's?) are beside the point, because he ain't showing up there, he's showing up here.

Second, there's the thing about responsibility. I'm expected by Christians to know that a life of sin will lead me to hell, but all I have on this is their word. Jesus, on the other hand, gets his ass aborted, and we're not blaming him? Sorry, I don't mean to dwell on this.

Let's say that the modern day VM doesn't have quite the emotional support network she needs, but she does have the Chuck Norris-approved pre-Obamacare capitalist healthcare network. So, without Obamacare, there's less of an incentive to abort, right? Well, I'm not sure about that, given the fact that an abortion paid for completely out-of-pocket is still much cheaper than a pregnancy with normal insurance. Add to that the fact that normal insurance doesn't cover any type of counseling that might build our putative VM's confidence to the point that she would have the esteem and support to bring her child to term.

And there's this thing about abortion being fueled by shame. Looks like I gotta go to Chuck after all:

What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy?

"Ridicule, ostracizing, persecution"? Just where in the HELL do you think this comes from? I don't see the pinko commie hippies out on the street dissing pregnant women (okay, maybe a few Maoists). The revulsion toward out-of-wedlock pregnancy in this culture is DIRECTLY attributable to the religious cultural establishment and their horror triggered by anything sexual. I let that Nietzsche reference hang earlier, but the mainstream of Christianity seems, to me, anti-human. Not anti-humanist (as in, against the idea that humanity is the center of the universe), but anti-human (as in, against the human, life-denying). Though every fiber of my upbringing has resisted it, I have come to the conclusion that Christianity is about the flagellation of the self and others. Christianity is about destruction. Not all Christianity . . . but the positive has yet to triumph over the negative. It's a lot closer than the average cocktail-party liberal will admit, but the negative is still in the ascendancy.

It's tempting to try to refute this in healthcare terms but, again, this isn't about healthcare. It's about a bunch of idiots and their relationship to culture, which they define in completely defective terms. I tried to swear off this kind of false discourse earlier, but it seems that I've been sucked back in (Norris = Palin). I apologize, and I promise to do better in the future. But, at the core of all this, is one final point:

There is a logical and reasonable point of view that claims abortion is the destruction of life. It is not a view which can be called either liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. The reason the debate is faulty is that we let people like Chuck Norris and Sarah Palin stand in for the anti-abortion argument, and we let it get accelerated into a cultural discussion in the basest of terms. There are "liberals", "progressives", and even "feminists" who are anti-abortion, and even more who believe that abortion is wrong but should not be subject to the laws of the federal government. These are the true lost souls of this increasingly meaningless debate.

And here we are, with Chuck Norris and Obamacare. Once again, I feel the need to simultaneously apologize and point out that it's not my fault. But, we know it is. Sorry about that. I'll do better next time.

December 19, 2009

The 49th Revolution

Ah, the years keep rolling on. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was . . .

We were supposed to get a couple inches today, but the temperature never dropped below 37 degrees, and the rain never changed over to snow. I know I'm getting old because I'm okay with that: when I was a kid, I loved the snow, but there's something about a 100 mile roundtrip commute that dims your enthusiasm for snow.

Sharri and I got into a new (rental, for the time being) house this year, a move that was long overdue. In ten years on Adams Street, we paid enough rent to cover the original purchase price of the duplex we rented (both of them - the whole house, that is). Not to mention the fact that the small one bedroom took on the aspect of a maze by the time we moved out. I tell you what, me and my darling had a ton of shit. But now we are in a house that is very close to being my dreamhouse . . . closer than I expected to get. It's a great place, and we are very happy to be there.

This year was not enough time on the bike, not enough time in the gym, not enough time playing music live. It's funny how much I miss the gym, I just have to get off my ass and go. As far as the bike, I've spent a bit of time tooling around Germantown, but I really need to get back on the paths. I miss tearing through Portland as fast as my Schwinn Varsity and middle-aged body will let me.

The music will take care of itself. It always does. I actually turned down more shows than I played this year. One promise: the rise of Black Kaspar.

More broke than last year, but no big deal . . . otherwise, more of the same. Those big changes predicted last year didn't quite come through - things happen, you deal with it, you move forward.

I am now officially bearing down on the big 50. No promises, no predictions, except for that one about Black Kaspar. Maybe next year I'll write something a little more interesting than this post card. Until then, love to you all. You all keep me from going crazy.

December 13, 2009


Not trying to turn this into a sports blog, but . . . Really? Jonathan Bender's back? Great guy, loads of talent, bad knees, big bust. He was never close to 100% at any time with the Pacers. Even so, he did show occasional flashes of brilliance.

I know that three years off can do wonders for healing an injured body, but it was my understanding that he had no cartilage left in his right knee, or something like that. It seemed like they were worried more about him walking without canes than they were about him playing basketball by the time he retired at the tender age of 25. And now, you're telling me he's ready to go again?

This is not the story of an athlete whose sport was his entire life. Quite the contrary, in fact: Bender was a busy man when he left the game and, unlike most "entrepreneurs" who use their fame and rudimentary business skills to line their own pockets, he was as interested in helping others as he was in getting rich.

Well, he's a good guy, and I'm rooting for him. Good for him, and good on Donnie Walsh for giving him another chance. Lord knows he had skills, so if he actually has his knee back, we may see quality minutes out of him.

I just hate having any reason to root for the Knicks.

December 8, 2009

A Recipe for Robbie

I'm not much of a cook. The stuff I make is edible, and sometimes pretty good, but only sometimes. I'm good enough that I could improve on about half the "casual dining" meals I eat, but not so good that anyone would go out of their way to eat my cooking. I watch the Food Channel just like I used to read Hot Rod magazine: that is, if I ever become one of the idle rich, I'll roll up to the farmer's market in a cherry '69 Goat & go home & whip up Sharri a real Hot Brown. In the meantime, I'll settle for my Maxx and the po' boy Hot Browns I throw down on Thanksgiving. I'd love to have FRESH INGREDIENTS and all the time and tools in the world to be a badass cook, but it ain't happenin' . . . and yeah, I know that the guitar doesn't make the guitarist, but you do tend to get just a little circumscribed by the contents of both your wallet and the Kroger across the street. In the best of all possible worlds, the stuff would go straight from the fields to a roadside stand very close to my house and be affordable to boot, but this is very far from the best of all possible worlds. Besides, it seems to me that such concerns have lately taken on a bit of a bourgeois tinge . . . are you listening, Anthony Bourdain?

With that in mind, here's a chili recipe. I adapted it from a South Beach black bean turkey chili recipe (rendered immediately non-carb friendly with the addition of beer). It's not Bobby Flay good, but it's not bad. The main thing is that it is quick, easy, and super cheap, especially if you leave out the beer. You can whip this up in about ten minutes, and let it cook for as little as twenty (a little more is better). Is it good eats, Alton? Who knows, and who cares. It's better than spaghetti O's, cheaper than McDonald's, and healthier than Taco Bell. This is how I eat.


1 lb. ground turkey
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded, deviened, and diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 4 oz. cans of diced jalapenos
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 14 oz cans tomatoes, undrained
1 16 oz jar chunky salsa
2 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
1 tablespoon onion powder
half a beer (approx. 6 oz)

Put oil in large fryer over medium heat. Add garlic and diced fresh jalapenos; “sweat” them (sauté for approx. 3-5 minutes, DO NOT LET GARLIC BROWN). Add ground turkey, cook until just brown. Add one 4 oz. can of jalapenos, stir together. Add tomatoes, salsa, black beans, stir together, increase heat, bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, add soy sauce, salt, and spices, stir together, cover. Cook at least 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beer (to brighten flavor) and, if you like your chili on the hot side, add the second 4 oz. can of diced jalapenos. Cook covered, stirring frequently, for another 20 minutes.

NOTES: The salsa you use for this recipe is very important, since it provides much of the flavor base. Keep in mind that good “chip salsa” is not necessarily the best salsa for this recipe. So far, the best salsa I’ve used is Kroger’s “Private Stock” Chipolte Salsa (medium heat).

Avoid extra additives to your canned tomatoes (such as onions or peppers), since there is already a wide variety of spices in this recipe.

Use a “bright flavored” beer for this recipe, such as a pale ale (Sierra Nevada Celebration ale worked very well). A darker, “chewy” beer such as Guinness would not work as well.

This is a relatively hot (spicy) recipe. For those of you with more sensitive constitutions, it tastes OK without any of the peppers.

December 5, 2009

The One Who Shouldn't Have Been Fired

Two get axed, but one should have been spared . . . so long Steve Kragthorpe, we hardly knew ya.

The thing that amazes me about the U of L fans is their sense of entitlement. One expects to fight against that arrogance at "legendary" Notre Dame. But what is it about the tenures of John L. Smith and Bobby Petrino that makes the Cardinal faithful think that they are a football destination ("whooo hooo! we beat Miami in a bowl game once!!)? Louisville is nothing more than a stop on the way to the top echelon of football, and just like Smith and Petrino, any "up and comer" is going to treat it that way, unless he is a guy of uncommon character.

Which Steve Kragthorpe is. He had a chance to bail on a bad situation and take an SMU job for similar money and less pressure, but he gave his word to U of L, so he stuck it out. He took over a program specifically designed to be a resume bauble for John L and Bobby, and tried to turn it into a true program instead of a couple flashy teams. He started doing the hard work, weeding out the bad elements, hard-wiring recruiting circuits, and trying to build a lasting foundation. All the while, U of L fans acted like Notre Dame fans, screaming for the head of their "mediocre coach" in order to restore "pride in their program" . . . like the house of Cards built by Smith and Petrino was anything to be proud of.

Three years, and Kragthorpe's gone. He left with the same honesty and class with which he entered: while being forthright about the obvious fact that three years is not enough time to do the job he was asked to do, he nonetheless refused to incriminate the university ("that's just the way coaching is these days - if you want to coach, you have to live with that."). He will find himself in another good situation soon, hopefully in a place out of the line of fire of idiots like the ones who pushed him out of Louisville.

Louisville AD Tom Jurich can still come out of this looking good by hiring Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. U of L, given its history as the black alternative to the University of Kentucky, would look good with a black head coach, and lord knows there needs to be more black coaches in BCS college football. I only hope that Jurich deals with Strong better than he dealt with Kragthorpe.