New Blog

I am no longer posting on this blog. I have a new political blog called The Burning Itch, which is updated regularly.

May 24, 2007

Chili is All About Improv

What better time than May is there to begin practicing your chili artistry before the next Superbowl. Well, at least that's my mentality. I admittedly love making and eating chili, but because of that people are always asking me how I make such great chili. So, I'll lay down my tips on how to make some insanely good chili (okay, admittedly, it's probably not insanely good, but I had to work something in there to follow the loose theme of this blog).

Basically, I cook my chili in three stages. You can break them down into two, but I usually make two batches, one spicy and one not-so-spicy to cover everyone's tastes.

STAGE 1: Cook Some Meat
Some people go all out on the special types and cuts of meats they use in their chili, but I like to keep it simple. I use high-quality lean ground beef with 7% fat. You can definitely use beef with higher fat content, but you get about the same taste with leaner meat that is healthier.

Find yourself a good sized pan, chop up an onion (any type of onion will usually do), and mix in a few pounds of ground beef. You can cook the meat and onions with some oil, but I just keep it simple.

STAGE 2: Meat, Sauce, and Stuff
Once the meat is cooked, you'll want to put it in a big pot with your tomato sauces. The amount of tomato sauce you use is dependent on how much meat and beans you plan to add. For a couple pounds of meat I use about 30oz. of regular Hunt's tomato sauce and 28oz. of chunky tomato sauce. Some people prefer stewed tomatoes over the chunky sauce, but not me. Next you'll want to add some beans. S&W has some good chili beans, which I believe are just kidney beans with some extra flavoring. In reality, just about any type of canned bean will do. I usually use about 30oz. of beans with the previous stated amounts of sauce and meat.

At this point you'll want to cook your chili for about 30 minutes. During this time is when I add some basic seasonings and spices that don't really add too much heat to it. Some seasoning ideas are oregano, ground cumin, mustard powder and/or just plain mustard, Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce, beef botulin, and a nice bottle of Sam Adams Summer Ale. I don't have any specific guidelines on how much seasoning to put in, but the idea in any good cooking is to keep mixing stuff up and tasting it to how everything blends. Also for an interesting twist trying adding a couple stalks of chopped celery to the mix.

STAGE 3: Make it Hot
This is the point where you'll want to separate the chili into the two batches if you want one to be less spicy. Just keep cooking the non-spicy chili for about another 1/2 hour and then let it simmer for a couple hours, while stirring every once in a while.

Now, the main ingredient to making chili hot is of course chili powder. I would suggest using just regular chili powder. You can use habanero chili powder, but I would only use a pinch at most if you want a sharper spice, because that stuff can kill your tastebuds and stomach if used too liberally. Another alternative/additive to chili powder is cheyane pepper, which is usually hotter than standard chili powder, but not as bad as the habenaro.

Once you have the basic spicy flavor I would suggest adding some chopped jalape├▒os, red pepper (the kind you get at a good pizza place), and some chipotle Tabasco sauce. As always, be careful in how much you add, some of these spices can be very volatile, especially to people with sensitive taste buds. A good way to lessen the bite of the spices is to add some sour cream.

Cook the chili for about 30 more minutes and then let it simmer for a couple hours. Technically it can be served at any point while it is simmering, but the longer chili is left out or kept in the fridge, the longer the flavors are able to develop.

Good luck, and have fun making a nice batch of chili.

May 23, 2007

Anti-Drug Commercials Miss the Mark

The War on Drugs was lost before it started, yet it continues on and on wasting taxpayers' money. Part of that waste is directed towards "informing" people why they should do drugs, whether it be tobacco or meth. Millions of dollars go into adverts every year to convince people that they should do drugs, when in fact all they do is annoy both users and nonusers.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be drug education programs. Those can be useful if they are honest, but many are not. The only way to deal with the drug problem is to openly discuss it. Kids and teens need to be treated as equals on the matter. By making drugs seems like a forbidden fruit, it only makes them want it more. Teens are rebellious (at least I was) and if their parents drink, but tell them not to, guess what they're going to do. The same thing goes with drugs.

If you want to prevent your kids from smoking pot or doing even worse things, be honest with them. Tell them about the times you did those sort of things (if you did) or about experiences you've witnessed and what you learned. Let them know that they probably won't die or ruin their life from doing one joint or taking a hit from a bong, but that doing it too much will ruin any possible good experiences. Moderation is the key to teach your kids about anything, why not be honest and tell them the same thing when it comes to mild drugs like pot.

These commercials on TV are really not helping anyone. They either insult the intelligence of the target audience or gross out the person who's just trying to watch a rerun of The Simpsons while they eat their diner. Hell, I almost lit up a cigarette just to rebel against the stupidity of one of the commercials before I realized I just should act my age. If that's my reaction, how do you think teenagers with the same sort of mentality are going to react?

May 21, 2007

Ron Paul, Not Just Another Canidate

Ron Paul has been an Internet sensation since the first GOP presidential debate, but recently he has garnered more attention from his statements in the second debate. Although most of the attention Paul had been getting was from the Internet underground, but recently that has spilled over into the main stream media. But is Ron Paul really a serious candidate for president of the United States of America?

The simple answer is yes. This is the guy people should be looking towards if they are conservative. Paul is really the only candidate with the spine to show true conservatism instead of the stale taste of neo-Republicanism. It's hard to respect most Republicans in politics today because they do not follow the simple beliefs of conservatism that the party originally held.

Dr. Paul takes a position and stays on the position while talking straight to people about it. While I do not agree with all of his beliefs, he is the only Republican candidate who has shown any sign of integrity. Is what he said at the second debate, about America's foreign policy, inflammatory? No. You'd have to be a completely arrogant lying politican who wants a neo-fascist police state in America to not see that our previous Middle Eastern foreign policies have attributed to what happened on 9/11. Was Paul giving Osama bin Laden and other terrorists refuge because we are partly to blame for why they want to attack us? No, of course not. He was stating something that seems to be a taboo in politics these day, dissenting against the current government.

According to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, Guilliani's numbers have dropped significantly in the last month. At the same time the other candidates have not really gained any more support, which moves a lot of people into the unsure category. In fact, people are equally supportive of Guilliani as they are unsure, both coming topping out at 24%. This is a good sign that people disagreed with Guilliani's message during the second debate, and candidates such as Ron Paul have a chance at gaining a chunk of that unsure category. With his ability to differentiate himself from the crowd with actual conservative views, the next month of watching the presidential race should be a bit more interesting.

Source: Polling Reports

May 20, 2007

The Devil Made Me Do It!

In a tragic, yet sadistically amusing story, a baby was put in a microwave by her father. Luckily, the 2-month old child was not killed, just severely burned. The mother of course doesn't blame the the 19-year-old father.
Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter [on] May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.
Satan is a great scapegoat for any problems you're having. Didn't pay the rent on time? The devil of course made you do it! Ate the heart of a small child? It's not your fault, the devil was controlling you.

Praise rationality, for the justice system has yet to fall for this silly ploy and Mr. Mauldin could receive up to 99 years in prison.
Joshua Mauldin faces a charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily harm, which carries a possible prison term of five to 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Too bad castration isn't allowed in cases such as this. People like Mr. Mauldin and his stupid wife should not be allowed to unleash their horrible seed upon this world any further (no offense to their already born and tramatized daughter). It's bad enough that the man tried to kill his daughter in a microwave, but it's even worse that the mother can't even come to terms with the fact that he is responsible.

By the way, I think it might be important to note that this occurred in Texas.

Source: Associated Press

May 3, 2007

Atheism in America

Religion is a hot topic for many people. In America, this seems especially so, since we are a melting pot of religious freedom in which church and state are supposed to be separated. This can often cause many societal and political debates that involve religion (gay marriage and abortion come to mind). Because of this America seems to be a fairly religious state, but is it?

The majority of the world's population is religious, which isn't surprising in the least bit. But about 1.1 billion people fit into the non-religious category, which includes a wide range of people from secularists to the anti-religious. With about 6.7 billion people on the Earth today, about 16% of them are non-religious. Of this 16%, between 12 and 15 percent are estimated to atheist. Only Islam and Christianity encompass more people, with 21% and 33% percent of the world's population respectively. But even with this large number worldwide, how do non-religious people fare in the United States?

Various findings show that about 9-14% of Americans are nonreligious. That's about 27-36 million people. Only a surprising 0.4% of these people actually claim to be atheists, while 0.5% claim to be agnostic. No matter your religious standing, those numbers should seem low. What's more interesting though, is how high the percentage of atheists and non-religious people is in other first-world nations.

Sweden is routinely considered to be one of the most non-religious states, in which only 23% of the populace believe there is a god. In Europe overall, about 18% are atheist, which is at about 45 times higher than in the US.

So why is the United States so religious? Or are people less open about their non-religious attitudes in a nation where religious freedom in explicit? One comment I often hear is that America was founded as a Christian nation. This is actually not true. Albeit, Christianity was, and still is, the most prominent religion, the majority of the founding fathers were either non-religious, or at least rationalists. So the questions still stands, why is the United States of America so religious, or at least seem that way?

Sources: Wikipedia, World Religion Day, World Population,, CIA,

The Power of User-Created Content

The fury of the Internet was released, especially on the Digg, when the HD-DVD encryption hex key was leaked. I'm not sure how many people actually know what to do with the key, or could even put it to use, but it was an interesting showing of what a revolt on the Internet looks like. Most people who care already know the story behind the whole fiasco. But I found a website that sums up the whole situation pretty well; Anyways, fight the power and so forth, the only way Internet nerds with too much time on their hands can do; with a hexadecimal number.

May 2, 2007

Media Contact Info

A list containing much of the contact information for the majority of major media outlets has been Dugg and revealed to the world. The source of the list is the Palestine Media Watch, whose main purpose is to "promote fair and accurate coverage of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in the US mainstream media."

The list is currently available at their website, and as a Google document. So, get in contact with your favorite/most hated media outlet and let them know how you feel.