November 12, 2017, 10:22 pm
Okay. I think everyone needs to step back and define some terms. "Sexual harassment" happens when someone with power can deny something to someone else unless sexual favors are performed or flirting is endured.
For instance, let's say there's a boss who flirts with an subordinate, and the subordinate fears for her or his job if she or he asks the boss to stop. That's sexual harassment, and it's a moral failing—and in some places, a crime.
"Sexual assault" is when someone commits a sexual act against another person who has not consented to that action—even if the 'sexual act' is as seemingly innocuous as a hand brushing a breast or an ass.
For instance, say a dude is dating a girl, the dude thinks there's a go-ahead sign for sex and runs his hand up her body. The woman, however, is under no such impression that there is a 'go-ahead' for sex. That is sexual assault, and it's a crime. Consent needs to be explicit, not implicit.
Here is something that isn't a crime or a moral failing: One person asks another person for sex. The askee says "um, no." The asker says, "OK" and goes on about his or her way. That is not sexual harassment (assuming the asker isn't in a position of power over the askee). That is not sexual assault. It's just a person asking, getting rejected and moving on about his or her life.
Most of the politicians and Hollywood creeps who have been accused in the recent rash of sex harassment and assault cases are ostensibly guilty of one of the two crimes I just mentioned. Some, however, are not.
Louis CK, for instance, asked several women if he could show them his genitals. Creepy? Yes. Also, what a dumb move, because never in the history of ever has a woman been shown a man's genitals and thought "I have to have him right now." But is it harassment or assault? Neither of the women were his employees, or otherwise under his power. They were in his hotel room. He creepily then masturbated in front of the women, who consented to stay and watch him. Again, and I can't say this enough, creepy.
But there was no crime there. In his mea culpa, CK said "the power I had over these women is that they admired me." Okay, but ostensibly any person who is naked in front of another person in a hotel room or other private area with that other person's consent is admired by the person they're naked in front of.
He's lost millions of dollars over this, and if you're just going by creepy factor, good. But if you're going by legality, he did nothing wrong. The women consented. And he didn't touch them. And didn't have any tangible power over them, other than them admiring him.
Let's be real. I really like George Takei, but if he did what a lot of men seem to be accusing him of (grabbing their genitals without consent), he deserves to lose revenue and face legal consequences. But does Louis CK? There are a lot of creepy people out there. Being creepy isn't a crime. Let's not confuse crimes with things we don't agree with.
Same with someone such as Kevin Spacey. If he's groping people, that's a crime. If he's denying them employment opportunities for rejecting his advances, that's a crime. But simply propositioning people isn't a crime, assuming he's not in a position of power over them.
Last example: President Trump grabbing women "by the pussy," as he admitted doing, is a crime, because he touched women without their consent. Louis CK being creepy to consenting adults isn't a crime. Both are creepy. One is a criminal. And also, president.
November 5, 2017, 6:18 pm
Bread is the bane of all who embark on low-carb diets. Wheat is jam-packed full of carbohydrates, which are, frankly, delicious.
So I've been trying for awhile to formulate zero-carb bread, a seemingly impossible feat. But I have cracked it. And it involves two things, one of which you've probably never heard of: almond flour. The other is vital wheat gluten, the enemy of all who believe in fake gluten allergies.
The problem with making non-wheat bread is that yeast, the little fungi that make the holes in bread that makes it so fluffy and wonderful, need sugar to do their jobs, and sugar is pure carb. In addition, most flour-like things lack the "glue" of wheat, which traps the gas that makes the bubbles. So no sugar, no wheat: no bread. There are a lot of non-wheat bread recipes out there, but they all end up being brick-like, and thus horrible.
But my recipe makes actual bread, actually fluffy, actually delicious and a net of about 3 grams of carbs per slice, or 23 grams for the entire loaf (most wheat-based bread has that many carbs for just one slice). With my thinking cap on for a few weeks, I decided to avoid the dozens of recipes out there that call for a bunch of egg whites to simulate the fluffiness of real bread; they all taste "eggy." Instead, I wanted to make real bread. Just without any wheat-based flour. So I did a lot of reading, and the part of wheat-based dough that makes the yeast gas get trapped is the gluten. And gluten has way fewer carbs than wheat flour. So I figured if I added fiber into the bread to counteract the very few carbs in the wheat gluten, I could use gluten to make my bread.
For those who don't know, fiber helps neutralize carbohydrates; the closer you can get your fiber grams to your carbohydrate grams, the closer you are to net zero carbs in whatever you're making. So to add fiber, I decided on psyllium husk powder. If you want nice, solid, regular poo, eat a lot of it, because it's LOADED with fiber. The fiber in the psyllium husk powder more than counteracts the carbs in the wheat gluten, and helps the yeast counteract the carbs in the tablespoon of honey I use as fuel for the yeast. It's not necessary (the bread is still very low carb without it), but I thought every bit of fiber I can add can't be a bad thing.
Almond flour is made from nothing but ground-up almonds, which are very close to zero-carb, since they have almost exactly the same amount of fiber as carbohydrates.
So without further ado, here's my recipe for
VERY LOW CARB bread
(about 3 grams carbohydrates per slice, 23 for the entire recipe)
INGREDIENTS (or as my sons say, Magredients):
3 packages dry rapid-rise yeast (3/4 ounces total)
1 tbsp sugar (I use honey from my bees) (don't worry, the yeast eats the honey's carbs)
1 1/2 cups very warm water (I turn my tap all the way hot)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (I use coarse Kosher salt)
1 cup vital wheat gluten (more for mixing, if desired)
1 1/2 cups almond flour (blanched)
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder (optional; replace with either almond flour, coconut flour or gluten)
Pour the honey, yeast and water into your mixing bowl and wait for the yeast to start bubbling (this proves it's alive and saves your other ingredients if you have to start over). While you wait, mix all the other ingredients in another bowl.
Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until it becomes a dough like any other bread dough. Grease a big bowl and put the dough in the bottom of it. Cover it and place it in a warm, dry place for 35 to 45 minutes while the dough rises. It should get close to double its original size.
Grease an 8 x 4 bread pan and, after kneading the dough once (and ONLY once), place the dough in the pan, cover it and let it rise another 30 to 40 minutes. While it's doing that, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go hotter for faster cooking time, but that's what I use.
Once the dough has risen again (it won't rise as much this time as it did the last time), put it in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the middle comes out clean. Remove it from heat and let cool on a cooling rack.
Slice and enjoy.
This recipe makes one loaf. As a bonus, it's completely vegan, so my wife can eat it too (I know, some vegans have a problem with honey, but give me a break). And it's light, fluffy and delicious. I cannot tell that it's not made with wheat flour, and I'm the guy who has big problems with suspension of disbelief. Try it. You'll thank me.
October 28, 2017, 10:22 pm
Well, hell. I just wrote a long entry about a new zero-carb bread recipe I've come up with, but I forgot to include a headline, so it was lost.
Need to fix that in my new CMS.
By the way, remind me to tell you of all the work I've recently done on a new database system and CMS. It's rad.
October 20, 2017, 11:23 pm
In the 1990s, there was no one you would rather be than Carlton Pearson.
He was the pastor of one of the fastest-growing churches in the world, mentor to one of the largest Christian music stars in the world, in-demand as a speaker, singer and mentor, father of the Azusa Street movement for pentecostals and all-around cool motherfucker.
I mean that last part, obviously, like Jesus would have said it.
Then, around 2003, shit hit the fan, and I mean that almost literally.
Pearson, who had been featured in every major outlet available to evangelical Christians, did something unthinkable: he began to question the very nature of the evangelical religion.
What if, he posited, salvation was not based on "asking Jesus into your heart"? What if, as the Bible said, Jesus died for everyone, not just those who were believers?
Full disclosure: I had lived those same questions four years earlier, but I was no Carlton Pearson. I was nobody, in fact. I was just some dude who was a ghost writer for televangelists. Carlton Pearson, meanwhile, was a genuine, bona fide star. A guy people put their faith in. A guy Oral Roberts had endorsed. A guy all the televangelist networks had looked up to. I was just the guy writing their books. This guy was the guy who was headlining their shows.
But, like me, he was questioning the reality of hell, eternal punishment, the idea that a just and holy god would actually sentence people to eternal torture for the honest and innocuous crime of questioning his existence.
So he, like I, began re-reading the Bible for clues about what its writers really intended their audience to understand. And the results were profound, for both of us: there was no hell, at least as far as the Bible was concerned. There was no capricious god damning entire nations to eternal torture in flames for the crime of never hearing his name.
Salvation, he and I discovered almost simultaneously, was universal (assuming you believed in a Judeo-Christian god and his son, who offered himself as a sacrifice in place of the sins of all mankind).
In 2003, I emailed Carlton Pearson using an address I possessed for him from my days writing for televangelists—an address he had given me when I was seeking his endorsement for a book I was writing for another televangelist.
"I am on the same path you are," I wrote to him. "Let me help you get the word out. Let's write a book."
The evangelical world had just begun officially shunning him, and he and I both naively thought we might stave off the flood with rational discourse.
"That's a very good idea," he wrote back. "Let me get some things in order and I'll call you."
He called me about a week later and we laid out tentative plans for the book that would become "The Gospel of Inclusion." However, life intervened for both of us and we never collaborated on it. Luckily, he got it done anyway. It's horrifying to think someone could get a book written without me, but it is what it is.
And the book is a masterpiece.
In it, he lays out the scriptural groundwork to establish a doctrine that the Judeo-Christian god is not the capricious asshole we all assumed him to be. Instead, he created a universal salvation through Jesus and that universal salvation was intended to foment a Christianity that was a response to unmitigated grace: a Christianity that preached the "good news" to the world that sin was no longer a problem because an innocent son of God paid the price for sins he never committed to ensure you were never punished for all the evil shit you did. Without requiring any further action from you. Are you a Muslim? Doesn't matter. His sacrifice paid for your sins. Hindu?Same story. Atheist? No problem.
And he was hammered for it. Lost his congregation. Lost his adoring fans. Lost his hard-earned respect. Castigated, ostracized. Carlton Pearson became a byword to those who formerly hung on his every word when he was preaching to them the things they already believed. Once he began to dig, to question, to excavate honest doctrine, the evangelical church could not have dropped him any faster if he had been a potato on fire.
And that's the lesson here: tell the truth and Christianity will discard you as fast as it can, because the only thing Christians desire is for someone to "amen" the lies upon which they have built their judgmental and hateful religion. It's the reason we have an orange president.
Carlton Pearson is a hero. A saint. A true believer who should go down in history as one of God's most brave fighters for truth. And my fervent hope is that he will.
October 16, 2017, 9:21 pm
On a whim, I typed "trumpsucks.com" into my browser. Because I'm programming and I needed a bit of a break for a second or two.
Next thing I know, my browser is redirected to HillaryClinton.com.
Kudos, staffer who set that up. Tip of the hat.
October 14, 2017, 11:11 am
So my wife and I were just at a store with our middle son, Axl. Some dude with huge boobs walked by and I casually said, "Man, that guy has nice tits."
The cashier cracked up and my wife punched me.
"You can't say stuff like that," my wife admonished.
"But he did have nice tits," I protested. "Like, he needed a bra."
The cashier agreed.
September 27, 2017, 7:07 am
I just finished watching a serialized documentary about the Scott Peterson trial. If you're not familiar, Scott Peterson was convicted in the early 2000s of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son.
The documentary, which interviews lots of investigatiors and attorneys, makes a compelling case that Peterson is innocent of the crime for which he is sitting on California's Death Row. There was a lot of exculpatory evidence the jury didn't hear, the jury was prejudiced due to frenzied media pontification about his guilt, jurors who were inclined to acquit were dismissed, that sort of thing.
I am part of the media, and I have been for nearly 30 years. We are under attack like never before, from places as high as the presidency of the United States. Some of it is deserved, most is not. I've been on the business end of the "kill the messenger" mindset as long as I have been a journalist. I'm accustomed to it. But the media are essential to ... I'll finish this later. Work calls.
September 10, 2017, 3:15 pm
The first time my wife and I moved somewhere together, I had to pack her books. It was like moving an aircraft carrier across land. Going through all her books while packing them, I noticed a lot of books by one author I'd never heard of: Piers Anthony.
Apparently, he wrote an entire series of books about a magical place named Xanth that looked a lot like Florida, where he lives, and teenage girls — including my wife — ate them up. He even had a hotline set up where little girls, eh, readers, could call him up and tell him how much they loved the books.
"Hi, Piers," my then-pubescent wife admitted to leaving on his answering machine. "I love you!" then she hung up and giggled the rest of the day.
So she handed me a book, "On a Pale Horse," in which a dude becomes the embodiment of death and time runs backward, and all kinds of weird shit, with the idea that I would love it. The writing was horrible. But the idea was clever, and I liked the book, although I thought it had a weird obsession with sex. Then she gave me another in the series, and that impression was cemented. I mentioned it to her, and she said something to the effect of "all his books have that."
She then suggested I read a book of Anthony's that she hadn't read yet, but had heard about:
Let me save you the trouble of reading it. Unless you like smegma being used in a "sexual" manner, and someone who uses "cleft" for "pussy" a lot, it's the most unsexy book I've ever read, and generally made me want to become a monk.
Reviewers described it as "quite weird," and that's the nicest thing I've ever heard about it. The "plot" is this: a dude is constantly thinking about how small his dick is, so a succubus (a kind of sex demon) meets him and introduces him to a doctor who cuts his penis off and replaces it with a magical penis that can save the world. I fucking kid you not.
Another reader said, "wtf is this, an attempt to get us grossed out by sex?"
Another: "The dumbest, most infantile, disgusting, idiot and un-erotic book I've ever read."
So anyway, that was the end of my Piers Anthony reading. Fast forward five years, and I was reading reviews of the movie "IT" by Stephen King, and someone was complaining that the teenage gang-bang from the 1950s was omitted from the movie. Someone else said, "Why are you complaining about that, when Piers Anthony puts pedophilia in all his books and then justifies it?
So I clicked the link they provided, and holy shit, they were not making it up.
This is all over the Internet, and you can search it yourself, but I picked the easiest-to-read link:
You don't have to go there; I'll summarize it for you. In his 1990 novel, Firefly, Anthony features the story of a man on trial for having sex with a five-year-old girl. FIVE. YEARS. OLD.
In the story, the girl comes to testify for him at the trial, saying their love was true and it was she, not him, who instigated the sex, therefore he should be acquitted. I'm not making that up. Her speech brings the judge to tears, the jury to nod in agreement. "The defendant never hurt her," his attorney tells the juror. "He only did what she asked."
What a five-year-old girl asked a grown man.
And in the author's note at the end of the book, he says, "It may be the problem is not with what is deviant, but with our definitions. I suggest in the novel that little Nymph (yes, he actually named the kindergartener who the old man was fucking "Nymph") was abused not by the man with whom she had sex, but by members of her family who warped her taste, and by the society that preferred to condemn her lover rather than address the source of the problem in her family."
Her lover. That's what he calls the grown man who raped a tiny child. In actor of his books, Tatham Mound, Anthony has a ten-year-old girl seducing a man because she loves him so much and doesn't want him to leave and find older girls more attractive than she. She, again I shit you not, uses honey as lube, and does a terrible job of the sex, once she has seduced him. But fear not, when she comes back for seconds, she is much better. "What a difference experience made!" he proclaims in the book.
The thread runs through ALL his books. In one interview, he states: "if she's 36-24-36 and fair of feature, men are attracted, and so am I, regardless whether she's 15 or 50".
Here's a quote from another site: "In retrospect, even the seemingly innocuous Xanth series contained a healthy dose of child eroticism. It isn't nearly as explicit as in Tatham Mound or Firefly, but the undercurrent of sexual fantasy is still there. Characters as young as 12 years old are married and engage in the act of "stork summoning," which is playfully omitted with an ellipsis. There is also an unhealthy preoccupation with young girls' panties and what color they might be. I never really thought there was anything wrong with it as a kid, because I was roughly the same age as the characters in question and I found the whole thing quite titillating. I never stopped to question whether the much older author found it titillating as well."
So I told my wife this morning. Here is her response (she's the gray bubbles):
So, in final summation, Piers Anthony is a pedophile who wrote books for children, encouraging them to come visit him in Florida, which was a magical place where little girls' panties could perform great feats of magic.
Enjoy your lunch.
Oh, also, I've reactivated comments on here. I will test them for awhile, and if I like what I see, I'll add them to my news sites.
August 29, 2017, 12:00 am
By the way, I saw a fat woman in Walmart today wearing a shirt with the following statement:
"The gym is my safe place."
August 28, 2017, 11:23 pm
Honestly, I don't care who you voted for or supported in the 2016 election. (Honestly, I'm lying. I loved Bernie Sanders, disliked Hillary and disliked Trump more. I care.)
But whoever you voted for (or didn't), surely you can't look at what's going on and think it's okay. As the lines of connection and collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian authorities become ever clearer and more damning, no self-respecting patriot could say "that doesn't matter, I don't care."
And what patriot—what believer in the supremacy of America—could look at Nazis marching down the streets, beating blacks, killing the protestors who oppose their imposition of FUCKING NAZI beliefs on the American discourse and still say "there is blame on both sides?"
Who among us could overlook the leader of the executive branch of government brazenly enriching himself through financial transactions with the leaders of foreign countries through his hotel and real estate holdings and turn a blind eye to the fact that AMERICA, not the potential for personal profit, come first?
Who could watch the multitude of lies, half-truths, obfuscations, denials and sleight of hand and not believe that Donald John Trump is purposefully orchestrating the destruction of the Republican Party as we know it? Don't get me wrong, I'm a Democrat, but only because there is no better alternative. But even I, as an opponent of the Republican party, can't help but look on and say, "This guy is doing this stuff on purpose."
It's like Trump (who publicly supported Hillary in 2012), set out to destroy the Republican party, which disagreed with ALL his opinions back then, and somehow, inexplicably, actually came into a position of power that allowed him to do it. Can no one else see this happening? Republicans, I'm no fan of yours, but WAKE UP! Trump is playing you, and he's ripping your party to shreds.
August 25, 2017, 12:00 am
Obviously, it's been awhile. Sorry, I've been busy. But tonight, I cooked what I can only honestly —and humbly— say is the best steak I've ever eaten in my entire life. Hands down.
I went to a local butcher and asked them to sell me a beef tenderloin, please leave the fat around it, since tenderloin (some fancy people call it filet mignon) is a super-lean cut of beef, and therefore almost flavorless, yet tender.
Anyway, after they sold me the meat (the most expensive cut of beef), I brought it home, and determined to finally cook a perfect steak, I thought about my options.
Searing steak and hoping it "rests" enough to become anything other than very rare has not worked out for me in the past. But having a super-expensive cut of beef puts a little pressure on a guy, so I thought about what I wanted to do. The myth has long been that searing a piece of steak first "seals in the juices" for later cooking. That's absolutely not true, so I thought I might achieve a better result by first baking the meat until its internal temperature reached 140 degrees fahrenheit, which is the standard for medium rare. Of course, I first seasoned it with a generous portion of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, augmented by a dash of garlic.
After I achieved that (by checking with my meat thermometer about a dozen times), I removed the steak from the oven and seared it on a piping hot iron skillet. While it was searing, I dumped a bunch of butter, a thinly-sliced shallot and several cloves of minced garlic into the skillet. While the meat was searing, I scooped the fluids from the melted butter, shallots and garlic on top of it, then as I turned the meat, I continued basting it every time I turned it.
After I was satisfied that each side was seared, I pulled it out of the skillet and let it "rest" for five minutes before I cut it into the slices you see in the image above.
And I have to say, this was absolutely the most tender, well-cooked, flavorful piece of steak I've ever eaten.
I supplemented the beef with a combination of vegetables, starting with a yellow onion diced, fried in coconut oil and then flambéed with a couple of shots of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon. I normally would have fried the onion in butter, but my wife, a vegan, wanted some, so I opted for coconut oil instead. After that, I added the onions to a mix of broccoli, sliced fingerling potatoes, fresh corn cut directly from the stalk, baby carrots and green beans, all of which I had been sautéing in more coconut oil. Spiced with cumin, garlic, onion, sea salt and pepper, the veggie mix turned out wonderful, and was the perfect complement to the steak.
All in all, I'm pretty sure Gordon Ramsay is going to start coming to me for advice on how to cook.
I offered to cook it again for one of my lawyer friends, who first said... wait, I'll just show you (I'm the blue bubbles):
Hook, line and sinker, I got suckered. Still, I'm no snob, but if you like your steak well-done, and god-forbid, you use ketchup as a sauce, we can never be friends.
He was kidding, but man, for a few minutes there, I was terrified.