Happy New Year! 1st Day Recommended Recipe!

1st Day of 2018’s Recommended Slow Cooker Recipe:

https://eatketo.com/slow-cooked-chuck-steak/

http://www.atlassteak.com/how-to-cook-chuck-steak-in-slow-cooker/

I used the first link for my first slow cooker meal of the year, but it was almost immediately apparent that braising actually served to toughen and dry out the meat, rather than speed up cooking.

After hours in the slow cooker the meet was still visibly tough. The 6 hour cooking time, the recipe predicted, wasn’t going to be nearly enough.

As of this writing the chuck steak has been slow cooking for over 12 hours, and is finally starting to break down and soften. I can smell it as it infuses the whole house. I’ll give it an additional 4 or 5 hours, and it should be ‘flake with a fork’ tender by 11ish later today.

I’ll update you in several hours.

 

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Remembering 2017! Favorite Streaming! Amazon Prime Hulu Roku NetFlix – Best of!

Favorite streaming box:

I spent most of 2017 using Amazon Fire Box rather than the Roku Box I had used previous years. I like both boxes (avoid the usb sticks, the boxes allow you to connect via Ethernet , which is better than just relying in wi-fi), though being an Amazon Prime member the Amazon box supports the Spotify app free version, which I got a lot of use out of in 2017. Discovering a lot of great music and musicians in 2017.

I quite like the Amazon Fire TV layout. It’s more dramatic than  the standard Roku Layout, and for those like me who have an Amazon Prime account, all of your watchlist is readily available on the home screen.

And in 2017, of the three main paid streaming services, Netflix, Amazon prime and Hulu, by far I spent the least time on Netflix.

For current and recent tv programs, HULU is the way to go, providing me excellent hours of watching, from AMERICAN NINJA to POWER to LEGION to FARGO to CHOPPED to LETHAL WEAPON to ORVILLE  to a host of HGTV shows. In addition it sports great classic tv shows from BIG VALLEY to THE SAINT to UFO.

For film from new to old to cult and classic and obscure, AMAZON PRIME was clearly the hands down best, offering thousands of more movie options than either Netflix or HULU. And offering such a variety of films, to put any videostore in the 80s and 90s to shame.

Among the homerun movies watched in 2017 courtesy of Amazon prime were…

THE INCUBUS (from 1982 this John Hough directed horror flick, starring the legendary and volatile John Cassavetes is surprisingly great and disturbing), the slow burn but very odd 1980 film CONTAMINATION, Amadao de Ossorio’s classic series of undead templars wreaking havoc, quite a lot of Lucio Fulci’s genre pushing films, from the extremely gory SEVEN DOORS OF DEATH to THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY to the stylistically impressive western THE SILVER SADDLE, as well as THE BLACK CAT, DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING and a few more.

Other standouts this year watched courtesy of Amazon Prime were GOATSUCKER (the first 15 minutes are dreadful, very poor production values, performances. Stick with it because, it goes in surprisingly unexpected places. It is that rarest of things, a genre/horror film that is original and surprising), WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, REMEMBER, SICARIO, 13 HOURS, ARMED RESPONSE, THE DANGER ELEMENT, THE DARK TAPES, STITCHES, THE DEVILS ROCK, 200 DEGREES, DEAD GAMERS, HUNTED, THE CONDEMNED, PLAN 9, STORM:LUTHER’S FORBIDDEN LETTER, THE AWAKENING, REDEEMER, SPEED RACER, BLOOD THIRST, AUDREY ROSE, CURFEW, NEVER LET GO, ARRIVAL, I HAD A BLOODY GOOD TIME AT HOUSE HARKER, BADDER BEN, SHIN GODZILLA, ARACHNIA, THE CREATURE BELOW, THROWBACK, HARD BREED TO KILL, THE MOUNTAIN II, THE HUNTER’S PRAYER, THE HUNTED, BITE, AFTERIMAGES, BIG MATCH, 1,2,3…SCREAM, THE MONSTER PROJECT, INFESTATION, BEAST OF THE YELLOW NIGHT, HOT POTATO, PATIENT, HIDE THE MONSTER, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE EVIL WITHIN, INTERROGATION, BLACK MOUNTAIN SIDE, PATIENT SEVEN, THE DUEL, HUMAN LANTERNS, 13 HOURS IN A WAREHOUSE, WILDMEN, BOONE THE BOUNTY HUNTER, TALL MEN, THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE, CREATURE LAKE, ARMY OF THE DAMNED, BUNKER OF THE DEAD, ALWAYS WATCHING, THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER, THE DEMONIC TAPES, ORCS!, UNDERGROUND, MAN VS, THE HOUSE ON SKULL MOUNTAIN, BIO-SLIME, THERE’S NOTHING OUT THERE!, GALAXY OF HORRORS, THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA, ARBOR DEMON, DON’T KILL IT, SAVAGELAND, RETURN TO NIHASA.

And Netflix had a few notable movies in 2017, SECURITY, BOYKA:UNDISPUTED, DEATH NOTE, THE BLACK ROOM, MESSAGE FROM THE KING, THE VOID, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, BLAME!; as well as a few TV shows such as RIPPER STREET, GODLESS , but the  experience of watching, particularly movies on Netflix is notably just not as fun. Besides lacking the breadth of Movie choices available an Amazon in movies, or a Hulu in TV shows, the interface lacking easily accessible trailers, and ratings, and ‘customers also watched’ recommendations that makes the Amazon Prime App/Interface a lot more fun to utilize/spend time on.

 

Going into 2018, with Netflix raising its prices, while at the same time slated to lose its Marvel/Disney content, I’m strongly leaning toward doing away with Netflix. Especially with Net Neutrality changes poised to make Broadband more expensive, i foresee 2018 being a year of  trade-offs and consolidation; and perhaps a pivotal year as regards streaming in general.

Happy Holidays to all my Followers!

The Past Due Book Review is a great Book Review site I highly recommend checking out. Some of their highlight posts from 2017

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

El otoño del patriarca [The Autumn of the Patriarch] by Gabriel García Márquez (1975)

Music Monday – The Dear Hunter: Act I

http://www.zombiepodcast.com – The team at Zombie Podcast released a book on Radio Drama and continued their long running podcast

https://anilbalan.com/ – Has a great post on largely unknown weird writer H C Mercer.

AJ Harper of the brilliant Urban Horror Blog with great articles on David Walker & Sanford Green’s upcoming comic BITTER ROOT and Kurt Busiek’s ASTRO CITY.

Derrick Ferguson is a multi-talented gentlemen who wears a variety of hats from Pulp Writer to Podcaster to reviewer, doing each exceptionally well. But it is the latter talent you can see in action at Ferguson Theater. Of special note in 2017 were his articles on the web series HAVE A NICE DAY, a great review on one of my favorite films THE LION IN WINTER and selling me on giving the Netflix series GODLESS a try with the following three evocatively worded sentences.

‘If you only know Jeff Daniels from his comedic roles then you’ll be positively scared witless by his performance in GODLESS. Frank Griffin is a character that might have stepped right out the pages of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” He’s a character who carries within him the capacity for apocalyptic violence and tremendous compassion.’

 

 

A nice list of role playing games are available on https://chroniclesofharriet.com/

http://www.hikingphoto.com/- Breathtaking pictures from his hikes around the world

https://alwayscouponing.wordpress.com/page/8/ – A great wine recommendation for 2017

https://isylumn.wordpress.com/ – A fumigator of souls.

http://www.percivalconstantine.com/luther-cross-is-back-in-a-new-adventure/ -Looking forward to listening to the Luther Cross audio books when they become available

I’ll cover more of my followers in the next installment!

 

 

 

 

Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Vodun, Festivus, and the Mass of Christ!

I notice people this Holiday season in the wake of the Trump regime becoming more exclusionary.

Making the holidays aggressively and solely about the Mass of Christ. A prevalence of Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holidays. An assumption that everyone should celebrate Christmas as opposed to any other option.

A very backwards way of looking at this season of ‘good will to all’.

So this post was my small part in saying it is not all about Christ’s mass, and to give love to other celebrations of the season!

So whatever you celebrate, may you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

 

The most important news story of our digital age?

If you are not donating to the EFF, are not a card carrying member, and you consider some of the violations of personal liberties as well as continued inability of companies to safe guard our data, a concern at the least, and more accurately an outrage… EFF is the one fighting for your freedoms. And the one that needs your support.

Read up on FCC’s historic capitulation to big business (again… similar to when they just GAVE  huge swaths of the public airwaves over to the private sector) as they now give unfettered manipulation powers to already grossly entrenched and competition squashing monopolistic entities (your ISPs).

And find out why the fight is not over and what you can do to help.

Go here…

Cat & Unicorn

https://www.eff.org/

 

The media as the new lynching tool? Witchhunts in the digital age. Cosby, Weinstein, Lauer, Affleck, Singer, Spacey – punishment without conviction

Here’s the thing since the OJ case, now going on 24 years ago,  the always tenuous state of what passes for news and journalism in this nation, took a decided hit. We have become a nation where guilt and innocence is not determined in a courtroom, but in the media and by innuendo and where the unproven allegation of wrongdoing has somehow become gospel without trial.

Cosby, Weinstein, Lauer, Affleck, Singer, Spacey the list gets more lengthy everyday, are these men guilty, are they innocent, I don’t really know. I reckon being flesh and blood, the truth is somewhere in between; and the truth, if there is validity to the claims, should be determined in a court of law, and the punishment, if any, should also be determined in a court of law.

But that is not what is happening. The accusation somehow magically is enough to punish these men on. Without a day in court, these men are losing their jobs, their livelihoods, their reputations, their honorariums, based on innuendo and accusations.

That is not acceptable.

What is worse is the media makes these often very personal cases… dealing with incidents that in some cases happened decades ago, the major news of a nation; a nation that should be concentrating on more significant issues of national and global import. These men behaving badly, is not as important as voter disenfranchisement, corporate monopolies, institutionalized slavery, loss of a free internet, price gouging by companies.

Is it a story that a woman or man decades ago got flashed or objectified or degraded? Probably… decades ago.

The timing and the concerted pile on approach of these accusations… it just strikes me as talk show bullshit to blind a nation to far more serious issues, with criminals and corporations who are in positions to do harm on a far greater scale and of far more importance,  than any of these accused predators.

For these alleged victims, these women.. and men,   if true, I could see the issue being their center point (however if true why would it take someone else to spur them to file an accusation? If that other person didn’t come forward, or wasn’t paid to come forward, the unbearable offense… what? it would have been just a sling and arrow, that all of us deal with in one form or another. It would have been, this unbearable offense… bearable?) it should not however, be a nation’s obsession.

In the grand scheme of things, these accusations are not that important to be plastered on every TV screen and every newspaper. For the victim, if they haven’t waited 20 years, possibly they feel it is the center of the universe. For the claimed victim’s family… sure. But important to be thrust in front of an entire nation as news?

Not even remotely.

You got groped on the elevator by your boss, file an EO complaint, an HR complaint,  and file a criminal complaint for assault. We have a process and courts to hear your case, if with merit they will be tried there. Save the nightly news for people and companies who can affect the lives of all of us. Companies and individuals that people like Cosby, and Weinstein, and Spacey fought against. The Oligarch’s who fight in true ways to enslave us on a massive scale, to bring back the days of master and slave. Now that is a crime befitting of national and world coverage.

These accused men, combined you are talking dozens of people affected over a course of decades; with Trump, Bush and their policies of state you are talking billions of lives affected, millions of people dead, horrible policies of racism and disenfranchisement put in place.

In 1994, with an America and World coming apart at the seams, OJ Simpson accused of the death of two white people, should not have been on my tv, and should not have been the most important story of the year. Only racism, and the desire by powerful interests that own the media,  made a statistically speaking (this is America where spouses are accused of killing each other by the tens of thousands every year), insignificant crime into a rallying point for division, conflict, hatred, and a distraction from far more serious issues we should have, united, been galvanized against.

Hogwash you say? If OJs suspected victims had been black, would it have been the world shaking story of 1994? Would it still be a story here in 2017?

The answer is an unequivocal NO. Which means the story was never about the murder of two people, it was about the salacious division such a story  of color lines crossed, could be whipped into by a media.

It was a media version of a lynching, which is never about punishing the guilty, as much as it is about instilling fear and confusion and dissension among the masses. Selling fear and hate.

That’s how people in power, stay in power; by keeping you embroiled in the petty, talk show aspects, lowest common denominator aspects, while the larger fights of how well we live, how rightly we live, the larger questions, we don’t get to. Sidetracked as we are with lynchings disguised as news.

 

Twenty Four years ago that was the case, and it is even more so today.

Cosby, Weinstein, Spacey, may or may not have done bad, questionable things, but that is for a court to prove, and not twitter or the tv screen or youtube. And only then should they be punished, and even if proven, a man’s bad does not erase his good, they must be measured against each other, a man’s falling down, weighed against his standing up.

If some of you rush to, from your high horse, say you have not done the evil of a Cosby, or Weinstein, or Spacey, or Singer, do not forget the other side, that few are you… who can say that you have done the good of these men. Bill Cosby damn near single handedly in an age of monsters and racism, made the lives of many in America, and throughout the world… better, richer. I can not pay in dollars and cents, or flesh or blood, the debt owed to him. To varying degrees that can also be said of a Weinstein or a Singer or a Lauer.

These are men, flawed men obviously, but they spoke truth to power, they fought in many arenas and in many ways for the less powerful,  and they made enemies of dyed in the wool conservatives, among them owners of news networks, who would like nothing better for the people they fought for, to like unthinking  dogs be pointed in their heroes direction… to tear them apart.

What am I saying? Most of us are sinners and few of us are saints, don’t be used by the true sinners, to silence  men whose good outweighs their evil.

And if in your mind, their good does not outweigh their evil, neither does their evil (real or imagined) eradicate their good.

Let us hope at the end of our days our judgment, all of us reading this, lies not in the hands of a bloodthirsty mob or tragedy loving media, but in a benevolent God. Who forgets not our falling down, but also does not forget… our standing up.

 

We are a nation of innocence till proven guilty. That proof, even in a digital age must be come to in court by a stringent process, not haphazardly jumped to by the mob, often with their own axes to grind. Save casting that first stone to those who walk on water, instead we must embrace the process.  All else is either anarchy or tyranny.

These men are now all vilified for their falling down, I want to take a little space and give just a little bit of space… to their standing up:

O.J. Simpson – Awards And Accomplishments

single season rushing record named player football inducted

1965 Named All-American collegiate football player
1967 Named Outstanding Player in the Rose Bowl
1968 Wins Walter Camp Memorial Trophy
1968 Wins Maxwell Memorial Trophy
1968 Wins Heisman Trophy
1970 Named Collegiate Player of the Decade by ABC
1970 Named to AFC All-star team
1972 Named Most Valuable Player in AFC
1973 Named NFL’s Most Valuable Player
1973 Breaks single season rushing record
1973 Named Hickok Belt Professional Athlete of the Year
1979 Named NFL Player of the Decade by Pro Football Monthly
1983 Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
1985 Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
1993 Inducted into Rose Bowl Hall of Fame
1994 Inducted into USC Hall of Fame

The June 20, 1977, issue of Advertising Age.

The most successful producer of all time, launching careers and making important films that no one else wanted to touch. How the hell does the Academy expel him before he has been officially convicted of something or has had his day in court? How the hell does that work? Enough people start pointing and screaming witch, and we start burning people at the stake? Was he a predator? Did he improperly handle funds related to ONE of the many charities he supported? Guilty, Innocent I don’t have a dog in this fight, if guilty he should be punished according to the law he broke, but prove him guilty first.  I don’t like to see someone convicted before they’ve had a day in court, and a chance in court to face their accusers. Where surprisingly enough most of these accusations don’t make it to court, because they don’t stand up in court. But through the cowardice of trying people on the Internet and the Media, no proof is necessary, just finger pointing.

Harvey Weinstein has supported the following charities listed on this site:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005544/awards

 

Bill Cosby – From sports to Civil Rights to Comedy to Children’s Entertainment to breaking down the barriers for people of color in the entertainment industry and beyond, people are working today, and shows are made today, and movies are made today, and opportunities are had today that you don’t get without Bill Cosby paving the way and being a staunch advocate and supporter. The effect he had on my own life as a kid in a rough city, with rough opportunities, like I said it can’t be paid.

Did he do wrong by his accusers, most of them from four and five decades ago. I don’t know, but the length of time between the supposed crime, and the accusation, and these stories, it just rings suspect. For any one who honestly actually knew Cosby, I think its as likely that there are several more of the accusers seeking attention and seeking a payday.

Cosby at the height of his popularity, when he could had had any woman he wanted, is going to need to drug these women to have sex? It has been known to happen, but you are going to have to prove it in a bloody court of law, not in the media. Anytime accusers are selling their stories to the media, and making book deals, and getting agents, for an ‘unbearable crime’ that they didn’t report for 4 decades…my bullshit meter goes off.  They are trying this is the media, rather than the court, and that always screams to me… you know you don’t have a case.

And guilty or innocent, how that invalidates sixty years of a stunning career and stunning good done, is beyond me. Colleges and Military organizations that he supported, are quick to strip him of honorariums. You effing cowards.

A man earns a Medal of Honor he doesn’t unearn it, because he ends up an addled homeless addict. Those victories, those moments are fixed points in time, and should not be conveniently erased by another point in time.

I don’t do pictures, I don’t do links when it comes to Cosby. Because I find it unnecessary, I find it a very simple equation when discussing Cosby.

For his supposed victims if true I can see them seeing only his evil, for me and the remaining billions of people on the planet how Cosby actions affected us…is in a positive way. So yes, if true, let his accusers seek and get their day in court, And let the court determine punishment if any. But for the other billions of you to actively hate a man, who has done nothing but push the world forward, is a lynching, pile-on, mob, witch hunt mentality. It is the mentality of cowards and bigots. It is the symptom of an age, where the tail (the media) wags the dog (the public).

If true, it is a crime to be punished, and a sickness to be mourned, not a fall to be celebrated.

I don’t know the people accusing these men.  But I’ll take the good these men have done the many, over the evil they are accused of doing the few… any day of the week.

 

“When you side with a man, you stick with him. And if you can’t do that, you’re like some kind of animal.”