Christians are equivalent to ISIS or the Taliban?

I am not a Christian.  I describe as an "Asatru leaning agnostic" or maybe "a practitioner, if not a believer, in Asatru".  Still, I'd I have to say that Christians make far better neighbors than many another group.  Yeah, they have their bad apples but the comparison between Christians as a group, at least in the Western world, and Isis or the Taliban is beyond ridiculous.  Part of that is simply a matter of civilization.  People simply behave better in the civilized world than they do in the more barbaric regions.  However Christians in the civilized world try to spread civilization.  Groups like Isis and the Taliban try to spread barbarism.  Apples and dark matter they have so little in common.

I have yet to meet a Christian who believes I must die for being asatruar (well, leaning that way anyway). They may try to convince me of their belief. They may be concerned for my immortal soul. But they do not say I should be killed for not believing in "the god of the book." How have ISIS and the Taliban weighed in on that? Is, perhaps, the choice they offer Islam, Dhimmitude (for Christians and Jews--"people of the book"), or death?
The Crusades you say? Well, leave aside that the Crusades were quite a few centuries ago, you might want to look more deeply into the history behind them. It was a lot more complicated than simply wanting to kill the infidel in the name of Christianity.

As for folk like the abortion clinic murderers and the like that are often paraded about as examples of how "Christians are just as bad", you might want to consider the religious leanings of the people who investigated those crimes, the people who caught the culprits, the people who tried them, the people who convicted them, and the people who punished them. Simple statistics suggests that the majority of them were some flavor of Christian.
How about ISIS or the Taliban?  Same thing going on their?  Violence in the name of their religion being punished by their religious peers?  No?

Then would people stop with the false comparisons?

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Follow up with the podiatrist today.  While a part of me thinks it’s kind of silly to see the doctor over a sore toe (even one that’s been pretty persistent) I have also been told that with diabetes I have to pay special attention to my feet and this kind of thing is not to be ignored.

The problem is a puzzle.  The X-rays show a very slight increased separation in the first joint (the joint between the metatarsal and the first toe bone) but nothing that really explains the problem.

One thing, the new shoes I got–up from 9 1/2 EEEE to 11 EEEE–are still not wide enough.  There’s apparently a “turning” of the metatarsal bone on the little toe side that’s normal with age and that makes my foot wider than before.  He suggested going to the New Balance store and see if they have 6E in stock.  I can probably reduce a half size in length so long as they’re wide enough.  In the meantime he gave me a steroid shot in the joint, hoping to get the inflammation (the probable cause of that increased separation) under control.

If the wider shoes do not relieve the problem (since I still have the discomfort when going barefoot at home, this may well be an issue) and the cortisone doesn’t resolve it, then we may be looking at surgical intervention.  According to the doctor since I have a sedentary job, I might be able to go back to it about a week after the surgery, so long as I can stay off my feet with the “repaired” foot propped up.

We’re hoping to avoid that.

All that from a sore toe.

Feeding the Active Writer

Beef tips and gravy.

This is quite similar to the ridiculously easy pot roast and gravy.  Mostly the presentation is a little different.

Ordinarily, I would wait a bit longer between posting such similar recipes but this one appears to have been a big hit at the just finished LibertyCon that I figured to go ahead and put it up.

As it happened, this was one of two items I donated to the con suite.  The other was a chili recipe (not a low-carb recipe; I make it because it’s been popular at previous LC’s, so I continue to bring it even though I can’t eat it).  I was in the con suite (at science fiction conventions this is a room set aside for general socializing with drinks, snacks, and sometimes real food, provided by the con) around lunch time.  The chili was out and people were lined up to get some, along with other things that were available to eat.  There was someplace I had to be so I stepped out.  Came back about a half hour later.  Sometime after I had left, the folk running the con suite had put out the pot of beef tips.  And it was empty, gone.  It went fast.  I brought the stuff and it was gone before I could have any myself.

So here’s the recipe for this stuff that turned out to be very popular indeed:

3 lbs beef round roast, cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
1 1/2 TBSP Xanthum Gum*
1 cup diced onions
1 3/4 – 2 cups beef broth (can be canned, made from boullion, or homemade**)

(Optional (but it makes cleanup a breeze): Line a four quart slow cooker with slow cooker liners.)
Place the beef into the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the Xanthum Gum over the top.
Top with the diced onions.
Finally, pour in the beef broth.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Stir.

Serve with non-starchy vegetables or (if you’re not low-carb) noodles.

Like I said, this stuff went fast.

* As mentioned before, Xanthum Gum is my thickener of choice as a thickener for sauces and gravies.  It’s rather expensive on a per-pound basis, but you use less to thicken a given amount of liquid to a given consistency in comparison to flour or cornstarch.  It’s also lower in effective net carbs by weight.

** I may address making your own beef stock/broth in a future installment.  The process to make a good beef stock can be time consuming so it’s not really an “active writer” recipe, but it’s good enough that I may make an exception.

When war on Earth cuts off access to space, the people of several space stations and a barely started colony have to figure out how to survive.  The ultimate Survival Test.

Flyer for The Kinmar

With LibertyCon coming up, I realized I didn’t have a flyer for my latest work.  So I had to put something together quick.

Here it is.  There’s some aliasing in the text from reducing the scale for use on the Web, but otherwise it’s as created.  Fortunately, I have access to a nice color printer so long as I don’t abuse the privilege.  (50 copies, OK.  5000, not so much):

A very odd place in my head indeed

Recently, there have been some revelations about the late Marion Zimmer Bradley.  These revelations leave me in a very strange place, personally.

I first started writing seriously in the late 80’s and started getting to within “shooting distance” of professional quality in the early 90’s.

Ms. Bradley was one of my “writing mentors” in the latter part of that time. At that stage of my career there were two people who would talk to me–Stan Schmidt at Analog (who had just bought my story “The Future is Now”) and Marion Zimmer Bradley (who had bought my story “Jilka and the Evil Wizard”). It was her anthology series “Sword and Sorceress” that got me to try my hand at shorter fantasy and, in fact, really writing fantasy at all. Oh, I had a novel in progress at the time, but it was really a one-off inspired by, well, reasons.  Everything else I wrote before encountering the Sword & Sorceress series was Science Fiction.

A particularly ironic instance, given later revelations, was a “Middle reader” book I wrote.  Taking advice from a book on writing I’d written, I sought out some “established writers” who would be willing to look at it and write testimonials.  Most of the folk I’d approached either ignored me (and justly so) or set me straight that that was bad advice.  Ms. Bradley was the only one to agree to look at the book.  And, in the end, she wrote a brief “blurb” of the kind that one might put on the cover of a book.

So, in my files, I have a letter from Ms. Bradley offering modest praise of a book that I wrote (and which, to date, has not been published.  A children’s book.

It was Ms. Bradley actually encouraging a lot of my work in Fantasy, that got me writing fantasy. She never ended up buying another story before I returned to school and dropped out of writing much of anything until the past few years. By the time I returned to writing, she was gone and the first wave of stuff about the past (which made it look more like she was deeply in denial, or perhaps “co-dependent” about her then partner’s behavior).  But she’s why I have written, and sold, several fantasy stories.

So, as a writer, I actually owe quite a bit to the late Ms. Bradley.

Now, I don’t know the truth of the allegations about her.  People that I have reason to trust, give them a great deal of credence.  I don’t plan to investigate for myself.  She’s been dead for fifteen years.  For those harmed by her actions I hope they find whatever healing they need to live happy lives of their own.

But I will say this.  If the allegations are true then if she were still alive and tried to do any of the stuff now laid at her feet to my daughter I would kill her with my own hands.

Like I said, a very strange place.

LibertyCon Schedule

My schedule for LibertyCon 27 (That’s a lot of programming!)

Fri     05:00PM     Opening Ceremonies    
Fri     06:00PM     Reading: David Burkhead    
Sat     10:00AM     Autograph Session    
Sat     02:00PM     The Implications of 3-D Printing    
Sat     04:00PM     Autograph Session    
Sat     09:30PM     An Anime Retrospective    
Sat     10:00PM     Perseid Press, Moondream Press and Iron Clad Press Book Launch Parties; IOH and Fictioneers Parties    
Sat     11:00PM     Mad Scientist Roundtable    
Sun     11:00AM     The Story of Anti-Matter: Making It, Using It and Mis-using It    
Sun     12:00PM     War in Space – is it Inevitable?    
Sun     02:00PM     What’s New from Moondream Press    

Feeding the Active Writer(‘s daughter)

A break from low-carb yumminess this week.  Instead we’re going to talk Grilled Cheese Sandwhiches.

My wife claims I make the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world.

My wife, however, is from Japan and the very first time she ever had a grilled-cheese sandwich it was one of mine so perhaps she’s not the best judge.

My daughter, however, also loves them.

So on to the recipe.

Two slices of bread
Butter or margarine
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until a drop of water dropped onto it sizzles.
Butter two slices of bread heavily.
Place one slice of bread, butter side down on the skillet.
Cover with a thick layer of the grated cheese (the key here is to use a lot of cheese).
Place the other slice of bread butter side up on top.

When the cheese starts to melt, slip a thin-edged spatula under the sandwich and quickly flip it.
Cook about the same amount of time on the other side.
Continue flipping and cooking as necessary until both sides are brown.

Best eaten hot.

Extra bonus recipe:
Donkey Ride to Heaven Bacon Grilled Cheese.

When putting the cheese on the first slice of bread, only put about half as much cheese as normal.  Top with 3-4 strips of cooked bacon (crispy is best).
Top with the remaining cheese.
Finish as with the standard grilled cheese.

You can use other thing as fillers between the half layers of cheese, but, really, if bacon is an option why should you ever want to?

It’s not low fat or low calorie or low carb–well, it might be possible to do it with a low-carb bread, perhaps a flax-meal bread, but I’ve never tried that.  In any case, my daughter loves it.