January 15th, 2020

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Hard Things

Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently? What are some hard things you haven't gotten to yet, but need to do? Is there anything your online friends could do to make your hard things a little easier?
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Valentine Recipes

Here are some pink and red recipes for Valentine's Day.  See also purple, black, and white recipes for asexuals and green recipes for aromantics.  This matters because, if people actually know the color-coding for this stuff, it cuts down on confusion and embarrassing mistakes.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone knew that some people take themselves  out to dinner, and just kept their yap shut about it?
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Arguing About Universal Basic Income

Neither of these plans sound like a good idea, but one element does: removing the tax cap.  People who make absurd amounts of money should be taxed sufficiently to keep it in circulation, not just sitting in their pocket.  America has had that before, and was in better shape when it did.

Also, in order to work properly, a UBI payment must put people just above the poverty line.  It doesn't have to be lavish, but does have to provide subsistence.  The proposed amount of the lower payment wouldn't even cover housing in most places, and the higher isn't much more.  The idea is to make employment optional, not a survival need, so that businesses can't abuse employees with impunity.  Imagine all the women who'd quit if they didn't have to put up with sexual abuse just to survive.  "Jane, get your sweet buns over here and make me some coffee."  "I'm sorry, Dave, I can't do that.  I'm going to go write a novel.  Also, fuck you."

Regarding the argument about discouraging people from employment: we actually need that now, and will need it more and more if we continue automating jobs away.  We've already shut many people out of the job market; it just doesn't show in official numbers because those are manipulated to hide most of the people who wish to be working but can't.  This trend is rising rapidly.  So either America finds some other way to support people, it stops automating jobs away, it invents a vast number of new jobs using similar skills as the lost ones, or something will seriously break down.

As for the only worth coming from employment, that claim is ridiculous.  Employment has only been the norm for a century or so.  Before that, most people lived outside the cities and most were farmers working for themselves.  Even the early cities consisted mostly of family businesses.  This idea of working for someone else is pretty new in human history, and not all that great.  Most of history, most people either lived a subsistence style or worked for themselves in practical fields.  The modern disjunction from practicalities has created whole new psychological risks, as it serves poorly for meeting people's needs.  Provide survival needs without that, and humans would go right back to occupying their time with matters of family, faith, personal interest -- like they used to do before they invented agriculture and its time-consuming requirements.  UBI makes a lot more sense if you've studied history and anthropology.
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Poem: "Elegant, Mysterious, and Beautiful"

This poem came out of the May 7, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "Seven of Arrows - Insecurity" square in my 4-30-19 card for the Tarot Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This features the aftermath of a raid on a mad science compound, with assorted challenges, but deals primarily with emotional fallout rather than active mayhem.

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Recipe: "Hazelnut Steaklets"

I made these tonight. Soooo good. :D   

One interesting thing about exploring Native American cuisine is that it encourages me to use certain ingredients more.  I am using way more juniper berries than I used to, now that I have a better idea of what to put with them.  After tonight's success with the hazelnuts, I'll probably do that again too.  \o/


"Hazelnut Steaklets"


Ingredients:
4 hazelnuts
4 juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 steaklets


Directions:

Turn the George Foreman grill ON.

In a mortar and pestle, crush 4 hazelnuts. Brush the hazelnut crumbs into a small bowl and set aside.

Crush together 4 juniper berries, 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage. Add the hazelnut crumbs back into the mortar and mix thoroughly.

Coat the steaklets with the hazelnut mixture, pressing gently to stick the crumbs to the meat.

When the light goes off, put the steaklets on the George Foreman grill and cook for about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Notes:

Hazelnuts come from the American hazelnut (Corylus americana) and related species elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. When crushed, they make an excellent coating for meat, turning sweet and crispy when cooked. You can forage for wild ones or buy them.

If you are cooking a very lean meat like venison, you can brush it with hazelnut oil before adding the hazelnut coating to add healthy fat and prevent the meat from drying out.

Juniper berries from Juniperus communis or related species are technically soft fleshy cones which are dried for use as a spice. They have a resinous, peppery flavor that goes well with meat. Pick your own or shop for them.

The sage family includes a variety of wild sages native to America, along with the better-known garden sage or Salvia officinalis from the Mediterranean. Wildcraft some sage or buy it.  You can also grow your own, including native species like white sage.

Sea salt has many more minerals and other benefits compared to table salt.  Many varieties are available.

I used a relatively thin beef steak that had been tenderized with a mallet, leaving behind many small slits. These lacy cuts of meat are ideal for seasoning blends because the slits hold onto the crumbs. Any other small, thin cut of beef should also work as will similar meats like bison or venison.

This recipe is sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free by ingredients. If you are allergic to tree nuts, consider sunflower seeds or other seeds as a substitute for the hazelnuts.