Well hello there dear reader. I must confess, writing a new post on a new blog is a bit like washing brand new clothes for the first time. It all seems so fresh, promising a new hope for easier dressing and self expression, less static cling, and most importantly; no longer having to tolerate something nice but too stained to wear in public. Yes that’s what a new blog is like for me.
Having blog is an odd thing. Many bloggers are hoping to simply get readers and clicks so they can make money off the thing. Some just have a love of an idea or activity that they want to share with anyone who is like minded, especially if the new reader is just learning about the ideology or activity. Obviously there’s lots of folks who blog for all kinds of reasons. Mine is simply this: I’m a communicator and have something to say. I don’t need to be popular or specialized, and by golly I don’t assume what I think I know is absolute truth.
There was just an utterly terrible story in the news yesterday. I assume it will be talked about today unless something even more awful comes along (which seems possible these days). I awoke thinking about these young people and the answers they’re going to have to ask themselves. There are questions we should be asking ourselves about what evil actually is. The following is from Mary Tillotson on The Federalist:
Everyone has a worldview. Objectivity is a real thing and truth does in fact exist, but the existence of truth doesn’t mean we’re all good at seeing it. If you want to think critically, the first step is to know where you’re coming from.
I’m going to list some abstract questions, but don’t run off just yet. Think of something evil that happened recently and consider these questions in that context.
How do you explain good and evil behavior in people? Did the perpetrator act because he was a bad person or was he just a person who made a bad choice? Are there “good people” and “bad people,” or are we all prone to evil?
Is there any hope of exoneration or redemption for him? (Can racism or genocide or whatever you read about ever be excused or forgiven?) In what way? What would that exoneration or redemption look like?
How do you know the evil actions in the event were evil? How do you judge that? Could other people have different criteria? If the perpetrator had different criteria than you do, is it fair to judge him by your criteria? Is there some kind of objective criteria by which we can measure evil? How would we know?
Answer these questions and you’ll learn more about how you see the world. Once you know how you see the world, you can think about how other people might.
Do people deserve forgiveness no matter what they have done? Can someone change? Is guilt or innocence changeable depending on the social climate so to speak? From bread & circuses to towns going to public hangings for entertainment back in the day, people have always done terrible things and others have enjoyed the spectacle of it. Some criminals pay for proper justice and in so doing have received redemption, while some never learn from mistakes. So what do we do? We lazily move on to other almost-but-not-quite-as awful topics like the latest thing so-called evil Trump said. It’s hard to look within sometimes and ask the tough questions that really mean something.
Perhaps taking a regular view of our own moral compass is a good thing. Not like some overly self-aware 12 stepper who has to “make amends” to you for making a vaguely racial joke 5 years ago. I mean more like when we hear a terrible story we think about more than one side. It’s hard to have a clear view of a disturbing topic when the details are fresh. It’s also hard to recall what was so upsetting after too long. Remember the phrase “give it a rest”? Well maybe taking in crappy news stories can be like that. You let steak rest to gather back in juices. You let a baby take a nap. Why not take a news nap? A media break?
After a year long hiatus with not having any form of news media in my life, I can say that if something actually crazy was going to happen, one of my relatives or friends would call me about it anyway. This happened a couple times already. So I filter as best I can with news knowing someday I’ll give in to something not personal but probably political. That being said, I feel it’s helpful to my psyche to focus on what matters most. And today that’s Chipotle Chicken Stew for Tacos!
I’m sorry I didn’t edit the photo better so you’ll have to trust me when I say this is a yummy thing to make and perfect for a mid-week free for all. By free for all I mean the dish is versatile and could work for both lunch and dinner (breakfast too if you’re adventurous like I am). You can make this stew and use it in soft flour taco shells like Paula Deen’s original recipe says. You can also use this stew – which in certain areas of Mexico is the filling used for tacos – also known as mole for burritos, rice bowls, nachos, etc. Anyway enjoy!
Chipotle Chicken Mole (adapted from Paula Deen’s Chipotle Chicken Tacos)
In a iron skillet sauté on medium-high 3/4 of a red onion and 5 garlic cloves finely chopped in 1 TBSP or so of olive or avocado oil. When the mix has some nice browning on it, pour it into a crockpot. Now add some more oil to the skillet and add 2 bone-in chicken breasts with the skin off (aim for about 2lbs chicken). On medium-high sear the breasts on both sides – for about 3-4 min per side. Put seared chicken in the crock pot. Return the pan to the stove an pour a few good splashes of chicken broth in the pan. Use a wooden spoon and scrape off the leftover browned bits into the broth with your still warm pan. Pour broth into the crockpot. Next add 1 TSP cumin, 1/2 TSP salt, 1/4 TSP chili powder, 1 12 oz. can chopped tomatoes with jalapeños, and 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
If you have time, cook in slow cooker for 4-6 hours. If you forgot until 2pm like I did and need it done sooner, cook on high for 2 hours and low for an hour. Take the breasts and bones out of the cooker and on a cutting board shred the meat off the bones into small chunks. Throw the meat back into the sauce, use 2 forks to do some more shredding. Turn the heat on high for another half hour. Serve any which way you want as mentioned above. You may want to have on hand some diced red onion, sour cream, jack or cheddar (or both!) cheese, cilantro, avocado, and pickled jalapeños. Rice or black beans make a perfect side dish.