I am a 4th generation Texan. I am passionate about Chili. Many regional dishes around the world can vary in their composition and can spur great debate regarding authenticity. Chili is no different. Some Texans will tell you that Chili has beans in it (they are wrong and we will get to this in a moment). Others will tell you the opposite. It seems that every Texan has their own way of preparing this most sacred dish. But the agreed upon fact is that Chili is a thickened stew-like dish of meat and spices.

I have done much research on the origins of Chili. During the early cattle drives of the southwest, near Texas and Mexico, it was common for the cooks to gather wild herbs and chilis growing along the trails. Beef being readily available on the cattle drives, would be a common source of protein for the cowboys and vaqueros, and naturally added to something that could simmer for long periods of time and hold after cooking without spoiling quickly. Wild game, also being common, would sometimes find it’s way into the pot. So it seems that some of the earliest origins of Chili trace back to the region of Texas and Mexico with the concoction evolving naturally around locally available ingredients. 

Imagine my surprise when I find that the true origins of Chili precede this era of cattle drives and cowboys. I was stunned when my research led me to the Holy Bible and the book of Genesis. If we read Genesis 1:25 we find the following passage: “…God made the beasts of the earth, according to their kinds, the livestock, according to their kind…and God saw that it was good. ” So God, of course, made the cattle from which we get beef. But if we read further to 1:26 we find the following passage: “…then God said ‘Well, I just made all these here plants, peppers, cows, and stuff. I reckon I gotta plunk some cowboy down there to deal with it all. Probably oughta give him a cowgirl, too. And so god made man and woman to populate and manage the world he had just created. And man and woman toiled the land hard and God was pleased. So he descended upon the earth and showed his cowboy and cowgirl how to make Chili, a dish of seasoned meat and chilis from which God had selected his most precious harvest. And man and woman were well fed and happy. And God returned to his heaven and was happy.” Chapter 1:27 continues: “And on the eight day God saw what he had made and was happy with his Chili. And God began to rest, but then farted, and remembered ‘Gosh dang it, I forgot to make the bean! Ah heck, I’ll do it tomorrow. Right now I gotta take a dump and a nap. That Chili I made ripped right through me and I’m tired.” So we can see that in the holy order of the universe Chili actually preceded the bean. The first actual bowl of Chili was made by God himself and it was made without beans. 

I was glad that the debate over beans in Chili was finally settled. Chili is of divine origin and does not contain beans. Over the millennia other local, and logical, ingredients have made their way into the dish. Tomatoes are acceptable. Onions are nearly required. But don’t tell me that you can put cinnamon in your Chili and serve it over spaghetti. That’s not Chili, that’s spaghetti sauce. What about chicken, you ask? That’s spicy chicken stew. Vegetarian Chili? Nope nope nope. How about Chili with tofu? How about we get a rope?

So after many years of tireless research and countless pots of ‘Texas Red’, I have decided to unleash my recipe to the masses. The world needs to hear, nay, the world need to KNOW the gospel of Chili. And I must take it upon myself to be the Moses of Chili, to carry the beer, part the crowded kitchen and show the one true way to this most holy of culinary creations. 

Texas Chili

1 Large Yellow Onion, diced small

4 Roma Tomatoes, chopped

4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

3-8 Serrano Peppers, depending on heat level, minced

5 TBSP Ancho Chile Powder (more if desired)

3 TBSP Chimayo Chile Powder (more if desired)

2 TBSP Cumin

2 tsp Paprika (smoked, if you can get it)

1 TBSP Fresh Oregano, chopped

2 bottles Quality Brown Ale (Shiner Bock works well)

1 can Crushed Tomatoes

1 Square Unsweetened Baking Chocolate (Ghirardelli if you can find it)

2 TBSP All Natural Almond Butter

Masa or Cornstarch slurry to thicken

Salt & Pepper to taste 

* Spice quantities are approximate and can be adjusted to suit your taste.  ** Acceptable meat substitutes are venison and bison. 

Directions

1) Assemble all your ingredients and prep them (chop vegetables, season meat, etc.). 

2) Preheat a large pan or Dutch oven over high heat and sear the meat well on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.  

3) Sauté the vegetables in the beef fat (add a little oil if needed). 

4) Add the aromatics and spices. Sauté until fragrant and well blended

5) Begin adding the beer and allow to boil, cooking off some of the alcohol. Then add the crushed tomatoes.

6) Submerge the meat in the liquid, bring to a simmer, and cover and cook for 3-4 hours. The meat should be fork tender. 

7) Remove the meat, allow it to cool, and shred it. 

8) Continue simmering the liquid. This is where I add my Secret Weapon ingredients. Molé is a complex Mexican sauce made with bitter chocolate and nuts. In a nod to the Mexican heritage of Chili I add just a touch of unsweetened chocolate and almond butter. The deep, earthy flavors help round out the sharp edges and add that bit of umami. You should also thicken the Chili at this point, using your masa or cornstarch slurry. 

9) Add the shredded meat to the Chili and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt & pepper if needed. 

If you can wait, it’s nice to let the Chili sit overnight so that the flavors can meld. It makes a most excellent Frito Pie but is just fine in a bowl topped with cheese, sour cream, and diced onions. Side of cornbread is optional. Chili should be consumed with beer, iced tea, or Big Red. Now, go forth, perfect your Chili, and preach the gospel. 

10 pounds lean chuck roast

1 pound flour

oil

5 yellow onions

2 heads garlic

1/4 cup salt

5 tablespoons ground pepper

2 quarts beef stock

1/2 cup crushed dried chiles

1/2 cup cumin

1 quart tomato puree

1 teaspoon hot sauce

3 pounds tomatoes

1 pound carrots

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 pound Mexican or sweet chocolate

Boiled pinto or kidney beans, optional

Cut beef into1-inch cubes. Lightly dust beef with flour. Put oil for frying in10-gallon pot over medium-high heat and fry beef until brown. Dice onions and add stir until translucent. Crush garlic, add and fry briefly. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low. Add beef stock and simmer 45 minutes. Add chiles, cumin, tomato puree and hot sauce. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Dice tomatoes and shred carrots. Add brown sugar, tomatoes and carrots and simmer 10minutes. Add chocolate, stir well and simmer 20 minutes. Beans may be added if desired. Serve with rice and spurs. Makes 24 servings (“for Texans, or 40 for regular folks”).

(I cut this in half for me and my wife, and it still makes a lot!!) ¼ cup = 4 Tbs 1 qt = 4 cups

Long long ago in a galaxy very far away from here 4 friends decided lets make some music in Cow Town New Jersey

Their names were:

ODM(one drunk motherfucker/old Dan McDonald) – Lead vox

Pistol Pete (Pete Schaller) – Drums

Randy Dammit (Randall Diedrichson) – guitar vox

Jorge “Whore Hey” (George Mottola) – bass

Together known as “The Y.i. Ought Ta’s”

After a lineup change due to previous commitment bassist Jorge was replaced by Mongo (Robert Richardson), a 19 year old punk out of the suburbs of south jersey. Skeptical at first due to his young age, in the end Randy Dammit, Pistol Pete, and ODM decided to have Mongo come out to audition. After having an instant chemistry with the band Mongo was quickly asked to join “The Y.i. Ought Ta’s however none of the members saw another lineup change coming like the next and last one otherwise known as “The End of the “Y.i. Ought Ta’s” and the Beginning of “Minor Setback”. After all the years of hard work put in by the band and himself included original member ODM decided to walk away. This is how “Minor Setback” got their name Randy Dammit told Pistol Pete and Mongo “not to worry. Its just a minor setback. Things will get better”

Pete decided to play guitar and sing for Minor Setback so the new band brought in Canadian Native Jake Green aka “Jake 40 oz.” on the drums. Moving from Canada to South Philadelphia PA. Jake 40 oz was always surrounded by the punk scene and you can tell. With his “IDGAF” attitude, impeccable timing, and abundance of stamina. It was clear to see why he was the perfect fit for Minor Setback. 

About a year or so later. The band broke up due to Pistol Petes Inability to tour or gig regularly he decided it was time to become a family guy, a regular Peter Griffin if you will say. 

After about a year and a half in hiatus and bands that didnt work out and dealing with musicians with no drive … Randy Dammit called Mongo while he was in Japan and the conversation went as followed

“Hey man… I been thinking do you want to get Minor Setback back together?”

With no hesitation the response from Mongo was a simple “Yes” 

Mongo came back from overseas in November of 2018 and met up with Randy at his house in Bridgeton New Jersey about a week into being home. 

After multiple tryouts that never worked out on drums and lead guitar, the band finally found their diamond in the rough. Out of Glassboro New Jersey, Drummer Ryan Keen aka Sajou Ho. 

Ryans dynamic drumming style and ability to learn quickly introduced a new idea to the band. Go on as a 3 piece. 

Today, Minor Setback is a three piece skate punk/punk rock band based out of Bridgeton New Jersey with the members being

Randy Dammit (Randall Diedrichson) – Guitar and Vocals

Mongo (Robert Richardson) – Bass and Vocals

Sajou Ho (Ryan Keen) – Drums

The band still throws around the idea of having another guitarist but have all agreed with Mongo’s statement being 

“Yea i will totally have another guitarist in the band. It would be amazing as far as filling out sound goes. But it would have to be someone committed that we are all comfortable with as a band”

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients

1 three-pound beef chuck roast

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

4 garlic cloves

1 red onion, sliced

1 cup Italian dressing

1 cup beer (use your favorite!)

2 bay leaves

Hawaiian slider buns

Sliced Colby-Jack Cheese

Directions

1. Place the chuck roast into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. Place the garlic cloves on top of the roast. Add the red onion, then pour over the Italian dressing and beer. Place the bay leaves on top.

2. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-10. Don’t open the lid during the cooking time.

3. Discard bay leaves and shred the meat with 2 forks, smash the garlic with the back of a fork and stir the garlic into the shredded meat. Discard any fat, and drain off the grease. Serve the shredded meat on Hawaiian slider buns with the Colby-Jack Cheese. Melt the cheese under the broiler in the oven if desired. Enjoy!

As most of you know, I have a heavy passion for hot peppers.

I’ve been growing my own for about 20 years, and about 10 years back, I came up with recipe for hot pickled veggies that my friends and I adore.

Unfortunately, it requires harvesting peppers and then turning my kitchen upside down for a week to make them, so it’s definitely a treat that I don’t get to enjoy frequently.

As a result, I’m always on the lookout for similar items, so when my buddy Mktrat heard me talking about em’, he found just the cure.

Amish Country Sweet Hot Habanero Pickles

I got home and found these babies on my door step. So I went inside, grabbed an ice cold Go To IPA (the official IPA of all things Amy), made sure that the insurance premiums on my underpants were current, and I tried one.

Man are these babies delicious!!

I don’t usually go for anything sweet, but it’s just the perfect compliment to the heat, and I can’t see it working without it.

The first bite wasn’t too hot, but as with all hot pepper foods, it’s cumulative… So by the 2nd nibble, my mouth was a blazin!

As usual, Go To was perfectly refreshing… maybe a little too refreshing actually. It cooled me down so fast, that I began shoveling the pickles in at an alarming rate! Wow are they addictive.

I literally could not stop enjoying these babies, and I’m quite sure that this is exactly what the Amish were hoping people would do with them.

It’s been about 16 hours since I attacked the jar, and so far my ass is exactly where I left it… No ill side effects or weapons-grade-sprints to the bathroom either.

The label says that these things are “especially made for” Amish Country Bulk Foods… So I’m gooing to look into having them made for the SCTMMC too. They’re that good. And if not, then I’ll make my own again.

Either way… I won’t be without these suckers ever again!!

For the record… The same goes for Stone Go To! All hats of to Stone!

And special thanks to Mktrat for making it all possible…

Should my ass ever burst in to flames, then I will curse you the curse of a thousand scorpions on your breakfast cereal.

During a conversation with my old pal Spiderman the other day, he said to me, “I’m flattered that you’re wearing my underpants”. However, that’s not what intrigued me.

It was his statement:

I’m still a firm believer in, if you don’t like what you’re currently watching, change the channel…

Certainly we here know that, but have any of you ever tried to figure out what makes us different?

On the surface, I’d say that we were all willing to give up quantity for quality. Of course, we didn’t really give up anything. We merely stopped buying into the perception of value where there was none.

I was watching South Park this morn, and the episode about facebook was on. It’s amazing how those guys nail reality… And crude as it may be, reality it truly is. Hat’s off to them for calling the world out on its short comings.

Facebook is massive, but it’s filled with people who could care less about whether you live or die.

When I read the Talkbass thread that was linked to here, I realized that it was exactly the same there as it is on facebook… I don’t know why I never saw it so boldly before, but TB truly is as I mentioned in the Sad things that do Good story; Generic advice at best.

Other than one or two of us who went in there for comedic value, it was blatantly obvious that everyone posting in the TB thread had absofuckinglutely nothing else to do… The subject matter was 1st day material, which is typically sung to you while you’re learning to tie your shoe laces.

No offender walked away enlightened by the advice, no victim felt soothed by it… It accomplished nothing more than garnering fleeting attention and accolades for the OP, who’s now feverishly trying to top his moment in the spotlight.

And… All so that he can spend 24 more hours on a pedestal in a sea of shit, and all because he favors a sea of shit over a pond of beauty.

People love their own kids, cats, and dogs… Not other peoples. The random “look at what my kid did”, and the comments and likes that follow are meaningless preoccupation, which is evident in their actions… They don’t actually care in real life.

I then read another touching Fb post… a mothers “share” of a heartfelt statement to her daughter. I emphasize share, because it wasn’t even the mothers own words, it was someone else’s creation.

The statement informed the daughter that she should know, no matter what, wherever she was, that the mother always loved her more than anything.

It had several hundred comments, likes, and shares… And it was truly beautiful.

It was also complete bullshit, and thanks to social media, it’s politically incorrect for me to call it out.

The reality of that post is; it was created as a tracking cookie. Someone is getting paid, based on how many times that it’s liked and shared. It tells them how many friends that you have, who they are, where they shop, where they bank, what kind of car they drive, and what kind of porno that they watch.

For the record; If you truly love your kid, they already know it… and if they have to read about it on facebook, then you should be cancelling your internet service immediately.

No topic is off limits to a schmuck… Which is pretty much how you become one. I’ve seen fake posts about cancer, autism, racism, and even the holocaust. Things that society has perceived to to be socially off limits, are prime game for phishing trackers, because who’d expect a tracking cookie to be disguised as a story about breast cancer?

Many of you may recall my Philadelphia excursion at 3am, when I stumbled upon a group of kids staging and filming a car jacking. People are being duped into believing that is going on in their community, when all it is are a bunch of kids trying to get paid by Google.

But if the only time that you actually get involved with your community is when you’re on facebook… Then Ye shall reap… And duped you are.

Thanks to the Kardashians and Miley Cyrus, we’ve groomed the youth of the world to prize “views and likes” above all else.

14 year olds aren’t dreaming about what they want to be when they grow up. They’re financing $1000 iphones so that they can film a staged “puppy theft”.

Then, there’s the poor guy who had his guitar stolen…

His friends and followers will become obsessed with circulating and telling the story. Of course they will, because it’s drama and it’s front page news, and they’ll want to know every detail.

But how many of them will actually try to find the guitar?

Whereas… If that happened here, every one of us would join to resolve the matter by nightfall.

All I ever wanted to do, is exactly what everyone else on social media wanted to do; Be loved, respected, cared for, and treated with decency. The only difference is, I was willing to leave 6,000 people who were pretending to care about me, in order to live out my days with the 100 who actually do.

Life is about sacrifices. The sacrifices that it took to make the Sarcastic, Coffee, Technology, Music, and Movie Club, pale in comparison to the dividends that it pays.

Everyone reading this possesses the finest qualities that humanity has to offer. The SCTMMC was created to ensure at all costs, that good people like you would be united with the people who you deserved to be with.

The people who look forward to you. The people who notice when you’re missing. The people who might not give a rats ass about your kid or your cat, but who rejoice in how important those things are to you.

Always look behind the curtain. Spread the truth to all who will listen. And above all else, run like Hell from those who won’t.

1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 cup chicken stock

4 cup water

1 bunch curly kale, leaves stripped and chopped

1 cup. heavy cream

20oz fresh Tortellini (or dry if you can’t get fresh)

Parmesan, for serving

1 In a large stock pot brown and crumble your Italian sausage until the pink is just cooked out.  Remove the sausage from the pot and set it aside on a plate with a paper towel on it.  Leave some of your drippings in the pot, but remove the rest.

2 Chop your Onion.  Add the chopped onion to the pot with the drippings and sauté over med low heat for about 5 min or until the onion is translucent.  Add your minced garlic and sauté for 2 more min.

3 Return the Italian sausage, add your stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil.

4  If you have never prepared Kale before there are a few steps.  First you must wash each stalk of Kale thoroughly.  Kale is grown is sandy regions and often sand will stick to the curly leaves.  After the leaves are washed, cut the stalk out of each leaf.  Then bunch together all your kale leaves.  Push them down and holding them tightly, slice them into strips.  The a rough chop to reduce the size abit more.  Add your chopped kale to the boiling pot and reduce to simmer for about 30min.  When cooked the kale should be bright green and soft (but still firm).  Now is a good time to taste and season your soup.

5  Add your Tortellini and cook according to the package -2 min.

6  Add your heavy cream, taste and season again if needed, and serve.  I like to add a few dashes of Parmesan to my bowl.

My kids love this soup and frequently ask for it.  Give it a try, I think it’s easy to make and delish.

Style? Barrel aged coffee stout.

Price/volume? $10/22oz

ABV?12.9%

Appearance? Black, like ink. Mocha colored head that quickly dissapates.

Smell? A wonderful bouquet of vanilla, caramel, oak and whiskey. Incredibly inviting.

Taste? A fair amount of molasses, also some light roastiness and faint vanilla/caramel notes. The coffee is incredibly subtle on my palate, only coming through on the finish. There is a noticeable amount of “heat” coming through, due to the high abv. Additionally, there are some black licorice flavors as well.

Body/mouth feel? Pretty full, with a certain “oily” type character to it.

Overall? To me, it falls in line with a number of barrel aged stouts, with a considerable amount of overlap. As a fan of rye whiskies, especially of the Willett 4-year, I was hoping to pick up on more on the typical rye flavors. I’m not getting any of that here.

That doesn’t make it “bad”, but it doesn’t necessarily live up to my expectations. I can taste the differences between a bourbon and rye whiskey, and I would expect to be able to taste the difference between a bourbon or rye barrel aged beer. I don’t. I’m starting to believe the barrel aged aspect just adds some level of character, regardless of what the barrel previously held.

That being said, I would not discourage anyone from pursuing this beer, if it appeals to you, as taste is subjective.

In closing, I’d encourage you all to follow your palate, and not allow the experience or review of another to dissuade you from sampling a beer you’re interested in.

Bottle/can? Bottle, 550ml

Serving temp? Around 50°f

Appearance? Dark, like your typical porter/stout.

Aroma? Combo of roasted malts, similar to Guinness, but not as “sharp”. There is some dark fruit and red wine notes coming through.

Mouth feel/body? Smooth, somewhat thin. Very light carbonation. Almost feels like a beer served on nitro, after it’s “settled”.

Taste? Surprisingly light. Doesn’t quite hold up as well it does from memory. There is some roasted malt flavor coming through, and lingers in the finish.

Overall? It was nice to revisit this beer, but likely won’t buy again. While I already feel Guinness Draught is a pretty light dark beer, this is in line with that, but without a distinctive character like the Guinness.

I would not dissuade anyone from trying this beer, as is said with tone and taste, it’s completely subjective.

Yesterdays passing of PJ, an employee of the now defunct “Oktober Guitars” in Maryland, brought up a lot of talk in the forum about how we spend our time here on Earth. PJ wasn’t a member here yet, but I have no doubt that he would’ve loved it, because he was just like us.

His story was tragic, and when I told it, it made everyone sad… but that wasn’t the reaction that I was going for. How do you write about death, while inspiring your audience to feel good and be happy? I don’t know… but I do believe that is how we should respond, and certainly what PJ would’ve wanted.

Many of us are career Heavy Metal musicians, so we’re no strangers to aggressive lyrics about tragedy and bad luck… As such, you’d think that we’d be more prepared for them when they occur… But the odd thing is; no matter how smart I’ve ever felt, or how prepared I’ve ever been.. I never seem to see the light when things are dark.

If you’re like me, then you hate the generic, cliche BS that people throw at you when you’re in trouble (and they’re not). But since it’s unavoidable, find a way break the cycle and be better.

While talking with Rattbones yesterday, I was throwing a lot that generic advice out there myself. I think that it’s instinct to want to help others, but I believe that the line is drawn exactly after that sentence. Yes you may want to help, but simply saying “I’m sorry for your loss”, well that’s just not helping at all.

The outcome isn’t what matters in life… it’s how you handle the situation that matters. PJ has passed, that’s the outcome… How I handle it is how you will judge me. So what good is it if I mourn him for the day, and then simply go back about my business on the following?

We all aspire to leave a big impact on the world, so I can’t imagine that I’d be doing PJ justice by being plain. This is my opportunity to find happiness in sadness, and all that’s required is for me to care enough to try.

PJ left a lot behind that can bring others joy for the rest of their lives. He especially loved to build and play guitars, and since we live for music, we’re enamored by his collection. No doubt that would make PJ grin from ear to ear.

Through his guitars, we can make PJ’s spirit echo on, and to me, that’s a genuine gesture to his family, as well as a refreshing perspective on making the best of the worst.

Most of us cherish a few inanimate objects… maybe a little more than we should, but it’s a tough world, so you have to adore what gets you through the day. If that’s a guitar, then so be it.

Music has a massive impact on the world, and we are the proud few whom realize that making music is the greatest feeling of all. Our instruments are our companions through life, so we protect them just as we do our families. As a result, you can’t help but wonder what will become of them when you pass on.

I’ve often thought about this over the years, and until PJ passed, I just assumed that family would get them, but that got me thinking… That means my guitar will likely wind up forgotten in a dark, attic or basement… or worse yet… a nameless piece on the wall in a pawn shop.

That is definitely not what I want.

Going back and forth with Tony from Oktober yesterday, I realized that what would really make me happy, is being able to put a smile on the face of someone who would otherwise not be able to smile. That’s the person who’ll cherish my guitar, and never forget who I was or what I did for them.

In this situation, I’m fortunate enough to be the person in need of a smile. And since one of PJ’s guitars is on it’s way to me from his family, even though he’s gone, he’s going to do something incredible for someone who will never forget it.

I will love this guitar like PJ did, and every time that I see or hear it, I’ll be inspired by its ability to make beautiful music… Every time that I show it off to other musicians, I’ll tell the story of PJ… And now that I’ve written this, whoever inherits it from me will know that it’s far more than a mere pile of wood and parts.

So whenever you see one of PJ’s guitars and you hear the story of that goes along with it, don’t be sad, and whatever you do, don’t pass on any generic condolences to me. Honor the men who made it and those before you who played it, by making the world a better place with it.

Help whoever you can, whenever you can, and be grateful for what you have. Never forget the sacrifices that others make so that you can have what you do, and do your best to give some one less fortunate a chance that they never would’ve had otherwise.

I adore this bass… and with PJ’s passing, it has found its way to my hands. My life is now better… and I intend to make a lot of people smile with it… Starting with PJ.