Next BlogProject™: expand my woeful links section on the left hand side. I am going to have to write a mini link maintainer tool (probably PHP+FrontBase SQL) to automate the HTML generation otherwise it's a giant pain in the arse to get right.
OK, not to be outdone by the VodkaPundit and his yummy-sounding burgers, herewith the recipe for the Lasagna I have just finished scarfing:
400g lean minced beef 1 medium carrot, grated 1 large onion, chopped fine 3 cloves garlic, crushed 75g button mushrooms, sliced very thinly 400g chopped peeled plum tomatoes 1 can tomato puree, mixed with 250 ml water 6-8 pre-cooked spinach lasagna sheets 100g fresh Parmesan, finely grated 250ml red wine 50g butter 50g flour 500ml milk salt pepper nutmeg
Gently soften the onion and garlic in some olive oil over a low heat until they are transparent. Add the meat and gently brown it. Add a good shake of black pepper and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the chopped tomatoes, the diluted tomato puree, the carrots and a good pinch of salt. Simmer to reduce for about 15 minutes and then add the mushrooms. Keep reducing, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is quite dry.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour to make a roux. Whisk all the lumps out of the roux, then return to a medium heat and add the milk to make a bechamel sauce. Stir until it starts to thicken, then reduce the heat to the bare minimum and cook for another ten minutes. Add some black pepper, a pinch of salt and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Cook for another five minutes, stirring to ensure no lumps form.
Butter a square, flat-bottomed pyrex dish. Cover the base with a thin layer of bechamel sauce, and a layer of the meat sauce on top. Place a layer of lasagna sheets on top, then cover with more bechamel and meat sauce. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top. Repeat with as many layers of pasta, bechamel, meat sauce and cheese as you want and have space/ingredients for (three should do it). The top layer should be just pasta, bechamel and Parmesan.
Place in a pre-heated oven at 250 C and cook for 20-25 minutes. Serve with garlic bread and a good bottle of wine. This quantity will serve two hungry people.
Joe Katzman at Winds of Change has a revised scenario for an Israeli response to a 'mega-attack' (i.e. one in which hundreds or thousands of people are killed in one go). It's pretty chilling reading. This is what I mean when I talk about Israel being pushed over the edge.
As an aside, there's a scene in the Tom Clancy novel 'The Sum of All Fears' where the U.S. President is discussing with his National Security Advisor his response to a nuclear detonation in Denver that kills about 60,000 people. At first, it appears to be a Russian attack, but as more intelligence comes in, it becomes apparent that it is the work of an Islamic terrorist group in league with some former East German terrorists (I haven't seen the movie yet but I understand that, shamefully, in the film it is neo-Nazis who set off a nuke in Baltimore). When it is finally narrowed down to a fringe associated with a radical Islamic cleric (modeled on Iran's Ali Khamenei), the President asks if the cleric's whereabouts are known. The answer comes back that he is in the city of Qum, in Iran, but that his location is only known to within a mile or so. 'Close enough,' says the Prez, and it falls to Jack Ryan to save the day by persuading him that nuking Qum into radioactive slag to get one man is 'disproportionate' and will be counter-productive in the long run. Good luck trying that now. If al Qaida set off a nuke on US soil, I confidently predict that it will lead to the fairly prompt deaths of about 10-20 million people, with the US populace cheering every mushroom cloud. The pressure on GWB (or whoever is POTUS at the time) to exact a terrible revenge would be well-nigh impossible to resist (assuming he wanted to resist it in the first place.) I've said it before, I'll say it again - the destruction of the Islamist death-cult is the only way the massacre of millions of Muslims can be avoided. If they do not see that, then the reckoning is going to be unlike anything the world has ever seen. I don't want to see Cairo and Damascus and Riyadh and Beirut and Jakarta and Karachi incinerated, but if it's a choice between them and London, then bye-bye.
The other post that caught my eye on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish is a good deal more heartening. In 'The Mainstream Advances' (sadly, no permalink) he discusses (in the context of an hysterical bed-wetter in The Nation by Richard Goldstein about the so-called 'homocons') how gay bookstores are on the decline, and how this indicates the mainstreaming of homosexuality. This is great news. If gay men and women are no longer predominantly defining themselves in terms of their sexuality then I am delighted. Of course it takes no great leap of imagination to see why people like Goldstein are worried by this trend - it is always in the interest of a radical to maintain his constituency in a radicalised state. The parallels with the 'Black Community' are obvious - integration and assimilation are the death knells sounding for the race-baiters like Sharpton and Jackson. Sexual orientation or skin colour always struck me as a ridiculously narrow prism through which to view oneself and the rest of the world. I suppose coming from a heterosexual white man like me that might sound a bit glib. But there's so much more to me than the fact I like women and burn easily. That's what I am; it's not who I am.
One of the things I loved about London when I lived there was the fact that interracial relationships were so common. My observations were only anecdotal, but I couldn't see too much evidence of an asymmetry in who was with whom. It wasn't like black male/white female couples drastically outnumbered white male/black female couples (or any other combination you care to choose), at least as far as I could see. Any residual disapproval was very firmly limited to the older generation. I think this is all evidence of how radical politics tend to decay with age - as their original (often noble) cores are cherry-picked and subsumed into the general body politic, the ragtag remnants have increasingly less to do, and fly round in ever-decreasing circles, emitting ever more high-pitched bat squeaks of outrage, until they pass beyond the realms of human senses and disappear from sight and sound (o blessed relief).
A couple of great posts (well, dozens of course) on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish. First up, he asks rather despairingly, (referring to a column by Stanley Fish) how we can possibly draw the distinction between right and wrong when a mother is not merely proud, but glad that her son has commiitted the murder of innocent people? That she has prayed to her God for him to kill as many of the 'enemy' as possible? If there is no common baseline, no absolute shared morality that allows both sides to say, "this is wrong," then 'what useful thing can we say'?
Well, for a start, we can ditch the whole 'right' and 'wrong' idea. If you are unable to understand that the suicide bomb policy is evil and wrong, then further discussion is unnecessary. Let us simply posit that it is wrong, and then work out what to do about it. Instead of 'right' and 'wrong', how about 'us' and 'them'? This allows you to cut through a whole bunch of metaphysical bullshit and get down to brass tacks. When we have won the war, we will have the luxury of sitting back and putting this into a nice, neat moral framework. Right now, this is a question of survival. Blind adherence to an abstract moral code could be fatal. The wholescale bombing of German cities during WW II was horrible, but it is only in the context of a Nazi-free Europe that we even have the leisure to criticise it.
The awful thing about the vile nihilism that has infected the Arabs is that it is leading to quite serious talk on our side of extermination. I do not think that the families of terrorist murderers should be liquidated, but I do believe they should be made to suffer horribly. Stephen den Beste at U.S.S. Clueless has several lengthy posts on suitable retaliation. The proposal that the entire worldly possessions of terrorist killers' families should be forfeit seems to me to be a suitably harsh punishment. You set off a bomb and kill some Israelis (note I do not say 'civilians' - firstly I draw no distinction between a regular Israeli soldier and a civilian, and secondly the bulk of the IDF is civilian anyway) and Israel, after identifying your remains, marches into your village, finds your family home, and razes it and everything within a 100m radius to the ground. And if your family resists, they machine-gun it.
Israel (and the West at large) is actually under no obligation to exercise restraint. There need be no proportionality against the death cult that has infected the Palestinians. The only thing holding back the utter destruction of the Palestinians is the innate decency of Israel. If that is ever breached, then who knows what will be the outcome? We owe it to ourselves (and ultimately to the relict of the Islamist populations) to be unswervingly brutal now. I do not mean capricious, I do not mean genocidal, simply clear-eyed and hard-hearted. If ethnically cleansing the West Bank is what it takes (and let's face it - that is what expulsion means) then we should have the nerve to do it, or face worse horror down the line.
My personal prediction is that the Palestinians will be expelled, probably into Lebanon, as den Beste has said. However, this will not solve anything (it will alleviate the pressure on Israel; that is, safeguard its very existence, but we will be back to the low-level atrocities against Israelis and other Westerners that we saw in the 70's and 80's). The wider Islamic world must be destroyed too. This might well not involve very large-scale loss of life on their part (we should be able to keep their dead to under 100 million, and preferably a lot less than that) but we have to be aware that if worse comes to worst, we will not be able to flinch. As a bare minimum, their societies have to go. I think there's a lot to be said for the subjugation and colonisation of the Islamic world, rather akin to the occupation forces in Japan and Germany after WW II. If they won't democratise, then by god we'll do it for 'em. And woe betide 'em if they get in the way.
It's a horrible thing that the discussion has even come to this. It's one of the many reasons why I so detest fundamentalist Islam: that it makes people like me, who want nothing more than to be left alone, have serious thoughts of destroying entire societies - not as revenge, but as insurance. The idea of militant Islam, not merely its expression, must be exterminated, so that never again can such a foul and barbaric creed be unleashed in the World.
Contact me: d a g g i l l i e s @ y a h o o . c o m