Storms in the dead of night

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – It’s the dead of night and we’re standing in a flatbed truck in the middle of a thunderstorm watching tracer fire streak past us on both sides.

The tracers glow a bright, luminescent green through our night vision goggles. In fact, everything is green, just like in the movies. Every so often, a bolt of lightning turns our green world even brighter. The bullets, rockets and bombs exploding around us are real. So are the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who are staging this assault as a demonstration of a coordinated attack on an enemy position.

Their target is a bunker dead ahead. Camouflaged gunners pour on a steady stream of machine-gun and small arms fire. Bullets ricochet off the top of the bunker, arcing into the night sky. Rockets whiz past us, exploding in a shower of sparks, adding to Mother Nature’s own thunderclaps.

I slip the night vision goggles off, and the stream of bullets is reduced to an occasional red streak. A solitary crimson ember descends slowly from the sky, illuminating nothing to the naked eye. If there were bad guys out there without these devices, I think, they’d be obits before they knew what hit them. I slip the goggles back on, and the red ember becomes a flare transforming night into day, albeit a lime-colored day.

There should be more paratroopers dropped into this killing zone, but their mission is scrubbed due to the lightning. No sense risking soldiers’ lives.

That doesn’t keep the Army from trucking us around in the midst of the storm, though. We’re mere tourists.

It’s exciting, all these pyrotechnics. But the bullets are flying in only one direction – away from us. It doesn’t take much imagination to sense what it would be like if this were the real thing. It wouldn’t be exciting. It would be terrifying. You would want to run. You would want to hide. You wouldn’t want to be in this place. Playing soldier isn’t as much fun when the bad guys shoot back.

Earlier that day, members of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, of which I was a participant, had been briefed on Army Special Operations Command, seen a demonstration of a vertical wind tunnel where paratroopers practice free-fall, and toured an Army Psychological Operations center, where they print propaganda used both in warfare and peacekeeping. One such publication was a Superman comic book designed to teach kids in places like Kosovo about the danger of land mines. They also churn out leaflets, like the kind dropped on Iraqi anti-aircraft positions in the Gulf War warning them to.

Later, we witnessed an urban assault demonstration complete with flash-bang grenades and gunfire. Then we were taken to a firing range where we shot pistols and automatic rifles. After retrieving my paper targets, I concluded that any enemy falling in my gunsights was pretty safe.

Next, a few paratroopers dropped in – literally. They arrived via a HALO jump – that’s shorthand for High Altitude, Low Opening – meaning soldiers leap out of perfectly good airplanes from thousands of feet above ground then wait until the last possible moment before pulling their ripcords to slip in behind enemy lines, unnoticed.

Then, we were bused through throngs of raging anti-American demonstrators to the American Embassy in the fictitious African republic of Nogoland, where we scurried to the rooftop to await “rescue.”

The Army Rangers came by Chinook helicopters, storming the embassy compound with grenades and gunfire, attacking everything that moved. By the time the shooting stopped, nothing was left alive. I doubt even bacteria could have survived that assault.

“We do not apologize for swatting flies with a 16-pound hammer,” explained Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill, commander of the Army’s Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

After evacuating the embassy, soldiers escorted us to the awaiting Chinooks for a simulated treetop level escape from Nogoland to Pope Air Force Base, where we met up with enlisted “Airborne buddies” who walked us through a series of “static displays,” meaning that nothing blew up or made noise. We saw communications gear, howitzers, mortar teams and armored vehicles – the tools of the trade.

More importantly, it was another chance to talk to the guys who meet the customer, the infantrymen. They were universally polite, knowledgeable, on-task and noncommittal when asked if they planned to re-enlist.

The biggest gripe I heard: The Army’s plan to issue black berets to all soldiers, robbing the Rangers of their unique headgear. The “Army of One” advertising campaign earned a few rude remarks, too.

Turnover at this level is high. Like the television ads used to say, the Army is a “great place to start,” and after a few years a lot of these young men and women move on. They have options. The service has trained them well.

There’s another issue, too:

How long can the service reasonably expect capable people to stick around as “trigger pullers?” as one Marine major called them.

Speaking of Marines, no tour of American military life would be complete without spending a day with the Leathernecks. After a day at Fort Bragg that began at 5:45 a.m. and ended at midnight, we were off to . . .

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.

We were standing in the driving rain, shivering and waiting for the Marines to land on Onslow Beach. Despite the camouflaged Gor-Tex jackets we’d been issued, we were soaked and freezing.

One of the J.C.O.C. members, in a moment of wimpiness, suggested the program should be moved indoors because of the inclement weather.

Marine Maj. Gen. Martin Berndt, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, was within earshot and his face screwed up in disgust as he heard those words. Fellow participant Ron Gunzburger, editor of HillZoo.com, recorded his incredulous response:

“The colonel told you the coats will keep you dry and warm. Well, they won’t. You’ll be cold. You’ll be wet. That’s tough. Suck it up! Get over it!”

And with that, “Suck it up and get over it” became our mantra. After all, we were with the Marines, and like they say in their recruiting ads: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

Moments later, it was show time. Amphibious landing craft bobbed toward shore as helicopters bombed the storm-swept beach, clearing it for the assault team. Like a scene from D-Day, the landing craft hit the beach and young Leathernecks came charging out, guns ablaze.

The Army arrives by air, the Marines arrive by sea. Once they show up they both start breaking things.

The seas were choppy and the Marines had to travel from near the horizon to shore. I knew I wouldn’t want to take that trip without some Dramamine.

The ride is so miserable by the time the Marines land they really “feel like killing somebody, which is good,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Braaten.

“But you’re not feeling so good because of all that weight you’ve lost throwing up.”

Faster landing craft would help. The technology is there, the money isn’t. A familiar story from all the armed services.

Later that day, we would witness demonstrations of Marine river patrols, crowd control techniques and a bomb disposal exercise, the finale of which was blowing up a bomb via a gun-toting robot on wheels.

Like their Army counterparts the day before, the Marines staged an urban assault, equipped with helicopters lowering troops to rooftops, tanks, machine guns, the works.

I asked a Marine major if he could explain to me the difference between the Marines and the Army Rangers we had met the day before.

“The Rangers are very good,” he allowed. “I’d rate the best of the Rangers about equal to the average Marine.”

“I would have been a Marine,” a Ranger told me, “but I couldn’t fit my head in a jar.”

HOOOAHH VS. OOORAH

Rivalries between the services are legendary, of course, but the soldiers of the Army and the Marines do have one thing in common: They both make funny noises.

Which is endearing, because most of what they do for a living isn’t the least bit funny.

We were at dinner and a general was holding forth on the challenges facing the Army in the post-Cold War world, when from the back of the room came this grunting, coughing sound as if someone was struggling with a belch or was about to hurl.

“Hoooahh.”

One too many toddies before dinner, I assumed. Then it happened again. Another guy.

“Hoooahh.” Then another. And another.

I soon learned this is the Army’s equivalent of shouting “Amen, brother!” in church.

Depending on how you say it, “Hoooahh” means “right on.” Or it means “darn shame, ain’t it.” For all I know, it can also mean “pass the ketchup.”

Marines, likewise, do the same thing. Only theirs is “Ooorah.”

“Men, we’re going on a 20-mile run.”

“Ooorah.”

“Then, we’re going to do 500 pushups.”

“Ooorah.”

‘Afterwards, I’m buying the beer.”

“OOORAH!”

Since the Air Force was the next stop on our tour, I asked an Air Force major if members of his service were into this kind of noise-making. You guys have something you say? I asked.

Sure, he replied. “Fore.”

What if a Giant Cyclops Looked at the Universe

 

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have concluded that the universe has a color, and that color is green.

How, you might ask, can the universe possibly be green? Peer into the night sky, and what you see is black. Sure, there is the smattering of sparkling white stars and the occasional passing UFO. But mostly it is just black, with not a bit of green to be seen.

That’s because we’re observing the universe from the inside, astronomers tell us. If it were possible to get outside the universe and examine it, things would appear very different indeed.

(You may now ask yourself the question: How can you get outside the universe if the universe is everything? What can possibly lie beyond infinity? And how does one visualize infinity, anyway? Then, when you’re finished making yourself crazy with all that, continue reading.)

Dr. Karl Glazebrook of Johns Hopkins offers an explanation: “If you put all 200,000 galaxies in a box, the average color would be green. And if you had a huge eyeball and could observe the whole universe at once, the color would be green.”

(Now there would be a discovery, a giant Cyclops peering at us from outside the universe. But, no, it’s not an eye, it’s the lens of a microscope. Oh my God…)

Glazebrook and his colleagues at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Australia came to this colorful conclusion after analyzing the color of all the stars in the sky. Many of those stars are blue, meaning they are younger, hotter stars. Others are red, older and comparatively cooler stars. Mix red and blue together, and you get . . . green?

Yes, when you mix light. Mix paint and you get purple, but light works differently. What does this tell us about the universe? Green is good. A few billion years ago, if there were anyone with that huge eyeball to take a gander, the universe would have been bluish in appearance, filled to the brim with all those younger, hotter stars. Not a very good time to be a carbon-based life form, one suspects.

A few billions years hence, it will appear more reddish, as the universe ages and stars grow tired and old. Break out the fur-lined space suits.

Green – actually the “shade of pale turquoise, but a few percent greener” – represents a kind of settled middle age, a very good time to be alive – especially if the star your planet happens to orbit is neither red nor blue but yellow like our sun, a comfortable, midsized star, neither too hot nor too cold as long as you stay about 93 million miles away.

Since Aussies were involved in this study, it would be fair to speculate on how many Fosters were passed around the barbie while they dreamed all this up. And Glazebrook admits they were having “a bit of fun” with all this.

Nonetheless, he insists that this discovery will help astronomers in their efforts to learn more about the formation of stars and galaxies. In other words, not all that grant money went for beer runs.

Personally, I draw some comfort knowing our universe has a greenish color. It’s a tranquil shade, evoking images of cool, emerald waters along a placid seashore, the sheltering canopy of verdant leaves overhead and, of course, the well-known hue of those space aliens flitting about the night sky.

 

Creationism is not Science

There once was an aspiring teacher in Tennessee who in his final interview before the school board confronted a question that would determine his fitness for employment.

“Do you believe the world is flat, or do you believe the world is round?” he was asked.

Smart fellow that he was, he offered an answer guaranteed to land the job: “I can teach it either way.”

Now comes Congress, an amalgamation of gentle souls about whom it would be fair to suggest that few, if any, have “rocket science” on their resumes. Nonetheless, some of their number feel qualified to dictate to our schools specifics of science curriculum when it comes to a discussion of the origin of life on our planet.

Said another way, we’ve got a handful of right-wing nuts in Washington who want to push creationism down the throats of innocent schoolchildren under the pretense that religious doctrine has some sort of scientific validity.

Let’s get to the heart of it: Science does not ask why things happen. `Why’ questions are for theologians and philosophers. Science asks how things happen. For instance, how did life originate here? Fossil evidence indicates that life forms have been around for millions of years. Prehistoric remains provide incontrovertible evidence that once great beasts roamed the planet.

Interestingly, they had two eyes, noses, teeth, tongues, wandered about in search of nourishment and ate other livings things, plants and animals, to sustain themselves.

Just like us.

Scientists, as they unravel the human genome, have discovered that the genetic distinction between mouse and man is trivial. Can science prove without a doubt that Charles Darwin got it right in his theory of evolution? Nope. But it’s the best guess we have at the moment.

Should we let kids in on this? Of course.

Should we explain that it is just a theory? Absolutely.

Should the so-called intelligent design theory be taught alongside it? Absolutely not.

Why? Because “intelligent design” – shorthand for creationism, meaning the hand of God in the development of life – does not flow out of scientific inquiry. It is not science. It is theology.

“Intelligent design” at its core assumes a “creator.” It assumes an underlying motivation (a why question) in the creation of life. That’s the stuff of religion.

Why are we here? What is our purpose? What does God want from us? These are wonderful issues to ponder, but they are not scientific questions. These are inquiries that, in the end, cannot be settled on the basis of hard evidence. They are questions of faith. They are fodder for philosophers.

Having said that, it is not inconsistent to believe in God and at the same time believe in the theory of evolution. Who can say how God might have brought about the creation of life?

There are many, many theologians and scientists who are comfortable with this, who believe faith and evolution can peacefully coexist.

The proper forum for a discussion of these issues is church, philosophy class or the dinner table. Not science class.

The Founding Fathers of this country were firm on the notion that religion and government were like oil and water, never to be mixed. We should not put our science teachers in the position of that hapless, if apocryphal, Tennesseean.

It may be too much to expect our congresspersons to understand the biological complexities attendant to The Origin of Species, but they ought to at least have heard of the First Amendment.

Into Woods About the Journey

In Bill Roorbach’s latest book, a collection of 11 essays, he takes us on a physical and spiritual journey that begins in France and returns to America, where he travels the breadth of the country in search of a place to call home. Into Woods is less about Roorbach’s geographic destination, the woodlands of Maine, than his exploration of life, relationships, the meaning of manhood and the ever-elusive pursuit of happiness.

The book, Roorbach’s fifth, picks up where his earlier memoir, Summers With Juliet , left off. It is an earthy and disarmingly honest blend of humor, travelogue, social observation and commentary – and a dash of philosophy and a hearty helping of wit, to boot. Roorbach grabs readers right away with his first essay, “Honeymoon,” a hilarious account of his and Juliet’s first weeks of marriage outside the small French agricultural town of Cerqueux sous Passavant.

Juliet is there to attend art classes; Bill hangs around their rented cottage during the day, writing. To the natives, he is viewed as a slacker and entirely too old for Juliet, with whom the younger men unabashedly flirt. It’s France, so there are prodigious quantities of wine to be drunk, stories to be told and famously rude natives to be dealt with.

In subsequent pieces, including the title essay “Into Woods,” Roorbach allows us to travel with him to Montana, Maine, Ohio (where he never quite feels comfortable) and finally back to Maine, where he resides today working on his next novel.

Numerous themes are explored throughout Into Woods, but the most soulful is in the final essay, “My Life as a Move,” in which Roorbach tells of his search for a place to call home. It is a theme that will resonate with readers who have found their lives caught up in the meandering and migratory impulses of modern American society.

Ohio, where Roorbach had “probably the best creative writing job in America,” turned out not to be his final stop in his search for a place to hang his hat:

“The plain, sturdy landscape of the central part of Ohio seems to attract plain, sturdy minds, smart people whose thoughts despite intelligence don’t climb many hills, but hop on the perfectly straight interstate and go where they’re going, whose rivers of emotion are stable, easily dammed, slow flowing, often muddy and brown, oxbows of indirection hiding great fish of aggression . . . who like gathering, since gathering is easy; high school football games in great stadiums, endless malls, giant universities. People who need dramatic or intricate or undulating or featured or obfuscatory landscape don’t stay here. People who don’t, do. And they have children over generations so that a new species emerges: Ohio Man. Or am I just being mean, blaming Ohio and everyone living there for my own psychic struggles?”

People like Roorbach who have experienced life as a move will identify with his discontent. Some places simply feel more like home than others. Blame it on the climate. Blame it on the culture. Blame it on our own restiveness. It’s there. But in the search for a place to call home, how do we know when we arrive?

Roorbach’s last three words invite the question: “Are we home?”

Sometimes it’s easier to know when you’re not than when you are. And, perhaps, finding home is also about hanging around long enough in one place for it to emerge from the landscape.

For now, for Roorbach, home is Maine. For readers who take Into Woods into their home, they are in for a “journey in joyous prose,” as a headline in the Hartford Courant put it. In the accompanying review, book critic Carole Goldberg noted that `if Into Woods has a flaw, it’s that Roorbach’s trademark breathlessly cascading passages . . . can overwhelm if the essays are read one right after another.”

Put another way, Into Woods is like a fine, robust wine, best served in sips so its full flavor can be appreciated. It would be a waste to rush through it. After all, it’s about the journey, not the finish.

 

Whistling in the Dark

Whistle-blowers can be so annoying. They have an aggravating tendency to rat out companies and government agencies engaged in waste, corruption or plain, old-fashioned stupidity.

Whistle-blowers often put their careers at great risk when their conscience gets the better of them and the need to spill their guts overpowers their survival instincts. That’s why there are laws on the books to protect them. Whistle-blowers are good. If it weren’t for whistle-blowers, the American people never would have known about the lies they were told about the Vietnam War (remember the Pentagon Papers?).

Recall the stories a few years back about how the government used unsuspecting citizens in ghastly experiments involving biological warfare agents and radiation? Iran-contra? Safety violations at nuclear power plants? Or those $500 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats?

All these came to light because of whistle-blowers. So if you are a high-level government bureaucrat with a lot to lose if an unsuspecting public ever found out how wasteful or corrupt or just plain stupid you are, you would be tempted to find some way to stop the leaks.

You might, for instance, be tempted to look at how other countries – places lacking America’s vigorous guarantees of free speech and a free press – manage to hide all their dirty laundry.

Quickly, you would discover how some nations have adopted what have become known, formally or informally, as Official Secrets Acts. These laws make it a crime – often with severe penalties – to leak information to the public or press that has been designated as “classified.”

Then, to cover your derriere, you would set about to make “classified” anything that might prove embarrassing and, thus, intimidate the whistle-blowers into silence.

Throughout all of our history, during hot wars and the Cold War, America never has resorted to this sort of contravention of the First Amendment. We haven’t had to. There are already laws on the books that make it a crime to disclose sensitive information that would endanger national security.

But that’s not enough for some people. A piece of legislation making its way through Congress would create an American version of the Official Secrets Act. It is an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act sponsored by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will have this amendment before it as early as this week.

Ironically (or befitting the nature of all this, depending upon your point of view), the hearing will be held in secret, behind closed doors.

Some points the senators may wish to consider: America has never had an Official Secrets Act. We’ve survived as a nation for more than two centuries without one.

There is no compelling national-security justification for such a draconian change in course. Our nation was founded on the idea that freedom requires checks and balances of power. Power corrupts, and all that. That’s why we have offsetting branches of government. And that’s why we have the First Amendment: to ensure that when all else fails, the people, themselves, have recourse against abuses of power.

Laws designed to silence those who would blow the whistle on corruption run contrary to the interest of a free society.

This law isn’t just unnecessary, it is downright un-American.

 

The End of Hero Worship

I keep my collection of Cincinnati Reds memorabilia on a shelf in my study. It includes a baseball autographed by the entire team during Pete Rose’s rookie year. I have autographed Pete Rose mugs, pennants and a cardboard cutout of him at bat.

As a lifelong Reds fan, I’ve lived and died with the team’s ups and downs, celebrating the amazing seasons of the Big Red Machine and enduring the years-long drought that seems to never end.

Pete Rose had been one of my heroes. Baseball’s all-time hit leader, Rose epitomized the solid, blue-collar work ethic of Cincinnati. He also was an overachiever who overcame his natural limitations by working harder than anybody else in baseball.

During most of Rose’s banishment from baseball, I’ve held the view that given his accomplishments on the field, he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. Maybe not allowed to manage again, but at least he deserved to be recognized for all the records he set.

Like a lot of fans, I gave Rose the benefit of the doubt when he asserted that he never bet on baseball. After all, he had denied it time and time again. He could hardly have been more adamant.

Then came the revelation that all those words, all those denials, were, in fact, lies. In his book, My Prison Without Bars, he confessed that he did bet on baseball. But never from the clubhouse, he asserted, never using inside information.

But his bookies and bet runners have already come forward to refute that. Most recently, one of Rose’s former bookmakers, Ron Peters, said that not only did he take bets from Rose from the ballpark, Charlie Hustle once phoned in a bet from the dugout itself.

So there’s ever indication that Pete Rose still hasn’t come clean. Yet he expects us to believe him when he claims he never bet against his own team.

Even if that is so, it doesn’t matter. He’s admitted to corrupting the game, he’s betrayed his friends, and he’s cheated his fans.

For years, Rose has paraded about the country taking people’s money for autographs under the false pretenses that he was some sort of victim, some misunderstood soul. He still argues that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Nonsense. He agreed to a lifetime banishment from baseball to avoid the humiliation of having to admit that he bet on the game. Now, in a calculated effort to be reinstated, he’s coming clean – sort of. Just enough to squeak back into the game, he hopes.

But all indications are that Rose’s strategy may be backfiring. A recent poll in Cincinnati showed that an overwhelming number of fans wouldn’t want him back managing the Reds.

During a television interview broadcast Thursday, Rose said that he could fill all those empty seats at the Great American Ball Park. But that’s also nonsense. Winning teams fill ballparks, not notorious managers. With all due respect to Rose’s accomplishments as a player, there are plenty of managers who can run the team as well or better than he can.

Which leads us to the question: Should Rose, now that he’s admitted his sins – or some of them, anyway – be allowed back in the game?

I think not. He has disgraced himself and tarnished the game.

Pete Rose has earned a place in baseball history. That’s undeniable. Maybe someday, posthumously, perhaps, there might be a place for him in the Hall of Fame. But not now.

And he certainly has no business running a team.

I’ve been sufficiently disenchanted by all this that I thought about boxing up my Pete Rose memorabilia and giving it to Goodwill.

But I’ve decided that I’ll leave it on the shelf, as a reminder of my gullibility and the dangers of hero-worship.

 

Remembering Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater will be remembered for a lot of things, not all of them kind, but I recall him most for his stories, his frankness, and his chili.

I met Goldwater at a cocktail party in Washington, D.C. I was in my 20s and working for a Florida congressman, and found myself on the same couch with Arizona’s senior senator. The talk was politics, of course. He had been regaling us with stories of his unsuccessful bid for the presidency when Jack Kennedy’s name came up.

Kennedy and Goldwater, although from opposite ends of the political spectrum, were mutual admirers, and Goldwater retold a conversation he had with JFK on the day after the famous televised debate between Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

This had been the first time two presidential contenders had squared off on TV. Goldwater heard the debate on radio and thought Nixon had won.

But overnight polls showed that most Americans felt Kennedy had cleaned Nixon’s clock. When Goldwater met Kennedy on the Senate floor the following day, he put it to him: How did you come across so differently on television?

“Right before I went on stage,” Goldwater recalled Kennedy as saying, “I sprinkled gold dust in my hair.” The last time I spoke with Goldwater was at a dinner in Mesa, Ariz., where he was receiving an award. We happened to be seated at the same table.

My wife, Sandy, had included a recipe from Goldwater in a celebrity cookbook she had authored to support a local charity. She asked Goldwater if he had ever received a copy of the book, and was disappointed that he had not. “Let me mail you a copy,” she offered.

Goldwater said sure, and wrote down the address. “Make sure you spell the street name right,” he told her, “because it’s wrong on the maps.”

Sandy decided not to trust the Post Office with that assignment, so the next day she and her friend, Treats Matthews, drove out to Goldwater’s mountaintop home in Paradise Valley and deposited it in his mailbox.

Two days later, she got a handwritten note from him in which he expressed his amazement at how fast the post office had delivered the book.

It was clear even then that age and a recent stroke were beginning to take their toll. Goldwater’s political enemies – mostly fellow Republicans – were suggesting that senility was at the root for some observations he made that didn’t set right with the Busybody Wing of the GOP.

Goldwater, for instance, stunned his party’s moralists with his defense of gays in the military. “You don’t need to be`straight to fight and die for your country,” he said. “You just need to shoot straight.” He had also bucked the Arizona party line in a congressional race, siding with a Flagstaff candidate who was pro-abortion-rights. The right-wingers saw this as heresy. But, in my opinion, it was vintage Goldwater. Since he was always a believer in minimal government, his landing on the side of choice in that debate was perfectly consistent.

Those same libertarian principles cast a shadow on his legacy, however, when he came out against the Civil Right Act, citing states’ rights. His vote against was on fairly narrow principles, and while  he claimed until his death to be adamantly opposed to discrimination, that decision remains a stain on his record.

Still, there are too few people – let alone politicians – with Goldwater’s frankness. A fellow Arizonan, Sen. John McCain, put it nicely on the day Goldwater died: “America – the only nation ever founded in the name of liberty – never had a more ardent champion of liberty than Barry Goldwater. Simply put, Barry Goldwater was in love with freedom.”

He could also stir up a tasty pot of chili. The Bruce family will be cooking up a batch today in his memory. I’ve included the recipe, if you care to join us.

ARIZONA’S FINE CHILI

  • 1 lb. coarse ground beef
  • 2 C. chopped onion
  • 1 can tomato puree (6 oz.)
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans*
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • water

Saute beef and drain off excess fat. Add onions, puree and beans. Mix chili powder, salt and cumin; add to mixture. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and cook slowly until onions and beans are tender, adding water to desired consistency.

* Beans can be soaked overnight, or if added dry chili must cook long enough for them to become tender.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 persons.

Recipe courtesy of Sandy Bruce’s “What’s Cookin’ in Arizona”