Friday, February 24, 2017

Music Friday: "Disconnect"

iTunes classifies the music of the Rollins Band as "alternative and punk." How 'bout just hard rock? 

Regardless of that goofiness, in a world of social media saturation and me reading the paper every morning thinking about how America is in a lot of trouble, I offer "Disconnect." 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stay Positive: Woodpeckers

The Nasty family has been walking the trails around Lake Charleston created by the Parks and Rec department. 

Because I had gotten my work done today, I traveled there alone for a walk in the woods. 

As some readers might know, I'm a lover of birds. I'm particularly fond of woodpeckers. I enjoy hearing them tap the heck out of trees. 

Here are the two species of woodpeckers I saw this afternoon. 

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

And a species I haven't seen in a while: the Red-headed Woodpecker

Monday, February 20, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam wrote "Bushleaguer" about Generalissimo Dubya. I wonder if he's working on any song/s about Moscow Don? 

Mrs. Nasty got a new car, and it has Sirius XM radio. I was pleasantly surprised to see that under the rock category there's a Pearl Jam radio along with stations devoted to Springsteen, Tom Petty, and some station that presents live performances often from "jam bands." I hadn't listened to Yonder Mountain String Band and moe in a good while. 

Swedish officials mocked Moscow Don's bullshit. Check out this article from The Guardian. It's not surprising that 45 takes his policy nonsense from FoxNews because he's unlikely to read anything that has depth and decent analysis. We now have a country being steered by the crap presented by FoxNews. Margot Wallstrom is smart as a whip: “Both functioning democracy and constructive cooperation between states require us to speak with, and not about, each other, to honour agreements and to allow ideas to compete. They also require us to respect science, facts and the media, and to acknowledge each other’s wisdom.”

The former prime minister tweeted this: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound." I doubt Moscow Don is a smoker of Mary Jane, but it wouldn't surprise me if he did or does cocaine (remember all that sniffing during the debates?). Regardless, the real drug is the programming on FoxNews. 

And here's an article of real journalism from the Washington Post that shows that crime is not on the rise in Sweden and Germany. Facts vs. Bullshit. Link: "Here's What's Happening There." 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

[Belated] Music Friday: "Time"

As debut albums go, Blind Melon's first album has to be my favorite. It's a great album to listen to from start to finish on a road trip. 

Here's what might an underappreciated song from that fine album. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I enjoy satirical letters to the editor. Check out John Kilgore's "Trump Move Great for Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster." 

The Church of the FSM has been noted before on this blog via an article from The Atlantic

Here's an article from Alternet that is quite disturbing but not surprising: "A United States of Hate Has Exploded Under Trump." 

As I watch Parks and Recreation, I find myself attracted to the character of Leslie Knope. 

How you doin'?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm quite late to the party, but I recently read Nick Offerman's book, Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living. A fine piece of nonfiction. Two back chapters, "Horse Sense > The Bible" and "Leviticus Can Blow Me," are worth the price of the paperback. And there is plenty of wisdom in those pages. 

Like me, Mr. Offerman is man who enjoys a fine whiskey. I, however, prefer bourbon. I'd like to try some of the Scotches he touts though, but those single malts are expensive for this nice hombre. 

Reading his book made me start watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Great show. Like I said, "late to the party." 

Regardless, his "Leviticus Can Blow Me" chapter got me a bit riled up about how people use the Bible to discriminate. A person's religious "liberties" are not being protected if they refuse to sell this or that to a gay person. That person is just being an asshole

Speaking of Leviticus, let's explore some of the injunctions found in that crazy-ass book of the Bible that bigots like using to discriminate against gay people. 

Here are some selected ones (I cut the ones that are downright gross or common sense--you know, the ones about screwing family members and farm animals, etc.) that so-called Christians should be following if they really believe that the injunctions of Leviticus are proper guidelines to live one's life:

  • Eating fat
  • Touching an unclean animal
  • Letting your hair become unkempt
  • Tearing your clothes
  • Eating an animal that doesn't chew cud and has cloven hooves
  • Eating any seafood without fins or scales
  • Touching the carcass of a weasel, rat, any kind of great lizard, monitor lizard, skink, etc.
  • Making idols or "metal gods"
  • Picking up grapes fallen in one's vineyard
  • Stealing 
  • Lying
  • Perverting justice by showing partiality to the poor or rich
  • Spreading slander
  • Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge
  • Trimming your beard
  • Cutting your hair at the sides
  • Getting tattoos
  • Not standing in the presence of the elderly
  • "the foreigner residing among you must be treated as one of your native-born"
  • Working on the Sabbath
  • Selling land permanently

Obviously, you can see how some people of the Jewish faith abide by these rules (eating pigs and shellfish, for example). 

But what I'm trying to get at here is that some Christians obviously use Leviticus to discriminate against gay people, whereas they're not apt to follow injunctions found in the same book about eating fat, touching animals, eating pork, having crappy looking hair, eating shellfish, having non-typical pets, lying, gossiping (spreading slander), getting themselves tatted up, and doing stuff on Sundays. Also, this whole principle about treating "foreigners" should be relevant to the Republican Administration's executive order about banning people from seven certain countries that recently got overturned. Some of these Christians love to cherry-pick passages that fit their needs. Keep "loving thy neighbor," douchebags.  

Music Friday: "I'm Not So Sure"

I've been listening to Roy Hargrove quite a bit this week, particularly Earfood

Here's a live performance of "I'm Not So Sure" to enjoy. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Kale Soup

It's become almost a cliche to prattle on about how kale is so good for you. By all accounts, it is incredibly healthy. Some people hate it. Other people hate hearing about kale. And yet other people are prone to make jokes about kale ~ how they'd never eat that @#$% and so on and so forth. 

I like kale, but I'm not about to proselytize about the leafy green. 

So if you're someone who likes kale, here's a soup recipe. 

1/2 of big bag of chopped kale 
2 and a half quarts of free range organic chicken broth (Aldi has it at a reasonable price)
1 lb. of turkey kielbasa, halved and sliced into even slices
half of yellow onion, chopped finely
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Half a package of button mushrooms, sliced relatively thinly 
1 bay leaf
Smidge of thyme
Smidge of basil
Smidge of red pepper
Smidge of smoked paprika 
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the onion and sausage and brown them in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of oil. Transfer that to a slow cooker. Add in the broth, beans, seasonings, and kale. Cook on high for at least two hours. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add in mushrooms near the end, so they don't get too small during the cooking. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Music Friday: "Land of the Red Man," "Hands Up," & "Hades Pleads"

This past weekend I caught Parker Millsap's performance on Austin City Limits

He has an interesting. lively sound ~ sort of 50s rock-n-roll mixed in with alt country and the blues. Here are a few songs from the dude. Enjoy. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Music Friday: "Murderer of Blue Skies"

Because I've been following what's been happening to governmental organizations related to the environment, energy, and energy efficiency, Cornell's song is appropriate. 

Clean air, clean water, and less pollution, who needs that, right? 

"I can't wait to never be with you again.
And I can't wait to lead a life you're not in." 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

It is a sad coincidence that Moscow Don signed an executive order to revive the Dakota Access pipeline when today I finished reading An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. This passage from Chapter 11: The Doctrine of Discovery is relevant: "The collusion of business and government in the theft and exploitation of Indigenous lands and resources is the core element of colonization and forms the basis of US wealth and power." 

Here are a couple other passages that are noteworthy:
  • "Any true history of the United States must focus on what has happened to (and with) Indigenous peoples--and what will happen."
  • "The late Native historian Jack Forbes always stressed that while living persons are not responsible for what their ancestors did, they are responsible for the society they live in, which is a product of the past." 
Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States should be required reading for anyone who gives a damn about US history

I've never liked Peyton Manning, and now it seems have a reason to not like Tom Brady

Here's an infographic I discovered on the interwebs that is worthwhile.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Here's an "alternative fact": the Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2017 National Championship. 

I wonder when Moscow Don is going to establish a Ministry of Truth. I highly doubt he'll create Ministries of Peace, Love, and Plenty, however. 

As we're going to see time and time again, propaganda and shoddy studies are going to be the evidence this administration uses when dealing with the energy sector and environmental concerns. The study used recently was commissioned by the fossil fuel industry and not peer reviewed. Check out "Tossing Environmental Rules Won't Raise Wages, No Matter What the White House Says." 

Here's a petition worth signing. Yes, I want to see Moscow Don's tax returns: "Immediately Release Donald Trump's Full Tax Returns." 

If you're a reader of this blog, you probably know how I hate when people talk all kinds of nonsense about how the framers of the Constitution were Christian and how the U.S. is a "Christian nation" and all that bullshit despite the fact that many of the founding fathers were Freemasons who then strongly supported the separation of church and state. Another defense against the Christian nation stuff is the last part of the last ¶ of Article VI of the Constitution where it states, "but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Affirmation or public Trust under the United States." If the framers wanted the US to be Christian, why didn't they create a religious test to ensure the government is filled with Christians? In contrast, they clearly state that NO religious test should be used. 

I've been attracted to being a Mason, but I'd have to believe that there is a supreme being apparently, and I'm not willing to go there. I'm agnostic. Or another way to look at it is that I could be described as an atheist with hope or an atheist hedging his bets. 

For a good while I've been okay with what has been called "ceremonial deism," but this article in Psychology Today is making me rethink that comfort: "The Dangerous Fallacy of Ceremonial Deism." 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I've been to Steak-n-Shake and other such places where milk shakes and malts are provided. People get these fancy shakes with all kinds of flavorings. But I prefer just a solid, standard vanilla malt. Simple, delicious, and straightforward. 

Since Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, I haven't really watched the show much, but now I've started watching it regularly. I'm starting to really like Trevor Noah. 

Here's a recent clip about the moron Moscow Don tapped to be the Secretary of Education: "Trevor Noah Eviscerates Betsy DeVos Over Her Confirmation Hearing." Check it out. 

This article from Slate, "Donald Trump Is Unpopular, and So Is the GOP Agenda," provides some solace. But we're going to have deal with Moscow Don's nonsense for four @#$%ing years. 

Music Friday: "I Wanna Be Sedated"

What a horrible day. 

As I drove to work this morning, this song was playing on the radio. 

How fitting. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm close to a decade late, but I've started watching Breaking Bad. I'm currently in season 2. 

A new show I've gotten into is FX's Taboo. At times I have a hard time clearly understanding the dialogue because it's set in London circa 1814. Here is Variety's initial take on the series. 

The esteemed Bill Moyers has some good advice on some certain news outlets to follow and read in "10 Investigative Reporting Outlets to Follow." I'm a fan of ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Real Clear Investigations.  

Since a few states have legalized marijuana and many have legalized medical marijuana, a recent article by Consumer Reports is notable. "Marijuana: Good for You or Dangerous?" distills a review by the National Academy of Sciences. More research is needed, but this conclusion in the article, "evidence that cannabis use will lead a person to smoke or trigger a change in their rates or patterns of other drug use, legal or illegal, was limited," does nothing to dispel people from talking about it as a "gateway drug."  

If you're on Twitter, I'm on there now: @Quintilian376