Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Georgia

I had to watch the game after it actually happened because the Nasty family went to a wedding, but I followed the score via Mrs. Nasty's smartphone during the wedding reception. 

When I watched it last night and then watched it again with my son this morning, a number of points stand out. 

Jake Coker played better. He hit a long pass to Ridley, which was beautiful. 

Sans the long run for a touchdown in garbage time, our defense played stellar. 

Calvin Ridley looks really good. To me, he looks like a shorter Amari Cooper. I don't think he has that caliber of route-running skills yet though. 

Derrick Henry is a beast. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick had a great game: solid cb play, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and a sack. 

The Dline keeps batting down passes. 

I wish the right side of our offensive line was stronger. We seem to be running to the left a lot. 

Reggie Ragland should be in consideration for the Butkus award. 

I want Cyrus Jones to rip off a great punt return like Javy Arenas used to do. 

What would have been even sweeter is if UGA would have done a "black out" like they did in 2008 when the Tide whipped their asses. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Music Friday: "A Murder of One"

I'm sitting here in a rocking chair at the Baltimore airport. My co-author and I gave a presentation and workshop at a focus group deal put on by our publisher. My flight doesn't leave until 10:30, and I get into the Indianapolis airport around midnight. After that I have  a two-hour car ride ahead of me until I make it home. 

It's rainy out there, folks. Lots of wetness happening here on the east coast. 

You would think that today's Music Friday post would be "Raining in Baltimore," but I've posted that before. Then there's "Baltimore Blues" by Deer Tick. Done that too. 

So let's go with the song after "Raining in Baltimore" on August and Everything After, which is "A Murder of One." 

A Murder of One
Blue morning, blue morning,
wrapped in strands of fist and bone.
Curiosity, Kitten, doesn't have to mean you're on your own.
You can look outside your window.
He doesn't have to know.
We can talk awhile, baby.
We can take it nice and slow.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.

Are you happy where you're sleeping?
Does he keep you safe and warm?
Does he tell you when you're sorry?
Does he tell you when you're wrong?
I've been watching you for hours.
It's been years since we were born.
We were perfect when we started.
I've been wondering where we've gone.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.

I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow,
casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there counting crows.
One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for girls, and four for boys,
five for silver,
six for gold, and
seven for a secret never to be told.

There's a bird that nests inside you
sleeping underneath your skin.
When you open up your wings to speak,
I wish you'd let me in.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.
Open up your eyes.
You can see the flames of your wasted life.
You should be ashamed.

You don't want to waste your life.

I walk along these hillsides in the summer 'neath the sunshine.
I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me.

Change, change, change.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Louisiana-Monroe

Jeez, during the first half, the Tide offense was lethargic. 

If you watched Coach Saban's press conference, he emphasized multiple times that receivers dropped four balls that should have been caught, one of which, if I remember right, was a dropped ball by Calvin Ridley for a touchdown. 

While Alabama didn't play an offensive juggernaut by any means, the defense was stifling. There was a great deal of pressure on the quarterback with very few stunts and blitzes. One of the hallmarks of this year's defense is that they lineman are batting down balls often. Three defensive lineman had four batted balls, and five players had seven quarterback hurries. Six players contributed to six sacks of the quarterback. 

One player I noticed who played a lot was the true freshman safety Ronnie Harrison. On passing downs, he was playing near the line of scrimmage in the dime package, and he looked good. 

Overall, the Tide defense held the Skyhawks to 92 yards of total offense. 

With number one receiver, Robert Foster, out for the season, Ridley and Stewart picked up their games yesterday. And they're going to have to. It was also great to see Cameron Sims back to playing more often. He's a tall receiver who could create matchup problems for a number of defensive backs. 

Like last game, I was disappointed with the play of the offensive line, particularly the right side of the line during the passing game. While Coker looked decent, there were a number of plays where he locked onto certain receivers instead of looking for other receivers who were open. Also, he threw a number of deep balls to receivers who had little separation on their routes. Part of the issue is Coker, and the other part is receivers needing to use their speed more effectively and run crisper routes. 

On a positive note, Adam Griffith, a guy who hasn't looked good at the start of the season, made solid field goals of 35 and 40 yards. 

Next week's game pits the Tide against Georgia in Athens. Unfortunately for me, the Nasty family is going to a wedding that will last the whole afternoon and evening. Looks like I'll have to wear my elephant tie in support of the team. 

But who are these people who have weddings during college football season? My daughter and son will know better. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Music Friday: "All Your Favorite Bands"

Considering that I'm a fan of the band Dawes, I'm surprised I haven't posted many of their videos for Music Friday . 

So I'm doing so today. 

This video is the title track of the band's latest album, but it doesn't show Dawes until the end, and that's just the lead singer if I remember correctly.

A number of musician friends of the band made the video for them. 

Random Notes from a Crank

With Trump as the front runner and Ben Carson as second in the current GOP field, this whole Republican race is bizarre, especially with Carson believing that the world was created in six days. That's right. The world was created in six days according to Carson. Stunningly stupid. Even my eleven-year old daughter recognized that story as a metaphor. Check out "Ben Carson: The World Was Created in 6 Days. Literally." 

Over at the Washington Post, in "Why Republicans Are Starting to Panic, in One Paragraph." Chris Cillizza concisely sums up what a number of people in the GOP are worried about considering demographics and the coming presidential election. 

As for the Democrats, it's the Hillary and Bernie dynamic right now with Biden sitting it out at the moment. I suspect Biden decides to run. 

The candidate I would probably support the most, Elizabeth Warren, made an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

I'm one of the coaches for my son's soccer team, which makes me wish I played soccer as a kid. I think there might have been some soccer leagues back then northern Iowa (maybe), but the junior high schools and high schools didn't offer soccer as a sport. 

This weekend the men of the Nasty home will have the house to ourselves. Mrs. Nasty and my daughter are going with a few friends to Nashville to see an insanely expensive Taylor Swift concert. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Last night was a manic-depressive fiasco. 

Coach Saban summarized the game well in his post-game remarks: 
"The key thing for the players is how they’re going to respond to a loss. I really was proud of how our players fought back in the game to get the game to 30-24. Then, we gave up a big play, and we got down by 20 points, and we fought back again, and actually had the ball with an opportunity maybe to have a chance to win the game.

“I really liked the resilience of our players. They played for 60 minutes in the game, and they fought back, but the mistakes that we made, and all that we gave away, we could not overcome. I don’t want this to sound as if I don’t think Ole Miss played a really good game. I think they played a really good game, and I think they’ve got a really good team. I think they deserved to win this game, and they outplayed us, but [five turnovers] is just the fact of the matter.”

I don't know of any game where a team has five turnovers and wins. 

What's more is that the offensive line play was inconsistent. A number of runs got no gain or lost yardage because of poor blocking. That must be cleaned up.

The surprise to me and others is that Cooper Bateman started the game at QB, yet Coker came in later. The latter guy clearly commanded the offense well, and Bateman showed some flashes, especially because of his arm strength. Then again, Coker threw some downright dumb throws. 

By most statistical categories, the Crimson Tide dominated the game except in turnovers and explosive plays. 

This one hurts because the Tide fought so hard to win the game and got pretty damn close a couple of times, but they couldn't overcome stupid turnovers. 

I'm glad the loss came early in the season, but Ole Miss has a favorable schedule going forward. They still play it the SEC West of course, but If recall correctly, their East opponents this season aren't too tough. Alabama, on the other hand, plays Georgia and Tennessee. 

From my amateur eyes, the two main concerns for Alabama going forward are consistent offensive line play and consistent QB play. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Music Friday: "Annie Waits," "Capable of Anything," & "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Movement 1"

Ben Folds came out with a new album this week, and I'm digging it. Today I'm offering one of my favorite older songs of his along with two new ones. 

Get your piano on, folks. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

As you would probably figure if you know me or if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, I didn't watch the GOP debate this week. The first reason is because I dislike clowns. The second reason is that I wouldn't vote for any of those people. 

I did partake in the not-so-shocking factcheck reports. If you're interested, here you go:

I'm glad Rubio set me straight on understanding that America is not a planet. 

I'm interested to see how the Democratic candidates fare with the fact-checkers when they debate. But when are they going to debate? Seriously. 

Ah, not till October...

While I'm not Catholic, I like this new Pope, and I'm interested in what he has to say when he addresses Congress

I really enjoy this meme.

I'd like to get an old card catalog and have it in my house or in my office. That would be sweet. 

What is "The Love Ballad of Turd Ferguson"

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Middle Tennessee

As games go, the first half of this one could be described as lethargic. 

These games, at times, can be exasperating because Alabama is expected to blow the other team out, but sometimes the level of intensity just isn't there. 

The Crimson Tide got it together in the second half and played with more intensity.  

One of the major highlights of the game was Kenyan Drake with 202 all-purpose yards: 40 rushing, 91 receiving, and 71 in kick returns. 

And Derrick Henry gained 96 net yards on 18 carries after being not used enough in the first half. 

At the end of the game Damien Harris got some touches and amassed 55 net yards on 8 carries. 

Next up is Ole Miss visiting Bryant-Denny.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Music Friday: "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) & "Rockin' in the Free World"

If you want to anger the members of R.E.M. and Neil Young, just have some GOP candidates play their songs at rallies. 

"R.E.M. to GOP Presidential Candidates, Go F@#$% Yourselves" gives the lowdown on all that. 

In their honor, I offer these two tunes for Music Friday. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: The Most Interesting Man in the World Marinade

Here's another marinade. I used it on pork chops, but it could easily work for chicken. We had our annual Labor Day party, and people complimented me on this marinade. 

2 bottles of Dos Equis dark lager
I clove of garlic, minced
3-4 scallions, chopped roughly
3 tablespoons of kosher salt
Ground black pepper to your liking

Put all this stuff into a mixing bowl, whisk until the salt dissolves, and pour it into a plastic bag with your meat. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Lime-Garlic Marinade

We're having some folks over for a Labor Day party, and here's a marinade I made for pork chops. This marinade would probably be good with chicken too. 

3 limes, zested and juiced
8 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 scallions, chopped roughly
Healthy smidge of honey
Tablespooon of soy sauce
Pince of kosher salt

Take the limes, get the zest off of them, slice them in half, fork them, and squeeze the juice out of them. Chop the garlic and scallions and add them in. Throw the soy sauce in there and then put enough honey in there so it's not gloppy and there's a nice balance of tartness and sweetness. 

Sunday Hangover: Wisconsin

The only game that pitted ranked teams against each other was a good one if you're a Crimson Tide fan. 

The Tide dominated the third quarter and the line of scrimmage. Coming into the game, many Tide fans were curious about these questions: 

  • Will the Alabama D stuff Wisconsin's lauded ground attack?
  • Who will take the reins as the Alabama QB?
  • Who will emerge for Alabama's wide receivers? 
  • Will the secondary play be improved? 

Here are the answers.

Yes, the Alabama defense controlled the line of scrimmage. Wisconsin only had 40 net yards rushing. For a team that hangs its hat on being dominant with their its attack, the Tide made the Badgers pass to set up the run except even when they ran the ball after passing, they still didn't gain much ground. 

Stave, Wisconsin's qb, had a good game. Besides a few medium-length completions, he mostly did shorter throws. In the first half, the Tide didn't do much in the way of blitzing, but in the second half, fans got to see more blitzing and moving around to confuse the quarterback. True freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick had a sack. Allen had two of them. And Davlin Tomlinson had a good game with three tipped passes at the line of scrimmage. 

I gather that the plan was to alternate Coker and Bateman, but Coker was doing so well that they kept him in the game until later in the third quarter. It might be too early to tell, but it seems like Coker is the man to beat. Next week's game versus Middle Tennessee State will probably provide more reps for Bateman (and Morris), but I suspect Coker has won the job based on last night's performance. 

The Tide lost its three leading receivers from last year, so there is a void to be filled. A number of players emerged to catch passes. Rather than being so reliant on one receiver (Amari Cooper), Alabama spread the wealth around:
  • Foster: 4 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD
  • Stewart, 4 receptions, 44 yards
  • Howard, 3 receptions, 37 yards
  • Ridley, 3 receptions, 22 yards
  • Drake, 2 receptions, 48 yards
  • Mullaney, 2 receptions, 38 yards
  • Henry, 2 receptions, 12 yards
  • Flournoy-Smith, 1 reception, 17 yards

I like that lots of different people are catching passes. Foster and Stewart were targeted often, and I love that Howard did well in the game. He's a matchup problem for lots of teams, and I hope the Tide uses him even more. I expect for Drake to be used more in the passing game if true freshman RB Damien Harris establishes that he can tote the rock. He showed flashes last night, but he mainly was running behind the second-team OLine. 

As for the last question, I provide a tentative yes. Cyrus Jones played well, but both Humphrey and Fitzpatrick made some mistakes. I think Eddie Jackson moving to safety is a smart move. He got a interception late in the game. I believe we're solid at right cornerback (Cyrus), but I wonder who will consistently main the left cornerback position ~ Humphrey or Brown. 

Overall though, it was a sold win against a team that is likely to win the weak-ass Big Ten West. The Tide racked up 502 yards of total offense against a squad that has a strong D. I think the Tide's passing defense could be stronger, but they shut down Wisconsin's running game, which made them one dimensional. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Music Friday: "The Healing"

I'm really looking forward to Gary Clark Jr.'s new album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Here's a track I heard him play on Jimmy Fallon's show. It's "The Healing." 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Music Friday: "Strangers" & "Airplane"

Langhorne Slim & the Law put out a new album recently, and it's a solid effort. 

I really got hooked into their last album, The Way We Move, and The Spirit Moves is a good follow up to that one. 

Here's "Stangers" and "Airplane."