Saturday, May 23, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

One method the Cubs' owners might get around having trouble with the ridiculous rooftop owners is purchasing the rooftop businesses

While I'm still skeptical the Cubs will make the playoffs, they sure are more interesting to watch this season. The past few seasons were brutal. They weren't fun to watch. 

I'm currently in the midst of reading Bill Pennington's Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius. When Martin was manager of the Twins, he pulled off a triple steal. I wonder if Joe Maddon has ever thought about doing that. 

The past few years I've gotten into a routine of reading a trio of biographies during late spring/early summer, and the Billy Martin book is the last of the trio. Madison's Gift and a biography of Thomas Hart Benton preceded the Martin biography. 

Here's Benton's controversial Persephone. I viewed this painting when I visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum when I lived in Kansas City. 

If you're a fan of wolves like me, you'll enjoy this video about the wolves in Yellowstone and how their introduction to the park helped improve forests, increased the songbird population, attracted beavers, helped the rivers, and in general improved biodiversity.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Music Friday: "Why I Sing the Blues"

In honor of the passing of B.B. King, today I'm featuring my favorite song of his. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

If recent hiring practices in MLB are any indication, in the distant future maybe I can become a major league baseball manager. Good luck Marlins

This week I planted a number of plants that repel mosquitoes. On the back patio I have a little garden that has rosemary, lemon thyme, mint, and basil. Then in a couple of medium-size pots, I have some lavender. In the big pot right now I only have rosemary, but I'm waiting for when the citronella plants hit the stores. The bonus of the little garden spot is that I can use those herbs in dishes. Might have to try my hand making a mint julep. 

Tonight when I was driving IL backroads I got nostalgic about the old foot clicker that cars used to have for turning on and off the brights. I'd pay extra for that feature on a new car. 

Minor league baseball put on a "Clash of the Caps." The El Paso Chihuahuas won, but I'm partial to the Montgomery Biscuits, Orem Owlz, Chattanooga Lookouts, Hillsboro Hops, and Lansing Lugnuts. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Music Friday: "My Hometown"

On the way up to Waterloo, my hometown, one of the CDs I listened to was Dead Man's Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A. 

The band that covers "My Hometown" is none other than the great band North Mississippi All Stars.

But let's leave it to The Boss for this Music Friday. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

Though it's a bit bombastic, the article "Independent Study Finds That Every Republican Prediction About Obamacare Was Wrong" is an interesting read if you like facts trumping fear mongering. 

So this bit of satire, "Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans," seems appropriate.

The Pew Research Center study says that in the US, the number of Christians has gone down 8% since 2007, and atheists and agnostics have gone from 25% to 31%. Huzzah for freedom from religion. 

In general, I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain. If you're so inclined, check out "23 Brilliant Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain." I'm partial to numbers 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 22. 

I would imagine many folks are fans of the eephus pitch. If you are one of those people, check out Alfredo Simon throwing two eephus pitches to Torii Hunter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stay Positive: Pope Francis on the Environment

I'm not a Catholic. I'm an agnostic who believes in disorganized spirituality. 

But I'm looking forward to the Pope's encyclical letter on the environment due to come out sometime this year. And one of his Cardinals has already taken on, sort of, the climate-change deniers

I doubt I've ever written this before, but kudos to the Vatican. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Music Friday: "Let the Good Times Roll"

A new album I got this week was JD McPherson's Let the Good Times Roll

This dude is obviously influenced by 50s-style rock and roll and traditional rhythm and blues. 

It's a fun album, and here's the title track. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

When Mrs. Nasty and I were in Cancun, we ventured out of the hotel premises and checked out the Mayan ruins of Tulum. When compared to Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan sites in the middle of the jungle, Tulum is a much smaller site, but it certainly was interesting. After our tour, we ventured back to the shopping and eating area outside the site, and in that area, there's a Quiznos, a Subway, and a Starbucks. If you know anything about Tulum, it's the ruins of a city during the last gasps of the Mayan civilization after they had used up the environment around them and finally crafted a smaller city by the coast. For all the deep thinkers out there, you can ponder about mass-market chains being close to the last vestiges of a dead civilization and what that all means. 

Mrs. Nasty and I were also talking about how we need to go on some family vacations starting next summer. With my daughter's annual dance competition, we go to some manner of resort during the summer, but we want to start seeing some sites. Here are some early ideas for future summer travels:
  • Washington D.C./Virginia area (Mount Vernon, Monticello, Revolutionary War and Civil War sites
  • Great Smoky Mountains
  • Lake of the Ozarks
  • Redwood National and State Parks
  • Seattle
  • Kansas City 

My son's baseball practices started yesterday. I'm working as an assistant coach again. Once again I'm living vicariously through my kids. 

My poor Cubs have lost two games in a row to the damn Cardinals. I hate the Cardinals.

I've thought of supporting a St. Louis ball club though because I've contemplated purchasing a St. Louis Browns hat. "First in Shoes. First in Booze. And Last in the American League." 

That cap would complement my Baltimore Orioles hat I have because that's what the St. Louis Browns became. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Music Friday: "Mexico"

Man, I've eaten a lot of seafood this week. 

Because Mrs. Nasty won a sales competition with her company, this week we've been luxuriating in Cancun on her company's dime. Yesterday we got to explore Tulum. We're doing some snorkeling on Saturday, and we'll come back on Sunday night. We've been here since Tuesday afternoon. 

It's one of those all-inclusive resorts. You go to dinner, and you don't have to pay anything. The cocktails are free and all that. 

Anyway, because it seems appropriate, here's that famous James Taylor song. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Music Friday: "Atomic Punk"

On the drive over to Arnold, Missouri for my daughter's dance competition this weekend, I had my iPod on shuffle, and this tune came on. 

It struck me that some of the moves Eddie makes on this tune remind me of Tom Morello's hijinks on the axe. 

I grew up listening to Van Halen. Not that Van Hagar @#$%. Diamond Dave at the helm. 

I like to joke that all I know about romance I learned from Van Halen lyrics. 

Hope you enjoy some classic Van Halen. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

[Belated] Sunday Hangover: A-Day Game

Another A-Day game came and went. 

This was an interesting one because with notable starters out (Cyrus Jones) or in non-contact jerseys (Kenyan Drake), a number of younger players had opportunities to show why they were so highly regarded by recruiting services. 

Once again the big question was who was going to win the starting quarterback spot. Web-based rumblings prior to the game noted that redshirt freshman David Cornwell had been working with the first team during spring practices. However, he was the starter on the Crimson team that showcased the second-team offensive line and other assorted backups.

Jacob Coker had a much better day than Cornwell, but he had the luxury of piloting the first-team offense. Even though Coker had a very good day sans a stupid interception, Cornwell is still very much in the mix. 

After losing Cooper to the draft, White and Jones to graduation, and Cam Sims to an injury, wide receivers who had been riding the pine needed to step up. And they did. Robert Foster (six catches for 125 yards) and ArDarius Stewart (eight catches, 118 yards, two touchdowns) were co-mvps of the game. 

While O.J. Howard didn't have a catch, after the game Coach Saban mentioned that he had a really good spring. In other TE matters, Ty Flournoy-Smith (five catches) and Dakota Ball (three catches) had good days. 

Henry had a decent day running the ball, but Drake was visibly frustrated because he was in a non-contact jersey and easy to "tackle." With Tyren Jones kicked off the team, it's a mystery as to who will be the third-string running back. 

With Eddie Jackson currently working at one of the safeties (and he got burned a couple of times), Bradley Sylve and Tony Brown started at the cornerback spots, and Marlon Humphrey had a really good day. There is a ton of pressure on the play of the secondary this year because of the final two games last season. For the most part, Cyrus Jones usually shut down his side of the field last season, but Jackson had a rough go in a number of games. 

Reuben Foster had some pleasantly violent hits on Saturday. Reggie Ragland was solid as usual. And Keith Holcombe did well at LB too. 

In all, from this fan's perspective, I think we have answers at the wide receiver position, and I think our offensive line will be decent. Our front seven on defense will be one of the best in the country this year. The question marks are with two areas: quarterback (Coker or Cornwell?) and the defensive backfield. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Music Friday: "Bodhisattva Vow"

I recently downloaded Beastie Boys' Ill Communication for a good price. I'm listening to it now as I write this post actually. I had the CD years ago but then sold it when I was short on money. 

One of the more surprising tunes on that album is "Bodhisattva Vow," so I'm sharing that today along with a video of Tibetan monks breakdancing. 

Namaste, bitches. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stay Positive: Vernon Franklin

I have a meeting next week, and I'm a little worried that I might it "keep it real" a little too much. 

In honor of that worry, I offer the Vernon Franklin skit from Chappelle's Show

Here's to "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong." 

Random Notes from a Crank

With all the talk about the Indiana law about "religious freedom" dying down because the 24-7 news media outlets are focused on something new, I've been thinking about how there should be such a thing as freedom from religion. Stop shoving your Jesuses and other saviors down my throat, people. 

I've never been a big fan of the Clintons, but "8 Nightmare Scenarios That Would Come to Pass If GOP Presidential Speech Became Reality" scares the hell out of me. 

Interestingly, Grist provides its own eight-item article: "8 Things You Need to Know about Hillary Clinton and Climate Change." 

I'm not a fan of Angry Birds, but I might be now

Speaking of video games, I'm hopelessly addicted to Star Wars Commander. I haven't felt this way since Dig Dug.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Music Friday: "Who'll Stop the Rain"

Thursday night I left for Vincennes University to give a keynote address/workshop, and it was raining hard when I left. 

From Charleston to Olney, I drove through lightning all around and torrential downpours. Once I headed east, the drive got better. 

This tune is a spring song.