Friday, August 26, 2016

Music Friday: "Freedom of Speech"

This week I came across this article about the University of Chicago: "Don't Ask Us for Trigger Warnings..."

Although Ice-T wrote the song for different reason (mainly the PMRC), that article reminds me of this song. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

Bill McKibbon has some points to make in "After 525 Years, It's Time to Actually Listen to Native Americans." 

I've never really had houseplants, but this article in Treehugger, "5 Houseplants for Removing Indoor Air Pollution," makes me consider buying some. Might have to put one in my office. 

There's an air show this weekend in this little corner of east central Illinois. I've never gotten into going to those. Like NASCAR, it just seems like a waste of gas. 

We are going to a high school football game this Friday. They have a "grill on the hill" for the first game of the season. We'll see if they pull off a win. The team is in the midst of 17-game losing streak. It's gotta get better sometime soon, right? 

If the Democrats had a really good candidate for president, he or she would be trouncing Trump in the polls right now. Makes me implausibly wish that Elizabeth Warren or Martin O'Malley had won the nomination. If Clinton can't beat Trump, then she's an utter failure. Truly a "loser." 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Music Friday: "Infallible" & "Lightning Bolt"

I've been listening to Pearl Jam quite a bit this week. Here are a couple of tunes from the band's most recent album. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Music Friday: "Longest Days"

This morning I drove to Bloomington, Indiana to give a presentation at a professional development day for the local community college. 

That part of Indiana reminds me of the south because of its terrain and the myriad Jesus-inspired signs.

Since I was in the area, why not some Mellencamp today?

"Longest Days" is one of my favorite songs of his. It's depressing but true. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm skeptical that the GOP is going to be shambles like what happened to the Whig party as some pundits have hinted. However, "The Republican's White Strategy" by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic makes me think that Trump, and people who came before him, are seriously damaging the GOP. The author's comparison of Nixon's "Southern strategy" to Trump's nativism rings true to me. That old chestnut from Twain goes, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes." Here are some notable quotations from the article: 
  • "The much stronger link is between attitudes toward immigration and attitudes toward race."
  • "Like them [past Republican leaders who stoked anti-immigration fires], he is exploiting fears about Latino immigrants in ways that echo the "southern strategy," through which Richard Nixon field and exploited a white backlash against African American civil rights." 
  • "But what's truly ominous for the Trump cruse is Latinos' increasing political cohesion." 
  • "A big reason nativist sentiment is strong today is that immigration has outpaced assimilation."
  • "That immigration wave, however, has passed." 
  • "Perhaps the best evidence that America as a whole is experiencing a California-style flip away from nativist politics is the reaction to Trump's candidacy itself."
  • "Trump will still need more than 40 percent of Latinos to win the popular vote. That's extraordinarily unlikely."
  • "What they [the GOP] don't know is how to build a party that contains both Latinos and the supporters of Donald Trump."

"Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All" is worth your time. The bottom line is that The Art of the Deal is mainly a piece of fiction that ruined a writer's career. Schwartz wrote the fabrications and now regrets it. 

When I was in Iowa this past weekend, I got to see a couple of Clinton ads. The most interesting one is simply a video clip of Trump on the Letterman show. He's touting his shirts and ties, and Letterman points out that the shirts are made in Bangladesh, to which Trump notes that people there "need jobs", and then Letterman relates that the ties are made in China, to which Trump has weird smirks on his face in narcissistic silence. 

Here's the video.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

[Belated] Music Friday: "Thank God for Girls"

The Nasty family went up to Waterloo to visit my dad. I didn't bring my computer with me, so that's why this post if late. 

Anyway, I downloaded the latest Weezer album the other week, and it's pretty darn good. I've been hankering for some new, fun, guitar-oriented rock for a while. And the band's White Album, which came out this year, fulfills that need. 

Here's one of my favorite songs on the album. 

I saw these guys play back in the mid-90s when they toured with Live. That was after the Throwing Copper album dropped and perhaps after Weezer's Blue Album(?). 

Weezer was a good band to see live. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

If you're an educator, a parent, or a coach, you should check out Angela Duckworth's Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I finished it last week. 

I wonder about the word origins of people using "salty" as an adjective for language as in "That guy was using some salty language." I wonder if it comes from the stereotype of sailors being people that swear often. 

I got sucked into another graphic novel series: Brian Wood's DMZ

I need to get back to reading The Walking Dead Compendium One

The Crimson Tide has a challenging opening game against the USC Trojans. If I remember right, it's going to be played at JerryWorld. 

One of our friends uses mayonnaise to take off ring marks off of woodwork. I'm fascinated by this. I want to understand the science behind it. It didn't work on my dining room table, however. 

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Soy-Worcestershire Marinade

I've used this marinade on skirt steak. 

Tomorrow I'm using it on some boneless pork chops. 

1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Smidge of sesame oil
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced thinly
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, whisk, and use it to marinade whatever meat you want to grill. It might also be good on Portabella mushrooms. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Music Friday: "Exodus of Venus"

Elizabeth Cook is a musician I haven't listened to much lately, but she has a new album out that has received good reviews. I'm going to have to check it out. I really enjoyed her previous album, Welder

Anyway, here's the title track of the new album. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Music Friday: "The Watermelon Crawl"

The Nasty family went to Six Flags "St. Louis" with another family yesterday. We didn't get back until 11:30 pm or so. That trip and the fact my kids had their big conference swimming meet today is why this post is late. We left way early in the morning to travel to Effingham, so my son could be there for warmups at 7:15 am. 

While we were at Hurrican Harbor at Six Flags yesterday, this song was played. I hadn't heard it in ages. It was a regular tune on a jukebox at a certain tavern I frequented in college. 

Enjoy the cheesy country music. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

We spent a week in Orlando for a national dance competition my daughter's squad was competing in. One we went to Typhoon Lagoon. One phenomenon I noticed there and at the local swimming pool this summer is that some men wear underwear under their swim trunks. I don't understand. Men's swim trunks have liners in them. What's the point? Are some guys ball sacs so sensitive that they have to wear underwear to swim? 

On a positive note, going to a massive waterpark like that one can make a person feel better about their body image. 

The GOP Convention starts today. I expect it to be ridiculous. 

Speaking of ridiculous, this short article, "Republican Platform Declares Coal is Clean," should have been put out by The Onion, not Grist. You could accuse the RNC of plagiarism. 

My family and friends of our family have recently gotten into geocaching. I enjoy it. It gets me outside and walking and exploring places. 

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Leftover Pasta Bake

Here's a simple dish I made for my family tonight. It uses leftovers. 


2-4 tablespoons of butter
3-4 cups of leftover shell pasta (rotini, ziti, and other such pastas would work)
1-2 leftover grilled chicken breast/s
3 tablespoons of diced yellow onion
1/2-3/4 cup of freshly grated cheddar
Health dose of Parmesan
Salt and peppar to taste
Healthy smidge of Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet on medium heat, dump in the onion, and sauté for 5 minutes or so. Dump in the leftover pasta, stir to coat the pasta, and then add the leftover chicken breast. Cook for five minutes. Set the skillet aside and top the concoction with the cheese. 

Bake in the oven for roughly 10-15 minutes till the edges get crispy and the cheese melts gloriously. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Music Friday: "No Excuses"

I've been meaning to write at least a Random Notes post based partly on my vacation in Orlando, FL. But I haven't yet. 

Regardless, no excuses. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Music Friday: "See a Little Light," "Dreaming I Am," and "Stand Guard"

Bob Mould has a new album out called Patch the Sky. I plan to buy it soon. 

In lieu of his new work, here's some of his old solo work. I featured his old solo stuff more than a few years back if you want to check that out too. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

Amid all the gnashing of teeth because of Clinton's emails, the whole deal reminds me of the millions of emails that were conveniently deleted during Generalissimo Dubya's regime: "The George W. Bush Email Scandal the Media Has Conveniently Forgotten" from Salon & "Bush Advisors' Approach on Email Draws Fire" from the New York Times

Which leads me to this satirical take about why certain people dislike/don't trust/hate Hillary Clinton: "All the Terrible Things Hillary Clinton Has Done - In One Big List." 

Regardless, both cases make me think about how the justice system is rigged for wealthy individuals with connections. 

Nontheless, I'd rather vote for the Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson than Trump. 

My favorite candidate is Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, but I'm still voting for Hillary. 

I'm behind on getting some new music. The Avett Brothers and Sarah Jarosz have new albums, and I'm intrigued by the new album by Sarah Watkins. 

This article will make you think differently about the hot dog. But why do the good ones taste so damn good? 

I've only read two of of Philip K. Dick's novels, The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, both of which I enjoyed immensely. I had heard he had a troubled background as many artists do, and a new book uncovers his troublesome life. "Philip K. Dick's Divine, Amphetamine-Fueled Madness" sheds some light on the author. It's adapted from the writer's full-length book. 

This morning I was looking at a piece of art from another troubled artist, Jackson Pollock