Friday, July 21, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I recently read an interesting article in Mother Jones titled "Prison Break" by Dashka Slater that details how the state of North Dakota's prison system is taking some notes from Norway's prison system. The current methods of the American prison system aren't working, so it makes sense to try something different. 

I find the Supreme Court's decision on Trinity Luthern vs. Comer very troubling: "The Supreme Courts Strikes Down a Major Church-State Barrier." 

Check out Jonathan Rauch's "The Conservative Case for Unions." 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Music Friday: "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" & "Let's Get It On"

When we were on vacation, we made a trip to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I could have spent more time than there than the rest of my family wanted to, but we got to see some great artifacts. 

One was Marvin Gaye's smooth ass white blazer. Check it out. 

Here are a couple of classic songs from one of the best singers of all time. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Music Friday: "Never Stop"

I was listening to the Never Stop album by The Bad Plus yesterday when I was reading drafts. 

Great tune by a great band. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Stay Positive: Ontario

Yesterday the Nasty Family started a bit past 6am and drove from East Central Illinois to Niagara Falls, Ontario. We're on a family vacation based on the fact that my daughter has a national dance competition in Sandusky Ohio starting on Tuesday. We went to Niagara Falls for a couple days, and then we'll drive through upstate New York and Pennsylvania to get to Sandusky. 

We crossed the border at Detroit-Windsor and drove all the way to Niagara Falls, which had us cross a mighty good portion of Ontario, which is an enormous province. 

I wouldn't call the drive beautiful. It's pretty enough. The terrain reminds of certain parts of Michigan.

But I would call the drive impressive. 

Once we got past Windsor and out on Ontario Highway 401, Mrs. Nasty and I were both struck by the sheer number of wind turbines there are in that part of Ontario. In addition, we noticed many households that had solar panels, and there were a number of concentrated solar fields. 

This is what happens when a government provides smart incentives to its citizens to invest in renewable energy. I would say the first 50-60 miles of the drive on 401 there was not a landscape that did not have wind turbines dotting it. Very impressive.

As my daughter smartly said on the drive, "The US needs to take some notes from Canada." 

Here are some links about information and incentives given regarding clean energy:

Once we got on the 403 and around Lake Ontario and the Hamilton metro area, there were wineries all over the place. Every exit around that area had at least two wineries featured. 

I'm not much a fan of Canadian whiskey (bourbon is my drink of choice), but I suspect I'd like Canadian wine, especially if they offer some good red wines. 

Today at the hotel I picked up the self-proclaimed "Canada's National Newspaper," The Globe and Mail

I read that paper today, and in comparison, USA Today, which is also available at the hotel, reads more like a newspaper for dumbasses, for Americans who don't like to read. 

Three articles in the paper offer some helpful, non-US takes on the G20 Summit where MoscowDon basically isolated the US and looked like the doofus he is:

I need to read The Globe and Mail more often. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Music Friday: "No Good"

Since I recently posted some ramblings about SiriusXM radio, I might as well present a song I heard on The Spectrum channel that made me buy a band's album. I had never heard of them before that time.  

Check out Kaleo's "No Good." 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

In a recent Grist "Briefly" article, I learned that Volvo is going to be the first big automaker that is getting rid of the internal combustion engine. In two years, the only new cars the company will roll out will be electric. 

In other good news featured in "Briefly," an appeals court is at least slowing down MoscowDon's EPA decision to gut regulations about methane. 

James Hohlman in The Washington Post shows how MoscowDon's asinine "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" is not only nonsense but also an attack on the values of some real Republicans: "Principled Conservatives Show Federalism Is More Than Just a Talking Point by Rejecting Voting Data Requests." 

Our new car, a family edition (has a third row if desired) Nissan Rogue, came with SiriusXM radio, so when I get to drive the car (it is Mrs. Nasty's primary car), I like to explore the radio stations they offer. For the most part, I've settled into a number of "Rock" stations that I alternate among: The Spectrum, Lithium, Alt Nation, First Wave, Pearl Jam, E Street, and Underground Garage. I also listen to Real Jazz, Bluesville, Outlaw Country, and Bluegrass Junction from time to time. 

I wish they offered some kind of "Americana" music station. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

On Monday Mrs. Nasty had the day off, so we took the family and two of my kids'  friends to the Kickapoo State Recreation Area. We kayaked the the Middle Fork River, which from what I gather is around eight miles. It was a lot of fun. The river was cool, and there is great scenery. We plan on doing that again. 

Heck, if we get that into it, we might consider getting our own kayaks. 

On the Fourth of July, Syfy Channel provided a Twilight Zone marathon, which is fitting because narcissistic, pathological lying, juvenile #MoscowDon is POTUS. 

I taped a bunch of those episodes during the marathon. With all the reviving of old shows like The Gong Show, Love Connection, etc., the show that needs to revived is The Twilight Zone. That would be good television. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Music Friday: "Hold Back the River"

I'm not usually someone who listens to stuff that is played on the radio. "Let It Go" by this fellow is a song that got a lot of traction on pop-focused radio. 

A week or two ago I watched James Bay and his band play on Austin City Limits

I like his stuff. As he related in the interview after the performance, one of his parents listened to rock music, and his other parent mainly listened to soul music. The influences are apparent. 

Here's one of my favorite songs from his album.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Music Friday: "Hope The High Road"

The new album by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound, is getting all kinds of deserved attention. 

Here's one of my favorite songs off the new album. 

After the video with lyrics is Isbell's extended interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I started watching the movie Cider House Rules today, and doing so spurred me to buy the novel. I read that book way back in high school, and I remember it as one of those books that fundamentally changed the way I look at things. I might start revisiting books I haven't read since high school. 

But wow, I had forgotten the movie had Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, and Paul Rudd in it. 

News came across my FB feed today, and an ad related that Deer Tick will have two new albums out this fall. Vol. 1 is all acoustic, and Vol. 2 is a rock album. Check out the ad: "Deer Tick New Albums on PledgeMusic." 

I dislike ketchup on hot dogs and sausages. I was glad to find out that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council supports my disdain via its "Hot Dog Etiquette" guidelines.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

My paranoia about electronic voting machines appears to be well founded. As the article "Homeland Security Offical: Russian Government Actors Tried to Hack Election Systems in 21 States" relates, an FBI counterintelligence official said that "Russia’s goal was to 'sow discord' in the United States and to 'denigrate' Clinton and help Trump." 

As I've said before, I talk about the 45th president as "MoscowDon." So should many other people. 

I just worry about anyone, let alone Russian hackers, being able to screw around with electronic voting machines and alter election results. I want to go back to old fashioned ballots. 

Men's Health magazine provides advice in "11 Things Men Shouldn't Wear This Summer." I'm good with all of those recommendations except for one. I wear cargo shorts on a regular basis. 

The guy who founded Cook's Illustrated has left the magazine and started his own cooking mag. It's called Christopher Kimball's Milk Street magazine. I signed up for the charter issue. It's free.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

On Father's Day Mrs. Nasty, the kids, and I went to the Wonder Woman movie. I enjoyed it. I'm not a DC Comics kind of guy, but it was an entertaining movie. Of the DC comics characters, Wonder Woman is one of my favorites. 

And the actress who plays Wonder Woman is hotter than the hinges hanging off the gates of Hell. 

Unfortunately for her, "Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Salary Was Shockingly Low." 

This past weekend I took my son to the local comic book store, and he picked up a copy of Black Panther Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I read it that afternoon. I really enjoy Coates' work, but the narrative was a little too fragmented for me. 

One of my excellent discoveries was that Bendis created a new stand-alone Jessica Jones narrative. Good stuff people. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Music Friday: "Early Bird Cafe"

Some people might not know this, but John Mellencamp put out a new album this year. It's titled Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

Five songs on the album feature Carlene Carter, but the song I'm featuring today does not. 

Here's "Early Bird Cafe." 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Music Friday: "Prayer for Peace" & "Run Red Rooster"

The North Mississippi Allstars have a new album out. I think it's one of the stronger albums in their catalog. 

If you like blues-rock bands, you need to check it out. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Some people get obsessed with how their lawns look. I don't. There are already too many herbicides polluting the hell out of our waterways. This time of the year my lawn is sprouting lots of clover, which I find appealing. I like the way it looks ~ this little white sprouts dotting the lawn. Also, honeybees like clover, and honeybees need all the help they can get these days. 

MoscowDon pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Here's the op-ed piece by the co-director of the MIT Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. He basically calls the current president on his bullshit and lies: "Trump Used Our Research to Justify Pulling out of the Paris Agreement: He Got It Wrong." 

I'm currently watching the Comey Hearing. Some of these dipsticks are really going to run with the wording of "I hope..." Stop the bullshit. MoscowDon was asking Comey to gut the Russia investigation. That is obvious morons.