Friday, June 24, 2016

Music Friday: "Kinda Fuzzy"

When I was cooking the other day, this song came on via my iPod shuffle. I was reminded how good of an album Wonderful, Glorious is. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

After the horrible slayings in Orlando, the gun control/assault rifle debate is back again. And yet again under the influence of the NRA, no new legislation was passed. A person on a terrorist no-fly list is able to buy a gun

For a Canadian's take on the United States' gun problem, check out "The #1 Factor Experts Say Accounts for High Number of Mass Shootings in US."   

Then again, here is an article that provides good news for gun-control advocates. 

As a well-known introvert, I have to share these comics that help explain us: "10 Comics Explain What It's Really Like To Be an Introvert." My favorite is the shirt that asks, "Why are you still talking?" 

The work of one climate-change denier didn't go so well

DuPont is not a company I'm fond of because of its environmental pollution record, but they are working hard at trying to transform corncobs into fuel. I hope their research and innovation works. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Music Friday: "Tear in My Beer"

Let's get back to basics: Hank Williams ~ sadness ~ drinking ~ regret ~ loneliness ~ despair ~ heartache. 

In other words, it's the blues. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm happy to relate I'm not part of organized religion anymore. That change happened decades ago. I'm more a believer in disorganized spirituality. One of the bonuses of that stance is that I don't have any kind of religious-based rationale to hate gay people. 

My daughter, on the other hand, has been going to this youth group for over a year now. I have misgivings about it for various reasons. I know exactly how the main characters of The Americans feel about their daughter Paige getting involved with a church. 

In The Atlantic online, the magazine solicited readers' replies to this question: "What is the greatest prank of all time?" The one I liked the best was from Frank Tokarsky: "To paraphrase George Carlin, the greatest prank of all time must be what organized religion is trying to peddle: 'There's this man who lives in the sky; he knows everything, and he sees everything ... and he needs your money." 

Here's an extended version of those sentiments: "The greatest bullshit story every told." 

I started out my resurrected softball career with a groundout (5-3) in my first at bat, a mildly pulled groin, a misplay in right field, a much needed walk for my second at bat, and a run scored. That certainly checks off the boxes for middle-aged man. The last time I played softball was when I severely dislocated my left thumb (the bone was sticking out) back in the mid-90s. I'm a bit rusty. 

Check out Robert H. Frank's "Why Luck Matters More Than You Think." That article spurred me buy his book, Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy. Frank is an economist, a profession stereotyped as being abstruse writers. However, the book is very readable and thought provoking.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Music Friday: "Purple Mountain Jamboree" & "Straight to Hell"

I'm a big fan of Todd Snider. 

Now his super-band of sorts put out a second album. This time instead of covers, which is what the first album was full of, they are original songs. 

The first song is from the new album, and the second is from the first. 

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Music Friday: "Mockingbird"

Here's a band that put out a new album recently. 

They are some dudes from Texas. I've only listened to the album a few times so far, but I enjoy it. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

One of the dangers of having a subscription to The New Yorker is the magazine's "Briefly Noted" feature, which introduces people to recently published books. One issue sucked me into buying The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman, and now I'm considering other books that the feature introduced me to: Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America and Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-first.  

I've been a subscriber to Utne magazine since high school. The spring issue features a number of great articles. Here are three of them:

If you're interested in words that have grammatical versatility, check out "In Which We Get to the Bottom of Some Crazy-Ass Language." 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Music Friday: "Left Hand Free"

Last night the Nasty family finally got around to watching Captain America Civil War

It was your typical Marvel Studios fare. I'm sure there are all kinds of differences between what actually happened in the comic books and how the movie presents the events, but I'll leave that to those who are reading Avengers comics. 

As is their bent, this Marvel-based movie had two bonus scenes/trailers after the main film was over. 

Before the second one featuring yet another permutation of Spiderman, this song was playing by a band I wasn't familiar with named Alt-J. 


Friday, May 20, 2016

Music Friday: "Sing a Simple Song"

It's time to get your funk on. 

And sing a simple song. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm tired of hearing all this crap about bathroom bills related to transgender people. Backers of the bill tout that they are to protect people, especially kids, from being sexually harassed. Where is there any proof that transgender people mess with kids? Not long ago regular gay people were associated with child molestation, so these political moves aren't much different than that anti-gay nonsense. 

To keep it real here, check out "All the Things You Can No Longer Buy If You're Really Boycotting Trans-Friendly Businesses." A portion of the second ¶ of the article is noteworthy: "The American Family Association (AFA), a fundamentalist Christian nonprofit that is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)." 

If you really want to protect children, young boys in particular, from sexual abuse, legislators might want to pass some kind of bill about priests

Hell, the New York Times has a whole section of its website devoted to "Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse Cases." When a topic has its own section on the New York Times, it's likely to be a significant problem. 

For a while now I've been entering The New Yorker's Cartoon Caption Contest. Recently the guy in charge of comics started partially crowd-sourcing those who submitted captions to rate others' submissions, a peer review of sorts. The other day I rated a bunch of submissions, and it was interesting to see how people's comic minds work in similar ways. It's hard to be original. 

Chris Cillizza thinks Mark Cuban will run for president sometime in the future. He may be right. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I abhor how religion mixes in with politics. One of the most annoying things I find is when some politician prattles on about God this or Jesus that or how America is a "divine" nation. I especially hate when our so-called leaders cite Scripture as some "reason" for whatever @#$%ed up policy they want to implement. Regardless of all that and my distaste for organized religion and my agnosticism, Bonnie Kristian's "The Idolatry of the Donald" on The American Conservative is worth a read. 

John Oliver had a great segment on scientific studies and how they're reported on TV morning programs and elsewhere. It's a solid take on what is real science and what are good sources. We need many more replication studies. Check it out. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Music Friday: "Fell on Black Days"

It's been a rough spring here in east central Illinois and other parts of the state whose economies are tied to state universities. Yet the Governor and the rest of the dunces in Springfield twiddle their beans and use higher ed appropriations as a political pawn. 

So I offer you an appropriate song. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

Mother Jones has a short piece online, "Here's Why Libertarians Are Mostly Men," that's worth a read. It does seem odd that most libertarians are men. 

I purchased a couple of shirts from 6 Dollar T-Shirts. One says "Somewhat Functional Introvert," and the other one is below except I got it in heather grey. 

If I want to go all the way, I could also get a certificate of achievement

If you're an owner of a business, you would think you wouldn't want to spout divisive and dumb political claptrap on Facebook. I'm taking my union-supporting and liberal-leaning money elsewhere.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Music Friday: "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)" & "In Bloom"

Sturgill Simpson put out a new album recently, and it's good. 

Here's a couple of tunes from it. The second song is a Nirvana cover. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I was happily surprised to read Tom Philpott's article in the May/June issue of Mother Jones. In "Playing Chicken," the author informs readers about how Perdue, the chicken industry giant, has gone to not using antibiotics. Let's hope other meat producers follow their lead because Perdue has based its decision on science and the fact that antibiotics really don't significantly increase weight gain. 

The President killed it at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. 

I'm not surprised at all that students who have a "consumer" mindset to their coursework often get lower grades than students who see themselves as learners. Read all about it in "Students with Consumer Mindset Get Lower Grades." The final ¶ is noteworthy because students are getting that attitude from somewhere: "Government, too, should be cautious when talking about the ‘value’ of higher education purely in terms of a financial transaction as it may encourage students to feel like they are simply buying their degree. As a result, they may start to develop a ‘you teach me’ attitude rather than one that fosters effortful engagement with their chosen subject.”

I'm glad to see the Game of Thrones tv series has rediscovered the Iron Islands. I suspect they'll play catch-up with the books as new happenings unfold. I had suspected Ian McShane will play Victarion Greyjoy, one of my favorite characters in the books, but that doesn't seem to be the case