Friday, May 26, 2017

Music Friday: "Friday I'm in Love"

I heard this song today as we were coming back from Effingham for my son's travel baseball game. 

This song was played loudly on many a Friday at the Gin Mill in Kirksville, MO. 

Smooth move Coleman. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Music Friday: "Before We Disappear" & "Rowing"

Chris Cornell died yesterday

He is one of my favorite singers and frontmen. Such a distinctive voice. 

A loss to music. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

The current issue of Utne has three articles I want to share. 

The first is "Picture Day" written by a Bosnian-Canadian. It puts the refugee crisis into a more personal perspective. As she says, "Today, more than twenty years after my parents and I left Bosnia, there are still refugees in the world--hundreds of thousands of them, in fact. The current refugee crisis, fueled by wars in Syria and across the Middle East, has been immortalized by photos of families just like mine: men, women, and children sitting in bus stations waiting for food, trapped behind border fences, and holing up in dilapidated refugee camps."

Here's a good example of Girl Power: "Women Mayors Lead the Charge on Climate Change." 

A long and interesting interview with ecologist Carl Safina titled "Signs of Intelligent Life"  makes me want to buy his book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. There are many nuggets of fact-based wisdom in the interview, but here is one of my favorites: "I think humans are the animal who embodies the most extremes. We can give ourselves credit for being the most technologically talented, the most compassionate, and the most creative, but we also must own that we're the most destructive, the cruelest, and the most violent." I have similar feelings as he does about religion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

In a recent visit to my local CVS, I scanned the clearance liquor/wine rack. To my surprise, I found bottles of Manischewitz Blackberry wine for $2.77. It's a sweet, kosher wine that I sold at my dad's liquor store way back when. In fact, if I remember right, a Lutheran church bought cases of the Concord grape variety for communion wine. 

I'm a sucker for clearance booze racks, which reminds me of Colonial Party Mart. 

Colonial Party Mart was a liquor store back in my undergraduate college town of Kirksville, Missouri. They went out of business sometime in my junior or senior year. They were selling booze cheap as hell, probably at cost, and boozehounds  descended upon that establishment and got lots of good stuff at great prices. Unfortunately, when my friends and I got there, all that was left was mixing liquor and off brand stuff. I do think we bought some Ouzo though. I can't remember if it was the cheap stuff or one of the good Greek brands.


Figuring out how to spell that exclamation above led me to this interesting article: "What Does the Word Opa Mean Exactly?"

And that expression reminds me of the Norwegian expression of "Uffda." My mom had a plaque of that expression hanging on our back door. I need to use that expression more often. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Music Friday: "Wasting Time"

This song is popping up via shuffle on my iPod on a consistent basis for some reason. 

It's one of my favorite songs on that album. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Green Vegetable Soup

I created/adapted this soup based on a recipe that was in Cooking Light that is called "Minestrone Verde." That recipe uses basil, and I didn't have basil or leeks, and I had other ingredients that I wanted to use. I forgot to add peas, so if I make it again I might use basil, green onions, and peas. 

2 garlic cloves, minced
Half of a yellow onion, chopped finely
Olive oil for sautéing 
2 medium size zucchinis, sliced into half moons
1 head of broccoli
2 containers of chicken stock
3 handfuls of spinach, chopped coarsely
Half a box of tricolor rotini, cooked
Lots of cracked black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Healthy portion of Penzey's Ozark Seasoning

In stock pot, heat olive oil on medium and dump in the onion and garlic. Sweat those until the onions are tender. Add the zucchini and broccoli and cook for a while. 

Once the zucchini are tender, add the stock and spinach. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add in salt, pepper, and seasoning.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Here are some select, interesting factoids from recent Harper's Indexes (April and May):
  • Factor by which more Americans work in the solar industry than work in the fossil fuels: 2
  • Ratio of average annual number of deaths in the United States cause by drowning to those caused by gun violence: 1:8
  • Of federal research funding for drowning to funding for gun violence: 1:1
  • Percentage of Trump voters who believe he should be allowed to have a private email server: 42
  • Who believe he should not: 39
  • Factor by which sales of George Orwell's 1984 increased during the three weeks after the presidential inauguration: 90
  • Number of books on a list that a Virginia judge assigned to five teens for defacing a historic black schoolhouse: 35
  • Average percentage change in suicide rates among gay and bisexual teens after their state legalized same-sex marriage: -14
  • Percentage change since 1997 in the number of times married Americans have sex each year: -19
  • Length, in minutes, of a weekly break during which employees of a Swedish town are encouraged to have sex: 60

I'd call that last one a "nooky break."

Because of my son being on travel basketball and baseball teams and my daughter being on the volleyball and track teams for her middle school, I've gotten to visit some of the hamlets in east central Illinois. Friday we were in Teutopolis for a track meet, and that school system has one of my absolute favorite mascots: wooden shoes. 

If I'm not rooting for the Charleston Trojans, I root for the Shoes. FEAR the Wooden Shoes. 

This all leads to "10 Unique Illinois High School Mascots." The Shoes are the staunch rivals of the Flaming Hearts by the way. 

Music Friday: "Laveau Dirge No. 1" & "Here Come the Girls"

I realized Trombone Shorty had a new album out and promptly bought it. 

Check out two tunes from the new album. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Stay Positive: Iron Fist

Of the Marvel Netflix series, Iron Fist is the one that has not gotten a lot of positive critical acclaim. 

In fact, it has received its fair share of negative reviews. For example, check these out: 

I'm here to tell you that it's a decent show. 

There is some just (but minor) criticism in those reviews, but I enjoyed the series. 

One issue out there is that there was a campaign to make the main character Asian-American. I don't get that. 

Danny Rand has always been a rich white dude. Sweet Christmas. 

In comparison to the comic books, the TV Danny Rand is a bit of a darker character. Thinking back to the old Power Man and Iron Fist comics and even comparing the TV series to the current run of Power Man and Iron Fist by Walker, the comic book versions of Danny Rand are sometimes more light-hearted. 

And to think more positively, the Iron Fist series moves us toward the new series, The Defenders

And here are possible explanations to the end of season 1. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Music Friday: "Bixby Canyon Bridge"

This Saturday the family is taking a short trip to Indy for my daughter and her friend to compete in a dance competition. They're performing their duet, which is set to "On Broadway."

The first dance competition of the year they competed in had one squad (a competing dance team) dancing to the song below. It was one hell of a routine. And I enjoyed it a lot because I really like this song. 

So here you go. It's a live version.

Dance on. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday Hangover: A-Day

Another A-Day in the books. And it was a competitive one. 

The Crimson squad, first-team offense and second-team defense, won 27 to 24. 

The main focus for many folks was the quarterback competition between Hurts and Tua. Both played really well. It was obvious Hurts had worked on his deep ball throws in the off season because he threw a number of long-pass strikes to Ridley and Foster. 

The White team, on the other hand, had its own standout: Jerry Jeudy, the early enrollee freshman wide receiver. He amassed 134 yards on 5 catches and had two touchdowns. That kid is a difference maker. 

With the top two running backs not in action because they're rehabbing, Najee Harris and Joshua Jacobs toted the rock. Both looked good. 

As for the defenses, guys that stood out to me were Keith Holcombe, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Rashaan Evans, Raekwon Davis, Terrell Hall (he had a fabulous pick-6), and Mack Wilson. 

With losing so much defensive talent to the NFL, it'll be interesting to see who steps up and becomes a leader. Same schemes and system in place, but the defense needs to gel. 

As for offense, they didn't run it that much. I don't know if that's because of only having a few tailbacks available, or it was because there's a different offensive philosophy because of a new OC. What I enjoyed was a emphasis on a down-the-field passing attack. While I see the need for shorter passes, Alabama has talented wide receivers who can get down the field in a hurry. They might as well take advantage of that asset more often. At times during the game, I thought "Air Bama." However, since Saban took over in '07, the offensive game plan has always been "balance" between running and passing. I don't think that'll change. 

Roll Tide.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm a fan of reading historical accounts, and the book I just finished reading described one of the more interesting ploys that led to an attack. In Michael McDonnell's Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America, he details how Ojibwe warriors attacked Fort Michilimackinac in 176@ during the second Euro-Indian War (the first was the "French and Indian War"). The Objiwe warriors played lacrosse as a distraction and then got into the fort. Here's McDonnell's description: "Under the cover of a game of baggataway, or lacrosse, the Ojibwe waited until Etherington and Leslye came outside the gates of the fort to watch. On a signal, they flipped the ball into the fort and rushed after it, just as a group of them seized Etherington and Leslye. Inside the fort, the Ojibwe collected hatchets and 'Spears' from 'a number of their Women' who had 'concealed them under their Blankets.' They killed at least sixteen soldiers and a trader named Tracey in the initial attack." 

After I got done with that book, I quickly picked up Tom Verducci's The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building The Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse. It's one hell of a book that fellow Cubs fans and many baseball fans should read. The author's recounting of Game 7 mad me almost as nervous as I was when I was watching the damn thing. Well worth any baseball fan's reading time. 

The firing of Bill O'Reilly is something behold. This column in the Washington Post opines that that this episode is the start of something good for working women: "'Be Brave': Bill O'Reilly's Downfall Teaches a Wonderful Lesson to Working Women." I don't know if I'm as sanguine about workplace harassment changing.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Music Friday: "Holy Shit" & "I Went to the Store One Day"

I've been listening to the new Father John Misty quite a bit lately. 

But here are two of my favorites from his previous album. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Music Friday: "Subliminal Fascism," "Ghetto Soundwave," & "Ugly" with Interview

We were in St. Louis a little while back, and on Sunday of that weekend we did the tourist thing and ate at Blueberry Hill

As we were driving past, I noticed a tour bus, and one of the guys smoking outside it was wearing the iconic black Fishbone t-shirt. 

Mrs. Nasty checked on what band was playing that night down in The Duck Room, and it was Fishbone. 

So in tribute to that great band that is still doing its thing, here are two songs from Truth and Soul that still certainly resonate. And the performance of "Ugly" and "When Problems Arise" with an interview in between are worth a listen. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

CVS enjoys giving me coupons, but what's the point if I can't use them on booze and milk? 

Speaking of booze, I watched the initial episodes of Brockmire, and that character really enjoys his Sazerac Rye. 

Can't say that I blame him. 

Great show so far by the way. 

I finally got around to reading Alan Moore and David Lloyd's V for Vendetta, a dystopian graphic novel about Britain under fascist rule. Page 2 of the first issue features radio news/propaganda playing, and one panel says this: "Mr. Karel went on to say that it is the duty of every man in this country to seize the initiative and make Britain great again." 

Let that sink in. 

If I were at this dude's college, I'd take his class for sure: "Professor Caveman." 

Another interesting article from The Atlantic is "Welcome to Pleistocene Park." Scientists in Siberia are combating climate change by bringing back grasslands. The really sexy part of the whole project is that they want to genetically resurrect wooly mammoths.