Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ode to the Flamingo

I've referenced the Oxford American a number of times on some Music Friday posts, but the recent issue of the magazine is the "Best of the South" annual issue. The issue features "odes" to various entities that are distinctly Southern or just interesting or thought provoking. Some of the ones this year are Odes to "The College-Football Fan," "A Summer Afternoon," "Ten Sexy Books," "Fishing with Love," "Regional Pride," "A (Phallocentric) Painter," "The Loneliness" (a tribute to the late author Barry Hannah), among others.

The one that sparked me waxing nostalgic and possibly moronic is "Ode to a Jukebox" where Joni Tevis talks about the old style jukeboxes and how one "exercises authority" by making selections.

As she says, "Like calling a radio station to dedicate a song--an act that feels very old-fashioned now--choosing a number on a jukebox gives you a brief share in the tune's ownership. You didn't write the music or words, but you selected it over the others, and changed the evening from what it would have been into what it became by giving it a soundtrack. Exercising your authority over song and community takes only a quarter" (82).

The jukebox that I connect with was the one in the front room of the Flamingo bar in Kirksville, Missouri. That's right, a bar named the "Flamingo" in northeastern Missouri. A pinkish hued bird native to Florida taken as the symbol for a bar in the Show Me State sense does not make. But what the hell. Bar owners, especially one like Irene, are not usually known for their poetic prowess.

But we went to the "O" for cheap drinks and because it wasn't crowded, at least initially. The bar having college kids patronize the place happened gradually for a while, and then the Flamingo exploded as the hip place to be. We, the Pi Kapps and Phi Lambs, didn't know what to think about that initially. For a long time it was a "townie bar" with some frat guys hanging out from time to time or becoming regulars.

But I still remember the tunes I connect with the jukebox at the Flamingo because, well, I spent a good bit of time there in my late undergraduate and graduate school days. Hell, some of us up in Kirksville at that time deserve some manner of pseudo-undergraduate certificate for the time we put in there, maybe a University of the Flamingo diploma like folks in northwestern Iowa have the University of Okoboji inside joke with paraphenalia.

So the tunes, right? That's where this post was supposed to headed. I'd have to go with "The Rodeo Song," "John Deere Green," and Patsy Cline's "Crazy" as ones that call out to me from those beer-soaked and pool-shootin' memories.

There are many stories to be told of the exploits and characters at the Flamingo, so perhaps I'll save some of those for other posts. But the jukebox, which was definitely not a top of the line one, played some good tunes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Smoke Signals" by Alisa Opar

Although the media's attention has been focused on the oil spill in the Gulf, a recent article in Audubon call back our attention the problem that isn't going to go away: the effects of global warming.

"Smoke Signals" relates what's has been going on in the Arctic for too damn long. The tundra is no longer staying frozen, thereby releasing carbon and methane, and thermokarsts are happening at an increasing rate.

As Opar informs, "The Arctic's soil and permafrost hold nearly twice as much carbon as the earth's atmosphere, dwarfing the amount of carbon emitted to date by fossil fuels. Since the industrial revolution our dependence on coal and oil has ratcheted up the atmosphere's carbon content, from 560 to 760 gigatons. Permafrost holds an estimated 1,400 gigatons of carbon. In addition to carbon dioxide, the frozen source is releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent, though it stays in the atmosphere for only a decade rather than for millennia."

Click HERE if you might be interested in "Smoke Signals."

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip

I saw this basic recipe on Emeril Green on the Planet Green channel and adapted it a bit.

As much as people like to get a bit snooty about Emeril (myself included) and his foolishness from Emeril Live days on Food Network, I suspect the man is a hell of a cook. Next time I'm in New Orleans, I plan on eating in one of his restaurants just to see for myself. Sure, the "Baam!" and "Kick it up a notch!" catch phrases wore thin pretty quickly, but his Green show isn't too bad. I don't know if it's still running though since he also has reformulated Live show that gets aired on Ion now.

Regardless, I liked this healthy dip he made and tried it out.

2 cans of Great Northern beans, fully rinsed
1 whole bulb of garlic roasted
Medium size bunch of parsley, mainly the leaves
Small bunch of chives
1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoon of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to the consistency you desire

Roast the garlic, let it cool, and squeeze the mushy garlicky product into a large food processor with the beans, parsley, chives, seasonings, and drip in the olive oil as much as needed.

And while I'm referencing the Food Network, has that channel jumped the shark or what? About the only worthwhile program on that channel anymore is Alton Brown's Good Eats. And maybe Iron Chef America.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Music Friday: "Easy"

God Bless Deer Tick.

At least that's what the satirical bumper sticker says on the back of the band's old school bus in this video.

Click HERE to enjoy.

It's an odd name for a band, but the head man of the group explains the origin of the moniker on the band's rudimentary website. Click HERE for that.

"Let's kick it. Let's do 'Easy.'"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Mashed Potato Spinach Casserole

Since I grew my own spinach this spring, I had a hankering for more although I used frozen spinach for this recipe. And Mrs. Nasty likes her some potatoes. So here comes the compromise.

12 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (yellow potatoes), peel and quartered
2 thawed packages (10 oz.) of chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups of sour cream
1/4 butter, cubed
2-4 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
2-4 tablespoons of chopped chives
6 green onions chopped roughly, just the whites
3 cloves of garlic minced
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes. Some time during that time squeeze out the water from the spinach. Drain the potatoes, mash 'em, and combine them with the spinach, sour cream, butter, herbs, and seasonings in a large bowl. Transfer the stuff to a large, greased casserole dish and sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes.

Mrs. Nasty is a big fan of the dish, and I don't mind it. I think it needs a little something extra--maybe smoked paprika, roasted garlic instead of chopped, fresh spinach instead of frozen, bell peppers, something. We'll get to the bottom of this eventually, what this casserole needs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Have You Been Eating Enough Purple Vegetables?

What you see above is my harvest this evening after Hannah's tee-ball game.

I got seeds for these purple pole beans from a friend, and they're kind of fun--good cut up in salads and tasty cooked too although they turn green when cooked.

Hope you enjoy the fruits of my garden porn.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Music Friday: "Wait So Long"

Straight outta Duluth!

That's right, the band featured today, Trampled by Turtles, hails from Duluth, Minnesota, not exactly a city known for bluegrass bands.

I was in Duluth once after a long haul from Kirksville as we went up on a fishing trip to Ontario. It seemed like a nice city although after driving for such a long time, any city would have looked nice if it had decent beer and a warm meal.

Anyway, enjoy the breakneck pace of "Wait So Long." Click HERE for Trampled by Turtles.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cricker Crack?

In the June issue of Harper's, the editors provide a listing titled "Crystal Metaphors." As is the nature of the magazine, they publish some interesting artifacts that they glean from various sources like governmental agencies, court transcripts, et al.

So "Crystal Metaphors" is "[f]rom a list of slang words for methamphetamine, collected by the Utah Attorney General's Office and posted on its website."

The list is both appalling and darkly humorous that this horrible drug has inspired so many different nicknames, but one that is isn't featured is "Cricker Crack," which was/is? a term for it in the Northeast Missouri since people, "Crickers" who presumably live by "cricks" (creeks) out in the country, use it as their crack.

The common name for this crap is "crank" of course, but here's a partial list of terms that I thought readers might find interesting: buzzard dust, Devil's dandruff, dummy dust, gumption, high-speed chicken feed, pootananny, rumdumb, shiznastica, Smurf dope, spun ducky woo, and yammer bammer.

Of those terms, I think I like gumption and Smurf dope the best.

For an even more extensive list from someone else, click HERE if you're interested in how people play with the language of addiction. Still no Cricker Crack though.

Smurf dope has also inspired some pretty darn good songs too since that crap has devastated countless communities. "Methamphetamine" by Son Volt, "You and Your Crystal Meth" by Drive-By Truckers, and "Methamphetamine" by Old Crow Medicine Show come to mind.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Texas Ten?

I got this off a Nebraska fan site, and I found it amusing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Conference Talk, Again

I've never been a fan of Mizzou, but they're getting screwed. The Big Ten puts out feelers via a KC radio station that the Big Ten wants to be BFFs with Rutgers, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Mizzou. So now we have the Cornhuskers moving to let the Big Ten finally have a championship game while Notre Dame resolves to keep collecting its cash from NBC, and apparently the Big Ten Commish is no longer interested in Mizzou, at least if you go by reports.

That's cold.

And even if you do the sports-talk-radio rhetorical promenade where you might opine that Mizzou doesn't offer a major market, they'd certainly draw more cash than flippin' Rutgers.

At least with Mizzou and Kansas you could say the Big Ten would capture the St. Louis and Kansas City markets, which isn't an enormous draw, but it isn't bad. With those two additions, some "Big Ten" basketball teams might actually play solid offense.

The odd aspect of this Pac-16 conception is the tremendous travel costs of the other sports besides football. And I also wonder whether the old Big 12 powers with the old Pac 10 teams would actually make more money once they split up the money sixteen ways.

Or, as you can read by clicking HERE, maybe the Big 12 becomes Big 12 Light since Texas has always wanted its own TV network? And click HERE for an ESPN article about that too. Since the two schools that have left the Big 12 have to pay a fee to get out of the conference, it might make more sense to stick together.

But I guess it's a possibility that A&M could say goodbye to the new Big 12 [10] since the power play here is to let Texas have its own channel. A Longhorn channel certainly wouldn't please or help the Aggies (making them even a weaker second fiddle), and there's also a rumor that OU, like A&M, has had talks with the SEC, which might have scared the Longhorns.

The main problem, in my opinion, at the root of all this though is revenue sharing. And a condensed Big 12 [10] doesn't address that problem.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pre-Emptive Music Friday: "Something in the Water"

Since the Nasty family is taking a trip and I won't have my computer with me, I am, as I have before, enacting the Bush doctrine of pre-emption to post a song by The Henry Clay People.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Peace out, suckers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mizzou, Your Move

Since it seems that Nebraska's move to the Big Ten is imminent, what does Mizzou do?

Any followers of Mizzou care to chime in?

Heck, if I were the Big Ten head honcho, I'd extend invitations to Iowa State, K State, and Kansas. If Mizzou comes on board, then you have a Big Ten that is a mega-conference like the Pac 10 seems destined to become.

It'll be interesting to see what the SEC and ACC does in response to all these conference shifting shenanigans.

"The Last Taboo" & "The Joy of Dirt"

If you're interested, click HERE to the lead story in the latest issue of MotherJones.

While MJ is a decidedly lefty journal, I felt the article takes a self-critical and wide-ranging look at an issue most people really don't want to grapple with, overpopulation. But it's a concern that certainly connects to a myriad of issues in the world--climate change, loss of topsoil, consumption patterns of developing countries, and so on.

And if you're hankering for even more information and possible solutions about this topsoil issue, take a look at "The Joy of Dirt" by Larry Gallagher in Ode Magazine, a magazine that describes itself as a magazine for "intelligent optimists." Click HERE for that.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Hannah's dance performances are finished for the year, but I just thought I'd share this picture of her meditating before one of her last performances of the year.

She told me tonight that when she meditates it makes her calm and not so "riled up" before she goes on stage. And she also claimed that meditating gives her "good luck."

I don't know Buddhist masters would feel about the luck connection, but I know there have been a number of really interesting scientific/psychological studies in the past decade that have linked meditative techniques not only to better mental health but also to improved physical health.

Regardless, this photo is one my recent favorites of her.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Papers Please has a solid article up on its site that examines the recent Arizona law that's causing a rhetorical ruckus.

As usual, the folks at Annenberg do an excellent job of examining the bill, comparing it to federal law, ferreting out shaky claims, and exposing bullshit.

Click HERE if you're interested.

Music Friday: "Book of Matches"

I recently got introduced to, a great site that connects to iTunes or your iPod. The greatest strength of this site is that once you get yourself "scrobbled," the site will suggest artists and bands you might like based on your listening history and artists you've identified as ones you enjoy.

So I've been tooling around on that that for the past few days ~ exploring musicians and artists I've heard of but never listened to (Hayes Carll, Centro-Matic, The Drams, Gillian Welch), or folks I had no clue about until recently (Dexateens, Old 97's, Slaid Cleaves, Glossary, Pieta Brown).

One band I've discovered is Gentleman Auction House, a band out of St. Louis that does some interesting stuff. It's a large band of six people, I think.

I recently downloaded [free!] their four-song set on Daytrotter, and the song provided here is one of their more popular ones it seems.

Click HERE to watch them perform "Book of Matches."

With all these Web-based resources for music, I'm jealous as hell.

Before you buy new music nowadays, you can check out artists on YouTube, get suggestions from, download free sessions on Daytrotter, etc. We never had any of this stuff in the late 80s and early 90s when I was checking out new bands all the time. I wasted a lot of money buying music based on reviews in Rolling Stone.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fear the Wrath of My HoeDag

I've never been a guy who gets excited about power tools, wrenches, and assorted home improvement gear, but since I began seriously gardening a few years ago along with my assorted lawn projects, I rediscovered my appreciation for gardening and landscaping tools.

Now I've alluded to my respect for the Nut Wizard in a post a long time ago (click HERE for that), but two of my favorite outdoor tools have to be a basic hoe and the very macho handle tamper. But I may have found a new favorite.

It's called the HoeDag. And it's made for kicking ass.

I learned about it after reading a review describing its glory on May Dreams Gardens, one of the blogs that's featured to the right.

It's a gardening tool that looks like a small version of a pick axe, perfect for decimating weeds and perhaps being featured in horror flicks.

Click HERE to check out the HoeDag.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Rotini con Broccoli in Garlic/Butter/Olive Oil Sauce

We've eaten broccoli for four straight days here at the Nasty Ranch. It's harvest time for that stuff in the garden.

So I went back to a recipe I learned very early on, back in the early 90s when I was just learning to cook back in Kirksville. The original recipe that I worked with at the house on South Mulanix used asparagus, but broccoli's what's in season right now. And, heck, I like broccoli better than asparagus anyway.

Here are the ingredients:
2-3 large heads of broccoli cut into small florets
1 box of rotini pasta (use whatever pasta you like)
5-7 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly
half of a Vidalia onion, chopped finely
4-6 tablespoons of butter
2-4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Smidge of crushed red pepper flakes
Grated parmesan cheese
Wedges of lemon

Once the water for pasta gets boiling and you've dropped the pasta in, put the onion in a bit of olive oil and sweat it for a while. Then drop in the butter and garlic together and cook the garlic for maybe 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Then drop in the broccoli and turn up to medium-high heat. Later on while cooking the broccoli add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

By the time you've drained the pasta, the broccoli in the Garlic/Butter/Olive Oil Sauce should be ready and combine the pasta and veggies with sauce in large bowl.

When serving, liberally cover the dish in parmesan cheese and squeeze lemon over the dish.