Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Flippin' Anniversary

Mrs. Nasty and I had planned on going out for our eleventh wedding anniversary today, but plans went awry. Last night our son, Quinn, had all kinds of trouble breathing -- he was just really congested and working way too hard to breathe.

We have seen this before. Last time it happened, over a year ago, Mrs. Nasty took him to a clinic where the physician quickly told her to take the poor little guy to the ER since he was close to being in "respiratory distress." So this time she took him to the ER Friday night, they attended to him very quickly, and got him into a room to get treatment.

So today I spent most of the day traveling back and forth to the hospital with Hannah in tow, and thankfully we sprung him from Sarah Bush Lincoln late this afternoon. He's doing better.

The only good thing to come about this is that they now are pretty certain that he has allergy-induced asthma, meaning that "environmental factors" throughout the year will make it likely he'll need drug-laced steam treatment coupled with another prescription.

Our night out will have to wait til next weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Music Friday: "The God Damn House"

This is a performance by a band I'm not all that familiar with. I downloaded their session with Daytrotter a couple of days ago, and their work is interesting. In some of their songs they seem to be melding folky music with chamber music in a small way.

My only hesitation about this band is that its songs tend to be ballady, slow-coustic affairs. I like those just fine, but I need some up-tempo songs.

But this video is worth watching because of what he does with the two cell phones. As the commenter on YouTube relates, "When they played this song Live in Milwaukee the other night, they asked us to take our cell phones out during the last chorus, and call someone we were standing next to and put our cell phones on speaker phone next to each other. We were all confused at first, but we were all taken by surprise [sic] when it made the most hypnotic sound ever, and went along with the song in such a great way. These guys are beyond amazing."

Click HERE to watch the performance by The Low Anthem.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Copperheads, Finally

As I related way back in late February of '09 (click HERE for that), I enjoyed a lecture by a historian who visited campus here. After the lecture I promptly ordered her book, Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln's Opponents in the North.

The book sat a good while on my office's bookshelf since I have this whole professor/administrative gig, and I read lots of stuff in writing center studies, rhetoric, and composition studies. I finally got around to Copperheads this summer, and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Civil War and the political maneuvering that went on during that time. It's not a dense read at all like some writing by academics. Weber's prose is lively, engaging, and concise, and she offers varied and interesting sources in her work.

Weber's book recounts both the politics and the events of the war since, as her argument goes, the two are symbiotic. In fact, she convincingly relates that Lincoln's chance at reelection in November of 1864 was dismal and quite improbable because voters felt the war was going nowhere, mired in a stalemate, with the Union suffering horrible losses. For example, from May to the end of July in 1864, "the Union had taken a hundred thousand casualties" (146). Even though, as Lincoln philosophized at one time, he hoped that voters would go along with the adage of "it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams" (142), voters were not inclined to vote for Lincoln but whomever the Democrats would put up as candidates.

What Weber uncovers is that soldiers were a significant factor in supporting the Republican ticket since the Democrats, under the influence of the Copperheads or "Peace Democrats," wanted simply to invite the Confederacy back into the Union even though, if people were listening to Jeff Davis, it was obvious the Confederate States of America wanted no part of coming back into the Union. They wanted to be an independent country. If I would have been a Union soldier and heard that the Democrats wanted to let the Confederate states back in after years of fighting them, I would have supported the Republican Party too. And the Democratic party's platform in 1864 didn't help matters either since they virtually ignored the sacrifice of soldiers fighting in the war.

But the most important factors that led to Lincoln's landslide victory in 1864 were these military victories: 1) the capture of Mobile Bay, 2) Sherman's occupation of Atlanta, and 3) General Sheridan finally winning battles throughout the Shenandoah Valley.

It was a really good read. And now it's on to A Rhetoric of Pleasure: Prose Style & Today's Composition Classroom.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Basket Case

It's almost August. While my fantasy baseball team, The Schlitzophrenics, makes its penchant for mediocrity and downright crappiness more acute, my thoughts are getting more focused on college football season.

Heck, what hokum. Even if The Schlitzophrenics were doing great this season, I'd still be thinking about the hopeful glory of college football season, worrying about the how the Tide will do this year, contemplating how Jordan Jefferson might turn into the fine QB that he should be, fearing the wrath of that immobile giant named Ryan Mallett, wondering if the Gators will be better without Weeping Tebow.

A herd of sports writers seems to think the Tide will repeat this season, and I'm not confident about that prospect. Don't get me wrong. I think Alabama will field a strong team this season because of the strength of its offense, which has eight returning starters.

The defense concerns me. How that writerly herd can vote Alabama pre-season number one is odd to me since the Crimson Tide will have only two returning starters on defense. Maybe somewhere in the top ten, but pre-season number one?

When a team has to replace the top three cornerbacks along with its entire starting DLine and kicking specialists, I don't care how much depth a squad has, replacing the experience and skills of those players along with the leadership and football acumen of McClain, Tiffin, Arenas, Jackson, Cody, and Reamer is difficult.

Pontificating about the pre-season rankings makes me a little edgy, so the Million Dollar Band's rendition of "Basket Case" by Green Day seems justifiable for linkage. Click HERE to enjoy that.

Or maybe Nirvana's "Stay Away" is more appropriate for my take on the situation: "Monkey see - monkey do."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Music Friday: "Only Time Will Tell"

I'm usually of the opinion that the best two things to come out of Tennessee are Dont'a Hightower (LB for Alabama) and George Dickel whiskey.

The band Glossary may be in the running for adding a third entity to my list.

I downloaded one of their albums, The Better Angels of Our Nature, for free from their website a while back, which I think you can still do, and their sound reminds me of another band I like, the Mississippi-based Blue Mountain. The song featured today is from that album, and their new album, Feral Fire, came out this summer.

Click HERE to enjoy "Only Time Will Tell."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Piniella to Retire

So the big news in baseball today is Lou Piniella officially announced that he will retire after this season. The announcement isn't a big surprise, but I like that this happened early in order to let the Cubs search for a new manager as soon as possible.

There are some contingencies though since we'll see if the GM sticks around, the guy who brought in the large and long-term contracts of Soriano, Zambrano, and Fukudome.

Some people seem to think Sandberg is the natural choice to become the new manager, but I can't remember too many former players who did well as managers of their old teams. It didn't work out for Alan Trammell in Detroit, but that was more of the Tigers being very young and horrible--they were seriously rebuilding.

Interestingly though, a column floats Trammell's name as a possibility. Click HERE to read about him and other possible candidates.

Regardless of what happens with the GM and Manager, the Cubs are bad team with bad contracts right now. But, heck, they're only something like 10 games out of first in the Central, which is neither horrendous nor particularly inspiring here in late July.

I think it's just time to ship off contracts you possibly can (Lilly and Lee) and get to building a ballclub for next year. I'd love to see Adam Dunn playing first base for the Northsiders next season.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Buh-Bye East Coach Beaches"

The most recent issue of Mother Jones has a lineup of articles about global warming, and this short article connects to how east coast beaches have already been and will be affected.

Click HERE if you're interested.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Music Friday: "Springterror"

This band for this Music Friday, Frontier Ruckus, has been featured before, but their new album, Deadmalls and Nightfalls, comes out Tuesday.

They have an interesting sound ~ folky stuff with acoustic guitar and banjo prominent and sometimes the trumpet and/or the singing saw lending a musical hand. The latter is featured early on and the former is featured later on in "Springterror." Some of FR's lyrics can be wafty affairs, lurching toward willfully obtuse poetry on occasion, and a number of their songs express the decay of the band's home state of Michigan.

And since the Nasty family will journey up to Michigan next week and I dig the schtick of Frontier Ruckus, I offer you "Springterror."

Click HERE to enjoy.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No-Phone Dude

As I was waiting in line at Walgreen's today to pick up some medicine for the sickly Mrs. Nasty, the pharmacist asked the guy ahead of me for his phone number. And the guy replied with an answer you don't hear these days: "I don't have a phone, but my address is...."

After he said this, there was some strange silence since the lady in the other line and I were thinking about not having a phone and probably thinking about how rare it is for a person not to have a phone these days.

After the awkward silence, the gentleman--long hair with a braid, cut-off jeans, and a t-shirt--felt compelled to explain why he didn't have one. He said he had one for a long time, but he "got tired of answering the dang thing" since it annoyed him.

The lady in line abruptly supported No-Phone Dude by saying "I wished I could do that," and I simply smiled as is my taciturn nature.

I'm not casting judgment on No-Phone Dude at all here. In fact, I'm envious. While I appreciate and understand that I need a phone for emergency and regular phoning purposes, I also get "tired of answering the dang thing."

Heck, I look back at nostalgia when we just used land lines since I couldn't be reached at all times. If I was out, I was out. Leave a message at the beep.

Cheers to you, No-Phone Dude.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Blackened and Powdered Green Beans

Every member of the Nasty family likes green beans, but I tire of steaming them and then applying flavor afterward. Since I'm usually looking for an excuse to use my cast iron pans, here's a basic recipe that incorporates pan frying. I'm also looking to find use for the shallots from my garden, so I've been using that aromatic quite regularly.

A healthy picking of green beans
An appropriate amount of olive oil for said green beans
3 cloves of garlic, chopped not-so-finely
1 shallot, chopped not-so-finely
Large smidge of Tuscan Sunset seasoning (from Penzey's)
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Before pan frying, boil the green beans for approximately five minutes, shock the beans in ice water to make them retain their color, and then drain.

In your pan heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. When the beans are about halfway done, drop the garlic and shallots in the pan with the seasonings. Once cooked, put them in a bowl, powder them with parmesan cheese, toss 'em, and serve.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blackberries in the Rain

If the title of this post isn't a good title for a poem or country song, I don't know what is.

Of course, if you go by David Allan Coe's argument about country songs, the rain would have to be "pouring," the narrator would have just gotten out of jail, and a pickup has to be worked into the lyrics somehow.

There were a lot more blackberries in my two bushes than I had anticipated. After planting another row of lettuce later this morning, I picked these dark gems.

And then came the pouring rain...

Bumper Sticker

I saw a good bumper sticker yesterday that I plan on using in the textbook I'm writing. My co-author and I may use it in the persuasive writing chapter where we talk about how humor can be an effective tool to persuade people.

Here's the bumper sticker:
Honk if you love Jesus.
Text if you want to meet him.

I found it particularly relevant since I almost got hit last fall semester by a college student who was texting while driving. She almost rolled through a stop sign and into me because she was paying more attention to her damn phone that driving her car.

Music Friday: "Love Boat Captain"

Love boat captain
Take the reigns,.. steer us towards the clear.
I know it's already been sung,... can't be said enough.
Love is all you need,.. all you need is love,..
Love,.. love,...

That's how this song concludes.

And click HERE if you're interested in watching a Pearl Jam video.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Musings on Sports-Related Matters

I don't really care much about the NBA. I haven't watched a game in years. Heck, I only watched a few college basketball games last year (the Tide basketball team obviously didn't have a good year), but I am intrigued by where this LeBron James fellow might end up, if only out of curiosity.

Since I listen to Mike and Mike in the morning as I drop off the kids and go to work and I also watch Sportscenter from time to time, I'm well aware that ESPN is covering his comings and goings like Fox News covers Sarah Palin.

It sounds like Mr. James will choose one of these three teams: the Knicks, Bulls, or Cavs. I know the Cavs were good because of LeBron carrying them, I know the Bulls are a good team now, and I know the Knicks stink although they did just sign a significant big man. If LeBron is a dude who wants to make his mark, why not in the Big Apple? Reviving the Knicks would be comparable to how Jordan pulled the Bulls out of Suckydom.

As for college football, recently both the Texas Tech and Illinois head football coaches publicly stated that the SEC is the best conference in the land. Well, DUH, Captains of the Obvious. Tell us something we don't already know.

What I find intriguing is that Tommy Tubberville got in some hot water for talking about how the "Big 12" (hereafter called the "Texas Ten" on this blog) still has problems because of unequal revenue sharing. The former Auburn coach and Destroyer of Mike Shula compared how the SEC shares the wealth evenly to how some schools in the Texas Ten get more money than others. The Texas Ten Commish reprimanded Tubberville, and the conference put out some touchy-feely statement about how everything is great with the conference. What a bunch of hokum.

For a coach who works at an institution of higher learning, where there's supposed to be a free exchange of ideas and viewpoints, Tubberville's situation reminds me of a lyric from the old rapper Ice-T that goes something like this: "Freedom of Speech, just watch what you say."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Music Friday: "The Rat"

Click HERE for Dead Confederate performing "The Rat" on the old Conan O'Brien show.

This is a band I've done some research into since they're playing with Deer Tick, which was featured last Music Friday, at Off Broadway in St. Louis on Aug. 5. I may venture westward to see the show.

I've seen them described as a Southern Nirvana, but they remind me more of Sonic Youth (circa Daydream Nation) although they do have a grunge vibe to them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


It's not like he had any other option. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

My son, the three-year old who seems to be successfully potty-trained, underwent a rite of passage today. He willfully peed outside for the first time.

We were at a park we haven't gone to that often this evening, and as Quinn clutched his package while muttering "Gotta go potty," I searched for a bathroom. And I found none nearby.

So we went behind a building, I told him to just "pee there on the ground - in that corner," he dropped his drawers, and he did his business there in the dirt.

He glowingly told his sister after she got done with her gymnastics practice, "I peed in the dirt, Hannah. In the dirt." She, of course, found such practice disgusting and crude.

I don't know why exactly this is, but I take Quinn's newfound knowledge gratifying. I guess I remember being a kid and my own father telling me just to whizz on a tree in the rough (probably first happened at a golf course). Also, there's a certain freedom in knowing that, if need be, a restroom for no. 1 isn't necessary.

So maybe this is a strange phallocentric post, but I'm tickled that Quinn now knows what I know.