Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deer Sightings

As I do on a pretty regular basis, the last couple of nights I took my dog, Darby, for a walk. Since we don't get started until after I read to my daughter at 9:00, we usually depart from the homestead around 9:15.

The last couple of nights we've seen deer, which isn't a big surprise since I live on the south side of town where town quickly moves into rural landscape.

Last night we saw a trio of does in a large yard near the outskirts of our burg, and tonight we took a different route and happened upon what appeared to be a small buck and doe munching on the flowers in the front yard of some poor bastard. Both times we were able to get pretty close to them, maybe 50 yards or so.

Although I know there are folks out there who have turned to hating deer (see the aforementioned poor bastard's situation as an example), as the small buck and doe ambled off south, I was struck once again how gangly yet beautiful those animals are--the muscular profiles, the white tails at attention, the loping and graceful gait.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Music Friday: "Tremendous Dynamite"

Click HERE to enjoy the mighty fine beard of the lead singer of the Eels.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Where Good Music Gets Saved"

Click HERE for a short Atlantic article that profiles Daytrotter, a website I stumbled upon sometime last year.

The downloads are free, and they mostly feature emerging artists while also publishing sessions from icons like one of this week's featured artists, The Del McCoury Band.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Twelve Pack and a Plunger

Today the semester begins here at East Popcorn State, but I observed something late last week that epitomizes life here in Chucktown for some students living in rental homes.

I dropped by the local grocery store for supplies for Thursday night's dinner, and at that time of the week before classes begin, the college students are coming back in full force.

As I walked toward the dairy aisle at County Market, there was a young lady walking in the opposite direction. She had no cart, no basket, just the essentials: a twelve pack of Bud Light Lime in one hand and fresh plunger in the other hand.

That image has been tattooed in my brain lately as I reminisce about the interesting and sometime crude dwellings I lived in during my undergraduate and Master's years in Kirksville.

When I visualize her toting the twelve pack and clutching the plunger, it makes me smile.

I lived in some places in the 'ville that were decent to the standards of poor college student, but most of them did not offer bathrooms you wanted to show your mother. Plunge on, young lady, plunge on.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Music Friday: "Nights Like These" & "What Are You Willing to Lose?"

Double your pleasure, people.

Here are a couple of videos of Lucero, a band I'm really starting to like.

The lead singer sounds like he gargles with a concoction of whiskey and gravel, but I like the gruff, unpolished sound.

Click HERE for "Nights Like These" live.

And you can click HERE for a low-grade video of "What Are You Willing to Lose?"

"So what if all my heroes are the losing kind?
We ended up with nothin', but we put up a fight.
And most of it was choices we never asked to choose.
The rest of it was luck, and now we're out of that too."

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Hegemony of the Braves

Because I'm a "fan" of Jason Isbell on Facebook, I'm getting reminded pretty regularly how the Atlanta Braves are the baseball team of the South. Isbell frequently posts on FB in a tweeting-like fashion, and since he's a native Southerner, he closely follows the Braves.

Besides the expansion franchises of Tampa and Miami, which you can't really consider the Deep South and I don't consider very Southern, there's no competition to the Braves for the hearts of minds of Southern baseball fans. And Texas is its own entity in my mind, its own republic of Texas-flavored thinking.

But if Major League Baseball were to expand or a franchise would want to move, I would think Southern cities are good places to consider since the closest franchise, besides the Florida clubs, would maybe be the Cardinals or the Reds? Metro areas that call out to me are Charlotte and New Orleans.

Or maybe a franchise will move from where it is now to Charlotte or New Orleans? I know when I was in the Bay Area a couple of years ago, there were articles in the local paper talking about how the A's don't exactly have a good situation to work with (small market, cruddy ballpark, weak fan base), and that franchise has a history of moving around ~ Philadelphia, Kansas City, and currently in Oakland.

Whether MLB gets a franchise in one of those two cities or not, the success of the Braves is admirable and a testament to a very good GM and a fine manager.

But to get back to Isbell, what I find interesting is that two of his three favorite teams (he's a sports fan) won championships very recently: the Saints and the Crimson Tide.

Will this year's Braves squad make it a trifecta?

Music Friday: "Save Your Money for the Weekend"

Click HERE to watch a video of a song from Glossary's latest album, Feral Fire. It provides a sight I haven't seen in many, many years ~ people shotgunning beers.

Here are the lyrics that can be found on the band's website:
What’s there to go back to
If you had nothing to start out with.
All my daddy left me was a name
And a mouth full of bad teeth.
But Odelia, honey, I’ll be fine.
If you meet me out on Friday night,
I know Christian girls know what’s wrong.
But that doesn’t mean they always have to do what’s right.
Save your money for the weekend,
And we’ll dance through the fire.
You get one chance to make it through this life alive.
We ain’t got far to fall,
So lift your glass and we’ll bet it all.
Honey, there’s got to be some hell somewhere
waiting to be raised.
Your family wants to condemn me
For the sins they commit themselves.
But let them whisper dirty little secrets
Under those church house bells.
And Odelia honey let it be known
I’d never tell you a lie.
So if what I want to do is a sin,
God better cover his eyes.
So scrape together all of your pennies,
Put on your favorite dress,
And meet me down in the old part of town
For some excess.
And Odelia, honey, I can’t say
What’s waiting for us up above.
All I know is Southern girls are sweeter
‘Cause they’re full of Jesus’ love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sucker for a Cheap T-Shirt

As you can see from the photo above, Captain America approves of this shirt. Or should he?

Since I'm a sucker for cheap, cheesy t-shirts and I'm also a fan of Rural King, there was little doubt I would purchase this for $3 from the clearance rack.

Even though I got this shirt and a couple of others at bargain basement prices last week, there's some dark humor going on here. This shirt, with the flag blazoned across it, was made in Haiti, easily one of the poorest countries in the world.

It's a simple example of globalization, of course, but by "serving our customers," who also is being "served"? A simple anecdote of affluenza or capitalism as it should be?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stay Positive: Going to a Show

It's not often that I get to go to shows much anymore, but when you have a gap in your schedule before school starts up again, it's good to take advantage of heading to St. Louis, having dinner with a couple of friends, and going to a show to take in some music from "emerging" bands, which seems to be the new moniker for alternative, non-corporate radio these days.

So last night a friend and I watch the double-bill of Dead Confederate and Deer Tick at Off Broadway.

I had listened to Dead Confederate a bit since I downloaded one their show in Athens, GA for free a while back (via Southern Shelter), and they remind me of Sonic Youth because of their atmospheric but hard-edged, guitar-oriented, fuzz-laden, wall of sound style. During their set I wish I would have brought earplugs because they were loud to the extent that you could feel the music moving through your body at times.

While I feel bad criticizing the band since I enjoy the lyrical mumblings of Eddie Vedder, Dead Confederate's lead singer couldn't be heard clearly, leading to unintelligible lyrics playing with their wall of sonic sound ethos.

Now Deer Tick I liked a lot already. I've been listening to their stuff for a while now (I recommend Born on Flag Day if you want to check them out), and their show was quite good. The lead singer--well oiled with beer and bags under his eyes from hard livin'--put on quite a show and cracked jokes. During the second song of the set, he displayed some Neil Diamond-like antics as the band played a soulful number from their latest release, The Black Dirt Sessions.

They played some of their more well known songs during the show, but Deer Tick also showcased some newer songs that I hadn't heard, and they were good.

And then there are the covers. I had already liked Deer Tick before I even came to the show, but after they covered "Waitress in the Sky" and "Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements, I liked them even more. I loves me some Replacements. And their version of ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" was quite fun too.

So Wardo, brother, thanks for taking in the show with me. Check ya later.

Music Friday: "Calling My Children Home"

Click HERE to enjoy the smooth sounds of Emmylou Harris.

Here are a couple of stanzas of the lyrics:
I gave my all for my dear children.
Their problems still with love I share.
I'd brave life's storm, defy the tempest,
To bring them home from anywhere.

I lived my life, my love I gave them,
to guide them through this world of strife.
I hope and pray we'll live together
In that great glad here after life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Spicy Canadian Scrambled Eggs

I'm growing four different kinds of hot peppers in my garden this summer: Anaheim, New Mexico Big Jim, Serrano Del Sol, and Cayenne. Since I had a Cayenne fully ripened this morning, I decided to make use of it with some leftover Canadian bacon from when we made pizza the other night.

3 eggs beaten and a smidge of milk mixed in
2 slices of Canadian bacon
1 large cayenne pepper, chopped into thin medallions
4 shallots, chopped coarsely
1 small bell pepper, chopped coarsely
Shredded cheese of your liking
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pepper, shallots, and the bell pepper in a skillet with olive oil. Once they've softened, drop in the Canadian bacon for a minute to soak up the aromatics. Then put in the eggs, scramble them as you usually would, and put in the shredded cheese during the last minute of cooking.

If you need a rationalization for eating cayenne pepper (but why would you?), check out the following article about the health benefits of Cayenne pepper. Click HERE for that.

I'd like to see some peer-reviewed articles about the benefits of cayenne, however.

As a librarian said once to one of my classes as she did an orientation, "Any fool can have a website, and many do."