Friday, January 29, 2010

Music Friday: "Freedom"

Because I'm in a crappy mood stemming from a meeting this afternoon, I need some music that fits my mood. Should it be Rollins Band, Suicidal Tendencies, Rage Against the Machine, or Kyuss?

Click HERE for some rage.

Thank God it's Friday and all that.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Can't Get It Out

After watching Chicken Little with my kids the other day, the characters karaoked to "Wannabe" ("If You're Gonna Be My Lover") by the Spice Girls. Now I can't get that damn song out of my head. It'll go away eventually and be replaced by something.

But I'll never get Ginger Spice out of my heart.

There's a great blues song that talks about a woman's loving that's so good that she "brings eyesight to the blind." Strangely enough, Geri Halliwell brought a young girl out of coma a couple of years ago (click HERE for that tabloid story).

That's "Girl Power."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Different Challenge

Potty-training our daughter was so easy. You sat her down on the toilet, and she started going to the bathroom by herself at eighteen months.

Our son, however, is a different matter. He's two-and-a-half years old and slips in and out of being interested in using the toilet. But this weekend was a funny sight to behold.

After a successful attempt doing his job, he ran out into the living room and walked around the room while holding his little weiner, acting like he was taking a leak, saying "Pssssssssssssssssssss," and laughing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Music Friday: "Mirror Song"

Live had two very good albums to start its career. I purchased its third album, Secret Samadhi, when it came out and was disappointed. It's no Mental Jewelry or Throwing Copper.

However, I still listen to the first two albums from time to time. Click HERE to watch the band play one of its best songs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strange Burrito

As is the pleasure of volunteering at your daughter's kindergarten, you get to re-experience the cafeteria food of your youth.

But today was different. Today I ate something I had never eaten before, and I hope to never eat it again.

The monstrosity I grappled with at 11:30 today was a roast beef and mashed potatoes burrito. That's right--thinly sliced roast beef and mashed potatoes inside a burrito. It ain't right. I ain't natural. It's wrong.

You're probably wondering why I even selected the burrito, but I didn't hear what the selection was because of the din of noise in class as we lined up to head down to the cafeteria. I should have gone with the chicken nuggets.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Portuguese Kale Soup w/ Beans

Since I had some turkey sausage and some frozen kale I hadn't used yet, I made a basic Caldo Verde without the potatoes. Instead of potatoes, I used one can of Great Northern beans and one can of dark red kidney beans.

Here are the ingredients:
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
1 quart (32 oz.) of vegetable stock
2 quarts of chicken stock
8 oz. of sausage, cut into half medallions
1 can of Great Northern beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 can of dark red kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
7 handfuls of frozen kale
Large smidge of Herbes de Provence
Medium smidge of Boquet Garni
Small smidge smoke paprika
Cracked black pepper
Salt to taste

I first put some olive oil into the stock pot and sweated down the chopped onions, garlic, and shallot. After about 10 minutes, I added the stock, brought it to a boil, and then put it down to a simmer.

In a cast iron skillet, I browned the sausage until they had a slight char on both sides and then put them into the pot. I then ladled out some of the stock into the hot skillet to scrap off the goodness at the bottom of the pan and then put the new and improved stock into the pot.

Add the beans, kale, and seasonings and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music Friday: "Jenny Was a Keeper"

I saw The Band of Heathens on Austin City Limits a while back, bought one of their albums, and I like their sound.

Click HERE for "Jenny Was a Keeper."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Still 29 After All These Years

Well, I'm still 29. I don't care what my birth certificate says.

One of the nice things about Facebook is that it helps dummies like me remember people's birthdays if you check in every day. And when your birthday rolls around, you get some nice comments for nothing.

I wonder how much of a hit the greeting card industry can chock up to social networking sites? When you say "Happy Birthday" on a site, it doesn't cost anything.

No big shindig or anything today, but Mrs. Nasty and I plan to head down to Effingham for dinner on Saturday at the renowned Firefly Grill. I've scouted the menu (click HERE for the Firefly's website), and I'm considering Braised Rabbit Stew and other options.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back-to-Back Unlikely

Click HERE if you're interested in reading about Saban being little less guarded in press conference. The man dislikes the media for the most part, but he shows some of his deadpan sense of humor.

I've already seen a couple of early pre-season predictions for the 2010 football season. One writer had Alabama at 7, and another had the Tide at 1.

That's just unrealistic since the Tide loses almost all of its starters on defense. Here's a breakdown of the significant players they lose to graduation or entry into the draft:

Starting defensive end Brandon Deaderick, starting nose tackle Terrance Cody, starting defensive end Lorenzo Washington, starting jack linebacker Eryk Anders, starting linebacker Cory Reemer, starting linebacker Roando McClain (likely to enter the draft), starting cornerback and return man Javier Arenas, starting cornerback Kareem Jackson (he might enter the draft), third cornerback Marquis Johnson, and starting safety Justin Woodall.

Starting left guard Mike Johnson, starting right tackle Drew Davis, starting tight end Colin Peek, and backup running back Roy Upchurch.

Special Teams:
Starting placekicker Leigh Tiffin and starting punter P. J. Fitzgerald

Sure, Alabama has recruited some very good players over the past few years, but I expect 2010 to be a rebuilding year for the Tide.

The SEC West could be wide open. If Arkansas has a better defense, I think they could be a serious contender.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Music Friday: "Hazy Shade of Winter"

This song is easily one of the best covers ever. The movie it was for was a weak adaptation of a decent novel.

Regardless, click HERE to enjoy the Bangles video and the allure of Susanna Hoffs.

Friday Hangover: Texas--National Championship

Marcel Dareus, y'all!

While the Tide had some horrible mental errors in the game--a fake punt that should have been checked out of, two kickoffs that the Longhorns recovered, Robby Green's busted coverage, they came through in the end.

The Texas D is solid, but Alabama relied on the ground game, which had Ingram and Richardson both have 100 yard games.

Despite the two big plays for touchdowns the Alabama D gave up after Gilbert got settled in (that QB is going to be good next year and beyond), the defense secured the win with their own big plays: Dareus' interception and touchdown, two interceptions by Arenas, King's interception, and Anders' sack that gave the Tide a first and goal and turned the momentum of the game.

The national championship obviously wasn't Alabama's best offensive game (that would be the game against Florida) or even one of their top offensive games of the year, but they found a way to win. They found a way to win against South Carolina by exclusively relying on Ingram in the fourth quarter. They found a way to win against Tennessee. They found a way to win in the fourth quarter against Auburn by relying on McElroy. And they found a way to win last night.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Hawk Has Landed

Congrats to Andre Dawson for getting elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was easily one of my favorite Cubs. He patrolled right field with aplomb and had a violent-looking and productive power stroke.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Writing about my soup reminds me...

of a joke I heard on a sports talk radio station out of Chicago as we drove home from Iowa over the holidays.

At his 90th birthday party, Ira Rosenbaum's friends gave him a strange gift. They had a large cake brought out in front of him, and then a naked prostitute popped out of the cake. As she climbed out, she declared, "Ira Rosenbaum, I'm going to give you super sex!"

Ira responded, "I'll take the soup."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Interview with Caroline Herring

Click HERE if you're interested in hearing a NPR interview with the folk singer Caroline Herring.

She's originally from Mississippi, has a literary bent, sings about diverse topics, and has a beautiful voice. I only have her album Wellspring right now, and it's excellent.

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Turkey Penne Soup

Since I roasted a turkey breast a couple of days ago, I used the leftover carcass and made some turkey stock--two hours of simmering the meaty bones with a quartered yellow onion, a couple of carrots, four stalks of celery, and some peppercorns.

I strained the stock and added these ingredients:
1 shallot chopped
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
4 medium size carrots cut into medallions
1 cauliflower cut into florets
1 whole box of mini penne
large smidgen of Boquet Garni
large smidgen of Herbes de Provence
small smidgen of Smoked Paprika
kosher salt and pepper to taste

The stock was kickin', but I did the dumb ass move of using a whole box of small penne for the soup. I should have used only half of the box at the most since the pasta dominates the "soup" way too much.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Crafting a New World"

I thought I'd pass along an interview with sociologist Richard Sennett I read in Utne magazine today. After reading this conversation, I'm sure I'll buy his book The Craftsman since it fits in with other outside-my-profession-reading I've been doing lately, in particular Mike Rose's excellent The Mind At Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. And some of the ideas he puts forth connect with the tenets of the Slow Philosophy and the Slow Food Movement.

In the interview Sennett brings up some points that really hit home to me since I teach writing and how to teach writing. However, I think many folks will find this article interesting because he makes us think about our culture's obsession with speed, our educational systems, and how we [should] take pride in things we make.

I don't wholly buy that craftsmanship is "a basic human impulse to do good work," but I feel "the desire to do a job well for its own sake" is a character trait we need to instill, cultivate, and enhance.

Click HERE if you're interested in reading this fairly short interview.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Music Friday: "How In The Hell Did You Get Back Here?"

Click HERE to watch the video of a song from Backyard Tire Fire's recent album, The Places We Lived.