Friday, July 29, 2011

Music Friday: "Therapy"

The album cover above is one of the best ones I've seen in a while. As album covers go, it ranks up there with others I like a lot: Nevermind by Nirvana and 1984 by Van Halen.

And hey, American Gun puts out some fine rock-n-roll music as I discovered after reading one fellow's opinion about the top albums from the spring of this year over on Twangville. American Gun's Therapy made the list, I did a little research, I downloaded the album, and sonic happiness ensued.

And by the way, Therapy is one of the choices in the poll to the right, which has enticed only three flippin' votes. Something wrong with you people? Are you commies or somethin'? Rock the vote.

Since I've featured songs from those particular albums by Amanda Shires, Fleet Foxes, Ha Ha Tonka, Hayes CarllJason Isbell & the 400 Unit, and Rod Picott on past Music Fridays, I figured I'd give some love to American Gun, a band out of South Carolina who has four albums in their discography.

On, the band's music is described as "rambunctious, barn-burning rock n’ roll." I also read that they've opened for The Avett Brothers and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit--good company to be keeping, in my opinion. I'm looking forward to purchasing the three previous albums--at only $5 a pop on the band's website, btw--since I only own Therapy at the moment.

The song featured today is "Therapy," and I chose the video below because I enjoy its black and white grittiness. You can find an official video for the song on YouTube, but I like this one better. Unfortunately, there's no video for "Lie to Me," another of my favorite songs from the album, or I'd be providing that too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Salsa

After working on a revision most of the morning and part of the early afternoon, I got a little scatterbrained (shout-out to G) and needed to do something different.

The prescription? It's an old standby--salsa I've made many times.

Here are the ingredients:
1 large can of whole tomatoes
4 Roma tomatoes
2 bunches of green onions, chopped thinly
2 bell peppers, chopped thinly
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 Anaheim pepper, membrane removed and diced
1 Serrano del Sol, membrane removed and diced
1 Cayenne pepper, membrane removed and diced
Healthy bunch of fresh cilantro, just the leaves, and chopped into small pieces
Juice of one lime
Smidge of Penzey's Salsa Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

In the food processor, I chopped up the whole tomatoes from the can with the fresh plum tomatoes after I had put them in hot water to remove the skins. Then I added in the other ingredients after having a chop-fest on the cutting board.

I have the three different kinds of hot peppers from the bounty of the garden last summer, so I had to thaw them. Since I didn't want the salsa too hot, I removed the membranes inside the peppers that house the capsaicin.

Missing George Carlin

@Me @You

We’re positioned to rethink, revive, recalibrate, revise, recapture, and 
rebrand our mission statements.

We’re looking for a catch-phrase, a cliché, a sports metaphor, a war metaphor that we can implement, diversify, and outsource—tactics,
strategies that work
while we rightsize and offload the peripherals of circumstance
to remain vibrant and accentuate
our competitive advantage, our emerging capacities.

But a maxim will work to
steamline our efficiencies while we expand our market.

Just make sure it’s 4G.
Btw, I'm 8G,
country strong,
and more supple than a Twitter feed.

Read it on my status, my feed, or my blog.
@Me @You

The marketing plan is to cross-pollinate.
and we will
at will,

Or synchronize while we download, upload, feed, and friend
for synergy and diversity and opportunity
or hokum cultivated
to deploy and marshall resources in order
to meet objectives necessary to attain our goals.

Whatever you do, don’t think inside of it--the box that is.
And push that envelope.
Get that objective on a growth trajectory to meet the
needs of the 21st century.

See, omelets, well they need eggs broken
just as long as we don’t reinvent wheels.
And the work, it needs to be smart to increase productivity.

See, I’m talking
@You @Me
I didn’t see the forest or the trees, and I didn’t hear a tree fall.
I just saw a bog of me and you,
unknown knowns, and known unknowns.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Cauliflower-Potato Salad

Mrs. Nasty discovered a recipe that is a low calorie version of potato salad using cauliflower in place of potatoes.

I tried a similar recipe a while back that uses roasted cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes to make mashed cauliflower. It was pretty good. So I figured what the heck, but I wanted to use a few potatoes, which would let me dig in the dirt.

I had the pleasure of using red potatoes, shallots, parsley, and chives from my garden. The recipe below is the way I made it today.

Mrs. Nasty likes her potato salad plain or classic or Spartan (whichever descriptor you might prefer). I like mine with mustard and some notches kicked up. Our differing views on potato salad have been a point of contention in our relationship.

But here are the ingredients:
1 full head of cauliflower, chopped and steamed
4 medium sized red potatoes, boiled and cut up
8 hard-boiled eggs, yolks removed, and chopped
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped finely
2 shallots, chopped finely
Large smidge of chives, chopped finely
Small smidge of parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
However many of dollops of mayonnaise you like for your tater salad

If you want to strip down the recipe to make it Mrs. Nasty style, cut down the amount of chives and don't use parsley, paprika, garlic powder, and thyme.

When I make it again, I'm adding stone ground or dijon mustard, a few egg yolks, and some doses of Sriracha into the mix for my portion.

Friday, July 22, 2011


The steady inhale
of your breath, of consciousness,
of attention to
focus of attention--then
the exhale and back again.

Music Friday: "Rust Belt Fields" & "Welding Burns"

Well, thanks to emmylunatic for recommending Rod Picott's Welding Burns. It's a damn fine album.

For today's post I'm featuring Picott even though Shires is in the first video.

The first song on Welding Burns got me hooked. It's called "Rust Belt Fields," and the lyrics describe economic desolation:

But they figured it out,
shipped the elbow grease
down to Mexico, off to the Chinese.

I learned a little something 'bout how things are.
No one remembers your name for just working hard.

The second song on the album is "Welding Burns" in which the persona starts by talking about his father who was a welder, but most of the lyrics comment on his own state of stasis.

I swore I wasn't gonna stay here.
I used to dream a lot.
Now I can't remember what it was I was dreaming of.

Some things you're born to,
some things you gotta learn:
broken homes, wrecked cars, scars, and welding burns.

And then later, it goes like this:
Some things you're born to,
some things you better learn:
broken dreams, wrecked cars, broken bones, and welding burns.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Speaking of Bumper Cars

Speaking of bumper cars, I thought I'd pass along "Bumper Cars" by Marcellus Carr from the July/August issue of The Atlantic.

That is definitely not a stay positive link.

Stay Positive: Bumper Cars

"It's gonna be a fun-filled day!"

If you recognize that snippet from a jingle, you're either from Iowa or you've spent some time in Iowa.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lyrics, you can check out this commercial for Adventureland, circa 1985, if you want to invite an earworm into your head.

This past weekend, the Nasty family traveled to Iowa on Thursday to visit my parents, and then we headed down to Des Moines for a family reunion of Mrs. Nasty's at the Adventureland Inn in Altoona.

I think I only went to Adventureland once as a kid, probably in the early 80s, but the amusement park hasn't changed much--log ride, the galleon, the Tornado, etc. In fact, there are parts of the park that look decrepit, making it a good set for a slasher movie or something.

The new portion of the Adventureland experience is its massive water park, with all kinds of water slides, kiddie pools, a swim-up bar, cabanas, and a lazy river. I could make all manner of unkind comments based on my observations at the water park befitting a Notes from a Crank post, but I'm staying positive with this one.

Of everything we did Saturday, my favorite part of the experience was competing on the electrified vehicular battlefield of bumper cars. It's an old fashioned ride, but it's a damn fine experience--never goes out of style.

You get in little cars and get to smash into your relatives. Quinn, my four-year old, informed me, "You're going down!", before we started, but that was not the case, I got a couple of side shots on his car driven by his grandpa. And Hannah, she got me once, but I got her back. On the bumper car grid, I don't play, people.

Heck, just writing about bumper cars makes me want to go on them again. It was a fine time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Music Poll

I've got another poll up.

I thought I'd poll readers about their favorite albums so far this year.

The catch is that the candidates are albums that I've listened to a lot this year and ones I deem poll-worthy. As such, the choices reflect my listening habits, but that's the only way I could make the poll manageable since Blogger doesn't let you create write-in candidates from what I can tell.

If there's an album you think me or others should check out, such as emmylunatic's suggestion of Rod Picott's Welding Burns, feel free to provide suggestions in response to this post.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Music Friday: "Swimmer" & "When You Need a Train It Never Comes"

In a post on Twangville recently, one of the authors of the blog offers his top ten albums of the spring. I was pleased to see Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit's Here We Rest sitting atop the list, but I was disappointed that Amanda Shires' Carrying Lightning wasn't in the ranking.

So today here at Planned Ob, I'm once again featuring Amanda Shires in a Music Friday post. I did so a few months ago, but I thought I'd go ahead and share more of her goodness, in particular two songs from the new album that came out in May.

In the previous Music Friday post, the videos showed off her fiddle work.

The first song today, "Swimmer," features her playing the ukulele, her whistling skills, and her fine voice.

And the next video showcases the dark lyrics of "When You Need a Train It Never Comes" along with filmmaking that is in her face.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Realignment Talk Again

Although I've looked through my Lindy's pre-season college football annual from time to time since I received it a few weeks ago, I haven't written much about college football recently. You can expect that to change since it's partway through July, and August is when my mind really turns toward college football season.

But today I came across two articles I thought I'd pass along.

Last summer there was a lot of excitement because of Nebraska and Colorado leaving the Big 12-2 Conference, but I haven't seen much about other realignment schemes happening until today.

Both articles come from sites associated with Texas A&M, the university the SEC, by various accounts, courted last summer.

The first article by Billy Liucci, "Will A&M Trigger the Next Realignment Explosion?", relates the politics of the Texas Ten Conference and provides speculation that the SEC will go after both A&M and Oklahoma.

But according to a more detailed and nuanced article, "The Winds of Change Blowing Again?", it sounds like the Aggies are taking a long-term perspective on the situation, especially considering the details the author, David Sandhop, goes into about the needed renovations to their stadium. Sandhop also reveals that apparently Clemson is ready to jump to the SEC, which makes sense to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Garlic Veggie Dip

I hobbled together a veggie dip the other day that turned out pretty good although it became quite garlicky after a couple of days of marination in the fridge.

Here are the ingredients:
4 heapin' tablespoons of mayonnaise (low fat, fat free, or regular--whatever's your preference)
Healthy dose of chopped garlic chives
Healthy dose of chopped flat leaf parsley
Smidge of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of Bacon Bits
3 solid dashes of Worchestershire Sauce
Good smidge of Sriracha hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Smooth Like Gravel

It seemed like a fun idea. It really did.

The kids and I were out riding our bikes on our street, a cul-de-sac, early Saturday afternoon, and Hannah had this idea that we'd time how long it took each of us to go to the end of the street and back to our driveway.

I rode my Schwinn cruiser at a good pace up the street, but I walked it back as I bled over it.

As I was turning my way around the circle at the end of the drive, I wiped out. The tires slid on some very small loose gravel, and I fell on my left side, scraping my left knee a little but mainly landing hard and sliding a bit on left forearm and left shoulder. That hurt.

I have some road rash, and a little piece of gravel cut into the area right above my left elbow and left an ugly gash.

When I got back, people were obviously concerned. As Mrs. Nasty fought throwing up from time to time, she acted as nurse by using lots of hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, and bandages. The picture above is from today since I doubt my readers really want to see what it looked like before--bloody band-aids

I'm glad I'm the one who got hurt. I'd rather have my middle-aged forearm get scarred rather than my kids getting hurt.

Or it's more probable they wouldn't have taken the turn as fast as I did. Since they're 7 and 4, they're more wary of the speed of bicycles. I, in contrast, was trying to relive how I tooled around on my bike when I was a kid.

Nostalgia, it's fun, but sometimes it also hurts.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Music Friday: "Great Expectations" & "The '59 Sound"

How 'bout a good old fashioned staightforward rock-n-roll band from New Jersey?

The answer to the hamhanded rhetorical question above is The Gaslight Anthem.

The songs today are the first two cuts from their debut album, The '59 Sound. The band's second album, American Slang, came out last summer.

The first song on the debut album is "Great Expectations":

And check out the band playing with The Boss:

The lyrics to "The '59 Sound" are after the jump.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Random Notes from a Crank

Yesterday I went to a doctor for the first in about six or seven years since I've had this weird rash in certain spots on my arms and legs. My doctor told me that her "hunch" is that I have some sort of fungal infection. How I got it, who knows, but she gave me some prescriptions to take care of it. I hope her hunch is right. I guess maybe I've been consorting with mushrooms of ill repute. Don't tell Mrs. Nasty.

One of the drugs she gave is a steroid. She mentioned that for some people it's makes them irritable and more prone to anger. In other words, don't piss me off. I could get into a rage like Rowdy Roddy Piper during his prime.

When the nurse took my blood pressure at the doctor's office, she was a little concerned about the bottom number of my blood pressure. It was a little high. Both her and the doctor chalked it up to me being stressed about visiting the office. That could be, but I told the nurse I think it's more about the conference call I was on Tuesday afternoon. The nurse smiled and doubted a conference call would cause that much stress or last that long. Lady, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. You have no idea.

We went to a party on Independence Day where a bunch of us got into a discussion about a pet care product called the Furminator. It's expensive, but apparently it's really good at drastically reducing shedding. And my dog Darby is shedding like crazy. All over the damn place. One of our friends made a joke about how the product sounds sort of like a sex toy, which we laughed about. I can see the ads now: "Billy Bob, honey, tonight let's make it a Furminator night." Bow-chicka-wow-wow [bad imitation of porno music].

Yesterday the Nasty family ate sweet corn for the first time this year. It wasn't bad for the first batch of the season. Hannah had a hard time eating because one of her teeth up top is gone and another front tooth is unsteady. That little girl loves corn on the cob, so it's an unfortunate situation. We had to shave off the kernels for her while Quinn ravaged his ear of corn.

If Adam Dunn doesn't get it together, he's going to help destroy my chances of winning the fantasy baseball league I'm in. Before the draft this spring, I did internal research on our league about when Dunn usually went off the board. After looking at drafts from the past four years--years he's consistently hit close to 40 homeruns and 100 rbi--I selected him as the 49th player off the board in the 4th round, a justifiable draft pick considering his track record and that he moved to a hitter's park on the south side of Chicago. And how do I get repaid? Here is that schmuck's line so far this season: 23 runs, 8 home runs, 32 rbi, and a .302 OBP. I can't trade Big Ass (I prefer not to call him by his traditional nickname of "Big Donkey") for anyone valuable, and if I dump him from my team, I'm sure he'll start putting up big numbers.

At the informational fair I frequent this summer, Greek Life has its own table, and they have a iPod player going with a regular cycle of tunes. Two of the songs they're playing are AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the chorus of The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men." For an audience that includes parents, I don't think they want to promote that image. But maybe that's just me. If they really want to go that route though, they need to go all the way and play Jimmy Buffett's "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw?"

I liberated one of my kids' CapriSun juice pouches to be my drink for lunch today. It was Berrytastic.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That Quiz Is Just Frog Spit

Thanks to folks who voted in the poll to the right, even you flippin' Oreo lovers.

I think the voters for the ice cream sandwich and the potato chip need to create an alliance to unseat the Oreo. But I guess that might be unfair. The Nabisco cookie has bested the simplicity of the chip and the frozen love that is the ice cream sandwich. I would like to note that the Oreo and the ice cream sandwich are eerily similar though.

I wonder what came first, the cookie or the sandwich?

My thoughts turn toward a different mass-produced food paramour though. This lovely is called Frog Spit, North Star produces it, and it's pictured below.

The bar is a concoction of lime sherbet and low fat ice cream, a lime Dreamsicle. And a very nice characteristic of a Frog Spit "Dream Bar" is it's only 80 calories.

By the way, dog shit rhymes with frog spit if you were pondering the title of this post.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Music Friday: "American Girl," "I Won't Back Down," & "Running Down a Dream"

As someone whose hometown is Waterloo, Iowa and as someone who is decidedly left of center on most issues, it's unfortunate what happened not long ago.

Tea Party darling Michelle Bachmann announced his candidacy for President in the city she was born in, my hometown.

Not only does that event give Waterloo a black eye from my perspective, but she also thought John Wayne was from there when in reality serial killer John Wayne Gacy has a link to Waterloo since he spent part of his childhood there, he eventually became a prominent businessman in the area, and then he got himself locked up for abusing kids.

Jesus, one of her low level staffers could have at least checked out these simple facts. Hell, Wikipedia would have helped her flunkies with basic information on either John Wayne, who was born in Winterset, and John Wayne Gacy.

But this is a Music Friday post, folks. It's not a post primarily aimed to note the lunacy of Michelle Bachmann. There are plenty of people out there doing that.

There's a connection to music though.

As Rolling Stone relates, the management of Tom Petty has issued a cease and desist letter to Bachmann's campaign to quit playing "American Girl" at her rallies. Petty wants no part of being associated with her.

Good for you, TP. Good for you.

In honor of Petty's cease of desist letter, I offer a trio of songs from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The first, of course, is "American Girl."

Next is "I Won't Back Down."

And finally, I hope you enjoy "Running Down a Dream," from Full Moon Fever like "I Won't Back Down." Both were often played at a fine establishment called The Gin Mill in Kirksville, Missouri when I was in college.