Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Didn't Think It Would Happen This Quickly

Wow. I've been doing all kinds of things today, and I just discovered that Texas A&M will be leaving the Big12.

So I'm thinking the presidents of the SEC gave Commissioner Slive the okay to add the Aggies at their last meeting, huh?

While I'm perfectly fine with the Southeastern Conference exactly the way it is, adding A&M provides the Texas market, a recruiting hotbed, and a top-flight research institution to the conference.

But thirteen teams? That ain't right. I think the SEC adds at least one more university or possibly three to move to 14 or 16 team conference.

As I've written about before, possibly ad nauseam, I'm for adding Clemson, Florida State, and Georgia Tech. Doing so just makes sense from a regional standpoint, especially since Georgia Tech is a founding member of the SEC.

You place A&M and one of the other three in the West, or you put A&M there and shift Kentucky or Tennessee or Vanderbilt to the West and place the other three in the East.  Both Clemson and Georgia Tech are natural Eastern SEC-like schools since they have heated rivalries with the Gamecocks and Bulldogs.

There's going to be all kinds of crazy speculation out there about what other universities the SEC might add, but I know one thing for sure. I sure would hate to be the commissioner of the Big "12."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Music Friday: "16 Days" & "Houses on the Hill"

I've been listening to Faithless Street and Strangers Almanac from Whiskeytown over this past week.

Both albums relate tales of woe, heartbreak, personal demons, and loneliness. One of my favorite songs on Faithless Street is "Tennessee Square," a tune with this line: "Vacant parking lots across the street remind me I'm going nowhere."

But there aren't many videos of this band out there on the Intertube. The band only lasted six years, 1994-2000, and Faithless Street didn't come out until 1996. Ryan Adams went the solo artist route, and one of the more influential bands of the alt-country genre was gone.

So today I offer some footage of the band playing "16 Days" in St. Louis.

The second featured song is a video that a fan created for "Houses on the Hill."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Multiple Choice Question

So, just hypothetically speaking, if you're at the end of hard workout in the morning and you're tired and you have a bit of upchuck grumbling in your being, what is the cause?

  • A) You're out of shape.
  • B) You pushed yourself a little too far.
  • C) You shouldn't have had a martini late last night to reward yourself for doing some work that evening.
  • D) All of the above.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Elizabeth Cook on Letterman

The other night singer/songwriter Elizabeth Cook was a guest on The Late Show.

I featured a couple of Cook's tunes on a Music Friday a while back, but her visit to Letterman's show was to promote her satellite radio program on "Outlaw Country" since Dave seems to have taken a liking to her program.

It's one of the more entertaining interviews I've seen on a late night program in a while.

As much as I bristle at how both Dave and the audience were laughing at her because it's easy to make fun of someone with a Southern accent, I think Ms. Cook showed how she's one of the more intriguing music personalities out there right now. As they like to say in Alabama, she "showed out" on the program.

Granted, Cook did take a light-hearted approach to talking about her family background, and she showed how she doesn't take herself too seriously. However, I typically have sensitive antennae about how people might think Southerners or people from humble backgrounds like Cook are appropriate for close-minded ridicule and easy punch lines. The fools often get played with Southern accents in American culture, which pisses me off.

Regardless, Letterman having Justin Townes Earle on his program months ago was a good sign, and I look forward to watching Cook play on his show in the future. Now if he books Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and Amanda Shires, I'd be really pleased.

!Viva Americana Music!

If you want to check out the interview, it's below. Enjoy.

A Poll for College Football Fans

To the right I've got a new poll up that will close at 8am on Saturday, September 3.

For you college football fans out there, you can predict who will win the BCS National Championship.

The choices are the following:

  • All of the teams ranked in the pre-season top ten, 
  • Any SEC team outside of the pre-season top ten (SEC field), and 
  • A Non-SEC team outside of the pre-season top ten (the rest of the field).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Football Obsessions

I don't know what exactly got into Quinn recently, but the kid's obsessed with either watching football or throwing a football around the backyard.

We've been passing the football around the yard for quite some time--in fact, all summer--but his interest probably amped up when he discovered our old Playstation circa 1999 and the two college football games we have. We've played against each other from time to time over the last two weeks, with him not really understanding what he's doing and me selecting plays for him that will work since all he likes to do is push the X button. So mostly all he does is pass on offense, and the passes usually go to the tight end.

And now he's so interested in football that he's got me watching NFL pre-season games. We watched part of a replay of the Jets-Bengals exhibition game this evening on the NFL Network. I'm not all that crazy about the NFL since college football is far superior, but I'm willing to suffer through some games for the kid.

But all this has made me think about when I was younger. I was also obsessed with football. As a result, books about the history of the NFL, its players, and the league's teams along with comic books were my gateway reading genres.

As always, I'm looking forward to the college football season, and it's only about a week and a half until Week 1. But now I'm interested how Quinn will take to football Saturdays, a tradition at the Nasty household. Hannah has always tolerated the watching of multiple games throughout the day with the Alabama game having utmost importance, but Quinn might appreciate the craziness more than she does.

There's a smattering of games to look forward to in Week 1. Alabama plays Kent State as a lead-in to their away game at Penn State in Week 2. However, here's an interesting trio of games in the first week:
  • BYU at Ole Miss
  • Boise State vs. Georgia in Atlanta
  • Oregon vs. LSU in Dallas
As for the SEC, it'll be brutal once again within the conference. Before Knile Davis broke his ankle, I was leaning toward thinking that Arkansas wins the West with their excellent receiving corps and an improved defense, but now I don't know. They're still going to be tough as hell without Davis, so I think they win the West since I'm leery of picking the Tide and I fret about having a new quarterback (or two) commanding the offense.

I also think LSU has a solid shot of winning the West, but with possibly impending legal troubles ahead for their starting quarterback, who could get charged with second degree assault, it's hard to tell what's going to happen down there in Red Stick. Not a distraction you want before your first game versus Oregon.

And Mississippi State is going to be tough also.

As for the East, it's a three-team race: South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. If I had to place a bet in Vegas about who wins the East, I'd go with UGA because of their navigable schedule and lucrative odds since most people think the Gamecocks will win the East.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Music Friday: "Even Flow," "Love Boat Captain," & "Just Breathe"

This morning I've been listening to the Backspacer album by Pearl Jam, and when I think about it, I've only featured Pearl Jam once on a Music Friday. That was the acerbic "Do the Evolution."

The forthcoming details date me, but I remember the first time I heard about Pearl Jam was maybe a few days after the release of Ten. My next door neighbor in Kirksville, who was also a bandmate of my buddy who lived with me at the "Brewery," leant me the cassette of Ten and said that he really liked the band.

I listened to it and was hooked.

Ten is one hell of a debut album, and I've always liked Pearl Jam more than Nirvana.

And God, back in the days when Mtv played videos, they wore out that "Jeremy" video, didn't they? The unfortunate result is that "Jeremy" is a good song, but the overplay got me to not liking it so much, even to this day.

So instead of "Jeremy" (he's "spoken" many times), the first song today is "Even Flow" from Ten that gives viewers of taste of their early shows:

Next is another of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, "Love Boat Captain" from Riot Act.

And to round out the trifecta today, I'll leave you with "Just Breathe" from Backspacer. This video is from when they played on Austin City Limits.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

St. Louis as a Tourist

Since I took a number of different trips to Iowa this summer because of my dad's heart surgery and a family reunion of Mrs. Nasty's family in the Des Moines area, well Altoona, to partake in the fun of Adventureland, we really didn't have much of a Nasty family vacation this summer.

So we decided that this past weekend we'd head over to the St. Louis area to act like tourists even though we lived in South City for four years after one year of living in an apartment in the 'burbs.

On Friday, we drove by our old house in Lindenwood Park/St. Louis Hills area and then ate at a place we're quite familiar with, Happy Joe's Pizza Parlor, or, as we became accustomed to calling it during both pregnancies, "Angry Tim's." Mrs. Nasty and her pregnant cravings for taco pizza ... Jesus.

Of course, we had to stop at the famous Ted Drewe's. I fondly remember a summer past when I did a "tour of the concretes," trying every concrete they offer. The Dutchman doesn't disappoint.

Since one of the main attractions of the trip were complimentary tickets we had to the Raging River Waterpark in little Grafton, IL, we stayed in Alton.

As much as I'm not all that fond of swimming pools and water parks in general, I enjoyed Raging River. It's located right beside the Mississippi River right beside the Great River Road, Illinois 100, and it has good slides while not being extremely crowded. We had a beautiful day to enjoy the river as we hiked up the hill to go sliding down various tubular configurations.

One of my favorite signs I've seen in a while was the warning in the massive wave pool that states, "Wrestling, Rough Play or Foul Language Will Not Be Tolerated." I'm thinking about adapting that warning for various venues.

Later that night, we ate at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant located in the Delmar Loop. Good eats.

On Sunday morning we really went tourist by visiting the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

You know, "the Arch."

Yeh, we never went to it when we lived in St. Louis. I will admit that it is an impressive feat of engineering, and the museum at the base level is pretty good. It recounts the role of the Louisiana Purchase in American history and westward expansion in general.

You're high up there when you're in the Arch, but I have little desire to go into it again unless I take the kids back to really take our time at the museum. You're high up and everything, but the Arch itself didn't do much for me, especially since I have claustrophobic tendencies.

We capped off the visit before returning home by going to the City Museum, which is a freaky climbing and sliding extravaganza for kids and parents. We made the rookie mistake of not wearing athletic shoes, however. Duh!

While we had some fun seeing the "sights," the aspects I miss about St. Louis are different: friends, good German sausage at G&W, Francis and Lindenwood Park, solid wine/beer selections at grocery stores, our neighborhood, Soulard Farmer's Market, colleagues in my old department, a diversity of restaurants to chose from, musicians coming to town on a regular basis, etc.

I don't aim to be one of those guys who whines about living in a small town because I actually like living in a small community. However, unlike when I lived in Kirksville, Missouri, it's nice to have an easy drive to larger cities that can offer a lot: St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Music Friday: "Time Spent in Los Angeles"

Dawes is a band I've featured before on Music Friday, and Nothing Is Wrong, their second album, came out a while ago.

The second album is just as good if not better than their first effort, North Hills. One of my favorite tracks on the new album is the slow tempo tune titled "So Well," which is written from the perspective of an "old sailor." The lyrics are below:

I am an old old sailor
With a future much shorter than his past.
I live alone. I do not wander
A world that just slips further from my grasp.

And from my home I watch the people
Struggle through the burden of each day.
That's where Marie sweet and gentle
Smiles to me when she passes on her way.

And she does it so well.
She pulls me out of time's cruel spell
For long enough to finally tell
That nothing is wrong.

I am a boy. I am a child
With those simple dreams still burning in my heart.
I've known Marie for a while.
She shows me where all my beginnings are.

And once a week she takes me dancing.
She shows me friends and places I never knew.
And it always ends watching her leaving
With a man she knows don't understand what loneliness will make you do.

And she does it so well.
She shows me where my dreams dwell.
She shows me how to find myself
And that nothing is wrong.

I am a lonely singer
With a song for every feeling I cannot name
And I find Marie in every measure
And somehow the clearer it becomes the longer she's away

And she does it so well.
I was still falling in love when she said farewell
For long enough to finally tell
That nothing is wrong...that nothing is wrong.

But the new album begins with a more mid-tempo and reflective tune, "Time Spent in Los Angeles," which the band recently played on Letterman.

Have a good weekend, folks.

And nothing is wrong.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Suspicion of Berryism

I got some fresh blackberries from the local farmer's market the other day. I had to do this because for whatever reason, my dog got a taste for blackberries this summer, and she ate all of them off my two bushes. There went a harvest of purple goodness, you damn dog.

Anyway, so I got blackberries, added sugar, and it turned into a fine concoction (if I wanted ape food writing, I'd call it a "compote") for slathering over vanilla ice cream. Once you swirl the blackberry juices around with the ice cream, you have blackberry ice cream.

But I got to thinking, why haven't I ever see blackberry ice cream in stores. What's the deal here?

Is it because those berries are ... not the right color?

Think about it, do you see blackberry or blueberry ice cream on a regular basis?

And talking from personal experience, blackberry ice cream is excellent.

For God's sake, what do the ice creamery corporate giants have against blackberries and blueberries? They're mixing raspberry in ice cream willy nilly, and, hell, strawberry is a common occurrence among ice cream flavors in the freezer sections of most grocery stores and megamarts.

Why all the love for the red-hued berries and none for those of the blueish hue? What gives, ice cream makers!?!

Sure, I've searched the InterWeb about blackberry ice cream recipes and, yes, I do have my own ice cream maker that my dad gave to me, the same ice cream maker he used when I was a kid.

But I'm looking for a convenient, ready-to-eat offering of blackberry (my preference) or blueberry (Mrs. Nasty's preference) ice cream.

I want justice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We All Emit Light

I was reading an article in Ode Magazine the other day titled "No Such Things as a Thing" by Lynn McTaggart. In the article, there's a section of it that really got me thinking, got me tripping on a concept.

You see, we all emit light--biophoton emissions to be exact.

The force is with us.

I'm going to quote the article at length since the author does a better job of explaining the concept than I could:
  • McTaggart relates, "In 1970, while investigating a cure for cancer, German physicist Fritz-Albert Popp stumbled on the fact that all living things, from single-cell plants to human beings, emit a tiny current of photons, or light, which he labeled 'biophoton emissions.' Popp immediately understood that a living organism makes use of this faint light as a means of communicating within itself and also with the outside world" (38).
  • Since then, Popp and over forty scientists have researched this phenomenon, and "They maintain that this faint radiation, rather that DNA or biochemistry, is the true conductor of all cellular processes in the body. They have discovered that biophoton emissions reside within DNA, setting off frequencies within the molecules of individual cells" (38).
  • After years of experiments, "Popp recognized that he had uncovered the primary communication channel within a living organism, which uses light as a means of instantaneous, or 'non-local,' global signaling. Popp also discovered that these light emissions act as a communications system among living things. In experiments with a number of organisms, including human beings, he discovered that individual living things absorb the light emitted from each other and send back wave interference patterns, as though they are having conversations. Once the light waves of one organism are absorbed by another organism, the first organism's light begins trading information in synchrony. Living things also appeared to communicate information with their surroundings--bacteria with their nutritional medium, the inside of an egg with its shell. These 'conversations' also occur among different species, although the loudest and best dialogues are reserved for members of the same species" (38-9).
The connection that many folks will make after reading that infrormation is the how biophoton emissions sound similar to "the force" within the Star Wars movies even though Lucas took that concept from Maori mythology/religion--the idea that there is a life force that interconnects all beings/Nature, a more interesting Oversoul from my perspective that predates Emerson anyway.

I don't know how respected this view of living systems is though. I'm no scientist. But it's certainly interesting.

If biophoton emissions are indeed true, if that's how this all works, the Maoris were on to it before the folks in lab coats got to work.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dark Fortunes

We ate Chinese take-out last night, and later in the evening I thought about how I'd like to see fortune cookies that aren't so overwhelmingly positive.

It's understandable that fortune cookies are going to have positive messages since restaurants want their patrons to come away with a good feeling after filling their gullets, but I'd like to see slips of paper that have some dark humor or strangeness in 'em.

So here are some candidates:
  • It's really you, not him.
  • You've had one too many Tsingtaos.
  • It really didn't happen for a reason. Often random stuff happens. Deal with it.
  • You need a new hairdo.
  • There won't be a second date.
  • Bitterness is your friend. Solitude is your spouse.
  • He's cheating on you. He's been doing so for months.
  • In the Clifford books, they conveniently don't address the dog manure situation. I mean, Clifford's huge, right? Just imagine what kind of pressure that island ecosystem is under.
  • Pull up your damn pants/shorts and get a belt to hold them up.
  • You're tired of his crap, aren't you?
  • In regard to clowns, what's their deal? Do you despise them like I do?
  • It's no coindicence that eating fatty foods activates the neurological pleasure circuitry in the same way that cocaine, heroin and amphetamines activate it.
  • You're going to regret those tatoos.
  • Get off my property.
  • One could argue that Jesus was a socialist. Discuss that proposition and its implications.
  • Are you going to tell her that she has a booger in his nose or not?
  • How have those New Year's resolutions worked out?
  • Cookie Monster is a member of Mensa along with a number of porn stars.
  • "I'm as serious as cancer" is one of the dumbest statements ever made.
  • She's dating you, but she's looking for someone better.
  • Why don't the Chinese make better wine?
  • That statement you said earlier to your kid--your dad said that to you when you were a kid.
  • What's your requested meal before you go to the chair?
  • You're such a narcissist.
  • Ars est celare artem.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Music Friday: "Moonshiner"

I recently had some wiring fixed in my car since my dashboard lights wouldn't go on when I turned my lights on at night.

For years though, my CD player hasn't worked for whatever reason, and I'm too cheap/frugal to take a car into the shop to get a CD player fixed since the radio works just fine even though the choices for radio stations in my neck of the woods are not good--not good at all. After the car's electrical issues were fixed, Mrs. Nasty mentioned that maybe the CD player will work now.

I investigated that hypothesis.

Cheers to you Mrs. Nasty for making that suggestion. It works.

So the kids have had the pleasure of listening to my old CDs when we drive around. They seem to be okay with it. I haven't fielded any complaints yet. I also suspect Quinn is up for something different than what he has had to put up with lately. Last night at the dinner table, he made a clear demand about music aimed directly at his sister: "No more singing Taylor Swift songs in the house."

That didn't go over well, but I admire his gumption.

So here's a song that was playing in my car yesterday--not a song about love or high school crushes. It's written from the point of view of guy who makes moonshine, a traditional song.

It's from the March 16-20 1992 album that was produced by Peter Buck of R.E.M. It's the all acoustic album in Uncle Tupelo's discography.

I have a number of favorite Uncle Tupelo songs, which are mostly Jay Farrar penned ones, and "Moonshiner" has to be in the top five of my favorites. If you're an Uncle Tupelo fan and if you're inclined to list some of your favorite songs of the band, post a comment. I'd enjoy seeing them.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Angry at a Clown

The MLB trading deadline passed yesterday afternoon.

And I'm even more angry at Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Remember that guy? He's the fellow who signed Alfonso Soriano to a crazy deal and brought the Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva fiasco to the Friendly Confines.

I will credit him with dealing Fukudome to Cleveland for two prospects before the deadline. Of course, the Cubs had to eat a ton of the right fielder's salary, but the deal frees up roster space for younger players to get more experience. Then again, I suspect Quade will platoon Reed Johnson and Tyler Colvin in right field. Sigh.

But there were three guys on the current roster who other teams had interest in: Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, and Carlos Pena.

With Ramirez, sure, he has a no-trade clasue. But the way his contract is structured is that if he had been traded to a team (such as the Angels who were interested), then his option year (2012) vests. Ramirez would have been guaranteed a one-year contract over his market value even at a position (3B) of limited depth. But ole Hendry signed A-Ram to a deal with a no-trade clause, and he couldn't sell him on waiving it even though he'd be guaranteed a fat contract next year with a different ball club.

But let's look at the guys who the Cubs front office might have had some control over in a deal. That clown Hendry decided that they weren't going to trade either Byrd or Pena. That makes sense, right? The Cubs have been out of the NL Central race for quite some time, but let's not deal any veterans who would have given the current roster and/or farm system a needed boost.

As much as I like Byrd, if there was a decent deal that would have sent him somewhere, it makes sense to deal him and call up Brett Jackson or heck let Campana play there for the rest of season. What do they have to lose except more games?

But Hendry not dealing Pena really pisses me off. Sure, Pena is probably the back-up plan if the Cubs don't sign Prince Fielder in the off-season, but if you deal him for a prospect or two now, it's not like you can't sign him for next season since he has a one-year contract. Jesus H. Christ...

While Pena stays put in Chicago, Baltimore deals Derrek Lee, who has a one-year contract, to the Pirates for prospects.

Knowing my luck as a Cubs fan, Hendry will be retained as GM, and he'll sign Pujols to a ten-year contract, a Soriano-like deal that is good for the first few years but becomes awful later on.