Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Hangover: Bye Week

Since the Nasty family traveled to the town of gridlock, graft, and duplicity (Springfield, IL) for my daughter's gymnastics meet on Sunday morning, I didn't get to watch much football on Saturday.

I did catch a few of the late games at the hotel room last night though.

Wisconsin has had two implosions in a row. Michigan State beat them on a improbable hail mary last week. Last night after Wisconsin took the lead and then provided a horrible kickoff, Ohio State's freshman qb beat them on a rollout right throw to the end zone. Where the hell was the safety on that play? And man, those new school Ohio State uniforms are ugly. Just awful.

USC got hosed on a call at the end of the game last night. They should have had a second on the clock to attempt to kick a field goal. Then again, the more I see Stanford, the more I'm impressed. Their TEs are lethal weapons.

I saw highlights of how the Commodores of Vanderbilt should have at least taken their game against the Razorbacks to overtime. Tough deal if you're a Vandy fan. This new Vanderbilt coach is doing a heck of job over there in Nashville. They're playing inspired ball, and having the brother of Aaron Rodgers as your quarterback helps too. If I were a betting man, I'd take the points and bet on Vandy next week when they play Florida.

Congrats to Joe Paterno on his historic win yesterday.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Music Friday: "Tour of Duty"

With the pullout from Iraq looking like a definite reality, today's song seems appropriate.

Mr. Isbell has a penchant for writing songs about or songs that reference veterans of the current wars if you've followed his solo career: "Dress Blues," "Sunstroke," "Soldiers Get Strange," and now the more upbeat "Tour of Duty."

I covet the hat he's wearing in this video.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crazy Ass Marathoners

I have some folks I know of who are really into running marathons as far as I can tell by the chatter on the InterWeb.

I've done some running over the years, but I've never gone as far running a marathon. I got up to working in the 5K range at one time, which is a good cardio workout, but I have an on-again/off-again relationship with running. Lately though it's mostly been off. The ways things have been going lately, I'm lucky to take my dog for a walk and be able to work out on the elliptical on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

A guy I met this summer is an ultra marathoner. The amount of time he had to put into that pursuit seemed comparable to a second job. Or an addiction.

But an article I read recently from Utne makes ultra-marathoning look easy. I kid you not.

In "It's a Mad, Mad Marathon" by Leslie Jamison, you get to read about a race inspired by a prison break, a course designed by a madman, an invitation-only affair that makes readers wonder "Why?"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Hangover: Tennessee

I had the good fortune of getting back in time to watch the game live since we left Madison, WI in the early afternoon and got back right around 6 p.m.

So I sat down in front of the tube and wanted to watch a strong Tide offense have its way with the Volunteer defense. That didn't happen in the first half, unfortunately. At the half, Tennessee and Alabama were tied 6-6. Surprisingly, the Volunteers were having some success running the ball versus Alabama, and the Dooley did a really nice play call on a fake punt-pass that created a first down since Kirkpatrick was playing soft coverage on the gunner.

The first drive of Alabama's was not pretty since McCarron threw a bad interception. The Tide's D held, but McCarron looked tentative during the whole first half of the game.

In the second half Alabama woke up and got itself together, scoring 31 unanswered points with McCarron looking a heck of lot sharper.

I saw today that the Nov. 5 game against LSU has been moved to be a night game. This game has all manner of hype around it: No. 1 (LSU) vs. No. 2 (Alabama) in a SEC conference tussle.

I have concerns, however.

Tennessee's running back, Poole, had some success running the ball against the Tide. He netted 67 yards with a 3.5 average, and Tennessee as a whole had 92 net yards rushing. We should expect LSU's starting running back to play on Nov. 5 even though he was suspended for the their beatdown of Auburn.

Alabama also didn't get as much pressure on the QB as they usually do, so whoever is manning the quarterback position for LSU could have some time to get the ball to their excellent receiver Rueben Randle and other options.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Music Friday: "Gimme Three Steps" & "Tuesday's Gone"

So I'm here in Madison, Wisconsin for a a conference, so you might think I'd feature some singer or band hailing from the beautiful land of cheese and beer.


Today I'm providing two tunes from Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The first song always reminds me of the infamous Golden Spike in Kirksville, MO, a little watering hole that Mrs. Nasty worked as a waitress for a short stint in college before I knew her. The house band at the Spike played this song every time I saw them play there. Lots of two-steppin' was witnessed by this observer.

I have Skynyrd songs in my head lately since I bought one of their greatest hits albums for $5 in the mp3 format.

Unfortunately, the album doesn't include "Tuesday's Gone," which is on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Ole Miss scored once, and then they didn't score again.

Alabama scored 52 points--four touchdowns for Richardson, 2 touchdowns for Fowler, a touchdown pass from McCarron to Gibson, and Jeremy Shelley field goal.

But the Crimson Tide were only up 17-7 at the half, so the second half was a beatdown.

McCarron was an efficient QB yesterday and looked like a tall Greg McElroy with a stronger arm.

The defense looked solid most of the day, and it was good to see C.J. Mosley take the field again after sitting out two games with a dislocated elbow.

But boy, the kickoff coverage stunk many times yesterday. That needs to get cleaned up quickly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Music Friday: "Daysleeper"

Currently the family car has R.E.M.'s Up in the CD player, and one of my favorite songs on that album is "Daysleeper." Hannah had to suffer through "Lotus" and "Sad Professor" on the way back from gymnastics last night.

While R.E.M.'s song isn't talking about the type of daysleepers I'm more familiar with--folks who work the second and third shifts in factories--the song usually reminds me of those people who see the day from a very different perspective than the majority.

In fact, thinking about second- and third-shifters also reminds me of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that I'm including in the book I'm writing with a colleague. "Beer for Breakfast" by John M. McGuire describes the taverns in the St. Louis that cater to the late shift crowd.

The tavern I frequented back in college also was amenable to those clientele.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Last Words

Tonight I was reading an article in Ode Magazine in which the author was using Buddhist principles to talk about how to cope with wild and mundane happenings in one's life. In other words, the author was looking at life through a Buddhist lens.

For the most part, the article wasn't anything I haven't read before and nowhere near as interesting as Brian Haycock's Dharma Road, but the author does provide presumably the final words of Buddha Shakyamuni's last sermon before he died. Those last words are the following:

"Transient are all conditioned things.
Strive on with diligence."

A bit later in the article, the writer cites a knowledgeable friend of her who says a better translation of the final sentence is this: 

"Move with confidence into the future."

Regardless of how one translates the last line, my crude paraphrase of the Buddha's words are this: 

Good and bad stuff happens.
Deal with it. 

I like the Buddha's words better though. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Serial Novel of Note

Today I found out about a serial novel just starting on the Web. It's titled Redwood. Mash the link and you'll be reading the first chapter.

It's a novel set in the future written from the first person point of view.

A new chapter will come out every Wednesday.

Random Notes from a Crank

I know morons use the stuff in Advil Cold & Sinus to make methamphetamine, but that medicine works. With the harvest happening here in central Illinois, I'm all congested and a bit sickly. Having to provide my driver's license to get the good stuff (Advil, people, not crystal meth) is no problem since it's going to make me feel better.

This pisses me off: "Drop Dead." We should expect many folks from Florida universities polishing their CVs and going on the job market again. And New College (one of the colleges noted in the article) is consistently ranked as one of the best college values in American education.

What's the deal (channeling Andy Rooney) with people not acknowledging you've sent them an email? I say this as an occasional offender of what I'm complaining about, so I also need to do better. But lack of acknowledgement happens to me all the time, whether it's colleagues or students. A simple "Thanks" will do.

For whatever reason, my son insists on making the past tense of the verb pee to be "peeped." For example, "I peeped in the toilet, Dad." He knows better, but he's just using the word because he knows it's not right. Good thing we didn't name him Tom.

For those painting the Wall Street protesters as clowns, I give you a piece in Business Insider that is heavy on visuals: "CHARTS: "Here's What the Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About..." by Henry Blodget. Those visuals cohere with the article I linked in my previous "Random Notes..." post.

The passing of Steve Jobs has created some interesting claims about what he did for the world. Since I'm not the most technologically savvy or knowledgeable about computers, I'll quote what one of my buddies, who works for a major computer company, put as his FB status for a short while: "Dear Internets, I like my iPhone and all but it's worth noting that Jobs did not invent the smartphone, or the computer, or digital music distribution. He did it better than anyone else had done up to the point they were introduced. He was a phenomenal marketing and design guy with a flair for the dramatic. Apple is Apple because of Job's marketing and design brilliance not because he invented anything. So, please stop with the Edison comparisons and just remember him for what he really really did, make great products and market the hell out of them." I don't know how right my buddy is, but I did notice that many of the articles written about Jobs quoted professors of marketing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Hangover: Vanderbilt

As was expected, Coach Saban was pissed at halftime.

The sideline reporter for ESPNU questioned an angry man on Saturday. Mental errors, lack of intensity, limited success running the ball, many third and longs, these all contributed to the Saban's nasty attitude even though the Tide was up 14 to 0 at half.

Realistically, the Tide didn't look that great in the first half. The Commodores ventured into Alabama territory many times and had some explosive plays. Vanderbilt would have scored two field goals if the kicker would have done his job. However, both were long field goal tries, but Vandy did move the ball on the vaunted Alabama defense that a journalist from SI compared to some of the best historically. We'll see about that since the defenses of '66, '79, '92, and '09 were remarkably salty. Tough as hell.

Alabama got it together in the second half. Richardson had 111 yards of rushing by the end of the game, and Jalston Fowler, the Tide's third string running back, also brought the pain to the Commodores since Lacy sat out with turf toe. Fowler has to weigh somewhere around 250 lbs., and he's comparable to a middle linebacker with speed and moves.

The promising aspect of the offense is that McCarron had a good game with four touchdowns thrown to DeAndrew White (two), Smelley, and Hanks. White made two really nice grabs. The touchdown right at the close of the first half had White jumping high above defenders in the back of the end zone even though McCarron could have probably run in the ball for a touchdown, which was evident from reading Coach Saban's lips on the sidelines, "A.J.! Run the ball!" I think there were also curse words used. The second touchdown to White was a long touchdown pass, which makes me hopeful for more a vertical passing game.

Regardless, even though the win was a shutout (34-0), there is a lot the coaching staff can take away from the game for future contests--both good and bad.

That idea was clear in Saban's opening comments after the game: "It’s always good to win in the league. We obviously didn’t play our best football game, especially in the first half. We didn’t have the mental energy and intensity that we like to have, to play with the kind of consistency that we need to in order to improve as a team. I think it’s a challenge for everyone to say what do I want to accomplish, what is important to me, what kind of ownership am I willing to take for that, and am I going to be individually responsible to make sure I do my job well all the time. It doesn’t have anything to do with who you are playing. Vanderbilt has a great team. They are doing a good job with their team. They play hard and create a lot of problems for you on offense and do a lot of things to take advantage and play well with the guys they have. We played a lot better in the second half. AJ (McCarron) played pretty well, he didn’t turn the ball over which was really important. We made some adjustments and played a lot better in the second half. We certainly have a lot of things we need to improve on and we will continue to work on that. Everybody’s got to take the same ownership and responsibility to do that so we can get better as a team.”

Next Saturday the Crimson Tide travels to Oxford to battle the Rebels of Ole Miss in Vaught-Hemingway.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Music Friday: "Medicine" & "Tiny Light"

This Music Friday I'm featuring an artist, Grace Potter, who has to have one of the most powerful voices in music right now. She's got some pipes.

The two videos, which are tracks from her and the Nocturnals' recent album, further showcase her voice since they're acoustic versions of the songs.

Often when I listen to her stuff, I feel like she reminds me of someone, but I can't recall who exactly that musician might be. My first reaction is Bonnie Raitt, but that doesn't seem right.

People also have compared her to Grace Slick because they often play "White Rabbit" at shows, I'm told. Overall though, her music is an interesting mix of rock, blues, and soul.

And Hannah's a fan of the recent album. She's asked a few times, "Daddy can you play that Paris song?"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Do You Think Will Happen?

As reported again today in the Post-Dispatch/StlToday, Mizzou is shopping around.

Most reporters are informing the reading public that the SEC is the conference Mizzou will join.

However, there are other options out there though some aren't realistic:
  • The interim Big 12 Commish persuades Mizzou to stick with the conference.
  • The Big Ten expands again.
  • Mizzou becomes an independent.
Which of the four options (the first one is Mizzou joining the SEC) will happen?

If Mizzou departs, the Big 12 will have to add at least BYU and another school (TCU, SMU, Houston?) to stop the bleeding. Heck, the way it's going, they might want to look at Southern Miss, Missouri State, and Tulsa. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Hangover: Florida

The game didn't start out like Alabama fans wanted, a 65-yard touchdown pass to Debose on the first offensive play of the game, but by the second quarter, it was obvious that the Gators were going to have a difficult time on offense. By the end of the game, Florida only gained 15 yards on the ground and 222 yards overall, and the only reason they had positive rushing yards was a thrirtysomething-yard scramble by Driskell, the second-string QB, later in the game.

Overall, the Tide totaled 225 yards on the ground, with Richardson having a career game of 29 carries for 181 yards. The final score was 38-10.

The Tide didn't pass much because they really didn't have to. Then again, both Mrs. Nasty and I were getting frustrated in the third quarter since the Tide had good field position but didn't capitalize on putting the Gators away early. They seemed to fall into routine of passing on first down and then running plays on second and third downs. McCarron made a few long throws in the game, but he didn't connect with his receivers, which was frustrating. The offense was pretty vanilla until later in the game when Richardson was put into the wildcat. I think the only reason that happened was to offer something different to practice against for upcoming defenses.

Next up are the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the game will be in Bryant-Denny.