Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Veggie Crescent Roll Pizza

Here comes another recipe from my parents' church's old cookbook.

We've been nawing on this stuff lately.

2 cans of crescent rolls
8 oz brick of cream cheese
2/3 cup of mayo
Smidge of dill weed
Seasoning of your desire
Vegetables of your desire

Spread out the crescent rolls on a sheet pan and bake as directed. Beat the cream cheese, mayo, dill weed, and seasoning of your desire. Spread that stuff as the "sauce" on top of the cooled crescent rolls. Place your veggies of choice on top, refrigerate, and serve cold.

In the recent versions made in our household, Mrs. Nasty has been using broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and green onions. I'm thinking black olives and mushrooms would also be nice additions.

Have a good New Year's Eve, folks. Be careful out there.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Taco Soup

Here's a recipe that Mrs. Nasty has made a couple of times, so I'm posting it not only because you might like it but also because we might lose the recipe.

1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 package of ranch dressing
1 package of taco seasoning
1 cup of water
2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 15 oz. cans of pinto beans, drained
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained
1 15 oz. can of creamed corn

Brown the meat and throw all of that stuff in a crock pot for a while.

Eat it later.

Music Friday: "Livin' in the Jungle"

I'm not going to a New Year's Eve party this year, but I figured I'd end the year with some upbeat, groovin' music.

Today's offering is "Livin' in the Jungle" by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Class Issues

In the process of cleaning up/reorganizing some stuff around home, I came across an issue of Utne I had held back because I wanted to feature an article in it because the essay connects to some of my own "class issues."

In "Cutting Class" from an issue of Utne a year ago, Brad Zellar explores his working class guilt.

If you have to boil my "issues" down to a basic statement, it would this: rich people usually piss me off.

It's not that I grew up poor or anything. Sure, when my dad got laid off by National Tea when I was quite young, I remember there being stress within the house. He moved on to selling insurance for a while and then was lucky enough to acquire a small business loan that helped him start his business. For a major part of his life, my dad was a meat cutter and then carried over some of his meat cutting skills to when he ran his own small grocery store on what people considered the "wrong side" of the industrial town in which I grew up.

So I guess I understand the working class pretty well because I come from that stock (both parents were children during the Great Depression--one from rural northeastern Missouri, the other from an essentially single-parent home in northwestern Iowa), and I was raised in what could be called a "factory town" -- factories, mills, and meat packing plants. The stores I worked in were visited by folks who worked putting together tractors or slaughtering hogs.

And the thing is I was envious of the kids whose dads worked at the John Deere plants, or to use the phrase in my hometown, they worked at "Deere." It was always pretty clear what kids' parents worked at Deere because they were the ones who got braces. Those of us who didn't have great insurance plans, we were left with what was in our jaws unless our collections of teeth were especially horrific.

Like Zellar recounts in his essay, my parents would also take me on car rides to look at the big houses, which when I reflect on that practice now, it kind of sickens me -- the gawking at the big homes in the fancy part of town or the oversized houses on the edge of town where the darkness is, as Springsteen informs us.

I fooled around with some of the girls from the rich part of town though, sitting in their homes watching movies and doing other things, often admiring what they seemed to have so easily.

I waited on very good people who came into our grocery or liqour store with pig blood on them, their hands aching from their duties on the cutting floor, cashing their checks as they bought a bottle or to visit a local bar.

Where I worked was an interesting mix of black and white folks. The stores I worked at had trailor "parks" right across from them. Not that far away was the area where many working and middle class black families lived. There was rarely any open racial hostility during store hours, but sometimes you noticed tension among "mixed" clentile.

What Zellar's article also got me to thinking about is how as a country I wonder what all we really produce anymore. At one time, we Americans, well, we made stuff. Sure, we are no longer the manufacturing giant like we once were because of globalization -- for better and for worse. Now it's just that we hawk stuff while the 1% get even  richer. Or heck, I don't know, let's just say the 5-10% get richer while they have natural inroads for success and safety nets along with McMansions on the Hills.

Like Zellar, "[t]ime and time again I committed the terrible sin of envy, until it became wholly ingrained in my makeup and I eventually developed a chip on my shoulder that I felt no amount of accomplishment would ever manage to erase."

Which is why I have interal reactions like I did a number of years ago when I was talking to one of my colleagues. I asked him how his summer was, and he said it was great because he spent quite a bit of it in Paris. For someone like me who has only been to Ontario for a couple of fishing trips and family vacations were spent visiting family or going to exotic places like South Dakota, the idea of going to Europe doesn't seem probable. My reaction to a really nice man's statement that he spent time with his wife in Paris angered me, not because I don't like him or his wife (they're nice people by all accounts), but because of envy, of the fact that some people over the course of my life always seem to have it so easy -- my internal, jaded sense of justice.

And it's pride, which as we know comes before the fall. Even if I have accomplishments, I'm wary that I'm gonna get screwed eventually. Healthy...

One of the events that got me thinking back to Zellar's article is, of course, Christmas and the deluge of presents my children received. As he relates toward the close of the essay, "The dream of our parents' has become a reality of millions of us, but it also, inevitably, comes at someone else's expense and, to a lesser extent, at our own."

For me, I want my kids to be able to both know the sciences and philosophy and art and poetry, but I also want them to appreciate the majesty of Hank Williams, master the art of talking to and being open to diverse people (diversity based on class and ethnicity and creed), and most importantly know how to get things done.

I acknowledge that this post is a bit scatterbrained, but it might also reflect that, like Zellar, sometimes I feel that I'm "an interloper in all worlds."

So it goes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Music Friday: "Bright Lights"

Hear Ya recently highlighted the best EPs of 2011. In the thread of comments, one person remarked that an excellent EP was one by Gary Clark Jr., a musician I had never heard of.

Not that long ago, Mr. Clark played on Letterman.

After that performance, I quickly downloaded The Bright Lights EP. It's excellent, and I'm hoping for an LP sometime in 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Pie Crust

Since I just made this, why not post the recipe while I drink a glass of Guinness Black Lager and try to decide what beer it reminds me of.

But anyway, this pie crust is one I've used often. It comes from a cookbook created by my parents' church -- Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, IA --  back when I was a kid.

Below are the ingredients and the process.

Stage 1:
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 1/4 cups shortening or lard

Mix all of this with a pastry blender or fork until it's all crumbly.

Stage 2:
1 egg beaten and cold water to make 2/3 cup of liquid
1 teaspoon of vinegar

Put the wet ingredients in, mix it all together, form into 2-3 balls, chill them, and then roll out the dough.

I chilled it for thirty minutes in the fridge tonight, I started rolling one ball, and it just wasn't working.

So I put the two balls in the freezer for thirty minutes, then transferred them to the fridge for fifteen mintues, and then got to rolling.

But back to the black lager. It reminds me of Shiner Black Lager, but I think Shiner's version has a stronger flavor profile -- hoppier. Or you could just call it a Guinness Lite.

Understanding the Introverts

I've taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator a number of times. The result is that I'm an INTJ, with strong preferences for introversion and judging. In fact, my introversion factor is usually around 90% most of the time.

So I was happy to see that one of my friends on FB shared this older article from The Atlantic that addresses the oppression of introverts. Well, sort of. Part of it has a some self-congratulatory back-slapping ("a majority of the gifted population," etc.).

Writing from this introvert's point of view, I usually don't like "conversations about feelings..." and how the presidents who were introverts were Coolidge, Nixon, and Reagan. Awkwardness and bad company right there.

I agree with the statement by Sartre that the author provides though: "Hell is other people at breakfast." And I like the motto of introverts that he offers: "I'm okay, you're okay -- in small doses."

So here's  "Caring For Your Introvert" by Jonathan Rauch. It's a short read that could help you cope with an introvert or yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Culling the December Index and Findings

I've had a subscription to Harper's Magazine for a couple of decades. I started reading it when I began college if I remember correctly.

Two continuing features in the magazine I always look forward to are "Harper's Index," which is at the start of the magazine, and the "Findings" page that closes each issue. Most people are familiar with the Index, but I'm pretty sure the "Findings" page isn't as old. It provides an interesting and often bizarre collection of published research that's been disseminated recently.

I thought I'd pass along a culling from both features in the December issue that I find particularly rich.

From Harper's Index:
  • Portion of income growth since the end of the recession that has gone to corporate profits: 9/10
  • Minimum number of pigs stolen in Minnesota this September: 744
  • Percentage by which the average contracted project costs the government more than the equivalent government-run project: 83
  • Date on which Governor Rick Scott said that Florida doesn't need "more anthropologists": 10/10/2011
  • Date on which Scott's daughter received her anthropology degree: 1/11/2008
  • Chance that an American between 18 and 24 has read a book in the past year that wasn't required for school or work: 1 in 2
  • Rank of non-denominational Christianity among the fastest-growing religions in America during the past two decades: 2
  • Rank of "none": 1
  • Percentage of the vote received by the Pirate Party in Berlin's September municipal elections: 8.9
  • Number of sex dolls distributed to SS soldiers by Heinrich Himmler, according to a book released this September: 50
From "Findings":
  • "Columbus may have caused the Little Ice Age." 
  • "Bolder bluegill sunfish are likelier to be caught in open water, whereas shy ones are caught near the rocks."
  • "Easily embarrassed humans, though not the morbidly ashamed, are seen as more trustworthy and are more often monogamous." 
  • "Canadian psychologists  concluded that 'moral disengagemnt' leads to workplace rumor-mongering and collegial sabotage."
  • "Psychopathic Canadian murderers, when describing their crimes, more frequently use conjunctions and employ the past tense than do their non-psychopathic counterparts." 
  • "The nose smells what it expects." 
  • "Extramarital affairs increase a man's risk of a broken penis."   

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Notes from a Crank

Watching the flashback scenes of Jimmy and his mom when she visits Princeton in the next to last episode of Boardwalk Empire reminded me of my high school Psychology class. When our teacher was talking about Freud and the concept of the Oedipal Complex, one of the guys behind me in my row, a long-haired gentlemen who enjoyed smoking dope during lunch hour, made this trenchant remark: "Man, Freud must have had a hot mom."

At the request of my daughter, I made ratatouille on Tuesday. Apparently, the rat in the damn Pixar movie is a better cook than me because she and Mrs. Nasty didn't like it. A movie motivates my daughter to try a dish that is a smattering of healthy vegetables, but it doesn't work out.

Am I the only person who still appreciates the brilliance of the Spice Girls?

With me having to stay home on Monday and Tuesday since my daughter had some virus, my dog's routine was disrupted. Darby didn't get as much sleep as she's used to. The first day she looked at me a number of times with a look that said, "Why are you here, and can you be more quiet?"

ESPN blathers on and on about Tebow. Clue to NFL defensive coordinators: Check out the 2009 SEC Championship Game and what the Crimson Tide did to him. They kept Tebow in front of them, defenders usually never ran past him, and they kept him in the pocket for the most part. All that equaled success: Tebow wept.

I've had a number of nicknames over the years, but three I haven't had are these: Dr. Feelgood, Senor Robusto, or Professor Booty. Disappointment...

You can say what you want about Pillow Pets and the commercial that creates an earworm, but I fell asleep on the couch the other day with one. That dog version is comfortable.

Last night after we got home after her gymnastics practice, my eight-year old daughter informed me that "you can't sue a kid." Apparently, some of the young ladies in her squad are aspiring lawyers if that has been a point of conversation.

Music Friday: "Stomp and Holler" & "Grateful for Christmas"

On my Top Ten/Twenty Albums of 2011 post, for whatever reason I didn't include KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) by Hayes Carll, which is a darn fine album. That's an oversight on my part and strange since Carll has been featured before on a Music Friday post.

Apologies to Mr. Carll. I should have included your album in the previous post.

So today I offer two songs from KMAG YOYO. "Stomp and Holler" is the first song on the album, and "Grateful for Christmas" is the next to last tune.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top Ten/Twenty Albums of 2011

It's that time of the year. 

Like I did for 2010, I'm providing my take on this year's best albums.

Although I have the top ten ranked, all are solid albums, and those rankings could easily move according to the shifting scale of my mood at the moment when I want to listen to some tunes. The second ten are simply placed in the "honorable mention" category.

If you enjoyed some albums that came out in 2011 that aren't included in this post, feel free to relate ones you think are worth mentioning.

So here goes the Top Ten/Twenty albums of 2011:

1. Amanda Shires, Carrying Lightning

For me, 2011 was the year I discovered Amanda Shires. 

Lawd, I've seen the light. 

What a talented musician, an artist who lists Octavio Paz, Marianne Moore, Theodore Roethke, and Sylvia Plath as her favorite writers on her FB page. 

From start to finish, this album is excellent. From a song about wanting nooky in "Shake the Walls" to contemplation of suicide in "When You Need a Train, It Never Comes," from lyrics of awakening and reflection in "Ghost Bird" to the straightforward nature of "Detroit or Buffalo," this opus features beautiful fiddle playing, solid guitar, and haunting lyrics. Favorite songs: "Ghost Bird," "Shake the Walls," "Sloe Gin," and "Swimmer, Dreams Don't Keep." 

2. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Here We Rest

No surprise here.

At first listen to the new album, I instantly liked a number of the songs ("Alabama Pines," "Go It Alone," "Codeine," "Stopping By," "Never Could Believe," and "Tour of Duty"), but the others took some time to grow on me. To be honest, when I first heard the cover of Candi Stanton's "Heart on a String," I thought, "Why is hell is Isbell trying to sound like John Mayer?" But I've come to like the song since it features a Muscle Shoals R&B vibe. Here We Rest is not as much of a rock-oriented album as the band's previous effort, which is fine and I like it, but I tend to enjoy Isbell's songs that have a bit more grit to 'em, whether it's his solo stuff or DBT tunes. Regardless, the guy is a storyteller. "Stopping By" delves into the psychological effects of not having a dad in one's life, and I think many folks would appreciate "We've Met." Favorite songs: "Alabama Pines," "Go It Alone," "Never Could Believe," and "Stopping By."

3. Glossary, Long Live All Of Us

It's hard to do better than Glossary's fine album, Feral Fire, but Long Live All Of Us approaches that greatness. The recent release from the guitar-oriented, no nonsense rock-n-roll band hailing from Murfreesboro, Tennessee is different from previous albums, but I like it a lot. In the mini-documentary that I linked a short while back about the album, the lead singer and guitarist of the band describes the album as one that is positive and does not ape the cynicism and negativity that surrounds us. That's true. Let me put it this way: if I'm in a grumpy mood, listening to this album makes me feel better. Favorite songs: "A Shoulder Left To Cry On," "Trouble Won't Always Last," "Everything Comes Back," and "When We Were Wicked."

4. The Bottle Rockets, Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening

These guys have been around a long time, yet I don't see 'em getting a ton of critical acclaim. They should. If there's ever a band that writes songs about the working (or not working so much anymore) class, this band is it. And they do it well. This album made me appreciate their studio stuff even more and got me wanting to see them live. The standards are there--"Gravity Falls," "Smokin' 100s Alone," "Rural Route," etc.--but the song that really got me is the one that closes the album, "Mom & Dad," which is obviously about the death of the mom and dad of the lead singer that he briefly discusses in the intro of "I Don't Want to Go Home." For those of us with parents getting later on in age, it's a tear-jerker. Favorite songs: "Mom & Dad," "Rural Route," and "1000 Dollar Car."

5. Dawes, Nothing Is Wrong

This is an outstanding follow-up to the band's first album, North Hills. Over a couple of weeks last year, this band just kind of clicked for me, and there for a while I was listening to North Hills all the time. On Nothing Is Wrong, the lyrics are stronger, the arrangements are more diverse, and what the critics call the "Laurel Canyon sound" permeates the work like the first album. This band reminds of a baseball pitcher when I get to thinking about it--a starting pitcher who has a really solid rookie season, and then he establishes himself as a number one or number two starter for a team quickly hereafter. Dawes is no Clayton Kershaw yet, but they could be. Favorite Songs: "A Little Bit of Everything," "Fire Away," "If I Wanted Someone," and "So Well."

6. American Gun, Therapy

A strong guitar-oriented sound, interesting lyrics, and no bullshit rock-n-roll, that's how I would describe these talented fellows. If you don't like American Gun, you're un-American. Not really, but I thought I'd write something stupid like that. All the songs are good, but ... Favorite Songs: "1500 Jessicas," "Lie to Me," "Procrastination," "Therapy," and "No More Friends."

7. Sarah Jarosz, Follow Me Down

If you ever want to motivate yourself to get it together, consider the case of Sarah Jarosz. She's a college student (New England Conservatory of Music) and an accomplished musician on the mandolin, fiddle, and guitar. She's a great singer too. And, oh yeah, this is her second album, and she's already played on Austin City Limits. You're lazy, aren't you? Get back to work, clown. Favorite songs: "Old Smitty," "Run Away," "Here Nor There," and cover of Dylan's "Ring Them Bells."

8. Middle Brother, Middle Brother

So let's get this straight. The band Middle Brother is a "supergroup" of lead singers of three bands--John McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Matthew Vasquez of Delta Spirit--that got together and produced their own record with the help of a number of outstanding musicians. Sounds like an elaborate marketing ploy hatched in a tavern, doesn't it? But it's a damn successful musical project inspired by booze if that's the case. From McCauley's lyrics about daydreaming while hungover in "Daydreaming" to Goldsmith's plaintive missive of "Thanks for Nothing," from the gritty, slow nature of "Theater" to the tag-team nature of the final song "Million Dollar Bill," it's a fun ride. Favorite songs: "Daydreaming," "Blue Eyes," "Wilderness," and "Me, Me, Me."

9. Centro-matic, Candidate Waltz

Will Johnson and the fellas got back at it again with another fine release this year. For me, their sound is addictive -- hypnotic at times. The lyrics venture often toward the willfully obtuse, but in that sense, they remind me of R.E.M., and that's high compliment coming from this guy. The album has one song, "All the Talkers," that is a satirical description of club-goers, which you shouldn't miss. Favorite songs: "All the Talkers," "Mercedes Blast," "If They Talk You Down," and "Against the Line."

10. Rod Picott, Welding Burns

I originally recognized Picott as "that guy who's always playing guitar" with Amanda Shires. In fact, they did a collaborative album a few years back that I need to investigate. I finally got nudged into buying Welding Burns because of emmylunatic's comment on the July 15th Music Friday post: "It's worth some effort to see Amanda live, many shows you get a great twofer as she's joined by Rod Picott who has a great album out now - Welding Burns."

Huzzah unto you, emmylunatic.

While I provided love to The Bottle Rockets about singing for the working person out there in America, this Rod Picott fella is doing the same. The persona of "Sheetrock Hanger" contemplates that if he doesn't go to heaven, he'll be hanging sheetrock in Hell. "Rust Belt Fields" provides a perspective on the effects of globalization. "410" is a rollicking tune about starting trouble. Heck, the whole album is solid, and Shires plays fiddle. Buy it. You can thank me later by buying me a beer. Favorite Songs: "Welding Burns," "Rust Belt Fields," "Your Father's Tattoo," and "Sheetrock Hanger."

Honorable Mentions: The Next Ten

R.E.M., Collapse Into Now

It had to happen sometime. That little band that did from Athens, Georgia called it quits this year, but not without offering a fine coda to their discography. Favorite songs: "All The Best," "UBerlin," "Walk It Back," and "That Someone Is You."

Blitzen Trapper, American Goldwing

Blitzen Trapper, one of the darlings of the alternative music press, put out a fine album this year. When I first got introduced to this band and started listening to them, I remarked to the person who recommended them that when I listen to their stuff, I feel like I need to be eating granola and burning incense (and I don't mind both, by the way). That comment brought a decent laugh.

But this album is different. I think it's the band's best because the guitars have a harder edge to them, and all of the songs seem to hang together effectively as an album. The record has coherence. American Goldwing has kept me much more interested than their other releases. Favorite songs: "Street Fighting Sun," "Taking It Easy Too Long," "American Goldwing," and "Might Find It Cheap."

Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues

Speaking of granola and incense, I offer the highly praised release by the Fleet Foxes. Lush harmonies and intricate arrangements take listeners for a reflective ride. The comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel will always be there, but I find them to have more of a "wall of sound" style. Favorite songs: "Helplessness Blues," "The Shrine/An Argument," and "Montezuma."

Ha Ha Tonka, Death of a Decade
I wonder how much of an uptick of album sales this quartet from West Plains, Missouri got from their appearance at the end of the Ozarks episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. Of the band's three albums, this is my favorite. The mandolin is a prominent on the record, and like their previous effort, Novel Sounds from the Noveau South that ends with "Thoreau in the Woods," this album closes with a song I'm pretty sure is about Mark Twain: "The Humorist." Favorite songs: "The Humorist," "Westward Bound," "Lonely Fortunes," and "Hide It Well."

The Decemberists, The King Is Dead

I originally checked out The Decemberists because a fellow recommended The Hazards of Love to me since he knows I like concept albums. That album is okay, but The King Is Dead is right in my wheelhouse--more straightforward, not trying to do the rock opera thang. Favorite songs: "This Is Why We Fight," "Down By the Water," and "Don't Carry It All."

Ben Harper, Give Till It's Gone
So what happened to the Relentless7, the new backing players that were on his previous album after the Innocent Criminals got the boot? This question I have no answer for, and it really doesn't matter all that much to me. The previous album has a song, "Shimmer and Shine," that my kids certainly enjoy. When I play it in my car, my four-year old son likes playing air drums to it while my eight-year old daughter strums air guitar. There are songs of that quality on this effort from Harper like "Clearly Severely," "Spilling Faith," and "Dirty Little Lover."

Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane

Another solid outing by Krauss and the boys. While the new Gillian Welch album garnered a great deal of noise this year (and it's a good album), it's hard to beat these folks. Favorite songs: "Dust Bowl Children," "Miles to Go," "My Opening Farewell," and "On the Outside Looking In."

Trombone Shorty, For True

This a solid sophomore release from a guy who I'm told is acting a bit on HBO's Treme. Since I haven't watched that series, I had no idea. Favorite songs: "The Craziest Thing," "For True," "Dumaine St.," and "Big 12."

A. A. Bondy, Believers

In Bondy's third album, he keeps up the atmospheric alt rock. If you go by how iTunes classifies this guy's music, one album is classified as "folk," another is classified as "blues," and this one is classified as "rock." And I don't see any major differences among them. Regardless, it's a good record. Favorite songs: "Rte. 28/Believers,""123 Dupay Street," "Surfer King," and "The Heart is Willing."

Chris Thile & Michael Daves, Sleep With One Eye Open

I didn't know anything of Michael Daves until I bought this album, but I know Chris Thile since I'm a fan of the Punch Brothers. As you can see by the cover, one guy plays mandolin. The other guy plays guitar. It's bluegrass. Favorite songs: "Loneliness and Desperation," "If I Should Wander Back Tonight," and "My Little Girl in Tennessee."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stay Positive: Much Praise for nickeliold

Thank the Gods for YouTube videos. One just saved me a bunch of frustration and an unnecessary visit to a mechanic.

I roll around in a '05 Ford Focus wagon.

!Much love to niceliold!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Music Friday: "Down By The Water"

Like I did last December and like how all manner of online music sites are doing around this time of the year, I'll provide my top twenty favorite albums of the year, probably sometime next week.

The King Is Dead made my top twenty list of albums in 2011 -- but not my top ten. Below is "Down By The Water" with special guest Gillian Welch.

The Decemberists have a literary bent to 'em, and I like The King Is Dead much more than their concept album, The Hazards of Love, which receives more than its fair share of critical acclaim. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Random Notes from a Crank

With the reading and work I've done this fall, from time to time I've pondered this example of chiasmus: "the leisure of the theory class."

Which leads me to this statement: I taught Chuck Norris and gave him a C because that's what he earned.

For whatever reason, I've had a craving for radishes. Rest easy folks, I'm not pregnant. Considering their nutritional value, I should be doing fine on potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium. The store-bought ones I got recently disappointed though because they were pithy. They didn't have the fiery nature of the homegrown ones my dad used to grow in his garden, so I plan to try those this next growing season along with pickling cucumbers. I'll be back to stinking up the house with my pickling this summer. I also wonder how pickled radishes might work out...

I don't get how many people in this area, when talking to their kids, describe a child's sister as a "sissy." People, you're calling your kids ... sissies. Think about it. Replace sissy with another possible derogatory term, such as "chump," and consider how it plays out. Grandma talking to her grandson at the park: "Ah, Aiden, don't you luuuuuuv your chump? Your chump is so good to you, isn't she?" Also, "sissy" is so baby talkish. Am I the only one who thinks this is strange and annoying?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Music Friday: "Longest Days"

I mentioned Mellencamp's Life, Death, Love, & Freedom album in my "Third Wave" post.

The tune below is the opening song of that album, and I've supplied the lyrics.

Welcome to ennui and reflection.

Longest Days
Seems like once upon a time ago
I was where I was supposed to be.
My vision was true, and my heart was too.
There was no end to what I could dream.
I walked like a hero into the setting sun.
Everyone called out my name.
Death to me was just a mystery.
I was too busy raising up Cain.

But nothing lasts forever.
Your best efforts don't always pay.
Sometimes you get sick
And don't get better.
That's when life is short
Even in its longest days.

So you pretend not to notice
That everything has changed,
The way that you look,
And the friends you once had.
So you keep on acting the same.
But deep down in your soul
You know you, you got no flame.
And who knows then which way to go.
Life is short even in its longest days.

All I got here
Is a rear view mirror,
Reflections of where I've been.
So you tell yourself I'll be back up on top some day,
But you know there's nothing waiting up there for you anyway.

Nothing lasts forever,
And your best efforts don't always pay.
Sometimes you get sick
And you don't get better.
That's when life is short
Even in its longest days.

Life is short
Even in its longest days.