Friday, August 31, 2012

Music Friday: "Postcard from 1952"

Today I'm featuring a band I've recently gotten into.

I'm late to the party since Explosions in the Sky put out its debut album in 2000. However, I enjoy the two albums I have from them: the first, How Strange, Innocence and the band's latest, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.

The band is described as a "post-rock" band. The definition of that genre is murky to me, but in general, the music uses instruments typically associated with rock, doesn't have lyrics, and reminds me of hybrid of chamber music and jazz. Or put another way, they're like The Bad Plus but with rock instruments.

I'm not a fan of the term post-rock, but whatever...

I guess I'm just "post-nothing."

So if you want to listen to seven minutes of instrumental music with an interesting video, mash the triangle on the screen below. You may or may not thank me later.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"50 Coolest Album Covers"

The has a post up about the top 50 album covers. Check it out.

From my perspective, there are some sound choices on the list, namely Van Halen's 1984, John Coltrane's Blue Train, Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, Rage Against the Machine's debut, and Nirvana's Nevermind.

I know Abbey Road is a classic album cover, and it's on the list, but what about Sgt. Pepper's? That seems like a monumental oversight.

If I were I were to offer other albums and more recent album covers that should be in this conversation, I'm nominating the ones below:

Amanda Shires, Carrying Lightning

American Gun, Therapy

Backyard Tire Fire, Bar Room Semantics

The Bad Plus, Give

Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill

Blind Melon

Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys

Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South

Faith No More, The Real Thing

Glossary, Long Live All of Us

Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Langhorne Slim & The Law, The Way We Move

Metallica, ...And Justice for All

Police, Ghost in the Machine

R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant

The Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me

Rollins Band, The End of Silence

Son Volt, Trace

Trampled by Turtles, Duluth

Wynton Marsalis, From the Plantation to the Penitentiary

Monday, August 27, 2012

Random Notes from a Crank

Having inside knowledge can create psychological burdens for whistle blowers. For instance, based on my observations from frequenting men's restrooms, there are just some people you do not want to shake hands with. Wash your hands, you filthy animals! 

I feel better now. 

Even raccoon kits wash their hands. See below: 

There was a good tweet today by LOLGOP: "BREAKING: Republicans to accidentally nominate the creator of Obamacare. Developing..."

I've linked this before, but the political season has got me thinking about Lewis Black's take on America's two political parties. See below again:

Good old Lewis Black.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Music Friday: "Take the Power Back," "Know Your Enemy," "Freedom," & "People of the Sun"

This morning I noticed a student wearing a black t-shirt sporting the cover for Rage Against the Machine's album Evil Empire, and that reminded me a status update from one of my FB friends a week or so ago that linked a short article by Tom Morello's about Paul Ryan reportedly liking Rage's music

I suspect Mr. Ryan has not been listening closely to Rage's lyrics. So here's a few songs that contrast Ryan's ideas and positions. 

"Take the Power Back" is a rhetorical hand grenade against Eurocentrism and Eurocentric curricula. 

Here's more of that with a revolutionary tinge in "Know Your Enemy." 

A stanza of note:
Come on. 
Yes, I know my enemies.
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me.
Yeah compromise, conformity, assimilation,
Submission, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite. 

Here's the video for "Freedom," which is self-explanatory.

And to close, here's "People of the Sun." 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simplifying the Issues

Since the election season approaches and because some readers who live in battleground states will have to suffer through a morbid glut of TV ads about this or that candidate, I thought I'd share some wisdom gleaned from the The Worst-Case Scenario Almanac: Politics

The whole book is an enjoyable read, but in Chapter 3, which is titled "The Media and the Message: Spin Cycle," there is a set of recommendations called "How to Simplify a Complicated Message." The principles seem like they've been sent from the grave of Lee Atwater

So if you live in one of those poor states that is considered a "toss-up" or "in play" or if you're simply masochistic, viewing the ads through these recommendations might be valuable. I'm going to quote from book at length because the authors, David Borgenicht and Turk Regan are spot on with how many of these political ads work. 

So here you go:

Principle 1: "Be Emotional." Simply put, "Effective and memorable political messages depend on inspiring emotional responses from voters that drive them to polls."

Principle 2: "Draw a picture." This is where the either-or fallacy is the Sophist's friend: "Reduce the issue or situation to a single image or pair of opposing images in which it is clear what is good and what is bad.... The direct connection between the images and the issue are less important than the positive or negative emotional reactions that they stir..." 

Principle 3: "Use an Analogy." If visuals don't work, they recommend "describ[ing] the situation or issue in terms of a familiar, folksy saying in which it is obvious what is preferable, in a way that even the least sophisticated of voters can understand and appreciate" For example, some supported Bush over Kerry because "We don't want to change horses midstream [during a war]." 

Principle 4: "Remove all doubt." In political ads, complexity is the enemy: "Remove all shading, nuance, or equivocation from your statements about the issue. State that any acknowledgment of complication surrounding the issue by your opponent is a sign of weakness and being 'soft' on the matter at hand." 

Principle 5: "Compare and Contrast." See how this connects to Principle 2: "Paint the issue as a conflict in the broadest possible terms, between right and wrong, or good and evil." 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Seinfeld's New Show: Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

Since I've been sharing comedy here lately, I thought I'd pass along Seinfeld's new show that I read about in Rolling Stone. He's only up to four episodes so far, but they're some good stuff. My favorite episode so far is the one with Brian Regan. 

Most episodes also have four outtakes that are worth viewing.

Here's the link:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Music Friday: "Raise Hell" & "Keep Your Heart Young"

I'm going to be succinct today. 

One of my favorite albums this year is Bear Creek by Brandi Carlile. And two of my favorite songs on the album are "Raise Hell" and "Keep Your Heart Young."

Both are below. 

Have a good weekend. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Who's On First?

As I was prepping our bedroom for painting a couple of weeks ago, I caught the back end of a special on MLB Network that had Bob Costas and Jerry Seinfeld examining the brilliance of Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First?" bit. 

Below you'll find the routine. The video's visual and audio components don't match up exactly, but I thought I'd share. It's one of my favorite skits. 

"What are you askin' me for?" 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Random Notes from a Crank

What you see above is the little project we finally got around to. After I painted our bedroom on Sunday morning, in the afternoon Mrs. Nasty went to Ace to get hardware for this project, and then I got to use my powerful drill. What you see is the back corner area of our house right where the back door is located. When we bought the house, It had lattice there, but a big wind came and blew that cheap crap down months ago. Because we had gotten new shutters earlier this summer, Mrs. Nasty had the smart idea of doing something different. We had contemplated buying some different lattice and installing it. Instead we reused the old shutters, she spray painted 'em, and then we finally installed them once the weather got cooler and after I had painted the trim this summer. The shutter configuration provides some privacy and color. Cheers to "repurposing" (as the home improvement shows say) and to Mrs. Nasty for her excellent idea.

For a couple of years now, the house across the street from us -- a three-bedroom, one and a half bath ranch --- has been where some college students (a couple) have lived because when the owner couldn't the sell the house for what he wanted (presumably). He rented it to his relatives (the college students) to apparently skirt around the zoning ordinance for our street being only single family dwellings. We got a little excited once the college kids, who were decent neighbors, graduated and the house went back on the market. The house sold pretty quickly because the owner priced it right (finally), and the new owners had scores of workers doing all kinds of work on the house. But we kept wondering when they were going to move in. Then last night the couple were over there, and the guy was pounding a post into the front yard. The sign on the post says, "For Rent. Call xxx-xxxx." @#$%. Here we go again. I wish they'd just try to sell the damn thing.

I'm looking forward to Ryan Bingham's new album, which will be released on his own label in September.

Jay Heinrichs has sound analysis of Ann Coulter's embrace of Paul Ryan on Figures of Speech Served Fresh.

We're no longer close to a Costco, but this article about the company explains some of the reasons why I'd still be a member if we lived in St. Louis.

One of the leading stories in college football this week was Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu getting kicked off the LSU for what appears to be substance abuse issues. One of my friends asked me what I thought of this, and here's what I wrote: "Mathieu will hurt LSU initially on special teams and run support, but their redshirt freshman and true freshman corners behind him on the depth chart are probably better in coverage than Mathieu (he is overrated as a CB as Kevin Norwood and others exposed in the National Championship game). Short term it'll hurt LSU, but they should be fine by the time they go to Auburn in late September. Their game vs. the U of Washington could be interesting, but they're playing them in Baton Rouge, so I wouldn't pick that as an upset unless their highly touted QB isn't as good as everyone says. They also got a QB who transferred from Penn State, but that's not a big steal as far as I saw when we played the Lions the last two years." That's me quoting me! Overall, LSU is still loaded. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Music Friday: "Big Rock Candy Mountain"

I featured a Springsteen song in a Music Friday post a while back that my daughter really likes. "American Land" is one of the bonus tracks on the Wrecking Ball album, which I have in my car right now. My daughter wants me to play the song all the time, which is fine because I like the song, and it's a political statement about immigration. 

Two stanzas from the lyrics stand out to me, especially since I recently looked at the idealistic rhetoric happening in state mottoes. Here are the lines I've latched onto:

Over there all the women wear silk and satin to their knees.
And children, dear, the sweets, I head, are growing on the trees. 
Gold comes rushing out the rivers straight into your hands
When you make your home in the American land.

There's diamonds in the sidewalk, the gutters lined in song.
Dear, I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long. 
There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man
Who'll make his home in the American land.

It's poetic hyperbole for a purpose, but it strikes me as reminiscent of the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain" made popular by the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. 

See the lyrics of that song below: 

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
By Harry McClintock

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fires were burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning,
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Besides the crystal fountains.
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The winds don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railway bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey too
You can paddle all around it
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin.
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in.
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.

I'll see you all this coming fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

So what am I getting at here, you might thinkin'. The song by Springsteen presents how the US was and, to a degree, still is presented as a land to opportunity, a place of unbounded wealth, a state of beneficent grace. 

As Springsteen tersely relates in two of the latter stanzas of his song, here's the upshot:

The McNicholas, the Posalskis, the Smiths, Zerillis too
The Blacks, the Irish, Italians, the Germans and the Jews
They come across the water a thousand miles from home
With nothing in their bellies but the fire down below.

They died building the railroads, they worked to bones and skin.
They died in the fields and factories, names scattered in the wind.
They died to get here a hundred years ago, they're still dying now
Their hands that built the country we're always trying to keep out. (italics mine)

Though not about America as a whole, McClintock's song, as far as I can tell, is depicting the  idealization of the West (see California's "Eureka") via a hobo's dream. 

In fact, Wallace Stegner reportedly got the title of his novel from the song. It's the same novel Wendell Berry uses as a launching point to discuss the "Boomer" and "Sticker" mindsets of American culture in one of his fine essays I read years ago, and it's one that has stuck with me. 

Berry also presented these competing mindsets in his Jefferson Lecture, which is one of the nation's highest prizes for "distinguished intellectual and public achievement in the humanities" awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The essay/lecture is titled "It All Turns on Affection." 

It is recommended reading. 

But getting back to the song for today, a song that hit #1 on the country music charts in 1939, I think it's my favorite on the O Brother soundtrack, and I suspect it was a big if not a singular influence on Springsteen's song even though the Boss wraps his composition in Irish-Gaelic musical stylings. 

As for me, I'm dreaming of lemonade springs, bluebirds singing, lakes full of Maker's Mark, and sleeping all day. 

I want to find that place. 

Oh, and here's the song.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stay Positive: Returning to Bryant-Denny

On, Richard Cirminiello has an article up about the "Hardest Stadiums To Win In." 

There are no huge surprises there if you follow college football, but the article got me all jacked up about our trip this November. 

The Nasty family is going to watch the Crimson Tide play Western Carolina on our way down to Florida to see the in-laws. 

Mrs. Nasty and I haven't been back to Tusaloosa since we left, which was 2002. As my better half said a few days because she's all giddy about going back, "It feels like I'm going home." We started our married life there. 

I'm excited to see what has stayed the same and what has changed. When we left, Bryant-Denny sat over 83K. Now it seats close to 102K. We'll be in the upper deck of the north end zone for the game. 

It'll be good to be back in TTown. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Riffing on State Mottoes

When we were at Target this Saturday, we looked through the $1 bins like we usually do. We picked up some educational materials for the kids, and one of the bargains we got my daughter is a set of United States flash cards.

As I was checking them out yesterday, I focused on the states' mottoes. I thought I'd share my thoughts about them.

Alabama: "We Dare Defend Our Rights." That's seems a little confrontational. How dare you, Alabamians! Wouldn't "We Defend Our Rights" be much cleaner and not so prickly sounding? I like the old Alabama state motto better, which was "Here We Rest." It's more relaxed and laid back.

Alaska: "North to the Future." This is typical of the Chamber of Commerce jingoism you'll see more of quickly. What future?

Arizona: "God Enriches." What happened to the separation of Church and State the Founding Fathers, many of whom were staunch Freemasons, favored? I don't like this. States can do better than religious-induced, sunshine-pumpin' aphorisms. You'll see more of this foolishness soon.

Arkansas: "The People Rule." That's a nice sentiment, but it sounds a lot like bullshit. Perhaps it should be updated to "Super PACs and corporations and special interest groups rule even before the Roberts Court deemed that money equals speech."

California: "Eureka," aka "I Have Found It." The translation fits with California's mythos. I kind of like it. It takes cojones to have a good one-word motto.

Colorado: "Nothing Without Providence." Here we go again. See Arizona.

Connecticut: "He Who Transplanted Still Sustains." I like it. The motto connects to the American boomer mentality but spins it for the positive. "Sustains" is a strong verb.

Delaware: "Liberty and Independence." Can state mottoes be called for plagiarism?

Florida: "In God We Trust." Wow, that's original. See Delaware, Colorado, and Arizona.

Georgia: "Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation." If anyone has studied the civil rights movement, they would see that this motto does not fit Georgia. The governor back in the 60s recommended that citizens use axe-handles on demonstrators. I like the motto's idealistic triad though. We should aspire for all of those.

Hawaii: "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated by Righteousness." I'm having some trouble parsing this one, but I love what seems to be a focus on environmental sustainability. It reminds me a number of poems by W.S. Merwin where he discusses defending Hawaii's sacred lands and trees.

Idaho: "It is Forever." What is "it"? I call Idaho on a hazy referent.

Illinois: "State Sovereignty, National Union." This sounds more like a motto for Jeffersonians than one for a state notorious for being politically and culturally bi-polar. It should be revised to "Chicago Political Oligarchy, State Disarray."

Indiana: "The Crossroads of America." That's horrible. It beats Alaska for Chamber of Commerce jingoism so far.

Iowa: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain." I'm biased of course (a native Iowan), but I really like this one. The dyad of liberties and rights works for me, and the use of first person plural is smart. The pronoun indicates that citizens are all in it together.

Kansas: "To the Stars Through Difficulties." I have little inkling on what that means. There's got to be a story there.

Kentucky: "United We Stand, Divide We Fall." See Delaware and Florida.

Louisiana: "Union, Justice, and Confidence." The first two are what you'd expect from a state motto, but then those Cajuns slip in "confidence" on you. I wonder why confidence? Did Louisiana have a inferiority complex at one time? Did Texas beat it up in the 19th century?

Maine: "I Direct." See Idaho. I suspect "I" represents some kind of ceremonial deism though. See Florida, Colorado, and Arizona.

Maryland: "Strong Deeds, Gentle Words." Maybe we can accuse Teddy Roosevelt of plagiarism of Maryland's motto. Maryland's motto is better than Teddy's famous phrase though. This is classic antithesis. Well done, Maryland.

Massachusetts: "By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Under Liberty." This makes sense for a colony and then a state known for its disputatious character and reputation.  It works well, I think.

Michigan: "If You See a Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around You." When I first read this one, I thought "What?!?" It smacks of Chamber of Commerce jingoism but is flat out goofy. I doubt there are Americans out there thinking, "I need to find a good peninsula," unless of course they're geographers.

Minnesota: "The Star of the North." The Minnesotans beat Alaska to this one. Because I have a bias for the Gopher State, I'm a fan of this motto.

Mississippi: "By Valor and Arms." As they are typically depicted, Southern gentlemen want to be remembered as valiant, so valor makes sense here. I can see a bunch of landed gentry thinking up this motto as they sipped hot toddies back at the hunting lodge.

Missouri: "The Welfare of the People Shall Be the Supreme Law." Oh, I really like this one. It's one of my favorite states too. "Shall" isn't used enough anymore, "welfare of the people" rings true for me, and "supreme law" is strong diction.

Montana: "Gold and Silver." Apparently in Montana, it's all about the Benjamins, which begs the question: Why aren't there any good hip-hop outfits coming out of the Treasure State? Regardless, now I know where Yukon Cornelius hails from. That drunk miner just got the motto mixed up.

Nebraska: "Equality Before the Law." This motto makes it sound like Nebraskans, who are good folk, are focused squarely on jurisprudence. I like the saying and sentiment, but it doesn't adequately reflect the Cornhusker State.

Nevada: "All for Our Country." No states rights foolishness for Nevadans.

New Hampshire: "Live Free or Die." This has to be the most famous state motto, and it deserves its fame even though the authors provide an either-or proposition. No nuance with this one, memorable, and a great Son Volt song.

New Jersey: "Liberty and Prosperity." Surely Jersey folks could have come up with something better than this. See Kentucky, Delaware, and Florida.

New Mexico: "It Grows as It Goes." This maxim espouses patience, which I would imagine is necessary when a state is mostly a desert. I wonder if this is where the maxim "It is what it is" came from.

New York: "Ever Upward." I think this would be a good slogan for boner-creating drugs like Cialis and Viagra: "Do you suffer from erectile dysfunction? Try the new drug ____, and it's ever upward!"

North Carolina: "To Be, Rather Than to Seem." I like what the Tar Heels have done here. In other words, don't act like something you're not. Be yourself. That's a good message, but I don't know how appropriate it is for a state motto.

North Dakota: "Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable." Oh, Good Lord! Why not shove "the pursuit of happiness" into the motto while you're at it? See New Jersey, Kentucky, Delaware, and Florida.

Ohio: "With God, All Things Are Possible." I hate this. All things are not possible. There are such things as science, biology, chemistry, and the laws of physics. See Florida, Colorado, and Arizona.

Oklahoma: "Labor Conquers All Things." Although at first read I really liked this one because I valorize (take that Mississippians) hard work, grit, discipline, and resilience, when you think about it, it's a lot like Ohio's. They just replaced God with Labor.

Oregon: "She Flies With Her Own Wings." We can presume "she" is the state of Oregon. But Oregon is the Beaver State. Beavers can't fly. They swim. They chew wood. I call you on your illogical motto, Oregon. Your move, female winged beaver.

Pennsylvania: "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence." The last two of the trio are standard fare as we've seen ad nauseum. But I like the inclusion of "virtue" at the top of the list. We don't worry about virtue as much as we should. We should be virtuous in civic behavior, but if you go by talk radio and the cable news channels, you're not going to find a lot of virtuous civil behavior on display. Of the lifted mottoes, this is one of the better ones.

Rhode Island: "Hope." Like I said about California, it takes balls to go with a one-word motto. But hope is such a squishy word that it leaves the reader with little to hang on to.

South Carolina: "Prepared in Mind and Resources" & "While I Breathe, I Hope." In typical South Carolinian fashion, the state has two mottoes. While I enjoy the phrase "prepared in mind," neither motto works for me. And how can one be prepared in resources? I guess a state can prepare its resources, but more generally, a state has resources that get depleted. Or in the case of some aquifers, they get replenished.

South Dakota: "Under God, the People Rule." Here we go once again. See Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona.

Tennessee: "Agriculture and Commerce." We have a contender with Indiana for the worst state motto.

Texas: "Friendship." Everything isn't bigger in Texas. This brash state provides a two-syllable motto that means something and nothing. See Rhode Island.

Utah: "Industry." I'm beginning to think writers of these these commercial mottoes should have tried haikus instead. At least I like haikus.

Vermont: "Freedom and Unity." Vermonters take two concepts that could be seen as opposites and conjoin them. How paradoxical of you Green Mountain State. Me like.

Virginia: "Thus Always to Tyrants." Now that is a memorable and historic saying. I would imagine many Virginians nowadays don't like being connected to John Wilkes Booth. But George Mason recommended the phrase reportedly uttered by Brutus.

Washington: "By and By." If I had all of the mottoes by themselves and had to connect them to certain states blindly, I would guess this motto was connected with Hawaii. The Evergreen State surprises with this one. I'm not sure how to take it, but I think it'd be a great name for a bar: "I'm going to the By and By."

West Virginia: "Mountaineers Are Always Free." This is a nice anthem to provide positive imagery for a state that, unfortunately, could use some good news.

Wisconsin: "Forward." Of all the one-word mottoes, I'm supporting Wisconsin's. It defeats California in that competition.

Wyoming: "Equal Rights." When I think of Wyoming, I don't think of equal rights. However, it also has the moniker of the Equality State. I was intrigued how this came to be, and apparently Wyoming women were the first women to be able to vote, hold public offices, and serve on juries. Way to go!.

So if there were a state motto smackdown, here are the ranked contenders if I'm serving as a one-person selection committee. You've already seen their flags:
  1. Iowa: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain."
  2. New Hampshire: "Live Free or Die."
  3. Missouri: "The Welfare of the People Shall Be the Supreme Law."
  4. Virginia: "Thus Always to Tyrants."
  5. Vermont: "Freedom and Unity."
  6. Hawaii: "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated by Righteousness."
  7. Wisconsin: "Forward."
  8. Connecticut: "He Who Transplanted Still Sustains." 
  9. Maryland: "Strong Deeds, Gentle Words."
  10. North Carolina: "To Be, Rather Than to Seem."
I''ve made a poll where you can vote for your favorite among those ten candidates. Please vote. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Roasted Turnips

As I mentioned the other day, we went to St. Louis this weekend. On Saturday we stopped by to see two of our friends, a couple I originally met through my parents. We used to golf together when I lived in Waterloo.

We talked for a good while and caught up with them. The male portion of the couple has been a loyal reader  of Planned Ob for a good while and made a comment about my Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent posts. He good-naturedly observed that he wonders about some of the recipes because some of them can be a bit outlandish, and a number, to him at least, didn't sound all that good.

So this one's for you, Ed. Here's a recipe I probably won't repeat again. Thankfully, I roasted some store-bought carrots with the last of the red potatoes from my garden in a separate sheet pan. And they were excellent.

From what I can recall, I've never had turnips before. I've had lots of turnip greens. I love that stuff. I heart greens.

But as for turnips, never had 'em. I read an article in one of my magazines about roasting vegetables, so I got the idea to try turnips. Hell, they're cheap -- 79 cents a pound at my local supermarket. Sunday I went to the store and picked up four turnips. Tonight I roasted 'em.

If you've never had turnips, here's how I would describe them. They're like a cross between a potato and eggplant once you roast them. They're not spongy like an eggplant, but they're not as firm as potato. And their taste is like a cross between those two, with a little cabbage taste thrown in.

I wouldn't mind trying turnips again, but I'd probably mix them in (sparingly) with potatoes and carrots for a medley of underground veggies.

So here's the recipe for what's its worth.

4 turnips, rough diced, or as they really are, rectangled
half of a red onion, chopped roughly
2 shallots, cut into big chunks
Olive oil to lightly coat the veggies
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons margarine
Healthy smidge of thyme

Cut up the turnips and dump them into a big bowl. Throw in the onion and shallots and coat everything with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast them on a sheet pan in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Take a spatula and flip them around. Roast for approximately 20 more minutes. Toss with butter and thyme.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Music Friday: "Wildflowers," "Don't Come Around Here No More," & "Running Down a Dream"

I've been listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers a lot this week. It started with the Greatest Hits album in the car and then moved to taking in Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, and Damn the Torpedoes.

In a contemporary music scene full of vapid pop/dance music and with the growth of beard and/or hat wearin', always seeming to be harmonizin', stand-up drum thumpin', granola-chewin', overly emotive lyric employin' folk/rock/Americana music, how 'bout some good old rock-n-roll?

In a Facebook moment though --posts with pictures of cats and/or kids-- the first two songs remind me of my kids.

The first, "Wildflowers," makes me think of my daughter because she would look beautiful in a field of wildflowers although I'm not crazy about the line "Run away, find you a lover" because she already has a crush on a boy in her dance troupe. It was pretty obvious even before Mrs. Nasty told me about it. She's only eight, damn it.

The next song connects to my five-year old son, who when he heard this song in the car yesterday, exclaimed, "That's the song from We Bought a Zoo!" We've watched that movie three times this week, which isn't too large of a burden because the film has Scarlet Johansson in it.

And here's the classic "Running Down a Dream," which is a great driving song. Speaking of driving, we're headed to St. Louis this Saturday. We're staying the night, so if any of St. Louis-based readers want to do something, give me a call. I know we're taking the kids to the Zoo Saturday, and Mrs. Nasty and I hanker for Greek food.