Friday, January 25, 2013

Music Friday: "One Night Only," "Backatown," "Hurricane Season," & "Where Y'At?"

I've been under the weather lately. It's been about a week of dealing with a cold. I'm tired of it. 

So I'm providing some tunes by Trombone Shorty in a futile attempt to get me out of my funk. 

Or maybe to get my funk on...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm not a huge fan of mixed drinks or cocktails, but one of the simplest and best out there is an Old Fashioned made with a good bourbon like Maker's Mark, Old Grand Dad, Wild Turkey, et al. 

It's unfortunate that boxing isn't as big as it used to be or that there aren't any boxers that have the drawing power like they did. I have fond memories of watching boxing on TV with my Dad. 

As I've written about before, this is a dead season of sports for me. I can't get into college basketball anymore. I usually only watch Crimson Tide basketball games and want them to do well and I like Anthony Grant as a coach, but I don't know about their chances of getting into the tournament.   

Check this out: Mindfulness & Marines

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Andouille Noodle Soup

For this soup, I made the stock much similar to the stock I made for my Turkey Kale Soup except I used a chicken carcass and parts.  

So here's what goes down after the stock is strained. 

2 stalks of celery, chopped finely
one half of a medium yellow onion, chopped finely
2 carrots peeled and chopped finely
1 package of frozen noodles
1 length of andouille sausage, cut lengthwise and cut into thin half-moons
Healthy smidge of Penzey's Old World Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Even though the mediocre andouille sausage I had was "pre-cooked," I cut it up and grilled to get a bit of char on it and leech out some of the fat. I put the sausage on plate with a paper towel to mop up the grease and then dumped it into the stock along with noodles, celery, onion, and carrots. 

You bring it all to a boil and then simmer for thirty minutes. Add the seasoning about fifteen minutes in and then check for taste about twenty minutes in. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Random Notes from a Crank

There's so much to talk about regarding the media dumpster fire around Manti Te'o that broke after the Deadspin article on Wednesday. However, one of the funnier takes on this whole duping of the media about a fake dead girlfriend is "How to Tell If Your Friend's Girlfriend is Not Real: A Lesson from the Manti Te'o Fiasco." 

Here's my take though, and this apparently shows my age: Way back when in the good old days, I had girlfriends who I actually met, talked with face-to-face, went on dates with, and had physical contact with (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). It's a concept. That's good old fashioned old technology for dating. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Music Friday: "Picking Up the Signal," "Six String Belief," "Loose String," & "Down to the Wire"

As you might have guessed, now I'm all excited about the new Son Volt album. 

You should have seen this coming: a quartet of Son Volt tunes along with the lyrics of "Down to the Wire." 


Down to the Wire

Wake up to the Biddle Street blues,
can't shake the news.
All the way to the big dome
they're trying.

The intrigues of the new royalty
and the believers
In the afterlife
share the same gamblers pages.

Cobblestone streets saw three sovereign flags
as they raised their glasses to conquest and nation.
Still pawns playing out the legacy
of long dead industry titans and haters of men.

Feeling down to the wire
Feeling down to the wire

Plastic grocery bags fly from trees,
proud symbols of a cavalier progress.
Memories and landscapes in triage,
disappearing averages, permanent changes.

No jury will have a final say.
Everyone knows the jury is guilty.
Faced with no plan at all,
just to trick a smile out of the moment.

Feeling down to the wire
Feeling down to the wire

Feeling down to the wire
Feeling down to the wire

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Honky Tonk

So, this is all pretty exciting is you're a Son Volt/Jay Farrar fan. The new album Honky Tonk comes out March 5.

And Jay Farrar wrote a memoir? Huh.

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm tired of Iron Chef America still trotting out their tired-ass fake chairman. Just turn over those duties to Alton Brown, Food Network. I watched Sunday's episode, which was "Battle Scotch," and the "chairman" is just dead weight on the show, a silly ruse that never should have been enacted. With that episode in mind though, I can't imagine trying to make food with Scotch. Tough draw.

I got the video below from one of FB friends, but it's clear this instructor has a strict policy about texting in his class.

The big question that is asked, however, is this one: "What do human beings possess in their natural state?"

Hank Hill has the right attitude about the New Year. 

As usual, Mark Schlabach of ESPN had up his Way Too Early Top 25 days ago. But I highly doubt Alabama will end up numero uno at the end of next season like most prognosticators ape. With Ohio State's weak schedule, I see them making it to the BCS Championship Game where they will meet either Stanford or someone a little further off the top five pre-season radar like Florida State (who benefits from playing in the ACC) or Texas. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Music Friday: "All the Time in the World," "Moving," & "Satan & St. Paul"

I wrote about John Fullbright's fine album a short while ago in a Random Notes... post, so today I offer a trio of songs from the release. 

Good people, it's mighty fine stuff. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Hangover: BCS National Championship -- Notre Dame

Last night was some nice redemption for 1966 and 1973.

With the copious amount of hype and analysis that preceded this game, I was happy for the game to finally get here. Most sports pundits opined that the key matchup was the Crimson Tide offensive line versus Notre Dame's front seven. 

Both Lacy and Yeldon had over a hundred yards of rushing in the game. And McCarron didn't get sacked. 
Game over. 

After Yeldon scored at the start of the second quarter, it seemed as though the spirit of the Fighting Irish had been broken. 

Of the three national championship teams ('09, '11, and '12), I think this team was probably the least purely talented team on the defensive side of the ball. However, they played strong team defense supported by a rock solid offense. Like the commentators who announced the game, I was also surprised by Golson throwing on Dee Milliner, who could be the first corner taken in the NFL Draft. Then again, a good portion of the time, he was covering the Irish's ultra-talented tight end. 

Now people who follow the Tide will turn their attention toward which Alabama juniors will enter the NFL Draft. I'm pretty sure Milliner will and probably monstrous right tackle DJ Fluker and running back Eddie Lacy. 

As for next season, it's safe to assume the Crimson Tide will ranked in the pre-season top five. However, they only will return two starters on the offensive line because Jones, Warmack, and Fluker (likely) will depart. So, they'll need to replace the center, left guard, and right tackle positions. That's a lot of talent to replace. 

We also lose quite a bit of talent on the DLine: nose nose tackle Jesse @ThaMonstar Williams, defensive linemen Damion Square, and defensive lineman Quinton Dial. In the linebacking corps, Nico Johnson is a senior. In the defensive backfield, Lester is a senior, and I've already noted Milliner. 

2013 will present a very young Crimson Tide team except at quarterback, linebackers, and wide receivers. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Turkey Stock Kale Soup

I made an excellent soup yesterday.

1 carcass of a whole turkey with legs and wings and other leftover bits from a formal turkey dinner (our Xmas turkey)
2 yellow onions, cut roughly with skin on
3 carrots, cut roughly and unpeeled
1 stalk of celery, cut roughly
4 bay leaves
12 (I'm approximating here) black peppercorns
3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut thinly
1 small red onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, cut thinly
1 medium bunch of kale, stems trimmed out, and cut into medium-size pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

First, I made turkey stock. I took the turkey parts, covered them in water, set them to a boil, and simmered them for roughly 45 minutes. I skimmed off nastiness along the way.

Then I added the rough-cut onions, carrots, and celery along with peppercorns and bay leaves. I simmered that stuff for three and a half hours till it reduced by about a half. I strained the stock into a different pot, cleaned the old pot, and transferred the stock into that pot.

Chop the carrots, red onion, celery, and kale. Dump all that into the stock and simmer for roughly an hour, just to make sure the carrots are soft enough and the kale has leeched its goodness into the liquid. Salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stay Positive: Rereading Candide

It's kind of rich that I'm writing about rereading Voltaire's Candide in a "Stay Positive" post because the title of the satire is Candide or Optimism

Nonetheless, I read it again. The first time I read it I was probably 19 years old. We read it in my World Lit II survey course with Professor Nancy Lovelace when I was a sophomore in college -- Fall 1990.

I enjoyed rereading it, but I recall the first read having a greater impact on me. It's one of those works of literature I think most teenagers should read. 

I could say the same about Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilych," which we also read in that course. 

What I've listed below are my favorite nuggets from Candide, some of which will probably reveal why I think young people should read it:

  • Candide, stunned, stupefied, despairing, bleeding, trembling, said to himself--If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others like? (Chapter 6)
  • Los Padres own everything in it [Paraguay], and the people nothing; it's a masterpiece of reason and justice. (Chapter 13)
  • What's optimism? said Cacambo. --Alas, said Candide, it is a mania for saying things are well when one is in hell. (Chapter 19)
  • ... in all of them [provinces of France] the principle occupation is lovemaking, the second is slander, and the third stupid talk. (Chapter 21)
  • I don't believe any of that stuff [religion], said Martin, nor any of the dreams which people have been peddling for some time now. --But why, then, was the world formed at all? asked Candide. --To drive us mad, answered Martin. (Chapter 21)
  • Perhaps I should prefer the opera, if they had not found ways to make it revolting and monstrous. Anyone who likes bad tragedies set to music is welcome to them; in these performances the scenes serve only to introduce, inappropriately, two or three ridiculous songs designed to show off the actress's sound box. (Chapter 25)
  • Fools admire everything in a well-known author. (Chapter 25)
  • --Well, my dear Pangloss, Candide said to him, now that you have been hanged, dissected, beaten to a pulp, and sentenced to the galleys, do you still think everything is for the best in this world? --I am still of my first opinion, replied Pangloss; for after all I am a philosopher... (Chapter 28)
  • I have only twenty acres, replied the Turk; I cultivate them with my children, and the work keeps us from three great evils, boredom, vice, and poverty. (Chapter 30)
  • --That is very well put, said Candide, but we must cultivate our garden. (Chapter 30)

Music Friday: "Electric" & "Smith Hill"

I just got back from taking the dog for a walk, laid down on the couch, started reading my book, and then realized I hadn't done my Music Friday post yet today. 

I'm getting all scatterbrained. 

When I was walking Darby, I listened to Deer Tick's Divine Providence, which is a good album. It's not my favorite Deer Dick disc, but I like it. 

So here's to Deer Tick. I offer "Electric," the next to last song on Divine Providence, along with "Smith Hill" from Born on Flag Day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Clowney Hit

I missed this hit in real time because the kids and I went sledding, but here's a video of Clowney's hit on the Michigan running back in the Outback Bowl today.

Watch below. He forces a fumble and recovers it. 

Jadeveon Clowney is one of the biggest recruits I wish Alabama would have signed out of high school. It was between the Tide and the Gamecocks, and Mr. Clowney chose his home state school over Alabama. 

Random Notes from a Crank

The kids and I have gone sledding for two days in a row. That doesn't happen very often around these parts. 

A while ago we got a catalog from Mental Floss. They produce a magazine along with witty t-shirts. Even though I won't buy any because I think $24.99 is too expensive for a stinkin' t-shirt, I like a lot of them. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Hokey Pokey Anonymous: A place to turn yourself around
  • Hyperbole is the BEST thing ever!
  • I avoid cliches like the plague
  • Homonyms are a reel waist of thyme
  • I'm no rocket surgeon
  • Gravity it's time to get down
  • Kinetic Energy pass it on
  • Spork the other white utensil
  • Lady Macbeth Hand Soap
If I'm going to buy an expensive t-shirt, I'd get something from RetroPresident, a website that is not functioning properly, unfortunately. I'd get the shirt that features Teddy Roosevelt running for President as a member of the Progressive, aka Bull Moose, Party