Friday, April 25, 2014

Random Notes from a Crank

Last night the good fellows on MLB Tonight went over the stupidity of hitters not taking advantage of the extreme shifting that defenses are doing in baseball. Defenses are basically giving hitters probable base hits and doubles just shifting infielders to one side of the diamond. It's bizarre that more hitters are not taking advantage of the shifting. I'm sure hitters could work on hitting the other way in batting practice. It's just so silly that very few hitters aren't adjusting. It's just intellectual lollygagging, which reminds me of a classic scene from Bull Durham. I shared it a couple of years ago, but here it is again.  

Lately I've been thinking of getting a vasectomy. Mrs. Nasty and I don't plan to have any more kids, and from what I'm told, it's not a big deal as surgeries go. The doctor does it right in the office. But I wonder, after a person has the procedure, what happens down there after one orgasms? I mean, does no jizz come out at all? When an orgasm happens, is there just a pathetic whoosh of air? Sort of like the penis saying, "meh." If it is a faint whoosh of air, is that the real sound of one hand clapping? I bet it is. These are things I think about. 

Well, I did some research after writing that paragraph above, research meaning that I searched the InterWebs. The answer is yes, baby-gravy  ball juice  courting-cream  cum  Cupid's toothpaste  Cyclop's tears  ejaculant  gonad-glue  happy-juice  jism  love butter  man-juice  minkus  people-paste  sledge  soul-sauce  spence  spooge  spudwater  spunk  semen still happens, but, as one site describes it, men after vasectomies are "all juice and no seeds." 

This report by Climate Progress about the drought in California is troubling. This article from Triple Pundit about the recent IPCC Report is disturbing. 

There's debate about whether there is a black dog bias, but this article (with photos) about Fred Levy's Black Dog Project is interesting. 

I enjoyed Lodro Rinzler's The Buddha Walks into a Bar…, and he also writes for The Huffington Post. His recent article tackles how mindfulness is not a trend. 

Music Friday: "Welcome to the Jungle"

Early this week I received good news about a major writing project. Yesterday I received annoying news about a different writing project. 

As much as the good news is really good and that writing project is much bigger than the other one, the annoying news has given me a grumpy attitude.

So I look to music, as usual, for help.

In commemoration of my fraternity's chapter's annual founding-day celebration this weekend, I offer "Welcome to the Jungle" because the song is fun and it makes me happy.

Why you might ask? 

None of your business. Just enjoy some classic GnR.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Music Friday: "Matamoros"

Back when I was seriously into "alternative" music (the 80s and 90s), I'm sure someone told me about The Afghan Wigs at a party or something. Maybe it was a stoned Phi Sig at a mixer, or maybe it was some young lady I hooked up with. I don't remember. Regardless, I'm sure the band garnered its share of critical acclaim in the 90s, but it was never a band I got into, and I don't really know why. Based on some perfunctory research, it looks like they broke up in the early aughts.

Now it's 2014, and the band has a new album, Do To The Beast.  

I got the album recently, and it's a good one. Below is second tune on the album.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stay Positive: I Never Heard a Story I Didn't Like

If you're looking for an excellent read, I highly recommend Todd Snider's I Never Met a Story I Didn't Like: Mostly True Tall Tales

The folk singer is known for his concerts where he tells insightful, entertaining stories in between songs. From what I can gather, many of the chapters are versions of his stories, his creative non-fiction, that he recounts before he plays certain tunes. He's a witty dude. 

Some of my favorite chapters are the where he talks about his friend Moondawg (of the song "Moondawg's Tavern"), his encounter with Slash of Gun-n-Roses in a hotel bar, the chapter about his friend Skip (who inspired "Play a Train Song"), and the chapter about Kris Kristofferson.

Snider's a raconteur. And the book has all kinds of playful moments where he calls attention to the fact that he's writing a book and that sometimes the stories he says onstage are not exactly what happened.  

To give you a taste of his wit and wisdom, here are some selected passages from the book:
  • There's always a loophole. All you have to do is stare at the loop long enough and you'll find the hole.
  • There they were, the football team. And I don't mean to disparage any of the other kids. I'm just saying that it could be argued that they looked like a bunch of dirty sheep standing around in a field, waiting to push a grown, screaming man on a padded sled. 
  • He [Skip] said, "Never go straight, always go forward." He said, "Don't apologize, I don't care enough." And when he answered the phone, he said, "I'll play your silly little game." 
  • …when it comes to slogans and fashions and bands, I like to be what I call "post-hip, pre-retro." That sweet spot, right when something isn't cool anymore and before it becomes cool in an ironic way. The cutting edge of uncool.
  • Contentment, not rejection, is the enemy.
  • …if someone asks you what a song is about and you don't have an answer, you might be in possession of a song that's not really about anything. 
  • You may occasionally have gotten the ideas from these pages that I am a little hard on sports. But baseball's not a sport. It's an art. I will not argue this point. If you try to argue with me, I will reply with a fart. 
  • Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. Set a man on fire, he'll be warm of the rest of his life. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Music Friday: "21st of May" & "The Lighthouse's Tale"

Nickel Creek got back to together to make a new album, A Dotted Line

It's good. I'm more of a Punch Brothers listener, but the album is solid work. 

Today I feature one song from the new album. On YouTube the band describes the song this way: "Sean wrote this song on May 20th, 2011, the day before the supposed rapture as predicted and advertised by Bay Area pastor Harold Camping (whose point of view he sings it from). It was a close call but we made it."

I'm glad we dodged the rapture, folks.


Here's an old tune, "The Lighthouse's Tale," from the band's self-titiled album circa 2000.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stay Positive: Decent Stand-Up

I'm not a huge fan of Louis C.K., but I liked his opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live. Usually the opening monologues of SNL aren't that good, but this one is. 

For me, here are the highlights:
  • I don't have real hunger. I have first-world hunger.
  • I do think men are worse than women. 
  • 21 and you're a lock for heaven already? 
  • "I don't know who's telling people that."
  • That's a weird thing that you think you can know.
  • Where's our mother? What happened to our mom? What did he do to our mom?
  • God's a single dad. 
  • This is our weekend with dad. 
  • And for some reason this is offensive to nobody?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Random Notes from a Crank

For major writing projects in my courses, I provide the criteria I use when I evaluate their work. For larger projects, I sometimes create what I call "alternate criteria" just for kicks. I thought I'd share the alt criteria for a recent project:

A Successful Teaching Portfolio (Alt Criteria)
  • Provides quality writing
  •  Lights a candle of pedagogical knowledge
  •  Instills pistis in the reader
  •  Has rhetorical kung fu
  •  Puts the critical in critical thinking
  •  Is enjoyable to read
  •  Exemplifies phronesis—practical wisdom
  • Assures the reader that you know what you’re doing
  •  Makes the mind step lively
  •  Seduces the reader with smart ideas, policies, assignments, and lesson plans
  •  Shows that the Teaching Force is strong in you
  •  Offers prose free of hokum, claptrap, “Engfish,” gobbledygook, administrative-speak, and logical boondoggles
  •  Is a hooey-free zone
  •  Seeks vengeance on anyone who ever doubted your ability as an instructor
  • Creates the sound of one hand clapping 

That's me quoting my professional self, something I rarely do on this blog. Don't get used to it. Those hyperlinks above might take you to some places though. 

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, I wonder if anyone has approached Cheech and Chong about doing a movie? 

Regardless, I'm curious about how much tax revenue those states will generate from pot sales this year. 

Typical of HBO's adaptation of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, this season's first episode of Game of Thrones sexxed up the storyline. If I remember right from A Storm of Swords, when Tyrion and Oberyn Martell meet for the first time, they do so on the road to King's Landing. Instead, HBO has Tyrion Lannister going to a whorehouse to meet the Red Viper, and the first scene that introduces Oberyn and Ellaria Sand plays with the backstory that they're both bisexual. Classic move, HBO. 

And if you're a fan of the series, here's "Death Never in Games of Thrones Never Looked So Beautiful" from Mashable. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Music Friday: "I Stay Away" & "No Excuses"

Last night before class some students were talking about music. They mainly were talking about Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan's poetry, but one person's comment made feel so damn old. 

I don't recall it exactly, but the gentleman said something to the effect of "I like listening to 90s music." 

As I said, the comment and the exploratory tone in his voice, as if he was going back into the archives, made me feel like a geezer. But when I think about it, I probably made similar comments about music from the 60s when I was his age. 

In tribute to excellent 90s music, I give you two songs from Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains, which I'm listening to as I write this post. It's one of the best EPs ever.