Friday, May 29, 2015

Music Friday: "Firewood"

So how about a song of melancholy? 

It fits my mood. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Asian Kale Salad

Our mortgage guy sends us recipes from time to time. They come on postcards from his company. 

The most recent one is an Asian Kale Salad I just made. I have a ton of kale in my garden, so I figured I'd try it. 

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves then chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup of diced red onion or three green onion, sliced
1/4 cup of bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of sliced almonds

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of honey
Smidge of red chile flakes

Combine the ingredients and toss. Whisk the dressing together and pour over the kale mixture. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes but toss often so it slightly wilts. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

One method the Cubs' owners might get around having trouble with the ridiculous rooftop owners is purchasing the rooftop businesses

While I'm still skeptical the Cubs will make the playoffs, they sure are more interesting to watch this season. The past few seasons were brutal. They weren't fun to watch. 

I'm currently in the midst of reading Bill Pennington's Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius. When Martin was manager of the Twins, he pulled off a triple steal. I wonder if Joe Maddon has ever thought about doing that. 

The past few years I've gotten into a routine of reading a trio of biographies during late spring/early summer, and the Billy Martin book is the last of the trio. Madison's Gift and a biography of Thomas Hart Benton preceded the Martin biography. 

Here's Benton's controversial Persephone. I viewed this painting when I visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum when I lived in Kansas City. 

If you're a fan of wolves like me, you'll enjoy this video about the wolves in Yellowstone and how their introduction to the park helped improve forests, increased the songbird population, attracted beavers, helped the rivers, and in general improved biodiversity.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Music Friday: "Why I Sing the Blues"

In honor of the passing of B.B. King, today I'm featuring my favorite song of his. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

If recent hiring practices in MLB are any indication, in the distant future maybe I can become a major league baseball manager. Good luck Marlins

This week I planted a number of plants that repel mosquitoes. On the back patio I have a little garden that has rosemary, lemon thyme, mint, and basil. Then in a couple of medium-size pots, I have some lavender. In the big pot right now I only have rosemary, but I'm waiting for when the citronella plants hit the stores. The bonus of the little garden spot is that I can use those herbs in dishes. Might have to try my hand making a mint julep. 

Tonight when I was driving IL backroads I got nostalgic about the old foot clicker that cars used to have for turning on and off the brights. I'd pay extra for that feature on a new car. 

Minor league baseball put on a "Clash of the Caps." The El Paso Chihuahuas won, but I'm partial to the Montgomery Biscuits, Orem Owlz, Chattanooga Lookouts, Hillsboro Hops, and Lansing Lugnuts. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Music Friday: "My Hometown"

On the way up to Waterloo, my hometown, one of the CDs I listened to was Dead Man's Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A. 

The band that covers "My Hometown" is none other than the great band North Mississippi All Stars.

But let's leave it to The Boss for this Music Friday. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

Though it's a bit bombastic, the article "Independent Study Finds That Every Republican Prediction About Obamacare Was Wrong" is an interesting read if you like facts trumping fear mongering. 

So this bit of satire, "Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans," seems appropriate.

The Pew Research Center study says that in the US, the number of Christians has gone down 8% since 2007, and atheists and agnostics have gone from 25% to 31%. Huzzah for freedom from religion. 

In general, I'm a fan of Anthony Bourdain. If you're so inclined, check out "23 Brilliant Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain." I'm partial to numbers 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 22. 

I would imagine many folks are fans of the eephus pitch. If you are one of those people, check out Alfredo Simon throwing two eephus pitches to Torii Hunter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stay Positive: Pope Francis on the Environment

I'm not a Catholic. I'm an agnostic who believes in disorganized spirituality. 

But I'm looking forward to the Pope's encyclical letter on the environment due to come out sometime this year. And one of his Cardinals has already taken on, sort of, the climate-change deniers

I doubt I've ever written this before, but kudos to the Vatican. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Music Friday: "Let the Good Times Roll"

A new album I got this week was JD McPherson's Let the Good Times Roll

This dude is obviously influenced by 50s-style rock and roll and traditional rhythm and blues. 

It's a fun album, and here's the title track. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

When Mrs. Nasty and I were in Cancun, we ventured out of the hotel premises and checked out the Mayan ruins of Tulum. When compared to Chichen Itza, one of the largest Mayan sites in the middle of the jungle, Tulum is a much smaller site, but it certainly was interesting. After our tour, we ventured back to the shopping and eating area outside the site, and in that area, there's a Quiznos, a Subway, and a Starbucks. If you know anything about Tulum, it's the ruins of a city during the last gasps of the Mayan civilization after they had used up the environment around them and finally crafted a smaller city by the coast. For all the deep thinkers out there, you can ponder about mass-market chains being close to the last vestiges of a dead civilization and what that all means. 

Mrs. Nasty and I were also talking about how we need to go on some family vacations starting next summer. With my daughter's annual dance competition, we go to some manner of resort during the summer, but we want to start seeing some sites. Here are some early ideas for future summer travels:
  • Washington D.C./Virginia area (Mount Vernon, Monticello, Revolutionary War and Civil War sites
  • Great Smoky Mountains
  • Lake of the Ozarks
  • Redwood National and State Parks
  • Seattle
  • Kansas City 

My son's baseball practices started yesterday. I'm working as an assistant coach again. Once again I'm living vicariously through my kids. 

My poor Cubs have lost two games in a row to the damn Cardinals. I hate the Cardinals.

I've thought of supporting a St. Louis ball club though because I've contemplated purchasing a St. Louis Browns hat. "First in Shoes. First in Booze. And Last in the American League." 

That cap would complement my Baltimore Orioles hat I have because that's what the St. Louis Browns became. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Music Friday: "Mexico"

Man, I've eaten a lot of seafood this week. 

Because Mrs. Nasty won a sales competition with her company, this week we've been luxuriating in Cancun on her company's dime. Yesterday we got to explore Tulum. We're doing some snorkeling on Saturday, and we'll come back on Sunday night. We've been here since Tuesday afternoon. 

It's one of those all-inclusive resorts. You go to dinner, and you don't have to pay anything. The cocktails are free and all that. 

Anyway, because it seems appropriate, here's that famous James Taylor song.