Friday, October 30, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

Since tomorrow is Halloween, I thought I'd share some topical cartoons. 

This comic explains why he never showed up. 

This appears to be a fair assessment of the clowns in the GOP primary. 

I'm really enjoying the second seasons of Fargo and Manhattan. The latter TV series inspired me to purchase The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. It's a monstrous book, but it's supposed to be one of the best books about that topic. 

My friend recommended The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. I'm reading that one before the Atomic Bomb book. 

Chris Cornell: "Murderer of Blue Skies" & "Before We Disappear"

Higher Truth, the new album by Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, came out a little while back. 

Much like his other solo albums, the tunes are more soft spoken and refective in contrast to the wonderful barbaric yawps he belts out on Soundgarden songs. 

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Tennessee

If you're not familiar with the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry, you might be wondering, "Why is Derrick Henry smoking a cigar beside Coach Saban?" 

The tradition is that if the Tide wins against Tennessee, one of its most storied rivals, the team smokes cigars after the game. 

Even though the Vols don't have a great record this year, they played with fire on Saturday. Alabama, on the other hand, looked tired. The upcoming bye week is coming at the right time or could have come sooner. And Tennessee, like Georgia and Texas A&M, had a bye week before they played the Crimson Tide. 

Tennessee played a good game, especially at getting pressure on QB Jacob Coker. 

When Tennessee went up in the fourth quarter after a quick-as-hell scoring drive, I had grave concerns.  

With 5:43 left in the game and starting on their own 29, the Tide then marched down the field to score. Key were two long passes on third downs to Stewart and Ridley. They finally got the run game going consistently, and Henry punched it in for a touchdown with 2:24 left on the scoreboard. 

Besides an interception Humphrey should have had early on during Tennessee's attempt at a drive, the Tide D played superbly. On one sack, Jonathan Allen got past the center and bull rushed a guard to slam into Dobbs. The very next play resulted in another sack by Ryan Anderson. But Dobbs lost the ball, and big A'Shawn Robinson nabbed the ball in mid-air with his left hand and rumbled his way to Tennessee's 4-yard line. 

Game over. 

Henry had a rough first half but did much better in the second half. He had 143 net total yards with two touchdowns. 

Statistically, Coker had a fine game: 21 pass completions on 27 attempts for 247 yards. However, I'm still concerned he's staring at certain receivers and not looking off the secondary. 

Both Eddie Jackson and Ronnie Harrison, the number one and two safeties on the depth chart, got banged up in the game, but Jackson was back out there in the second half. The week off will do them some good. 

I'm still concerned about the offense. 

Kenyan Drake has not be the multidimensional weapon like he was in the first half of last season before he got hurt. I hope he busts loose versus LSU in two weeks.

The blocking must get better, especially when passing the ball. 

Here's to some good rest and recovery. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Music Friday: "Getting Ready to Get Down" & "Where the Night Goes"

Josh Ritter's new album, Sermon on the Rocks, came out recently, and I've been listening to it often this week. 

Check out these two tunes. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Texas A&M


Texas A&M only scored a touchdown the traditional way after Cyrus Jones fumbled a punt in Alabama territory. The other score was a punt return. The rest were field goals. 

The Tide offense only scored 20 points in the game. The defense actually outscored the offense with three pick-6s: two by Minkah Fitzpatrick and a massive 93-yard pick-6 by Eddie Jackson. 

On the offensive side of the ball, when the Tide had it, my frequent refrain during the game was, "Just run the ball."  

And they did. Derrick Henry amassed a career-high 236 net yards and two touchdowns. 

Early in the game, the Aggies dared them to run by playing their nickel defense, which surprised the heck out of me.

Jacob Coker displayed a game manager type performance in the game, which resulted in a W. 

I hope Kenyan Drake's leg bruise heals up for the Tennessee game, or else we'll see Damien Harris get some significant snaps in the upcoming game. He better be ready.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Music Friday: "Building Chryslers"

South Broadway Athletic Club by The Bottle Rockets came out last week. 

It's a damn fine album. 

There aren't a lot of songs on youtube yet from the album, but I found this live performance. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Random Notes from a Crank

Chile is investing in alternative energy, building a smarter grid, and using a carbon tax, all to be sustainable but also to have an economy that grows in a smart way. Check out "Solar Power Lights the Way to a Cleaner Economy in Chile" if you're intrigued. 

Over at The Atlantic, Sarah Boxer published a detailed and interesting article about Peanuts: "The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy." I'm not a hater of Snoopy like some critics, but for me Charlie Brown was the best character of that strip even though I started reading the comic during the heyday of Snoopy. I also always checked out Peanuts books from the library that had the older strips from the 50s and 60s. 

I'm surprised about Coach Spurrier's immediate retirement. I agree with Ryan Nanni's sentiment from the EDSBS thread that "if he's leaving, I'm gonna miss the gel out of Steve Spurrier. Were not getting another one, and I suspect he knows that." The search of South Carolina head coach job will be a high-profile one, and it'll be a search that will probably make some current coaches get pay raises. 

After watching a bunch of MLB games over the past couple of weeks, I'm really tired of all of these pecker-pill commercials. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Arkansas

This defense could be really good. The Crimson Tide defense pretty much suffocated the vaunted Razorback running game and did a good job, besides one ridiculous play in the fourth quarter, defending the pass. 

Troubles in the red zone and two interceptions left Tide fans seeing their team down by four points at halftime. 

But the second half was a different story on the offensive side of the ball: better running of the ball, explosive plays in the pass game, and Coker getting his head out of his ass. 

The 81-long touchdown to Calvin Ridley was a thing of beauty. 

Next up is a trip to College Station for the CBS 2:30 game. We'll see what happens. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Music Friday: "All Across This Land" & "Rock and Roll (Was Made For You)"

I've enjoyed all of Blitzen Trapper's releases. The band's previous release, VII, was full of country-tinged rock-funk, and the one before that, American Goldwing, was a solid album.

The new album, All Across This Land, might become my favorite of their discography because it's a more straightforward rock-n-roll album.

Here's a couple of tunes from the new album. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Georgia

I had to watch the game after it actually happened because the Nasty family went to a wedding, but I followed the score via Mrs. Nasty's smartphone during the wedding reception. 

When I watched it last night and then watched it again with my son this morning, a number of points stand out. 

Jake Coker played better. He hit a long pass to Ridley, which was beautiful. 

Sans the long run for a touchdown in garbage time, our defense played stellar. 

Calvin Ridley looks really good. To me, he looks like a shorter Amari Cooper. I don't think he has that caliber of route-running skills yet though. 

Derrick Henry is a beast. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick had a great game: solid cb play, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and a sack. 

The Dline keeps batting down passes. 

I wish the right side of our offensive line was stronger. We seem to be running to the left a lot. 

Reggie Ragland should be in consideration for the Butkus award. 

I want Cyrus Jones to rip off a great punt return like Javy Arenas used to do. 

What would have been even sweeter is if UGA would have done a "black out" like they did in 2008 when the Tide whipped their asses. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Music Friday: "A Murder of One"

I'm sitting here in a rocking chair at the Baltimore airport. My co-author and I gave a presentation and workshop at a focus group deal put on by our publisher. My flight doesn't leave until 10:30, and I get into the Indianapolis airport around midnight. After that I have  a two-hour car ride ahead of me until I make it home. 

It's rainy out there, folks. Lots of wetness happening here on the east coast. 

You would think that today's Music Friday post would be "Raining in Baltimore," but I've posted that before. Then there's "Baltimore Blues" by Deer Tick. Done that too. 

So let's go with the song after "Raining in Baltimore" on August and Everything After, which is "A Murder of One." 

A Murder of One
Blue morning, blue morning,
wrapped in strands of fist and bone.
Curiosity, Kitten, doesn't have to mean you're on your own.
You can look outside your window.
He doesn't have to know.
We can talk awhile, baby.
We can take it nice and slow.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.

Are you happy where you're sleeping?
Does he keep you safe and warm?
Does he tell you when you're sorry?
Does he tell you when you're wrong?
I've been watching you for hours.
It's been years since we were born.
We were perfect when we started.
I've been wondering where we've gone.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.

I dreamt I saw you walking up a hillside in the snow,
casting shadows on the winter sky as you stood there counting crows.
One for sorrow,
two for joy,
three for girls, and four for boys,
five for silver,
six for gold, and
seven for a secret never to be told.

There's a bird that nests inside you
sleeping underneath your skin.
When you open up your wings to speak,
I wish you'd let me in.

All your life is such a shame.
All your love is just a dream.
Open up your eyes.
You can see the flames of your wasted life.
You should be ashamed.

You don't want to waste your life.

I walk along these hillsides in the summer 'neath the sunshine.
I am feathered by the moonlight falling down on me.

Change, change, change.