Monday, August 29, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

As many of you might know or have gathered if you've read this blog for a while, I tend to have pessimistic attitudes about politics, the "democratic" process, voters, the 24-hour cable news networks, FoxNews, and the intelligence of the average American. "The Dumbed Down Democracy" by Timothy Egan represents my feelings to a degree. 

Too often people think being a teacher is easy. Wrong. Read "7 Thing I Wish People Understood about Being a Teacher" for a reality check. 

The short interview with Garry Trudeau could be worth your time: "Doonesbury Cartooonist Garry Trudeau: 'If Trump wins, I'll miss civilization as we know it.'"

Check out this article from Slate from 2012: "Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppets." I'm an Order Muppet. And I think Oscar, my favorite Sesame Street character, is one too. 

In the "Ask Umbra" feature of Grist, a reader asks about the eco-responsbility of certain kinds of liquor: "What Kind of Liquor Is Best for the Environment?" I had no idea Four Roses used non-GMO grains, and my favorite, bourbon, looks like an eco-winner relatively speaking. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Music Friday: "Freedom of Speech"

This week I came across this article about the University of Chicago: "Don't Ask Us for Trigger Warnings..."

Although Ice-T wrote the song for different reason (mainly the PMRC), that article reminds me of this song. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

Bill McKibbon has some points to make in "After 525 Years, It's Time to Actually Listen to Native Americans." 

I've never really had houseplants, but this article in Treehugger, "5 Houseplants for Removing Indoor Air Pollution," makes me consider buying some. Might have to put one in my office. 

There's an air show this weekend in this little corner of east central Illinois. I've never gotten into going to those. Like NASCAR, it just seems like a waste of gas. 

We are going to a high school football game this Friday. They have a "grill on the hill" for the first game of the season. We'll see if they pull off a win. The team is in the midst of 17-game losing streak. It's gotta get better sometime soon, right? 

If the Democrats had a really good candidate for president, he or she would be trouncing Trump in the polls right now. Makes me implausibly wish that Elizabeth Warren or Martin O'Malley had won the nomination. If Clinton can't beat Trump, then she's an utter failure. Truly a "loser." 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Music Friday: "Infallible" & "Lightning Bolt"

I've been listening to Pearl Jam quite a bit this week. Here are a couple of tunes from the band's most recent album. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Music Friday: "Longest Days"

This morning I drove to Bloomington, Indiana to give a presentation at a professional development day for the local community college. 

That part of Indiana reminds me of the south because of its terrain and the myriad Jesus-inspired signs.

Since I was in the area, why not some Mellencamp today?

"Longest Days" is one of my favorite songs of his. It's depressing but true. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm skeptical that the GOP is going to be shambles like what happened to the Whig party as some pundits have hinted. However, "The Republican's White Strategy" by Peter Beinart in The Atlantic makes me think that Trump, and people who came before him, are seriously damaging the GOP. The author's comparison of Nixon's "Southern strategy" to Trump's nativism rings true to me. That old chestnut from Twain goes, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes." Here are some notable quotations from the article: 
  • "The much stronger link is between attitudes toward immigration and attitudes toward race."
  • "Like them [past Republican leaders who stoked anti-immigration fires], he is exploiting fears about Latino immigrants in ways that echo the "southern strategy," through which Richard Nixon field and exploited a white backlash against African American civil rights." 
  • "But what's truly ominous for the Trump cruse is Latinos' increasing political cohesion." 
  • "A big reason nativist sentiment is strong today is that immigration has outpaced assimilation."
  • "That immigration wave, however, has passed." 
  • "Perhaps the best evidence that America as a whole is experiencing a California-style flip away from nativist politics is the reaction to Trump's candidacy itself."
  • "Trump will still need more than 40 percent of Latinos to win the popular vote. That's extraordinarily unlikely."
  • "What they [the GOP] don't know is how to build a party that contains both Latinos and the supporters of Donald Trump."

"Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All" is worth your time. The bottom line is that The Art of the Deal is mainly a piece of fiction that ruined a writer's career. Schwartz wrote the fabrications and now regrets it. 

When I was in Iowa this past weekend, I got to see a couple of Clinton ads. The most interesting one is simply a video clip of Trump on the Letterman show. He's touting his shirts and ties, and Letterman points out that the shirts are made in Bangladesh, to which Trump notes that people there "need jobs", and then Letterman relates that the ties are made in China, to which Trump has weird smirks on his face in narcissistic silence. 

Here's the video.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

[Belated] Music Friday: "Thank God for Girls"

The Nasty family went up to Waterloo to visit my dad. I didn't bring my computer with me, so that's why this post if late. 

Anyway, I downloaded the latest Weezer album the other week, and it's pretty darn good. I've been hankering for some new, fun, guitar-oriented rock for a while. And the band's White Album, which came out this year, fulfills that need. 

Here's one of my favorite songs on the album. 

I saw these guys play back in the mid-90s when they toured with Live. That was after the Throwing Copper album dropped and perhaps after Weezer's Blue Album(?). 

Weezer was a good band to see live. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Random Notes from a Crank

If you're an educator, a parent, or a coach, you should check out Angela Duckworth's Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I finished it last week. 

I wonder about the word origins of people using "salty" as an adjective for language as in "That guy was using some salty language." I wonder if it comes from the stereotype of sailors being people that swear often. 

I got sucked into another graphic novel series: Brian Wood's DMZ

I need to get back to reading The Walking Dead Compendium One

The Crimson Tide has a challenging opening game against the USC Trojans. If I remember right, it's going to be played at JerryWorld. 

One of our friends uses mayonnaise to take off ring marks off of woodwork. I'm fascinated by this. I want to understand the science behind it. It didn't work on my dining room table, however. 

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Soy-Worcestershire Marinade

I've used this marinade on skirt steak. 

Tomorrow I'm using it on some boneless pork chops. 

1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Smidge of sesame oil
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, sliced thinly
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, whisk, and use it to marinade whatever meat you want to grill. It might also be good on Portabella mushrooms.