Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Tennessee

Damn, I wanted a shut out, but one of the Volunteer defenders got a pick-six and spoiled my wishes. 

Sorry about getting this out late. My posting schedule got a bit jacked up because of The Walking Dead's first episode of the season. 

Nevertheless, Alabama played one heck of a game even though Tennessee's defense did some good work at points in the game. 

Tua got to play with the 1s, so that was a good sign. Hurts got pulled relatively early, and a number of younger players got playing time. 

Damien Harris was a beast again, and it was good to see Hentges and Smith (both TEs) get some looks in the passing game. 

On defense, Buggs, Evans, and Wallace had great games. 

Next up is the bye week before the Crimson Tide takes on LSU. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Music Friday: "Mandolin Rain"

I woke up today with this song in my head. I don't know why.

I like the song, but I don't own any of this dude's albums. 

Flashback to the 80s.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I live in east central Illinois, and from time to time I see people who have "Salt Life" emblems on their vehicles. Certainly this "Salt Life" journey they are on is aspirational because we're landlocked as Hell. Sure, the person driving the car may vacation at places where there's an ocean, but the only saltwater one is going to find around here is a saltwater pool. 

John McCain had a pretty damn good line of criticism about MoscowDon and his ilk: "To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain 'the last best hope of Earth' for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past. We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil... We have the moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don't." Of course, MoscowDon might understand what McCain is talking about: all those complicated sounding words and phrases that he doesn't like, understand, or connect to like "leadership," "spurious nationalism," "attachment," "tired dogma," "moral obligation," "just cause," and "shame." Read about it here from The Washington Post: "'It Won't Be Pretty': Trump Promises to 'Fight Back" against McCain." 

But then the Senator goes along with Trump's asinine tax plan. Jesus H. Christ. 

Game 3 of the National League Championship Series is really difficult to watch for this fan. The Cubs are not hitting worth a damn, and the bullpen is stinking.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Arkansas

Once again the Crimson Tide started out quickly with a long TD run by Damien Harris. This one was on the first play of the game for 75 yards. 

The Tide then kicked a field goal and had two other touchdowns before the half. The second TD run by Harris was a example of pluck and grit. He broke at least four tackles that I can think of. 

Arkansas tightened up their D in the latter part of the first half of the game. 

I was a little concerned about the second-string QB who started for Arkansas. The dude is a mountain of a man. 

However, the Crimson Tide defense played well for the most part. 

I'm sure there will be some talking points about passes to the middle of the field and the late touchdown they gave up. 

Rashaan Evans had a great game: 6 total tackles (3 solo), 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, and 3.5 tackles for loss. 

Hurts spread the ball around to eight different receivers, so that's a good sign for the future. 

Next up is a CBS afternoon game versus Tennessee. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Music Friday: "Total Entertainment Forever" & "Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution"

I'm in for some weirdness, so today I"m providing the official video of "Total Entertainment Forever" along with a live performance of Father John Misty on Seth Meyers. 

Also, check out part of his interview with Meyers. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Texas A&M

The Aggies played the Crimson Tide tough last night. Besides a few big plays in the running game, Texas A&M played well against the Alabama run game. 

Texas A&M had two really nice drives, and their freshman QB hit Kirk for a TD on fourth down (if I remember right) by scrambling to his right and hitting the receiver perfectly. 

Hurts had a good game--56 yards running and 123 yards passing. 

Damien Harris had that long 75-yard scamper for a touchdown, but the more impressive run was when he got it to the 1-yard line in the first half. 

Isaiah Buggs was absolutely on fire on the defensive side of ball. He played just as well if not better than Hand, who he was filling in for. 

Coach Saban summed up the game well with this statement: “I don’t think we played very well in the second half. We didn’t do a very good job of controlling the ball on offense. We turned it over and gave them opportunities. You’ve got to give (Texas A&M) credit for hanging in there and playing hard at the end. We were ahead 24-3 in the game, and you’re supposed to go put the game away. We didn’t do it."

Next game is a home gig against the Razorbacks of Arkansas. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Music Friday: "Brighter Days"

This fine tune came across my iPod on shuffle this afternoon. 

It's a great track from the first album. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Having a teenage girl in middle school has made me realize that some of the meanest people on the planet are middle school girls. I'm trying to sort of why this is, but I only have speculation and conjecture. However, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with all that drama when I was in junior high school. 

Mean girls...

Senator Chris Murphy has a good column in the Washington Post people should read: "Mass shootings Are an American Problem. There's an American Solution." 

But then again, consider this editorial cartoon.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Wow, I was feeling good about Alabama's chances versus Ole Miss, but damn, that was a severe ass kicking. By the time it got around to the middle of the second quarter, it seemed as though the Crimson Tide had broken the Rebels' spirits. 

The offensive game plan showcased a balance of run and pass. Hentges (TE), Ruggs (WR), and Jacobs (RB) all caught passing TDs. It's great to see Jacobs back because he is a serious threat coming out of the backfield to catch passes. The touchdown he scored on was executed perfectly. He came out of the backfield, slowed a bit to disguise himself, and then ran to an open spot in the defense. Hurts hit him in stride. 

The Tide played well defensively again. They gave up a few big plays, but that was to be expected playing against Patterson, a QB who styles himself as Johnny Manziel Lite. However, Ole Miss's third-down efficiency was 0 for 13. 

Alabama rushed for 365 yards. They just brutalized the Rebels defense. 

The main concern coming out of this game is that Da'Shawn Hand came down with an injury because of an Ole Miss offensive linemen undercutting his knee. Thank goodness it is only an MCL strain. It's unclear, however, to what extent of the injury suffered by cornerback and primary punt and kickoff returner Trevon Diggs has. It didn't look good. 

Next up is a visit to College Station to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M.  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Music Friday: "Tennessee Square"

I haven't listend to Whiskeytown in a while.

Here's a gem from the fine alt-country classic album Faithless Street

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm trying to invent a new word. This word needs to concisely sum up this feeling: a professor who has taught for many years sees freshmen making bad decisions that he or she has seen year after year, but he or she has a sense of futility that whatever advice he or she might give is not going to be heeded. 

If you have any ideas for the new word that exemplifies that feeling, please post in the comments. 

Here are some intriguing data points from September's "Harper's Index":

  • Amount that Carrier promised to invest in an Indiana plan in a deal with Donald Trump to save domestic jobs: $16,000,000
  • Percentage of that money that will be used for automation: 100
  • Amount taxpayers spent in 2013 on food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance for Walmart employees: $6,200,000,000

This evening I watched the final episode of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's documentary The Vietnam War. The ten-episode film is one of the most poignant and powerful documentaries I've ever watched. When they talked about the Vietnam Memorial tonight, I choked up and then started crying. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Vanderbilt

A few Vanderbilt players were vocal in "wanting" Alabama and exclaiming how the Crimson Tide was "next." 

They didn't get what they wanted. 

What they got was an offense that was destructive, an offensive line that mashed people, running backs that helped a running game to chalk up almost 500 yards, and defense that was downright nasty. 

Harris had three touchdowns, and Bo had a couple.

The defense was salty, which I attribute to having two of starters back in the lineup: Rashaan Evans and Anfernee Jennings. 

The offense reminded me of earlier great Alabama teams like the '09 championship team. 

The game was an outstanding display for the "Run the Damn Ball" crowd, a group I am a member of. I like passes and all that, but I love it when Alabama runs the ball well.  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Music Friday: "Stone Free" & "All Along the Watchtower"

This past week I've been listening to the Hendrix discography. 

Here are a couple of my favorites from the master. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Colorado State

Alabama won 41 to 23. To outsiders or to people who don't follow college football closely, Colorado State putting 23 points on the board could be surprising.

The Rams have a solid quarterback and an NFL-caliber wide receiver. And that running back they used is one heck of a player. They have a good offense. 

The Crimson Tide is still trying to get their backup linebackers to play like starters with Jennings and Evans still not ready to play. 

For me, the defensive performance on Saturday is a concern. 

However, the offense looked good. I know Ridley's TD catch and run was played on the highlight shows, but the one Tide fans should focus on is the TD by Robert Foster. That was an impressive display of speed. 

Next up is an away game versus Vanderbilt, a team that just beat a ranked Kansas State team in the environs of Nashville. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Music Friday: "Unfuck the World"

I saw the interview with Chuck D and Tom Morello on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and I was intrigued by the new supergroup that includes folks from Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, and Cypress Hill. 

With that combination of forces, you think they might present protest music and political lyrics? 

Yes, just maybe...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Fresno State

If I were a gambling man, I'd consistently put big money on Alabama not covering after the team's usual big time primetime opening game. They didn't cover the point spread, but they, for the most part, looked pretty good. 

I wanted to see more production out of the running backs, but we did get to watch a number of different receivers catch the ball. Hentges was wide open on a touchdown, and I hope to see more passes going to tight ends. Hentges is steady, but I've read good things bout Irv Smith, and Forristall saw a good bit of action last season. We haven't seen much from him so far this year. 

Tua, the second-string QB, got some time in the game, which is good. He looked solid. 

With the losses in the linebacking corps, they played a lot of younger players, and at times that inexperience showed. The D looked bad a couple of times on some simple screens. 

Linebacking play is something I'll be focusing on when the Tide squares off against Colorado State in its next game. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Music Friday: "Right Moves" & "To the Dogs or Whoever"

This morning I'm listening to The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. Here are a couple of songs from that fine album. 

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Florida State

One of the more hyped opening games of the college football sort of lived up to expectations. 

Both defenses played pretty well. I was a little worried when the Seminoles scored pretty quickly on that early drive. Francois was on fire. 

Alabama answered, and it was 10 to 7 at half. 

The Crimson Tide offense looked lethargic a great deal of the time. Hurts threw a huge touchdown pass to Ridley, and the rushing game rarely got runs over a few yards, but the team grinded out 184 yards by four runners, Hurts included. 

Alabama's passing game was not consistent. But I think that was mainly because of Florida State's outstanding front seven. 

With all of the the fine work the special teams and defense did in the second half (two interceptions and a blocked punt), the game would have been a blowout if the offense would have capitalized on great field position more than once. 

On the other hand, the Tide gave FSU poor field position most of the second half, and the Tide's D played salty. 

I noticed a lot of second-team players playing in the front seven during the game, and there are, as I find out now, reasons for that. As for the DLine, I suspect they just wanted to rotate people to keep the big men fresh. 

But for the linebackers, the Tide's D exited the contest with serious injury problems. Three outside linebackers are hurt. Starter Christian Miller is out for the season with a biceps injury. Key backup Terrell Harris is out for the season with an elbow injury. Another crucial outside linebacker, Anfernee Jennings, is out for a maybe four weeks with an ankle injury. And starting inside linebacker Rashaan Evans is out for a few weeks with a groin injury. 

The next four contests break down this way: vs. Fresno State, vs. Colorado State, at Vanderbilt, and vs. Ole Miss. 

The last two games of those four are a concern because Vandy has a good defense, and Ole Miss can be dangerous. Sure, they're in serious trouble with the NCAA, but infractions they'll likely get won't affect them this season, and they still have plenty of talent to give any team problems. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Music Friday: "The Evil Has Landed"

One of the better albums I've got this year is Villains by Queens of the Stone Age. 

If you're a fan of the band, do yourself a favor and get the new album. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Cilantro-Lime Thousand Island Dressing

I made some Thousand Island dressing a while back. It was good, but conditions on the ground made me tweak the recipe a bit.

The traditional recipe calls for a hard-boiled egg chopped, minced onion, and parsley. 

However, I didn't feel like snipping parsley in the dark (I made the dressing at night), I prefer shallot over onion, and I had cilantro in the fridge. 

1 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of ketchup and Sriracha chile sauce
2 tablespoons of dill relish
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
Small sliver of lime (think of a small cut-up bar lime used in a gin and tonic) squeezed
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Throw the ingredients together into a bowl and whisk until smooth. 

Music Friday: "You Don't Mess Around with Jim"

The past couple of days I've been listening to Jim Croce's Greatest Hits

This is one of my favorite songs from those selections. 

That dude had a fine mustache. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Band Names Gratis Part Six

As I did once in 2012couple of times in 2013, another time in 2014, and again in 2015, I'm providing some band names I've thought of. 

Here they are:
  • 400 Hundred Pound Hacker
  • Friendzone
  • We Heart Cersei
  • Winter
  • Coming and Going
  • Squirrel Proof
  • False Equivalency
  • Yellow Hammers
  • Sex Towels
  • Cheap TP
  • Adult Education Dropouts
  • Bike Sharers
  • Freak Flags
  • Peyote Coyotes
  • Avocado Nuts
  • Bond's Dead Girlfriends
  • Daredevil's Dead Girlfriends
  • Sweet Xmas
  • Mange
  • Hazard a Guess
  • False Prophets
  • Hooligans
  • Quagmire
  • Conscious Quagmire
  • Flip-Floggers
  • Fog of War
  • The Sham
  • Plausible Deniability
  • Plausible Undefinability
  • Comma Splicers
  • Fused Sentences
  • Run-ons
  • Fragments
  • Preposition Danglers
  • Zingbots

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    If you'd like to read a detailed, informative, and intelligent perspective on MoscowDon's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, read "Trump Flip-Flops on Afghanistan, Opts for Years-Long Quagmire." Cole relates six reasons why the Taliban is so powerful, reasons why providing more troops isn't going to do much at all. The last sentence is acerbic but spot on: "If Afghanistan's curses are corruption, fanatical identity politics and a hatred of globalization, its more problematic organizations resemble most of all ... Trump's base." 

    In somewhat more positive new, Grist reports that "California Defies the Claim that Environmental Regulation Kills Economic Growth." The state's cap-and-trade law is reducing emissions and spurring innovation. As the report's main author relates, “The narrative that strict environmental policies that impact large parts of the economy are always bad is simply not the case. These policies have pushed innovation, and innovation is always good in a capitalist system.”

    Unfortunately, that report doesn't take into account California's water problems. 

    And don't get me started on Arizona. 

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Music Friday: "Sir Duke"

    This song rattled across my iPod shuffle this morning when I was doing errands. 

    Good ole Stevie Wonder...

    Have a good weekend, folks. 

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Green Chile Chicken Chili

    I got this recipe from the magazine Cooking Light, but I made a few modifications. 

    3-4 cups of chicken stock
    4 cans of Northern beans, rinsed and drained
    2 cups yellow onion, chopped
    2 shallots, chopped
    3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon of flour
    2 tablespoons of ground cumin
    4 4 oz. cans of mild chopped green chiles
    2 cups of shredded chicken
    4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
    olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Sour cream 
    Sliced avocado
    Chopped cilantro 

    Put a cup of stock and 2 cans of beans into a blender and blend until smooth. Eat olive oil in stock pot on medium-high. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 

    Sprinkle flour over aromatics and cook for a minute. Add cumin and chiles and cook for a minute. Add the stock-bean mixture and the rest of the stock and drained beans. Add salt and pepper. 

    Reduce to medium heat and let the concoction simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chicken and cook for a 5-10 minutes. 

    Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado, and some cilantro. 

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    With the current state of affairs related to the despicable nonsense in Charlottesville and the brazen know-it-all unintelligence of the U.S. president, it's no wonder that I'm watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone. I don't like the current reality in so many different ways. 

    From what I gather, the Neo-Nazis and KKK and various white supremacists got together in Charlottesville to protest the taking down of Confederate monuments. While I know this may be an unpopular opinion, I tend to lean toward keeping Confederate monuments. Here is why. 

    Many of those monuments were erected in the extreme era of Jim Crow America. I personally think they are a stain on American history and should be kept up to show people how institutionalized racism was and is. There's no reason to sugarcoat American history. As Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz has documented in her fine An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, from the the outset the European vision for America was fueled by white supremacist beliefs. 

    In another line of thought that is popular around social media these days, the monuments could be similar to participation trophies, which could be an apt way to think about them. But it's troubling that monuments were erected for a group who wanted to secede from the country because of "states' rights," which is just another way to say they wanted certain states to have the ability to enslave people of color because of their white supremacist ideologies based on bullshit and the Bible. 

    I went to grad school in the Deep South, and on a number of places at the University of Alabama there are placards that recall the glory of the lost cause. I remember one in particular that, if I remember correctly, references a "War of Northern Aggression." 

    For me, when I read it, I found it to be an anachronism that tells how far we've come as a country and how we still have a long way to go.  

    This is why I have mixed feelings about tearing down Confederate monuments. 

    But to just be clear, MoscowDon is a complete moron, and I denounce the racism of the groups who gathered in Charlottesville. 

    My uncle and father enlisted in World War II to fight Nazis, and to see people defending their crazy-ass beliefs sickens and troubles me. 

    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Music Friday: "Burning Stars"

    On his Twitter feed, Jason Isbell recommended this album. I took his recommendation and bought the thing. 

    It's good - thought-provoking lyrics, softly subtle arrangements, and interesting surprises within. 

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

    Random Notes from a Crank

    Last weekend, as usual, we spent a small fortune on school supplies for my kids. 

    On Sunday I took my daughter to the last day of the county fair. She found a few of her friends, so I just sat on a bench and people watched. County fairs are prime targets for people watching. Here a few of my observations:

    • I don't get some articles of clothing that people wear. 
    • People who wear hi-tops for regular walking-around shoes probably aren't that good at basketball. 
    • Corn dogs and fruit shake-ups are hard to resist.
    • Either there many Cubs fans in my area of Illinois (there are more Cardinals fans), or a number of people have jumped on the Cubs bandwagon.
    • I'm not about fat-shaming people, but Americans need to get in better shape, myself included. 

    Check out Greg Fuchs' poem, "Make America Again," from Brooklyn Rail

    Friday, August 4, 2017

    Music Friday: "Love and Happiness"

    A while back I picked up a greatest hits album from Mellencamp called Words and Music. I had forgotten how much I like "Love and Happiness." Like "Pink Houses," it's not a positive portrayal of America. 

    It's dated to the time period when he wrote it, but the general problems he tackles are very much with us still. 

    When I play the song in the car, my kids are taken aback by the screechiness of the trumpet about midway through the song. I like the dissonant start to the trumpet in the song. I think it works well with what Mellencamp is saying. 

    Sunday, July 30, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    Over at Informed Comment, Juan Cole tells us about how "On One Day in May, Italy got 87% of Its Electricity from Renewables." And Scotland, Spain, France, India, and China are making major steps to move toward a sustainable future as he relates. 

    This is kind of old news, but it's related. France banned fracking, and Macron made a pitch to professionals who give a damn about the environment: "Green France." 

    The Guardian's "The Observer" provides a spot-on analysis to the world in which the White House and the U.S can't be trusted to do much of anything: "The Observer View on Donald Trump's Unfitness for Office." I enjoyed the Shakespearian references: "Like some kind of Shakespearean villain-clown, Trump plays not to the gallery but to the pit. He is a Falstaff without the humour or the self-awareness, a cowardly, bullying Richard III without a clue."

    Lee Schubert, a transgender women, writing for The Globe and the Mail gets it right in her editorial, "What Trump and His Base Get Wrong about Transgender Americans." Somewhere around 15,000 transgender troops already serve in the U.S. military. The fourth ¶ hits the mark on the "reasoning" behind his tweet about transgender troops: "So let's look behind all the poppycock at the real reason the President wants to keep transgender men and women from serving their country in the military: It is the religious conservatives who helped elect him but who have always questioned whether he is really one of them. (Of course, he isn't - but he does feel he must pander to them)." 

    Friday, July 28, 2017

    Music Friday: "Witness"

    Why haven't any of you people told me about Benjamin Booker? 

    I surf the InterWebs about music all the time, and I'm late to the party on this guy. 

    The shame...

    Here's the title track from his second album that came out in June. 

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    I made a couple of new dishes based on recipes from Cooking Light and Milk Street magazines. The first was a slow cooker affair that used apricot preserves and jalapeƱos as the flavoring agent for boneless chicken thighs. They turned out like chicken sloppy joes. The second was a grated carrot salad that used a bunch of flat leaf parsley from my garden, so I got to use my grating implement of my food processor. 

    There's some kind of varmint eating my tomatoes in my garden. I suspect it's a damn raccoon. 

    Recently I've been researching dog breeds. Our dog is getting older, and when she passes, we'll probably get two dogs, one smallish dog for Mrs. Nasty and a dog I like. Because I want a dog that doesn't shed much and one that will make me take it for walks, the two breeds I'm interested in currently are the Vizsla and the German Shorthaired Pointer. 

    Here are some links about those breeds if you're interested:

    A scientist wrote a great opinion piece in the Washington Post: "I'm a Scientist. I'm Blowing the Whistle on the Trump Administration."

    Friday, July 21, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    I recently read an interesting article in Mother Jones titled "Prison Break" by Dashka Slater that details how the state of North Dakota's prison system is taking some notes from Norway's prison system. The current methods of the American prison system aren't working, so it makes sense to try something different. 

    I find the Supreme Court's decision on Trinity Luthern vs. Comer very troubling: "The Supreme Courts Strikes Down a Major Church-State Barrier." 

    Check out Jonathan Rauch's "The Conservative Case for Unions." 

    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Music Friday: "Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)" & "Let's Get It On"

    When we were on vacation, we made a trip to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I could have spent more time than there than the rest of my family wanted to, but we got to see some great artifacts. 

    One was Marvin Gaye's smooth ass white blazer. Check it out. 

    Here are a couple of classic songs from one of the best singers of all time. 

    Friday, July 14, 2017

    Music Friday: "Never Stop"

    I was listening to the Never Stop album by The Bad Plus yesterday when I was reading drafts. 

    Great tune by a great band. 

    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Stay Positive: Ontario

    Yesterday the Nasty Family started a bit past 6am and drove from East Central Illinois to Niagara Falls, Ontario. We're on a family vacation based on the fact that my daughter has a national dance competition in Sandusky Ohio starting on Tuesday. We went to Niagara Falls for a couple days, and then we'll drive through upstate New York and Pennsylvania to get to Sandusky. 

    We crossed the border at Detroit-Windsor and drove all the way to Niagara Falls, which had us cross a mighty good portion of Ontario, which is an enormous province. 

    I wouldn't call the drive beautiful. It's pretty enough. The terrain reminds of certain parts of Michigan.

    But I would call the drive impressive. 

    Once we got past Windsor and out on Ontario Highway 401, Mrs. Nasty and I were both struck by the sheer number of wind turbines there are in that part of Ontario. In addition, we noticed many households that had solar panels, and there were a number of concentrated solar fields. 

    This is what happens when a government provides smart incentives to its citizens to invest in renewable energy. I would say the first 50-60 miles of the drive on 401 there was not a landscape that did not have wind turbines dotting it. Very impressive.

    As my daughter smartly said on the drive, "The US needs to take some notes from Canada." 

    Here are some links about information and incentives given regarding clean energy:

    Once we got on the 403 and around Lake Ontario and the Hamilton metro area, there were wineries all over the place. Every exit around that area had at least two wineries featured. 

    I'm not much a fan of Canadian whiskey (bourbon is my drink of choice), but I suspect I'd like Canadian wine, especially if they offer some good red wines. 

    Today at the hotel I picked up the self-proclaimed "Canada's National Newspaper," The Globe and Mail

    I read that paper today, and in comparison, USA Today, which is also available at the hotel, reads more like a newspaper for dumbasses, for Americans who don't like to read. 

    Three articles in the paper offer some helpful, non-US takes on the G20 Summit where MoscowDon basically isolated the US and looked like the doofus he is:

    I need to read The Globe and Mail more often. 

    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Music Friday: "No Good"

    Since I recently posted some ramblings about SiriusXM radio, I might as well present a song I heard on The Spectrum channel that made me buy a band's album. I had never heard of them before that time.  

    Check out Kaleo's "No Good." 

    Thursday, July 6, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    In a recent Grist "Briefly" article, I learned that Volvo is going to be the first big automaker that is getting rid of the internal combustion engine. In two years, the only new cars the company will roll out will be electric. 

    In other good news featured in "Briefly," an appeals court is at least slowing down MoscowDon's EPA decision to gut regulations about methane. 

    James Hohlman in The Washington Post shows how MoscowDon's asinine "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" is not only nonsense but also an attack on the values of some real Republicans: "Principled Conservatives Show Federalism Is More Than Just a Talking Point by Rejecting Voting Data Requests." 

    Our new car, a family edition (has a third row if desired) Nissan Rogue, came with SiriusXM radio, so when I get to drive the car (it is Mrs. Nasty's primary car), I like to explore the radio stations they offer. For the most part, I've settled into a number of "Rock" stations that I alternate among: The Spectrum, Lithium, Alt Nation, First Wave, Pearl Jam, E Street, and Underground Garage. I also listen to Real Jazz, Bluesville, Outlaw Country, and Bluegrass Junction from time to time. 

    I wish they offered some kind of "Americana" music station. 

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    On Monday Mrs. Nasty had the day off, so we took the family and two of my kids'  friends to the Kickapoo State Recreation Area. We kayaked the the Middle Fork River, which from what I gather is around eight miles. It was a lot of fun. The river was cool, and there is great scenery. We plan on doing that again. 

    Heck, if we get that into it, we might consider getting our own kayaks. 

    On the Fourth of July, Syfy Channel provided a Twilight Zone marathon, which is fitting because narcissistic, pathological lying, juvenile #MoscowDon is POTUS. 

    I taped a bunch of those episodes during the marathon. With all the reviving of old shows like The Gong Show, Love Connection, etc., the show that needs to revived is The Twilight Zone. That would be good television. 

    Friday, June 30, 2017

    Music Friday: "Hold Back the River"

    I'm not usually someone who listens to stuff that is played on the radio. "Let It Go" by this fellow is a song that got a lot of traction on pop-focused radio. 

    A week or two ago I watched James Bay and his band play on Austin City Limits

    I like his stuff. As he related in the interview after the performance, one of his parents listened to rock music, and his other parent mainly listened to soul music. The influences are apparent. 

    Here's one of my favorite songs from his album.

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Music Friday: "Hope The High Road"

    The new album by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Nashville Sound, is getting all kinds of deserved attention. 

    Here's one of my favorite songs off the new album. 

    After the video with lyrics is Isbell's extended interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    I started watching the movie Cider House Rules today, and doing so spurred me to buy the novel. I read that book way back in high school, and I remember it as one of those books that fundamentally changed the way I look at things. I might start revisiting books I haven't read since high school. 

    But wow, I had forgotten the movie had Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, and Paul Rudd in it. 

    News came across my FB feed today, and an ad related that Deer Tick will have two new albums out this fall. Vol. 1 is all acoustic, and Vol. 2 is a rock album. Check out the ad: "Deer Tick New Albums on PledgeMusic." 

    I dislike ketchup on hot dogs and sausages. I was glad to find out that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council supports my disdain via its "Hot Dog Etiquette" guidelines.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    My paranoia about electronic voting machines appears to be well founded. As the article "Homeland Security Offical: Russian Government Actors Tried to Hack Election Systems in 21 States" relates, an FBI counterintelligence official said that "Russia’s goal was to 'sow discord' in the United States and to 'denigrate' Clinton and help Trump." 

    As I've said before, I talk about the 45th president as "MoscowDon." So should many other people. 

    I just worry about anyone, let alone Russian hackers, being able to screw around with electronic voting machines and alter election results. I want to go back to old fashioned ballots. 

    Men's Health magazine provides advice in "11 Things Men Shouldn't Wear This Summer." I'm good with all of those recommendations except for one. I wear cargo shorts on a regular basis. 

    The guy who founded Cook's Illustrated has left the magazine and started his own cooking mag. It's called Christopher Kimball's Milk Street magazine. I signed up for the charter issue. It's free.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    On Father's Day Mrs. Nasty, the kids, and I went to the Wonder Woman movie. I enjoyed it. I'm not a DC Comics kind of guy, but it was an entertaining movie. Of the DC comics characters, Wonder Woman is one of my favorites. 

    And the actress who plays Wonder Woman is hotter than the hinges hanging off the gates of Hell. 

    Unfortunately for her, "Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Salary Was Shockingly Low." 

    This past weekend I took my son to the local comic book store, and he picked up a copy of Black Panther Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I read it that afternoon. I really enjoy Coates' work, but the narrative was a little too fragmented for me. 

    One of my excellent discoveries was that Bendis created a new stand-alone Jessica Jones narrative. Good stuff people. 

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Music Friday: "Early Bird Cafe"

    Some people might not know this, but John Mellencamp put out a new album this year. It's titled Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

    Five songs on the album feature Carlene Carter, but the song I'm featuring today does not. 

    Here's "Early Bird Cafe." 

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    Music Friday: "Prayer for Peace" & "Run Red Rooster"

    The North Mississippi Allstars have a new album out. I think it's one of the stronger albums in their catalog. 

    If you like blues-rock bands, you need to check it out. 

    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    Some people get obsessed with how their lawns look. I don't. There are already too many herbicides polluting the hell out of our waterways. This time of the year my lawn is sprouting lots of clover, which I find appealing. I like the way it looks ~ this little white sprouts dotting the lawn. Also, honeybees like clover, and honeybees need all the help they can get these days. 

    MoscowDon pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Here's the op-ed piece by the co-director of the MIT Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. He basically calls the current president on his bullshit and lies: "Trump Used Our Research to Justify Pulling out of the Paris Agreement: He Got It Wrong." 

    I'm currently watching the Comey Hearing. Some of these dipsticks are really going to run with the wording of "I hope..." Stop the bullshit. MoscowDon was asking Comey to gut the Russia investigation. That is obvious morons.

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Stay Positive: Parks & Recreation

    I finished watching all of the episodes of Parks & Recreation last night. 

    It was an outstanding series. I don't know why I didn't watch when it was actually on TV, but Netflix bailed me out. 

    Nick Offerman is the man (read his books, btw), and he got the opportunity of a lifetime to play Ron Swanson, who is a character I agree with on some matters (related to manhood) and not many others (government, vegetables, etc.). 

    Unfortunately, I suspect there are some folks who literally (as Chris is fond of saying) take the character as he is. Satire is wasted on dumbasses.

    And oh, Leslie Knope, as I've stated before, oh how I have a crush on you. 

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

    [Belated] Music Friday: "Southern Bells"

    I missed yesterday's post - just plain forgot about it. 

    Sorry about that, folks. 

    I've been listening to Langhorne Slim & The Law a lot recently. A number of his songs are being used for commercials for whatever reason. 

    Good money if you can get it...

    Here's a song that isn't being used for advertising purposes. 

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017

    Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Brussel Sprout Salad

    I saw this recipe made on a cooking show recently. I was not skeptical of it because I've always liked brussel sprouts. The only problem with them is that when they're overcooked, they stink to high hell. 

    2 lbs. of brussel sprouts
    1/2 cup of pine nuts, toasted
    1 cup of Parmesan cheese
    3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
    6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon of kosher salt
    Pepper to taste
    1 shallot, minced
    1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane

    Rinse the sprouts, cut the butt ends, cut them in half, and chop them finely. Use a salad spinner, rinse them, and spin out the water. Toast the pine nuts. 

    In a bowl put in the lemon juice, mustard, shallots, and garlic. Whisk. Slowly incorporate the olive oil as you whisk. Fold the sprouts into vinaigrette and then add in the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. 

    If I had to do it again, I'd probably add a tablespoon of lemon juice, use two more tablespoons of oil, and add honey to sweeten it up a bit. 

    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Music Friday: "Friday I'm in Love"

    I heard this song today as we were coming back from Effingham for my son's travel baseball game. 

    This song was played loudly on many a Friday at the Gin Mill in Kirksville, MO. 

    Smooth move Coleman. 

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Music Friday: "Before We Disappear" & "Rowing"

    Chris Cornell died yesterday

    He is one of my favorite singers and frontmen. Such a distinctive voice. 

    A loss to music. 

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    The current issue of Utne has three articles I want to share. 

    The first is "Picture Day" written by a Bosnian-Canadian. It puts the refugee crisis into a more personal perspective. As she says, "Today, more than twenty years after my parents and I left Bosnia, there are still refugees in the world--hundreds of thousands of them, in fact. The current refugee crisis, fueled by wars in Syria and across the Middle East, has been immortalized by photos of families just like mine: men, women, and children sitting in bus stations waiting for food, trapped behind border fences, and holing up in dilapidated refugee camps."

    Here's a good example of Girl Power: "Women Mayors Lead the Charge on Climate Change." 

    A long and interesting interview with ecologist Carl Safina titled "Signs of Intelligent Life"  makes me want to buy his book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. There are many nuggets of fact-based wisdom in the interview, but here is one of my favorites: "I think humans are the animal who embodies the most extremes. We can give ourselves credit for being the most technologically talented, the most compassionate, and the most creative, but we also must own that we're the most destructive, the cruelest, and the most violent." I have similar feelings as he does about religion.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    In a recent visit to my local CVS, I scanned the clearance liquor/wine rack. To my surprise, I found bottles of Manischewitz Blackberry wine for $2.77. It's a sweet, kosher wine that I sold at my dad's liquor store way back when. In fact, if I remember right, a Lutheran church bought cases of the Concord grape variety for communion wine. 

    I'm a sucker for clearance booze racks, which reminds me of Colonial Party Mart. 

    Colonial Party Mart was a liquor store back in my undergraduate college town of Kirksville, Missouri. They went out of business sometime in my junior or senior year. They were selling booze cheap as hell, probably at cost, and boozehounds  descended upon that establishment and got lots of good stuff at great prices. Unfortunately, when my friends and I got there, all that was left was mixing liquor and off brand stuff. I do think we bought some Ouzo though. I can't remember if it was the cheap stuff or one of the good Greek brands.


    Figuring out how to spell that exclamation above led me to this interesting article: "What Does the Word Opa Mean Exactly?"

    And that expression reminds me of the Norwegian expression of "Uffda." My mom had a plaque of that expression hanging on our back door. I need to use that expression more often.