Friday, January 27, 2017

Music Friday: "Murderer of Blue Skies"

Because I've been following what's been happening to governmental organizations related to the environment, energy, and energy efficiency, Cornell's song is appropriate. 

Clean air, clean water, and less pollution, who needs that, right? 

"I can't wait to never be with you again.
And I can't wait to lead a life you're not in." 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

It is a sad coincidence that Moscow Don signed an executive order to revive the Dakota Access pipeline when today I finished reading An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. This passage from Chapter 11: The Doctrine of Discovery is relevant: "The collusion of business and government in the theft and exploitation of Indigenous lands and resources is the core element of colonization and forms the basis of US wealth and power." 

Here are a couple other passages that are noteworthy:
  • "Any true history of the United States must focus on what has happened to (and with) Indigenous peoples--and what will happen."
  • "The late Native historian Jack Forbes always stressed that while living persons are not responsible for what their ancestors did, they are responsible for the society they live in, which is a product of the past." 
Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States should be required reading for anyone who gives a damn about US history

I've never liked Peyton Manning, and now it seems have a reason to not like Tom Brady

Here's an infographic I discovered on the interwebs that is worthwhile.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Here's an "alternative fact": the Alabama Crimson Tide won the 2017 National Championship. 

I wonder when Moscow Don is going to establish a Ministry of Truth. I highly doubt he'll create Ministries of Peace, Love, and Plenty, however. 

As we're going to see time and time again, propaganda and shoddy studies are going to be the evidence this administration uses when dealing with the energy sector and environmental concerns. The study used recently was commissioned by the fossil fuel industry and not peer reviewed. Check out "Tossing Environmental Rules Won't Raise Wages, No Matter What the White House Says." 

Here's a petition worth signing. Yes, I want to see Moscow Don's tax returns: "Immediately Release Donald Trump's Full Tax Returns." 

If you're a reader of this blog, you probably know how I hate when people talk all kinds of nonsense about how the framers of the Constitution were Christian and how the U.S. is a "Christian nation" and all that bullshit despite the fact that many of the founding fathers were Freemasons who then strongly supported the separation of church and state. Another defense against the Christian nation stuff is the last part of the last ¶ of Article VI of the Constitution where it states, "but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or Affirmation or public Trust under the United States." If the framers wanted the US to be Christian, why didn't they create a religious test to ensure the government is filled with Christians? In contrast, they clearly state that NO religious test should be used. 

I've been attracted to being a Mason, but I'd have to believe that there is a supreme being apparently, and I'm not willing to go there. I'm agnostic. Or another way to look at it is that I could be described as an atheist with hope or an atheist hedging his bets. 

For a good while I've been okay with what has been called "ceremonial deism," but this article in Psychology Today is making me rethink that comfort: "The Dangerous Fallacy of Ceremonial Deism." 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I've been to Steak-n-Shake and other such places where milk shakes and malts are provided. People get these fancy shakes with all kinds of flavorings. But I prefer just a solid, standard vanilla malt. Simple, delicious, and straightforward. 

Since Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, I haven't really watched the show much, but now I've started watching it regularly. I'm starting to really like Trevor Noah. 

Here's a recent clip about the moron Moscow Don tapped to be the Secretary of Education: "Trevor Noah Eviscerates Betsy DeVos Over Her Confirmation Hearing." Check it out. 

This article from Slate, "Donald Trump Is Unpopular, and So Is the GOP Agenda," provides some solace. But we're going to have deal with Moscow Don's nonsense for four @#$%ing years. 

Music Friday: "I Wanna Be Sedated"

What a horrible day. 

As I drove to work this morning, this song was playing on the radio. 

How fitting. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I'm close to a decade late, but I've started watching Breaking Bad. I'm currently in season 2. 

A new show I've gotten into is FX's Taboo. At times I have a hard time clearly understanding the dialogue because it's set in London circa 1814. Here is Variety's initial take on the series. 

The esteemed Bill Moyers has some good advice on some certain news outlets to follow and read in "10 Investigative Reporting Outlets to Follow." I'm a fan of ProPublica, Mother Jones, and Real Clear Investigations.  

Since a few states have legalized marijuana and many have legalized medical marijuana, a recent article by Consumer Reports is notable. "Marijuana: Good for You or Dangerous?" distills a review by the National Academy of Sciences. More research is needed, but this conclusion in the article, "evidence that cannabis use will lead a person to smoke or trigger a change in their rates or patterns of other drug use, legal or illegal, was limited," does nothing to dispel people from talking about it as a "gateway drug."  

If you're on Twitter, I'm on there now: @Quintilian376

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Ta-Nehisi Coates is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. "My President Was Black" is fitting take on President Obama. And as Coates deftly analyzes, "Pointing to citizens who voted for both Obama and Trump does not disprove racism; it evinces it. To secure the White House, Obama needed to be a Harvard-trained lawyer with decade of political experience and an incredible gift for speaking to cross-sections of the country; Donald Trump needed only money and white bluster."

Here's yet another reason why we should start calling the president-elect "Moscow Don": "Experts Say Trump's 'Policies' Dovetail with What Vladimir Put Would Like for Russia." 

I was on Amazon yesterday contemplating whether I wanted to buy a package of 1000 moist towelettes for thirteen bucks. Those things are helpful. 

I made some tater tot casserole this weekend. It was outstanding. 

I keep forgetting to do a "Sunday Hangover" post about the national championship. It's a difficult game to write about. For me at least. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Music Friday: "Good to Be Back Home" & "Ain't It a Sin"

I first heard this guy when watching an episode of Luke Cage. He was playing at Cottonmouth's club. 

I got his album yesterday and really dig it. 

Of course, I'm late to the party. Charles Bradley has been doing his thing for quite some time. 

Unfortunately, as his website notes, he had to cancel his recent tour because a cancerous tumor found in his stomach. I hope he beats it and gets back to creating and disseminating his art. 

Here are a couple of songs from the album he put out last year. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Music Friday: "Ain't No Man"

I finally got around to picking up the Avett Brothers album that came out last year. 

Many of the Amazon reviewers opined that this was the band's best album. I disagree. It's a decent offering, but I can think of at least two or three albums that I like better than this one. 

And because I've become even more intolerant of Christian references, some of the lines in the lyrics turn me off. 

Regardless, here's the opening song of the album. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

I had hoped that with the retirements of Brett Favre and Peyton Manning that I wouldn't have to see them on commercials as much. Unfortunately, those two bozos are shilling for all kinds of products. How disappointing.

As someone who consistently has to endure people equating "grammar" with "writing," Doug Hesse's article, "We Know What Works in Composition," should be spread to others as liberally as possible.  

One of the books Santa brought me is Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. It's a helpful, powerful, eye-opening history book that is accessible to most readers. Dunbar-Ortiz puts together strains of thought and incidents I had suspected fit together, but I never put together. Her "settler colonialism" thesis makes sense and coheres with how settlers squatted on and stole Indian land and waged genocidal "irregular war" against Native American tribes. In the recent chapter I just read, she explains why the 2nd Amendment was so crucial for taking indigenous peoples' land because without a large standing army, the military relied on volunteer militias to kill natives. This book pairs nicely with Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States

One of my early birthday gifts was Squirrel Solutions Seed Saver 200. I got it today and filled it up with cracked corn. I'm hoping I see more blue jays and woodpeckers with that seed. My other bird feeder was consistently being knocked down those furry rodent bastards, and this new feeder has a spring within it that covers the feed holes once the squirrel puts its weight on it. I haven't witnessed the feeder schooling a squirrel yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Knock on wood.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Chicken-Based Immunity Soup

Like I've done before, I made some poultry stock. 

Ingredients, Part I

I used these ingredients:
  • 1 carcass of a chicken
  • 1 turkey neck
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled and chopped into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed

I covered all that with water, got it up to a simmer, and let it ride for approximately four hours while skimming off the goopiness off the top from time to time. I then strained the ingredients into a pot and transferred the stock to a stock pot. 

Ingredients, Part II
Here are the ingredients post-stock making:
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped finely
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinley
  • 5 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 package of baby bella mushrooms, chopped thickly
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 package of chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • Olive oil
  • Smidge of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

I put olive oil into a cast iron skillet and cooked the onion, carrot, and celery till softened. I then added the garlic and mushrooms for a couple of minutes and transferred that all into the soup pot. 

Adding a bit more olive oil to the skillet, I browned the chicken and added some good dollops of the stock, so the meat doesn't get too dry. Once the chicken was done, I transferred that into the pot and added the spinach, beans, and tomatoes with chilies. Simmer for 10-20 minutes and serve. Salt and pepper to taste.

I made the soup but forget to use my bag of spinach, so the next time I make this I'll add in either spinach or kale. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Hangover: Washington

I had a bad feeling about this game before it was played yesterday afternoon. 

The Huskies scoring first didn't make me feel any better. 

But that was Washington's only score in the game, and as usual the Tide defense provided a stalwart effort in the win, limiting the impressive Husky offense to only 197 total net yards. 

Washington has one heck of a defense, so it took Alabama a while to get its stuff together. If you would have told me that Ridley caught only one pass in the game and Stewart caught zero passes, I would have been sure that the Tide lost the game. 

Bo Scarbrough had a school bowl record in rushing yards with 180 net yards. He had two outstanding TD runs, one of which was for 68 yards. 

The lack of offense in the passing game is major concern, however, as the Tide readies itself to take on Clemson on Monday, Jan. 9. 

Clemson looked really good against Ohio State.