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.