Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Tennessee

I was kind of surprised the yearly tradition of Alabama playing Tennessee was televised on the CBS afternoon game because the Tide were heavy favorites, but I guess CBS hadn't had the Crimson Tide for a game yet this season, so they went with the traditional rivalry. 

Cigars were smoked after this one. 

What I found surprising in the game plan for Alabama is that Damien Harris, one of the leaders of the team, didn't play much. Josh Jacobs started the game, and if remember right, Najee Harris was the second back in the game. There is bound to be some speculation on InteWeb message boards about all that, but maybe the offensive coordinator wanted to try a different rotation for whatever reason? Or maybe Damien is banged up a bit? I don't know. 

Hurts gave up a bizarre interception, but he looked good once again in a backup role. By the time he was in the game, the Tide offense was trying not to be jerks. So it was run play this way and run play that way. The game got pretty boring toward the end. 

I suspect the game in Baton Rouge will not boring in two weeks. Both teams have byes before they play.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Music Friday: "See a Little Light"

This week I've been listening to a lot of Bob Mould. 

The other day it dawned on me that Workbook came out in 1989. It's an outstanding album. Just plain damn outstanding.

Here's one of the more famous tracks from the album. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

I heard something the other day that flannel shirts are coming back in style. Finally after toting around those shirts from Kirksville, MO to Tuscaloosa, AL to St. Louis, MO and finally to Charleston, IL I'm ready to unleash them on the fashion scene. 

Well, to be truthful, I've been wearing them from time to time all these years. I just didn't really care what people think. 

My daughter went up to watch the Purdue-Illinois game on Saturday. Since she's been indoctrinated correctly, she cheered against the Illini. Of the Big Ten teams out there, that would be probably the last team I'd root for. 

When I go to a store of some sort, when I ask for something, and the clerk/worker calls me "boss" it bothers me. If I go to one of local grocery stores and ask for something from meat counter, the clerk might call me "boss." I don't like it. The guy (usually a guy) says something like "Sure thing, boss" or "Right away, boss." I don't get the reasoning behind calling me "boss." All I am asking for is some meat from you. I don't need you bringing up a word choice that denotes some kind of out-of-whack power differential. 

It kind of reminds me of Marcie calling Peppermint Patty "sir" in the Peanuts comic strip. 

Sunday Hangover: Mizzou

I went into watching this game with a bit of trepidation because of Diggs being out indefinitely because of the broken foot he suffered against Arkansas. 

The Tide's D played much better in this game. Granted, Mizzou's top two receivers were not in the game, but the Tigers do have a decent offense. 

I'm still not liking that teams are able to run on the D as much as they have. Mizzou didn't have a 100-yard rusher, but that Rountree guy has some really nice runs, runs that should have been stopped. 

The offense had two 100-yard receivers in this game. Irv Smith is quickly becoming one of my favorite players on the team. He didn't have a great game production wise, but he's a force as a tight end. 

The two guys in the middle of the line had outstanding games: Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis. In particular, Williams had two tackles for loss, a sack, and two quarterback hurries. 

Next up is a hungry Tennessee team. The game is at Knoxville, and the Volunteers are coming off a big upset of Auburn. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Music Friday: "Great Pumpkin Waltz"

I got busy yesterday, forgot about posting this, and then remembered to post later in the day. Then I went to a high school football game. I got home, watched some TV, and feel asleep on the couch. 

So I'm late. 

I was listening to an album from the Vince Guaraldi Trio yesterday, and this was one of the songs on the album. 

As a kid, I loved Peanuts. I would check out those hardbound versions of the comics all the time when I was in grade school. Snoopy was my hero even though sometimes I felt like Charlie Brown. 

But as Charlie Brown specials go, the Halloween one was probably my least favorite because I thought the Great Pumpkin premise was stupid. 

But it has a good song associated it. So here it is. 

The Great Pumpkin reminds me of the numerous times I've gone with the Nasty family to buy a bunch of pumpkins, spending a small fortune on gourds. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Arkansas

The Crimson Tide did not punt yesterday. 

The offense had two receivers have over 100 yards receiving (Jeudy and Irv). 

To my surprise, they did have a 100-yard rusher. Harris rushed for 111 net yards on 15 carries. 

I'm sure Coach Saban will have plenty of talking points about what the team needs to improve on defense. The Hogs' Boyd had a 102 net yards rushing. That's the first time in a while that a running back gained 100 yards on the Tide. 

The Tide did give up 31 points, which will get some players into trouble in the film room. However, 14 of those points happened in the fourth quarter when second- and third-teamers were in the game. 

Still, the Tide gave up 31 points to a rebuilding Arkansas team. I worry about the next matchup versus Mizzou. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Music Friday: "Couldn't Stand the Weather"

Here's a classic tune from the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan to start out the weekend right. 


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Louisiana-Lafayette

As is the Tide is wont to do in these kind of match ups, they did not cover the spread. It was looking likely that they would, but two touchdowns against the second and third team defenders did certain betters in. 

I'm not talking about myself. I don't bet on sports except for fantasy baseball and football. If you even consider that betting...

Regardless, the Tide did what it needed to do. Hurts got a big hand for playing in his fifth game of the season, which thereby burned one year of eligibility if he chose to transfer after he graduates unlike the certain quarterback at a national powerhouse who chose to transfer after finding out he was not the starter. 

But about the game: The Ragin' Cajuns got taken out behind the wood shed. 

There are lots of offensive highlights to the game, but Jaylen Waddle's performance stands out: 3 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown. 

Henry Ruggs III had another excellent also. He had 5 receptions for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Music Friday: "Birth Ritual"

Man, I wish Chris Cornell was still alive and making great music. He is easily one of top five favorite lead singers. 

Here's "Birth Ritual" from the Singles soundtrack. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

In a surprising development that surely is angering the White House, Moscow Don's tariffs on solar panels hasn't had the impact that many advocates of alternative energy had feared. It's hurting the sale of natural gas though because instead of buying from America, China is purchasing natural gas from Russia and Qatar. Read all about it from Juan Cole on Informed Comment: "Trump's China Tariffs on Solar Backfire: American Natural Gas Hurt, as US PV Sales Soar." 

I would imagine this Kavanaugh character getting accused of sexual harassment now from more than one woman makes the GOP fearful for how their defense of him is going play out in the midterm elections. At least from the early polling I've seen, the Republican Party has a problem with wooing a substantial portion of the woman vote. 

I don't know how this Supreme Court nominee confirmation is going to play out, but I'd keep my eyes on Collins (Maine), Murkowski (Alaska), Flake (Arizona), and Corker (Tennessee) if they are going to be any defections and no votes. 

I still believe Anita Hill, 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Texas A&M

I didn't get to watch the game in real time until the second half because I was coaching a fifth grade junior football game. 

The Tide gave up some big runs to Mond, the A&M quarterback, but for the most part the defense played adequately. It was not dominant like the butt-whooping that was Ole Miss, but it was a decent performance. 

What I've been consistently impressed with so far this season is how Irv Smith Jr. is becoming a major weapon for the offense. And heck, the other main tight end, Hentges caught two passes, both for touchdowns. 

As a running game goes, the running backs and offensive line had a fairly pedestrian day. 

Look for that to change when Alabama hosts the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayetter this coming Saturday.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Music Friday: "Holding On"

I've been digging The War on Drugs this past year since I purchased a couple of the band's albums. 

Here's "Holding On" from A Deeper Understanding.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

In the latest of installment of Moscow Don acting like the moron he is, it's pretty clear the US is going to lose this trade war. As the article "Trump's Nasty Fight with China's Middle Class Could Extend Trade War" notes, "As the trade war between the world's largest economies unfolds on the international stage, analysts say Trump's brash approach to try to win concessions from Beijing has provoked a public fury that could ultimately thwart his efforts." 

Also, as a scholar at the Brookings Institution informs us, "The middle class has been critical of the Chinese government, but now that anger is shifting to the United States. Chinese media has portrayed Trump as greedy and crazy." Emphasis should be placed on the latter adjective because economists think what he's doing is downright stupid.

The other day I was walking down the hall of the building in which I work. I had picked up a free book and was curiously reading through the table of contents of a book, interestingly enough, that is about reading instruction. As one of my colleagues was about to pass me by as I was reading and walking at the same time, he said, "Hey, that's the old school version of someone walking and staring at his phone." 

I like the old fashioned technology better. 

I haven't been in a fantasy football league for over a decade now, but I joined one with some folks this season. I'm enjoying it, but Sunday night's game brought out my rotowhoreness. 

I was up on my opponent by 30some points going into the Giants-Cowboys game, but the guy I was playing had Ezekiel Elliott on his starting roster. Late into the fourth quarter Elliott scored a touchdown to accrue six points. I lost the fantasy matchup 177.9 to 180. 

Damn it. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Apologies for my lateness. 

But that was an ass whooping. 

If you're an Alabama fan, that first play of game made you wonder what kind of night it was going to be. 

That sickly feeling didn't last too long because the Tide offense came out and picked apart the Ole Miss D with precise passing and basic running plays. 

I was kind of surprised that no back amassed 100 yards from scrimmage, but as is typical of these type of games, eight players gained over 200 net yards. 

The passing game shone brightly once gain with 306 yards receiving from various receivers. This offense has many weapons at receiver, and the quarterbacks are using all of them. The offenses in the past that tended to target one stud receiver -- Jones, Cooper, Ridley -- is no longer with us from what I can tell. 

Quinnen Williams led the team and tackles and is quietly becoming one of the best players on this team. In fact, he's played better, from what I can tell, than the highly touted Raekwon Davis. Christian Miller also had an outstanding game. 

Next up is Texas A&M at Bryant-Denny. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Music Friday: "I Stay Away"

I've been listening to Alice in Chains all morning. 

In honor of great music made in the glorious 90s, I give you "I Stay Away."

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Arkansas State

Yesterday was something else on a number of different fronts, so I'm late to posting about Saturday's game. 

For Tide fans, a 57 to 7 victory is sweet news. Both quarterbacks played well. The dynamic three wide receivers of Jeudy, Ruggs, and Smith all had at least one touchdown (Jeudy had a couple). And then Irv Smith and Kief had touchdowns too. 

For the most part the defense played well, but they are going to have to tighten up their ship when they travel to Oxford for the next game. 

The Rebels are a bit mysterious. They waxed the floor with Texas Tech in their first game, and then in their second game they fell behind the mighty Salukis of Southern Illinois and finally pulled away in the second half. 

All I know is that the secondary will get properly challenged because the top three receivers for Ole Miss are NFL-ready talent. That is a scary prospect for a young defense. 

Band Names Gratis Part Seven

As I did once in 2012couple of times in 2013, another time in 2014, one time in 2015, and again in 2017 I'm providing some band names I've thought of. Because I've done these for long and because a man doesn't change all that much, there may be some repeats. If that is the case, I apologize. 

Here they are:

Friday, September 7, 2018

Music Friday: "East Bound and Down"

To honor the memory of the late Burt Reynolds, today's Music Friday post features the song from one of his most famous moves, Smokey and the Bandit

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Stay Positive: Nike's Ad Campaign

As the Senate grills a hand-picked far-right probable Supreme Court justice, it seems more people are concerned about Nike's ad campaign that includes Colin Kaepernick. 

One of my Facebook "friends," a relative by marriage, immediately spread the following opinion piece among his social network: "Why I'm Boycotting Nike: Get Broke or Woke." 

A more measured and nuanced take on the whole situation is this article: "What Did Nike Just Do? Kaepernick Ad May Gain More from Gen Z than It Loses." 

It stands to reason that one of the iconic American brands probably did quite a bit of market research before unveiling this ad campaign. I'm sure they did some serious cost-benefit analysis before featuring Kaepernick in the campaign. 

As the second article relates, a number of companies have taken political stances, which is nothing new. I'm thinking Nike weighed short-term loses against long-term gains and went with the latter. 

As for me, I need some new athletic shoes. My pair of Saucony running shoes have lost some umph on their footboards. I haven't bought a pair of Nike shoes in ages, probably since the 90s, because I tend to like the styles and fits of Adidas and Saucony. When I do my next shopping spree for athletic shoes, I'm trying on some Nikes. 

Regardless, I still don't see how kneeling is a sign of disrespect. Not going out during the anthem or belligerently doing something else might be seen more accurately as disrespectful. 

People can stupidly burn their shoes or tear up their clothing all they want, but Kaepernick was advised by a veteran and 49ers fan way back when to kneel as a sign of respect. 

The rest of all this hokum is just dog-whistling.  

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sunday Hangover: Louisville

What an outstanding first start for Tua. 

The Tide lit up the Louisville defense with lots of big plays. 

The offense had 23 first downs with 10 via the rushing game and 12 via the passing game. Net rushing yards came out to 222, and net passing was 297. The Tide dropped 519 yards of offense on the Cardinals. 

The wide receivers looked good with Smith, Ruggs, and Jeudy being the main targets. Jeudy had two touchdowns. True freshman Jaylen Waddle had an outstanding long catch when he hauled in a slightly overthrown ball for a 49 yards. And I was quite happy to see Irv Smith, a tight end, have a couple of really nice catches. 

Waddle also had some solid punt returns, ones that reminded me of one of Alabama's best returners in recent memory, Javier Arenas. And Josh Jacobs showed what he can do on a 77-yard kickoff return for a TD. 

If I were going to be picky, I thought the highly regarded offensive line could have played better. The Louisville defense got too much pressure. 

The defense, in general, played okay. However, there were a number of times when receivers were running free for easy catches. They have to get that issue cleared up quickly. 

After watching Ole Miss tear up Texas Tech on Saturday with their three outstanding receivers, I'm leery of when we play them in a couple of weeks in Oxford. 

A player on the DLine who stood out in the game to me was Quinnen Williams. He had six total tackles with three of them tackles for loss for a total for 12 yards.

Next up is Arkansas State for the home opener. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Music Friday: "The Rake's Song"

The other day I was reminded of the genre of the rock opera. So I started listening to The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists. 

Here's "The Rake's Song." 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Stay Positive: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Last summer when we were in Ohio for my daughter's national dance competition in Sandusky, Ohio, we took a trip to Cleveland and had the pleasure of touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Hame. 

It was a fun experience. In fact, if I'm ever in the area again, I'd like to tour that place again. What follows are some photos/highlights from the trip. 

The front entry when we were there featured recent inductees, of which was Pearl Jam, one of my favorite bands. 

Next is Vedder's notebook, which shows a draft of "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town," aka "Small Town," from Vs.

And here's Vedder's vintage typewriter. 

The museum also had a feature exhibit on Mellencamp. Here's a draft of one of my favorite songs of his, "Longest Days."

Of course, they also like to feature the famous attire of the stars. Below of two of Hendrix's fly outfits. 

And what we have here is a draft of the famous "Purple Haze." 

Of course, guitars are going to be featured. It is the rock and roll hall of fame after all. 

Here is the late Chris Cornell's Les Paul. 

That one above and the one below, Cobain's,was in the case featuring Grunge. 


Here's one of Marvin Gaye's smooth-ass jackets.

And of course, the Beatles were featured prominently later in the museum. Here's McCartney's jacket from the early days of the band and Lennon's famous t-shirt. 

It was also awesome to see Muddy Waters's guitar and Bootsy Collins's bad-ass bass. 

Ringo's drum kit was one of the few kits featured when we were there. 

At the very end the Hall of Fame featured bands from the Midwest, which there were a lot. One of the highlights of that display for me was the demo tape from The Replacements. Lay it down, Clowns. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

As a Washington Post columns lays out, Elizabeth Warren is trying to do something about the widespread corruption in D.C.: "Elizabeth Warren Has Bold Ideas about How to Drain the Swamp." 

To me, the ideas aren't that bold. Rather, they are sensible and fair. First, "Warren’s bill would strike directly at the heart of this problem. It 'padlocks the revolving door' between jobs in government and in lobbying. It bans top elected or appointed federal officials from becoming lobbyists after they leave office — for the rest of their lives. It bans any corporate lobbyist, or any executive of a company found guilty of breaking the law from taking a job in the federal government for six years."

In addition, "Warren calls for banning Americans from getting paid to lobby for foreign governments — period. It would prohibit lobbyists from writing campaign checks or giving personal gifts to anyone running for or holding federal office. She would slap a tax on corporations that gear up lobby campaigns that cost more than $500,000. This would be complemented by her separate bill, the Accountable Capitalism Act , which would require the largest corporations to take all stakeholders into account, empower workers to elect 40 percent of corporate boards, and gain approval of three-fourths of the board before the corporation can use money for political purposes." 

Will it go anywhere? We'll see. With the current makeup of the Senate, I doubt it. But it does take aim at the Confederacy of Whores that is our U.S. Congress (and of course, Agent Orange/Moscow Don and his minions). 

If you're paying attention, Moscow Don is trucking in "narcissistic injury" and "narcissistic rage" as is explained by neuroscientist Bobby Azarian: "Trump's Downfall: A Neuroscientist Explains What Happens When a Narcissist Starts to Lose Power." 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

A few weeks ago we got a new dog, one of the breeds that I always wanted. He's an eight-year-old Brittany named Sampson. And the name is apropos because he's the tallest Brittany I've ever seen. Breed standard is 25-40 pounds, and he weighs in at 60some pounds. And he's not fat. 

He's just tall, really tall for that breed, so that maybe why his name is Sampson (after Ralph Sampson?). 

Our other dog, a twelve-year-old beagle-lab mutt hated him for weeks, but now I think she's gotten used to him. Knock on wood. She's a grouchy, territorial, old broad. 

The excellent deal about the new dog is that I'm walking him almost every day, so both of use are getting exercise. I think I might have lost some weight already or at least something off my waistline. 

If you ever want to get frustrated, try coaching certain fifth graders to play football. As parents know, there is a difference between hearing and listening. 

Listening and following directions will get you places no matter what your age. 

In good news, Spokane, WA had made news by committing to going 100% renewable energy. In what I hope are prophetic words, the state Chair of the Sierra Club said, “Cities across the country are demanding clean energy not just because it’s the right thing to do for the environment and public health, but because it’s cheaper in the long run than fossil fuels. Spokane’s leadership on this measure will help kickstart clean energy development in the Pacific Northwest and speed the transition to a cleaner, cheaper future.”

In bad news, Grist reports about Moscow Don's propping up of a dying and polluting industry is just going to hurt communities: "When Trump Tries to Bring Back Coal, These Communities Pay the Price." 

And as is related, "The EPA's Coal Plan is a Ripoff for Americans, According to the EPA." So the US is now looking forward to "more hospital visits, more sick days away from work and school, and the early deaths of up to 1,400 people each year, by 2030."

The change is going to cost a shitload of money for Americans: "EPA’s press officers aren’t exactly highlighting the findings that the proposal would leave Americans worse off. In a fact sheet, for example, the EPA trumpets its finding that ACE could save power-plants up to $6.4 billion in compliance costs. But wade into the details to look up that scenario (check out table 18 on page 165), and you see that the EPA weighs that $6.4 billion against health costs that run between $16.6 billion and $75 billion."

Music Friday: "Life to Fix"

Here's a tight little rock power trio that you should check out. 

And here's the band's makeshift video of its opening song on their new album, All Of This Life. It's some serious DIY. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

[Belated] Music Friday: "Afternoon Delight"

I'm way late with this. But I just got done watching Good Will Hunting, so I'm featuring this song for shits and giggles. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

The report broke this week about the widespread abuse allegations by Catholic leaders in the state of Pennsylvania: "Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Child Sex Abuse Lists Hundreds of Accused Priests." As the report relates, "'We subpoenaed and reviewed, half a million pages of internal documents. They contained credible allegations against over three hundred predator priest. Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records. We believe that the real number -- of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward -- is in the thousands." 

It's disgusting but not surprising. 

I try to stay away from drinking out of anything plastic for some good reasons: "Obesity and Diabetes: Two Reasons Why We Should Be Worried about the Plastics that Surround Us." 

Is anyone actually buying this bullshit about "Space Force" besides the sycophants of the right wing and FoxNews? 

Is Mexico going to fund it? 

I like what Bernie Sanders and his ilk say on the campaign trail for a number of reasons, but the fiscal conservative in me keeps asking me this question: "How are you going to pay for all of this?"

Since it's the start of the school year for many, I though I'd share this data from August's Harper's Index: 

  • Percentage of US public-school teachers who spend their own money on school supplies: 94
  • Average amount a teacher spends each school year: $479
  • Percentage change since 2008 in the average US public-school teachers salary: -4

Friday, August 10, 2018

Music Friday: "Good Kisser"

Why haven't any of you hipsters informed me about the wonderful music of Lake Street Dive? 

Nevertheless, here's "Good Kisser." 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

Here's something to look forward to. 

I"m reading ahead of the season in the comic books, so I'm interested in how they adapt the show to the plot lines of the Whisperer War. 

In not a surprising fashion, Moscow Don is back to his racist bullshit: "...You're Straight-Up Racist." 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Music Friday: "A Boy Named Sue"

Today I"m featuring a classic from Johnny Cash. 

Enjoy it. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

There are a number of reasons why I would not want to live in the Southwest, but the brutal heat is one of them. Check out the AP article "'Urban Island' heat tests Phoenix, Other Large Cities." As the article states, "Phoenix is warming at three times the rate of the planet as a whole." 

In somewhat more positive news, the citizens of Puerto Rico are turning to solar and wind power because of their storm-ravaged and inconsistent power grid: "Tesla, Others Help Puerto Ricans Go Solar Amid Power Turmoil."

Having seen the movie, I was interested to read the book Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I really enjoyed the novel, and I have to say the screenplay adaption was pretty true to the original. There are some significant differences in plot of course, but there hasn't been a novel I've enjoyed as much as Choke as far back as I don't know when. 

I'll be reading more of Palahniuk's work. 

Now I'm on to rereading Gaiman's American Gods. I just got done teaching a one-week course in world mythology, and I want to see the old Gods in action. 

 I wonder if there are any graphic novels based on Native American coyote myths? I know the graphic novel I bought based on Beowulf is pretty kick-ass. I wager some written about Coyote would be even better. 

The aspect of the coyote/trickster myths I enjoy he can be good, lewd, dumb, smart as hell, wonderful, vindictive, slightly evil, or magnanimous depending on the myth you read. Or a combo of some of the above. Coyote reveals the frailty and potential of human character. 

Coyote is us. 

We are Coyote.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Music Friday: "Never Said"

For whatever reason, I chose to listen to Liz Phair's Exile In Guyville today. I haven't listened to that album in a long time. It's a fine piece of work. 

Here's the video for the song circa 1993. Those were good times. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

In Pence's hometown, Moscow Don's tariffs and creating a great deal of uneasiness. Read all about it in "Dependent on Trade, Mike Pence's Hometown Takes a Hit due to Trump's Tariffs." As the author informs, "the president's trade war hits the company in two ways, affecting both its incoming parts, which will be subject to tariffs, and its own products, on which retaliatory penalties will be assessed by countries targeted by Trump."

There are some matters that are easy in the world. One that isn't is a trade war no matter what that pathologically lying nincompoop says. 

American companies are usually part of a globalized economy. 

As one person, a Republican, in the article justly argues, "I feel the current strategy is opinion-based, not data-based." 

That statement is a kind one. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

This is something I cooked this week. It is based off a recipe that can be found online, but I substituted fresh mushrooms for canned and added soy sauce for that bit of umami wang. 

2 lbs. of ground beef
Half of a Vidalia onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 and half cups of beef stock
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 and half cups of sour cream
2 containers of button mushrooms, sliced
Healthy smidge of soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bit of oil, brown the onion on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook through. Add the garlic for the last five minutes of cooking. 

Put the beef stock and paste into the crock pot, dump the ground beef concoction into the crock pot, and stir. 

Cook on low for approximately six hours. Add in the the sliced mushrooms, sour cream, soy sauce, and seasoning into the cooker and cook for another 45 minutes. 

Serve over rice of wide egg noodles. 

Music Friday: "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)"

The song title effectively sums up my mood lately with Moscow Don continuing to cozy up to Putin and Russia while we know they meddled in our election. 

And Republican lawmakers have no spines. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

Traveling around this weekend, I saw a few cars with the "Blue Lives Matter" flag on their vehicles. As much as I support good, smart policing (the kind that doesn't kill innocent people), people who use these flags are being associated with white supremacists. As related in a recent issue of Harper's, white nationalists and supremacists are beginning to the use the black and white flag with the blue line down the middle as a replacement for the Nazi flag and the Confederate flag. 

What's so hard about using the Stars and Stripes to show one's jingoistic flamboyance? 

This Saturday the Nasty family took in a Single A baseball game: The Lake County Captains versus the Cedar Rapids Kernals. We had great seats behind home plate, but two idiots behind us spoiled the game a bit. They constantly shouted at the opposing team, making asinine comments that I'm sure opposing players couldn't hear. 

Tomato paste is one of those pantry staples I should have on hand at all times, but I rarely have it on hand for whatever reason. 

The same goes for sour cream. 

If your detective senses are tingling, you might sense that I'm making beef stroganoff in a slow cooker. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Music Friday: "Present Tense"

On our drive up to Iowa, this song came across Pearl Jam radio station. The station was playing a concert from '98 at the Forum in Los Angeles. 

I had forgotten what a great song this is with its varied instrumentation. Here's the band playing on the Letterman show. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

There have been a number of articles speculating about how Democrats might take back the House of Representatives. 

We'll see. 

In addition, here's an article that focuses on a key Senate race, the midterm race to replace Bob Corker. In "Trade War Changing Minds in Senate Battleground," the authors recount how Moscow Don's trade wars might be significantly influencing the midterm elections because higher costs for steel and worries about international markets being less competitive for US products like pork. 

As the article relates, "An estimated $1.4 billion in Tennessee exports are threatened by Trump's trade moves, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a longtime Republican ally." To take a more comprehensive view, the Chamber notes "$75 billion in exports will soon be subject to retaliatory tariffs." 

The emphasis on pork exports makes me think of my home state of Iowa, a state that has more pigs than people. I wonder how all those pork and soybean producers feel now about this trade war with China?  

Make America More Tariffed Again? Not very catchy though...

Regardless, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is speaking out against a Republican president's trade policies, that act is an eye-opener. 

When I was a kid my parents put the old fashioned pencil sharpener in our detached garage. I always used to complain when I had to go sharpen pencils in the dead of winter in northern Iowa. During the rough winter months I'd have to put on a winter coat to sharpen pencils. 

So, of course, where do you think I placed our pencil sharpener? In the garage. 

The sins of the father...

The Washington Post article, "Scientists Link Record Heat and Power Outages in Southern California to Climate Change," informs readers about temperatures in southern California making demand for air conditioning outpace supply. This was correctly predicted by climate scientists over a decade ago. 

It's way past time to start listening to real scientists. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Stay Positive: The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner

I usually reserve my Stay Positive posts for good news.

I just finished the dystopian sci-fi novel The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. It was published in 1972, and Brunner's predictions are dire and depressing, but in many cases he's spot on with some of his predictions. It seems he was well read in scientific research, and he saw our future through dark-colored glasses. 

To use a fancy word to describe the novel, one could call it prescient. Some of the prose is just eerie. 

So here are some direct quotations from the novel that show his foreknowledge:

  • ...people seem to assume that any medical drug is good.
  • ...trying to discourage pig and chicken breeders from buying feeds that contained antibiotics, and they simply wouldn't listen
  • Praise be, if Anyone is listening, for those who struggle to save us from the consequences of our mad cleverness.
  • Page: And our biggest export? Quarrey: Ton for ton again, it's noxious gases.
  • For one thing the [Environmental] Acts don't have enough teeth. One can apply for all kinds of postponements, exemptions, stays of execution, and of course companies which would have their profits shaved by complying with the new regulations use every possible means to evade them.
  • Most papers were losing money.
  • Who do you know who doesn't have to take pills of some kind nowadays?
  • ...a folder of papers about chemicals in food.
  • It follows that the meek are chosen of God. I shall try to be meek, not because I want the earth--you can keep it, after the way you've fucked it around it's not worth having--but because I too should like to be chosen of God. QED. Besides, I like animals better than you bastards.
  • We can repent together, or we can die together; it must be our joint decision. 
  • Beaches fouled with oil and sewage, air so bad you can't go out without a mask, the water at your sink reeking of chlorine...
  • bees of California became extinct in the sixties
  • You and your ancestors treated the world like a fucking great toilet bowl. You shat in it and boasted about the mess you'd made.
  • a little Stephenson electric not meant for long distances, with only a hundred-mile range between rechargings
  • The rich countries have ruined what they own, so they're out to steal from the people who have a little left. 
  • right-wing mayors were axing their welfare budgets on grounds of economy
  • [fish] hopelessly high in dangerous substances such as organic mercury
  • that the news media were complying with the president's celebrated dictum, "If the papers know what's good for them, they'll print what's good for America."
  • You can't blame the people who can't hear the warnings; you have to blame the ones who can, and who ignore them. 
  • The government couldn't go on forever bailing out mismanaged giant corporations, even though it was their own supporters, people who ranted against "UN meddling" and "creeping socialism," who yelled the loudest for Federal aid when they got into a mess.
  • And every day senators and Congressmen who in public were inclined to turn purple at the mere mention of state control wheeled and sealed behind the scenes to secure for their home states the fattest government-financed contracts they could nab
  • We're divorced from reality, in the same way as the Romans went on thinking of themselves as invulnerable and unchallengeable long after it ceased to be true.
  • We had centuries of unplanned progress, and the result can justly be called chaotic.
  • You couldn't look to that straw dummy Prexy [President] and his cabinet of mediocrities for anything more useful than pious platitudes.
  • Commenting on the report just prior to departing for Disneyland, where he is slated to deliver a major speech on education, Prexy said, quote, Well, you don't have to go abroad to know our way of life is the best in the world. End quote.
  • For example, there's an inherent distrust in our society of highly intelligent, highly trained, highly competent persons. One need only look at the last presidential election for proof of that. The public obviously wanted a figurehead who'd look good and make comforting noises. 
  • When the politicians claim that the public isn't interested any longer in environmental conservation, they're half right. People are actually afraid to be interested, because they suspect--I think rightly--that we'll find if we dig deep enough that we've gone so far beyond the limits of what the planet will tolerate that only a major catastrophe which cuts back our population and our ability to interfere with the natural bicycle would offer a chance of survival.