Friday, February 23, 2018

Music Friday: "Mansions of Los Feliz," "End Times," & "Little Bird"

I gave a bunch of presentations that kept me busy all day. Then I had to drive home from Chicago. When I got home, I went to a high school basketball game, and the home team surprisingly played well and won. 

So I'm late getting this posted. 

On the way up to the Chicago suburbs, I listened to End Times, and these are a number of the tunes I enjoy on that opus. 


Friday, February 16, 2018

Music Friday: "Human Wheels" & "Love and Happiness"

For today's Music Friday, I'm offering two of my favorite Mellencamp songs. 

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

Because I "like" Vice News on Facebook, the article "What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Believing in God" came across my feed this morning for whatever reason. It's an interesting article that incorporates personal experience with neurological research. Here are some snippets that seem noteworthy: 
  • Over time, religious ideas become rewarding in and of themselves. This is a powerful, unconscious motivation to keep believing.
  • "Religion works exactly like a drug—like cocaine, or methamphetamine—or like music, or like romantic love," says Jeffrey Anderson, a radiology professor at the University of Utah who studies religion in the brain. "
  • New beliefs join the same neurological framework as old ones. It's even possible that an existing belief network paves the way for additional beliefs. 
  • This scientific descent from religion is common. Pew's 2016 survey on why now-unaffiliated Americans lost faith yielded explanations such as, "Rational thought makes religion go out the window," "Lack of any sort of scientific or specific evidence of a creator," and "I'm a scientist now, and I don't believe in miracles."
  • Eventually, non-religious people who once had religious epiphanies get those same feelings from being in nature, or from seeing profound scientific ideas expressed, Anderson says. "The context changes but the experience doesn't." Most non-religious people are "passionately committed to some ideology or other," explains Patrick McNamara, a neurology professor at Boston University School of Medicine. These passions function neurologically as "faux religions."

I stopped by my local CVS the other and discovered a fifth of Jack Daniel's Rye Whiskey on the shelf. I had read years ago that Jack Daniel's was intent on producing a rye whiskey, but I didn't know it had come out yet. 

I have an on-again off-again relationship with rye whiskey. I like that a great deal of the whiskey made during the early days of the Republic was strongly rye. I also enjoy rye whiskey when it's spicy. At one time Wild Turkey provided an outstanding rye whiskey at 101 proof, but nowadays they reduced the proof probably because of the penny-pinchers. Jim Beam rye is not good at all. Old Overholt is terrible. Templeton Rye is a marketing scam of the highest proportions. Bulleit Rye is way overpriced. Whistlepig is out of my price range. Sazerac is respectable. And Rittenhouse is a solid, consistent offering. So it is with some trepidation that I bought a bottle of Jack Daniel's rye because there are so few rye whiskeys I'm willing to pay for. 

I can't say I'm spurred to give it a ton of praise, but it's a solid offering with a 70% rye mash bill. My complaint is that it's only 80 proof. I like my bourbons at a high proof for more flavor, but I will say JD Rye is a tasty offering from the massive conglomerate Brown-Forman. It's the best thing to come out of Tennessee since Bessie Smith. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Music Friday: "Bop to the Top"

In honor of my lovely, smart, charming, and talented daughter, I hereby provide "Bop to the Top." 

She is playing Sharpay tonight in High School Musical Jr. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Random Notes from a Crank

In the 2018 recruiting class, Alabama signed a punter named Skyler DeLong. I hope his performance lives up to that name. It's going to be hard to replace the consistent performance of J.K. Scott the past four years. 

It's like his parents knew he was going to be a punter. 

It's like naming your son Jeeves, and he becomes a butler. 

Or naming your daughter Trixie, and she becomes a prostitute. 

About a week or two ago I started Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses S. Grant. Chernow is the same author who wrote the biography of Hamilton that spurred Miranda to create the musical Hamilton. I doubt we'll see any musicals about Grant in the future, but so far it's a fine piece of writing. 

It's quite a tome, clocking in at almost a 1000 pages, and very detailed. I don't know much about Grant, so I'm learning a lot. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Music Friday: "Akira Kurosawa"

I picked up the new album, Choke Cherry Tree, by the Ben Miller Band. I dig it. 

I need to check out the band's previous albums. 

Here's a tune from the new one. I've never watched an Akira Kurosawa film, but now I want to.