Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Agree or Disagree: Society Sucks

Ran into a relative who I don't see often.

Her: What do you teach?

Me: Sociology.

Her: What's sociology?

Me: Study of society.

Her: Society sucks!

I find it difficult to refute her point.

Monday, November 28, 2016


What's your favorite possession?

My neighbor (a good guy) told me I'd like Sky Blue Sky by Wilco. But all I hear is Don Henley. Does anyone else think Jeff Tweedy sounds like Don Henley on this album? Musically, I like this album a lot. But it's like Don Henley is singing over the music and it's not working for me. I'll try more, but I think Hate it Here might be the only song I really like.

I've had this blog since 2011 and this is my first entry by phone.

Took one of my kids to the doctor today. He stayed home from school. We took a walk around the block in the afternoon and I held his hand. Holding hands is one of my favorite things to do.

As I get older, I get more sentimental. I cry easily. I'm an emotional dude. Dudes aren't supposed to cry but I'm less afraid of my emotions than I used to be.

If there were snow on the ground I might be shoveling right now. Instead I'm killing time.

Either Way is the Wilco song playing now. It doesn't do much for me. I do like the phrase "I will try to understand." I try to understand. There's a nice guitar solo in this song. I take it back. This song is better as it goes along. I think this is a winter album and suddenly I think I'll like this album a lot in February.

I promise to let you know.

Before then, maybe I'll start an Instagram and show you what I'm reading and cooking.

People are a mystery but that's a subject for another day.

Tell me, what's your favorite possession? I bet you have one.

Does a person count as a possession? I don't know. You tell me.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

It's a Good Time to Stop Watching Cable News

I barely watch CNN. When I do turn it on, there are a bunch of pundits around a table. What the hell is the point? Here's a few Republicans, some Democrats, a Libertarian, and a host. No thanks. Jeff Zucker flat out saying what we knew was true--that cable news is a game about ratings and profits--is reason enough to avoid cable news.

There is nothing you can do to get me to watch Fox News. I've written about them before. Sean Hannity is all in with the Donald. No thanks. Bill O'Reilly still plays the part of a working-class Irish guy despite the fact that he's been making millions of dollars for years. Hey, let's celebrate Megyn Kelly--she's the reasonable one, right? No thanks, I have no interest in feeding her brand or contributing to her next enormous contract.

And then MSNBC, starring Mika and Joe. What the hell is their deal with Trump? Whatever their relationship with Trump is, it's just too weird for me. I don't want to hear them talk about Trump in their capacity as friends or quasi-advisers or whatever. Yes, they'll be tough on him occasionally for cover and to appear fair, but I have no reason to trust what they say. Nor do I want to watch Chris Matthews ask 1,400 word questions or continue to constantly interrupt his guests. The sad thing is, he has good guests on his show at times. Recently, I watched a Hardball segment with Molly Ball (from The Atlantic). She was smart and insightful when she actually had a chance to say something. Problem is, Matthews kept interrupting her. And the guy just gets too damn excited about the sport of politics. MSNBC loves horse race politics. There are plenty of times that Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes offer something other than horse race politics, but they still are part of a corporate cable news landscape that offers superficial analysis and too often lapses into "he said, she said" coverage. This is a channel that parted ways with Melissa Harris-Perry, apparently because she didn't do enough horse race politics on her show. It's a channel with Brian Williams on air. Am I to believe that Brian Williams can give a reliable account of events, knowing he was suspended from NBC for not telling the truth???

Why do I continue to watch these channels knowing they will not deliver news and analysis in a responsible manner? I can't bear to watch them be played by Trump during his presidency. I can do without cable news. It's a good time for me to stop watching. As a news junkie I'll be looking for ways to fill the void. I intend to pay more attention to how BBC and CBC cover news, politics, and world affairs.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I'm Normally Cranky About Everything But I Like The Mannequin Challenge

Fads are the kind of thing that bother me, because I'm a crank. But I like the mannequin challenge. I think I like that it requires group work. It's coordination. Cooperation. It looks and feels different than the solo actor on social media doing their thing. It's nice to see people coming together to have fun. So while I'm still and probably will always be a crank, you can now add the mannequin challenge to the short list of things I like: classic rock, hip-hop, carbohydrates, coffee, mannequin challenge. Here's the Lloyd team (Buffalo's favorite food truck) doing it swell. Pro tip: if you're ever in Buffalo, hit up a Lloyd truck or go to their restaurant.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Say Not, "I Have Found the Truth"

Years ago, a student gave me The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It's a gift I continue to treasure.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Baking. Grading. Raking.

What a great day here in the 716. That's code for the greater Buffalo area. Started the day by baking banana bread. My long search for the best recipe has landed on Janet's Rich Banana Bread, courtesy of my friends at Allrecipes. It's the real deal, if you ask me. It's the only recipe I've used that includes sour cream. I mostly follow the recipe. I leave out the walnuts and add chocolate chips instead. I also suggest a dash of cinnamon. The recipe calls for sliced bananas but I mash them, because, as always, society can't tell me what to do.

Then I put on my professor cap and graded a batch of exams. This is me procrastinating and not grading more exams. I'll return to the stack in a moment.

You can tell that autumn agrees with me. It's a gorgeous fall day. The leaves are falling at an acceptable pace. These two trees in our front yard will soon be bare. Enjoy your weekend, everybody.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Take Us to the Weekend, De La Soul

The tremendous lyric "Wipe your Lottos on the mat." Whistling from perhaps the greatest song of all time, Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay. Sampling from Steely Dan, one of my all-time favorite bands. How does it get better than that?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I Found Bob Dylan. He Was Gone Till November.

I am in disbelief that it's November. Woke up today thinking of great November songs. There's November Rain by Guns N Roses, and there's this spectacular beauty by Wyclef Jean. I forgot Bob Dylan has a cameo in the video. "I'm knockin' on heaven's door like I'm Bob Dylan."