Even Witches Have to Have Pockets

Just in time for Halloween: Mr. Rogers interviews the Wicked Witch of the West.

Why I don’t own a printer, and B) why even those who do own a printer need a backup plan, including a reliable thumb drive containing no executable files and familiarity with a local office store.

Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell to Make Us Miserable (The Oatmeal)

To Juicer or Not To Juicer

My Mom e-mailed after reading the previous entry and after posting that I had inspired her to get the blender out of mothballs. She asked:

I was wondering – is a juicer machine better than a blender for making the concoctions?
I’ve known some folks who were crazy for their juicer machines. Magical powers
and all that.

Believe me, I’ve done the research. My conclusion is that blending is the better option.

Juicing proponents claim that juicing will inject micro-nutrients into your body more quickly. However, the other thing it puts into your system more quickly is sugar, and without the benefit of accompanying fiber. I can’t figure that’d be good. Besides, to really do juicing, you need a pretty high-end gadget because you don’t want a centrifugal juicer because they oxidize the food, which affects nutritive content, so you need to buy a masticating juicer, which are more expensive. And they only do one thing (though some models do claim they can make nut butter, to which I ask, who is making nut butter?). And what do you do with all the pulp? I no longer have access to a massive composting system, so out with the trash would go all that good organic material.

No, I’m down with smoothies.

Now. Here are some nice videos from Stated Clearly:

What is the Evidence for Evolution?

Does the Theory of Evolution Really Matter?

Can Science Explain the Origin of Life?

Once again, OK Go lets your inner marching band nerd run amok.

How’d they do that, you wonder? With a DRONE. That’s right.

What’d I mean by “once again?” Dis. Only my very favorite thing on the Internet, ever:

More Songs About Buildings and Food

I noted with some interest recently a news story regarding the profit margin of a certain global conglomerate. In short: McDonald’s Profits Plunge 30 Percent. I mused: “Jeez. I only stopped eating there like a few weeks ago. I had no idea I was contributing so much.”

I was a rather regular customer, and I hate to admit this. It was an issue I think of time, or at least that was my justification, though I think perhaps it was more a matter of habit. Suffice it to say that, for a while there, at least a few times a week, the first nutritional effort of my day was a small fry, double cheeseburger, and small coke from McDonald’s.

I decided that had to change as I found myself feeling rather tired a lot.

Sluggish, I was, and chronically so. Difficult to leave my futon in the morning. Feeling like sleeping at my desk. Tired, and not just tired like drat, I tossed and turned last night. Tired. All. The. Time. I decided it was time to once again reference The Book.

The Book: SuperFoods—Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. I have a well-worn copy I’ve had since I discovered it in my 20s, and the last time in my life I felt truly great was partly in part to my interest in this fine book. I knew it was time to once again return full-blast to its sage advice.

The advice: Eat more beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, wild salmon, soy, spinach, tea, tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, and yogurt. Or at least these or foods that the book groups with these foods into “families.” For instance, the “pumpkin” family includes carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and orange bell pepper.

I started by giving the blender permanent residency on my counter. Rather than fries these days, the first thing I enjoy in the morning is a smoothie. Today’s, for example, included pineapple, cucumber, an orange, a (frozen) banana, a bit of fresh lemon juice, some ogret, and a handful of baby spinach. I generally have enough to enjoy some at the time and an extra serving to pack for later.

The smoothie regimen does more than just give an easy way to front-load my day with the good stuff. It also helps me logistically fill my crisper drawers. As a perpetual bachelor, it’s difficult otherwise to justify mass quantities of fruits and vegetables without an efficient way to create a dish that uses bunches and bunches of the stuff. Because I’m using more fruits and veggies in smoothies, I am able to keep more of those items in stock and not worry that it will go to the bad before I use it. So, I’m more inclined as well than before to include a spinach salad in my day’s intake.

A few other examples of strategies to keep me on this path:

I also use the technique known as “overnight oats” to get some more whole grains into my piehole. One scoop of ogret. One scoop of oats. Into an eight-ounce jar for a few hours, and you have a fine way to get your oat-y goodness. I do recommend keeping this simple, however; I was throwing blueberries in before, and that can get not so nice if it’s kept for more than a day or two. Simple. Vanilla ogret. Oats. That’s it.

And, I would not be anywhere on this new regimen without a chain restaurant establishment known as the Pita Pit. My standard order there is a small tuna salad with spinach, red pepper, black beans, and tomatoes, with a little shot of dressing or sauce (the sweet onion sauce is delicious). I find the pita sandwiches to be just too bready, and I do not trust that the “wheat” pita is actually whole wheat. The salad is quite generous itself, however, so the bread is not needed.

Also for the quick shot of protein a person needs sometimes: Bean & Cheese Burrito from Amy’s. These things are a basic protein at a nice service size and heat up in the micro-wave nicely.

G’ahead, ask: Have I noticed a difference?

Think I’d be blogging about if I hadn’t?

My energy levels started feeling more normal in a week. I also noticed other differences, but the main was that I was not feeling sluggish. And, I may be imagining it, but in the three weeks since, the trousers feel like there is a little more wiggle room. I also note a better mood generally. I just feel better. Imagine that. All I did was start eating more dark-colored fruits and vegetables, and I feel on the whole much better.

I wanted to share this here because you never know who might read it and go hey, maybe I could do with a bit more in the leafy green category nowadays. The rewards can be tremendous.

::Sipping beet juice::

More food talk: I am these days addicted to a television program called “Gilmore girls” and so it is likely that those joining our table on Thanksgiving will in addition to the usual sides will get to try a helping of “Jonny Machete.”

Also, I think this would be a nice model for the stuffing (‘dressing,” actually, since we don’t usually put the stuff in the bird).

Your Horoscope

Mashup Time

In Other News

Don’t Be a Cluck

Bemoan Meghan Trainor all you like: This week in 1976, this was the number one song in the United States.

My Dad and I were reminded of this by a now-discorporated Casey Kasem on satellite radio on the way home from a nice visit to the home country for the weekend. There is nothing like a rainy gloomy weekend in western Pennsylvania. We three, my Dad, my Grandma and I are lazing in the house on Saturday afternoon, the sky looks like Scott the Engineer and the rain is beating down on the deck. My Grandma laments that, back in the day, on a day like this, they’d play cards. Kids don’t play cards these days. Because television.

Meanwhile there are like five 11-year-old boys playing some pretty rough football outside. I mean for hours they’re out in the rain, running, screaming, clearly neither distracted by television nor playing cards. I can’t help but suspect that the reason I never was much of a card player was because that was what the old folks used to always reminisce about what they used to do on gloomy rainy days. For me it wasn’t television of course, nor cards, it was repeated listenings of The Final Cut, complete with headphones. :: GOTTA COMPETE WITH THE WILEY JAPANESE :: That was how I liked to spend a gloomy afternoon when I was a kid.

Dad and I ended up hitting the road, first for the obligatory time spent downtown (and hey, a shout to the Edinboro Hotel for some really good wings) and then a trip outside of town to yet another antique shop, where my Dad scored a great bargain. I won’t detail it, but if you understand Blue Ridge dishware, you’d likely be pulling your hair out.

Nice visit, nice weekend, nice trip. I can always go back to Edinboro.

Life Is a Series of Dogs

You remember Charlie.

Well, Charlie went and hurt himself this week. Rather badly. One of his legs ain’t working and another is gimpy. He probably messed up his back.

He’s only 7.

Anyway, the Farm is trying to raise some funds to help fix him. Premium donors will get a year’s worth of horse rides.

Here’s the link [Update: No longer active]. Thank you. I don’t think we’re ready for the next in the series yet.

Credit, Carlin.

I was just saying to myself, myself, I said, it’s about time for Prince to do SNL, isn’t it?

Eye no!

October 9 Nanu Nanu

I haz new pet dragonfly.

Or, I did. Little guy flew in the other night; he was big. He flew around a bunch, probably more frustrated to be in my little apartment than I usually am. Most because I reckon I didn’t have anything available for him to eat.

After a while, I stopped seeing him buzzing around. I hope he managed to backtrack his way to the window.

And, remember: “No, but if you hum a few bars” is perfectly acceptable on first reference.

And now a public service announcement from 8WK.

Mrs. Skanotto Halloween

Public Service Announcement

I’ve been looking for this:

“The advice for those who are throwing out ceremonial first pitches: Get the baseball early, pick at the stitches with your fingers for as many minutes as you can, and then aim at the catcher’s head. The ball should drop dramatically into his glove.” (Keith Olbermann)

I mean, you never know.

Prince Saves the World

Once upon a time, in a land very far away, the average Prince fanatic could count on at least one seminal album release per year.

You’d look forward to it as much as you looked forward to your birthday. For me, it was always pretty much a guarantee that I’d be in the record store that week, and that for the next week I’d be wearing new grooves into that CD. I’d usually be puzzled on first listen, then more accepting upon subsequent listens, then eventually fully adopting the entirety of it into my very being.

Then, for whatever reason, Prince got mad at Warner Bros., changed his name, and wrote “slave” on his face. In the process, he took on the distribution himself.

Which mean this nice steady source of sublime albums became less reliable.

Some releases were toss-offs, collections of stuff he never meant for public consumption, released just to fulfill his Warner Bros. contract. And, while I rather like Chaos and Disorder, the critics were lukewarm. Others were poorly distributed, one release just given away in a British magazine and never released in the United States. So by the time I finally saw the man live touring for Musicology, I didn’t feel like a current fan. I felt like I’d lost touch with this maniacal genius I’d come to crave.

Some refer to this as his “patchy period.”

So, here we are. September 30, 2014. Prince releases not just one, but TWO albums with his previous label’s backing.

I wanted to be that kid again. I wanted to go to the record store, to purchase the music, to take it home, to listen, and to continue to listen until it was accessible, then until it was joyous, then until it was simply inevitable.

Not disappointed. Not one little bit.

Art Official Age and PLECTRUMELECTRUM are instantly essential pieces of the Prince canon. I would, in fact, dare to say that Lovesexy is the last time Prince has been so supremely together. (Others I’m certain will think the same but will move the benchmark elsewhere, to Sign o’ the Times, perhaps?)

First, if you’re curious, you need to get these albums straight. Art Official Age is the solo project, a loosely constructed concept album around the story that Prince is somehow preserved for 45 years hence and wakes up in a futuristic society. Gladly, the concept does not overpower the music. The most irksome thing about this approach to me is that he can’t seem to not make an album without a concept moved forward by a broad with a nice voice. He did this on The Gold Experience; he had Kirstie Alley on 0{+>. But, okay, it’s a narrative device that works for him.

Besides, I should stop complaining. Lianne La Havas is rather pleasant to listen to.

Anyway. Art Official Age (yes, that is a pun) is the more standard Prince fare. Funky dance moves. Slow jams. The usual come-ons. It opens with “Art Official Cage,” a disco-tinged guilty pleasure that downshifts into “Clouds,” where we first hear the lovely La Havas lend her vocals. (For more of her work, give the iTunes Album of The Year 2012 a listen.) Despite the physics-impossible claim of a “place that does not require time,” and despite that some of the lyrics remind me a tad of “Sex Tips from Ronnie the Limo Driver,” “Clouds” is a pleaser.

PLECTRUMELECTRUM is the album by Prince and his supporting band, 3rdeyegirl. Giving the man props for raiding the metals sciences for his title. Opener “Wow” is a reworking of Liv Warfield’s recording of “The Unexpected.” From then on, PLECTRUMELECTRUM is pretty much a fun exercise in riff rock…so much so that by the time it gets to the title track, I’m thinking someone in that circle is listening to The Atomic Bitchwax lately. “BOYTROUBLE” is certainly a standout, featuring appearances by Lizzo and Sophia Eris (of “Batches and Cookies” doncha know).

Anyway. Prince, man. It’s good to have you back. I hope this is just the start of a new era for you.

See you next year.

Thursday October Seinfeld 1984

To Do Fryday

~ Take measurements for that little shelf I want to put in the batroom

~ Go to Record Archive and purchase PlectrumElectrum and Art Official Age

~ Get in the car and listen to PlectrumElectrum and Art Official Age

~ Bank

~ Farm. Get barked at by Charlie for 12 minutes straight.

~ Eat things

~ Haircut

~ Lowe’s : Clamp, Shelf

~ BBB: Humidifyer

What’d I forget?

That’s probably about it. Except: Expect some Prince blogging.