Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jottings

Here's some stuff from the interwebs I came across recently and enjoyed...



Pardoned Turkeys: Where Are They Now from McSweeney's

Marshmallow

Pardoned by George W. Bush, 2005. Founder and administrator of Building Dreams, an Ohio-based charity which offers counseling and job placement services to recently-pardoned turkeys. Marshmallow’s best-selling memoir, I Beg Your Pardon, and numerous appearances on Hardball With Chris Matthewshave brought national attention to the cause of pardoned-turkey rights.

Related
    Presidential Turkey Pardoning: The Turkey Hunger Games from the good folks at Priceonomics.

The National Turkey Federation typically selects around 80 newly-hatched turkeys to be considered for the ceremony. They’re then fed a “grain-heavy diet of fortified corn and soybeans” to bulk them up, with the end-goal in the 50-pound range (more than the weight of most dog breeds). From there, the flock is narrowed down to the “20 largest and best-behaved,” and they embark on their next phase of training: preparing for fame. 



Are You Giving the Shaft to Your Future Self? blog entry from Mr. Money Mustache:

Every financial transaction you make today is not so much a deal with a mortgage company, car dealer or department store. It’s a deal with your future self. After all, when the 20-year-old version of you borrowed $32,000 to buy that fully loaded Honda Accord, who ended up having to pay it back? The past self got the new car with no responsibility, and her successor in the present holds the result: a debt hangover and a car that’s now worth only a tiny fraction of the new price. Past You gave Present You the shaft.


Too Many Cooks video from Adult Swim. An excellent rip on '80s and '90s sitcoms:






Ski porn:



The Shadow Campaign // Whitewash from DPS SKIS on Vimeo.



Minnesota Gophers knock off Nebraska football team. Big win for the Gophs.






Why Pop Country Music Sucks so Bad, 2013 Edition

Friday, November 21, 2014

Best Bands of All Time - #5 Afghan Whigs

#5 - Afghan Whigs



I'm certain you've been silently clamoring for the mathematically convenient fifth addition to my Best Bands of All Time after I left you with the legendary Run Westy Run at #4 almost three years ago. While the silence of your clamoring hasn't exactly kept me up at nights, it may have mystically transmitted to me the mesermizingly smooth and gritty sounds of Cincinnati's Afghan Whigs over the past few months.

The video for 1993's "Gentlemen" captures their essence quite well...



The Whigs were one of my favorite bands of the '90s but somehow I got away from them. Perhaps it was because they quietly faded away in 1998 after their album 1965. Perhaps it was because lead singer Greg Dulli went on to continue his beautiful work with the Twilight Singers.

I dunno.

The Whigs wormed their way back into my regular playlist a couple months ago when I began taking long walks. They haven't left. For some reason I decided to give 1965 another listen after never really appreciating it. I suppose it was their new album and tour (that I did not attend) that brought them back to me. At any rate, they have this gorgeous style of soulful white-boy rock unlike any other.

It's clear now that the 1990s are when rock music peaked.


The Deets
If you could only buy just one album: Gentlemen
Best iTunes track to sample: "Fountain and Fairfax"
Best lyric: "Don't forget the alcohol / ooooh, Baby / ooooh, Baby" from "Milez is Ded" off of Congretation (1992)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter Biking, Denver Edition

Winter rolled rapidly into Denver yesterday so I raced to prep my bicycle for the season.

Riding last night through the snow into the park and to the bar to meet the girl was sublime - far better than the date itself. 

The best thing about cycling in winter is the silence, the neighborhood's noises muffled by fresh snow. It was cold so my path was mine alone - no pedestrians, no cyclists and few cars. 

The second best thing is the solitude. 

The third best thing is the cold beer waiting upon my return. 

Here's my bike with newly mounted studded tires.

This will be my first winter living in a place as balmy as Denver and it is my understanding that the snow here rarely stays around for more than a few days. The studded tires will be overkill for much of the season so when the roads are clean I'll ride my other bike. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

My First Pheasant

This past weekend I went pheasant hunting for the first time in my life. Well, actually, I went hunting for the first time in my life (not counting that time a friend and I went walking in the woods for an hour with guns looking for grouse and didn't see even one).

Hunting seems to be one of those familial pastimes that gets passed down through the generations, primarily from father to son. My father didn't hunt but he did fish on occasion, so I grew up fishing on Minnesota lakes a few times a year but never really got into it.

In my youth, my hunting opinion was shaped by those around me who I saw go hunting and it wasn't pretty. In my high school it was mostly the stupid or underachieving kids who hunted so I did not view it in a favorable light. Hunting seemed like more of a redneck lifestyle (and undoubtedly it still is for many rednecks around our nation).

But over the years I met more gentlemanly hunters who changed my view. In Montana, virtually everybody has a gun and hunts no matter their political leanings. Hunting is seen there as an honorable way to spend time outside with family gathering food for one's table.

A few weeks ago my good friend Andrew invited me to join him pheasant hunting on some land his family owns around Onida, South Dakota. I was excited to get the invitation as I've been wanting to explore this sub-culture for some time now.



Onida is right smack dab in the middle of South Dakota, 30 miles north of the capitol of Pierre. It's a small town of 750 people that has one really great little bar and a pretty active "business district".


The house we stayed in belongs to Andrew's aunts and was conveniently located 1 block off Main St. and within spitting distance of the excellent Blue Goose bar where Thursdays are $1 Busch Light days.



I think this land is beautiful -- the golds and greens and browns and blues and greys reflect the simple beauty of the people who have farmed this soil for generations.


Sunset is particularly spectacular but this was the best my simple phone camera could capture. I'd fired a shotgun for the first time on that grouse excursion a year ago and in Utah had a friend who took me to the pistol range a couple times, so I'm not unfamiliar with guns. But shooting at a moving target proved to be something of a challenge for me.


The first day I went out with Andrew and the two of us walked tree lines and fence lines and ponds -- the breaks and inconsistencies in the otherwise farmed landscape -- looking for those places where a pheasant could hide in some long grass or reeds. We saw about 15 male pheasants and I was 0 for 20 in my attempts to bring one down.


But Friday morning brought better luck. We were now a team of five hunters and one dog moving between several different property locations around Onida. Around lunchtime I finally got a lucky shot and brought down my first bird. In fact, this was the first creature I think I've ever killed that's bigger than a mosquito. The thought of killing didn't really bother me because I knew I'd be eating it and, after all, isn't it important for us to all understand that the chicken at the grocery store wasn't just created under plastic wrap like that?


I shot one more that afternoon and another on Saturday and was thrilled with the experience. First of all I spent time walking some gorgeous country with good friends. Second, I got to interact with people that I normally wouldn't come into contact with -- the residents of small town rural South Dakota. I think this was the longest amount of time I've ever spent in a town that small. And third, I actually got me a couple birds.

Will I be running out tomorrow to buy myself a shotgun? No, but I do believe I'll hang on to my paradoxically blaze orange- and camo-colored truck stop hunting cap.