Had a date with some lawn equipment today. Still working on taking down a troublesome Bradford pear tree that found the stash of Bradford pear steroids a previous owner buried. That tree is tall, strong, and very resilient.

CrabAppleLane Backyard - August 17, 2014
CrabAppleLane Backyard - August 17, 2014
Not how an arborist or a lumberjack would
do it but, then again, no one would ever confuse
me with either of those.

About today's QOTD: If you dont get it in 30 minutes, is it free?

18 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Lightning Crashes - Live - Throwing Copper
  2. The Saints Are Coming (Live from New Orleans) - U2 & Green Day - The Saints Are Coming (Live)
  3. Cocaine Habit - Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World
  4. I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons - Babel
  5. Greenback Boogie - Ima Robot - Greenback Boogie

Quote of the Day

In its filing to the FAA, Amazon said that so far it has only been able to test its drones inside its Seattle R&D lab or in other countries. Its goal is to get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less via the rotor-powered flying machines.

Mike Snider, USA TODAY

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "An interesting thing about Vincent D'Onofrio taking the ALS Ice Box Challenge is that it also gives fans an idea of what he will look like playing The Kingpin on Daredevil."

Saints win but ...

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Yeah, they won but there is a lot to be concerned about this morning.

Negative concerns:

  • My biggest concern today is seeing top cornerback Keenan Lewis limping off to the locker room. That's a big loss if it's serious.
  • The penalties. 22 of them this time. Get a sack for an eleven yard loss and commit a illegal hands to the face on the next play that gives the opponent five yards and an automatic first down? Not cool. Jimmy Graham is venting his frustration with the NFL for outlawing dunking the ball over the goalpost after a touchdown by, you know, dunking the ball over the goalpost after a touchdown ... twice. Got flagged both times. Not as concerned as some about this because the Saints coaches and his teammates will ultimately put a stop to it.
  • They had a good running game last week but a pretty bad one this week. To be fair, the patchwork offensive line saw much more of the Titans starters this week than they saw of the Rams starters last week.
  • The Saints had five takeaways and still only won by seven.

Positives:

  • The five takeaways.
  • Saints wide receivers got behind the Titans defense at least four times. When Drew Brees finally gets into a game, that's going to be a real problem for defenses. That's speed they didn't have last season.

Fantasy football players should take note of Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter. He had a good game. Caught touchdown passes from two different Tennessee quarterbacks. They may have something there although I don't know what kind of passing game they're going to mount once the season starts.

19 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Don't Fear The Reaper - The Mutton Birds - The Frighteners - 1996
  2. White Wedding - Billy Idol - Billy Idol - 1982
  3. Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) - Pink Floyd - The Wall - 1979
  4. Telegraph Road - Dire Straits - Love Over Gold - 1982
  5. My Wife - The Who - Who's Next - 1971

Quote of the Day

It's the first sign of a team that has no discipline and that's the first sign of poor coaching.

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints Head Coach

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "From what I saw and by all accounts I've read, Jake Locker's performance was a highlight as he led the Titans to a touchdown and a field goal before departing in the second quarter. The touchdown was to Justin Hunter, who had another in the second quarter."

I offer a few from around the yard today. Kind of a lazy day but I got a few things done.

CrabAppleLane Tiny Toad - Blending in - August 10, 2014
CrabAppleLane Tiny Toad - Blending in - August 10, 2014
 
CrabAppleLane Stump - August 10, 2014
CrabAppleLane Stump - August 10, 2014
SOmeone other than me could probably explain that leaf-shaped oddity
I didn't do it
CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - August 10, 2014
CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - August 10, 2014
Would love to see this thing add some diameter to its' trunk

Starting physical therapy tomorrow for some neuropathy in my neck, shoulder, and arm. I've been having some numbness in my right arm for a time now. I've had it before but it always went away after a day or two. This time, it has lingered. Since I had an appointment with my rheumatologist anyway, I told him about it. He asked me a few questions, asked me to perform some motions with my arm, and sent me for X-rays. It appears to be a pinched nerve in or around my neck. See QOTD.

25 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Sweet Baby James - James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
  2. Soldier Of Fortune - Deep Purple - Stormbringer
  3. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
  4. Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon & Garfunkel - Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
  5. Spirit In the Sky - Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In the Sky

Quote of the Day

Ten Funny Things
That Happen to Your Body
When You Get Old

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #438

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "If no one's around, I'm likely to sing along with Aretha Franklin's version of "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, but not the Carole King version."

Football is here

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The Saints take on the Rams tonight in St Louis. It's the first exhibition game for both teams. Football is back. There are a couple of mini-stories playing out tonight in St Louis. One is the bad blood between Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and just about the entire Saints coaching staff and a good many of the players and the other story, of course, is the debut of Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player. About the bad blood: There is absolutely no doubt about that but I agree with the QOTD and don't think it's going to spill onto the field in this game. The bounty scandal was mostly Williams' doing. All of the players were cleared and coaches Sean Payton and Joe Vitt and GM Mickey Loomis were punished mainly for not reining him in. Even though most of the defensive players he coached in New Orleans are gone now, there won't be a lot of guys in black and gold happy to see that guy. I'm sure Michael Sam will get more attention tonight than the Saints lowest draft pick but that's football, right? Drew Brees won't play because of an oblique injury. It's fairly minor by most accounts but there's no good reason to risk aggravating it in the first exhibition game. I'll watch until it starts getting sloppy and then I'll move on to other things.

27 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Long Hard Road Out Of Hell - Marilyn Manson & The Sneaker Pimps - Spawn - 1997
  2. Video Games - Lana Del Rey - Video Games - 2011
  3. Highway Star - Deep Purple - Made In Japan - 1972
  4. The Mummers' Dance - Loreena McKennitt - The Book Of Secrets - 1997
  5. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie - Diamond Dogs - 1974

Quote of the Day

The New Orleans media has had a lay-up storyline for tonight: a reunion with former bad-boy defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is out of Roger Goodell's penalty box, on the Rams' sideline and presumably ready to unleash every blitz package known to man against 33-year-old Saints backup Luke McCown and his seconds. (Not buying that one. Now if this was a regular-season tilt...)

Joe Strauss, St Louis Post-Dispatch

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Finally head coach Jeff Fisher has the defensive coordinator that he's always wanted in Gregg Williams. In 2012, Williams was handpicked by Fisher to lead the Rams defense, but then the "Bounty Gate" scandal happened and the Rams had to move on without Williams."

I offer an image today from the last weekend of spring vegetables. These are some peppers that I've been too lazy busy to pull up.

CrabAppleLane Peppers - August 3, 2014
CrabAppleLane Peppers - August 3, 2014

George W Bush writing a book about George H W Bush? What is he going to put into the book? What is he going to leave out? Many, who have no idea about either, will be glad to tell us, I'm sure.

Was told that the cemetery at Chalmette Battlefield was a must see. Haven't been out there since I was a kid on a school field trip but hope to get out there next month. Love cemeteries.

There's football tonight or some semblance thereof known as an exhibition game. The Hall of Fame Game is on between the Bills and Giants. For fantasy football players, the two new players to watch are both rookie first round wide receivers. Sammy Watkins of the Bills and Odell Beckham of the Giants. Unfortunately, Beckham won't play due to injury. Got news for you fantasy football players not from New Orleans. The real superstar rookie wide receiver this season will be the Saints first rounder Brandin Cooks. He's got a much better quarterback throwing to him than Watkins or Beckham and he has been lighting up training camp. You heard it here.

32 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. The Battle of New Orleans - Johnny Horton - The Battle of New Orleans (Digitally Remastered)
  2. My Wife - The Who - Who's Next
  3. You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive - Patty Loveless - Mountain Soul
  4. Let Your Love Go - Bread - The Best of Bread
  5. Diamond Dogs - David Bowie - Diamond Dogs

Quote of the Day

We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin'
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Johnny Horton, The Battle of New Orleans

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "The Battle of New Orleans was settled at Chalmette Plantation, where Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson's troops scored a final victory for the United States."

I offer a few from around the yard on this beautiful, but hot, CrabAppleLane Sunday.

CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - July 27, 2014
CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - July 27, 2014
 
CrabAppleLane Cardinal - July 27, 2014
CrabAppleLane Cardinal - July 27, 2014
 
CrabAppleLane Backyard - July 27, 2014
CrabAppleLane Backyard - July 27, 2014
 

It felt good to get that Chinese Tallow tree down yesterday. I ran out of daylight so I couldn't finish the cleanup. That's my task for today. I transplanted two of these Chinese Tallow trees from my sister's yard in Madisonville many years ago. They were just saplings then and I planted one in the backyard and one in the front yard. I have since cut both down. They're pretty but they're also pretty invasive and susceptible to rot. This one in the backyard was going to rot if I let it. It will be replaced by the Big-Leaf Magnolia.

39 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Nothing Else Matters - Lissie - Covered Up With Flowers - 2011
  2. On Every Street - Dire Straits - On The Night (LIVE) - 1993
  3. Warrior - Wishbone Ash - Argus - 1972
  4. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet - Rock Of The 70's - 1974
  5. Liar - Queen - Queen - 1973

Quote of the Day

I think it's unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighbourhood.

David Von Spreckelsen, Senior Vice President at Toll Brothers

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "If the trailer for 50 Shades of Grey is anything to go by, the film looks to be awful. From the offset, it's packed with sexist film tropes and lazy stereotyping."

Never read the book. Probably won't see the movie. Apparently, it's a thing, though. -Rob

CrabAppleLane Saturday

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Tree removal project resumes today if I can start the chainsaw. It's got some issues. I've been slowly removing a troublesome Bradford pear tree. It's too close to the house to just cut it down and let it fall where it may. Professional estimates ranged from the uninsured $450 to the fully-insured $560 to the totally ridiculous $900.

The Saints veterans joined the Saints rookies at training camp Thursday for conditioning tests. "Tight end" Jimmy Graham turned in the best time, which was very encouraging because he missed all of the OTAs and mini-camps waiting for his contract to get done. In Friday's first practice, projected starting wide receiver Kenny Stills left the field with an injury. So begins several weeks of breath-holding for ALL NFL fans. The Colts lost a RB for the season yesterday and the 49ers lost one today. No team is immune from it. It's Russian Roulette. The chamber lands on someone every year.

About today's QOTD: "Responded digitally" ... I like that.

40 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Bachman-Turner Overdrive Five Star Playlist:

  1. Let It Ride - 1973
  2. Hold Back The Water - 1973
  3. Don't Get Yourself In Trouble [Live] - 1973
  4. Gimme Your Money Please - 1973
  5. Not Fragile - 1974

Quote of the Day

In the ceremonials before the third game of the American League Divisional playoffs between the Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics, a Red Sox relief pitcher named Byung-Hyun Kim heard prolonged boos from his home-team Fenway Park fans when his name was announced, and responded digitally.

Roger Angell, The New Yorker

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Anthropologists are good at critiquing other anthropologists and themselves. We have a lot to be guilty about and we do a good job of pointing that out. The politics of anthropology, and the politics of the politics of anthropology are a major part of what we do. In fact, we're so good at doing it that I think at times we forget what we have actually done wrong. We spend more time reading dismissals of our ancestors than we do the ancestors themselves."

Armstrong.jpg

It was 45 years ago tonight that I watched Neil Armstrong take that first historic step on the moon. Where does the time go? I've since reconnected with someone who was in that room that night. It was her living room. Her older brother, my best friend at the time, has since passed ... entirely too young. He was only six months older than me.

Offer a few from around the yard on this overcast CrabAppleLane Sunday:

CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - July 20, 2014
CrabAppleLane Big Leaf Magnolia - July 20, 2014
So far, so good
 
CrabAppleLane Texas Star Hibiscus - July 20, 2014
CrabAppleLane Texas Star Hibiscus - July 20, 2014
Really putting it out tehre
 
CrabAppleLane Crepe Myrtle - July 20, 2014
CrabAppleLane Crepe Myrtle - July 20, 2014
Have always loved this shade

Lost CrabAppleLane for a few hours overnight. Appears my domain registration had expired. Back in June, I had signed up for "Private Registration", which I assumed included registration. It doesn't. It only keeps your information private. It's no secret why billing, marketing, and merchandising has gotten so complicated. It's because there's money for them in the confusion.

Saints' rookies report to training camp today being held this year at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Veterans report Thursday. This is Sean Payton's idea. He spent some time there a couple of years ago. He even caddied for his friend, Pro Golfer Ryan Palmer, in The Greenbriar Classic. Training camp in Louisiana is always well-attended and moving it is not the most popular thing they could have done but, if it helps the team, most fans will be OK with it. Not sure why rookies have to report 4 days ahead of veterans. I'm sure there is some orientation involved but 4 whole days' worth? There is a lot of excitement here over this year's Saints team. They were pretty good last year and they've made improvements on both sides of the ball.

46 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane "Moon" Playlist:

  1. Shootin' For The Moon - Sonny Landreth - South Of I-10 2
  2. Moon River - Louis Armstrong - Sings Back Through The Years
  3. Moonshadow - Cat Stevens - Cat Stevens: Greatest Hits
  4. Sisters Of The Moon - Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
  5. Between Sun & Moon - Rush - Counterparts

Quote of the Day

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

Neil Armstrong, Astronaut - July 20, 1969

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "The sad fact is, the Apollo 11 mission would never happen today."

Probably true ... and very sad, indeed. -Rob

I offer three from CrabAppleLane this afternoon:

CrabAppleLane Texas Star Hibiscus - July 13, 2014
CrabAppleLane Texas Star Hibiscus - July 13, 2014
Just starting to bloom
 
CrabAppleLane Dragonfly - July 13, 2014
CrabAppleLane Dragonfly - July 13, 2014
Wish these moquito hawks would eat more moquitoes
 
CrabAppleLane Hovering Hawk - July 13, 2014
CrabAppleLane Hovering Hawk - July 13, 2014
Looking for its next meal or, more likely, soaring because it can

The World Cup final is well into the second half now and Germany and Argentina are dead even at nil ... otherwise known as scoreless or zip, zero, or nada here in the US. I know ... big surprise.

Started on a tree removal project a couple of weeks ago. So far, so good. Haven't done any damage to the house although a nice hydrangea Patsy has been cultivating took a bit of a beating yesterday when one of the branches fell on it. Got a ways to go but I'm optimistic I can get it all done. Doubt anyone would ever hire me to do this. I'd charge too much.

darkplaces.jpgJust finished Dark Places today. I was just a little bit in when I almost put it down. This is not really my kind of story. It's very, ahem, dark and everyone in it is horribly damaged. If that wasn't enough, there's an event that happens almost immediately and it's the kind of event that always puts me off. Finally, the rest of the story then takes a while to unfold. Normally, I would have been "three strikes, you're out". Maybe it is a little too long but the last third of the book compelled me to the finish. It's a tough read for quite a while but I enjoyed it. The end wasn't perfect but that's appropriate because it shouldn't have been. As I was looking for some links and graphics to go with this entry, I discovered a movie is in the pipe and is due out on September 1. Curious casting choice, though. In the book, the main character, Libby Day, is short. In fact, her size works both for and against her in the book. The casting director chose Charlize Theron, who is an Amazon, to play her. This will be a pretty long movie if they can squeeze even 50% of the material in. It's one I'll probably have to watch alone.

Secured tickets for the Saints regular season home opener versus the Vikings. The last game I attended was the Tampa Bay game in 2007. Looking forward to it. The Saints and SuperDome have enhanced the gameday experience and made some additions, such as the Rebirth Statue, since 2007 and I can't wait to see them in person.

53 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Wake Me Up When September Ends (Live At Foxboro, MA 9/3/05) - Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends (Live) - 2005
  2. One Headlight - The Wallflowers - Bringing Down the Horse - 1996
  3. Rebel Yell - Billy Idol - Rebel Yell - 1983
  4. Beggars Day - Nazareth - Hair Of The Dog - 1975
  5. Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Pink Floyd - Animals - 1977

Quote of the Day

I was not a lovable child, and I'd grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul and it'd be a scribble with fangs.

Libby Day, Dark Places

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "So I'm trying to look forwards and focus on the second half of the year which is full of Win on an epic scale. I want to tell you about it and then ask you a question."

CrabAppleLane Sunday - Burger Edition

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Just two from the yard today on a hot, CrabAppleLane Sunday.

CrabAppleLane raccoons - July 6, 2014
CrabAppleLane raccoons - July 6, 2014
Not the best image - Couldn't go outside for fear of disturbing them
 
CrabAppleLane Spring Garden 2014 - Almost all gone - July 6, 2014
CrabAppleLane Spring Garden 2014 - Almost all gone - July 6, 2014
Harvested one last tomato and pulled up the bushes
Peppers are still producing - Patsy made delicious
stuffed peppers last night. They're beckoning me now
 

Just a few of my preferences for the burger aficionados out there: Here nor there but I butchered "aficionado" on my first try. I guess I've never seen it or used it in writing because I was off by a mile. Anyway, back to the point. I'm a fast eater. It comes from years of eating at my desk and it's something I wish I'd never learned to do. I only state that because I get burgers these days that I have to finish with a knife and fork because the bottom half of the bun has disintegrated. Put that on the "don't like" side of the ledger and is the biggest burger sin in my book. Not wild about ciabatta bread or Hawaiian buns on my burger, either. They're too sweet and better-suited for pulled pork and other BBQ sandwiches to balance the sauce. The bun should complement the burger, not compete with it. Sesame seeds are preferred but not a dealbreaker. Thickness of the burger is irrelevant to me. If it's cooked all the way through, I like them thick or thin and anywhere in-between. Burgers blended with pork or pork sausage are fine by me, too. I like cooked chopped onions on some burgers and I like raw chopped onions on some burgers. I don't care for sliced onions and fried onion rings on a burger ... well, just not for me, thankyouverymuch. Oftentimes, I prefer no onions at all. I like cheese on my burger. I like cheddar best but also Havarta, American, Swiss, Provolone, and most of the "Jack" cheeses. Lettuce, tomato, pickles, and cole slaw are OK on my burger but not required. Please don't put Romaine lettuce on my burger or any other sandwich of mine for that matter. I can tolerate it in a salad but it doesn't belong on a sandwich. As for condiments, I'll take mayo but just a little and ketchup but just a drop or two except for the onion burgers at Lee's. For those, I want mustard and those onions only.

Jimmy Graham had his grievance go against him this week. The arbitrator ruled he was a tight end but he left himself wide open to appeal by coming up with an arbitrary 4-yard benchmark. He determined that Graham lined up within 4 yards of the tackle more often than beyond 4 yards so that made him a tight end. Alrighty then. Despite that silliness, I don't think it's going to make much difference. The Saints are going to do right by him. They always do. They're not cheap. New Orleans is now one of the places players want to be and it's because they're committed to finding the best players, putting them on the field, and putting them in position to have success. Having an elite head coach and quarterback add to the attraction. This deal will get done and everyone will be happy.

60 days until football season ...

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Last Five Five-Star Purchased Playlist:

  1. Heaven Knows - The Pretty Reckless - Going to Hell - 6/26/2014
  2. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison - Blowin' Your Mind! - 6/24/2014
  3. We Just Disagree - Dave Mason - Let It Flow - 6/8/2014
  4. Can't Play Dead - The Heavy - Can't Play Dead - 6/7/2014
  5. Hush - Deep Purple - Shades of Deep Purple - 5/28/2014

Quote of the Day

The architecture of the U.S. Supreme Court Building is rife with turtles. There are turtles holding up the lampposts in the courtyard and turtles engraved in the stone decor. You can buy turtle coffee mugs at the gift shop. The turtle is said to represent the slow and deliberate pace of justice. This is an institution, the turtle tells us, that moves slowly, deliberately, and removed from the knee-jerk pace of the political branches.

Dahlia Lithwick and Sonja West, Slate.com

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a blistering dissent opposing the conservative majority's decision to let small, private companies refuse to pay for health insurance that covers birth control."

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