Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Working Blue


A sure sign that progressives are losing a debate is when they shift from their primary arguments (such as they are) and resort to strategies heavy on deflection, misdirection, and obfuscation. Of course, those tactics (along with time-tested logical fallacies like the straw man and the red herring) usually show up pretty early in the proceedings, as progressives are not known for their logical and evidentiary rigor on the contentious issues of the day.

We certainly appear to have reached this point with regard to the Planned Parenthood investigative videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress.

Bill Nye, Science Propaganda Guy
Exhibit A is Bill Nye. Although his only formal credential is a B.S. in mechanical engineering, he has parlayed a breezy and entertaining delivery style into a career as "The Science Guy." Nothing wrong with that, of course. My generation had Don Herbert, aka Mr. Wizard (about whom Nye wrote a touching obituary). Like Nye, Herbert wasn't an actual scientist (he was an English and General Science major who wanted to be an actor).

The problem I have with Mr. Nye at the moment is his recent attempt to use his celebrity status to influence the ongoing debate about abortion.

Specifically, he produced a witless YouTube video in which he attempts to use "science" to paint pro-life advocates as ignorant religious zealots. And, of course, his celebrity has led some people to tout his video as a brilliant critique of the pro-life side of the debate. All that tells us is that the folks praising the video either didn't watch it, or decided to praise it in spite of its obvious flaws because it argues for the "right" side of the issue (i.e., their side).

Don Herbert would have been offended to see such an amateurish, pseudo-scientific polemic held up to the public as "science." Mr. Nye clearly cares more about politics than scientific truth.

"Babies come from...from...the stork? No?"

The urge progressives have to wave "science" around like some sort of trump card would make more sense if they actually, you know, understood the science. They mostly don't.

Another recent example of this kind of thing comes via pompous jackhole Chris Cuomo, currently scamming CNN out of paycheck by pretending to be a journalist. A few weeks ago, he did an interview with Senator Marco Rubio in which he demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge about basic biology.

That Cuomo thinks himself qualified to discuss these issues at all, much less to take such a high-handed attitude, is astonishing. Then again, maybe it isn't...

"I only wear the actual clown makeup at parties."
Then there's this guy:

"BREAKING: The videos we've been telling you didn't exist for weeks have been analyzed by experts who say that they might, maybe, possibly show what was claimed, although we will use this as a pretext to say we have proof the pro-life folks are lying."
--Michael Scherer, TIME Magazine

"Information? I don't need no steenkin' information!"

And for today's progressive pièce de résistance, we have Washington Post columnist and occasional MSNBC circus clown Jonathan Capehart, who continues to defend Planned Parenthood despite admitting that he hasn't watched and won't watch the videos that are at the heart of the current debate (pun intended, always).

As someone who devoted his professional life to teaching young people how to reason and how to argue persuasively, I don't know whether to laugh or cry that such rhetorical incompetence gets so much undeserved attention.

"False dilemma. You can laugh and cry."

A fair point...

Sports Bummers

The primary reason most of us follow sports is so that they can serve as a distraction from whatever it is about our lives that makes us unhappy. In my own case, my need for such distractions is dire. And so, when even my sports teams are making me unhappy...

My beloved Missouri Tigers, having been upset by Kentucky 21-13 last Saturday, now have to face SEC East rival South Carolina without their No. 1 quarterback.

The university announced today that Maty Mauk is suspended for this week's game due to an unspecified violation of team rules.

True Freshman Drew Lock will lead the Tigers against the Gamecocks. Needless to say, a third consecutive SEC East title and berth in the SEC Championship Game will be almost impossible for the Tigers to achieve. Where is the Music City Bowl held, again?

My beloved Kansas City Royals continued their September Swoon last night, losing 4-2 to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. It was their second straight loss (on what was originally scheduled to be a day off on Monday, the Royals played a makeup game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, thanks to a rainout earlier in the season, and lost 1-0 in 11 innings). Johnny Cueto's record fell to 3-7, 4.95 ERA since joining the Royals, and the Royals most likely won't start him in Game 1 of the ALDS.

For the month of September, the Royals are 10-17, and despite having the best record in the American League for almost the entire 2015 season are now trailing the Toronto Blue Jays for that honor (and home field advantage should the two teams meet in the ALCS).

On Tuesday it was announced that closer Greg Holland would have the Tommy John Surgery on Friday in Los Angeles. It wasn't unexpected, but it's still depressing.

It might have been unreasonable to expect my beloved Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Super Bowl favorite Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, especially after the Chiefs had been stewing over their gut-wrenching last-second loss to the Denver Broncos in their previous game. But would it have been asking too much to at least play well and be competitive?

The Chiefs did neither of those things, and lost 38-28 on Monday Night Football in a game that was definitely not as close as the score indicated (the Chiefs trailed 24-7 at halftime). The offensive line in particular played horribly, and as a result QB Alex Smith had a dreadful night. He looked worse than ordinary.

Of course, Chiefs fans are no strangers to disappointing play from former San Francisco quarterbacks. It's something of a Chiefs tradition, in fact.

Do you think I exaggerate? Steve DeBerg played for the 49ers before coming to Kansas City. So did Joe Montana. So did Steve Bono. So did Elvis Grbac. From 1988 through 2000, the Chiefs starting quarterback in almost every game was an ex-49er. And now we're trying desperately to win with yet another San Francisco castoff.

The Chiefs now have to hit the road again to play the 3-0 Cincinnati Bengals. Great...

Damn It, Nabisco!

I'm trying my hardest to stay away from fattening treats, and you go and do this?

There are no words for this level of evil...

No. No I do not.

Until Next Time...

There are days when American blues music hits me in a way that no other music can. How many more years have I got to let you dog me around, world?

Today's send-off is my hero Joe Bonamassa performing Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years" during his Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks concert on August 31, 2014. Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Java Jive

Rock Chalk

Because I spent my formative years mostly in Missouri, I acquired an entirely healthy and not-at-all abnormal loathing for the University of Kansas. During my high school days this was mostly confined to rooting for the University of Missouri when it played KU in football and basketball. To say that the two schools have a bit of history in those two sports would be an understatement.

When I got to college, my abhorrence expanded to include debate, as teams from Kansas were regular competitors of mine on the circuit I traveled, and nationally successful as well (KU has won more national titles in debate than in basketball). I had a winning record against the Jayhawks for my career, and it was more satisfying beating them than anyone else I faced.

Picturesque campus, idiotic administration.
Thus, I probably took more joy than most people when KU got hauled into court for doing something galactically stupid in name of Title IX enforcement.

The university decided to expel a student for saying something unpleasant about an ex-girlfriend on Twitter (without explicitly naming her). No, really, that's what they did.

Did I mention the part about how the student in question wasn't on campus when the inflammatory messages were posted?

Last Friday, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled against KU and ordered that the student be reinstated. Duh. The university ought to be embarrassed over having done what it did in the first place, and it is gratifying to see them get spanked for doubling down and defending their pathetic asininity in court.

"Our school got its ass kicked in court! Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU!!"

"Don't you think you're gloating over all this just a little too much?"

No. No, I do not...

Celebrating the Moments of My Life

If you read this blog regularly (and what right-thinking person doesn't?), it won't come as a surprise that today is a very special holiday for me...

Although there are a variety of tempting special offers to be found around town, I'll probably limit myself to shopping for a new Starbucks mug on eBay, and perhaps indulging in one extra vanilla latte made on my Mr. Coffee Café Barista...

If you're in the market for an espresso maker, there's a sweet deal available right now on this model. Couldn't be happier with mine. Recommended.

"Admit it. You're going to celebrate again on Thursday, right?"

Of course. Thursday is International Coffee Day, after all...

Last Cup

From the delightful comic strip Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

In 1940, vocal group The Ink Spots had a hit with "Java Jive," an almost nonsensical ode to the joys of coffee. It quickly became a staple of their live performances, and it is practically the national anthem for Coffee Nation.

Today's send-off is a wonderful performance of the song by The Manhattan Transfer, recorded in 1975 for their eponymous second album. Pour yourself a nice, hot cup of joe, and enjoy...

Monday, September 28, 2015


Target-Rich Environment

This blog exists in part as a vehicle for my thoughts on political/social issues, so it is always nice to wake up on a Monday and find such a treasure trove of juicy targets.

"Catholics are compassionate...LOL, j/k, they're monsters."
In the wake of Pope Francis's visit to the United States, The New York Times published a mind-bogglingly stupid "analysis" of Pope Francis which suggested that 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine were simply mistaken, and that Catholics need to wake the fuck up and embrace the progressive social agenda.

"Elect me and I'll make those Obama policies work!"
Meanwhile, on 60 Minutes last night, asshat Donald Trump embraced so many Obama policy ideas as his own that progressives were even talking about it publicly.

No doubt his knuckle-dragging nitwit fans will insist that he's still the only "real" conservative in the race. Yeah, right...

"These are not the emails you are looking for."
And then there is Hillary Clinton. We now seem to have reached Phase Two of the current Clinton Scandal®, which traditionally involves moving from "I didn't do anything illegal" to "I have already answered these questions" and,
of course, "This is all 'old news.'"

Decisions, decisions...

Things That Make Me Happy: True Grit Edition

In their final regular-season game of 2015 at Kauffman Stadium yesterday, my beloved Kansas City Royals salvaged the final game of a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians, winning 3-0. The victory was the team's 90th of the season, and kept them in a tie with Toronto for the league's best record (and home field advantage throughout the playoffs).

In his first start in two months, Chris Young pitched five no-hit innings (the third time this season he has gone at least five innings into a start without permitting a hit), and got credit for the win. Chris improved his record to 11-6, 3.15 ERA, but I'm sure none of that matters to him right now. Chris's father had passed away on Saturday, and Chris dedicated the game to his dad. He left the stadium before the game had even ended, but left a statement which the Royals released following the game.

"I love you, dad."

Knock that off! If you start, then...well...*sniff*...damn it...

Alternate History

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football tonight. Chiefs fans can't help but remember the last time the two teams played each other...

On December 18, 2011 the Packers, defending Super Bowl Champions, rolled into Arrowhead Stadium 13-0 and the consensus favorite to successfully defend their title. Counting the previous season and playoff run, the Packers had won 19 straight games. The Chiefs were 5-8, and had just fired head coach Todd Haley despite his having led the team to the playoffs the previous season. No one in their right mind thought the Chiefs could win the game.

The Chiefs did win, though, 19-14. They did it behind quarterback Kyle Orton, whom they had claimed off of waivers a couple of weeks before from the Denver Broncos, and a stout defense led by Pro Bowlers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson.

"We still suck, Chiefs fans. We were just fuckin' with y'all."
It was the only regular-season loss for the Packers, but they also lost their first playoff game a few weeks later, falling at home to the New York Giants. Some speculated that the loss to the Chiefs destroyed the Packers' aura of inevitability.

Largely due to this stunning upset, the Chiefs front office decided to give interim coach Romeo Crennel the head coaching job for 2012. That decision led to a 2-14 debacle (after which Crennel and GM Scott Pioli deservedly got fired, QB Matt Cassel was released, and Orton left in free agency), followed by perhaps the worst No. 1 overall draft choice in NFL history (offensive tackle Eric Fisher, who is basically a bust).

In retrospect, it might have been better for the long-term health of the franchise if we had lost that game with the Packers. That idea certainly makes for an interesting alternate history story...

Meanwhile, they say that Green Bay's Hall of Fame-bound QB Aaron Rodgers enjoys beating the teams who passed on him in the 2005 draft. The Chiefs are one of those teams, and it just so happens that their starting QB is the man who went No. 1 overall in that same draft, Alex Smith.

My prediction for tonight? Packers 31-13...

So, This Happened

At my age, when people tell me that something that's about to happen won't happen again for another 15-20 years, as with last night's 'supermoon' total lunar eclipse, that gets my attention. The odds seem unlikely that I'll be around in 2033, the next time this phenomenon will occur.

It was a clear night here in Council Bluffs, and I did get to see both the eclipse and the 'blood moon' that followed it. If I had a Bucket List I doubt seeing that would have made my Top 50, but I did see it.

Predictably, the internet this morning is chock full of photos of the event. My favorite is the one at right, in which the "supermoon" can be seen with two of the Bartle Hall Pylons on top of the Kansas City Convention Center in the foreground.


A quick reminder that clicking on the images which accompany the Weekly Recommendations will take you to places where you can check out (and purchase) those items, if they are of interest to you.

Also, comments are always welcome here. Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear from you!

"Aren't you forgetting something?"
Yes, should also check out my wingman and me on Twitter: @LuckyEatAnter

Until Next Time...

Just a little over 60 years ago (September 19, 1955 to be exact), jazz pianist Erroll Garner and his combo played a concert in a school's assembly hall in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Garner's record label hadn't bothered to record the concert, but an engineer for the Armed Forces Radio Network taped the performance. Once they heard the tapes, executives at Columbia Records decided to release it as Concert By the Sea. It quickly became a jazz classic, one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time. The "simulated stereo" version of this recording was issued in 1969, and was my first exposure to the legendary Garner's unique style. I've been a fan ever since.

On September 18, 2015 a special three-disc, remastered version was released, including the entire concert (the original album left many songs off for length considerations). It is this week's Music Recommendation.

Today's send-off is the trio's performance of "Lullaby of Birdland," the often-recorded jazz standard written in 1952 by George Shearing and George David Weiss. Enjoy...

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Getaway Day

The final day of Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia (and the United States) will be hectic.

In the morning, Francis visited St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and met with bishops who are attending the World Meeting of Families 2015.

The meeting was held in St. Martin's Chapel on the seminary campus.

After a day spent visiting various locales in the area, Francis will celebrate a Mass open to the public (and viewable online) in the afternoon on the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as part of the World Meeting of Families 2015.

The progressive spin on Francis's remarks has been something to behold, as has been
the left's indifference to anything he has said that does not sit will with the regnant progressive orthodoxy. Plus ça change...

Francis will depart for Rome this evening on a chartered American Airlines Boeing 777-200, departing from Philadelphia International Airport at approximately 7:00 PM my time (CDT)...

Travel safely, Holiness. God bless you.

"I know you're disappointed you couldn't go. It won't be your last opportunity, though."

I hope you're right...

Football Nut

Now that fall has officially arrived, the lives of millions of Americans revolve around football. High schools play mostly on Fridays, colleges play mostly on Saturdays, and the pros play mostly on Sundays (with weekly specials on Thursday and Monday; my beloved Kansas City Chiefs last played a week ago Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, and won't play again until tomorrow night in Green Bay at Lambeau Field). We are a nation of football nuts (and those who tolerate football nuts), and we organize things to accommodate this schedule.

One of my favorite pictures of President Ronald Reagan shows him getting ready to throw a pass from the doorway of Air Force One (the plane which we saw inside the Reagan Library during the second Republican Presidential Debate). I'll bet he could throw a tight spiral, too...

"Go deep, Mr. Gorbachev!"

There is even an exhibit at the Reagan Library right now celebrating his love for football.

If At First You Don't Succeed...Apply More Power

From the delightful comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday, as I do.

Until Next Time... 

One of the things I enjoyed the most about my years teaching at Bishop LeBlond Memorial High School in St. Joseph, Missouri (1995-2004) was the all-school masses. 
It was truly a joy to celebrate the Eucharist with my students and faculty colleagues. 
I also enjoyed the hymns sung by the student choir. Because our school's mascot was the Golden Eagle, the song "On Eagle's Wings" by Fr. Michael Joncas was very popular. 
It was also one of my mom's favorites, and was sung at her funeral Mass. I was put in mind of this again just this morning, as we sang "On Eagle's Wings" at the 8:00 Mass at St. Peter's.

Today's send-off is a high school choir performing the song splendidly. Enjoy...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Always Sunny

On To Philadelphia

The final stop on Pope Francis's trip to the United States is a two-day visit to Philadelphia. Fortunately, there hasn't been any snowfall recently, so the Pontiff won't have to dodge any snowballs.

The Pope's activities today included celebrating a Mass at the beautiful and historic Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

I am glad for the 1,600 or so worshipers who attended, and wish ardently that I could have been among them...

Things That Make Me Sad: Human Frailty Edition

My beloved Kansas City Royals hoisted their Central Division Championship flag before last night's game at Kauffman Stadium, then sent a line-up of almost nothing but bench players out to face the Cleveland Indians. Not surprisingly, Carlos Carrasco pitched a complete-game 1-hit shutout, beating the Royals 6-0. The only hit was a harmless single by Alex Rios, and it didn't come until there was one out in the 7th inning.

It isn't really surprising that Royals manager Ned Yost decided to give the regulars a day off after clinching the division title. Ned was unapologetic about it. Perhaps now we can get back to the business of beating out Toronto for home-field advantage in the playoffs.

"I gave it the best I had for as long as I could."
Almost lost amid all the celebrations was the somber news that closer Greg Holland's elbow injury would end his season and probably require surgery.

It is fair to say that the Royals would not have made the World Series last season or been division champions this season without Greg's contributions.

It's tough to feel too happy about all of this success when you lose such an integral part of the team. All Royals fans are pulling for a successful outcome for Greg...

Papal Blessing Needed

While he's in Philadelphia, the locals might want to try asking Pope Francis for an intercessory prayer on behalf of the city's sports teams:
  • The Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in Major League Baseball this season
  • The Philadelphia Eagles, who have missed the NFL playoffs three of the past four seasons and are 0-2 on the current season
  • The Philadelphia 76ers, who have finished in the bottom three of the NBA for the past two seasons
  • The Philadelphia Flyers, who have missed the NHL playoffs two of the past three seasons
"Lord, please grant these good people relief from years of suckage."


H/T: Puns (@TheFunnyWorId)

Until Next Time...

One of the more difficult things to explain to young people who weren't around at the time is just how big a deal Michael Jackson was in pop culture during his heyday. People who only know him as a result of the miscellaneous personal failings and weirdnesses that made headlines and, ultimately, destroyed him can't quite wrap their heads around the unprecedented musical success he enjoyed.

On September 26, 1987 Michael's album Bad began a six-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. Since he enjoyed more creative control over this material than he had on his previous two albums, in a sense Bad was the purest expression of Michael's creative vision that we had gotten.

Today's send-off is my favorite song from the album, "Dirty Diana." This song has much more of a rock edge to it than most of Jackson's material, and he is working with veteran hard-rock guitarist Steve Stevens. Unlike some of Michael's famously elaborate music videos, this one is just a simple (if simulated) concert setting. Enjoy...

Friday, September 25, 2015


Thank Shangdi It's Friday!

"Bitch about the weather all you want, I don't give a damn!"


The second leg of Pope Francis's historic visit to the United States continues today in New York City.

Francis gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly today, and although some of us had hoped that his delivering it in Spanish meant he would be more blunt with this gaggle of autocrats and tyrants than he has been in the past, the speech was a fairly tepid laundry list of platitudes.

It was the first time the flag of the Vatican was raised alongside the rest of the 193 member countries (Vatican City has "observer" status only).

Having wasted his time speaking to the pushmi-pullyu arguing society that is the United Nations, Francis will visit some local landmarks in the city, and conclude his stay by celebrating a Mass at Madison Square Garden.

As I noted yesterday, I fully expect the polarized media coverage of Francis's visit to continue unabated. There has even been a suggestion (from the left, of course) that House Speaker John Boehner's announcement of his retirement today was sparked by guilt feelings he experienced while listening to Francis's address to Congress yesterday.
I kid you not...

Things That Make Me Happy: Championship Edition

For the first time since 1985, my beloved Kansas City Royals are a Division Champion! Last night's 10-4 cruise over the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium gave the Royals the American League Central Division title. It is their first Central Division title since the league went to three divisions in 1994. Their most recent division championship prior to last night was the AL West Division pennant in 1985. They won they World Series that year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Savor the moment...

"To hell with that 'Wild Card' shit. Division Champions, baby!"
Starter Johnny Cueto turned in a second straight solid start, wiggling and shimmying his way to his first win for the Royals since August 15. Johnny is now 10-12, 3.45 ERA. After all of his struggles, it must have been especially gratifying for him to be the winning pitcher in the title-clincher...

"Hay más de donde éste vino!"

And now that the weather is turning colder, perhaps my wardrobe could use a new hoodie...

"Sweet! Do you think they make them in my size?"

It seems unlikely, but I'll check for you if I wind up ordering one for myself...

For Those Not Paying Close Attention...

Until Next Time...

One of the things you get used to if you're from Kansas City (or, like me, consider it your adopted hometown) is the penchant for those in the media to connect every positive development in the city that makes the news with "Kansas City," the famous and frequently-recorded rhythm & blues hit by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. I flat-out guarantee that the song will be featured at least once on a telecast of a Royals playoff game. There is an excellent chance that we will also be subjected to multiple playings of "Kansas City" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!

There is no point in resisting such nonsense, of course, so for today's send-off celebrating the Royals I have chosen to steer into the skid with one of my favorite recordings of the Lieber/Stoller song, an instrumental version recorded live 25 years ago by saxophonist Ace Cannon, one of my dad's favorite artists (miss you, dad). Enjoy...

Thursday, September 24, 2015

So Predictable

Pope Francis Continues His Visit

I really got a kick out of this picture of some nuns tailgating in advance of the Pope's visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception...

The big news today is Francis becoming the first Bishop of Rome ever to address a joint session of the United States Congress...

And in the aftermath, progressives will of course reject everything he said except for the parts that fit in with their political agenda. All of that guff about the sanctity of life and marriage and families...well, that's just a bunch of outdated religious hokum. But boy, that stuff about capitalism and climate change...YES! And conservatives will, for the most part, do just the opposite. There will also be a veritable tsunami of "responses" from people who have neither watched the speech nor read the transcript of it.

I have a headache...

"You can't possibly be surprised that his speech is being covered that way."
Surprised? No, I suppose not. Disappointed, though...deeply disappointed...

Things That Make Me Happy: Never Say "Die" Edition

My beloved Kansas City Royals have been driving me a little nuts lately. In the midst of what should be a joyous time for Royals fans, as the team prepares to celebrate its first-ever Central Division title and its first division title of any kind in 30 years (the last time the Royals won one, there were only two divisions, East and West), there is quite a bit of consternation in Royals Nation. Greg Holland has pitched badly enough to lose his position as the team's closer, Jeremy Guthrie and Danny Duffy have been repeatedly blown up as starting pitchers (Duffy lost his place in the rotation, and Guthrie bombed in his return there after a month in the bullpen), newly-acquired "ace" Johnny Cueto has looked like (and been hit like) a batting practice pitcher all month, Eric Hosmer is batting .250 with 1 home run for September, and until the 10th inning of last night's game Alex Gordon was mired in an 0-for-22 slump and is striking out in about one-third of his at-bats (he is also batting .250 with just one home run in September). The team is only 8-13 this month, and hasn't won back-to-back games in three weeks.

When things are going badly, sometimes a team just needs an unlikely victory to turn its fortunes around. They certainly got one of those last night, beating the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in 10 innings at Kauffman Stadium after trailing 3-2 with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the 9th inning. All-Star CF Lorenzo Cain got the rally in the 9th inning started with a one-out single, and scored the tying run. In the bottom of the 10th, it was Lorenzo's opposite-field single that drove in pinch-runner Paulo Orlando with the game-winning tally.

"Cheer up, Royals fans! We got this!"

We'll see if last night's win gave the team a boost when they play the rubber game of the three-game series tonight. Johnny Cueto (9-12, 3.43 ERA) will take the mound for the Royals. The Mariners will counter with James Paxton (3-4, 3.70).

Excellent Question

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

One of my favorite types of popular music growing up was vocal harmony. I was a big fan of groups specializing in that, including The Beach Boys, The Mamas and The Papas, Spanky and Our Gang, and The 5th Dimension. For the most part, these groups specialized in bouncy up-tempo songs that were fun to listen to. The first time that kind of music ever struck a deeper chord with me was when The Mamas and The Papas released "California Dreamin'" just before Christmas in 1965.

It was just a few months later that a song by that sort of group actually moved me to tears. The Association released "Cherish" in early August, 1966. It entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 21, and on September 24, it began a three-week run at No. 1.
I chose it for today's send-off to celebrate the 49th anniversary of its hitting the top of the charts.

It was no flash-in-the-pan, either. "Cherish" wound up as the No. 2 single for the whole year, beating out such classics as The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville," Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman," The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," The Four Tops' "Reach Out I'll Be There," and the aforementioned "California Dreamin'."

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), a music licensing organization, ranked "Cherish" at No. 22 on their list of the most-played songs on television and radio of the 20th century in America. That makes it a classic in anyone's book.

I couldn't have known or foreseen any of that, of course. All I know is that the first time I heard that wonderful harmony, singing about a love that was destined to be unrequited...well, the shy, geeky kid got a lump in his throat and a tear in his eye. And even though the onset of puberty probably had something to do with its initial effect on me, it still gets me a little a misty even now, nearly half a century later. Enjoy...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn 2015

So, This Happened...

Just as it was with his visit with Fidel Castro (but not with Castro's victims), Pope Francis's visit to the White House will be spun in ways favorable to President Obama. That's how these things work, despite efforts by the Pontiff's publicists to deny it.

Still, it was particularly shameless of the President to say during his greeting that
"You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely."

See Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

"Irony much, Mr. President?"

See Amici Curiae brief in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell.

"We second that emotion!"

Soggy Morning

View from my patio at 8:05 AM

If you look closely, you can see a gaggle of birds under the nearest tree. They had been on my patio until I stepped out there to take this picture...

First Day of Fall

Technically, it happened in the wee small hours this morning, but today is basically the autumnal equinox, one of two days each year when the amount of sunlight and darkness (day and night) is almost exactly the same (the vernal equinox being the other; the terms are reversed if you live in the southern hemispere).

"Admit haven't got a clue about what that diagram means."

No one was talking to you...

Yogi Berra, R.I.P.

When I first began paying attention to baseball as a young boy in the early 1960s, the best years of Yogi Berra's career (including his three American League MVP seasons) were already well behind him, but he was still a popular and beloved figure in the game.

Although the Yankees were never my team, it was hard not to like Yogi. Just like his contemporary Ernie Banks, Yogi had one of those cheerful dispositions that could put a smile on your face just listening to him.

Requiescat in pace, Yogi.

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

When it is raining hard like it is this morning, it isn't unusual for my avian customers to just hang out on the patio railing as they try to stay dry. Quite a few of them are doing that this morning, although it is difficult for me to get close enough to get any good pictures. I was able to get a shot of a few of them huddled just off the edge of the patio...

Until I opened the B&B I had never really had much of an opportunity to observe these kinds of birds up close. It has been a real education. Today I learned that they look pretty funny when they're soaking wet!

Now that fall is officially here, it won't be long before I have to make some changes to the B&B to keep the food in a less-exposed location. Working on ideas for that...


Nothing says "Fall" quite like the explosion of pumpkin-everything, everywhere you look. I'm surprised someone somewhere isn't offering pumpkin-scented gasoline.

As I have mentioned previously, locomotives painted in BNSF's orange-and-green livery are referred to by railfans as "pumpkins," and just this morning BNSF had a nice photo of some on their Twitter feed (@BNSFRailway). The shot was taken in Glacier National Park by professional photographer Patrick Bennett. It features a parade of "pumpkins" heading an eastbound intermodal freight train..

Until Next Time...

In July of 1964, The Beach Boys released All Summer Long, their second album release that calendar year (Shut Down Volume 2 preceded it). It produced their first No. 1 hit,
"I Get Around," but it also marked the end of the band's "sun and surf" focus. In many ways, this album marked the beginning of "autumn" for the band's creative career.

Today's send-off is my favorite song from the album, "All Summer Long." It seems like a fitting way to say farewell to Summer 2015. Enjoy...