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 All of that guff about the sanctity of life and marriage and families...well, that's just a bunch of outdated religious hokum.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...

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