Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Winding Down

Forgettable Moment for ESPN

Mike Philbrick, sports guru

One of the traditions in journalism as a year winds down is publishing lists of things. Newsworthy moments, best of and worst of lists, etc. Most of them, frankly, are a waste of ink (or pixels, nowadays), but they're mostly harmless, and some people do seem to enjoy them.

On its website today, ESPN allowed noted nitwit Mike Philbrick to barf up "Unforgettable Moments 2015," giving ESPN yet another forgettable moment in a rough year for the brand.

As a general rule, I don't mind when writers put out such lists with a disclaimer that they are highly personal. What gets my goat is when someone like Philbrick writes about "the showdowns that kept us talking, tweeting, posting and texting in 2015."

I don't know who is included in Philbrick's version of "us," but I spend a LOT of time online, and I can't recall much "talking, tweeting, posting, and texting" about the South Africa-Japan rugby match (which wasn't even for a championship), or about Providence winning the Frozen Four. Other than NASCAR fans, did anyone pay attention to the Joey Logano-Matt Kenseth fued?

If you were only going to pick 20 "moments" from 2015, would your list include three NCAA football highlights but only one from the NFL? Conversely, would NCAA men's basketball rate only a single moment while the NBA got two (one of which was a meaningless scoring outburst)?

What else can one say about a list that reduces major league baseball's "unforgettable moments" to Todd Frazier winning a batting practice exhibition and Joey Bautista flipping his bat?

ESPN ought to hang its head in shame for publishing such ridiculous bullshit.

There's a time for "subtle," and there's a time for, you know...NOT.

Much Ado About Nothing

So the National Weather Service, which predicted that we'd get less than an inch
of snow on Christmas Eve (we got 6.5 inches) was wrong again yesterday.

Instead of the predicted 8-10 inches of new snow, we got just 3 inches. Here in the midwest, that's nothing, basically.

It has gotten very cold, though, and I'm worried about all of the customers of my Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast, but so far everyone seems to be hanging in there.

I even found pawprints in the snow this morning, meaning at least one outdoor kitty stopped by for a bite to eat...

Sad, But True

From the pen of Mike Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Not all of my favorite Christmas carols and hymns are ones I learned going to Catholic school while I was growing up. To this day, for instance, I have never been to a Mass or a Catholic vocal concert where "The Sussex Carol" was sung. But I do collect albums of Christmas music in a wide variety of musical styles, and the song shows up on those recordings with considerable regularity. It has grown on me over the years.

1919 sheet music

As is often the case with so-called "traditional" carols, we're not entirely sure who wrote the original lyrics. Credit is generally given to a 17th-century Irish bishop, Luke Wadding, even though it isn't clear if he had written the lyrics himself or merely wrote down words he heard someone else singing.

The song remained obscure until English folk music enthusiast Cecil Sharp and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams published it in the early 20th century. Sometimes called "On Christmas Night," the carol has been included in most popular collections of Christmas vocal music ever since.

In October 2002, Windham Hill Records released A Windham Hill Christmas,
a collection of familiar Christmas songs interpreted by its roster of New Age performers.

Today's send-off is that album's jaunty instrumental version of the famous carol featuring Jeff Johnson on piano, John Fitzpatrick on violin, and Brian Dunning on flute. Enjoy...

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