Thursday, January 7, 2016

Glad...and Sad

 Yes Virginia...

...there is a Santa Claus, and he gave me and all fans of my beloved Kansas City Royals
a wonderful belated Christmas present: All-Star and Gold Glove LF Alex Gordon has re-signed with the Royals after testing the free agent waters.

Still a Royal!

I actually started hearing rumblings that Alex had agreed "in principle" to a deal with
the Royals late Tuesday, but nothing official had been announced anywhere right up until the time I published yesterday's entry. I didn't want to jinx anything by celebrating prematurely, but the official announcement finally came yesterday afternoon.

Frankly, I couldn't care less about the specifics of the new contract, and I'm really not interested in reading any "analysis" of the deal. It simply doesn't matter whether Alex is "worth the money" according to some metric or other. I don't care.

What I care about is that the Royals retained the player who is the face of the franchise's resurrection. Alex joined the team when it was awful, and early in his career he contributed some awful of his own. But he and the team worked hard, and became successful, to the point of winning back-to-back American League championships and the 2015 World Series.

There have been a few iconic moments in the history of this franchise, and Alex is responsible for one of the most recent ones: He came to the plate with one out in the
9th inning of 2015 World Series Game 1, the Royals on the verge of losing the opening game at home, to face the Mets' All-Star closer. And Alex did what heroes do...

Alex deserves to be the face of the franchise, and I am hopeful that this deal means he will play his entire career with the Royals.

I had actually lost hope that I'd ever see such a thing happen again for the Royals. Thanks, Alex!

"I'm happy for you both, but what does 'Yes, Virginia...' mean?"

It's a reference to this famous editorial...

Requiescat in Pace

January 5, 1936 - January 6, 2016

One of the more disagreeable aspects of getting older is seeing people whom I have long admired pass away. It is difficult enough to say farewell to actors and musicians who have enriched my life,
but it is especially wrenching to hear that
a favorite writer has passed away.

Yesterday brought news of the death of Florence King, just a day after her 80th birthday. She was a unique talent, and much of what I know about good writing
I learned from her hilarious but persuasive essays on the subject.

If you'd like to know more about Florence's remarkable life, or why she was so beloved by writers (especially those of us of a conservative bent), start with Jack Fowler's touching obituary for National Review, where Florence found a home for her acerbic style for more than eleven years.

Then read her books.

 He Hit What He Was Aiming For

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

Until Next Time...

On January 7, 1899 pianist and composer Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc was born in Paris, France. After spurning the business career his parents wanted for him, he taught himself music and became a prolific composer in a wide variety of musical formats.

While Poulenc's mostly lighthearted secular music is pleasant enough,
it is his sacred music that appeals
to me, especially his choral works.

Begun in 1951 and completed in 1952, Poulenc's Quatre Motets pour 
le temps de Noël (Four Motets for Christmas Time) is his version of four traditional chants used at Christmas Mass, and is easily my favorite of his sacred music compositions.

Today's send-off is a 1998 recording of the work made by the Nederlands Kamerkoor (Netherlands Chamber Choir), under the direction of Eric Ericson, paired with some gorgeous winter photography. Enjoy...

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