Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Day 2016

Feast Day

Madonna and Child, by Sassoferrato

Today is not just New Year's Day for Catholics. It is also the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.
It is the feast day celebrating Mary's unique role as mother of Jesus, and it is always celebrated on the Octave of Christmastide (8th day after Christmas Eve).

If you're not very good at calendar math, that's January 1. It is one of just six holy days of obligation (on which Catholics are required to attend Mass) in the United States under canon law 1246.


One of the fairly tedious aspects of the start of the New Year is all the conversation about "New Year's Resolutions." I manage to achieve enough failure in my everyday life that I have never felt it necessary to make lists of things I could fail at to start a new year.

"That's my boy!"

I do resolve this year to try to be the best version of myself I can manage, to try to justify my existence in whatever small ways I can, to serve the dialectic (the search for truth) as best I can, and to celebrate excellence in its many forms.

One thing that will not change: I will not suffer fools gladly (or at all, actually).

"Why am I not surprised?"

Because you've known me for a long, long time...

Football Bore Subdivision

Somehow, I don't think this is what the partisans of a playoff to determine the National Championship in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) had in mind.

In last year's semifinals, the Rose Bowl match-up between Heisman Trophy winners Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State was a blowout, with Oregon prevailing 59-20. And in the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State upset top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in a game noteworthy for its lack of anything resembling defense. Ohio State went on to crush Oregon 42-20 in the CFP National Championship Game.

This year we have gotten more of the same. In the Orange Bowl yesterday afternoon, Oklahoma kept it close for a half against top-ranked and undefeated Clemson, but the Tigers blew out the Sooners in the second half, winning 37-17. And in the Cotton Bowl last night, Alabama destroyed Michigan State 38-0 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated, as ridiculous as that sounds.

As a college football fan, I'm not impressed with the quality of the games we've seen in the long-awaited playoff format. I guess it really was about the money after all, since it certainly hasn't been about the football...

Yet Another Scandal the Mainstream Media Will Ignore

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


As the New Year begins, I wanted to take the opportunity to urge you to click on at least some of the live links in these posts. There is a lot of information to be found that way, along with a fair amount of the humor I'm trying to include.

I also wanted to pass along a reminder that comments are always welcome. Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear from you!

Until Next Time...

In late 1963, folk singers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel auditioned for Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson. They performed one of Simon's original compositions, "The Sounds of Silence." Wilson was impressed enough to talk Columbia into signing the duo.

 In March of 1964, the pair recorded their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

To say that the album was a failure commercially would be a huge understatement. It sold so poorly that Simon moved to London to try to make it as a solo artist, while Garfunkel went back to school at (ironically) Columbia College.

Wilson refused to give up on them, however, and he decided to release a new version of "The Sounds of Silence," this time with electric guitar and drums. He released the remix in September 1965 without bothering to consult the artists. When they finally heard it, Garfunkel was bemused by the changes, while Simon was allegedly "horrified." Nonetheless, the new recording's commercial success got the pair back together in the studio to record a second album, Sounds of Silence, which included the remix.

On January 1, 1966 the tarted-up version of the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, the first of many Number One singles for the duo. It is not an exaggeration to say that they owe their careers to Wilson's persistence. The song's title was eventually changed by Simon to "The Sound of Silence," and it has been added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry.

Today's send-off is the Wilson remix, as included on the Sounds of Silence album. Enjoy...

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