Saturday, February 13, 2016

C'mon, Man!

Seriously, Guys?

"I forgot Valentine's Day! I'm DOOMED!"
One of the standard plot devices in TV shows (and sometimes movies also) is the guy who "forgets" Valentine's Day and has to frantically scramble to get something for his paramour. In some cases, he fails to do this in a timely manner, and has to cope with the fallout from his forgetfulness.

I have problems with this particular trope.

The ONLY way a sentient human being could "forget" Valentine's Day is if that person never left his house, never read a newspaper, never went online, never watched television, didn't own a smartphone, and never talked to another living soul.

In the run-up to Valentine's Day, we are neck-deep in reminders. When I went to
my local Hy-Vee yesterday evening, for instance, the whole place was crammed with Valentine's Day displays, special merchandise, discounts, etc. That's the case with most grocery stores, drug stores, even convenience stores.

It is the same with media. Newspapers are chock full of Valentine's Day ads, and TV is saturated with them on almost every channel. If you use email, or visit any websites, the targeted ads will also be heavily skewed toward Valentine's Day. Same thing with social media like Twitter and Facebook.

If, in spite of all this, you STILL manage to forget the one day of the year when romance is celebrated, you deserve your fate...

Crunch Time

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Iowa State Cyclones men's basketball team blew out No. 4 Kansas at Hilton Coliseum. That was the team's fourth straight win, a streak that also included a win against the then-No. 1-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

When the No. 14 Cyclones welcome No. 24 Texas to Hilton tonight, though, the situation is considerably different. The team has lost three of its last four games, with the only win being a five-point triumph over a bad Oklahoma State team.

They have slipped to just 6-5 in Big XII play, good for 6th place. With three road games remaining against ranked opponents, the Cyclones need to take care of business at home tonight.

"How are the UC Irvine Anteaters doing?"

Still alone in second place in their conference, just one game back of Hawaii, but they've lost two of their last three. They're playing at home tonight against a bad Cal State Northridge team, and could really use a victory...

It Pays to Have a Large Vocabulary, Kid

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

No matter how successful they might eventually become, almost all bands begin their careers the same way. That was certainly the case with the British rock band Dire Straits, formed in 1977 by guitarist Mark Knopfler and his brother David, along with John Illsley and Pick Withers. The band played small gigs, made demo tapes to shop around to record companies, and honed their sound. Eventually they were signed to a recording deal with Phonogram Records.

On February 13, 1978 the band entered Basing Street Studios in the Notting Hill section of London and began recording their eponymous debut album.

Original 1978 album cover
Fueled by the popularity of the single "Sultans of Swing" (which reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart), Dire Straits peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and eventually earned two RIAA platinum certifications.

Unlike many bands, Dire Straits was able to build on this initial success. The have received four Grammy Awards and numerous other awards and nominations. Their 1985 album Brothers in Arms became the first recording to sell more than a million copies in CD format, and it has sold more than 30 million copies.

Overall the band has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and I am confident they will eventually be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They are one of only a handful of bands from that era whose music I still enjoy nowadays.

Today's send-off is the original 1978 studio recording of "Sultans of Swing" that launched the band's career. Even after nearly four decades I think it holds up quite well, and it is always a treat to listen to for me. Enjoy...

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