Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sporting News

Hoop Dreams

The first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament wrapped up last night with Northern Iowa beating Texas on a half-court, buzzer-beating shot that is destined for endless replays. It was one of the all-time great moments in the history of the tournament, certainly. I saw it live, and I still don't believe Jesperson's shot actually went in...

It also means all three Iowa teams will be playing in the second round, with No. 4 seed Iowa State facing No. 12 seed Arkansas-Little Rock (who upset No. 5 Purdue) today.

It has also been a pretty good tournament so far for the Catholic institutions I root for. Villanova, Xavier, Providence, Notre Dame, St. Joseph's, and Gonzaga all advanced to the second round.

"And what about my team?"

I'm not mentioning them again as long as they're still playing (which they are), so as to avoid jinxing them...


Since his alma mater is woeful at basketball, my best friend Skip's attention has been focused on the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, currently being held at Madison Square Garden
in New York.

The Nittany Lions placed five wrestlers in today's championship bracket, and lead the team standings by a comfortable margin.

I am glad my dear friend finally has something to take his mind off of the 2016 Taxslayer Bowl...

"That was just mean."

It's a male biped wouldn't understand...

Feast Day

St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus (1620), by Guido Reni
March 19 is the feast day of
St. Joseph, husband of Mary and stepfather of Jesus.

We actually celebrate a second feast day for St. Joseph honoring workers on May 1. Today we celebrate his role as husband and father.

In addition to being the patron saint of workers in general, Joseph is the patron of the Universal Church, families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, and engineers. He is also considered the patron of the New World, and churches all over the world bear his name.

Finally, Joseph is the patron of the dying, and in particular the notion of a "good" death, because his own death came with Jesus and Mary at his side.


Just a reminder that a lot of the content here will be more enjoyable if you click on the live links (like this one) at least once in awhile. And comments are always welcome. Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear from you!

Zip it...

Thanks, Reince!

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

Until Next Time...

Although it would eventually become enormously popular beginning in the mid-20th century, the ballet The Nutcracker was not an immediate success. Choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the original December 1892 production was harshly criticized, and it was more than 30 years before the ballet was performed outside of Russia. Thanks to some imaginative American choreographers, notably George Balanchine, the ballet became a staple of the Christmas season by the end of the 1960s.

Prior to the full ballet's debut, Tchaikovsky excerpted eight pieces from it and formed a work intended for concert performance. That turned out to be an excellent decision.

On March 19, 1892 The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a had its first public performance, at a gathering of the St. Petersburg (Russia) Musical Society. It was an immediate sensation, and went on to become one of the most-performed works in the classical repertoire. Its popularity was significantly enhanced in the United States when it was featured in the landmark 1940 Walt Disney film Fantasia.

In 1967, legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan included The Nutcracker Suite in a collection of Tchaikovsky works he recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic.

As was typical of his work with this orchestra, he achieved a magnificent sound on the entire Suite. It remains my favorite recorded orchestral version of this music.

Today's send-off is the opening movement of the Suite, known as the "Miniature Overture." Enjoy...

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