Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Look Up in Perfect Silence

Simple Pleasures

"Smile, and smile, and be a villain..."
I've never been impressed with Katie Couric, but it is undeniable that she has been and continues to be an important figure in the news business.

Thus, I derive considerable enjoyment from her current humiliation, and still hold out some hope that she might get fired this time.

After days of insisting that she did nothing wrong, and that she "stood behind" the documentary film Under the Gun, of which she was a key element, Couric today apologized for her role in making 2nd Amendment rights activists look like they couldn't answer a simple question by deceptive editing of her interview with them.

The only thing she actually regrets, of course, is getting caught...

"She's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes..."

Nice Jaws reference, buddy...


My beloved Kansas City Royals continued their winning streak yesterday night at Kauffman Stadium, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Armed Forces Night. It was
the team's fourth straight win.

Pre-game ceremonies at The K
Since it was Memorial Day there were several observances designed to honor our military men and women.

There was a stirring pre-game ceremony which included listing names of deceased Missouri and Kansas servicemen during a moment of silence.

There was also a flyover featuring a pair of A10 Thunderbolt II aircraft (also known as "Warthogs") from nearby Whiteman AFB.

Both the Royals and Rays wore special uniforms featuring military camouflage hats and uniform lettering.

Ian lowered his season ERA to 3.03
Royals starter Ian Kennedy struggled a bit with his control, walking five Rays (with some "help" from the home plate umpire), but he also struck out six and didn't allow an earned run on just three hits in his six innings of work. The Royals led 2-1 when he departed.

Reliever Kelvin Herrera allowed the tying run in the top of the 8th, but got the win when the Royals roared back in the bottom of the inning.

As they have so often of late, the Royals rallied mostly with singles (they had four of them in the winning flurry).

The third straight one-out single, by CF Lorenzo Cain, gave the Royals a 3-2 lead, and then 1B Eric Hosmer put the game out of reach with a towering three-run homer.

The three-game series resumes tonight, and if the Royals win either tonight's game or Wednesday's finale they will have won their sixth consecutive series...

"Careful, you're starting to sound like an optimist..."


Count the Clock That Tells the Time

"Elizabeth Tower," Palace of Westminster, London

On May 31, 1859
the 13-ton bell known officially as the Great Bell or Hour Bell of the Great Clock of Westminster, but referred to most often simply as "Big Ben," struck the hour for the first time.

I doubt that I'll ever get to visit London, but this would certainly be high on my list of sights to see if I were ever to make the journey.

The title of this section is a reference to Shakespeare's Sonnet 12, one of my favorite poems, and to one of my favorite short stories by Harlan Ellison.

Happy Birthday!

May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892

On May 31, 1819 Walter "Walt" Whitman was born in West Hills, a hamlet in Huntington, Long Island, New York.

One of my greatest joys in teaching American Literature was introducing my students to Whitman. His influence on poetry was profound, and every modern American poet owes a debt to the man.

By far the poem I most enjoyed teaching them was "When I heard the Learn'd Astronomer," since its message (it is more important to experience the natural world directly than to merely study about it) is one grade-conscious teenagers need to hear...

 I appreciate your concern, old friend, but I'll be fine...we might go to Omaha later...

TrumpWits™️ in the Workplace

From the comic strip Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Regular readers of the blog know that I have a fondness for liturgical music, especially on occasions like Memorial Day when we are encouraged to think more deeply about the meaning of life and our relationship to God.

This week's Music Recommendation is liturgical music of a high order. The debut album from the San Francisco-based Vajra Voices ensemble offers beautiful renditions of music by St. Hildegard, a Benedictine nun who served as abbess at two different monasteries she founded herself in the middle of the 12th century in what is now Germany. I enjoyed listening to the album yesterday while writing the Memorial Day blog entry.

Statue of St. Hildegard at Eibingen Abbey
I have always had a special fondness for
St. Hildegard because of her interest in theatre. Her Ordo Virtutum (Order of the Virtues) is the earliest known example of the Medieval morality play, and the only such example in which authorship of both the text and the music are known.

In addition to being a playwright and composer, Hildegard was also a noteworthy theologian and scientist.

Pope Benedict XVI used the "equivalent canonization" process for Hildegard on May 10, 2012, making her an official saint. He named her Doctor of the Church on October 7 of that year, making Hildegard one of only four women in church history to be so honored.

Today's send-off is Vajra Voices' gorgeous performance of Hildegard's Kyrie. Enjoy...

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