Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016


Like most people, I owe my mother far more than words could ever express. There isn't a day that goes by that
I don't think about her, and I miss her terribly.

Me backstage directing at LeBlond

Her dream for me once she knew I wanted to become a teacher was that I would teach at a Catholic school.  It is one of the great joys of my life that I was able to fulfill that dream for her when I began teaching at Bishop LeBlond Memorial High School in the fall of 1995.

Mom died in 1996, before digital photography became commonplace, and I don't have
a single good picture of her to share, so I chose instead to share the picture of those beautiful roses seen above. Roses were her favorite, in no small part because "Rose" was her middle name.

Happy Mother's Day, Patricia Rose! I love you...

Don't get me started, old friend...

Feast Day

The Ascension, by Jean Fran├žois de Troy

As I mentioned on Thursday the Diocese of Des Moines, which includes all the parishes in Council Bluffs, was one of the jurisdictions which moved the Feast of the Ascension from its traditional Thursday observance to the nearest available Sunday. The practice began in 1999.

That means my parish, St. Peter's, celebrated the feast at this morning's masses. I attended at 8:00 AM, as I almost always do.

Just one of the minor things that bugs those of use who have been Catholics for half a century or more. With any luck, there won't be any further "improvements" to the church calendar in my lifetime...


Now 4-2, 2.13 ERA on the season
In baseball parlance, a "stopper" is a starting pitcher teams can count on to stop losing streaks. My beloved Kansas City Royals got that kind of performance yesterday from RHP Ian Kennedy, who pitched 7 shutout innings in a 7-0 road victory over the Cleveland Indians. The win stopped a two-game Royals losing streak.


The Royals got all the runs they would need in the 1st inning, when DH Kendrys Morales hit a 3-run home run. Kendrys wound up the day 2-for-4 with 4 RBIs.

It was a much-needed win, especially given the news that 3B Mike Moustakas was going on the Disabled List with a thumb fracture.

Happy Birthday!

On May 8, 1911 Robert Leroy Johnson was born in Hazelhurst, Mississippi.

Although he recorded only a couple of dozen songs before his death at age 27,
he was a master of the Delta Blues style, and he became one of the most influential figures in American popular music.

Among other things, Johnson's mythos includes the legend that he achieved his fame by striking a deal with the Devil, a legend fueled in part by his famous song "Cross Road Blues."

It is ironic indeed that Johnson shares a birthday with one of the foremost modern blues guitarists, my hero Joe Bonamassa. (More on that down below.)

The Real Thing

On May 8, 1886 John Pemberton's soft drink Coca-Cola was first served to customers at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pemberton's creation would go on to become one of the most iconic American products ever, famous and beloved around the world.

The history of Coca-Cola, both the product itself and the company, is fascinating and well worth your time to explore.

Coca-Cola has been an important part of my life for as far back as I can remember,
and that will remain true until the day I expire. In fact, I am confident that they serve Coca-Cola in Heaven, too...

"No rant about glass bottles today?"

Some other time...I don't want to put a damper on the birthday celebration...

Mom Definitions

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

Until Next Time...

Just as regular readers of this blog are familiar with my fondness for Beethoven,
they are also aware of my fondness for the blues-rock guitar hero Joe Bonamassa.
I've featured Joe's music in this section far more often than I have anyone else's, including my beloved Ludwig van.

On May 8, 1977 Joe was born in New Hartford, New York. Joe has been performing professionally since he was 12 years old, and is in the prime of his career right now, with several No. 1 albums to his credit and a large and loyal fan base that flocks to his shows every time he is on tour (which is most of the time).

March 5, 2011

The first time I had the opportunity to see Joe play live was on March 5, 2011 at Stephens Auditorium on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames. This was just a few months after my first exposure to his music on a PBS broadcast.

At that time, Joe was on the verge of releasing his Dust Bowl album, so the show featured several songs from it, all of which have become favorites of mine. It was a wonderful experience, in no small part because I never thought I'd ever hear new blues-rock music that was as good as the favorites
of my adolescence. I was never happier to be wrong in my life.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to see him play six more times, including in Omaha this past Wednesday night. I look forward to as many more such experiences
as I can have...

The album proved to be a critical and commercial success for Joe, and several of its songs continue to figure prominently in his set lists these days.

I am especially fond of "Dust Bowl," the album's title track, which
I heard for the first time that night in Ames. Joe's playing was simply mesmerizing. The ghostly tone he got out of his guitar on that song haunts my dreams to this day...               

Today's send-off is a live performance of the song. It was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 30, 2013. Joe is playing one of my favorite guitars, a 1960 Les Paul equipped with a factory-installed Bigsby vibrato. When I saw him play this song at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa a few months later, my seat was close enough that I could have worked the Bigsby for Joe if he had needed me to. Enjoy...

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