Monday, May 16, 2016

On With the Show

Rainy Days and Mondays

Rose Red fresh from the shower, 9:15 AM
It might just be a fault of perception, but it seems to me that 2016 has featured an unusual number of wet, rainy Monday mornings.

We're getting another one today, plus the day's high temperature is only supposed to get into the low 50s.

That is not exactly what you'd like to see in mid-May.

"Tell me about it. Soggy ants are definitely not my favorite."

Buck up, buttercup...

Commencement Season

This is the time of year when commencement speakers from sea to shining sea try
to find something interesting to say to collections of high school, college, and graduate school students eager for the ceremony to simply be over.

As a speech teacher, of course, I am aware of the unique challenges such speeches present to speakers, and I am sympathetic. Still, it is quite a rare instance when a commencement speaker actually impresses me.

On Saturday, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas addressed the graduating class at wonderful Hillsdale College in Michigan. Here is a brief excerpt
of his speech, focusing on the relationship between freedom and duty...

Walking Off

My beloved Kansas City Royals didn't do much yesterday to assuage my anxiety about their recent difficulties.

Yes, they defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on a walk-off home run by DH Kendrys Morales in the bottom of the 13th inning, but there was still plenty of cause for ongoing concerns.

Begin with the fact that the Royals came within an eyelash of losing two out of three  
at home to the Braves, the team with the worst record in baseball and a team that has only won one series all season. Heading into the bottom of the 13th yesterday, the Royals offense had only managed two runs in its last 21 innings.

The reason we were playing extras in the first place was because All-Star closer Wade Davis was ineffective in the top of the 9th and failed to protect a 2-0 lead. It was Davis's first blown save of the season, and his ERA went from 0.00 to 1.42.

Tonight the Royals begin a three-game series with the Eastern Division-leading Boston Red Sox which will finish out the current homestand.

"At least the Royals will have their top three pitchers going in the Boston series."

If the offense doesn't wake up, it won't matter...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

"Are you calling me lazy?"
There are still a couple of new species visiting periodically that
I haven't been able to identify yet, but some of my customers make that task quite easy.

It is hard to miss the white-breasted nuthatch, for instance. Normally
I only see these guys when they're hanging upside down feeding on suet cake, but yesterday I noticed one helping himself to some of the seed laying around the patio.

Maybe climbing down tree trunks looking for bugs is just too much exertion some days...

Danae's Summer Plans

From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

The history of show business is chock full of stories of "happy accidents," productions where the original Plan A had to be abandoned, but which went on to glory with Plan B. One of the best examples of this phenomenon was the landmark Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun.

Librettist Dorothy Fields wanted to create a musical based on the life of Annie Oakley, and intended it as a star vehicle for her friend Ethel Merman. After getting the successful Rodgers and Hammerstein team to agree to produce the show, Plan A was for Dorothy's brother Herbert to write the show's "book," while Dorothy would supply the lyrics to songs written by Jerome Kern.

Just days after returning to New York to work on the show, Kern died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Plan B was for the producers and Fields to convince Irving Berlin to write the songs for the show, even though that meant Fields' lyrics would not be used (Berlin always wrote his own lyrics). To say that Plan B worked out well would be a colossal understatement.

1946 Original Cast Recording

On May 16, 1946 the legendary original production starring Merman opened at the Imperial Theatre in Manhattan, where it ran for more than 1,100 performances. It spawned a 1950 film version, several touring productions, and periodic Broadway revivals.

The show has enjoyed enduring popularity with amateur and scholastic theatre companies as well.

If there is such a thing as a national anthem for live theatre, it surely must be Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business," featured in Act One and reprised throughout the rest of the show.

Today's send-off is the version of Berlin's classic song from the Tony Award-winning 1999 Broadway revival production. Enjoy...

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