Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kid Stuff

Me and Pro Football

Original American Football League logo

I was pretty much a baseball kid growing up, and never had much interest in other professional sports (although I became a hockey fan for awhile after I got a tabletop hockey game one Christmas).

By 1966, my family knew we'd be moving to Kansas City, where my dad had taken a job with Trans World Airlines. That fall, I started paying attention to the Kansas City team in the "upstart" American Football League.

On June 8, 1966 it was announced that the AFL was merging with the older, more established National Football League.

The merger wouldn't be completed for four more seasons, but the two leagues began playing a championship game at the end of the 1966 season, and as luck would have it the team I was following, the Kansas City Chiefs, represented the AFL in two of the first four championship games (which eventually came to be called the Super Bowl).

Len Dawson and the Chiefs beat the favored Minnesota Vikings
The Chiefs lost the first NFL-AFL World Championship Game to Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers, but they defeated the heavily-favored Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, which evened the series between the two leagues at two wins apiece before the merger was finalized.

To this day, I always root for the old AFL teams above all others. If my beloved Chiefs aren't in the Super Bowl (and they haven't been in one for 46 seasons and counting), my strong preference is for one of the original AFL teams to win.

Except the Broncos. To hell with the Broncos. And the Raiders. To hell with the Raiders, too. And the Patriots...

"You're not fooling anybody, you know."

I don't know what you mean...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

The finches who visit the B&B are very fond of Nyjer seed (mistakenly referred to by some as thistle, although the plant which produces Nyjer seed is completely unrelated to thistle).

Nyjer is relatively inexpensive, but it is pain in the neck to fill the feeding sock that the finches like, so I have never refilled as often as recommended.

I'm hoping that will change with the addition of the latest item to the B&B's feeder offerings: the Kaytee Finch Station.

The dome at the top made it very easy to fill, and the way the sock is attached will prevent it from sagging, which has been a problem with other socks I've used (especially after a rain).

So far the customers seem to approve. It isn't unusual to see four or five birds on the sock at a time during the morning breakfast rush.


Now that the weather has warmed up for good, my exercise walks are getting longer. One of the things I do to pass the time is keep an eye out for changes in the local environment around the complex. Here's something I noticed just the other day...

"Nice! Show me where you found that!"

Of course...what are friends for?

Sad, But True

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

Until Next Time...

On June 8, 1810 Robert Schumann was born in Zwickau, Saxony, Germany. Although his path to a career in music was not as direct as other major figures in the classical canon, Schumann eventually established himself as one of the most gifted composers
of what came to be called the Romantic era.

Robert Schumann (1839), by Josef Kriehuber

When I was growing up, I was told by my paternal grandfather that we were distant relations of Schumann, but that the spelling of the last name was changed to "Americanize" it not long after arriving in America. I have no idea whether this is true, or if it is just a story my grandfather was told by his grandparents. Nonetheless,
I enjoy his music, and it pleases me to think that there might be some familial connection, however distant.

In his career Schumann composed symphonies, an opera, and a variety of orchestral, choral, and chamber works. His Lieder (songs for piano and voice) are highly regarded also.

Perhaps because I know how much Schumann wanted a career as a pianist (a hand injury thwarted that ambition), I have always found his compositions for solo piano to be especially appealing.

Today's send-off is a recording of his 1849 Waldszenen Op. 82 by the acclaimed Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires. Enjoy...

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