Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 33

Feast Day

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, by Caravaggio
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. Thomas the Apostle, patron saint of architects.

One of the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus, Thomas is of course best remembered for his skepticism following the Resurrection. Fairly or unfairly, the expression "doubting Thomas" is a well-known idiom in the English language.

In John 20:24, Jesus invites Thomas to examine his wounds as proof of his Resurrection, but also reminds him that those who believe without requiring such proof are "blessed."

Cruise Update

On Saturday my best friend Skip and his wife Elaine arrived in Iceland, enjoying their first day at Akureyri...

...including a visit to the spectacular Goðafoss waterfall...

Today they paid a visit to Ísafjörður...

...which as the name suggests included viewing some scenic fjords...

"Say, didn't you used to sell fjords?"

 No one thinks you're funny...

  Strong Rebound

Yesterday my beloved Kansas City Royals got back on the winning track, cruising to a 6-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia after losing 4-3 in the series opener on Friday night.

Now 4-1, 3.11 ERA

Royals starter Danny Duffy turned in another sterling performance, allowing single runs in the 1st and 9th innings but stifling the Phillies on just four other hits in between, striking out 8 without walking a batter.

Danny didn't quite have enough left in the tank for the complete game, but the Royals will take 8 2/3 innings of this kind of dominance any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Joakim Soria got the final out on a four-pitch strikeout.

"Boom! Boom!"
The offensive star for the Royals was the still white-hot Kendrys Morales, playing RF again in a National League park.

Kendrys was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and four RBIs. He homered from both sides of the plate, and his three-shot in the 2nd turned a 2-1 game into a comfortable 5-1 Royals lead.

2B Whit Merrifield and 3B Cheslor Cuthbert also chipped in two hits apiece. The win gives the team a 3-1 record so far on this road trip, an encouraging sign given the team's woeful road record this season.
"Careful, someone might mistake you for a cock-eyed optimist."

I consider that highly unlikely...

Dad Mans the Grill

From the droll comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On July 3, 1930 Pierre Dewey LaFontaine, Jr. was born in New Orleans. A few years after he was born, his father changed his own name to Peter Dewey Fountain, and passed the change down to his son. Junior, performing as Pete Fountain, went on to enjoy a storied career in music, and was my dad's all-time favorite musician.

Fountain took up the clarinet as a young child thanks to his doctor's suggestion that playing a wind instrument would be helpful in combating the respiratory issues from which he suffered. His father allowed him to pick whatever he wanted at a local music store, and he picked the "licorice stick."

My dad's fondness for Pete's music meant he had more of his albums than any other artist, which meant I heard tons of his unique style of jazz very early in my life. I also have fond memories of my dad practicing Fountain licks on his own clarinet. One of dad's peak life experiences was getting to visit New Orleans and see his hero playing live at his club in The French Quarter Inn.

Original 1960 EP recording
Although jazz in general and Dixieland jazz in particular was and is a rarity on the popular music charts, Fountain did make an occasional appearance there.

His first Billboard Hot 100 charting single was a swinging arrangement of the traditional gospel hymn
"A Closer Walk With Thee," a song which is often heard in the kind of jazz funerals popular in Fountain's native New Orleans. His version
of the song peaked at just No. 93 in 1960, but it became a staple of his live shows for the next 40+ years.

Since I'm still mourning the death of my cat Roy on Friday, that sort of song resonates with me a bit more today than it usually would.

Today's send-off is a live performance of the song recorded by Pete and his combo for
the Bravo cable network in 1992. Pete deftly interpolates the beautiful Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" at one point, which is a nice touch to his rendition. Enjoy...

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