Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 34

Cruise Update

My best friend Skip and his wife Elaine spent today visiting Reykjavík, Iceland...

It is the final stop on their cruise, and after today's tour of the city they will disembark from the Seven Seas Voyager on Monday and fly home...

Reykjavik was the site of the famous Fischer-Spassky World Chess Championship match in 1972, in which my hero Bobby Fischer captured the title fairly easily. That victory was both the zenith and the end of Bobby's competitive career, and the beginning of his descent into madness.

Bobby was granted political asylum and citizenship by Iceland in 2005, and he died in Reykjavik in 2008.

"A genuine tragedy."

In the original sense of that word, yes...


Yesterday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium my beloved Kansas City Royals bounced back from Friday night's loss with a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners in game three of their four-game series.

Royals starter Edinson Volquez picked up his 8th win with another quality start, allowing three runs on six hits in his six innings of work. After retiring the first 11 hitters he faced, Volquez allowed three consecutive hits in the fourth, the last of them a three-run homer.

The bullpen allowed four baserunners over the final three innings, but no further scoring. All-Star Kelvin Herrera pitched the 9th in place of injured closer Wade Davis, and notched his 1st save of the season.

"Nice game, rook!"

The offensive star was 3B Cheslor Cuthbert, who put the Royals ahead 1-0 in the 2nd with an RBI double, and whose RBI single in the 6th put the Royals in front to stay.

LF Whit Merrifield, DH Kendrys Morales, and
SS Alcides Escobar each contributed two hits, and RF Brett Eibner scored twice.

Starting All-Star C Salvador Perez gave the bullpen some breathing room with a solo home run (his 14th) in the 7th inning.

"So, who's the starting pitcher for the series finale this afternoon?"

I don't want to talk about it...

Happy Birthday, Big Mac!

On July 10, 1945 Harold Abraham McRae was born in Avon Park, Florida. He made his debut as a major league baseball player on the day after his 23rd birthday, with the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately, he broke his leg sliding during the winter baseball season in Puerto Rico, missing the entire 1969 season. When he returned he was no longer the speedy outfielder he had been, and after three disappointing seasons the Reds traded him to my beloved Kansas City Royals.

In his 14 seasons in Royal blue, Hal McRae became one of the most popular players
in team history. Along with George Brett (who became a regular a year later), McRae changed the culture on the Royals with his aggressive, hard-nosed playing style, and they became competitive faster than most expansion teams in baseball have.

Big Mac was part of seven playoff teams and two American League champion teams
in his career, including the 1985 World Series-winning team. When he retired in 1987 he held most of the career records for Designated Hitters, and even though most of them were subsequently broken he is still viewed as one of the best full-time DH players in baseball history.

Hal's son Brian eventually became a major league player also, spending his first five seasons with the Royals. Hal himself served as manager of the Royals from 1991 to 1994. His unexpected firing in 1994 (he had a winning record at the time) plunged the team into a losing funk that lasted for 18 years (only one winning season from 1995-2012).

"Not the smartest move the team ever made, eh?"

Not hardly...

American Icon

On July 10, 1900 Emile Berliner copyrighted an image known as "His Master's Voice" for use as a logo for the Victor Talking Machine Company.

The design was retained when Radio Corporation of America acquired the company in 1929,
and it became one of the most iconic corporate images in American history.

Happy Birthday, Cowboy State!

On July 10, 1890 Wyoming became the 44th state of the Union.

I lived and taught in Casper, Wyoming from 1983-1990, and traveled to every part of the state with my Natrona County High School forensics teams.

Although sparsely populated, there is much beauty in Wyoming, including most of Yellowstone National Park.

Marketing 101

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

Until Next Time...

On July 10, 1835 Henryk Wieniawski was born in Lublin, in what was then known as Congress Poland. A child prodigy on the violin, he was admitted to the famed Conservatoire de Paris when he was just 9 years old. He published the first of his opus works when he was only 12.

Although he was primarily renowned during his lifetime as a performer and teacher,
he composed several works for his instrument that have become an essential part of the classical repertoire. His famous Légende showpiece was supposedly written to impress his fiancée's parents, who opposed their engagement but relented after hearing the music.

I first became acquainted with Wieniawski's work from an album
I purchased in 1998 looking for some incidental music for a play I was directing at Bishop LeBlond. There were three of his pieces on the album, and all of them got regular plays as journal music for my students for the next 14 years.

The piece I selected to use in the play was the second movement (Romance) from Wieniawski's Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22.

Today's send-off is a live performance of this portion of the concerto by the marvelous Rachel Barton Pine and the Highland Park Strings. It was filmed on February 4, 2007
at the Ravinia Festival. Enjoy...

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