Saturday, August 13, 2016



One of the main attractions of the quadrennial Olympic games is the opportunity to see the world's best athletes turn in record-shattering performances on their sport's most prestigious stage.

We certainly saw that yesterday, as American distance swimmer Katie Ledecky handily won the 800m freestyle event by shaving a full two seconds off of her own world record.

Ledecky was so dominant that when she checked the scoreboard after touching the wall, none of her competitors were even close to finishing. The silver medalist touched the wall 11.38 seconds after Ledecky. As one wag noted, this was enough time to run an entire 100m men's sprint race.

Not a Photoshop job.

I watched the race live, and even now I'm still not sure I believe what I saw...

"Wow. It can't be much fun trying to compete against her."
I wouldn't think so, no...


Last night my beloved Kansas City Royals began a six-game road trip with a comfortable 7-3 win over the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, the team's third straight win.

Now 8-9, 4.60 ERA
Royals starter Yordano Ventura was solid, going seven complete innings and allowing three runs on only four hits (two of the hits were home runs). He struck out 9 batters and only allowed a single walk.

Rookie Matt Strahm and veteran Joakim Soria each contributed a scoreless inning to finish the victory.


DH Kendrys Morales had a perfect night at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a solo home run in the 7th.

Eight of the nine Royals starters had a least one hit, with CF Paulo Orlando and
SS Alcides Escobar joining Morales with two-hit games. RF Lorenzo Cain didn't get
a hit, but had a stolen base and scored twice.

"I suppose Ned doesn't need me to start today's game, then?"

I guess he decided that since Dillon Gee has hands and arms he'd be the safer choice...

Requiescat in Pace

"Welcome to Kansas City, Billy Burns!"
The news from Minneapolis wasn't  
all good, however.

Just after the game concluded the team announced that the famous Rally Mantis, which had accompanied the team on the road trip, had passed away.

I know, old, too...but mantises do have relatively short lifespans, so I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise...

Happy Birthday

"Good evening."
On August 13, 1899 Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, on the east side of London. He would enjoy a legendary and award-winning career in both motion pictures and television.

Although Hitch directed several of my all-time favorite movies, including  
North By Northwest and Rebecca,
my initial encounters with The Master
of Suspense were via his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Both of my parents were big fans of the show, so it was "must-see TV" when I was growing up, and I loved his droll humor.

Hitch also worked with my writing hero Raymond Chandler on the classic Strangers On a Train, but neither man would describe the collaboration as one they enjoyed, and they never worked together again.


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

Until Next Time...

On August 13, 1942 Frank Seals was born in Osceola, Arkansas. His father was the owner of a local juke joint, and he was playing music professionally by the time he was 13, under the name Son Seals. By age 16 he was playing guitar with some of the greatest names in blues music, including Albert King and Bobby "Blue" Bland.

After moving to Chicago in 1971, Son's career took a major step forward when he signed with Alligator Records, for whom he released nine of his ten career albums. Son was honored with W.C. Handy Awards from the Blues Foundation three times, and in 2009 he was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

My first encounter with Son's music was in 1996, when Alligator Records released its two-disc 25th Anniversary compilation CD.

The very first track on the collection was Son's blistering "Don't Pick Me for Your Fool," from his Bad Axe album. I was hooked after just one listen. Son's style is classic Chicago electric blues, and his guitar-playing influenced a number of prominent rock and roll players over the years. There are also few voices in blues as distinctive as his.
Today's send-off is the song that made me a Son Seals fan, just as exciting today as it was when I first heard it more than 20 years ago. Enjoy...

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