Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Flying High


The most recent addition to the American arsenal, the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II, has been declared combat-ready by the U.S. Air Force.

Thanks to my dad, I've had a fondness for combat aircraft since I was a kid. I've built models of everything from World War I Curtis Jennys to Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom IIs.

I don't do model airplanes anymore, but I still enjoy reading about military aircraft, especially American achievements like the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit.

Well done, USA!


Just how bad was the month of July for my beloved Kansas City Royals? Among other things, they went the entire month without winning consecutive games. Their streak of games without a two-game winning streak reached 27 (longest current streak in the major leagues) before last night's 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, the team's second consecutive win.

"Hi, mom!"

Royals starter Yordano Ventura gave up just two runs in his five innings of work, but got his pitch count too high too quickly. RHP Chris Young wound up getting the win in relief, with help from Joakim Soria and All-Star Kelvin Herrera.

The real eye-opener out of the bullpen was rookie LHP Matt Strahm. In just his second big league game, and with his whole family in attendance, he snuffed out a 7th inning Rays rally with back-to-back strikeouts.

As it did throughout July the Royals offense sputtered, but All-Star C Salvador Perez clubbed a two-run home run in the 7th inning to give the team a lead the bullpen protected the rest of the way.

All-Star 1B Eric Hosmer had two hits and an RBI, and RF Lorenzo Cain had his first two hits since returning from the disabled list on July 29.

"Undefeated in August! Things are turning around!"

Yeah, no...would be nice to finish the season playing well, getting back above .500, but we're too far behind to think about post-season play...

National Watermelon Day

Seedless perfection
Today is National Watermelon Day, one of the rare "national days" that I don't mind celebrating.

There was a time when I was a kid when watermelon was my favorite food. It seemed like there was always some around the house,
but that might just be the gauze
of nostalgia.

I don't eat watermelon as much
as I used to growing up, but
I always enjoy it when I do, and the flavor brings back fond memories of warm, carefree summer days...

"And watermelon rinds are like ant magnets, which I love..."

Yes, I remember all too well...

Can't Be Too Careful

From the insightful pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

Yesterday I got word through his email newsletter that my guitar hero Joe Bonamassa's next release (due out September 23) would be a live recording of his appearance at the famous Greek Theatre in Los Angeles last August 29. That concert was the finale of his 2015 "Three Kings Tour," a celebration of the music of blues guitar legends Albert King, B.B. King, and Freddie King.

When I saw Joe play live in Omaha back in May, he was still including songs from the "Three Kings" tour in his set list, and they were all amazing. I'm really looking forward having that music added to my collection.

In 1999, Joe's friend B.B. King released Let the Good Times Roll,
an album of songs written by or associated with Louis Jordan,
the musician and singer known as The King of the Jukebox.

The title track of that album had been one of Jordan's biggest hits in 1946, and it quickly became a blues "standard." The song has been covered countless times by blues and R&B artists like Ray Charles, Koko Taylor, and Muddy Waters.

Joe's "Three Kings" set list included a cover of B.B.'s version, and to promote the new album and DVD release Joe's website is offering free downloads of his Greek Theatre performance of the song.

Today's send-off is that performance, from the upcoming DVD. Enjoy...

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