Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Purr-fectly Wonderful

Rally Mantis Redux

"What's up, doc?"

I am a sentimental kind of person, so I took it rather hard when the famous Royals Rally Mantis passed away last Friday.

I also got unduly excited when some Detroit Tigers fan put another mantis on the roof of the Royals' dugout during last night's game.

Whoever that fan was is someone after my own heart...

I know, right?


My beloved Kansas City Royals will miss the playoffs this year in no small part because of their dismal play on the road, which has been the worst in the American League to this point in the season and second only to the woeful Milwaukee Brewers for worst in all of baseball. Last night, though, they guaranteed themselves of at least a .500 road trip, winning a tense 3-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. They are now 3-1 on this six-game road swing after winning a series against the Twins in Minneapolis.

Now 7-9, 3.78 ERA

Royals starter Ian Kennedy turned in another strong outing, allowing only a single run (a solo home run) on just five hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work.

Relievers Peter Moylan, Joakim Soria, and All-Star Kelvin Herrera only allowed a single Tiger baserunner over the final 2 1/3 innings.

As it has so often on the road this season, the Royals offense sputtered, but RF Lorenzo Cain continued his hot hitting against Detroit (.333 on the season), going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and driving in a key insurance run in the 9th inning.

LF Alex Gordon and SS Alcides Escobar also had two hits apiece, and each scored a run.

"Any predictions for game two of the series?"

Duffy pitches well again, but Verlander throws a no-hitter, Tigers win 2-0...

Happy Birthday!

On August 16, 1933 Julia Chalene Newmeyer was born to middle-class parents in Los Angeles.

Not long after she began her career as a dancer, she changed her stage name to Julie Newmar. Although she had success on the stage (winning a Tony Award in 1958) and in motion pictures, she is best remembered for her television performances.

Julie appeared in many of the most popular shows of the 1960s, such as Route 66, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, and Star Trek.

Her iconic performance as the sexy and sarcastic Catwoman on the popular Batman series made quite an impression on me, coming as it did just as puberty was changing the way I felt toward girls. Her combination of sultry looks and droll humor was irresistible, and I had a huge crush on her.

"Were there any beautiful women on TV that you didn't have a crush on at 13?"

That's a bit of an overstatement, don't you think?

Olympic Spectacle

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

Until Next Time...

On August 16, 1958 Madonna Louise Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan. She moved to New York City at age 19 to pursue a career as a dancer, but found fame as a singer-songwriter instead, performing professionally using only her first name.

Her eponymous debut album in 1983 produced three Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits, but her appeal was mostly limited to fans of dance music at first (her debut produced two No. 1 hits on the dance charts and five hits in the Top 5 on those charts).

Not long after I began my second year teaching in Casper, Wyoming Madonna released her second album, Like a Virgin, and suddenly she was a huge hit with my students, both on the radio and with her music videos on MTV. Since it had always been part of my teaching method to be familiar with musical artists popular with my students, I had no choice but to pay her some attention. Although Like a Virgin produced five Top 5 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including two No. 1s, I wasn't a fan by any means.

That changed with the release of her third album, True Blue, in 1986. Maturing as both a songwriter and as
a singer, this album began to win over skeptics like me, and to establish Madonna as a creative artist every bit as popular and influential as male artists like Michael Jackson and Prince.

The album produced five Billboard Hot 100 Top 5 hits, including three No. 1s.
I liked all of those songs, especially
"La Isla Bonita" (which peaked at
No. 4) and "Live to Tell," the first single from the album and her third career No. 1 hit.

It was "Live to Tell" that marked a change in how Madonna's songwriting was viewed by the music industry. Widely regarded as the finest ballad of her career, it is a complex song both musically and lyrically. It was a complete stylistic departure from her usual high-energy dance music, and I for one welcomed the change. The song's lyrics in particular resonated with me at the time, and it remains my favorite of hers to this day.

Today's send-off is the official music video for the song from her YouTube channel.
It includes clips from her then-husband Sean Penn's film At Close Range. Enjoy...

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