Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Star Struck

Falling Stars

Perseid shower photographed near Mt. Rainier in 2015

Yesterday evening just before bedtime I spent some time outside looking for signs of the annual Perseid meteor shower.

I came back in after seeing a couple of "shooting stars," but I'll repeat the process for the next few nights (this year's Perseids are supposed to peak on August 12).

Because of the annual occurrence's proximity to his feast day, the shootings stars are sometimes referred to as The Tears of St. Lawrence.

Feast Day

St. Lawrence of Rome, by Paolo Veronese
Today is the feast day of St. Lawrence of Rome, one of seven deacons of that city
who were martyred by the Roman emperor Valerian in 258 AD during a persecution that began with the execution by beheading of Pope Sixtus II.

One of the most persistent legends in the Church is that St. Lawrence was martyred by being burned to death on a gridiron suspended over hot coals. Although this colorful story has been the subject of numerous works of art over the centuries,
it is almost certainly false. Church scholars now believe the story is rooted in a simple spelling error, a notion which greatly amuses the teacher in me.

Among his many patronages, St. Lawrence is the patron of librarians and chefs.

Show Me!

On August 10, 1821 Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 21st state.

The state's official seal, shown at left, includes the Latin motto Salus populi suprema lex esto, which basically means "The safety of the people is the supreme law."

I've spent basically half of my life living in Missouri, including some of the best years of that life. I have a paid-for hole in the ground next to my late first wife, so when the time comes the Show Me State will be my final resting place.

In the meantime, I visit whenever I can, and following my beloved Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs gives me great pleasure...

"Except when they lose, of course."

Even then...part of being a fan is coping with the nearly-inevitable failures...that's what makes the occasional championships (VERY occasional, in the case of the Chiefs) even more special when they do occur...

Happy Birthday!

Leo with the iconic Telecaster

On August 10, 1909 Clarence Leonidas Fender was born in Anaheim, California. He was primarily an inventor, and although he never learned how to play guitar Leo Fender profoundly influenced the develop of both electric guitars and the amplifiers used to make them audible to audiences.

I am the proud owner of both a Fender Telecaster and a Fender Stratocaster.
I haven't given up hope of someday owning a Deluxe Reverb amp, either. That means I will have to figure out whether I'd prefer the '65 version or the '68 version...

Not a Dime's Worth of Difference

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

Until Next Time...

Most record albums that are destined to make the top of the Billboard charts do so within a relatively short amount of time following their release. In music genres which are charted individually, like blues recordings, it isn't unusual for a successful album to debut in the No. 1 spot (my hero Joe Bonamassa has seen his last several releases do just that).

Sometimes, however, a record doesn't make a huge splash initially, but builds its popularity more slowly. Every so often a record takes months to finally reach the pinnacle. That was the case with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams and his fourth album, Reckless, which was released on November 5, 1984.

On August 10, 1985 Reckless finally reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. And while Adams had other Top 10 albums in his career, it would be his only No. 1.
It was also the biggest seller of his career, earning five platinum certifications from RIAA.

The album produced six charting singles, including the No. 1 hit "Heaven" and the anthemic "Summer of '69" (which peaked at No. 5), but my sentimental favorite was the one single release from the album that didn't reach the charts, "Kids Wanna Rock."

Straightforward and unapologetic guitar-driven rock music wasn't easy to find in those days, and I loved that the song's lyrics took an overt poke at what Adams called the "computerized crap" that was dominating the airwaves at the time. Music to my ears, literally and figuratively. The song still gets regular plays, as I have it in an iTunes playlist of songs for long drives.

Today's send-off is the official music video for the song, from Bryan's YouTube channel. It's a simple "performance" video, so the usual '80s music video disclaimers are moot. Enjoy...

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