Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Stepping Up

My Guy

"There should always be a conservative candidate for president."

I've stopped writing about politics in this space for the most part because I am utterly revolted by both of the major party candidates for president.

That doesn't mean I will shirk my civic duty come November 8, of course. I can't in good conscience support the Libertarian ticket (as I have done in two previous elections), because they're terrible on too many issues this time around. The Green Party candidate is, predictably, completely nuts.

I had planned to take advantage of Iowa's write-in rules, and I may still take that option, but my current plan is to vote for new independent candidate Evan McMullin, who recently qualified for a presidential ballot line in Iowa.

I like Evan on the issues, especially his strong pro-life views and his belief in smaller, more responsive government (especially in education). He is a genuine conservative who believes in the Constitution, and so long as he doesn't do anything deal-breaking between now and Election Day, I will vote for him with head held high and conscience clear.

"A clear conscience is an important thing to have."

Yes, yes it is...

Feast Day

Saint Rose of Lima, by Claudio Coello

Today is the feast day of St. Rose of Lima, the first person born in the Americas to be canonized.

A lay member of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Rose spent most of her short life (she died at just age 31) doing whatever she could to help the poor in her community.

She was beatified by Pope Clement IX
(the year is uncertain), and canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X.

Rose is the patron saint of Peru, and of gardeners and florists.

Big Road Trip

My beloved Kansas City Royals have won eight straight games and five consecutive series. After yesterday's much-needed off day, they now embark on a six-game swing through two cities whose teams are playoff contenders.

The first stop will be Marlins Park in Miami, for a three-games series with the Marlins, who are currently in the thick of the Wild Card race in the National League.

The Marlins are currently without their superstar Giancarlo Stanton, who is on the disabled list.

The next stop will be Boston for a three-game series against the Red Sox at historic Fenway Park.

The Red Sox are also in the thick of the playoff race this season, so the Royals will face a stiff challenge.

"Are you saying these games have playoff impli..."

I will tie your snout in a knot if you don't stop...


From the indispensable comic strip Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, which you should read every day, as I do (even though Wiley is a squishy liberal).

Until Next Time...

Although he is deservedly regarded as a legendary figure in American popular music, having recorded close to 100 albums in an award-winning career spanning six decades, Johnny Cash only reached the top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart twice.

One of those albums, American V: A Hundred Highways, was released in 2006, nearly three years after Cash's death on September 12, 2003. It included the last song he ever wrote, "Like the 309," recorded on his final day in a studio shortly before he died.

His other chart-topping album was a live recording, At San Quentin, recorded on February 24, 1969 and released on June 3 that year. The previous year Cash had enjoyed both critical and commercial success with At Folsom Prison, a multi-platinum live album that revitalized Cash's career. At San Quentin was an attempt to recreate that success, but it wound up exceeding it by every measure.

On August 23, 1969 At San Quentin hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, a position it would hold for four consecutive weeks.
In a year dominated by The Beatles (The Beatles spend eight weeks at No. 1, Abbey Road another seven), the original cast recording from the musical Hair (thirteen weeks), and the jazz-rock of Blood, Sweat, & Tears (seven weeks, and the Album of the Year Grammy Award),
it speaks well of Cash's artistry that his music stood out even among such strong competition.

The album was the biggest commercial success of Cash's career (three platinum certifications from RIAA), and received numerous Grammy Award nominations (it won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance). It is still viewed as one of the best live concert recordings ever made.

The concert at California's famous San Quentin State Prison was filmed for British TV, and the film crew's refusal to stop blocking Cash's view of the audience resulted in one of the most iconic photographs ever taken of the singer as he expressed his displeasure.

Today's send-off is "He Turned the Water Into Wine," which was not included on the original 1970 vinyl LP but was part of the "legacy edition" CD set released in 2000 which contained the complete concert. Cash's heartfelt description of how he came to write the song, during a visit to the Holy Land, is deeply moving. Enjoy...

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