Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 38


Yesterday was a pretty miserable day for me sports-wise, as my beloved Kansas City Chiefs lost their first exhibition game in preposterous fashion yesterday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium, and my beloved Kansas City Royals, possibly still distraught over the death of the Rally Mantis, got thumped last night at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Fortunately, there were a couple of shining moments to boost my spirits just before bedtime last night...

L to R: Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Dana Vollmer, Simone Manuel

The U.S. Women's Swim Team capped off a tremendous showing at the Rio Olympics by winning gold in the final event, the 4x100m medley relay.

L to R: Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian

The U.S. Men's Swim Team also enjoyed a splendid Olympics, and put an exclamation point on their showing by winning gold in their 4x100m medley relay as well.

"And now the track events are starting, your favorite stuff!"

I do enjoy those events, yes, but the American team probably won't be able to match the success of the swimmers...we'll see...

Feast Day

Statue at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Corfu, NY

Today is the feast day of
St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was
a Conventual Franciscan friar and native of Poland. He chose to live a life of devotion after receiving a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1906 when he was 12 years old.

The monastery in Niepokalanów where he worked was eventually shut down in 1941 because it had sheltered Jewish refugees from the Nazi occupation of Poland, and because it published anti-Nazi materials. Kolbe was arrested and eventually sent to the notorious concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a married prisoner who had been condemned to be starved to death, but eventually the Nazis lost patience and executed him by lethal injection.

Maximilian was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1971, and in 1982 he was canonized by fellow Pole Pope St. John Paul II. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of prisoners (especially political prisoners), amateur radio operators, and the pro-life movement.

Celebrity Chef

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

Until Next Time...

The summer of 1971 was an eventful one in my life. It began when a close friend of mine from high school (we were on the debate team together for three years) drowned while swimming in a lake less than a month after we had graduated. Serving as a pallbearer at age 18 was deeply depressing. On the way home from Glenn's funeral, just minutes after dropping off a female friend who had attended the funeral with me, my dad's car suffered a blowout on the highway at 70 mph, which caused me to lose control and wreck. I was lucky to escape without injury.

Not long after that, I found out that funding for a college scholarship I had received had been cut, with the result that I would have to attend community college for a year while I worked full time to save up enough money to make up the tuition shortfall.

My best friend from high school (who was also my debate partner, and a friend of Glenn's who also served as a pallbearer) talked me into going with him to see my favorite band, The Who, who were scheduled to play at the Mississippi River Festival
on August 16. We had seen the band together when they had played in Kansas City on
July 2, 1970, one of the peak experiences of my life. Chuck thought seeing them again would boost my spirits.

As the summer unfolded there were stories about the album the band had been working on as a follow-up to its epic rock opera Tommy and to Live at Leeds, one of the most highly-regarded live albums ever released. In those pre-internet days, though, information was scarce, so no one really had any idea of what was about to happen.

On August 14, 1971, just a couple of days before Chuck and I would see them in concert (a show seen by more than 32,000 fans, the largest attendance in the history of the MRF), Who's Next hit record stores from coast to coast.

The album was an immediate sensation, peaking at No. 4 on
the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
It remains the best-selling album
in the band's catalog.

Widely regarded as the group's best recording, it was selected for Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, and is included on many other such lists. It has received three platinum certifications by RIAA, and in 2007 it was selected for inclusion in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The temperature the day of the concert peaked at well over 100 degrees, making the outdoor event a particularly draining experience. Once the band began playing, though, we forgot all about the heat. The concert setlist included five songs from the new album, including the mystical "Bargain," the Top 40 hit "Behind Blue Eyes," and the anthemic "Won't Get Fooled Again," arguably the band's most famous song.

Today's send-off is the 2003 remastered version of the full-length album track of that song, including what might be the most famous scream in rock and roll history. Enjoy...

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