Monday, August 8, 2016

Villains and Heroes

Cheating Russians

Aside from reading some stories about the squalid conditions the world's best athletes are being subjected to, I really haven't paid much attention to the Rio Olympics so far. One reason for that is my disappointment that clear instances of cheating are being tolerated.


In a decision that defies explanation (other than rampant corruption among Olympic officials), swimmer Yuliya Yefimova was reinstated despite repeated convictions for violations of the sport's doping policies.

Swimming fans were not impressed, and Yefimova was booed during a preliminary heat at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium yesterday. American swimmer Lilly King loudly and publicly blasted Yefimova as well.

It was particularly upsetting to me because the cheater's presence robbed Irish swimmer Fiona Doyle of a place in the event's semifinals.

"Because yes, Ireland is famous for producing gold medal swimmers."

Hardly the point...

International Cat Day

Today is International Cat Day, and although I'm still the proud owner of two pesky felines, my heart is heavy because I still miss Roy, who passed away on July 1 after
18 years with me.

I know...don't get me started, old friend...


Yesterday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium my beloved Kansas City Royals won their second straight game for just the second time since the end of June. Their 7-1 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays also gave them a series win for the first time since before the All-Star break.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura turned in a strong outing, holding the potent Blue Jays offense to just one run on five hits in his 6 2/3 innings of work. He carried a four-hit shutout into the 7th inning, and the only run scored on a wild pitch by reliever Peter Moylan after Ventura had left the game.

RHP Chris Young pitched two solid innings to finish the game.

After the Blue Jays had gotten the game to 3-1 in the top of the 7th, DH Kendrys Morales put an end to any suspense with a grand slam home run in the bottom of the inning, his 18th round-tripper of the season.

3B Cheslor Cuthbert, SS Alcides Escobar, 2B Raul Mondesi, and CF Paulo Orlando each chipped in two hits to the Royals' attack. One of Escobar's hits was his second home run of the season, to dead center field.

"Welcome to KC, Billy Burns!"

I credit the two-game winning streak to the team's new unofficial mascot, the Rally Mantis, which has been the subject of some media scrutiny lately...

The team is off today, their last off day for two weeks. The Chicago White Sox begin a three-game series at Kauffman tomorrow night.

"You looked pretty funny jumping out of your chair when he hit that homer."

I did no such thing...

3,000-Hit Club


Ichiro Suzuki, the 42-year-old outfielder for the Miami Marlins, became the 30th member of major league baseball's 3000 Hit Club yesterday, reaching the milestone with a triple in the Marlins' 10-7 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.

Ichiro is just the fourth player born outside
of the United States to join the club, and he reached the milestone in just his 16th major league season (only all-time hits leader Pete Rose got to 3,000 so quickly).

I've always felt that Ichiro deserved to make baseball's Hall of Fame based on his accomplishments, but his 3000th hit removes any doubt that he will make the Hall eventually.

Olympic Spirit

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

Until Next Time...

The Irish rock band U2 first showed up on my musical radar in when I stumbled upon their live album Under a Blood Red Sky in the fall of 1983, not long after I had moved to Casper, Wyoming for a teaching gig. As I began to look into the band's catalog, I soon discovered their multi-platinum album War, released earlier that year.

That album had produced a couple of minor chart hits, and they had another such single from their 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire. At that point, though, the band had only broken onto the U.S. charts with four of the fourteen singles they had released.

They went from being one of the best-selling bands in the world to arguably the world's most popular rock band in 1987, with the release of their album The Joshua Tree, which eventually received a diamond certification (10 million units or more sold) from RIAA. It also produced the band's first Billboard No. 1 single, "With or Without You," which held the top spot for three weeks in May.

It was the second single from that album that made the most lasting impression on me.

Original 1987 45 rpm single

On August 8, 1987 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, a position it would hold for two weeks.

It was the band's second consecutive U.S. No. 1, but in the nearly thirty years since then they've yet to have another despite remaining one of the world's most visible and popular rock groups.

I was at a place in my life where the song's lyrics resonated deeply with me, and all these years later it remains one of my favorites of the band's output.

The Joshua Tree went on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and
in 2014 it was selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry curated by the Library of Congress.

Today's send-off is the 2007 remastered version of the iconic hits of the 1980s. Enjoy...

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