Friday, September 30, 2016


Thank Stribog It's Friday!

"Enjoy flying those 'friendly skies,' did you? You're welcome!"


Today's entry is the 500th since I began this incarnation of the blog on May 19, 2015. 
To this point I think I've done a reasonable job of meeting the blog's overall purpose: Letting interested parties get some sense of who I am, how I think, and what I believe 
so that once I have departed those folks will still have a little bit of me to visit from time to time when they feel a need. And it has been quite a bit of fun of course. It is the only outlet I have for my more creative impulses, and I like to think the people who read it regularly or even only occasionally get the sense that it is a labor of love.

"Plus, you really have nothing better to do most days."

Plus that, yes...thanks for reminding me...

Flight to Philly

Having not flown in a commercial jet since 1977, I was leery of the prospect, but the TSA procedures were not nearly so tiresome as I had expected (I was pre-screened, so
I got to use the express lane),
and the morning flight from Omaha's Eppley Airfield to Chicago's Midway International Airport took less than an hour.

That segment of the trip was completed on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 like the one pictured above.

It was raining when we got to Chicago, and even for a Thursday Midway was quite full of people. My flight to Philadelphia International Airport was delayed by about an hour, but aside from some "bumpy" air caused by the storms all along the way the flight was uneventful.

This time I flew in a 737-800 like the one pictured at left, and it was completely full.

It was raining in Philadelphia when I arrived as well. My best friend Skip, my host for this visit, met me at the airport and we had a short drive back to Jenner's pond.

"Pretzels and peanuts are fine for you bipeds, but some ants would have been nice."

Write a letter to Southwest about it...

It's Homecoming Float Season!

From the wry comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

My guitar hero Mark Knopfler hasn't enjoyed quite so much chart success in his solo career as he achieved with his band Dire Sraits, but all indications are that he doesn't really care about that, and remains focused on simply creating beautiful music. I can always count on him for that.

Because of this trip I was put in mind of Mark's second solo effort, released on September 26, 2000.

Sailing to Philadelphia is an engaging collection of songs, especially the title track, which features a duet with James Taylor, and is about the surveyors who created what came to be known as the Mason-Dixon line.

Today's send-off is is the official U.S. album version of the song. Enjoy...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Travel Day 1

Bound for the Quaker State

Locked and loaded, baby!
The blog is going to be a bit lighter than usual for the next week or so, as I will be
at Jenner's Pond in West Grove, Pennsylvania (just west of Philadelphia) visiting my best friend Skip. I'll be flying out of Omaha later this morning, and I don't plan to spend much of my precious visiting time once
I'm there writing entries for the blog.

Skip has come to visit me several times, including trips to Des Moines and Kansas City as well as here in Council Bluffs.
He ultimately managed to overcome my objections to flying (something I haven't done since 1977). It was the promise of his wife Elaine's baked spaghetti that finally sealed the deal.

There will still be daily entries, of course, but mostly it will be stuff about my visit, and little else.

Wouldn't dream of going without you, old friend...


September 29 is Michaelmas, the feast day of all three of the archangels mentioned by name in the Bible.

The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan, by Guido Reni

St. Michael is my namesake saint (my mom picked "Michael" for my middle name because there isn't a St. Terrance).

Michael is the patron of soldiers and policeman, which meant a lot to me growing up since my dad had been in the service and worked as a police officer most
of his life.

The Archangel Raphael, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

St. Raphael's name means
"God heals," and Biblical accounts mentioning him typically involve his being the vessel for God's healing grace.

Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, and those who work in the medical professions.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel, by Juan Luis Zambrano

St. Gabriel is God's special messenger, and makes multiple appearances in that capacity in Biblical accounts, most famously the Annunciation, when he appears to Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of Jesus. His words to her were the basis for the prayer known as the "Hail Mary."

Gabriel is the patron of messengers, people who work in the field of telecommunications, and postal workers. (I considered myself one of those when I ran the mail room for a major clothing retailer in Kansas City when I was in college.)

Done Deal

Last night at Kauffman Stadium my beloved Kansas City Royals won their fourth straight game, a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, the Baltimore Orioles scored a run in the 8th and two more in the 9th to come from behind and beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. That means the last Wild Card qualifier will have at least 86 wins, a total the 81-77 Royals can't match even if they win all of their final four games. The Royals have been mathematically eliminated from any 2016 post-season action.

5 IP, 0 runs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 87 pitches
Royals starter Jason Vargas turned in
a fine outing and departed the game with the Royals in front 2-0.

The bullpen couldn't preserve the lead, so Jason got a no-decision, but he certainly has to be encouraged by last night's strong performance.

RHP Joakim Soria picked up the win by pitching a scoreless top of the 8th just before the decisive Royals rally. All-Star Wade Davis recorded his 27th save with just 10 pitches.

Heading into the bottom of the 8th with the game tied 2-2, the Royals had only had four hits in the game. After a double, a stolen base, and a walk DH Kendrys Morales put the Royals ahead with a ground-rule double.

After an intentional walk to load the bases, LF Alex Gordon gave Davis some breathing room with a two-run single.

"I know you're disappointed, but they have gone to two World Series in a row."

I know, and I don't mean to be greedy, but it still hurts not to have any post-season to look forward to...but if we can win just one of the last four games, we'll have the team's fourth straight winning season, something they've only done one other time in 47 years of existence...that's not nothing...and there's a lot of reason for optimism for 2017...

Changes Good and Bad

"I fucked up."
Last night was the 12th season premiere of Criminal Minds, one of my favorite TV shows. This season is going to be difficult for me, though, because of all the changes to the show (I'm not a big fan of change, as a general rule).

Aside from Shemar Moore leaving the show at the end last season, the biggest change is Thomas Gibson's getting fired from the show after production for this season had already begun.

"I'm baaaaaaaack!"

On the other hand, Gibson's departure (assuming something doesn't get worked out) opens the door for Paget Brewster, who was already scheduled to return to the show anyway, to take on a larger role and perhaps rejoin the regular cast full time.

I certainly hope that happens, as I've had a serious crush on her for several years now...

"Do you ever have a crush that ISN'T 'serious'?"

Not seeing how that's any of your business...

Requiescat in Pace

August 2, 1923 - September 28, 2016
It doesn't help my mood when contemplating the dismal state of American presidential politics in 2016 to be reminded of what real leadership means, but that is precisely what happened yesterday with the news that the Israeli statesman Shimon Peres had passed away at a hospital in Tel Aviv at age 93.

He served the country he loved well and faithfully for almost 70 years. But beyond that he was a brilliant man who spoke six languages and was a poet and songwriter.

There are men and women just as capable as Peres in America today, too, but it is unclear how successful they could be in the current political climate. Someone with Peres uniquely sunny outlook would be
a welcome change.

Taking a Dive, Donald?

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

Until Next Time...

Not all of the music from my college years has stood the test of time. Some of the songs and bands I enjoyed from those years are now firmly planted in my "Guilty Pleasures" closet. I still enjoy that music, but I'm vaguely embarrassed to admit to it. Today's featured artist is a case in point.

From 1969-1972 the rock band Grand Funk Railroad had released six albums, all of which had earned either gold or platinum RIAA certifications and four of which had reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It wasn't exactly a surprise, then, that their seventh album would also be commercially successful. The band had also had ten Billboard charting singles, including three Top 40 hits. In July of 1973, they released what came to be their signature song, the mammoth single "We're An American Band." 

Original 1973 45 rpm single
On September 29, 1973 "We're An American Band" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, the band's first chart-topping single and one of the most iconic radio hits of the entire decade.

The popularity of the single pushed the We're An American Band album to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, their highest position ever on that list. The album was also their fifth (and last) RIAA platinum-certified studio LP.

Pretty much every garage band in America, including ones with which I was loosely associated while in college, did cover versions of "We're An American Band." Audiences often asked for it to be played multiple times at the same gig.

Today's send-off is the 2002 remastered version of the band's biggest hit, from their YouTube channel. Enjoy..

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Damn It!

"I shall make my morning coffee with your tears, peasants!"

I have been trying my level best to avoid writing about the current presidential campaign, as doing so tends to raise my blood pressure to dangerous levels, but this morning's news reports have sent me 'round the bend. Please indulge me...

Sore loser and noted asshat Donald Trump, in the aftermath of his calamitous performance in Monday night's debate, got very defensive about comments he made
in 1996 about then-Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Baited by reminders about those comments during the debate, Trump actually doubled down on his misogyny.

That's garden-variety assholishness from Trump, of course, and it is by no means the worst thing he's ever said. But what gets my goat is the way black-eyed-skank Hillary Clinton responded on her Twitter account:

Really, ma'am? How about a woman whose husband is a rapist who has sexually harassed multiple women and had countless affairs while she has defended him, shaming and slandering his accusers for decades? Should she become President?

"Should a woman so oblivious to irony become President?"

Excellent question...


Last night my beloved Kansas City Royals began their final homestand of the 2016 season with a 4-3 win in 11 innings over the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium.
It was the team's third straight win, and gives them a decent shot at finishing the season with a winning record for the fourth consecutive season (they need only win two of their remaining five games to accomplish this). Since the Baltimore Orioles lost, the Royals stayed mathematically alive for a Wild Card playoff spot for one more day at least.

Good job, rook!
Royals starter Ian Kennedy had control problems, and departed after just five innings completed when his pitch count went to 106. Seven different Royals relievers held the Twins in check for the next six innings, allowing no runs on just three hits.

Rookie Brooks Pounders picked up his second big-league win when the Royals rallied in the 11th.

Burns gets the Salvy Splash
It wasn't a memorable offensive game for the Royals either, as they managed just seven hits on the night, only one for extra bases.

In the decisive 11th inning rally 2B Raul Mondesi led off with a walk, stole second base, and advanced on a sacrifice bunt.
After the Twins walked to next two batters intentionally, DH Billy Burns (who had come on to pinch run for Kendrys Morales
in the bottom of the 9th) drove in the game- winner with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Mondesi.

"It ain't over till it's over, am I right?"

That's what they say, yes...

Baseball Coincidence

The Splendid Splinter
On September 28, 1941 Boston
Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams went 6-for-8 in a double-header against the Philadelphia Athletics
on the final day of the season.

That performance raised Ted's batting average to .406 for the season, the last time a full-time major league player has batted
.400 or better for an entire season.

19 years later to the day, on September 28, 1960 Williams ended his 21-year career at Fenway Park in a sparsely-attended game against the Baltimore Orioles.

In his final at-bat in that game (and in his career), he hit a home run.

Debate Summary

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

Until Next Time...

I had a pretty good year in 1974. I proposed marriage in February (she said "Yes"), started one of the best jobs I ever had in June (running the mail room for a high-end men's clothing store on the Country Club Plaza), and got married on August 10. I have
a sentimental attachment to the music I was listening to around this time that I'm sure will never go away.

Not long after I started that new job the British hard rock band Bad Company popped up on the music scene. Back in those days we used the term "supergroup" to describe any band whose members had belonged to other popular bands first. In this case, the band's members were singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke from Free (one of my blues-rock favorites), guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople, and bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson. They released their debut album on June 26.

On September 28, 1974  
Bad Company finally hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
It would be the group's lone chart-topping album, receiving five platinum certifications from RIAA. They would have four more platinum-sellers, including three more Top 5 albums.

Sales of the album were sparked by the popularity of the album's first single, "Can't Get Enough," which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

I thought the whole album was terrific, but my personal favorite tracks were "Seagull" and the album's title track. The former has been a staple of my hero Joe Bonamassa's acoustic shows for years, and was featured in this section here and here. The latter has been a staple of "classic rock" radio for over 40 years.

Today's send-off is the remastered version of "Bad Company," from the 2015 Deluxe Edition reissue. Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Let It Go


I am a sentimental person, so of course
I was moved by the sight of Miami Marlins players paying tribute to their teammate Jose Fernandez, who died tragically Sunday morning, at last night's game against the New York Mets.

The images of the Marlins players, all of them wearing Fernandez's No. 16, struggling to overcome their grief left me blubbering. And the waterworks were turned on completely after I saw this video. Dee Gordon, who had not hit a home run all season, led off the game for the Marlins in the bottom of the 1st inning, and did something unforgettable...

I know, old friend, I know...

Feast Day

Statue at St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock, GA

Today is we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul,
a 17th century French priest who spent time as a slave before devoting his life to helping the poor.

Vincent personally founded
a number of religious congregations dedicated to charitable works, including the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity. He is of course the inspiration behind the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as well.

Vincent was beatified in 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII, and was canonized in 1737 by
Pope Clement XII. He is the patron of charitable organizations and prisoners.

Scoring Explosion

There are some NFL football fans who love hard-hitting defensive battles like the
LA Rams' 9-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week Two. Then there are fans who relish the kind of defense-free game we saw on Monday Night Football last night as
the now 2-1 Atlanta Falcons buried the now 0-3 New Orleans Saints 45-32 at the Superdome in New Orleans.

In addition to the 77 points put up on the scoreboard, the two teams combined for
584 yards, with only two punts per team.

Personally, I prefer a happy medium of both offense and defense, and in fairness that happens more often than not in the NFL. It just didn't happen last night in New Orleans.

"I've seen better defense than that in Tecmo Super Bowl games."

Especially when I was manning the controls...

Concussion Protocol Invoked

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...

One of the things I admire most about R.E.M., one of my all-time favorite bands, is that throughout their 31-year career they weren't afraid to experiment with their "sound." That's a big reason why all of their albums, from their 1983 debut Murmur to their final studio effort, 2011's Collapse Into Now, still get regular listens. No matter what my mood, there is always an R.E.M. album that suits it.

That doesn't mean I don't like some of their albums more than others, in no small part because of what was happening in my own life when they came along. One album in particular is a sentimental favorite because it showed up just as I was about to attempt
a revival of my dormant career as a classroom teacher.

On September 27, 1994 the band released Monster, its ninth studio album and its first in nearly two years. At the time, I rarely got to listen to music on the radio, so
I had not heard the album's first single, "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" when I bought the album. There had been vague hints in the rock music press about the band's desire to try something new, but what I heard on my first listen came as a total surprise.

The album's sound was dominated by Peter Buck's reverb-drenched guitar, and featured extensive use of tremolo and delay effects. Michael Stipe's lyrics dealt with identity issues and the nature of celebrity, no doubt due to the band's recent rise to stardom.

The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart on October 15 and held
the top spot for two weeks. In addition to "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" the album produced the Top 20 hit "Bang and Blame." The single "Crush With Eyeliner" didn't crack the Billboard Hot 100, though. "Star 69" was never released as a single but was also a favorite of mine. When I saw the band in concert for the only time in 2003, they opened that show with "Star 69" and eyewitnesses report that I jumped in the air when they did so. I don't dispute those accounts...

For reasons I can't quite explain, "Strange Currencies" is my favorite song on the album. Released as the album's third single, it peaked at No. 47 on the Hot 100.

Today's send-off is the 2005 remastered version of the song, from the band's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Infirm Glory

Where It Started

On September 26, 1960 the first televised debate between American presidential candidates was held in Chicago and was viewed by more than 70 million people. It changed our politics forever.

The quality of televised presidential debates has been somewhat spotty since the relatively dignified and content-focused series of debates engaged in by Richard Nixon and John Kennedy.

Unfortunately, they have been trending toward shallow spectacle lately, and what actually gets said seems to mean less than what is said and written about each debate after-the-fact.

As someone who spent 30 years teaching and coaching debate, I don't consider these joint press events "debates" in any meaningful sense. The folks putting them on do everything they can to prevent the candidates from interacting much, and the questions put to the candidates are usually slanted if not downright tendentious. Even more problematic is the tsunami of "fact-checking" which closely follows the debates these days, which is also decidedly partisan and unreliable.

Part of the problem, of course, is the confusion between "fact" and "opinion" in both
our thinking and our discourse, which philosopher Mortimer Adler identified in his  
Ten Philosophical Mistakes as one of the most persistent intellectual problems we face.

Tonight's "debate" between black-eyed skank Hillary Clinton and asshat Donald Trump will undoubtedly be a new low in terms of our political discourse, but I have no doubt it will get great ratings, which seems to be all that matters to the people who organize these things.

"You bipeds can be SO dumb sometimes..."

No argument from me...

Six Picks, Including a Pick-Six

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs bounced back from last week's loss with a dominant
24-3 win at Arrowhead Stadium over the New York Jets, improving their record to 2-1.

DT Chris Jones and the Chiefs defense made Fitzpatrick's day miserable

The story of the game was the performance of the Chiefs defense, which didn't allow a touchdown and forced eight Jet turnovers, including a record six interceptions of Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

One of those interceptions was returned for a TD by LB Derrick Johnson in the 4th quarter, removing all doubt about the game's outcome.

Flying high for interception No. 1

Second-year CB Marcus Peters had two of those six interceptions, giving four total in the season's first three games.

"Paydirt, baby!"

The offense didn't have a particularly good game, and was even outgained by the Jets offense on the day, but the Chiefs managed the only offensive TD of the game. TE Travis Kelce caught a nifty 12-yard scoring pass from
QB Alex Smith near the end of the 1st quarter.


Calm down...that's a tough place to win, and the Steelers have a MUCH better offense than the Jets do...

Signs of Life

My beloved Kansas City Royals haven't been eliminated from the playoff chase yet, as they trail in the race for the final Wild Card playoff spot by six games, with six games left to play. Yesterday at Comerica Park in Detroit, they put a serious crimp in the Tigers' playoff hopes, beating them 12-9 to win the three-game series. It was their seventh road series win in their last eight.

26 saves, 2.01 ERA

It wasn't a great day for the pitching staff. Royals starter Edinson Volquez didn't make it out of the third inning, and every Royals reliever who pitched at least an inning gave up at least one run, except for All-Star Wade Davis.

Wade wobbled a bit in the 9th, but preserved the victory for RHP Dillon Gee.

The first four Royals batters of the game hit for the cycle, capped by All-Star C Salvador Perez's two-run home run that made the score 4-0 before the Tigers had recorded an out. The Royals batted around in the inning, giving them two consecutive innings of doing so since they batted around in their five-run 9th inning rally Saturday.

2B Whit Merrifield was 3-for-5, missing the cycle himself by a home run, and scored twice. DH Kendrys Morales also went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. CF Paulo Orlando and LF Alex Gordon also had three hits, with Alex having a home run and three RBIs on the day.

SS Raul Mondesi and 3B Cheslor Cuthbert also homered in the game.

"That was a nice offensive outburst!"

Yes, but the dreadful Tigers pitching had a lot to do with it...

Happy Birthday!

On September 26, 1888 Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in St. Louis.

A decidedly unatheletic boy, Eliot immersed himself in the world of literature in his formative years, and his love of literature (and language itself) would shape the rest of his life.

Although he lived most of his life in England as a British citizen, he often said that his early years in St. Louis made more of an impression on him than anywhere else he ever lived, including Cambridge (he attended Harvard) and Paris.

Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, and in 1964 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He also won a Tony Award for his play The Cocktail Party, and two additional posthumous Tonys related to the musical Cats (which was based on some Eliot poetry).

His most lasting legacy for me will be his poetry: "The Waste Land," "Ash Wednesday," and Four Quartets are all deeply affecting works which repay close reading. Eliot's non-fiction (especially his literary criticism) also exerted a significant influence on my own development as a writer (and as a teacher of writing).

Good Call, Kid

From the wry comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

My social life in high school and my first couple of years of college was the sort of train-wreck one often sees parodied in the movies. I was the quintessential shy, awkward bookworm. To the extent that I could, I tried to find something with which to connect with girls to whom I was attracted. I never had much success along those lines, but the least unsuccessful strategy I employed was finding common ground with music.

In particular, a young lady I had been interested in in high school (she graduated
a year behind me) took some romantic interest in me when she learned of my fondness for Jethro Tull, one of her favorites. When I took her to the band's concert at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City on June 15, 1972 I was beginning to get the sense that a long-lasting relationship might be developing.

That pleasant notion ended later that fall, when I took her to see one of my newfound blues-rock enthusiasms, The J. Geils Band, at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.
She hated the experience, and not long afterward we had that awkward "we can still be friends" conversation us guys love so much.

I had wanted to go to the concert in the first place because I had just discovered the band thanks to a recent album release. That album has remained a favorite all these years, but whenever I listen to it I can't help but wonder what might have been had I not taken Kathy to that concert...

On September 26, 1972 the band had released "Live" Full House, which had been recorded in April
at a couple of shows they played in Detroit. The local FM rock stations began playing a couple of cuts from the album pretty heavily, and so
I picked up the album the first day it showed up in my local record shop.

The cover art is sort of an inside joke, as it does NOT portray a "full house" in poker terms, which is why the Queen is shown to be winking.

The band specialized in high-energy Chicago-style electric blues, and all but one of the songs on this album are covers of blues-rock classics like Otis Rush's "Homework" and John Lee Hooker's "Serves You Right To Suffer."

The album cracked the Top 50 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and its success paved the way for the band's breakthrough studio album Bloodshot, which was a Top 10 album the following spring.

Today's send-off is the album's opening track, a cover of "First I Look at the Purse,"
a 1965 hit for R&B group The Contours. As with most of their covers, they give the song a high-energy blues-rock makeover. Enjoy...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 43

Requiescat in Pace

July 31, 1992 - September 25, 2016
One of my least favorite things is waking up to learn that the big news since I went to bed the night before is something tragic.

That was certainly the case today, as I awoke to the heartbreaking news that 24-year-old major league pitcher Jose Fernandez had died in a boating accident earlier this morning, as did at least two others whom he was with.

Jose's moving personal story and his infectious enthusiasm for the game he loved will never be forgotten. We grieve with his family and friends today, as we do with the loved ones of the others who lost their lives as well, and we shall remember all of them in our prayers.

In two career starts against my beloved Kansas City Royals, Jose was 2-0 with a perfect ERA of 0.00. He didn't allow a run in 14 innings, and struck out 15 Royals hitters.

Me too, old friend...a painful reminder that life is precious, and fleeting...


Cyclone Celebration
There wasn't a lot for me to be happy about regarding yesterday's college football results. Notre Dame lost, as did my best friend Skip's beloved Penn State. Army suffered its first defeat of the season, a tough overtime loss on the road.

To make matters worse, both Nebraska and Iowa won, and the detested Kansas Jayhawks escaped another satisfying defeat by not playing at all.

The high points were Iowa State's home victory over San Jose State, their first win for new coach Matt Campbell, and Air Force's win on the road at Utah State. The Falcons are now 3-0.

"Now I know what all that cursing was about yesterday."

I'm sorry about that, but there really were quite a few upsetting outcomes...


The numbers say that my beloved Kansas City Royals' opportunity to defend their 2015 World Series Championship will officially end very soon now. They remain six games out of the final Wild Card playoff berth, and there are now just seven games left in the regular season. Yesterday at Comerica Park in Detroit the Royals broke a four-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Tigers that featured a 5-run outburst in the top of the 9th inning.
Now 2-1, 25 saves, 2.06 ERA

Royals starter Yordano Ventura
was not sharp, but he and relievers Peter Moylan, Matt Strahm, Kevin McCarthy, and Joakim Soria kept the game close.

All-Star closer Wade Davis came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th with the Royals still trailing 4-2. That put him in line to be the winning pitcher when the Royals rallied. All-Star Kelvin Herrera needed just 10 pitches in the bottom of the 9th to record the save.

The dramatic 9th inning rally
was keyed by CF Paulo Orlando's two-out, two-run double and capped off by All-Star 1B Eric Hosmer's three-run home run
(No. 24). That gave Eric 100 RBIs on the season, the first time he has accomplished that feat.

DH Kendrys Morales hit his 30th homer of the season in the 6th inning, driving in his 90th RBI of the season.

"Do they still have a shot at their fourth straight winning season?"

Yes...they need to win four of the next seven games to do that...

Happy Birthday!

On September 25, 1897 William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi.

A born storyteller, Faulkner would go on to become one of the best American writers of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, in addition to two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction (in 1952 and again in 1964).

During my many years teaching American literature I never taught any Faulkner novels, but greatly enjoyed teaching his short stories, including "A Rose for Emily" and "The Bear."

I would also typically have my students read his marvelous Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.

Get Some New Material, Kid

From the droll comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

As I have noted in this space on previous occasions, from the earliest days of my life
as a record-buyer I have had a fondness for live recordings. That is particularly true for artists whom I have actually seen perform in concert.

I saw the Steve Miller Band at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on July 31, 1977.
I attended (reluctantly) with a friend who had convinced me it was time to begin enjoying life again following the death of my wife almost two months prior.

There were other acts on the bill for the concert, and Miller wasn't even the headliner, but he was touring in support of his multi-platinum albums Fly Like an Eagle (1976) and Book of Dreams (which had been released just weeks before the concert). I was a big fan of those albums, and seeing him perform that music live is one of the highlights of my concert-going experiences. Enjoying that show was also an important step in my healing process.

On September 25, 1982 the group played an outdoor gig at the Pine Knob Amphitheatre in Clarkston, Michigan. The set list for the show included Miller's most popular material, going all the way back
to 1974's "The Joker," his first Billboard No. 1 hit.

When Steve Miller Band Live! was released in April 1983 I had just returned from interviewing for a teaching gig in Casper, Wyoming.
I listened to it often as I made my preparations for the move.

It has been my experience during my many moves that a little air guitar here and there makes the process marginally less odious.

Today's send-off is the live version of Miller's 1976 No. 1 hit "Rock'n Me," to which
I have played air guitar countless times. Enjoy...