Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day 2016

Federal Holiday

The first Monday in September has been designated as Labor Day in the United States since 1894.

I have mixed feelings about the holiday, since its provenance is closely tied to organized labor.

Once upon a time, K-12 school calendars used the day after Labor Day as their official starting date, but that hasn't been true for many years. There are still those who advocate for a return to the later starting date.

It is still seen as more or less the end of summer, even if that isn't quite accurate in calendar terms. Most public swimming pools are closed after Labor Day, for instance.

Labor Day is a good excuse for a cookout, certainly. That makes more sense to me than having a mattress sale...

"You bipeds certainly enjoy spending money on those things, for some reason."

I wouldn't say we "enjoy"'s just something we need to do from time to time...

Sunday Night Football

Fighting Irish QB DeShone Kizer scores
The NFL doesn't start playing real games until Thursday night, but last night we did get a taste of Sunday night football. It didn't end well for me, as No. 10 Notre Dame was upset 50-47 by Texas in two overtimes, capping off a somewhat disappointing first weekend of college football results for me.

"At least all three service academy teams won their games."

That was certainly a positive highlight, yes...and it might not happen again all season...

Feast Day

In a ceremony yesterday witnessed by thousands at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta as the church's newest saint.

Teresa is best known for founding the Missionaries of Charity religious order in 1950. Her order now operates in more than 130 countries around the world, ministering to the poorest of the poor.

She received numerous honors in her life for her charitable work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

Teresa was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2003, and is the patron of missionaries and of World Youth Day.

September 5 is her feast day. as she died on that date in 1997.

Getting To Be That Time of Year Again

From the delightfully off-kilter webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

The very first school dance I ever attended that featured a live band was in the fall of 1967. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and even though they were pretty dreadful I desperately wanted to be up there with them. My desire to learn how
to play guitar traces back to that night.

One of the songs the band played was "House of the Rising Sun." I didn't know it at the time, but the reason they included it was because it was an easy song to learn, and it allowed for extended instrumental noodling that filled time. (Like many amateur bands, those guys didn't know enough songs to play a whole dance, so they picked songs they could stretch out, and played some songs more than once. They played "Wipe Out" at least three times that night.) To this day, whenever I hear "House of the Rising Sun"
it brings back fond memories of that first dance.

The song, a traditional folk tune which has been recorded a number of times, was a big hit for British Invasion band The Animals. The group's eponymous debut album contained a version of the song that had been shortened to enhance its chances for radio airplay, as radio stations in those days took a dim view of songs that lasted more than 3:00. The full-length version of the hit, which was recorded in a single take, wouldn't be available until the band released the compilation album The Best of the Animals in 1966.

Original 1964 45 rpm single
On September 5, 1964 the radio edit of "House of the Rising Sun" hit 
No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, a position it held for the next three weeks. Although the band went on to have more than a dozen Top 40 hits in its career, this was their lone No. 1.

It quickly became the band's signature song, and it propelled their debut album to a peak of No. 7 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
The Best of the Animals was their first gold record, and sales were boosted by its inclusion of the full-length version of "House."

Rolling Stone magazine included The Animals' version on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, and it was also selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Animals were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. It is fair to say that wouldn't have happened had they not topped the charts with this song, which is included on the Hall of Fame's The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list.

Today's send-off is the full-length version of one of the iconic hits of the '60s. Enjoy...

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