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...

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