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..

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