Monday, September 19, 2016

Wins and Losses

Emmy Awards

Last night the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were presented at a televised ceremony held in Los Angeles. I haven't watched the Emmys for many years, and I didn't watch them last night either.

It isn't just me. Last night's telecast was the lowest-rated in the history of Emmys, getting beaten not only by Sunday Night Football (duh!) but by
a show about the JonBenét Ramsey murder case from twenty years ago.

Part of why I don't much care about these kinds of awards shows any longer is that
they are too often a platform for the most tiresome progressive political viewpoints (and obsessions; see the New York Times story on last night's show for an example). I get enough of that sort of thing on a daily basis without having to have my entertainment polluted with it as well.

That said, I don't mind paying a bit of tribute to the nominees and winners. Politics aside, this is a high-quality list of professionals. We truly are in the midst of a new Golden Age of television programming.

"Other than Game of Thrones, not a lot of your favorites on that list."

Not many, no...but I'm in something of a lull when it comes to primetime TV right now...not a lot of shows I'm currently watching...

No Rest for the Weary

I still haven't completely adjusted to the fact that my beloved Kansas City Royals' playoff hopes for 2016 have been extinguished. After the success the team has enjoyed the past couple of seasons, rooting for merely a winning season is a bit of a letdown. But that's where we are. Yesterday the team took a step in that direction with an easy 10-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. Ordinarily that would have won a series 2-1, but the two teams play again today at 1:15 PM in a make-up game for one that was rained out back on May 26.

Now 12-2, 3.18 ERA

Royals starter Danny Duffy turned in another solid effort, allowing just three runs on 8 hits through seven complete innings (Duffy faced two batters in the top of the 8th), striking out eight. The victory, Duffy's 12th of the season, snapped a string of four consecutive starts lost by the Royals (though Duffy was the losing pitching in just one of those).

Relievers Kevin McCarthy and Peter Moylan needed just 27 pitches between them to record the final six outs and preserve the win.

There were plenty of stars on offense, but none brighter than DH Kendrys Morales, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored. Kendrys got his 1,000th career hit
in the 6th inning, a two-run homer.

2B Whit Merrifield also had three hits and a pair of RBIs. All-Star
1B Eric Hosmer drove in three runs, and CF Paulo Orlando scored all three times he reached base safely.

"A day game on what should have been a day off? Ouch."

I know, right? But what are ya gonna do?

Third Time Not the Charm

My beloved Kansas City Chiefs lost their first game of the 2016 season yesterday, falling to the Texans 19-12 at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Chiefs beat the Texans there twice last season, including a 30-0 drubbing in the playoffs, so I suppose beating a good team a third straight time on its home field was asking for a lot. And there were some highlights, even in a losing effort...

"Cheer up! They get to play the Jets at Arrowhead next Sunday!"

If our pass rush doesn't improve, that's not a good match-up for the Chiefs at all...Jets are currently 4th in the NFL in total offense, plus Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has hated the Chiefs ever since they fired him back in 2009...

Dating Imitates Politics

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...

Country-rock songstress Linda Ronstadt was a favorite of my late first wife's, and therefore one of my own as well. We were married on August 10, 1974, just a couple of months before Linda released her breakthrough album Heart Like a Wheel, which got played often at our house. 
We would occasionally squabble good-naturedly over whether Prisoner in Disguise was a better album than Hasten Down the Wind. I preferred the latter, which meant I was on the losing end of those debates.

Linda's 1977 album Simple Dreams was released a few months after my wife's death. I have always had a somewhat complicated relationship with that particular record, since it was the first one of Linda's that we weren't able to share together. For better or worse, that quartet of albums will always fill me with melancholy (which doesn't mean I don't still listen to them from time to time, of course).

By the time Linda's next album came out, I was relatively functional again, having begun my second year as a classroom teacher and speech/debate coach.

On September 19, 1978 Ronstadt's Living in the USA album was released. The multi-platinum success of her previous four albums (all Billboard Top 5s, including No. 1 for Heart Like a Wheel and Simple Dreams) had created tremendous anticipation, and Linda certainly did not disappoint.

The album produced three charting singles, and became her third No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart in November of that year.

It also received two platinum certifications from RIAA, but although Ronstadt would go on to release seven more platinum albums in the 1980s Living in the USA would be her final Billboard No. 1 album.

My favorite song from the album wasn't one of the chart hits. For much of her career, Ronstadt had done excellent covers of songs written by J.D. Souther, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame whom Linda dated briefly.

Today's send-off is "White Rhythm & Blues," a classic bit of Souther/Ronstadt wistful sadness. Enjoy...

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