Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Heroes Abounding

Thank You!

"You're welcome!"

Today is National Farmers Day, which is kind of a big deal here in Iowa where I live. If you like to eat, it should be a big deal where you live, too. Hug a farmer today!

I taught a fair number of farm kids during my 30 years in high school classrooms, and most of them looked forward to taking over the family business themselves one day. Such people are the embodiment of one of the things that makes America great.

"You bipeds wouldn't need to grow your food if you'd learn to enjoy eating bugs and stuff."

I'd rather eat a fresh tomato than an ant any day of the week, thanks...

FIDE Foul-Up

Among chessplayers the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the governing body of international chess, doesn't enjoy a spotless reputation. For as long as I can remember the organization has always been neck-deep in corruption scandals that place the interests of FIDE and the politicians who run it above the interests of the players themselves.

Paikidze playing in St. Louis
At the moment FIDE finds itself being harshly criticized by many prominent female players, including current U.S. Women's Champion Nazi Paikidze, for awarding the 2017 Women's World Championship competition to Iran, which promptly announced that
all the women participating must wear a hijab or face arrest.

Personally, I hope the world's best female players boycott the event altogether
(as Paikidze has said she will). There is no reason to knuckle under to the mullahs
and their medieval demands.

"She's pretty cute. You have a crush on her, don't you?"

That is none of your business...and she's married anyway, so...

One to Go

The National League baseball playoffs continued yesterday on the west coast, and one of the two NLDS series was resolved.

At AT&T Park in San Francisco, the Cubs rallied for four runs in the top of the 9th inning to turn a 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 lead, and Aroldis Chapman needed only 13 pitches to put away the Giants in the bottom of the inning. Cubs win!

That gave the Cubs the victory in their NLDS series three games to one, and now they will host the winner of the Dodgers-Nationals series in Game One of the NLCS on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the Dodgers staved off elimination and forced a Game Five in their NLDS series with the Nationals, winning 6-5 in a see-saw game, pushing across the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.

The decisive game will now be played back in Washington, D.C.
at Nationals Park on Thursday.

The ALCS between the Blue Jays and the Indians begins on Friday at Progressive Field
in Cleveland.

An Idiom is Born

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...

Real music fans have always had a somewhat jaundiced view of "greatest hits" albums. Often released without the consent of the artist, or even after the artist's death, such albums are often little more than slapdash efforts by recording labels to milk a few more bucks out of the performers on their roster.

The main attraction of such an album is convenience, being able to obtain a particular artist's best songs for a relatively modest cost. That is certainly the basis for their appeal to casual fans. And even more serious music lovers will admit that, every once in awhile, a well-done "greatest hits" collection is worth owning.

In 2002, Elvis Presley's label RCA Records released Elv1s: 30 No. 1 Hits, a compilation
of singles that had reached the top spot on the Billboard, Cashbox, New Music Express, and/or Record Retailer charts.

On October 12, 2002 Elv1s: 30 
No. 1 Hits debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, the only album in Presley's career to accomplish that feat.

Some purists were offended that the songs had been remastered, but I've never been emotionally invested in the tape hiss and pitch irregularities that are characteristic of analog recordings from the '50s and '60s.
I liked these versions of the old hits quite a lot.

I also liked the collection because it was a reminder of just what a powerhouse singles artist Elvis had been in his heyday.

He didn't start out that way, of course. Only one of the first eight singles Elvis released in 1954 and 1955 even made the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart at all ("I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine" peaked at No. 74).

That all changed with his first single release of 1956, "Heartbreak Hotel," which received two platinum certifications from RIAA and became his first No. 1 hit single. Elvis went on to have several signature songs in his long career, but this was the one that made him a star in the public's consciousness.

Today's send-off is the remastered version of the single that made Elvis Elvis, from his VEVO channel. Enjoy...

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