Thursday, October 27, 2016

Needing to Believe


As I mentioned yesterday, my mom re-did
the decorations around our family's house on
a fairly predictable schedule. The Halloween decorations would typically come out around mid-October, followed by the autumn-themed stuff, which she'd leave up until Advent, at which time the Christmas decorations went up. That stuff stayed up until after the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1), when the winter-themed stuff took over, until Eastertide.

I decided against doing Halloween decorations, but this year I have added some new autumn-themed decorations to my living space.

I'm pretty sure my mom would approve of the wreath now hanging on my apartment door...

...and the centerpiece on my dining room table is just the sort of thing she used to love creating.

Whenever I go to Hobby Lobby I can count on mom to sit on my shoulder and help me find cool things.

"Autumn was your mom's favorite season too, wasn't it?"

I think so, yeah...she used to spend hours every fall getting her horn-of-plenty centerpiece to look just right...

No-Drama Zone

The first two games of the 2016 World Series have been remarkably drama-free thanks to a couple of dominating pitching performances. In Game One, the Indians scored all the runs they would need in the 1st inning as Corey Kluber and his bullpen shut out the Cubs 6-0. Game Two followed a similar pattern.

"Here it is...hit it if you can!"
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta didn't surrender a hit until there was one out in the bottom of the 6th inning, by which time the Cubs already held a 5-0 lead.

The Indians got their only run from that one-out double, a ground out that moved the runner to third, and an Arrieta wild pitch.

Former Royal Mike Montgomery and closer Aroldis Chapman got
the final ten outs, six of them by strikeout. Cubs win 5-1. Yawn.

On offense, seven Cubs starters had at least one base hit, led by DMD* Kyle Schwarber, who went 2-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs. LF Ben Zobrist also had two hits and an RBI, and is batting .629 in the Series so far.

*Designated Media Darling

Today is a travel day. The Series resumes tomorrow at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

"At least you'll have that great Jaguars vs Titans game to watch tonight."

I know, right? And the NFL wonders why its ratings are declining so rapidly...

Who Gets My Vote On November 8?

And it's an easy call, since he's the only pro-life conservative in the race. Check him out...

TrumpWit™️ Rationalization

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...

Once they have reached a certain level of popularity, a lot of musical artists decide to release recordings of their live concert performances. A fair number of such albums have gone on to be huge sellers, with many being considered highlights of those artists' recording careers, including The Who's Live at Leeds, The Rolling Stones' Get Your Ya-Yas Out, The Band's Rock of Ages, Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison, Cheap Trick's Cheap Trick at Budokan, U2's Under a Blood Red Sky, B.B. King's Live at the Regal, and Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert.

Very early in my life I became a fan of live recordings, and I number the above-listed albums and many, many others as among my all-time favorite recordings. One of my favorite things about my hero Joe Bonamassa is the frequency with which he releases absolutely killer live albums.

For a variety of reasons, though, my favorites R.E.M. resisted the pressure to release a live album for almost their entire career, even though they were famously one of the best live acts in the business. Once upon a time the only way to get live R.E.M. material was to buy their CD singles, which usually featured one or two live tracks along with whatever studio cut they were promoting. Few stores stocked those CD singles, though, so it was frustrating for fans until the internet blossomed and made tracking them down a lot easier.

In the fall of 2007, 27 years after the band was formed in 1980, they finally released their first official concert album, R.E.M. Live. The album consisted of two CDs and a DVD, all recorded at the famous Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland at the conclusion of the European leg of their 2004-2005 world tour. The album was popular with the band's hardcore fans like me, but was not a commercial success, peaking at just No. 72 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

A couple of years later, the band decided to dip their toe in that particular lake again...

On October 27, 2009 the band released their second full-length live album, Live at the Olympia, recorded in the summer of 2007 at the historic Olympia Theatre, also located in Dublin, Ireland.

Among other reasons for the Olympia shows in the summer of 2007 was the band's desire to polish songs they had written for their next planned studio album, which would become 2008's Accelerate. Every song on that album had its live debut at these "working rehearsals" in Ireland.

The highlight of the album for me was hearing many of the band's older hits performed live for the first time on a recording, but I also enjoyed the live versions of some of their more recent material as well, including my favorite song from their 2001 album Reveal, "I've Been High." That song had been a highlight of the only live R.E.M. show I ever saw, back in 2003 in Kansas City.

Today's send-off is the Live at the Olympia version of the song whose lyrics always move me to tears. Enjoy...

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