Friday, December 9, 2016


Thank Tlalocayotl It's Friday!

"Try not to 'blow' it, mortals! Get it? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Requiescat in Pace

1962 Life magazine cover

There are just three weeks left in 2016, and already a tremendous number of significant lives have ended, but it seems the year isn't finished with us just yet, sadly.

Yesterday brought the somber news of the passing of John Glenn at age 95.

One of the most iconic figures in American history, it is difficult to summarize the truly remarkable life he led. "Hero" is a word thrown around too casually in our culture,
but in Glenn's case it is actually an understatement.

As someone who experienced the Mercury Project as a wide-eyed young boy reading news accounts and watching TV coverage, I can tell you that Tom Wolfe got it exactly right in The Right Stuff.

John Glenn was the most celebrated of that original group of astronauts, and yesterday he became the last of them to put out his hand and touch the face of God...

Me too, old friend...Godspeed, colonel...

Feast Day

Statue in Francisco I. Madero, Durango, Mexico
Today is the feast day of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, a Mexican peasant who became the first indigenous Catholic saint born in the Americas.

One of the first people to be baptized
in Mexico by a group of Franciscan missionaries in 1524, Juan Diego embraced his new faith with both fervor and humility. He regularly traveled by foot from his home to the Franciscan mission at Tlatelolco to take religious instruction and serve the friars there.

It was while on these trips in 1531 that Juan Diego experienced one of the most famous Marian apparitions in history, which led to the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The basilica which bears her name remains the most-visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world.

Juan Diego is the patron of indigenous peoples.


Last night under frigid conditions at Arrowhead Stadium my beloved Kansas City Chiefs seized first place in the AFC West Division and took control of their playoff destiny with a cold-blooded 21-13 execution of the visiting Oakland Raiders. The victory gave the Chiefs a season sweep of their arch-rivals.

"Catch me if you can...oh, wait..."
After falling behind 3-0 early in the game, the Chiefs took the lead for good on a 36-yard TD pass to rookie WR Tyreek Hill on the first play of the second quarter.

RB Charcandrick West scored on
a 3-yard run midway through the period, and a couple of minutes later Hill electrified the home crowd with a 78-yard punt return TD to put the Chiefs up 21-3.

The Raiders didn't fold, but they never recovered from that second quarter outburst.

"All night long, baby, all night long!"

The defense, led by Pro Bowl LB Justin Houston, limited the Raiders to just 244 total yards of offense, only 109 of them through the air. The only Oakland touchdown came just moments after Chiefs Pro Bowl LB Derrick Johnson left with a serious injury. The defense seemed deflated by the injury to their leader, whose season is over now.

The Raiders managed but a single field goal in the second half, and the Chiefs defense did an excellent job compensating for three Chiefs turnovers in their own end. Oakland was just 5-of-18 on third down conversions.

"Those uniforms are...a LOT of red."

Yeah, I know...fortunately, no more Color Rush games for us this season...

Aging Is Just Life's "Upgrades"

From the delightfully off-kilter webcomic xkcd, by Randall Munroe, which you should read every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Until Next Time...

On December 9, 1965 CBS broadcast an animated Christmas special based on the popular Charles M. Schultz comic strip Peanuts. Although both the show's own producers and network executives predicted ratings failure The Coca-Cola Company,
the program's sponsor, knew a winner when it saw one. A Charlie Brown Christmas
was viewed by 45% of that Thursday evening's TV audience, placing it No. 2 in that week's ratings.

At school the next day, every kid I knew couldn't stop talking about the show. We didn't understand that we had just seen the birth of a classic bit of television history. We just knew that we had seen something really different in terms of animation, and something superbly entertaining as well.

The special was also a critical success, winning both a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. It has been rebroadcast every December (usually twice) for half a century, and for many people it is as much a part of the Christmas season as mistletoe and eggnog. It's core message about the true meaning of Christmas is timeless, and of course the commercialization it criticizes has not diminished.

Released to coincide with the TV special's broadcast, the soundtrack album became a major hit as well. Vince Guaraldi's jazz-inflected score quickly established itself as a holiday favorite and remains so to this day.

The recording is among the Top 10 best-selling Christmas albums of all time in America, and has received four platinum certifications from RIAA. In 2007 it was selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2012 it was added to the National Recording Registry curated by the Library of Congress.

The music is a blend of traditional Christmas favorites like "What Child Is This?" and
"O Tannenbaum" along with original compositions by Guaraldi. The vocal version of his "Christmas Time Is Here" features lyrics by the special's producer Lee Mendelson and is sung by a children's choir recruited especially for the recording session.

Today's send-off is the 2006 remastered recording of the extended instrumental version of "Christmas Time Is Here," from Vince's VEVO channel. Enjoy...

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