Monday, January 16, 2017



January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
Today we celebrate the life and legacy of
Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most significant figures in the history of the United States. His role in the civil rights movement
can hardly be overstated, and for someone like me who spent his life teaching the civic virtues
of eloquence and persuasive argument Dr. King
will always be a hero.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a Federal holiday, but for many years during my teaching career school was still held, and even today most school districts use the date as a mandatory teacher in-service day even if they don't hold regular classes with students.

"That seems...disrespectful."

I don't disagree...on the other hand, we don't try to honor his memory with mattress sales, the way we do for Washington and Lincoln...

One and Done...Again

The Chiefs' season is now over thanks to their gut-wrenching 18-16 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium in the teams' Divisional Round playoff game.

The Chiefs became just the fifth team in
NFL history to lose a playoff game without allowing a touchdown, and the first to do so
in 27 years. They are the only team to lose such a game while scoring multiple touchdowns themselves. The also own the current NFL record for consecutive home losses in the playoffs, with five.

Since the merger, the Chiefs have won just four playoff games in 47 years, while losing 15. By any measure that is a dreadful record. Last night's dismal performance is just the latest in a series of failures that have defined the franchise since 1970.

"So, why do you continue to root for them?"

That's a really good question...maybe 47 years of mediocrity is finally enough for me...

The View From the Pinnacle

From the insightful pen of Michael Ramirez, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On January 16, 1938 jazz icon Benny Goodman, one of my dad's clarinet heroes, made history by bringing his big-band jazz sound to storied Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Probably the biggest star in jazz at that time, Goodman's band that night featured many other standout performers as well, including trumpeter Harry James, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and drummer Gene Krupa. He also invited several members of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras (including Basie himself) to join him for the historic performance.

1999 Columbia/Legacy remaster
The concert wasn't made available as a recording until 1950, when its Columbia Records LP release became the first-ever double-album. It was an immediate sensation, and was one of the first recordings ever to top one million in sales.

Since then the material has been remastered and reissued on several occasions, as technology improves our ability to preserve the essence
of the live concert experience while minimizing recording artifacts.
The 1999 Columbia/Legacy reissue is widely regarded as having struck the best balance between accurate sound and minimal noise.

Today's send-off is the 1999 remaster of the main show's closing number, which of course was Goodman's signature song, the Louis Prima-written classic "Sing Sing Sing," found on Gene Krupa's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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