Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Returns

The Sweetest Phrase...

The wait is OVER! the English language isn't
"I love you." It is "Pitchers and catchers report!"

My beloved Kansas City Royals have officially reported to their spring training complex in Surprise, Arizona. The first formal workouts will be tomorrow, although some players have already been working on their own for a few days.

The rest of the team will have reported by Thursday and will have their first organized workouts on Friday.

"And when will the pessimistic reports from you on the team's progress begin?"

Hard to say, but most likely as soon as we have our traditional season-ending injury
to a front-line player...

They're Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Last night was the "mid-season premiere" for The Walking Dead, AMC's wildly popular zombie apocalypse drama. For several years the show has featured split seasons, with
a "mid-season finale" episode introducing a hiatus of a few months before new episodes begin again. Several other scripted dramas have adopted the practice since then, too.

For many of the show's fans, the first half of TWD's Season 7 was deeply disappointing, and worrisome in the sense that the writers seemed to be running out of storytelling steam. Last night's episode was an improvement, though, and returned to some of the strengths that made the show so popular to begin with. Not everyone agrees with my assessment, of course. The next-day buzz has been mixed at best. It remains to be seen
if the show has recovered its mojo, of course, but I shall remain hopeful. Not sure what I'd do if my weekly zombie-fest got cancelled for low ratings.

"Heaven forbid."

Go peddle your papers, ant-breath...

I Am Stardust, I Am Golden

I received a pleasant surprise in the mail from my friends at Starbucks:
a personalized gold Starbucks card with my name printed on it!

It is all part of their Member Rewards program, of course, and it just means that I finally accumulated enough "star" points to qualify for the status upgrade.

Whether the bump will be all that meaningful remains to be seen, but
it certainly doesn't take much flattery to go to my head...

"Or get you to start referencing Joni Mitchell lyrics."

Have you even read the "What Is This Place?" description? Sly pop culture references are baked into the cake...

Dad Superpower

From the wry comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

When a band releases its first album, it usually tries to announce itself with a first track that makes a strong impression on the listener. It isn't unusual for a debut album's first track to also be its first single release.

Dire Straits, one of my favorite bands, didn't exactly follow this formula when they launched their recording career.

On February 13, 1978 the band began recording their eponymous debut album at what was then known as Basing Street Studios in London. The recording sessions took just three weeks, and the album was released that October. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and received two platinum certifications from RIAA.

It was one of the most memorable debuts of the '70s, but it certainly broke away from the "lead with the big hit single" formula. That song was even on Side One of the record.

The album's opening track, "Down To The Waterline," told the listener that they were in for something different right off the bat. It opens with the sound of a mournful foghorn, followed by a slow, bluesy, finger-picked guitar figure that serves as guitarist Mark Knopfler's introductory handshake.

The album is best-remembered for including "Sultans of Swing," the band's signature song, but on my first listen Knopfler's stylish guitar playing had won me over before
I ever reached Side Two of the album. He remains one of my favorites to this day.

Today's send-off is original album version of "Down To The Waterline," from the band's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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