Saturday, February 25, 2017

Nothing Ever Lasts Forever

Play Ball (Sort Of...)

Surprise Recreation Campus

At 2:00 PM CST today my beloved Kansas City Royals will play their first Cactus League game of 2017 against the Texas Rangers at the Surprise Recreation Campus they share in Surprise, Arizona.

Of course, it is foolish to put much stock in what goes on in a spring training game
when everybody is horsing around with lineups, position switches, etc., but at least
it is baseball, and not curling...

"You'll watch pretty much any sport when you're desperate, won't you?"

Except soccer...have to draw the line somewhere...

Insomniac Heaven

Original 1960 "one sheet" poster

The TCM channel's annual promotion
"31 Days of Oscar" ends on Friday, March 3. Until then, I'll be at risk nightly of having my bedtime hijacked by a classic movie.

Last night it was Stanley Kubrick's 1960 epic Spartacus, one of those films which received mixed reviews upon release but gained critical acclaim over time. It was the only Kubrick film over which he did not have complete creative control (Kirk Douglas's production company had the final say on everything), and he eventually disavowed the final product, but the film won four Academy Awards and is included on the American Film Institute's list of 100 best American films.


Pretty sure the Romans know Spartacus is a biped, dumbass...

Trade That Clunker In, Mr. President

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

Until Next Time...

In the early- to mid-80s popular music embraced the so-called New Wave movement, which included highly successful synthpop acts like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, and Simple Minds. This was a difficult period for me, since I much preferred guitar-driven rock and blues music. I felt it important as a high school teacher to maintain a passing familiarity with music my students liked, though, and so I did.
I'm not proud of it, but at one point I was even watching Wham! videos on MTV.

There were only a couple of these acts I liked well enough to actually spend money on. Simple Minds was probably my favorite, but Tears for Fears was a close second for awhile. Their debut album in 1983 barely made a ripple on the U.S. album charts, and their singles weren't selling in the American market either. For a couple of years they were just another obscure British band.

On February 25, 1985 the group released Songs From the Big Chair, and suddenly they weren't "obscure" in the U.S. market any longer. The album spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart that summer, and went on to receive five platinum certifications from RIAA.

Original 1985 45 rpm single
Only one of the band's previous seven single releases had even charted in the U.S. market, so when Big Chair's lead single "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart it took everyone by surprise. The song wound up as the seventh-best-selling single of 1985.

Tears for Fears dodged the dreaded one-hit wonder bullet when the album's second single, "Shout," also hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 and quickly became the band's signature song.

I also liked the album's songs "Broken" and "Head Over Heels" (the latter of which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100), and I'm not embarrassed to admit actually owning
the album on vinyl and even re-purchasing it in CD format in the '90s. Those four songs still get some play on various of my iTunes playlists. Guilty pleasure, okay?

Today's send-off is the group's first U.S. No. 1 hit, from their YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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