Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Headline Pun Level: Expert
So we're 26 days into asshat Donald Trump's presidency, and he has already had to fire his National Security Advisor.

Of course, the original story in the press was that Michael T. Flynn resigned, but Trump's ego is so massive that by this morning his press secretary was emphasizing that Trump had fired Flynn.

I was never a fan of Flynn for the position to begin with, but given all of the boasting Trump did during the campaign about his knack for hiring the best people,
I do find it odd (and ironic) that Flynn couldn't even last a month in the job...

"Say, didn't Obama fire this guy once, too?"

Yes, yes he did...

Feast Day*

Shrine of St. Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin
Today is the feast day of
St. Valentine. Sort of.

On February 14, 1969 his name was removed from the General Roman Calendar in the apostolic letter Mysterii Paschalis written by Pope Paul VI. That decision was controversial at the time, and remains so among Catholics
to this day.

We know that the martyr Valentine whose feast was established in 496 AD by
Pope Gelasius I was executed
for performing unauthorized Christian marriages, and it is for this reason that we consider him the patron of engaged couples, and of romantic love in general.

"He's also the patron saint of chocolate and flowers, isn't he?"

Very funny...not...

The Newest Royals

My beloved Kansas City Royals on Monday announced the signing of LHP Travis Wood, presumably
to become the fifth member of the team's starting rotation.

Wood was a serviceable starter
for the Reds and Cubs, and was effective for the Cubs out of the bullpen during their World Series run last year. 

The Royals also signed former
St. Louis Cardinal reliever Seth Maness to a minor-league deal which includes an invitation to spring training to compete for
a job with the big-league club.

Seth was effective out of the bullpen until an elbow problem last August sidelined him. He has undergone an experimental surgery that might dramatically reduce his recovery time compared to the typical Tommy John procedure.

"The team's biggest problem in 2016 was lack of offense, not pitching."

The pitching last year was just average, and needed to be addressed as well...

Management Potential

From the indispensable comic strip Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

After my first wife's death in 1977, I spent the next several years dreading Valentine's Day. It is not, after all, a celebration of being single and lonely. When I moved to Wyoming in 1983 to accept a teaching position at Natrona County High School in Casper one of my motivations for moving so far from home was to escape all of the well-meaning people trying to help me "get over" my loss and "move on."

As things worked out, I actually turned a corner on my grief and loneliness on the very first Valentine's Day I spent in Wyoming.

On February 14, 1984 my jazz hero Maynard Ferguson brought his touring ensemble
to play the Casper Events Center, which at that time was less than two years old. By this time I was good friends with the NCHS band teacher, who knew guys in Maynard's band from college, and who spent the show backstage. I was fortunate enough to have
a seat in the front row, just to Maynard's left as he faced the audience. I even got some trumpet spit on me a few times!

The album they were selling at the venue that night was Storm, Maynard's first release since leaving Columbia Records. They did a couple of tracks from that album, but the set list that night was heavy with hits from his Columbia years.

The concert opened with the title track from Maynard's popular 1974 album Chameleon, a song penned by jazz keyboard superstar Herbie Hancock. The joy with which Maynard and his band played the song was infectious, and any mopey thoughts I might have had about being alone on Valentine's Day melted away. Music hath charms...

After that concert, my outlook
on life became progressively more upbeat. It took a few more years, but eventually I was even willing
to risk falling in love again.

I was fortunate enough to hear Maynard live on a couple of other occasions, including once with my best friend Matt when Maynard played the Missouri Theater in St. Joseph on May 4, 2002 (Maynard's birthday, and the second time I saw him in concert on that calendar date), but I will always consider that first Valentine's Day concert in 1984
as a major turning point in my life. Whenever I hear "Chameleon" it still lifts my spirits, even after 33 years.

Today's send-off is the 2003 remastered version of the original album track, from Maynard's YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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