Monday, March 6, 2017


Windy and Warm

I-80 / I-29 interchange in Council Bluffs, 2:00 PM today

So far at least, March has been remarkably mild, which is just fine with me. Today it is quite warm, although very windy as well.

The relative lack of humidity plus the wind has resulted in a National Weather Service warning about potential wildfire hazards, which is a bit unusual for this time of year.

"Windy, schmindy, just point me to the anthills!"

Knock yourself out, my friend...


"Not great, but better. I'll take it."
My beloved Kansas City Royals ran their Cactus League winning streak to three games with yesterday's come-from-behind 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Royals starter Danny Duffy had a solid if not spectacular outing, and the Royals scored single runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to secure the win.

"The home run that Hunter Dozier kid hit in the 8th was pretty impressive."

It was, but of course in baseball what matters isn't how far but how often...

Happy Birthday!

Today I'd like to celebrate the birthdays of three very different artists...

On March 6, 1475 Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born in Caprese, a village in what is now known
as Tuscany, Italy.

From an early age he showed little interest in formal schooling, but great interest in the arts. He distinguished himself enough in the fields of sculpture, painting, and architecture that he is known simply by his first name, Michelangelo.

He produced a body of work that virtually defined the High Renaissance period, and continues to inspire artists to this day.

On March 6, 1940 Wilver Dornell Stargell was born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma. Showing a talent for baseball at a young age, he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was 19.

As a baseball fan I was always as American League partisan, but of course I also knew who the stars were in the National League, and when I was growing up Willie Stargell was certainly one of their brightest.

"Pops" was a true artist on the diamond. He was a seven-time All-Star in his 21-year career with the Pirates, winning the league MVP race in 1979 and finishing second in two other seasons. His Pirates teams won seven division titles and two World Series championships. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.

On March 6, 1923 John Leslie Montgomery was born into a musical family in Indianapolis. Although he didn't take up the guitar right away, once he did
Wes Montgomery became a true artist on the instrument, one of its most influential players.

Almost every player I admire lists Wes's finger-picking technique and phrasing as significant influences on their own style.

Technology is a Mixed Blessing, Kid

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

Until Next Time...

On March 6, 1825 Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major had its first public performance, by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in Vienna.

The famously perfectionist Beethoven was reportedly not pleased with the premiere,
and laid the blame for that on the quartet's leader, violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh. As it happened, the quartet was not well-received during Beethoven's lifetime, but with the passage of time its musical reputation has improved significantly.

On March 6, 2012 the celebrated Cypress String Quartet from San Francisco released a recording of
all of the so-called "Late Quartets," giving them a splendid treatment.

The No. 12 has been recorded by every great string ensemble in the world, including the Amadeus,
the Melos, the Cleveland, and the Juilliard, but the Cypress recording is my personal favorite.

Today's send-off is the quartet's tender rendition of the piece's second movement, from their YouTube channel. Enjoy...

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