Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Potpourri No. 54

1st Sunday of Lent

Lent began with Ash Wednesday on March 1, and today was the first Sunday Mass since then.

It was unusually crowded for 8:00 AM Mass
at St. Peter's this morning, and I'm not entirely sure why. A crowd that size lengthens the amount of time I must spend kneeling during Communion, something which becomes more and more difficult for me as I grow older.

"Poor baby. At least the weather was nice."

That is true...after what we've gone through lately, sunny and mid-50s is just fine...


"Boom, baby!"

One of the interesting features of spring training is the practice of splitting the team into a pair of squads, then playing two full games against two different opponents on the same day. Yesterday my beloved Kansas City Royals saw their first split-squad action.

In one of the games, All-Star CF Lorenzo Cain homered to lead the Royals to a 2-0 win over the San Francisco Giants in a well-pitched game by both sides.

The Royals also pitched well against the Cincinnati Reds in the day's other game...until the bottom of the 8th inning. The Reds scored 8 runs in that frame, enough to pull out
a come-from-behind 9-7 win over the Royals.

"Wow. Jonathan Sanchez really got lit up, didn't he?"

Yup...five hits, two walks, seven earned runs, zero outs recorded...he might be all done...

Just Order the Food, Kid

From the wry comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday.

Until Next Time...

In the course of my life to this point, the popular music I have enjoyed the most has only occasionally received the sort of public acclaim freely lavished on artists I consider vastly inferior. Every once in awhile, though, one of my favorites gets celebrated in a way that is deeply gratifying.

On March 5, 1992 R.E.M., one of my all-time favorite bands, dominated that year's Rolling Stone Music Awards, given out by the leading publication devoted to rock and pop music. The band picked up the Best Guitarist (Peter Buck), Best Songwriting, and Best Band awards, as well as the awards for Best Album, Best Single, and Best Video of 1991. The alternative rock band from Athens, Georgia had been a favorite of mine since their 1983 debut album Murmur, and it was great to see them get so much recognition, which I felt was long overdue.

The album which won them the award, Out of Time, proved to be their mainstream breakthrough. It spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and received four platinum certifications from RIAA. It was their first of five straight Top 3 albums, three of them multi-platinum sellers. In their entire career prior to Out of Time the band had only had two Top 40 singles, but that album produced two more, including the band's signature song "Losing My Religion," which would peak at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Original 1991 CD single
"Losing My Religion" is the song which won the Best Single and Best Video awards from Rolling Stone.
It also garnered a pair of Grammy Awards, and was the band's only single to earn an RIAA gold record.

It is an odd hit song in that the dominant instrument isn't a guitar, but a mandolin. And thanks to the religious imagery in the video (which itself won six awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1991)
a lot of people took the song's title far too literally.

In fact, the phrase "losing my religion" is a southern idiom which basically describes being at the end of one's rope and losing one's temper. Michael Stipe's evocative lyrics make it clear that the song is about romantic frustration, and has nothing whatsoever
to do with religion.

Today's send-off is the award-winning official music video of the song, weird imagery and all. It is one of the most influential music videos ever made, but all that really matters is the music, of course. Enjoy...

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