Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tip-Off Thursday


Painting by József Rippl-Rónai (1891)
Today's entry is going to be a bit on the thin side, content-wise.

My ongoing illness continues to sap my energy, kill my desire
to eat, and make even the simplest tasks laborious and painful.

As usual, medication is fighting a losing battle against these symptoms, which won't end until the disease has actually run its course. We're in Day Seven since the onset
of serious symptoms, so I am hopeful the end will come soon.

As for the concomitant depression I've been battling over the same time frame, now that a week has passed it has become clear to me that the blunder which plunged me into this particular pit cannot be undone. That realization would be cause for despair even if I were in perfect health. Since I am not...

"Come on, now, it can't be as bad as all that."

It is every bit as bad as all have no idea...

Zero for Two

"Sometimes you zot, sometimes you get zotted."

The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins in earnest today, but there was some college basketball played last night. My rooting interests didn't fare well.

Providence, the only Catholic institution playing Wednesday night (both the CBI and the CIT fly beneath my radar), did not become the twelfth Catholic school in the NCAA Tournament field of 64, losing 75-71 to USC in their First Four match-up even though they held a 17-point lead in the second half.

And as for my wingman's beloved UC Irvine Anteaters, they lost to Illinois State 85-71 in opening round of the NIT.

"One and done. Bummer."

Disappointing, I know...but they had a winning record, won their league's regular-season championship outright, and made it to the post-season...that's a pretty good season by any reckoning...


A pair of world travelers

On March 16, 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan reached the island of Homonhon. In doing so, Magellan and his crew became the first Europeans known to have reached the Philippines.

The only reason that historical tidbit rates a mention here is because it reminds me that my hero Joe Bonamassa is playing his 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar named "Magellan" on his current tour, the first time it has gone on the road with him since 2014. The famous "burst" got its name from the fact that it has traveled all over the world with Joe.

The guitar sounds great, and while I have heard it on numerous recordings I'm glad
I finally got to see it live on stage in Des Moines last Thursday night.

Pro Tip: The Proper Stance is Key

From the classic comic strip Peanuts, by the late Charles M. Schulz, sorely missed...

Until Next Time...

In this space yesterday I mentioned that the HBO TV series Rome was one of my summer binge-watching favorites. Another favorite is the FX network series Justified, which is a strong contender for my favorite TV show of all time.

Fanboy poster hanging in my bedroom
One of the show's sublime pleasures was
its use of music, which deftly blended scoring by Steve Porcaro with an eclectic mix of country, blues, rock, and bluegrass tunes suited to particular episodes.

The Emmy-nominated opening theme, "Long Hard Times To Come," set the musical tone for the show. It was performed by Gangstagrass, an offbeat but compelling combination of the hip-hop and bluegrass genres. I also loved the song's lyrics.

Other than its theme, the song most closely associated with the show was the elegiac "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive." This song was played at the end of every season finale episode except for Season 3.

The producers used recordings by Brad Paisley (Seasons 1 and 2), Dave Alvin
(Season 4), the Ruby Friedman Orchestra (Season 5), and the song's own composer Darrell Scott (Season 6, the series finale).

Although I enjoy all of those versions, for me the rendition that comes closest to capturing the song's spirit is one recorded by country music artist Patty Loveless for her 2001 Mountain Soul album. The song's lyrics are a reflection on how we live our lives trapped by our circumstances and life choices, a theme which is much on my mind at the moment. Patty's bluegrass-inflected version does a fine job of conveying that sense of mournful resignation...

Today's send-off was never actually used on the show, but it easily could have been. Enjoy...

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