As a fan of a wide variety of popular (and not-so-popular) music from the 1950s (and sometimes even earlier) up through the present, one of my bucket list projects for years has been to put together a list of my 100 favorite songs of all time. At some point I decided that, once I got around to figuring that out, I could put it out on a blog, for the infinitesimally small proportion of the Internet world that might be interested. So, here we are. While the Top 100 will be a major focus, I also plan to post on a variety of other musical (and occasionally non-musical) topics, in which you may or may not be interested. (If a particular posting doesn’t ring your bell, you’re only a few clicks away from a dancing cat video on YouTube.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

#151 Don't Dream It's Over – Crowded House (1987)

Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus knew what they were doing when they performed this one together at the recent One Love Manchester concert; it’s one of the most beautiful and well-crafted songs of all time, with the unforgettable chorus, the great lyrics in the verses, and that organ at the beginning of the bridge. Listening again to the second part of the chorus, you have to wonder whether Neil Finn had a premonition of what the state of the world would be like 30 years later:
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won't win.

#150 Morse Code Of Love – The Capris (1982)

New York doo-woppers The Capris had a huge hit in 1961 with “There’s A Moon Out Tonight”, so I could never figure out why their “Morse Code Of Love”, which is also widely recognized as one of the classic doo-wop songs of all time and still gets plenty of airplay on the few remaining radio stations to cover that era, never charted back in the day. (The Manhattan Transfer did get to #83 with a cover version in 1985.) It turns out that timing is everything; although “Morse Code Of Love” sounds exactly like something from the late 50s or early 60s, it wasn’t written or recorded (by a re-formed version of the group) until 20 years later. 1982 wound up being a great year hit-wise for the likes of Joan Jett (“I Love Rock ‘N Roll”), The J. Geils Band (“Centerfold”), and Survivor (“Eye Of The Tiger”). For aging doo-wop groups, not so much.

#149 Hazy Shade Of Winter – The Bangles (1987)

I’m pretty sure that the original version of this song is the only Simon & Garfunkel single I ever bought, and it remains one of my favorite songs by the duo. The Bangles, however, made it their own 21 years later with a version that, after a slow teaser intro, rocks several orders of magnitude harder than its predecessor. I can even forgive them for dropping half of the lines from the bridge.

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 14, 2017 – Braves 13, Nats 2 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 36,227
Game Time: 3:17
Weather: 86 degrees, overcast
Wind: 4 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Alan Porter, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt
Section 118, Row V, Seat 1 – mirror image on the third-base side of Section 127, where we sat Saturday. Great view, but unfortunately Seat 1 in this section does NOT have an aisle next to it.
Highlights – Brian Goodwin got the Nats on the board with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the second … weather was much better than expected, as there was no rain or storms during the game (just a bit shortly after I arrived around 3:00), and it wasn’t uncomfortably hot where I was sitting (the breeze helped), although they did open up a cooling center … patriotic tank-tops were obviously a popular giveaway item
Other – Tanner Roark was even worse than on his bobblehead day Friday, giving up 3 in the top of first and 3 more in the third (punctuated by a 2-run HR by light-hitting former Nat Kurt Suzuki), failing to shut down the Braves after Goodwin’s blast … Trevor Gott (taking one for the team) and Blake Treinen combined to give up 6 more Atlanta runs in the seventh … Nats offense offered little against Julio Teheran and 2 Braves relievers over the final 7 innings … Nats have now lost the past 4 games I’ve attended, 3 of which came on this home stand

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 10, 2017 – Rangers 6, Nats 3 (11 innings) – Nationals Park

Attendance: 32,157
Game Time: 4:14
Weather: 79 degrees, sunny
Wind: 2 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Todd Tichenor, Second Base - Adam Hamari, Third Base - Brian O'Nora
Seventh-inning stretch song: What I Like About You
Section 127, Row BB, Seats 3-4 – 2 of the 4 seats in this row of the narrow, pie-shaped section just to the first-base side of the premium seats. Great view, but unfortunately no shade.
Highlights – Gio was outstanding, giving up 3 hits and a single run in 6 innings, walking just 1 and fanning 9 … Albers followed with 2 scoreless frames … the quiet Washington offense woke up in the bottom of the sixth, on a Harper double, Murphy single, Rendon sac fly, and a two-run HR by Adam Lind … Bryce nailed Nats nemesis Pete Kozma at the plate in the top of the ninth to keep the score tied
Other – Nats loaded the bases with none out in the 5th (albeit with the bottom of the order up) and failed to score … Koda Glover, suffering silently with a sore back, failed to hold the 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th … Washington had the winning run on third with one out in the 9th following a pinch-double by Drew and a Wieters groundout, but Goodwin fanned after a long AB and pinch-runner Wilmer Difo inexplicably froze halfway down the line after a Turner bunt … Kelley came in with one out and nobody on in the top of the 11th and promptly yielded a loud double, an intentional walk, and then a homer to light-hitting backup catcher Robinson Chirinos

June 9, 2017 – Rangers 5, Nats 2 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 38,332
Game Time: 3:00
Weather: 81 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 4 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Adam Hamari
Seventh-inning stretch song: What I Like About You
Section 416, Row F, Seats 3-5
Highlights – bobblehead honoree Tanner Roark gave up 7 hits through the first 3 innings but only 1 run … Nats bullpen blanked the Rangers for the final 3 frames … offense scored single runs in the sixth and ninth … good luck with Metro both down and back
Other – sluggish effort overall, perhaps a delayed reaction to their trip back from L.A. the previous day … Roark yielded a 2-run homer in the 5th, a bases-loaded walk in the 6th, and a leadoff HR in the 7th … 3 Nats errors, so 3 of the 5 runs Tanner gave up were unearned

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hillary Clinton, smash your rearview mirror

Ruth Marcus hits the nail on the head, as usual.
“Hillary Clinton isn’t going gently. … no words minced, no target spared — except, for the most part, herself.”
“It’s essential to understand what went wrong in 2016 and to call out the bad actors. Clinton is just the wrong messenger. … Clinton’s obsessive summoning of 2016 gives Trump an excuse to change the subject from his missteps.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Earl Weaver had it right when it comes to baseball brawls

With a look back to a melee in 1993 that almost cost Cal Ripken Jr. his consecutive-game streak, Tom Boswell deftly demolishes the pseudo-macho crap peddled by Ray Knight, F.P. Santangelo and similar idiots that “red-blooded men” have no choice but to charge the mound whenever they’re intentionally (at least in their opinion) hit by a pitched ball. Side note: Boswell doesn’t even mention that former Nat Michael Morse (of “Take On Me” fame) suffered a concussion as a by-product of the Harper-Strickland confrontation, when he got the worst of a collision with teammate (and former Notre Dame football star) Jeff Samardzija.
Ironically, Harper and 8 other Nats visited various Washington area youth baseball programs last Saturday morning. Guess if grown and supposedly mature men are allowed to take the law into their own hands by charging the mound, it must be OK for high school players and Little Leaguers to do so as well, eh?
Bottom line – the old cliché that two wrongs don’t make a right still holds.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 28, 2017 – Padres 5, Nats 3 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 30,243
Game Time: 3:19
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy
Wind: 7 mph
Umpires: Home Plate - Dan Bellino, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Roberto Ortiz, Third Base - Mike Estabrook
Highlights – Nats scored a run in the first after loading the bases with nobody out (Trea Turner single, Goodwin double, Rendon walk), another in the second (singles by Difo, Turner, and Goodwin), and one in the fifth on an Adam Lind RBI double after a Zimmerman single … Jacob Turner, Treinen, and Romero combined for 5 scoreless innings out of the pen
Other – Joe Ross gave up two runs in the top of the first on a two-out Ryan Schimpf homer after Will Myers worked a walk … things didn’t improve from there, as Ross gave up 3 more runs and a total of 12 hits without retiring a batter in the 5th … while we were prepared for possible rain late afternoon or early evening, we didn’t expect the drizzle (and eventual rain) we got before the game when waiting for autographs … were also a bit surprised when the put the tarp on about 15 minutes before the game was scheduled to start, as they were obviously warned of the rain that started shortly thereafter and delayed the start of the game for 80 minutes … cool throughout, also in contrast to the earlier forecast … tried the Italian sausage sandwich for the first time, which wasn’t bad

Friday, May 26, 2017

#148 (Don't Go Back To) Rockville – R.E.M. (1984)

Since I’ve been living in Rockville for almost 40 years, this is pretty much a no-brainer. (I’ve left for vacations, but have always gone back.) And, unlike many early R.E.M. songs, the lyrics are actually intelligible.