Monday, April 23, 2018

All is Right With the World – Another Season of Baseball

Roger Dean Stadium, home to the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins affiliate, and the Palm Beach Cardinals, the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, recently commenced its Advanced Class A season.  Last week we saw the Hammerheads take on the Lakeland Tigers, winning the game 6-2.  Here’s the exciting part, as of this date the Hammerheads have jumped off to a 14-3 record.  The Marlins have some real talent in their minor league system.

That night Dan Straily pitched for the Hammerheads.  He’s on a rehab assignment with a right forearm strain from the Marlins and he did a credible job allowing only 1 run in 5 innings with 5 strikeouts.  He’s pitching another rehab game in AA and probably with rejoin the Marlins if that goes well.

A good sign for the Marlins’ future: the five pitchers with the most innings pitched on the Hammerheads are averaging a not too shabby 1.15 WHIP.

Their hitting is strong with three players in the middle infield hitting more than .300 to date,

                                                        John Silviano (.333, 3HR)

                                                         Joe Dunand (.328, 2HR)

                                                      Riley Mahan (.304, 2HR)

So, all is right with the world right now with baseball underway both in the majors and the minors.  I’ve always said that I enjoy our minor league games even more, sitting right behind 3rd base each Weds. night as “Silver Sluggers,” the cost of a ticket, FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON of Weds. night games, 30 bucks which includes a hot dog and a soda!  Try to beat that at any ballpark.  Maybe that would cover a couple of beers at Yankee stadium.

Only sad part of the night was former First Lady, Barbara Bush, had just passed away with the Flag at half mast and a tender rendition of the National Anthem played on a wind instrument.

Looking forward to the rest of the season, and following the Hammerheads and the Cards!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Emmet Cahill--- Remember that Name

Emmet Cahill

The applause was thunderous, the audience in raptures, a young man singing his heart out, so much talent and personality wrapped up in a dimpled package.  Here is a young singer on a solo tour with hundreds of ardent fans making their way to see and hear Emmet Cahill.  He is an Irish tenor who has performed with the renowned Irish singing group, Celtic Thunder, all over the world.  On Thursday night, he made his second appearance in the West Palm Beach area, again accompanied on several numbers by the Robert Sharon Chorale, the 84-voice-strong local community chorale. 

Cahill is from Mullingar, County Westmeath, the same setting of John Patrick Shanley’s play Outside Mullingar. Irish theatre is one of my favorite theatre experiences so I was particularly intrigued by the opportunity to see the performer whose debut album, Emmet Cahill's Ireland, went to number one on the Billboard World Music chart.

 He made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York City recently and this fall he will sing in 75 cities across North America with Celtic Thunder on their 10th anniversary "X" tour.  But for now he is embarking on a multi city tour as a soloist which will take him to nearly a score of other US cities during the next two months.  So expect to see him somewhere!  He promises to return to the West Palm Beach area sometime in the future as well.

Cahill played to a packed house and it’s no wonder.  He is one of the most dynamic and personable, not to mention immensely talented, singers I've seen.  His program on Thursday naturally included several Irish classics such as “Danny Boy”, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, “An Irish Lullaby” and “Wild Mountain Thyme.”  “I am very proud to be Irish,” explains Cahill. “I want people to feel a real connection to the songs, as well as the people and the stories that they represent.  There has always been a special relationship between the Irish and American people and I want to further enrich that friendship.”

As his performance was in a religious setting, the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in West Palm Beach, and he has strong religious roots beginning his singing career at his own local church in Mullingar, he sang several moving hymns including a tearful, heartfelt performance of “Amazing Grace.”

His tenor voice is strong but clear.  He manages to bring forth so much emotion and clarity with his voice, an instrument onto itself, with never an inaudible word.  Cahill can deconstruct a song to certain simplicity so not one emotive moment is lost on the audience.  It doesn’t hurt that his accompanist, Seamus Brett, is an extraordinarily gifted pianist who knows how to showcase this rising 27 year old star.

Seamus Brett Accompanies Emmet Cahill

They even challenged the audience to suggest six or seven songs which they would perform as unrehearsed requests and then extemporaneously they strung together a medley of those songs.  One such request was “O Sole Mio."  Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza would have been proud, maybe envious, of Cahill’s rendition which demonstrated his classical vocal training at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin.

But Irish folk songs and liturgical hymns are not Cahill’s only strengths.  He is equally comfortable with the Great American Songbook and Broadway.  In fact he said that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s work is among his favorites and to illustrate, he delivered a rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening,” wringing out all the emotion and depth from that song.  His rendition of “This is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde was thrilling.  The nostalgic favorite “Moon River” was as beautiful as those Irish folk songs.

He said that among the songs he first sang on stage as a professional was “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables.  He is much too young to play Jean Valjean, but you wouldn’t know it from his masterly performance.  I’ve never been able to hear that song – or play it on the piano – without a tear in my eye, and his performance, with so much emotion, brought the house down with yet another standing ovation.  Clearly, so much of this young man’s future might be directed into the oeuvre of Broadway and the Great American Songbook.  He has the presence and that rare emotive gift for those songs, while never having to desert his unique Irish folk roots.

His YouTube performance of “Bring Him Home” from a 2015 USA tour when he was only 24 years old, clearly presages his brilliant future.  We look forward to seeing him again, soon.  Thank you Emmet!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Think of this as a “Facebook page.”  I don’t “do” Facebook, so this is an alternative to publish photographs on the Web, an attempt to archive them.

Photography used to be my avocation.  My father was a professional.

I no longer pursue it as a hobby in this digital age, preferring, now, writing and piano, but when we travel, I usually take a couple of cameras (as well as my iPhone).  Still, some of the more gratifying shots are right here in our own backyard which happens to be between the North Palm Beach Waterway and the North Palm Beach golf course.  The latter is where I like to walk first thing in the morning, around sunrise.

It was designed by the famous golfer, Jack Nicklaus, who is a local resident.  He created many undulations so it contrasts to the normal flatness Floridian topography and makes for a great walk before the sun is too high and golfers take over the course.

This shot is from one of the higher points on the golf course.  I like to joke with visitors that it is the highest point in the area.  It very well might be:

I take a lot of pictures of sunrises here, one of the more recent ones a glorious sunrise on Easter Sunday:

Occasionally I’ll see a fox on the course, or a snake, but no gators.  Birds of all varieties make the course their home.

The mother of all spider webs also caught my attention.

From our home on the waterway we see some spectacular sunsets, but then there are also moonsets if I get up early enough.

Then, also on our waterway there is an occasional bizarre sight, such as this 100 foot plus yacht being towed fore and aft.

Boating related as well, a drone shot (not mine) of a raft up in which we participated on nearby Munyon Island, our boat ‘Reprise’ in the lower right.

Finally), a photograph of the two of us attending opening night of Edgar & Emily, the Grim Reaper hovering behind.  

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Big Bad Wolf Comes for Little Red Riding Hood

Totalitarianism feeds on propaganda and the control of information.  My former college psychology professor, Gustave Gilbert, the author of The Nuremberg Diary said that Joseph Goebbels, who had been an unsuccessful writer, “devoted his considerable talents for propaganda to the task of winning over Berlin’s leftists to the cause of Hilterian fascism.” (The Psychology of Dictatorship, 1950).  Ultimately Goebbels served as Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945.  Per Wikipedia, “Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes.”

Imagine if he had the Internet at his disposal.

Now we have Moscow born, former Trump special assistant, and presently Sinclair Broadcasting’s senior political analyst, Boris Epshteyn, vying for the position of the “Ministry of Truth & Public Enlightenment.”   Sinclair Broadcasting has been quietly buying up local television stations, mostly in Trump country, to spread its conservative propaganda. By now everyone knows of the coordinated “Newspeak” perpetrated by Sinclair’s stations where local “news” anchors were required to read the same statement: The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common in the media. More alarming is that national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking the facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control 'exactly what people think'

Word for word, all Sinclair stations with local news broadcasters many of whom we have followed through their years, thinking of them as, well, just regular people like ourselves.  Old friends.

One such station happens to be in our viewing area, a CBS affiliate.  They too parroted this statement, as if they were speaking to us, although it was really Boris Epshteyn.  These are friendly faces we’ve seen on air before our morning commutes or once we get home. A Palm Beach Post staff writer, Frank Cerabino, wrote a funny but profound parody of what these local news anchors “really said.”

Ironically, on the surface, the statement IS essentially true, and that is where the danger lies, voiced by an organization which indeed has “an agenda.” The unsuspecting public is but a little Red Riding Hood being toyed with by a big bad Wolf, one who knows exactly what it’s doing.  After all, this is the organization which has pushed the “deep state” conspiracy theory. 

One of the favorite techniques in propaganda is to say it over and over again.  Fox News has been doing it for years.  Now your local news broadcaster may be coming for your mind.  "Oh Granny, what big teeth you've got!"