Thursday, July 04, 2013

Messrs Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, and Usher, wish you a happy Fourth.

Shreve, Lamb and Harmon's 1931 masterpiece, still the world's tallest art deco building, is resplendent in its Independence Day illumination. William F. Lamb, the building's principal designer, used his  design for the 21 story Reynolds Building in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, completed in 1929, as a starting point for his ESB plans. He was also inspired by the 49 story Carew Tower in Cincinnati (W.W. Alschlager & Associates/Delano & Aldrich, 1930).

Here's Usher, in the ESB's gorgeous lobby, turning on the lights. Have a happy holiday!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Pirates best in MLB?

My Mets have been showing some signs of life lately, so my earlier speculation that they might give the 1962 Mets a run for the season loss record has pretty much gone a-glimmering. Right now, they're at bat and leading the D-backs 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs, and there's a rain delay. If they manage to win, they'll be ten games under .500 and in fourth place in the NL East, a familiar place for them. I can take some comfort in the fact that the Yanks are now in the same position in the AL East.

This would seem to be a good time to stop thinking about baseball and concentrate on important stuff, like the question posed by Dennis Overbye in his New York Times column yesterday:
Is the truth of the world to be found in the ways things change, like the river that you cannot step into twice, or the ways they remain the same, like the law of gravity or, indeed, the name of that river?
Well, "the way things remain the same" brings me back, unhappily, to the Mets. But "the way things change" brings to mind this startling fact: the Pittsburgh Pirates now have the best record in Major League Baseball. I can remember, back in the late 1980s and early '90s, when the Pirates were a respectable team, my thinking, "If only the Mets could have Bobby Bonilla." Since 1992, when they finished first in the NL East (they have since been moved to the Central) the Pirates have had twenty straight losing seasons, an MLB record.

We're not quite to the All Star break yet, and things could change drastically between now and October. Still, I can't help but think about 1960 when the "Beat 'em Bucs!" Pirates, emerging from another long period of mediocrity, won the NL pennant, and took the heavily favored Yankees to game seven, decided by Bill Mazerowski's walk-off homer (see video above).

Should the Pirates win the Real Baseball League pennant, as a Pennsylvania native I'll root for them against just about any Phony Baseball League champion.  Possible exceptions are the Red Sox, out of spousal loyalty, and the Rays, out of old hometown loyalty, although Tampa had no Rays until long after I left and had formed my loyalty to the Mets.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Neil Young sings Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds." Happy Canada Day!

One great Canadian singer and songwriter performs a song by another, with some help from Willie Nelson.