Mozart and Richard Strauss shouldn’t be a controversial programming choice, even if the orchestra is digging a little deeper into each composer’s catalog. Apparently there’s a Strauss recording project afoot because we have more of it on the docket for next week. This time around the audience was treated first to the Love Scene from Strauss’s relatively obscure one-act opera/”sung poem” Feuersnot (“famine of fire”, but make your own alternate translation). Lasting about five minutes it’s over before it really gets going, taken out of the context of the larger work. Strauss isn’t known for brevity in his tone poems, but since it hasn’t been performed by the BSO since 1911 it was worth hearing.

Slightly earlier in the Strauss canon is Tod und Verklarung, aka Death and Transfiguration, a much more significant work but surprisingly not performed here since 1999. This was one of my go-to record albums in my younger days (I think it was Karajan/Berlin Phil) with the Metamorphosen on the other side also getting played a lot, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it live before. Nelsons didn’t over-sentimentalize the opening or the first brass invocation of the main tonal theme, keeping things in check so that the last third or so could be taken at a slower pace with bigger climaxes, there are several in this piece so it’s a challenge to gauge them relative to one another. Hearing it live you could hear all the inner parts, the texture was more transparent even with the horns blasting away, and a few less than perfect entrances or intonations but all in all it lived up to its expectations and the audience was enthusiastic.

For some reason this program put the Mozart Two Piano Concerto K. 365 by itself after intermission, normally you’d only see that for Rocky 3 or Brahms 2. The Jussen brothers were supposed to be the soloists but apparently couldn’t get into the country in time, so stepping in on short notice were sisters Christina and Michelle Naughton, who were obviously very familiar with this piece and gave a sparkling performance. No phrase was left untouched, with enough shifts in color from one idea to the next to give you whiplash, a style for Mozart that isn’t to everyone’s taste but seems to be the thing these days and makes for a lively and engaging rendition of what is not exactly top drawer Mozart. The interplay between the keyboards is constant, with multiple opportunities to get out of sync with each other, but the Naughtons had no difficulty in keeping steady. Since the fall concerts only clock in at 90 minutes there was plenty of time for an encore, so the soloists completely changed the mood with a rousing one piano four hand performance of what I believe was “Boogie”, from Paul Schoenfeld’s 5 Days from the Life of a Manic Depressive, a jazzy percussive tour de force that looks as hard as it sounds.

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Thursday was my first ever attendance at the BSO’s opening night. In years past it was a gala occasion with a special program and special prices to match, outside of the subscription series and really only for donors and benefactors although still available to the public. In the last decade or so they scaled it back to just be another performance, albeit with some speeches and keeping the special prices. But this year’s edition was going to be an opening night to remember after an 18 month hiatus, so it was worth the extra to be there to see it in person, and it did not disappoint.

It’s rare to hear a live performance of Beethoven’s overture to Consecration of the House, and even more rare to be moved to tears by it, but that’s how it felt as the first piece on the program, the first live symphonic music I’d heard in nearly two years (I missed out on Jan and Feb 2020 somehow). This is a late work contemporaneous with the Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony, and you could catch a few glimpses of both in the music. This overture was first work of the first program ever presented by the BSO, and has been revived a few times since to commemorate a special occasion, such as their 100th anniversary.

John Williams is 89 and looking pretty spry, he had no trouble navigating his lengthy second Violin Concerto through to the end, with Anne-Sophie Mutter also looking spry and also sounding great, particularly in the quieter lyric passages. There was a substantial harp part, with the harpist placed prominently within the strings rather than way in the back against the wall. Williams concert music doesn’t sound much like his film scores, I expect that’s on purpose, as he uses the opportunity to explore themes, instrumentation and sonorities that probably would be hard to fit into the standard Hollywood movie. The BSO gave the premiere this summer at Tanglewood, it’s definitely a work that would benefit from multiple hearings, particularly given its 40 minute or so length. He gave a short speech at the end, and then led Ms. Mutter again in his own violin transcription of music from the movie “The Long Goodbye”, written in 1972, he said, “when I was twelve”.

Andris Nelsons is looking a little older and heavier than the last time I saw him, but it didn’t stand in the way of a great rendition of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra, written for the BSO in 1944 and played here every two or three years. I remember having to transcribe the opening theme in “aural skills” class in college by ear, my first exposure to the piece, and though I’ve heard it several times there are always parts of it that are unfamiliar to me. It’s a great piece to watch performed live, with all the combinations of instruments, particularly winds and trumpets, having their soloistic moments, the whole thing goes by in a whirl, very much tonal for Bartok, maybe still one of the most frequently programmed symphonic works from that period. Nelsons also gave a short speech about being back in front of an audience, comparing the orchestra to a 5-five star restaurant that had prepared a meal with no one to eat it. He seemed genuinely surprised that so many people were in attendance, it wasn’t packed but it was pretty full. The new president Gail Samuel also spoke, welcoming everyone back and thanking them for their support through 568 days of no live performances in Symphony Hall. It was a great occasion, looking forward to the continuing season.

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The story so far

Jan 19, 2021

the story we’ve all been living began last March 16, the day after returning a day early from Florida to start a two-week work from home quarantine that has now extended 10 months. in those first weeks everything was closed, no one was on the road, it seemed safer to wear gloves along with a mask when venturing to the grocery store, and that was the only place worth venturing to.

while work proceeded more or less seamlessly, since people were already working from home off and on anyway, activity outside working hours evaporated, no more rehearsals, no concerts to go to, no sporting events to watch. beth’s hours were curtailed somewhat, but she still had an “office” to go to a few afternoons a week. i on the other hand had nowhere to go, but spring was here and the kids still checked in on a regular basis. Justin came home for a couple weeks after classes ended in May.

From the beginning it seemed like the worst would be over in a couple of months, and things did reopen more or less, we had more options for takeout anyway. it was a shock to go into a bookstore after they finally allowed humans inside in June, and see most of the magazines on the racks were still from March, like some kind of post-nuclear frozen in time moment.

the couple of months never got any closer, and in fact started to get longer, til now there’s no telling when things get back to some semblance of where they were. i resisted the phrase “the new normal” that people were throwing around after the first week, there was nothing normal about it, and accepting it as such seemed defeatist.

i was saving money by not commuting, but losing my side hustles partially offset that, and lack of movement was definitely weighing on me if you’ll pardon the expression. still paying $290 every month on a car that gets to go about 100 miles during that same interval.

seeing the seasons go by day by day from home was new after living here 29 years, observing the incremental changes in lighting inside the house as the sun changed its trajectory. it was hot in the summer but no sustained heat waves, with all the doors and windows open it was like always being outside even when i wasn’t.

now it’s the dead of winter but not much snow and no deep freeze, the days are getting longer and soon enough we’ll have cycled around to March 16 again, with the opportunity to make more of the second time around than i did the first. it’s a new year, new president tomorrow, everyone assumed 2021 would be an improvement, still hoping.

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The 1500 day diary

Jan 18, 2021

it’s MLK day 2021. Been a while since i posted here, longer ago than i would have thought. but time has no meaning during a pandemic, we just passed 10 months of quarantine/working from home/shunning human contact, maybe the end is in sight, but not sure when that end will be, maybe this summer, maybe sooner, maybe later.

there’s an inauguration in 2 days, that’s a milestone. the last inauguration i was in the hospital, and missed the whole thing, which wasn’t a bad thing. this time around there’s more promise of things to come that are worth waiting for.

also today it’s 1500 days until i turn 62. that’s a fairly arbitrary milestone, but let’s just say that anything that doesn’t happen in the next 1500 days probably will never happen. i’m only a year away from outliving my dad, at the moment it seems like that milestone will happen. I don’t feel particularly old, except when i stand up, but it’s time to set a goal and maybe use this forum as a diary/check-in of accomplishments along the way. I started a blog in 2003, and ran out of things to talk about shortly thereafter, but there aren’t all that many years left, so time to take inventory in text form. The kids grew up and moved out, I’ve spent the last couple of years creating an inventory of all my books, and setting up a library in the house where everything is out, somewhat organized, and accessible, something that hadn’t been the case for 20 years. Now I’m trying to get a home gym going, with an exercise bike I just acquired in Justin’s room, and putting together a workout bench that I bought in October of 2018, another unconscionable passage of time.

Time to finally learn German. Time to inventory and disperse to some degree my comic collection that I started in 1976. We’re at the point where some things being considered can be thought of as doing them for the last time. but hopefully there’s still plenty of time left, at least until 62, 4 years and a bit from now, it’s a goal anyway, let’s try to keep this forum as an update of how things are going. Maybe someday the pandemic will end and we’ll be back to normal, it’s been 10 months already and that seemed to go by relatively quickly. With a President Biden maybe we don’t have to spend so much time watching the news or looking at twitter wondering what’s going to happen next and will the republic survive. Let’s see what happens.

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While technically still in 2015, New Year’s Eve last year was a warm First Night in St. Petersburg Florida, where I saw a few vocal concerts by local singers and a chorus in some old churches. Then I got stuck in traffic going back to Clearwater and watched the midnight beach fireworks from the rental car as I made my way back to the motel, so since the evening ended in 2016 it counts for this year.

All told I heard the BSO 26 times in the 2016 calendar year at Symphony Hall, all but 4 of them in conjunction with the café, that’s a record that may never be broken. The highlight of the BSO repertoire in Spring 2016 was probably Barbara Hannigan singing Hans Abrahamsen’s “Let me tell you”, which I still need to get on CD, although it’s not with the BSO.  Heard Nelsons conduct Shosty 8 twice, I did get that CD, which is now a Grammy nominee.  Also heard Perahia for the first time in a while, doing Beethoven 4.

There were 3 visits to Tanglewood this summer, the first was on the way back from a July weekend in Saratoga, where Chloe and Beth made their first ever visit. We camped out on the lawn and I went inside at show time to hear Yuja Wang play Ravel and Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue.  I was back the following weekend for the day to hear Ohlsson do Tchaikovsky, and then in August for a three day stretch, to witness my first solo recital of Nelson Freire at Ozawa Hall, followed the next night by solo Marc Andre Hamelin, who was filling in at the last minute for Daniil Trifonov.  Stuck around Friday night to hear Bronfman play Liszt 2nd concerto in the shed before heading for home.

The fall BSO season started off with Renee Fleming and Susan Graham doing a spectacular and very long concert performance of Der Rosenkavalier, followed a few weeks later by Dutoit conducting Bluebeard’s Castle.   Heard Helen Grimaud play both Brahms concerti in separate weekends, it had been quite a while since her previous BSO appearance.  And making his debut at age 92 was Menahem Pressler playing Mozart 27, probably the event of the fall season just because of his place in the pantheon.

Non-BSO symphony concerts consisted of a visit to New Philharmonia to see Tina Packer and other members of Shakespeare & Co reading scenes from Hamlet in between Shostakovich film score. In our trip to Rutgers last month we saw the university orchestra do a semi-staged version of L’enfant et les Sortileges, with some other French music in the first half of the program.

In opera, while I snubbed BLO yet again, I did manage to see a few staged operas this year during the summer. Odyssey Opera did Gluck’s “Ezio”, which shows how desperate I was to see an opera but it was fine.  Boston Midsummer Opera did two one-acts by Donizetti and Mascagni at the Arsenal center, which was a little hard to find but if they decide to stay there now I know where it is.  Mascagni’s “L’amico Fritz” was the better of the two.  Our July weekend in western Mass and upstate New York was mostly in support of Justin’s concert at Jazz in July, but it also included my first visit to Saratoga Opera to hear Il Postino, which was the highlight of the year.  On the musical front, the family joined me during a quick Cape trip to our first performance at College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, to see Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing”, it’s a venue I would like to return to next year.

On the solo front, I heard Jeremy Denk do a varied and eclectic Celebrity Series program, nice variety of unusual repertoire if not as much a standout as last year’s Rockport program.  Roberto Poli gave a benefit recital for BPA that included some memorably romantic Haydn.  Lisa de la Salle had a disappointing showing at Rockport, finishing off with Brahms’ Handel Variations that ended in a train wreck, but I liked her Rachmaninoff Etude encore enough to try it myself.  I heard one concert in Ashburnham,  a 4-person piano faculty concert at Rivers School, and Imogen Cooper at the Celebrity Series, along with masterclasses by Yale’s Melvin Chen and the aforementioned Mr. Denk.  On the non-professional side, All-Newton school put on a two-piano recital featuring many of my BPA cronies.

In chamber recitals I heard a great rendition of standard trio repertoire by Lars Vogt and the Teztlaffs with Celebrity Series, two NEC concerts at Old South meeting house, Sasha Korsantia playing the Dvorak quintet at NEC’s First Monday concert, a fabulous concert by Trio Solisti at Rockport (probably the standout of the year), Bruckner at a Tanglewood prelude concert, another Rivers faculty concert that included the Dumky trio and the Debussy violin sonata, an very compelling lecture/recital of the Shostakovich String Quartet #3 at Wellesley in a small overcrowded room,  a weird faculty concert of transcriptions and new music for the combination of cello and string bass at Tufts,  a great faculty program of American chamber music at NEC and most of another student NEC program of violin sonatas, and finally my first Winterreise with Thomas Ades and Ian Bostridge at Celebrity Series.  I prepped for the Schubert with the score and Hermann Prey’s recording for several weeks beforehand, not as in depth as I wanted but it was good to have some grounding in what to expect going into the live version.

On the personal front I did a recital of my own in September in Marlborough that I called a Schubertiade, with Schubert’s Op 42 A Minor Sonata in the first half, and then joined by Jagan-nath and David for the Op 99 trio. The recital was reasonably well attended, although ironically not by the people who said they were too busy for a spring concert but could come to one in the fall.  I made two appearances with Seele, first as my Beethoven Society debut in Melrose doing mostly Handel, followed by a Good Friday service/performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.  I accompanied 5 summer sings for Masterworks, which may be a record, fortunately all stuff I knew well, plus a first-ever summer sing in the fall with NWC.  I was asked to fill in at Plymouth Church once this summer, for which I prepared a variety of Bach including some of the Goldbergs.  There was also a rare appearance at a Masterworks rehearsal for auditions.  I attended and played at 7 BPA soirees this year, from Gloucester to Eastham.  I also count 14 meetings for reading chamber music, including rehearsals for the aforementioned Schubert concert, but also a meeting at Kilmer’s house to play through the Brahms and Schumann quintets, which was years in the planning.  I also count 11 concerts involving MHS, primarily Justin’s jazz band and combo, and two visits to UMass to hear Justin during Jazz in July.

I don’t know what that adds up to but it sounds like a lot, although it’s probably about 20% of what I could do if I chose not to see my family at all. This fall was a little more restrained than normal just because of college visits or the potential for college visits, and I had to spring for a ticket to a few BSO performances even if it was a Café date just to make sure I wasn’t shut out of the beginning of the program (particularly with Yo-Yo Ma and with Rosenkavalier).  The first part of 2017 will probably be similar, more college visits to come have precluded me from committing to any Celebrity Series concerts in advance, but I hope to catch a few of them.  Going to the BSO so often means I don’t want to miss any even if I’m not playing at the café, and now I’ve worked out a strategy for the rush tickets that prevents that from getting too expensive.  The downside is you really only want to commit to driving into Boston once a week, so it prevents checking out otherwise worthy concerts that coincide on the schedule, but it’s the BSO so you can hardly complain.  I think only two concerts this year were out of state, it would be nice to expand on that next year and get back to the Met or another orchestra.  The 3-day visit to the Berkshires was great, and not completely loaded with concerts which allowed for time for outdoor activities and an afternoon performance of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at Shakespeare & Co, although their decision to put in a show-stopping rap musical number toward the end makes me leery of going back.  The last couple weeks of December are generally pretty quiet on the concert front, so I’m ready to get started again with the new year.

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College search update

Dec 27, 2016

After an embarrassingly long yet strangely typical hiatus, let’s try to get back on track with something that will be interesting to my future self, the story so far in the college search round 2.

This time last year, and all the way through the spring, you couldn’t get Justin to talk at all about looking at colleges. It’s somewhat understandable that the thought of making such a big commitment is scary at that age, and as Beth pointed out at the time, he was already top dog in his current environment, so why ponder changing the status quo?  This is in contrast to Chloe, who was also stressed out about the thought of deciding her future but at the same time couldn’t wait to graduate and get out of the boro.

But at some point over the summer Justin came to terms with his fate and I had put together a preliminary list of schools, based on the premise that he really wanted to pursue music in general and jazz in particular. His dedication to practicing and his immersion in many of the famous practitioners’ styles and recordings makes a compelling case that this is what he wants to do, regardless of his straight A’s in academics and various other interests, so while I half-heartedly would try to offer up an alternative career path, there didn’t seem to be much point.  Unlike with Chloe, music has been a main focus for him since second grade, and so even while he held back on investigating the college options, his high school strategy made that path inevitable.  There’s also some debate in jazz circles as to whether jazz should even be taught or be a degree program at the college level, that the real way to “learn” jazz is by doing.

In the fall of junior year we went to a college fair at BU for performing arts, and got to talk to several school representatives. I did most of the talking.  This past summer he spent two weeks at UMass Amherst at their annual jazz camp and was in his element, although he came out of it with an unfavorable impression of UMass.  From looking at various websites and confining our focus to the northeast, the short list of schools I came up with included NEC, Berklee, SUNY Purchase, Rutgers, and Temple (and UMass, which he then nixed), to which Justin added Juilliard (well why not), New School (kinda pricey, even compared to NEC and Berklee) and Hartt School (surprising since his predecessor in lead alto goes there). So four conservatories and four universities, I’m still in favor of the universities not even so much because of the inherent fall back options, which I don’t think will be an issue with him, but mostly to get a more typical college experience, plus they’re all cheaper than the conservatories, even with out of state tuition.  The front runner changes periodically, it was NEC, and then it was one of the NY schools, lately he says it doesn’t matter.

Chloe only applied to 4 schools although we visited several more, and the ones she focused on all used the common app, plus there were still portfolios to assemble, upload and review, with different requirements for each school. With Justin’s list it was more complicated, only half of them use the common app, a few wanted a pre-audition video, again with different requirements for each school, but Justin did a good job in keeping track of all the various requirements and deadlines and mostly came to us only for help with an essay or when he needed a credit card to pay the application fee.  BTW, Berklee wins the application fee sweepstakes with $150, which you pay before you even get to page 2 of the application.  Harvard meanwhile is $80 or so, by comparison.  The universities typically want you to apply to them first, then once you’re accepted you apply to their music school, with separate application fees (and deadlines) for each.

I’m a fan of using a tour or open house to help acclimate yourself to a school prior to applying. NEC didn’t seem to warrant a tour, since it’s mostly in one building, and their website even says as much and why don’t you just come to a concert instead.  We did an open house at Berklee on a Saturday morning that hosted a ton of people with no free food and no good place to congregate, so on arrival you just lined up outside on the sidewalk and they divided you off for a tour, which covered the outsides and lobbies of several buildings but not much of the interiors.  Their focus seems to be directly on pop music, but it’s a big school, so even a relatively small jazz program for them is still on the bigger side compared to other schools.

Justin and I went to an open house at University of Hartford on a Saturday morning, they put on a good show, he wasn’t impressed with the campus.   We took a trip to New York to have a tour at New School, where everyone else was there to see Parsons so we got a private tour and got to talk to the student tour guide at some length about the search process and strategy.  The New York schools seem to have conspired to schedule their tours at overlapping times, so we couldn’t see Juilliard the same day, and does it really matter what it looks like on the inside, it’s Juilliard.  We just walked around the lobby and went to the bookstore.  Instead we took the train to the upper west side for a tour of Manhattan School of Music, which wasn’t on the list but had the connection of being the alma mater of the coach Justin had at UMass last summer, after that tour he added it to the list for applying.

On a separate weekend we drove to New Jersey to an open house at Rutgers’ Mason Gross school for performing arts, which started at 4pm when it was already almost dark, sort of unusual to do a campus tour at night, but it was in conjunction with a orchestra concert that evening that we were able to get in on. Mason Gross is in a separate, more modestly sized campus just outside downtown New Brunswick, much less intimidating than the enormous main campus across the river, which we saw by car on our own.  The next day we had a general tour at Temple in Philadelphia, followed by a meeting with an admissions guy at their music school.  Philly has the advantage of having a decent jazz scene and not so many music schools, and Temple is right in the middle of the city, with food trucks lining the streets everywhere because there’s no one building big enough to hold everyone.  Since it was a general tour we saw some things like the computer lab and the science building which Justin would never see again, but I think he was pleasantly surprised by both schools.  Never did make it to SUNY, and then Justin realized he’d misread the application deadline, which was earlier for their music school than the school in general, so we took that one off the list, but it was a longshot candidate anyway.

At the moment, Justin has been accepted by Berklee, the only school to have a live audition in December. That was kind of fun, there were a few hundred kids there on a Saturday to audition, mostly for voice and guitar.  They had you hang out in a small concert hall with a list projected on the back wall of the stage to show when your number was called, while a student combo entertained the masses.  Justin felt both the audition and interview went well, and he was proven correct.  The same day he heard from Berklee he got an e-mail from MSM saying don’t bother to come audition in person, it’s no fun to get rejected but there’s no way to know why, was the pre-audition video not sufficient, or did they not need that many altos?  Since they were a late addition it wasn’t a big deal, I probably had a more favorable impression of MSM than New School since it’s more of a traditional performing arts school, where New School is still in the process of integrating their recent acquisition of Mannes into the main campus, much like Berklee with Boston Conservatory.  Probably should start hearing from the others next week when everyone is back from vacation.  Temple is kind of my favorite right now, but they could easily be replaced by another school that undercuts their price.

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Happy 2015!

Jan 1, 2015

There aren’t enough hours in a day.  There aren’t enough days in a year.  Every year the resolution is the same, to make better use of the time in those days and hours, to be more efficient, more expansive, more diligent, more focused, more creative, to name just a few.  But one thing that always seems to get pushed to the back burner is writing.  While it doesn’t always come easy for me while I’m doing it, I always enjoy going back months or years later to read what I wrote (and resist the temptation to edit, or comment on my own posts).  Most days I can sit down after a long day of work and play the piano for an hour or so without too much force of will, no matter how tired I feel or how much else there is to do.  So it would be nice to be able to do the same with writing.  The trick is to not let one interfere with the other.  Or with everything else I want to do.  Because of the previously mentioned “only so many hours” thing.

These aren’t resolutions but ongoing goals:

Read books faster than I buy them

Practice more efficiently

Watch another consecutive stretch of classic Doctor Who (currently on deck is “Enemy of the World”)

Do things outside of the house on weekends

organize, organize, organize

stay in shape and keep the weight down

And that’s just some of the things I’m already doing.  Let’s try to keep this blog active too, and see how long that lasts.

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Justin finished 10th out of 40 in the Y-14 men’s epee division at this weekend’s tournament at the University of New Hampshire.  According to Coach Bob, who knows how this works, this means he’s qualified to compete in the national tournament, which this year is in scenic Columbus Ohio.   He had 3 rated fencers in his pool of six, and finished the pool at 5-1 (the one kid who beat him ultimately placed 5th).  This was good enough for a first round bye.  In the Direct Elimination (DE) round, he won his first match handily, but lost in the round of 16 to the eventual 7th place winner.  Of the seven kids he faced, five of them were left-handed, which defies all statistical probability.

In case you think I’m making this up, results are posted here.  I got every bout on video, but will probably just upload a couple of select ones, Justin was particularly happy with his come-from-behind victory in the second bout after being down 4-1.  This was his first tournament since last spring, and has given him new motiviation to fence in more local tournaments.

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In no particular order, and not counting the ones who’ve already snuffed it:

Quentin Tarantino
Jet Li
Mike Myers
Johnny Depp
Helen Hunt
Greg Kinnear
Brigitte Nielsen
Phoebe Cates
Elisabeth Shue
Rob Schneider
Tatum O’Neal
Brad Pitt
Lisa Kudrow
Jennifer Beals
John Stamos
Vanessa Williams
Alex Kingston
Michael Chiklis
Lisa Whelchel
Norm MacDonald
Conan O’Brien
Michael Jordan
George Michael
Russell T. Davies
Graham Norton
Charles Barkley
Mark McGwire

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Cats win! Cats win!

Jan 1, 2013

The bowl drought is over!  I was there to see the first bowl game loss in 1996 (the Rose Bowl, 17 years ago, ouch!), and went back for more in 2000 (a blowout to Nebraska at the Alamo Bowl) and 2005 (blew a huge lead to UCLA in the Sun Bowl), and there were five or six other bowls in there where we competed, but couldn’t close the deal.  Until today, that is!  It wasn’t perfect (3 interceptions) but we had four picks of our own, Mississippi State wanted to do the usual second-half comeback that Cats fans are accustomed to, but their QB was having a seriously off day, and they couldn’t keep up the pressure enough to take charge.

It was tempting to make the trip down there, but it would have been a whirlwind tour.  Adam, Daren, Rich, Liz and Nate went, but mostly they were staying for about 48 hours, which hardly seems worth the effort.  The stadium looked about half full, even though MSU is relatively close by.  Instead I watched the game from the comfort of my living room, while the rest of the family drifted in and out.  Great win to close out a great season, those losses to Nebraska and Michigan really exasperated, but this makes up for it.  Go Cats!


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