This post has no significance except for the fact that it's my one-hundredth post of the year. And there's ten days left till summer. And I'm listening to the album Way Out West by Sonny Rollins.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Last Day of the FSA Dynamo. Last Saturday the league had trophy presentation ceremonies for each age group. It was a bittersweet day knowing that the Dynamo are breaking up. Four of the members are going all in for Academy soccer and leaving the Rec league altogether. The coach is giving up the reins since his son is one of those moving on. JDW wasn't really interested in Academy at this point. I was asked to consider coaching but my son wants to give baseball a shot in the fall. Most likely the other boys will thrown into the league draft and scattered to new teams.
My son was one of three left from the original Dynamo. They played six seasons together (not including indoor seasons). That's three years. We had a great coach and great parent support. Players transferred to our team because of the Dynamo's reputation...not for winning...but for being a good, supportive team. I will miss those Saturdays on the soccer field.
But we are giving baseball a shot. My son's been dying to try it. We've been playing catch almost every night the past week. And my son says if he doesn't like baseball he'll go back to soccer. Being a baseball fan and having played as a kid I'm excited as well. But still, just a little sad about moving on from the Dynamo.
Go Go Dynamo!
Posted by Dave at 9:38 AM
Thursday, May 08, 2014
The great Mughal Emperor Akbar, who ruled India in the late 16th century, had a temple built in his great capital Fatephur Sikri called the House of New Worship. The House of New Worship was a place where ideas could be debated without fear. Philosophers and religious leaders could argue and attack each others ideas and even critique the rule of the all powerful emperor in the safety of the House of New Worship. Missionaries from western Europe could debate the merits of Christianity, monks from Cathay (China) could espouse the virtues of Buddhism and so on and so forth.
But the House of New Worship was not a permanent structure. It was a gigantic tent. It was a grand and beautiful tent, but a tent nonetheless. Akbar believed that all ideas are impermanent. He believed that ideas wash up on the shore like great tides that possess great strength and fury and then ebb and recede with the passing of time. Akbar even knew the impermanent nature of the mighty Mughal Dynasty. He therefore decreed that a house for ideas should be as impermanent as ideas themselves.
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Back in January I wrote about what I was reading. Since January I've read some excellent books, all of which I recommend. Here's what I've read since January:
The Circle by Dave Eggers
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild
Everything Must Change by Brian D. McClaren
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
If I get around to it, I'll try to write some brief thoughts on each of the above titles. Last night I finished In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It was one of those "wow" books. When I put it down after reading the last page, that was my reaction. I read a lot of books and many of them are great. But there are very few "wow" books. I put Beasts down and just had to sit and reflect for a few minutes.
Erik Larson is an amazing writer, historian and journalist. I first encountered his work in Devil in the White City. Devil in the White City, about the Chicago's World's Fair, was such a great work that when I saw he had written a book about Nazi Germany I had to give it a look.
"Garden of beasts" is the literal translation of the great park in central Berlin called the Tiergarten. It was around this central park like district of Berlin where you found the Reichstag, many embassies and German government buildings. The book follows the story of the American ambassador and his family stationed in Berlin in 1934, months after Hitler was named chancellor.
The narrative traces the early rise of Hitler's government and the personal stories of the ambassador and his family. The book reads like a novel. The twenty-eight year old daughter of the American ambassador had numerous affairs with high ranking Nazis, including the head of the Gestapo. She also had a long relationship with the head Soviet NKVD (predecessor to the KGB) agent in Berlin. Larson's research is extremely thorough and unsettling.
Ambassador Christopher Dodd did everything he could to warn the United States of the dangers of Hitler's rise. He was stymied by the state department who was only interested in not offending Germany so the Nazis would not be inclined to default on their post World War I debts. The book makes it clear that Hitler could have easily been destabilized and overthrown with minimal effort if the United States and Western Europe had taken early action. Hitler was very weak and his grip on power tenuous in the first two or three years of his reign.
The book has an obviously tragic aspect knowing how terrible things would become in Europe due to the inaction of the appeasers and the psychotic world view of Hitler's regime. I was always taught that America didn't really know what Hitler was up to at the beginning of his reich and that's why we didn't speak up earlier. Turns out, our nation knew full well how Hitler felt about Jews. Hitler didn't try to hide his world view. In 1934, a mock trial of Hitler was held in Madison Square Garden in New York. 20,000 people packed the arena. Another one was planned for Chicago. Under Nazi pressure, the United States government encouraged the Chicago mock trial to be cancelled. The U.S. wanted Germany to pay back their loans.
The book is a cautionary tale. It's an excellent history about a strange and tumultuous time before the great tragedy of World War II. It's a story we don't often hear in the United States. It's also a sobering story of appeasement, weird love triangles and tragic losses of opportunity. Great read.
Sunday, May 04, 2014
Friday, May 02, 2014
Just got confirmation that I have been assigned The Grand America Hotel again this year for my lodging during the AP World History Exam grading in Salt Lake City. The AP World History readers (they call us readers, since we read essays) are booked into one of two hotels, The Grand America and the Little America.
Now don't get me wrong, The Little America is a very nice hotel. It's across the street from the Grand and is owned by the same company. It's quite a place. It's a four diamond hotel.
But it's no Grand America.
The Grand America Hotel is a Taj Mahal of a hotel. It possesses the visage of a majestic 19th century resort. But it was actually built in the late 1990's for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is spectacular in every way, by far the nicest hotel in Salt Lake. It is actually a Five Diamond hotel...not just five stars...diamonds. Michelin Diamonds.
So since they moved the AP reading to Salt Lake three years ago I have been blessed to have been assigned residency in the Grand America. I'm a humble member of the upper lower middle class (as Orwell described it). I don't have many opportunities to spend time in a place like the Grand America. So yes, when I received the annual email with the living arrangements, I was quite happy.