Having emerged just yesterday from my summer hibernation, it’s time to look around and see what my guys have been up to.
The little guy is now just over eight months old, moving well (though reluctant to use his knees on the grass, resulting in what his parents call his “iguana walk”), and a connoisseur of peaches.
That’s John MacMurray, the Scottish philosopher – remember him? He’s generally not much of a newsmaker, having been dead for 38 years, but I was pleased and interested to see his name invoked in a NY Times article about the upcoming vote in September regarding independence for Scotland: “Cairns Craig, professor of Irish and Scottish studies at the University of Aberdeen, contends that Scotland ‘has always had what one might call a strong ‘communitarian’ tradition, dating back at least to the Reformation, in which it is assumed that the members of a community support each other.’
“One example is the more democratic structures that evolved historically in the Scottish church, where parishioners elect ministers. Another is the communitarian ethos embodied in Scottish philosophy and theology, Professor Craig added, citing John Macmurray, the 20th-century philosopher whose Christian socialism was said to have inspired former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the Labour Party to victory in three national elections in the 1990s and 2000s.”
While John MacMurray struggles to maintain relevancy, J.S. Bach, who has been dead for a mere 264 years, remains integral to our past, present, and future. I just received this recruiting notice for an event to take place next March:
“We write to inform you of Bach in the Subways Day – an annual celebration on J.S. Bach’s 330th birthday, Saturday, March 21, 2015, when musicians around the world will unite to perform Bach for free in subways & public spaces, all day & all night, to share our love for our art form and to sow the seeds for future generations of classical music lovers.”
I’m in, even if I have to drive to find a subway!
W. Spencer Huffman, the cranky master teacher/musician who died in 2005, is another one who struggles for recognition, except among his cadre of ex-students who love to tell “Spencer stories.” Here’s a brief one: I showed up one Saturday morning for my regularly-scheduled lesson at Spencer’s basement studio in Baltimore and was greeted by Spencer in nothing but boxer shorts and hair that would have Jon Bon Jovi proud. I think Spencer had been out late the previous night with J.S.!
This is a sad tale. Manny Machado, the Baltimore Orioles’ multi-talented third baseman, had completely turned his season around following his sophomoric hissy fit in June that resulted in a five game suspension. He was hitting and fielding like a god when he injured his knee while batting against the Yankees. The injury will require surgery, and Manny’s done for the season. The Orioles are still in first place in the AL East by 7 games, however, and have so far shown a lot of resilience to injuries and slumps, so I am optimistic they will make the playoffs.
Roger Federer has had a good summer, rising to #3 in the men’s tennis rankings, his ranking matching the number of nannies that he and his wife Mirka employ to keep track of their two sets of twins. It’s really interesting to see how Federer applies his skills and intelligence to win matches these days; he has definitely turned into a Wily Ol’ Veteran. His Wimbledon final against Djokovic, though a loss, was epic, and he played very well. Even more interesting to me was the final of the Rogers Cup tournament in Toronto in which he played Jo Willy Tsonga. Federer couldn’t hit a forehand or backhand to save his life but his net play kept the match close (5-7, 6-7). He lost, as he should have, but it was amazing to see him be relatively successful playing without a full deck. He went on to win the next tournament in Cincinnati. Some people pick him to win the U.S. Open.