Monday, February 05, 2018

#FlyEaglesFly 2

The point of this post is to segue from my newly acknowledged Philly pride to my love of the greatest Philadelphia institution of all - The Mummers. Because I am mocked for this attachment by my nearest and dearest, we'll do it in gentle steps, via the world class Philadelphia Orchestra.

Of course, it's lovely to see the Orchestra support the home team, but for real Philadelphia flavor, it has to be the Mummers. Here is the South Philly String Band - not in costumes - marching through South Philly to the tune of Fly Eagles Fly. What I love about this video is that even though this is just an informal stroll around the neighborhood, without costumes, they are in form, and the Captain, who doesn't play an instrument, is keeping his hands busy with a can of beer. Note the strut beginning at 3;14, all you out-of-towners.


I do not watch professional sports. And if I did, I would not watch American football. I don't even understand football. My son was the kicker on his high school team, and apart from knowing that he was attempting to score a field goal by kicking the ball through the goalposts, I had no idea what was happening on the field. But yesterday's Super Bowl was one that not even I could ignore. No one outside of New England wanted the Patriots to win; they are arrogant, they cheat, and they had already won 5 Super Bowls. So despite the hooligan reputation of the Eagles fans, the entire country was rooting for the underdogs from Philly.

I can't imagine any Eagles fans in Boston would have dared to watch last night's game at a bar. I had to scrap my plans to watch at my daughter's house because we're both sick, so I settled in at home texting with my son after R went to bed sometime in the 3rd quarter. A nailbiter to the end, it was not a game to watch alone. The Eagles won their first Super Bowl, and I'm feeling a little sentimental right now not to be in Philadelphia for the celebratory mayhem.

Even if, like me, you do not understand or even like the game, this video of Eagles' kicker Jake Elliott, from early in the season, will make you smile.

He did it again last night, not quite as far and not so dramatically, but scoring 3 more points in the last 65 seconds of the game. Final score: 41-33.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Back in the swim

Even though I am no longer employed by a school or university, my life is still dictated by the academic calendar. I've had a very long winter break and now am just returning to work and study. This semester I am teaching English to two classes of francophones. One is a small group of pre-school and kindergarten teachers at a French school in Cambridge, and the other is made up of some accountants at a local French-owned company who could very well be the parents of the other group's students. That takes up two afternoons a week.

Two mornings a week I am a student. This time around, I'm participating in a Ulysses reading group and a class on Ulysses S. Grant, the American general and president. Fridays I attend two lectures on current issues.

The Grant biography has just arrived from Amazon and I am dismayed to see that it weighs in at over 1,000 pages. It's by Rob Chernow, author of the best-selling bio of Alexander Hamilton that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda's extraordinary Broadway musical. I got through those 800 pages, but it's possible my motivation had been elevated by having seen Hamilton. The Grant course is being led by a popular emeritus Harvard prof. Not quite the same as Miranda's wizardry, but I hope it's encouraging.

I really hope someone offers a Tristram Shandy course soon. I've never read it and think it might be best undertaken with a group. Some books are like that.