The Chicago Cubs: A Lesson In Perseverance


Last night, the Chicago Cubs did what many though they could not do. After 108 years, they won a World Series.

Theodore Roosevelt was sitting in the Oval Office in 1908. The Model T was just introduced to the public. The movie industry was in its infancy. The sinking of the Titanic and World War I were still years away.

While I am not a huge sports fan (especially when they are not a NY team), I still find this story inspiring. This team and their fans waited four generations to claim the title of World Series champions. It’s not easy to struggle for a prize or an achievement that comes so easily to others.

But the Chicago Cubs and their fans knew that one day, they would be able to re-claim the title of World Series champions. That night was last night and I can only imagine the euphoria of the moment and the coming days.

There is purpose in the struggle. We are not challenged just for the heck of it. There is always something to be learned from a challenge. This, I believe is the message that last night sends the world.

It can happen. It will happen. We just to have faith and keep working.

Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs and their fans. It’s been a long time coming and a well deserved victory.

Disclaimer: the picture above is not my own and I am not claiming any rights to it. I am simply borrowing it.


The Roosevelts: An Intimate History Review

PBS has become a staple of my Sunday night television viewing, thanks to Downton Abbey.

But with the American premiere of Downton Abbey several months away, PBS still keeps rolling out great programming to keep their audience entertained until January.

Tonight, PBS aired the first episode of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. This multi part miniseries follows the lives of former Theodore Roosevelt, his niece Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Using a single narrative as the structure of the documentary, Ken Burns and his team start with the birth of Theodore in the 1850’s and will end with the death of Eleanor in the 1960’s.

It is more than a stiff and predictable documentary.  Using pictures, archival footage, newspaper accounts of the day and personal letters and diaries, these three giants of American history are brought back to life. Another stroke of genius was to use notable actors to record the personal writing of the three subjects. Paul Giamatti is the voice of Theodore, Meryl Streep is the voice of Eleanor and Edward Hermann is the voice of Franklin.

I was so enthralled that I thought it was a fictional Shakespearean drama, not a real life story of one of the greatest political families that this country has ever seen. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to the next chapter tomorrow night.

Selected Letters Of Mary Antin Book Review

Fame and celebrity are fickle creatures. One moment we are celebrated as the most famous person in the world, then in the next moment, we are alone.

In her own time, Mary Antin was both a celebrated author and a woman forgotten by the generation that both praised and criticized her work. Her 1912 autobiography, The Promised Land, traced her childhood in Polotsk, Belarus through her families emigration to Boston and her assimilation into the United States.

In 2000, Evelyn Salz edited and published Selected Letters Of Mary Antin. The letters start in 1898, when Antin was not yet 20, at the beginning her marriage to  Amadeus Grabau, a German-American man, who was Christian and a dozen years her senior.  The letters are to notables of that era, a list that includes Israel Zangwill and Theodore Roosevelt. The letters end in 1949, just before her death.

It’s an interesting book, Antin is a very complicated woman. She is both a Jewish emigrant from Eastern Europe, a feminist, and a  writer in addition to being one half of a mixed religious marriage.

Do I recommend this book? Yes and no. Yes, for research or if the reader has an interest in the immigrants of the first half of the last century. No, if this topic is not interesting to the reader, as it is a bit dry.

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