An Orchestra of Exiles

The story of Bronislaw Huberman should be more widely known.  A childhood violin prodigy who played for Brahms at the age of 13, Huberman became “The Schindler of the Music World”.  His amazing self-sacrifice in saving lives is documented in a film, Orchestra of Exiles.  The film ranges from Toscanini’s influence in opposing fascism and Hitler, then spearheading of what was to become the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra – to the Stradivarius stolen from Huberman that would wind up in the hands of Joshua Bell. Bell wrote a beautiful piece about the violin, and about Huberman.  Here is the official PBS trailer for Orchestra of Exlies:

The documentary’s filmmaker recently co-authored a book, and between the book and the film perhaps Huberman will become more of a household name.

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A Proud Cardiac Rehab Graduate

 

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Cardiac Rehab Sign

Cardiac Rehab Entrance

Cardiac Rehab Track

 

Finished the 12 week program at Hackensack U. Cardiac Rehab Program today, re-learning to exercise in a targeted and intelligent way.  Shaved 2 1/2″ off the waist under the supervision of an expert team.  Good material upon graduation today to keep motivated.  Nutrition/water/exercise/lifting weights/lifestyle changes – all key elements added to the holy grail of lifestyle factors:  stress management.

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Baseball’s Human Lego Set

The Wall Street Journal published a great article a few days ago on the Chicago Cubs as Baseball’s Human Lego Set.  Seems like GM Theo Epstein and Manager Joe Maddon are attracted to everyday players who can play multiple positions.

Joe Maddon

By the way, am I the first one to suggest that Joe Maddon is starting to look more and more like Ezra Wohlgelernter?

Ezra Wohlgelernter

And while we’re on subjects that you first heard about here, consider this one.  The Phillies have a position player by the name of Cody Asche who just turned 26 and came up as a third baseman.  Despite having a decent glove and a good minor league pedigree he was moved to the outfield a couple of years ago because the Phillies perceived that Maikel Franco, a young rookie, would be better at the position.  Cody was then converted to left field, where he has learned to play the position well and his bat seems to have come to life.

Cody fits the human lego profile of what the Cubs have been cultivating.  In addition to versatility, he’s also a match for the Epstein/Maddon work ethic.  Cody’s salary is a bargain at $530,000, and he’s arbitration eligible next year.  The Phillies also have Jeremy Hellickson on the trading block, who recently turned 29 and may be an attractive alternative to John Lackey.  Turning 38 in October, Lackey has another year on his $32 million two year contract.  Hellickson makes only $7 million for stats similar to Lackey’s and, if nothing else provides some nice insurance as a middle reliever/spot starter.

So who should the Phillies target in return from the Cubs?  How about Cubs’ first round draft choice from last year, switch-hitting outfielder/second baseman Ian Happ – who has moved through their system quickly.

Happ AFL Candidate

The thought crossed my mind after reading Todd Johnson’s blog on potential candidates for the Arizona Fall League for the Cubs’ Insider.  Johnson writes:

“In just a few weeks, the Cubs will announce who they are sending to the Arizona Fall League. The league is usually for players who have missed some time, those the Cubs want to take a longer look at. Players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, for example. The Cubs could also get a look at players they may want to showcase for possible trades in the winter, while simultaneously giving those same prospects exposure to other teams.”

Regarding Happ, Johnston opines:

“Ian Happ might be one player the Cubs want to look at in more detail this fall. They obviously know a lot about him already, but you can never have too much information. As he goes up each level, he does better and better. Being at AA, he is not that far from the majors, so an extra sneak peak in the fall might do Happ and the Cubs well.”

For Happ’s sake, I hope he stays with the Cubs and becomes part of a future that is already a dynasty in the making.  For the Phillies’ sake, I hope they continue to focus on getting younger and acquiring players with high upside.  For Asche’s sake, I couldn’t imagine any environment suited better to blooming as a hard working multi position player.  In any event, If Ian does make it to the Arizona Fall League this year, I’ll follow him with significant interest.

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The Robles Brothers: An Insiprational Story of Rebuilding Lives

Thanks to Randal Jentzen for sharing this inspirational story about The Robles Brothers.  It speaks for itself.

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But What If We’re Wrong?

דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט

Transliterated as “Der mensch tracht un Guht lacht”; translated as “Man plans and God laughs.”  It was one of my father’s favorite Yiddish sayings, and essentially points to the futility of trying to predict the future.  Anticipate?  Perhaps.  Predict?  Forget about it.  People have used this Yiddish phrase to introduce everything from weather forecasting to guidance on future monetary policy from the Bank of England.

Turning the mirror upside down might help us get around this problem, enabling one to think about the present as if it were the past – a strategy espoused by Chuck Klosterman in his thought-provoking new book.  Klosterman is self-effacing on the subject, opening as follows:  “I’ve spent most of my life being wrong.  Not about everything.  Just about most things …  At this point my wrongness doesn’t even surprise me.  I almost anticipate it.”

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Speaking of books, there’s a 41% chance when you obtain a book it will be through Amazon (although Chuck doesn’t mention them by name).  That’s wildly successful, threatening to push bricks & mortar into obscurity. In many offices and homes, books on paper have been reduced to art objects as the electronic medium predominates.  And while you may think of Amazon principally as a bookseller, books comprise only 7% of the company’s total sales!  (A glance at the Amazon boxes of all sizes and shapes occupying the lobby of our apartment building by noon each day attests to this.)

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The key, Klosterman claims, is formulating the right questions about the present to challenge our certitude about the future.  Remove the book’s jacket cover and you’ll note that the big question mark is inverted, a symbolism reminding us to view and pose these questions from different angles.

Here is a bite size version of Klosterman from CBS This Morning:

And a heftier dose of Klosterman from his book reading and Q & A at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.:

 

 

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Celebrating Tzipporah & Yisroel Zev Stern

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Cousins Coming for a Visit

Cousins Coming to Visit

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