Yes, I do have to work this week, but I have some other plans as well.
Tomorrow, I plan on attending an afternoon lecture at the Martin Luther King Library. The topic is “Bayreuth: Past Present and Future” and the lecturer is Dr. Sven Frederich, director of the Franz Liszt Museum. The venue is strange, the time unusual, and will see if anyone but me shows up. I don’t know anything about Frederich, but Bayreuth is most interesting to me because of the relationship between the Wagner family and the Nazis. Some years ago, I came upon an unusual find in my book-searching, a copy of Der Sohn, the life of Wagner son Siegfried Wagner, published in Vienna in 1969. The book was written by Zdenko von Kraft, but is inscribed as a birthday gift to someone named Elfi by none other than Winifred Wagner, Siegfried’s wife. Winifred was English born, but raised in Germany by friends of the Wagner family. As the Bayreuth festival was intended to be passed on from generation to generation, and as Siegfried was much more interested in men than in women, it did not look like this would happen. That is why the Wagner clan decided that Winifred (once she turned 17) should marry Siegfried (then in his mid 40s), and she did, and had four sons before she turned twenty. She was very close to Hitler, and is said to have smuggled to him in prison the paper on which Mein Kampf was written. After her husband’s death, she remained close to Hitler, and managed the Bayreuth Festival until the end of World War II. She lived until 1980, apparently never renouncing Hitler or her Nazi beliefs.
Monday evening, I am going to attend another lecture, this one by the author of a new book on the life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Teddy Roosevelt’s very independent daughter). It will take place at Politics and Prose, and will be by author Stacy Cordery. Roosevelt also fits into my book collection in a couple of ways. During the presidential administration of her father, she accompanied him on a trip to Puerto Rico. She was presented with a copy of The History of Puerto Rico by R. A. van Middeldyk (the librarian of the San Juan public library), who inscribed it thus: “Respectfully presented to Miss Alice Roosevelt as a souvenir of her viist to this island. The author. San Juan, P.R. March 30, 1903”. The book is in good condition, but there is no sign that the then 19 year old Miss Roosevelt read the book. It is a very different story with a copy of Edward Teller’s 1958 book, Our Nuclear Future. It appears that Ms. Longworth obtained this book on her own and read it cover to cover. It is filled with her marginal markings. She bought the book in March (signed and dated it as her book) and in April invited to dinner Teller, along with William P. Rogers and James Killian. In her reading of the book, she noted an error, that on page 56, the word “neutron” should have been narrowed to “free neutron”. She obviously informed Teller at dinner, who inscribed at the front of the book: “To Mrs. Longworth hoping that in my next book she will find the mistake before publication. Edward Teller”. She had Teller (“E.T.”) initial the change she had made on page 56, and had Rogers and Killian sign on as witnessing parties.
That only brings us to Tuesday, when we hope that we are able to go and hear the “Teapacks” in concert at the State Theater in Falls Church. The Teapacks are an Israel hip-hop-like group (actually the ad says that are pop-punk international, which is probably more accurate) whose leader comes from Sderot, the town bordering Gaza towards which the Palestineans launch the Kassam rockets on a regular basis. They are the group who composed and performed “He’s Gonna Push the Button”, the parody on Iranian president Ahmedinejad and his threat to destroy the Satanic State of Israel and the idyllic life of the Israelis. Once I figure out how to load videos, I will make this one available. It was Israel’s entry into this year’s Eurovision song contest, and advanced as far as the semi-finals. We don’t usually go to concerts like these, but this one seemed to good to pass up.
Wednesday, we will go to our second Washington Caps game. We do this with diminished excitement as the Caps’ first three wins were offset by three losses. Playing the Islanders on Thursday night (our first of the year), they dominated in the first period but could not score, allowed three power point goals, scored no power point goals out of six tries, and looked by the end of the game like the last placed Caps of last year. On the positive side, their new red uniforms are fantastic. But you don’t win games by the quality of your clothes. They need to move beyond where they appear to be, but even with their new skates (Backstrom, Nylander, Kozlov, Motzko, Poti), they looked like they could not hold their own. They lost 5-2, and this was after a 7-3 loss to Buffalo. They play the Penguins tonight. Perhaps we will see part of the game on television; we are going to supper with friends Bob and Nona first.
The mother of a friend passed away, and we may make a shiva call on Thursday. Then on Friday, I have an afternoon retirement party for one of my ex-partners (at which I should see many more ex-partners), followed by supper at friends’ new condominium. Then next Saturday, it is a pumpkin cutting party in Springfield VA, followed by supper at our organic produce provider in Lexington Park, MD. We should be collecting frequent driver miles.