American History Museum held a screening for the DC Environmental Film Festival which is always a good place to see the latest in documentaries. I really enjoyed Phantom Wolves of Sun Valley because it gave equal attention to the complex beliefs and attitudes of all sides on the question of having wolves in the state of Idaho. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCSFwE2dkdk You watch and wish all the people could put aside their attitudes and reach a consensus. The claim of the movie is that the wolf debate is really a debate about different approaches to life by two or three different groups of people and they don’t really like or respect one another.
When I wrote my latest book, The Bullets, The Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball, I was able to speak to one of the owners of the Baltimore Bullets. Unfortunately, another had died and I was unable to reach the third, Arnold Heft. Two days ago I read that he died.
Wish I had spoken to him about the Washington Bullets and owning the Capital Centre.
The Brooklyn Nets might make history this season. They are looking for a big center for their roster and have two choices in mind.
The ESPN article below makes mention of gay history five paragraphs into the piece:
The DC Preservation League celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first US concert while enjoying the years of hard work they put in to save Uline Arena and the Washington Coliseum from being torn down.
Here’s the video telling the story:
The DC Preservation League sponsored a celebration of the Beatles First US Concert. It happened 50 years ago at the Washington Coliseum. I have a few photos from the event.
My book, the Bullets, the Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball features all the basketball teams that played at Uline Area/Washington Coliseum. I spoke in the documentary the DCPL created to celebrate this building’s history. The model for the renovation of the building appears below.
One last look at the old arena’s floor.
What it looked like nearly 70 years ago:
Given the winter weather throughout the US, it should be no surprise that I went skating. Except it wasn’t outside and it wasn’t on ice. The Corcoran Gallery of Art has a show that features a skating rink inside its rotunda. It’s a synthetic black skating rink and it was fun skating around inside it.
Once you step out you look at the blades and see a gooey tar. A volunteer takes the skates from you and wipes the black gook off the blades. You look up over the rink and see these dead tree stumps and dead ravens hanging upside down.
Mia Feuer’s new project is a haunting vision of nature consumed, transformed, and twisted by human need. Inspired by the artist’s experiences in the oil-producing landscapes of the Canadian tar sands, the Arctic Circle, and the Suez Canal, An Unkindness explores the relationships between human infrastructure and the natural world.
For the past several years, Feuer has traveled around the world to places where oil is extracted from the earth and created work that responds to the social and environmental effects of that process. In 2011 and 2012, she gained restricted access to an oil production plant in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, where she observed an ecosystem reshaped—with nightmarish logic—by desolate plains, inverted trees, and imported birds of prey. Responding to this landscape, Feuer developed An Unkindness, the title of which refers to a gathering of ravens. In the exhibition, Feuer merges imagery from the oil sands with her own experiences growing up in Canada and her research into ecological systems worldwide.
TransCanada has said that without the Keystone pipeline much of the tar sands oil will not be accessible. Looking at the decimation already wrought by the digging, can we allow more digging to happen? I’d say no, especially thinking about global warming.
I wrote The Bullets, The Wizards and Washington, DC Basketball partly because I was amazed at the issue of fans and their support of the DC teams over the years.
Even when the Bullets were good, the numbers of fans were not as great as you’d expect. And when the Wizards were bad, man, fans had it tough.
I’m working on two papers that I’ll be giving at the Popular Culture Association in Chicago and the North American Society for Sports History in Glenwood Springs, Colorado early this year.
Crunched some figures about numbers of fans who are linked to certain sports teams on Facebook. I looked at cities in the US that have teams in the four major US professional sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey). These cities are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco. I divided the number of fans on Facebook into the population of the metropolitan areas from the 2010 Census to determine the percentage of the population showing fan interest for each team.
The results show that Washington has the lowest percentage of its population involved with its teams and Phoenix has the second lowest. Boston has the highest. The data appears below organized by sport.
By Sport: (ranked by percentage of population)
Red Sox 4,185,683 (92%)
Yankees 6,651,882 (68%) #1 in the New York area
SF Giants 1,866,243 (43%)
Cubs 1,874,234 (39%) #1 in the Chicago area
Detroit Tigers 1,404,184 (33%)
Texas Rangers 1,648,160 (26%)
White Sox 1,117,960 (23%)
Phillies 1,368,839 (23%)
Rockies 579,638 (23%)
Diamondbacks 371,803 (9%)
Mets 711,431 (7%)
Marlins 349,337 (6%)
Nationals 270,473 (5%)
Football (ranked by percentage of population)
Patriots 4,346,695 (95%)
Cowboys 5,896,128 (92%) #1 in the Dallas area
Broncos 2,014,604 (79%) #1 in the Denver area
49ers 2,332,133 (54%) #1 in the San Francisco area
Eagles 2,277,997 (38%) #1 in the Philadelphia area
Bears 3,062,435 (32%)
Giants 2,883,522 (29%)
Dolphins 1,496,534 (27%)
Lions 1,089,921 (25%)
Redskins 1,270,765 (23%) #1 in the Washington area
Cardinals: 667,826 (16%)
Jets 1,568,587 (16%)
Basketball (ranked by percentage of population)
Heat 9,483,777 (170%) #1 n the Miami area
Celtics 7,351,417 (162%) #1 in the Boston area
Nuggets 1,252,113 (49%)
Mavericks 2,756,809 (43%)
Knicks 4,148,183 (42%)
Suns 1,061,293 (25%) #1 in the Phoenix area
Warriors 929,247 (21%)
Pistons 714,206 (17%)
Nets 1,403,669 (15%)
Sixers 539,415 (9%)
Wizards 286,115 (5%)
Red Wings 1,492,132 (34%) #1 in the Detroit area
Bruins 1,516,883 (33%)
Avalanche 460,522 (18%)
Black Hawks 1,568,115 (17%)
Flyers 914,211 (15%)
Sharks 608,476 (14%)
Rangers 1,081,743 (11%)
Capitals 536,195 (10%)
Coyotes 148,657 (4%)
Stars 216,058 (3%)
Panthers 102,193 (2%)
Islanders 142,380 (1%)
Columnist Richard Cohen went to see the new movie Her and came away with a stronger impression of our cultural narcissism. Critics and sociologists and historians have talked about our cultural obsession with ourselves for 50 years. The 70s were the Me generation; great historian Christoper Lasch wrote The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations at the close of that decade.
The awareness of our navel gazing is nothing new but the movie adds a twist; our ability to use technology to serve this purpose. It seems to provide a cure: we can all have our own personal technological male 0r female to serve our desires! Cohen provides several examples that embody this self focus, including selfies, watching only a cable network that provides the information you want to hear (Fox, MSNBC). He also adds that Americans have about 70 million dogs and 74 million cats and, says “…while some of them are for helping — guard dogs, etc. — most offer the service of uncomplicated affection.”
The animal companionship item is an odd example to demonstrate narcissism.In fact, it demonstrates our need to be related to others and the joy we receive from that connection. People with animals know that you spend a fair amount of time fulfilling their basic care needs. Other time is spend playing with them and showing them affection. We have relationships with the animals. We love watching them be themselves, and get an amazing amount of joy out of the things that they do. That’s far from narcissistic and someone who has a pet for their own glorification is providing a great disservice and missing out on so much.