"They are like bookends. They will bring you many years of pleasure" said a veterinarian's assistant at Chelsea Animal Clinic years ago in Tiny and Baby's kittenhood, predicting the blessing the Chelsea Grays would be upon us. Above, Tiny (foreground) and Baby await the magic words: "Want your suppers?"
"There is nothing quite like being a teenager outside at night in a forbidden place. Your mere presence is transgressive: an exaltation of adolescence," writes Nick Paumgarten in a totally awesome New Yorker article brought to our attention by the Tuckman himself, who happened to read the thing in a waiting room this afternoon. We would never dream of reading -- let alone subscribing to -- the New Yorker these days unless directed there by someone we trust, having given up the ghost to its all-too-PC editorial stance decades ago, but this one's got our let-freedom-ring juices flowing:
Regardless, midnight rambles can be magical -- giant elms casting strange shadows, the night playing tricks as you prowl the grounds or slip into the woods.The next morning, the head-master and some other administrators asked whether Deerfield could help him in any way. "Interesting you should ask," he replied. "I'm thinking of replicating Deerfield in Jordan. What do you think?"
"'Prep school': the phrase, taking its place next to 'country club' and 'trust fund,' curdles in the egalitarian mind," notes Paumgarten, who launches into an outsider's perception of the prep school as anything but:
New England boarding schools are often considered fortresses of exclusion, perpetuators of stratification and snobbery. In Abdullah's view, however, Deerfield was a diverse place. "It's that atmosphere that he wants to duplicate," Vella said. "Where race, color, and financial status don't matter." That's a funny thing to say about a prep school, but Abdullah felt that Deerfield's secular curriculum; its emphasis on critical thinking, camaraderie, tolerance, and sacrifice; and its commitment to the well-rounded boy (and, later, girl) were key elements in the creation of leaders -- especially those comfortable with the ways of the West, not least its college-admissions offices and its network of business and government grandees. Leaders, and therefore Deerfields, were what he felt his country and region needed.
Jordan, a creation of the British after the First World War, has no natural resources to speak of -- no oil or gas, and very little water. To survive, it must devise other ways of seeming indispensable. Traditionally, as a neighbor or claimant to disputed territories, it has employed diplomatic guile to attract support, and it has long cultivated an educated populace; its greatest asset may be its so-called "intellectual capital," its expatriates -- "the workforce in the Gulf, the doctors, the engineers, the airline pilots," as the King put it. He has made education and technology top priorities, and he intends King's Academy, as his Jordanian Deerfield facsimile came to be called, to be a showcase for both. It is scheduled to open in September, 2007.
"Where race, color, and financial status don't matter." That's where we have always lived, but Dr. Joy Bliss of Maggie's Farm asks most provocatively:
An absolute must read, with lots of important links, including our own "What's wrong with the utopianist left world view." Perhaps projecting our own optimism re the potential within human nature to embrace life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we fantasized the introduction of baseball to Iraq. You remember how the Japanese fell in love with America's national sport in the wake of their WW II defeat. Then, last week, Japan's super-star pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, agreed to come to Boston. How about those Sox?
Update: And how about those animals? Steve's Friday Ark # 117 has 'em all, with and without backbones. The more exclusive Carnival of the Cats at House of Chaos has only felidae. Both are indispensable.