DL: 270x3 OHP: 102.5x5 🏆

Sq: 225x6 BP: 180x3 🏆

Learning to play the piano without a piano 🔗🎶

This is a remarkable story, though disappointingly brief.

OHP: 110x3 🏆

“Chelsea are back in fashion – but Roman Abramovich is out in the cold” 🔗 ⚽️

Speaking of Chelsea FC, here’s a fascinating essay by David Conn on owner Roman Abramovich’s rise to oligarch status, purchase of the club, & influence on the EPL:

It is a stretch now to remember how alien it was to England’s traditional football culture when Chelsea began to splurge on mostly overseas stars, funded by an owner with no previous connection to the club, to capture the game’s highest prizes. In his second season, after hiring José Mourinho and signing for him Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben, Petr Cech – and Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Tiago Mendes, three Portuguese players represented by Jorge Mendes – plus several more stars and the wages to attract them, Chelsea were on their way to acquiring titles and recorded a financial loss of £141m.

Martin Filler on the MOMA’s expansion 🔗 🖼

The mindset that bigger and more are preferable to less but better has incrementally eroded the average person’s ability to experience the world’s greatest collection of modern art under pleasant conditions that previous generations took for granted.

A truth that applies to many areas of our lives in contemporary America.

You could summarize Filler’s comprehensive review in a single word: arrogance.

The Poverty of Economics & The Wealth of Religions: an essay on the limits of the economic analysis of religion. Unsurprisingly, when you struggle to define the object of your analysis, the analysis isn’t particularly illuminating. 🔗

I’ve never like Chelsea FC—I’ve actively disliked them, in fact. But now, with Pulisic playing—playing well—and with the funny, sharp Frank Lampard managing, I’m happier to see them succeeding. And I’m certainly glad to cheer for them when they’re playing Manchester City. ⚽️

“Miguel Ibarra’s My Friend” ⚽️ 🔗

He played his heart out on the pitch and quite fittingly wore his heart on his sleeve. He would often tweet inspirational quotes when it was obvious that he was struggling with not getting playing time or not playing as well as he wanted. He was a player that every fan wanted to succeed, because he made you feel like your support mattered.

A truly moving tribute to Batman, written by my friend Wes Burdine.

Nothing too surprising in MNUFC’s contract-deadline-day decisions… other than the club unceremoniously cutting loose Miguel Ibarra, one of our best & longest-tenured players. At the very least, letting him go for nothing seems like bad business. ⚽️

Money & Government: Against Economics 🔗

From a long, but very readable review by David Graeber of Robert Skidelsky’s new book, Money & Goverment: The Past & Future of Economics:

Economic theory as it exists increasingly resembles a shed full of broken tools. This is not to say there are no useful insights here, but fundamentally the existing discipline is designed to solve another century’s problems. The problem of how to determine the optimal distribution of work and resources to create high levels of economic growth is simply not the same problem we are now facing: i.e., how to deal with increasing technological productivity, decreasing real demand for labor, and the effective management of care work, without also destroying the Earth. This demands a different science. The “microfoundations” of current economics are precisely what is standing in the way of this. Any new, viable science will either have to draw on the accumulated knowledge of feminism, behavioral economics, psychology, and even anthropology to come up with theories based on how people actually behave, or once again embrace the notion of emergent levels of complexity—or, most likely, both.

Andrew Delblanco on Rethinking the Puritans 🔗

From a review essay in The Nation entitled (brilliantly) “Vexed and Trouble Englishmen”:

Rodgers’s book is not only a close reading of the reception and history of Winthrop’s speech but also a rescue operation for Puritanism itself. Rather than instigating the pernicious idea of the United States as God’s most favored nation, the Puritans, he argues, were unsure of their worthiness and subjected themselves to “the moral scrutiny of the world.”

Wendell Berry’s essay “The Pleasures of Eating”—beautifully illustrated and with a new introduction by Alice Water—has just been republished by Emergence Magazine.

Two Views On Art and Politics 🔗

Will Arbery:

It basically boils down to a dissatisfaction with the ending, on both sides. People want a clear thesis, or they want to know what my diagnosis is. On both sides, you hear, like, Clearly, he’s still confused and doesn’t know where he falls.

That for me is sad, because I don’t think that what they’re talking about is art. I think they’re talking about something else that I’m not interested in making.

But I understand the temptation, on both sides. The play is dealing with things that are very timely, and there’s a lot of debate, and so you want to be able to know who wins the debate.

I’m much more interested in what debate does to a person’s body, how it changes the air. How it turns fugues into these aggressive ways of thinking, and makes Teresa unrecognizable to her mentor. I’m so much more interested in all of those elements, rather than just giving people some answers.

Lin-Manuel Miranda:

At the end of the day, our job as artists is to tell the truth as we see it. If telling the truth is an inherently political act, so be it. Times may change and politics may change, but if we do our best to tell the truth as specifically as possible, time will reveal those truths and reverberate beyond the era in which we created them. We keep revisiting Shakespeare’s Macbeth because ruthless political ambition does not belong to any particular era. We keep listening to Public Enemy because systemic racism continues to rain tragedy on communities of color. We read Orwell’s 1984 and shiver at its diagnosis of doublethink, which we see coming out of the White House at this moment. And we listen to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, as Lieutenant Cable sings about racism, “You’ve got to be carefully taught.” It’s all art. It’s all political.


Spent the morning at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead. It’s a history museum centered (literally) around a large ship, the Hjemkomst, built by a Moorhead man and sailed to Norway. It’s a remarkable place; we all loved the story and were fascinated by the massive boat. 🇳🇴

I was in Fargo for a couple days for my mom’s birthday. While there, I enjoyed an all-too-rare gift: an hour of free time to play jazz with my dad.

Our set list:

  • Midnight Mood
  • Little Waltz
  • Stolen Moments
  • Lucky Southern
  • Autumn in New York


Ethan Iverson's ECM Artist's Choice Playlist 🎶

I’ve been exploring the ECM Artist’s Choice playlist curated by pianist Ethan Iverson (available on Apple Music & Tidal).

It was cool enough to have these ECM tracks hand-picked by him. But then I discovered that he has also annotated each selection. Iverson’s notes illuminate the music—but they also provide a window into the listening biography and musical development of a great jazz pianists.

Silence & Music: two of my favorite things. Also the name of a beautiful album by the Gabrieli Consort. 🎶

Daylight savings time: my semi-annual reminder that the government delights in tormenting parents.

I voted today after work. The poll workers seemed genuinely surprised when I walked in—I bet fewer than a dozen ballots were cast at my precinct today.

In defense of my neighbors, the only item on the ballot was the school board; 3 candidates were running for 3 open seats.

Lots of news regarding my beloved MN United today ⚽️:

Early morning nature hike. 📷🍁

MInnesota United ⚽️ declined contract options on five players today:

  • Carter Manley
  • Collin Martin
  • Wilfried Moimbé-Tahrat
  • Ally Hamis Ng’anzi
  • Rasmus Schuller

I’m not too surprised, though I am excited to see who they bring in. It’s going to be a long offseason…

The Trees of Windsor Green 📷🍁

MN United FC: Season Recap and Roster Notes ⚽️

Last night’s heart-breaking loss to LA Galaxy brought an end to a pretty exciting, encouraging season. The front office made some great moves (Gregus, Metanire, Alonso, Opara), and one or two not-so-great moves; they built for the future with an exciting young DP signing in Uruguayan Thomas Chacon and a killer draft—regulars Hassani Dotson and Chase Gasper along with goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. Overall, they showed some evidence of direction, progress, a plan. They just didn’t show much evidence of being able to redirect when our offense fizzled to pretty much nothing for our last half-dozen matches.

Here are my thoughts on the roster: who’s in for next season, who should be leaving, and who they’re going to keep but try to improve upon.

The Core: Veterans

These are the players that should be starting matches—and winning them for us.

  • Alonso and Opara: goes without saying. They were rock-solid. It brings me joy seeing those two out on the pitch. They’re leaders, hard workers, inspiring. I know Opara has some years left in him; I just hope Alonso has another season because I don’t think Dotson’s ready to fill those shoes quite yet.
  • Gregus: I think he’ll continue to improve, especially offensively. Gregus seems easy to under-rate, because he’s not flashy, and he’s not as intense as his counterpart Alonso. But he was one of our best, most consistent players all season.
  • Metanire: he experienced some regression to the mean this season; his final matches didn’t quite live up to the expectations he set early on. But he was still frequently excellent, constantly exciting, and clearly a quality defender with some good years left. I’d love to have him back next season.
  • Boxall: it’s amazing what playing next to Ike Opara rather than Fransisco Calvo did for Boxy. He’s really solid, and is one of our few threats on set pieces offensively, particularly corners.
  • Strikers? Wingers? Yeah, see the Shopping List below.

The Core: Youngsters

  • Hassani Dotson: I’ve been high on this guy from the beginning—ask my brother. The eccentric writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb has a theory that, if you’re choosing a surgeon, go with the guy who has his MD from Long Island State, not Harvard, and looks like he’s the janitor, not a Deloitte consultant. Why? Because he’s had to deal with a lot more adversity to get to the same spot in his career. Applied this principle to Dotson: you don’t draft a guy from Oregon State unless he’s got something special. And it quickly became clear that Dotson does. I think he’ll be great for us for a long time to come, and hopefully can be Alonso’s replacement once Ozzie retires.
  • Chase Gasper: the front office was eager to pick him up, though I doubt they expected him to play as much as he did this year. He was excellent, and gained in confidence as the season went on. He was one of our best players in last night’s loss to the Galaxy, repeated breezing past Geancarlo González, stopping Argentine international Christian Pavón in his tracks, and with his backline colleagues stymying Zlatan all night long. I was pretty excited to see him early in the season, and his upside seems much higher now. He deserves a spot on the US U-23s alongside Toye and Dotson.
  • Mason Toye: Toye could be a great striker. I’m hoping he breaks through next season, because we sure need a great striker. This season it was clear he’s full of talent and confidence. Consistency and experience will come, and I’m excited to see it happen.
  • Thomas Chacon: can’t wait till he can start providing some spark moving forward. I was at the Pachuca match that he started, and he was exciting! I’m excited to see more of him.
  • Wyatt Omsberg: hopefully, he’ll be our Opara of the future.

Who’s Out

  • Darwin Quintero: he didn’t come through often enough in the regular season to justify his role as our attacking cornerstone. Frankly, I understand why Heath didn’t start him. On the whole, this season was a let-down from Quintero.
  • Miguel Ibarra: sadly, I think he’s likely to leave. Few players are nearer and dearer to long-time fans than Ibarra. But frankly, I think he deserves to be playing somewhere, not sitting on the bench—and I hope he finds that place.
  • Abu Danladi: each time he comes on the field, I want desperately for Abu to succeed—while also wishing we had a better option. He’s had his chance, and now we need to upgrade.
  • Lawrence Olum: we needed him this season, and he was solid when called upon. But I hope Dotson or Martin can start taking the minutes we needed Olum for throughout the season.
  • Carter Manley: just doesn’t seem like he’s going to get there.
  • Moimbe, Ng’anzi, and Romario Ibarra: I don’t think anyone will miss or remember these three if they all leave.
  • Bobby Shuttleworth: another guy who deserves to be playing regularly somewhere, just not here.
  • Brent Kallmann? After his screw-up, I’m sure he’s not sure what his future is. It’s sad—along with Miguel, he’s the Loon I’ve been watching the longest, and he’s gotten better each season. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the team cut him loose after this.
  • Rasmus Schuller: he’s given us a few solid seasons, but I’m not sure he’s needed on this roster when we have Gregus & Alonso. Perhaps he’ll still around as a backup; I’d be fine with that.

Shopping List

  • DP striker: someone who can score goals consistently.
  • DP #10: someone who can receive the ball from Gregus & Alonso and make something happen.
  • Some improvement on the wings: another solid winger or two, or a rejuvenated Miguel.
  • Backups for Gasper and Metanire.

Who’s back (but needs to improve or be improved upon)

  • Collin Martin: every time I see him play, I think he’s nearly there—but I’ve been thinking that for a couple seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team didn’t pick him up for next season, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he has a great offseason and becomes a regular contributor next year. Hoping for the latter.
  • Robin Lod: his work rate is excellent, but the production isn’t there. I think he’s a slight improvement over Miguel, but I haven’t been too impressed, especially considering his salary.
  • Angelo Rodriguez: he seems like a great dude. I want him to succeed. But he just can’t get it done. We need a DP striker who can finish.
  • Ethan Finley: he misses too many passes and makes too many mistakes to be a starter. But he’s a super-sub, and I think he’s best when coming in off the bench in the 60th minute, running weary defenders into the ground.
  • Kevin Molino: Heath’s high on Molino, but I honestly can’t make up my mind about him. He seems excellent at times, and disappointing at others. For most of the season, our most exciting offense came through him—but he’s prone to disappearing.