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James W. Huston

Archive for December, 2014

Admiral Chester Nimitz and Benny Goodman

Written by: James W. Huston Published: December 29, 2014

What in the world do Chester Nimitz and Benny Goodman have in common? ¬†Nothing, as far as I know. ¬†But I’m currently reading the biography of Nimitz by E. B. Potter. ¬†Very well written and very well done. But he recounts how Nimitz got his start in the Navy. ¬†Nimitz grew up in Texas, and one day encountered two young men from West Point who looked sharp and seemed to be on their way to great adventures. ¬†He though he should go to West Point and join the army as a career rather than work in his grandfather’s hotel as a janitor all his life. ¬†He contacted his congressman who told him there was absolutely no chance of an appointment to West Point–there were too many forts in his district, and all the Army officers wanted their sons to go to West Point. ¬†Nimitz was very disappointed. ¬†Then the congressman said, “Well, I do have this appointment to the Naval Academy you could consider . . . ” ¬†Nimitz went to Annapolis and became one of the greatest admirals in American history. ¬†What if he had gone to West Point? ¬†Would he have been one of the greatest generals in American history?

And so it was with Benny Goodman. He grew up in Chicago, and one day his father decided to enroll him and two of his brothers in music lessons.  He was the eighth of twelve children.  He and his two brothers went to a local synagogue and music teacher, and the biggest brother, of course the first through the door and being the biggest and oldest, got a tuba.  The second got a trumpet, and the smallest and youngest, Benny, got a clarinet.  As Benny wondered later in life, what if he had been twenty pounds heavier and two inches taller?  Would he have been the greatest tuba player ever, leading a band with a tuba?  Or the greatest trumpet player if he had been second through the door?  Same skills, different instrument?


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Neo-Nazi Threat in Germany

Written by: James W. Huston Published: December 26, 2014

It is easy to believe the Nazi/neo-Nazi threat died with Hitler. ¬†Unfortunately that’s not the case. ¬†This latest demonstration in Dresden of more than 17,000 called itself anti-Islamic, or anti-immigration. ¬†Read about the increasing Nazi presence in Germany here. ¬†It¬†has been building for some time, and soon may get the worldwide attention, and resistance, it needs. ¬†My next book will deal with this troubling development around the world, particularly in Germany and the United States.


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Marilynne Robinson (3)

Written by: James W. Huston Published: December 24, 2014

For Book lovers. ¬†People who don’t love books won’t appreciate it! ¬†From Robinson’s book When I was a Child, I Read Books:

Over the years I have collected so may books that, in the aggregate, they can fairly be called a library. ¬†I don’t know what percentage of them I have read. ¬†Increasingly I wonder how many of them I ever will read. ¬†This has done nothing to dampen my pleasure in acquiring more books. ¬†But it has caused me to ponder the meaning they have for me, and the fact that to me they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life.”


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Marilynne Robinson (2)

Written by: James W. Huston Published: December 22, 2014

In my previous post on Marilynne Robinson I mentioned that when reading  Absence of Mind I read it with a dictionary because I encountered so many words with which I was unfamiliar.  I thought I’d share some of those words so you could see what I was talking about!




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Marilynne Robinson

Written by: James W. Huston Published: December 21, 2014

Marilynne Robinson.¬† Where do I begin.¬† I suppose when I first asked, ‚ÄúWho?‚ÄĚ when I read a review of Marilynne Robinson‚Äôs Death of Adam in National Review.¬† I‚Äôd never heard of her, and there she was being hailed as one of the great minds of America, with a particularly acute, logical and . . . shockingly . . . Christian perspective.¬† Well I knew all that wasn‚Äôt possible, so I ordered the small hardcover book to prove it to myself.

Little did I know that the praise she received in the review was, if anything, an understatement.¬† I was floored by her insight, her analysis, and, frankly, her wisdom.¬† And her willingness to call things as she saw them, wherever the logic led. Who else in America can get away with a discussion of evolution by calling the concept of ‚Äúsurvival of the fittest‚ÄĚ a tautology?¬† If those who have survived are determined to be the fittest by the fact that they survived, then that is simply a tautology.¬† Survival of the survivors, it should be, which tells us nothing.¬† Just so. ¬†But who has the nerve to say that in today‚Äôs world, and who but her can get away with it without being ridiculed by the evolution establishment which brooks no dissent?


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