Fishing for stories

first_img ‘A very, very dangerous moment in our country’s history’ Seeing the forest for the trees Author Daniel Ziblatt analyzes the worldwide movement toward autocracy and concludes American democracy is safe — for now I got there and I was so naive. Whatever my heritage, I was still basically a suburban Massachusetts kid. I got there and my uncle said, “You can’t go out there! The guerrillas just hit the police station out there.” It was like full-scale war there. This was in 1979, during the civil war. That was the most violent year in the history of Guatemala City, though the subsequent three or four years would become the most violent in the country.It was nightmarish and I was there living in my uncle’s house trying to write these stories that were essentially New York City love stories. I thought, What is going on here? But you couldn’t get any information; the local media couldn’t report anything, so it was like living in a fog.Then I got very lucky because I got into various M.F.A. programs and Esquire magazine bought two of my stories I had sent them. After these stories were published, Esquire offered me the chance to do a nonfiction piece. So, at this point I was choosing between doing this one piece that pays $1,000 — which to me was a lot of money, ha — versus a full scholarship to get my M.F.A. I took the Esquire piece because I wanted to go back to Guatemala and write a piece about what was going on there. And that’s how it started.GAZETTE: Your newest novel, which you are working on at the Radcliffe Institute, is set in New Bedford. Why there?GOLDMAN: Well, first, it really just hit a chord — New England held so many literary resonances for me. “Moby Dick” is probably my favorite novel; Hawthorne in the Customs House in Salem, and the Lovecraft coast [author H.P. Lovecraft set many horror stories in fictional Massachusetts coastal towns]. So when I found out that it had also become the center of a Guatemalan and Maya immigrant community — many of whom essentially migrated here in the ’80s during the war — that just spoke to me so deeply. I just had to get to know it.GAZETTE: What were some of your impressions?GOLDMAN: On visiting New Bedford, I had this feeling of almost being in kind of a New England border town. Some of the elements that you associate with a Texas border town you’ll find in New Bedford, that sense of a place where people are crossing over to the U.S., goods but contraband, too, people from all over, a sense of danger, too. The fish-processing plans are something like maquiladoras [factories in Mexico run by foreign countries]. And of course, the omnipresent menace that is ICE. It’s like a New England border town.,GAZETTE: Why is that?GOLDMAN: Its history as the site of layers and layers of immigration. Classically, in the past, fishermen’s migrations — Irish, Scandinavian, and Italian; Portuguese is the big 20th-century one; then, communities related to the Portuguese in certain ways have come — Brazilians, Cape Verdeans, Dominicans, and Puerto Ricans. And now, there is this Central American migration, especially from indigenous Guatemala, many among them who had never even seen the ocean when they were in Guatemala.GAZETTE: What can you tell us about this new novel? What’s it about?GOLDMAN: I don’t know yet. I have some ideas, but prefer to keep them to myself at this point. Though I’ve been dropping in on New Bedford for years, I’ve just started to research it for a novel. I’m just sort of watching different images and ideas float around in my head as I research. What I do know is that I’m tired of working in the first-person voice, having done that now for three straight books. I really want something much more polyphonic now. I do know a few characters are going to carry over from the novel I’ve just finished, which does in fact end in New Bedford.GAZETTE: How does research influence your story?GOLDMAN: The research sends you down surprising trails. You find incredible stories, but you have to be very careful you don’t go down too many. Right now, the more I learn about the history of New Bedford — like old Quaker shipping families, their involvement with the Underground Railroad, the role that Quaker ship captains played in helping slaves escape — I feel so tempted to try to figure out how I can do something with that, though I vowed not to write a historical novel. But the past so resonates with the present, the sanctuary movement, and so on.The novel I’m finishing now [“Monkey Boy”] was 800 pages long when I got here in September. Right now, it’s about 310, so you write a lot of stuff and use a lot of research that you end up throwing out. Believe it or not, that’s one of the fun parts.GAZETTE: What other trail has your research set you on for the New Bedford novel?GOLDMAN: I’ve been fascinated by the commercial fishing industry, the fishing fleet, and especially the fish processing houses where so many of the Guatemalans are employed. When Guatemalans come to the U.S., they mostly follow their communities. You could lay a map of Guatemala over the states, especially over New England, and it’d be a really funny version of Guatemala, because it’d be all the same towns but they’d all be in different locations. The New Bedford Guatemalan community, for example, mainly comes from a group of neighboring towns in El Quiché, which was the department hardest hit during the Guatemalan military’s scorched-earth campaigns during the war. In 1981 the town of Zacualpa had a population of 18,000 but by 1983 only two families were living there — the rest had either been killed or fled. In a New Bedford fish processing plant, I saw a trophy case in the lobby, they’d just won the fish processing league’s soccer tournament, or whatever, and I saw that their team was called Zacualpa United. There’s a lot of trauma in New Bedford’s Guatemalan community, of course, but also a lot of determination and resilience and organizing and resistance. I’ve even found a couple of young Guatemalans who are now working on fishing boats, and in New Bedford that is the iconic workingman’s profession. The fishing fleet has a special stature there, and you think of the generations and generations of boys who’ve gone to sea, from one immigrant group after another, and now, well, that there are Mayas and other Central Americans getting a toehold there, that just seems so a piece with New Bedford’s history.This interview was edited for length and clarity. National Book Award winner Richard Powers discusses how writing his latest novel affected his view of humans and nature Related In 2005, author and journalist Francisco Goldman had the idea to write a novel set in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a place he sees as a quintessential immigrant city, with its influx of Central American migrants. Then, in 2007, tragedy struck.Goldman’s wife, the writer Aura Estrada, died in a body-surfing accident while the pair were vacationing in Mexico. The loss sent Goldman’s writing on an unforeseen autobiographical path as he dealt with his grief. Now, 12 years later and after having released his highly praised novel based on her death — “Say Her Name” — Goldman is returning to his idea of a New Bedford novel as a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where has also been finishing his forthcoming book, “Monkey Boy.”Goldman’s stories often revolve around Central America, whether they’re fiction, nonfiction, or articles for magazines like Esquire, Harper’s, or The New Yorker. He spent much of the 1980s covering the region’s many wars and more recently has written about the abuse and corruption that led to a fire in Guatemala that killed 40 teenage girls and a series on the 2014 kidnapping of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico.The Gazette spoke with Goldman in advance of an event on Tuesday where he will talk about the new novel and New Bedford. Goldman — the author of four novels, two nonfiction books, and numerous articles — reflected on his current research and what pulls him to Central America and New Bedford.Q&AFrancisco GoldmanGAZETTE: A lot of your work as an author and journalist focuses on Central America, its people, and its migrants. Why is it that you are drawn there?GOLDMAN: It’s my family place. It’s not just that my mother is from Guatemala — I spent a lot of my early childhood there. I guess I would have grown up there if I hadn’t gotten sick. [Goldman had tuberculosis as a child.] That’s why we came back to here. I needed to be able to go to the hospital in Boston and we stayed. But there was always a sense of Guatemala being the place where I felt I was from. My mother really inculcated that in us.GAZETTE: How did you start covering Central America?GOLDMAN: After leaving the University of Michigan, I came to New York and was working as a waiter while trying to write. But it’s very hard to make time to write when you’re a young person in New York, having to work restaurant jobs like five days a week — more, even. Finally, I thought that I should apply to an M.F.A. program. Then, to make the time to write, I decided to go down to my uncle’s house in Guatemala — actually to a family cottage on a small lake outside the city. I’d thought I’d hole up there and write. “I got [to Guatemala] and my uncle said, ‘You can’t go out there! The guerrillas just hit the police station out there.’ It was like full-scale war there.” — Francisco Goldmanlast_img read more

Read More →

Albert Pujols excited for first visit to St. Louis with the Angels

first_imgHe’s also tried not to think of how he’ll feel when he actually steps into the batter’s box for the first time, with longtime teammate Yadier Molina behind the plate.“I don’t know and I don’t want to know because if you start thinking about it and it doesn’t go that way you might be a little disappointed,” Pujols said. “But I’m pretty sure it’ll be emotional. And then having Yadi behind the plate, he’s like my little brother and we had success together.”Over 11 years with the Cardinals, Pujols hit .328 with a 1.037 OPS, averaging 40 homers a season. The Cardinals also won the World Series in 2006 and 2011 with Pujols, the latter coming in the final season before he signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels.The Angels and Cardinals then met in interleague play in 2013 and 2016, but both times the series was in Anaheim.Although it was widely assumed that the schedule would bring the Angels to St. Louis in 2019, Pujols said he was excited when it became official last year. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Pujols said he got “a lot of texts” from friends and family, many of whom will be using the $35,000 worth of tickets that he said he bought for this weekend.“The best fans in baseball, no doubt,” Pujols said of the St. Louis fans. “A great atmosphere. They know the game. From young boys to 80-year-old people, they are always into the game. I think the best thing about it is players like Ken Griffey Jr. had milestones there and they were getting a standing ovation by our fans. They know baseball. They love the game. They love their team. Whether they are winning or losing, it’s going to be a packed house. It was a great atmosphere every time I took the field for 11 years and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be that way this weekend too.”Despite the hoopla, Pujols said he plans to keep his focus on winning the games, because he wants to try to have some of the success with the Angels that he had in St. Louis.“We’ve missed the playoffs seven out of my eight years here and hopefully we can get a good roll here and have the best player in the game play in a big spot, which is the playoffs and the World Series. And that’s (Mike Trout). Hopefully, the fans can get to do that this year.”ALSOThe Angels traded outfielder Cesar Puello to the Miami Marlins for cash considerations. Puello had been designated for assignment to make room for Justin Upton when he was activated on Monday. …Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who is rehabbing from an ankle sprain, was set for a second rehab game at rookie-level Orem (Utah) on Wednesday, after which the Angels will decide whether he needs more time or can be activated. …Trevor Cahill was sent to Salt Lake City to throw about 75 pitches in a Triple-A game on Friday night. Cahill, who is out with an elbow issue, is expected to be ready after one game, Manager Brad Ausmus said. It’s unclear in what role the Angels would use Cahill after he returns, or who he would replace on the roster. …Related Articles Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros JC Ramírez felt good after his rehab outing on Tuesday night with Salt Lake, Ausmus said. Ramírez, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is expected to use just about all 30 days of his rehab assignment, which means he would rejoin the Angels around June 29. The Angels haven’t yet decided on a role for Ramírez because “we don’t know what will happen between now and then,” Ausmus said. …Keynan Middleton, who is also rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has not started facing hitters, and Ausmus said he’s not sure when that will happen. …Matt Harvey, who is out with a back injury, has resumed baseball activity, but there’s no timeline for his return, Ausmus said. …Justin Bour, Tommy La Stella and Kevan Smith did the EdgeWalk at the top of the CN Tower. Supported by a safety rail, visitors can walk around the outside of the observation deck 116 stories above the ground. “There were a couple times when I wasn’t sure all the members participating were going to go through with it, but we all did and I’m glad we did,” Bour said.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Jose Suarez, 2-1, 4.50) at Blue Jays (LHP Clayton Richard, 0-3, 7.52), Thursday, 4:07 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM TORONTO — Albert Pujols is days away from a moment he’s been anticipating for years.The Angels will open a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday, offering Pujols the first chance to play in front of the fans who cheered him for the first 11 years of a career that will send him to the Hall of Fame.“I think it’s going to be emotional,” Pujols said Wednesday. “I don’t get too emotional, but for myself, it will be like that. When I got to St. Louis I was 21 and when I left I was 32. I got there as a baby and left as a man. You can’t ignore the success I had there, individually and team accomplishments, winning championships. It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited.”It’s unclear exactly how the Cardinals will honor Pujols throughout the weekend series. So far all he knows is that he’s having a press conference on Friday afternoon, but he’s unsure about what sort of on-field ceremonies or presentations there might be.center_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Read More →

Irfan Peljto Referee of Final of the U19 European Championship: This is a Historic Moment for BiH

first_imgFor Irfan Peljto, his first reaction was shock and then a strong sense of pride on discovering he had been selected to referee Saturday’s Under-19 EURO final between Portugal and Spain.“I was stunned,” the Bosnian match official says. “It didn’t sink in for a few seconds, but when my colleagues started clapping and I saw my name on the screen, it was fantastic. A referee from Bosnia and Herzegovina has never had this opportunity, so it’s historic for my country and for my football federation. We’re a football nation and for everyone from a small country when you do it for your country, it is huge.”It is an honour and challenge that the Sarajevo-based lawyer is delighted to take on, having already refereed the Czech Republic v France and Spain v Italy group fixtures. He will do so with the same assistant referees as in those games – Romania’s Valentin Avram and Slovenia’s Grega Kordež – as well as fourth official Filip Glova from Slovakia. “They are very professional. They listen to what the referee wants from them. I believe in them 100%.”But will there be any nerves given the size of the occasion? “I always feel a little pressure, but a positive pressure,” continues Peljto in an interview for UEFA, an international referee since 2015. “We have a very important job to do on the pitch and a lot of people are expecting us to do our job perfectly, so in every game there are some positive nerves, but immediately when we blow the whistle it disappears.”During his time in Armenia, the 35-year-old has also blown out the candles on his birthday cake – a reminder of his wife and son at home, and the family life that helped form him as a referee. After all, his father Mesud is a former FIFA assistant referee. “I was born like a referee because my father was a referee,” he smiles, and that background meant he knew all about the role’s ups and downs before starting on his own path.It was at the age of 18 that he turned to refereeing, having stopping playing football after realising he would not reach a professional level as a player. “My father never forced me to be a referee, but one day I went home and I was putting on weight as I wasn’t doing any exercise and I said to him, ‘Can I be a referee?’ And he said, ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yes, 100%.’“He said, ‘Take your running shoes and come with me,’ and he drove me to a running track and told me to run seven laps in 12 minutes. He said, ‘If you can do that, I can help. I can give you tips and support but I can’t run for you.’ I passed the test and started with refereeing. Throughout my whole career, he’s been the toughest observer because he always finds something to improve on, but overall he is very happy!”And increasingly so, given his son’s progress. In April, Peljto refereed the UEFA Youth League semi-final between Hoffenheim and Porto in Nyon. Last October, he had his first taste of a UEFA Europa League group stage fixture when refereeing Salzburg v Rosenberg in Austria. “It was fantastic – a big stadium with a lot of people. It was a new experience and I’ll never forget it.”last_img read more

Read More →

World Handicap System on track for 2020 launch

first_img2 May 2019 World Handicap System on track for 2020 launch Golf’s new World Handicap System (WHS) remains on track for implementation starting in 2020, according to The R&A.The system is designed to bring the game of golf under a single set of Rules for handicapping and provide a more consistent measure of players’ ability between different regions of the world,Education has begun with events being held in Singapore, South Africa, Great Britain and Ireland, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Continental Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and the USA.A secure resource portal, accessible via whs.com, has also been launched to provide national associations with a library of materials that they can use to help support their own education efforts.Coinciding with this release, The R&A and the USGA are launching a social media video campaign to remind golfers of the eight key features of the new Rules of Handicapping and to reveal more details.  These features include:Minimum number of scores to establish a Handicap Index and maximum Handicap Index of 54.0Basis of calculation of Handicap IndexAcceptability of scores for handicap purposesCourse Rating and Slope RatingCalculation of a Playing HandicapMaximum hole score for handicap purposesAdjustments for abnormal playing conditionsFrequency of updating a Handicap IndexSignificant progress has been made in preparation for the rollout of the new system, which includes building a library of education materials, finalising the new Rules of Handicapping, release of the technical specifications and the continuation of testing. Many national associations around the world are busy ensuring that their golf courses are rated in accordance with the Course Rating System and working to update local software platforms so that they are ready to apply the new Rules of Handicapping.While many countries will be ready to transition to the WHS early in 2020, given both the magnitude of the change for some jurisdictions and varying seasonality throughout the world, it is anticipated that some will need more time.Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “There are many ways in which it is important for golf to modernise and become more appealing for people thinking of taking up the sport and handicapping is clearly one of them. The World Handicap System is a major new initiative for the sport which will establish a clearer and more consistent handicapping process for golfers throughout the world.“We are working closely with national associations, as we do across all our core activities, to ensure they are fully prepared for the introduction of the new system as soon as possible after it becomes available for implementation.”“The World Handicap System is the latest example of our work to make the game more welcoming,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “Golfers throughout the world will be able to play equitably, measure their success and more fully enjoy and engage with the game. After working with national associations across the world on Course Rating throughout the past 30 years and now the World Handicap System, this monumental collaborative effort will benefit everyone in golf.”Since its conception, the development of the WHS has focused on three key goals: to encourage as many golfers as possible to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index; to enable golfers of differing abilities, genders and nationalities to transport their Handicap Index to any course around the world and compete on a fair basis; and to indicate with sufficient accuracy the score a golfer is reasonably capable of achieving on any course around the world, playing under normal conditions.The system has been devised following extensive consultation with the six existing handicapping authorities: Golf Australia, the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU) in Great Britain and Ireland, the European Golf Association (EGA), the South African Golf Association (SAGA), the Argentine Golf Association (AAG) and the USGA. The Japan Golf Association and Golf Canada have also been closely involved in developing the new system.Widespread support for the WHS was expressed in an international survey of 52,000 golfers with 76% in favour of the new system and a further 22% saying they were willing to consider its benefits. Focus groups were also held in different regions of the world to elicit detailed feedback on the features of the new system, which have contributed to the finalised Rules of Handicapping. Tags: Rules, World Handicap Systemlast_img read more

Read More →

Geoff Parks Selected to Lead Reeves Middle School

first_imgSubmitted by Olympia School DistrictGeoff Parks will be the interim principal at Reeves Middle School.Olympia High School Assistant Principal Geoff Parks has been selected to lead Reeves Middle School for the 2014-15 school year. The position became open when Reeves principal Aaron Davis was selected as the Olympia School District’s new Human Resources Director. Parks will serve as an interim principal for the 2014-15 school year. The district will make a permanent appointment to the position toward the end of that school year.Parks is a Washington native raised in the Willapa Valley area of Pacific County. For five years he taught a variety of subjects at Willapa Valley High School. In 2004, the Vail Unified School District in Arizona recruited Parks as a teacher at Cienega High School in Tucson, where he taught science for three years. He later served as a Student Achievement teacher and Assistant Principal/Freshman Academy Principal at Cienega High until 2013, when he accepted the job as Assistant Principal at Olympia High School. Parks has also served as a coach at both Willapa Valley High and Cienega High schools.“I am honored and privileged for the opportunity to be a part of the Reeves community,” said Parks. “While it is very difficult to leave the amazing staff and students of Olympia High School, I am ecstatic to join the incredible staff, students, and families of Reeves Middle School. I am really looking forward to immersing myself in the culture and collaborating with staff, students, and families to continue to provide a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere to help each student meet their fullest potential. Reeves Middle School has established a tradition of excellence and I will bring a willing heart and a positive attitude to carry on this growth for all learners.”Parks holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Washington University. He earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and his Principal’s Credentials from Northern Arizona University.“Geoff Parks will be an outstanding leader for Reeves Middle School students, families and staff,” shared former RMS Principal, Aaron Davis.“He is highly respected by parents and staff members for his strong interpersonal skills, organization, and enthusiasm. I believe Geoff is an excellent match for Reeves Middle School. He will be a valuable asset to the school and community.”Reeves Middle School, located on Olympia’s east side, serves about 400 students.  Students from Reeves generally attend Olympia High School. Facebook130Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

Read More →