Month: November 2014

November 13, 2014
DMA Volunteers Repair the Town’s Christmas Wreaths

The Darien Men’s Association (DMA) gathered once again  at 9 a.m. on a cold November morning to help the Darien Chamber of Commerce take the wreaths out of storage and check all the lights. They replaced over 190 lights on our town wreaths. Now the wreaths are ready to be put up on the town lamp posts to decorate our town for the Holidays. The trees on Tokeneke Road will also be lit with lights to decorate the road. The Darien Chamber of Commerce raises the annual cost to pay for the wreaths and lights in town to be placed and removed through contributions from our town merchants and residents.

Wreath MaintenanceB

From Left to Right —Lou DeAngelis,, Taylor Strubinger, Tom Williams,Tom Taylor, Jack Fitzgibbons, Alex Garnett, Joe Spain, Bob Smith, Buck Margold , Tom Brayton, , Tony Kwedar

Coffee was available

Coffee and doughnuts were available for the volunteers

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Some cleanup needed to be performed by Jack our leader and coordinator.

We replaced about 190 lights

About  190 lights had to be replaced!

Report on the 2014 Silvermine Challenge
by Denny Devere the DMA Team Captain

For those who missed my recap at a recent DMA meeting, the DMA – SMCNC (Senior Men’s Club of New Canaan) Golf Tournament was held at the Silvermine Golf Club on June 18, 2014. This is the third year in a row that this golf tournament between the two men’s organizations has been held. After losing the inaugural match in 2012, DMA has won the last two matches and the Silvermine Challenge trophy by identical 18.5 to 11.5 scores. Our own Terry Brewer won the Long Drive Contest for the second year in a row.

I am particularly grateful to the following players who willingly made themselves available to play on the DMA team:

  • Tom Haack
  • Jim Kelly
  • David Mace
  • Bob Baker
  • Peter Carnes
  • Alex Garnett
  • George Gilliam
  • Austin Schraff
  • Tom Hayne
  • Ron Kahan
  • Mike Brennan
  • Tom Reifenheiser
  • Kevin Monahan
  • Doug Campbell
  • Joe Holmes
  • Terry Brewer
  • Jim Crane
  • Fred Conze
  • Chris Filmer.

DMA has a strong golf team when our best players are able to participate. Last-minute cancellations were kept at a minimum which made my job as Captain much easier.

I am grateful as well to Alex Garnett – our Chief Talent Scout and Recruiter. Kudos to Ben Briggs who made time to travel around the course to cheer on the team.

Harvey Place, my counterpart at SMCNC, and I arranged to have the foursomes sit together which enhanced the interaction and camaraderie between the two groups. This is a spirited yet friendly competition. Hopefully, we can continue to schedule this annual golf tournament between DMA and SMCNC for many more years.

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Silvermine Golf Club

Denny receiving the Winner's Trohy

Denny receiving the Winner’s Trohy

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Speaker – December 17
The DMA’s Christmas Season Cocktail Party will replace the regular meeting and feature a Christmas concert by the Blue Notes singing group

Founded over 60 years ago, the Blue Notes are a philanthropic group of women who volunteer their time and talent for a good cause. Singing music from Big Band to Broadway, the group performs in four-part harmony for senior centers, assisted living venues and for a variety of audiences throughout Southern Fairfield County. Their director, Dr. Craig Scott Symons, is also the director of the First Congregational Church of Greenwich choir.

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Speaker – December 10
Stuart Gibson will present an illustrated talk on the art of the famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Stuart circles the globe to help museums undergo rebirth and save cultural treasures in war-torn lands. Stuart was also a Chief Consultant to the UNESCO/Hermitage project and assisted the museum in its leap into the 21st century.

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Happy Wanderers – November 20, 2014
Explore the NY Highline and the newly opened section

Bill Bellis and Taylor Strubinger are leading the Happy Wanderers to explore the High Line Park in NYC on November 20th. It’s always entertaining, educational and healthy! So get your walkin’ shoes on and join them.

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built on a section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side.

Metro North Train Schedule:

Darien station at 8 58 AM

Noroton Heights at  station 9 02 AM

DMA Newsletters for Program Year 2013-2014

2013-11-12 DMA Newsletter

2014-01-02-DMA-Newsletter

 

Book Club Discussion – January 14, 2015
“A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal” by Ben MacIntyre

clip_image003Master storyteller Ben Macintyre’s most ambitious work to date brings to life the twentieth century’s greatest spy story.

Harold ‘Kim’ Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain ’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War—while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. The two men had gone to the same schools, belonged to the same exclusive clubs, grown close through the crucible of wartime intelligence work and long nights of drink and revelry. It was madness for one to think the other might be a communist spy, bent on subverting Western values and the power of the free world.

But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow —and not just Elliott’s words, for in America , Philby had made another powerful friend: James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton’s and Elliott’s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink almost every important Anglo-American spy operation for twenty years, leading countless operatives to their doom. Even as the web of suspicion closed around him, and Philby was driven to greater lies to protect his cover, his two friends never abandoned him—until it was too late. The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.

Told with heart-pounding suspense and keen psychological insight, and based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, “A Spy Among Friends” is Ben Macintyre’s best book yet, a high-water mark in Cold War history telling.

The Book Discussion will be held on January 14 at 12:30 p.m. in the Darien Library on the 2nd Floor in the Harris Room.

Copies are available at the Darien Library.

Book Club Discussion – December 10, 2014
“Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century” by Christian Caryl

Tom Reifenheiser will lead this book club discussion of “Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century” by Christian Carrel

Review by Isaac Chotiner a senior editor at The New Republic:

If Christian Caryl had set out to write a book about 1968, showing how the many convulsions and uprisings of that astonishing year were connected, his task would have been an easy one. It might be difficult to prove cause and effect between, say, the May events in Paris and the chaos at the Democratic convention in August, but as people might have said at the time, something was in the air. It wasn’t mere coincidence that led to youth revolts all over the world. In the case of 1989, such connections are even more obvious.

Caryl, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a former Newsweek correspondent, is faced with a much harder task in “Strange Rebels,” his engrossing new book of five case studies from 1979. This was the year Deng Xiaoping initiated the reforms that would spur the Chinese economy; the year an anxious Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan after its Communist allies faced resistance from local “freedom fighters”; the year Pope John Paul II made his momentous trip to Poland; the year Margaret Thatcher overturned an etiolated Labour government; and the year Iranian revolutionaries overthrew the shah, Our Man in Tehran.

As Caryl writes, in an effort to link stories that don’t, at first glance, hold together: “It was in 1979 that the twin forces of markets and religion, discounted for so long, came back with a vengeance.” Indeed, the power of both markets and religion registered in places beyond those covered in his main narrative. On the religious front, Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, the Pakistani military dictator who did so much to aid Afghanistan’s rebels, ordered his predecessor to be hanged and sped forward the Islamicization of his country. And as Caryl briefly mentions, the Moral Majority was formed in 1979. The following year saw the election of Thatcher’s ally Ronald Reagan and — compared with what preceded them — the relatively free-­market policies in Indira Gandhi’s India.

The problem for Caryl is that concepts like “religion” and “markets” are much too broad. John Paul II may have helped undermine the Communist regime in Poland, and the young religious Muslims of Afghanistan may have forced complacent observers to realize that faith wasn’t going to disappear from the world. (The upheaval in Iran, where a theocracy replaced an autocrat, makes this point even more forcefully.) But it’s difficult to draw comparisons between the forces motivating the Polish pope’s admiring countrymen and Iran’s student revolutionaries.

As for markets, it’s true that Thatcher preached their virtues, and that Deng took advantage of China’s awesome economic capacities. “The forces unleashed in 1979 marked the beginning of the end of the great socialist utopias that had dominated so much of the 20th century,” Caryl writes. But what does he mean by “socialist utopias”? Presumably he’s being ironic, but either way, it makes little sense to compare postwar Labour governments (which were certainly subject to diminishing returns but which also gave birth to a highly successful welfare state) to the pathological murderousness of Mao’s China. Caryl notes that Thatcher’s “belief in individual responsibility and the primacy of personal freedom had its roots in a spiritual stance rather than an economic theory” — an attempt to link the free-market “fundamentalism” of the prime minster with the religiosity on display in some of the book’s other sections. But the men Caryl terms the “religious thinkers” of the Iranian Revolution would hardly be conceptual allies of Margaret Thatcher.

“Strange Rebels” is a well-written and thorough work of history whose elements don’t really cohere. About one thing, however, Caryl is certainly right: “The political experiments of 1979 continue to define our world.” It has become something of a cliché to remark on the consequences of these various events, especially — post‑9/11 — the decision of the Soviet Union to invade the future haven of Osama bin Laden. But sometimes clichés exist for an appropriate reason. Noting that things didn’t have to play out the way they did and recognizing that contingencies are a large part of history, Caryl concedes that “to study 1979 is also to study the tyranny of chance.” The clearest conclusion of this book is that 1979 happened, by chance, to be a monumental year.

October 30, 2014
Trip to Goodspeed to see Holiday Inn

Fun was had by everyone on the Trip to Goodspeed Opera. First was a good lunch at the Gelston House followed by the Holiday Inn at the Goodspeed Opera House.