Worth Some Thought

Worth a serious look…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

Yesterday I continued my garage reorganization project, as I went through the papers from my father’s estate, that, are now over ¼ century old. Yes I am a stuffer. I’d compulsively saved the papers for far longer than was necessary.

His was a life. It was a life filled with obstacles, and joy, and a difficult old age. There’s really nothing left but his papers gradually entering big incinerators.

When we die, what is left on earth is some evidence we existed, but very little else. Ancestry.com when taking it head on is an indication we all die someday. It might be a lot of fun to explore, but that’s what it says.

When I turned 40, I began to study the life of the most remarkable human being who ever walked the face of the earth. He covered the key subjects. He told us in a parable of the…

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Who are these San Francisco Giants?

So did these San Francisco Giants come from nowhere this year? No one on earth expected them to have the best record in baseball as of today.

Farhan Zaidi, their general manager, is a highly intelligent man in his mid-40s. He has a bachelor of science degree from MIT as well as a PhD in economics from Berkeley. He has had a meteoric rise in baseball management from the Oakland Athletics to the Los Angeles Dodgers to the San Francisco Giants. Farhan kept this team of veterans in their thirties intact instead of making major changes in the team’s lineup.

He brought in their best pitcher, Kevin Gaussman, for a song. Kevin is a 30 year old LSU graduate who has played for a number of ball clubs. His career earned run average is 4.04, not particularly impressive. He is now in the running for the Cy Young award and is clearly the Giants most dominating pitcher.

Mr. Zaidi is of Muslim-Pakistani heritage and has lived in Canada where he was born as well as in Manila where he grew up. His manager for the squad is Gabe Kapler, a Jewish, former player and a man in his mid-40s of extraordinary skill.

Gabe was appreciated at his only other managerial stint at Philadelphia for his preparation and his people skills. The team he inherited in Philadelphia had lost 96 games the prior year. He brought them to the .500 level for two consecutive seasons and was fired.

He was hired by the Giants who had had a .475 season. The most significant thing he did was to bring in three young hitting coaches about whom the older veterans raved. In this excellent season numerous veterans have rejuvenated their careers and this is a high scoring ball club.

Kudos to the Giants who I suspect will model for other teams the use of additional talented hitting coaches. Kudos to the Giants as well for these two men who have guided the turnaround of the franchise.

( My source material was largely from Wikipedia, though some of it was from broadcasters as I watched the Giants play.)

Go Chargers!

The Chargers started about a half century ago as the LA Chargers in American pro football. They quickly moved to San Diego until they moved back to Los Angeles in the recent past. Since I prefer watching them virtually, it really made no difference to me that they moved to Los Angeles.

Our time in Southern California has been spent in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego. I’m a Southern California guy.

Other than an unsuccessful trip to the Super Bowl in 1995, generally the Chargers have been a frustrating team to follow. However, last year, when they added Justin Herbert, a great young quarterback, it got interesting.

Today resolved a lot of the pain for diehard fans. The great Kansas City Chiefs played us in a roller coaster of a game in Kansas City. However, between Justin Herbert, our quarterback, Mike Williams, our receiver, Keenan Allen, our receiver and Joey Bossa our defensive lineman, this was a game to behold. Plenty of other Chargers played beautifully.

With fourth down and nine yards to go and something like a minute or two left in the game, the new coach, Brandon Staley, took a huge risk. Instead of trying a go ahead field goal that was a considerable distance, he went for a 1st down on 4th down, realizing if he failed one of the greatest quarterbacks who may have ever lived had a pretty good chance of taking his team downfield for the winning score. He took the shot and his great quarterback, Justin Herbert, delivered the goods. Further, he took the team upfield for a touchdown and a six-point lead. At that point, Patrick Mahomes, that great KC quarterback, had about a minute to go. So he tried as best he could and did make progress, but, the Chargers won this one.

It was a deeply satisfying victory for the Chargers and their fans all over Southern California. Sometimes you just got to wait, as, 27 years wasn’t so bad.

Kristine

My spouse and me…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

I woke up this morning and there was Kristine. For almost 43 years we’ve managed to live through innumerable highs and lows. However, here we are.

By the grace of God in the face of conflict, that is a part of any marriage, we still love each other. We care about getting better at that by the grace of God.

Yes, marriages are complicated. Yes, many fail. Yes, there are times of desperation. Yes, there are times of great joy.

The challenge in my retirement, as my sense of thirst, sense of hearing, sense of sight and mind, slowly (Please God), deteriorate, is to listen attentively with my aid-assisted ears and soul. There is more time to do that once retired. On the other hand, that time together, I think, is best balanced with time alone, which is a bit more difficult in a pandemic.

Down deep we both believe…

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What Can You Give in this World?

Theodore Dreiser wrote An American Tragedy and died a few months after my birth at 74. In the summer between high school and college, I read that book. It was a powerful work, and it reminded me, even at 18, of how badly you can destroy your life with poor decisions.

Dreiser said, “Love is the only thing you can really give in all this world. When you give love, you give everything.” What remains on earth after we depart is the love we gave away. It may well remain in the generations of our offspring.

You can’t buy it. You can’t create it. It occurs. I believe it ensues by a divine act that blesses our days.

Love fully engages us and enriches our lives. Thank God for huge favors.

The Unknown

I can’t explain my dreams. But I know they happen.

I can’t explain love. But I know it happens.

Even the most critical scientific discoveries lay bare areas that have never been addressed or known, new areas ripe for discovery.

It’s an unending process for us. It’s all a divine mystery.

The Good, the Bad and the Usually Hidden

Worth a second look…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

“And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956. Earlier a piece of fiction reminded humans of the true nature of their hearts. That wasDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydeby Robert Louis Stevenson.

To those who don’t practice a faith and who may not have a clear picture of sin, think about the comments you have made to particularly a loved one, that, you wish you had back. Solzhenitsyn, who risked his life in order to promote a better life for his fellow Soviet citizens, recognized the evil in his heart.

You say the concept…

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Destination

Looking forward…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

So what’s it like to be 74? That’s where the clock turned for me a few months ago. I’m quite grateful, that, for almost six years I’ve been retired.

I am also exceptionally grateful for my health. Some rare fetuses have leukemia. Several of my younger friends have stents in coronary arteries. By the grace of God, neither my blood nor my coronaries have failed me yet.

Retired, I am somewhat like a kid with some change in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli’s Square or “Chocolate West.” The downside is I am not a kid. I am a lot closer to the Final Act than when I was 10 years old. Mortality was something I rarely thought about at 10, though I did think about it occasionally.

But, I have a wonderful spouse and family who are there for me. Additionally, there are so many wonderful books to read. There are so…

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You Belong

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” F. Scott Fitzgerald. His words ring true for the writer and the reader.

I suppose that explains the soothing nature of writing to those of us who love to write. For instance, I get positive feedback through my blogs across the globe, universally. My books reach an international audience. It is meaningful for me.

When I read aloud, it is a novel experience. I have a greater emotional reaction when voicing my words to others, more likely, for instance, to tear up. The spoken word is something communal and powerful. I fully appreciate that in my feedback at readings.

I hope if you are a continuing reader, that the blog speaks to you of far more than the mundane and that one day you will comment, if you have not. Thanks for listening.