Dylan’s Highway is Good to Revisit

What is it about Bob Dylan that is so extraordinary? His poetry is exquisite, in particular the early work. He has said when interviewed that it simply flowed when he was young. He didn’t know where it came from.

The Nobel Prize in literature recognized the beautiful quality of his work. However, if he was only a great poet no one would have bought his albums.

He has an unusual voice. It is not operatic. But it is distinctive. It is melodic. For me, most importantly, it is embedded with character, depth and it distinctly harkens back to the folk and blues heritage of America’s past. The more I listen, the better it sounds.

Being close to 76, the anthem for meaningful aging to me is the lyrical Forever Young. Let me say in his words, “May you stay forever young.”

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling, Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.

Joe’s Moment in the Sun

Baseball is the only sport I know of, where the defense holds the ball. The catcher is asked to call the game, the type of pitch and the location of the ball. The pitcher may reject that, but trust and communication between those two people is critical in getting the hitters out. When the two of them together can create a no hitter, that’s memorable.

It was June 27th, 1980. A Dodger pitcher, Jerry Reuss, threw his one and only, career no hitter. It was the only no hitter I had ever watched until last night. I couldn’t believe, as I thought back to that evening, that it had been almost 41 years.

I have rooted for the San Diego Padres for the last 27 years. I was fully aware that there had never been a San Diego no hitter in the 52-year history of the club. I knew, from having served tennis balls for years and watching baseball, that, the three critical elements of a delivery (serve or pitch) were the location, the movement and the speed of the ball.

Last night Joe Musgrove, San Diego native, pitching for the Padres against the Texas Rangers, had all three. Although, it was movement, he had in abundance. His control was so sharp that there were no free passes to first base. He also struck out 10 batters in the nine full innings he pitched. His catcher, Victor Caratini, called a brilliant game as well.

Finally Joe was asked postgame how luck might have been involved as is usually true of no hitters. He said when Joey Gallo, their best hitter, was accidentally hit by his pitch, he was lucky Joey didn’t get a chance to hit.

A night of Josephs you say? I am reminded briefly of the Joe who stopped any chance of a no hitter in 56 consecutive games. As Paul Simon put his plea, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?

In the late innings, last night, and on the final pitch, my eyes teared up and my heart swelled. Some things you just can’t completely explain. Where have you been Joe Musgrove?

He Seems Awfully Young, This Atheist With Whom I Differ

“As an atheist, I am angry that we live in a society in which the plain truth cannot be spoken without offending 90% of the population.” Sam Harris, well known author with a PhD in neuroscience.

He is only 54, young to a 75 year old like me. He might want to spend some time with the highly regarded, NIH Director, an active Christian, Francis Collins, MD.

Dr. Harris might want to think about why the date he uses today is a tribute to Jesus Christ two millennia after his death. He might well reflect on the possible veracity of the ninety per cent of the population who don’t believe atheism is the plain truth. That is a lot of folks. Harris might ask the question, why, he doesn’t make me angry as a Messianic Jew, but the reverse is not true.

Nonsense?

“Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance.” Frederick Buechner-Secrets in the Dark

Buechner, now almost 95, was a remarkable, renowned writer in his early twenties, who, Christ Found in a church in Manhattan. His life was dramatically changed in a moment of epiphany during the sermon of an excellent preacher, George Buttrick.

To that point, he had borne as best he could the deep, senseless pain of his brief life. That included the heart-rending death of his father by suicide.

As to life’s ups and downs I am reminded of Dicken’s words in The Tale of Two Cities, “… it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” Buechner, this wonderful writer, began to be touched by the hand of God and was inspired to write some of the most eloquent, meaningful theological memoirs, I think, ever penned.

Buechner has looked at much of the pain of life head on. It certainly lurks around unforeseeable corners. He has conveyed how Christ eased those unexpected blows with the difficulties of his anorexic daughter.

How remarkable was Christ’s life upon which we base our calendar two millennia after his death? He was tortured to death for you and me. In a sense, He redeemed the most horrible torture, perhaps ever devised.  That cruelty was well beyond nonsense. That was pure evil.

Christ underwent that agony to save our souls. That’s Love.

The Good Day

“Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.” Leonora Carrington, who, was an artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. (https://www.writerswrite.co.za/literary-birthday-6-april-leonora-carrington/)

I am an early riser. The time I awaken varies between five and six a.m. There is a quiet that calms my soul. The light moves, but, ever so gently.

I get up slowly. As my senses gradually engage, I read the early news of the day, not those things that provoke, but, those things that adjust me to the gift of yet another quiet morning.

May God give you a day that tilts towards the gentle, drifting away from the clamor of conflict.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Hemingway, a Review

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have created yet another in-depth documentary. The first 2 hours of the 6-hour series on Hemingway aired last night on PBS. The last four hours will be split between tonight and tomorrow. In addition to its being televised it can be streamed.

It delved deeply into the psyche and the eloquent prose of Ernest Hemingway. At appropriate points Jeff Daniels read some of Hemingway’s best material. Like all writers he has his ups and downs but Daniels’ words were some of Ernest’s best. In fact for whatever reason I am not that fond of his work, but his prose was almost poetry in the rich morsels picked for the film.

As has often been true, the black and white photographs were full of life. They speak to the viewer vividly.

At a minimum the two hours were completely engaging and well worth one’s time. Give it a go for its historical as well as it’s entertainment value. It won’t disappoint.

A Better World

“The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half of its people if we are to solve the many problems which beset us.” This is from Rosalyn Yalow’s speech at a banquet in Stockholm during the week in which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. It was given on 12/10/77, a Friday. This prize for a woman was a rare occurrence.

Eight days later my spouse and I were wed. It was the happiest day of my life.

She was to be the key to raising our two children, born ten years apart, a girl and a boy. I could not spend as much time with them as Kristine, though what drove me was to see to it that, unlike with my own father’s attitude towards me, they would feel enormously loved.

In addition to that Kristine spent vast amounts of time reading to them when they were little tykes. I believe that heightened their curiosity about life, how things work and how they should work. I consider that a key factor in their independence and success in the business world.

Even with that Kristine developed a business as an artist that steadily helped our family. We of course were enriched by the beautiful work of her hands.

Having had a life in which I had to deal with biases towards me because my name was Rubin, I was thrilled when my daughter, a corporate attorney, was elected to the school board in her community in 2019. The corporation she is working for is involved in scientific, quality control. I am also delighted with the progress for women in the labor force, particularly the sciences, and government in these 43 years since Rosalyn Yalow’s speech and our precious, holy matrimony.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling, Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon.

The 3-0 Padres

I have loved baseball for 66 years, particular having played youth ball. My memories go back to televised, black and white images. Our Padres have a good shot at winning it all this year.

When you have a multi-talented offense you need to develop a philosophy that optimizes those skills. The Padres wait for their pitch and failing to get the ideal strike will foul off pitches that are close or strikes engendering walks. They leave the RBI  glory to the next hitter in line. Team play.

At the same time, their starters dominate and their relievers succeed with new wrinkles and grit.

When you compound that armamentarium with a brilliant defense, you have a bona fide threat to the LA Dodgers.

I eagerly await the games in this now illustrious rivalry of teams residing only 100 miles apart.

Winged Chariot

“But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.” Andrew Marvell, a 17th century English poet. (https://mailchi.mp/writerswrite/daily-writing-links-31-march-2021?e=d513f9e6a1)

I breakfasted with a friend today. Like me he is over 75. I asked if he read the obits. He said, “Yes.”

He reminded me of the late Carl Reiner’a remark about obituaries. “Every morning, I would actually look at the obituaries before I had breakfast. And as a joke I said if I was not in it, I would have breakfast.” (https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/carl_reiner_999030#)

So my friend and I finnished breakfast but not as eagerly as when we were 25. Though, at 25, with the horrors of Nam breathing down our necks via the Draft, Time’s winged chariot did seem awfully close.

But that fear can be cast out. About 2.4 billion of the approximately 7.5 billion people on earth are Christians. We believe that Christ conquered death dying for our sins.

No less a theologian than the world renown, Oxford scholar NT Wright has written The Resurrection of the Son of God arguing for the evidence that strongly supports the truth of the Resurrection. The world has far more documentation of the key events of Jesus’ life than anything else in the First Century.

As about 1/3 of the world celebrates that He is risen on Sunday, consider if you will the power of this good news. I am reminded of the composer Wallis Willis’ words, “Swing low sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home.”

Oh Those Finite Quantities

I was at Emory University as a freshman. The year was 1963. That was 58 years ago but sometimes it seems like yesterday.

We had chemistry lab each Friday afternoon that winter quarter. Those Fridays already started with a 7:45 a.m. freeze, as, I rambled across campus to the chemistry building for lectures.

One needs to understand that details were the driving factor in precipitating my retirement almost eight years ago. In essence lab could have been called details 101.

There I was measuring quantities so small a blink could botch the experiment. Were grown adults actually making us go through this? One good sneeze could destroy my experiment as well as those of the students on either side of me. That act could have caused my death by bunsen burner at 18.

It should come as no surprise to you that I did not spend the rest of my life measuring out micro-quantities in laboratories. Nor did I sit through bad movies or attend the ice capades.