Arthur Ashe, a Half a Century Since His Victorious U.S. Open Final & About Twenty Five Years Since His Death at 49

It was 1968. The U.S. Open final lasted five sets. Arthur Ashe defeated Tom Okker to win our tennis championship at Forest Hills. I remember watching Arthur on television in that major like it was yesterday.

Arthur was an amazing man. His father in his hometown of Richmond was simply a handyman and a caretaker. His early life was challenging as an African American tennis player.

He seemed to face everything with equanimity whether it was the extraordinary 1975 Wimbledon final in which he defeated his strongly favored opponent, James Scott Connors, or the great strength he showed when advised he had AIDS, a death sentence at the time. As he understood, it was the result of a blood transfusion from his second cardiovascular surgery, having suffered a heart attack only four years after his Wimbledon victory.

Arthur defined sportsmanship, humility and grace. It was only fitting that the world’s largest tennis stadium, where grand slam finals occur yearly, was named in his honor. As long as underprivileged American children are falling in love with the game and aiming at stardom, the name Arthur Ashe will be on their lips.

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


In the era of flight Seattle’s Boeing has emerged as a commanding presence in the world of commercial aircraft. Starbuck’s brought the relaxed, hip environment to many American venues where a good and/or sophisticated brew was the primary goal. It began in Pike’s Market in Seattle. Two more gems of American and world- wide commerce emerged here as well, Microsoft and Amazon. Of course at one point or another either Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, the prime movers of these two behemoths, became the wealthiest men on earth. One made documentation more EFFICIENT and the other sold people’s stuff, electronically, with CONVENIENCE for the consumer. What is it about this city that has overtaken Houston as the fastest growing city on American soil?

I have some thoughts. Its natural beauty enriches the lives of Seattleites. Its cuisine is delightful. Its universities contribute to its growth. One of them provided a venue for Bill Gates as a teenager to work with computers. The weather is just mild enough for many. Or perhaps the source of all that achievement is simply indefinable.

What a city! It is readily apparent how one could be so enthused on a given night in this magnificent city that he or she might be “Sleepless in Seattle.” Don’t you think?

H.Robert Rubin, MD, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel available at Amazon (electronic and paper formats), as well as, How Did I Get Through This? just published on Amazon (electronic and paper formats).

New Orleans, Then, and, Now in the Viral Storm

I first visited New Orleans in the spring of 1975 when I stayed in a hotel near the French Quarter. I walked the short distance to “The Quarter” on the first day. It was just a few minutes until I arrived to a blend of appealing melodies, elegant aromas and distinctive antiques.

I went to a restaurant I had heard about for years, Antoine’s. It is, today, 178 years old, under the same family’s management. In the mid-70’s when I entered the portals of this indoor Disneyland for grown-ups, it struck me that this was a lovely museum filled with past mementos. Coincidentally it was inhabited by a crowd of diners. The museum, by itself, was enough to draw my undivided attention.

The French-Creole cuisine was beyond good. In the book Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman and Danny Meyer, 42 pages were devoted to Antoine’s. Oysters Rockefeller was invented at Antoine’s. The waiters, generally, need to apprentice for years before they achieve full status. Need I say more?

I also visited this fascinating city the next spring and heard the late Al Hirt play his trumpet as only he could. It was a different instrument in his hands.

Finally, I was last there in about 1990, again in the spring. My new discovery was a workout path along the Mississippi River. It was heaven for a fitness nut like me.

Do make this city a priority in the course of your journeys once that can be a safe, non-Pandemic trip.  It is a wonderful treat for any traveler, when it can be a more relaxed endeavor. Prayers for those in that unique place that the horrible, Delta variant would diminish completely.

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.

Ah the Memories

My second book of memoirs just went live minutes ago. For those who read my first book of memoirs, published in 2015, I am convinced you will be equally engaged, perhaps even more so. To those who haven’t read my work I think you will find it well worth your time. It is a labor of love that I believe will deepen your thought life in the 2-3 hour read. On the lighter side, you will probably find quite a few more laughs than in the first effort three years ago. To those who have enjoyed this blog, welcome to these published adventures. Thanks so much for your readership. Just left click below.

Elon Musk

How sad that someone with children he loves and more money than some could spend in several lifetimes, per the NY Times, at only 47, is driving himself into the ground with his Tesla. He is working up to 120 hour weeks. The SEC and board members are on his back per the article. He can retire to a life undreamed of by 99.999% of the people on the planet or hire a capable number two. Sounds like his only dreams require Ambien. How tragic. Is this the so called American dream?

H. Robert Rubin, memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel, an e-book/paperback on Amazon and How Did I Get Through This? an e-book just published on Amazon on 8-18-18.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Looking Back

Stefanos Tsitsipas was met with a torrent of heat that went beyond the temperature of the court in Toronto. The bull, Rafa, was in full charge mode. Somewhere on the mind of this freshly minted twenty year old, certainly, was his thrashing by Nadal on clay in the 2018 Barcelona final

Is he the product of a different mold? He is somewhat reminiscent of the great Gustavo Kuerten (Guga) who blessed Roland Garros with his presence a few years ago. Like Kuerten he is about 6 ft. 4 inches in height and has a graceful, effective one handed backhand. Like Gustavo he rarely wilts under pressure but seems inspired by the opportunity.

A train would not have derailed Rafa in the first set. I don’t think Rod Laver on his best days would have taken that set from Nadal given his level of play.

But in the second set, serving with a one break lead, the sole break seemed to put pressure on Rafa’s movement and serve. He double faulted for the first time. Raphael Nadal is a remarkably honest man and in a post-match interview admitted he got tight in that game .

Tsitsipas jumped all over that tightness and even had a set point at 5-6 in a few minutes that he could not convert. Rafa, as he does after a “lull” like being broken, closed like a Mariano Rivera in the tiebreak.

Tsitsipas has a future that is now and Nadal is odds on today to defend his U.S. Open title.

Bob Dylan. the Nobel Prize?

Did he deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature? He loves poetry. He finds and found peace alone with hours of writing verse and music.

Although a singer songwriter his physical voice skills at his peak fell far short of most widely acclaimed singers. He is a fair instrumentalist but a far cry from say Eric Clapton.
What is it that is exceptional about this bard of the 20th and 21st centuries? His verses touch the hearts and minds of people in every corner of the earth. On top of that his music, a universal language also has enormous appeal.

Has he just been popular? No there is a beautiful quality to his work that those who awarded the Nobel Prize fully appreciated. And from one of his beautiful works:

“May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you”

May he 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.

My Twenties, a Difficult Period

I suffered through three clinical depressions as a medical student in my mid-twenties. They were abysmal. The enjoyment of life presented an immense challenge. I slept off whole weekends. I contemplated suicide but made no attempts.

I am in my 8th decade free of that illness in the last half-century. Other than my marriage, kids and grandkids the release from that pathology, by the grace of God, was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I am touched by things in my seventies that I would have been numb to earlier in my life. I think deep down I treasure each day that lacks the persistent darkness that characterized my twenties. Vitally, to those struggling now, remember you have available to you the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.


Mariano Rivera and Wayne Coffey’s The Closer, a Book Review

I stopped being a Yankee fan as a teenager. I have been a vigorous fan of those who opposed those guys in pinstripes for years. As a medical examiner a sign for Babe Ruth’s birthplace, a museum in Baltimore, was just outside my office window. However, I never visited the museum.

Nonetheless I have always had enormous admiration for THE closer, Mariano Rivera. I was particularly impressed with his cut fastball that suddenly changed direction near the plate. Most batters knew it was coming but couldn’t do anything about it.

The story about the development of that pitch is fascinating and inspiring. That alone is worth the read. Likewise Mariano’s sudden increase in velocity from the high eighties to the mid- nineties is a story no baseball lover should be without. Finally how Mariano accidentally became a pitcher is a remarkable tale, particularly how that led to his Yankee career.

Mariano is a man with such humility that even his own memoir is without self-absorption. He is simply full of gratefulness for what the good Lord did for a young Panamanian looking forward to being a mechanic.

The ice water in his veins you say? Mr. Rivera tells us that given where he started in a two room concrete home, where he enjoyed life, what was so terrifying about possibly returning to the village he loved on a permanent basis?

This one is well worth your time, particularly if you have ever been a baseball fan.

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