Our Fires in California.

It was 2007 and the neighbors in Rancho Santa Fe east of us had a major fire. Our family had to evacuate. It was Chad, our high schooler, Kristine (my spouse) and me.

Fortunately I had an office in a safer area, big enough to house us with a kitchen available and showers in the building. We were walking distance from restaurants and the landlord allowed dogs. We couldn’t have been any luckier and our neighborhood ultimately did not burn, thank God.

Then in 2014 I went to my gym and was on a treadmill. Warning signals went off about a fire nearby. On the way home I got a little to close to three story high flames. I never want to get that close again.

The fire season is upon us and we are hoping and praying for the safety we have been blessed with in our 25 years in this wonderful city. Our hopes and prayers are with our fellow Californians as well.

Semi-Finalist, Fed in Full Flight, Today

It was around 9 a.m. Pacific time, 6.a.m. Basel time. In ATP competition, this was the tiebreaker between 21 year old Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roger Federer. It was Stefanos winning in the Australian Open and Roger at Dubai. As time wore on in the early first set in Basel Fed had lost about a half dozen break points, and, then the dam cracked as he broke Tsitsipas’ and served out the first set.

Notably, Dubai is a home away from home where Roger frequently practices and Basel is Fed’s hometown. In round figures he’s won this tournament ten of the fifteen times he has played it. Indoors he is still arguably the best player on earth, particularly before the home crowd. Incidentally he is arguably even at 38 the best player on earth and that must include his extraordinarily good health.

The second set he swung even more freely, if that is possible. He moved like a young gazelle. As my son, a former college player has noted, even in slow motion video it is difficult to find a hitch in any of Fed’s movement. He is perhaps inarguably the most graceful athlete to ever play this game. How does a 38 year old with hundreds of hours of tennis played in the last 28 years move this swiftly and this gracefully?

All we can do sometimes is watch him in awe. Fed certainly has been blessed by God with extraordinary gifts that make the lives of all of us tennis fans a little better. Thanks Rog.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

The Santa Ana Winds

It is 7 a.m. and a cool 57 degree breeze is floating through our home. It is dry air.

Air conditioners cool and dry the air so clearly this is a pleasant way to start the morning. Unlike the offshore (coastal) flow we get from the Pacific much of the time, these are the Santa Ana or desert winds.

The coastal winds are moderated by the water so the thermal peaks and valleys are less extreme. Not so for the Santa Ana winds. The temperature is expected to rise to the high eighties.

On the other hand, who is complaining? This is San Diego.

But actually the winds can be a harbinger of real problems. Online per Mark the Meteorologist, “The greatest danger from Santa Ana winds is fire. Any flame that can ignite under these conditions can rapidly worsen, creating life-threatening conditions.” Hopefully the fires will avoid us.

A Real Presidential Campaign

The Presidential race you say? I think a candidate addressing the deep questions of life might well be important to all of us.

How was something made out of nothing? Why can’t consciousness be neurologically understood? What is the value of a single human life? However difficult, despite one’s flaws, is it important to be on a lifetime goal toward increasing holiness? Are the human brain, the human eye and the finely tuned universe cosmic accidents?

Personally, I would love to hear or read what any Presidential candidate thinks about at a deeper more philosophical/theological level. I think we might learn a lot more about them than how they have been advised to spin their campaign. I also don’t think such questions would elicit stock answers in a debate. Oh yea, this thing is about charisma and inspiring oratory.

Paul, a Biography by N.T. Wright, a Review

N.T. Wright has perhaps gone a step further than many theologians. He has spent his life studying antiquity, first century Judaism and Christianity in particular. In order to deeply understand the context of the period he has studied the great books of that period at length. He appears fluent in both ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew.

He was schooled to the PhD level at Oxford. He taught at Oxford and McGill. Dr. Wright is currently a senior research fellow at Oxford. He is the author of numerous theological books some which are meant to appeal to scholars and and others to non-academic readers.

The book is staggering in its themes about Paul and the Kingdom of God. It is most captivating for me in re-engaging with Paul’s missionary journeys, sacrificial heart and extraordinary Spirit- filled ability to speak the truth in love.

His approach is multi-thematic. Wright reminds us that Paul’s writing had the force to begin the Reformation as Luther saw Paul’s compelling focus on Salvation by Grace. As best as one can, Wright actually tries to examine Paul’s thinking. Dr. Wright particularly examines Paul’s mind which by the grace of God and via the Spirit, was enormously successful bringing Judeo-Christianity/ The Way to the Gentiles and Jews. He notes, by the power of his love and the clarity of his prose, Paul’s impact long outlived him. Dr. Wright is at his most captivating describing the big heartedness of this man, who, wrote the book on love in his Biblical love chapter.

If you care deeply about clear scholarship and studying the life of this remarkable apostle, don’t miss this one.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Why Obits and Eulogies?

I have written memoirs in which I was startled by my research. That was particularly true when I wrote about two of my deceased professors at Emory. It also pertained to a late high school teacher whose class I so relished.

I discovered that a visiting professor from the University of Chicago, named Richard Wade, who taught a superlative course on the history of the American city, had a lengthy obituary in the New York Times.  He was the first scholar to theorize the westward movement in American history was city-driven. In other words it was the drive to create booming, beautiful, beneficial cities that drove the pioneers westward. He had even been an advisor in several Presidential campaigns.

My professor in Bible 101, a required course at my Methodist University, had national renown as a theologian per his NYT obituary. According to the piece, “William A. Beardslee, a biblical scholar who was a contributor to the New Revised Standard Version Bible… “ The obituary also noted, “…Mr. Beardslee spent 16 years helping a group of scholars translate ancient texts to update the Bible.” I would have never guessed that from the demeanor of this mild mannered, distinguished, elderly gentleman teaching a basic course.

One “obit”, if you will, was an article Googled. My favorite high school teacher, Elvin Albaum, who taught English, was part of a WWII, B-17, bombing crew that was shot down over Denmark. He was the tail gunner on the plane. Fortunately, above all because he was Jewish, he was one of several survivors who avoided a Nazi prisoner of war camp. I’d have never known.

But finding treasure in the obits goes a bit deeper when the stories and memories “breathe” in funeral services. Eulogies are the living “epilogues” for the dead. “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” The wise Solomon noted that in the Ecclesiastes 7:2.

When I attend funerals, I am reminded life goes swiftly. It’s even faster at 75. I appreciate God’s gifts to me more readily.  The services and their melancholy, for example, can remind me that I was a lonely 31 year old who over 37 years became a part of a Family of 7, including two grandsons. My son’s fiancé will add to that wonderful circle. Thank you dear, dear God for the love, joy and enthusiasm in their precious hearts.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, a novelist with a soon to be published novelette, The Bloom is on the Rose and author of the memoirs, Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? and Please Save the Third Dance for Me, all available on Amazon


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 many thrilling tennis matches to enjoy. There are inviting places I have missed geographically, and, figuratively, in my writing.

Most importantly, I am convinced by the abundant written evidence and my sense of truth that Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism having died for our sins. Given that truth, I believe that this is simply a phase of my existence to be followed by a far better one.

Millions of people over the centuries have had the same view of reality. The Director of the top, medical, research organization on earth, the NIH, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, is one of those millions as was the great writer, scholar and former atheist, C.S. Lewis.

By the grace of God, It’s that kind of a future, one marked by enormous joy and love, I expect.

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.

Pre-diabetes, More Common Than you May Have Thought

In my early work life I was a pathologist and saw the ill effects of diabetes on the limbs, eyes and kidneys. Pre-diabetes is a metabolic disease that entails increased risk of heart trouble, etc. but it is NOT diabetes.

Per CDC.gov: “Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.”

Mediterranean diets and regular exercise are diabetes avoidant. Sugar is the bad news.The good news? Though there are some wonderful foods one will miss but rarely eat on a pre-diabetic diet, one can enjoy the vegetables, nuts and whole grains of the diet. Additionally the gym can be relaxing part of one’s day.

Obtaining a glucose level even if you have no symptoms through your physician is important in detecting pre-diabetes, particularly after the age of 45. For a more complete understanding of pre-diabetes see https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html.