Residential Property?

So why is residential property the best and worst investment you have ever made? Remember, all solutions create new problems.

Gee, all you have to do is live there for years and pay for home ownership over time. Frequently the equity is wonderful. Ah, the joys of home ownership.

But one should count the cost. Right?

First there are nature’s primary villains: air, fire, water and quakes. Hurricanes can really get the job done, but, also those eerie funnels called tornados can get you into the shelter faster than a speeding bullet. Fire is a seasonal danger, particularly in the West and in wildlife areas everywhere. The three hundred foot flame I was surprised by once at an intersection left an indelible imprint on what is left of my brain. Flooding is pretty unpleasant particularly in flood plains where the insurance is about the size of the down payment on your house. Quakes, several of which I have lived through, can get pretty hairy, particularly when the earth opens up ahead of you.

Then there are the living creatures like the people eager to tax you into the ground with property taxes at every turn or the realtors hounding you to sell your house with their assistance. Finally there are life’s even smaller creatures: ants, rodents and bees, etc., etc.

So why did you buy the place?

Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been an oft conquered city. It has an other-worldly quality that is hard to describe. Its hilliness exceeds even San Francisco in my own experience.

Most anyone who has ever visited this city will never forget its beauty, character and light, particularly when the sun shines off the Temple Mount. That Temple Mount sits over the site of the first and second Jewish temples built by King David and Herod, respectively.

Before Kristine and I traveled there for the first time in the spring of 2019, many people had told us we HAD to go. I half listened to their enthusiasm. I don’t any more.

It was as though we walked back in time and then returned depending on our locale. The heart of the Israeli quarter was a mix of the ancient and the modern. The Arab quarter was a walk back into antiquity with its colors, spices, chants, food and byways.

The healthy food was remarkable in its flavor and texture. The sandwiches on pita of numerous varieties were mouth-watering. The buffets (You remember them. Right?) were interspersed with beautiful touches and colors at all three meals.

Then there were the many deep caves and high peaks in our journey. It was at its essence the most complete time spent in a city in my life. Don’t miss it.

Strong Willed?

My son, now 30, was very strong willed as a child. It paid off rewards in his adulthood with a determination to get the job done, on the tennis court in college and in the business world. I know where he got the DNA, but, wish I had had his risk tolerance, which, is higher than mine. I don‘t have enough and that worsens with age.

The strong-willed quality got me through a lot. My sister tells me of late, that, as a child, I got through skin allergies with a strong will to follow the physician’s orders to the letter, something she lacked. I should add she is smarter and frequently wiser than I am. That inflexible quality also got me through the long trek of a medical education.

My relationships suffer when my strong-willed nature puts me in an adversarial posture. May God bless me with a bigger, softer heart. I may be slowly losing my hearing but my listening ears are still viable. By the grace of God, may I hear what is said and, more importantly, what is unsaid.

Adolescence Had It’s Ups and Downs.

I loved to debate in high school. It was a process that fit the way I think. That is, a little scattered but asking a lot of questions. I was able to do that with the opposition’ s material and in my questions to them.

The debating helped me to travel as well all over Florida and to Columbus, Ohio for my first taste of college as a high schooler. It just enhanced my heretofore mundane life.

The downside of my high school years was my inordinate shyness and ineptness with women. Dating was just not something I was prepared for. In one particular instance my heart was thoroughly broken, setting me back even further.

At least now I know my spouse of 43 years loves me. She still lives here the last time I looked.

Kevin Cash and Pulling Blake Snell in the Sixth

Blake Snell had made baseball’s best offense look like a minor league team in complete mastery of his pitches. He was pulled in the sixth inning and visibly angry about it.

Once again the appeal of anger to viewers reared its ugly head. In a season where COVID-19 and a Presidential election had provided angst, many were trying to escape by watching grown men play a kid’s game.

Politics had been used to foment anger and garner viewers for months by the networks. Now anger over pulling Snell provided a chance to shame a seasoned manager to the delight of viewers and readers.

The manager had led an underpaid team to within two days of a potential championship. He went new school/analytics instead of old school/instincts and decided analytics required a new pitcher. He simply made a judgement call that failed.

Anger erupted in various e-comments by fans both about the pitching change and, even, how much they hated the Dodgers.

It is getting angry out there and propagating the anger is lucrative for electronic, print and broadcast journalists. Could we all slow down and get just a bit more peaceful when adults play a kid’s game?

Could those who are the most angry ask themselves one question as follows: Would you like to have been the manager under the pressure of actually making the right decision with your blood pressure and job at risk?

Where Did the Last Seven Years Go?

I gave notice of my retirement to my boss seven years ago as of this Saturday. I was ready and time increases it’s pace as we become more youth challenged. It becomes even more precious.

The high points of these years have been a trip to Israel filled with unmitigated joy, two family reunions in Chicago that overflowed with laughter and my niece’s wedding in Miami bathed in the warmth of family and friends.

The low point has been, to no one’s surprise, the pandemic. Unlike the other six years, time’s movement has had the thicknesses of molasses and the texture of ketchup.

I so want to travel again well vaccinated and full of anticipation. I cannot help but believe it’s close, given my optimism, as well as, the money, time and talent devoted to vaccine research. May God bless every step along that path.

Why the Dodgers?

In the midst of the World Series, without my hometown Padres involved, I find myself rooting for the LA Dodgers. Why is that?

The team got their name when streetcars roamed Brooklyn and they had to be dodged to stay in one piece. In 1955 I was watching baseball for the first time on television having begun to play the game. I saw Jackie Robinson steal home in the 1955 World Series in which the then Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Yankees for the first time. There was an unsuccessful attempt to steal home last night by the Rays, which, was apparently the first attempt since Robinson’s feat.

That was a 65 year stretch. Though it is a shorter stretch, it has been 32 years since the LA Dodgers won the World Series. We were living in LA in 1988 and were thrilled with the Kirk Gibson home run and the LA, Series victory.

Having followed the Dodgers first as a child and later over 16 years when we lived in Ventura and then LA, a Dodger victory would be sweet. That’s particularly true since Clayton Kershaw’s record, at 32 years of age, lacks that wonderful victory. Go Dodgers!

Eichmann in My Hands by Peter Malkin and Harry Stein, a Book Review

I had never read a book on the detailed activities of the Israeli national intelligence agency, Mossad. I learned about the patience required of the agents and the multitude of back up plans in its operations. The patience was necessary particularly in surveillance and the back-up plans so as to be prepared for every eventuality in a critical operation.

There is no question Eichmann’s capture was a high priority critical operation with optimal surveillance of the target. Co-author, Peter Malkin, actually captured Eichmann directly, as, Eichmann was walking from his daily, evening, bus ride to his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina

One learns a great deal about agent Malkin and his target Eichmann, the heinous, chief Nazi executioner, in the course of the memoir. However it is simply background to the detailed, gripping read about an astonishing capture, it’s planning and its aftermath. This one is a REAL page turner well worth your precious time.

Five Years from Now, Where Will I Be?

Or will I be? I think so. I am 75.  My mom lived to 90 and my dad to 85. No guarantees. I did get up this morning.

In five years, I would like to be tolerating my arthritis better. I stretch, do resistance training, squeeze some odd material with each hand akin to putty and exercise the majority of my workout time on an elliptical. Maybe some or all of that will help. Hope so.

In those five years, I primarily want to be closer to our Lord and closer to my spouse of almost 43 years. I think the two are intertwined.

She, unlike any other, tells me the truth about me, most of the time. She loves me enough to do that, thank God. As I grow in love towards her and change as necessary, it inspires me to grow closer to our Maker.

When there is conflict and she breaks my heart, the good Lord gets me through it. He reminds me it is only temporary and I have stumbled headlong and broken her heart as well, at other times.

May God bless us both and you as well with a growing unconditional love in our lives.

Maturity Caught Up with Me

I realized life was getting more serious, when, in medical school, I was handed three kits with which to do three lumbar punctures (LPs) on three patients on the hospital floor. I was left alone to draw off that spinal fluid essential to the patients’ well-being.

I had never performed the procedure, particularly alone. I had only observed the lumbar picture. I had learned that following the patient’s back to the lumbar region and the superior iliac crests, one could find the vertical level at which the needle should enter between the vertebrae in the spine. I was also warned about the many possible serious complications, including hitting the spinal cord. Obviously it was not an overly difficult procedure or I wouldn’t have been given the kits.

Nonetheless the complication(s) could be serious. No one had ever given me that much responsibility. These are the kind of events in growing up one never forgets.

Each puncture with its seemingly, mildly painful result heightened my confidence for the next LP. In a sense, that was the day I grew up.

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.