Tag Archive: 1 Corinthians


“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld

It was a Funeral for a Friend.

To be more precise, it was a service celebrating the life of my best man and my BFF.

John Newhouse moved into heaven at 62-years-young.The world would be a better place if there were more John Newhouses. Alas he was taken from us way too soon.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was honored to deliver the third of four eulogies June 30.

Having long ago conquered Glossophobia, which hails from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread, delivering a eulogy was still an unprecedented, daunting challenge. The emotion cannot be minimized. The semantic issues are real. Even the best orators are confronted by the strictures of the eulogy.

If the family requests a three-minute eulogy that does not mean you should double or triple that amount of time. As Carly Simon sang: “You probably think this song is about you.” It’s not. Time your presentation. Stick to the written script. Work on your transitions, timing and eye contract.

As an assistant professor, a PowerPoint, a laser pointer and a clicker are de-rigueur standard tools of the trade. Using the Steve Jobs technique, each slide is a prompt, making speaking notes superfluous. Alas, there are no PowerPoints or Prezis for presenting the eulogy.

Speaking extemporaneously or winging it is not an option. Don’t go there. The eulogy needs to be just right. Standing behind the podium and mentally searching for the right words at the right time in the presence of the audience can very well lead to an embarrassing rhetorical train wreck.

And yet even with a tight script, the English language simply will not rise to the occasion. Nonetheless, there must be chosen words and they may not be perfect – that’s not possible – but still they must describe my best friend for 41 years.

Borrowing from another tongue, the Latin words of the U.S. Marine Corps motto — Semper Fidelis/ Semper Fi (always faithful) — spoke to the character of John Newhouse.

Regardless of his given cause/affinity, John was always loyal: The Spirit of Troy, The Los Angeles Dodgers, our USC Fraternity Phi Kappa Tau, his fellow Rotarians, his youth baseball teams … and most of all his family.

Looking into the collective eyes of his grieving family and recounting John’s unshakeable commitment to his two sons regardless of the circumstances, and how he treasured his wife and instinctively knew he overachieved in marriage, is a testament to why the phrase Semper Fi is appropriate.

Even though the author of Almost DailyBrett endured 12 years of parochial school with its sentence diagrams and the petty tyranny of the nuns and priests, the question comes whether it is kosher to add a Biblical verse 1 Corinthians near the conclusion of a church eulogy.

“Love is patient. Love is kind … “seemed to work for this setting. John was patient, did not keep score (except at a baseball game), always protected, always trusted. Yes, 1 Corinthians did the job.

As the clock clicked past three minutes, it was time for the close and a promise to share a microbrew together, if your author ever makes it to the pearly gates.

There are a myriad of challenges that each one of us will face in life. We will do better with some than others. Crafting and properly delivering the eulogy is one of them. With proper preparation, an understanding the English language will not cut it, and with a confidence the words will make the mark, then it will be time to go forward to remember, celebrate and pay proper respects to a departed colleague, friend or dear family member.

“Love Never Fails.”

John Robert Newhouse: A Celebration of Life

“John Newhouse was my best man.

“John Newhouse was my best friend … forever.

“He was everyone’s friend.

“He was my fraternity brother … and a fraternity brother to several in this room.

“He was the kindest person I ever knew.

“John Newhouse loved the world, and was a renowned traveler.

“My grandfather told me there were two places he never wanted to go.

“One was hell. The other was Russia.

“John and I went ‘Back to the USSR’ during the height of the Cold War in 1981.

“More than a few thought we were crazy, and they were right.

“When one talked about going to The Evil Empire it was not to-and-from, but in-and-out.

“John saw Moscow, Leningrad and the Baltic States as just another adventure.

“We did come out of Russia. We came back to America.

“John literally visited every continent on the planet, and was always looking forward to his next road trip. Wendy knows this undeniable fact oh-too-well.

“Speaking about the world, we can all say ex cathedra, our planet is a better place because of John Newhouse.

“When celebrating a life of someone so special that ended way too early, the world’s Lingua Franca, the English language, simply fails us.

“The U.S. Marine Corps adopted from the Latin, Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi as its motto. Translated it means: ‘Always faithful.’”

“There are many virtues about John, but his passionate loyalty to the Spirit of Troy, his devotion to his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, his commitment to his fraternity bros, his service with his fellow Rotarians, but most importantly his faithfulness to his family, stand out when one contemplates what made John Newhouse just so special.

“John Jr. and Scott. Let’s face it: From time-to-time, you drove him insane. Nonetheless he was proud of each of you, and he literally would do anything in his power to make your lives the best they could be.

“Wendy, you were always a miracle in John’s eyes. He was so proud to have you on his arm. He loved you dearly. I can state with impunity he was always Semper Fi when it came to you and your 33-years of marital bliss. He instinctively knew that he overachieved in marriage and he treasured your union every day.

“Considering that we are celebrating the life of John Robert Newhouse in a house of God, there are lines of scripture that seem just right in depicting why John was a gift to all of us. They come from 1 Corinthians:

“Love is patient, love is kind.

“It does not envy. It does not boast.

“It is not proud.

“It is not rude. It is not self-seeking.

“It is not easily angered.

“It keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love does not delight in evil.

“But rejoices with the truth.

“It always protects, always trusts.

“Always hopes. Always perseveres.

“Love never fails.”

“John, I love you. Your family loves you. Your wonderful spouse loves you. Everyone here will always love you.

 

“And on a personal note as your best man, John: If I am good enough to enter those pearly gates to join you in eternity, the first microbrew is on me.”

 

 

 

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“We all know what’s wrong with each other, and what is right with each other.” – Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts on his three four-decade-plus colleagues

“Love is patient, love is kind … It keeps no record of wrongs … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting the Rolling Stones – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood — love each other.

The 1980s feud between Mick and Keith almost tore the band apart.

Mild-mannered Charlie once decked Mick after the latter signed a solo recording contract, and started touring without his fellow Rolling Stones.

Regardless, your author notes the four members of the widely proclaimed and regarded “Greatest Rock ‘n Roll Band in the World” have been together for 42 years, and three-of-the-original five (i.e., Jagger, Richards and Watts) have prevailed for an amazing 55 years as a still-relevant force in music, culture and at times, international relations.

Are the Rolling Stones a net plus or a net minus for humanity? This hopelessly biased blog takes the “over.”

As Keith Richards is fond of saying, his job is to touch as many people as he can.

Mission accomplished. The Stones have touched and made happy literally millions around the world from London to Perth and from Shanghai (e.g., March 2014) to Havana (March 2016). The latter two reflected a marked relaxation of political/societal norms in Marxist China and Cuba, and provided a glimmer of hope for greater freedoms in these countries.

Of course, not everything in the career of the Rolling Stones has been rosy. Almost DailyBrett commented on the organizational and humanitarian disaster at Altamont in 1969 when someone – anyone – needed to say ‘no’ to a free, totally disorganized free concert for 400,000 people with the Hell’s Angels serving as the Praetorian Guards.

There is the good. There is the bad. The band members do not love each other. How do they stay together?

“Closest of Brothers”?

“Mick’s album was called ‘She’s the Boss,’ which said it all. I’ve never listened to the entire thing al the way through. Who has? It’s like ‘Mein Kampf. Everybody had a copy, but nobody listened to it.” – Guitarist Keith Richards in his memoirs, “Life”

“Mick and I may not be friends – too much wear and tear for that – but we’re the closest of brothers, and that can’t be severed … Nobody else can say anything against Mick that I can hear. I’ll slit their throat.” – Keith Richards on Mick Jagger

Almost DailyBrett must interject for a nanosecond and ask: How many relationships of highly accomplished, high ego lads (or ladies) can stay together for five-plus decades?

As Charlie said there are definitely things wrong with each member of the Rolling Stones, but more importantly there are more things that are right. Human nature unfortunately gravitates toward the negative, but it is the positive that keeps people together and on track.

In organizations, sometimes the best candidate is the internal candidate. But isn’t that same person undermined by the fact that he or she did something wrong during the course of performing the job?

Some critic must point out this transgression or that failing. The internal candidate may be the best person for the job. And yet someone remembers the fault, and the organization subsequently hires someone outside and maybe prompting the internal candidate to leave.

Who are the most apt violators of “Love is Patient, Love is Kind”? You guessed it: Families.

For some reason, diplomacy goes right out the window as family members contend they are obligated to point out another family member’s transgression without any attempt to utilize tact and diplomacy.

As Almost DailyBrett has repeatedly asked: “If they were not your relatives, would they be your friends?”

The Rolling Stones are not related to each other, but as Keith has suggested they are the closest of brothers. Charlie has added that they are so close that they know each other’s faults, but more importantly their positives.

How much longer the Stones will tour, record, exhibit and break down barriers? Only Father Time will tell. Charlie is 75. Mick and Keith are 73. Ronnie is the “youngster” at 69.

Almost DailyBrett can only surmise that as long as their collective health is decent; they still have the fire in their bellies, and they do not keep a record of wrongs: Time Very Well Will Be On Their Side.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13:4-8

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-2345279/Mick-Jagger-Keith-Richards-feud-nearly-broke-Rolling-Stones.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-permanency-of-altamont/

“Just me and him in a room for 10 minutes.” – John Roseboro talking about Juan Marichal shortly after being clobbered in a bat-swinging brawl in 1965

MarichalRoseboro2

“There were no hard feelings on my part, and I thought if that was made public, people would believe that this was really over with. So I saw him at a Dodger old-timers’ game, and we posed for pictures together, and I actually visited him in the Dominican (Republic). The next year, he was in the Hall of Fame. Hey, over the years, you learn to forget things.” – Roseboro talking about forgiving Marichal

“(Roseboro) forgiving (me) was one of the best things that happened in my life.” – Juan Marichal eulogizing John Roseboro in 2002

Fifty years ago was the Year of “Satisfaction.”

NASA’s Project Gemini was paving the way for Neil Armstrong to walk on the Moon just four years later.

1965 was also the year that San Francisco pitcher Juan Marichal frightenly clobbered Los Angeles catcher John Roseboro on the head with a baseball bat.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was only 10 years-young at the time, and still remembers this August 22 brawl as if it was just yesterday.

Contemplating the incident a half-century later, one can easily conclude that Roseboro, who had every reason to hold an eternal grudge against Marichal, was a better human being than the vast majority of us.

Juan Marichal Hitting Catcher John Roseboro

He was not only willing to forgive; he even flew his family to the Dominican Republic to spend time with Marichal and his family. Maybe San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers fans can learn something from this story. Baseball is only a game and sometimes emotions get high, but what is really important in life?

And when Roseboro eventually succumbed to a series of strokes and prostate cancer in 2002, the Roseboro family wanted Marichal, “The “Dominican Dandy” to not only be one of the pallbearers at catcher’s funeral service, but to actually deliver one of the eulogies.

In these days of institutional gridlock and permanent feuding, maybe we should contemplate Roseboro’s remarkable willingness to forgive, although he certainly never forgot. He was hit on the head with a baseball bat, an act that potentially could have been fatal … and yet …he was the bigger man.

Why Are We So Easily Offended?

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

”Johnny, Johnny, I’m so sorry.” – Willie Mays Serving as a Peacemaker immediately following the bat-swinging brawl

Writing Almost DailyBrett in many ways is the equivalent of walking across a mine field.

You know deep down inside that one of these incendiary devices (e.g., blog posts) will go boom and pow now and then. The subject could be relatively benign, such as the choice of gluten free foods or more serious including: graduate teaching fellows going on strike; widowers daring to date again and without forgetting the dearly departed; or even preferring to go to the Rose Bowl over a family gathering.

It seems as if Hatfield’s vs. McCoy’s-style of feuding and pettiness is way too prevalent in our society with perpetual keeping of score of real and perceived transgressions. For Roseboro, he knew what Marichal inflicted on him in the heat of battle, and yet he was not only willing to forgive he developed a lifetime friendship with Marichal and his family.

Remembering a Better Man

“I wish I could have had John Roseboro as my catcher.” – Marichal speaking at Roseboro’s funeral in 2002

You wouldn’t blame Marichal for being humbled, and a little bit sheepish delivering the eulogy at the service commemorating the life of John Roseboro.MarichalRoseboro1

Roseboro had every reason for a lifelong beef against Marichal. And yet he realized the brawl was keeping Marichal out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He (Roseboro) knew that sending the signal that the brawl was history was the way to ensure that Marichal was enshrined in Cooperstown.

How many of us would do that? How many of us are not on speaking terms with a wide variety of people, and for what reason? Can we even remember?

Maybe Doris Day had it right: “Que Sera, Sera”, (Whatever will be, will be).

Or better yet, Roseboro had it right. Pathos subsides. Time moves on. Life is too short. Make peace. Enjoy our limited time on Earth.

Sounds like good advice to all of us, including the author of Almost DailyBrett.

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24368857/two-amazing-photos-of-famous-juan-marichaljohn-roseboro-brawl

https://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/the-fight-between-juan-marichal-and-john-roseboro/

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/knapp/article/40-years-later-The-Fight-resonates-in-a-positive-2646178.php#page-2

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/20/sports/john-roseboro-a-dodgers-star-dies-at-69.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/history/gemini/gemini.htm

 

 

 

Friends welcome; relatives by appointment only,” – Memorable sign in colleague’s house.

“What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted.”

The first rays of winter sunshine came over the eastern horizon on December 26.

The sounds of engines revving could be heard.

The only things that were missing were the pace car, the parade lap and the green flag.

Ed Carpenter

The relatives were leaving and heading home.

The holidays were coming to a merciful end.

Thank God.

If They Weren’t Your Relatives, Would They Be Your Friends?

There is good news, and not so good news about Thanksgiving and the December/January holidays.

The great tidings are rivalry weekends and championship games that are circled more than one year in advance on many respective calendars.

In Oregon, there is the Civil War between the Jetsons (e.g., Oregon Ducks) and the Flintstones (e.g., Oregon State Rodents).

In Southern California, there is USC vs. the junior campus of the University of California.

In Alabama, there is the Iron Bowl pitting Alabama (Roll Tide) vs. Auburn (War Eagle). Wonder how many trees will be poisoned this year?

In the Midwest there is Ohio State vs. Michigan … even though the game looks like a monumental mismatch this year.

Heck on Turkey Day, there are wall-to-wall football games, including the annual No Fun League (NFL) contests held in Detroit and Dallas respectively, and even a big one between the 49ers and the Seahawks.

And when Xmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan all roll around (choose which one applies to you) there are the annual bowl games and this year the extra special treat associated with the first-ever NCAA college football playoff.

Yep, we just can’t get enough of football. And we are sad when the season ends, even the NFL playoff games with their never-ending field-goal kicking contests.

The not-so-good news comes with the holidays themselves and the familial requirements that are associated with them. Why can’t we just fast-forward this DVD to spring and call it good? Alas, relatives were put on earth so we could experience our purgatory here and now.

The unrestrained joy and excitement that comes from a football weekend is not the case with co-mingling with relatives old and new. In fact, most dysfunctional families are only good in measurable-and-finite doses. Yes, you can O.D. on family, and the withdrawal symptoms are simply downright painful.

Keeping Score, Always Keeping Score

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There are scoreboards at all football games. They are switched off once the game is done.

Scoreboard

There are also scoreboards with families. They are never turned off. In fact, the opponent’s score keeps accumulating akin to pinball games of yesteryear or video games of today.

Four years ago Almost DailyBrett concluded that families are way overrated. This opinion remains intact.

In fact, this point is magnified, particularly with the specter of the holidays approaching, hanging over family members similar to the Sword of Damocles. And with these so-called special days come special obligations. You are present not because you want to be there, but because you have to be there. It’s all rather political.

Conversely, when you contemplate going to the football game, you think of tailgate parties with friends, good cheer and even better craft beer. Your heart rate starts pumping with fight songs, the national anthem and standing up for the kickoff. You are celebrating life in an earthly heaven with 60,000 of your most intimate friends, and hopefully (best of all?) no relatives.

Contrast this sentiment with sitting around the table with people, who most likely are not your friends and most likely never will be your friends, And then, there are the embarrassing stories and remembrances. Love may be patient; it may be kind, but relatives keep a detailed record of your myriad of real and perceived wrongs.

relatives

Hey, isn’t there a 10-year statute of limitations embedded in the law? Alas, this doctrine does not apply to most families.

And if you are honest, and invent some reason you cannot be present for a family holiday gathering (e.g., flying to a college football playoff game), this slight will just be added to your personal scorecard always to be remembered and never to be forgotten.

Would the author of Almost DailyBrett rather spend the holidays with relatives and miss going to the Rose Bowl or go to Pasadena and nix breaking bread with the family?

What time is kickoff?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/if-they-weren%e2%80%99t-your-relatives-would-they-be-your-friends/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles

 

 

Why Widowers Make the Best Lovers

My seven-year involuntary bachelorhood, and more important my seven-year forced widowerhood (if there is such a word), ended with the autumnal equinox, September 21.

As a new happily married man, I am pleased to report that both my bachelorhood and widowerhood are over. If you don’t believe me, take a moment to review my all-time (nearly 2,300 page views and counting) post: The Trouble with Widowers.

Back then, I was a frustrated, disappointed and unhappy puppy. And it shows in this particular Almost DailyBrett post. Initially, I thought being a widower was an advantage compared to other single folks. I was coming to a completely different conclusion. Having said that, I never gave up on the notion that widowers make the best lovers.

“Mommy got sick. And it happened just like that. There was nothing anybody could do. It isn’t fair. There’s no reason. But if we start asking why, we’ll go crazy.” – Tom Hanks as widower Sam Baldwin in “Sleepless in Seattle.” sleepless

Sam Baldwin’s wife died of cancer. And Meg Ryan as Annie Reed was determined to meet him. The same fate happened to my wife and by extension to me as well.

Entering into compelled bachelorhood, I wrote that compared to other categories of Baby Boom singledom; it was best to be a widower. The alternatives were bitter divorcee, single-north-of-40 or worse yet, currently separated with the warring states engaged in pitched battle.

Nonetheless, there are so many Frauen und Frauleins that are unhappy with their widowers because they remember their deceased spouses; they still may have mementos (e.g., displayed pictures, commemorative art, photo albums); and they continue to love her.

In turn, these factors in many cases trigger a mental comparison between the present female and her real and perceived flaws and the dearly departed. There are some who insist and can’t resist: Competing Against the Dead. And yet, there is an undeniable reality. She is deceased. Finis. Endo Musico.

It has been suggested that my personal record number of web hits and (not always pleasant) comments for The Trouble with Widowers is a reflection of women who are frustrated with the knuckle-dragging gender, particularly those who are widowers.

An immediate thought that comes to mind is whether these unhappy members of the fairer gender are searching for ideal hombres, as if these animals actually exist or ever existed. Let me offer the following for what it is worth (keep in mind, I am not a romantic expert and never will be): Widowers make the best lovers. And let me provide an addendum: Not all the good ones have already been taken.

How can I make such a categorical and unequivocal claim with no escape clause that widowers are the best lovers?

Assuming the widower did not become a widower because of foul play, one can conclude based upon experience that a widower knows how to keep a relationship and by extension, a marriage intact. sleepless1

He is not single because he was thrown out of the house. He is not single because no one is interested in marrying him. He is not single because he is separated, and the war is just starting.

He is single because of-death-did-they-indeed-part. My apologies for the sophomoric statement: Cancer sucks.

Certainly widowers are not perfect, but who is?

If a marriage stood the test of time, then obviously the widower contributed in part to this success. As a former widower, I know that a relationship is an everyday commitment. It cannot survive on auto pilot. There must be an effort to keep the romance and excitement alive, even in the face of the mundane daily challenges (e.g., work and raising a family).

Every successful marriage must overcome challenges and inevitable disagreements. Widowers know this, and can bring this knowledge and experience to their next relationships.

Sounds like the widower is applying for a new job? Ever experience an initial Match.com date? There are two simultaneous interviews taking place with each person serving as the interviewer and interviewee. A widower has an excellent chance of succeeding in this setting, provided he has found The Right Woman.

corinthians Probably, the best advice I received from multiple females of the species: “Just be nice.”

That seems so simple, and yet so many men swing and strike out even with a fast ball being thrown right down the middle.

A successful marriage requires the patience, kindness and willingness to NOT keep score. There is a much better than even chance that a widower instinctively knows this and has practiced these biblical tenants during the course of his marriage.

And yes, he can love again. Believe that. I am loving again.

http://symbioticpublishing.com/widower.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleepless_in_Seattle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J7gg1V0oak

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/ https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/the-right-woman/

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