Category Archives: Loose thoughts and musings

42: Thank God for Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey

padresteve:

Dear Friends of Padre Steve’s World, It is the anniversary of Jackie Robinson taking the field as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 to break the race barrier in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately racism is still alive and well in the United States. It has been 67 years since Robinson took to the field to the mass hysteria and hatred of race baiters in this country and it is now 149 years since the end of the Civil War but racism is still very much alive and well in this country. Jackie Robinson and the owner of the Dodgers in 1947 Branch Rickey put their lives on the line then and unfortunately despite many advances the same may be required again. The battle that these two men entered into in 1947 is still not over. Thus tonight as I remember their legacy I recommit myself to the equality of all Americans. Thank God for Jackie Robinson and Branch RIckey. Peace, Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Moderate:

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“Your enemy will be out in force. But you cannot meet him on his own low ground.” Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) in the movie 42

“The right of every American to first-class citizenship is the most important issue of our time.” Jackie Robinson

Tonight I went and saw the movie 42. I have been wanting to see it since before it came out. As anyone who knows me or reads my articles on this website knows I am not only a historian and theologian but maybe more importantly a student of the game of baseball and baseball history. I have written articles on the integration of baseball as well as Jackie Robinson. I have read many books and article about the subject and even still I was unprepared for what I saw tonight. As I watched the movie I found that I was often overcome with tears. That doesn’t happen…

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I Have Been to the Mountain: The Assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I posted a short article about how I am doing. But I will also provide a re-run for those who want something more.
Peace, Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Moderate:

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“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats…or talk about the threats that were out… What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. but it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over.and I have seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I am happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I am not…

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Work Work Work…I Missed You…

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Well my friends it is a Sunday night and I am tired. I have been working all week with contractors in my house and after my chapel service this morning I came home and continued to work. Thankfully if everything works out on Wednesday the painters and other contractors will be back to finish the last bits of what we need done and a friend will be over to help install new lighting.

My dog Molly has been a joy, and hopefully in the next few days both of us will have reason to celebrate and chill out.

But anyway since I am too tired to think of anything new to post, though I might put up a re-run of an older post I wish you a good night and good week.

Peace

Padre Steve+

P.S. There is a funny Blazing Saddles message in the title of this post…

<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/”>http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/</a&gt;

 

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Dog Tired

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Well my friends not much to say tonight, Just have been too busy with contractors working to repair the damage from our great blown water heater flood of February 3rd.

It has been hard, since that time our lives have been out of kilter, whatever a kilter is. This has also affected our oldest dog Molly, who has not been real happy with the constant changes to her schedule. After I moved her bean bag back to its normal place and put her in it she crashed hard as she had been up and on alert all day.

Today was a really long  day. In  fact, with the exception of grabbing a salad and a couple of beers with friends it has been all work today and tomorrow should be more of the same. At least all the tiling on our first floor will be done and I will know the schedule for the other things that need to happen.

I got rid of a lot of stuff today and though I will be up early tomorrow getting ready I expect things to go well.

Big thanks this week to my neighbor Larry who helped move furniture on Sunday and my buddy Randy who helped me move the big stuff around this afternoon when he got off of work.

Anyway, until tomorrow.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Another Birthday another Year

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“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” William Shakespeare

Well 54 years ago today my mother was recovering from about 20 hours of labor and wondering just what the hell she had gotten herself into. Of course we are celebrating my birthday even though I had nothing to do with it. Not a bad thing if you ask me, since birthdays happens to everybody.

Fifty-four years, wow hard to believe. I’ve lost my hair, my midsection is thicker than it used to be and I can’t see or hear as well as I used to but all that aside I’m not doing too terribly bad for my age. I still woke up this morning on this side of the great eternal dirt nap and didn’t see my name in the obituaries so it’s all good.

Funny thing about birthdays, we don’t get to pick them. I wish my mom had been able to hold out another 5-7 days because then I would have been able to celebrate my birthday on or around Opening Day, which of course should be a national holiday. However, I think that she did enough she had to deal with all of the pain and I don’t remember a thing. Besides she got me here safe and evidently the genetic material that she and my dad donated to the cause is pretty good. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels are better than a lot of people younger than me and I can still run five to six miles in decent time for my age and I can still do a lot of push ups and crunches.

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Birthdays, because they occur every day of the year are always linked to other events, people and anniversaries. The most notable of these for me is the fact that on March 27th 1794 Congress authorized the construction of six frigates, effectively establishing the United States Navy as opposed to the Continental Navy from which we derive our official birthday.

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As far as people I share my birthday with singer Mariah Carey, San Francisco Giants Catcher Buster Posey, Colorado Rockies’ First Baseman Michael Cuddyer, producer and director Quentin Tarantino and Wilhelm Roentgen, the inventor of the X-Ray. I also share a birthday, in fact just a few hours apart with my wife’s best friend Tootsie and her niece Stephanie. When we started dating March 27th was a very busy and expensive day for her.

So what I realize is that when we celebrate our birthday we are actually celebrating someone else’s work and suffering. So thanks mom and dad. Likewise I have learned the value of getting older. The late and great Hall of Fame Manager of the Baltimore Orioles noted “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” I certainly realize that more and more every day.

So anyway, despite dealing with contractors, not getting a lot of sleep and trying to balance out life it has been a happy birthday. I have a wonderful wife, two great dogs and a lot of good friends.

So have a great night and until tomorrow, and if by some chance you are celebrating a birthday too…Happy Birthday!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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A Stressful Day: Contractor Headaches, an Insurance Scare, Busted But Not Broken Brackets and the End of a Conspiracy Theory

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Today has been a stressful day.

We spent the weekend getting ready for the contractors that will be installing the floors after our water heater blew out back the day before the Super Bowl. Since then our home life has been rather unsettled.

We have moved everything from our kitchen, entry way and dining room to our living room. This includes things that since had been stored in our hutch and buffet that a lot of things are stored in are being repaired. Thus we have shit stacked from hell to breakfast in the living room. We also did a bunch of work in our upstairs library and guest room.

So this morning we got up early and waited for the contractors. This was easy for Judy because she couldn’t get to sleep. I slept but had a lot of really strange dreams. But they didn’t come. So after calling the subcontractors office and getting a less than satisfactory answer from the receptionist I drove to work and left a message with the primary contractor. As soon as I got to work I got a message from him that said that they were on their way, so I drove back home to meet them. They didn’t come so I went back to work and at about 1230 I got a text from the main contractor that they would be there between 1230 and 1PM. I let Judy know and about 1:15 I got a text from her saying that they didn’t know what they were there to do and had to call their boss.

I let the main contractor know this and about 2PM I was told that the subcontractor might be on the way to my house, so I headed back in time to see the workmen finished the work of taking up our old kitchen floor tile and the linoleum that the installers had laid it on top of. The subcontractor himself didn’t come and I asked the workers and the primary contractor to tell him to call me so I can plan tomorrow. Finally I got word that they will be back tomorrow to start laying tile between 08300 and 0900 tomorrow morning.

But as soon as we got back home after having dinner at a local Mexican place since we cannot use our kitchen I opened my mail. In it was a letter from my insurance company denying my claim. I was in a panic as I had not planned on spending about 10,000 more than the 2500 that I have already spent for the replacement water heater and my insurance deducible. I called the contact in a panic and got his voice mail. Thankfully he called me back and let me know that the denial was a form letter not for the damage but for the cost of the old water heater which I had not claimed.  That being said my anxiety level went up significantly and two hours later I went and got a couple of beers at Gordon Biersch.

So tomorrow the contracting adventure begins anew and I pray that things will go a bit more smoothly than today. At least I think I know how I can plan my day.

Apart from that things are going swimmingly.

My brackets in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament are broken but not completely busted. I had about 56% wins in the first two rounds and still have three teams that going into the Sweet Sixteen could go all the way. However my MH-370 conspiracy theory went into the tank when it was announced that the aircraft is believed to have crashed in the south Indian Ocean. That being said it is a great conspiracy theory and as one person said it would be a great suspense novel. I can live with that. Who knows maybe I can do it and become the next Tom Clancy.

Tomorrow will be hectic. I will go in early to work and then come home when Judy goes to an appointment and go back to work when she gets back so someone is in the house when the contractors are here. Wednesday will probably be similar and Lord only knows about the rest of the week.

Of course I do have things that I need to do at work despite being on a break between classes. But at least Bates Motelis on tonight.

So until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

 

 

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The Triumph of Durability: Cal Ripken Jr., Lou Gehrig and the “Unbreakable” Record

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, Sorry but another rerun, this time since baseball is on the horizon one about Cal Ripken Jr and Lou Gehrig. It has been a busy day, we are getting our home ready for contractors who are coming in Monday to replace our floors. We have been waiting a while for this. Our old floors were damaged beyond repair when our water heater blew in early February and flooded the downstairs of our town home. Since then our lives have been somewhat out of kilter and the house in complete disorder. So today we were moving furniture and belongings to our living room from the dining room and kitchen. Tomorrow we will be redoing our library s things from our guest room can be moved there as that floor is replaced with laminate which we had originally bought for the kitchen. In the process we went through kitchen cabinets, drawers and the pantry in the process getting rid of a lot of crap. At least the floors will be done by the end of the week and the painting can begin the following week. By then end of the first week of April most if not all should be done and life can return to normal. Anyway, have a wonderful weekend and if you get a chance go see Muppets Most Wanted, it is worth it.
Peace,
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Moderate:

“Whether your name is (Lou) Gehrig or (Cal) Ripken, (Joe) DiMaggio or (Jackie) Robinson, or that of some youngster who picks up his bat or puts on his glove, you are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best day in and day out. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do.” Cal Ripken Jr. 

Before the Orioles and Yankees began their game tonight the Orioles honored Cal Ripken Jr. on the anniversary of the night in 1995 when he broke the record that most thought would never be broken. On September 6th 1995 Ripken played his 2131st consecutive game, eclipsing the record of the legendary Yankees First Baseman Lou Gehrig. Ripken’s consecutive game streak finally ended and 2632 games on September 20th 1998 when he took himself out before a game against the Yankees.

The record is likely to remain for many years as it…

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Iconic and Heroic: The Fletcher Class Destroyers

padresteve:

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, After a tiring week it is a rerun Friday night. This is an older article about a class of ship that in the darkest days of the Second World War and through the Cold War was a symbol of American might and ingenuity. The Fletcher class destroyers were iconic. When I think of the classic destroyer it is the Fletcher class that comes to mind. The were fast, beautiful and deadly. They helped win the war against Japan in the Pacific and fought in some of the most desperate sea engagements the world has seen. After the war ships of the class served in the US and allied navies for decades, the last , the former USS John C. Rodgers was decommissioned by Mexico in 2001. They were amazing ships manned by heroic sailors.
Have a great night and expect to see more new articles about the Gettysburg campaign in the coming week as I am getting ready for my new class at the Staff College.
Peace
Padre Steve+

Originally posted on Padresteve's World...Musings of a Passionate Moderate:

The USS Fletcher DD-445

If ever a class of warships can define a ship type the destroyers of the Fletcher Class were that. The most numerous of all United States Navy destroyer classes the Navy commissioned 175 of these ships between June 1942 and February 1945.  There were two groupings of ships the 58 round or “high bridge” ships and the 117 square or “low bridged” ships. It was a sound design that would be modified for use in the later Allen M. Sumner and Gearing Class destroyers.  Eleven shipyards produced the ships fast, heavily armed and tough the ships would serve in every theater of the war at sea but would find their greatest fame in the Pacific where many became synonymous with the courage and devotion of their officers and crews.

USS Stevens one of the 6 Fletchers equipped with an aircraft catapult

The ships were a major improvement on previous classes of…

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Miscellaneous Musings on a Wednesday Night

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Well my friends it is another Wednesday night in the season of Lent and all is well at our little household. Since my return from Gettysburg Sunday night I have been in recovery mode. It is amazing how much work went into that trip and when I count in the fact that I had to spring forward over the weekend I have to admit that I was totally exhausted when I got home. I was in bed early last night and for once I got a relatively decent night of sleep in.

At work today I spent time with people, read, and did some reflecting on other Civil War and Gettysburg subjects. I also did some musing on Ethics and the state of it in our military, especially in the senior leadership over the past 15 to 20 years or so.

Both history and ethics matter a great deal to me. I think in our quest to become more efficient that we have forgotten both, and that many of the troubles that we face in this country are because we lack any real appreciation for history, philosophy or ethics. The fact is that they are not disciplines that lead to “job creation,” which is the mantra of so many Politicians, Pundits and Preachers, that Unholy Trinity, that it makes me want to vomit. Last year after he became Governor of North Carolina, the new governor and former “successful businessman” Pat McCrory promised to cut off financial aid for students taking courses not directly related to a “job.”

Of course to him this meant the humanities, history, philosophy, the social sciences and the arts. Not STEM or classes that teach people how to turn widgets, those  are immune because they produce a truly subservient class of people who do not ask questions.

Of course the study and teaching of the subject that McCrory and others want to cut are distinctly related to the preservation of our culture and society so I can see why a businessman like McCrory would so deftly attempt to sweep them aside. They are inconvenient if you are intent on creating a society to create a society of mindless drones who can do jobs but are incapable of any critical thought. So we wonder why at every level of government, private industry and even the church that people behave in ways which defy the norms of a civilized society.

Despite how loud many religious conservatives decry how far we have fallen, they are often complicit in the very things that they decry and condemn. The reason for this? Because they exalt in thought and action the very philosophies that they supposedly stand against. But then they have bought into the hateful philosophy of Ayn Rand and her violent Social Darwinism and are too poorly educated to realize it.

Wow, I think I just chased that rabbit and I have to admit that I digress… sorry.

So anyway, where was I?

Okay I remember, I was writing about what I was doing after the Gettysburg Staff Ride. It has been an interesting few days. I love the fact that there are baseball games on television again. It is a pleasant sensation to look up from a couch, bed or bar to see a baseball game. It will be even better when I am back at Harbor Park in section 102 watching the Norfolk Tides of the International League. Baseball you see is one of the few things that brings peace to my soul. No matter where or what level the sight of that diamond and smell of the freshly cut grass brings peace to my often troubled soul.

Tonight I am watching the Ken Burns Baseball series. I was struck by the comment that men who fail seven out of ten times are heroes. I think that is the case in real life. Most of us are lucky if we hit .250 in the game of life, much less .300. As for me I tend to operate by the grace of God at the Mendoza Line, or .200, just enough to stay in the game.

I have a number of writing projects planned, I am completing an application for a Ph.D. program in Organizational Leadership in which I will be able to combine my academic and professional interests into a multidisciplinary degree program. Unlike a lot of people pursuing a Ph.D. I already am pretty sure about the subject I will pursue for my dissertation. For those that haven’t guessed by what I have written the past few weeks it might have something to do with the Civil War.

So tomorrow at work I will start working on my Ethics class, the Gettysburg Staff Ride and preparations for teaching some other classes.

It is a good life. Have a great night and blessed tomorrow.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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At Gettysburg

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“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls… generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls.” Joshua Chamberlain

Tonight I am getting ready for bed but still anxiously preparing for tomorrow and Sunday as I lead about 25 of our officer students and some of their family members on what is called a “Staff Ride” of the Gettysburg Battlefield. In preparing for this I have taught three classes periods at our school and prepared a lot of my own research and writing.

We drove up today and in the van I was in we were able to talk about aspects of the campaign as well as the Civil War connected to this battle. We also discussed the timeless aspects of leadership and dealing with the complexities of people and organizations.

Since the trip up took longer than usual due to bad weather in Hampton Roads and bad traffic around Washington DC I am not going to write much tonight. That is why I led the article with the comments of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the hero of Little Round Top. For me Gettysburg is as Abraham Lincoln so rightly put it “hallowed ground.” I feel that “mighty presence” that Chamberlain described every time I come here. I am drawn here by the actions of men who I never knew but through books and movies, but men who I feel a deep kinship, something spiritual, something deep, something that abides.

I am honored to teach, and in a sense to pass along a bit of what the men who fought here did to consecrate this ground and to give our nation a “new birth of freedom.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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