Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day & other Musings

Father’s Day

For all you father’s out there…this is your day. I hope it finds you doing whatever it is you enjoy the most be it sleeping in, attending church, out for a walk, watching a ball game, visiting with family, having a cold one, etc. Our family already covered several of those last night when we attended the San Luis Blues semi-pro game here in San Luis Obispo, CA. My wife Cindy, daughter Caley, two sons Joe and Josh, daughter-in-law Chrystie, foster grandson Noah (and most of Noah’ minor league championship team) were all there. It is more the hanging out with family and friends, yakking away and having a couple of Nathan's hot dogs and Sierra Nevada beers that makes it worth while. After all, this is not my Dodgers or Lakers playing so the game didn’t always get a lot of attention. Somewhere during the evening the home team Blues did win. Our visit this evening was complements of Digital West Networks where both my sons have been employed as technical gurus. Joe is still there while Josh is now an independent consultant (

I love all you guys.

Earlier today I called my Dad to wish him a happy father’s day. I was glad he sounded a bit more upbeat despite the challenges that age inevitably brings to him, my mother and my siblings and I. No, not everything has always been storybook in our family but you have to try and look past the potholes on the road of life and keep moving forward. We need to take one day at a time as life is too short and you just never know when that last day will arrive. Love you Dad and Mom.

My Daughter Caley (kay-lee) is turning sweet 16 today. I did say sweet did I not? What a beautiful young lady she has become. After raising two boys, I find my biggest challenge as a father is now having a daughter that is developing other male interests besides me. I have fought and resisted and don’t always like having the competition. Going out with Dad (and Mom) seems to have slipped in the rankings a bit. Oh well, no matter as I still love ya!

Tim Russert

I was reminded of my own mortality this week with the tragic loss of my peer Tim Russert. Together with father’s day, that is probably one reason I am being a bit reflective. In the thick of this political season Tim has always been the trusted source for getting information out of politicians and allowing me to make informed decisions. Although widely respected, a few critics have shown their faces on the blog scene and been critical because Tim was not the political pundit, shock jock or far right or left leaning commentator with an agenda aimed at spoon feeding them with preconceived answers to questions. Instead, Tim challenged both the interviewee and the audience to think, to do research and to come up with educated conclusions of their own. Most of us understand that to be the case but there are still too many folks out there accustomed to letting someone else do all their thinking. It was a bittersweet Sunday morning on Meet the Press with Tom Brokaw sitting in for his suddenly deceased friend and colleague. Many of the familiar faces that have surrounded Tim Russert over the years were there to share moments of the past and to reminisce. One of my favorites is always presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. I recently finished reading her epic Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and I always appreciate the insight and historical perspective that she brings to the table. Like Big Trouble by Tony Lukas, Team of Rivals is a big read and requires some perseverance. Tim Russert certainly seemed to possess that magnanimity in life for which Lincoln was so well known and that we find all too absent from the human landscape today…particularly among our politicians. You will be missed Tim. We celebrate your fatherhood today too.

Always the Historical Note
Lincoln and Steunenberg

While on the subject of Lincoln, I will mention that Teddy Roosevelt wrote a brief introduction to a memorial on Governor Frank Steunenberg in which he said, “That man himself belongs to that type which found its highest expression in Abraham Lincoln…He was emphatically a man of the people” (From Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas).

As someone with a great interest in Lincoln and my great grandfather Governor Steunenberg, I was certainly taken by the comparison and must admit drawing a few of my own during the course of various readings. No, Governor Steunenberg would never reach the national and international stature of a Lincoln but similar views were often expressed about the two men in terms of appearance, dress, upbringing and appeal to their constituents. Frank Steunenberg was a man of the people, simple, unassuming, approachable and facing the challenge of his own civil war in the Coeur d’Alene’s. Lincoln and Steunenberg had to make unpopular decisions to quell insurrections, made enemies in the process and it cost both their lives at the hands of assassins.

By the way, it looks like old Abe may be moving over to the Capitol near Frank. They both need a bit of company and will be able to chat about the Civil War and the Coeur d'Alene. Check it out at:

Plans under way to move Lincoln statue to Idaho Capitol

Picture of Lincoln courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Art Gallery. Com

Old Hippie

On a brighter but still somewhat historical note, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my all time favorite old rock groups this past week…Crosby, Stills and Nash. They were playing right here in SLO County at Avila Beach. A nostalgic flash back to the 60’s/70’s, still hitting the harmonies and singing against the war but it is now Iraq instead of Vietnam. A beautiful evening was had by all with a lot of money raised for a good cause (Options Family of Services: I first saw CS&N some 38+ years ago in Los Angeles. I was struck by the scene at this outdoor venue with smoke rising over the crowd from the barbecues in contrast to the thick and more pungent scent of 38+ years ago. Of course, just like former President Clinton, I never inhaled..right? Where’s Russert when you need him.

Almost Cut My Hair--CSN, Avila Beach, CA, June 10th, 2008. Found this on You Tube. Video is not very good but audio is decent. We were just in front of where this was taken from. David Crosby can still belt it out pretty good. By the way, I've cut my hair and it has thinned a bit too but not nearly as much as David's.

NBA Update

And finally...and painful as it is...NBA Championship Update: The Celtics have my Lakers on the ropes down 3-1 in a best of seven series. I will be glued to the TV set and hoping that they can begin a comeback with a win in tonight’s game. No team has ever come back to win in the championship series when down 3-1 but I have been around long enough to see a few never say never moments come true. Remember Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers and his home run in the 1988 World Series?

Sunday Night News Flash: Lakers beat Celtics to take the series back to Boston. All the "kids" came over to hang out for the evening while we watched the game, had some food and kept the yakking going.

More Bookworms

After Doris Kearns' Team of Rivals, I have taken on a much lighter read but still one written by Doris. Wait Till Next Year is her recollections and stories about life in New York and it centers around her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950's. Of course they became my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1950's/1960's and I was always fascinated by their Brooklyn history and the remaining players and coaches that bridged the gap between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. I still have a few Jackie Robinson, Gill Hodges, Johnny Podres and Carl Furillo cards along with those of up and comers like Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.

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