Thursday, September 27, 2018

Profile In Courage

I repeat this post from 4 years ago in honor of Stuart Scott who sadly passed on Sunday morning Jan. 4, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. While cancer may have ended Stuart Scott's life too soon, his courage, faith, and strength makes him the winner. Cancer could never take those courageous qualities from him and in my eyes that means he defeated the cancer.

May Stuart Scott rest in peace and may God ease the pain for his family and friends.

July 18, 2014: Profile in Courage:

RIP: Stuart Scott - Profile in Courage

Stuart Scott, long time sports anchor on ESPN's Sports Center, was discovered to have a malignancy after a surgery in November of 2007.  He had another surgery to remove cancerous tissue and had chemotherapy, but he still returned to the airwaves, just a month later.  Stuart Scott continued his fight as it was revealed in 2011 that he was again battling cancer.  "The cancer entered remission in early 2012, but was again diagnosed with cancer on Jan 14, 2013".

This man, showing no self pity, has been valiantly fighting cancer ever since.  "Scott was honored at the ESPYS last night [Wednesday] July 16, 2014 with the Jimmy V award for his ongoing, inspirational fight against cancer."

In accepting the award, this brave man said that he had four surgeries in seven days in the week prior to his appearance at the ESPY's  because of  liver complications and kidney failures.  Talk about courage, oh my God.  May the Lord bless this man and be right along side of  him in his continuing battle against cancer.

Here is the moving, emotional video of Stuart Scott in his acceptance speech at the ESPY awards on Wednesday night.  If this doesn't bring many tears to your eyes, you are not human.

Stuart Scott is a profile in courage.  Stuart Scott is a tremendous role model who is an inspiration to millions of people.  God Bless Stuart Scott.

On a personal note, I would like to say, both of my parents Reenie and Pop, died from complications of cancer in their mid-80's.  My parents were also, tremendous profiles in courage.  Both Reenie and Pop battled valiantly, never giving up, and never once showing any ounce of self pity, but instead acknowledging the great blessings of their life.  Cancer is evil, and I can say my parents defeated it as they never gave into it.  My parents are my heroes.  While they might not be in this world, they are always still with Sandy, Susan, Brad and me.  Too bad cancer-you lost!

As Stuart Scott so eloquently said, "when you die, that does not mean you lost to cancer. You beat it by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live."

I want to say that not just Stuart Scott, and my parents, but all those now who are fighting valiantly and living their lives beating cancer as they are not giving in and they continue to fight, are all my heroes.  Each and everyone of you are all profiles in courage.  This blog honors you all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jean Sibelius Stirring Finlandia

As I was doing my morning walk on Saturday in H-Town [from March 6, 2016] I was listening to my local classical radio station, KUHA 91.7 FM.  They played the great stirring Finlandia by the Finnish, Jean Sibelius.  
Jean Sibelius [1865 - 1957]
The host gave some very interesting history of the piece I did not know and it put the rather ominous, dark opening of the piece in perspective.  Russia [the Russian Empire in 1899 at the time of the composition by Sibelius] censored any outward showing of pride in Finland.  So, the opening, many think, was  a music code as a protest against this censorship by Russia. 

Because Sibelius wanted to disguise from Russia that this piece was actually the ultimate in pride for his Finland, he couldn't, at first, name the piece Finlandia.  So, the first name of this emotional piece was "Happy Feelings At the Awakening of Spring". 

Please turn up the volume, put in full screen, and listen to this beautiful epic patriotic piece from Jean Sibelius for his beloved Finland. 

Jean Sibelius:  Finlandia:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Why It Might Be An Advantage to Have The Second Best Record in The AL

This post I first published 2 months ago on July 24, 2018 is even more relevant because since I wrote this post the Oakland A's in the AL West have played great baseball, having the best record in MLB these last couple of months.  That means there are four super teams in the American League led by the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and now the Oakland A's.  If Houston wins the West, by virtue of finishing behind the Boston Red Sox, the Astros will not have to face the Wild Card winner [between the Yankees and the A's] but the Red Sox will [because they will have the best record in the AL].  That means if the Astros can beat the Indians in the ALDS, they will only have to face one of the other 3 best teams in the AL, while the Red Sox will have to face two of those other best teams back to back.  

That is why I repeat this post from July 24 and propose the following thesis =>

Why It Might Be An Advantage To Have The Second Best Record In The American League:

Full disclosure:  I am a 100% full-throated Houston Astros fan who is proud of the Astros winning the World Series Championship in 2017 and who wants them to repeat in 2018. Also, I would love for the Houston Astros to have the best record in, not just the American League, but in all of baseball to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

A million people in downtown Houston during Astros 2017 championship parade
While I would love for the Astros to have the best record in the American League going into the playoffs, a case can be made why it would be advantageous to have the second best record in the AL [and baseball].

There are many great teams in the American League and I don't want to slight any team, but it seems like, so far, the three best teams are the Boston Red Sox, the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees.  It would be very demanding for one of those teams to beat the other two, back to back, to make the World Series.  The Wild Card winner would almost certainly have to do that.  And who else would probably have to do that?  That would be the team with the best record in the American League.

Check out this official playoff format for MLB: [since MLB went to a second Wild Card team in 2012] "under the expanded wild card format the winner of the one-game wild card playoff faces the top-seeded divisional champion in the Division Series, regardless of whether the two teams are in the same division, while the second- and third-seeded divisional champions play each other in the other Division Series."

So, for example, if the Boston Red Sox had the best record in the American League, then that would mean automatically that the New York Yankees would be a Wild Card team playing a one game playoff.  If the Yankees were to win the Wild Card game, the Red Sox would have to face them in a tense 5 game series and not the Astros having to face them [and that would be true even if the Yankees also had a better record than the Astros].  That would mean the Houston Astros, by not having the best record in the AL could avoid playing the Yankees and the Red Sox back to back and at most they would only have to face one of them in the ALCS, and if somehow the Wild Card winner [let's say the Yankees] were to upset the Red Sox in a best of five series, then the Astros [provided they ended up with the second best record] would still have home field advantage in that Championship best of  7 series.  If the Red Sox were to beat their rival Yankees, they would then immediately have to play the Astros with, yes home field advantage, but in a 7 game series.  That certainly would be a big mountain for the Astros to overcome, but possibly not as hard as if they had to face the Yankees and then the Red Sox back to back [even though they would have home field advantage].

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Happy Birthday To Two Great Americans!

On this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, I say:

Happy Birthday, Sheralyn!
I love you, Sheralyn!
Sheralyn, the fetching Mrs. B., is my love, my wife.  God has blessed me with such a wonderful wife, without who I would be lost in this world.  I did this post on her, "A Strong Black Woman"  and also this tribute for her and Jermaine, the son she lost May 25, 2013: "Tribute to a special child.""Tribute To A Special Child"

I love you , Sheralyn!  I don't know what I have done to deserve such a wonderful blessing.

Happy Birthday, Duane! 
Big Duane
Duane Patterson, is the producer of the Hugh Hewitt radio show, that is, the way Hugh tells it, if he only had a producer.   "Duane Patterson's New Life Journey" is a tribute to this courageous Christian man battling and defeating cancer.  As I stated in the post, cancer picked the wrong dude to mess with.  There is no doubt in my mind that Duane, with prayers to God and the wisdom God gave to Duane's  wonderful doctors in Germany and in this country, will completely defeat this cancer and will for decades will be the producer of the Hugh Hewitt Show.  

UPDATE From Sept. 2017: More than 5 years later [now in 2018, 6 years later], Duane has finished his treatment and the latest test results from his recent PET CT scan shows that Duane is virtually cancer free!  Thank you, Lord. 

I believe it is okay to say that Duane is celebrating the big 52.  Oh, and if you are wondering what birthday my wife is you think I'm crazy?  :-) 

So, these two great Americans don't just share the same birth date, but also a strong unwavering Christian faith who have battled the road blocks in life with a self reliant, strong willed fervor.  

Because of their courage, their faith, and their patriotism, both my wife Sheralyn and my friend, Duane Patterson, are truly heroes of mine.

On this 23rd of September, I wish my wife Sheralyn and my friend Duane Patterson a very Happy Birthday and many more!  Sheralyn and Duane, have a great blessed day on this, your day. 


Happy Birthday Sheralyn!

Happy Birthday Duane!