Monday, November 23, 2009

R.I.P., Matt

Sadly, Matt passed away the day he was scheduled to come home. He went to sleep and never woke up.

Please pray for the repose of his soul and for his family.

Cal: 34, Stanford: 28

For the first time since 1973, I did not watch the Big Game in the stadium. This year, rather than fight traffic, the cold, and the chance of losing my mother in the crowd, we watched Big Game at Sis#2's house. If the Bears couldn't hear us in Palo Alto, it wasn't for lack of trying. (I'm still hoarse.)

Easy parking. No worries about baby-sitters. Plenty of food and drink. No lines for the bathroom. Great company. And we watched the second half of the Oregon-Arizona game, which went to double-overtime!

And, like most Big Games, the outcome was decided by 7 points.

The only thing I missed was watching the Band perform, including trying to figure out what the Stanford Band--who are not noted for their marching ability--was trying to do. And the card stunts. Those are never shown on TV.

No game this week, but the Bears play the Huskies at Washington on Dec. 6. Seems very strange to have a game after Big Game, but there it is.

Trying to figure out the Bowl Game situation is also confusing. Apparently, Cal is eligible for possibly five Bowl Games, depending on how the Pac-10 standings shake out.

Makes pro football look tame by comparison!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Decision Time

Now is the time to choose if you're blue & gold or cardinal & white. If you're a tree or a bear. Order or chaos.

It's time, Bay Area, to choose a side for the Big Game: Cal or Stanford.

And, oddly enough, people do choose. My local Jay Vee liquor store sports a yellow sign with the blue script "Cal." At H-P, employees are divided. Heck, the guy who sits in front of us during the home games is a retired professor from Stanford, but roots for Cal because that's where he graduated.

Unlike most other years, this Big Game is for more than just Bay Area Bragging rights. Stanford has a real chance to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Cal has a chance to redeem themselves and get a better Bowl bid.

Oh, yeah: the winner gets The Axe. And to decide what the score of the 1982 Big Game (look up "The Play" on YouTube) really is.

Who am I rooting for?

picture taken by me with my Palm Centro(tm) at Cal's Memorial Stadium on November 7. Image of Oski (the Cal mascot) designed by the Cal Rally Committee using cards for card stunts. Yes, the students at radical, socialist, Leftist Cal still do card stunts. The Cal Band betrays its roots by marching in step. The football games open with a color guard formed by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine ROTC units. Code Pink chooses to not protest. Good thing, too. The stadium holds 72,000 people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prayers Requested...

...for Matt and his family. He's a high school friend of DS#1 who has been battling liver disease for most of his life. He received a liver transplant about 12 years ago, but it's failing. He was on the transplant list, but just found out his other organs are now too damaged. So he's coming home, basically to die.

DS#1 saw him the weekend he came up for Aaron's funeral (a group went down to Stanford Hospital to see Matt). Since he's coming home for Thanksgiving, he'll visit with Matt again.

As you can imagine, it's been difficult for Matt, his parents, and his sister. But--damn!--this is the second young man (25-26 years old) in a month within DS#1's circle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You to Veterans

The September after my dad died, I accompanied my mom to a Reunion of my dad's shipmates (the WWII destroyer, U.S.S. Fraser, DD-607). Like many veterans of WWII, my dad didn't talk much about his experiences, so this was my chance to discover more of what made my dad the man he was. He was one of the "babies"--not quite 19 when he was assigned--and he had been somewhat spoiled and pampered before entering the Navy. He was a gunner's mate, in charge of handing up ammunition from the hold to the gun operators. The work was physically hard, especially in the hot, humid climate of the Pacific.

Later, the Fraser did "clean up" in the Philippines and in Japan (specifically in Yokohama) before being decommissioned in the Boston Naval Yard.

The men my dad served with went back home and became farmers or lawyers or businessmen or blue-collar workers like my dad. One returned to his medical practice. They returned to their wives or married and raised families.

The women I met were pretty interesting as well. Long before my generation decided women needed "liberating," these women were working the family farm, managing the family business, raising kids during a time of rationing (two pairs of shoes per person per year!), and generally doing the work necessary to "keep the home fires burning." They are survivors--and are funny, intelligent, and engaged in life and current events. They are also self-effacing, claiming that what they did was unexceptional and boring. They just lived ordinary lives during extraordinary times.

To me, they are every bit the heroes as their husbands and brothers were.

So, to all Veterans, to all Active Military, and to their families: Thank you, especially for your willingness to fight for the ideals of America even when many seem to doubt them.

And, props to Hubs, a Vietnam-Era Marine. Hoo-rah!