Friday, June 24, 2022

KIPLING'S "IF"

 POEM: RUDYARD KIPLING’S “IF”

If—

Rudyard Kipling - 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Pascal's Wager and Mine


From online material from the Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Pascal's wager, practical argument for belief in God formulated by French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. In his Pensées (1657-58), Pascal applied elements of game theory to show that belief in the Christian religion is rational. He argued that people can choose to believe in God or can choose to not believe in God, and that God either exists or he does not."  

Pascal goes on to argue that the benefits of the belief outweigh the disadvantages, whether or not God exists, so one should believe.


My wager is similar:

If there is a Heaven, then my precious Tina will be there, and perhaps I will be able to join her. That's Possibility One.

Perhaps there is no Heaven, or even if there is, I may be rejected. Either way, I will not be reunited with her. That's Possibility Two.

Each has some probability of being true, though we don't know what it is. 

The probabilities times the rewards are the expected values.

I don't choose to believe because that is the only way I might be saved, however, I simply choose to believe that there are these two possibilities, and I hope the good one will occur.

This resembles quantum mechanics, where only the act of doing (e.g., measuring) brings the hidden state into being.

I'll know. Someday. 

 


Saturday, May 28, 2022

"A World of Our Own" by Tom Springfield (1965)

 Close the door, light the light

We're stayin' home tonight
Far away from the bustle and the bright city lights
Let them all fade away, just leave us alone
And we'll live in a world of our own

We'll build a world of our own that no one else can share
All our sorrows we'll leave far behind us there
And I know you will find there'll be peace of mind
When we live in a world of our own

Oh, my love, oh my love, I've cried for you so much
Lonely nights without sleeping while I longed for your touch
Now your lips can't evade the heartache I've known
Come with me to a world of our own

We'll build a world of our own that no one else can share
All our sorrows we'll leave far behind us there
And I know you will find there'll be peace of mind
When we live in a world of our own

We'll build a world of our own that no one else can share
All our sorrows we'll leave far behind us there
And I know you will find there'll be peace of mind
When we live in a world of our own

And I know you will find there'll be peace of mind
When we live in a world of our own

I listened to this frequently after my June 1964 separation from college sweetheart, Tina Su, eventually Tina Su Cooper.

Friday, May 27, 2022

IN MEMORIAM: ROBERT F. STARBUCK, USMC

  

Robert F. Starbuck died a hero in Vietnam on February 4, 1967.  Only 25, he was a sergeant of an elite RECON Marine detachment holding a hill against overwhelming odds.  He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery.

 

Bob and I were football teammates, high school classmates, and friends. He was very likable and decent.  His death must have been shattering for his family. When I learned, much later than 1967, of his death, I pondered what I could do in his memory. Moving back to Walden, I found that our high school, Valley Central, held an annual awards ceremony for members of the athletic teams. I established the Robert F. Starbuck Captain’s Award in his honor, going each year to the captain of the football team, in recognition of Bob’s leadership, courage, strength, and service to our country.

The story of Bob’s last battle is one of those in the book, Honor the Warrior: The United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, by William L. Myers, published in 2000. Mr. Myers dedicates his book to the nearly 15,000 members of the U.S. Marine Corps who died in Viet Nam. His dedication includes this excerpt from a poem by Laurence Binyon:

 

            But they shall not grow old

            As we who are left grow old.

            Age will not weary them nor the years condemn,

            But at the going down of the sun and in the morning

            We will remember them.

 

We do remember.

 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

TOGETHER FOREVER?

Nearly every day through our 37-year marriage, I reminded my beloved Tina Su Cooper,

"Sweetie Ting, I love you: 

Every cell, every second,

Every molecule, every moment,

Every itty-bitty bit, every instant,

Now and forever."

Not quite poetry, but Tina and both I liked it.

"Now and forever" meant together forever.


Tina has died (4/25/22) and is interred next to our shared tombstone, which has engraved on it, "Together Forever." I have been giving that sentiment a bit more thought.

If there is a Heaven, she is there now, and I hope to be there someday. That will handle "together forever" nicely, though waiting will be hard.

If there is no Heaven, then we will be side-by-side in our graves, together in that way.

Meanwhile, I choose to view us as still married, to keep my wedding ring on my left hand, to do nothing I would not do were she here now. We are metaphorically still married, together in that way. Much as I miss Tina, this comforts me. 

A promise kept forever is the most precious of vows. 



Sunday, May 22, 2022

NOTES FOR MY EULOGY FOR TINA SU COOPER, 05.03.22

 FAMILY AND FRIENDS, THANKS FOR COMING.

“WORK IS LOVE MADE REAL.”

 

[COUGH]

FEBRUARY 2004 – TINA CHOKED, INHALED, INFECTED, AMBULANCE

MY DELAYED ARRIVAL AND COUNTERMANDING HER ORDERS

COMA FOR A WEEK

QUADRIPLEGIA, VENTILATOR, SPEECHLESS

EVENTUALLY: I DID THE RIGHT THING; SHE WANTS TO LIVE

100 DAYS IN THE ER

HOME OR HOSPICE, ONLY MONTHS TO LIVE

CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER?

 

TAKING OVER FROM NURSING SERVICE FOR 17 YEARS:

TERRY BUSH, DIANE BEGGIN, VERLEEN LEWIS, DORI OSKAM, MARY WILKINSON, AUDREY POTTINGER, KATE MURPHY, HEATHER GEIB, JACKIE OAKLEY, ANGELA MULLINGS, DENISE BINNS, ABBY BOPELA, KATHY KARPIAK, STEPHANIE KAUFMAN, BOBBIE RIEMER, KELLI RAMSEY, SONIA RICKS, MELISSA VARIANO, GLORIA WOOD, CASEY PARTRIDGE, BARBARA GEORGE, TARA O’BRYAN

SEVENTEEN YEARS OF “EXTRA” LIFE.

 

WHO IS TINA SU COOPER?

KUNMING, CHINA, WW II, 4/3/44

2ND DAUGHTER TO DR. AND MRS. SU

MIT, CHIAO FAMILY

ALLIED PETROCHEMICAL FACTORY

1946 TO AMERICA

PROF. SU @ UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

“IRENE AND GENE AND TINA IN BETWEEN.”

ROCHESTER-HENRIETTA HS.

          VALEDICTORIAN, CLASS PRESIDENT, YEARBOOK EDITOR

CORNELL UNIVERSITY, AB 1966 W/DISTINCTION

          PRE-MED TO ASIAN STUDIES (CAT KILLED HER MD CAREER?)

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, MS 1968, EARNED DOCTORAL CANDIDACY

          ASIAN STUDIES

          MRS. INSTEAD: MARRIED DR. KWEN-SHENG CHIANG

 

CHICAGO: EDITORIAL STAFF, ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA

          THEODORE CHIANG, 1973

          PHILIP CHIANG, 1981

          MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS PARALYSIS / DIAGNOSIS

STRESSFUL MARRIAGE OF A TRADITIONAL CHINESE PROFESSIONAL MAN AND A MODERN, INDEPENDENT ASIAN-AMERICAN WOMAN.

MY 1983 BUSINESS TRIP TO CHICAGO AND CALL. STILL LOVE HER.

“NOTHING HAS CHANGED FOR ME IN TWENTY YEARS.”

MEETING. ALL I EVER WANTED IN A WOMAN.

M.S. REVEALED: USUALLY MILD, SOME SEVERE.

MY SLEEPLESS NIGHT: CAN I HANDLE THIS IF NEEDED?

“WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

“YES, YES, YES!”

 

FIRST:  TEN EASY YEARS OF BLISS.

NEXT: TEN VERY HAPPY YEARS WITH PARAPLEGIA AND HELP.

THEN: 17 YRS QUADRIPLEGIA, VENTILATOR, HOME NURSING CARE (IBM).

 

TINA’S AND MY THANKS TO IBM AND THE NURSES AND DOCTORS.

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR ALL OUR 37 YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND THE 17 EXTRA YEARS AFTER THE “HOSPICE” ADVICE.

 

WITHOUT TINA, WE WOULD NOT KNOW TED, PHIL, LISA, AND LEO

 

TINA’S DEPARTURE LEAVES A HOLE IN OUR LIVES.

 

POET ROBERT FROST WROTE ABOUT WHAT EVE GAVE TO THE GARDEN OF EDEN (SEE THE MEMORIAL CARD):

“NEVER AGAIN WOULD BIRDS’ SONG BE THE SAME.

AND TO DO THAT TO BIRDS IS WHY SHE CAME.”

 

FOR US, TINA CHANGED SO MUCH, TOO.

 

NEVER AGAIN WILL OUR LIVES BE THE SAME.

OUR LOSS IS HEAVEN’S GAIN.