My Dad just got an Iphone. Let me repeat that, my father, the technophobe, jut got an Iphone. In fact, he did not want this Iphone, it was a condition of his new job. He is the type of guy who gets scared, not excited, when someone hands him a new piece of technology. I told him I wanted video of him trying to turn it on for the first time, for some good laughs. For an example, this is how my dad types on a keyboard:
The underlying current here is related to all things economy, unemployment and jobs, jobs, jobs. It is remarkable that a company would take a risk on my father. I am glad they did, and he will be a great employee for them, but it is hard to imagine someone as technically unsavy as my Dad around MY office. The fact that he is willing to learn how to use an Iphone is noteworthy, but I know he would rather not. The sad part is that there are usually lots of people who already have these skills. I can bounce between browsers and operating systems like nothing, and most people my age are the same way. older people face a severe disadvantage in this area of work expectations. When my Dad was in his frist job there were not even fax machines, and now those are obsolete.
My father faces an increasingly complex work evironment. There are Iphones, online systems and people expect constact connectivity. TPS reports abound, and if you cannot keep up, you sadly, just get ran over. I know he will do well, but I expect we will continue to see older workers puhed to the margins of the employent picture, unless they are very highly skilled in current technology, there is just too much competition out there.
Ernie Harwell, the "Voice of Summer" passed away last week. For any of my readers from the Detroit area, this was a monumental loss. Ernie had called games for the Tigers for over 40 years on the radio. Three generations of us had grown up listening to him tell us what city the person who caught the foul ball was from. He was, and will forever be a part of this city and state.
When I was younger, we did not have cable TV, so there were not many opportunities to watch the Tigers on TV. I remember the first time I watched a Tigers broadcast, I had no idea who was doing it. To me the Tigers automatically equaled Ernie Harwell. He had all the trademark sayings of a great announcer, and that smooth southern drawl was always easy on the ears. I used to listen to Tigers games on my little Walkman while moving the lawn at my Parents house in New Boston. He had an uncanny ability to paint the picture for you, you could almost smell the beer and peanuts while listening to him call a game.
The amazing thing about Ernie was not his skill in game calling, although that was good enough to get him inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1981, a full 21 years BEFORE he retired. The amazing thing about Harwell was how he handled his life and impending death. He was a man deeply rooted in his faith (He opened every season with a Bible verse), and was not afraid to talk about it, or to tell anyone and everyone that his faith took away all fear of death. When reading a commentary on his life, I saw mentioned by several people that Ernie was one of the few people that they had never heard a bad thing said about. Think about that. How many people do you know like that? Could you say the same about yourself?
It is clear that Ernie was a great man, not by his professional accomplishments or fame, but rather by the way he treated all he came across. There are literally hundreds of stories involving him going out of his way to be nice to fans. As recently as last year you could look up his number in the phone book and call him to have a chat. Yes, a hall of fame announcer known throughout the country has a listed phone number, and actually did not mind if you called or even dropped by.
When I heard him give his farewell address at Comerica Park, I was stunned. Here was a man with inoperable cancer, predicted to have less then 6 months to live and he goes out there and does nothing but thank everyone ELSE. Here is a proud man, proud of his faith, proud of his adopted state but also humble enough to thank God for all the blessings of his life, giving Him credit, and taking none for his own. Below is the video of Ernie saying goodbye:
In the course of my life, if I can be half as generous, kind and humble as Ernie Harwell, well then I will have lived a truly blessed life. RIP Ernie, you are a shining example to all of us of a life well lived.
While on my trip to New Orleans, which I will blog about soon, I was reading a book by Donald Miller. Donald, in his book "Searching for God Knows What" has a chapter where he talks about fearing God. He wraps it up with this summation:
"If you ask me, the way to tell if a person knows God for real is that they will fear him. They won't go around making absurd political assertions and drop God's name like an ace card. It seems like, if you really knew the God who understands the physics of our existence, you would operate a little more cautiously, a little more compassionately, and a little less like you are the center of the universe."
Amen Donald. This is my new life motto, especially after experiencing the mission trip to Houma.
Just a few days ago, I was out for a leisurely run around the neighborhood. I am training to run in the Detroit Half-Marathon in October as a fundraiser for a church mission to Malawi, Africa. Well to be honest, as of late it has been more Not training then training, but this day I decided would be great for a nice short run around a couple of the subs by me, I figured around 2 miles or so. Little did I know that a teenage girl on a bike could be such a safety hazard, if only she came equipped with a cell phone.
So I am jogging down Ann Arbor Trail when up ahead of me appears a young woman on a bike. This is not unusual in my area of Plymouth, because we are right by Hines Park and Downtown Plymouth, so we see lots of bike traffic. Usually I will get off the sidewalk and get on the grass so we can pass without a problem, and that is exactly what I did. It was then that I noticed a cell phone in the hand she was not using to steer the bike. As she got closer, I saw that she was TEXTING as she was biking, what I will now call bexting. She had to keep diverting her attention to the phone so she could see what she was typing. I have seen people texting while at a stop light, but never on a bicycle while riding on a sidewalk.
Crazily enough, as she approached me she diverted all of her attention to the phone, and of course started swerving all over the place. I was a good three feet off the sidewalk into the grass, and she honestly came within a foot of nailing me. I had to jump out of the way as she flew past, lost in some message about where to meet her friends for ice cream or something.
Luckily I survived the bexting incident, but I was wondering if anyone out there has experienced a similar phenomenon?
Everyone should have an unchanging place. A place where time has no hold, where memories can flourish EXACTLY as you remember them. A place where the laughter of childhood resonates through your veins the very moment you arrive. Some people are lucky in that their parent’s home can be this unchanging place, if they have been in the same home for a long time. Even then, it is hard because rooms get painted and bathrooms get remodeled. It is hard to find your unchanging place, especially with the way that modern society chews up places and spits out “new” all the time.
My unchanging place is Jewell Lake National Forest Campground. My family used to camp there for our yearly vacation when I was younger. I did not know at the time, but it was because it was so cheap that we did it, my family being on the south end of middle class at the time. What mattered to me was going fishing with my father, playing on the beach with my brother, running along the paths making up kingdoms to defend all week and coming back to the campsite and having my smiling mother dish me out a big bowl of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. I thrived at Jewell Lake.
I have returned as an adult twice to this place. My Wife and I have gone camping there a couple of times over the past three years. Every time, I get ridiculously giddy as we approach, and of course I have a personal preference for a particular campsite, it was the one we always camped at when I was a child. Jewell Lake is truly an unchanging place.
When I step out of the car, I feel as if I have a truly intimate relationship with the soil. The paths are still all the same. The same berries the Rich and I use to throw at each other grow along the same path between the beach and the boat launch. The water is still pumped by hand, and the sites still have no electricity. I take a big deep breath, slowly let it out, and know that I feel more at home here then even my own home. A sly smile creeps over my face, and I check to make sure we brought the giant can of Dinty Moore.
(Yes, that beautiful picture is at Jewell Lake, which you can enjoy for $15 a night…amazing the treasures we have all around us)