I just finished the book – The Lonely Man of Faith by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.  This wonderful book examines two separate and quite divergent characterizations of Adam which are set forth in the Old Testament book of  Genesis.  The two Adams are different indeed.

In Genesis 1, Adam I (and Eve) are created in God’s image.  Adam is charged to take dominion over fish, fowl, cattle and all of the earth, to multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it.  

In Genesis 2, Adam II is formed from dust, has life breathed into his nostrils – and is ordered to tend the garden.  Eve was later formed from Adam’s rib.   

I was drawn to this book by David Brooks’ thought-provoking 5 minute “Ted Talk” on the personality differences between “Adam I” and “Adam II”

Brooks does not reference Genesis but he does discuss Soloveitchik’s work.  Brooks offers that Adam I is motivated by his resume virtues.  Adam II is driven by eulogy virtues.  And guess which virtues Brooks finds of superior importance?  

I was unaware of the sharp differences of Adam in Genesis.  Rabbi Soloveitchik’s book – apart from using words which will require a dictionary at hand – is a fascinating and inspirational read.  

Death to the Infidels

I go to the local fitness center a few times a week. When I come home, I often get the question “how was your workout?”  And my response – for the longest time – was “fine.”  And that was it.  

But my workouts vary.  Sometimes it’s a quick in and out.  Other times, I’ll be there for a while – punishing my body.  Grunting and groaning, lumbering and lurching through all manner of cardio, weights, stretches and contortions.  So one day when I got home – and got “the question” – I responded “I did the puppy dog.”  I got the look . . . .  “What’s that?” Donna asked.  “I was only able to work out for 45 minutes.”  “Oh.”  Later that week, I went home and got the question.   “I did the Gorilla.”  Nearly 90 minutes of exercise.  And so it goes.  I have now identified five distinct categories of workout:

The Puppy Dog — A workout of less than 45 minutes

The Regular — An hour

The Gorilla — An hour to an hour and a half

Death to the Infidels — Pushing two hours

Death to the Infidel” workouts are rare but they happen.  However, while on vacation a few weeks ago, I came up with a fifth category:  “Death to the Infidels – al-Shahid [the martyr].”  This is where I try to kill myself working out.  But I don’t succeed . . . .  

It’s all about the Dash. . . .

I read an interview with Julius “Dr. J” Erving.  He was asked the question “What’s the best advice you ever got.  He responded that it was learning one simple lesson:  “It’s all about the dash.”  The “dash” . . . . . 

Dr. J explained that in the cemetery, every tombstone has two numbers:  the year you were born and the year you die.  And there’s a dash in between.  THAT — Dr. J said — is what it’s all about.  “The dash [is everything].  What you’ve done with your life and how you lived it are in that dash.”   At some point, we are all going to have two numbers.  And a dash.

In my post of April 26, 2014, I suggested that it’s better to be a thermostat than a thermometer.  Thermostats take control. Thermostats are on the playing field.  Scoring points.  Making a difference.  Making a dent.  Thermometers sit back and . . . . just tell you the score.   The dash on your tombstone can be a thermometer.  Or a thermostat.  

What’s in your dash?  

Do You Play Golf?

Years ago, when I was a States Attorney, I played golf with 7 other guys. Every Saturday morning for several years.  From April to October – we played at Cog Hill. Number 4. Dubsdread. Reserved tee times.  6:30 a.m. or so depending on sunrise.   Second and third foursomes off the tee — often after Larry Lujack and a group from his radio staff.   

Since I lived in Wilmette, this meant traversing 45 miles to Lemont. Every Saturday morn.  To arrive by 5:45 a.m.  Thus, each Saturday, I was up at 4:00.  Showered, dressed and on the road by 4:30.  

When I left my house, I would not waste time.  If you get my drift.  I gunned the car when I left the driveway and by the time I hit Lake Street, I was doing maybe 50.  In a 30 zone.   Never a soul on the highway.  Except one morning when in the black of night, way back, I saw the flicker of Mars lights moving swiftly in my direction.  #%&X!.  I slowed.  Stopped.  Got out of the car and stood there.  Holding up my license.  A police squadrol ground to a stop and an officer got out.  I was wearing shorts and a golf shirt so I didn’t look like much of a threat.  “Do you know how fast you were going?” he asked as he approached.   I handed him my license.  “Yes sir – I do.  I was going too fast.”  And then I offered “Are you a golfer?”  He looked at me.  “Yeah.  Why?”  I responded “I live back there.”  I turned and pointed.  “Every Saturday morning, I play golf at Cog Hill in Lemont.  We tee off in about an hour.  And I confess that I sometimes go faster than I should when I leave the house.”  

The officer looked at me.  Chewing on my comment.   “Well most Saturdays, I’m sitting right back [he turned and pointed] there. Keeping an eye on things.  Do me a favor.  Go the speed limit from now on.”  And he handed me back my license.  “Hit ’em straight” he said.  And walked back to his cruiser.  

Maybe it’s Just Me. . . .

I am diligent about conserving water.  Turning off light switches.  Turning off the car rather than wasting gas – or polluting the environment.  Recycling.  I promote my registered trademark – JUST TURN IT OFF® – whenever and wherever I can.  I’ve often posted on the subject of conservation.  If you want to see what rankles me, see April 10, 2016.  

But I continue to be a skeptic on “global warming” though I tend to agree with the notion of climate change (they are different).  Global warming is a political issue more than a scientific one.  It’s not a scientific law.  Not a theory.  Not even a hypothesis.  It is a consensus.  Of some people.   There are scientists and respectable folks on both sides of the issue.  But the “believers” want to silence those who ask questions.  They want to squelch discussion.  Ever notice that those who raise questions about global warming are put down?  Vilified?  Try discussing the subject among those who have drunk the Kool Aid (“Eeek!  He’s asking questions!”)?  Great.  That’s really productive.    I do wish discussion on this topic would be allowed.  Since discussion, diagnosis and then consensus may be more productive than taking a grand and uneducated leap of faith.  Into the void.