Month: January 2013

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When I was little my mother enlightened me with this wonderful idea called reincarnation, that our lives do not end when we die but that our souls keep on returning to different bodies in an endless cycle of self-improvement.

For a small child this concept is very difficult if not impossible to grasp. For me however it made much more sense than those crazy stories about going to heaven (or even hell mind you) which I'd been learning at church.

If I had to believe in something then it made more sense to believe in a more appealing alternative to death. At the time disappearing into complete darkness and emptiness was not yet a viable option, that would come in later life as a more likely way to go.

So the idea that I'd keep on coming back and being reborn into a new family sounded like an exciting adventure. Sitting up high in the sky and looking down upon the Earth just before my next birth, choosing carefully the next nicest-looking family to be a part of. That young woman down there looks like a nice mother, not quite sure about that man though, will have to take the risk and see what happens. It's the recycling that counts the most, should not wait too long.

Unfortunately part of the deal is that your memory would be wiped clean and you would not be able to recall anything about the previous life. You have to fantasize about having been one of the famous Egyptian Pharaohs, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein or Emperor Charlemagne. Unless you had been someone's pet, a worm, dolphin, chimp or a number of other animals. Or a molecule or a dust particle or part of someone's DNA strand.

A so-called paranormal healer once told me that in my previous life I was some French freedom fighter and had been buried alive under a bunch of rubble after a big earthquake. Her eyes rolled up and she was trembling slightly as if in a trance, as she told me the story like she was witnessing it happen in person, and this is how it continued: while slowly dying I realized that I had a number of important achievements just outside my grasp, that there was still so much more to do in life. That's why I was reincarnated in this life, in order to redeem those lost opportunities and achieve all of that unfinished work, whatever that may be.

Remember that a nasty side-effect of reincarnation is loss of memory. So I could not refute the paranormal healer's discovery, nor could I come up with a more interesting and creative previous life than that as a freedom fighter. Better than being Napoleon or Cleopatra or whoever, that's for sure.

Can a person only get reincarnated into a future time? Is it possible to be reincarnated into the past? What about getting reincarnated back in time to the period between your birth and death? Anything is possible in this crazy world we live in, where an infinite number of intersecting universes and parallel timelines criss-cross all over the place. Watch out for that neutrino shower and better duck for those Higgs particles (they do exist by the way).

Unfortunately we are very limited creatures. Only after an infinite number of rebirths will we ever fully understand the truth and at the same time be able to experience ultimate reality as it was always meant to be.

That seems like yet another insane idea. Maybe it's time to revert back to being a God-fearing churchgoer when life was alot simpler. Dear Lord, I pray that ...

See you in the next life, I mean in heaven (or even in hell mind you). Still would be nice before I finish this life to figure out what all those lost opportunities were in my previous life. That way I could achieve all of that unfinished work, feeling more satisfied on my death bed.

Or could it be that that collection of unfinished work and unredeemed opportunities is carried on automatically into the next life and then the next life after that so on until it is completely redeemed and finished, meaning final closure at last.

Then the cycles would stop and I would achieve absolute harmony. I'd much rather keep dying and being reborn than that, in fact just one life and one final death into complete nothingness would be a million times better than achieving absolute harmony.

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When I look back on my life up to now, I can see that it has progressed through three very distinct and different phases of learning:

  • 0 - 30 years old: I am great at pretty much everything I try and am successful in whatever I do. My goal in life is to be the best at everything (and also believe that I am the best).
  • 30 - 50 years old: I meet failure once in a while, but most of the things I try I still succeed at. My goal in life is to avoid failure as much as possible (and still deny that I might not be the best).
  • 50+ years old: Most of what I try goes wrong one way or the other and only very occasionally am I able to succeed at something. My goal is to carry on the best I can with the balancing act and avoid too much damage, where an occasional success comes as a reward (and accept that I am by far not the best).
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Walking with the devil on a Twisted Road,
Listen to The Dead on the radio,
That old time music used to soothe my soul,
If I ever get home I'm gonna let the good times roll,
Let the good times roll (repeat).

-- Twisted Road, Neil Young

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The more I practice the luckier I get.

I always thought that my hero Ben Hogan was the one who said this, but I guess not.

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This morning I was part of an amazing historical event, namely the longest traffic jams ever in The Netherlands, namely one thousand plus kilometers.

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Maximum speed limit was around 25km/h.

It took me nearly three hours to get to my work, normally a sixty to seventy-five minute drive. For awhile I was wondering if I would ever arrive there, and whether or not it made more sense just to turn around and go back home.

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The view of the countryside helped relax me.

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I was very surprised to receive the following message recently:

I found a 2001 mention of the USS Meade, DD 602, on your blog. I am looking for an appropriate home for pictures showing life on the Meade during WW II.

My dad, Harry J. Greenspan, was a Lt JG who served as assistant Communications officer and then Communications Officer on the Meade from 1943-1945. He was detached after the war ended for TDY in New York City, where he helped put the ship's album together. Dad died in October 2012. Going through his belongings, I found 8"x10" glossy prints and small contact prints for the pictures in the album, as well as some pictures that didn't make it into the album. Is there an appropriate home for these?

Sincerely,
MG

This just goes to show you how mazing it is that such modern technology called the Internet connects us in surprising and unusual ways.

Inspired very much by this message, I've become sentimental again and will re-enable the web page tribute to this fine fighting ship that my father was on during WWII.

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Each day during my commute from my home in Gouda to my work in Amsterdam, I spend anywhere from two to three hours a day sitting in my car. In the beginning it took me awhile to get used to the long haul, but after a while I could take it in stride and relax. Now after more than a year, it is starting to get on my nerves again having to spend so much time locked up behind the wheel, when I can think of better things to do.


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Typically I try to leave the house by 7am, meaning that I (hopefully) arrive at the office around a quarter past eight. At the end of the day, although I'd prefer to get out of the office earlier, there's often a last-minute meeting to attend or an unexpected emergency to tackle. I then cannot leave until after 6pm and (hopefully) get back home around seven-thirty.

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Driving to work in the morning.

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Driving back home in the evening.

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I was very saddened to learn today that an old buddy of mine had passed away last November without me even knowing about it. Here's an old memory that reminds me of the crazy and fun stuff we used to do together.

When we were living together at the SAE fraternity at Stanford, I bet Steve that he wouldn't dare to drive his VW beetle down a steep muddy hill next to the fraternity house. He accepted the challenge, and I sat next to him smoking my pipe as we courageously went over the edge. Unfortunately, half way down the hill, we went into a skid and slid uncontrollably head on into a thick tree, stuck at a forty-five degree angle. Steve shifted into reverse and attempted to back away from this predicament, but that was impossible and a tow truck had to be called. His favorite vehicle was damaged: the gear box burned out and a huge dent in the front fender. I expected Steve to be very angry at me, but he remained perfectly collected, even commenting calmly about how funny it all was. I felt really stupid and guilty about making him pull such a ridiculous stunt, and insisted on paying for the damages. However, being the great guy that Steve always was, he took it all in stride and paid the garage bill himself.

Good-bye old friend, we will all miss you. You got into medical school and I didn't. Now you beat me to the pearly gates, enjoy.

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Today was my first complete eighteen hole round of golf for the new year, and believe it or not I shot a 36+38=74. So far many holes have been closed due to the weather and lousy conditions, but today it was an honor and a privilege that I could finish an official round of eighteen holes.

Three birdies and a near eagle were as sweet as can be. No double bogies either, and I played with the same ball for the whole day.

This is by far the best start of any year, maybe even in my whole life come to think of it. How is this possible? It definitely puts me in good spirits and all of a sudden I enjoy the wonderful game of golf like never before.

Of course, I shouldn't forget that winter rules were in effect meaning I could bump my ball, and the tee boxes were in general more up front making the holes slightly shorter, especially the par threes. Still, because of the wet conditions of the ground the ball rolled much less and more often than not just plugged right where it landed, and the greens were pretty soft and irregular making putting accurately an impossible task.

Hopefully this is a symbolic beginning for a fantastic year ahead with many stellar rounds to come. I will have to practice a lot and time my peak performances to coincide with the most important club championships and other important tournaments.

For the first time I will also qualify for the senior championship since I'm fifty-five and going strong.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2291 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.