Sunday Well Spent


, , ,

In my fantasy, I am drinking French roast coffee made in a French press pot with freshly ground beans. I am eating a butter croissant slathered with butter and fig jam. I am reading the New York Times at a leisurely pace in no hurry to do anything in particular.

In reality, I made the coffee, prepared the croissant, took the papers off the porch, sat in my “comfy chair” (imagine Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition), found the Mississippi John Hurt Delta Blues recordings on YouTube my friend recommended. As I opened the paper, I acknowledged to my innermost self that I have zero (0) interest in reading the paper. I am not going to spend this Sunday, damp, chilly, and rainy though it may be, getting agitated by current events. Why? I have a whole damn week for that. Shortly after Mississippi John Hurt finishes Sliding Delta and Charley Patton does Jesus Is A Dying Bed Maker, I go upstairs, put on starched white shirt, black trousers, hounds’ tooth jacket, black tie, and shiny black shoes. I’m going to Mass.

My soul needs it all. The time with God, sitting with my friend Madeleine, and watching the families together, especially the children. Unbeknownst to me, it is Catholic Schools Week, so the school children process in and sit together in the front pews. The children are wearing their school,uniforms, the boys with white polo shirts with the St Benedict Crest, while the girls wear the grey plaid jumpers. (Is it really 2018, not 1958?) The oft-satirized Drill Instructor Nuns are a thing of the past. The teachers are all lay people.

The Mass ends just as my back can take sitting, kneeling, and genuflecting no longer. Now comes the piece de resistence. We sing the beautiful Alma Redemptoris Mater for the recessional. Father Tony notes my buzz cut with approval when I shake his hand at the door. He gives my noggin a rub, a most friendly and welcome gesture. He is human. Whaddaya know!

Home. Then we take a trip to a pizzeria for white spinach pizza, then back home. Mrs CorC? has work. I take a nap, debating whether I really want to swim today, aching body and all. I go, complete 2500 meters. I’m glad I did. It means that my average is 5 workouts per week, 20 swims in 28 days. The pain is considerably lessened. Thank you, endorphins.

I am especially proud that I watched no sports this Sunday or the whole weekend for that matter. I have had enough. In my head, I hear Dylan Thomas read:

I see the Boys of Summer in their ruin…”

It is over.

Instead I listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing Rogers & Hart songs. Such a voice, such delightful songs. I secretly long for a woman who loves Rogers & Hart and Ella as much as I do. That would be, well, perfect.

Simply perfect.


Saturday Night


I’m sitting in my chair, watching the Ashland Train Webcam from Virtual Railfan LLC. A long freight is moving Northbound, hauling what I think are empty coal cars, but who knows in the dark. Amtrak #97 Southbound Silver Meteor also passed by. Kind of cool to see both.

I had a swim today, 2500 meters (1.55 mi). I went to the grocery store, purchased croissants and Cafe du Monde Coffee With Chicory. I plan to have those as part of my leisurely breakfast as I go through the Sunday New York Times. Sounds kind of cool, but that New York cosmopolitan sophistication is gone, at least for me. Last week’s Entertainment Section had a long article on drag queens. I guess when the great stars of musical theatre, the Ethel Mermans and Carol Channings are dead and gone, the Times is hard-pressed to report on something. Make that anything.

My wife is at work. I am a little unsettled, not knowing what to read, watch on the TEE VEE, or do that is constructive. So I sit, drink my decaf, watch the trains.

All in all, the night noise picked up by the microphone in Ashland is comforting, perfect for a bit of introspection.

Hitting The Reset Button


, ,

Figuratively, of course. I came to the realization that that is precisely what I am doing. Call it belated New Year’s Resolve to Do Things Right For A Change, By Golly!

It’s just that goals and purpose in my life got muddled. The new glasses and the haircut shook me out of my complacency. Add to those look-changers shaving my beard off. That action brought the only near-instantaneous Buyer’s Remorse. Then again the beard grows back pretty quickly.

I just started thinking about all that I do reflexively. For example,Ā  I will do something with the computer without fully clearing out old stuff. It’s like the computer needs a cyber-enema.

So today I got some techs to go over the machine to clear out unnecessary programs and updating drivers , all with the intention of optimizing performance. Any of this activity merely reaffirms that I have not the foggiest of ideas of what I have been doing, am doing now, or will do in the future. Anybody else like this?

That completed, and with face and skull in transition, I decided to began my figurative clean out.

1) What’s Important and Must Be Kept: Sobriety, Faith, and Fitness.

A clear head, free of alcohol and drugs fosters honesty for me.

My Faith opens the door to Love. Not sentimental “niceness”, but not harsh judgmentalism either fall within my concept of Love. Lots of acceptance of people as they are comes with my idea of Love. I must point out when my friends are on the road to self-destruction, but understand that I can’t make them who they aren’t. That either makes sense or is just so much psychobabble.

Fitness is taking caring of my body. Exercise means swimming for me. Long restorative swims work my muscles.

Fitness means eating right and eating well. To that end I bought Ghirardelli 100% Cacao Baking Chocolate, and Nielsen-Massey Vanilla. Luckily I know plenty of Chocolate Sluts. There will be some serious chocolate goodies prepared here.

OK, one of the Techie Types will be calling soon about something.

Here is a pic of Beardless Me. I’m beginning to scare myself


Natty Boh: A Memory



(I do not own the copyright to this image. The folks at Pabst Brewing do. I am not using the image for commercial gain and hope they understand.)

That cartoon image of the one-eyed chap with the handle bar moustache is an image from my childhood. Way back in the 1950’s there was broadcast on local television here in Richmond, a show called Strikes ‘N’ Spares. Its subject was bowling, duckpin bowling. Most of y’all don’t know what duckpin bowling is. The pins are smaller. The ball is smaller, fitting in your hand, about the size of the ball used in bocce. The bowler has three rolls per frame, rather than the two of ten pin.

The show originated from Baltimore, just up Rte 301, I-95. or the railroad tracks, where duckpin was, and still is, popular. The game is loads of fun. It was the first bowling game I played. We played it on Fridays in Freshman Physical Education at Willow Bowl just west of my high school. They came and picked us up on an old school bus, repainted baby blue, from the old school bus yellow. WILLOW BOWL was printed on the side where the old school district legend once was emblazoned.

The sponsor of said show was National Bohemian Beer, known colloquially as Natty Boh. This was a strong, Baltimore-brewed brand, popular in the Richmond market as well as Baltimore. As time ground on, Budweiser, Miller, and, at one point, Schlitz, took away market share from local brands like National Bohemian. The financially weaker local brands disappeared or faded into the background, becoming minor players in the beer market.

To this day, I can sing the National Beer jingle. I’ve pulled the cartoon commercial up on YouTube. Still has that funky naive charm that Fifties commercials possessed. Whether this advertising subtly seduced me into the drinking life, I can’t say. But they did portray beer as an innocent enough beverage.

Back then, we had no admonitions to enjoy beer “responsibly”. In Virginia, the Baptists and Methodists still had enormous cultural sway. They set the tone. Drinking was not cool. There weren’t bars selling hard liquor by the drink till the late 1960’s. A different world it was.


Life Imitating Art


Last night, January 23rd, there was a hockey game in the NHL between the San Jose Sharks and the Winnipeg Jets. Sharks vs Jets, just like in West Side Story. Anybody else notice this?

The Jets won in OT 5-4.




OK. I turned 67 Sunday. We went to brunch at the Henry Clay Inn in Ashland. We had fun. Yesterday my new glasses came in. Today I got a haircut. I look different. I wish I could say more. Only I can’t.



It is one of those nights where the pain is winning. It isn’t horrible, just persistent. The distractions that help, sleeping on my side with a DVD of Seinfeld episodes playing, aren’t working. My back-up plan, sleeping in the other bed listening to Portuguese Fado music, has been put into action. My beautiful angel Mariza is now working her magic. 

Wish me luck,


A Shift In Perspective



Most of you know that I am, through the miracle and magic of YouTube and the Internet, a trainspotter. I sit in my chair and watch the tracks in Ashland, Virginia, just 15 miles or so North of Richmond on the CSX North/South main line.

Well, this morning, the folks at Virtual Railfan LLC, moved the web camera. At first, it was a little disorienting. It took me a while to comprehend the change. Add to that an occasional shift from a view looking South to a view looking North. The camera can also zoom in.

I had gotten used to the way things were, tbe ancien regimeĀ“ of glorious yesterday. We joke about our curmudgeonly resistance to change in Richmond

How many Richmonders does it take to change a light bulb?

Three. One to change the bulb and two to talk about how great the old bulb was.

So what’s the take away from this?  Pespective is critical. Like the movie Rashomon, where the same story is told from different viewpoints, my perception is different from yours. My sons’ autism affects both of them differently and each of us could be seeing the same event completely differently.

I also think about Annette, my deceased butch lesbian cousin. She was loving and lovable, and her take on the world was not my take. At the same time, I could fully appreciate her insights. It is unsettling to see that world views are simultaneously different, distinct and, yet, compatible. At least they can be, if we let them.

The old view.

The new view.


Industry Trade Group Speechmakers



If a Secretary of Agriculture gave a speech to the Iowa Pork Producers Council, touting his Department’s efforts to keep the cost of hog production low and the price of pork high, with exports flowing to a pork hungry world, no one East of Davenport nor West of Des Moines would give a chitlin’.

But when a high visibility industry mogul offers up opinions in Hollywood, California about the state of their industry, an awful lot of people take notice and think that whatever is said is profound. Gimme a break, why don’tcha? Billionaire celebrity/opportunist (and former Obama-shill) Oprah Winfrey makes a speech coming out against sexual harassment. What took you so long, Hollywood celebrities? Just about every female in America with a family to support and or a career to establish has had to deal with sexual harassment and has had to for over a hundred years. This presence of harassment is what gives the outcry resonance. But Hollywood can’t all of a sudden lead the charge against sexual harassment when it more or less perfected the practice. Harvey Weinstein was the benefactor nobody wanted to talk about directly, He made a lot of careers for the people there. Period.

Let’s think of Hollywood and the public relations and advertising industries as the public opinion mongering infrastructure. They are losing their ability to shape public opinion. Oprah Winfrey and her network, magazine, book club and Weight Watchers endorsement make their money by convincing businesses that they can craft opinion. If Oprah likes it, then a bunch of people will buy it, so Oprah, Inc. implies. Yet the internet and communications revolution have delivered, perhaps, a fatal blow. It is analogous to the introduction of the printing press. Five hundred years ago information and opinion suddenly moved beyond the medieval universities and their libraries. Literacy expanded dramatically. The dissemination of new ideas from philosophy to navigation suddenly had much wider audiences.

With every new blog and YouTube post, the old way slips a bit more. And the moguls who think they control things, lose a little bit more. And there will be a day when the world will not only get by without Hollywood or Madison Ave, but also Microsoft and Google and Silicon Valley.


The Golden Globe Awards

Who cares? 

I care less about the Golden Globe Awards than I do about Prince Harry and Meghan.