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rain does not make a lot of sense.

it rarely comes when we need it. and, it’s almost always certain to appear when most inconvenient.

that makes rain rather like surprises.

and, change.

I hate rain. and, naturally, I love rain.

rain is bad. rain is good.

I prefer to run in the rain; a down pour, please.

that might be where pain meets ecstasy.

perhaps rain, like most things, is what we make of it.

so, I’m listening to U2 and Running to Stand Still.

me? I’m running to the light.

peace be to my brothers and sisters.

brian patrick cork

This post is more about a historical footnote, of sorts. And, me showing off with corollary thinking.

Recent headlines state: Michael Vick leads Pro Bowl voting 1½ years after he was released from prison.

And, I predicted this.

Just to prove it, I’ll recommend you read my post from last season: i pick Vick – and Macbeth. That got a lot of attention. And, it was loads of fun to research and compose.

Don’t bother defying or debating me. I’ve reached a higher-plane.

According to my sources (and, those are better than yours because they come from “they”), the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback had over seven hundred and twenty nine fan votes as of last Wednesday – nearly forty thousand more than second-place Peyton Manning. Vick is going to be on a Wheaties box, soon. Manning had topped the balloting the previous two weeks before being surpassed by Vick. Actually Vick blew by him like he does most defenses – and, other people’s opinions.

It’s the latest evidence that many fans appear willing to forgive Vick for the vicious dogfighting operation (run by his white-trash family) that sent him to prison for eighteen months months as they embrace his stunning return to NFL stardom. A backup to start the season, Vick has led the Philadelphia Eagles to first place in the NFC East. along the way he’s accounted for twenty one touchdowns and throwing just two interceptions.

Just for perspective, other voting leaders include: Manning, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Online Pro Bowl voting ends Dec. 20th. The teams are picked by a combination of fans’, players’ and coaches’ votes.

I care less now about what Vick did. The worse mistake anyone can make is the one they repeat. And, I’m looking for Vick to finish well.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Do a happiness audit.  Do it!

Write down a list of all the things that you do during the course of a week and put them in categories according to the level of Joy they cause in your life.

That, I suspect (well, actually know), will make you part of the solution.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Today I’ll give you a break from my opinions political and economic, and just allow you some insight into where my head is from a personal and fitness level.

(proper) Futbol is done for the Fall season (http://shockers.wordpress.com/). And, as I navigate a recent betrayal from an erstwhile friend (who was an important part of all that) and reorganize my thinking around my passion for “the beautiful game”, I’ll have some fun writing, the holidays, and focusing on my youngest daughter with some road trips (pretty dresses, carriages, Broadway and FAO Schwartz, here we come!).

Meanwhile, at the tender age of fifty (just stop, if only for a moment, and ponder that entendre), I like it when people tell me I look great, and ask how I stay so fit.

I still have my “wheels”, I can do more push ups and pull ups than most human beings, and I manage quite well on an unusually low number of sleep hours.

There was quite a media furor when the news got out that I had issues with my achilles tendons. But, that’s passed and I’m feeling more like myself, now.

Lacrosse beckons – and, with it a keen desire to get out there and put some recent college graduates and defenders on their collective backsides.

What you don’t know is that I am too old for a sports injury to be a status symbol or anything other than a dent in the armor that is failing. But, the key to my long-term fitness strategy is to maintain a rigorous, albeit smart fitness routine with a balanced nutritional plan. I’ve recently stopped thinking about trying out for the Falcons as a walk-on Quarterback (and, I’ll not likely pursue medical school with an eye towards being a surgeon). But, I will follow through with ending up at a university teaching future entrepreneurs, compete again in a Ironman Triathlon, and look to scale a few hazardous mountain peaks.

It’s my life. And, I’ll live it.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I had this thought recently: “I could easily beat up T. S. Eliot.  He was sort of an effete, elitist, fragile weenie”.

I actually meant it.

So… I’m building off a very similar post I built late last week.

I’m a socially awkward person, and this blog helps me. I almost lost it. but, I was okay. I am somehow still connected to all of you. And, I’m a better man for it.

And, I’m grateful for so much in my life. Especially for the events surrounding, and relative to last Monday night. Only God knows.

Meanwhile, my brother Greg recently reminded me there exists a certain poem.

Have you ever read the The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock?  It’s a classic and wildly complicated poem – a meditation on aging and the aching disappointment of being human (especially male and human) – by T. S. Eliot, arguably the greatest literary observer of the first half of the (or maybe of the whole) 20th Century.

I don’t particularly have an issue with being fifty (50). I do have an issue with the human race, apparently.

I am familiar with the poem. And, it’s quite a bit about being authentic, or living the authentic life, says, or interprets, I.

Isn’t there something in it relevant to Kipling?

All men, and the women whom love them, should go find that book. Do it!

I do have many regrets. But, I’m not ready to be weary. I understand the messaging around decay, but I take that more along the lines of the moral, as opposed to temporal. There is no sense of emasculation or sexual frustration. And, I’m convinced my own immortality will have me long thumping my chest at the redoubtable Mr. Eliot (thusly, I never have an issue with speaking my mind). I’m also skeptical of anything that speaks to multiple personalities. I am who I am. And, I’m simply a dark-minded man with a willingness, if not a penchant, to put on the air of bravado.

I like the way the poem is formed though. If memory serves there are references to other literary targets (Dante, Pope Boniface VIII, Ulysses,  to name just a few of the more interesting). So, if nothing else, it’s fun by association.

Go read it. Do it!  Will the mermaids sing to you?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

Last week, I recalled that, during my many visits to the desert (you’ll ask: “metaphorically speaking?” I’ll respond: “does it really matter?”), I met a wise man named Buck O’Neil – a prophet, if you will – and, asked him the secret to a long, successful life.

“Good genes,” was all he said, at first.

Buck left us all behind October 6, 2006 – the day before my birthday, just like Dad. There is a rhythm and pattern to life with that. But, we’ll discuss it some other time.

His hair was white and his face was mahogany, calling pleasantly to mind a pint of Guinness. “I’m ninety-years old,” he continued, then pressed his fingertips to unlined cheeks, which shone like polished apples.

“Good black don’t crack”, he mused (I’m not sure he actually mused, but that word works, here).

With that, I was fully prepared to move on, and thanked him. In fact, I was already rising halfway from my seat, like a bluffing panelist on To Tell the Truth, when he said softly: “There is one other thing.”

So, I settled back, curious, I might add, and he said:

“I never fill my stomach. My mother was a great cook, but my father told me, ‘She’s only filling your stomach so another woman never gets to. She’s just trying to hold on to you.’ Ever since, I can eat more, but I never do.”

Look… The stories around Buck are countless. Many of them will bring a tear to your eye. Others will make you slap your thigh with joy in preparation of laughter. He was a black man, and it never mattered to him, even though it did to everyone else. But, everyone respected and loved Buck (Note: That might be a vital difference between men like Buck and Barack Obama. By the way, did you know that  Obama high-tailed it to Asia, pouting over his loss of the House Tuesday? Other than a vital need to drive home a point, here, I’m loathe to include Buck in the same story as Obama. But, the only real difference Obama will make in our lives is he must now change his plans to stay in power).

Let other, more articulate folks tell those stories. Especially those that lived them alongside Buck. I never had that privilege. But, I try to learn from men like him, every day, and any way.

Part of that is my on-going efforts to live the Authentic Life. And, that includes having a life well-lived, and worth remembering by those I’ve lived amongst.

So… What, then, is the secret to a life well-lived?

Here was another hint. “Don’t hate another human being,” said O’Neil, whose father was the son of a slave. “Hate cancer. Cancer took my mother, took my wife four years ago. Hate what happened on September 11. But don’t hate another human being. God made man.”

…oh wow.

I did, in fact, find myself thinking: But God made men who denied you, at various times, a toilet, a hotel room, an education, a living, your very humanity. And, of course, I voiced those thoughts, because that’s what I do (“oh really?[!]”, you exclaim. “Brian has opinions he foists on people?”).

“My parents always told me most people are good,” continued O’Neil. “Even when I was young, (Note: he lived his early days in Carrabelle, Florida), most people were good. The thing was, good people sometimes let the bad people have their way. But who wrapped their arms around Jackie Robinson in his time of need? Pee Wee Reese of Louisville, Kentucky, did. The commissioner of baseball in 1947 [Happy Chandler] was a man from Kentucky.”

With this, his left hand grabbed my forearm, and his right fist rapped his own breastbone as if it were a door.

“It comes from in here,” said he. “Doing the right thing. It takes somebody to change something. My grandfather was a slave. And God saw it wasn’t right, so he sent Abraham Lincoln. And Abraham Lincoln joined hands with Frederick Douglass, who joined hands with Sojourner Truth, who joined hands with Harriet Tubman – and, so on.”

Apparently, and thusly, human progress, in O’Neil’s view, is a chain of men with virtu (the Greek form, mind you) in their hearts (the word virtu always has me thinking of Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford University), linked at the wrist and leading to you.

O’Neil paused, and I could only sit quietly in wonder through what must be churning through that lovely mind, and then he added:

“This is the greatest country on Earth, but we can be better. That is going to be your job.”

He held my forearm like a bat. “In my day we changed some things. Now it’s your turn to change things. And you’ll do it. I know you will.”

I did pause. And, when I confessed that I struggled, with my generation, challenged to change our channels manually, much less to change the world, he invoked the memory of his grandfather Julius, born into slavery in South Carolina, and owned by a man with the surname, O’Neil.

“Grandpa used to tell me he loved Mr. O’Neil,” he said. “And I would ask him: ‘Grandpa, how could you love a man who kept you as his slave?’ And Grandpa said, ‘He never sold off a mother from her children, he never sold off a husband from his wife.’ And Grandpa, this is before all the doctors and all the medicine we have today, lived to be one-hundred-and-two years old.”

Was this good genes, I wondered, or something greater? I was merely seeking the secret of a life well-lived – how to progress – and, felt I was getting closer. So, I asked about that. And when the old man, once again, took my arm in his hand, I felt physically linked in that chain-of-virtu to all who had gone before me…

“Love,” he half-whispered, as if sharing a confidence. “Love, man. This is the whole thing.”

So… You gotta be a “Love Kat”. It’s been awhile since I invoked that one. It’s timely to be sure.

Peace be to my brothers and sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

so… we’ve moved households deeper into Alpharetta. now, I may start using “Milton” – like most everyone else.

meanwhile, living out of boxes is never fun. but, it can be an adventure. and, there is always the potential for something new and interesting to occur.

here is a fun and simple example…

Joanne makes lunch for Haley Anne and Emma Jo every morning. that’s certainly typical. most Mothers do this (mine did for me and my younger brother). so, that is unremarkable.

but, I hung back at the house this morning to get the garage under control. Joanne had some extra sushi and home made chocolate chip cookies. I’ll pause here and admit that I have a defined weakness for chocolate chip cookies. I could write poetry about the way way I feel about chocolate chip cookies. so, she put some sushi in a container and made a point of putting three chocolate chip cookies (have you sorted out by now that I love chocolate chip cookies so much that I write out all three words each and every chance I get?) in a small baggy. I did not think this was a necessary measure because my plan was to eat them, all three of them, mind you, on the way to my offices. but, Joanne was determined that I have a properly layed-out lunch.

this was when it struck me I needed a lunch bag, like the girls – or, a box. And, of course, it needs to be a special box. I told her about my old Racer X (Speed Racer) lunch box, and my Major Matt Mason lunch box. so… now I need one of those.

Joanne took a breath and offered: “well, let’s just make it Vera Wang, then”.

you need to know Joanne to appreciate her wit. but, now I’m stuck. and, don’t you dare laugh at my colorful, and trendy lunch kit. having said that, I’m willing to accept, as a gift (please!!!) a vintage Major Matt Mason lunch box.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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"Perhaps victory can be realized best when the heart changes."

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.