Time Flies

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I ran in a local 5 miler yesterday.  This was the 43rd running of the race making it the granddaddy of ’em all  in the county.  You can do the math if you’re interested in knowing exactly when it all began.

It was during the early days of the running boom what ever that means.  Me?  I’ve been running since I was in the 4th grade.  We don’t need to do that math.

I used to kill this race.  Now it kills me.  But to the title.

First, the course…Start/Finish is on North Queen Street.  Go right on West Lemon for one block, go right on North Duke all the way to Chesapeake Street, go right, then left to enter the County park. or as the locals refer to it, County Park.  Once you become a local you don’t need to modify landmarks or places with the word the.  Everyone knows what you mean.

Run through County Park and go left back onto Duke Street. Instead of proceeding all the way to Lemon you chop off a block and go left on to West Walnut to Queen and then you see the Start/Finish line a couple of blocks ahead.

A side note here, our town dates to pre-revolutionary times so streets have royalty sounding names like Duke, King, Prince and Queen further subdivided by whether they run east/west/ north or south.

You have your North Queen, South Queen, East King and West King among many others.  We also in this interesting mix have a Lime Street and a Lemon Street.  You can actually stand on the corner of Lemon and Lime.

Further the street signs have been abbreviated thusly like N. Queen, W. King and of course S. Lime which reads S Lime Street.  That’s all I got in the roadway department.

Back to the 5 miler.  I’ve reached the back marker phase of my running career.  I know it, you know it and so what anymore.

I started either dead last or next to dead last.  Pro tip – If you wait for the starting corral to fill up the porta john lines disappear since all your fellow runners rush to the middle of the street for a good place on the starting grid.   This ain’t F-1 or NASCAR.  It don’t matter.

The horn goes off and I walk the 100 or so yards to the start line before I start my watch.  The front markers are sprinting their behinds off and I’m running a good  clip for me anyway up Queen to Lemon and on to Duke.  Here comes the title reference.

As I’m approaching what I know is the one mile marker and clock I look to right where it oughta be and it’s not there!  Did the organizers not have a budget for course clocks?

I file that away and continue up Duke where off to my left I see a guy walking and carrying what seems to the clock that was supposed to be at mile one.  I guess he figured since he had to pull double clock duty he yanked the clock off the tripod and trundled up to where the 4 mile mark is coming back.

Keen eyed readers will note that above I mentioned the course cuts one block off the return so one mile and four miles are not in the exact same place.  Hence, the one mile clock serves both one and four miles.

As I’m running and I see the clock being hand carried upside down I make out 10:44 as the seconds keep ticking away.  Suddenly I have this ” Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds” moment.

I am running faster than the clock is physically moving.  Soon I’m even with it and just as quickly I’m passed it leaving time in my wake.  Picture that Dali painting of the melting clock.  Saucony meets surrealism.  I am not running faster than the speed of sound  or light.  I am outrunning time itself.

I continue up Duke, go right on Chesapeake, go left into the winding roadway of the park cutting all the tangents I can find and realizing that tangent running is probably not taught in school anymore but that’s one class I passed.

I run back up Duke and eventually I find the one/four mile clock right where it’s supposed to be.  I’m also toast at this point but I’m passing some people and some people are passing me.

I have found in a marathon when you are bringing up the rear you make a lot of friends who are just as slow as you are.  Everyone talks, jokes, laughs and encourages each other.

Sadly, now everyone except me and maybe two other people are not wearing ear buds. Everyone else is and they can’t hear anything.  Conversation is not longer a part of group runs.  One guy had a speaker in his backpack and was his own little running/walking jukebox.  Maybe he couldn’t find his buds.  I forget what song he was playing.

I go left on Walnut, left on Queen, it’s my version of Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.

I cross the finish line and grab a water.  There is a fenced in beer garden set up and normally your entry would be guaranteed by virtue of your: 1- wearing running gear,      2- sweating like a racehorse, 3- panting like a cheetah and 4 – your race bib.

But if you don’t have your Real ID or something similar you are turned away.  Fine.  Just fine.

I grab a bag of chips and leave.

Time is on my side anyway.

 

 

Get Back – Those Beatles

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I watched the movie, the documentary the film, the event of the year and all I have to say is this:

If you have ever been in a rock and roll band, been around a rock and roll band or knew someone who was or is in a rock and roll band then you know exactly what the Beatles were going through, what they were up against and why things turned out the way they did.

That also goes for solo acts, folk duos, swing trios, string quartets and whatever the quintet version of a group might be called.

Musicians, by and large are nuts. Creative people tend to be so and what else can I say except they were the Beatles.

See ya round the clubs.

The Bad Coffee Tour of 2021 & 2022

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The title naturally refers to a road trip I recently took from my own undisclosed area in the Middle Atlantic region of the country to the rolling hills and flatlands of Texas with intermediate stops at various fast food joints, gas stations, truck stops and doughnut joints along the way between here and there.

The title is inspired by the last day or two of the trip heading south when the road, my mind and behind had all become progressively numb. It was at that point when I had given up all hope of finding a decent sit down meal and all we existed on was coffee that got progressively worse. I say we meaning my traveling companion and his dog. The dog does not drink coffee so his taste buds do not figure into this account although he does appear later on in a brief. heart warming and charming Hallmark Channel sort of vignette.

For starters, most of the roadside motels we stayed in advertised a free breakfast but upon arrival we found that because of the you know what that’s going around services had been curtailed things being what they are or were. So there we were eager to get on the road with a breakfast that stuck to our ribs only to find a cup of joe and maybe a shrink wrapped muffin.

One establishment where I did find a morning coffee only had those little containers of pre- mixed, pre- flavored and pretty awful creamers. My only choice then besides taking my coffee black was to add mocha peppermint and hazelnut cream which I do not ever recommend ever ever again to anyone.

Another well known roadside stop had a breakfast of sorts but when I checked in the clerk told me and I am not making this up …” We have a breakfast but if you don’t like it you can go over there to the Crackle Barrel. A ringing endorsement to be sure and despite the front desk’s warnings there was good coffee, yogurt and the previously mentioned shrink wrapped muffins which we stuffed our pockets with as we left.

Surprisingly the best coffee to be had was at that national hamburger chain that features a clown as it’s spokesman/mascot/reason to stop there. And as we found all of the dining areas were closed so we made good use of the drive thru windows where you order at the lighted menu board, pay at window one and pick up at window two. Or maybe we paid at one and picked up at two. In any case there were only two windows regardless of how they were numbered.

So we trundled on further south stopping at truck stops, gas stations and convenience stores in search of a restroom, gasoline and coffee. Hardly any stores offered real milk or real 2% milk but there was one so that was a plus. Finding cow based products proved to be the highlight and the lowlight consisted of mocha hazelnut creamers and the like.

During a deep freeze plunge when we were at a gas station and all of the squeegees were frozen in their squeegee buckets in dirty squeegee ice.

At one hotel which I had booked based on it being a pet friendly establishment our canine companion received a welcoming present upon check in of a combination water bowl and food dish and a package of snacks. This was entirely unexpected and certainly welcomed.

So, if you’re ever in Little Rock near the airport and you are riding with Fido or Fifi or Scout or Stanley stop in. The airport is named for Bill and Hillary which must really rankle the local Republicans every time they leave or return by air.

But the big story on Action News is a combination rest stop, gas station, department store, supermarket in Texas that features a cartoon beaver as it’s logo. You could live in this place for a week before anyone knew you were there. Conservatively there must have been 50 gas pumps if not more. They also featured a pet relief area with signage that read something like…” Your dog did his duty, be sure to pick it up.” and ” If your dog left a poop it’s up to you to scoop.”

I committed the gravest of errors when I went looking for a veggie sub at this place because after all I was deep in the heart of Bar B Que land and I guess an eggplant sub was out of the question. No problem though – My turkey sandwich had more than teh minimum daily requirement of jalapeños which I think is a state law among others.

However, the biggest eye opener of all on the trip was the realization that the big electric car company growing by leaps and bounds, no it’s not Edison, is opening a plant to produce said electric vehicles right in the middle of oil rich Texas and they got a boatload or carload or truckload of tax breaks to bring the business where the stars at night are big and bright.

I found irony to be a saving grace in the land of pick up trucks and tumble weeds.

The coffee tour is now history, no t shirts or tour jackets available. Only hamburger wrappers, discarded coffee cups and the occasional and forlorn much hazelnut creamer remain. Oh, and peppermint too. Help yourself.

The People You Meet ( Walking Your Dog)

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First of all, is it just me or does this whole wordpress behemoth seem a lot slower in saving and posting the things I write? Maybe it’s my unsupported browser. It’s my browser and I’ll unsupport it if I want to, cry if I want to – Points if you can dig into your wayback machine and drag up where that musical line of memory comes from.

Our title here today should be really be old people, older men specifically and how aging gets a bad rap.

First guy we meet, me and my canine companion is a guy who admits to be in his 80’s. His wife too. We stop and chat, me and Fido and the guy tells me he had Irish setters for 50 years but they’re all gone now. The only dogs in his life are his grand dogs and that’s fine with him. No more poop patrol I guess.

But he say 80’s like he’s apologizing for being in his 80’s with a wistful sigh of resignation like he is embarrassed for having lived so long. He likes my dog and she takes an instant liking to him and we say our goodbyes and off we go.

The second guy thinks by dog is a Portuguese water dog, a breed I never knew existed until my favorite president got one, no two. Actually, its a favorite president tie between him and Jimmy Carter.

Now this guy tell me he’s 78, again with an I’m sorry for having lived so long kind of sound in his voice and expression on his face. I am stunned by these two guys and their apologies for being older.

This guy went to Berklee as in top notch music school majoring in trumpet, joined the US Navy, sailed around the Mediterranean alot, played for Admirals and probably heads of state. You know Kings, Queens and such.

Then he gets a gig playing in Fred Waring’s band ( Look it up) meets his wife and here he is some 50 years later rubbing my dog’s belly which she has generously presented to him. He can’t play anymore due to health issues and I tell him I’m sorry to hear that. He sort of looks off into the distance with a look that is saying _” Yeah, I know” or I have given up thinking about it” which as a musician myself is a killer stake right through your heart and your music which are connected at the hip.

We talk about the old big bands, He saw Benny Goodman and all the greats. We talk about Freddie Green and he mentions a drummer I have never heard of. We talk about the loss of Stephen Sondheim which we both agree is a tragedy.

Finally, we run out of things to talk about and I can see that by me talking about music and how wonderful it is I’m making him sad. We shake hands as we are both triple vaccinated and we’re outside anyway so I say goodbye and he says goodbye and he says goodbye to the not Portuguese Water dog and off we go.

The people you meet. I hope I never apologize for getting older but sometime I feel that sense of shame when I have to mention my age too. I get it. It doesn’t seem fair though.

The people you meet.

Purple

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Not as Rain, or Haze or the Movie which has my title in it’s title. Before I get started can any of you followers, and welcome to the newer ones, can any of you tell me how I can change the font on the page or screen to something larger than teeny tiny?

Back to the matter at hand or at the top of the page. I was up early yesterday walking the dog somewhere around six am when part of the sky was still dark and the part of the sky in the east was growing light thanks to that lucky old sun coming up again right on schedule albeit a lot, I mean a lot lower in the sky. Being out about and active this early I was instantly reminded of the days I used to run the Philadelphia Marathon being up early and watching the sun come up over the statue of Billy Penn that sits on top of Philadelphia’s City Hall.

.The deep purple streaks slowly start to give was to magenta and then to lavender and then somehow the color orange appears. And here’s the obtuse connection. I immediately thought of the tune “Orange Colored Sky” which I had never heard before until I saw Lady Gaga sing it on the tv last week during really, her tribute to Tony Bennett. Back to wherever I was going before I got derailed and distracted.

Whilst I was in college a half century ago I took a class called ” English Romantic Poetry and Poets” because I can’t remember why but I signed up to read and learn about Shelly and Keats and John Donne. Mostly tragic fellas with star crossed lives and star crossed loves and star crossed endings. I think John Milton was in that brat pack too writing about Paradise Lost or Paradise or Lost in Space. Certainly not that Muhlenberg County kind of paradise.

One line from Donne stuck with me and it’s about those “Rosy streaked fingers of dawn.” Apparently walking around and gazing at the sunrise has been around for a couple of hundreds of years.

I just finished a book about WWII in the Pacific and near the end of the book where the author tells of the war finally being over he mentions how thrilled some of the men were to see a Pacific sunset while sailing east and home. These servicemen had flown into Tokyo for the surrender ceremonies having served stateside for the duration.

Being at sea was new thing experience for them. For the men who had been sailing up, down and across the Pacific for three years the majesty and grandeur of the sun show at dusk merely meant another day ticked off on the calendar. The show no longer heard any appeal for them. They only wanted to go home where they didn’t have to take orders anymore or worry about enemy submarines, bombs falling or kamikaze planes deliberately crashing into them and the ship they were on. Nope, they were done with all that.

Covering a lot of ground here aren’t we?

Back to my 6am stroll. This being the Christmas season many of the houses along my walk have been decorated with Christmas lights and I’m so happy we can say “Happy Holidays” again swell as ” Seasons Greetings.” Many of the lights had been left on all night and took on an especially magical look in the early dawn light or by the dawn’s early light if you will. It was in a word or two – pretty neat.

Wow, now I’m really lost from wherever my original train of thought was going. Let’s see, purple, Christmas, dogs. Nope, I got nothing so I’ll hit save, publish, throw in a few relevant tags and wait for the followers to react.

Hoarders and Hoarding

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Walking my dog in the evening I can sometimes see into neighbors living rooms and watch their gig undo tv screens facing the street and sidewalk.

One house always has a shopping channel on which I presume the inhabitants of the house are watching.

The front porch of the house is stacked with boxes and in particular an exercise bike that has been in place for over a year. Nobody rides the porch bike. I guess it’s out there because they have run out of room for it in the living room or dining room or bedroom or kitchen or wherever it used to live before it got dumped on the porch complete with an extension which is not plugged in because nobody rides the bike on the porch.

It’s a stationary bike in more ways than one.

Shortages

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Well hello from unsupported browser land where my internet stands on it’s own without any help from you Mr. And Mrs WordPress. It still seems to work just fine so I may sue you for lack of support. But that’s not why I’m here this evening.

I was with a couple of musical friends last week and over coffee one of us proclaimed that there was a real crisis a brewin’. Coffee -brewing. That one fell into my lap – hope you appreciate the humor.

The crisis is a shortage of half and half. I asked, which half were we short? Milk or cream because if you have enough milk you can always make cream but a surplus of cream doesn’t translate into more milk.

Suppose you had 3/4 milk and 1/4 cream then you would have not half and half but some sort of Frankenstein fractional freak of dairy nature and goodness we have enough freaks running around here as it is.

It seems to me that there is no shortage of politicians who are mostly the only ones spouting off about shortages of everything.

I was on an airplane a few weeks back and there is no shortage of people to fill seats as all my flights were booked solid from window to aisle front back and side to side with passengers. No one caused any trouble and I brought along my own roll of duct tape in case I misbehaved. I did not and the roll of tape remains untouched.

Shortages – eh? Maybe, just maybe we have too much of everything we really don’t need, can’t afford and really don’t want anyway.

Maybe we’re just plain spoiled and shortages, such as they might be are just symptoms of a larger issue which neither time nor space allow me to investigate at this time.

I have no shortage of words which is a good thing because at the present time they are still free and not manufactured in a far off land across the Pacific in factories manned by cheap labor and loaded onto freighters heading eastward to the Ports of Los Angeles and Seattle and the likes of others.

There is a dearth though of some words like common sense, reasonableness and caring for your neighbors. You can figure out who or whom I’m writing about.

So choose your words carefully and maybe save some for a rainy day before they are loaded and locked up on a container ship somewhere off the coast of California.

My Life in Eight Cats

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The idea is not original. I read a book review by a woman and in her bio was the title of a book she had written called – My Life in Seven Dogs. I don’t recall the title of the book she reviewed either. So much for making mental notes. But I thought that’s great way to measure one’s life I suppose.

All of these ideas I’m about to drop came to me while I was running so if any blame gets attached to this missive it’s the fault of my being on my feet and on the road. More on the cats later.

For some reason I can’t fathom for the life of me the font size keeps defaulting to default every time I hit return here on my unsupported browser. WP keeps encouraging me to write but they keep making it damned inconvenient to get on a roll . And so as such I am not going correct all of the fonts this inconsiderate blockhead of a program keeps foisting on me.

My life in dogs or cats could be expanded to my life in cars, apartments, cities where I have lived, girlfriends, jobs, bands I was in, bands I listened to and so on. Maybe husbands if you were Liz Taylor or either the Gabor or Kardashian sisters.

The list of cars runs from VW’s to VW’s To VW’s to Hondas, to Hondas and then to a Subaru. Done, that was pretty easy. Let’s just cut to the Cats since they appear in the title.

Cat # 1 was a Siamese named Jane who was given to me in Connecticut during the Watergate hearings. She eventually ended up at my parent’s home where she charmed them and they adored her. It was a good match.

Fast forward a few years to Magnolia who was given to me by a friend and she immediately got pregnant. The cat not my friend. Being a rookie pet owner I was woefully ignorant of how to be a responsible pet owner. Maggie had a litter and I kept one naming her Carolina since James Taylor was very much in vogue and so was the song Carolina in My Mind.

Then I move, change cars and apartments maybe cities too and and I end up with pair of red and orange brothers I name Rags and Bobby. They end up at my parent’s home to I think. I don’t remember.

More cars, another city or two and I’m still with Carolina only now her named has changed to Boo as in Boo Radley. We’re living on a farm and one day she goes out and never comes back. She did not like my girlfriend at the time. I should have taken the cat’s sage and feline advice. Then Mo comes into my life followed by Rags.

Mo dissappears after a couple of years and Rags gets leukemia.

Maybeline arrives and is still here some 14 years later. Milkdud joins the family and we have a been blessed with a great cat, not that the others weren’t wonderful but Duddy was special. Sadly he passes away leading to an adoption of a stray we name Henry. I feed another stray I call Lucky and we find her a home and so here we are eight cats later or something. You can do the math.

Next in the series would be cars and apartments which I can group together into one post. I could also catalog my life in guitars as well.

The great correlating of all these items would where I was living when I had this cat, that job, dating whats her name, driving which car and what I was doing for a living at that particular time. That in toto would be called an autobiography, especially the VW and Honda chapters.

This font thing is really starting to annoy me so I might just be spiteful and do this!!!!!

Or I could just do this…

Or this

Or this

Or this.

This is so tiresome and it really tends to stifle creativity and imagination.

The cats were great friends and faithful companions. I was lucky to have them.

My Unsupported Browser

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So, how did this happen? And why? And who is in charge around here anymore? I’ve just about had it with all of this technology anyway so you can count me out of updating the browser since I don’t seem to know how to do it even when I go to the update my browser page.

The updating page won’t update and if that’s the case maybe it knows something I don’t which is entirely possible and so this is updating issue falls into the “I Don’t Care Category.”

The list of things I care about keeps getting shorter and smaller as I suppose it should when one has been around as long as I have. I got me a computer Windows 98 way back when everything was shiny and new and everything technological seemed to be for the greater good which these days it most certainly is not anymore.

I’ll just take my unsupported browser and go home even though it still works just fine supported or not.

An Early Saturday Morning Where I Run a 5K

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The title sets up the piece pretty perfectly I must say so I’ll cut right to the chase.

Last Saturday morning I drive about 8 miles to a local retirement community where a local service club is holding a 5K race to benefit local charities. A good cause and it’s good weather and it’s really good to be racing again.

Racing is a relative term here as my racing days are well behind me but it’s nice to see runners of all ages out in the Saturday morning sunshine getting ready to do their best.

I’m standing in a porta potty line or as spell check would have you believe a sorta potty line which when you think about it these items are sorta potties and having been a participant in road races for many years these sorta ports have come a long way.

A quick digression but it’s worth it. One year I’m running the Philadelphia Marathon and somewhere around mile something there is a construction site somewhere along the route where the marathon organizers have placed a set of porta johns to keep a couple of hundred runners from doing their respective businesses on the street in someone’s neighborhood.

I come up on the johns where the lines are long. Someone has forced open a gate on the construction site fence liberating the site’s access to the portable toilets. Maybe it was a runner, maybe not. I’ll only say the extra seats came in handy.

I get in one of the lines where I watch people nervously checking their watches to see how much time they are losing while they stand in line waiting to do what they gotta do.

Me – It don’t matter. Ok, here’ s the point of my literary detour.

The lines as I have noted are long. There is a guy several spots ahead of me waiting to use said portable toilet. A woman announces to no one and every one in a voice loud enough for all around us to hear and she’s quite clear what her point is.

She says to the guy, “Do you have to pee because it that’s all you gotta do there’s a wall over there where you can relieve yourself.” ” We all have to sit down.” And sure enough there is a wall and it’s currently in use by about six men relieving themselves in public because this is a marathon and really no one cares.

There is a round of applause from the woman’s fellow women runners congratulating her on her foresight, her chutzpah and her balls.

I suppose we could all be cited for urinating in public but the only public in the area is us and we don’t care. We all gotta go.

I take the obvious hint, find a spot on the wall, do my business and I”m on my way. I should add the guy stepped out of line and took advantage of the wall too. And we’re both back to the marathon which is already in progress.

Back to the local 5K where I’m in line and a couple of hotshot college cross country runners call over to one of their friends who is in line ahead of me telling him to hurry up ( my sentiments exactly) because they are off on a 2 mile warm up ( which is not my sentiment exactly).

For me the 5K breaks down like this: Mile one -warm up, mile two – race or run faster and mile three – cool down.

The speedy boys do their warm up, smoke every one in the 5K and are later seen running a cool down mile or two making their 5K Saturday morning distance about 6 miles. Me – I only paid to run 3.1.

There is one guy who wins the 80+ plus division as he is 90 and is the only participant registered who ran between 80 and whatever the upper limit is as specified by the plus sign. He gets a nice hand as he picks up his medal.

I hang around to see the other award/age group/male/female winners and it’s a nice touch as the organizers decided to go four deep in every category.

It was an early Saturday morning where I ran a 5K.

Stupid Things I See While Running

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Stupid thing # 1 – I’m out on a three miler. I pass a couple arguing over who is going to mow the lawn while the gas powered mower is running. I had seen this coming as I approached the house.

The wife is mowing the lawn.

Husband is sitting on the front steps hurriedly putting on shoes as though he was supposed to mow the lawn but fell asleep or something.

Wife spite mows the lawn.

Husband hustles to mower where he and wife begin to argue. I can’t catch any of the conversation/argument because the lawn mower is running spewing fumes and noise as though it wants to have a say in who wins the day and the grand prize of mowing the lawn.

Most of the lawns in my neighborhood are the size of your living room. Push mowers, electric or battery mowers would do the job just fine but we seem to addicted to making noise and waking up neighbors when we mow.

I keep running and never catch the end of the fight.

Stupid two – I’m running loops at a local park and part of the loop takes me through parking lot. The loop is only 3/4 of a mile so I circle at a fairly regular and uptempo pace.

I see a white Mercedes in the parking lot. As I approach I can see the windows are all closed ( tinted of course) and the engine is running.

As I approach the car and prepare to swing around it I notice a woman, not picking on females, men can be just as stupid.

She is standing outside the car smoking a cigarette while the car’s engine is running and presumably the air conditioning in said auto is running.

Wouldn’t want to get the smell of tobacco in the fine hand crafted leather upholstery now would we?

I flash her a dirty look as I run by but I doubt she senses my aggravation and so I let my anger pass as I head around for another trip around the park.

The next time I’m at her location she and her car are gone.