Can Someone Tell Me Why This Is Happening?

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When I first started this blog carving out out my own little section of the internet I would write something on a particular topic like Reading, Running, Writing or Rhythm.

The tags would put the piece into place where someone who was interested in running might read it. Same for reading or writing or rhythm ( music). Then I would get real people reading my stuff, commenting on it and off we’d go. Relationships formed, such as they were, and people, real people commented and wrote back and forth often to much hilarity.

Now, it seems there are algorithms stalking the blogs looking for key words that lead me to being liked or followed by marketing firms or somebody trying to sell somebody something.

Are people really reading my blogs or am I being cherry picked so I can be in someone’s marketing shopping cart?

Kind of the last thing I need right now.

TV Weather News

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First, they tell you it’s going to snow.

Then, they tell you it’s snowing.

Finally, they tell you it snowed.

They say don’t drive because the roads are bad while they are driving on said bad roads.

You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.

So Long Ago

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I found some old pictures of the kids when they were really kids although they will always be the kids I guess except back then they were knee skinning braces wearing Brownie and Cub scout kids.

I sent copies of the pictures from 2007 to the above mentioned kids.

My daughter replied – Gee – It seems like so long ago.

Everything seems like so long ago.

Club 502 OR ( It’s All) A Numbers Game OR My 500 Mile Summer

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I never seem to be able to settle on a title for theses posts. I suppose since I’m covering a lot of ground that one specific title wouldn’t do.

Alternatively, I could limit the post to one subject but in my mind with things all running together at a blurrying pace I have trouble keeping my thoughts from mashing up at the end of the street like a three car pile up.

Club 502 sounds like one of those places where one would knock on a barely visible door in the seedy part of town, a peephole would open and you would say ” Joe sent me” and those magic words would gain you admittance. The password could also be Swordfish – See the Marx Brothers for that payoff.

My first waking thought this morning was seeing the number 12 spelled out before my eyes as in “Twelve.” I have no reasonable explanation for why. Apostles, Epistles?

Numbers on my mind and in extrapolating, which might or might not be the right word to use here, the numbers came to me in a flash it’s all a numbers game anyway isn’t it?

The answer to all of the following questions is numbers.

How old are you? How tall, how much do you weigh, what is your heart rate, your blood pressure, how many hours did you sleep last night, how many brothers or sisters, how many children?

What year is your car, how old is it, how many cylinders, what’s your mileage, how big is the gas tank, what do you pay for insurance?

And so on and so forth and so what? Surrounded by numbers, enveloped by math only we used to call it arithmetic.

The unified theory of the unified and unknowable universe is a set of numbers. Get them in the right order and bingo ( again numbers) you win something on a cosmic game show. Maybe ” The Price is Galactically Right.

Running the numbers down the rabbit hole. Running the numbers and we finally get to where we’re going as postulated above somewhere between the multiple titles and here.

I started a run streak on Memorial Day of this year because I could I suppose and what else was there to do except to not get sick and to not infect anyone else. So far, so good. Tragically I am unable to share my luck.

So I ran and I ran and I ran and after 50 days of running I took a day off and then went back at it. The odd fact in all of my running which continued to yesterday was the number 502 as in that’s the total mileage on my running feet since that day in late May 2020.

That number is well beyond my wildest running dreams or expectations or anything in my running memory or history.

I don’t know how this happened and as winter starts to slowly creep down the lane I wonder how much mileage I’ll continue to accrue. I’m not a big fan of running in cooler temps or when the numbers Celsius or Fahrenheit start to drop.

The nice thing for me, the bonus in all of these words and sentences and phrases and non-sequiturs is I can let my mind wander or RUN if you will.

You start at the starting line aka the top of the blank page and you end up at the finish line which is right HERE.

The Crazy Store

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I stopped at my favorite local coffee shop yesterday after a good sized run of about 6 miles.

The sun was warm and with only outside coffee service available all of the sidewalk tables and chairs were occupied. No matter, I was getting mine to go.

I was still in running gear which included shorts on a day with temps in the high 50’s when I arrived at the coffee joint.

I got my order and stopped to chat with a couple of friends who were enjoying what might be the last decent day to sit outside in warm sunshine until maybe sometime next March.

Ok, to the point.

One of my friends introduced me to his table mate saying this is Phil and in a nod to my apparel he said – ” He usually dresses normally, not in shorts.”

I said I appreciated the normal comment but that I had been to the Crazy Store on the crazy side of town and of some of their ideas were not so crazy anymore.

No one seemed to take issue with me or my shorts or my mention of the Crazy Store. In fact, it seemed like a good idea to everyone who joined in the conversation.

Being crazy that is.

Fun, Fun, Fun

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It’s come to this I suppose.

( That was the first title to this piece until I decided the three Funs made a superior lead in). What does anyone think?

Barely after 5:30 pm here on the east coast mid south central Pennsylvania Middle Atlantic States region just off the DelMarva region somewhere above the Mason Dixon line smack in the middle of Amish country.

Barely after 5:30 in the evening and it looks and feels like midnight. Solid dark. This is not good for my mental health and or outlook.

We have another month of days growing shorter, well, days with lessening daylight or and or sunshine before we jump on that great orbital axis tilting planet earth wheel to start begging the sun for more of itself.

Maybe if we all lean left or start jumping up and down we can accelerate the shift.

Naw, that would be screwing with the natural order things and we all know how well we’ve done in the climate department.

Meanwhile, it’s fire season once again in Australia. We used to have four seasons, now we can add fire to that too I suppose. Hurricane season anyone?

I am inventing and conniving new strategies to cope with the lack of natural sunlight.

These days there’s no chance of Icarus flying too close to the sun from these parts.

I’ve loaded up my car with music from those Beach Boys. Any port in a storm I suppose. Fun, fun, fun.

My car’s radio has been been on the fritz for a couple of years only pretty much picking up a radio station if I am the parking lot where the station’s transmitter resides. That cuts down a lot on my AM/FM options.

The radio waves that I do pick up consist mainly of NPR – Happy news times all around, the local Philadelphia Phillies AM station, the local Philadelphia Eagles FM station and the local sports jerks shouting match station.

All three of the main dashboard radio options mostly make me want to drive into a ditch as the Public Radio news is never good these days, the Phillies were awful and the Eagles are terrible.

At least my friends on the western end of the state can tune in those undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers for entertainment and distraction once a week for about three hours until their season inevitably goes south or maybe not.

Ya do what ya can.

This Happened

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Last week I was downtown enjoying a cup of coffee in a small vest pocket kind of park right off one of the main streets in town.

If you happen to be on the curb of this street you often get subjected to all sorts of noisy cars with loud mufflers and exhaust systems that are loud either by design as in on purpose or as in neglect as in the tailpipes fell off and you don’t care or can’t afford to repair bill.

The park sits back from the street and offers a respite from the din of relentless traffic.

I have s streak going with coffee and this park that I started last summer and I hope continue until the weather makes the streak untenable.

Drinking coffee, minding my own business as I was the only one in the park until an older fellow came walking through occasionally leaning on a cane he was carrying.

” I don’t really need this,” he offered, ” showing me the cane but it helps with my sore leg. The one I broke and had surgery on to repair.’

” I need to get back to work” he said although judging from his struggling gait and his age I thought work would or should out of the question for him.

He mentioned something about being a roof and then I knew for sure his working days needed to over. I know a roofer once who said that by the age of 30 your knees were shot from all that squatting and balancing on pitched surfaces.

We agreed the cooler weather was no friend to broken bones even after they had healed.

The man said he had to go find his brother and just like that he was gone.

A passing conversation reaching out for a friendly face, mine I guess, which leads me to another story about an older man.

I once wrote post about him called ” The Grey Man” but it seems to have disappeared from these pages.

There is a house on the corner of two intersecting streets that once was most likely covered in red brick. The red brick remains but sometime in the past it was covered on that sort of fake grey stone that seems to have pink tint buried in it.

At one time the building was probably a bar or hotel judging from the angled front steps and what’s left of what must’ve been a sign over the door and the fact the whole door and step units were placed at an angle facing both streets.

Now I think it’s just apartments or maybe rooms, certainly not in the high rent district.

I was driving to work one morning. It was early. The sun was still below the horizon and the sky was a half light grey as though you knew it was going be cloudy all day anyway.

There was a man seated on the steps wearing old and dirty clothes and no matter color they might have been at one time the clothes were now grey. His long beard was grey and the smoke from his cigarette provided a grayish haze around his face.

He was the grey man in front of his grey house.

More Paris

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More on my week long Parisian vacation with some musical notations added.

Before I get too far down the page I have to admit my two biggest regrets after I returned home from Paris.

One – I didn’t stay longer and two – I didn’t spend more money.

Ok, got that out of the way and before I lose my train of thoughts I have a few more recollections from The City of Light.

I was stunned to see how how any current and live references there are to the Second World War in Paris.

Correct me if I’m incorrect but I seem to recall a metro station named for D-Day, The Sixth of June and there is an FDR stop. Maybe one for the Battle of Stalingrad too.

I remember walking down the Rue du Winston Churchill which was near a street named for FDR. It was on this street corner that my daughter and I ran into a local with whom we had a very lively and enlightening conversation.

Maybe we looked like Americans, I don’t really think so as we were both dressed rather smartly. Americans stand out in a Paris crowd and we tried to blend in with the locals and the surroundings.

Somehow we struck up a conversation with a Frenchman from Morocco and the talk turned to great world leaders, remember while we were there we were on the cusp of the anniversary of the 70th of the liberation of Paris.

I remember how this fellow said DeGaulle’s nickname was “Deux Metres” since he was much taller than the average Frenchman in those days. He stood 6’5″ which meant he towered over almost everyone he met. He used his height to his advantage as one should I suppose.

By the way, the current occupant of the White House is nowhere near the purported 6’3″ he claims. He wears lifts in his shoes and is probably closer to 6’1″. The lifts make him lean forward all the time.

The Moroccan man was a real joy speak with and seems to be genuinely happy to be conversing with his two new found American amis although we never got his name.

Earlier in the day we visited Napoleon’s Tomb and spent time at the adjoining French military museum.

The history of warfare in Europe goes back to just about forever as the locals always seemed to be either carving each other up, bludgeoning each other, blowing up, shooting and mangling soldiers and non-combatants alike from the air, the sea and at ground level too.

It feels good to recall those memories especially these days. We rented a rowboat at Versailles, rode the train to Caen and visited the Canadian D Day beach.

When I saw the statue of Charlemagne at Notre Dame Cathedral all I could think of was the Steely Dan song” Kid Charlemagne.” That’s on me.

Our days were full, we walked almost everywhere and by evening we were bushed so there was no nightlife for us. Another regret – No Paris jazz.

” The Last Time I Saw Paris” was written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein soon after the Nazis occupied Paris.

“April in Paris” written in 1932 by Vernon Duke ( Autumn in New York, I Can’t Get Started) and E Y Yip Harburg ( Somewhere Over The Rainbow).

Possibly the best big band song ever is Count Basie’s version of the tune replete with the “One More Time” coda.

Finally, ” I Love Paris” from the show “Can Can’ and Mr. Cole Porter.

And still more finally, ” Midnight in Paris” the Woody Allen film.

Maybe the sense of history doesn’t hang on as much in the air these days for Parisians as it did for me. Time marches on as they say. Perhaps there is too much to occupy the local’s time and minds in the present environment.

I felt the weight of history like I was wearing a jacket with all the pockets stuffed with the years 1940 – 45.

The oldest structure in my neck of the woods is probably a log cabin from around 1600 something or so.

And since adding a new follower who recently added a post about visiting Philadelphia I distinctly remember looking at buildings in Paris and saying – “Gee, these look just like the Philadelphia City Hall.” And they do.

It was built in the Second Empire Style or as it is also known Napoleon III style.

To the Colorful Sisters – in your post about visiting Philadelphia you left out 30th Street Station, one of my favorite places to be ever.

I wrote a post once titled ” The Birds of 30th Street.” It’s somewhere out there in the mist and fog of the internet and WordPress.

As Casey Stengel said ,” You could look it up.”

I Love Paris

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This post is inspired in part by Jackie B’s writings about Remembrance Day in England.

I visited Paris during the summer of 2014. While I was there the 70th anniversary of the liberation Paris was approaching as well as the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWl.

The sense of history surrounding me was overwhelming as I thought I may be walking down on same street that my father did after the war. He served as an infantryman in a rifle company in Italy, France and Austria,

I have some of his souvenir postcards from Paris as he was probably on his way home.

There were exhibits everywhere. I recall one particular photograph of a square in Paris which featured a huge statue of a lion with about a dozen people climbing on it who were celebrating the liberation.

I walked passed that exact spot some 70 years later. I was there, they were there, my Dad might have been there. Maybe you know where it is located.

Hard not be awed.

And here we have bases named after confederate generals. That doesn’t seem to be right so many levels.

Mr. Trucks

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No, not the late Mr. Butch of The Allman Brothers Band nor his nephew Mr. Derek of his own band or what’s left of the Allmans anymore.

A while back I wrote a piece about a neighbor, I don’t know his name but he lives nearby and we wave from time to time so that makes him a neighbor I suppose.

He is the guy who has two aging and oil depositing on the streets pick up trucks.

It seems he has added a third truck to his collection. It’s somewhere between gold and copper in color. After 30 years or so exposed to the elements it might have been brown at one time but now it looks like weak tea.

I don’t know if the neighbor bought the truck, found it or maybe someone seeing his small fleet of pickups decided to add to it by abandoning the copper truck on the property, like people abandon kittens.

Maybe the guy drove the pickup to the house, had a getaway driver waiting, rang the doorbell and ran away leaving the new/old/new pickup on the street for it’s new owner.

I suppose anything is possible anymore these days.

The new/old/new truck was roaring the other day with the hood up, engine running and the new owner revving up the beast.

I suspect this truck is of the pre-fuel injection era since the guy had his head buried in the engine compartment and it sounded like he was trying to blow out the carburetor like we used to do in the old days when all cars had carburetors.

Carburetors. Those jobs are gone and they’re never coming back.

The latest addition the the fold seems to be a Chevy. I one saw bumper sticker on a Chevy truck that read,” On a quiet night you can hear the Fords rust.”

I also saw another sticker,”Friends don’t let friends drive Chevies.”