Archive for March, 2008

. . . This just in . . . . dateline MacMurray College, Jacksonville . . . . . the date of the Montage poetry reading where earnest blogger has been invited to recite for awhile, has been changed to Wednesday, April 23. If you would like to attend this event and plan to drive over from Springfield, and have room for your struly to hitch a ride there and back, please let me know by posting a comment below. I will get back to you.

Thanks! 🙂


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I’m coming down to the finish line preparing my Arcadia Puublishers’ book Springfield Aviation  to go to my highly esteemed editor. The only major problem I’m having is finding information about  the airports established and run by Bud Fleck. The first one, which is noted in a 1930s Springfield City Directory  indicates it was located at 3100 S. Second Street, on the southern extremity of the city. I need to know when it was established, any memories you may have of visiting it as a flyer or spectator and the date it closed. The other airport — which I BELIEVE he started after the war, was located on East Lake Drive near Lake Springfield. I need to iknow when it started and  when it ceased operations. You’d think the terrific Sangamon Valley Collection at Lincoln Library would have info, but it does not.

If you can provide information and/or pictures from EITHER Fleck’s operation, would you please leave a note in the comments section? Thanks.

Fly long . . . . . . and proper.

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So I was returning home from visiting an air park near Springfield to take a few pictures for THE BOOK and as I glanced at one of those really rural “subdivisions” where everyone has their own septic tanks, the name hit me like a blog topic. It hit me so hard there was no need to write it down. More than an hour after arriving home and processing the last two pictures I will commit to THE BOOK, I still remember the sign. It said “Knox Subdivision..”

Since the “k” is silent, what the heck does it matter whether we spell it Knox or Noxk? To be a purist about this, we could probably get by with “Nox.” But as too few people remember about names of hummin’ beans, sometimes a vowel sandwiched between two consonants can be a long “o” so the silent “k” tells you it’s a short “o.” Another example of the long vowel sandwich: when your name is Job. Many intelligent people take their cue from the upper case “j” and historical precedent, and they correctly pronounce the name. When it’s not capitalized, I can live with the short “o” sound which indicates employment. Noxk (the “k” is silent) is a person’s name. The spelling is different from its homonym “knocks” (as in “school of hard”), and in this case you can’t say the “k” is silent unless you believe folks will cue from the hard “c” and grasp the intended consonantal sound. “It’s elemental: the consonantal.” (Apolotgies to the songwriter who wrote the 40s song that, had you known it, would have just elicited the trace element of a chuckle.)

The Noxk “k” is essential to the revised spelling presented. It’s the tree that falls in the forest, and it exists because it is real: it is essential to the name. Where you put it doesn’t matter. Why not? Because the “k” is silent. It IS whether it is silent or not.

All of us exist, whether we are silent or not. I know you’re out there. You are silent, but you exist. I give that to you. You can fall, and still you exist. And when you cease to live, you will exist in memory of those who remember you and then in the memories of those who remember those who remembered you. It all seems to be all right somehow.

That’s why I like taking pictures. The pictures I am about to share in THE BOOK will reveal airplanes and people who live again in the eyes of readers who buy the book and get to know them . Take the picture of Bud Fleck swinging the propeller of a Piper Cub in 1956. Please. (Thank you Henny Youngman) Bud Fleck will live. He will be silent, fallen from consciousness in a tragic car accident, some years ago, but he will live. And that will be all right, somehow.

I hope youk (the “k” is silent) will live long . . . . . and proper.

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Before things turned dicey yesterday, I received an invitation to recite some of my poems and some of Vachel Lindsay’s poems at MacMurray in late April. The occasion is the publication of the college’s annual arts anthology Montage. I will open the event and will be followed by Mac students reading (or reciting) works they contributed.. I was a student at Mac, majernin English,  from 1968 through about 1971. Didn’t graduate, but I had more fun there than at any time in my life as a college student. I especially remember time in the library which was almost a second home to me. The view of Annie Merner Chapel from the top of the steps across the girls’ lawn hockey field was incredible at dusk. I still remember gazing across the Student Union at Judy Barrringer who drove a Buick Skylark, playing Simom & Garfunkle’s Why Don’t You Write Me on the jukebox and never sharing more than a polite smile and nod with her.

It’s amazing how a pleasant perceived smile and invitation to share poetry makes me forget (for the moment) my aviation book. I should be engaging it now instead of this blog. I have already selected what I intend to recite (subject to change if needed) and will be spending time practicing the poems AFTER I’ve completed the book manuscript and sent it in. Most of the poems I recite are like conceert works, Chopin sonatas if you like, which I learn, commit to memory for sharing when food or dollars are offered, and then practice again before a recital date.Some of what I’ll recite are metaphorically speaking, in my back pocket. I can pull them out and recite for an hour or more at the drop of a hint. It’s not a big deal; I love this kind of activity. It has changed the way I recite some poems, Vachel’s Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight and others. I’ll explain more if anyone cares to know.

You’ve read this posting this far, and that allows me to ask: Do you live in Springfield and if so, would you like to attend this event on the big Mac event on Tuesday, April 22? Yes and yes, so far? If so, may I hitch a ride with you? My Soggy Bottom Express is in no shape to take me to Mac’n’back. I will gladly chip in on the requisite fuel financing. Really, a bunch of us in Springfield — the Poets & Writers crew and others too — should make a night of this, don’t you think? Attend the event and stop at The Barrel Head on our way beck iinto Springfield? I’ll buy the first round of brewskis. I can buy a round; I just can’t buy a car. If you want to go, let me know as a comment folllowing this post. I will e you back and we can make arrangements.

In the meantime, I’m brushing up on my Santa Fe Trail, Serenading the Wind and more.

It’s a kick (a good kick) to be invited to Mac. Thanks to Susan and Robert for their affirmation and interest.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

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With the light in the office this morning an eerie, brownish, warm, almost supernatural hue of mournful gray, I was hit in the brain by a phrase which I thought lends itself to a poem I will write after I’m done with the aviation book. I wrote it down. If you like the phrase I am about to share, a phrase which reflects my state of mind in recent rain and chill, be my guest and use it for yourself as you like. My treat.

The complaisant harmony of woe.

I’m making decent progress with the book, but there’s a whale of a lot to do that has nothing to do with writing or photography in putting together my part of the process. It’s not like firing off pages of a novel manuscript to an editor, and that’s okay; I have neither the ability nor the interest in novels. My LIFE is a novel. No one would believe I’m living as I’m living. I’d tell you more, but time is tight. Suffice to say I eschewed the diversion of lunch and worked for the next four and a half hours on The BOOK.

About 2p, I started water on the stove for another cup of coffee and picked up the mail from the front porch. In it was an important communication from CWLP, my water and electric utility. I knew it was “muy importante” because it didn’t have a glassine panel on the envelope the way regular bills do. I opened it first.

My last payment check had not cleared the bank. I was told to come in by the 28th and pay it with cash or a cashier’s check, just like the drug lords do. BOOM! Brain fire! I strode out of my house and climbed into my car the ussual way: opened the hatchback, clambered inside, opened the driver’s door from the inside, backed out of the hatch, walked to the door and get in.. The bank was only two blocks away, but I thought I may as well go after some iced tea mix and bread, the only truly “essential” elements for a man of my capability to live in civil circumstance until the rent comes in. The coffee, noodles and peanut butter I already had would be fine until April 2th.It took a transfer of dollars from my real estate taxes fund to get me up to toe more than $250 due CWLP but it sure beat the pants of loosing my freaking electricity Friday. That would cause no end of disappointment for my esteemed editor up Chicago way.

Home and into the office, glanced at the rest of the CWLP letter as I prepared to turn on the computer . . . . and saw for the first time, that I had not read ALL of the letteer, particularly the part that mentioned the $20 overdraft fee. To blazes with the groceries. I’ll live on crunch fripping peanut butter, ramen noodles and instant Folger’s until Tuesday!


BOOM! Out the door! I was so fripping steamed that I didn’t want to bother climbing into my fripping car; didn’t want to work that hard. It would do me more good to walk over, and that’s what I did. CHEESEs, I knew I wasn’t going grocery shopping this time, and as long as it wasn’t raining, I could use the fripoping exercise! Told my teller (while observing the other bank people tilting their heads in the direction of the bearded sycophant yammering away so they could hear the sordid details) what an idiot I had been, and that we needed to make a further $20 adjustment. Heck, make it $30; I AM going to go to the fripping County Market for bread and tea, but not today. Must make more progress with the aviation book. Heaved a sigh of relief as I departed the premises and was so charged, I jogged half way fripping home. Factoring in the bank charge for the bounched check, the total coast was $50. That’s two fripping weeks’ worth of groceries for me! CHEESEs, in-fripping-DEED!

BOOM! into the house about 25 after 2p . . . . . . to the cozy fragrance of red hot steel! My coffee water I had left to heat on the stove! Rushed to the kitchen, relieved to see no fire under the bright orange burner. Turned off the heat to the burner, gently lifted the pan off, set it on a cold burner to cool and walked out of the kitchen.,

Called CWLP to be sure I could pay the overdue Friday. Yes.

Back to the kitchen and lifted the lid off the pan I had used to heat coffee water. It was black as shale. When I fauceted a thin stream of water into it, the surface sizzled as though I had just taken it off the stove: formed globules of water that danced like a drunken freelance writer (okay, maybe not quite that bad) and in less than 20 seconds . . . . it cooled down. I thoroughly washed the pan. Still there was/is a flat dark grey patina to the inside that wasn’t there when I started coffee water about 2 pm.

I’ve decided I can live without another cup of coffee for awhile . . . . . . and there’s no tea. Perhaps a refreshing glass of water with ice cubes. Ah luxury!

In the meantime, I’m glad my bank is only two blocks away. If I HAD read the letter from CWLP completely the first time and gone grocery shopping after making the adjustment, I might not have descovered my overheating coffee water in time (CHEESEs, I miss my fripping microwave where I used to heat water for exactly two minutes before the thing turned itself OFF) and I would be posting this blog from a fripping homeless shelter. And that would have caused almost no end of disappointment for my esteemed editor up Chicago way.

I guess even stupidity has a positive outcome now and then. Such is the complaisant harmony of woe.
Live long . . . . . and proper.

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Things are going well for the book.

I have a question for everyone reading this blog:  Do YOU care to know about  airshow pilots passing through Springfield, performing at Air Rendezvous who died  elsewhere  during  what would prove to be their final performances?  A yes or no and why would be helpful to me. Post your thoughts in comments. You will determine whether or not I include photographs and/or mentions of  Jimmy Franklin. Jim LeRoy, Chuck Carothers. Eric Beard,  and  Bobby Younkin.

Thanks for your help! 🙂
Ll. . . . . . .&p.

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I’m spending too much of my voluble life thinqing about the duo ditty by Frank and Nancy Sinatra. with the line “Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like ‘I love you.'” In the song, they mean “saying something stupid like” meaning for example; NOT analagously. Yet, analogies are traditionally connected to “like.” I say Flying is like a double ferris wheel when the top wheel is coming down and rotating at the same time.” Ferris wheel riding is NOT an example of flying; not a form of flying; it is analagous to it. I’m wondering about the meaning if they had sung”… by saying something stupid-like: I love you.” With the colon, it’s not analagous. The writier is saying “Here is something stupid-like: I love you.” But with a period, the phrase is something else. “by saying something stupid-like. I love you.” With the hyphened “stupid-like” the phrase means stupid-ish; resembling stupid; giving evividence of stupidity..

So let’s return to the duo. The lyric says I spoil the warm mood we share when I say something stupid-like. It could be “I wonder if a coffee can of ground coffee weighs more than a coffee can of lake water.” (and by the way, on another, unrelated subject)
I love you. or

….then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid.
(new paragraph indent because I can’t indent on this blog) I love you.
So in the example sighted just above this paragraph, we have totally different monologue. Does my explanation reveal the fascinating consequences of subtle vagaries of our language to you? I hope so. Does my explanation of a point many consider trivial reveal a clue to the state of my mind? It’s not a bad state necessarily. It’s a passing state.

I went to bed last night a little after 4 am, re-reading near the end of that fab Mark Twain bio, eating crunchy peanut butter from a knife and sipping a young Burgundy, first wine into the house in weeks. True, I had napped after dinner from about 8:00 to midight, so my hitting the sack four hours after a four hour nap seems to even things. It’s not like I slept instead of being productive. If I hadn’t napped I would have osst productive time watching PBS until 11:30, worked in the office until probably 1:30 and then gone to bed, but I was all work in the aviation collection after the nap until peanut butter time. At 10:30 am in the office after awakening to Car Talk and listening pronely for 40 minutes, and grabbing coffee dose #1,  I’m still not on top of the world as I would have hoped as my aviation book passes into the “sprint to the finish line” stage.

Got a certified letter from my roofing contractor’s lawyer. I’m in deep stuff. Haven’t even read the letter, and I likely won’t until Sunday. I am in deep distress over this. I’d like to avoid it until I send in the manuscript. This is no way to finish a book.

I want to chuck the whole visual arts business. As the tension mounts with the approaching “sprint,” and likely court action, I want to chuck the whole Central Illinois Visual Artists Galleries “schtick.” AND the separate arts domain I cannot pay for.  I’m sad and angry that it hasn’t worked out, that the dollars haven’t come in as I had hoped, and I’m fully aware that some of this was my doing. As the support diminished, so did my zeal for maintaining it. Ultimately the loss of visual artists’ presence, if it happens is all my doing, but it is my doing following input and reactions from good people I like and respect. The web presence is no different from any brick and mortar gallery except that it has been cheaper to establish and maintain. Galleries fail all the time, lemonade stands go belly up all the time. Look at what happened to Weiner Dog across from the ALPL downtown: great idea; never dined there. And cheap though it is, my incapacity to make CIVAG pay for itself is almost beside the point. My time, my heart, is so wrapped up in the airplane action that I sadly envisage a time when the CIVAG leaf will fall from my tree, and sadly, that I will be “the one” who lets it fall.

I’ve not talked with my web client and visual arts people in two weeks, and it will be AFTER the book goes to the publisher when I spend more than 10 minutes of my day engaging responsibilities and commitments connected to them. I feel terrible about this: leaving their realm without saying “I’ll be right back” because I anticipated I’d be back sooner than I will have proven to be.

It seems my business for the rest of my life is aviation, mostly. I hope it will be education if things develop with a potential EMPLOYER as I hope they will, and as a journalist/singer/poet. But until I put the CDs into a Federal Express mailer and post them off to Arcadia, marking the end of my deadline work on the book, my hours are a litany of future aspirations, mostly about what I want to do with aviation web, while finding a way to include my writing/musical interests and those of friends, associates and strangers who MIGHT support them. There will be more work to do with Arcadia and the book, but none of it will be deadline work with the weight of the key enchilada I will deliver in little more than a week from not.

My challenge now is to ride this tiger, hope friends I’ve said nothing to for most of the time I’ve been involved with this book will forgive my silence, and consider my being as more than “the vanity snow ball rolling down the hill and getting bigger every day” — which I fear it has appeared to be since January.

That “..” by the way is not an analogy. That is a metaphor.

Live long . . . . . . and proper.

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