The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

there is a fundamental difference between my Dad, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King

January22

my Dad proved himself a genuine patriot on some obvious and meaningful levels. he served his country as an decorated Air Force officer, and he stood firm on a morale high-ground that included firm convictions around his command-in-chief(s). I know this because he often spoke about political philosophy around the dinner table and at the officers club bar. however, he always stood by a president of the era because it was a simple matter of the chain-of-command.

yesterday I tweeted:

I watched the face of my earthly father while he intently listened to Martin Luther King on our black and white television. he had the same look when he watched Neil Armstrong take that other first big step for mankind on the lunar surface.

I’ve not often been kind to president Barack Obama in this blog. however, a few months ago I started taking the position that I need to support him because he is our president by the choice of the people – either through ignorance, or inspiration. while I’ll keep sifting through the debris of media I’ll seek truth and light and help everyone make informed decisions.

in any event, my Dad was very careful in designing and implementing his career-path. his was a career both by need and by design. he was a dirt-poor South Dakota farm boy and genuinely feared poverty. I believe Obama designed his career-path as well. I don’t know if he is the anti-Christ. I can’t say that he is some how chosen, or annoited. but, he has craftily positioned himself to get where he is today. he did so, and rather ironically, by never holding a meaningful job that might qualify him as an executive leader. but, then neither did Jesus Christ, right? so, that can be admired. NOTE: I never planned to be referred to as a “cultural architect”. but, my life took it’s twist-and-turns to get me here, and it fits reasonably well. Martin Luther King probably never asked God to be thrust into the lime light and then be killed specifically for it. while I’m not prepared to compare him to Christ, either, others will.

everyone referenced thus far share something of the opportunist. however, King was literally thrust into his role. overnight, he went from preaching from a small pulpit to addressing huge throngs of people craving leadership and example.

My Dad led by example. Christ certainly made a point of doing that. I’m not sure about Obama. But, I’m hopeful. I’m thinking King will be a wild card for a long time because I know he’s had a great impact, but I can’t find evidence he sought the role.

After renewing his oath of office on Monday, President Obama said in his second inaugural address, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still.”“My fellow Americans,” Mr. Obama said, “we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.” read more, here.

I don’t know what Obama thinks we are seizing. he’s not architecting a national identity unless its socialist in nature. but, perhaps if we look at Norway and other happy Scandinavian countries, it might not be a bad move. but, only time will tell, just as it has with Christ. He turned a world upside down, and saved us all. however, King asked us to be open-minded, open-hearted; tolerant. so, in light of that, and my Dad’s sense of patriotism, I’m thinking hard about Martin Luther King and his legacy, which has become part of our national identity – and, one that my Dad was willing to defend and die for, inspiring me to do the same (while counting on God to sort it all out).

I know why good men remember my Dad, Jesus Christ and, Martin Luther King. I have no idea today why we should follow Obama, or have cause to remember him, other than his place on a list of historically relevant names in our history books. but, my Dad would probably say that Obama, by virtue of being president, commands our attention. and, what we do with the tools he gives us is up to us. that’s what Dad did as an Airman (a “steely-eyed missile man”, eh, Dad).

meanwhile…

Mark Pendleton shared this piece by Kayla McClurg with me

“When I reflect on the life and witness of Martin Luther King, Jr., one thing that strikes me is obvious: he didn’t start out to be who he ended up being. He didn’t set out to be a visionary leader, intent on making an impact on the country and culture of his day. He allowed himself to be created. Slowly, layer by layer, choice by choice, he became himself. He didn’t choose “leader of a mass civil rights movement” from a list of vocational options. His identity emerged gradually from within as he yielded to the guidance of the community and listened and prayed and read and participated and took the risks of creativity that were uniquely his to take.

Underneath who we think we are, who people expect us to be, are as-yet-undiscovered aspects of our true identity–layers waiting to be uncovered. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the minister of a local church, husband and father, a dedicated preacher who devoted hours to preparing sermons that were theologically sound and probing. This was a good fit for him. He wasn’t searching for a new identity. But he found himself interested in the writings of Henry David Thoreau about civil disobedience and Gandhi’s thoughts about nonviolence. He became interested in some folks who were questioning the color barriers in their town and were beginning to devise ways to stand up to them. He didn’t have answers, only questions. He followed the questions, exploring the hints that came layer by layer, thus becoming more of himself.

Thus it was surprising, and yet not surprising at all, that within hours after a seamstress named Rosa Parks had “sat down for what she believed” he had been named spokesperson for a fledgling resistance movement. When he got home and told Coretta what had happened, he said he knew at a gut level that he was being asked inwardly to move beyond words and ideas and to put theory into practice. He said he knew he could no longer stand by and do nothing because to do so was to be a perpetrator of the evil he deplored.

Twenty minutes later the same young man who had a reputation for giving sermons only after hours of preparation was standing before a crowd of about 4,000 people speaking extemporaneously of the challenges and opportunities that lay before them. Part of what he said was this:

Sometimes a person gets tired…. We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us so long that we are tired–tired of being segregated and humiliated, tired of being kicked by the brutal feet of oppression…. We come here tonight to be saved from the patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.

King knew he had a calling–to be a preacher and a father and a citizen. What he discovered little by little was that these dreams would be fulfilled far beyond his imagination. What about us? Are we still becoming ourselves? Are our deepest callings still unfolding, beyond our imagination? Or have we become too patient with being less than we really are?”

NOTE: Information on Martin Luther King is evidently borrowed from the biography called, King – a Biography by David Levering Lewis.

we may not always be able to choose who we are, or even our specific path. but, we always have a choice about what we do with the options granted us. so, we have a decision to make around being part of the solution and not the problem. my Dad and Martin Luther King have their places in history. Obama and I still have options. so do you.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

Dad’s are forever

January19

Brian Patrick Cork: lifting up Col. Clifford D. Cork, USAF, Ret. I’m thinking about you and your own harrowing B-52 adventure, Dad. I love and miss you every day.

“ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN, Maine (AP) – Flying low over snowy terrain on a Cold War training mission, Lt. Col. Dan Bulli’s massive B-52 bomber hit turbulence that shook the plane so violently that he couldn’t read the gauges. Pulling…”.

for additional perspective read: the face of my father.

that’s it… I’m lifting up my Dad.

we must needs all be remembered.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

milestones and memories

December23

so…

the only being I’m probably really important to is my dog, Rowdy.

reference:

Rowdy can run.

Rowdy is alive and well.

and, with my vital role in the world always vitally suspect, my wife Joanne constantly rolling her eyes at me is telling.

but, that said, the point of this post, today, is to correlate two stories (and, a personal mission):

last night, against the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions receiver, Calvin Johnson, aka “Megatron”, broke the legendary Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record.

(sorry about the obnoxious advertisement)

he’s said some great things leading up to that. and, it’s likely the stage is set for many more a terrific bon mot, but the following quote caught me straight between the eyes, and to heart…

“It’s an accomplishment that took a lot of work,” Johnson said after the game. “You’re still in the moment – in the play that just happened, so I was still focused. I don’t think I even said anything when I gave my dad the ball. I just gave him a hug. But when I think back on it, it’s a special moment.”

as soon as I read that, my mind instantly went to the day of my college graduation from Radford University.

I probably did not belong in college at the on-set. but, my Mom and Dad leveraged an uncommon force-of-will to get me there. long story short, I’ve worked every day to have earned that. but, I can’t remember saying thanks to my Dad.

to wit…

“hey Dad. I sure to love you. and, I miss you. Haley Anne and Emma Jo have been out-right cheated by never having you in their lives, physically. but, almost every day they get a ‘Grandad story’. yeah… sometimes they roll their eyes. but, to be certain, another day they will realize the value.

two days, moments actually, often pop into my head, and typically at the seemingly most random times…

the last moment I saw you alive. we had just spent a couple of hours at your hotel while you were visiting Los Angeles on business. you had told me _____ was no good for me and to find the right girl (Dad never met Joanne, but he would adore her). I was listening. and, as I swaggered down the hall, I looked back and you were standing near the door to your room, sort of leaning against the wall with your hands shoved casually in your pockets gazing rather enigmatically at me. it was a tough read. but, I saw love, pride, sadness… a lot of stuff.

I took that moment for granted, just like I always took the too few years, months, weeks, days, hours and seconds I had with you.

then there was graduation day at Radford. Mom could not make it because she was dying of cancer at home. oddly, the import of that just struck me harder than ever before as I tap these words into existence. I know you were suffering. but, you were at Radford for me, and for the moment. a lot had gone-on the days leading up to that. I had sold a business and was sitting on some serious cash. Greg had drunk too much at a fraternity party and almost killed me, Eddie an himself driving back to my apartment. I had found Heather Hillier an hour before the ceremony, and then failed to look her in the eye and admit I had blown it by not ending-up with her instead of Dede (see below).

but, after the whooping-and-hollering and throwing of caps into the air, I found you standing off to the side by the fountain (Radford collective: you blew it by what you’ve relegated the fountain to). you had your coat looped through your arm with it being such a balmy Spring. and, of course, you had both that distant smile on your face – and, such a Gatsby air about yourself. were you a Last Gentleman a la, Walker Percy, after all?”

I do recall saying, “well… we did it”. however, I can’t recall much else. and, it was a bummer that you were distracted about Mom, and what lay ahead with Greg, the police, and all of that…

so…

Thank You.

despite my efforts to immortalize what I understood (or, not) about you on this blog over the years, and in stories to friends-and-family, I’ll probably never fully appreciate what that day meant to you, and on my behalf.

you grew up damn-dirt-poor (your words). but, your success is beyond measure. not just as a military officer. but, as a man and Dad. I know you had demons. and, they scarred us all. but, none of that could hide your efforts and the unflinching love and effort you put into your sons. Mom fought like hell to get me attention from college coaches despite my grades. but, you fought the odds and made it possible for me to be there. you never really talked about your own personal commitment to education, your advanced degrees (all long-after you were married and with kids), all that. what you cared about was Greg and me; our education. it was meaningful to you. so, graduation day was all the more special.

after you were gone, and I was able to get to Omaha, and while I was sorting through your affects, my mind a bit numb and body wracked with grief, I came upon a small box with my name neatly (nobody else ever had clean hand-writing like yours) stenciled across the top, and along one side (probably just for good measure). in that box were some momentos that you had carefully accumulated and I was unaware of… one of my running medals (why that one? …wait… I know why), a fishing hook, and a Political Science position paper I had written for Dr. Nick Pappas in my (ironically) Sophomore year with the words, “well done…” scrawled in a corner.

in my minds-eye, I see myself, with a re-wind like an old tape-to-tape reel, approaching you, giving you another hug, then stepping-back with an effort to be the man you saw, taking your hand firmly in my own (you taught me the importance of a firm hand-shake with eye-to-eye contact), and calmly state, “thank you Dad. I fully appreciate that everything you did since the day I was born was for, us. and, while you have given me an uncommon gift that will be measured more-and-more by the days yet ahead, this moment is for you. I want you to carry the memory of this day along with the notion that I could never conceive of the result without you being part of it every step leading up to, through, and beyond it”.

thanks for the ball, Dad.

today, I’m listening to Autumn Leaves, by Ed Sheeran. Haley Anne found this artist and shared him with me.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

brian cork looking (back) at Old Sacramento

September17

I’ve been ever so busy with life. it’s good to be certain. and, those that know mw well, and perhaps not so much, all understand that it’s both Lacrosse and Soccer season.

that said, a newish friend of mine responded to a TeamSnap team email where I mentioned Mom being an Old Sacramento Debutante. he came back with some interesting information. my response is below. some of the information is new to some of you, not so much, for the rest. but, good insight into me, and whnce I come, just the same….

————

My Dad was a South Dakota farm boy and a 2nd Lieutenant when he met my Mom at a soiree in Old Sacramento in early 1959. They were introduced by my Dad’s best friend (my Godfather), who was also very close to my Mom.

My Mom grew up with Max Baer, Jr. (Jethro Bodine from Beverly Hillbillies and the son of Max Baer, the heavy weight champion) as her next door neighbor. She had the only back-yard pool of its kind in the city in that era.

A few months later, when Dad was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, he showed-up on Mom’s doorstep and, as the story goes said, “I have to go to Nebraska. If you’ll have me I need you to meet me there in a month. Plan on staying”.

She did just that. She and my Godmother jumped on a train and never looked back. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1960. I was evidently a “Mai Tai baby”, according to my Mom. There were witnesses.

We then found ourselves at Beale AFB when Dad made Captain. My younger brother Greg was born at Roseville General Hospital in 1965. I had many adventures all over Beale AFB, rather like Huck Finn.

In 1968 or 1969 my Dad headed to Southeast Asia for the first of two one-year tours. While he had two B52’s shot out from underneath his navigators chair my Mom held post back in Sacramanto. We lived in a rented house but visited the Mathers AFB Officers Club pool through the summers. I attended Albert E. Schweitzer Elementary School. Through all that we often visited my Nana Lenci (my Moms Nana) whom lived in Old Sacramento and ran bootleg gin out of her bathtub in the ’20’s. She made the best tortellini and brodo soup you can imagine. She had also taught my Mom how to dive from the towers in Merced during the summers growing-up.

After that it was mostly midwest duty posts. Dad was highly decorated. Always promoted “below the zone”. He was the first navigator in SAC history to command a B52 Wing from the Navigators Chair. Later he moved over to Peacekeeper Missiles and commanded a Missile Wing. I believe he is also the only SAC Colonel to have commanded two Wings under separate missions.

After my Mom died of cancer in 1985, Dad sent me off to Los Angeles with my college degree to work at Northrop Corporation. I pulled out a MBA at Northrop University (which is mostly Bullshit because the school lost its accreditation). But, I double-dipped and played another round of college Lacrosse at Loyola Marymount. I spent every hour I could surfing, playing Lacrosse and volleyball while trying to be the man David Sugarman said I could be learning stocks. That’s where I also met Joanne, twenty-two years ago, this December. I’ve never “seen” another girls since (just like my Dad).

I still surf when I can, have the girl of my dreams, and love Lacrosse. Most of its tied to California, some how.

I’m certain my own daughters will read these stories one day. perhaps they will remember the “face of their father” and value his memories – they’ve formed me, after all. so, I’m delighted to share them with all of you, as well.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

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

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

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 - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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