The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

converging paths


I’ll begin this post by inviting you to revisit two other efforts of mine that have received an extraordinary amount of attention:

taken aback by Bill Pope, and I want to know what Love is.

Next, I’ll admit that I’m not so sure where I’ll go with this particular post. I guess we’ll, collectively, know, only when our paths converge there. Along the way, I just might be looking for something we can all appreciate relative to what life’s twists-and-turns might offer us.

A few weeks ago I ran into Jane Pope and her daughter Madison at a Starbucks. I had my own little Emma Jo with me. We were hanging-out and running errands. We had only just climbed back into my Porsche, and I was looking at Emma Jo while she was describing one of her books to me, when I looked up and past her and saw Jane’s Jaguar. A lot can blow through ones mind in a whirl-wind. But, Jane looked great, and heroic, in light of, well, just everything. But, I started thinking about daughters, and paths, and the future, and the roles of Dads, in the lives of daughters.

So… I pay a lot of attention to my daughters. But, recently more so. It seems like my “spider sense” is up, or something akin to it.

Sure enough, Haley Anne was bit by a spider two weekends ago during a soccer tournament. She led us into the finals and apparently endured agony while doing so. The wound is still puffy and we are apparently at risk of staph – and, the fear of sepsis. Oooohhh God, help me. Then, on top of that she hauled-off and grew up on me a bit more, having just turned fourteen, and is statuesque and gorgeous, and all that. But, while I was fussing over her and trying to teach her, well, something, I was reminded that everything ends up …connected.

I’ve been tracking a group of entrepreneurs working on a very cool (and change-oriented) technology that Bill was championing. I had reached out to Jane to make sure she would benefit. And, then an old roommate of Bill’s found the post you’ve peeked at and likely shared with your friends already. And, I found myself forging pathways that I hope will intersect in a way that will indirectly help Bill with Madison. And, I pray that goodly men (did you know that behind every great man there is some woman rolling her eyes?) will rally to my own children (and, Joanne) if I don’t make it home one day.

Man… I am really struggling with this piece. But, this is transparency. Living the authentic life.

In any event, go to the comments section of the blog concerning Bill. Do it now! You’ll find the note from his buddy Bruce, whom apparently lost his way with Bill. But, maybe now he can shed some light on another path for Madison.

I’ll simply end this post, here, with my restated response to Bruce, within those comments, for the sake of posterity, with the hopes all of it means something, and the convergence is a good thing, given all the unexpected steps.

“Hello Mr. Waller.

And, welcome, here.

No matter your paths I’ll suspect Bill had you in his heart. He was a stout and loyal fellow, that one.

My immediate take-away from your comment will have me pondering the following words from Wayland – “…who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity; whose deed follows his word; … who appears well in any company; a man with whom hanor is sacred and virtue safe”, paints a good picture of “Willie Red”.

It’s also interesting to me that the type of man I most often like to bask with have inexplicably found themselves favored by a college professor at one point or another. I did not know about Bill’s relationship with your Dr. Gabbard. But, I can’t be surprised. Its likely along the same lines as my own with Dr. Pappas at Radford University.

I’m, and only just now, struck by a thought, that is possibly an inspiration… Deliver a hand-written note to Bill’s daughter Madison (via Jane of course). Tell her a story about Bill from his youth. But, make the best example of what a terrific gentleman he was, and how she should only allow for such a man in her own life one day. Bill had high standards. Lets work together to make sure Madison realizes those as well. So, regardless of your lost path with Bill, you can now help, in this small way, ensure his daughter walks the right one.

And, trust me, Mr. Waller… This will help you as well.”

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


a cup of G.I. Joe


Growing up (obviously, still a work-in-progress for me) I witnessed my Grandad and Dad always buy a meal, or cup of coffee (or pie), for anyone in uniform.

Now it’s tradition in my own family.

Haley Anne and Emma Jo see me quietly cover the tab for uniformed personnel and their families whenever we’re out-and-about. And, it’s my habit and pleasure to pay for the coffee if I see a soldier or peace officer at Starbucks.

[digression alert]

On a side-note, I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. I grew up in a military household. Each morning I’d awaken to the aroma of coffee and cigarette smoke. To this day I can’t smell coffee without getting a cigarette smoke headache. Coffee shops are agony for me. But, I’ll suffer a SBUX for my Vente Ice Chai. By the way… ANYONE that stands anywhere near a SBUX door and smokes SUCKS.

[end of digression]

…or lunch. I had some of my team visiting with me from Chicago recently. We were at Bagel Boys when I spotted a policeman waiting in-line. I told the crew at the cashier that lunch was on me. The officer was stunned and really grateful.

But, it was me that had the honor of thanking him for his service.

I’m not bragging, mind you. This is something that’s ingrained in my own DNA now. And, it was my Grandad that started the family tradition (and, likely his own father before him).

I stop in at the Bethany SBUX most days in the morning, and they hit me up to cover the cost of shipping LOTS of coffee to units in Afghanistan. That’s easy. I’ll do it every time. But, the overture of simply showing respect and buying a cup of coffee is profound – both for me, and the recipient.

This is only a reminder that you can quietly show your support by covering the cost of a cup of coffee (or pie). Its that common courtesy and it’s foundation that our warriors are defending every day.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


understanding that was Awkward


I understand that readers of this Blog look for life changing, if not globe affecting, punditry. At least this is what I gleam from what you tell me in person, through comments, emails and the odd mail box bomb.

I interact daily with people that, in some form or fashion, change the world. Some times (and, always hopefully) for good. I get to wage commerce in-and-amongst them, offer advice, and from time-to-time, get to be taken seriously. For that I get to be referred to as a Cultural Architect and run point through organizations like the, certainly far from self-effacing (but pointedly paranoid) Prudent Society of Optimistic Gentlemen. Being a Prudent Gentlemen has both it’s rewards as incredible demands – mostly in terms of demands and expectations around a service and commitment to community.

With that said, I most often view myself as a Dad first. I do train fiercely for extreme and adventure races (but, I love training more than racing). I also get to be a youth soccer coach. And, I am pretty good at all of those things.

Then again, sometimes I am just an oaf.

Realizing this – and, discussing it on such a public platform, such as this Blog, is crucial to my own development, as well as yours because it keeps (perhaps it puts) so many things into perspective.

I also understand that this is shaping up to be quite a dramatic and verbose (nothing entirely new from that view point) prologue for my point.

Of course, there is a story.

So… As readers know I am decidedly no stranger to Starbucks. Every barista from Alpharetta to Peachtree City knows my beverage of choice: Vente Ice Chai – nine (seriously) pumps of chai, one pump vanilla with whole milk.

Facing a day with naught less than empire building prospects, I broke my “one chai a day” rule and popped into a SBUX near my offices on the way back from the UPS Store (how is it our offices are a catalyst and spawning ground for dynamic change yet bereft of legal size envelopes?). I strode through the door and was met with the usual “BRIAN” from the crew.  On the rare occasions when I actually have to pay, I don’t have to state my order and it’s always prepared and ready in expedited fashion.

In any event, one of the Barista’s at this particular SBUX is a rather quiet young gal that I suspect has few ambitions in life other than not falling asleep at the wheel. You will understand when I manage “cow” as part of the description. “Simple” comes to mind. My family in England my use the descriptor “thick”.

I understand this is cruel But, this is coming from a fellow (me) that will do anything to inspire his daughters to reflect and represent only the best our genetic coding can muster on any given day (have I shamelessly boasted regaled you recently about how well Haley Anne is doing in public school – having emerged successfully from the ranks of the home schooled, and in soccer, where, as a formidable defender she demonstrates both her will and domain over hapless forwards? Or, how brilliant Emma Jo is in terms of her art and keen insight?).

I digress in parallel with setting myself up.

However, given all my chest-thumping arrogance and notions of, generalized superiority, this stage-setting is relevant.

I had come to the conclusion that this gal was pregnant. Time often throws itself into a vortex for me. Entire months can come-and-go as the world moves slowly around me. Well, her belly had apparently begun it’s expansion last year some time. But, I would swear that I asked her when she was due only last month, and she told me October. Every time I see her I inquire about how she is feeling; her due date; and add how great it is to be a parent.

Okay… This gal had Barista duty today and was moving like she was in a fog (while manning the cash register she reads every button like a First Grade Dick and Jane book). As I awaited my chai at the stand observing her titanic struggle with a cloth hopelessly pitted against a growing puddle of milk and some frothy substance, I asked her (ironically, I might add in a tragic sense) if she was ready to be a Mom.

“I already am a Mom”, she responded.

“Cool. Are you ready to be a Mom again?”

“No. I’m not going to be a Mom again.”

“Well… When your baby comes, won’t that make you a Mom again, in a manner of speaking?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Okay. So, when is this one due?”

“It’s not.”

“Lets try it this way… When do you give birth?”


Reader – have you heard of the phrase Cow Tipping?

She had gained quite a bit of weight by my estimate. And, I found myself both unsettled and concerned about how realistic the “cow” thing just might play itself out. I did some quick calculating and made out that was seven months away. This was either going to be the longest pregnancy of record, or I was really missing something.

“So… You are having another baby?”


“What happens in March?”

“I don’t know.”

“What does you having a baby have to do with March?”

“That’s when I had my baby.”

So… There I was a bit flat-footed, and not feeling like much of a card-carrying MENSA at the moment.

After something of a pregnant pause, if you will, she looked at me and asked:

“Do I look pregnant?”

Once again, faced with an Kobayashi Maru.


When I tell Joanne this story she will simply opine: “It was just none of your business”. She might add: “You were being an ass”.

IN celebration of own ly lack of demonstrated genius this day, let’s go with a poll and stir up some controversy:

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork


Networking: Rule 33


There are essentially two separate kinds of networking.  One is social, and, the other is business.

The focus of this particular Blog entry is business networking.

There is always the temptation to introduce people and think you are doing them both a favor. But, often, you are not.  Starbucks is always congested with people wondering why they are meeting the person they are sitting with.

For the purpose of business and commerce, the purpose of introductions is to connect two or more people that can clearly advance the options and abilities of the other(s).  Or, you are asking one person to help another in a very specific way.  Then, as the connector, you now have an express obligation to follow up and make sure both parties did what you expected of them.

As a direct result, a clearly stated agenda and objective is identified and met.  All parties should benefit and reciprocate equitably.

Lets be art of the solution, and not the problem.

Brian Patrick Cork

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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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