Casual Corner

Remind Me Tomorrow

Over the Hill

CASPER IS AN INCORRIGIBLE CREATURE of indissoluble habit and inflexible routine. He’s also bold, has a voracious appetite, is relentless in his pursuit of nourishment, and unfettered by conventions such as manners and propriety. So, as is his custom, he dashed unabashed and unannounced into Gene and Dana Rayburn's master bedroom at 5:30 to demand his breakfast. He neither noticed nor cared that on this otherwise unremarkable morning he’d caught Gene in flagrante delicto with a frisky, 40-something-year-old adulteress of indescribable beauty, insatiable appetite, astonishing stamina, possessed of a poverty of clothing and an utter lack of restraint. …

Happy Birthday From Medicare!


BROTHER, HERE WE GO AGAIN. Today, or to be more precise, some time around 4:30 this morning, I officially hit “the big five nine.” I’m really not certain of the exact moment I legally transitioned from fetus to neonate back in ‘58, but I do seem to recall my mother informing me long ago that it was an early morning for us, and 4:?? comes to mind. Why she told me, I don’t know. Unless it was to point out that, owing to the inconvenient hour, we got off to a wobbly start. …

While I Ponder, Weak and Weary

let-it-poe copy

THERE IS NOTHING TO WRITING; all you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. This aphorism, well known among writers, holds a simple truth. In 1946, Paul Gallico explained it nicely in Confessions of a Story Writer.

"It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader. If you do not believe in the characters or the story you are doing at that moment with all your mind, strength, and will, if you don’t feel joy and excitement while writing it, then you’re wasting good white paper, even if it sells, because there are other ways in which a writer can bring in the rent money besides writing bad or phony stories."

A Book in Search of an Author


RUMORS OF MY DEATH, I regret to report (with a tip of my Stetson to Mark Twain), are greatly exaggerated. I was deeply moved by the spontaneous celebrations that erupted in the streets when speculations about my demise began circulating in literary circles, but I’m afraid there’s nothing to it. In fact, my prolonged absence from these pages reflects little more than an unusually lengthy stretch of intellectual torpor and cerebral vapor lock—to wit, a severe case of writer’s block. …

To Mock a Hummingbird

Hummingbird Hero a

WHEN A MAN GIVES UP STRONG DRINK, dangerous drugs, and women, he wants hummingbirds in his life. Oh don’t worry; I have no intention of giving up drugs and booze, and women gave me up long ago. I just needed a snappy lead to introduce my obsession with hummingbirds. Fascinating creatures. I knew of them by legend in my youth, but never saw a real honest-to-God hummingbird until I reached my fourth decade of of life. 

My first close encounter with real live hummingbirds occurred in a controlled environment, sometime during the early 90s. …

A Man of Infinite Chest

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IN 1871, Charles Darwin published The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, and with it sparked controversy that exists to this day regarding the social, cultural, and political significance of human sexual dimorphism; ie, the physical differences (beyond reproductive organs) between developed males and females. To all that my response is, Vive La Différence! Who cares? About the social, cultural, and political significance of, for example, the human female breast? …

Old and Scary

straight razor shaving

LOYAL TRQ fans will recall that your host hates being photographed. I mentioned this in a previous Casual Corner piece that recalled a back-yard photo session occasioned after I decided it was time to update my website “portrait." This was done more in the interest of veracity than vanity. The simple fact is, I’m more haggard and gray than most surviving photos reveal. That doesn’t bother me. Considering the ravages of time and wretched health, I probably look better than I deserve to. …

Fumus Gratia Artis

Smoking 2 copy

I might have another go at smoking. Cigarettes, that is. I know, I sounds unwise, especially for a man in my condition. But what, exactly, does a man in my condition have to fear from a pack of Luckies? Plenty, I suppose. And, truth be told, I never managed to acquire the habit. Oh I tried. I did so try. My mother smoked Alpines, my father favored Kents, which featured the mighty, manly, micronite filter. So supply was never a problem. …

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