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Immaculate Conception at night by Vincent Embser

Wiser’s Wramblings-A Wintry Mix

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

I often have trouble sleeping or getting to sleep with my very active mind unable or unwilling to slow down. Even if getting to sleep easily, I often wake up and after a half hour, or more, of sleeplessness and get back up. 15 minutes of reading usually will make me drowsy and I can return to bed and sleep the rest of the night. Unless I can’t that is, in which case I will get back up and start over again, or depending on time, I may just stay up and start my day early.

The culprit of this erratic (not erotic) pattern is my overly active mind. My mind never rests. I guess it does give me an excuse for my absent-mindedness, as I can always claim to have been thinking about something else, which, I guess, is more truth than fiction. Many of my Wrambling’s writings are the cause of, or result from, such sleep pattern episodes. I guess this gives credence to the term mindlessness, but I would be the antithesis of that. I often will observe a person with a “far away” look, and ask them “what are you thinking about?” “Nothing”, is often their reply. I sometimes envy that ability to clear your mind to where you can’t really recall thinking about anything.

The night before last was just such a night where restful sleep evaded me. I was awake and up three or four different times, not counting answering nature’s call.

Your body typically will regulate itself without conscious intervention on your part. Were it conscious, it wouldn’t happen, thus mindlessness. Well, last night my body regulated itself. I had missed watching live as the Bonnies basketball team played George Mason University. I had other priorities as attendance at church choir practice was more important. The Grace United Church in Wellsville, NY, will present A Twelfth Night Celebration as part of the GraceFull Arts series which has been, and is, occurring through the December and January months. I was able to watch a replay of the Bonnies game, thanks to ESPN+ “On Demand,” after the fact in preparation for a future writing(s) covering the Bills and Bonnies activities.

I went to bed about 11 PM and didn’t stir, for any reason, nature or otherwise, until 8:30 AM this morning, feeling renewed, refreshed, and wide awake. Even still, at that awakening I wasn’t exactly sure of what I would write about in this week’s Wramblings. Sitting down with my wife and my morning coffee, she was especially conversational, so we chatted off and on for nearly an hour. As we chatted, topics for writing popped into my head. Some topics, now herein, were actually triggered by that conversation. I subtly jotted them down as we talked, for later recall. This writing is pretty much the result of our conversation 😉.

The planned Buffalo Bills writings will be put off for a while as there is already an immense amount of coverage on the tragic happenings of Monday Night’s football game “start” against the Cincinnati Bengals. I don’t want to mix my whimsical Wrambling’s with the solemnity of the events that transpired during that game resulting in its suspension and what now appears to now possibly being canceled entirely.

I am very active on the social media craze Facebook (FB) and enjoy it immensely, usually, for what I expect was the initial intention of the “inventor”. “Social” commentary isn’t always social, but when it is, I find it entertaining and/or enlightening, as I am able to view “friends” activities. A recent FB posting of mine dealt with the purchase of gasoline at what is sometimes a controversial location, but the jist of that dealt with the local price of gasoline. There is no consistency in the pricing, fluctuating by considerable amounts even within a 30-mile radius, not even taking into consideration that previously mentioned facility. I recently posted comments regarding the fluctuations and diversity of gasoline prices in the area. “Local” fluctuations can be 60¢ – 70¢ or more.

I will share a copy/paste of one comment by a reader (and friend on FB) who is also a former student of mine. His comment, as excerpted below, recalled a decades long project involving the Rte 219 “corridor” that seemingly will still be a topic decade’s from now. I will share verbatim (with exception for a minor spelling correction 😉) that comment from my student/friend William/Bill/Charles/Chuck as I call him, with further comment on that moniker to follow.

William Charles Ronolder IV

Chuck Wiser Lately the gas prices near work (West Seneca) are rivalling stations on the Rez. Since I must commute, I make the slight detour down 219 to the Rez twice a week instead of over Chapel Hill. I would note to county lawmakers, that the loss of real manufacturing jobs in the southern tier has MORE folks commuting to Buffalo and Rochester. After 6 months I am seeing the same cars on my commute to & from the Olean area. I would LOVE to see Rt219 finished to the PA border now. The traffic bottle neck of Ashford and Ellicottville are horrible. With most of Rt 16 speeds downgraded to 45 mph that commute is too lengthy now. The answer, sadly, for me will be moving eventually. I LOVE the Southern Tier, but the opportunities are no longer there.

I have always been conscientious about what name I used, and with which, I associated my students. I was named Charles but with apologies to my mother, RIP, I prefer “Chuck” and surely am aware of subtle “play on words” that my last name evokes. “Pete” is a common nickname for Peter, and most people named Peter accept or prefer that. Two people I know are exceptions to that, replying “I prefer to be called Peter,” when I ask what their preference is. I have faithfully abided by their request. Often, when I inquire of the students, they will say it doesn’t matter. Over the course of our known relationship, I eventually will pick up on their “preferred” name usage. If my memory serves me correctly, and even if it doesn’t it will embellish the story, assuming I am not doing so to gain “political popularity” (subtle politicking), when I asked Mr. Ronolder that question, his reply, and preference, I “think”, was, “it doesn’t matter.” I now refer to him “affectionately” as William/Bill/Charles/Chuck. “Bill” has the dubious distinction of knowing me as a “teacher” in both his professional business capacity, and as a former traditional college student. Carol (Reed) Mohilewski can still call me “Chuckles” as I love her and her name for me.

Grammar Groans:               

It is fairly well known that I take pride in my grammar usage. However, as a “self-anointed” writer, I often take poetic license with grammar, and share much of it in my writhings.

Have you ever heard the phrase/comment made to something you said as being “I see what you’re saying?” Where does that come from? How can you “see” what someone has said? I have found the answer to that question.

Well, there’s your answer. You can see what was said. Cartoons with “balloon captions” have been around for eternities. I make a claim that the origin of the phrase goes to that. The mundane interpretation that “see” is used to intend “understanding” just doesn’t “ring a bell” with me.

The Maple City Barbershop Chorus, has been invited to be one of the performing groups that will be a part of the Twelfth Night Celebration previously mentioned in this article. One of the songs to be presented is an old Barbershop standby named Hello Mary Lou. In my earlier days I had sung both the “Lead” and “Baritone” parts on this song. Recently I have been singing “Bass” and the new “memorization of the song, so as to perform “Off Book” has been particularly challenging.  “Off Book” is a term that describes the process of singing from memory and not reading from a music “score” while performing.

The Bass part of this song includes what is called a “patter”, which is a sing-song repeated pattern of a series of words or terms. In this case it uses the words or phrases “Doom”, “Doo”, “Doo-be-doo”, “Doo be Day” and “Bum Bum Bum”. These are repeated over about 16 measures (4 beats per measure) in one segment. It has been a distinct challenge for me to memorize the “patter”. These musical patterns are quite frequent in Barbershop music and can be a challenge. If you can determine what the pattern is and when or how it repeats, it is achievable. The words are not such that they follow typical conversation pattern as in saying something that is memorable by the words used. Note terminology such as “Quarter note (1/4).” “Eighth note (1/8),” “Whole note” is a mathematical association in music determining the duration or “holding a note” or number of “beats” a note is held within a measure. In the graphic shared herein, my notation shows how I had to graphically record the note/word duration in the “patter” to help my memorization. I’m close. I have another day and a half to get to 100%. By the way…Reading the music would not improve the ease of singing a “patter like this anyway, as your eyes can’t keep up with the pace of the song.

Despite not having a planned main topic for these “writhings” I managed to fill as many pages as I normally do. With your indulgence I will end with a New Year’s poem, originally written on a previous “day of” New Year’s Eve, such that its wording might reflect that.

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