I'm exhausted. Only three o'clock and I could fall asleep but I started work at three o'clock this morning. Yesterday I walked ten miles and ran the BC stairs ten times, then also walked ten miles today and ran the BC stairs ten more times. That's thirty-five miles walked since Christmas Eve and 8000 stairs ran. Today there was another man running the stairs. He was in good shape. I went up as he came down, and it was pretty obvious we were competing. You don't want to lose ground in terms of where you pass each other each time. So this meant we were hauling pretty good. I don't normally do this, but I took a break after six runs, and he stopped and went home. The BC stairs have more steps than the famous stairs in the Laurel and Hardy short, The Music Box. I did a lot of work in my head on the Scrooge and Billie Holiday books, and "Eede Upstairs."
This is Maurice Compris' 1930 oil painting, Santa's Arrival at Rockport Dock Square. Each year in Rockport, going back many years, Santa arrives via lobster boat. This occurs right down the road from my house that I am trying so hard to get back, which was built in 1840, the same year the town was incorporated. Santa goes around the corner to Dock Square at the base of Bearskin Neck--so named because an early settler allegedly killed a bear there on the beach with a knife--where the giant Christmas tree is. Everyone sings carols and has hot chocolate. I have been looking at this painting to remind myself--not that I need a reminder--to keep fighting, to have this be a part of my life someday and hopefully soon. Maybe next year. Maybe 2021 will be the year when I finally start to pull into this place where I am going.
I listened to the BBC's two-part radio version of Dracula from 2012 and watched a documentary about H.P. Lovecraft called Fear of the Unknown. Saw the sound version of Ben-Hur last night and a pretty terrible cheapie called Valley of the Dragons from 1961 that used a ton of recycled footage from One Million B.C. The best part was the beginning when these two guys who end up in a land filled with giant lizards and dinosaur-type beings agree to put off the duel they were scheduled to have and work together. It's this campy bromance thing where one dude is like, "Okay, we'll fight the huge reptile monster and the super-sized spider, but don't forget that duel, okay?"
On Downtown on Tuesday I think I'll do a New Year's themed segment and talk about another five-part episode of Johnny Dollar--that's how serious I am about the quality of this show--that aired right after the one we just discussed called "The Forbes Matter"; the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup and Leo McCarey; the 12/30/81 game in which Wayne Gretzky scored five goals against the Flyers to give him 50 in 39 games; and what may be the best rock and roll song of the 1960s--and excellent advice--in the Remains' "Don't Look Back."
Phil Niekro died. He was one of those players like Carl Yastrzemski who were in their early forties in the early 1980s and looked about sixty-six. Niekro didn't start winning ballgames until he was in his late twenties, and yet cruised passed 300 victories. I think I'd put him as the second-best knuckleballer of all-time, behind Hoyt Wilhelm, who I also think is best all-time relief pitcher. Niekro must be the only knuckleballer to have led the league in strikeouts. He had 262 one year, in part because he threw crazy amounts of innings.
Here's a turkey I almost bumped into today when I was pulling on a glove. I was like, "What's up, sir?" and he squawked something that I'm pretty sure meant, "Look who survived the holidays, bitches!" You have to admire chutzpah.