Welcome to Cal's Cosmos

Allow me to roll out the red carpet and usher you into my world--the world of writing. I am a blessed man; a man blessed with the enjoyment of creating worlds on a lifeless sheet of paper or a blank computer screen.

You'll find many things at Cal's Cosmos: information about my long and passionate love affair with writing, my views on literature, my musical heritage and thoughts on current events.

Please, come back often to see what's happenin' on Cal's Cosmos.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Fighter -- Great Movie

Vonnie and I went to see Mark Wahlberg's movie, The Fighter, yesterday. Call me "strange," but I love it when a movie has a storyline. This one had it in spades. The scenery and characters were so rough, so gritty, so gawd-awful nasty that I forgot it was a movie. I truly felt transported to that run-down community.

Momma was a trip. I'd seen her a million times on the streets of Baltimore, in all shapes and colors. In this movie, Momma was white, slender and smoked like Winston's chimney. She ruled the family with her acerbic tongue and pugnacious ways. The woman had no qualms about putting Micky in a ring with zero chance of winning, just so long as he got paid and she got her generous cut of said winnings. Yet, even though she was living off Micky, she obviously preferred and catered to her older son, Dickie whose claim to fame was a fight years ago with Sugar Ray Leonard.

And then there were the sisters, categorized by whichever father they had. A meaner, rougher band of women I'd shudder to meet. I kept thinking that they couldn't be professional actresses; they had to be real women yanked off the streets of the 'hood.

Shakespeare's MacBeth had three witches. All totaled, this movie had seven--momma, sisters and girlfriend.

Expect this movie to garner awards. It's that good. Go see it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas in Paris --

Christmas in Paris is a unique experience. I'm sure you've realized by now that I carry a strong degree of partiality regarding anything Parisian. I call Paris the birthplace of my soul as a black man. I first went there in the late fifties while serving in the Army in Germany. Paris was a place where I could eat or drink at a cafe table next to a white person. A place where I was looked upon as an equal-- a rarity in that time period.

During my year in Paris, in '68-69, I spent hours with my nose pressed against the windows, taking in the bright lights and various Christmas ornaments as if the decorations were painted by Picasso's brush. I can no longer think of Christmas without thinking of Galleries Lafayette, an exclusive department store in an old opera house. Its architecture takes one's breath away. The stained glass dome rises above floors lined with gilded banisters around its balcony walkways. The day I took Vonnie there, she just stood, gazing up at the spectacle. "It's beyond beautiful," she whispered, as if in awe of the sight.

Parisians gather outside store windows to gawk and praise the artistry and imagination used. Women in long wool coats, scarves draped stylishly around their necks, wearing heels--always high heels--speak their lilting, rapid-fire French. A Frenchman or Frenchwoman would never be caught on the streets in sweatpants or baggie jeans or, God forbid, white sneakers. That's just so American, after all.

As in my beloved USA, the French President throws the switch on the Christmas lights decorating the cherished Champs-Elysees. This tradition is also hailed with cheers and clapping as is the lighting of the Nation's Christmas Tree in DC.

Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of The Light of the World in Bethlehem so many years ago. How apt that lights are one of the most popular decorative items used. The symbolism is most effective.

Yes, Christms in Paris is an experience. For Paris is one of those cities that wears her year-round charm like a bright silk scarf. No wonder she lives up to her nickname: The City of Lights.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Men tend to forget; it's a fact of nature...

The day started like any other--hugs, smiles and kisses from my wife. A freshly brewed pot of coffee, strong just the way I like it. We watched the news, laughing at the way newscasters speed-talk as if they'd taken a double hit of speed before going on the air. All was well in Calvin-land.

Vonnie checked her emails on her laptop while I perused the morning paper. Then somehow the day started going downhill. She went to my blog to see how many visitors I've had and noticed I hadn't mentioned her book contract. Now I meant to, truly I had, but it just kind of slipped my mind. You know how it is, fellas.

She cut her eyes to me and asked, "Why haven't you mentioned my book contract? I mentioned yours on my blog. Aren't you proud of me?"

I felt my stomach tighten, the acid sarted to roll. A voice whispered, Watch what you say now. I took the well-troddened path taken by many a husband--I feigned ignorance. "Didn't I do that? I'm sure I did. I meant to, honey." I ducked behind the newspaper, sliding so low that all she could see was the top of my 'fro.

"I don't understand how you could forget my book contract." I winced. She had that tone to her voice. "It's been over two weeks since I signed it and you haven't mentioned it once." I rolled my eyes heavenward, knowing full well how this was going to end. "Are you listening to me?"

"I'm all ears, dear."

Guys, she wasn't having it. When I peeked around the edge of her paper, I could have sworn her eyes were glowing that eerie shade of red like those vampires in the movies. And I'm not positive on this, but I'm almost sure I saw fangs grow. I mean the wrinkles in my neck were trembling with fear. I leaned over, took her hand and kissed it (she's a sucker for the continental approach--throw her a little French accent and she's putty in my hands).

There was no putty to be found in Calvin-land. No peace and quiet either. My sweet angel was on a tirade. I knew in an instant the weather forecast for the remainder of the day: Silent and chilly with occasional door banging. And supper? Hunh. There'd be no pork chops tonight. Nor seafood fetticine. I'd be lucky if I got a jam sandwich. You know, two peices of bread jammed together. I was a blues-singin' man in an angry woman's world