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Friday, August 22, 2014

Nietzsche Nailed It

I neither knew, not knew of, James Foley except in an abstract sense of the word. As someone who devours news and information on and from any number of platforms I am aware of the veritable army of people across the globe engaged without surcease in reporting on the actions and activities of this world, which we call news. 

Mr. Foley was engaged in pursuit of inconvenient truths wherever in the world he found them and wherever in the world they took him. We all know what happened but I’m not sure that any of us have any confidence in what happens next despite opinions masquerading as facts from any and all political persuasions.

There is sadness for his family and friends and the knowledge that the space in their lives he occupied will always and forever be filled by ineffable and unending sorrow and an ache that cannot stop but there are no words for them, him or for us. Just the realization that pure evil exists in our world and that it always has and always will.

-bill kenny

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ay Carumba!

As promotional stunts go, this one from the FXX (cable) network borders on a public service. I’ll make this quick as I don’t know what time it is wherever you are, but as of 10 this morning and running through the final moments of the Labor Day holiday, FXX is running a marathon of every episode of The Simpsons ever made, in order *.

Should definitely make for some quiet streets in neighborhoods across the country as some of us struggle to answer Bart’s age-old question, “What if you're a really good person, but you get into a really, really bad fight and your leg gets gangrene and it has to be amputated. Will it be waiting for you in heaven?”

Rumor has it that may be the tie-breaker used by the next College of Cardinals to determine who becomes Pope. (Having your own hat will no longer be enough, Kelly; just sayin'.).

I can’t imagine watching all of it (actually the people I work for have told me they can’t imagine it as I’m supposed to be at my desk at work for at least eight hours of it every work-day , so I, too, can’t imagine it) but I can imagine there are plenty of folks who will do exactly that and post about it on Social Media Uber Alles as it’s happening.

For my part, I’ve always loved Bart’s scribbling on the school blackboard as punishment though never more than when he scrawled “I will not surprise the incontinent.” We’re all gonna die, Lis.

-bill kenny

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Slow Motion Riders Fly the Colors of the Day

I used Saturday's glorious weather to visit Mohegan Park on what I believe to have been one of the ten best days, weather-wise, we've had all year. Judging from the numbers of people I encountered at the picnic tables, the beach and on the walking path around Spaulding Pond, I wasn't alone.

You remember Saturday-light breeze, low humidity and high clouds? Walking around Spaulding Pond, I'm always intrigued by the canopy the tall trees, mostly oaks I think, form over the pathway, sometimes completely obscuring the sky above while on the pond banks, maples and what we used to call poplars where I grew up, hug the shore.  Intermingled of course are also pine trees which I'll notice more as the colors of the leaves on all the other trees start to change.

Everyone I met in Mohegan were very friendly, much more so than when we cross paths elsewhere, but in fairness that's as true of me as it is for them. Perhaps that's why we go there-to recreate and to re-create ourselves, our hearts and our souls.

I always take peanuts with me to feed the chipmunks and squirrels I may encounter. On my first pass around the Lakeside Pavilion on the path that forks nearest the pond, my way was blocked by a squirrel who darted in front of me, halting for a moment and then racing two more steps ahead until I finally bribed him with a peanut. I was surprised he didn't scamper away but waited until I gave him a second peanut.

Satisfied, he gathered them both up and darted into the woods. On my next round, I had two squirrels waiting for me. Blabbermouth. I paid my toll and they let me pass. Farther along, I spotted a dad and his two sons, one about eight the other closer to three, fishermen all. The father explained the younger one loved to fish but didn't like to hurt the worms they used as bait and was content to dangle his naked hook for hours just as long as he was near his father and brother.

Elsewhere, walking in the opposite direction, I came across a trio, eyes averted, with a medium sized bag of what looked like bread in small pieces but since there are signs depicting Canadian geese with the admonition "Don't Feed the Wildlife," I knew they surely wouldn’t have.

I couldn't help but notice a raft of ducks in the pond quietly shadowing them at a discrete distance as they hiked, all wearing tee-shirts reading "Not a Canadian Goose." In both English and French (or not).

I almost got to be a wedding guest as nuptials were moments away from beginning as I made my exit. I smiled watching the happy guests arrive and applauded the couple, whoever they were, for the reward of their faith in the elements when they chose an outside ceremony. They and their guests could reflect and relax in a perfect setting on a perfect day.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homeward Bound (Rotary Wing Model)

There’s a popular saying (here in the Geezer Hood) that if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t there. Well I can and I was so I smile as we go through I’m not quite sure what to call it at this moment in commemorating the 45th Anniversary of “An Aquarian Exposition”, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Do I really need to warn you to stay away from the brown acid? Too late, I concede, for those in the House of Representatives, as near as I can determine, but worth a try for the rest of us. I wasn’t there but I was on the earth and enjoyed many of the people who made much of three-days of music that went on there, and who then left without getting any of Yasgur’s Farm on them.   

This is the most iconic moment of those three days of peace, love and death. But it’s not a part of my story about Woodstock, because my story isn’t about Woodstock but a prison in Munchen (West) Germany, called Stadelheim and two inmates, lovers I always assumed, Magnus and Marchy.

It was Marchy who used to write to me with requests either she or Magnus wished to hear when I worked very late at night for American Forces Radio. I had the impression they were incarcerated for serious (vice recreational) drugs, cocaine or heroin (more likely the latter) than hashish or cannabis.
Her command of English made Marchy the ambassador.

I worked hard, though not as hard I should or could have, to honor requests even if they were from what we called “the shadow audience” (not US troops, employees or their family members for whom we were a ‘Voice from Home’) but the natives of the countries we were stationed in and to whom we were  accidentally bringing American culture, even if it was spelled with a “K.”

I’d get a ridiculously large number of rock and roll song suggestions and developed a deep appreciation of Rik De Lisle, the host of Old Gold Retold (on before me) and his ability to manage a deluge of requests without drowning in somebody else’s favorite songs and still please his legion of fans.

I never had that many ear witnesses-I referred to the show in the office as “Diving for Dopers” since I had little illusion as to who was up at that hour and what they were doing. I’d play no more than three audience requests a show but still had a waiting list that stretched for weeks. Marchy and Magnus were repeat requesters and always had amazing taste.

When I got her card with a “Birthday Greetings Wish for Magnus” (I can still see the blue ink scrawled across the white prison postcard and the initials of whomever (I presume) allowed the card to be mailed to the Armee Sender in Frankfurt), for Ten Years After, “I’m Going Home By Helicopter” I was amused as how he had misheard the title, but when you listen to Alvin introduce the song, you ,too shall realize, Magnus nailed it.

If fast guitar playing had been an Olympic sport, Alvin Lee would be on the medals podium; he was fast and he was loud. And people who loved him, loved him; and people who didn’t, shrugged. I did a lot of shrugging when I saw the card, but I worked the Live at Woodstock version of the song into a set and wished Magnus a happy birthday (though privately I wondered how that would have been possible).

A couple of weeks later a card, signed only by Marchy, came thanking me for playing Alvin and TYA, assuring me  Magnus would have really loved it, except he’d committed suicide by overdose the night of his birthday.

Probably not quite the Woodstock story either of us had hoped for and certainly not the one I’d have told you had I a better one, but as I suggested earlier if you remembered Woodstock, you weren’t there. And I’ve spent a lot of time in the ensuing decades wishing I had been somewhere else instead. 
-bill kenny

Monday, August 18, 2014

Orange Is the New X on the Forehead

Everything old is new again, some of us more so than others, I suppose.

Take Chuck for example. You probably know him better as Charles, Charles Manson. The man who put paid to the "All You Need Is Love" mindset forty-five years ago.  I was brought up in a religious faith where you hate the sin, not the sinner but Manson makes it easy to forgo and forget that concept.

I hadn't thought about him in years-I suspect almost none of us who were alive at that time have. And then I came across this news item. No matter how many setbacks and disappointments you have suffered as a parent, at least you're not Afton Burton's parents. That's what I call a reason to be cheerful.

Afton, or Star as she calls herself now, has this as her point and purpose it seems. I'm loving the idea of a "tax-deductable (sic) donation" to the Charles Manson Legal Trust. Ignoring the creative spelling across the website, I'm impressed by the single-mindedness with which she pursues her advocacy.

I'm not worried that this malevolent miscreant will ever be released, but am a little sad to think about what Afton Burton could've done in and with her life for herself and for others, and instead chose this path. You're only fooling you; look at your game, girl.
-bill kenny

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Livin' Large

I may start to take more Fridays off to better enjoy my actual weekend. Yesterday I got up and went to the bakery and bought much many yummy and warm things that made the inside of the car smell wonderful.

Since everything I'd normally have as an errand on Saturday was done on Friday, I was able to enjoy a wander through Mohegan Park and had, quite frankly, almost the perfect weather to do it in.

When I returned I snagged an invitation from my wife to join her and our daughter Michelle on a Thelma and Louise-like sojourn to The Whaling City, New London, for an oh-so-exotic Food Truck Food Festival at the State Pier.

It was held where the ferries and the train intersect-if anyplace could use an Intermodal Transportation Center it is they-and the city had surprise (to me) guests staying over as company.

New London is known as the home of Eugene O'Neill and that's a statue of him in the foreground with America's Tall Ship, the United States Coast Guard Academy Barque Eagle in the background. Sweet.

As for the food, we were spoiled for choices until we came across Spuds Your Way. Baked potato, butter, chives, sour cream, bacon and steak. Yum.

I was so full I could barely hold on to the helm. And if I had been able to get my hands (and mouth and lips) around one of those grilled cheese sammiches from a little farther down the pier, I dare not guess as to who would be in this picture, except it wouldn't be me.

-bill kenny

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Victims of Higher Math

The season was over last week, all that was left was playing for pride and a bit of a spoiler role. Pride survived, but the four points we were trailing by at the half proved to be impossible to recoup as the Connecticut Sun lost to the Washington Mystics 71-67.

With the victory, the Mystics whose current head coach is the Sun's former head coach, clinched the last play-off slot and swept all four games with the Sun this season. That's the part that hurt the most. The play-off ship had sailed long ago for the Suns.

My most lasting memory will be an olfactory one, so to speak, as the guy in front of us, in addition to having to use a shoe-horn (nearly) to get into his seat (which he never left, how could he?), he smelled like a basement after a long stretch of rain.  It would have been perfect had he been named Rose-I'd have settled for Pete, though I suspect he wasn't and isn't.

The Suns' 2014 season ends Sunday at home against the Atlanta Dream and then we start to scheme and dream for next year. It'll be great.
-bill kenny