Thursday, July 20, 2017

This Makes Me Smile

Sometimes, real-life, real-time events have happy endings. I think this is one of those times.

Another time we can argue about the politics and perspective on world events that seemed to add a degree of difficulty in this journey from over half way around the world because it's important, but right now, I'm smiling at the success of all those from the other side of a particular piece of the sky.

We're not going to fix everything that's wrong in the world today, or tomorrow if I'm being honest both with you and myself, but every day we edge a little closer to making things better for everyone. We'd get there faster if we all worked together but it's okay because now I have even more proof that sisters are doing it for themselves. So step back or off and let them work.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Food for Thought

Through the miracle of technology, I received my first ‘it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school’ spam email yesterday. Decades too late to help any merchant’s bottom line but thanks for the thought. Except we have lots of summer still to enjoy so cool your jets, merchants everywhere; besides, I want to be serious and I’m out of practice.

George Gershwin wrote it and Ella Fitzgerald made it famous, “Summertime and the living is easy,” a song that captures pretty well that state of mind we flirt with as the mercury rises around here. And summertime living should be easy especially here in Connecticut with the highest per capita income of all fifty united states as recently as the 2010 US Census.

But we all have neighbors who are facing hard times in the land of plenty and who struggle every day to make ends meet and provide just the bare necessities for their families and themselves. 

We all know why food comes first when we’re listing basic needs like ‘food, shelter, and clothing’ and we try to help out the Connecticut Food Bank or our local food pantry with cash and other donations more often around the holiday season, for which everyone is grateful but (and it’s okay to be surprised by this), the highest demand for food is right now during the summer.

It’s been about a month since summer vacation started. Families with children need to provide about 100 extra meals during summer vacation for each child. That’s a lot of meals, and a lot more that are needed.

Here in Norwich, we have, through the Norwich Public Schools again this summer, a school meals program with a broad distribution network and reach (site lists are on the NPS website) for lunch just about every weekday. The meals are free to any child age 18 or younger and the children don’t have to be Norwich residents to benefit from the program.

NPS has the program well in hand but what I want to talk about is reloading and refilling the larder (the community food banks) for all the children and families who are in need now and will still be in need after ‘back to school’ really happens.

At this moment, the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center is looking for helping hands, preferably with fistfuls of dollars or canned and dry goods to fight against hunger and encourages all of us who can to hold our own a 12-hour food-a-thon. They even have a how-to on their website to walk us through it.

There’s a hit list of most needed items to include Ensure, macaroni and cheese, any and all pasta products, canned tuna, and soup. They also have a target date of next Thursday, July 27, to bring those donations (from seven in the morning to seven at night) to the Center at 374 Broad Street in New London. Hunger hurts. We should help. We can help. We must help.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Merriam and Daniel Webster

You can find the definition of schadenfreude in any even-below average English language dictionary but it's actually a German word that means rejoicing at the misfortune of others. It's a wonderfully useful word, in my opinion, and the first one that popped into my head when I came across hundreds of variations on this story yesterday, "Ann Coulter Had to Switch Seats on a Delta Flight. Then Came the Tirade." 

All I will say, in a horribly mean-spirited way (that I am frighteningly adept at) in my humble attempt and near-homage to the Queen of Mean in a vein she, herself offered not that long ago when she was sitting in judgment (as I am) on a situation about which she had no first- hand information, "I'm sad that you didn't report that they also dragged you. As far as I'm concerned, it could and should have been face-down over gravel because except for the improvement no one would have noticed the difference."

Best argument for illiteracy in a long time
"I guess being a spite-fueled conservative columnist in the Time of Troubles, Trials, and Trumpulations (see what I did there, blondie?) doesn't generate anything approximating common courtesy. I am sorry your broom was in the shop."

WOW! I can see why people hurl invective at each other! I Feel Great! Thanks, B****!"
-bill kenny   

Monday, July 17, 2017

Because We Can, We Should?

I discovered yesterday morning, too late to do me any good, I guess, that The Wimbledon Channel had been streaming the men's' finals and I suspect every match of the tournament on Twitter, a social media (SM) platform to which I belong and visit on a daily basis, though the more I visit the less I get out of the experience.

I remembered, when I saw the tennis stuff, that perhaps last season, Twitter streamed NFL games, maybe it was the Thursday Night games which (I am told) are the red-headed step children of American pro football but since they all wear helmets I'm not sure how you can tell the hair color. Such is the nature of much of the SM ephemera, the link above may now go nowhere, symbolic of so much of what we as a species are to this planet.

I don't quite grasp how watching a tennis match or a football game or porn for that matter on a cell phone screen is a quantum leap of any kind in any direction at any time. There are cell phone things, and there are desktop computer things and there are television things. 

Admittedly I use my cell phone to take pictures and to listen to music, mostly and have almost never made or received a phone call on it (or any of the cell phones I've owned) nor know how to come to think of it. I have no idea what the ringtone sounds like because I turned it off the minute I got outside of the cell phone store. I have the phone for my convenience and no one else's.

Returning to watching Wimbledon on a cell phone, I find the idea both less than attractive and less than practical. If I'm holding the cell phone in one hand how am I supposed to eat my strawberries and cream while watching the itty-bitty screen? I go from iPhone to I can't in a matter of a moment. Game, set, and match.  
-bill kenny

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pain in Plain Sight

Suspect this is NOT what the Reader's Digest folks were driving at all those years ago with their notes about 'more picturesque speech', but it's a whole lot easier to remember and more fun to read. 

I've read the news account twice and the summary of the actual study, I'm surprised it's not louder right now in the conference rooms at our nation's Capitol as Mitch and the Munchkins try to twist one another's arms in a race to come up with the most awful, horrible, no-good healthcare plan for all Americans (except themselves) that's ever been.

I'm not suggesting we taxpayers should sponsor contests to see if nationally we can peel the paint from the walls in selected federal or state buildings in terms of the coarseness of the language, though that idea is tempting and oddly comforting.  

Of course, true confession time, when I watch the news reports (I stopped watching C-Span because I hate to see how sausage is made) I do think of some (perhaps) technicolor participles and anatomically difficult aerobic exercises, but I strive to NOT speak them aloud while processing those thoughts-at least not too loudly. 

Like many of us, I have had instances in the past where my evil twin, Skippy, (what my Imp of the Perverse answers to) has too often confused inside and outside voice and my ears have heard my mouth say things that I had truly hoped would remain secret. 

Now, if I can just work hypoalgesia into a sentence, ideally a limerick, it'll be a banner day. 
-bill kenny

Saturday, July 15, 2017

When Blackness Was a Virtue

Graham Parker, decades ago, ranted "don't get me to fill up your empty lives" as the star-making machinery enclosed him in a Cocoon of Cool where real life was notional and, for all intents and purposes, fictional.

Ray Davies of The Kinks wished for "(A) fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes." And who among us doesn't remember a Golden Child from our youth, some perfect specimen of the species, whose life was so wonderful it hurt our eyes to just look at them? And should we encounter them today and they have something other than that Happy Ending they thought was their birthright, tell me you don't smile just a little (Schadenfreude ist auch ein Freude). 

So what should we make of the examples of what we usually call media feeding frenzy that is so much a part of our lives we think it's normal? With all the bread and circuses and the 'Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee' aspect of our news structures, the day must be coming when reasonable human beings should ask, WTFO? Or, perhaps more elegantly phrased, how did we end up in this hand basket, why is it so warm and where, exactly, are we going?

Not only do we rely on too many dubious sources of information and distraction, we rely on them in order to live our lives through their reports. How many more synthetic celebrities from sports, music and/or reality TV  do we have to have before we can finally look away? What happened to last month's Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan or (you pick one)? If they're not on the cover of AADDd (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Digest) does that mean they no longer exist?

Show of hands: do any of us shoe shop with any of the people we read about in the lifestyle sections of our local newspapers? That's what I thought. But more of us know about the escapades of someone from RHOBH than can name the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Is this stuff news? Is any of it news, and for whom? Who's to bless and who's to blame? We are--that's the short answer, which is good because surveys say we don't have the span of attention required to have a discussion, much less develop a strategy, for better separating the wheat from the chaff. No wonder our world is so screwed up-look at how we gather the information to attempt to make decisions. And if you're hoping all the tumult and head noise will get better with time, let me talk to you about buying a bridge in Brooklyn.

Three question exam, but you have to get all three right. Ready? Probably not.
Who is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
Who is the executive producer of TV's Survivor
Why did so many more know the answer to the second question but not the first?
-bill kenny

Friday, July 14, 2017

Leave Room for Dessert

It's been a long week, hasn't it? Just in general and without even getting into specifics on topics like US politics and Russian interference (or not, though, between us, I think the 'or not' ship has sailed with DJT, Jr.'s tweets and squawks). But I digress. Heat and humidity not just where I live but seemingly across the globe all compounding what a hard time we've been giving one another as a species.  

I have no idea why I didn't see this news item at the time it happened three plus years ago. I usually have a pretty good whimsy-meter and this should have caused the arrow on it deflect wildly if not just circle the dial three or more times and then fly off. Glad I can make up for it now.

I choose to regard this as yet another example of how absolutely nothing is lost forever anymore on the interwebz. Every stupid thing that' been done in the last (I'll guess) twenty of so years is someplace posted in a dark corner where electrons fear to tread, waiting to spring out on an unsuspecting web browser and tickle or terrify. I'm glad so much of my dumb stuff happened when dinosaurs, not terabytes, roamed the earth.

On the other hand isn't it also comforting to take solace in what may also be seen as proof that no matter how rich a repast is offered at life's banquet, there's always room for just one more bite. Or that there had better be.
-bill kenny