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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hilarity Didn't Quite Ensue

I had doctors’ appointments earlier in the week. Being old and all means I no longer need to subscribe to magazines but can catch up on my reading in one of any number of waiting rooms I find myself in (as long as I don’t mind that the magazines are "vintage," as am I come to think of it).

That meant last week, I needed to visit a local blood drawing site, twice, one fasting and the other slowing (or whatever medical people call it when you have eaten, perhaps ‘sated’). 

Because my primary care physician organizes my team of specialists instead of getting bullied by them which happened with her predecessor for a number of years, I visit the blood site far less frequently (last year I went 24 separate times; I should have purchased stock in test tube manufacturers).

When I popped in during the late afternoon, I was the only client (insert your own “they had run out of patience/patients joke here __) and I zipped right in with a phlebotomist I’d not seen before, but it had been about four months or so since my last visit.

Sometimes I can watch myself careen out of control in a social intercourse situation, mindful that it is happening and that I am powerless to stop it. It feels like it’s a slow-motion underwater movie that's happening to someone else, somewhere else, except it isn't. If it’s a gift I’d certainly like to take it back to the store and pick out a sweater, even an ugly one.

The phlebotomist was considerably more than diligent in following procedures (I’m leaning towards ‘obsessive’ someone who is)  and I fear that’s what encouraged my evil twin, Skippy, to become involved. It was already awkward, in terms of small talk, when I had to initial the labels on the test tubes after my blood had been drawn and was in them. 

I’ve grown accustomed to scribbling my initials on labels while they’re all on the sheet before any of the drill goes on but as it turns out, this is how it is supposed to be done, sir. (bold letters suggest ‘we brook no discussion’ and we didn’t)  

A few jokes about how the red of my blood seemed to bring out the blue in the black ink of my initials had no visible effect on the clinician. It was like playing to an oil painting. I can rise to a challenge like that and the urine sample was my opportunity. As a diabetic, I’m keenly aware of the specimen drill and find it to be within my envelope of competence.

Walking away from me at the drawing station to the far side of the room where she kept her supplies inventory the clinician held up the infamous “make sure the cap is on tightly” specimen container and asked me to fill it. 

“From here?” I asked brightly, "how many chances  do I get?" Had she been standing on a chair the joke would have still gone over her head. In hindsight, I think I may have actually said that out loud to her. It would explain her stony silence.  

At that point I was willing to depart, nursing my wounded pride as a failed humorist but instead she and I circled the bridge, so to speak for another five minutes while she struggled to understand what I kept assuring her was nothing more than humor. 

In the end, I left thinking the next wave of health care professionals is very different, if not downright strange, and she for her part probably arriving at the same conclusion about patients. Sadly, I fear we are both right.

-bill kenny    

Friday, September 19, 2014

Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day and if Dave Barry never waves at you from the Honorary Chairman's Float in the annual parade because there isn't one, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

Short of nailing a passed-on parrot to your shoulder, wearing a bandanna and an eye patch (and trousers where required by law), I'm not not sure there is a standard way of observing/celebrating today that the Captain Morgan folks don't already have an endorsement deal for, but good luck.

I'm reminded of my favorite Halloween joke involving pirates that has a somewhat elderly matron opening  her front door in response to a ringing door bell. That's where she confronts a youngster with a Jolly Roger on his black tri-cornered hat, a peg leg and an eye patch, waving a scabbard and shouting "Trick or Treat Lady!"

'And whom are you supposed to be?' she asked with just a faint hint of a smile.
"A pirate, lady!" the tyke answered boisterously, "Trick or Treat!"
'Well,' she said, 'so you're a pirate? Where are your buccaneers young man?' "Under my bucking' hat, lady; are you gonna gimee some candy or not?"

Shiver your own timbers, me hearties. Ain't no room on board for the insincere.
-bill kenny

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Chill and Creep Begin Again

Just the other day on my way out in the morning, I had to double-back and grab a light jacket out of our hallway closet. Separately and yet simultaneously, my perception of summer's end and the date on the calendar aligned perfectly. Cannot claim to be too happy about that.

Make no mistake, here in Southern New England, we have all four seasons, sometimes it seems on the same day but we have an opportunity to enjoy all that nature has to offer, even if, like me, we're not especially fond of that amount of choice.

If you're an outdoors (wo)man who enjoys skiing, sledding or ice-skating and burying people you dislike alive in avalanches, don't be too upset if I tell you that Winter is not my time of year. But, in fairness, neither is Autumn despite the crispness of the air, the colors of the sky and the riotous shades of leaves in the trees.

I know how the movie ends and when Winter finally brings the curtain down, I am not as happy to be in the theater as I might have hoped. Does that mean I'm one of those who starts to fret after we've had the summer equinox and slowly and inexorably the days' light does a sleight of hand as it slowly decreases?

Afraid so. I leave you to count the silver linings; I am on the look-out for dark clouds and it always seems to be a target-rich environment. Thus, the wearing of a light jacket is the soft tread of the inevitable footfall of the changing of the season. Soon, my mood will match the evening sky after the sun has gone to bed.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Differences and Distinctions

Growing old if not up in the Space Age, I’ve learned a couple of things from the NASA astronauts and their travels and travails: Tang does not mix well with vodka (unless you have a blender it gets lumpy) and the farther out into space you go, the more alike those of us down here all look.

Actually, thanks to science we know that we live on the third planet from the Sun, and the fourth smallest in our solar system. That’s important to keep in mind because for a relatively small place, there sure are a lot of us, about 7 and a half billion. So when we talk as we often do in moments of frustration or anxiety about going to the ends of the earth to get some peace and quiet, we should realize there’s probably already somebody there, looking for the same thing.

Actually far less grand than a search for inner peace but infinitely more valuable and useful is working on the  ways and means to tear down walls and build bridges between and among us. We can’t just talk the talk; we have to make sure we are walking the walk.

Next Tuesday from 5 to 8 PM, we have that opportunity thanks to the Norwich Rotary’s Celebrate Diversity event at Howard T. Brown Park. Heinz claims to have 57 varieties of pickles but Norwich households ask for them in close to three dozen different languages. And as different as we may be, diversity may be the one thing we all have in common.  

Celebrate Diversity offers food and entertainment representing Norwich's cultural diversity. Last year’s event offered Lebanese, Cape Verdian, Greek, Indian, Italian, Jamaican, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine from restaurants throughout the city and region and organizers say this year will be bigger and better. 

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 each through Bonnie Hong,, or at the event Tuesday for $25. It’s not just food and fun as the Lotte B. Scott Diversity Award will also be presented.

At a time when national headlines about Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown starkly underscore how great the degree and depth of separation is in so many communities, next Tuesday you can help redefine the conversation we should be having across the country about what kind of a nation we wish to be. 

As Robert Palmer sang, “It Takes Every Kinda People” to make what life’s about. That means each of us, and all of us, have some heavy lifting to do on a daily basis to assure our world, our nation and our community is a place with dignity and respect for all of us who live here.

There’s strength in unity, flavored with the spice in diversity, defined I read the other day, as “points of difference,” “unalikeness” and “multiformity.” Sounds like a nearly perfect description for Tuesday’s Celebrate Diversity which falls on the first day of autumn. Perhaps Mother Nature is signaling change is good and is already on the way. It can happen.    

-bill kenny

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Maybe Just Guns and Money

I suppose I could ask my brother Adam blogger extraordinaire whose career in jurisprudence (and Dear Prudence, for good measure) stretches back a number of years and whose skills as an attorney are beyond question but I admit to being surprised to learning that there's a dress code for lawyers.

I didn't mean to make that read quite as Sticksville as it does, and I apologize. I know fry cooks are supposed to wear long trouser, probably in the interests of breeding future generations of fry cooks, and every attorney I've ever met (and not necessarily just at arraignments) is always dressed in a very formal manner, so maybe I should be more surprised at my own surprise.

The pursuit of justice is a serious business, and I imagine the argument can be made that those involved in it should dress the part, so having admitted all of that, I come across Todd Glickfield, an attorney in Marion, Indiana, and am stumped (or stupid, I'm not sure which; and I'm not sure which one of us is).

I spent one summer in Indiana, actually in Indianapolis, thirty-nine summers ago so my impressions of the state may be skewed or flawed, but everyone seemed nice, and neatly dressed so I don't know what to make of Todd's malfunction.

I should tell you that, given the opportunity, I would wear socks with sandals because that's how I roll. It's not, however, how the Love of My Life would, so I don't wear a lot of sandals, but I'm not sure how Todd protects his feet from the insides of shoes.

In light of the current relationship between Attorney Glickman and the Blackford Circuit Court, where he practices, not sure were I to be a defendant shopping for an advocate I'd choose Todd, because since I'm already in enough legal trouble to have the dogs of law barking at my heels not sure having someone wearing liverwurst aftershave, metaphorically speaking, enhances my opportunities to remain on the visitor's side of jail cell bars.

As I said, Todd, socks complement shoes, and the entire ensemble and are awfully handy to have in a pinch to clean the ventilator blades.
-bill kenny

Monday, September 15, 2014

Still on the Hit Parade

It almost passed me by without my realization so I apologize for both of us, unless that was you trying to flag me down yesterday on the Internet to talk about the Bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner. Yeah, didn't think so.

Two hundred years ago yesterday, capping in a defiant manner their successful defense of the Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland from the same British attacks that had burned the White House in Washington D. C. less than two weeks earlier, the garrison at Fort McHenry lowered their storm flag that had flown all night through the bombardment and raised the Great Garrison Flag the sight of which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen "Defense of Fort M'Henry" describing the battle and detailing the celebration that followed in the morning.

Since even then, we were not a nation known for reciting poetry aloud and/or in unison, it was set to music, a real-tapper popularly known as "To Anacreon in Heaven" after which the men and women of the United States of America took it on the road where it played quite successfully since those early days of the Republic through to the present.

You can find the flag that inspired Key at the National Museum of American History in our nation's capital. I remember seeing it when my father would take us to Washington D. C., and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the song were still available on iTunes.
-bill kenny

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Smite Makes Right

I just realized the humor and serendipity of all of this falling on a Sunday, especially in light of the headline on the article that caught my eye. It’s purely accidental, unless of course (whispered in my most subversive voice), none of it is accidental. And when the universe seems to have a plan and runs like a clock, what then of The Clockmaker?

All topics for another time, at least for me.
As a former member of the US Air Force, briefly though not without some physical and emotional pain for nearly everyone in a leadership position who encountered me for the eight years I was in the play, this item in Air Force Times boggled my mind (insert your own sound effect).

Do I need to confess that as a grade-schooler I and every one of my classmates pledged allegiance to the flag at an age approaching but not approximating reason with very little understanding of the meaning of the word ‘pledge’ much less ‘allegiance.’

I’m also the guy who scrolls down to check the empty box confirming ‘I accept and understand blah, blah, blah…’ on all end user agreements (EULA) for computer programs and smartphone applications without EVER reading a single one of them (Have you ever tried? What does any of it mean?).

If there’s anything about sacrificing a child or crawling like a reptile on my belly, please let me know and I might have to reconsider deleting those programs. But only might.  

Meanwhile, we’re about to make the UFC and MMA look like a tea-dance at a girls’ school on the Upper East Side in terms of level of violence against ISIL but we’re gonna bar “an unnamed atheist Airman” (AUAA) from staying in the Air Force while we do this. Huh?

Seems to me, reading the story, he (she?), let’s just go with AUAA, may be the only person in the gathering storm who can legitimately claim to NOT have a dog in this hunt, especially if AUAA is a dyslexic (did you see what I did there? I believe that’s called ‘clever by a half.’).

Of course as the actor “looking for a sign that the Universal Mind has written you into the Passion Play,” you have to wonder if a walk-on part in this instance is not actually superior to a speaking role or might that cause some to doubt your sincerity or your sanity.
-bill kenny