Monday, April 24, 2017

Nice Weather on a Day We Could Use It

Saturday around these parts was a washout; actually more like a drizzle out, but yesterday! Just look!

Gorgeous, innit? Those views are NOT actually from my house, but rather some of the views my brother Adam enjoyed while running at his house.  Here's my view of his view.

Not shown in this photo are the very spiffy swimming trunks I'm wearing just in case.

Actually on my walk yesterday, I enjoyed a neighbor's initiative in planting daffodils in the berm between the curb of the street and where the sidewalk starts. I think they look lovely, and they made me smile.

On my way back from the grocery, I met the youngest and smallest squirrel I have ever encountered. I suspect I was the oldest and/or ugliest bi-ped it has ever met (so far).

I could hear you musing at how much the me in that photo at the computer resembles that squirrel. Sticks and stones, my precious. And speeding cars, if you're a small squirrel.

This was another part, and just about the capper to my walk yesterday.

Another view of which I never tire.
-bill kenny

Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's in the Cards

I have a routine when I get up in the morning, still before the chickens though not before my brother, Adam, that sometimes causes me to rush into the early morning hours more wide-eyed and wild-eyed than wary and wily (the twin coyotes from different mothers).

It happened again last Thursday. The first thing I check when I go online is my bank statement, even though it's really NOT a bank but, rather, a credit union statement. Anyway, listed as 'pending' last Thursday morning was a purchase on my debit card from "Amazon Luxembourg" for sixteen dollars and change. It didn't ring a bell with me.

I checked the 'on order' account with Amazon, hoping that I was trying to surprise myself for my upcoming birthday with a frilly, pretty something or other, but nope, I wasn't. I'm so thoughtless that way.

That was followed by a phone call to a very nice and bright person with a relentlessly cheerful voice at wherever the help center is located, who canceled my card and the purchase (we have a yellow sun so conventional limits on super powers do not generally apply) and arranged for me to walk (because it's that close) to the nearest branch and get a new debit card.

I then got to spend a not inconsiderable amount of time amending all those different on-line activities where I've stored the number on the now old card to pay for goods and services. FWP, I know, and yet here I am still getting weepy-eyed remembering the travail of it all.

I'm very appreciative of the superior customer service though I remain a little disquieted that I've now go through this same drill twice in the last six months. It competes for time and space in my front lobe with the sense of puzzlement that comes from trying and failing to understand why someone, somewhere would expend all the energy and time to nick my account to steal something worth under twenty dollars. Talk about possessed by your possessions; time for an upgrade.
-bill kenny


Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's Just Eh?

Happy Earth Day 2017! I would have gotten you a card but I always worry about where it might end up, recycling bin or land fill and saw no need to take that risk, especially with a corporate captive like current Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency standing the watch. And with the current Secretary of Education, how long before reading becomes a lost art?

Anyway. In terms of talking about being reassured on protecting Spaceship Earth, about all we can do is talk about it because if we're looking to the Fed to set the tone it'll be a little like trying to keep the deck chairs from going over the side of the Titanic (but with the even less actual success, I fear).

This is all the planet there is, as far as I am concerned. I was almost eighteen when I and a contingent of classmates from the Carteret Academy in West Orange, New Jersey, marched down NYC's Fifth Avenue in the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. Okay, we'd gotten lost while in The City for the day ( a senior trip of sorts, class not citizens). Not quite sure who it was, but someone figured the parade would be a great chance to meet girls. Who cares why we were there! Still.

I thought then and think now if we work to make the place on the planet upon which we stand and live the very best we can, each of us can rescue all of us. So not just today, but every day, when you see something, environmental or otherwise that causes you to say 'somebody should do something!' please remember you are that somebody.

Me, I just bear up my bewildered best and some folks even see the bear in me.
-bill kenny  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Requiem for a Blowhard

When Larry and Alex regard the Fox News Channel as "Main Stream Media," Houston (and Cleveland, and Scranton, and Dayton, and Fresno, and all points in between) we have a problem. All three of those websites cause my browser to shiver and their perspectives on world events, both large and small, never fail to perplex me.

It's been a rough thirty-six hours (and more) for all of them, what with their Culture Warrior, Bill O'Reilly, having taken one in the 'nads (I prefer the more traditional spelling with the apostrophe) at the hands of a large contingent of SJWs and will in all likelihood hurt himself trying to carry to the bank the tens of millions of dollars in settlement money he'll receive from his now former employer.

It's wrong to gloat though I have been known to enjoy a certain amount of schadenfreude so I admit to chuckling at this farewell to the Bloviator. None of that helps reduce the humiliation and feelings of inadequacy and injury to self-worth that many, many women employed at, by, and with Fox News Channel endured at the hands (small and otherwise) of O'Reilly and the other sexual predators in Ailes' Guy Club. I can't offer anything more than that which he refuses to do, which is an apology though I know it is entirely inadequate (in much the same way as he is).

To formally mark the end of an error, please let me share a truly magical interview moment from long ago when No Spin Bill met No Shit Dave and was absolutely o.w.n.e.d.

Farewell, you "self-righteous landfill of angry garbage."
-bill kenny

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Making Awesome Happen (Voodoo Chile, Slight Return)

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed writing this until I rediscovered it. Hope you feel the same about reading it again.

If you must steal, and since the last time I had an original idea it died of loneliness I have to steal, make sure you steal quality. So I do and I did. Came across today's title as a status description by SF on Facebook Sunday (though NOT SF Sorrow) and a light came on (so thank you for letting me appropriate it even though you may not know I did. I will know).

Admittedly, the light was NOT the million candlepower type on a search and rescue helicopter but rather more like the bulb in the fridge at one in the morning when you seek sandwich fixings only to find some desiccated lettuce leaves you thought you'd already pitched in the bin.

Meanwhile, why not decide your new job, in addition to being a brother or sister, son or daughter, father or mother, employer or employee, laggard or laggee (okay, you can take this too far) sekt oder selters-whatever-- is, in however you have within your means, to indeed make awesome happen. Would this be a cool planet or not? Let's face it, you can't muck it up any more than it already is (I hope). Seriously.

Our toxic culture of victimhood is so prevalent and the mindset 'there's nothing I can do' is now such an auto default, just getting out of bed for some of us is a triumph of the will (though NOT that one). So live out loud. And if you don't change the world today, there's tomorrow and tomorrow whether the sun comes out or not (and get these mutts away from me, Annie).

Don't be daunted that you're alone that's how we enter this world and how we'll leave. It's what we do, or choose to NOT do, with the space between that marks our passage on this planet and if you're living for the approval in the eyes of others, you've already got one foot in the grave. 'I am only one, but still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.' 

We might want to stagger the schedule for the whole making awesome happen thing so everyone can actually savor the sensation and appreciate the majestic magnificence of what it is we are doing and what is becoming of the world we inherited. That's part of our problem sometimes as a species, I fear, the moderation switch has been broken clean off and our appetites for destruction are so seldom sated.

And in a world of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Push-to-Talk, IM, texting and I don't know how much else, where I discovered with a shock that I 'know' more people online than I do in real life (by a factor of ten to twelve times over), it's easy to lose sight that "God is on the cell phone. God is on the net. God is in the warning. God is in the threat."

And if that's not enough to get you excited about being here, call in the next twenty minutes and we'll double your order, ship it to you for free and also make the first two credit card payments for you. Just part of the service.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

If You Can Read this Headline

You are already pre-qualified to read the rest of this article! 

I stole that trick from one of those old 'draw this dog' matchbook cover challenges for whoever was selling correspondence course lessons in art from back in the day. Not intrigued? How about this alt-fact from a few years ago? According to a survey, I may have just made up, children who are raised with books in their homes have 75% fewer misspellings on their visible tattoos. See? Now you're impressed. 

We are, I have been told, in danger of becoming an aliterate (not illiterate) society; that is, we know how to read but we choose not to. In our world today it's not just television, video games, computers or various hand-held devices which are changing our relationship to the written word, it's our tendency to regard books as a rationed resource or a luxury we feel we cannot afford. 

I'm not saying literacy is a lost art, but in the not too distant future when Carmen San Diego finally finds Waldo, he'll probably be reading a book about striped shirts but holding it upside down (oh! the humanity!).

But this weekend, we can take and make a stand (and fill a home bookshelf or three) while saving some of the change we'd like to make in the world. Starting Friday morning at 9 with an Early Bird preview hour (ten dollars gets you first crack at delectables and collectibles), the Friends of Otis Library unlock the basement doors all weekend through Sunday for their Annual Spring Book Sale.

Aside from the Early Bird, the entire three days is free and whatever your heart, mind, and eyes desire can be found. All winter long, the Friends have been sorting and organizing for this three days. Sports, history, biography, gardening (Spring looks to have finally arrived), mystery, classics of traditional and modern literature and everything in between and yet different, are sorted, shelved and priced to move.

Don't let the name fool you. There are also CD's, DVD's, posters, and cassettes at prices so low you'll buy twice as much as you first planned for pennies on the dollar with the Otis Library benefiting from every purchase you make. In an era of shrinking governmental support being a friend of Otis (or in my case, just an acquaintance) is a way each of us can help all of us. 

No matter which of the days you stop in (and free admission is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and from noon to 3 on Sunday), despite what you may have been told, there is all kinds of free parking in downtown, just a few steps from wherever you wanted to go. 

Perhaps after you've checked out the book sale, you'll want to visit one of the many restaurants that seem to surround the Otis Library (who knew reading could lead to ravenous hunger?). If you haven't been in downtown since the Fall book sale, shame on you, but that's for another time because there are even more great places open now.

If you're coming early on Saturday, before hitting Otis, be a little earlier and swing through Greeneville and stop at Quercia's on North Main Street at the intersection of 8th Street for the formal dedication at ten of the Greeneville Mural, a community project spearheaded by Faith Satterfield that brought together, as great art should, all kinds of people from everywhere. 

It is beautiful both for what it is and what it shows we can do together.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Imagine All the People

Maybe it's because it's spring, maybe it's because I believe winter is finally in the rear-view mirror, or maybe it's because it's just the right moment to look forward to new beginnings with friends we haven't yet met. Sometimes the urge for going is so much greater than any reasons for staying. And sometimes one completes the other rather than competes.

At the risk of being perceived as (this time, unfairly) politically partisan, things in just about any corner of our world you choose to look at aren't getting any more pleasant and brighter. With the past as prologue all we have to do is look at our history to see what happens when we choose to focus on our differences rather than celebrate our similarities.

Still, despite that (or because of it), the farther out in space you go, the more alike we look. And when you pay attention, you might not hear the grass grow but you can watch all of us become even more.
-bill kenny