Monday, February 27, 2017

So How Was the Movie, Mr. Goldman?

No need to get excited. I was hoping to be able to sit at the cool kids' table for lunch today which is why I led with the Oscars visual.  I have no idea who won last night mainly because I didn't know who was nominated but despite that can be confident when I say I never saw any of the movies. Oh. And I was in bed before the first statuette was handed out.

Don't get me wrong, I like movies. I tend to have the projector in my head running non-stop every day, awake and asleep.  Have been having a little trouble lately with the take-up reel, but at my age, who hasn't? I agree with Raymond Douglas Davies; there's a lot to be said for celluloid heroes.  
-bill kenny

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jetzt Wird Es Ernst

Reading some notes from around the world on-line earlier this weekend, I realized tomorrow in Mainz, Germany (and elsewhere) is Rosenmontag followed by Fastnacht Dienstag. Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, it's Mardi Gras in New Orleans. 

There are many variations of an 'eat, drink and be merry' mentality as we rush towards Ash Wednesday. Tradition has it, that the ash placed on your forehead by the priest who reminds you to 'remember man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return' is actually made from burning the palm that remained from the previous year's Palm Sunday (the day that starts Holy Week and marks the triumphant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem). 

As a loyal son of Holy Mother Church, I know all the rituals and the words that accompany them--my memory isn't the problem, my heart is, but that's not my point today. As kids, and even as adults, we sometimes lose sight of where we might best concentrate on the calendar in terms of whatever you might wish to call spirituality. It's easy to celebrate Christmas and to believe in its importance and of course, the Birth of the Saviour should more often that not pass the "huh?" test. 

But I think the defining points that make me a Catholic and a Christian (or the other way around, I'm never sure which is a subset of what) is the death of Christ and His Resurrection. I'm not sure how we in The West (capitalization? Why Not?) have managed to balance the passion of the Christ, His Crucifixion, burial and His Resurrection with pieces of chocolate and the Easter Bunny. I'm not sure this entry will get reposted in the Cadbury Factory newsletter or be read aloud on Easter Monday in Hershey, Pennsylvania, but that's how I see the world. 

I'm neither Cotton nor Increase Mather, early colonial ministers one of whom purportedly said 'the purpose of life is to prepare us to be dead for a long time.' Talk about harshing your buzz. Maybe that's why you never saw a Pilgrim smile or maybe, if you have that as a perspective, life isn't quite as much fun as it could be. 
-bill kenny

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Golden Slumbers

In light of the epidemic of sleeplessness around the globe and within and without these states partially united, pretty much a by-product of our miracle of democracy last fall, I dusted this off from a short while ago and would be curious to know if any of its findings have been updated. I have no knowledge of that happening but would appreciate a shout-out from your side. Bueller? Bueller?

I love “news” like this that, more often than not, is closer to being a BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious). I am, possibly like you, an early riser-not quite as early as my brothers I suspect but I’d say if we were counting down who on my street has worms, I’d finish near the top, but behind both native Hawaiians and Alaskans. 

I will point out while I do get up early I also go to bed very early. So if you have an important topic to discuss with me, you need to do it before eight o'clock because I’m in Dreamland by then. And I’m a college graduate, so in looking at the report and then at my alarm clock, I don’t know what excuse to offer you except that however much sleep you get, neither of us is alone in our demographic (maybe). 

I was disappointed in skimming the story to not really get a sense of the ‘why?’ behind the ‘what.’ As I read it, it seems South Dakotans get the most shut-eye, or they claim to (I’m assuming people might fib about how much sleep they get, because I have a well-founded distrust of others from our species), but I didn’t really get a good sense as to the cause(s) of that journey to Slumberland.

And numbers without context or subtext cause me to have sleepless nights. Kidding, of course. 
-bill kenny

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cactus or Grapefruit

It's not like the first robin of spring or the return of the swallows to Capistrano, but having endured what felt like centuries of professional football (and don't get me started on professional basketball), as harbingers of better things go, we're close enough for me.

Perhaps the last five tool player?
You have your Grapefruit League and your Cactus League. I am keenly aware "the exhibition season means nothing" (to you). For those of us who love baseball, it's a chance to practice our skills as fans and to dream and dream on. Play ball (dammit)!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Of Near Spring I Sing

Sometimes you learn things from people you know, but don't know, at least that's what I call Facebook (FB) friends. Moment of clarity (I have so few, I hope you appreciate this): for me, most FB friends aren't really friends. Even if I know them in real life, they're more acquaintances and since I don't know most of them in real life, they're abstractions with email addresses. If it helps, for them, I was probably a moment of confusion in the vain attempt to select the 'unlike' button.

I understand FB and I disagree with the basic premise behind the use of the word 'friend.' I'm not real fond of the casual attitude with which they bestow it and for their part, I am 'bill who?" (No relation to Cindy Lou). I don't have many, strictly speaking, I don't have any friends in real life, so I probably shouldn't pick a quarrel with Zuckerberg's minions over defining the word friend.

Bearing in mind the degree of presumption one has to have to be me and type this stuff every day and then wait for people to read it. At times, I sound like I'm two bricks short of a hod. Tell me about the rabbits, George. I love the color of it all.

And actually, that's what a FB friend (of a friend) neither of whom I'll ever meet, nor ever know, (from the formerly divided German nation) helped me learn in order to better get through whatever winter we have left in the Northeast of the United States.

One of them offered the words, auf englisch, of Ward Elliot Hour, "(t)he color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination." Though that's NOT the image they suggested to complement the turn of phrase; this is the one I found and while it hasn't helped me change my opinion of winter (Too Squared: too long and too cold), it has improved my appreciation of Rilke. "Live your questions now, and, perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers."

Why else do you think there are moments of more light with each passing day? We need to see where we're going or how will we know when we're there?
-bill kenny

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Uncas Leap of Faith

If you've lived in Norwich for longer than an hour you've heard or been involved in one or more discussions about the city's historic heritage as a fulcrum for economic development. And it certainly makes sense even if the dollars and cents have so far been slow in showing themselves. 

A friend of mine's reaction when I told him we had settled in Norwich says it all, or could, 'You're right in the middle of New England where American History comes from!" Yes, indeed. Put a feather in my hat and refer to me as whatever kind of pasta you fancy. 

The trouble not just for us here but whenever the idea is offered as an economic development tool, there's more to historic tourism than fancy signs that say "On this date a long time ago, something important happened (near) here" and repeating a snazzy slogan like 'we have history up the a---nose.'Well, I think it's catchy. 

You may have already seen two reasons, the above paragraph, for why I'm not leading an effort that needs your good ideas (I've got the bad ones under control). I took advantage of the lovely weather this past weekend to wander from the Upper Falls Heritage Park to Uncas Leap and then down the Heritage Walkway to the Harbor. 

I wasn't alone, as I passed young families with prams and more on the way, a few serious walkers striding purposely past us leisure-time wanderers but there was plenty of room for more of us, lots more of us. 

It's really beautiful any time of the year. The area is not only historically significant to the city but is also a sacred part of Mohegan Tribe history as Uncas Leap, on the banks of the Yantic River, was the site on September 17, 1643, of the Battle of Great Plain between the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes.

Thanks to a collaboration with the city, the Mohegan Tribe, and the Norwich Historical Society, a week from tonight, at seven in Norwich Free Academy's Slater Museum, there's a public informational meeting about the Uncas Leap Heritage Area master plan. 
And the most important guest is you. Read on.... 

Both the presentation and master plan have some serious dollars behind them. The state awarded $500,000 to the project last fall and that was in addition to the almost quarter of a million dollars the city received in 2015 from the Department of Economic and Community Development plus $23,000 the Norwich Community Development Corporation received from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

You might recall it was late last spring when the historical society and the Mohegan tribe teamed up to introduce (with a great response) the new Uncas Leap Trail as part of its Walk Norwich program of self-guided walking tours.Think of the presentation as the next step, pardon the pun.

Next Wednesday Milone & MacBroom, the project's consultant, will offer an overview of the Uncas Leap master plan and lead a discussion about the city's vision for the site as a cultural heritage and tourism attraction, You're needed for the breakout sessions that will be held to gather reactions and ideas (and hopefully plenty of both).

Maby have had high hopes for a (very) long time about historic tourism. Now we have a plan. It's time to Uncas Leap into action.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

These Lifeless Things

It was a very long time ago when I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut. I wasn't alone; there was a whole generation of us who watched Jules Bergman, 'Science Reporter for ABC', bring us all the rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, later Cape Kennedy, dreaming of being John Glenn.

Our window on the world back then was about fifteen inches diagonal and almost always in black and white. It was our electric fire with a place of honor in the living room. We didn't know any better, or any other, and were happy with what we had. Now we have so much more but there remains a hunger and unease that never leaves us. 

When I was a wee slip of a lad, you had a transistor radio with a white six-foot earplug and if your mom wrote a note to the teacher, you might be able to take your radio to school and listen in to the launches, but you had to promise to be so much more well-behaved than was humanly possible. The note was often not worth the paper you forged your mom's signature on.

Still, we all sat up, in my case on the upstairs landing of the summer house, catching glimpses of the flickering images in the living room from the TV showing the world as we walked on the moon. I saw a story yesterday that put me back on those stairs, and it was nice to be numbed by the majesty of achievement that we humans are capable of when we try, "Discovery of Likely Alien Worlds Has Scientists Buzzing."
I guess the AP style guide frowns on headlines that read "Holy $h*t! Are We Not Amazing?" because that's what we're talking about in terms of the newest addition to our college of knowledge about the ever-expanding cosmos we think revolves around us but really has evolved with us as a small and growing smaller part of it. 

We've made a mess of so many things as a species. We're the hit and run artists of the cosmos in so many respects but when we do something gobsmacking and over the top, there's a nonchalant arrogance, or perhaps an arrogant nonchalance that makes me grin from ear to ear. How's this for a view of the Sahara to put in your wallet, between the happy snaps of the kids and the spouse. Seriously? Seriously.

"Round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
-bill kenny