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Monday, September 1, 2014

Turns Out I'm Secretly from Vermont

I attended a gubernatorial conversation, the first of the election season, earlier this week in my hometown, sponsored by our local newspaper. Perhaps like your state, Connecticuters, Connecticuteers?, will cast ballots for governor this November; I say 'perhaps' because it will happen in 35 other states. Not sure what, if anything, changes.

Right now there are only the candidates from the two major parties and I'm not clear how many, if any, others will qualify for a place on the ballot. Sometimes I'm tempted to run, not that I have any interest in governance or aptitude and ability for it, but cynic that I am, how much worse might I make it?  Sometimes the answer seems a lot like "not so much that anyone would notice."

I'm starting to enjoy Senator Sanders from Vermont more and more and I'm not even a big Ben & Jerry's fan. Must be a character defect on my part but I do have to worry that so many in my country think the Good Lord gave them two hands so they could take as much as they want and that their tailors put two pockets in their suit trousers so they'd have someplace to put it all.

It's Labor Day, in case you forgot,when we pause to honor working American men and women assuming they are not currently on shift somewhere right now as I type this or you read it. It took a lot of different people to build this nation of ours but (maybe just me) it's taken far fewer to tear it down.

I listened the other night while one candidate for governor, after claiming the other was "anti-business" offered as his proof that Connecticut now has a law requiring businesses of a certain size to offer their employees sick leave. He called this policy "progressive" and said it twice in a tone suggesting he feels it's a four letter word. I could point out his last name is a five letter word but that would make me as mean-spirited and small-minded as he is.

Maybe it's that end of summer root beer float talking, but I'm thinking it's not been that long a journey from E Pluribus Unum to Sorbet esse vos!

I'm not sure how the grafters and greedheads think this ends, but surely not even they can think it turns out just peachy for anyone much less for everyone. (Insert your Shirley joke here because we could certainly use the humor).

If you have today off, and I do and am grateful for it, spare a thought for those who work in emergency medical and public safety professions, and/or for those who wear the uniform of our armed forces. There are a lot of people working so we don't have to and a lot more people who'd like to work on a regular basis for a living wage if we didn't export jobs to Third World nations whose people are so much poorer than we, it feels almost cruel to complain about hard times in America. Except these are those times.
-bill kenny

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Will Be Even Better in My Memory

I hate to jinx a three day weekend half-way through but our weather has been perfect for my favorite hobby, doing nothing. I am a champ at it and I don't brag about it lightly having studied under some of the finest talents in the hemisphere.

I started my Saturday (which since I took Friday off was half-way through my four day weekend) with continuing to corrupt the wild animals that live in proximity to our house. We have squirrels the size of small dogs. I'm thinking I know why.

I walked a trail we have that parallels the Yantic River to where it joins the Shetucket to form the Thames River at the Norwich Harbor and the high clouds looked like the proverbial cotton balls against a sky so blue it could have been paint by numbers, but wasn't. Just lovely.

Came home to recharge (cell phone not my spirit,  which is and always shall be indefatigable) and then took a quick wander to my absolutely favorite place, The Falls, and realized how dry a summer it's really been when i saw fish with snorkels, or so it seemed.

Still the view was lovely and we have all day today and all day tomorrow! I cannot wait-hope your days are as wonderful as mine.
-bill kenny

Saturday, August 30, 2014

There Was No Promise Made

My wife feeds the birds. Our daughter feeds the squirrels. I can barely feed myself. Sometimes a summer breeze becomes an  Idiot Wind. (I'm excited (maybe you can tell) Dylan is emptying his archives and sharing (=selling) all of his bootleg sessions with The Band)

We're using some of the Labor Day weekend to put the yard in order for autumn and everything that is to follow and that means the days are drawing down for the hummingbird feeders as they hit the highway and become a very much limited time offer in these parts. And happy trails, ladies and gentlemen.

Their crystal meth is sugar water with red dye (though I've been told they are color blind so why red is more attractive than other colors I know not why, just that it is) but they are not the only creatures attracted to it or to the dispensers that hold it.

I came across this little guy this afternoon and watched as he walked up the giant wrought iron holder, you can't see it in the picture but the hook at its top is what holds up the cage that houses the feeder, down the wire that secures the feeder to the housing and directly to the feeder opening from which the hummingbird sips.

What the ant can't see, I'm assuming as I don't know how good their eyesight is, are all the ants who worked their way through the dispensing nozzle and ended up in the feeder reservoir where the nectar is. Once in there's no way out. That's the clump of small black dots floating at the top of the nectar.

This ant eventually gave up attempting to get in and if it's possible they have feelings, may have felt defeated and discouraged as he retraced her/his steps back to the nest at the end of another shift on behalf of the colony.

He never realized how close he'd come to death from the very thing he was chasing. Just me, or does that sound like everybody we know?
-bill kenny

Friday, August 29, 2014

Crossed the Line Around the Changes of the Summer

My walk after dinner last night came the closest yet to ending with darkness catching up to me. I know I don't have a lot more daylight at that time of day and have known since the June solstice what was coming. Autumn.

This weekend more or less marks the end of summer (and completely closes the book on wearing white) which, it seems to me, we were longing for fervently not that long ago. Seems like only last week we were getting ready for Memorial Day, a solemn observance that, at least in my lifetime, has come to be seen as the 'gentlemen, start our engines' signal for fun in the sunshine.

And here we are on the weekend that ends with another holiday, to our nation's working men and women (far too many of whom aren't working regularly at all or working for subsistence wages for companies scheming on ways to lower their corporate taxes, and succeeding), ending another summer and turning the page and corner as we gather speed and head to shorter days, darker nights and dream of the next spring and summer. Even closer to the edge.
-bill kenny

Thursday, August 28, 2014

20/20 Hindsight

From the moment I saw the headline on the bulletin flash on-line, I sort of expected what I would read at the bottom of the on-screen page
I wasn’t disappointed, just dismayed.

There will be a time and a day for a reasoned discussion on guns and their place in American society. This is not it. 
This is a time to feel sad for two families and for our nation.

-bill kenny

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Freedom of Choice or from Choice?

In a sense, summer ends tonight, (even) before Labor Day as Tom Foley and Dannel Malloy meet in a debate hosted by The Bulletin's Ray Hackett in Norwich Free Academy's Slater Museum at seven. Every seat in the building was spoken for before last weekend began so for those, to include me, concerned about an engaged electorate that's good news.

Of course, I can't lose sight of the fact that it's a long way to November and I'm more concerned that we finish strong in terms of energy, engagement and involvement. In recent elections, regardless of the offices being contested, voter turnout has been polite, and I'm being (very) kind with that descriptive.

When you consider the number of threats our democracy has faced and faces at any given time throughout our history and how often we have asked family and friends to defend with their lives our liberties, to include the right to vote, you, too, must concede the level of voter turnout is and remains disappointing.

We’ve all read news accounts of villagers across Afghanistan braving death to cast a ballot because as impoverished as they are in every sense of the word, they know how important the right to choose is.

Meanwhile and I have no data to prove this, but you have none to disprove it, more of us know the names of every member of the Kardashian Family than of the six members who make up our Connecticut Congressional delegation.

Actually I'm being sneaky when I say six, because the census of 2010 confirmed a reduction in our state's population and we lost a Congressional representation as a result and only have five. And yet we're more knowledgeable about the members of the bread and circuses brigade because more of us watch E! than CT-N or CSPAN.

There will in all likelihood be more than two candidates seeking the office of Governor and we should maintain open minds on those who seek our support, as we weigh their positions on where we are and where we should be gong and their respective plans for getting us there.

I'm told those of us with tickets for tonight's debate should plan on arriving early in order to have better seat selection and I'd like to go that one better. Whatever time you were planning on heading over, make it fifteen minutes earlier, thirty if you didn't vote in our mayoral election last year and an hour if you skipped the previous presidential ballot.

Use that time to stop by the monuments at Chelsea Parade to the Norwich natives who've died in our wars from the founding of the Republic to the Global War on Terror and  explain to those memorialized on those stones how and why it is you can't seem to find fifteen minutes on Election Day to cast a ballot.

Sometimes I get confused and downhearted because I'm unsure as to whether we want freedom of choice or freedom from choice. See you tonight at Slater.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remaking the World with Words

Today, as you’ll be reminded any number of times and places to include here and now is Women’s Equality Day. It’s an observation marking the adoption in 1920 of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, that stated simply and elegantly, “(t)he right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

If you’re under forty it may be hard to imagine an atmosphere of bi-partisanship and attitude of cooperation that allowed and facilitated our House of Representatives and Senate to work in partnership with the President of the United States for the common good. It's hard to believe, I know, but at one time such collaboration was seen as desirable and the nation, as a whole, benefited 

I was much younger then and my memories have dimmed with time and distance, but we did do things together that today would be regarded as impossible to accomplish alone. Maybe that is what’s meant by the Good Old Days. For women of the United States, not just those born before 1920 and for many in every variation of socio-economic strata we have, there are no such as Good Old Days.

It never ceases to amaze me how a planet, which from space presents all of us upon it as looking so much the same, can be broken into so many synthetic divisions. Together, despite the insanity of our national, ideological or religious vanity, we are so much smarter and gooder* than we are separately that it defies logic why we continue to subjugate one another based on the color of skin, an accident of economic achievement, religious belief, genitalia and/or sexual preference.

You don’t have to send anyone a card to celebrate Women’s Equality Day-you just need to continue to strive to see individual persons as people, fellow travelers on the Big Blue Marble, orbiting the Sun, hanging on for dear life and each hoping we’re not flung to the far corners of the universe before our appointed time.
-bill kenny     

*it should be a word