Share it

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Guess It's Special

We have a "As Seen On" (ASO) TV cable channel. Oh, praise whatever Monotheistic Deity or force of nature you so choose, that I should live to see the day. As if regular TV isn't bad enough (and it isn't by a long shot, at least not yet), now I can sit back brothers and sisters and kick out the jams motherfu-- fellow campers.

This station has everything-actually it has more than everything because a lot of this stuff, just as you think (pray) that the infomercial is over, someone rushes back into the sound booth to tell you about the INCREDIBLE deal you can have, but you must act now (perhaps this is actually a secret casting call for Shakespeare in the Park).

If you're up late enough and have a nimble enough thumb and pointer finger you can---hey! My eyes are up here buckaroo banzai. Thankyewverymuch. Anyway, you can get double of something that less than ten minutes earlier you not only had never heard of in your life but couldn't imagine ever wanting or needing. And now you've got two of it! "Just pay separate shipping and handling.' And who among us wouldn't want to do that?

So much talk these days about things in our everyday lives being outsourced! But on ASO TV almost all of it is made "with pride" in the USA. It's no kind of pride I know as almost all of it leaves me with 'meh' as the closest reaction I may ever have about any of this stuff. And remember, if you call before midnight tonight, they'll get your money even faster.
-bill kenny

Monday, July 30, 2012

From Beatle John to Brother Ray

We spent a not inconsiderable part of this weekend getting wet. Not nearly as wet as we needed to get to wipe out what I suspect is close to a double digit deficit (say that three times fast) in rainfall, but still sort of soaked.

Connecticut has a lot more small farmers than we're generally given credit for and I'm not counting Michelle, our daughter, with her postage stamp garden in the backyard in that number. We've been eating her tomatoes and radishes for a couple of weeks now and I'm looking into a John Deere time-share for next growing season (not really).


All of our lakes and ponds are at critically low levels-probably like where you live as the variations of drought have spread across most of the country where we're not having an out and out dust bowl situation, so the timeliness of the deluge can not be overstated.

I did encounter a couple of folks on Saturday who were annoyed, vaguely but only because so much of life on earth annoys them, about the rain because they work during the week and look forward to dry and sunny weekends off, but one man's ceiling is another man's floor. Not much else to say except
sdaeh rieht edih dna nur yeht semoc niar eht fI.

And thousands of miles from here, as saber rattling in what we once thought of as The Promised Land takes a back seat to the politics of the Global US Presidency, I'm more concerned than ever at a very different kind of rain and how galoshes, macintoshes and umbrellas will be of little use or any defense in stopping it. 
-bill kenny

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Faster than the Speed of Thought

I just noticed this yesterday for the first time (noting it more than once, technically doesn't count for squat, so I won't mention that part again) and I'm probably the last person on the planet to notice, including the three people in a cave in Bora Bora who don't have electricity or computers, but Facebook has started to match the ads they stick on the right side of the screen with whatever you're liking or typing about in the middle part.

When it happened yesterday, I'm such a moron I thought something was going on but wasn't sure exactly what had happened on the periphery of my vision. I'm a terrible non-touch typist so I have to stare at the keyboard and my fingers and the screen to see what I'm typing so all the stuff NOT directly in the middle of the monitor gets a free pass at least until I look up.

When it happened again, I had an 'ah-ha!' moment, frustrated that there was no one to show off this incredible discovery to. And later when Thelma and Louise came home and I told them, they looked at me with some pity, a little curiosity and a whole lot of impatience. I got a heaping helping of the 'are you done yet?' look and decided I was even though I wasn't.

So I didn't tell them I wanted to see how fast Facebook was and I came away impressed. I liked a couple of random postings on food, to include one that was a picture of some one's dinner (and I don't have many friends so I appreciated the share though I wasn't hungry) and of the three items, and two of them were sort of green, I could only identify one, green asparagus. Why don't we eat white asparagus in this county? It is so delicious your tongue will smile. Seriously

Anyway. Within two minutes of 'liking' the food, I had at least three farmer's markets and farm fresh produce ads. So I posted an entry on a classic (sixties) car and sure enough, a couple of eye blinks later there was a Dodge Dart ad, for the new one, and below it (I think) a BMW. I also had an ad for Alias Julius, a singer/songwriter whom I very much enjoy. 

For a moment the Imp of the Perverse got the better of me and I thought about stringing together a lurid limerick or a salacious sentence so degenerate the Facebook Police would speed over from Farmville or wherever the barracks is located to arrest me. Then I typed "one boy hits her like a tambourine" and this is almost what happened.   
-bill kenny

Saturday, July 28, 2012

You Got to Fill Out a Form First

Do you hate waiting in line more in hot weather in July than in the cool of the Spring or the Fall. Me, too-not sure why but I sure do. And once I get steamed, emotionally and physically, it carries over into everything I do for hours afterwards. Talk about all revved up and nowhere to go. Need to learn to savor the flavor while  I still have a sense of taste.

Yesterday evening we sort of had rain, the first rain in awhile. We've had low water levels in our rivers, lakes and streams since a very mild winter, but we're not farmers around here so it's not as critical as Idaho and Nebraska. Here we have crunchy forests because it's so dry, not dust storms where lives and livelihoods are blown away forever.

When I want to feel sorry for myself about how unhappy waiting for anything makes me in the heat, I think about how much closer to the end of my life I am than to the beginning. Especially with a phalanx of physicians and a multitude of meds that I'm on. What if, despite my obstinacy, there is a Hereafter and I'm a walk-on in that movie?

In light of how I have felt about Him for lo these many decades, how can I expect The Lord of All Creation to react to my arrival, probably on a very hectic and crowded day when I'm at my most snippy (rhymes with Skippy) (inside joke). "And face to face, in the vastness of space your words disappear."
-bill kenny

Friday, July 27, 2012

Not the Reindeer Games

Today it all starts and we'll huddle around any television, any tablet, any smartphone any device that carries motion video and can transmit The Summer Games of the XXX Olympiad. As of today we're all fans and we're all in.

To warm your heart, if you're living in one of the 3.2 miles of the United States that's not being slow-roasted as I type this, try this column out of the WaPo (Washington Post; I was using the thuglife spelling I think). I love features on the smaller than life stuff vice how thrilled one of the guys on the men's basketball teams is to be in London or something of that ilk.

Someone somewhere will have the Thoughts of Phelps bound in a little red book like Mao's right up until he demonstrates his extraordinary lung capacity with a bong hit that lasts three days and then we'll all fall over one another condemning him. Why? Because that's how we roll.

It's supposed to be fun-not commerce by another name. Am I the only one who finds the irony so thick you can cut it with a fork that McDonalds is one the official sponsors of the Summer Olympics (I enjoyed that and screw you IOC). Some of the people on the gymnastics teams couldn't lift a Big Mac off their training partner if it accidentally fell on them.

And you have to love BP, the same folks who gave us the 'good golly, are we sorry about that Gulf of Mexico, youbetcha, buddy!' routine not that long ago are gonna help defray the costs of far more than just the swimming events. If the fish and gulls could see that now, right? Fueling the future while fooling ourselves.

We've already had the US team's clothing made in the wrong place-and the hosts, the United Kingdom, found out yesterday it's better to be a North Taurean than a South Taurean. Even when the moon is in the Seventh House. Who knew?

Poor North Korea, the new best country on earth to hold your honeymoon, is so impoverished, if the past is a predictor, close to thirty percent of their team will dash the hundred or so yards and defect taking with them probably half the political education officers assigned as their shadows and half the handlers of those guys, all intended to keep them from being gone with the wind in the first place.

Enjoy it while it lasts because when it's over, the 2012 Presidential nominating conventions will start and then the death of civility and common sense, also known as the election campaign, will ensue. But for now let the games begin. After all, you can go mad in celebration if you win a medal.    
-bill kenny

Thursday, July 26, 2012

(We Are)

By now you know that Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut died Monday of pancreatic cancer. For lots of reasons, many of them reasonably personal, I've done a bit of digging and have concluded based on a review of available literature that while she was the textbook example of a purpose-driven life, hers was an especially painful death and no one deserves that.

I found this only a day or so ago and it made my eyes perspire, as my sister, Jill, used to say when she was small, because it is intensely personal. All the gender politics of the era and now, in death, even more gender politics, are nowhere to be found. This is Kathryn Sullivan, one person, remembering another person, Sally Ride.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe that's not what God really is-the perpetuation of someone's memory after they have ceased to be. And so long as someone, somewhere thinks of that person, they live on. I would hope each of us will have someone who would do that for us when our time is come. 

And if you, for whatever reason, should doubt you are worth celebrating, let me assure you most certainly are. Actually let me introduce you to Phil Hellenes and encourage you to find the time to savor this. You are so worth it. We all are. 
-bill kenny 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Take Back the City

I attended Saturday’s presentation on the thirty-five million dollar police station in what I’m told was the ‘old Sears Building’ in a then bustling, downtown Norwich that could have been a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post magazine cover but had ceased to exist at some point in the Sixties.

To hear those times described by folks who lived here then and wore much younger persons’ clothes, those were the days of Big Cotton. If only the past could be the Present what need of a future would we have? As it turns out, the concern might be better phrased as what kind of a future will we have?  

Who among us ‘new residents’ hasn’t heard how downtown was so crowded on Thursday nights that the children, well-behaved (of course), attentive and ever-mindful on the hands of their moms and dads, had to walk in the streets around Franklin Square because the sidewalks were so jammed with shoppers there was just no place else to go.

Not that much later, we did figure out someplace (else) to go, thanks to the interstate highway system and away we went, leaving Chelsea with a morass of one-way streets that make sure you can’t get there from here, a lot of empty buildings in various states of disrepair and disrepute and misty-water colored memories of the way we were.

I’ve only been to half the meetings on the police station but there are two issues, in my opinion, at work here, joined at the PowerPoint slide but not actually sharing a common reality.

What I’ve come away with so far at two very poorly attended meetings is that people are  supportive and vocal in that support, of the Norwich Police Department, and agree with the Chief of Police when he very gently suggests the current station is less than adequate.

The descriptive used Saturday was ‘transform’ which led me to thoughts of Megan Fox, lots of thoughts (some salacious to be honest), but we didn’t mean those Transformers.

What was offered instead was the same rationale that created the Wauregan Hotel, the Mercantile Exchange, the Haymarket Building and half a dozen other public money projects-what I call the Single Building Conspiracy- at a total cost of close to one hundred million dollars but didn’t get enough people into downtown to fill a phone booth assuming those still existed.  

We are assured this time we can't miss (or at least we hope so). Just a little more patience is all we need and we’ll see downtown bloom again. This is a lot like Saul on the road to Damascus and suspending belief while helpful isn't necessarily hopeful. And that's the rub. Hope is always important but hope is not a plan and Norwich needs a plan more than downtown needs another transformative building.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Super Nova in a Galaxy of Stars

Today, as a check of any of three dozen or websites will reveal, is a busy day  in terms of commemorating a full circle of the sun. Happy Birthdays to a diverse and talented bunch of people from Simon Bolivar to Jennifer Lopez. Among those whose natal anniversaries are today are Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Museketeers, as well as Zelda Fitzgerald-first wife of F. Scott. On any given day, there's a who's who of famous and infamous associated with birthday cakes because nearly half a million people worldwide are born.

I'm mentioning that today eespecially because it's not ust an abstraction-but part of what everyone who grew up in my mother and father's house thinks about as our sister, Kara, celebrates her birthday. She's a little bit of all the famous folks I mentioned with a dash of Lynda Carter and Amelia Earhart thrown in for good measure.

The best thing about being the oldest child in a large family is you have amazing and embarrassing memories of your brothers and sisters from when they were small and they can't stop you from musing aloud. Except there's nothing like those memories to hold over Kara's head. Trust me, I looked and looked hard.

She was a very easy-going child with an even temperament that should have been a cause for concern in a household as tumultuous as ours. She was the oldest of the Second Wave of Kenny Kids and was the emissary to the three (considerably) older siblings on behalf of herself and the two younger who were to follow.

Her ability to maintain an even keel no matter how provoked (and some of us were geniuses at provocation; not pointing fingers here, just sayin') has been a lifelong talent that has stood her in good stead and come in handy I imagine more often than she'd like to admit.. She and her husband, Russell, have three sons (I can hear the theme from that Fred MacMurray show playing as I type this) and a universe of friends stretching from all those years ago to all those yet to be.

Kara, I lack the power to declare today a national holiday in your honor which is too bad since my proclamation would have included pony rides for all relatives especially your most oldest of brothers, but you can't have everything I suppose. But what I hope you do have because you so deserve it, is a terrific and marvelous-in-every-way birthday, with way too much cake and far too few candles. Happy Birthday!
-bill kenny        

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grammatical Bacteria

On this side of the pond, and in news outlets across the globe, this has been the weekend to examine every facet of Aurora, Colorado, to include the ones that aren't real or aren't really important. This is one of my favorite pieces in the rush and crush of words thrown against the walls of newsrooms in the hopes that some would stick and a few might even make a difference. See if you agree.

There's a sense of loss in all of it and there should be even more. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the murderous rampage in Norway that still beggars belief and buggers comprehension. It's not enough to say 'those who do these things are crazy.' Of course they are-they are malevolent, malignant malefactors who must somehow, genetically or environmentally, have wandered down an evolutionary blind alley from which  there is no escape.

What can the rest of us spirits in the material world hope to do confronted by so much hate and so much evil? We can remember what pioneers did more than a half century ago when confronted with hate-filled hearts of stone and are still doing today, or more exactly, did yesterday evening on stage in Oslo and tomorrow, one can only hope, 'the whole wide world around, someday.'
-bill kenny  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

More Dispatches from Behind the Soft Machine

I know Sunday is the first day of the week. Because I still toil for a wage, I see it as the last day of the week with Monday, the day the sun hopefully rises over my place of employment and the angels sing, as the beginning of the week. I sort of work my way through it a step at a time. If I were to look up and see how much is yet-to-be as I struggled with the-already-is, I'd be lost in the deluge.

This past week was especially arduous for all of us in my family but I'm thinking I might actually see a sliver of daylight against the silhouette of the skyline before me-a skyline that was so dark for so long that I didn't begin to realize it until the last six weeks or so. Our son suggested to me Thursday evening that maybe I was now about three inches taller than I had been as the afternoon was ending. I'm thinking maybe he is right.

Not tall enough, by any means, to get to those things long forgotten and nearly lost in memory on the top shelf of the hall closet all the way in the back. But almost able to believe that after all this time of not wanting them, maybe we really don't need them either.    
-bill kenny

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We Couldn't Wait 'til Monday

I was already at work yesterday, and had been for quite some time, when the first of the CNN news updates popped up on my computer about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. Like you I am still struggling to process what happened and how it happened and to hope someday I'll work my way to and through the why of it all. I'm not there yet.

Not everyone else is plodding along at such a petty pace. I have no words for this guy except he's not alone and that's the part that frightens me because I never underestimate stupidity especially in a groups. I do love his conclusion-what was needed to stop the gun was more guns. Swap your drive-by solutions for rubber bullets, or better yet, how about a bazooka for all the oxygen you're breathing? Seems like a win-win to me right about now, Congressman (how proud your constituents must be)..

I think, however, he's on to something about God, not that you'd know it by me. But if you know any prayers and you think they help, today might be a good day to to use them. Pray for those murdered, for those wounded, for those who are still working to help and to heal them and pray for our nation because it feels a lot darker today than it did yesterday. And meaner. Everywhere life is coming apart and looking like absolutely nothing any of us recognize and at the same time like a little bit of everything.
-bill kenny  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Actual Evil

The feces flinging has already started in the run-up to the demolition derby that is the American Presidential election cycle. I've seen, and so have you, the hyperbolic accusations and assertions from both sides as well as their Agents of Endarkenment.

I've read in my more recent lifetime both George Walker Bush and Barack Hussein Obama II compared to Adolf Hitler, without a doubt the most abhorrent human being of all time. On this date, sixty-eight years ago, a very small number of his military leadership cadre in the most militarized nation on earth, attempted to end Hitler's regime and life as well as Europe's wide-awake nightmare reign of terror. They failed and millions more perished before the mad dog was run to ground. Why mention a failure?  

Because when, not if, you next hear the So-and-So is Hitler comparison, start with this (if you feel better, I've never been able to watch it to the end and it's only a quarter of an hour) and then go back to your pals in the media plutocracy from whatever part of the polit-spectrum they are based and tell them to shut the fudge up (or use peanut brittle if you feel that strongly about it). Nobody they can name will ever be Hitler so let's stop doing that from now on and forever.

When I was a child, before the age of reason and maybe my memory, we used to have elections based on contrasting visions of our country and how to achieve those differing goals. We had the means-we compared the ways. Now it's a filth fest as we argue about outsourcing vulture capitalism and working on appealing to our core wedge groups.

How about this, mein liebling? The best way to choose The Next Leader of the Free World is to evaluate which one best displays those traits during this campaign. Tell the talking heads to go soak themselves and do something too many of us haven't done for a long time and think. Here's something to help you decide the unterschied zwischen der Scheiße und der Schuhcreme. Keep it handy and use it often. And perhaps but only perhaps, we can learn again to speak to and not at one another.
-bill kenny


Thursday, July 19, 2012

I had no shoes and felt sorry for myself

We've been going through a sticky patch of weather here in The Land of the Steady Habits. Though I'm not from here, I'm from here now and so I fit right in. In the winter (unless it was like last winter, 'the winter that wasn't') I kvetch about how cold it is and then when we get to July and it's 90/90 temperature and humidity, I whine some more. Wait! There's a signpost up ahead! I know this place.

Yeah, that's where we are in the cycle right now and so set am I in my routine that the depth of my habit is close to transforming a rut into a grave. Truth to tell, I am chagrined to admit I'd lost sight that vast tracts of my country are having a lousier (spelling?) summer than I think I am (but they are really having it).

Much of our country is at Ground Zero of what will become for many a slow motion disaster, drought. And for millions of people right now and far many more millions not that much later, this is not one of those 'cheer up things could get worse' situations.

This situation gets worse only if locusts show up, or if after the light rain falls, there's a rain of frogs followed by a rain of blood. Not sure if it's The Almighty (caps are always a nice touch, doncha think?) or global warming, carbon emissions or the fallout of Bain Capital and/or the the Solyndra debacle that's behind all of this trial and tribulation, but someone, somewhere, is cranked close to max vol.

I have no idea how many city slickers each farmer in the USA feeds (okay, so I lied about not knowing. Maybe I should run for President-would fit right in), but while the farmers are already at the place where the road and the sky collide, the rest of us will follow in short suit when every agricultural product we buy gets mauled by the law of supply and demand. And if you think you'll be unscathed as you look around your kitchen-look around your home and hearth and workplace and guess again, sweet cheeks.

And for those among us not vehicularly challenged, driving corn oil cars and other ethanol-fueled delights: Good luck with that in six months when our choices are: 'do we make bread and hope people can walk to stores or should we make fuel and hope when they drive to a market they can find something else to eat?'

Third World peoples have struggled with this question, and a hundred like it, on a daily basis all of their lives, as well as those of their children. The answers don't get easier with practice and practice does not make perfect (though perfect practice does; go figure.).

Strange how I can watch all those appeals for money as stoically as I do. Maybe you, too? My threshold for other peoples' suffering is really impressive. Could you turn the air conditioning up a bit? I'm starting to sweat in all this heat. And while you're up, could you grab some more of those made from genetically altered-not-found-in-nature snack products that are all the rage right now? You're the best....

If we are what we eat, what do you suppose selfish and stupid tastes like anyway? I guess we'll find out when cannibalism makes a comeback. Praise the Lord and pass the napkins.
-bill kenny   

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When You Don't Know Where You're Going

If your mind is made up, then don't let yourself get confused with facts about the proposal to bond tens of millions of dollars to construct a downtown police station. There was a meeting last night in the community room of the Otis Library which I hope was better attended than the initial session last week in City Hall when less than two dozen attendees other than those with a stake in the meeting, made it to Chief Fusaro's presentation on the police station.

There's a slight irony to last night's session being in the library's community room because the proposed police station envisions a community meeting space, sadly and sorely lacking in the present building overlooking the Thames because that building, finished in the late Seventies while lacking a disco ball, was very much a project of its time-built in the moment and for the moment with little thought given to expanding requirements and future needs.

For decades, the police like other aspects of the municipal workforce were encouraged to improvise and adapt with their present resources whenever budget hearings rolled around. Norwich never has the money for what we need but finds the money for what we want and too often, creates the need after the fact (yes, I'm speaking about the Intermodal Transportation Center among other built projects in search of purposes both in downtown and beyond).

I didn't, and don't, agree with everything Chief Fusaro offered the night I attended his City Hall presentation and I'll have to revisit his ideas, perhaps this Saturday morning at ten when he speaks at the Robert O. Fletcher Post 4 in Laurel Hill. We're talking a lot of money here and we should think about we want and what we'll get for those dollars.

What we need to get, in order for the police station to play any significant role in any possible rebirth of Chelsea and a renaissance across Norwich, is a detailed vision by our elected leaders of what they see our city looking like in a decade, in a score and in a generation. As it is, no matter whom we elect we end up with members of the City Council who plan the way horses run, one footfall in front of where they are.

If you were to ask anyone on our current City Council what they see, in terms of buildings and businesses between the proposed police station and  up the street only as far the Wauregan Hotel (a six minute walk, trust me on that), be prepared for seven different answers. And if you ask how what's to be situated in that space fits in with the 'rest of' downtown' brace yourself for silence.

When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there, which means based on the maps and plans we've made for decades, and discarded and ignored, where we are now is where we have always wanted to be. Maybe it's past time for a new routine.
-bill kenny     

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Less Nit, More Grit

Every time I think we have sixteen MORE weeks of hair-pulling masquerading as a campaign for the office of the most powerful person in the world, the President of the United States of America, I throw up just a  tiny little bit (more) in my own mouth. Remember that 'I know you are but what am I?' taunt from the third grade schoolyard at recess? 

Here's its 2012 variation, guten appetit. In addition to the Oval Office contestants' hissy-fitting, pussy-footing, and poo-flinging we have yet to endure (there's talk of six billion dollars being raised and spent to elect the next President. Six billion bucks. You can have a war in Afghanistan for 82 minutes for that money!), there's 435 races for the House of Representatives, thirty-three Senate campaigns, probably close to three dozen gubernatorial elections and who knows how many state legislature and municipal body elections.

And in terms of the Big O and the Mit-Wit, it's not like we don't have real issues in search of real answers-be it foreign policy, fiscal controls, environmental and civil rights matters-we are a pretty big ball of fire right now and these guys are having at it with seltzer bottles. The house is rocking with domestic problems and these two and their shills and surrogates (did you catch that caption under the picture of Sununu in the upper left hand corner back at the link? Talk about putting the coarse back in our civil discourse) think they can win an election on whether or not Mrs Pickle's tax claims are fair game?

We are better than this, are we not? We have sent hundreds of thousands of our very best trained and absolutely brightest, kindest and most amazing young people to the farthest corners of this globe where they have been killed by the thousands and maimed and marred by the tens and hundreds of thousands to defend a democracy and a way of life whose values and beliefs we casually and contemptuously use to wipe our own butts with on a daily basis on the front page of every newspaper and as the lead story on every TV newscast here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

How dare those who claim to wish to represent us behave like the petulant, ignorant and arrogant asshats that they are. They cannot possibly be the best we can do because if they are, we are lost-actually we are beyond lost, we are swallowed up and forgotten. A people and a place that proved to be more aberration than inspiration. A once grand notion of a proud nation that drowned in its own dreck and dregs and became a cautionary tale for the rest of the world just as the rest of that world needed us the most.

Turner's Manifest Destiny seems to be out of time, space and luck. We refuse to lower our voices so we'll be forced to lower our expectations and eliminate optimism and hopefulness not only from our vocabulary but from our horizon of expectations and that of our children and theirs. The fairy tale finally ends with the Walrus and the Carpenter. Wow. Mission accomplished: We can't make it here anymore.
-bill kenny             

Monday, July 16, 2012

In Like Lin

Upfront, I'm not a pro basketball fan. Don't appreciate the sport as much as I do at the high school and college level. I developed that appreciation from a lot of years riding the bench in prep school on some truly terrible teams. Have a pretty good idea of the basics of the game and am not a terribly bad coach of those trying to learn the sport, I just don't have any use for a sport where at the professional level you jam the ball into the bucket and the crowd goes wild.

If that maneuver is worth two points, then the 'three point' shot should be re-evaluated. I'm thinking someone who takes a thirty-five foot jump shot, no glass just net, gets upgraded to eleven points or so. Don't like that idea? How about a movable basket that goes up and/or down depending on the vertical jump of whomever has the ball? Just to level the playing field. Of course it's a silly idea. This is, after all, a game we pay adult men millions of dollars annually to play while children run around the school yard and play it for free.

Before the last NBA 'strike-shortened' season began (I had never known until earlier last week. Did I mention I'm not a fan?), I had no idea who Jeremy Lin was or for whom he played. As of today, the latter portion of that sentence is still true, maybe. It's a world of seven figure deals and three point shots and every man for himself. That's why the Lord gave us two hands, I suspect, to take as much as we can possibly grab. And He gave us two pockets in our trousers to put if all in.

There was a media feeding frenzy around Jeremy Lin as the Knicks put more people in seats at The Garden in recent memory and I'd be tempted to call the interest in him, flavor of the month, but that attitude didn't help those Vermont Ice Cream guys very much so I'll leave it. Is there a chance Jeremy Lin could be the next Aaron Small? And don't even think about responding with a shrug of indifferent ignorance. They may wind up with more in common than their bank balances.      
-bill kenny

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Only Hope Floats Definitely

My neighborhood is just like yours in most respects except my neighbors have to put up with me and yours don't. Something else they have to put up with, and so do I, is a rather yappy little dog around the corner on the next block. I don't have too much to do with him because of the size and space of the neighborhood but he is a constant in the universe. Our daughter Michelle tells us it is a Jack Russell Terrier or a Jack Terrier Russell or some permutation of all three. I have an entirely different name for the dog that would leave both Jack and Russell speechless. Probably the dog not so much.

I've come to believe that little yappy dogs are visually challenged-they don't realize they're small, otherwise they'd shut up. They see themselves as normal size and the rest of us as aberrations of one kind or another. I'm thinking if we just put a few full-length mirrors in their dog houses they'd figure out they are actually rather small, very annoying and more often than not ugly. Perhaps, then they'd stay in their houses and, more on point, shut the heqq up.

Despite the heat and humidity we've been having in this part of the country, I went out for a walk the other night after dinner, as I try to do every night no matter the weather. And heat and humidity are such a white person's problems, aren't they? Take a look at most of the third world and what's the first conclusion I  draw? 'Ooh, it looks awfully hot there!' Never 'the people look terribly hungry,' or 'Goodness their drinking water looks filthy,' or 'Pshaw, the housing looks so rickety' but how hot it is. I'm not sure about the Pshaw in there.

I had my headphones on and as I passed the flagstone house with the yappy dog he was nearly beside himself with whatever emotion these imbeciles have that encompasses anger, annoyance, defense of their masters, whatever. He was barking a lot and so loud, I could hear him over the music in my phones (technically they're 'ear buds' say the manufacturer. Technically the manufacturer can go f-- themselves, never mind. Stupid nuances in language.).

The dog was on one of those leash lines, which is a pretty crappy deal for a dog in my opinion. Either let the animal run free or restrict it-don't do this fake-out stuff where it can almost go anywhere it wants except when it can't. And it was in its own backyard with its owner. It would be like making you or I wear a tux in our own backyard. The animal lives there for crying out loud, why can't it be free at its own house?

The owner was holding her end of the leash making those I'm-oh-so-embarrassed-by-my-dog faces as the dog furiously barked and leaped about in front of her trying to rush and clear the stone wall so he could leap at my throat and perhaps land at my knee. Considering the surgical history of my knees, that would be a piece of extremely large misfortune for the dog.

I took the headphones off as I walked past them on the sidewalk in front of their house, hoping to find something reassuring to tell the woman, perhaps along the lines of 'I'm sure from space you don't look nearly as large as you do from here though probably just as ugly' not that I would ever deliberately say such a thing. Except sometimes my evil twin Skippy blurts stuff out and the next thing you know we have to move.

Almost, but not quite this time, too. As the dog continued to yip and strain against the leash and generally make himself a nuisance, she semi-grimaced as she told me, 'my husband says if he doesn't start to calm down, he'll drown him.' I doubt very much the husband means that and imagine he said it more in exasperation than with bad intent. That's my disclaimer because I looked at her evenly and offered brightly, 'please tell your husband, I have a boat he can use.' She doesn't, I believe, yet, know my name, but you can call me Ol' Roy.
-bill kenny

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Not Even the Birds Are Free

Show of hands, or appendages used as hands (wait for it; it'll almost be worth it). How many assume governments lie on a routine if not daily basis? My government, your government, the one across the world-any government, all of them. Yeah. Me. too.

From the same people who perfected using 60 ton tracked vehicles as crowd control devices, comes the somewhat ham-handed stage management of the "suicide"  of just about the last person in the People's Republc of China who would take his own life, Li Wangyang.

Mr Wangyang took exception to how his government chose to respond to his country's nascent democracy movement in 1989 and spent the subsequent next two decades incarcerated for his impertinence. He chose, after being released earlier this summer, to take his own life say the people who caged him for twenty years.

They are starting to become upset that so many complete strangers around the world who never met him doubt the manner of his death. They checked this out carefully, I'm sure, leaving no tern unstoned before arriving at the pre-ordained conclusion.

It's hard work keeping a strange face while blaming the victim for his own death, akin to wondering why did God lose six million Jews?
-bill kenny

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cheers, Tears and Jeers

I really don't want to jinx anyone or anything on this, a Friday the 13th (as if stuff could get even more snake-bitten, right?) so I'll use small words and type quickly, putting a lot of pressure on you. Sorry 'bout that-take it for the team.

By now you know, the presumptive Republican Party candidate for President, Mitt Romney got roundly and soundly booed at the annual convention of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP) earlier this week. A reaction which launched some remarkable intellectual exercises and analyses among the brilliant minds who troll the blogosphere (I'm just here for my looks, not my brains).

Moving quickly to my point, and this doesn't happen that often so savor it: might I suggest the incident was a 'no win' for both sides (can conversations about race in America even have sides?). The NAACP at some organizational leadership level felt the obligation to extend an invitation and, Mr. Romney, for whatever his reasons are/were (I'll admit I could only guess but never know, unlike a legion of pundits with no more knowledge than I have but a butt-ton of speculation) then chose to accept.

I read his speech-I even put some of it into my newest favorite discovery (after PolitFact), the sentence parser and I have to tell you, sometimes it was slow going. In fairness, I've put pieces of this stuff in there on a regular basis and watched in disbelief as the computer tried to pull its own plug out of the wall so that injunction about glass houses applies, seemingly (and about curtains, too).

I saw the same thing you watched-not a pleasant situation. I understand the disapproving disagreement and the means used to signal it. That's not what has me disquieted. It was a bad, bordering on lousy, situation for both sides and another example,like we didn't have enough already, of a nation's continued balkanization in matters of economic status, faith, gender, and/or race (I put them in alphabetic order, if you wondered and I don't pretend it's an all-inclusive list).

We used to stand for something-now we'll put up with anything if we can use it to advance our own short term, small minded goals, whatever they are. It seems to me, all the way over here in what I like to mentally sub-title, "The Only Sane White Guy Left in the Entire Universe's Corner," it's too bad for all of us that nobody is willing to take up arms against a sea of mostly self-inflicted troubles.

Ever since that last perfect person got crucified, we've been sullen if not silent. I guess we all really do have better uses for the wood.
-bill kenny

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two Short of a Three-Legged Race Team

Whenever I get corporate letters, obviously machine generated, with what I suspect the testing panel has determined are 'will put their minds at ease' words scattered like Easter eggs throughout its passages, I can feel the hair on the nape of my neck stand up and attempt to flee (the tresses on the absolute top of my scalp have already started and I'm forming a search party I would prefer to not further explain. Ever.).

I mentioned some days/weeks back the note from Blue Cross sharing with me that they very much disagreed with the treatment approach of my cardiologist in an overnight hospital stay after a stent implant in my left leg.  Less than a week after that less than cheery note arrived an 'explanation of benefits' that I take (notice the tense of the verb and trust me when I tell you it ain't the only tense around here right now) to mean my share of the entire bill was my deductible.

As they say on late night TV, 'but wait, there's more.' In the mail just the other day, unbidden and certainly unexpected, by me, was another letter from the insurance company telling me "you can rest assured" that the (gulp!) $79,591.75 claim by the hospital is still being processed. Perhaps they had feared I was losing sleep over the hospital's situation. Yeah, you today-me tomorrow.

I would have a funding shortfall of about $79,591 in terms of paying this bill if, when all the rest assuring is done, the two behemoths decide to stick the dweeb at the kids' table with the check for the whole party.  I've been strengthening my most recently repaired leg and its partner, going for both speed and distance, in case I have to make a dash for a border. My concern is should I take off for the North of or South of?
-bill kenny        

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Same Shirt, Different Day

We've had enough baseball in prime time television this week to last us until the Tigers home stand begins tonight, so forgive me if I have home runs and base hits on the brain. Some years, the Home Run Derby actually attracts more viewers than the All-Star Game and I suspect that's because as much as we applaud teamwork, patience and strategy, it's those deep, towering shots, those one-swat wonders, that get our hearts pumping, be it in baseball or in local politics.

I was thinking about that the other day while I was out walking. Point in fact, walking is actually  when I do some of my best thinking. My wife is so impressed by some of the ideas I come up with she's suggested I take up ultra-marathons. I'm not sure if that's because she enjoys my insights so much or she just wants to have the house to herself.

I was walking past the soon-to-be-gone Norwichtown Mall which is being transformed into the Norwichtown Commons. The destruction and construction is not happening at the speed of light but seems to be progressing at what I'll call the speed of thought. It's not dramatic enough to make the front page of your local newspaper every other week, but it's quiet proof that when we stay out of the way of people who have a plan and allow them to execute that plan we seem more often than not to end up with projects that have the same number of beginnings, middles and ends (one each). Nice and tidy and very symmetrical.

No one's ever going to confuse the Norwichtown Commons with the Intermodal Transportation Center, unless you're in the wholesale concrete business. The scale and scope are just that different from one another. But you can use a bus to get to the Commons, so I guess you could argue that there is a bit more of a larger plan or just sheer serendipity than a lot of other projects around here seem to have.

This time last year, there was a lot of talk about a major municipal push for rehabilitating and marketing the Route 32 side of the Thames, usually called Shipping Street. But as the summer weeks went on the talk about Shipping Street, and that's all there ever really was, pretty much ran its course and because we're attracted to bright and shiny objects we moved on and left Shipping Street to the dustbin of history.

Turns out, if we do indeed relocated the Police Station to downtown we may wish we had done more than talk about Shipping Street as all the remediation and infrastructure improvements that we didn't accomplish are still not done. We spent so much time waiting on a home run pitch we failed to pick up a couple of scratch singles.

If we only had a document to guide the deliberations of our elected and appointed leadership, to join those of us who are here now with those whom we'd hope to have live here ten to thirty years from now in a shared vision and a plan with milestones, measurable goals and defined outcomes. And then if only we could harness the energy we show in grasping at every individual straw, sorry, development proposal, we could be Norwich 2.0 instead of still talking about rebuilding 'our city.' 

Of course, the 'if only' plan I'm speaking about does exists-it's called the Plan of Conservation and Development and we revise and refine it every decade. It's being worked on now, practically in obscurity from the number of residents who've attended the meetings which is too bad because some very well-meaning people are doing as good a job as they know how on it. 

But if the past is again prologue, we'll applaud their efforts and then do things the way we always have. We have enough desk drawers to put any number of plans of action safely away, never to be seen again.  It's no one's fault, it never is. People prefer problems that are familiar to solutions that aren't and in Norwich, we have very few new problems, just old ones that have proven immune to being solved.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two Tribes

I keep reminding myself we're allies of the corrupt puppets in Kabul, Afghanistan who are, from any height, virtually indistinguishable from the corrupt whack-job religious zealots and corrupt opiate laced camel dung merchants who are battling them for the bragging rights to a country so poor, if there is a God and He ever thinks about Afghanistan, He weeps.

I'm old enough to have seen all of this before, with the part of the Karzai government in Kabul played by Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, or cousin or uncle and followed by an unceasing river of corrupt imbecilic morons who took turns in the streets of Saigon, South Vietnam making themselves king. I don't remember any of their names forty years on and neither does history. They lost.

Between their avarice and their cowardice with a double dollop of incompetence, they spent more time feathering their own nests than in worrying about their own people. I knew the race was run when CBS Evening News showed Buddhist monks setting themselves on fire to protest the oppression by their own government, the one we kept calling the 'good guys.'      

We in the Land of the Round Door knobs explained it away in a hundred different phrases but I'll tell you, as a kid who wasn't even yet a teenager, I smelled something over the odor of burning flesh that I recognized as crap. And we're back to doing it again, yet again half a world away with Afghan stunt doubles this time.

This past weekend while we were celebrating Patrick's 30th Birthday, while Kara and Russ were rejoicing that Jordan was healing properly while Adam and Margaret welcomed Suze and Ryan to the mystic swamps of Jersey, we, the most powerful nation in the history of the world allowed the unthinkable to happen and stared into the face of Hell and didn't even blink. You might have missed this-I don't know how.

I'm not sure what winning looks like in this sorry, dirty, little hellhole of a country. I have the growing sense that no one in Foggy Bottom or the Puzzle Palace or the Rose Garden knows either. We just want this war to go away, and don't care who dies for us to get our wish. And to review, this is what happened.

Her blood is on Karzai's hands as well as those of the fundamentalists who see women as furniture and just in case you'd like to forget, on ours as well. When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
-bill kenny

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Think A Best Uniform Contest Is Worth Trying

When I was kid and rode dinosaurs to school uphill in the snow both ways for six miles, "Baseball" had two All-Star Games every season and the players were voted by the guys who played the games. We didn't have to call baseball "Major League Baseball," everyone knew what everyone else meant and we didn't get too worried about legalese like service marks, copyright infringements and the players' association.

As for "(T)his copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated without express written consent,” seriously? The game was all we talked about the next day in the schoolyard and on the sandlot. Glad there were a lot of real criminals back then to worry about otherwise the exercise yard in the Big House would have been really crowded.

Now it's a multi-day spectacle and my least favorite part is the Home Run Derby which is on tonight. I love home runs, as part of the game.I've discovered my heart leaps just as much when a kid on the Connecticut Tigers (our single A Minor League Baseball team) takes one all the way to right as when Nick Swisher or Curtis Granderson connects for the Pinstripes.

Do they include a punt, pass and kick contest or, even better, throw a football through a moving tire competition before they play the Super Bowl? How about making everyone on both teams in the NBA finals play H-O-R-S-E before the deciding game. I don't know enough about professional hockey to have a cockamamie idea for them, but if I did it would involve Ice Capades, just because I hate Ice Capades. And I am not alone.

I think we need to get use from all the pitchers selected for the All-Star Game who will otherwise really not get to show their stuff to their best advantage. Managers never leave guys out there more than five or six batters-it's like day care camp or something where everyone gets to be in the game...and meanwhile the folks running the league want me to believe  'this time it counts.' Oh? Give each pitcher on the AL and NL rosters a bucket of balls to throw at the guys NOT taking part in the Home Run Derby and let those hit batsmen vote on who throws the hardest, and he can have a prize, too..

Make it interesting-why not have them throw at the HR Derby entrants during the contest? Let's see how many David Ortiz takes downtown when Matt Cain is trying to plunk on the butt. Not so big now Papi, eh? What do you mean, 'that's silly!' It's okay when somebody soft tosses bunny balls at these guys to turn into moon shots. I know, 'pipe down, it's the root beer talking!' so I'll leave well enough alone. Me and my frosted mug will take ourselves home.  
-bill kenny

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cause and Effect

Thirty years ago today, our son, Patrick Michael, was born. I have been known to be extremely vocal in support of our children, so perhaps (but only perhaps) this is yet another instance of boasting but I think I'm representing my row of home fries from Dad School when I ask, with just the right note of studied casualness, 'just me or did you notice how the world has steadily improved since that date?' He is one of my favorite and favored topics.

I've done three things I brag about since my arrival on this orb: marry Sigrid and be the father of our two children (the latter was the easier of the two since I mostly just showed up as Sigrid did all the heavy lifting).
I can tell you stories, and have.

Should I tell you the story of our visit to the first Toys R Us in Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, in Wallau, and how Patrick walked past me with a toy in his hand to ask Sigrid if he could have it. She said yes and as I put both him and the toy in the cart, I said 'you could've asked me too, y'know.' "Yeah," he said, "except she's the one who makes all the decisions."

I very much enjoy being a father-ridiculously so especially in comparison to how well I don't do it. And it helps to have a first born son who is as talented and easy going as Patrick. If he had his way, this is the picture he'd want me to use for today.


But he doesn't get everything he wants when he wants, so this is the picture I always associate with him.


He should be grateful I don't still sing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and the fact that I've forgotten most of the words would most definitely not stop me. Then or now. Some could suggest at 30 (!) he might be starting to get a little long in the tooth, but I think we'll keep him anyway.Of course, as he knows far better than I, that's not my decision. Happy Birthday!      
-bill kenny

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Crossed the Line Around the Changes of the Summer

Today is supposed to be hot and humid-Thelma and Louise will go to the beach if that proves to be the case after one of them gets off from work.It's been a warm couple of days here in the Southeastern Connecticut section of the Northeastern United States making it hard exactly to understand where I am philosophically.

I have no such problems with the time of the year except, even though I'm in the summer, I'm closer to the shortest and darkest day of the year than far away. I have a calendar and I understand how it works. This is NOT my first rodeo by any means. You could probably tell from my spurs and chaps. Unless you thought you'd stumbled into a Village People revival. 

I (and I suspect I'm not alone but will use the first person singular pronoun and not merely because I am, indeed, a singular First professional person but to also offer you air cover from yourself) live much of my life as I age in the forward leaning mode. Early in the day sometimes is not so great but I have that thing coming up at 10:30 and then we'll do that other thing and by twoish, half past three at best, it'll be rainbows and free range radicals. 

Trouble is, I spend so much in anticipation, I lose track of what the hell is going on while it's going on. Yesterday it came back and bit me in the nether regions, and quite frankly it stung. After dinner I went for a quick walk around the block. When you can finally walk, finally walk, without any pain in both of your legs from your hips to your ankles, you sneak in a brisk one (walk, perv, but thanks for the thought) whenever and wherever you can. 

I had never really noticed how beautiful and simple the Columbus Obelisk is near the Norwich Free Academy. Twenty plus years of living here (less than that for Cristoforo C, but you get the point) and I was stunned at how lovely it looked. See for yourself.



I didn't overstate, did I? It is lovely, especially in the dusk mixing with the spotlights. And that's happening because despite my absolute unyielding insistence that this summer stay right here and right now until I give it permission to leave, the days are getting shorter. The next time I can savor the longest day of the year will be next year, when I'm even older and grayer if that's even a  word. When I don't get what I want, I'm sad. When I do get what I want, I'm sad because I can't have more."The truth is written all along the page. How old will I be before I come of age for you?"
-bill kenny    

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.......

Not a lot to talk about today, perhaps because there's a lot to think about. Or should be. Some behaviorists refer to our feeding frenzy within the 24 hour news cycle as the hamster on a wheel,  because of how we seem to do the flop and twitch as we near a TV, double click on a screen refresh or receive a text or a tweet.

I tend to see it more as calling shotgun with AC because that's the kind of guy I am in all of this. If we got nothing else out of the Run, Orenthal James, Run! some eighteen years ago, it's that we love our celebrities and we especially love when they're in trouble. If you're not famous and still get into trouble, the best thing your attorneys can do is blow you up and make you infamous.

In a country with far too little Mayberry and way too much Jersey Shore, the media mantra now is go big or go home. If you're going to be vicious, then you may as well be be heinous because we might remember you more/better/longer, even if we lose track of why we 'know' you at all. Think I'm kidding?

Try me. A year ago, today-live 24/7 cable news coverage from everyone and I do mean everyone. The mainstream media outlets broke into regular programming over and over again to bring us updates. Still don't remember 'the story?' I had four, count 'em, four, text inserts by an other wise relentlessly plain vanilla news service that only offered me one update when the Navy SEALS bagged bin Laden.

Drawing a blank? And yet we promised one another we'd remember. There were miles of electrons consumed in threats and imprecations against the alleged perpetrator and 365 days later, sorry-leap year, 366, we've forgotten it was a year ago today that a young woman in Florida, Casey Anthony, was found not guilty by a jury of her peers of killing her daughter, Caylee.

How many miles do you think we've been running on this wheel? I try to keep track by counting the number of bottles of water suspended upside down in the corner, but in all the excitement, I've forgotten. What were we talking about anyway?
-bill kenny    

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do NOT Even Start with the Name Calling

I know two someones who celebrated yesterday not only as the Fourth of July, but as the anniversaries of  their birthdays as well.  And I know another someone yesterday who was celebrating her one year return from that mountainous paradise so many call Afcrapistan. I guess for any of at least three reasons that would explain the parades and the fireworks. I'm waiting to see the size of the celebration we have for all of those who are currently overseas when they finally come home (and that means Horn of Africa, Bosnia, Colombia, Gitmo and a half dozen other places I've either forgotten or have never known about).

Most of the Northeast sweltered yesterday as the middle Atlantic states still struggled with electricity and access to it, problems as a result of storms earlier in the week. I discovered I can still learn new things, though so far not today (but I am optimistic) as I came across an amazing speech by Frederick Douglass, delivered exactly 160 years ago.

For those in love with the Bling-Crunk-Rap-Crap I see on the music TV stations with the Gangsta/Ho Video, try this on for size in terms of anger, in terms of emotion, in terms of eloquence and, all these decades later, in terms of timeliness. Pull up your pants, home fry, and turn your ball cap around your act is so faded.      

THUGLIFE? Please. How in the moment is this: "Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me.

"This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony."

I hope your Fourth, our Fourth, was good but that today and all the days that remain are great and greater than the sum of the hours of which they are made and that we finally succeed at that which we have striven our whole lives, a color and bias free society, built on equality of opportunity and beholden only to each of its citizens pledged to its success. Where words are subordinate to deeds and action is everything.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We Come at the Age's Most Uncertain Hour

For many of us who are normally in the middle of the working week, today is a day of sleeping in a little later, of a second cup of coffee at breakfast while lingering over the morning’s newspaper instead of grabbing and gulping, for whittling down a ‘honey dew’ list just a bit on what should be a day more of contemplation than celebration, today, the 4th of July.

Before it gets really crazy busy today, perhaps each of us should look in the mirror and then take a look around at the country we received from our parents and their parents and which we are giving to our children and theirs. There’s been as much gained as there has been lost through the tears and years and some of what has changed has been better and some of it has only been different. The dilemma is in the deciding which.

By many accounts the heat was oppressive and tempers were hot in Philadelphia two hundred and thirty six years ago as malcontents and troublemakers (in the eyes of His Majesty, George III, King of England) gathered to refine, define and catalog their grievances and complaints with the most powerful empire the world had ever seen.

Enumerating what it called our ‘unalienable rights’ to include ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ the founders of our republic, who did not agree on very much except that the present state of affairs could not continue, concluded the only way forward as a people on a largely unexplored, new continent whose size and wealth was not yet known, was to break with the past and declare independence from King and Crown.
   
Out of all of that has come all of this. And along the way, the original magic and meaning has been lost in backyard pool parties, car sales and chicken fried steaks on the barbecue. Our politics is spirited even if our interest isn't and our understanding of the issues is muddled and muted. And, again, it’s not that we all agree with who we are and what we are doing. It’s been suggested we as a nation haven’t been this divided morally, politically and socially since the Civil War. And that should mean far more than it does.

Some say never have so many had so much of life’s material rewards but, others say never have so many struggled to hold on to what they have. On the outcome of this fall’s elections, we are told, hinges the future of our nation-just as has always been the case. It was true then and remains true now.

What may be missing is our national sense of self and our confidence and belief in our own abilities to forever adapt and triumph. We had those traits at the Founding and I would hope, today, each in our own way, we might again find them both for those whose inheritance we are and for those whose promise is yet to be. Happy the 4th of July. May the 5th and all the days that remain be even more so.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You Are What You Are

I went to work Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours not only because I am just that dedicated but also because I have no life of my own at all anymore. I do for others so much, I've decided it's a practical way to live out my golden years (that suck. Mom says that all the time).

When I arrive during the work week in the morning, I turn in my conscience, values and beliefs at the concierge desk and receive a claim chit. If I still have it at the end of the two week period when I turn it back in at the desk the afternoon of the second Friday, I get paid. It's quite cleverly, actually. In turn, I can pay (or try to) those to whom I owe money and they can do likewise, unless they're JP Morgan or Bank of America. As they say down on the farm, we are the 2% (little Occupy humor there, at least until it's outlawed).

On Sunday, in the corner of the office near the file cabinet, I came across a dead critter-actually he wasn't fully dead but I didn't know that at that time. On his back, feet, all eleven million of them, up in the air, was a cockaroach. I know how you spell it-that's how I say it. The ugliest thing on the planet-even uglier than millipedes and silverfish and those are hideous. I wonder if we look as ugly to them as they do to us.

I don't care if they can survive a nuclear attack. If you smack them with a book like a dictionary or a thesaurus, hundreds of time as hard as you can while yelling loudly (I think that's the key) they will .....use one of those books to pick out a word you like that means dead. Anyway, as I went to remove it with a HUGE wad of tissue paper, it struggled and moved. What am I, the Great Healer?

I did the best impersonation of a screaming five year old girl you have ever heard and danced flamenco on this bug so hard and so long that I wore a hole in my holes and made it one with the carpeting. I could not have thrown the pieces away had I been able to find any big enough to so do. I thought about the totality of disintegration when I came across this story about the hard life Steven Hayes has been having and how he's sought death to set him free.

Wait until September with the oysters ploy, Buster. I'm thinking about the sea of troubles against which you wish to take up arms, and by thus opposing, end them, but, sadly not soon enough.
-bill kenny

Monday, July 2, 2012

Look before You Leap, Second

Some places, not that far from where I live, had themselves some pretty hellacious weather this weekend for really no other reason than God hates them, unless it had less to do with the Lord and more to do with the passage of time (and alterations and additions made to it).

We may not have known it, His (her?) creatures great and small, but Saturday had an additional second, a leap second if you will, because it had to-other wise the very fabric of the cosmos would have unraveled or worse (there would be no more third class mail delivery on Saturdays or something).

So it's possible all the weather damage in the Middle Atlantic States was part of the leap second recalibration and if so I can certainly understand why people who live there would prefer to do hard time the next time. Pat from TV5 via Munchen and NASA had a house with no power for some of the weekend and I'm wondering if maybe Roger of Roger and Dar did also. I suspect that was also the case for John C in Newport News.

Round these parts, weather-wise it didn't get silly until late yesterday afternoon into early in the evening as the skies grew dark, the National Weather Service got all excited and then, for the most part, we called it a weekend. Except I have to be honest and tell you we did have something similar to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, even if all the ponies were under the hoods and the cars were black and white cherry tops.

I'm starting to better appreciate why we need a new thirty-four million dollar public safety/police station in the middle of downtown.  I'm being overly kind (as I so often am)-in the middle of what would be a downtown if there were a downtown worth its name in which to be in the middle. Between long term investments and short term memories, we're going to have after the end of our City Council deliberations tonight at least two ballot initiatives  for November that together will cost us about forty-five million (American) dollars. And worth every penny of it to hear those with power tell it.

I'm hoping when that new super-duper police station is built we'll have a sealed storage vault for all the Mayan calendars that must be floating around in the current station, since as we were walking down to the fireworks Saturday at Norwich Harbor (I really hope that link works, I'm never sure with so much of this tech stuff), we marveled at the prophylactic traffic control efforts of the Norwich Police Department working from what I am guessing was a Mayan calendar that will never again see the light of day, no matter the year.

I love the sense of humor it took to put dozens of these signs on yellow sticks attached to blocks of wood and strategically place them along choke points for the apres-fireworks automotive exodus. The notices   seemed to work just great as no cars were parked anywhere where they were displayed and dispersed which means we are either a peaceable and pacific people or we simply can't read.


I've been in the middle of too many argy bargys in two decades around here to believe the former and have gotten enough Notes from folks who learned spelling via correspondence course during a mail strike to have zero faith in the latter. Maybe we're all just really bad at math. After all, looking again at the notice sign, when exactly is Saturday July 2, 2012 anyway? Have we missed it or is it yet to happen? Am I going to get another lecture on the difference between ignorance and arrogance? I would hope not, at least not for me.

And since I'm the one so concerned about the three stooges or  was it the Four Horsemen, do you suppose any of this happened because of the Leap Second? Can we get My Little Pony on the line and arrange a meeting. I'd offer to check my calendar but that's what got us into this mess.
-bill kenny            

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Something About if the Foo....

Walking up from the Norwich Harbor yesterday afternoon on Broadway past City Hall on one of those days you just want to frame-absolutely blue cloudless skies with a slight breeze to take the edge off the temperatures. We're having sort of a Fourth of July weekend at the Norwich Harbor, from The American Wharf to the Howard T. Brown Park (I always put the T in there and have no idea what it's for).

I had walked down from our house, by way of the Heritage Trail over by the Yantic Condominiums and on my way over there I had passed a white panel truck with Florida plates and Comcast/Infinity corporate logos on its doors (not sure the plates weren't counterfeit as the left blinker wasn't on) near one of the row houses  on your way to Uncas Leap.

I mention that because an hour and a half later, as I was walking home on the aforementioned Broadway, I saw the very same truck again, parked in front of a brown house a half block down from Saint Pat's. The driver, in a short-sleeve dark blue Comcast shirt with a tool bag and a clipboard with a work order on it, was turning past the far corner of the house back onto the sidewalk towards his truck glancing at his watch and scowling.

As the distance between us closed he looked up at me to ask 'do you live here?' which is not only one of the oldest pickup lines in the world but one of the least successful because when you say 'no,' as I did, your pursuiter really has no moves left. It turns out the only reason he was asking in the first place was that he had an appointment for an installation, had been waiting at the address for twenty minutes and was becoming frustrated at not getting his job done.

I slowly smiled as the irony of this situation sank in. The cable guy was waiting on a customer. All those old 'sometime between Monday at eight and Friday at four-thirty' confirmed appointment time routines came flooding back. Judging from his age, I don't think he could have provoked any of those jokes, but he was on the receiving end of them now.

He mumbled while shaking his head, complaining more to himself than to an indifferent universe about this being the second appointment today that had crashed and burned. I had to hurry along so I could laugh out loud when I was away from him because now I knew where the other one was and knew as well, as his customers had learned a decade ago, that after he got annoyed he'd get to go home and try it all again the next work day. And that was that. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you. Napkin, anyone? Guten appetit.
-bill kenny