Monday, June 30, 2014

At the Turn into the Second Half....

Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't seem that long ago that I was pushing the snow blower around at all hours of the day in a vain attempt to say ahead of the snow.

At the water's edge, facing into the Thames as it heads to The Sound.     
And when it wasn't showing, it was freezing. We had some of the coldest temperatures on record this past winter since they started keeping records. And this is New England so you know we have all those 'since George Washington slept here' kinds of note takers and plaque makers running round.

I love how the ducks have no fear for the people with whom they share the waterfront. 
And our start into the spring was more like a lurch as we had snow when we should have had crocuses (crocii? I'm never sure) and it just never felt like it would ever get green again.
Yantic Falls from the redoubt facing it. 
And now we're on the back nine of the summer of 2014. The Solstice done got your girl and gone and everyday the days get a little shorter. You can't really put your finger on it but you can feel it. And it's happening and we can't stop it.

I like when Howard T. Brown Park is filled with people enjoying themselves and one another.
But we can enjoy it. This weekend I played hooky from whatever it was I was supposed to do as a 62 year old. I slept until almost eight o'clock in the morning on Saturday, only because I had to get up and bring our old freezer to the dump and on Sunday very nearly until nine o'clock, because the dump is closed on Sundays.

The blue of the sky brings out the red of the brick in our City Hall 
And talk about sun! We had almost enough for my liking except at night when it got dark. I'm not such a  big fan of darkness when I'm goofing off. That's why I like the sun and the only thing I like more than the sun is even more sun.

I love the bricks of the Harbor Walkway.
All the photos you see here I took with my cell phone. Not the one I use to not make phone calls-I'm not even sure how the phone part of it works. I used the other phone the one whose camera I really like and that connects directly, somehow, to Google+ and a program it has called Auto Awesome and it is (you can tell which picture got that treatment).

I'd imagine a sermon on "Drinking" to be very informative, especially over wi-fi.
I am not a photographer. But I play one on the Internet. At least during the summer.

At the foot of Yantic Falls.
-bill kenny

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Read the News Today

In case you had somehow not noticed, because my heart beats on the left side of my body, my politics more often than not reflects that physical manifestation in my philosophy. I don’t dislike the Fox News Channel (FNC) because it’s a partisan mouthpiece for a Republican party whose most recent impact on my life was to send me on unpaid vacation for seventeen days at the start of the fiscal year to prove a point they ultimately abandoned.

I was paid for the days I wasn’t allowed to work making the entire exercise moot unless you are an American Tealiban about whom I find it hard to ever say a kind word. In fairness, if you lean that way, I’ll wait while you click ‘close’ and move to something that's elsewhere on the Interwebs [and if it helps, you are why I’ll never vote for another Republican in my life-consider it hardening of the political arteries, mine and yours]. Thanks.

The FNC are very good at what they do. All their talking heads are quite handsome and/or very pretty, dressed more for a cocktail party on a Koch Brothers yacht (or oil tanker) than a town hall meeting, or a neighborhood watch. They look like the kind of folks who have their barbecues catered and whose paddock for their polo ponies is worth more than my house. And that’s fine, from each and to each.

No. I actually dislike MSNBC for its obnoxious parroting of some of the Farthest Left Vitriol produced at our Seat of Government, Dodge City y’all, where they use the volume of sanctimonious stridency to mask the absence of facts on whatever issue they are over-wrought about. 

Watch C-SPAN for an hour when the House is debating…anything. I have run out of motion sickness bags so I’ve turned off the volume and recommend playing something by Megadeath to serve as the audio. “So Far, So Good…So What?” will do, and good luck.

FNC does a fine job of articulating and toeing the line embodied by the Death Star ideology of Cheney and the Drones You Seek (still think that should be the name of a grunge band). Their applied veneer of impartiality is almost completely dry and practically flawless. It covers and conceals.

The about 4.3 million 18-49 year old predominantly white men who comprise the FNC core audience eat their stuff up with a spoon. That’s okay with me-it keeps that crowd off the streets, out of the bars and away from the women. It’s weird seeing gun racks on Saabs but to each his own I suppose.

Admittedly, the FNC rating pales when you look at any of the broadcast networks’ evening news ratings, the lowest ranked of which still pulls in almost twice the numbers Fox claims. But that’s just the kind of pesky fact and wider perspective that FNC so resolutely ignores and avoids.

FNC has no interest in the nuances of geo-politics so it simplifies decades of struggle on economic justice reducing it all to shrieks about millions of illegals’ children pouring over our borders. Pre-thought thoughts, just swallow.

It provides a platform to the same crypto-fascists who created a Where’s Waldo search in 2003 for imaginary WMDs to blame the inevitability of the result of the last four hundred years of middle-eastern politics on a White House it loathed from the day it took office. Can you say, “Mission Accomplished?” I knew you could.

If I had to label myself it would be as a “Relentless Pragmatist” who feels news should be like argon gas, odorless, tasteless with neither volume nor mass. News was never about partisanship, gotcha journalism or ‘bombshell’ revelations. It was, and should always be, a delivery of factual information without speculation, embellishment or bias.

Murrow, Cronkite, Reasoner, Reynolds, Jennings, Brokaw, Huntley and Brinkley and dozens more all struggled to keep their personal prejudices out of the stories they reported. And now? Your agent wants you to throw a snowball at the weather girl to undercut the climate-change story. 

I found this on the FNC web site, “Stewart and Colbert Changing Their Tune?” which looks like an actual news story-except…..dammit, Jon and Steve are on another network whose most-watched program is a badly drawn cartoon. Their offerings are not produced by their network’s news division (I doubt Comedy Central even has a news division-if they did, it would be news to them I suspect). 

Wait until FNC turns its attention towards John Oliver. Oh buddy, that will NOT be pretty. What! Oliver isn’t even an American, is he? Double Yahtzee! Actually, potato, potatoe. Meet the New Boss, lather, rinse, repeat. Apples, meet Oranges. Oranges, where are you going with that juicer in your hand?

So FNC is swinging at comedians on mock news shows because they have poked them in the eye with a sharp stick on more than one occasion. Sort of like the English National Team beating Our Lady of Perpetual Motion's U-21 Summer Soccer Camp team 11-0, proving they are, too, good footballers, so there, nyah! (Too soon, Wayne?)

And you can bet the What Nots and Hottentots who drool as Bill and Megyn start to deliver the Word According to Roger Ailes are sliding into full salivation mode believing if we just remove that pesky “i” we’ll be that much closer to Heaven and a return to America being the greatest nation on earth.  
- bill kenny

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Marvel Comics on Line One for Me (I Hope)

I discovered earlier this week that I actually really have a super power. Whether I can use it to create my very own Life of Reilly (not Bill O’ but this one) has yet to be determined but I’m doing so well already that it’s sort of a moot point (from which you can see Rising Gorge on a clear night; see, Sara J, I do remember some stuff from long ago).

I think I’m downplaying the superpower because it’s not really as dramatic and life-affirming as I’d have hoped if I were being given the chance to choose my own. Are you ready? I have the power to make full to their top black plastic garbage can liners stand up, and not tip over even a little bit, when taken out of the trash receptacle.

Don’t snort in derision (perhaps super hearing is now also another of my superpowers). I’m very excited about this. I already had the glasses and have had a cape for years that I keep in the car, in the spare tire wheel well and that I have to explain whenever the Triple A road service folks come to give me a hand on the interstate.

Yeah, I know it’s not much; but it’s something and I’m grateful for it. I was completely surprised when I discovered this secret ability and have been dismayed at the number of blasé people who live in my neighborhood. No matter how many folks I demonstrated this to yesterday none of them were impressed. One even asked me if I’d take the bag with me on my way out and put it in the bin. I did. But I did NOT do so with a glad heart, let me tell you. 

Would I have preferred something more along the lines of an ability to rapidly straighten out grocery shelves of canned goods in disarray? Maybe. Though I’m unclear if the Forces of Evil have designs on wreaking havoc in those aisles of our groceries. I’m thinking of asking Dick “20/20 Hindsight” Cheney what he thinks but figure if I can wait another thirty seconds he’ll tell me all about it unsolicited. A guy who really is his name. Glad that’s not my superpower. I’ll rejoice with my trash bags and be glad.

Unless I’m being Hefty.
-bill kenny

Friday, June 27, 2014

Man geht immer mit einem lachenden auge....

Don't scratch your head too much, the title today is German. Based on yesterday's World Cup match between Deutschland and the USA, a translation to consider might be this visual:


In my family, the result saved a lot of emotional churn as my wife and both of our children were born in Germany and Sigrid remains a German citizen. And spoiled guy that I am had you told before the evening of the first game of the first round that the USA would be playing for a chance to win their division... (pause) of Death, I might have wondered what you were smoking.

The pair of teams for whom I cheer both made it to the Round of Sixteen. How the USA will fare against Belgium remains to be seen, but that's the next chapter of the story and we'll know more when we turn the page.

Speaking of pages (Jimmy? Sorry, no) these matches aren't played on paper but on the pitch and a team analysts felt was superior and picked to go far, Portugal, is, indeed,  going far, all the way back to Lisbon as this weekend gets ready to unfold and the matches continue.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” So if you talk in your sleep, don't sleep, but never stop believing in the beauty of your dreams.


- bill kenny


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Be In This Moment

I’m writing this in the countdown to perhaps the most important soccer match in the modern history of  the United States Men’s National Team. They meet Germany, the homeland of the U. S. National coach Jurgen Klinsmann, at (appropriately enough) high noon. This is the Moment of Truth, alles oder nichts.

Meanwhile, at the same time across town in another part of the same galaxy, Portugal and Ghana will play one another. Only two of those teams will advance to the Round of 16 and at this writing, no one from Group G (I’m thinking ‘grauenhaft’ is as close to ‘death’ as I can get and it’s not that close) have yet advanced. Germany clobbered Portugal in the first game, with the USA beating Ghana. For their respective second acts, the Germans tied Ghana and Team USA and Portugal ended in 2-2.  

No later than 1500, three o'clock this afternoon, we’ll know who is moving on. Yes, the American team wouldn’t be sweating any of this if they’d held on for another thirty seconds against Portugal Sunday afternoon but….If my Mom had married a Kennedy, I’d be living in the White House; but she didn’t and I’m not. End of story.

There are incredibly complex mathy calculations for what could happen in the USA-Germany game, and some of that is reduced to words right here. I forgot my pocket protector, never learned how to use a slide rule (I’m ashamed to admit this), and I am terrified of scientific calculators. Today, I think the only gear we can use today to make the Round of 16 is forward, foot to the floor/pedal to the metal.

Until, during and for a not inconsiderable amount of time after this game is played, attempting to contact me, even telepathically, will avail you not at all. This is MLB’s Opening Day all over again-don’t call or text, or think about doing either as I am engaged and will yell myself hoarse at little tiny people inside the box of flickering shadows we keep in the living room. I don’t care if they can’t hear me. I can and that’s enough.


Team USA exits Arena Pernambuca today either with its shield or on it. 
I. Believe. That. We. Will. Win. Game on!  


- bill kenny

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Changing Directions of the Circles

The speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. Perhaps that's why so many people look good until you hear them speak. Present company definitely included. Less than a month ago we were arguing line items, re-evaluations, mill rates and property taxes eventually acquiescing to another municipal budget where no one has quite enough to live but more than enough to keep from succumbing.

We are masters of the municipal dog-paddle, never reaching shore but never going under. Of course, all this annual hand-to-mouth financing means a full set of fingerprints on our tongues because that’s how perilously close the gap has become.

But now the summer (perhaps of our discontent?) has arrived, and the kids are out of school and for better or for worse we’ve put aside any serious thoughts about developing solutions to our seemingly perpetual problem of growing the Grand List to better enhance our community’s quality of life. 

After all, what can any one person do? What was that Hamlet said about a petty pace and way tomorrow and tomorrow creeps? He didn’t have property taxes due on the first of July, that’s for sure.

And  maybe when those tax bills start arriving next week (July is next Tuesday) we can attempt again to restart a dangling conversation we have with those whom we’ve chosen to lead our city about what goods and services we want/need/expect and how much we are willing to pay for them.

It’s unfair to those whom we have chosen for office to show up at City Council meetings in the spring when close to 80% of the budget formulation is complete and yell at them for three minutes, leave and not be seen again until the following year.

No matter what the people we elect do, we’re unhappy. Is it because doing something is riskier than doing nothing? Perhaps. The difference between a rut and a grave is nothing more than the depth and we all know people prefer a problem that is familiar to a solution that is not.

I’d suggest because it is summer when weather and day-to-day activities seem to encourage us to do different things that we dedicate ourselves to a more than cursory review of how we can make our own lives better.

We are, after all, the architects of our own fates. It’s all well and good to try to place blame on “them” those in the world who are holding us back, but in the end we are the ones responsible for everything we do-and everything we fail to do and the results of those actions and inactions.


Normally I’m not a big fan of bumper sticker philosophy but I saw a positing the other day on Facebook that’s succinct, concise and more than just painfully accurate at describing our situation here in Norwich. It made me smile but then it made me think. I hope it does the same for you: “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” 
-bill kenny

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Goldilocks Might Be Odd Girl Out

I love speed scrolling. You probably do it as well or better than I can. It’s when you open up a news source (not TMZ, I said a news source) and basically skim the words as you move the trackball or scroll down with the wireless mouse (see? I’m catching on. I have a coal-fired mouse on a cable but concede times have changed in the last thirty years (and not for the better)).

Some folks write great headlines: the NY Times and LA Times come to mind immediately; also okay are the Frankfurter Rundshau and the Washington Post. I can read the headlines and get a feel for the content and decide as I’m scrolling on the river whether to go with the flow or open the article and read further.

I dislike a headline that tricks me into opening an article and then the story itself fails to deliver on the promise of the headline. I’m often disappointed to discover me and twelve million close personal FB Friends aren’t getting the dirt the way we thought we were when we clicked on the big ‘youbetcha!’ in the corner of Entertainment Tonight or True Facts. And people wonder why I have trust issues. What people? See what I mean.

However, I stopped dead in my tracks for this headline and while I’ll never be confused with an actual  fan of the Huffington Post which always seems a semi-tawdry mix of the National Enquirer and Police Gazette, I have to agree they delivered this time around. But so much for knowledge is power, eh?

I mean now that you’ve read the story and know the information, how can you seriously expect to work any of it into a conversation? The only thing I’d point out is, had it ever appeared as part of a FB news feed, how could anyone in good conscience give it a thumbs-up since, it seems to me the very absence of thumbs is part of the problem. Where else would you put the pick?

-bill kenny   

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hope Floats

I had a long, hard week last week in the gym so maybe that's part of why the dream I had last night happened. The rest of the reason, I'm thinking/hoping is torn from the sporting headlines.

I dreamed last night I was toiling away on the cross-trainer in the Planet Fitness I frequent to the dismay of the staff.  That was certainly the case in real life as I struggled with one for the first three days of the work week last week eventually, against my better judgement, switching to the treadmill because I was getting off the device physically broken and not understanding why that was happening.

In the dream, the person alongside of me was using his Kindle to read I don't know what, perhaps a book or a magazine. I'm working the handles on the cross-trainer like a crazed loon, shuffling my feet and alongside of me oh-so-nonchalantly Ignaz, or whatever his name was, is just be-bopping along and every once in a while I see him wet his index finger and touch the upper corner of the kindle screen to turn the page.

Ignoring the fact that I have no idea how you work a kindle but feel pretty safe in assuming you don't need to moisten a finger before touching it to turn the page, I watched him out of the corner of my eye turn five pages.

I still have a distinct memory of turning my head towards him after the fifth one, and saying to him, "Hope Floats" and then hitting him full in the face with my left fist coming across my body and nailing him squarely across the bridge of the nose.

Like I said, I'm pretty sure it was a dream though I did check the police blotter just in case. Now I'll have to visit the Amazon site to see if Hope Solo has an endorsement deal for the Kindle Fire HDX, under a headline that screams, 'It's a Hit!'
-bill kenny

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My (Current) Little Town

As a kid growing up I hung out with some guys whose basic rule in cut battles was always 'no mothers.' If you don't know what a cut battle is, move on as I lack the energy to take you back to the USA I grew up in the Fifties and early Sixties. It would be like trying to imagine the aroma of the number seven. Enjoy your day.

Unfortunately, as a grown-up, I live in a place where that rule is never applied to where we live. At times we seem to have foot-races to see who can come up first and fastest with the most egregious tale of ineptitude, incompetence or injury happening in the city limits. No one is innocent in this endeavor, including yours truly.
From the Heritage Trail, between the Falls at Uncas Leap and  the Sweeney Bridge.
And then you have a day like we had in these parts yesterday; the weather was perfect; I had literally nothing else to do but walk the Heritage Trail from near my house to the harbor and enjoy the sunshine.

I like to think the rocks rather dramatically illustarte the river and shore demarcation.
I skipped using headphones and listening to music so I could take in the sounds of what my city is like to complement the sights of who we are on a summer's day. That it was also the first full Summer's Day was sort of parenthetical. It was lovely, all of it.

As far out into the Harbor as you can go and not be in a boat or walking on water. 
There was a festival going on at the harbor, lots of booths, barbecue food and singing and dancing. Because we close the boat launch, located in the middle of this pocket park at the river's edge every time we hold an event, doesn't make the schools of fishermen especially happy, nor should it.

The understated beauty of the houses that line Union Street on the way to City Hall.
Of course, no one wants to put anyone else at risk which is one of the reasons why the launch gets closed. The solution would be another launch, a larger one in an area designed for recreational fishermen but that's an idea that costs more money than we have.

Somehow the blue skies and sunshine really bring out the red brick in our City Hall.
And there, right there, is how I get into one of those situations where I, too, am knocking my town. Started out on a walk to the Harbor and look at what happened. The 'no mothers' rule, though, still applies. In case you thought otherwise.
-bill kenny

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Seasonal Shift and Signal

Depending on when you are reading this, summer 2014 has already begun or is about to. We have scads of people who worry about the calculations required to indicate the precise moment when the transformation occurs, but I'm sort of with nature when it comes to the shifting of the seasons. It's worked out well for quite some time and I'm not all that comfortable thinking I can do better.

My brother Adam, Emperor of Central Jersey, not to be confused with our other brother, Kelly, who moonlights as the Pope, offered some brisk and somewhat brusque advice yesterday in his space in the ether about seasons change but the carping about the weather never seems to. Basically if want to kvetch or bitch, shaddup.

Not the worst advice to be offered for sure though at least in these parts today it's forecast to be especially lovely on the longest day of the year (the summer solstice) and a great way to mark the start of the season, around here if not near your house, is Norwich's 26th Annual Juneteenth Day Celebration, starting at 10 AM and lasting into the night.

We'll have enough for everybody here (not that I want you standing on my toes in Howard T. Brown Park because the Thames Harbor is even more beautiful when the skies are blue and the sun shines) but don't be surprised if there are celebrations and observances happening not too far from your house, wherever that might be. All you need to do is seek and you'll find.

As a kid growing up I always thought when you turned 11, your age should be pronounced eleventeen (not sure what I thought we should call you when you turned 12) in line with all the other 'teen' years to follow, so an inventive name like Juneteenth is right up my alley.

But underlying all the arts and crafts, music and dancing (don't worry, I am supplying none of it), exotic and down home foods is a serious cultural observance that, despite how we often and hard we smack one another around in public debate on every facet of our collective interactions, helps underscore the actual health and vibrancy of our shared history and heritage.

The farther out in space you travel the more alike we look-leading me to wonder if we're not somehow better off maintaining that perspective even when we have all returned to Earth. Look around the globe right now at the unrest in every corner that seems to come down in some way to "my flavor of different is better than yours" whether the fight is about religion, politics or pony rides(checking to see if you were still reading).

Too often the things we do speak so loudly I can't hear what we're trying to say. We are not yet the nation we should always aspire to be. But we're farther along on that path than we were yesterday and will be even better tomorrow, because of our ability to recognize, and also celebrate, our differences and use our diversity as a thread to weave the fabric of our nation and society even more closely together.
 -bill kenny

Friday, June 20, 2014

As Opposed to Shinola

I don’t do a lot of ‘reality TV’ and not because I have a problem with reality. I dislike the synthetic drama in what little of it I’ve ever watched because I know if I weren’t watching it, actually if none of us were watching it, both the drama and the show itself would be gone.

To me, reality TV is the wealthy cousin of talk radio. And I hate talk radio. It’s the cheapest form of broadcasting in terms of cost, which is partially why it’s so popular with the douche nozzles who own 500 watt day-timers. I blame sports radio for getting it started and showing by example millionaires who owned TV transmitters how to become billionaires by sticking talk radio to the inside of picture tubes.

I fell across a show not that long ago Amish Mafia that I’m still trying to sort out. At first I feared I’d dreamt I’d watched it because it was so beyond ‘out there’ it couldn’t possibly be real. But I don’t think all of us had the same dream. Who watches this crap? The same people who think pro-wrestling isn’t scripted and staged? Except that there’s less spandex, the Amish Mafia could be brought to us by a grant from the Haystacks Calhoun Foundation located just beyond the city limits of Credulity.

I just finished an article on a show set to debut tonight on Animal Planet (do NOT try to see a connection between the network and the program; your brain will cramp up) called The Pool Master. I wonder if anybody connected with Bunim-Murray who brought us “The Real World” back in the Dark Ages on MTV wondered why they couldn’t patent an idea but only a program based on an idea. If they could have, they’d have never needed to work again. I’m sorry they started.

Is there a show currently on TV on the discarded treasures that trash collectors find? Not extreme or offensive enough? How about one on what gastroenterologists bring home with them after performing colonoscopies? Both could be called “Finders, Keepers!” (I’d like the latter to have a reference somehow to innuendo for the hipsters in the audience).

What do you think? We could get the folks with clipboards and Pavlov’s dogs from research in here to see if we’d score better with 18-49 year-olds if we seeded the cast with some bi-racial, transgendered, little people who own dogs and ‘green cars’ living in an urban setting (advertisers just eat that 18-49 demographic with a spoon). Or maybe not.

By now, someone surely has developed an application that will create the cast for us once the research is done. You know, like a cooking recipe.  And if lives get ruined, well, that’s show biz, kids. Speaking of recipes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs-just ask Pat and Bill Loud. So stay tuned!

-bill kenny   

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Coisas Pequenas desde a primeira semana de Copa do Mundo

Yeah. Would I be this chipper, practically spritely, if the USA had lost to Ghana as it had in their previous two first round World Cup encounters? Let's put it this way, is a bear Catholic? Does the Pope-nevermind, it was rhetorical anyway. 

Every four years, I'm reminded that the biggest difference between living in Germany and living here remains soccer and devotion to the sport played at its highest level.

The (West and now Ganz) German Team always qualified for the World Cup-perhaps it was a FIFA by-law that they had to be there, I don't really know. But when they played, everything stopped. Everything.

And not just for Germany in Germany. Italians, Dutch, Spaniards, Brits...sing the It's a Small World song, and you've grasped the point. Funny how that soccer ball isn't much bigger than the world feels during the World Cup. Coincidence? I think not.

Here, while there are many who closely follow the tournament, I've seen published reports suggesting that upwards of 80% of those polled don't know who's playing, why or when (the where is a given). It's hard to maintain world-class momentum for a program when your potential fan base is doing the Big Yawn instead of The Wave.

And then there’s this: a fortnight or so ago, there was buzz about “our” Landon (Donovan) being ‘left off’ the national team. Nope-not what happened. Each squad can take up to 23 players. For a variety of reasons that someday he, himself, will concede are/were valid, there were at least 23 players who were better than Donovan. They got on the plane he got to wave goodbye from the departure lounge.

Soccer isn’t the NBA, with millionaires in their underwear, five at a time running up and down the hardwood court but rather ten field players and a keeper on a piece of pitch so big when you’re attacking or defending it, and often doing both within the same breath,  you think you’re in Montana. That whole it takes a village thing-give the volk short pants and cleats. Now, Go Team.

England has Rooney. Portugal has Ronaldo. Germany has Muller.
With my apologies to Lloyd Bentson scolding Dan Quayle, Landon, you’re none of those guys. So all this you’re being such a good sport about your snub, and yeah, loved the commercial, put it in your diddy bag and stay on the couch in your robe.

Before the next World Cup I’m going to learn Spanish so I can skip announcers on places like ESPN who purport to be native English speakers ruining my language. Monday night as Team USA held service so to speak against Ghana as time ticked down one of the announcers described the US back line ‘defending like banshees.’

Oh? Now I know how urban kids must feel when they see swarms of white bread suburbanites wearing FUBU and ECKO. Not sure what descriptive William Wordsworth Taylor Twellman was looking for, but Banshee ain’t it, Siouxie (or should I say Susie). 

At least if I were watching Univision this Sunday at six, I would still be able to understand that something exciting and perhaps life-altering had just happened.

-bill kenny      

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Old School Tie

Since the school is about a three minute walk from my house, this is the time of year I spend a larger amount of time thinking about the students of, and most especially the seniors graduating from, Norwich Free Academy.

The world we are entrusting to you has a more miles on it than the one we inherited and some of its dents and dings are older than either of us but are now about to become your challenge. I'd say 'good luck' but you'll need a damn sight more than that and I hope we have provided you with the tools to succeed because the alternative is unthinkable.

When we moved into our house on Lincoln Avenue in the fall of 1991, I already knew that the sprawling campus on the other side of Chelsea Parade was not a college, appearances to the contrary, as I had first assumed but rather a high school for those of age from Norwich (whose number at the time was about to be enhanced by the addition of our son, Patrick, and the following year by that of our daughter, Michelle) as well as a regional resource for neighboring communities.

This Friday is graduation day for the class of 2014 who probably cannot still believe it has finally arrived and in a matter of days will be perhaps unhappily surprised at how different life after high school can often be. As a parent of two NFA graduates, I'm well aware of all the hubbub and hullabaloo that preparing for the ceremonies entails and I hope you have the kind of weather we had Sunday for your special day.

We see a lot of NFA kids parked on my street, especially as the days grow longer during the spring semester. Perhaps it's because there are more birthdays that generate more driver's licenses, creating more cars (and pick-ups, lots of pick-up trucks) jockeying for too few spaces. For those students who have had late starts and find themselves parking closer to Oneco than to Washington and must rush to class, I suspect you came to think of that as a foreshadowing of the working world you'll eventually enter.  

There are few places more hopeful than a high school graduation. Proud parents and other family members are equal parts bursting with pride and sighing with relief that a chapter is concluding, being very careful to not talk too much about what happens after graduation because tomorrow never knows and there's that old saying about the 'the best-laid plans of mice and men.'

I like the NFA motto as it appears on the homepage of their website, "Providing Opportunities and Preparing Lives." I think it's a terrific statement of purpose and intent and some great watchwords not just for those Wildcats setting forth on the journey of life but for all those in high schools around the region, across the state and throughout our nation.

To some extent they are getting a hand me down world, as we and those before us did, that they must and will adapt and adjust to suit themselves as they live their lives. Everything they have learned from every one they have ever known will help them become whomever they were intended to be.

As Dr. Seuss offered, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
-bill kenny

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The "S" Is Silent (and often Invisible)

Taking a break at work yesterday, I checked my personal email account on gmail to discover what looked at first blush like all the incentive I’d have never needed to make yesterday’s typographical doodlings my last ones forever.

How’s this for a “grab the reader’s attention” first paragraph:
Attention; Beneficiary,
This is to inform you that the BILL GATE FOUNDATION in collaboration with INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF) has awarded you cash payment in line with IMF economic compensations program.

Who doesn’t love CAPITAL letters? NOT this guy! Okay, the punctuation is a bit goofy and, I will concede, an “S” is lacking on the name of the foundation (maybe the “S” stood for savings?) sending me the email.  

But what about this:
It may interest you to know that your name and e-mail … will receive … funds in … the sum of US $2.8 Million (Two Million Eight Hundred Thousand United States Dollars)…May interest me?  You now have my complete and undivided attention. I was getting ready to click on a new tab and search for ‘pony rides for the emotionally deprived and philosophically depraved’ (I’m speechless at the first entry found; talk about art imitating life).

Then I saw this banner on the top of the mail from the buzz-harshers at Google:
Why is this message in Spam? It's similar to messages that were detected by our spam filters.” Oh Quicks Draw, I think we have a problem! Hold on, Bob-a-Looie, I’ll do the thinkin’ round here! Except the last time I had a thought it died of loneliness.

The Missing-an-S email went on in great detail with a large number of ‘vital payment numbers,’ code words and passwords, everything short of angry birds I think, and in the end, as is too often the case, proved to be nothing more than empty electrons not worth the paper they weren’t printed on.

I was thisclose to a Life of Leisure. If only the people who had sent me the email had really had the money and were actually going to give it to me, I’d be in the lap of luxury finishing this entry and making sure my polo ponies had a bumper crop of marsiedotes and anecdotes, or whatever it is they eat, to feast upon until it was time to cantor to the regatta (my sister, Evan, is cringing at my abuse of equestrian terms).

Grab a number, sister, and take off your thirsty boots. Welcome to the best ten seconds of my life, at least in recent weeks.

-bill kenny

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Was Bored with Grumpy Cat Anyway.....

I love the global village (as well I should since I'm a global village idiot and have the cap 'n' bells to prove it) and admit that I contribute to the logjam and hardening of the wireless arteries with pap such as this, but the potential when we speak of problem solving and conflict resolution when/if we harness the powers (for good and sometimes, even, for better) of connectivity are so tempting what else can one do but follow the white rabbit?

You'd think as we are well along into G2.5 of "The Internet" that we'd start to spend more time while expending more energy and ability to create solutions to situations that have long been a part of the human condition as we finally have the collaborative tools to put our heads and hearts together on a scale and scope never before imagined.

Hunger, poverty, illness-wiped out at the speed of a mouse click as we work beyond borders and across ideologies and belief barriers to build a better planet for all.....Or not.

Turns out, and I'm as guilty as you are (and maybe more so), we spend a lot of time sending one another knock-knock jokes, posting pictures of various "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That" somethings (I don't know what to call them) and sharing pictures of small dogs and grumpy cats. It's understandable, I guess.

After all refining and redefining capitalism to better accommodate a living wage and an equitable distribution of reasonably priced goods and services is hard work. A meme of Miley Cyrus performing We Can Twerk It Out is easy-peasy.

And while low hanging fruit is often not the best tasting, it is low-hanging and that should and does count for something. Sometimes it counts for everything.

Like this. I laughed the first time I saw it and, admit it (it's just us right now), you did, too. By the time I'd seen it for the next five hundred kabillion times, maybe not so much.

That's not the squirrel whisperer's fault my dear Brutus, but, rather, ours. A decade plus after we spent billions and sacrificed thousands of our uniformed men and women in combat to affect 'regime change' half way around the world, the crazies who flocked there to fight us are now killing one another while marching on Baghdad.

Meanwhile we're learning how to best give a squirrel mouth to mouth resuscitation (I'll save you the trouble of reviewing the clip: we don't do actual mouth to mouth, we blow air into the nose. You're welcome). It's a tough life being a 2000 Man, especially if you don't weaken. Squirrel!
-bill kenny

Sunday, June 15, 2014

You Could've Been a Legend

Being my wife's spouse and our children's father are the two things I do best and most days I'm not all that good at either of them. My wife makes the former work for both of us.

As for the latter, I didn't take classes and while I yearned for an indeterminate probationary period, there was none. And nothing but on-the-job training. It's the hardest job I could ever love and despite what I believed while I was on the receiving end, Dad is the highest compliment and best descriptive in the whole world.

And today is our day. Of course, all of us who are fathers have people to thank (especially our children without whom technically....) and I won't even try to list all of the fathers whom I have had the good fortune to know, because that list would go on forever.

I have to pause for the father I shared with my brothers and sisters.

This a photo I caged from my brother Adam who got it from the school where Dad taught (and which I attended). He got the pictures, and I still get newsletters and fundraiser solicitations from them.
Our dad is a long-time gone but there have been many times I've had wistful and wishful conversations with him about our two kids (who are now themselves adults). I think in many ways, I've spoken more with my father in the three plus decades since he passed than I did in all the years we shared the planet.

I know these are fantasy conversations because had I ever asked him for advice and had he ever offered it, there would have been no place for me to put it. So full of myself was I for so many years that's it's only been in the last score and more that I've learned to appreciate how fortunate I am that those who do love me do so despite rather than because of me. I can't help but think he'd have laughed his ass off at that because of how often I've laughed knowing it was true for him as well.

Getting married to my wife made me a man. Having and loving the children that together we made and raised made me a better person. Happy Father's Day.
-bill kenny

Saturday, June 14, 2014

In Plain Sight and Yet Seldom Seen

I was unsettled at the number of people who told me this past week that "we've got a special day coming up!" If you live every day like it's your last, as I do, they're all special (of course, when I come home at night I have to deal with somewhat disappointed if not angry people and help them take my stuff out of their car).

I understood what they meant-tomorrow is Father's Day but today is also very important-it's Flag Day. Sorry Hallmark, not commercially viable I suppose.

We think "flag" on the Fourth of July and mentally if not physically pack it away by noon on the fifth. In the aftermath of 09/11/01, people had them everywhere to the point, I fear, of the flag having no point for many.

Our men and women in uniform do not defend the flag-they defend the nation the flag represents, warts and all (and have you looked at us in the mirror lately? We are some pretty scary people my friend). The flag stands for us and sometimes, I'm sorry to report, we'll fall for anything.


You can stand alone 
Or with somebody else 
Or stand with all of us, together.

If you can believe
In something bigger than yourself
You can follow the flag forever.
-bill kenny

Friday, June 13, 2014

Mom

I do this every year and yet the novelty never grows old. I realized with a start yesterday morning that today, Friday the 13th, is my Mom's birthday. YIKES! We are, despite what you are thinking at this very moment, reasonably close.

Mom raised six of us to adulthood without ever succumbing to the temptation to lose or drown anyone, so far. Knowing me as I do, I am forced to concede that couldn't have been an easy temptation to overcome, especially since I was the first and on many occasions, also the worst.

Mom had a child, no names please, who used to lock himself in the school lavatory while a student in Mrs. Brennan's kindergarten, more or less out of boredom. My mother's husband and our father (NOT named Who Art, though it does follow rather naturally), was a schoolteacher who used to go manic when this happened.

Mom was more mellow (and this child was, after all, already her third (‘two more than Mary had,’ she would say)) and would advise Mrs. Brennan when she’d call to go back to whatever she was doing and within ten minutes, her reluctant student would return like a skin-covered boomerang to the classroom. Sure enough, that's what happened every time.

Another of my siblings specialized in the art of the 'goodie bag'. A goodie bag was a plain brown lunch bag into which, as we wandered around behind Mom or Dad as they shopped, one of us would place items she wished to further explore outside the confines and strictures of the conventional mercantile environment (= take stuff home without paying for it).

This child very early in life developed and perfected the "what's mine is mine, but what's yours is negotiable" mindset which Mom always managed to overlook and forgive as she'd go through the day's catch while Kid Klepto readied for bed making sure to return to the merchant the items that had made the trip home with us.

My mother has survived the death of her spouse, catastrophic health situations, hardships and challenges of all varieties without a murmur of complaint. As I said, she raised six of her own and on more occasions than I'd like to recall she helped with advice on the two grandchildren of foreign manufacture.

She came to visit us while we lived in (then West) Germany, earning the nickname Oma Amerika from our daughter, Michelle (four at the time), who, because we'd picked Mom up at the Frankfurt am Main Flughafen, thought for months afterwards that this was where Oma Amerika lived. Turns out it was a little farther west and south.

Mom was never a fan of snow. I can remember as a child bundling up to play outside in Wanamassa, the first home my parents owned in New Jersey and waving up at her watching from the living room picture window while building a snowman on the front lawn. She always waved back but never offered to come outside.

Now when I call her, as I shall today because I completely blew the birthday card sending, I try to guess what time she'll be heading to the beach, as she moved to Florida over a decade ago and there’s not a hurricane that will ever make landfall that will dissuade her from staying there as she loves it.

She always calls me on my birthday, so turnabout is fair play because she is really the woman who made me what I am, literally and figuratively-even when I'm not the most attentive child, or son, that has ever walked the planet.

Happy birthday, Mom, love always and every good wish for many more happy birthdays to come.

-billy 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gone Fishin' well, Not Exactly.....

The host, Brazil (ready or not), kicks it off, literally and figuratively against Croatia this afternoon at five and when the final match starts a month and a day from today, at 4 PM, I'm hoping it's USA vs Germany.

Quite frankly I'll settle for playing Brazil. Klinsi, I loved you as a player and as the German National coach and now ours, but I hope I'm right though I fear you are, but in any event very nearly all of the eyeballs of the entire  world will have seen some, part or all of World Cup 2014.

Our son got me a Chromecast doohickey for Christmas and I can watch every game in every division via the watchespn app on it, assuming (always ill-advised with me) that I know how to make that work. By means of comparison, I confess to difficulties with the toaster in the kitchen and I know where we keep the bread.

No pressure. I have until Monday night at seven o'clock when Team USA meets Ghana to sort it out.

I have a very deep and abiding love of baseball, with wooden bats (and no use for aluminum ones at all). I'm not now, nor shall I ever be, much more than politely interested in Major League Soccer but this is different, this is World Cup.


Sure hope no one makes it a ritual to play the unofficial USMNT 2014 song-or any of them by anyone else for that matter. Besides' who needs 'em?

Let's get going, guys-it's time to leave it all on the pitch.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Well-Paved Road to Well-Known Warm Destination

I once worked for a boss who used to say “I dislike telling other people how to suck eggs” which I understood to mean each of us arrives at his decision in his own way. We all see opportunities differently but missed opportunities are more universally recognized.

I worked for a boss who often said “I dislike telling other people how to suck eggs” which, I understood to mean each of us makes decisions in his own way. We all see opportunities differently but missed opportunities are more universally recognized.

I’m trying to remember that point even if I feel a little like Foghorn Leghorn walking on egg shells after last Monday’s City Council vote on the next city budget and the Council’s declination to add funding to both the instrumental music and world language programs (‘frills’ neighboring towns have) for children in Norwich Public Schools because at least two Council members didn’t feel there was any guarantee the added money would be spent on those programs.

By state statute and City Charter the council has the power to revise only the total estimated expenditures of the Board of Education, not line-items. Within its budget, the Board determines where the money is spent. Much of the Charter has been around since the early fifties, so it’s been like this for six plus decades and yet this year, it suddenly became a concern. I assumed Council members were familiar with the city charter by the time they take the oath of office.

Speaking of assumptions, trust in the word of the other elected city body with whom you meet during every budget formulation season, would (I’d hope), be paramount in the Council/Board relationship. Leaving me to wonder if integrity was the underlying issue last Monday night. 

Many homeowners are unhappy about the perfect storm created by revaluation and the increase in their mill rate. I understand the anger but am concerned that one of those who voted “no” seemed to link those taxes to education expenditures rather than to the continuing failure to grow the commercial portion of the Grand List.

When Norwich school children reach NFA, the same high school to which neighboring communities send their children, our kids could populate to greater numbers remedial classes in many academic disciplines that our schools could not offer fundamental skills at the elementary level. Why? Perhaps because we chose to save money that we didn’t save at all. 

This raises the price for NFA's education services to Norwich students, a cost borne by the city resulting in increased outlays from an already strained Board of Education budget, which in turn, leaves even LESS money to educate children.  And round and round goes the gossip.

Quality of education, as has been frequently reported, together with 'opportunities for employment,' is a critical determinant families (and businesses seeking workers and customers) use when deciding on relocation/expansion. 
We should pay now or we shall pay later and later is always more expensive.

Norwich still lacks a coherent and cohesive economic development strategy integrating personal and community growth and enrichment. No wonder so many residents perceive themselves as caught in a vice of spiraling taxes and diminishing municipal services, whether such a perception is true or not. 


We had a chance to change direction last Monday but chose, instead, the well-trod path of take-no-risks that always leads us nowhere and guarantees a less than zero reward.  
-bill kenny

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hitting Every Branch on the Way Down

I’m not an anthropologist nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night but I find the discipline, and all the related ones involving biology, botany, physiology, zoology and the like to be utterly fascinating. In fanciful moments I imagine myself pursuing one or more them as my hobby and making any number of earth-shaking breakthroughs.

Trouble is, of course, they all require a lot of knowledge (none of which I have) combined with a degree of acumen and intelligence both of which are a bridge too far for me. I’m unable to muster the wherewithal to fob off a Piltdown Man, and I’m more likely to offer you Encino Man.

And if you just responded with “well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” technically you are correct. And as my brother Kelly, the near-Pope, points out, if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes? And do they have an appendix, or just a foreword and a glossary?

I wonder anew about all of this after coming across this item, buried inside of a Google news feed over the weekend. All this time I’ve been blaming cosmic misfortune and genetic inheritance. And it turns out, it’s just good old-fashioned science. I’d ask for a kiss for luck, but I’ve misplaced my mouth guard.
-bill kenny

Monday, June 9, 2014

Footprints in the Sand

Getting ready to head out this morning and return to my work-a-day world, meaning a stop at the Planet Fitness a two minute drive from my house (the irony is ignored, not lost, believe me) before joining the wage-slaves skipping the adult refreshment in pursuit of the coin of the realm.

It's okay. My father (more or less) did the same and his before him and I anticipate our children doing likewise. Colibris cannot aspire to be fireflies, and it's a damn good job they don't as we'd have more fireflies than we'd know what to do with.

But as I put my sneakers, sorry for what I paid for them I suppose I should type "sports shoes," I had to empty out the weekend from both of them. My family were guests at the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law's son on the beach behind his in-laws' house in Point Pleasant Beach and the NJ Tourism Board worked overtime to give all of us out of towners a DTS experience weather-wise we shan't forget anytime soon.


It was beyond gorgeous and I especially enjoyed getting up on Saturday morning and walking the beach in relative solitude (me and the gulls and the terns and a few guys with metal detectors and even fewer with beach sweepers).  My days of running on the beach are decades past, though not talking about it, obviously.

The dry sand is like walking through high snow, a terrific aerobic exercise though that wasn't the first or only thing I thought on Saturday morning while the wet sand, more compact and easier to walk on, takes you closer to the water which is its own reward and penalty all at the same time.


Getting close enough to get that picture, not surprisingly got me water to my ankles and an instantaneous understanding of why the red pennants (no swimming allowed) were flying from the beach access kiosks despite the lifeguards in the chairs dotting the beach line. The water was cold-but the summer is long and the swimming will come.

I spent most of Sunday drying out my sneakers on the roof of my garage and then putting them on outside on my back stoop this morning after emptying them out. As for the weekend's memories and beach sand, one I'll keep and the other I'll sweep.
-bill kenny

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Whole Lot MORE Right

Adam and Margaret's Rob got married Friday on the beach, practically in the ocean at Point Pleasant Beach. Do NOT scroll down looking for pictures. The family and friends of both the Bride, Jess, and the groom had boxcars of photos taken and those who should see them shall.

I just wanted to offer an unsolicited word to the Jersey Shore, still struggling and still recovering after Hurricane Sandy. We stayed in a lovely hotel complete with ocean front access. Not far from us was this house with a lot more interaction with the ocean than I had in my youthful sand castle building days. I stood in the street in front of this house to take this photo.


The morning after the wedding I was on the Boardwalk around six (when you get up at three on workdays, sleeping in until five thirty is a treat). The weather was a postcard come to earth.


I'm not sure I know what's left to say or do to help all those across miles of beaches get back to where they once belonged. If I knew, I'd say it and do it. But keep you chin up and your flag flying, because we do salute you.


-bill kenny

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yesterday Was Once Tomorrow

We, at least me, are halfway though a weekend that's been equal parts driving, family fun and nostalgia. We rolled on down the highway from The Land of Steady Habits to Whatchew Lookin' At? (Connecticut to New Jersey) as Margaret and Adam's son, Rob, wed his true love, Jess.

It happened, as so many Jersey romances do DTS, down the shore. We even had enough time for me to half-heartedly search in a target rich environment for a watering hole from my youth, The North Pole Bar, in Point Pleasant that had a 364 day Santa who greeted customers (you can guess what day, or more specifically night, Santa was off), but some things are not to be, and the North Pole Bar was one of them. (Unless maybe it was in Point Pleasant Beach and if you don't think there's a difference in that distinction you don't get DTS).

It's been four decades since I spent that much time on the Parkway and it can be another four before it happens again and I will not complain, but driving the Parkway is like revisiting an old house you lived in along ago, and all the uneven floors and squeaky doors are still where you remember them.
I was half expecting the view out the car windows to be in black and white as the Parkway has always struck me as more ancient than timeless.

We're drifting back north today, in no especial hurry, I confess. I think I drive slowly when I'm home mainly because New Jersey isn't my home anymore, no matter how much I like to think otherwise. I realized I always expect to come upon myself as I was in my years at Rutgers, maybe buy myself a beer and tell the young me stories of the Great World beyond George Street.

I'm an expert now, too late, but not too far gone. I don't think he'd believe me. When I was his age then I didn't know anyone my age now-come to think of it, I still don't and I'm not sure that's a bad thing. What I lack in photographs of those back-in-the-day days, I make up in memories, so clear and detailed they frighten me as they steal up on me, usually as the long, late afternoon rays of the sun are relinquishing the light of the day and things often seem to be what they are not.

"It must have been summer...The Beatles were singing 'Love Is All You Need.' I held her hand as we walked through the arcade, two young believers on a three dollar spree."
-bill kenny

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Union of Your Spirits Here

I have often envied my youngest brother, Adam. He, unlike most others on the planet, has the good fortune of having a handsome and talented, as well as witty, oldest sibling (still working on modesty and self-esteem issues obviously).

However, I have rarely envied him and his blushing bride, Margaret, more than I do today as their son, Rob, and the love of his life, Jess, marry.

As a father myself, I know the striving and desire to want your children to be happy and healthy and how nothing beyond that is anywhere near as important as you'd always been told. And in one act today, in the blink of an eye, Rob will be both.

He and his about-to-be deserve every happiness and my brother and Margaret have earned every smile they should wear for the entire day. "For if loving is the answer, then who's the giving for? Do you believe in something that you've never seen before?"
-bill kenny

Thursday, June 5, 2014

(Hobnail) Boots of Chinese Plastic

It was still very early, pre-dawn actually, when the Goddess of Democracy created with such wild-eyed enthusiasm during the heady April Days of the People's Uprising proved no match at all against the modified T-72 PLA Main Battle Tanks the Chinese government deployed against its own citizens 25 years ago this week in Beijing's Tienanmen Square.

Not everyone was impressed with the mechanical behemoths' agility.


It's believed a quarter of a century on, very few of those living in the People's Republic of China have anything beyond a smattering of knowledge (and probably less understanding) of the events before, during and after the end of the innocence.

The Chinese government discovered (or perhaps re-discovered) what those in power have known for all the years of the Electric Fire and Global Village-while the 'world is watching' may be the case, it's a long way from watching to doing anything about what is being seen. And if you don't think so, visit a Walmart and enjoy the perceived savings.

Ever since Nixon in China in 1972, we've told ourselves here in the Land of Round Doorknobs that if we give the Chinese mainland enough Mickey D's and Coca-Cola, we'll make 'em capitalists.

Maybe so, but maybe not. I was raised to be a church-goer so I'm conditioned to believe in things you can't see, but it takes a lot more faith than I'll ever have to see it ever happen in the world's most populous nation.

Eventually scar tissue grows over broken hearts and lesions form on painful memories. In another 25 years my question is not how many will remember Tienanmen Square but how many fewer will even care.
 -bill kenny

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Finally

Two weeks from tonight summer arrives. Pay NO attention to the calendar, trust me, when baseball gets here, it's summer. And baseball arrives at Senator Thomas Dodd Stadium at 7:05 PM Wednesday June 18th as the Connecticut Tigers host the Lowell Spinners, the baby BoSox if you will, under the lights (eventually) in their home opener of the New York-Penn (Short Season Single A) League.

The Spinners have been at this baseball stuff while, getting started in 1996, and have sold out every home game for the last eight years (!). There's a waiting list to buy Spinners' season tickets (and their stadium seats close to five thousand folks).

We here in Norwich have had professional baseball at Dodd Stadium for twenty years. After starting as the Double A affiliate of the New York Yankees and then teaming up (didja see what I did there?) the San Francisco Giants, the Connecticut Tigers moved in for 2010 season and the Boys of Summer have called 14 Stott Avenue home ever since.

Dodd Stadium has been a field of dreams for a generation of professional baseball players whose careers are just beginning and it's a great place to watch a game. As a matter of fact, for serious fans of the game, there have already been opportunities galore to check out how the stadium and the turf survived this past winter as the Northeast Conference (NEC) Baseball Championships were there about two weeks ago with the Bryant Bulldogs repeating as champs, followed last week by the Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC) Baseball Championships, won by the Waterford Lancers.

The Connecticut Tigers put a 'great product' on the field every game-speaking as a life-long Yankees fan, I sometimes wish they didn't-and are an integral part of the Detroit Tigers farm system.

Before the first tarp came off the field this season, actually back in January, the parent club extended its Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Connecticut Tigers for four more years through 2018.    

In announcing the extension, Detroit Tigers Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta offered,"(T)he superb operation of the team, quality of the facility and the Norwich community along with the Connecticut Tigers desire to remain affiliated with Detroit, has provided us the opportunity to now enter into a four year extension of our PDC... It is with excitement that we look forward to the next five years of continuing the pride of Tigers baseball in Southeastern Connecticut. "

Yes, of course, Minor League baseball is about winning-but it's about learning the trade of a professional baseball player. And we've had opportunities to see some terrific talent just starting on their ride to The Show.

Make no mistake-I love Major League Baseball but I don't love driving to Fenway or Yankee Stadium and spending the equivalent of a car payment to see a game, have a hot dog and a soda and park. Especially when it's a short drive to the Business Park, a pittance for parking and the most expensive seat, appropriately called Premium, costing ten dollars. Baseball at a bargain.

And because Minor League Baseball is family entertainment there's always something happening on the field between innings, be it a base running contest through chicken dancing (or what may be chicken dancing, depends on the dancers to be honest).

It happens right here, in our backyard and don't let anybody tell you we don't have fun, and get change back and support a local business, the CT Tigers, who support a lot of other local businesses (check out the in stadium concessions). Tigers' baseball is a great night out that both you and your wallet will appreciate.
See ya at Dodd!
-bill kenny

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Served Cold

I got off to a good start to my week with a clever though imaginary conversation with a H & M (High & Mighty) whom I nearly encountered in, of all places, the fitness center I visit on workdays from about a quarter of four until five in the morning, precisely because at that hour I rarely run into anyone I know.

I saw him nearest an ESPN wall-mounted monitor actually on the cross-trainer that I normally like to be on for Monday mornings so I can catch up on the pictures of weekend sports while listening to Willie Nile and Graham Parker (not that they complement the visuals-I can't imagine ESPN using You Can't Be Too Strong for a weightlifting segment which is about the limits of their creativity) but so I don't have to listen to semi-inane banter masquerading as wit.

But not yesterday, not with H & M pulling on the handles. I met him about twenty years ago when me and my family were still pretty new and didn't know who anyone was so we judged people on who they were, not what they could do for us (which was nothing) and he didn't do much for me then on a citizen committee we both volunteered to serve on and even less as the years went on.

I didn't make eye contact with him and grabbed a machine on the far end and took my glasses so if I inadvertently glanced in that direction all I would see was fuzzy-wuzzies. Some years back, our son had a job he enjoyed very much and at which he was very good (he's actually very good in all of them-he has his Mom's people skills rather than his father's fear of and antipathy towards the rest of the ant farm) and he ended up in the offices of H & M in Norwich showing him and his staff the new devices the company had purchased.

Our son didn't know I knew H & M and I never thought to tell him (we'd be at this all day, every day, if we decided that was a good idea) so he was caught unawares when H & M asked him "are you Bill Kenny's son?" The reward for saying yes was a tight, thin smile and a semi-caustic "I see where you get it from" as the employees nervously laughed.

Yeah, this is a guy who did so well his son went to federal prison for heavy-duty financial shenanigans-and our son was guilty of having my sense of humor? What was it my old man used to say about a sense of humor? Oh yeah, you have to have a sense of intelligence to have one. Thanks for playing.

Didn't engage yesterday but was tempted to wander by and feign surprise (I am very good at it through many years of practice) and do that 'Hail Fellow! Well-Met!' hand jive that I see so many grown-ups do. Social intercourse I've heard it called. Since I don't do tall talk, I can't do small talk.

Meanwhile, we'd exchange light banter about spouses because that's part of the ritual and vacations we haven't taken and then the old reliable, how's the family? Great, I'd say; our boy hasn't been to prison even once-can you say that?
 -bill kenny