Friday, September 30, 2011

Sports and shorts

Yesterday morning waiting for the gym to open, I smiled watching another patron duck behind the windbreak and light up a cigarette. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll point out twenty minutes later I saw him tearing it up on one of the rowing machines. Actually I smiled thinking about today and which, fifteen years ago, was the last time I smoked a cigarette.

I went from three packs a day to mass murderer (kidding of course; not all the victims were Roman Catholics) but I can remember, as a full fledged nicotine junkie enlisted guy in the Air Force, lapping my Detachment Commanding Officer, a distance runner, on the annual physical fitness test. He was stunned and became more so when, in answer to the inevitable 'how did you do that?' I explained "I hate to lose." Cigarettes cost less than five dollars a carton in the commissary back in the day-saw a sign at a service station yesterday that put a pack at over eight bucks. Didn't save any money but at least I have my healt---moving right along.

Speaking of moving right along, as a Yankees fan, I'm looking forward to tonight and hope my team gets off to a good start in the second season, the playoffs. And kudos, by the way, to Major League Baseball, for doing the best impersonation of the NHL, since, well, since the NHL. Play started in March and ends, eventually ("Good Lord Willing and the Creeks Don't Rise") moments before November and nearly all the teams who started the season get to make the playoffs. And soon, there will be even more. You can't accidentally do that, you have to work at it.

The second season will have a ways to go to top the opening act, "So You Think You Can Wildcard." I'd have been even more impressed if I liked the idea of a wildcard team in the first place. I think the bar can't get any lower for making the playoffs, so it must be time to make it different. Instead of the team with the fourth best record getting in, how about the team not in first that hit the most home runs, or whose pitchers threw the most strikes, or infield committed the fewest errors. Announce on the last day of spring training what the criterion will be-have a Fan Fest where die hard fans can Grab Some Buds and spin a wheel to decide what random one-dimensional obscurity will determine fame and fortune. Hell, we're Americans we love this $hit!

Speaking of one dimensional, how much of a class act are the Baltimore Orioles, especially after their restrained reaction Wednesday night in beating the Boston Red Sox (love the comments of the youtubers)? Considering they nurtured their own dreams of playoff contention almost into the second week of April this season, I can only imagine how sweet that triumph tasted. The Orioles partied like it was 1969 which was about the last time they were actual contenders instead of perpetual pretenders.

Projected by some sports writers at the start of the year to be in the thick of it all season, they managed to lose 93 games and finish with the third worst winning percentage in the majors. With the genius of Buck Showalter at the helm, they lost a whole three fewer games than last season, though Buck, with his years of Yankees success bookending his projected O's laurels, couldn't help but rip his old players to start the season and then manufacture a tempest in a teapot near the end.

Class act, that Mr. Showalter. As we all know, the root word of class I'll let you guess what rhymes with Buck. Nope, but you were so close.
-bill kenny

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodbye, Mr. Chips

These are not the happiest of days for the west family in Allen, Texas. The family patriarch, Arch, passed away last week of natural causes at the age of 97 (I have no idea what constitutes natural causes of death at any age, btw) and his funeral will be Saturday.

Why mention any of this? Arch West was the inventor of the Dorito. I know, you thought Moses (or Charlton Heston who looks just like him) came down from the mountain with The Tablets in one hand and a bowl of Cool Ranch Doritos in the other.

In what I find a delicious (pardon the pun) twist, his family has decided to bury him with the chips, albeit in bags instead of loose covered with guacamole or a zesty cheese sauce. I'm kidding of course, in that Doritos don't actually need a dip (sort of like coals to Newcastle) since the flavoring is baked on/sprayed on/dipped into/dunked upon. I have no idea how they do that part except it always comes off on my fingers to the point of obscuring my fingerprints.

I couldn't figure out from the obit (in the LA Times no less!) how many bags of chips will surround his urn and whether Cheetos will also be involved. Our daughter used to love the latter-and I just realized I don't remember the last time I saw her with any, so I suppose I should see if she has travel plans for Saturday.

My second (a distant, I concede) favorite thing about Doritos, aside from the eating, was always reading the nutritional information on the side of the bag. Gotta love that Red Dye #2 (?), is that what it is? It brings out the blue in your hair roots. And if weren't to know the caloric value, what would I do? Like maybe I'd think they were a health food of some sort, I guess. 'Lookahere, Lurleen," I might otherwise say, "they ain't got none of that transformational polyglot fat what make your butt big in 'em. Have another handful."

All this time I had assumed Doritos were their own food group, along with 'smores and moon pies (only when washed down by an RC cola). Next thing you know, they'll fire the Frito-Lay cartoon spokesman. Perhaps he can duet with Chris on the X-Factor.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Good Things Come in Threes

My family and I have lived in Norwich a couple of weeks shy of twenty years. Sometimes it feels a LOT longer than that because of a sense of foreboding, a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop state of mind so many of us seem to have.

Too many residents, new and old, assume the worst from the moment any initiative is announced, perhaps to avoid the rush, or, more likely, because they've concluded the advantage of pessimism is you can only be surprised and never disappointed.

It may be time to reconsider that mindset.

For decades we've all listened to laments about missed opportunities, bad luck, poor faith, lack of working capital as the municipal Grand List puttered along at a rate of growth just above that of inflation which basically meant we've had no real growth at all.

Of course, if you've looked at municipal infrastructure from roads to sewers, class sizes and extracurricular offerings for students in public schools, manning and staffing of public safety agencies and, most immediately and importantly, your property tax bill, you already knew all of that.

The small businesses that quietly folded or relocated to another town, the forest of 'For Sale' signs scattered throughout every neighborhood and the families everywhere who just stopped being our neighbors from one day to the next and disappeared have all become part of who we are and how we live.

So how realistic is it that the Vibrant Communities Initiative by the Commission on Culture and Tourism, when added to the Norwich Downtown Revitalization Fund and funds from the Community Economic Development Fund could, not will by any means but could, be the fulcrum to leverage not just Down City and Chelsea, and not just Norwich, but the the entire region, south to the coast and north to Putnam and beyond?

First things first.
Last week, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation (CTHP) announced it had awarded one of its $50,000 grants from its Vibrant Communities Initiative to Norwich to assist in developing an action plan for underutilized historic places and/or for a city wide preservation plan. The grants are intended to stimulate investment in historic preservation projects; for underutilized historic places/structures; and for developing town- or city-wide preservation ordinances.

For Norwich, with a wealth of historic buildings, the initiative combined with a nascent effort to update the next decade's city-wide Plan of Conservation and Development (the road map by which we should map the direction and route of our city for the benefit of all of its residents) all buttressed by an on-hand pool of nearly ten million dollars for downtown building owners and business owners, real estate brokers and anyone interested in locating a business in downtown Norwich, and we have some weight instead of wait.

By themselves, none of these initiatives do anything for anyone-and even combined, blended, melded, whatever word you want to use, nothing is guaranteed in and of itself. But this time a year ago, supporters of the downtown bond initiative spoke in terms of the importance of demonstrating that we, the residents, were willing to invest in ourselves, about the signal we would be sending and the tenor and tone we would be defining for ourselves and those whom we hoped to welcome.

Critical mass describes the existence of sufficient momentum in a social system such that the momentum becomes self-sustaining and creates further and future growth. One thing leads to another. Where we are in ten, twenty or fifty years is in direct relation to where we go today and how we choose to get there. We're starting to see a glimmer of what can be when we put aside the petty and personal private agendas and define a destination and work as one to get there. How far we go is, as it's always been, up to us.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

...Then You Sing Some More

I know none of this is real. Or, perhaps better phrased, it exists as a reality in a manner (ones and zeroes) I could not deconstruct into its present shape on your screen (or mine). It's all vapor and electrons with a heaping helping of whimsy but when I sit in front of the monitor (and there's a reason why they look like windows) and see a note from someone about whom I was just thinking, or just NOT thinking about, I marvel at the sequence of discoveries that had to happen when they did and how they did for all of that to become all of this.

We can use technology to track terrible and terrifying weather to provide otherwise helpless people with the advance notice that will save their lives. We can see and say greetings to friends and family half way and more (oh?) around the world from our desktop and develop relationships in cyberspace that rival any we have in terra firma. It's all the same and, yet, very different.

"We can't play this game anymore, but can we still be friends?" Despite, or is it because, the answer is contingent on conditions that are never defined, we often never know. This weekend, actually at the conclusion of it, I had a note from a FBF, Facebook Friend, whom I shall never in this life, meet, who attended a family celebration and met another (mutual) FBF whom I have met only once and will also probably never meet again. We three are a galaxy, without a sun or a moon, revolving around one another even as we are components of a larger movement comprised of many and more just like, and also unlike, us, to include you.

The only thing we three have in common is...wait for it, one another. And, here's the part that makes me smile, it's true for each of us and for all of us. Based on their posts, adventures, shared photos and comments, they live out loud and enjoy their lives at max vol. Maybe that's you? Or perhaps you are me in your galaxy faraway-the flavorless gelatin guy, not because I do not deserve a flavor but because I don't want to make trouble. But I'm only saying that while building a towering rage at being overlooked/underheard even as I assure others all is well. There's one in every crowd.

Look at yourself and those around you and see if you too aren't part of a tripod-possibly the most stable and flexible construct we have in our arsenal of social structures. The shades of gray and nuances across the color spectrum are a subset of the larger issue and not essential to the discussion. I'm one who contends neither white nor black are actually colors at all since the latter is the absence of light while the former is the absence of color. But like so many who so believe, I see my world only in those two.

It's the mingling with colorful people, some of whom I'm related to by blood and marriage, others via keyboards and mouse clicks, and still others by a variety of means and in a manner defying description, that helps me maintain and retain the fiction of human credentials. All the while I marvel at those who drink like it's water and dance like no one is watching.
-bill kenny

Monday, September 26, 2011

Postcards or Roadmaps?

In almost every Any Town, America, you point at, more and more of us are from somewhere other than here. Our allegiances, culturally, and habits have shifted. Where our grandparents worked for one employer for most, if not all, of their lives, we hop from position to position-not always for financial remuneration-sometimes for benefits and/or other intangibles (work from home/sense of ownership of the process/flextime). Our customs and preferences, in terms of brand loyalty from the cars we drive to the food we buy, differ greatly from our parents' and not merely because they are our parents.

Our houses, as George Carlin once noted, have become places to keep our stuff and, by extension, our neighborhoods and cities are containers for our storage units. A check of our shoe closets will not turn up those technicolored monstrosities available for rental at fine lanes everywhere, but for lack of a better description, Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone is not only a picture of where we are, but where we're going.

If you have children in school and attend their PTA or PTO meetings, you see the same parents at every meeting-that's also true for Neighborhood Watch, Church Social, volunteer sports coaching, etc. Sociologists speak of 80/20; that is eighty percent of a community's volunteer efforts come from twenty percent of its population. No wonder you're tired-you're doing the work of four of your neighbors. And, here's the good news: no sleep until Hammersmith.

In Norwich this week, there's as much, and as little, going on in terms of volunteer efforts that would benefit from your involvement as you might like to see.

This afternoon at five, in Room 335 of City Hall (sit down front because the unamplified acoustics in this room suck) it's a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency and with the individual pieces of the Brownfields mosaic in place, it's time to get serious about a hindrance to recycling, repurposing and renewing cities all across New England. It's not just about really meaning well and hoping a lot. All of this takes money, and lots of it.

Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the Central Office of the Norwich Public Schools is a regular meeting of the Board of Education's Policy Committee. New school year, but same old lament: nothing vaguely approaching recent meeting minutes anywhere near the school's website. I admire the consistency and realize it's the least you can do. Actually, that's my problem; it is.

At four, in the Planning Department's basement conference room at 23 Union Street, it's a meeting (they meet if necessary so check with the City Clerk at 860-823-3790) of the Building Code Board of Appeals. Judging by the city's website, they last needed to meet over two years ago. Perhaps that's because we have so many appealing buildings in The Rose City, unless, of course, there's another meaning to that word.

At five, in the City Manager's office (Room 219) in City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Harbor Management Commission, whose most recent meeting seems to have been in July. The members' ears should be burning from a vibrant discussion that went on at Saturday's One City Forum, but good news(!) the meeting was in the Central Fire House so there was no danger to anyone at anytime (nice use of a contraction where the possessive was needed).

Also at five, also in City Hall, but upstairs in Room 335, the Ethics Commission continues its hearing on the Veterans' Carnival at Chelsea Parade (the agenda doesn't tell you the subject-just the case number). And in that room, hearing is more a challenge than a function so sit down way down front and bring a lip reader.

And at six, in their offices at 16 Golden Street, it's a double header, of sorts, as the Board of Commissioners of Norwich Public Utilities who are also the Sewer Authority (how's that for a coincidence?) hold their regular monthly meeting. Here is where the meeting minutes and agenda are usually placed, though it's out of date at the moment.

Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Planning Department conference room at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review who, if the minutes posted on the city's website are accurate, regularly meet every year and a half or so, plus/minus a couple of months. If you're wondering if they were involved in the decisions on the Greeneville and Buckingham Schools demolitions, the answer, I suspect, is 'no.' A better question might be how a committee whose appointments expired three months ago holds meetings at all.

At six, in the Recreation Offices at Dickenman Field, it's a regular meeting of the Recreation Advisory Board. Like far too many boards and committees, its agenda and meeting minutes are in disarray on the city's website though theirs try my patience since you get to select 'agenda' and then stipulate a year '2011' and get NO results. But be of good cheer because you can then choose 'minutes' and again specify the year, let's say '2011' for grins and giggles, and get NOTHING in return again. Shut That Bloody Bouzouki Player Up!
The Norwich Golf Course Authority holds a special meeting at six in the clubhouse on the New London Turnpike. I don't understand what item 'e' means within a special meeting since only those items enumerated and listed on the agenda may be discussed during a special meeting and 'other' certainly doesn't meet that degree of specificity.

At six thirty, the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review, moonlighting in its other function, meets as the 751 North Main Street Advisory Committee, in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street. Based on this, I have no idea what their point or purpose continues to be-and judging from the paucity of their posted meeting minutes, perhaps they feel the same way.

There are two convenings of this last item, both at the Courtyard by Marriott (at 181 West Town Street), one on Thursday afternoon from three until five and the other on Friday morning from half past seven to half past nine marking the formal introduction of the already in-progress downtown revitalization fund, which has about ten million dollars to invest (I asked about pony rides; some people can be very brusque). If you're interested in putting your money, along with somebody else's, where your mouth is-as a property owner, real estate broker, downtown business owner or someone who'd like to be one of the preceding, find the time to make one of the meetings and get in the game. Otherwise you will miss every shot you never take. And that's been a problem for way too many years for way too many of us in my little town.
-bill kenny

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Breeze Blows Leaves

After what at times seemed to be a very hot, humid and kinda cranky summer, Fall came to New England this past Friday morning and at least for part of that day and the next, rain and cooler temperatures coupled with dark skies made you realize the seasons had, indeed, changed.

A bit of cool weather and overcast skies would probably be welcomed by my brother, Adam, and the cohort of runners and walkers who will be participating in the Tunnel to Towers Run in Lower Manhattan this morning. Before you lace up and join him, check him out here and read his entries for this week to have a better feel for those in whose footfalls you are running.

I've noticed in recent weeks the daylight is a little later in arriving and the day seems to depart a few moments sooner every day. I appreciate the calendar making it official, but I already knew the seasons were changing and I'm not a big fan of the part of the year we're entering. I don't dislike autumn so much as dread what follows.

But there will some marvelous days between then and now-bracing mornings, gorgeous foliage, crisp evenings and I hope where you are you and yours have much the same, and more. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
-bill kenny

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Miraculous from the Mundane

Belief is a wonderful thing. It's not better than pony rides for your birthday admittedly but it's powerful stuff and can get you through some, if not all, pretty hard times. I have, in my dotage, worked harder to be a happy idiot succeeding at least in the latter part of that endeavor. I will attempt to see the brighter side of a double homicide, given the opportunity (unless I'm part of it).

Given lemons, I not only can make lemonade, I'll build you a two story condo out of lemon peel with a detached garage made of rind and a backyard spa-all for under 249K, complete with a full basement. Volume is the answer to your 'how can you do it?' question. You're welcome is the response to your thank you. Moving right along...

I think insistence on seeing the Lighter Side of the Great Plague has helped me more than it has harmed but it's tiring to try to be so cheerful so often so when I can get some help, I'm more than grateful. In this case, my thanks to Sara J whom I knew as Sara V when we were older then. We're younger than that now.

And if all I ever get from this is a song I can hear, playing right in my ear, but I can't sing it, and yet I can't help listening, that's fine too. I've always loved words and extra starch. Back by Tuesday.
-bill kenny

Friday, September 23, 2011

With the Barkers and the Colored Balloons

It's not a long drive, but a bit tedious. From our house in Norwich, Connecticut to our destination, The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts, is 73 miles.

We take 32 to 87 to 384 and then 91 North past Bradley Airport (named for a deceased Army Air Corps aviator of the Second World War, killed in a crash at the field; ask me why I don't like flying in or out of there) to 291 and we're maybe fifty feet (hyperbolic distance measurement) into Massachusetts and there we are.

This year we parked on the actual grounds of the Eastern States Exposition as opposed to in the parking lot of a Catholic Church, Saint Joseph's I think, or as we did two years ago in the lot at the city's municipal building or last year over the bridge from the main entrance in what I thought was a Benny's but when I saw it yesterday it said Rocky's. No explanation for that-for the rest it was because we came on weekends, along with everybody else.

Thursday lots of people came because it was Massachusetts Day, Considering The Big E is in Massachusetts, perhaps, like me, you're going 'BFD.' We would be wrong, my friend. There were high school marching bands, a multitude of them, whose songbooks are suspiciously the same, "Rock and Roll, Part Two" (known, explained our band gleek daughter, as "The Hey Song" in your cheat book) as well as one of the more unique (I don't want to crush young talent with a more harsh descriptive) renditions of "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" in which that word is in short supply when it comes to the arrangement.

A lot of the people wandering the grounds are Red Sox fans which as a lifelong Yankees fan, especially this year, should make me smile as my team clinched the division Wednesday night and the BoSox are still scuffling to get in the playoffs. And then I remember 2004 and recall it's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Speaking of which, in short order, we had hot sausage sandwiches, fried oreos (we skipped the chocolate covered bacon offered in the Connecticut House. The Land of Steady Habits, famed for Edward Land and John Holland, is reduced to artery clogging culinary), of course, went to The Big Picture for that crazy photo we get every year, stopped in at this year's butter sculpture, had a grilled cheese sandwich from the West Side Lions who man their own grill and donate all the proceeds from a full menu to funding their community projects for the next eleven months and one week (never knew a grilled cheese sandwich was so powerful), and watched as Michelle won Sigrid a Minion that is as advertised.

We took 191 West past Six Flags in Agawam back to 91 and then back to 384 until we were home and dry, for now and for another year. Ain't it funny how you feel, when you're finding out it's real?
-bill kenny

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Distance Traveled

We are on our way to The Big E today. That rhymes; sometimes I impress myself-just not this time. If you're from someplace that hasn't had a healthy vowel movement for awhile just think of a state fair but bigger by necessity. New England is geographically a relatively small space with politically too many governmental units, so we all get together and have Maine lobster and potatoes and Vermont ice cream and New Hampshire maple syrup and I have no idea what Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut bring to the party. Maybe Connecticut does insurance. Maybe.

Last year we went on Connecticut Day and discovered some basic truths we should have already known. Nutmeggers drive like idiots not just in our own state but everywhere. Massholes drive like well, you get the picture. Put 'em together and it gets grim early and stays there. I have NO idea what the point of Connecticut Day was. There were no buttons, no tee-shirts or hats, no 'Kiss Me I'm from Norwich' photo ops or oops, not even a break on parking. We were just another consensus on the street and I wasn't even driving a Ford.

Anyway. We're all keyed up about this today and I hope we have so much fun it fills up all the pockets in the pants I'm wearing. That's how I define large fun. But while I was thinking about that, I flashed on a date older than this time last year. Twenty years ago today, plus five hours, I was picking "Grow-ton" as where we would be living as my unit disappeared in Germany and with it my lifestyle and that of my wife and children.

It had looked like we were going to Winchester, Virginia, somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley to do who knows what with who knows who but that fell through. Up popped a job in Grow-ton as I was told it was pronounced. In Connecticut. Only a few hours from where my brothers and sisters and others related to one or the other or both all lived. Not that I was keen about telling them I was coming nor would they have been especially overjoyed to learn of their pending good fortune.

We each have lived lives of quiet desperation, and, more often, perspiration. My arrival with two children under double digits who spoke no English would have been interesting but not earth-shattering for any of us. It seems in the last two decades the person who has failed to immerse and then emerge has been me, more often than not. Today may be a perfect day for bananafish; it's also a pretty good day for blending in. Today, we're not so far from the madding crowd.

Careful where you step; you don't want to get any of that fried dough on you. Is that really what the kids are calling it these days? "There's safety in numbers when you learn to divide. How can we be in, if there is no outside?" We'll find out soon enough.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Better to Forgive than Receive

It happens on a regular cycle so there's really no reason to be surprised. Usually within a fortnight of Labor Day we have a shift in the weather, and the heat and humidity depart, not before dumping a large amount of rain in a short amount of time on the just and the unjust, and the leaves start to turn and the lawn signs start to spring up.

National elections, where we choose a President, consume oceans of ink. This time a year ago, our race for Governor drained many a barrelful, but it's where the road and the sky collide, here at the local level, that the real issues in search of answers get decided. And the only history that gets written is what we choose to write. We can wound with words.

We look at politicians in D.C. or in Hartford as an abstraction and more often than not we're right but those who seek office inside the city limits are our neighbors and acquaintances, if not friends. We can put names to faces and faces to positions on issues that affect us immediately. Our families see one another in the market, at a local community event or just out for a walk on the weekend.

It's pretty easy for most of us politically to tell a John Boehner from a Joe Biden even from a distance but when we're looking for leadership in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, the nuances and differences are more subtle.

It's more a question of degree than dogma and that's as it should be because this is where we all live, emphasis on the all-and decisions made 'for the common good' really mean for every one on both sides of the street up and down the block. And when less than a quarter of all registered voters turn out to cast a ballot, leading starts to resemble shepherding cats.

The Grateful Dead once observed, ‘what a long, strange trip it’s been.’ Amen to that. We thought this time last year was pretty tough and hoped by now we’d be seeing some daylight. Cheer up, the pundits said; things could get worse. So we did, and they did get worse.

I don't pretend to know what has gone wrong or how to fix it but I doubt demonizing the other guys in DC, belittling your Governor, or polluting the blogosphere with innuendo and insinuation when community leaders are in arrears on property taxes or have run-ins with the law is helping.

It most certainly is NOT who we have been since the founding of the Republic. High times on Wall Street and hard times on Main Street. Maybe we don’t need new solutions so much as we need a return to our oldest and truest values.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Simple Ambulatory Philippic

The chapel in the hospital a ten minute walk from my house is across the hall from the vending machine snack bar with some munchies so old they have been carbon dated. The hospital used to be a five minute walk from my house. We didn't move. I got older and slower not in equal parts but in enough of both to make it a struggle some mornings to get up.

Like yesterday morning. I had actually slept in over the weekend. Oh bright early yesterday morning happened more because of habit than for any other reason. I arrived at work to discover my computer had a terrible weekend and wasn't interested in connecting with anything at anytime.

I didn't really appreciate that kind of attitude as I'd been nursing a headache since Friday morning after my fall, not just from grace but in the bathroom. And my mood hasn't been lightened by the facial expressions made by those who, having asked how it happened, are then told.

By Sunday evening my wife insisted if I awakened with a headache on Monday that I call my primary care physician. I could pretend I live in a household of equals and tell you she asked that I call him but that is not part of the dynamic we have in our relationship. Between the throbbing above my right eye and the boat anchor on my desk, I had a headful of hurt by mid-day.

I thought I was lucky my doctor could see me until did see me. He made That Face when I told him how I fell down and then he started yelling at me which made my head hurt more (or harder. I forgot which). He didn't stop yelling for quite some time. We have known one another for about a decade so he has learned to pace himself.

He had a great story about an actress, he couldn't remember her name (and neither can I), who hit a tree while skiing and everyone thought she would be fine and they let her out of the hospital but it turns out she had bleeding in her brain and she died. The End. As he mentioned the part about the tree and skis I guessed Sonny Bono, but I was wrong. Damn. I hate being wrong.

He seemed sure I had probably given myself a concussion (if I were going to give myself anything, it would have been a pony ride) but sent me off to the hospital for a CAT Scan (I never knew until just now what it stood for and in five minutes I will have forgotten; or three minutes slower than you).

I spent most of the afternoon in various locations throughout the hospital because we do paperwork in one area and checking-in somewhere else and the actual hospital stuff gets handled in a room off the parking lot in the back.

No brain bleeding said the Doctor in X-ray whose last name I couldn't pronounce but who had a lovely smile that I hope she gets to use often by delivering mostly good news, but sad eyes that lead me to suspect that's not usually the case.

I was already off on Thursday to go to The Big E with Thelma and Louise and have an appointment with my cardiologist on Friday for which I always clear my calendar for the entire day because with him you just never know, so I didn't argue when my doctor prescribed two days of bed rest, 'like you'll actually do that' and sent me on my way.

I had enough change to get a Bit O' Honey bar out of the vending machine on my way by the chapel that I was going to share with him. But since he was so mean, I guess that'll wait for another decade or so. Like maybe the candy bar would go worse?
-bill kenny

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stand Behind the Choices You Make

Someone once asked why I attend public meetings in Norwich since I never (actually rarely) speak during the public comments portion. I explained I went to listen because I don't always think we do enough of that at any level of government and to be a witness so that those in the front of the room realize someone, somewhere is paying attention. (And sometimes my cable is broken and I have no idea what to do with myself.)

I am only one, but I am one and when enough of us realize we, too, are each one and together something far greater we will stop talking about changes we hope to make and start changing those things that need it. Maybe this is a week to so do.

This morning at nine in the Senior Center on Mahan Drive it's a regular meeting of the Senior Affairs Commission who, judging from the posting on the city's website started on their summer break a bit early as the most recent meeting minutes posted are from April.

This evening at six thirty are two important meetings-okay, one important meeting and one that might be (I'll leave you to decide which is which as I'm a well-known cynic and my attitude on which is which you will guess by the end of the next paragraph). In Room 335, there's a workshop sponsored by the State Elections Enforcement Commission who offer them so that everyone seeking office has an idea of the size of the box and the rules of the road (in terms of what's permissible and what's not) before campaigns start in earnest.

Meanwhile in Council chambers, many of those on the current Council seeking another term (and ideally the target audience for the workshop) will be involved in an informational meeting by the Institute for Eco-Municipality and Assistance on "Mainstreaming Green Practices in Your Community."

At seven-thirty, it's a regular City Council meeting with an agenda that's pretty broad in terms of topics to be discussed and decided (and the latter observation doesn't even include the executive session). Promises to be an interesting evening so if you're debating whether to skip Ashton Kutcher's debut on Two and a Half Men for this session, think Tivo.

Tuesday afternoon at four, somewhere in City Hall (the meeting isn't on the municipal website calendar) is a meeting of the Freedom Trail Committee (see the July 18, 2011 City Council meeting minutes for the background (all one line of a mention). The membership of the committee, itself, isn't on the city's website, so it looks like we're replicating versions and variations of the Chelsea Gardens Foundation instead of reducing and minimizing them.

At five, in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a public hearing by the Ethics Commission on (I think) the Veterans Carnival at Chelsea Parade and the interaction with a member of the Public Works Committee. Unless it's not (my point: put more information on the municipal website and we can stop guessing).

At five thirty on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy, it's a regular meeting of the NFA Board of Trustees in the Latham Science Center and an opportunity to see/hear the new Superintendent/Head of School, David Klein, who some readers of a local paper seem to think should be paid for the way we buy hamburger, or something.

At five thirty in the Buckingham Memorial, it's a regular meeting of the Public Parking Commission. They meet every other month, so here's their July meeting minutes (draft) with some insights into a direction to consider for the Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC). Makes me wonder if other city volunteer panels or municipal departments have thoughts/plans they can share.

There's a regular meeting at six in Room 319 of City Hall of the Personnel and Pension Board; their agenda is right here. And at seven, in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan-maybe (in my opinion at least) the most important but least understood volunteer panel in Norwich. Check out their agenda for a sense of the scale and scope of their overview and interaction.

Wednesday morning nine in The Dime Bank's Community Room (on Route 82) it's a regular meeting of the Norwich School Readiness Council which will probably offer a report on Sunday's "Family Day" at Mohegan Park, though your guess is as good as mine, if not better, as meeting agenda and minutes are conspicuous in their absence.

The Norwich Farmer's Market at Howard T. Brown Park is going strong and starts at ten and goes until two, though you can check in at anytime in between.

At five-thirty in Room 335 of City Hall is an Interfaith/Multicultural Celebration of Peace. While I'm sure casual attire is permitted, perhaps more formal attire, up to and including a blue suit, is more appropriate in a number of ways for such an event.

Also at five thirty in the Norwich Arts Council Co-op Gallery, it's a regular meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ). Even though the note on the city's website is a couple of months old, it's nowhere near as out of date as everything else about the NRZ on the municipal website. If this were happening in your town, I'd find it funny. It's mine and chagrin, dismay and embarrassment alternate as emotional responses (and don't forget the currency of the members' appointments).

At six, the Norwich Golf Course Authority is holding a special meeting with import for other municipal boards and authorities involved in recreational activities, I suspect, and worth watching for future trends and directions.

Thursday morning at seven thirty in their offices at 77 Water Street, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, whose draft August meeting minutes, or any for that matter, still aren't on the city's website but are available by sending a note to (doesn't work for pony rides; trust me). It's a safe bet a hot topic (pause) will be an update on the downtown development workshops, applications and plans as mandated by the bond initiative.

Anytime Thursday is a good time to wish Karen N a happy birthday as she's celebrating one all day. I'm told this is a national holiday in Yantic, so perhaps those pony rides are closer than first believed.

There's a One City Forum slated for Saturday morning at nine in the Central Fire House and for all those who want to share their ideas and meet others who are interested in working to improve where we all live, this is the venue to do so though offering anonymous and often vitriolic online comments (yes, Max W, I mean you) isn't without its quaint charm, I suppose, though their usefulness eludes me.

"Face each day with both eyes open wide. And try to give, don't keep it all inside." Has a good beat, Mr Clark, and my girlfriend can dance to it. I give it an 85. Unfortunately around here that too often means 1885.
-bill kenny

Sunday, September 18, 2011

But There It Is

Fall arrived here in Southeastern New England Thursday after the rains. Even though I use the term, I'm never sure what to make of the phrase, "Southeastern New England." It's like maybe we should say 'y'all' when we tell you to 'pahk yer cah' after we drink our coffee milk. The same group who fretted about sweaters the last couple of mornings are the same ones of us who were unhappy when the temps and humidity were both in the nineties this time last week.

I have friends and former colleagues in the Southwest (where the 'y'alls' are really real and coffee milk is a huh) who dream of just those conditions as they continue to hit triple digits with no rain in sight for weeks and months at a time. Proving that some of us would bitch if you hanged us with a new rope. And if you doubt me I can send you a list of people you can experiment on. And you're right, it does look like a phone book-because it is. String 'em up alphabetically.

I'm a spring and summer guy, to be honest. Yeah, I'm fortunate to have lived my life (so far) where we have four seasons. And I concede the leaves changing in New England are pretty as long as I don't have to rake them up or try to drive on them after a rainstorm on a 'quaint' town road somewhere. Here in this corner of the country I get to rave about The Big E mainly because I never went to county fairs as a kid and, hand on my heart I didn't get to it for the first fifteen years we lived here.

It opened on Friday and runs through the first weekend of October and as I'm fond of pointing out to people no other vowel, upper or lower case, gets an exposition held in its honor. Plus they have cream puffs and food vendors where I swear everything on the menu is deep fried, to include Oreos and ice cream. Of course I never eat any of that food or know anyone who does. Of course.

I would like to stay stuck on fall and The Big E until Spring, but that's not how the world works. You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain even though you're thinking that you're leaving there too soon. The seasons change and we with them. Some of us are more recent arrivals than others and some gone who were here a moment ago. Each of us is here to enjoy what we find to enjoy, until it all ends. From the beginning.
-bill kenny

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Hendersons Will Dance and sing

I got off to a late start yesterday morning-actually a latER start that had really begun the morning before. I'm not sure it's because of a medication switch but am open to that possibility, however yesterday morning I got to hear something I haven't heard in probably a decade or more, the sound my clock radio makes when the alarm goes off.

I usually awaken about an hour, or a little more, before it goes off. I have set it so that my day is still earlier than most people I know (with the growing more certain by the moment exception of my two brothers), but that doesn't mean I don't rush when I feel I need to. And I did. Getting ready to go to work doesn't give you a lot of opportunities for multi-tasking or doubling up (which is what my generation called it). In my universe, you can shave or you can shower or you can shooby dooby doo, but you can't do all of them at the same time.

Trying to short step one of the corners yesterday I thought I could probably start to get dressed while brushing my teeth. I have an electric tooth brush. I have explained previously, or should have, oral hygiene is nearly a religion with me. Shaving is dangerously pointless (or pointlessly dangerous, I'm never sure which) and my hair has been making itself scarce in recent years thus ameliorating my problems win that department leaving me with those pearly whites, dear.

Anyway, toothbrush in hand, bristles in mouth, I tried to get dressed from the bottom up, so to speak, from the inside out hopping in a fashion on one leg while disrobing. What happened was I went bottoms up, I think. I'm not sure. When I next opened my eyes I was sprawled but still clutching my toothbrush with a piece of my morning ablutions unaccounted. My balance has been getting weaker in recent years, not helped by folks whittling away on my knees and legs, as necessary as those interventions were and are. Being somewhat hyperactive from childhood on, I'm used to dusting myself off and picking myself up, so yesterday was, I guess, more business as usual.

I'm glad I came to before anyone else in my house awoke since there are many ways to start your day but the visual I would have presented wouldn't have been something you'd get out of your frontal lobe without using a salad fork. I had a headache for the remainder of the day (and all of the night) and a greater appreciation of the skillsets of Olga Korbut and Mary Lou Retton (she'd smile even riding a rabid gyroscope). I'm still not sure about those somersets, though, unless we're talking Maugham.
-bill kenny

Friday, September 16, 2011

Truth or Consequence, Say It Aloud

There are about seven billion of us on this orb at any one time-plus/minus a couple of million coming or going (or maybe transmigrating if you're so inclined) and many more than most of us spend a lot of time here on the ant farm elbowing our way to basically where we are and where we'll stay.

We're ordinary people-not bad people; not good people. People driven and shaped for the most part by our circumstances and surroundings. We work as hard as we can (and our mileage may vary) to be good sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, lovers and beloved. Always in pairs as if there were a straight line from Noah's through de triomphe stopping at Joan and making a covenant. We're basic biology with some additional brain wrinkles and opposable thumbs but we're not simple.

We have wants, needs and desires and some of us are capable of a little more in terms of care, consideration and constancy and, maybe, what social scientists like to call higher order thinking (HOT) and who always seem surprised at who can do that. (hint: NOT Paris Hilton).

Lower order primates fight for their place in this world and so, too, do we and for ourselves and our families but we are also able, and often far too willing, to fight for abstractions like king and country or my God can beat up your God or one of the thousands of reasons for the millions of wars that we have waged on another since time, as we know it, began.

Yesterday however was a good day for all us-and not just for someone who, as I watched his honors, seemed genuinely moved that anyone found him to be special. For my part, I cannot imagine how you could not find him amazing. He is Dakota Meyer and a very young man in a war that has aged horribly many of those it has not killed and the closest thing to a rainbow we can place in the sky to remind Him of His promise. Meyer is a semper fi kind of guy-when you watched his clip, you found out why.
-bill kenny

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I wear a lot of non-work shirts that are basically tee-shirts with a pocket. I don't understand shirts, or any article of outer clothing, that doesn't have pockets (perhaps socks could be the exception). Where else am I to keep all of the fun otherwise?

I have some spiffy sport shirts, and I think at least one with the guy on the horse, in my wardrobe at the moment. I don't think I have any of the shirts that have an alligator on them, or with an alligator eating a guy on a horse (I think we'd both remember that one). And while I used to have a lot of rock and roll tee shirts, mostly with a band or performer's name on them, I'm past all of that now, which is just as well as most of the folks I used to listen are disbanded or deceased.

I'm not a fan of the 'clever sayings' tee-shirts though I suspect they have a more official sounding name than that. I find very few of the things folks have on their chest, or lower, and/or on their back to be thigh-slappingly funny. I see a lot of people of both sexes (or should I say 'of all sexes'?) at the gym in shirts and outfits that really make me feel every day of my nearly six decades.

I've encountered women who look to have spray-painted their exercise clothes on. I can always tell with the tops because there are two buttonholes too few and on a cold morning too many party hats. Make no mistake: I am happy you are comfortable with your body (after all, you're the one inside of it); can you understand me not so much?

The other day there were two guys wandering the facility while I was cursing the treadmill (as it was kicking my butt again) in the kind of clothes that lead you to believe their households are governed by that 'first one up is best one dressed' rule and they are late sleepers. On the front of the one guy's black tee shirt in white letters was "Weakness is for Tussies" but they used a P instead of a T when they made the shirt. On the back, was "Balls to the Wall" (without a second S for wall).

The fellow alongside of him had a shirt back with "Train Like a Maniac" and when he turned around, he had what appeared to be a self-portrait of himself on the front, under his chin. And people wonder why I insist on earpieces and listening to the audio player(s) in my cell phone. I am now so rude that when speak to me I NEVER remove the ear pieces, repeating over and over again, 'I won't hear you, I won't hear you.' Some think I should say can't but I've chosen that verb deliberately.

I actually have a shirt with a slogan, I got it years ago and it's still true. People smile when they read it though they shouldn't. It says "I probably don't like you either." In light of how my treadmill treks haven't been working out, it might be useful to get a shirt with my name and address on one side and 'other side up' to go with it. And then hope all those folks from the Literacy Volunteers keep their funding.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finding the Grey Cloud Surrounding the Silver Lining

I'm not going to brag or boast about the institutional responses to the challenges and aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene for two reasons. I had nothing to do with anyone of them. And, depending on where you live, across the Northeast, the state of Connecticut or even in the various villages that comprise the city of Norwich, your mileage may vary (and vary wildly).

For some, in my neighborhood as an example, we were without power for slightly less than eight hours, an eternity in today's impatient world, but far shorter than others elsewhere who went without for closer to a week or more.

To some extent, I'm wary of praising the day before the evening arrives and we have a long hurricane season before us and then, to follow that, what I will sincerely hope does not (again) become the winter of our discontent. Let's face it, we have more than enough challenges (hard to chew and tough to swallow) on our plates right now without calling out Nature to step off, bitch.

Rather, what I wanted to note in more than just passing fashion, was the enlarged sense of community we felt towards one another in the face of a not always easy meteorological encounter. So often, so many of us (and sometimes we can also say 'too often, too many of us') regard government at every level and corporate entities at many levels as some kind of a laugh less punchline punctuating an unfunny prank of which we became the victim.

Not so this time. We had, I admit, the advantage of some warning and advance planning and not just as in the usual 'go to the market, buy toilet paper and milk' preparation. I'm not mocking that routine-heck I do it, too, and I'm lactose intolerant (vice having terminal contact dermatitis).

Local and state officials together with utility operators and the telecommunications companies et al, pulled together assets most of us didn't realize we had, just in case 'nice to have' became 'need to use.' Which is exactly what happened.

Here in Norwich, there was a reverse phone tree of sorts, where an automated system called those of us with land lines to advise us to stay off the streets once we achieved Storm Force Stupid and for the most part we did. We didn't chew up a lot of energy second guessing the men and women on the trucks who started clearing away the trees and fixing the power lines even before the rains had slowed, or berate their leadership who had dispatched them.

We didn't expect things to go south and then wait for our worst fears to be realized. We had, or at least displayed, confidence that those whose jobs it was to repair and replace those things needing one or the other, were doing so as best and as fast as they could. And they did.

We allowed those who had the training and skills to do the (SLJ) necessary dirty jobs to go ahead and do them without kvetching about the mud they were tracking in from the backyard or how they weren't going fast enough to suit us (whoever does, I wonder).

Norwich, big enough to be able to marshall reasonable resources in advance of Irene, was still small enough to take care of those of us who live here in rapid order and be able to lend a hand to neighboring communities in all directions who had struggles a bit larger than they could manage.

If each of us can remember the extra ounce of patience, the additional moment of consideration for someone other than ourselves and the confidence that "we" would get through this, and carry that mindset into our everyday lives, whether it's about a local economic development issue, a state wide educational initiative or the next national policy debate we have with one another, then the violence of Tropical Storm Irene will have improved who we are and how we get along with one another.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Can Get Home, but You Can't Get In

Some days, like Dr. Swain in Slapstick, I feel the gravity of the Earth is much stronger than it is on other days. I don't really believe this to be true but I like to say it and I am not surprised to discover I also like to type it, too.

We're getting ready to rumble here over the severe shrinking of the happiness horizon here in Southeastern Connecticut, the part of the state that doesn't have Terence and Buffy on polo ponies but does have lots of folks kitted out in uniforms for their new dream careers as casino change makers. Not agents of change, my brothers and sisters, two dimes and a nickel for a quarter types of finance. You'd think for smart people we could figure out what happened. You'd think that and you'd be wrong.

At one time we told ourselves to get a good job you needed to get a good education. We learned that from our parents who, themselves had learned it from theirs and we passed it along to our kids who ate it up with a spoon. What we forgot, as it turned out, was that the good job would be in a country other than the one they were raised in and that the term itself, 'good job,' was a relative concept, based on the standard of living being practiced wherever the offshore job express happened to drop anchor.

We reached sundown on the union a lot faster than they did in Wisconsin and Jersey and we were nowhere near as bitchy about it, let me tell you. The last decade and more have just gotten weirder and weirder. We've talked/cried/whatevered ourselves out marking the first decade of life after 9/11, but I don't think any of us really believe we have finished. What we are now is what we were when (before that day) we had all the other controlled chaos overwhelm the system from folks with speaking parts in Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, and hundreds and thousands of other datelines around the world that didn't even register here in the Land of the Round Doorknobs.

We are now scared of silence. We've basically outlawed it in our social discourse. The 24/7 news folks have been around for over two decades, but it's only in this last one they are so ubiquitous. Remember when you'd be waiting for a flight and the CNN Talking Head would be on and his mouth was moving on one of those TV's suspended someplace in the departure lounge? You couldn't hear squat, but there he was-like God himself watching over us. We, his flock, couldn't hear him, but no one minded.

But now the looners are running the amusement park and have cranked the crazy up to eleven. I was at the gym this morning wearing my earbuds (wtf? I used to have headphones), listening to my noise and news while outside, because we were all early, were a half dozen other people also tuned in and zoned out. No idea what they were listening to-I sure didn't ask 'em. As a matter of fact, if not survival, none of us spoke.

I believe I was the last person on earth to get a Facebook account because it would confirm what I already feared-I have no friends, not even virtual ones. But all of us now are members of the lonely crowd. I realized as I'm heading into the clubhouse turn towards the Big 6-0 (but tell myself it's the New Forty (and it's not, btw)) that we used to do all kinds of shit before there was anything like a Facebook and we told no one about it. Think tree in a forest. Now add sound. What? Exactly.

And now, we all have 'friends' who tell us when they change their picture or whose status update is that they have no update. Say anything-no matter how foolish, how venal, how incredibly self-serving, don't dare leave us alone with our own thoughts because we stopped thinking a while back and forgot how to start again. Thank goodness for the autonomic nervous system or we'd be dead. Sorry. What? Oh, you needed change for a buck-I won't even tell you what I thought I heard.
-bill kenny

Monday, September 12, 2011

One More Glance Back and Now Our Eyes Are Fixed Straight Ahead

When we left Germany nearly twenty years ago, me at the Columbus Day weekend, a month before my family, we left a large part of our lives there-things and people. In the decades that followed, long letters combined with holiday and birthday phone calls have been augmented and for the most part, replaced by email, text messaging and Facebook friendships.

I have as many, if not more, "FB friends" from Germany as I do from here-admittedly, the tiny total number speaks well of people's talents to avoid me for the most part with stunning success. Our German friends afford me opportunities to attempt to practice their language (Deutsch Sprache ist eine schwere Sprache) though it hasn't turned out in the way any of us might have hoped.

All of Sigrid's family and, through marriage, mine, speak German. Actually, she is the only person in her family who speaks English (which worked out very well for me). The younger of her brother's sons, feeling the need to offer his American uncle some solace yesterday was kind enough to share this:

"Wir trauen um die Opfer am 11 September 2001.
We mourn for the victims of 11 September 2001.

Das Grauen konnten Millionen Menschen rund um den Globus live miterleben. Doch das, was sich vor ihren Augen abspielte, war derart unfassbar und monströs, dass es die meisten Fernsehzuschauer anfangs nicht verstanden. Selbst die engsten Sicherheitsberater des amerikanischen Präsidenten brauchten eine Weile, um zu begreifen, was geschah. Dann flüsterten sie George W. Bush die Worte ins Ohr, die nur Minuten später ebenfalls um die Welt gingen. "America is under attack!" Amerika wird angegriffen! Es war der 11. September 2001 - politisch gesehen begann das 21. Jahrhundert mit diesem Tag.
The horror of that day was witnessed live by countless millions of people around the globe. But what was happening before their very eyes was so monstrous and inconceivable, that many viewers at first failed to fully understand. Even the American President's security adviser needed a moment to grasp what was happening. Then she whispered in George W. Bush's ear words that moments later would travel the earth, "America is under attack!" It was September 11th, 2001- politically speaking, the beginning of the 21st Century.

Der Tag, an dem islamistische Gotteskrieger mit entführten Flugzeugen die Zwillingstürme in New York zum Einsturz brachten, markiert eine politische Zeitenwende. Erstmals in ihrer Geschichte wurden die USA von einem Feind tief im eigenen Land getroffen. Islamistischer Extremismus versetzte die Welt in Angst. Die gesamte westliche Staatengemeinschaft fühlte sich angegriffen.

The day on which Islamist jihadists with hijacked airplanes crashed into the twin towers of New York marked a political turning point. For the first time in its history, the U.S. was struck by an enemy deep in their own country. Islamist extremism threw the world into fear. The whole Western community felt attacked.

My response was as much for myself as for him.

Today is a hard day for me to describe-not sad but certainly not happy either. Here on the East Coast the weather today is very much like what we had on that Tuesday, 11 September 2001, lots of brilliant sun, mild temperatures and brilliant, blue skies.
Heute ist ein harter Tag für mich um zu beschreiben- nicht traurig, aber sicherlich nicht glücklich. Hier an der Ostküste das Wetter heute ist sehr ähnlich wie das, was wir an diesem Dienstag war, 11 September 2001 hat: viele strahlende Sonne, milde Temperaturen und brillante, blaue Himmel.

A decade later we know how that day turned out. It's still early today, Sunday, 11 September 2011, so we're not sure about this one but I remain optimistic. As sad as where we have been, it's even more important that we sort out where we are going as a country and as a part of a much larger and much more dangerous world.
Ein Jahrzehnt später wissen wir, wie an diesem Tag stellte sich heraus. Es ist noch früh heute, Sonntag, 11. September, 2011, so dass wir nicht sicher sind, über diesen tag aber ich bleibe optimistisch. So traurig, wo wir gewesen sind, ist es umso wichtiger dass wir festellen wo wir sind als Land und als Teil eines viel größeren und viel gefährlicheren Welt gehen.

We should remember the past, always, but not live in it. Failing to live out loud as free people would mean all of those who died ten years ago (and all who have died since then), died in vain.
Wir sollten uns an die Vergangenheit erinnern, immer, aber nicht in ihr leben. Andernfalls leben laut, als freie Menschen alle jene, die vor zehn Jahren starb (und alle, die seitdem gestorben sind), umsonst gestorben bedeuten würde.

September 11, 2001 was the saddest day of my life, and of the life of my country. But infinitely sadder would be if all of us failed to practice everyday the lessons of faith, hope, charity and love that we learned in the destruction and despair of September 11, 2001.
Die 11. September 2001 war der traurigste Tag meines Lebens, und aus dem Leben meines Landes. Aber noch trauriger wäre es, wenn alle von uns nicht zu üben jeden Tag den Unterricht von Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe und Liebe, die wir in der Zerstörung und Verzweiflung der 11. September 2001 gelernt.

We should always celebrate that we are alive in this age of miracles and wonder-that no matter how fearful and frightening the forces aligned and arrayed against us, we have one another.
Wir sollten uns immer zu feiern, dass wir leben im Zeitalter der Zeichen und Wunder. Dass, egal wie furchtbar und erschreckend die Kräfte ausgerichtet und geordnet gegen uns sind, wir einander haben.

Hurrah, wir leben noch!

And now, let us look to the horizon before us instead of constantly glancing over our shoulder. "Leave your stepping stones behind, something calls for you. Forget the dead you’ve left, they will not follow you. The vagabond who’s rapping at your door is standing in the clothes that you once wore. Strike another match, go start anew. And it’s all over now, Baby Blue."
-bill kenny