Monday, December 31, 2012

Blink of an Eye

I hope whatever plans you have for the turning of the page this evening from 2012 to 2013 are festive and filled with fun (and are mostly indoors if you're in a clime such as mine where we have some snow with which to contend).

I don't make resolutions but if you do, I found one that you might consider making your 'plus one' (I heard someone the other day refer to the person with whom they are in a relationship in that manner. Such an arse). Though in my opinion, if I were the resolution making (and keeping) type, this would in all likelihood be the one I place on the top of my list with all the others below it.

One of the things I wound up doing this year if not all that frightening (at least intentionally) was taking a lot of photographs. I don't own a  real camera but, rather, use the one in my Android, so I end up with large volumes of accidental imagery that only on occasion surrounds a picture I was attempting to take. More often than I 'd like to admit, I come home with pictures that, even after repeated viewings, I cannot tell you what the object originally was.

I grab most of them while out walking in that herk-a-jerk manner I have at a pace of better than four miles per hour as I continue to work the 10,000 step daily regimen, averaging closer to 14,000. That I walk so much doesn't bother people nearly as much as that I never seem to leave.

I post a lot of my pictures to a facebook page I've made about where I live (no, not Bedlam; where I live not where I should live), Celebrating Norwich Connecticut and it has become another, but different, safe haven for some of the demons in my head though not necessarily any of the ones who incite and inspire me to exercise in this outlet.

I've been able to keep the two paths separate, though not equal, so perhaps I could strive in 2013 to be more mindful, if not actually interested, in some of the fellow-travelers with whom I share the globe and the city in which I live. But that's for tomorrow and bright beginnings. A world in white gets underway.

-bill kenny    

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The (P)shawshank Redemption

I've spent close to the last sixty days of this calendar year NOT having any out of pocket expenses for any of the battalion of doctors whom I see on a regular basis or on the trainloads of medications they (quite) often prescribe.

At some point in October I reached my 'catastrophic maximum' (health insurance speak for dude found his dust or similar) which sounds swell until I reflect on the year I had and how much I relied on all the doctors who are kind enough to have me as a patient.

I didn't come to this realization alone (I rarely do anything alone anymore), but rather thanks to my rheumatologist, Dr. V., who has never been accused of subtlety (which would be wasted on me anyway) when he looked at three sets of blood panels and the last four sets of x-rays and offered with a smile, 'y'know without the people treating you who do, I think you'd be dead.'

As you might imagine, he got an extra large fruit basket for this holiday season, but then I got to thinking about that observation and realized he was true. And it gets worse: I say 'thank you' on a nothing similar to regular much less frequent basis and so, as this year closes out, I should get this in (under the wire) and before the doors close.

Thanks to my primary care physician, Dr. E., and good luck in your move to Jersey (it's a tough state, trust me, especially to be from). Not everyone would have welcomed my migration to your new practice a couple of years ago but you've always been gracious and a good sport, even when I scared the crap out of both of us and knocked myself out.

Dr. C., my endocrinologist, always strikes me as an out take from Despicable Me, and is just the guy I need at this point in my life especially as I'd like to get to the next point, such as tomorrow and the day after that. Dr. N., the nephrologist, always laughs at my jokes, even when I don't make any but she's put the kidding back into kidney and that is what's promising to be a major issue in the New Year that starts Tuesday.

Not everyone has two orthopedic surgeons, nor needs to I suppose, but I do. Dr. A. and Dr. G. handle my ankles and knees so the fact that I can walk around and bug you as much as that seems to (based on the comments), is really their doing.  Dr. N. doesn't have an oil can but is my cardiologist and heart-to-heart expert. He and I had some marvelous moments in 2012 that neither of us, I hope, want to duplicate in the coming, or any other, year.

That leaves me with the extremely effervescent Dr V., who is so full of the joy of living it is impossible to NOT feel like Tigger by the time you leave no matter how much like Eeyore you felt on your way in.

I often believe I have enough white coats surrounding me to have my own version of Entourage (and I'm taller than Jeremy Piven, I looked) though no takers on any of the twenty-eight channels (it seems) of HBO. As  I said, I'm not good at saying thank you to those without whose efforts...well, let's just say without whose efforts this piece of the blogosphere might well have a little more elbow room.

The only way this could be better would be if I had Petula Clark giving me lifestyle advice.
Oh, and a pony ride for my birthday.
-bill kenny  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Social Clubs in Drag Disguise

You have paid more attention to the "fiscal cliff" stories than have I. I know this because I have paid none, actually less than none referring to this cat rodeo as the Fiscal Cliff Richard, mainly because I'm an anglophile and I've always enjoyed Britpop music. Okay, Coldplay not so much. Or Oasis. Or Blink 182, come to think of it. Actually, Britpop sucks. Kidding (but not about Coldplay or Oasis).

I'm just about out of patience with the volumes of reporting being done on what could be the impact and effects of all of this. And by that I mean, explaining it to me. I, and you, can do nothing to stop any of this  except between now and tomorrow when the imbeciles, pissants, perverts, and talentless, humorless morons covered in skin and hair we've elected to the House of Representatives convene and attempt to avert something that they knew to the exact second last Spring could happen. 

Today, right now, go here and look up the contact information on the living brain donor who purports to represent you in Dodge City and phone/fax/email/tweet a note to her/him that says quit screwing around and do what we elected them to do instead of the reindeer games they and the folks across the political aisle have been playing for months.   

I don't know what your position on this issue is. Quite frankly, I don't care what it is as long as you know (and the more educated an argument for whatever your position is the better for all of us)-and if you don't, yet, go here and grab a handful of articles until you're smart(er). Then contact the smarmy bastards and tell them this is their weekend to make history. 

If any of them gives you attitude, remind them of Alexis de Tocqueville's fateful forecast, "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's money."
-bill kenny

Friday, December 28, 2012

Life Imitates Art

Yesterday was my wander around day. I mis-estimated how many boxes of cereal I'd eat while home from work (and my wife, God love her, has the exact count to the second, of days, hours and minutes before my return; trust me on this) so I had to go to the store by myself and buy more.

Men and women shop for groceries differently and this was always most readily apparent when our kids were small. Both of our children loved to grocery shop with me, not because I'd ignore my wife's list (I didn't and dared not do that) but because of all the amazing things I'd find to put in the cart as we went from one item of purchase to the next (Sigrid could lay out the list in the order in which I'd find the items on the shelf).

It made no difference how long or short her list was and how tight on time I'd be because, as the expedition started, there was always room for Screaming Yellow Zonkers in the cart or whatever stunt double snack was playing the part of SYZ at that time. Sometimes we managed to bring home most of what she wanted us to buy. Sometimes, not so much and that meant a lot of Chicken Lipton soup one of the few things I can cook.

And, no, I don't need you to tell me it's not actually cooking. Of course, it's not. I don't want to poison my children by cooking anything for them to eat. My wife and I don't have two adults now because of poor planning on her part. It's taken decades of marriage for me to be allowed to make spaghetti and meat sauce. It's a privilege I guard jealously if not especially well

I almost set myself back a decade or more with my bacon, cherry tomato and pasta salad creation while Sigrid went home to Germany some years ago (though not to feed Nessie). All I will say about rotini is it looks a lot smaller and a lot less uncooked than after you boil it in water. I think if you work it right you could live for a month from a 16 ounce box of cooked rotini, mainly because both Michelle and I very nearly did.

Thus, these days, I'm very respectful of all products, especially grains that come packed in boxes. Every once in a while I encounter a feral rotini noodle of whom I am no longer afraid, though I do regard every liaison as more cautionary than casual even if that's considered a little tacky.
-bill kenny

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Masterpieces Serving Maximum Sentences

I really should be thinking more about when I return to work in the New Year. I haven't been because I've not yet had to. I'm off two weeks exactly, today, choosing to start my vacation with our trip to New York City and just trying to coast after that and pretty much doing so for the most part. (This is one of the photos my wife took.)

I hate taking days off I guess because I have such an exaggerated sense of my own importance. I expect wherever it is I'm working at the time to just fall apart from its own internal entropy in my absence. I've not yet fully understood why that has yet to happen (and you can only imagine my disappointment). After all, I'm  the straw that stirs the drink. Just ask me.

I take just enough vacation to keep the human resources people off my boss' backside because of 'excess vacation balances' which is the type of phrase you should find in a WPP handbook someplace, right up there with 'I just got my Keurig coffee maker and now they have the Keurig Vue." (you thought I was kidding?).

Sadly, I've discovered on this hiatus (like that word? It's worth extra points in Scrabble) that I don't like what I do for a living anymore. Don't get me wrong, I like getting paid because where I live bets the heck out of under a railroad trestle by at least two to one but I used to agree with Noel Coward that 'work should be more fun than fun.' It's not anymore, so taking time off is easier than fighting with the people who run the operation, especially since I can't possibly even break-even much less win.

Just before they get really sick of me or (worse yet) wonder what their days might be like without ever seeing me again, I grab a couple of weeks out of the calendar and disappear. This time next week will be my first day back at work and I'll be carping about that as well. Put me in a leaky rowboat and I'd drill a second hole to let the water out. You're welcome.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Enough Coal to Operate a Locomotive

Happy Day after Christmas, or as it's celebrated in Germany, Austria and much of Central Europe, Second Christmas. I don't know what the presents under the tree looked like at your house but again this year I have what seems to be a mountain of coal leading me to wonder about a certain jolly old elf and his sense of humor.

I'd be remiss if I did not wish you today a Happy First Day of Kwanzaa and offer a traditional greeting and inquiry, habari gani (What's the news?) with which each of the seven days of celebrations begins. In Norwich, that could well be considered a leading question and depending on whom you ask, generate an answer to the far side of pleasant and conversational. Consider yourself warned.

In many respects 2012 is departing in much the same manner as its arrival. All the challenges and opportunities it brought with it at the start are, for the most part, remaining behind like that holiday houseguest whom no one dares suggest needs to go home but everyone definitely wants want him to leave.

I knew Kwanzaa is Swahili for 'first fruits of the harvest' but what I didn't know about it would fill a book, and perhaps even a library. That so much of it hits home has as much to do with where we are physically and philosophically as well as with the universality of its ideas.

I was intrigued to learn every day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to a specific principle, especially after learning what the principles are. Today's principle is umoja or unity and energies should be expended today towards building a community that holds together. Certainly seems like something each of the forty odd thousand of us who live in Norwich could benefit from.

But, as they say on TV, "Wait! There's more!" to include kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (a sense of purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith).

Each principle is intended to promote and precipitate actions which are complementary to each principle and include speaking for yourself and making choices that benefit the community; helping others within the community;: supporting businesses that care about the community (do you sense a pattern?) setting goals that benefit the community; making the community better and more beautiful and, finally, believing that a better world can be created for communities now and in the future.

Each principle simultaneously directs an adherent to seek answers within her and himself as well as without, from the community and the world at large. Perhaps that thinking will allow us to develop new attitudes and encourage new thinking and approaches to better, finally and fully, address that same pack of problems to which we've grown so accustomed.  After all, watu wanapendelea matatizo ambayo ni ukoo kwa ufumbuzi ambao si. People prefer problems that are familiar to solutions which are not.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

In my house we celebrate Christmas in Gerglish, that is to say in German and in English. We had both children with us (a present unto itself in my book) as we opened presents yesterday evening (I'd say at midnight but one of us is way too old to stay up that late without becoming even more grumpy than usual) just as we did when we all lived in Germany. That was magical enough,  I suppose, or should be except for me there's always more and always shall be.

It is thirty-six years ago tonight that I first spoke to the woman I was to marry. I very brazenly (for me) asked her her name after she sat in my lap during an extremely liquid moment with my friend (and ultimately best man) Chris in a joint near Eschenheimer Tor in Frankfurt am Main (there was no place else left to sit, she'd looked). I know how that sentence reads, and it wasn't but not for lack of my trying.

With all due respect to The Magi, that is my most enduring Christmas memory and I suspect will be for the rest of my life. Admittedly it colors my perspective on the holidays and casts a warm glow that bathes every memory in a happiness that it might not otherwise hold, but judging from the way we each seem to pause when we encounter one another in the crowded shops as the shopping days dwindled down and took an extra moment for those around us, I'm not alone in my feelings.

I hope your Christmas is as wonderful as you wish it to be and that peace and harmony (not just a sense or scent of them, but the genuine article) you experience today is such that it becomes more than a memory, but rather, a goal to achieve everyday as the new year soon begins. And before you ask, that is NOT a candid of me atop our living room tree, but Merry Christmas to you as well!
-bill kenny  

Monday, December 24, 2012

Grateful as a Grapefruit

I got to be a dad yesterday which, technically I am all the time but when your 'kids' are adults, not so much or at least not so often. In the course of baking holiday treats, Christmas cookies, for the neighbors, Michelle thinks she managed to inhale some powered sugar or something and it irritated and agitated and aggravated her throat so much that she had trouble getting any sleep Saturday evening.

It's a carrying-on of an old tradition in a way. Many years ago when both of our children were small and lived with us, we used to spend the Christmas holiday in New Jersey with my family, or portions of it, at my Mom's house in Princeton and every year, like clockwork, in the days leading up to our trek from the Nutmeg State to the Garden State, Michelle would get sick. I'm impressed with how life works out even while I'm busy making other plans.

We spent less than an hour in the Emergency Room, the Convenient Care operation (for whose convenience is never clear to me no matter how often I end up there) and we'll take it easy for the next couple of days to see what. if anything happens next. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the nothing happening option but that's because that's the drill they taught me in Dad School. I'm not sure that makes me as grateful as a grapefruit but as long as I don't become as persnickety as a persimmon (or Richard Simmons for that matter) all will be well, especially since I'm hoping Santa didn't bring me a unitard.
-bill kenny    

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Doesn't Need a Color

We're all a little sad in my neck of the woods. Jeepers, Wally, it's the Sunday before Christmas and there isn't any snow. Okay, I'm not sad a little sad; I'm not sad at all. Since I'm being honest, may as well do the Full Monty. Snow is just about my least favorite vegetable. Born-Again Rastafarian Country and Western singers are my absolute least favorite. Snow (on occasion) can have an amusement value similar to the Republican Party  unless you track it into the house and then brace for a  'why didn't you wipe your feet?' harangue you richly deserve, on both accounts.

I didn't always dislike snow-I suspect right around the time I was considered old enough to go out and shovel it I developed antipathy towards it. That and spending thirteen months north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland in the middle Seventies where there was seven feet of it on the ground when we got there, in September. Yeah,  that might've had something to do with my feelings towards snow, come to think of it.

Getting a snow blower three or maybe four years ago did nothing to improve my feelings about the white stuff. If the snow blower had come with an attachment that pushed the thing around all by itself, and then muscled the device back under the steps or into the garage from whence it originated maybe; but it didn't, so not so much.

Faced with another 'green Christmas' I, too, make all those 'well, global warming is finally working in my favor' jokes and practice wearing my long face lest any of my neighbors suspect anything. Unless, of course, they, too do the very same thing which I hadn't actually considered until just now at this keyboard.

Those sneaks! I am outraged! Stung to the quick not so much that they'd pull a stunt like that but that it would take me this long to catch on, assuming they did pull it off and I am catching on and sometimes I'm not too sure of either of those assumptions/assertions.

I do know that stores are open late today and gift cards are regarded (usually by retail outlets issuing them) as the perfect gift but remember, too, a gift card tells the recipient 'this is exactly how much I think of you.' I think my work here is done for today. Frohe Weinachten, y'all (that's for all the southern Germans, a/k/a Bavarians).  
-bill kenny

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nowhere Now or Near Where I Should Be

I realize as the days wear down in 2012 that each year is the same length (leap year palaver aside) and yet the older I get the shorter each one seems. I dread the arrival of 2013 since part of me believes it will already be over by the early afternoon of New Year's Day.

I remember being a kid, barely, and thinking I might not be able to wait until I was 'old enough'- the for what, exactly, was never all that clear to me but whatever it was I was working on being old enough for was sure gonna be swell. You betcha.

Here I am, sixty plus years on and I know as a kid then I never knew anyone as old as I am now. I watch everyone else's children in the grocery, in the mall or walking (a little unsteadily for the very youngest still on the sidewalk), I want to tell them 'take your time! There's nothing to see here.' Except, they wouldn't believe me, and I wouldn't have either when I was their age and their parents will call the cops on some grey-haired weirdo bothering their promise and progeny.

That leaves me to be a prisoner of my past. I can't describe what the world was like when I was their age-so much of what made my world my world has disappeared that, in a way, it's a cruel irony that I should have outlived it instead of vice versa. I have some artifacts, some knick knacks and bric-a-brac from back in the day. I'm hoping some of them might be worth more than a thousand words as I'm already tired and still have all of today ahead of me.
-bill kenny

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Tournament of Lies

I wasn't sure I needed to write this today-actually to write anything today. Am still unsure, truth to tell. This, many insist, is the day 'the Mayan calendar' has indicated the world may end. For those engaged in one-night stands, I suppose nothing changes (except the sheets, fingers crossed). The rest of us probably have some packing to do. I'm thinking just a toothbrush. I'll get everything else at Heaven's toll-free shop. 

T. S. Eliot is unavailable for a comment on all of this. I tried. His spokesman told me-well, you can guess the pithy response I got. Messrs Stipe, Buck and Company long ago went on record about all of that with all of this. They are so screwed on royalties if today really is it, and that's a shame since they will make a killing otherwise.

This thing posts at the dawning of a new day, every day, unless I've really goobered it up (and that has been known to happen). I don't know when you're getting here but if it's during daylight, you may still have enough time yet to go get that dry cleaning, assuming you are a true believer and want to look your very best at the Rapture or whatever it will be called.

For the non-skeptics in the crowd, I'm not sure we're going to be here long enough to eat all those bananas (and why did you buy so many green ones in the first place?) but please take one and pass the bunch to your neighbor. Be careful of the tarantulas. And, no judgements here, but I think three minute eggs for breakfast may be pushing the envelope more than it's worth.

The joke, if there is one, in all of this might be that the world ends for untold and untotaled numbers everyday-whether it's individually or collectively, whimper or bang ('it'll leave a big hole where we could've sang'), is of moot import in the ever unfolding tale of the expandable and unbreakable universe.

If nothing happens, see you here tomorrow; one of us will be wearing a chagrined expression. And if the Apocalypse does arrive later today and there's sentient life anywhere else across the galaxy, perhaps, but only perhaps, it'll look up just after the flash/boom and wonder what happened. Or not.
-bill kenny

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Belated not Forgotten

I failed to mention my father's eighty-ninth birthday, which was yesterday. Like my memories of him, I spend a great deal of energy giving my time to total strangers and often overlook the simple safe-at-home issues and items that actually enrich beyond measure both an examined and unexamined life.

He wouldn't have minded; as a matter of fact he didn't even notice. He died in 1981, too soon said many people who only knew him from the person he chose to share with them and to my extreme chagrin, as one of those who had lived a not inconsequential part of my life under his roof.

I spent most of life, to include decades after his passing, adamant in my insistence that we didn't get along because we were so vastly different. It was through attempting to help raise our two children that I finally accepted that we didn't get along because we chose to NOT get along and that happened because we were very much of the same mind and temperament.
Each of us growing up, and there were six kids, has a dad story from the cuckoo clock that fell off the wall behind his chair, practically braining him and paying for that attempt to this one, my favorite and one I witnessed: Dad didn't believe in credit cards. Maybe a remnant of having come of age in the Great Depression, maybe a distrust for the banking industry in which he had first worked before becoming a teacher. No matter. While In God We Trust was very true in his house, Cash was King.

I was with him the day he decided to trade in his Navy blue 1966 Chrysler Newport station wagon, in my memory two or more football fields long, and ended up in the Landis Ford dealership in North Brunswick, New Jersey with a very young and very nervous salesman, Ed G. As I learned years later, Dad was Ed's first sale but sure didn't look the part.

Dad wore suits to teach and went from one extreme to the other, so to speak, looking like the dog's breakfast when he was dressing down around the house. Actually, he looked like a homeless person, as all of his knocking around clothes were 'painting clothes-- not portraits or lanscapes, but interior walls and ceiling, sides of houses, fences. My memory is that he often got more paint on himself than whatever it was he was painting.        

When he showed up in the dealership on the Route One traffic circle the first two people inside we encountered directed him towards the parts department (considering his mechanical ability (and lack thereof), that would have been catastrophic, said the child who inherited his own ability from him) and he was more than a little annoyed, which meant he was sarcastic to the point of caustic because with Dad when you bought a ticket, you got the whole ride.

Having trapped Ed, the salesman, he bombarded him with questions about a Ford station wagon in the showroom-I don't recall the questions and since Dad knew nothing about cars, I won't even imagine what the queries might have covered. Whatever it was, Ed must've answered correctly because Dad pronounced himself 'sold!' and asked 'how much' signalling the car before them. Ed came back from a quick conference wit the infamouse sales manager with a number and Dad said 'okay,' reached into his pocket and pulled out a wallet held together with thick rubber bands, the kind you used on shin protectors under your long socks when you played soccer.

I remember looking at Ed as Dad opened the wallet, spread the contents out on the hood of the car and counted out thousands and thousands of dollars in large denominational bills, invited Ed to double check it and asked how long it would take to get the car ready to drive home. Of course that's exactly what happened-all the stuff in the middle, like trading the old car in, getting the new one prepped, I have no memory about-but the wariness on Ed's face melting into a look of incredulity as this man peeled off a stack of paper dollars large enough to buy that car outright, that memory will stay with me until I die.

Try as I have so often to not be my father's son, I am as I guess everyone becomes of those who raised them which means our children have a fate awaiting them I would have never foreseen. Suspect I know somebody who would have, though, and I can almost see him now, with his glasses slid down on his nose so he could take your full measure unassisted or holding them in his right hand while he nibbled on the tip of the frame, with just a hint of a spark in his eyes. Happy Birthday, Dad.
-bill kenny      

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Between the Lines of Fear and Blame

I've struggled for a way to write about "Norwich politics" which, in theory, is the point of this Wednesday weekly (or weakly) drill. I'll concede that I don't often do so with the same regularity a certain brand of spaghetti is enjoyed in an area of a city celebrated for the color of its Sox, but I do try. As a matter of fact I've been told by family and friends on numerous occasions that I can be very trying.

This is a week where Newtown is everywhere. And to me, that means Everywhere is Newtown, including  Norwich. That so many people from across Norwich joined hands Saturday evening to remember those whose hurt will never heal in a town very like our own in so many ways may be all the solace possible for so many people who worry about the country we have become.

Reading, as have you, of  the ceaseless stream of seemingly random violence in places as diverse as Denver, Chicago and Portland to name just three in recent days and weeks did not prepare any of us in any way when all of that happened here in the state we call home.

For those, like me, who question the existence of God, there can be no doubt, arguments about angels dancing on the head of a pin notwithstanding, that evil is real, alive and that it came to visit a place we associate with safety, succor and security, an elementary school filled with adults who gave the fullest measure of devotion to save those least able to save themselves, the children.

I cannot pretend to have any original insights into what happened in Newtown. All I can offer is to hold the parents, siblings and friends of those who were murdered in my thoughts as the survivors hold them in their hearts. I'd hope for better days for all of them and all of us but hope and the belief that better days are coming may have also been casualties last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Newtown helps remind us (me, at least) to keep things in context, perhaps better than we have in recent months. And by that, I mean 'pressing issues' such as the 'fiscal cliff', the ongoing state budget shortfall, and the economic doldrums we find in our own city's borders and across our region. All matters of utmost concern, requiring serious and strenuous effort by people of every political persuasion working together with open minds and enough shared good will to do what we all know needs to be done. We've lacked the will and have paid the price.

So too is it with Newtown. We choose to see each incident of inchoate violence as isolated, as a singular  tragedy, rather than as a part of one larger and endlessly continuing episode of an anger so profound we fear  any effort to address issues such as personal responsibility and gun control by insisting emotions are too raw or 'it's too soon.'

In reality it's not soon, it's too late, much too late for brave, young teachers and even younger children and  grieving relatives who will be put very small coffins into the cold, cold earth, attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and who will carry until their dying day a hole in their hearts that time will not ever heal.

I'd like to think the downtown police station in Norwich is still important, or how ethical accountability by all officials, elected and appointed, is deserving of comment but all of that is for another day. Today is a day to hold our loved ones closer and see in their eyes a reflection of how each of us can be the difference in the world, today and everyday.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some Light Housekeeping

Holiday season makes me crazy and moves me to shift to drive-by mode for a lot of things, this being one of them. So today I need to pause and neaten up the area on an item I've been dragging around since July (!) and got to put to bed, technically close to bed, yesterday afternoon. I'll know in a couple of weeks the exact date when Sigrid and I get to actually read a bedtime story in the past tense and turn the page on the whole episode, but here's to hoping.

And for having any hope at all I have to thank Alan and Victoria even if I had no idea who Victoria was the first time she called me on my cell (which rarely rings and that's a good thing for the caller). She's a person whose energy just catches you up and when I answered the phone I felt as if I were joining a conversation already in progress.

I initially assumed she was either an encyclopedia salesperson or a Jehovah's Witness but felt it would be impolite in either event to interrupt her until she was finished. The irony was that when she neared her conclusion, she mentioned our son and it was then that I realized who she was and, no, I didn't get a deal on a thesaurus. But she did figure out I had had NO idea as to who she was. That took some living down.

Almost five months to the day after I held my breath and Sigrid held her nose and we both jumped, we stuck the landing, in the purest sense of the US Air Force truism and the weight has disappeared. Despite Jackson's insistent assertion to the contrary, I don't pretend to know the dynamics within and without the practice (and whoever said 'practice makes perfect' hit it right on the head) but I would emphasize I can think of two of whom I am at this moment extremely fond.    
-bill kenny

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Sound of Strangers Sending Nothing to My Mind

This holiday season has been a little strange in my house for some external as well as less-than external reasons that have combined to make some of the days more arduous than others. I'm thinking this time of  year, I'm not the only one who's been having this happen to him.

I've come up with a trick that involves playing keep away from part of your brain by the rest of your brain. If you're shopping and caught in lines, tell yourself in five minutes you'll be checked out. It doesn't matter if you are, it matters that you make yourself believe you will be. And then, in five minutes when you're no more than two steps ahead of where you were five minutes ago, play the game again.

I will confess I didn't develop this trick for the holiday season. I developed it to endure the unending barrage of Linda McMahon television advertisements and not from when she ran against Murphy but from when she ran against Blumenthal. I'm working on my Tom Foley antidote but I can take my time as that contest doesn't happen for another two years.

And I actually figured it out for my early-morning sessions at the gym, on the treadmill or the cross trainer. I hate exercise, and by that I mean everything connected with it. I hate the start, the middle, the end and the part after the end, the neatening up part, which is the worst of all. I discovered quite a long time ago my one actual talent is lying. I am so good at it, if they ever make lying an Olympic event you'll see me at the medals podium with the biggest one. See? Told you I was good.

Thirty minutes in a gym to run and not go anywhere is an especially long time, particularly when the choices of things to look at is an overhead plasma filled with Fox News (the gym guys love themselves some Fox news), or the person next to you who is sweating like you are but more often than not is going much faster or farther or smoother than whatever it is you're doing on your machine.

I had a guy walking past me by one day, stop and then come back and watch me as I was slowly killing myself on the cross trainer, leaning back so he could see the speed and distance displays, look at me quizzically and say 'I didn't realize they went that slow.' I silently wished him something anatomically impossible to do because I couldn't catch my breath long enough to say  it out loud.

Now, I just tell myself, three more minutes or promise myself when I get to the next mile traveled or the next decade of calories burned I'll call it a session no matter how long it's been. It's how, in theory, I could talk myself into walking across the United States. It's not technically a lie, I guess, but just about a moonlight mile from the truth. Try it, and don't be surprised when it works, though if you can convince yourself you are, you're half way home.
-bill kenny    

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Putting Names to the Souls of the Departed

No other animal works harder to rationalize our sometimes unthinking behavior than do we-no other animal is even capable of seeing the absurdity and contradiction of how we so often live our lives. Because the carnage at Newtown, Connecticut, happened in the state in which I reside I'm haunted by a feeling very similar to the aftermath of 9-11-01.

I suspect you've been doing what I've been doing: watching television and reading rafts of on-line commentary and analysis (a three-dollar word for what on my block we called a WAG) nearly non-stop assuming, persisting in the belief might be a better phrase, that at some point a penny is going to drop, a light is going to go on and some one, somewhere will say or write something that causes us each to have an 'aha!' moment and understand what has gone on.

Both of us are only reluctantly starting to accept the notion that there may well never be a nice, neat, explanation with a timeline and expert testimony that explains the inexplicable. Leaving so many moms and dads and friends and relatives of the deceased (an abstraction of the first order) not to even start to think about the surviving school-children with holes in their hearts that will never heal.

Those murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School weren't 'victims,' they were people, mostly incredibly tiny and very young people. The Innocents included:

Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Rachel Davino, 29; Olivia Engel, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley, 6; Dawn Hochsprung, 47; Madeleine F. Hsu, 6; Catherine V. Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6;
Avielle Richman, 6; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Mary Sherlach, 56; Victoria Soto, 27; Benjamin Wheeler, 6 and
Allison N. Wyatt, 6.

"This is a prayer for the souls of the departed" and sadly we should all know it by heart.
-bill kenny

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Time Can Bend You Down

The events yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut are yet another tragedy beyond my powers of speech and thought to fathom, much less comprehend. As a father of two adults who will always by my children (neither of whom are involved in yesterday's carnage and catastrophe) I very much admired the words of the Father-in-Chief yesterday when he spoke of the emotions every parent, everywhere, fears but feels at moments such as these. 

As a matter of full disclosure I should tell you that I know no one in Newtown, Connecticut, as I request of the larger-than life media personalities across my state and throughout my country that we hold all the arguments on every aspect of the gun and gun control issue until after the grieving moms and dads have had an opportunity to bury their children. 

Your position(s) on the topic doesn't upset me in any sense, nor should mine, but I worry about our timing. No one's dead baby (and every child no matter old or young child is someone's baby) should be wielded as a visual aid or to underscore someone else's talking point.

Our satellite TV news trucks have become clown cars and the sh*t seems to gush from them  as they careen around the next corner and lurch to a stop at the scene of the obscenity. Those high paid superstar anchors and anchorettes tuck and roll, hitting the news desk even before the van has come to a full stop and the technical director is fading up the opening music while simultaneously racking the closing credits. Cue the talent.  

We have a crew on scene as the churches empty, the hearses slowly roll by, and the graves are dug but not yet filled. Music swells, caps and out. Fade to black. Then we strike the set, load the vans and head off to the next point on the distant horizon. The dogs bark but the caravan moves on to 'our next really big shoe.' 

Is it too much to ask that this time we behave otherwise? For those who believe in a God, and at the risk of eternal damnation might I ask, how does your God let this happen over and over and over again to the most innocent of the innocents? All I can do as a parent is hold those who yesterday lost a child in my thoughts while they hold their lost loved ones in their hearts.
Our hearts are with the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut.
-bill kenny

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Critical Mass

The other day I stumbled across a posting our son, Patrick Michael, offered on one of the social media platforms of which he is a member. It was (as best as I can remember it) a borrowed observation that noted one dies twice-once when you physically die and the second time when your name is said out loud by another human being for the final time on this earth.

Perhaps that's what motivates me to share this with you today, colored by an uneasy feeling I have looking at a calendar and staring at the face in the mirror, that it's much later than I think. It's an event, Wreaths Across America, happening across the United States tomorrow and not just here in Norwich but the one here in Norwich is all I'm familiar with, so with (and/or without) your kindest indulgence, I'll work from the familiar to the less than.

The veterans' organizations in Norwich take the lead on many of the recognition and remembrance observances held here and also alternate primary responsibilities so this year American Legion Post 104 will conduct the ceremony beginning at noon at Taftville's Sacred Heart Cemetery. This image is from last year.

Your mileage may vary in terms of staging and participation-residents turned out last year in goodly numbers, pleasing the organizers and doing a terrific job of representing The Rose City. If you check your city or town's website calendar activities you'll probably get enough details to help get you to your ceremony on time and have enough background to better appreciate what's going on.

There are seven ceremonial wreaths-one for each of the five services as well as the Merchant Marine and a POW/MIA wreath. Families who sponsored a wreath will also place one on the grave of their loved one.

As the name suggests, Wreaths Across America will be conducted at over 750 cemeteries across the United States tomorrow with some 400,000 wreaths placed by volunteers, like you and I, who found a few moments in the hectic of the holiday season to honor those who directly (and sometimes) indirectly allow us to enjoy what we have today. It's just a moment to recognize a lifetime and often a life's work. Perhaps it's only an eyeblink but perhaps it's another link forged in a chain of immortality.
-bill kenny

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hello, Gorgeous

Today is the day my family is in a New York State of Mind, which is sort of unfair because I am so not thinking of Albany, or Brooklyn for that matter but of my #1 island destination, Manhattan.

Sigrid, Michelle and I (Pat is working; someone has to) are taking/have taken (depends on when you're reading this; you snooze, you lose) a Metro North train from New Haven to Grand Central and will wend our way (we are wascally wabbits) from the Freedom Tower to Macy's, to Rockefeller Center, to Central Park and other points, hither, thither and yon (those, I believe, were the names of the Lennon Sisters. Yanni was their brother).

The weather promises to be 'seasonably cold' (whatever that means) and clear though if it were 200 below (Celsius) with the skies darkened by clouds of flying frogs chasing swarming locusts, that would be fine with me as I'm a huge fan of Manhattan and incidental distractions are just that, incidental.

Speaking of which what is there about the 21st century the railroad folks don't get? I spent an hour plus thinking it had to be me but nope, I don't think so. Follow along and marvel. I am able to look at Metro North schedules on line, and actually order and pay for my train tickets in the ether (they are actually cheaper on line than at the station, an incentive, I would think, to order and pay for them electronically) but I can't print the tickets out and have them.

Instead the railroad mails them to me (for an extra charge I can get them via express mail), but only in specified quantities per order (and they'll break up the ticket order to make that happen). Seriously? The days of America's railroads rolling in the dough are distant memories, they are actually historical footnotes.

That they would subsidize, indirectly, another fossil, the USPS, should not, I suppose, surprise me as much as it disappoints me. Welcome to the time-honored tradition of featherbedding, 2012 Edition, brought to me by the Whale Oil Industry (Anachronisms can be fun, I suppose, as I put on my high-button shoes).

That's why the first order of business today in New Haven is to purchase train tickets at the window in the station instead of heading for the platform. But you know what? I am so looking forward to today that nothing, absolutely nothing, to include Metro North, Michael Bloomberg or Mothra (sorry-I got into an "M" thing there and had to follow through), will dim or darken my enjoyment.

In the days to come, I fully expect to post pictures, as awful as many of them will be (I am taking them after all) of anything that crosses my camera lens. Except train tickets-because I have a digital camera and pictures of train tickets must be taken with film and then delivered to the drug store, preferably by horse and carriage, to see what develops. There's a Russian Army dressed in pastel shades-suspect that, too, shall pass.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

That Same Small Town in Each of Us

As has been the case often and with excellent reason in this newspaper in recent days, I, too, offer congratulations to the players, coaches and families of the Norwich Free Academy football team. Thank all of you for not only a terrific season of football but for providing Norwich some teachable off-field life lessons we should be able to use everyday.

The Wildcats' NFA football team is a wonderful example of combining ability, heart and skill with a plan to succeed and the will to execute that plan. Everyone connected to the NFA football program did more than just 'love' football or 'want' to win. They understood there would be sacrifices needed and necessary to achieve both the team's long term goals, playing for a state championship as well as interim milestones, measured in successful practices and victories during the regular season.  

They had a plan that not only kept them focused and fixed on that long-term goal on the horizon where they wished to go but also served as a tool to measure their incremental progress on the gridiron and their process for achieving what they set out to do. 

Their plan was flexible enough to accommodate change because of an opponent's propensity or a game-day circumstance but also robust enough that they never lost sight of their purpose and their pledge to one another. They were the epitome of the word "team," all season long in victory and most especially in displaying grace and class following their loss Friday evening. 

Unlike other teams I, and you, can think of, though not any who play on artificial or natural surfaces, unless you consider municipal buildings to be one or the other, they owned every moment of their season and every action they took or chose to not take. 

At no time did anyone associated with the team offer an alibi masquerading as a reason or any form of an excuse or push and shove one another out of the spotlight of fan adulation. I can only hope the rest of us were paying attention.

Next season will be here soon enough. Some of this year's outstanding players will graduate in the spring but their places will be taken by new faces with different talents but with the same  hunger. More importantly, the method that produced this season's consistent excellence is in place and has proven itself so fans should anticipate talented youngsters delivering their effort, according to plan, towards clearly defined goals.        

Speaking of plans, tonight at six in Council chambers in City Hall, the Commission on the City Plan unveils the 2012 Plan of Conservation and Development, the road map to what's next in Norwich and the blueprint for success necessary to complement all that wishful thinking and hoping for better days that far too many of us seem to think is leadership. It isn't. Ask people who have filled trophy cases the secret to their success and they'll tell you it's no secret at all. Just plan your work and work your plan. Hope to see you tonight at six.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Behavior and Motivations

Someone once suggested to me that everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac and everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot. Most days I fluctuate between the two on the highways and byways I travel and on rare occasion am both at the same time.

I was thinking about that and smiling to keep from grimacing after getting passed yesterday by someone driving home on CT Route 12, a blue highway, who having tired of drafting off of my car, and unable to maneuver his front wheels onto and in to the boot of my Forester so he could be even closer, blew by me in a no passing zone.

I live and work between two of the largest and most successful casinos in the world and assume whenever anyone with out of state license plates passes me, it's a car bound and down for one or the other (and depending on the hour and how Lady Luck is treating the guest, perhaps both).

It was a Chevy Cruze with Jersey tags. We met again at the traffic signal to go left over the Pequot Bridge towards the Mohegan Sun. The bridge has been around close to forever and was never intended to serve as a bi-directional funnel for tens of thousands of cars every day but it has since the two gaming establishments opened (we don't use the word casino because of its connotation).  While everyone agrees a two-lane bridge is definitely NOT an optimal solution, no one wants to pony up the  bucks it would take to make the bridge bigger.

Do I see a San Luis Rey moment in the future? Yeah it could happen, because anything could happen though I'm hoping it's well after I decide I'm so fabulously wealthy I can stop working. At that moment, devil take the hindmost. And, without intending to boast, I did visit with our investment advisor last week to map out a retirement plan.

The good news, as I understood his charts and chat, was if I were to retire tomorrow (which it seems legally I could) Sigrid and I would live very comfortably for the rest of our lives. Assuming, he was  required by law to add, that we were dead by Saturday morning. 

None of that mattered to the guy on Cruze-control in the next lane. All he was concerned about was burning daylight when he could be losing a house payment or winning a fortune. He peered at my car, obviously trying to place me. I guess some objects really are closer than they appear in the mirror.

As our signal went green, because I was in the closer of the two lanes I had the shorter of the left turns and was effortlesly back in front of him. I could feel my jaw draw itself into the most dazzling of smiles (and I have quite a few of those) as I  flashed on my favorite Elaine moment from Seinfeld and left him to admire my bumper.
-bll kenny      

Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Unread Book in the Library of Life

I was shopping yesterday, actually I was assembling my salad for today. I have pretty much the same thing-three different kinds of lettuce (okay, two lettuce and one spinach; all the green stuff looks the same after awhile), tomatoes, as many different kinds of peppers as are offered (hopefully green , red, orange and yellow), cranberries, diced chicken and fruit-this time of year grapefruit, yellow and pink though I like it more when the offerings include strawberries and slices of kiwi.

On the other side of the salad bar was a woman with a face like bad weather. Very hard lines and very deep marks between the far edge above her left eyebrow to just to the left of her temple. The kind of face we all see all the time, very quickly and furtively and then we look away. People such as she are waiting for us to make eye contact with them because that will serve as just enough pretext to be an invitation for her to tell us exactly how it happened.

Except we, or at least I, don't want to know. Someone, somewhere walked into a door or a wall or a cabinet but all the time it was really a fist and it wasn't walked into at all. It was clenched and balled and speeding at them at the speed of rage and would have hurt them even more badly if they hadn't turned their head or ducked or perhaps just fallen down at first impact.

I don't want to know not because I don't care, because I do, but because I can't fix her or change her or help her unless and until she wants to do this herself. Too many people stay with other people in abusive relationships and you can ask any cop or any judge but this time of year is always when you have the most and largest number of damaged people. Something about that Christmas magic which makes people who enjoy hurting other people want to do it more or more often, I've never understood which or why.

This is what I would have told her in the store yesterday but she wouldn't have listened. Maybe if you've come this far on the page because you think I'm describing you, maybe I am and maybe you'll read this and at least someone will get something out of yesterday besides me and all I got was upset.

Here goes: No one can make you a victim without your permission. Trust me on this one. I know all about it and deep down inside so, too, do you. Do not allow someone else to make you into somebody you were not born to be. You are allowed to be happy because you are a good person and nothing anyone can say or do to you can or will change that.

There are too many silent screams and broken dreams in this world. Stop waiting for the pain to end. It never will of its own accord. You have to stop it and once you start to do that, all the rest of us can help. Go.    
-bill kenny

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Carol of the Bills

I don't imagine you'll be especially surprised if I tell you I do very close to NO shopping for my wife or either of our children at Christmas. I don't call this time of year 'the holiday'-if anything, I would call it The Holiday, capitalization and emphasis intentional, and not intending any disrespect to you if you're celebrating Hanukkah or Winter Solstice or What-Do-I-Know-or-Care because I don't. I was raised to call this 'holiday event' Christmas so thanks for your political correctness in letting me do that.

Meanwhile, all I do is follow around behind my wife and make sure whatever she decides finds its way to the car and ultimately into the house. The system has functioned like clockwork for thirty-year Christmases in some form or other.

Yesterday, we varied the routine by enjoying a musical interlude in the middle of the afternoon a short drive the house in neighboring New London, courtesy of the New London Community Orchestra, of which our daughter, a violist, is a member. It was marvelous, though I admit I could be biased.

Except I'm not-they really are wonderful. They are very fortunate in having a terrific patron, the Harbour Towers, a spectacular condominium project on Bank Street place at their disposal the ballroom for their performances which are really fund raisers to finance their community outreach at New London public schools for music lessons for those in need. Quite frankly, I think everyone needs music so I'm happy to go.

And yesterday's show gave me the smiles and modified joy I needed to take on a neighborhood mall and emerge hours later if not exactly victorious, then Victorious Secret. C'mon, I worked hard for that one and had the element of surprise as an ally. And I hope it made you smile, much in the manner as our daughter and the entire ensemble made me smile yesterday. I'm starting to think there is a Christmas spirit and it tastes a lot like razzleberry dressing.  
-bill kenny      

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Forty Years and Fifty-Nine days

Today, for all those who came of age with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, marks the 32nd anniversary of the murder of John Lennon by Mark Chapman. I'm offering that link in the interests of  further proving there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. That our two children were both born after Lennon's murder gives me pause about the world I helped give them. 

John Lennon was a part of the soundtrack of my growing up years from teen through adult. If I were being truthful, and today is probably as good a day as any to try some truth, there was a portion of his post-Beatles material that never spoke to me in quite the same way as his earlier solo work or any of the Fab Four material. 

After his five year self-imposed silence, his comeback album (which is what everyone called it at the time) in the fall of 1980, Double Fantasy, was, as I referred to it on air at the radio station I worked for, 'a decent EP' (Extended Play), with some material that didn't work for me at all. However, I always felt "Beautiful Boy" was exquisite (even more so when our own was born less than twenty month later). Obliviot that I was, I just assumed Lennon and his music would always be a part of my life (and that of any children my wife and I were to have).

How perversely ironic that he sang of 'patience' in that song and less than a month after the album's release, he would be dead. His son, Sean, the inspiration for the song was to grow up without his father (as did all of us, though to a different degree) and has worked everyday to live within and without the shadow of the legend and near-myth his father became. 

The two most challenging days over which we have the least control are today and tomorrow ("Nobody told me there'd be days like these"), but in looking at the darkness that both often have in such abundance, Lennon's music should help make our appreciation of the light and this, The Season of Light and Hope, that much more pronounced for all the days that remain whose number is unknown to each of us.
-bill kenny

Friday, December 7, 2012

Forever Young

With Christmas now an bacchanal of conspicuous consumption whose first gluttonous promotional push has crept all the way to Thanksgiving Day (so the Charge of the Light Brigade takes on a meaning Lord Tennyson could have ne'er dreamed possible), a day like today, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, is almost pushed to the side.

Almost. But in light of the mortality rate of those who fought in our Second World War,  not quite or at least not quite yet. The best way to remember the sacrifice of all those who gave so much for so many others is to never forget their selflessness and to work always for peace.

Tomorrow we can talk more about the latter, but today I'll offer the thoughts and words of those who cannot ever forget what they hoped they'd never have to remember.  
-bill kenny

Thursday, December 6, 2012

For Frank, Clarence and the Doubting One

I have never been able to get close enough in real life to see a duck to confirm or disprove that it (he? she?) indeed, actually has lips. Based on the AFLAC duck, I'm thinking it's yeah.

Tweets, or no tweets, His Holiness, Pope Benedict the XVI, is without a doubt, Catholic. That leaves:

Subject to your questions that concludes my briefing. Let's break for lunch.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Choice, Chance and Change

We're at that annual point in the calendar where festive feelings and festivals of hope and happiness are everywhere. A week ago last Saturday the Norwich Winterfest Parade and lighting of City Hall thrilled throngs from across the city and around the region. We've already observed the first Sunday of Advent and this Saturday evening at sundown, 25 Kislev, we celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah

Most of us look forward to this 'most wonderful time of the year' as an opportunity to renew old acquaintances with friends and family and sharing memories of happy, past times while looking forward to better days yet to come. 

This is a season ideally suited to underscore and reaffirm the importance for each us, both as individuals and as residents of a city with a rich past and unproven future promise, the importance of Life's 3 C's: Choices, Chances and Changes.

Each of us must make a choice to take a chance or our lives will never change. Some people feel the key lies in the change but I believe making and owning that one conscious choice is critical to recognizing an opportunity or a chance and then building on that to create a new circumstance and a different situation, in other words, a change.

Opportunities can be missed or can be golden. They cannot be both and once the Rubicon is crossed the decision is made and managing the consequences becomes the chance to change. Continuing to discuss the would've, could've and should've is wasted effort unless we choose to act and embrace change. Nothing ever happens if you don't make it happen.  

Saying 'no' as we did in this city a month ago to a bonding initiative to build a new public safety building is not the last word either on the community's commitment to public safety or on the importance of elected and appointed city leaders in defining and defending their vision of our  downtown's growth and improvement. The decision made was a first, not a final, step on a journey that we will make either running toward our future or from it. There's no standing still.

The holiday season is one of hope and you know my feelings about that word (hope is NOT a plan). We have three and half weeks left in a year that began, as they all do, with so much promise. How much progress we measure as the days draw down is, of course, important not only because we need to know where we are but to better decide where we go next.

Ray Bradbury, of Fahrenheit 451 fame, offered "living is jumping off the cliff and building wings on your way down."  Isn't it time we trusted ourselves to soarChoice, chance and change or lather, rinse and repeat. You decide; I already have.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brevity is the Soul of Communications

I did not know that yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the first Short Message Service, SMS. If you had sent me an SMS over the weekend to alert me I'd have probably looked at it cross-eyed trying to guess what you had typed. I'm not a fan of them at all. I understand them, at least in theory, but in actual practice, the atrocious spelling they seem to perpetuate and carry over into non-SMS situations at the very least leaves me cold.

It's hard to believe the flood of revenue cellphone service companies receive every day from texting all began quietly in a barn near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in a crisp December not unlike this one when a non-union carpenter, Joseph, sent his great-with-child wife, Mary, that simple phrase 'Merry Christmas.' From such humble beginnings we have scaled the dizzying heights of  OMG, YOLO, ROFLMAO creating whole conversations out of words that aren't words in any language, ever. Makes me want to punch a penguin (that's a seasonal reference) or a nun (though the latter will punch back).

If the other species on this planet find out what we use our thumbs for (and how often), Jack Horner will wish for something other than plums. Perhaps he should tell it to the Marines who probably have thousands of Twitter followers-Twitter being to communication what Justin Bieber is to The Beatles.

And yet, having said that, I have to backtrack and note that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, is about to embark on his solo twit (I have no idea how to phrase that and neither do you so spare me). The difficult challenge for him may be in keeping the tweets to under 140 characters. I'm thinking about the loaves and fishes and how quickly these things get out of hand.

As a FARC who may have more than a casual interest in leveraging the technology to access the mainframe of heaven, I wonder if he'll hear confessions and what Penance might look like: #OMGURsogoing2hell.

And, sad to say, 'can I get an Amen?' will seem less magical as a retweet. I suspect 2GB a month isn't going to cut it and soon enough he'll be hemorrhaging overages.  
-bill kenny

Monday, December 3, 2012

Anarchy Under the Sleeves

I'm not sure how much less attention it's possible to pay sometimes than whatever it is I pay whenever it is I do it. On a good day I am close to oblivious to both the kooky and the spooky that is part of our everyday lives thus, that both the morbid and the mundane elude my notice shouldn't be that much of a stretch.

I made a discovery yesterday that if it doesn't make me King of the Obvious at least elevates me to the medal round. My deodorant has a name; not just a brand which I actually did know and tend to buy for the most part (I go for shape if we're being honest and their container has always had the same shape, I think), but the aroma/color has a specific name.

If pressed, I'd have told you (before yesterday) 'blue' when asked; now I know it's 'Anarchy.' In much the same way as I don't know why a Miata is called that or how we came up with Screaming Yellow Zonkers, I have no clue as to why the folks who make the deodorant think anarchy is the name to sell it.

As I remembered going to the store a couple of weeks ago and getting a two-fer on a new pack of it, I went to double-check the name and learned I blew it. The double-stuff sitting on a shelf in the little room under the stairs that we call (surprise!) 'the little room' is the same color of 'Anarchy' and seemingly the same fragrance but is called 'Phoenix' and purports to be  '24 hour deodorant stick' though it wears no watch.

Not that you've asked, but it's my opinion that the folks making this stuff have way too much time and money at their disposal since their website is more complex than a Gilbert & Sullivan theatrical offering but with a dearth of snappy toe-tapping tunes. The costs of dry cleaning alone for the costumes in The Pirates of Penzance must be staggering, though considering their product I would hope not too high (I originally typed that as 'Prats;' awkward if not Freudian).

It's sort of like the guys I work with who periodically overdose on PowerPoint and obsess about including an animated slide that flies in from left to right on the screen (other way when we're talking to folks from Asian cultures and countries) to tell me that Six is Greater than Three. I knew that but I guess somethings you just can't know often or good enough. I'm looking forward to the pop-quiz; already have my own answers.
-bill kenny      

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A not too desultory phillipic

I'd like to say I found something interesting to read out here in the ether where everything you read is a truth or a falsehood or on the way to becoming one or the other.

Sometimes, it seems more like one and the other. Except, I didn't find this; it was shoved at me. Technically, I shouldn't sound so aggrieved as it was carpet bombed on a bunch of us. I don't know what anyone else made of the entreaty but I followed the recommendation and enjoyed.

As a fan Camus' The Just (Assassins), I was predisposed to liking it and then about mid-way through it, and you'll get to it as well and (I hope) enjoy the deliciousness of the wordplay, I came across this: "... he would see a calm man—no, a great man, deserving of respectful service, and only traditional sauces."

I don't think I will ever see myself as a calm man, nor will anyone else, ever. I tend to veer more towards manic and mayhem, but that's not my (main) point (I think). The movie in my head this writing inspired is much more interesting than anything on the big screen, I-Max or 3-D, at your nearest multi-plex.

Literature is where so much of our movie collection actually got its start and the terrific thing about the written word is there are no sprockets to pop or film gates to lose track of which is just as well as I've lost my harmonica, Albert.
-bill kenny

Saturday, December 1, 2012


There are instances where I celebrate large events-my Yankees winning the World Series or John Boehner's tanning lamp breaking but today is more of a quiet riot and doesn't actually involve you unless today is (also) your birthday or you know someone, or of someone, whose birthday today (also) is.

My sister, Evan Dolores, has a birthday today. My sister, 'the boss of the dog,' has a husband and children and grands as well (I'm not sure why I lose sight of that) and will, I hope observe the completion of the earth's annual orbit round the sun in a manner best suited and most pleasing to herself.

If you stop in here on  regular or irregular basis (you might want to see a doctor about that irregularity, by the way and add fiber) and are wondering where this is going, zu spat! Erbarme sich! As I already told you, it's my sister's birthday and I hope she has a  wonderful time. And I probably hope you do, too, but you're not  kith and kin so if you don't, you don't.

I remember a ridiculously long time ago giving someone a lift to see these guys back when they were absolutely amazing and, for the most part, still got along. Unless you remember the name of the other passenger in the car with us, roll the window back up and move along. Nothing to read here.
-bill kenny