Saturday, November 30, 2013

This Time Tomorrow

There's a sense of acceleration if not exhilaration in the air these days. Maybe it's the Christmas spirit, maybe it's the anticipation of however you celebrate the holidays, maybe it's the ending of yet another year and the closing of the age.

Between us, I'm not sure what it is and as the years of my life have sped by I spend less and less time regretting their passing since I cannot stop it, nor, try as I might, can I alter anything that has yet to be.

All I can control is the here and now. And not really all of the now just the split second each of us has before the next moment arrives. But that's okay. As challenging as some times in the past have been, they are in the past and what's to come is unknown and will arrive and unfold whether I worry about it or not.

Had a nice moment last night with my wife (I usually say 'my long-suffering wife' so I should this time as well) Sigrid as we enjoyed the annual Lighting of City Hall at One Union Street in the city in which we live.

We also, as is our tradition, purchased the Christmas ornament produced every year to mark the season. I think Sigrid has one for every year of the celebration and at mid day today I hope we have the time to enjoy the Winterfest Parade that's always a lot of fun as we line Broadway to celebrate ourselves.

You should try it, especially this time of year. It does a body good, and it only takes a moment and then that moment is gone, joining the previous one in unending chain of life on a small planet.

-bill kenny

Friday, November 29, 2013

Back in Black? Ack!

If you're reading this on a handheld device while standing in a line outside a big box store to snag a once-in-a-lifetime-deal that isn't on a television, a new cell phone, a refrigerator-freezer or gaming console, please go home now.

All of us who have the capabilities to read this blather have all the physical possessions we shall ever need-anything you're standing in line for now, or elbowing folks out of the way to get to later in the day as Black Friday accelerates, is sheer and absolute greed.

Thanksgiving, and this is still Thanksgiving my friend, is to celebrate with friends, old and new and not acquire more things to put in the basement or attic with the other things we already own and don't use.

Many years ago in Germany I had an acquaintance who explained Americans as "people who buy things they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't like." I really disliked him for that characterization but I always think about what he said when Black Friday rolls around and know I cannot argue with his point.

Where I live, Norwich, Connecticut, a town of about 45,000, if I were to add up all the square footage of all the shops in our downtown, occupied buildings or otherwise, I suspect it's less than the floor space in the average Super Box Store.

I smile realizing tomorrow is Small Business Saturday because, assuming you're not tuckered out from that super deal you got on the 1932 hand-carved mahogany Terraplane at MaxBucks MegaStore, you could support one or more of the local shops where you live, all of whom help make your city or town an even better place to come home to.

Perhaps to help you keep that same small town in each of us, you have where you live a semi-official start of the season such as ours here. Tonight, technically speaking this afternoon at 4:30, starting at City Hall and culminating at 6:00 PM with the arrival of the Jolly Old Elf himself (no, not Will Farrell or Bob Newhart) and the lighting of City Hall, Norwich, once again, establishes its bonafides as Connecticut's Christmas City.

We've given each other some hard knocks lately, and I'd suspect/expect a few more before the New Year arrives but we do this Christmas kick-off stuff really great and will have a terrific parade tomorrow starting at noon at Chelsea Parade. We always have room for more so if you're waiting for an invitation, this is it. And though it's been said many times, many ways.....
-bill kenny

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgivukkah

Some teachable moments are more so than others, I suppose and today has more than its share of both.

As a child, I can remember drawing those turkeys from the silhouette of my hand and bringing them home to my Mom to put on the refrigerator. Considering the size of their tribe, in later years I found it amazing that my parents didn't have a fridge the size of Long Beach Island (whose whereabouts, by the way, I'd never even heard of growing up in Jersey).

No matter how many paper turkeys are adorning various appliances in your kitchen, I hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving. And if you observe Hanukkah, here's a terrific article I found last week from Long Island's Newsday newspaper that offers a lot of history but even more insight that I think makes it worth the price of admission for those within and without its tradition.

This is as ridiculously appropriate a day as any other to be grateful for everything we have rather than mourn for what we lack. I hope however you choose to celebrate whatever holiday you do choose, it's filled with family and friends and that the afterglow lights the rest of your day and helps brighten our world.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Too Many Blessings

This is the time of the year, as the daylight grows shorter, temperatures dip and even the slightest breeze adds a crispness to the air, that many of us grow more introspective most especially as we watch the pages on the calendar signal that the start of another year is growing closer.

As has been so often the case for us in recent years and memory, the pause for the holiday season (and this year Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah both fall on the same day, tomorrow), seems to come at a ‘just in time’ moment as we take stock and recharge our emotional batteries.

Meanwhile across our country, those struggling to make a better life for themselves, their families and their communities seem to have as long a road ahead of them as they did a year ago. Progress, such as it is, sometimes seems to be more in the eye of the beholder rather than milestones on the way to a safe harbor of dignity and safety.

When many of us, sadly not all of us, gather tomorrow to celebrate ourselves, one another and the stories of our histories, we should resolve to use this holiday season to begin to remake the world in which we all live into a better place. Not just for the hungry, the hurting, the homeless or the hopeless but for all of us.

We cannot do everything, but each of us can do something and when you add together all of our somethings, what we will have accomplished is greater than the sum of each individual together.

At our house, I'm looking forward to our son and daughter both joining us for a meal that my wife, Sigrid, will have worked for days to prepare and will be a delicious memory in the time it takes to read this sentence.

I hope you and yours can be together, too. We each know people who can't because they're working-men and women of our armed forces serving in places and situations neither of us have ever heard of, in defense of a way of life we too often take for granted. Remember, too, cops on the corner, emergency response teams and all those assigned to 'holiday staffing’ duty or readying for "Black Friday" sales mania.

I didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but I have seen a lot of John Wayne movies, pilgrim, and unlike the original Thanksgiving, it's not the food or the calendar that makes a holiday. It's the people with whom we share it.

Some of us will spend part of the day counting our blessings, and pining over what we don't have. That inventory and regret makes us who we are as a species, I know, but perhaps in the 86,400 seconds that are the holiday, we can spend one of them being grateful for all that we have. Or perhaps two. 
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Other Brian's Other Song

Almost 150,000 people die everyday worldwide. That has to be true since it's in bold, right? Obviously, that's an average and, truth to tell, I'm not sure how exact a number that purports to be since I'm less than clear about the methodology used to arrive it, but if you can't trust the CIA, who came up with it, then who can you trust? The NSA? Maybe the PTA?

And the CIA website has a Kid Zone. Who'd have thunk it? Actually that works out almost perfectly as what do kids love more than cartoons? More cartoons (if you'd make the rehearsals, the audience participation segments of this blog might not be such a surprise all the time; just sayin'.)

And the only ones who like more cartoons more than kids are adults who watch Fox on Sunday nights where it's nothing but cartoons, excuse me, animation. I love that kind of rooty-tooty-snootiness. Animation rather than cartoons.

It's like at some point a generation of grocery stores ago we stopped saying noodles and started saying pasta. And upping the price, of course because you can always charge more for pasta than you'll get for noodles. Not that long ago as I remember it, the Fox guys tried to stick a show with actual people on it in the middle of their cartoon stuff and the show bombed.

Yeah, the same folks who brought me a highlighted puck when they televised hockey games, every Sunday all fall and into the winter goes from larger than life 'gridiron warriors' to cartoons and their audience never misses a beat.

Except maybe this past Sunday when one of the cartoon shows killed off one of the lead characters by having him get hit by a car he was chasing. Poor Bill O'Reilly, he deserved better. Not much, we are talking about O'Reilly after all but still. And besides he's not the one who died.

The character who got whacked was a dog named Brian voiced by the series creator, Seth McFarland, on Family Guy. I suspect many of those who suffered stoically, and not so, while McFarland annihilated the Oscars' presentation not that long ago are now wondering what took God so long to answer their prayers.

Besides, it's only a cartoon-an animated figure if you will. It could have only been more dramatic had he been eating a bowl of pasta when a case of bottled water fell on him. Preferably imported water, of course, Fiji or if the budget can't be stretched, Perrier. This is prime-time television so none of the that low power VHF stuff around here.
-bill kenny

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cold and Blue

Saturday's temperatures around here were in the middle 40's with a light breeze but yesterday's were about half the temperature and a LOT more gusty than even Guster.

All across the upper North of the USA folks were bundling up or, in my case, talking themselves out of reasons to be outside unless absolutely necessary.

I ventured outside a bit after the middle of the day more by accident than by design, returning home from an errand when I saw the harbor around which my town has built its downtown from an angle or aspect I don't recall previously in 22 years.  Here's the sequence of shots to see for yourself.

I think by the time I was done, my lips matched the water. And my shoes.
-bill kenny

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Deck the Malls

Trust me on this, I didn't take a picture Friday when I first saw it because I was driving and when I saw it yesterday walking back from the Leffingwell House Museum clean-up I resisted the temptation to hip check the holiday-garbed doofus into the oncoming traffic, but I am NOT in the Christmas spirit and forcing the issue will not help.

Coming home Friday afternoon, sitting at the light in Montville (Connecticut) from which I make a left to head onto Route 2A and from there to 395 North and home, I could see ahead on the right at the next intersection where, just beyond that is a large and very successful Chinese food place, a very large sign reading 'Happy Holidays' from a local radio station and behind the sign, sort of propping it up with his legs, Santa Claus.

Okay. It was somebody dressed like Santa Claus. Happy, now? If you're keeping track at home, this was on Friday, 22 November, or one month and three days BEFORE Christmas. I'm not happy now. I'm not an especially big fan of any Christmas brouhaha until the adventkalendar kicks in, meaning on the first of December and ideally we should take a hint from the Twelve Days of Christmas, and it is too hard dammit, and just chill out.

It's not yet Thanksgiving. if you want to stand on a street corner dressed like a Pilgrim holding a plucked turkey by its neck, yes, I concede you'll look foolish but you'll be accurate and authentic. Spare me the commercial cash-in and figure out the answer to Arlo's question.
-bill kenny

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bully for You

I imagine all of us have mixed memories of our growing up years. Places we've lived, schools we attended, people we had as friends that, until just now, we hadn't thought about in decades and others, quite frankly, whom we had striven to forget and had until just now (sorry).

From what I remember of their formative years watching our two children grow into adults, I wouldn't want to be a kid again. And from what I can very nearly can remember of my own childhood, I wouldn't want to do it even the first time, though some things are decided beyond the bounds of this page, I suppose.

It was earlier this fall when the heartaches of being a teen, or this time, a pre-teen were again a headline concern when a twelve year old child, because that's what twelve year old human beings are, children, took her own life after what was called relentless bullying.

Since it's never eaten as hot as it's served, you won't be surprised to know, as I know I wasn't, that no charges were ever filed against any of the designated adults in this tragedy as had been speculated, but a wire item crossed my path the other day that made me very sad, in terms of  inwhom else we've decided to not apply some Old Testament treatment.

Old Testament is deliberate in that I was brought up in a religion that said you should hate the sin not the sinner (unless you're Joan of Arc, or Martin Luther, or Galileo) and my grown-old (not grown-up) sensibilities support the manner in which this matter is being handled.

But then I think about Rebecca Sedgwick's parents and the holiday season and the hole in their hearts that will never heal and I shake my head in dismay over how difficult we've made it for our children to be children. They're a short time here and a long time gone, and when gone, they are gone forever.
-bill kenny

Friday, November 22, 2013

After all, it was you and me....

If you're a youngish someone who thinks, when you hear people speak today about the murder of Kennedy, that we're talking about the passing of the veejay who once toiled in the video vineyards of Music Television, MTV, this probably isn't the place to stop during a break in the battle of today, November 22nd, 2013.

And if you're someone even younger who had always wondered until just now what the "M" in MTV stood for, you must definitely need to move to somewhere else in the ether, mosh skosh my little chickadee, and don't let the mouse click hit you where the good Lord split you.

I'm sharing this quite fine essay on "JFK, Inc.", because as a 61 year-old man, it speaks to everything I have ever felt from the moment I was an earwitness to history, five decades ago.

I can recall a class at Rutgers College as a wee slip of a lad years ago, but years later as well where I attempted to improvise an argument whose premise was, but for the murder of Kennedy, The Beatles might never have succeeded in the USA, only to be most strongly and vociferously directed to attempt a rare if not previously believed physically impossible feat while stifling myself.

Kennedy, like so much else in each of our lives, is and will always be one of those moments, if you were there no words are necessary and if you weren't, no words will suffice.

 Maybe it's memory that makes the days that followed his death always seem so grey or maybe it was just the dawning of the age of uncertainty where, when you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.

Photos fade, but the heart remembers.
 -bill kenny

Thursday, November 21, 2013

He Probably Would Have Ridden in a Lincoln

Guess who didn't make it central Pennsylvania earlier this week for the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address?

Yep, me. And probably you. Stupid work and family stuff, in all likelihood. Hope no one noticed, right? If you feel better we weren't the only ones not there.

Actually a whole bunch of us were missing in action to include the President of the United States who, suggest some peanut butter conspiracy folks, and it's spreading doncha know, deliberately snubbed the event. Wow. De.Lib.Erate.Ly. That guy, huh?

Okay, maybe not so much huh or wow. It turns out despite this piece of doppel-think from the once formidable news folks of CNN. I especially like the initial quasi-oblique reference to the President's racial heritage followed shortly afterward with a more direct note for those of us who missed it the first time, or perhaps who hadn't realized the Commander in Chief is a black man.

Thanks, CNN. I'll stop adjusting the contrast on my TV set now. Explains why everyone else looked like they'd vacationed in Chernobyl.

Except, to return to the original outrage, not to be confused with original sin, well, at least not around here, the 'snub' of the anniversary, check out this, and most especially the next to last paragraph with a complete listing of the Presidents who have been to Gettysburg and, special note to those of the Hard Right Persuasion, your poster child, The Last True Republican, Ronald Reagan, isn't on the list as he never went to Gettysburg, once, during his eight years in office. That guy, huh?

My brother Adam had a marvelous piece on Lincoln, Gettysburg, and all of us on Tuesday. Realizing you probably saw it, here it is again anyway  "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here." Abe Lincoln. Barack Obama. And the rest of us. Those guys, and gals, huh?
-bill kenny

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Family Snapshot

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. There have been and will be many excellent narratives and accounts of the events that day in Dallas, Texas, and their meaning for us in the here and now.
This is not one of them. I am not apologizing for that.

I was a Child of Eisenhower born just a few months before the General was elected to be the President and, in truth, spent much of my earliest years as blithely unknowing and indifferent to his existence as he was to mine. I was in third grade and have memories of grown-ups talking about Nixon and Kennedy without any comprehension what the talk was about except that Kennedy was a Catholic.

So was I.
I and my younger sister were in Saint Peter's (sic) School in New Brunswick, New Jersey-it was after lunch (most of us brown-bagged it; I had an American cheese sandwich on white bread and bought a small carton of milk for a dime) and we were back in our classrooms after a recess break on Division Street, always blocked off so no cars could park or drive during school hours.

I was in fifth grade, in a basement classroom with high casement windows so all you could see were the socks and shoes of passers-by on the sidewalk. My teacher was Sister Thomas Anne with, I am guessing now from a distance of half a century, about fifty of us (or more) probably doing arithmetic because I have a memory of doing arithmetic after lunch in every class while at Saint Peter's.

We had no clocks in the classroom or in any classroom. There was a crucifix on the front wall above the teacher's desk and some of the more clever of us would whisper and snicker about how that was what happened to kids who didn't turn in their homework. I realized years later Sister Thomas Anne had undoubtedly heard the whispers and probably from classes long before ours.

I had to look the time of day up, later, much later, because as I said there were no clocks in the classrooms, but just before 1:30, Sister Immaculata, our principal, turned on the speaker high up on the right hand corner of the wall in the front of the room to tell us President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. She told us we should say the Rosary and we all knelt down to the left of desks and prayed, led by Sister Thomas Anne who was crying.

As a Catholic kid, in addition to studying the Baltimore Catechism in preparation for Confirmation, praying was what we did the most if not always the best. When you went to Confession it wasn't unusual to be directed to say a decade of the Rosary and two Glory Be's ('and call me in the morning.'). We had children's faith in the power of prayer and I can still feel the numbness when Sister Immaculata announced on the speaker that the President had died. But we had prayed...

The murmuring in the classroom ceased and a silence settled over us and across the school that seemed to permeate the country as the remains of the day gave way to the evening. Televisions in living rooms across the nation glowed softly in black and white replaying the same snatches of film over and over again as we each gathered around the electric fire of an America so long ago that writing about it now seems like recounting a fever dream.

None of us knew what would happen next, for our family, our friends or our country. We didn't know that everything we had ever known had been swept away.What was to be and what was to come was, as always, unclear and for us to decide, but with a little less confidence and faith in ourselves than we had only a moment earlier.
-bill kenny  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oh, Those Barnard College Women!

Somewhere, Erica Jong is smiling. Actually, saucy minx that she is, she's probably grinning so wide the whole top of her head is in danger of falling off her neck.

I say that based on this item from the on-line NY Times and I make that 'on-line' distinction as I see little possibility that its subject matter comes close to the "all the news that's fit to print' motto they may indeed still have for the pulp paper version.

As a male who grew up in the vanguard part of the generational cohort that moved recreational sex to Olympian heights in terms of participation and rhapsodizing, I, too, have to smile as I'd argue we've come a long from the ship they call the Mayflower (and the moving van for that matter) yet that Puritan guilt trip, that fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time, clings to us like cheap scent.

If all we are to ever be is what we have already been, what's the point of all of this in-between? Crying out for love could be like crying out for the moon, or pony rides on your birthday-something to say that simply has no meaning beyond the shell of yourself.

There's a quote in the article, you'll find it soon enough but here's the part that struck me as so Erich Fromm meets Robert Frost: "(H)aving somebody that you can call or you can like, whose house you can spend the night in if you don’t feel like you want to be going home alone..." Going home alone...
-bill kenny

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Is Entirely Jeff's Fault

I have reached an age where I've decided I like my standard of living but am no longer in love with having to do what I do for a living to maintain it. I know, "welcome to the human race."

But still, perhaps like you, I sometimes imagine myself in another job, somewhere else (only briefly glimpsed in a moment of reverie) doing amazing things for large sums of money and not feeling guilty about any of it. Suspect none of those idle daydreams compares to this recruiting advert Jeff shared.

I'm puzzling over the turn of phrase 'well-equipped' since I think a saw a road sign back there for Double Entendre  (just beyond the cul de sac) though the notion of being 'a credible voice for reason for nude recreation in the Americas' does sound quite like the challenge I've been looking for.

Of course, in my case, some contents may have shifted and settled in transit and handling, making me a poster child for 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' for those with whom I would be attempting to work; I may well get a cease and desist request from PETA citing frightened turtles.

Aside from some (painfully obvious) limitations, I think either Jeff or I could actually qualify for this position. I'm not where we'd keep our wallets with the business cards but that's only a small matter of concern. Of course, we'd go broke buying suntan oil but not as quickly as those around us from buying dark glasses.
-bill kenny

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Verbal Snapchat

For the middle of November, we had a marvelous day weather wise yesterday. Temperatures approached 60 degrees with a glorious and cloudless blue sky you could get lost in with a light breeze and despite the end of Daylight Savings Time, all the sunshine you could ever want.

Was it so nice you needed to put the convertible top down on your Chrysler Terraplane (or whatever model it was)? How about the jet black 'Vette rumbling down Washington Street? I'm not a big fan of the faith of my fathers but I am a true believer in karmic payback so for the record, Oh Great Universal Consciousness (in case there isn't actually a God), I'd point out the Chrysler had MAsshole license plates and the 'Vette was a coffee milk fan. Just sayin', Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine and I don't want anyone else's snow, okay?

Walking back from the grocery, nearing Fanning Street I passed a fellow pedaling a bike much too small for him on the sidewalk, complicating his task by trying to drink a can of beer in a brown paper bag because that's as effective a disguise as pasties on a dancer's chest. I was quite taken with his Boston Red Sox watch cap (101 days until the first spring training game, wicked pissah).

I walked briskly back from the store, as if I know another way to walk, because I'd had yet another encounter with a mathlete in the express checkout line who thought his 18 items was the 12 allowed. I didn't appreciate the way the checkout clerk told me she 'didn't mind, it's fine.' I explained to her no it wasn't; that while she got paid to stand there, I did not and that I'd appreciate it greatly if the Count of Monte Christo on future excursions would be more considerate.

To his credit the fellow in front of me looked he was weighing whether to get into it with me. As he opened his mouth, I am assuming to speak, I assured him in my most unctuous tone that in a battle of wits with me he was unarmed and that if "you succeed in provoking me into giving you my undivided attention, you will NOT know what to do with it."

He decided my public service announcement probably made sense and bundled up his purchases and took off in his shopping cart with what seemed to be at least one square wheel, as I turned my attention to purchasing my items. The clerk offered, while staring into a middle distance I didn't quite understand, that "you really told him, huh?" Yep, sure did, I offered with a tight smile, and guess who's next?
-bill kenny

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wooly Sold Separately

Now that everyone else, except (perhaps) Pope Francis 1, has piled on the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins and Messrs Incognito and Martin (I knew Dean would find a new partner, even in death), leave it to me to find a non-sports take on the situation in this article in The New Republic, that makes me feel awful not just because it's incredibly harsh but more than that it's horribly accurate.
Did I bully my brothers and sisters when we were kids. Yes, and do NOT ask if I still do or I'll ask my attorney to end this interview. Everyone, I say, always did the "I'm bigger and you'd better listen" dance in a family in the apartment house in the neighborhood on the block in the district. It's how we roll over, Beethoven.

I'm not sure why the contention in the article that we do this behavior all over this culture and country (and consequently export it elsewhere like it was a Disney franchise or an MTV channel) unsettles me as much as it does, except that it does.

If I look in the mirror hard enough (my eyes hurt but), I can see a man who has in all likelihood bullied his spouse and children-wait! I'll insist it was for their own good perhaps even suggesting it came from 'a place of love,' but bier ist bier und schnaps ist schnaps and when I look at my right hand, stiff from finger pointing at US professional football, three of the fingers on that hand point back at me. Oh dear. Seriously.

American professional football is the most violent of sports imaginable, with all due respect to hockey which may be as violent but also requires skill (like being able to stand on skates), with more and more former players being diagnosed with debilitating injuries that could have only occurred through high velocity contact over a prolonged period of time, and I'm supposed to put down my glass of malted beverage from whatever sponsor is bringing me the game (they have big horses or very cold trains or perhaps Coltrane and some horse) and be amazed?

These players are somebody's sons and are ending up in body bags in the short or long haul and all we know how to do is think of them as 'real men' and 'true warriors' on Sundays (and Sunday nights, and Monday nights and Thursday nights; damn! we LOVE us some football don't we?) and all the other cliches we make up to make the lies we tell ourselves sound better.

No wonder we never learn to be better than we are. We're not only terrible students we're even more horrible teachers.
-bill kenny

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Wonk's Work in Progress

It's sad but true that when you don't know where you're going any road will get you there. As kids growing up, we would sit wordless and worried in the backseat of our parents' '67 Chrysler Newport station wagon, a massive piece of metal that stretched for days it seemed, on road trips from our house in New Jersey to places that often proved to be more difficult to find than originally anticipated.

Mom would sit in the passenger front seat with the map open in her lap and Dad, grimly gripping the steering wheel, would drive into the teeth of whatever new adventure lay around the corner, always at speeds approaching light, undaunted as Mom would mutter about us having missed an exit or now traveling on a road not on her map and almost always ending with a plea for Dad to slow down.

I can still remember the near manic glee in his voice as he would say to her, and us, both captive and captivated in the rear seat, "we may be lost, but we're making great time!" On more than one occasion since those halcyon days, I have heard that same tone of voice from my mouth in similar vehicular situations.

Don't get me wrong. We never needed to produce passports at international borders or checkpoints and we didn't stay in places overnight where we had to boil the water before drinking but looking back, it seems to me that sometimes we got to where we were going more despite our efforts than because of them.

I got to thinking about the differences and similarities of the journey and the destination in the moments after the polls closed and results were announced last Tuesday night here in Norwich. it looks like we want change, but with a lower case 'c' as we returned three alderpersons to seats on a seven person council, selected another alderperson to replace the previous Mayor (does he end up with business cards that read like that?), returned a former alderperson and added two newcomers.

With apologies to the cliche, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (or red, depending on your ideology I guess). Culture wars, if the national media are to be believed (and I do, every word; okay not Fox or MSNBC), are being waged house to house (and Senate to Senate?) in our nation's capital and unless insert name of your party of choice here wins life on earth and in these United States, at least as we know it, will cease. Seemingly. Or not since our mileage may vary.

Makes me glad I'm wearing my after-school playclothes and not my good stuff. Self-serving rhetoric is impossible to get out of corduroy, or Ol' Roy for that matter. Meanwhile at the most immediate level of government to us, the 'we have come to the place where the road and the sky collide' play-at-home edition, change is much more incremental (when I'm being impatient, I say 'glacial' but with winter coming soon enough, that descriptive will get quite the workout).

We campaign with a great deal of civility and courtesy (we are, after all, neighbors not abstractions) and while some folks were, I'm sure, disappointed by results last week, life goes on and already has.

I just thought about Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick and grinned as I can almost imagine trading in my given middle name, Patrick, for something like Peony-but only if the new world order we alternate in embracing and dreading comes with bacon ranch dressing, some chocolate morsels and ever popular, at least with me, pony rides for my birthday. Hi-Ho. Silver.
-bill kenny

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Home At The Shore

I grew old in many different places, but I came of age DTS, Down the Shore in New Jersey. I fell across this yesterday afternoon and have watched reached it repeatedly, some might suggest incessantly and they would be right but so what? since then. Mesmerizing almost describes it, as does magical.  

It is a remarkable piece of work (and that may be the understatement of the decade, so far), a short film that must be viewed, in all likelihood, on the biggest screen possible and far more often than once to be fully appreciated. 

Forget the MTV Jersey Shore morons, the Guidos and Guidettes, and the struggles to survive for families and businesses in a post-Sandy economy, The former is ephemeral and the latter may prove to be closer to eternal but this is different-a shared memory that is somehow unique for each one who has experienced it. Together and yet alone, at the same moment. 

Can you feel the sting of the salt from the ocean on your lips and tongue and sense more than see it on your eyelashes? The slightly soggy but still satisfyingly solid crunch of the damp sand where the waves have retreated from the shore under your bare feet as you troll the shoreline scouting for washed-up starfish and over-turned horseshoe crabs? Do those damn seagulls ever stop yammering, even through the headphones and ear buds at max vol?  

I've grown old in a dozen different places across multiple continents, but I came of age in only one and now I'm there again. Home, At The Shore
-bill kenny

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Judge a Man by His Questions Rather than His Answers

The last meeting of what is now the "old" City Council will happen this coming Monday and with it, perhaps an opportunity to reopen the City Charter, the operator's manual if you wish, to create a process and a product for the new City Council to own.

If you haven't yet visited the city's website to offer your ideas on areas in the charter that could be improved, it's pretty easy and very quick. You already have a good idea of what the object of the exercise is supposed to look like, so what you're really doing is working on questions of procedure rather than philosophy. And if you're not comfortable on line, be in Council chambers Monday night and voice your ideas in person.

Once we agree on the basic functions of government, and here's a few areas where I think we already can see eye-to-eye: public education, public safety, emergency services, infrastructure, and utilities, we can expand and/or concentrate on related areas to create an environment of excellence in which we, as a community, can better thrive and succeed.

How we do those tasks we view as 'our government' is what the city charter is all about-it tells us and everyone who would do business with us, from new residents to new businesses, 'these are the rules of the game' so everyone going in knows what  the results should be coming out. Until surprise makes the periodic table of elements, there's no need for it to make an appearance at City Hall.

Sometimes there's mutterings and murmurings about a Norwich for insiders whose workings seem to be very different from the city in which the rest of us live. We've all heard that but that doesn't make it true unless you choose to believe it. A lot of times, we don't know what we don't know and if you think a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, just imagine how much damage ignorance can do.

That's why, be it on an as-needed or on an as-scheduled, basis sometimes it's best to take "The Charter" (capital letters deliberate) off the shelf, set aside the reverence for history and habit we always have for things that have stood the test of time, and visit with one another to examine areas and practices that we may discover we have concerns or questions about.

You can choose to not ask a question, that's your right, but understand that by so doing you then cannot complain when you don't like the answer.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Good Planets Are Hard to Find

I have always liked the idea of being 'special.' Not as in rode the 'short bus to grade school special,' more like the really 'should have been picked up in a limo bus special.' But you can't always get what you want and as for trying, my wife assures me that I can very trying very often and she would know.

Anyway, I'm still trying to process this news item from last week which has very much harshed my 'special' world tour and victory lap ambitions. Not so much the chance of maybe another 'other earth' someplace but more likely a certainty that there could be close to countless 'other earths.' That hurts. A lot.

Talk about not calling the next day like promised, we've never heard from any of these places that could be just like us in the first place. Snotty and stuck-up, just the kind of planets we should be running with, indeed. Mean Girls on steroids and with asteroids I guess.

Small solace department: they will soon, or have already, make the discovery that we're out here as well. So much for their special, too. Here, have a moon rock, fellow space vagabonds. They're delicious.
-bill kenny

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Cleanest Dirty Shirt

This is Veterans Day across the United States and Remembrance Day in Our Neighbor to the North, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Actually that was an attempt at light-heartedness that may have struck you more as light-headedness, as our neighbor to the north is Canada, as you hopefully already know. Geography and sophistry in the same ether at the same time! 'Murica!

Patriotism, George Bernard Shaw once offered, is the misguided belief that one country is superior to another because of the accident of your birth. I'm proud to be an American and particularly delighted I'm not Lee Greenwood.

I'm proud of my nation because of who we are as people and what we do as a country when we follow the voices of our better angels-though I'm sometime disappointed by we who are and how we sometimes behave towards the rest of the rest of the world and one another.

This time a month ago, I watched political leaders in my nation's capital use veterans as a political fulcrum and prop in a passion play of pandering and posturing that led many of us to cry out 'a pox on your houses' as they held one another and all of us hostage.

A month later, there's still a lot of talking but it doesn't look like a lot of listening is happening. This column from the NY Times' Thomas L. Friedman captures our dilemma, I think, quite nicely.

I'm a veteran, but not a Sgt Rock of Easy Company (that position was filled; I asked). I didn't have a hard job in my eight years in the US Air Force and what difficulties I had, I concede, I mostly made for myself (and were probably deserved). I didn't fix planes, dig ditches, rescue people or hump cargo (or vice versa; okay, some payday weekends I only have the fuzziest of memories).

I worked for the American Forces Radio and Television Service as a broadcaster. Yeah, I know, who'd have thunk it, right? My big worries were a record skipping on a turntable, or an audio splice separating. I had a small, nearly minuscule job but like the millions with whom I served, I took what I did seriously and attempted in my shambling way to do it to the very best of my ability. And, at least for today, I'd like to believe each of us in, and out, of uniform did (and do) the same.

This isn't Memorial Day, dedicated to preserving the memories of all those who gave their lives in the defense of their nation. Today honors everyone who has ever served in our Armed Forces. The distinction between the two observances is important, I think, when I recall Joseph Heller's Catch-22 where Yossarian tells LT Nately 'it makes no difference to a dead man who won the war.'

It's a reminder it's incumbent upon those who survive 'the war,' whichever 'war' you wish to cite, to help fashion a more peaceful world that follows. A world where Carl Schurz is correctly and completely quoted, 'My country, right or wrong; if right to be kept right, if wrong to be set right.' Beginning with each of us, everyday. Forever.
-bill kenny

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And All That ....

I always forget how true the old saying is, 'no one man steps into the same river twice, because both he and the river have changed.' Considering how often I walk around in damp swimming trunks, you'd think I'd have caught on by now. And yet, here we are in a moisture-challenged environment. Seems like old times.

I will concede this item is more than appropriate as we are mid-way through the Veterans Day Holdiay weekend (brought to us by one of the thousands of Army-Navy stores across the country with over priced, cheaply made knock-offs of clunky cumbersome stuff you remember from the service but had forgotten you hated having to produce during locker inspections and duffle bag showdowns.

"Steadfast Jazz"-sounds like one of those music programming services Frank Magid and Associates might have come up with back in the day. And the reference to The Cold War is softly nostalgic without the warmth of reminiscence.

For just about forty-five years, the armies of ignorance stood armed and ready all across Europe alert to the first sign of trouble so that the really big war could start and amazingly, despite frailties and fallacies on both sides, we managed to NOT blow everything up.

I assume the Warsaw Pact had names for their readiness exercises though I always understood us to have an entire department that created the names NATO used. While I was there we had Constant Guardian Roman Numeral Who Knows What which many of us tended to call Constant Turmoil.

By the way, who, aside from the NFL's Super Bowl, still uses Roman numerals and how come they don't use them on the scoreboard during The Really Big Game, so that on screens all around the world people could read: Denver: XXVII, Seattle, XLIV, end of the IIIrd Quarter? Vatican City would eat that stuff up with a spoon and probably sponsor a novena for a field goal.

 Yeah, those were the days. During the war games, excuse me readiness exercises, we were always the Blue forces and the bad guys were Orange (I think because making them Red would have caused an irony overload) and we knew all about them and they, us. The term du jour was Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD always said without a trace of a smile.

We kept our eyes peeled around the Frankfurt PX for SMLM vehicles (Soviet Military Liaison Mission) whose troops were allowed to shop in the Exchange and we'd all watch them warily from a distance as they bought up 'blue jeans' (always more bitten off than actually enunciated) by the shopping cart full and shipped them back to Mother Russia where they sold them at such a mark-up they could probably afford a stylish dacha on the Black Sea.

And then, peace broke out and the world as we knew it shifted and then shifted again. We now live in an asynchronous wartime environment, often fighting phantoms and apparitions, confronted by soulless savages with literally nothing to live for making them martyrs with something to die for, and wanting us to die for it, too.

A world without war, really a shared goal of anyone and everyone who has ever worn a uniform of any military anywhere in the world remains a dream as we struggle against the nightmare. -bill kenny

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Heart of Mankind

If the Shoah, The Holocaust, was an unfinished symphony of genocidal annihilation for Europe's Jews (and it was only unfinished because the rest of the world finally wrested the controls of the killing factories from the True Believers before they achieved their Endlosung), then today, seventy-five years ago, the first notes of the overture to that murderous symphony, Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), were played.

When you look at the pictures of death and destruction, and listen to the softly told tales of survival, often by the purest of coincidences, if you have a heart, it is sickened and if you have a conscience it is outraged. But to keep the next exercise of extreme intolerance from ever reaching this point, we all need to retain the memories of the events as well as the circumstances that allowed the events to happen.

The Nazis did NOT leap out of bed seventy five years ago this morning and cause the German nation, the land of Luther, Schiller, Liszt and Beethoven, to lose its collective mind and soul.

For decades leading up to this day in 1938, and not just in Germany, but all across Europe, East and West, the systemic and systematic marginalization of Jews, apartheid before that word was in fashion, was in practice and a part of everyday life. The N├╝rnberger Gesetze of 1935 helped dull all Germans to the slaughter to come.

The ability to use language in reducing those who are the object of your animus to something somehow less human than yourself so that the acrimony and injury inflected upon them has no more consequence than stepping on a bug is a critical tool in the creation and construction of the crematoria and concentration camps and no less vital to that than the jackboots and the armbands.

You have a lot on your plate today-it's the weekend and the holidays are coming. Finding the time to go online or to your local library and invest an hour into researching the decay and depravity that began with Kristallnacht is asking a lot, I know. So how about a deal?

What if you and I promise one another to take an additional breath before using a racial epithet to characterize someone on the other side of the political spectrum with whom we disagree? Or to refrain from suggesting (at the top of our lungs) what a person with whom we are arguing may attempt to so with her/his logic and conclusion, as anatomically difficult as it might prove to be.

Instead of counting to ten, we try to count to eleven, and then twelve and just keep counting until the gorge in our veins recedes just a bit and our blood has gone off its boiling point. And, most importantly, when we see someone else in mid-screed, we mitigate and mediate to help assure a more rapid return to civil and civic discourse in our interactions with one another.

Germany was not a nation of Nazis on Kristallnacht-they were, believe many, in the minority even when in power. It isn't so much just the sins committed on this day seventy-five years ago that should live in infamy forever, but, rather, the sins that could have been prevented had two or more people joined and raised their voices in opposition. We must never forget the lesson of what happened next.
-bill kenny

Friday, November 8, 2013

Another Limited Time Offer

Are you as saddened and sickened by the number and frequency of "holiday gift" commercials airing on television already as I am? We are outnumbered, my friend, and soon will be relics from another, more bucolic if not benighted America. It's weird enough we have made Halloween a 'holiday' with cards, parties and gifts.

I find it funny how the costumes and customs preceded the cash-in but I've been told I'm a funny Guy but this year retailers are already at SalesCon4 because there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and that could be calamitous, so hurry!! As merchants everywhere say to their accountants about those early morning Friday sales after Thanksgiving, once you go black..... 

In truth, I hate this time of year with its pseudo bonhomie and fake fellowship-people who cross the street to walk away from me the other eleven months of the year now wish me a Merry Christmas or, much safer, politically, a Happy Holiday. 

And now all of it is creeping up sooner and sooner on the calendar. I saw the first holiday decorations and shop window displays before we even turned the clocks back last weekend, making my mood as dark as the afternoons that have followed. 

I recognize we are spirits in the material world but we've allowed the rate and pace of our lives to be driven by others whom we cannot name if we were to even bother to try to think about it. Instead of just all of us, we have 'us' and 'them' and 'they' (always without names) are who push the the pace to breakneck, turn the knob up to eleven and punch us into hyper-drive as we run through each and every day. 

Without looking it up, and I won't know if you cheated, but you will, what was the #1 International News story two weeks ago? A month ago? Yeah, gets foggy fast doesn't it? Especially when so much of our 'news channels' are devoted to Cher's tour, Kim's Kid, and what movie star is playing professional sports or did I get that backwards? Sort of all marinates together after awhile and bubbles through.

We know the names of Britney's kids, but draw a blank of those of our Supreme Court Justices. I may not know how many tiers of coverage are offered through but I can't help but believe devoutly on or more of the voices screeching about how its architect is really from Kenya. This week. He was from Indonesia last week (there's a schedule on-line if you can't keep track of it in your head). 

It can't be just me who is starting to see life as something to be gotten through. I struggle and sometimes fail to resist the temptation to just shout 'next!' as I watch reports of unrest on TV, or struggle with (self-inflicted) unhappiness at home or in the workplace. Talk about drilling a second hole in the boat to let the water out, that’s me and my impatience. 

Not sure it’s clinically crazy but it’s certainly foolish, especially since I'm actually afraid of 'next' because I know nothing about it. As awful as now maybe, and each of us has to decide that for her/himself it beats the snot out of whatever is around the next bend. 

It's not just the devil you know, it's the time and money you can save on getting your horrors wholesale. Maybe Sartre is right and Hell really is other people. I had hoped that was going to be more reassuring. Next
-bill kenny

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Passion Calls Shotgun

I drive a Subaru Forester. I mention that not because I hope for a sponsorship quid pro quo (though a new Tribeca would fit quite nicely in my driveway) but more so that you have some idea of my automotive erotica level.

The car (and I call anything I drive a 'car' until it won't start and then I've another name for it) is black, if that helps fructify your fantasies and if tell you it has a leather interior do you need a cigarette break or a cold shower? One or the other, not both.

Coming out of my gym (it's a fitness center and doesn't have someplace to play basketball which for me is the critical separator between the two), on my way back to my car past a lot of dripping wet people and discarded cigarette butts, I passed a grey and white Smart car. Actually, as it said on the passenger door, I was walking past a Passion.

I don't get Smart cars, any of them (it's you and not me, I think) and Passion would not have been my first choice for a name. It looks like a shipping container on a grocery cart suspension but I'm sure looks are deceiving. And if you own one, I'm sure you are hoping they are.

All I ever think of when I see them is that they are an argument on why intelligent, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cars will never catch on. As I had just been in the fitness center and it was still oh-my-Gawd-it's-early o'clock with few folks inside I knew who the driver was, Teva Churn's are a give-away, and I rest my case.

Smart Car people: As it is right now your car is homely, not cute and quite frankly so ugly it would frighten me every morning to open the garage door and see it inside, waiting for me and I do NOT need any more incentives to hate going to work. That's part of my employer's job.

In much the same way as many more people would eat broccoli if it tasted like chocolate, bribe the Lamborghini folks to design your next body. Or if they're busy, get Lindt on the phone. Actually in the interests of sales, you'd be better served by partnering with M & M otherwise all that passion is a cocoa puddle come summer.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hemingway Was Right

Unless you're intending to spend the day in bed and if you're still abed at this hour you're well on your way, no matter how yesterday's election results turned out, both for you and I and our preferences and desires, as well as for those of our neighbors who offered to stand (and/or stand again) in the fire for what we like to think of as 'the greater good,' and serve the community, the sun will rise and this day will run its course.

Just as it did the last time we went to the polls and the time before and the time before that, lather, rinse, repeat, despite what we hoped or feared, we've proven the only constant is change (and pony rides, even if they never catch on).

It certainly isn't voter turnout but I'm done wringing my hands over stay-at-home voters. Passing the Wauregan the other day, I remembered a quote from a purported, long-ago guest, Abraham Lincoln, Perhaps we should all invest in oven mitts just in case it really is eaten as hot as it's served.

Regardless of how we voted yesterday, either by casting a ballot or by NOT voting and allowing other people to make decisions for us, we will all now live with the consequences. Those elected yesterday regardless of your or my ballot are now our alder(wo)men-elect and Board of Education.

Those chosen offered to help lead, and we need to extend to them the courtesy of listening and then speaking, be it in support or in opposition, but most especially in that order. Maybe that's why we have two ears and one mouth so the proportions work out right.

But even as some prepare for new responsibilities or to bear, again, the burdens of elected office, we owe a kind thought and a debt of gratitude to everyone who was a candidate. Whether you were a Victor or a Yugo, thank you for offering to help. If you triumphed the glow of victory you felt may resemble a different kind of fire a little lower on your body in the not too distant future as we, who turned to you now turn on you.

There will be days when you wondered why you ever thought running for office was a good idea, but whether we know it or nor (or are willing to admit it) we need you to be who you are and where you are right now.

There's far more right in our city than we may be willing to admit even to one another and somehow you'll have to assemble and assimilate those successes to build a critical mass and move us ahead, farther and faster than we have already gone, and perhaps more than we are prepared or willing to do.

You and we are now joined and when you succeed, so, too, do we. Together we can do anything but we must accept that we can't do everything. When you asked us about public education, infrastructure, public safety, economic development and improvements in our quality of life, we told you so you know our expectations.

Somehow, you must balance what we want with what we need and what we can afford. As happy as some are today, others will be a lot less so much sooner than they'd imagined. It's the price we pay to live where we'd like with those whom we love. The wheel never stops-it paused yesterday but is in motion again.

No matter the conditions even though the dogs howl in protest, the journey continues and the caravan moves on. With or without you.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today's Four Letter Word

Our polls open at six this morning and close at eight tonight. I imagine yours are about the same. Don't buy the hype about 'it's just a municipal election.' Yes, getting to vote for the President, Senators and Congressmen/women, is all so exciting I almost always want to smoke a cigarette after I do (and I gave that habit up seventeen plus years ago). And I'll concede the rush of voting for Governor, State Senators and state House Representatives does rival some other activities that I recall fondly but we are at the point where the road and the sky collide.

The President cannot get the streetlight in front of my house fixed (mine work, but such as it is, that's my example). The Governor will listen sympathetically to my tale of woe about the paving on So and so Boulevard, but all the heavy lifting to get bulbs replaced or asphalt spread in my town happens with the neighbors I choose today for tomorrow.

And that's how it works where you live and if it doesn't you need to change or move, whichever works for you. I may not like your choices and wouldn't be surprised to discover you cannot stand mine, but we don't have to. We're not choosing the King or the Queen of the Prom today just the people who most immediately impact, positively or negatively, our quality of life.

Our parents used to say 'you get along by going along' so you need to get along and find your polling station and cast your ballot if not upon the waters than in a machine, a ballot box or a scanner. We've done a lot of talking about what's wrong since the flood waters started to recede and I for one think what with the end of Daylight Savings and all that it's high time for doing.

So stop reading and start deciding which side you're on and how we can make where we live better. It all begins with a ballot, so vote. Thanks.
-bill kenny

Monday, November 4, 2013

Adventures in the World of Self

I have, in recent weeks, made it a point usually in the middle of the morning, to change into what I used to call sneakers but now I think of as my sexy red kicks (I picked that up on urban dictionary in a forlorn and ultimately failed effort to understand a note someone my children's age had written to me) and head over to what, when I had sneakers, was a gym but now that I have kicks is a fitness center.

We use language now to mask meaning rather than to enhance it. A decade ago instead of referring to staff members' spouses who were with child as 'pregnant' or 'expecting' (the worst? a miracle?) we used 'generating dependents.' From the language of Shakespeare and Wordsworth comes such a gem. Our parents should be so proud. I am no longer afraid of dying but being living impaired scares the bejabbers out of me.

I mention fitness centers in my kicks and the sounds of one hand clapping, the gap between Ben Cohn and a zen koan gets more narrow by the moment and the precise unit of measurement to plot this gap is called Leonard. But I digress.

I was walking on the indoor track which is suspended overhead above the rest of the facility which includes what appears to be acres of basketball courts and volleyball whatever-they're-called, weight machines and free weights (like I know the difference; one or the other stroked me out in February and I did an overnight in the hospital (for which we have no trendy alternate name, how about 'Wellness Warehouse' or 'Salubrity Central'?)) and those heave and ho kettle balls and what looks like a small mountain you climb up and climb down, leaving me to wonder why climb at all.

I walk and do so at a very brisk pace because I get so angry at work in recent weeks that I fear I will set fire to all the wooden objects in my office and then use passers-by in the hallway to put the blaze out. I am especially afraid that other people have been compiling lists of folks I should use and will offer me a copy of it while passing along kindling. Some of those doing the compilation are already on my list so I think surprise may be about to make its debut on the periodic table of elements.

I listen to very new, to me, alternative metal and other abrasive near-musics (some of it sounds like a cat dropped into a blender; I now know how my father felt about The Rolling Stones) while so doing because there's little risk I'll sing along to songs I've never before heard (though not NO risk).

I looked down the other day at the handful of other people using the various equipment and realized we were all wearing headphones (or ear buds, another newspeak term that makes me smile). I was on my Planet Me which all the other not-quite Celestial Terrestrials on their respective planets could not acknowledge nor need to, wie du mir so Ich dir, and conceded we were alone together, like two year olds in parallel play, gaining nothing from the social interaction because there was none.

Judging from the aroma, one of them might have been wearing lighter fluid as an aftershave unless my nose deceives me, but a wish is a hope you make with your heart. Would definitely have to lose the tin foil hat. Then we'd see the sparks fly.

-bill kenny

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

With all due respect to the vernal equinox, today is the longest day of the year if you count only the hours in it. In the oh-bright-early moments of Sunday we set our clocks back all across the Land of the Round Doorknobs except where we didn't. Must be magic living in the Navajo Nation as Arizona around you doesn't set its clocks back though with its current governor, they're already at least a century behind.

You probably did what I have done/am doing, slept through it and will spend the rest of today and into tomorrow (and maybe Tuesday) finding timepieces I forgot to set back last night. In fairness, I will point out now, I will also forget to set them forward whenever the heck it is we next do that. (Which will be March 9, 2014. I looked it up because I'm anal that way; you're welcome because you are, too.) Time flies except when it crawls.

Every other life form with which we share this planet would look at us with pity and dismay if they were capable of such emotions as we are the only species to meter and measure what flows like rain, the time we have for life. Today, we have an extra hour to our glory or to our shame. It is up to us to decide whether we are a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.

Be an exclamation not an explanation. Start today while you have the time.
-bill kenny

Saturday, November 2, 2013

20/20 Hindsight

I am trying to understand the Republican Party or at least that portion of its membership wandering the halls of Congress. I have all my shots and agree with the adage, 'lie down with dogs and get up with fleas,' but still I'm sad.

Led by a self-aggrandizing junior Senator from Texas, they took this country to the brink and beyond of fiscal and moral bankruptcy (and, as it turns out gave me and mine sixteen days of paid vacation I didn't ask for or earn-not that I'm offering to give the money back) over what they called "Obamacare" which doesn't actually exist because it's called the Affordable Care Act.

They blinked and lost the battle though based on the troubles is having just staying up it seems had they shut up they'd have advanced their own cause and yet, Republicans is as Republicans does...can't see the Forrest for the Gump.

Now, they're having hearings because they're outraged, I tell you, o-u-t-r-a-g-e-d, over how spectacular and epic the failure of the government's web portal for Affordable Care, the aforementioned has been when exposed to the light of day. Huh?

You'd think they'd be thrilled. Gloating and strutting-and they are, but they are lecturing and feigning a degree of concern I really didn't think the Koch Brothers had budgeted for when they bought this lot. To me, all the theater on TV and you know it's theater when Faux Gnus covers it live because those prehensile cretins never allow anything whose outcome they don't already control to slither on to their news set.

But there we all are, eating it up with a spoon. You go ahead and squirm Kathleen Sibelius-that sound you hear is the bus under which your President has thrown you. If you think, Madame Secretary (heh-heh, I said Madame), more than a handful of the stuffed shirts in the front of the room know how to even turn a computer on, well, perhaps that's a line of inquiry best left for another time.

The United States is thisclose to finally having universal affordable care and the website doesn't work. If that's the biggest problem we can exhale now. Here's what it comes down to and please, Kathy, Barry asks you pretend you didn't know this when we exit the hearing, okay? 

I think the computer mouse in the lower right corner is a nice touch, don't you? And while Dylan suggested 'nothing is revealed' I think perhaps that's a little too hasty this time around, #4.

If we ever make hindsight an Olympic event, there will not be enough room on the medals podium for all the folks to receive their honors, but that's proof in and of itself of the concept since when that happens the rest of us can turn to one another and say, "I knew that would happen, Bang and Blame, it's all the same."
-bill kenny

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Holy Moly Day of Obligation

Don't even try to roll over and sleep off that sugar high, my itty-bitty Pretty One even if it's more likely to be high fructose corn syrup (everybody's favorite villain these days). 

If you went door to door with the kids, let's face it you knew which houses were giving out apples and bran flakes (sounded better in my head than it looks typed out here) and stayed way far away from them. And there are still houses who handed these out. They've been around for almost a hundred years and I'm pretty sure last night's haul were part of the original production run. 

Perhaps you went to an adult Halloween party as oxymoronic as that reads. You certainly didn't come here, as whenever I hear people refer to Halloween as a 'holiday' I throw up in my mouth just a little bit. Those who see Halloween as an adult holiday are also the same people who organize trips to Comic-Con and parse the sentences in Frazier's Klingon Bar-Mitzvah speechnuqneH yIn Suq.   

As you try to find all the pieces of your costume and as your eyes adjust to the light, figure out what were you thinking when you brought that slumbering bundle to your boudoir early this morning, let me be the first to wish you a Happy All Saints Day

You knew there was a reason last week why you wanted to go as Drew Brees, but you couldn't find the words, right? Gotta tell ya, that was scary. Had the College of Cardinals seen that clip, complete with Jorge Mario Bergoglio lurking in the corner, Pope Kelly I would be officiating his first Holy Day of Obligation Mass even as I type. Oh, where is our solace, Lord?
-bill kenny