Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ideally, Today's the Day

It was just last weekend we had such warm weather. I was that guy whining about 'it's too warm too quickly' and we both know what that got me living in the Northeast, right? Having spent the past three days shivering I'm choosing my words with care. Perhaps not so much my graphic aids.

Actually this weekend will get off to rousing start as I go for blood tests this morning. The lab opens up at seven. There's always a gaggle of people, many of whom glare at me when I show up at the sign-in window because I make an online appointment, head right in to the drawing station (I used to bring my crayons but no one cared) and leave them to stew in their own annoyance, never making eye contact with me, as I return in short order to my life, already in progress.

If you have nothing better to do for an hour or so but read really old magazines that nobody else has ever heard of ("Pedestrians Illustrated" or "Cat Rodeo Weekly" and the like) don't make an appointment. More for me. Thanks.

I'll go to the Norwich Harbor, not so much for the Dragon Boat Races (have never really warmed to them but many of my neighbors love them to pieces) which are happening today on the Howard T. Brown Park side of the harbor but, rather, to board the replica wooden ships, the Nina and Pinta, at the Marina.

They were here a couple of years back which is where that last picture and this next picture are from. They are lovely and also amazing feats of construction. I have every intention of wearing an eye patch and renting a parrot to sit on my shoulder as I take a self-guided tour (I'll tell them, "I used to drive one of these" and they'll say, "Pinta". Oh, how we'll laugh.).

Sunday, our daughter, Michelle, and I will catch the WNBA's Connecticut Sun in action, or as close as their youthful roster will allow. This has all the makings of a long season in terms of work versus reward which makes me sad because last year lasted for most of a decade as I recall.

Didn't mean to make you jealous with my weekend plans (okay, I actually did). I hope whatever you want to do works out. Perhaps we can compare notes, or not.
-bill kenny

Friday, May 30, 2014

Based on a True Story, Just Not MY True Story

Just the other night I was in a place I hadn't visited since I was 17. Without checking the odometer too closely, let's just say it's been a while and while your mileage may vary, mine never wavers. It's been so long I couldn't even tell you when the business location changed so I'm surprised the decor seemed so familiar.

Oh yeah, I forgot. It was my dream vice a shared reality. I was sitting in Boyd's Chemists having a grilled cheese sammich and a fountain-drawn cherry coke when I became engaged in what, as I recall it from a distance of three nights' time, was a heated discussion with former State of Kansas Senator Bob Dole.

We were sitting side by side at the lunch counter. The booths were packed as I recall; no idea why unless it was a Tuesday in the dream because that's when Boyd's always had open-faced meatloaf sandwiches that were to die for. We were sitting on swivel stools bolted to the floor, with the half-backs that come up to just about your shoulder blades (if you're my height) or to the back of your head if you're Verne Troyer.

I guess I'm showing my age when I confess I don't clearly remember what the Senator and I were arguing about (it had something to do with Richard Nixon and that's the best I can do on that; pity we don't have tape. Small joke.) but my recollection is still clear enough that we seemed really fuzzy about the root cause even in the middle of the argument in which we were loudly engaged.

Does it help if I distinctly recollect we continued to eat and even in the heat of the moment I recall asking the Senator if he were going to eat those incredible bread and butter pickle slices (always three on the plate alongside the sammich, edges touching) that Boyd's put on every entree. He was gracious enough to let me help myself.

Upon awakening and realizing it had been only a dream (those pickle slices were sort of the giveaway) I was inspired to do some research on dreams. I won't bore you with my findings or surprise you with my lack of scholarship but in light of what I learned I did wonder if I had already forgotten the other lunch guests I might have quarreled with, perhaps over dessert. 

I can clearly see Senator Dole in a dark-blue-but-not-quite-Navy-blue suit with a tie I recognized as being a Jerry Garcia design, because I, too, have the exact same one. I'm wondering if Mr. Dole knew we had similar tastes in neck wear. Perhaps that's why he let me have the pickles, despite our deep philosophic differences.

My only takeaway from all of this is perhaps I (okay, and Senator Dole) should be considered subjects for a statue someplace-as an example of how to disagree without being disagreeable. Actually that would be why he could be in the statue; the jury is still out on why I'd be included. I'm unsure if he was in my dream or I in his. And I've developed an interest in Republican cloth coats, and, of all things,  jowls. 
-bill kenny

Thursday, May 29, 2014


As it turns out, the most horrifying aspect of the attack at Isla Vista, California, may have been that it hasn't happened before now, coupled with the stone certainty you develop at a certain age that it could, and will, happen again.

I know no more than anyone else what the trigger was for Eric Rodgers, or if there were one singular event/incident. No single drop of rain feels itself responsible for the flood that follows.

As a husband who strives to treat his spouse with the respect and love to which she is entitled, I read accounts of Rodgers' life as if they were picture postcards from the moon, written in Cyrillic.

As a father who has helped raise a now adult son to be respectful of every person with whom he shares the earth and whose adult daughter is a confident and talented young woman, I look at those in and/or sympathetic to the men's rights movement as an aberration-an answer in search of a non-existent question.

Women as a form of furniture, which is what so much of the so-called men's rights movement espouses is just so much systematic mumbo-jumbo. When you blame others for your feelings of inadequacy, you are actually proving yourself to be both worthless and worth less than the rest of us here on the ant farm.

We are of the same biology-the differences manifested by ideology are artificial, superficial and will kill us all, collectively or one at a time, if we allow them to so do. And wondering about who the real men are will bring us to the brink of extermination faster than anything else.

Everyone's rights deserve respect and protection. Nothing less will do.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

If Boats Could Vote

I've heard it said that to a man with a hammer the whole world is a nail. I suspect some of the darker meaning behind that turn of phrase has to do with the all-too-human propensity to impose the same solution on a variety of problems because we believe the past can determine the future, no matter how dissimilar the paths are that brought us there.

This past week, we've taken what many  regard as our gem, the Norwich Harbor, and used it to stage and showcase a number of events and activities-with more to come as the summer days, and especially summer nights, heat up.

We look at the Harbor's influence in stimulating economic growth in Norwich in much the same the way as the fingers on the hand look to the thumb. At the risk of being perceived as a middle digit let me share a concern involving all of us that requires all of our energies to solve.

The annual Rotary carnival at Howard T. Brown Park is a happy and recent memory as crowds from around the region turned out every evening (even on the somewhat moist ones) for thrills and spills, ring-toss and all the traditional carny games together with fabulous eats of the Midway.

Replicas of  Columbus' ships, the Nina and Pinta, will make a return visit to the Harbor mooring at the Marina with opportunities for self-guided tours beginning tomorrow and lasting through next Wednesday. Their port call to The Rose of New England sandwiches the 2014 edition of the Norwich Riverfest (and Dragon Boat Races) which is this Saturday morning starting at nine.

Having special events centered on the Harbor and Howard T. Brown Park is a terrific way to build visitor traffic for the Chelsea district, and is good news unless you're someone who spends time there involved in events that are rarely thought of as special. You may be wondering whom I mean.

Have you ever visited the Harbor, no matter the season or the weather, and not encountered fishermen (and women)? From practically underneath the Laurel Hill Bridge to the Heritage Walkway after it clears the Sweeney Bridge over the Yantic before Ericson's Ice Cream Shop, there are anglers everywhere.

We've talked a lot, possibly (I fear) at the expense of actually doing something, about leveraging opportunities in/near the Norwich Harbor to capitalize on fishing, boating and outdoor recreation as a boost for tourism and in turn another tool for economic development.

As we all know, talk is cheap-action costs money. But in light of the detritus and debris from early industrialization as Norwich was settled along the Harbor and the legacy of  possible pollution and remediation costs for whatever may be buried in properties at the rivers' confluence, the dollars to invest in clean-up costs are often absent though the desire is there.

I'd hope there are efforts underway, but hope is not a plan and any plan needs include communication with residents on what is happening and progress achieved and challenges yet ahead. Silence is not helpful, unless you're actually fishing.

I imagine the impetus to create and execute a plan of economic development to better reflect riverine recreational tourism opportunities grows every time we close the boat launch at Howard T. Brown Park for the many (other) activities we stage there.

I'm not sure where else in Norwich a fisherman can launch a boat but I know a body in motion tends to remain in motion, and once we start encouraging fisherman to take their boats and go elsewhere, that new location will be where they purchase all the goods and services they require for a hobby some 40 million people enjoy.  

And what of us here in Norwich? We'll always have all those discussions about someday expanding activities at the Harbor but somehow that seems to be empty solace.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

And Now that the Parades Have Ended

I think I would find the Duffel Blog funny if I had never been in the military, and as a broadcaster in the US Air Force I'm about as close to never having been in the military as you can get without still being required to get the 'tapered not a DA' haircut and have the ugly black lace-up shoes.

When I saw this yesterday afternoon, I winced while grinning so grinced (I guess). While reading the papers at the breakfast table on Memorial Day I was a little cranked at the the number of places having sales like maybe we had military members sacrifice their lives at Normandy, Khandahar, or a hundred other places so you and I could enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of a BOGO at Payless. Not.

I think Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, had the best suggestion on how to honor service members on Memorial Day-be more judicious in how you choose to send them off to the next war. There's nobody on either side of the aisle for whom that doesn't sting (I'd say 'smart' but they aren't and insulting those whom we've chosen to send to DC isn't going do it either).

I found a graphic yesterday that wiped the snark out of my mouth and the smirk right off my face.

I'd hope that between today, the day after Memorial Day and Tuesday, November 11, which is Veterans Day we could all make one effort to make this a little less true because if each of us did something, then all of us could do everything to make this past tense.

And between the living and the dead, we'd honor all of those who bear the burden so many of us find inconvenient by actually living in a way that proves we are worth what they sacrificed for us.
-bill kenny

Monday, May 26, 2014

Not Flag-Waving but Behaving

Some words can be said more than once. I'm hoping these are among them as I first offered them a number of years ago on this holiday. 

This morning at ten in the Taftville Memorial Park is a remembrance of a Taftville native son who gave his life in uniform a long time ago. You have, wherever you live across these United States,the same type of observances today as well. This is who we are and somewhere back there in the dust is that same small town in each of us. This is how we mark Memorial Day wherever it is moved to on the calendar. 

My Dad who died over a Memorial Day holiday, as I recall it, a long time ago had a large family of all brothers. His older brother, my Uncle George, was in the military-I was never sure what branch. He wasn't actually my Uncle George, but he was my uncle. His real name was Michael but everyone in my father's family called him George, so we did , too, though I never knew why and I have probably run out of people in my Dad's family to ask. 

George, too, married 'local color' in the years immediately after the Second World War and his GI Bride, Mitzi, returned with him to Los Angeles, California, where he had settled down and worked for something we kids on the Eastern Seaboard couldn't grasp, a bottled water company. They had two children, both older than I, Nancy and Tommy. George only came East once and he visited with us at my parent's summer home in Harvey's Lake. My dad idolized him. 

My father's kid brother, Jack, was in the Air Force. I never knew what he did but I remember he was stationed in Turkey and he visited us when we were living on Bloomfield Avenue in New Brunswick(not really; we lived in Franklin Township but always said New Brunswick unless kids from Brunswick were around because they'd mock us). 

Jack and his wife, Alice, had a lot of kids, none of whom I remember meeting-I don't think I ever met Aunt Alice either. She died of cancer and Jack left the Air Force and settled down to be a coal miner in Illinois, living near his mom and his half brother, Father Jim, who was every one's half brother. He talked like he'd been a chaplain in the military at some point which worked when I was a kid but once I was in the Air Force I didn't think so.

My Mom's brothers, both younger, were in the Army when we had compulsory service but they had been volunteers. John fought in Korea at Hill 255. My mom used to tell a story about John and how he'd volunteered for the Army even though a cat had scratched his eye when he was a child, depriving him of most of the vision in it. 

During the physical, the docs made him stand at a distance from an eye chart, told him to cover his right eye and read one of the lines, which he did.They then told him to cover his left eye and read another line. He switched hands but covered the same eye and they took him into the Army. 

He and Aunt Marion had all girls and were madly in love with them and one another until debilitating strokes stole his memories and most of who he was and then, years later, other illnesses caught up and killed him. 

By the time Mom's other brother, Jim, died, all but one of her brothers and sisters were gone. Ann, from lung cancer, leaving a husband, Donald, whom we called Chief (he had red hair; I think that had something to do with his nickname) and four children, Donna, Diane, Donald (we called him Chip, as in off the old block (maybe?)) and Daria. 

Mom's baby brother, Paul, who, with his wife (our Aunt) Marilyn, had moved to the West Coast (I never knew where) and had a large family none of whose names I can recall, died of cancer, leukemia or something else protracted and painful. 

Paul was how our father met our mother. Back when he was a kid in high school with a lot of potential but terrible study habits, he used to get tutored by my Dad, when he'd show up after school, that is. On yet another day he blew off my father, Dad decided enough was enough and walked over to Paul's house to tell Paul's mother when she'd answer the door that her son was a goof-off. Instead Paul's sister answered the door and the smit hit the fan. 

Jim served in the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (as it was called then) and was larger than life in our house in every way. He worked hard as a mechanic everyday of the life he built with Dot, who predeceased him, and with their three daughters, Patsy, Michelle and Dori, short for Dorothy (he called them Pat, Mike and Ike which was the inspiration for the names of our children).

When he died almost all of us accompanied my mother to his funeral in Maryland and for a sort-of reunion with his children that marked (for me) the first time I'd seen them since Sigrid and I came to the States in the late summer of '77 and I water-skied behind Jim's powerboat (not barefoot like my brother, Kelly, who was/is superbly coordinated and quite athletic) which impressed the hell out of my still-new bride. 

Today is a day when we remember large moments and the small, quiet ones. Those who led our armed forces but more especially those who served in them and gave their lives so that we could live as we do. We are more than everyone we have ever known. We are, as a nation, everyone, throughout our history, who ever said 'send me' when there was a need to free the Colonies from the Crown, to preserve the Union, to stop aggression thousands of miles away from hearth and home and to maintain constant vigilance in the face of baleful, ignorant hatred by fanatical cowards. 

For the last two hundred and thirty eight years, we have been a nation of ordinary people who, together, do extraordinary deeds everyday. Today is another of those days.
-bill kenny

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fixing Blame Is NOT Fixing the Problem

I think the middle of the Memorial Day weekend is as good a time as any to offer an unsolicited observation about the current sad state of affairs as reported in every media imaginable about the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I don't know who's wrong and/or who's right-I'd suggest assigning blame for what has been reported is happening doesn't help any of the men and women in uniform we so often, and too often, blithely send off to places across the globe whose names we cannot pronounce and about whom we spare not a thought unless and until something truly tragic happens to them.

General Eric Shineski is the current political pinata and if anybody can stand the strain, it is he. I met him a long time ago in another lifetime (he doesn't recall me, perhaps a small mercy) and he struck me then, as he does now, as the epitome of a class act. He is a man who knows what is the right thing to do and who seeks to do it, despite obstacles placed in his path about which he would neither carp nor complain as that requires energy he needs to accomplish his mission.

On a holiday we have set aside to remember the highest sacrifice those in the American Armed Forces can make and have made in every conflict since the Revolutionary War, perhaps we can also spare a thought for those who serve(d) and return(ed) broken in body and/or spirit and how much more each of us needs to do to help them heal.

But in the halls of Congress, when we're not repealing "Obamacare" (which we're still not Representative Boehner) or getting to the bottom of Benghazi (again), we are outraged, outraged I tell you with the job Shineski and his crew are doing over at the VA and as soon as the TV cameras get here, I'll wax apoplectic about it.

I found a motion of the United States Senate requiring 60 (of 100) votes for passage on the next to last day of February 2014 of  "(a) bill to improve the provision of medical services and benefits to veterans, and for other purposes" whose official title was the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.

As we honor our fallen this holiday it might be helpful to remember no one sacrificed her/himself for a Republican or a Democrat- no one died defending Lutheranism, Judaism, Catholicism or animism. No one asked about racial heritage or sexual orientation. They gave their fullest measure for every one of us, even the forty-one star-spangled hypocrites with the exact same initial behind their names.
-bill kenny

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Watch Waterfalls of Pity Roar

I spend most Friday afternoons into the early evenings catching up, via on-line reading, with the public meetings in my town, Norwich, Connecticut, that I meant to attend (or more accurately should have attended but ran out of energy, time, or intelligence) in the course of the week. I can check out the meeting minutes here as easily as clicking my computer mouse.

Some people with whom I share the city are unhappy about a large number of things we seem  to do less than well (and have good cause for their unhappiness), but one of those things they really shouldn't be complaining about is the municipal website because, and  not just for a city our size but for anywhere, it kicks butt. I'm not just saying that because I was lucky enough to be to work with some talented folks, led by Josh, who reinvented it, though that sure helps.

Today, as an example I'm wandering around on the banks of the Shetucket River, courtesy of an outing organized by Norwich Public Utilities of the hydroelectric facilities and the fish lift (two separate projects despite how I just wrote that) that I learned about from the website. I might need to get the old aquarium out of the basement and later the tartar sauce out of the fridge.

I was catching up on the topics raised at the second public hearing on the annual budget, a meeting now three weeks ago I really wanted to go to and then fell asleep on the couch in our living room and didn't even dream about attending.

In reading about the concerns and issues raised in the course of that evening by those with whom I live in this city, I read a reference to myself which, ever since the Great Side o' the Milk Carton Caper of '08, has made me uneasy.

The only thing the speaker could have been quoting was this and I fear the part she missed was from far earlier (in my life) when I explained to anyone who chose to read it that I write this stuff for me and for me alone. My words are all that I have to make sense of a place in space that seems to have very little left in it. Without them I'd be as crazy as the man I see when I close my eyes, and that guy is nuts.

In other words, if you are using anything I say or that you think I have said to help you find your way, be advised that the management is not responsible for lost or damaged items, be they hopes, dreams, aspirations or ideals. All sales are final and any conclusions you have reached are entirely your own.

As Dylan once offered: "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine. But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only."
-bill kenny

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Corporate Machine Will Call Your Corporate Machine and We'll Do Lunch

When I decided to live forever and cut back/down on products and practices that might keep me from reaching that goal, the fast food places went over the side as practically the first thing jettisoned. Between us, I'm not sure no longer eating in them is really helping me live longer, but sometimes my days sure feel a lot longer which could be the same thing, I suppose.

Anyway. Apparently I'm not alone in skipping the edible landfill complete with drive-through window and, as near as I can tell from a careful reading of this, I and those like me were a topic of Don Thompson, McDonalds' CEO's remarks to the stockholders of McDonalds yesterday at their annual meeting in Oak Brook Illinois .

I still think they should meet in St Louis as long as they promise to make a donation to be allowed to paint The Arch gold for the day of their meeting, and promise to repaint it afterwards (unless the Rolling Stones are on tour and then you've already guessed what color it should be).

The story makes me cringe-not for the news value (though I did notice there weren't any pictures of Beyonce's sister, One Step Beyonce, beating up her husband in an elevator, so how legit is this as a news story?) but by how ham-fisted Don comes across in print.

His defense of how 'quite healthy' his own children seem to be in response to claims of predatory bordering on inexorable marketing of Mickey D's to tykes was breathtaking. And he certainly didn't seem to offer any notable quotables on raising wages for any of those toiling away in the Secret Sauce mines of Ronald's McSweathouses.

Quite frankly, it seemed to me, in reading the article that he's correctly judged his audience-minds are already made up so there's no need to confuse 'em with facts. In a moment reminiscent of how many angels can dance on the head of a French fry, one the stickholders' more memorable concerns isn't about child nutrition or paying employees a living wage but rather "why don't all the restaurants serve biscuits and gravy for breakfast."

I am so lovin' it.
-bill kenny

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reminds Me of Elbows

o·pin·ion [ə pínnyən] 
1. personal view: the view somebody takes about an issue, especially when it is based solely on personal judgment 2. estimation: a view regarding the worth of somebody or something 3. expert view: an expert assessment of something. 

fact [fakt]
1. something known to be true: something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened. 2. truth or reality of something: the truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something. 3. piece of information: a piece of information, e.g. a statistic or a statement of the truth.

Axl Rose Ranked as "greatest vocalist" ever.

se·ri·ous·ly [ˈsi(ə)rēəslē/]

1. in a solemn or considered manner.
2. with earnest intent; not lightly or superficially.


 Just me, or do you smell something bovine? Modesty is so over-rated
 -bill kenny

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To Care for Him Who Shall Have Borne the Battle

When I was a child, you observed/celebrated holidays where they fell on the calendar. The 'let's roll things to the nearest Monday and give everyone a three-day weekend' craze hadn't yet started. Sometimes I'm not sure we might not be better off with a return to earlier times. 

In any event, there's a better than an average I'm the first to wish you the best for your Memorial Day holiday, which will be observed Monday. 

There's a remembrance ceremony dedicated to a Taftville native son Private Michael J. Murphy who died on October 15, 1918, during World War I,  at The Memorial Park in Taftville, around the corner from the Knights of Columbus starting at ten that morning. 

The Taftville VFW Post 2212 and the American Legion Post 104 do a wonderful job of organizing this event. I always find time to attend and hope you will too.

If tradition is any indicator, there will be some remarks by local civic leaders and those who served in uniform around the world in both war and peace and who lived to come home and tell about it, as well as words of comfort from a clergy person.

And if you're like me, you'll look around at the metal folding chairs, all neatly aligned facing the podium and try to figure out how many of those who were there last year made it this year. That's the tricky thing. Memory of sacrifice only survives until the last person who remembers has passed.

You probably have a ceremony very much like it where you live today and for all those who died in this country's wars so you and I could wear "Kiss the Cook" aprons and "I'm with Stupid" tee-shirts, cook raw meat over hot rocks and drink a little too much beer, it's never too late in the day to say 'thank you' so I hope you try to attend.

At the ceremony in Taftville Monday morning there'll be a contingent of Young Marines, who will serve as ushers and perhaps as the color guard and after about forty minutes, we'll all go our separate ways. It's not very much time to honor those men and women who spoke seventy words and meant them in their fullest measure.

The United States has been doing this-memorial remembrances for those who served our nation for a long time--though not by other nation's standards, mind you. 

In comparison to the Great Nations of Europe, we are a snot-nosed kid (admittedly who saved the aforementioned great nations twice in the last century) and who did a remarkable job of rebuilding enemies beyond both oceans, Germany and Japan, while serving as a bulwark against the Soviet Union for decades.

But in the Brave New World, it's long since become 'what have you done for us lately?' And new enemies, far more formidable than any we have encountered before, require vigilance and sacrifice.

The ceremony at Memorial Park will allow those who so choose to make our way from Taftville in time to meet at the parade route from the Cathedral of Saint Patrick on Broadway to Chelsea Parade. 

There, at the end of the marchers' rainbow, of sorts, we'll pause to remember again, those who gave their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so that the rest of us can barbecue, open up the pool, and do the thousands of small things we do at what has become the unofficial start of summer.

These are times of turmoil in the Land of the Free. We have all manner of talking heads, 24/7 TV news stations and websites which pander to every political flavor in the rainbow and tolerance and accommodation are in awfully short supply. 

We've become heavily entrenched in and entranced with our own beliefs and are less interested than at any time since the Nativist movement in what anyone disagreeing with us has to say about anything.

Perhaps as a reminder to take into this holiday weekend and beyond, I can offer the seventy (and four) words which closed Abraham Lincoln's second Inaugural Address. 

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." 
-bill kenny

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reclaiming the Soul of America

I love New York and was, point in fact, born there though I grew up across the river, on the Jersey side. When as a kid me and my buddies said 'New York' we meant Manhattan (we knew there were other boroughs, but so what?).

It's funny in a way that in the last nearly forty years, I've perhaps spent a total of fifteen hours in Manhattan as my life and loves have taken me in so many other directions but my fascination and affection for it have never wavered.

About three and a half years ago, our son, Patrick Michael and I spent a Saturday downtown on the peripheries of the first wave of Occupy Wall Street. It was a brilliant day, weather-wise and in terms of sheer adrenaline a Top Ten. Having the chance to share one of my favorite places on earth with one of my favorite people still makes me smile.

Less than two years ago, I joined my wife and our daughter, Michelle, in Thelma and Louiseing the Christmas displays and, more somberly, part of the nearly completed work at Ground Zero in a day trip I fear they both think of as "One of the Muppets Tried to Take Manhattan." Admittedly I needed a haircut and let's leave the discussion there.

I don't expect it will be all that long until we do that day tripper thing on Metro North again as the 9/11 Memorial Museum officially opens tomorrow. I will not be amazed if it supplants the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building as "the stop" for visitors as long as those of us who go there respect the memory of all those who remain there from a workday on 11 September 2001 that never ended.

This may be a good way to make sure in a nation that, to me, too often seems to have the same sense of history as a cat, all future generations remember not only the heartache but the heroism, both the atrocity and the altruism, the senselessness and the selflessness. The soul of America.
-bill kenny

Monday, May 19, 2014

Won't Wait Until Wednesday

Don't be fooled by the picture of tranquility that is the Norwich City Hall in this story yesterday on the front page of my hometown newspaper about an item on the City Council's agenda for this evening at 6:30: approval of a municipal bond for $680,000 (plus fees) to purchase a new chiller for the (City of) Norwich Ice Rink.

Staying with ice as a figure of speech, what's NOT on the agenda is of far more concern and disquiet to me than the dollar figure (which is an untruth by the way as far more than the chiller needs to be replaced-add another half million or more to the estimate). I'm not the only one concerned about the magic bookkeeping.

There's this story that should have been a closed book instead of another chapter in a two-decades long money-hemorrhaging operation nearing a million dollars by this point that's drowning in its own sea of red ink.

The chairperson of the Ice Rink Authority is also the President Pro Tempore of the City Council. I have always found him to be an open and honest person who sincerely wants what's best for his hometown. Except.....

In one or the other of his two roles, he delayed the release of an analysis on the rink's operations completed in February (and mentioned in the editorial noted above) preventing his City Council colleagues from having time to study it before asking them last month to approve the bond (that vote was delayed until tonight).

Knowledge is power and I concede power sometimes is intoxicating. No municipality (especially ours of slightly less than 45,000 souls) needs to operate its own ice rink. Seeking a private public partnership was and is the appropriate path.

Anything else, actually everything else, is not for the benefit of those of us who live here. Dear Ice Rink Authority, with my apologies to those who love transactional analysis, it's not you, it's us. It's only been in the last eighteen months that anyone in elected city government gave a fried rat's hindquarters about the money pit on New London Turnpike.

Success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan-good luck getting someone to adopt the Ice Rink, but as news stories report, we have three someones prepared to do just that.

And yet, I've concluded we have those both within city leadership and without (the writer is too modest-he was the driving force to get the public to pay for the original bond that built the facility) who cannot or will not take yes for an answer.

So here's what needs to happen tonight. The motion for the bond needs to be voted down-not tabled and no withdrawn. V-O-T-E-D D-O-W-N. Only if the Council burns this boat at the water's edge will it finally be forced to face the reality the rest of us arrived at long ago.

After tonight's  Council meeting, because of  its singular lack of transparency and an intractable attitude that helped no one at a very difficult moment, the current Ice Rink Authority needs to be discharged of its responsibilities with our thanks.

But that's only the half of it. Because of his failure in judgment and casual regard for personal ethics and integrity, Mayor Hinchey should request and accept the resignation of the City Council President Pro Tempore. As Abraham Lincoln once offered, "(n)o man is good enough to govern another man without the other's consent." I withdraw mine and encourage you to consider doing the same.
-bill kenny

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Aging Yuppie Ate Jumbo Shrimp

Fill in the blank:

_____ is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements which appear to be contradictory. I gave you two examples in the title.

Here's a news story that embodies the whole concept, perfectly.

Oxymoron. Also includes that in the year 2014 we can advance a notion that "it's probably the most humane way to kill somebody." When we're at the eye for an eye level, humanity is more insanity than vanity. Dead is dead. Ashes to ashes.
-bill kenny

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Taking a Page from Facebook

I'm assuming you Facebook (and am also assuming that wasn't the first ever recorded use of a less-than-real-noun as a verb in the English language). I think Facebook is Facebook in other languages, too. I don't remember receiving a friend request from anyone in Germany for Gesichtbuch but that may have more to do with my not having friends in Germany, or anywhere else come to think of it, than in how it's a universal concept.

My point is that there's all kinds of advertising for everything under the sun running along the length of the right-hand side of the screen. You can join a group or like a page or indulge some of the commercial posters who have convinced themselves that this form of advertising is a fundamental part of their strategic communications plan for their "brand."

These are also the people who emphasize the purchase of lottery tickets as "integral" to their retirement portfolio, along with recyclable can futures. I'm teasing, I think, to some degree on that since I've installed something similar to a pop-up blocker (look at me type this smack like I know what it is!) that culls most of the on-screen ads from the screen at no charge aside from personal privacy and right to it.

Yep, I, too, was incensed at the NSA spying on me, those stumblebunnies, when I give away five times more personal data for free in order to qualify for a chance to bid on an English Muffin almost once eaten by the guy who sings in Coldplay (or some prize approximating that). Even at work, where I don't have the doo-dad on the computer I look but don't see the advertising-you're probably the same way. There's so much of it that it's just part of the scenery after awhile.

The people who create it think they've made art and the rest of us just shrug. So how to explain these whackjobs? These are some of the angrier Mad Hatters running around loose right now and while I'd like to consider myself an advocate of 'live and let live' I admit to less magnanimity when I'm looking at cockroaches and silverfish rather than otters or baby seals.

These folks bear no resemblance to either otters or seals if you're following my drift though once the last of them has been eradicated I may be slightly more mellow. Are we talking exchanging Hallmark on-line cards? Probably not, but there's a degree of difference between blocking them with a click of the mouse and the launching of a drone.
 -bill kenny

Friday, May 16, 2014

Postcards from Terminus?

You know how everyone you know is binge viewing The Walking Dead? What do you mean they're not? Waitaminit, I just realized nobody I know is doing that either. I guess we're too old, or too young.

Meanwhile, the entire rest of the country eats this stuff up with a spoon and I have to confess I don't like it at all. I am a traditionalist-I didn't like "Night of the Living Dead" (or any of the other 10,000 title variations) as a kid growing up and I still don't now that I am decrepit.

So my dilemma today is what should I feel having learned that our Army of One and all the other members of the Puzzle Palace Praetorian Guard has a contingency plan to handle the Zombie Apocalypse? Pleased, perplexed, or perpendicular (I was working on that trinity thing and came up short).

Of course the plan will be managed by Strategic Command, Stratcom, responsible for the nuclear deterrent protecting the Homeland 24/7/365-who else would you entrust with this?

A predecessor to Stratcom, Strategic Air Command (usually called SAC, though not usually to their faces), was once led by General Curtis LeMay who famously offered to bomb the North Vietnamese back to the Stone Age (bus fare wasn't in the budget back in the day) so there's obviously something to be said for consistency of message and purpose.

I actually know professionally the "spokeswoman for Strategic Command" and was going to drop her an eNote teasing her until I realized we're fresh out of holy water at my house right now, so I may need a lot more Stratcom than either they or I was planning on if things go sideways.

As impressive as the alphabet soup of zombie threats is, reading the report, I'm most taken, so far, by the vegetarian zombies. And when I read about "dragon egg hatching contingencies" I decided at that very moment to never casually regard hard-boiled eggs ever again.
-bill kenny

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Can't Lose My Job by Getting in a Rage

Skip the drive-through today. Take a pass on the coffee and donuts or waffles or chicken or falafel or bean sprouts. That person you really never think about, the one who sold you breakfast yesterday morning or served you lunch or dinner (what? lunch AND dinner, yipes!) needs you to see them today. All of them.

The people who make and serve us fast food are fighting for their lives and the least you can do is bring your own napkins to the brawl and do something different today and hope to hell the mega corporations who employ them get the message and start paying them closer to a living wage.

Not just here  in the Land of the Round Door-Knobs but all around the world. Finally, enough is enough. Want fries with that Fast Food Forward?
-bill kenny

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Keep Those Cards and Letters

It's only fair, I suppose-actually more than fair. You put up with my noodlings here every day and in the newspaper once a week and it was bound to happen that I'd hit a nerve.

I've spent most of the previous fortnight learning how many people read the editorial page, at least on Wednesdays. Color me surprised (and tell the Crayola people I'll get with them later on fitting it into the box). I think the small dialogues we had with one another were constructive if not especially helpful (we didn't convince one another of anything we didn't already believe) but that was okay.

For those who stopped to speak with me near the salad bar at the grocery store or in the parking lot outside of it or while I was heading into Planet Fitness, I wanted that photo you mentioned at the top of the column for the side of a milk carton with a "Have You Seen this Dweeb?" caption. The Bulletin didn't seem to care but the dairy sure did; they said I was so ugly I'd frighten the children and sour the milk.

Might I offer, as a feeble counterpoint that if you could and did read the column you should have first thanked a teacher for making it possible. And I'm whining for effect, truth be told, because actually more people made it a point to seek me out to share their agreement with me than to offer a differing opinion, to which they are most certainly entitled though that's not my point (I'm wearing a hat so you might not see it).

I appreciated your thoughts and words but the people you should be speaking to are the same ones we all selected to be on the City Council. Being present for parts of both public hearings, and reading the meeting minutes on line at the city's website, I applaud everyone who spoke out and spoke up but almost none of  those who spoke at the hearings are those who spoke, sent email or wrote actual paper and stamp notes to me.

I don't have all the answers and you don't have all the answers; neither do the folks we've elected to the City Council. But each of us knows something and we are so much smarter together than we are separately that I get confused when we seem to choose to NOT be open and honest with one another in order for all of us to move forward.

There's still too much "for me to look good, you need to look bad" posturing and pouting going on. It's a luxury we literally cannot afford. We're all in the same boat be it with Gilligan or Fletcher Christian. And because the part of the boat nearest me has sprung a leak doesn't mean you don't need to help. If anything, that should mean you re-double your effort to assist because while we may be in a small boat, it's a vast ocean and we are a long way from shore.

The problem with not knowing where you're going, is not knowing when you've gotten there. I, like everyone on this anthill, don't know what I don't know. And many times what I don't know is what's important and critical. But let me suggest we cannot continue in the manner we have been going for decades-it doesn't work.

We have a crumbling infrastructure from sidewalks through public safety personnel to education, a stagnant grand list and over burdened property owners who see themselves more as hostages than citizens.

If we're not willing to tell one another what we want and how much we're willing to sacrifice to have it, we'll have no one but ourselves to blame when we fail. We can lend a helping hand or choose to ball a fist. We decide.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Daze of Future Passed....

Nothing like the present to make you readdress and reassess the past. I've kept a wary eye on Florida ever since the 2000 election with Chad, hold the Jeremy, and the joys of hanging, out and otherwise. Sort of like a one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store, if you follow my electoral college varsity sweater, daddy-o.

We're heading towards Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day (in chronological order) and I find myself studying the signatures on the Declaration of Independence and marveling at the mass of civic courage and just plain smarts so many of those signatories had.

We could have chosen any of dozens of Revolutionary War leaders as President of these United States and been well-served. And here we are almost 238 years later and a walk through the 2016 Presidential Talent Pool doesn't seem to even come to most people's ankles.

And who's offering to be David Hasselhoff as we recast Baywatch? This guy. I can see him in the red baggies now, silver whistle banging on his chest as he slow-mo runs down the newly created beach in Gainesville where the ocean is suddenly.  Another believer in the gunmen on the grassy knoll creating bad weather-I love folks like this.

My entire involvement with science in school, all of my schooling, was a plaster of Paris volcano and knucklehead that I am, I grasp the nature of causality between human activity and changes in our environment. Suspect Marco won't tap me for Veep, though he won't be spoiled for choice from what I can see.

The transcript from the ABC interview is only disquieting if you had hoped for something more than what we've been getting at the national level of our political culture for (I'd suggest) far more than a decade and closer to a generation. More speaking at one another rather than to each other.

Do you think less of me when I tell you I am nevertheless surprised? And still I keep looking at those faded signatures on that distant document which seem to grow larger but still harder to read with every passing election.
-bill kenny

Monday, May 12, 2014

Algorhythm and Blues

I was tempted to type just about every perverse word or phrase I know in both English and German just so the search engines would drive metric boxcars of traffic to here and the server would crash and I could feel a rare sense of accomplishment on a Monday.

I decided to forego that cheap thrill because I can't compete with the breathless headlines of all day Sunday into the early morning hours of Monday on the selection of Michael Sam by the St. Louis Rams (I almost typed Cardinals, except they selected Sam Michael who looks just like him).

I'm not sure if the selection of the first announced homosexual football player is historic or hysteric and at what point do the rest of us perform an Air Force salute (a slow shoulder shrug) and return to our own lives, already in progress. Are we closer to the day when we concede that this is silly and says more about us than it ever will about Michael Sam, or anyone else whose sexual preference is public knowledge (I'm not wasting time on the why behind that question)?

Is the attraction that he's a distraction? Are we nearing the moment where we can pause and wonder if any of this is worth anything at all? "I'm just a tick in a box on a questionnaire, another moment that flashes into nowhere, a brand name on a  pill that gets you there so don't get me to fill up your empty lives."
-bill kenny

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Redux Deluxe: An Ounce of Mother Is Worth a Pound of Clergy (Slight Return)

This is a return visit to an earlier post because it worked then and I think it does as well now. I wrote this a couple of years ago and it's as true now as it was then, except maybe more so. 

I stole the title from a remembered proverb and with it being both Mothers Day and a Sunday I couldn't resist. After all, I am my mother's son, as well as the husband of my son's mother (and of my daughter's mother as well, but I was on a roll and wanted to balance the sentence).

I've read "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." And the image that came with that quote is a beautiful bonus, like one of those 'it came with the frame' pictures we all have in our homes.

Families look to a mother the way the fingers on the hand look to the thumb (said the middle finger of our family, me) so I hope wherever you are today you can reconnect with your family, however you see them, and celebrate both mothers and Mothers Day. I have one, my Mom, in Florida,  (she's very peripatetic and the the last time I looked that's where she was) and one, my wife's Mom, in Offenbach, Germany.

Each of their husbands passed away years ago after being married to them for a very long time leaving them alone, but never lonely, and even from the long distances we are from them, I can feel their attention, their concern and their love in every waking moment. 

I see in their eyes what I see in my wife's eyes when she speaks of our children and know that all mothers' hearts are the same, not just on this day but on all days. Happy Mothers Day.
-bill kenny

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Another Not Ready for a Hallmark Card

Could not allow this to escape unremarked upon for the entire week, though I did try. I've seen nothing about it on anybody's news casts (seems like a natural for Fox, but maybe Sean and the crew just pay lip service to women's rights) and it climaxes, pun intended, tomorrow on Mother's Day.

There's a serious organization combating a terrifying problem facing women across the globe responsible for the creation of International Clitoris Awareness Week but this, the second annual observance, is still the schoolboy stuff of sticky-sweet and snickers behind the hand romance.

It's just as well there aren't any cards-how would the envelopes get sealed?
-bill kenny

Friday, May 9, 2014

Same Movie, Different Cast

This morning, sixty-nine years ago, the European continent awoke to peace for the first time since Mussolini's Italy invaded Ethiopia and a group of generals of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces declared their opposition to the Second Spanish Republic. The rivers of blood flowing from those events precipitated the torrential downpour that created oceans nearly drowning the entire continent.

If World War I had been 'the war to end all wars' by the time we got to Double U, Double U Two, we all knew better Before anyone got used to the quiet, the Cold War descended and five decades of armed ignorant arrogance were to follow.

Countless dollars of international treasure were expended to guarantee Mutually Assured Destruction (I've always loved how the acronym was a descriptive) and because the Soviet Union went broke first, we, the good guys "won."

I'm still not sure what the prizes were for winning, but the price was very high in opportunities lost and developments and discoveries not made because we chose guns over butter. It looks like some decisions are being revisited though to what end is unclear.

Those who cannot remember history are fated to repeat it and in light of how many of us seem to have Attention Deficit Disorder, this phase may go on for quite some time until, like our parents and their parents before them, and theirs before them, we confuse peace with times of no war. Our inability to learn is ignorance more than an accident of biology or circumstance. See how the tail can wag the dog.
-bill kenny

Thursday, May 8, 2014

We Are God's Punchline

If you need more proof that some time ago, in the not too distant past, every other living and spiritual thing in the Universe got together and didn't tell us, try this on for size.

And we think we're such hot stuff with these opposable thumbs and big brains. Turns out it's not just size that matters. Who knew?

Yes, I know this is serious and could have been far more so. Had you or I attended and gotten ill, neither of us would find this even close to as amusing as I'm finding it for the both of us right now, proving yet again that humor is not only topical but geographic-the closer you are the less you laugh.

Except in this case had only you became ill and I had not, hysterical mirth would ensue and I wouldn't dream of telling you otherwise. Baltimore's not the only place having trouble with ice and nausea isn't even the half of it. It all seems like a sight gag gone wrong.
-bill kenny

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sadness or Euphoria

Monday evening at 6:30 we in Norwich have a second bite of the proverbial apple at the Second Public Hearing on the City Manager's proposed fiscal year 2014-2015 budget.

In a world where silence is interpreted to mean consent, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to use this forum to make your voice heard because (and I'm amazed how often we lose sight of it) this is our city.

The budget creation process is very straight-forward and transparent, if you're willing to look at it. Part of our unhappiness as we struggle to understand the results of a long process I fear is that we want to cut to the chase and have no patience for prologue or explanations. We all want to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. I'm pretty sure that's not how it works.

The professionals who manage our municipal departments made their cases for funding to the City Manager last fall and into the winter with crunch time in the early Spring.

The City Manager, in turn, evaluated the requests and reviewed past performance and results in crafting his proposed budget which he presented to his bosses, the City Council, the men and women we each elected to the City Council. There's not a one of them who doesn't pay taxes for the same goods and services we all expect and receive from the city in which we live.

No one likes their taxes to be increased, by any amount, at any time or for any reason. You know both the City Manager and City Council are keenly aware of this already but by all means go ahead and remind them of that again on Monday evening if you're so inclined. You're entitled to tell them how and why (and where if we're being technical) you agree and/or disagree with the expenditures and appropriations they are considering.

But between today and then go over the budget and do your own math. As Sister Mary Jean used to tell us in math class, "show your work." If you have a proposal or an alternative for a budget item, show how you're paying for it and be specific and realistic. Measure (at least) twice before cutting once-that's what they used to say in New York's Garment District-good watchwords for those creating municipal budgets.

Speaking of which, copies of the budget are available on line and also in the Otis Library (and you thought all they had were book sales?). More than a few of us were unhappy that copies aren't available for free at City Hall but I suspect others of us would be unhappy if tax dollars were 'frittered away' on something you can print at your own home. Like everything involved with budget, not everyone is happy with whatever solution is offered.

Despite news reports nationally of an economic upturn, around here these remain hard times in the land of plenty. Someday, we may come to regard these as the best of times, but not today and probably not Monday either.
-bill kenny

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now We Can Sneeze in Public

I admire the sense of timing the folks in the black robes in DC exercised yesterday in using Cinco de Mayo as air cover for offering an inventive, albeit convoluted, interpretation to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, or what's left of it, of our Constitution.

As you've possibly read, the same Supreme Court of the United States that sees no reason to maintain or retain any form of Affirmative Action because we is all so equal there's no need for a sequel, which has also decided money is free speech so the more you have the louder you can be and happens to be wildly in love with the Second Amendment has now determined prayer to start a public meeting (in a town in New York State, specifically) is not religious expression and as such is neither prohibited nor regulated.

If you don't believe in God or in any form of a Divine Being ("Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin") just stand outside municipal meetings until the grown-ups are done or stare at your shoes and keep telling yourself that when your rights aren't respected, no one else's are either. Of course you should realize the rest of us will think you're a Whiner and probably not much of a patriot no matter how many flag decals you have on your windshield.

With spring busting out all over these United States, and pollen and allergy season sure to follow, how fortuitous! I have no idea what you say when someone sneezes but rest assured unless that person is someone of another race, the Supreme Court is cool with a simple "God Bless You." Somewhere Kate Smith is smiling, though from a distance it looks like she has gas.

Please rise for the Benediction and remain standing for another national anthem.
-bill kenny

Monday, May 5, 2014

¿Tiene Francia una mayo Quinta?

Today, as you probably know if you've been pricing limes, is Cinco de Mayo.  I'm not sure if you prefer Miracle Whip if you are required to stay indoors and I'm not sure whom to ask for a ruling.

I find it somewhat telling that we do more celebrating of this holiday here, North of the Border, than reportedly in most of Mexico. I think that means we were more desperate to find a holiday that would tide us over from Saint Patrick's Day, where everyone is Irish (more or less) to Memorial Day, where we're all so patriotic we have to have barbecues to prove it.

Lost in all the superficial celebrations across the USA today is a grimly serious and incredibly important milestone in the history of the Republic of Mexico, and by extension, the USA and (to a more limited extent) Western Europe as well but one that is far more quietly celebrated in Mexico.  

Freedom is a process as much as a product-we know that from our own War of Independence and should realize that other nations have parallel experiences.
You needn't have a margarita today to observe Cinco de Mayo-just recalling that your freedom is worth whatever price you are willing to pay for it is often more than remembrance enough.
-bill kenny

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jetzt bin Ich ein Country Maus.....

I settled us in Norwich as the first one who arrived from Germany back in the early fall of 1991.  I've always liked living here even though I'm not from here-perhaps liking it more than many who were born here.

I'm not a nester but I am a slow to relinquish kind of guy, meaning once I have something, I have it. When I rock, I rock and when I roll, I roll. Here's one of the reasons why I like living here.

The Uncas Leap is about a four minute walk from our house and is beautiful every single day of the year and I don't know a lot of things you can say that about, so I count that as a Plus One for my team.

Here's another reason why I like living here.

This is the Upper Falls and I walked across that railroad trestle you see at the end of the clip to get to where I shot this video. Technically, I'm standing in the middle of the Upper Falls Heritage Park but it needs a lot of work and that costs money that we don't seem to have, at least for a place as beautiful as this.

Wherever you live, you have places of which you can and should be proud if you take care of them. Don't be the reason you don't have nice things.
-bill kenny

Saturday, May 3, 2014

One Less than Advertised

We had a bustle in the hedgerow here in The Land of Steady Habits earlier in the week and I smiled as a fellow child of the Sixties who is a decade older than I (talk about how good that felt, youbetcha!) had his reach exceed his grasp, in more ways than either of us care to think about.

Paul Simon and Eddie Brickell made like the other Tom and Jerry which may have upset Artie if he found out, at their home right here in The Nutmeg State and both ended up with some 'splainin' to do to the Men in Blue. Koo-koo-ca-chew.

I still find it hard sometimes to realize "stars" are people, too-somebody's husband or wife, a parent, a sibling, just like the rest of us. Maybe they're flying first-class, metaphorically, but it's the same plane, astral and otherwise.

To me, the big part of the story was finding out they lived in New Britain. I'd have pegged them for somewhere in Litchfield County but then again, I live on the Rhode Island side of Connecticut, so what do I know about marital relations. Well, for starters when I and my my wife disagree, I count to ten, Paul, five times.
-bill kenny

Friday, May 2, 2014

Another Pause for Reflection

Today is the birthday of our baby girl, Michelle. She was the smallest and most perfect person I had ever seen on the day of her first birthday. When I held her head in my right hand as she slept when she stretched out, her feet almost touched the bend of my elbow.

She was and will always be my Itty-Bit, my Ichy-Michy even though I concede neither of those nicknames plays well these days (so I hardly ever use them and never in public. Well, except for you on the Interwebs).

At two days old
I have a memory of my father and his first daughter, my sister Evan, that I just recalled as I typed this because, like him, I have a song that captures the dynamic of the relationship. I'm smiling as I type this because his song was and remains part of the soundtrack of the film of his life and I suspect Evan, if she reads this, knows exactly what song I mean.  

Michelle no longer can sleep in the crook of my arm-there are times her pace is so frenetic I'm not sure when she does sleep. I more often than not read about her exploits and adventures on things like Four Square when I get up in the morning only to have forgotten any questions I wanted to ask her by the time she comes home from work. That amnesia may be the secret of our success.

She is her mother's daughter-Thelma to her Louise and I marvel at the self-assured and confident little girl who is a purposeful young adult striding through life equipped, or so she believes, to handle whatever is around the next bend.

"She was wide-eyed, now she's street-wise to the lies and the jive talk. But she'll find true love and tenderness on the block." Happy Birthday, Michelle!
-bill kenny