Monday, July 25, 2016

The Old Man & His Sea

As the Missus and I were lounging by the water on Sunday morning, unbeknownst to us her hard-headed father was ankle deep in it.  Apparently at some point after 8:00 pm on Saturday night (when he got out of the shower) and 5:30 am on Sunday morning (when he tried to brush his teeth) the main pipe that brings the water from the street into our house broke.  

Joe - for reasons known only to him - opted to keep his Sunday matinee performance of "Old Man vs the Sea" to himself.  When I arrived home at about 2:30 in the afternoon, I found him wringing water out of a towel and into a garbage pail - in his fifth hour of knocking his brains out.  When I asked him  why he never called Margaret to let her know what had happened.  I am still waiting for the answer. 

With invaluable assistance from Ryan and Suzanne - including but not limited to the use of their Wet-Vac by the time Margaret and I went to bed last night we had restored the basement to its pre-aquarium condition.   And Joe?  Last night he slept like a baby.

Hopefully when he tried to brush his teeth this morning, the experience was decidedly routine.  


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Stella and Stewart

Today my sister Kara is celebrating her birthday.  Kara is one of the world's good souls.  She has never encountered a doubt which she has failed to extend the benefit.  She walks through the world with such benevolence that when the back half of the Kenny sibling sextet was entirely school-aged, Jill and I used to tease her that either she was adopted or Jill/I were deposited at the doorstep by the same wolf pack.  Stella - as she has been known for more than thirty-five years - is incapable of doing anyone a bad turn.  She is among the planet's easiest persons for whom to root.  If I comprehended the e-mail she sent me Thursday night, then she, Russ, and all three of their sons are spending her birthday kicking off their summer vacation.  May the birthday and the vacation both be excellent and joyous.  She deserves nothing less. 

In addition to Kara's birthday, today we celebrate Day Three, B.C. ("Between Conventions"), which sadly is the final day of this woefully under-appreciated three-day holiday.  Tomorrow the Democratic National Convention invades Philadelphia (as if the people of Philly do not have enough to deal with between watching the Phillies and facing the stark reality that Sam Bradford is the Eagles' starting quarterback).  Lord knows it will probably take Cleveland weeks to wash the stink of the Republican National Convention out of Quicken Loans Arena.  Buck up, Ohioans - you still have LeBron...and you no longer have Johnny Manziel. 

I did exact a measure of enjoyment out of the headlines I read last week from Cleveland positing that this year's GOP nominee had woken up the echoes (my homage to my favorite Crown Royal-toting former college football coach, once and future jagoff) of a three-time GOP Presidential nominee, Richard M. Nixon.  Each one possesses and/or possessed an extraordinary comfort level alighting from and hopping onto helicopters.  So there's that anyway. 

All of the talk about Nixon made me wax nostalgic for the paraphernalia that popped up in 1988. 

I realize that none of those three presently apply to the deceased Mr. Milhous. However, I was reminded late Thursday night that they all apply to a certain fellow left-handed Son of the State of Concrete Gardens: 

"He's Tan, Rested, and Ready!"
Stewart in '16 

To hell with Trump.  To hell with Clinton.  I know for whom I am casting my ballot.  The only one of the three who I actually trust.  


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thank Goodness We Still Have Warner Wolf...

For those of you who might not be familiar with him, Warner Wolf has been an ubiquitous presence as a sportscaster in the New York television (and now radio) market for decades.  During his lengthy career he has been - at one time or another - the sports anchor on the evening news for the local ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates.  Along the way, he coined several catchphrases, including "Let's go to the videotape!", which he parlayed into the title of his book.  

You may not have known that as of July 23, 2016 there is just one company in the world that still manufactures the VCR.  In the event a millennial happens past this space today, "VCR" is the acronym for "Video Cassette Recorder".  As it turns out, as of July 31, 2016 there shall be zero companies in the world that shall manufacture the VCR.  

Funai Electric, a Japanese electronics company, which has been the last man(ufacturer) standing in the VCR game, is ceasing production of them at month's end.  Apparently, given that no one else makes them (although apparently 750,000 of them were sold globally in 2015), Funai has had difficulty acquiring the parts needed to make the device.  Personally, I never suspected that a digital clock that does nothing but blink "12:00" on an eternal loop would be an impossible-to-find item.  

I reckon that in addition to Warner, we shall always have Garth and Wayne and their VCR game... is fun for the whole family. 


Friday, July 22, 2016

A Man. An Honor.

While the Missus and I sat soaking up the sunshine on the beach last weekend, I spent a few minutes scrolling through Twitter and came across a tweet that made reference to Donald Trump not being much of a reader.  I did not know whether the tweet was something that Mr. Trump himself had said or something someone else had said about him.  I subsequently learned that it was the former.  The GOP Presidential nominee has apparently acknowledged in several interviews that he is not now much of a reader- and never has been much of one.  

I must confess that I was a bit surprised to hear him say it - and I say that not to denigrate him or to offer some sort of pseudo-intellectual observation on how his stated lack of passion for reading allegedly reflects upon his intellect.  I am inclined to leave the denigration of each party's candidate to the other party (because when the choice is between two options, both of which are unappealing to a substantial degree the campaign is destined to be waged at the "I know you are but what am I?" level of discourse).  Furthermore, I do not ascribe to the theory that one's intellect and one's passion for reading invariably go hand-in-hand.  My own personal experience has taught me that is not true.  My wife, who is very bright, does not read for pleasure.  Neither does my son-in-law who is also a very bright person.  

On the other hand, I not only like to read, I need to read.  Although I have no better than a pedestrian ability to use it, I find language fascinating and derive a tremendous amount of pleasure from its good usage.  Although my preferred form of consumption is books - and non-fiction as opposed to fiction by a considerable margin - one of the things that I find most interesting about reading is that you can find good writing in an impossible-to-count number of locations, including those in which you might not necessarily think to look. 

Yesterday while I was eating my lunch at my desk as is my custom (huge surprise I am sure that I favor "lunch as a necessity" over "lunch as a workplace outing") I spent a few minutes perusing Richard Deitsch's "Tech & Media" column.    I enjoy reading his column for much the same reason as I enjoy reading Peter King's "The MMQB" on the same site.  Each is sports-intensive. Neither is sports-exclusive. 

On Thursday, Deitsch's mailbag included a question that asked him "What are the top five most essential pieces of journalism for a young journalist?"   He replied by noting that it is impossible for him to offer any single definitive list of simply five pieces.  He then provided the gentleman who posed the question with what he, himself, considers to be the greatest-ever magazine piece,  and his selection for the greatest piece of writing to ever appear on the pages of his present employer

I was most intrigued, however, by his third and final selection, which he categorized as a newspaper column that "many consider to be the finest newspaper column ever written".  The column was written by the great New York City newspaper columnist, Jimmy Breslin (to whom I owe an apology as I mistakenly believed him to be dead and initially identified him as "the late Jimmy Breslin".)  He wrote it in late November, 1963 for The New York Herald Tribune.  

Whether Breslin's column is in fact the finest such marriage of words and newspaper that history has yet to read I would not pretend to know.  Hell, I do not know how anyone could make such a determination.  I know for certain that I cannot.  I know - having read it - that I found it to be an extraordinary read.  It was an examination of a sequence of historical events - the assassination, funeral, and burial of President John F. Kennedy - with which almost everyone has at least a baseline understanding from a unique and fascinating perspective.    

I consider the time I spent reading it to have been time well-spent.  If you read it, then perhaps you shall feel likewise. 


Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Long-Overdue Return

When I cued up the premiere episode, which aired on HBO two Sunday nights ago, I could not recall where or when I had last seen John Turturro.  Less than one minute into his first appearance as criminal defense attorney John Stone in "The Night Of" I no longer cared where he had been.

I was too busy appreciating the fact that he is back.  For six more Sunday nights anyway.

You might want to check him out and the rest of the show as well.  I have very much enjoyed the first two episodes, which have been - in my estimation - quite excellent.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Magnificent Seven

I have empathy for Melania Trump.  She is neither a candidate nor a public speaker.  I know not how she ended up in the mess in which she found herself on Monday night after she paid homage to Michelle Obama by dusting off the eight-year-old speech that Mrs. Obama had originally delivered at the 2008 Democratic Convention and sharing it with the attendees at the 2016 Republican Convention.  I doubt highly that it was a situation of her creation.  Frankly, I could not care less.  If in this election cycle - the Autumn of our Electoral Discontent - your decision for whom to vote for whom to not vote turns on a speech made by a candidate's spouse then might I humbly beseech you to start passing around the pipe full of whatever it is you are smoking.    

I have significantly less patience for our Governor. Once upon a lifetime ago, prior to becoming our governor he was the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.  In case you had either forgotten that - or perhaps has not been aware of that fact - he certainly went to lengths to make you aware of it during his speech on Tuesday night.  Nice to see that he and America's Mayor both graduated with honors from the Howard Beale School of Public Speaking.  Thus, when I heard him declare on Tuesday morning that Mrs. Trump's speech did not constitute plagiarism because only seven percent of her speech was not her own, I knew not whether to laugh or cry.

What a refreshing attitude from a former law enforcement officer.  Best of all, his "7%" rule has practical applications  as a defense to allegedly bad behavior both in the legal world ("Your Honor, my client cannot be sued for divorce on grounds of adultery as he was unfaithful to his wife only 7% of the time that they were married") and in the real world ("Gee, Mr. Kenny, I do not see why you are upset, when I rotated your car's tires I re-fastened all but 7% of the lug nuts").    

Nice to know the Governor grades on such a generous curve.  Upon hearing his comments on Tuesday morning, I could not help but wonder if his repeated denials about Bridgegate are 100% true or just 93% true.  After all, what is 7% between friends, right?   

His cronies' trial starts in September.  Stay tuned.  


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Love This City But I Wonder If This City Loves Me

The most compelling piece of visual media you shall see this week is not a video posted by a member of the self-promoting Kardashian family, nor anything remotely linked to them, any of their spouses, or any of their enemies (arch or otherwise). 

It is this:

July 8, 2016 FB post of Police Officer
Montrell Jackson, Baton Rouge, LA PD 
KIA - July 15, 2016

Montrell Jackson spent roughly one-third of his life as a police officer in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Police Department.  On July 8, 2016, seventy-two hours after Alton Sterling, an African-American man, was shot and killed by one of Officer Jackson's fellow officers in a parking lot outside of a convenience store, this thirty-two-year-old man who was black and blue and who was a husband and father of Mason, a four-month-old little boy, used social media for a worthy purpose.  

Less than seven days after Officer Jackson said what he meant and meant what he said on his Facebook page, he was murdered in the line of duty in Baton Rouge. On Sunday, July 15, 2016, a coward ambushed Officer Jackson, his colleague Police Officer Matthew Gerald and Deputy Brad Garafola of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department (both of whom were Caucasian in the event that is important to you to know) and killed all three of them.   

Officer Jackson's sister, Joycelyn, after learning of her little brother's line of duty death said, "It's coming to the point where no lives matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or whatever."  

I hope like hell Joycelyn Jackson is incorrect.  

I am less than confident that she is.

A realization that scares me to my core.