Friday, November 30, 2012

Never Just a Number

 My original design for this space today revolved around writing something predictably trite and obnoxious.  And then a damn unfunny thing happened. 
 
In the decade-plus since we formally declared "War on Terrorism" and sent our fighting men and women into battle in forsaken lands around the globe - including the dual vacation paradises of Iraq and Afghanistan - New Jersey has lost a number of its sons and daughters.  Earlier this week the official number of war dead with ties to the State of Concrete Gardens reached an ominously round number:  one hundred and fifty.
 
Marine Corporal Christopher Monahan, Jr. of Ocean Gate was killed in action in Afghanistan on Monday.  Corporal Monahan's vehicle was the lead vehicle in a convoy of twenty-seven when his vehicle struck an IED in Helmand Province.  Corporal Monahan was but twenty-five years young.  I must confess that as I wrote that last sentence I paused for a moment at his age.  He was, in fact, younger than both of my two.  He was too damn young to die. 
 
Corporal Monahan, a 2005 graduate of Central Regional High School in Bayville, joined the Marines with a high school friend shortly after graduation.  Monahan was assigned to the Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Department of Defense said. The battalion is responsible for delivering fuel, ammunition and supplies to outlying patrol bases in Afghanistan via ground convoys and air.  Although he was just 25 years old he was on his third deployment in a war zone.  He was killed seventy days from wrapping up his first deployment to Afghanistan, which followed on the heels of two tours of Iraq.  One hell of a lot of killing and dying to be witnessed firsthand by one so damn young.
 
He was the oldest of three siblings and the father of three small children ranging in age from one to six years of age.  His mother Sandy traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday to meet the plane carrying her oldest child home to her - one final time.  Sandy Monahan told the Star-Ledger that, "Everything I pick up, everybody’s eyes I look into, I see him.  He is just everything, he is my heart."
 
And a hero to all - including those of us who never had the pleasure of making his acquaintance....
 
 


-AK

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pandemonium Part Deux?

Six years ago - on a Thursday night in the late autumn - the State University of New Jersey (you know it better perhaps as Rutgers) announced its arrival in "big-time" college football.  In a game dubbed - at least in these parts - as "Pandemonium in Piscataway" the Scarlet Knights won a thriller over the Louisville Cardinals.  It was a win that was expected to vault RU into the rarified air of BCS bowl participant. 

Except it did not.  Rutgers squandered the opportunity it had earned on that Thursday night by going into Cincy the following week and getting drubbed by the homestanding Bearcats.  That loss was followed up by the "catch that was not" in the waning moments in Morgantown against West Virginia, which resulted NOT in a miracle win in the final seconds of regulation on the road but in a devastating loss in overtime.  The '06 season did end on one hell of a high note for Coach Greg Schiano's charges.  They took out their frustrations at having to "settle" for playing in the Texas Bowl by rolling over and through Kansas State. 

From that moment to this one, RU has been poised to take that next step.  To date, it has not.  To date, every time it has tried, it has tripped over its own two feet.  Perhaps it has struggled because the fates have conspired against it or the stars have been misalligned.  Perhaps it has struggled because something has been missing - or simply not quite right. 

Tonight in Piscataway, Rutgers shall host their rivals from Louisville in a "winner take all" game for the Big East Championship.  In view of their pending migration west (OK "midwest" in the interests of geographic accuracy) to the Big Ten in 2014 (fourteen being the number of teams that shall play in the numerically-challenged Big Ten as of '14) tonight might represent their last best chance to get a seat at the adult table.  At least for a while. 

Six autumns ago I was in the building to watch what was then believed to be the program's defining moment.  Tonight I shall be there as well to see whether there is any magic in this hoped-for sequel.  I shall this evening - as I did on that one all those years ago - root, root, root for the home team. 

And hope like hell for a similar result. 

-AK

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Matter of Size

If you are one who refuses to accept as valid the hypothesis that a single moment can inexorably alter one's life forever, then might I ask you to consider this.  Today is November 28.  It was one month ago that Hurricane Sandy arrived here in the State of Concrete Gardens.  Ask someone whose home was obliterated or - worse perhaps - whose entire neighborhood was decimated by the storm whether the concept that you are incapable or unwilling to grasp has any meaning in his or her life. 

The entertainment provided through movies, television and other forms of broadcast media too often clouds the issue.  Its basis for doing so is understandable.  One who is in the business of entertaining another tries to spend as little time as possible in the minutiae of day-to-day life and as much time as possible examining and showcasing life's "Big Moments".  It is not the fault of those in the entertainment business if and when those of us in the audience allow the line between what is real and what is entertainment to become blurred.  It is our responsibility to appreciate the difference between the two.  It is our obligation to keep straight in our heads and in our hearts that although pleasure may be derived from both spheres, it is only the former that actually matters. 

I used to think that the secret to life was understanding that it is not lived in the "big" moments but instead in the accumulation of little moments that comprise our day-to-day.  I know now that such thinking is half-assed.  Moments come "one size fits all".  None is - in and of itself - bigger than another.  It is up to us to infuse the unquantifiable number of moments that shall comprise the sum total of our life with the substance that makes them whatever size they prove to be. 

Who is to say that they cannot all be big? 

-AK


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last Dance of the Buffaloes

Friday afternoon in Boulder, Colorado my father-in-law attended his first college football game.  Given that it was a season-ending tilt between my hapless Alma mater and the ever-so-slightly less so Utah Utes, which proved to be a damn entertaining contest in which the Buffs came up short.  Friday afternoon was the final game of Colorado's twelve-game season.  A season in which they lost eleven of the twelve games they played.   A season in which most of the eleven losses introduced the program and the University to a heretofore never attained level of ridicule.  Most of their games were tough to watch.  Trust me.  I watched them.

We knew not leaving Folsom Field on Friday afternoon that Joe's first would prove to be Jon's last.  On Sunday evening the same Athletic Director (Mike Bohn) who introduced Jon Embree less than two years ago as the Buffs "new" Head Coach announced that he had fired Embree.  Viewed through nothing other than the results on the field - Embree's teams lost twenty-one of the twenty-five games they played - the decision is almost impossible to question or to criticize.  Almost.

Embree was hired two Decembers ago roughly one month after the University decided it could no longer continue to employ Dan Hawkins.  Hawkins coached the Buffs for five (really four and two-thirds) seasons.  His final straw was a fourth quarter self-immolation against the Kansas Jayhawks in which the Buffs surrendered touchdowns in the fourth quarter at an alarming rate in giving away a four touchdown lead with roughly ten minutes to play.  It was a game they ended up losing.  Hawkins was fired upon the team's plane touching down in Colorado upon its return from the game.  At the time he was let go Hawkins had been victorious in only nineteen of the fifty-eight games he had coached. 

In hiring Embree the Buffs did three things.  First, they appeased the alumni base (including Yours truly) by bringing a "Buff" back to coach the team.  Jon Embree was a terrific player for CU in the early part of the 1980's.   I had the pleasure of watching him play from the student section at Folsom Field.  He was "one of us".  Second, they hired the first African-American Head Football Coach in the school's history.  Given the paucity of the African-American student population on the Boulder campus (African-American students comprised roughly 1% of the 25,000 member student body when I went there), a hiring that incoroporated diversity was not an insignificant thing.  Third, they hired a man whose bona fides as a human being are above reproach but who had never been a head coach.  A decision was made (tacitly at least) to hire on the cheap, which they did.  I read yesterday morning that Embree's salary as Head Coach was less than most of the assistant coaches in the PAC-12 Conference who are either offensive or defensive coordinators are paid.  In other words, their #2 makes more than our #1. 

There is an adage about getting what one pays for and an argument can certainly be made that for the past two seasons the Buffs did just that.  Embree's teams were perpetually undisciplined, disorganized and - most damning of all - non-competitive.  They made every opponent look like Everybody's All-American.  We saw firsthand on Friday afternoon - from our seats in the north end zone - that for all of their deficiencies, this herd of Buffaloes played hard.  Every player.  Every play. 

Jon Embree learned a rather harsh lesson on Sunday night about the perils of coming home.  He was reminded that what one thinks as 'home' in one's mind's eye might not in fact exist any longer.  The topography of the place may be as one remembers but the faces have changed.  And at day's end that is what makes all the difference. 

I know not what direction the Buffs shall look for a new coach.  Nor do I know how many coaches will be interested in taking over an acknowledged disaster, which is what it was when Embree arrived in December 2010 and what it remains in the wake of his departure in November 2012, at a school where the length of the leash continues to get shorter and shorter.  Embree is the third Head Coach who Athletic Director Bohn has fired in his seven seasons in Boulder.  In spite of his own inauspicious performance to date - most pointedly in this particular area of personnel-hiring, Bohn has once again been entrusted by his superiors with the responsibility of blowing the whole thing up and starting over. 

Some people simply should not be given access to TNT and blasting caps.  Just sayin'....

-AK

Monday, November 26, 2012

True Bleu

Much to the relief of the good people of Fort Collins, Colorado - whose number includes two of my most favorite - I am not giving up my day job practicing law back here in the State of Concrete Gardens to accept a position on the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce.  Having just had the pleasure of spending a week in Fort Collins I know that they do not need my "expertise" (my sincere thanks to the Einstein Estate for permitting me the most expansive possible use of the theory of relativity) regarding ways to promote tourism in their fair city. 
 
That being said - and me being (for the most part anyway) a tone-deaf, obtuse, opinionated asshat I am inclined to offer a suggestion for those of you who may find yourselves between this week and year's end where the Missus, Joe and I found ourselves this past week.  Spend an evening at the Bas Bleu Theatre Company.   On Friday night we took in the Company's "preview" performance of its present offering:  Almost, Maine"Open your heart to things unseen in these humorous yet compelling stories of life and love in a small Maine town."   Those are (no surprise here) the Company's words, not mine.  Having been part of the audience on Friday night let me say this:  it is worth the effort in opening one's heart.  A worthwhile expenditure of one's time to be certain.  And at $23.00 one hell of a bargain too. 
 
I am - in the interests of full disclosure - a bit biased in that the love of Rob's life is one of the four talented actors who plays a total of TWENTY parts in the production.  Jess is outstanding and is matched every step of the way by her three castmates Heather, Dan and Cary.  I know less about acting than any person alive - other than perhaps Keanu Reeves - so I would not pretend to tell anyone what subtleties are at work on stage.  I honestly have no idea.  All I know is that it is very entertaining.  You shall laugh, you may cry every now and again and you will certainly find yourself looking at the action on the stage and seeing not actors playing roles but a scene from your own life. 
 
Check it out.  You shall be glad you did. 
 
-AK

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wish Fulfillment

Air feels a lot heavier this morning than it did at this time yesterday.  I suspect that the five thousand foot dip in elevation has little to do with it.  On the contrary, I suspecct that the almost two thousand mile space between has everything to do with it.  The Autumnal Parental North American Tour 2012 has officially ended.  The Missus and I awakened this morning in our own bed, in our own home and in our own time zone. 

Christmas will be here before we are fully prepared for it - as it always is - and the eastward winds will carry with them Suz/Ryan from Texas and Rob/Jess from Colorado.  There.  My Christmas list has been completely fulfilled without a single trip to a mall or a ***.com address.  I smile at the thought of the Fantastic Four here. 

Being a parent is truly a great gig.  It is demanding in that it is forever equal parts mesmerizing and terrifying.  When the opportunity presents itself to take a step back and examine those who you helped raise (even if in my case my participation was limited principally to driving the car and earning bill-paying fundage) in their day-to-day, fully adult surroundings and how seamlessly they move through their life, embrace it.  I have.  And I sure as hell intend to keep right on doing so. 

No one will ever be able to complain that I am an impossible person for whom to shop. 

-AK

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wheels Up Again

Today is yet another travel day for the Missus and me.  We jet our way eastward (with Joe of course) having completed a wonderful, memorable week with Rob and Jess in their beautiful new home in the Front Range of Colorado.  I know that it breaks my wife's heart more than just a little to say goodbye to these two at airports, knowing that unlike the Houston branch of the family tree, for them there is no return to the State of Concrete Gardens on the horizon. 

I understand and appreciate the depth and breadth of my wife's dilemma:  as a mother she is thrilled for Rob in the happiness he has found in Jess and in their life together but she is saddened by the fact that the life is being lived two time zones and close to 2,000 miles away. 

For me it is different I suppose.  Colorado has held an incredible hold on my heart from the first time I laid eyes on the place - close to thirty years ago when I was a senior in high school coming to visit Jill and Joe in Boulder.  Having Rob and Jess (and Tillie - I do not want to diss my girl Tillie) here only deepens the affection and appreciation I have for the place. 

Until Rob moved here, my only reason for coming back to Colorado was to visit my Alma mater.  Now I have a far, far better reason than for which I ever could have hoped. 

....and oh how I love those frequent flier miles.

-AK

Friday, November 23, 2012

Einstein Revisited

Albert Einstein - acknowledged as one of the world's truly smart bipeds - once observed that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and anticipating a different result.  Today - at the risk of incurring the wrath of the Estate of Einstein (is it just me or does that sound like a kick ass name for a punk band?  It is no "Blink 182" to be sure but then again what is?) - I respectfully offer an alternative definition. 

This is our final full day recreating along the Front Range of Colorado.  We have enjoyed the hell out of ourselves - lapping up every ounce of hospitality that Rob, Jess and my gal Tillie have generously shared.  We have spent a little bit of time in Denver (seeing Springsteen and the E Street Band play on Monday night in the enclosed, climate-controlled confines of the Pepsi Center - a far cry from the last time the Missus and I attended one of his concerts) and the rest of our time in Fort Collins and the beautiful country surrounding it.  I spent four years of my life in Colorado - albeit a lifetime ago - and I have come back here at every available opportunity.  Yet I never cease to be amazed and impressed at the drop-dead beauty of the place.  Breathtaking does not begin to cover it. 

Coincidentally, breathtaking is also not an adjective one would use to describe the 2012 edition of my Alma mater's football team.  Unless of course one was trying to wedge it into a sentence somehow to describe the porous nature of our defense ("Every time I take a breath the other team scores" for example.  Not a perfect fit but one that effectively communicates the idea).  In spite of the fact that most right-thinking Buffs fans will spend their Black Friday anywhere but Folsom Field, this non-thinking Buffs fan will spend my morning seated in the North end zone cheering like a madman for my Buffaloes.

The Missus, Jess and Rob are really good sports so they have all signed on for this adventure.  I suspect that they have done so not because any of them really wants to watch this game but because all of them dig Boulder as I do and rightly understand that while this morning football is our penance at some point today enjoying a good meal and some adult beverages at one of this town's fine establishments whall be our reward. 

Me?  I have no delusions about the likely outcome of today's game.  Frankly I care not.  I am spending my day in a place that I love with the love of my life, one of our two and the love of his life.  I intend to have one damn good day. 

Hope you do as well.  Go Buffs!

-AK

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Make Peace Not Mince

Today is the original American holiday.  It is Thanksgiving. 

If you awaken today and have a roof over your head, then be thankful.  If you awaken today and have food to eat and clean water to drink, then be thankful.  If you awaken today and you possess the means to provide for your family and for yourself, then be thankful.  If you awaken today and you are in the immediate proximity of at least one of the persons who also occupies this planet and who you love with every fiber of your being, then be thankful. 

If you awaken today and you have at least some of those things (life being what it is the immediate proximity to those we love can sometimes be a difficult goal to realize), then be thankful.  If you awaken today and you have at least some of those things, then what you have in your possession is all the ingredients you need.  You have a recipe for achieving peace laid out before you. 

From me to you, best wishes for a Peaceful Thanksgiving.  In my experience Happiness is a component part of inner peace, not the other way around.  Here is to hoping that you achieve Peace today.  And tomorrow and every day thereafter.

'Tis something for which one and all can and should be truly thankful.

-AK

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Radio Dazed

A little bit of down time in the mid-week portion of the vacation festivities.  Down meaning "free".  Not down meaning...well, "down".  Some idle thoughts from my idling mind....

Last Friday night - driving home from the last official pre-vacation work day (notwithstanding the several hours I spent at the office on Saturday morning) - I was stuck in a ridiculous amount of traffic.  Apparently an accident at some point between Morristown and Basking Ridge on 287 south had reduced multiple lanes of travel to just one.  That reduction, coupled with the typically insane number of us lemmings migrating south in the evening rush, led to quite an epic traffic jam.  A commute that normally takes 30-35 minutes took more than four times as long.   I was actually relieved to see - when I finally reached the choke point (a/k/a the accident site) that while there were a predictably large number of emergency vehicles at the scene I saw no one who appeared injured.  I might have just been being overly optimistic of course.  In view of how long I was stuck on the north side of the accident scene it is entirely likely that (a) people were injured; and (b) the injured were removed from the scene long before I got there. 

The extra-quality time in the car gave me the opportunity to spend more time than usual listening to the radio.  I was appalled to discover that at least two radio stations in the New York metropolitan area - as of last Friday (a/k/a "ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING") had already transitioned into their "All Holiday Music, All The Time" format.  Congratulations to the asshats at 106.7 and 98.3 for adding another entirely unnecessary and unwelcome layer of commercialism to the Christmas season.  Un-effing believable.  If you are that devoid of programming ideas, just play an album of whales farting or some such nonsense.  Almost enough to make me vomit in my own mouth. 

New York is the home of the nation's first successful all-sports radio station.  For the first quarter-century of its existence WFAN occupied a space only on the AM dial.  Earlier this month, they began broadcasting on the FM dial (101.9 for folks keeping score at home).  It is a move that was likely necessitated by the fact that their principal competitor for sports gab - ESPN Radio - moved several months ago from 1050 on the AM dial to 98.7 on the FM dial.  Presuming the NHL ever decides to "unlock" its arenas and actually play some hockey this season, I am looking forward to testing whether the new FM signal for ESPN actually permits me to hear my beloved New York Rangers.  ESPN Radio has been the Rangers' radio home for several years.  On the AM dial, the signal in New Jersey stretched from here almost all the way to the end of this sentence.  Hopefully, on the FM side I will actually be able to listen to the games on the way home from work.  Hopefully there will be games at all.

One night last week (I think it was Thursday) I was flipping around the dial on the trip home and came across the ESPN afternoon drive show, hosted by Michael Kay of the YES Network and co-hosted by Don LaGreca.  I for one love the irony associated with Kay's TV bosses simulcasting on their airwaves the radio show of his biggest rival - Mike Francesca of WFAN.  Nothing makes me chuckle quite as hard as TV spots for Francesca's radio show between innings of YES broadcasts of Yankees games....on which Kay is their lead announcer. 

Last Thursday night Kay and LaGreca were running a contest of some sort.  If memory serves correctly the prize might have been Knicks tickets or something else associated with the 'Bockers.  At the time, the Knicks were undefeated - having won their first five games.  While I cannot recall the prize with specificity I do recall the contest.  

The Knicks won each of their first five games of the season by double digits (sportsguy talk for "ten points or more"), becoming only the third team in NBA history to do so.  The contestants were asked to guess what the Knicks' average margin of victory was through their first five games.  Borrowing from the Showcase concept on The Price Is Right, the contestant who was closest without going over would be the winner.  REMEMBER:  THE CONTESTANTS WERE TOLD THAT THE KNICKS HAD WON EACH OF THEIR FIRST FIVE GAMES BY TEN POINTS OR MORE (I highlight that because it becomes important for purposes of this story). 

When asked to offer his guess as to the team's average margin of victory for its first five double-digit wins, Contestant #1 answered, "Seven".  Upon hearing the same question posed to him, Contestant #2 responded, "Nine".  And with the prize seemingly his for the taking, Contestant #3 declared, "Five".  After laughing hysterically at the sheer absence of intellect of their listening audience (at least as represented by Curly, Moe and Larry who called in to play the game), Kay and LaGreca awarded the prize to Contestant #2.  I suppose someone had to win it. 

Let's just hope that whatever the prize was, it was not something that the winner had to unwrap. 

On second thought, Alvin and the Chipmunks singing "O Holy Night" might not be half bad.

-AK


 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey with a Side of Gravitas

I must confess that I have paid so little attention to the news since arriving here in the Centennial State forty-eight hours or so ago (I am on vacation after all) that I know not whether this part of the United States falls into the same obnoxious behavior as far too many of us who call the New York metropolitan area home do this time of year.  You know those of whom I speak:  the retailers and the consumers who are so goddamn gluttonous that they have further eviscerated Thanksgiving's meaning by turning it into "pre-Black Friday".  Behavior that does not even border on the grotesque but rather obliterates it altogether.

Generally speaking I have no bone to pick with the folks who own and operate Wal-Mart or Target.   Nor do I have any ax to grind with those who use one and/or the other as a primary source for all things retail.  But their behavior during this particular week is so whorish and so offensive to me, which considering my lack of a fully developed (a) soul; (b) heart; or (c) conscience, that it should be frowned upon in every establishment. 

Again this year the perversion will NOT affect the good folks at P.C. Richard & Son, which is one of the largest (and for my money far and away the best) retail chains for electronics, appliances, etc. in the New York area.  Last week they announced that they shall not be open at all on Thanksgiving.  In 2011, they purchased full-page advertisements in all of the major New York metropolitan area newspapers on Thanksgiving Day explaining why they were not open on the original American holiday....as well as reminding one and all what a bunch of whore-mongering asshats their competitors were for dragging their employees out of their homes - and away from their own families on Thanksgiving - just so they could take help someone buy deeply discounted HD television sets or the latest iteration of X-Box or Wii. 



For reasons not entirely clear to me the Sunday-only subscription I have for the Star-Ledger results in me receiving the paper every Thursday for free.  When we return home this weekend, I hope to remember to take a look at Thursday's paper to see whether P.C. Richard again expressed its position on preservation of the sanctity of Thanksgiving in black and white. 

I certainly hope they did. 

-AK

Monday, November 19, 2012

And The Road Goes On Forever....

This promises to be one hellaciously fine week for the Jersey invaders here in the beautiful environs of Colorado's Front Range.  Today is our first full day here.  While I know not what the day-time portion of the itinerary includes, this evening's dance card has been set for some time.  Tonight four transplanted Jerseyans (two of us of the temporary variety and two of us of a decidedly more permanent ilk) are heading south down I-25 to Denver.  Waiting for us there?  None other than the Bard of Freehold and traveling show.  

I was first fortunate enough to see Bruce Springteen perform in concert on September 23, 1985, which was his 36th birthday.  At some point during the show, a birthday cake was wheeled out onto the stage.  He joked with the Big Man about how old he was, how old he felt and how he did not know for certain how much longer he could keep on doing what he was doing.  He performed outdoors on a stage set up on the field at Mile High Stadium (the genuine article.  Not the polished imposter that later replaced it.)  Snow remained on the field from an early Autumn storm that had rolled through the Front Range twenty-fours earlier, prompting the postponement of the September 22nd show. 

By my count Springsteen has embarked on at least ten tours since he voiced his fear to Clarence all those tours ago about being too old to keep doing it more than twenty-seven autumns ago.  I have been really lucky in that I have seen him perform at least one time on most of those subsequent tours, including this one.  I was there when the traveling road show made a stop in late September in his home port of East Rutherford, one night under the late September stars and the other under a portent of storms to come. 

This evening, Rob, Jess, Margaret and I shall be among the folks in attendance at Denver's Pepsi Center.  Ah, the sanctity and climatological stability of an arena show!  When I was a collegian matriculating about a thirty-five minute drive from Denver - in Boulder's foothills - the Pepsi Center did not exist.  The local hoops team plied their craft at McNichols Arena and Denver had neither a NHL hockey team nor a MLB baseball franchise.  A cynic might be heard to opine that in consideration of the NHL's recurrent labor strife and the Rockies' utterly dreadful on-field performance in 2012 that Denver still lacks those two assets. 

At some point this evening I shall try to catch a glimpse of my three concert-going companions and capture them in a single frame in my mind's eye.  Twenty-seven-plus years later I return to the scene of the original "crime"....well close enough for geography's sake.  In the almost three decades since his 36th birthday, the Bard of Freehold has covered a lot of ground.  Me too.  

I cannot pretend to speak for him.  But for me, it has been one hell of a ride - far better than anything for which I could have hoped standing on the field at Mile High all those years ago....  

....with the promise of better days ahead.


-AK  

  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wheels Up

Someone far wiser than me (he says while winnowing the field down not at all) once observed the rapidity with which Time moves while one is enjoying oneself.  Bearing that in mind Joe, the Missus and I are embarking this morning on what shall likely be one of the shortest weeks in the annals of recorded history. 

Rob and Jess are hosting the New Jersey branch of the family business at their new home in Colorado.  In a perfect world, the Houston branch would be joining us as well.  Then again, from Margaret's perspective, in a perfect world the homes of our adults would be accessible without making the acquaintance of anyone from the TSA, the FAA or any other alphabet soup organization. 

Horace Greeley once exhorted young men to go West.  Me?  I am no one's idea of young any more but if my father-in-law who celebrated his eightieth birthday this year is young enough to answer Greeley's call, then damn it so am I. 

The Yonder is blue and wild.  So off we shall go into it.

-AK

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trot We Shall Not....

This morning was supposed to be the 30th Annual Turkey Trot Five-Mile Run through the streets of one of my favorite places - Manasquan, New Jersey.  Sadly, Sandy's visit put the kibosh on today's festivities.  The good people of 'Squan - whose number includes a very dear friend of mine - are too busy clearing debris off of their streets and repairing them (along with the homes that dot them) for anyone to run through them. 

While it incredibly took Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the equally tone-deaf New York Road Runners Club until the 11th hour and 38th minute to realize that this year's New York City Marathon could not be held as scheduled, it took Pat Hoey - for whom the Turkey Trot is a labor of love - much less time to reach that very same conclusion about her annual endeavor.  The decision to cancel this year's edition was reached more than ten days prior to race day.  Perhaps if she ever has anything masquerading as a free moment she might venture across the Hudson River and show the folks in the "big town" how things should be handled.

An annual staple of the Turkey Trot is the post-race party at Leggett's.  My friend Gidg told Margaret and I just the other night that the folks who run Leggett's plan to be up, running and fully operational within six weeks.  Nothing short of remarkable. 

Once Leggett's is open for business again the traditional post-race party will be officially rescheduled.  The entry fees for this year's race that were received and processed prior to the decision to cancel are being donated to Manasquan's volunteer organizations, which once again in the wake of this catastrophe did all they could do for their friends and neighbors.   A donation that I for am happy to make.  A sentiment shared by many.   

And - might I add - I could get used to the whole "post-race party" without the race.  Has a lot of appeal to this fellow.  I need to get Pat Hoey in touch with the folks who handle the New Jersey Marathon.  She is sitting on a $1 Million idea.  I think they need to be read into it. 

If you read somewhere that the 30th Annual Turkey Trot has been "cancelled" fret not.  It has in fact merely been "postponed".  Whether it was run today or whether is is run this time next year matters not.  It shall be run.  And oh what a time shall be had by all.

See you at the starting line.  I will be the guy wearing the distinctive-looking hat....




Built for speed baby.  Built for speed.

-AK


Friday, November 16, 2012

Crazy Like a Fox

Among my favorite "guilty pleasure" movies from the 1980's is Michael J. Fox's "The Secret of My Success".  For the love of all things just and fair, do not press me for a reason.  I know not why.  One of the songs from that film was Pat Benatar's "Sometimes the Good Guys Finish First".  Not the high-water mark of Ms. Benatar's contributions to the late 20th Century music scene perhaps but yet somehow relevant still today. 

On Wednesday evening, a genuinely good human being - who happened to have an extraordinary season as a starting pitcher for a decidedly ordinary baseball team - won the National League Cy Young Award.  R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets who this past season went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA while leading the National League in innings pitched (233 2/3), complete games (5), shutouts (3) and strikeouts (230), became the first genuine knuckleball pitcher to capture the Cy Young.  And, having just turned 38 last month, Dickey is the oldest first-time winner ever.  

A few years back when the Mets' then-General Manager Omar Minaya signed Dickey to a minor-league free agent contract, the carping on talk radio in New York was that only the Mets could sign a pitcher who lacks the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.  Minaya made some less than bright front-office moves while he worked for the Mets (it comes with the territory - ask Brian Cashman) but I suspect that when he heard Dickey's name announced Wednesday night, he smiled too.  For while Dickey might lack a particular ligament, he makes up for it with more than normal-sized portions of guts, guile and heart. 

R.A. Dickey is an athlete who is - for my money and from my vantage point as a fan of the OTHER New York baseball team - simply impossible to root against.  His accomplishments on the field, including but not limited to this past season, are impressive.  However, they pale in comparison to the manner in which he conducts his "off the field" life.  He is a living testament to the power of true grit and determination - an athlete long ago left for forgotten on the scrap heap of his profession who picked himself up and worked damn hard to get himself another opportunity.  And once he earned it, he made the most out of it. 

A first-place finish for a genuinely good guy.  Cue the music and fade to black.  Talk about one hell of an ending.

-AK

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Give Me A "W"! Give Me A "H"!

Adversity reveals a lot about the character of us humans.  It brings out the worst in some of us (Hello - looting anyone?).  Mercifully, in disportionately larger numbers it brings out the best in far more of us.

I know neither Tanda Tucker nor Brooke Sofield.  To the best of my knowledge I have never made the acquaintance of either of them.  In the event I was called upon to pick either out of a line up - or vice versa (and truth be told the likelihood of the latter far outweighs the likelihood of the former) - success would be far from assured. 

While I do not know them, I feel as if I know quite a bit about them.  I feel as if I know at the very least a little something, something about them by virtue of their actions.  Ms. Tucker and Ms. Sofield are the Head and Assistant Cheerleading Coach (respectively) at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison.  They have spearheaded a fundraising drive for people affected by Hurricane Sandy.   People interested in doing so can purchase - for $5.00 each - a wristband that says "JERSEY STRONG" on one side and "RESTORE THE SHORE" on the other.  They are similar in style to the type of wristband worn to support Breast Cancer Awareness, the Wounded Warrior Project and/or Livestrong (you can support the cause while dissing its former #1 fundraiser).   The information regarding them is available here:

Cheerleaders Selling Wristbands to Benefit Hurricane Victims

In conjunction with the ongoing food drive, coat drive, and next week’s community service afternoon at the Hillside Community Food Bank, The Wardlaw-Hartridge School will be selling ocean blue, embossed wristbands. These wristbands will be sold for $5 and specifically support Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts at the Jersey Shore. They are available from our Cheerleaders, Varsity Cheerleading Coach Ms. Tucker, as well as at the Receptionist’s desk.

Wristbands also may be purchased online by clicking 
here - be sure to fill in all required fields including the amount ($5 each) next to Restore the Shore Wristbands. These wristbands will be available until December 21.
 
And of course - being well-organized, efficient women of the 21st Century - they have also set up a Facebook page under the heading "Jersey Strong - Restore The Shore" through which you can obtain more information about their fundraiser and other ways in which you can help your friends and neighbors. 
 
Adversity tests each and every one of us.  A lot of us pass the test.  Some of us do so with flying colors.  In the case of these women and their charges, the colors are green, gold and ocean blue.  Outstanding stuff.
 
-AK

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All the Makings of a Good Idea

On the heels of the special guest appearance of Hurricane (for the love of whatever faux deity you worship if I hear just one more asshole call it "Super Storm" as if hyperbole is needed to fully appreciate the damage it left in its wake) Sandy here in the State of Concrete Gardens and the requests, pleas and entreaties by whatever name necessary that property owners and business owners here have had to make of FEMA, the timing of a particular petition that has appeared on the White House's official web site is a bit of a head-scratcher.  To me anyway.

Joe R. from Sewell - not to be confused with Joe the Plumber from the 2008 campaign - has started a petition on the "We the People" section of the White House's web site.  Joe's petition seeks permission from the United States for New Jersey to secede from the United States.   According to nj.com as of yesterday morning, there were more than 9,000 signatures to the petition. 

The people we entrust to run the Union clearly learned the lessons of the War Between the States (I find "Civil War" to be the ultimate oxymoron) well.  Way back when, South Carolina announced its intention to secede by lobbing cannonballs at the troops manning a post at Fort Sumter.  Here in the uber-civilized 21st Century we man not the front lines but the on-lines?  It certainly spills less blood - although the uptick in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome reported among cyber-revolutionaries is astronomical and continuing to climb. 

According to the White House, if a petition receives at least 25,000 signatures by December 10, 2012 it shall be sent by the White House staff to "appropriate policy experts for review" (presupposing that there is still someone kicking around from the one and only Jefferson Davis Administration I reckon) in advance of an official response being provided.  New Jersey is one of twenty states that has such a petition on the "We the People" site.  The link to the petition is here.  I could not help but notice when I perused it just how many of the signatures are from people who live somewhere other than New Jersey.  Expatriates?  Or simply our fellow Americans long itching for the chance to get rid of us and doggedly determined to not let this opportunity pass them by?  I know not. 

Texas has a secession petition of its own.  Its petition had - as of yesterday morning - almost 68,000 signatories to it, which is close to three times the number needed to elicit an official White House response.  In view of how bad an ass-kicking the GOP took this year in the Presidential Election and the disproportionate number of its Electoral College votes that came from Texas one would think that the White House just might call their bluff.  Take Texas out of the column of Romney, M. and he starts bearing a rather marked resemblance to McGovern, G. 

My favorite petition among the ones available for viewing is the one calling for (a) stripping the citizenship from everyone who has signed a secession petition; and (b) deporting them.  As of 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time yesterday only 1,281 people had signed it.  There is also a petition with more than 36,000 signatures affixed to it already - demanding a recount of the 2012 Presidential Election.  I am not a smart man.  Yet even I know the official response that particular petition is going to receive from the White House.

My second-favorite petition is the one initiated by the people of Mexico, not objecting to Texas seceding from the United States, but conditioning their approval on Mexico not being required to re-annex it.  I signed that one.  Too tempting to resist....

....OK, stop looking for it on the White House site.  It does not exist.  But the thought that it might brought a smile to your face.   

-AK

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Time is It Anyway?

Maybe it is because this week's end will find Joe, the Missus and me winging our way West to spend Thanksgiving with Rob, Jess and Tillie in their new home in Colorado.  Perhaps it is because late yesterday afternoon I had a meeting in Kenilworth, which prompted me to take a route home that took me through towns and past places where I once spent a fair amount of time but now see and visit only occasionally.  Perhaps it was because a song popped up on the radio that I have not heard in so long that I cannot recall the last time I had heard it prior to last evening, which song I first heard a lifetime ago. 
 
I know not the reason why my mind started to drift - much to the delight of the other motorists and pedestrians with whom I shared the commute (at least if their economical, single-finger waves were any indication) - but I know that it did.  I found myself wondering whether eighteen-year-old me - if he was to encounter forty-five-year-old, present day version of himself would be at all surprised by the "him" that he became.  If I had a better memory or more flexibility regarding my willingness to lie to myself then I would comfort myself with the fable that he would be surprised not at all.  If only. 
 
Note please that the word I used was "surprised".  I did not say "pleased", "disappointed" or anything else suggesting some type of qualitative analysis to be performed by long-ago me.  That decision was both conscious and intentional.  I have a better life than I have any right to - in the interest of full disclosure.  To my best recollection I cannot envision a time "then" when I saw "now" bearing even a casual resemblance to how it appears.  Too much water has passed 'neath the boat's bow at this point for me to have such recall.  If eighteen-year-old me was here, then perhaps he could enlighten me. 
 
It has been said that history exists in the mind of the teller.  I suppose that sums it up just about perfectly.  For me anyway.  And it shall have to suffice...
 
....unless you happen to know someone with a flux capacitor he might be willing to let me use.  I will be right back. 
 
Promise.
 
-AK

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eyes and Stomachs

Today is Monday.  Normally Monday is far from the most exciting day of the week.  However given that two Mondays ago, a rather cantankerous visitor descended upon us here in the State of Concrete Gardens and left in her wake enough chaos and destruction to throw the lives of everyone into a tizzy - well past last Monday and (for me anyway) almost through the entirety of last week, I look forward to a humdrum, nothing out of the ordinary Monday.  Happiness is a work week that shall not be torn asunder by Mother Nature and her minions. 

I enjoy vacation as much as the next guy - well maybe not quite as much but I enjoy it nonetheless.  This time next week the Missus, Joe and I shall be hanging with Rob and Jess in the Front Range of Colorado.  Even when on vacation there is a sense of order - a sense of organization.  Last week, when we were living like suburban refugees for a while in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there was not only no work but no order.  No organization whatsoever.  I felt utterly and absolutely adrift.  And it made me miserable. 

I am a simple man.  I have a simple wish.  I wish only that this week proceeds from start to finish without any episodes of insurmountable chaos.  Chaos in little doses?  That is not only expected and anticipated.  It is embraced.  As long as it is served in single-serve portions all will be good in my world. 

And yours too. 

-AK

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poppies of Red in Fields of Green

Just five short days ago, we the people of these United States were extended the opportunity, the privilege and the duty of casting votes for office-seeking candidates for jobs ranging from President of the United States to Town Council in whatever little corner of the Republic we might call home.   Of course, again this year not nearly all of us who are registered and eligible to vote did so.  Perhaps if we made voting a condition precedent to bitching about all things governmental we would see an uptick in voter turnout....or in well-earned silence.  Either way one would get no complaint from this corner.

It is worth remembering that a simple thing - such as the right to cast a ballot - has been vigorously protected since the birth of the Republic by the men and women who wear the uniform of this nation's armed forces.  Today is Veteran's Day.  It is the day set aside on the calendar to recognize and to honor all that those who have worn those uniforms - whether in peace time or otherwise - have done to safeguard the liberties under which all of live.  A single day designated to recognize a sacrifice for which no proper compensation can be assessed.  A single day.  Bosses have an equal number of days of recognition.  Administrative Professionals have five times as many.   Open the box of Crayola crayons for me would you and color all of that absurd.

I am a man who has never served in the military.   My oldest brother Bill is a veteran.  My Uncle John and my Uncle Jim - two of my mom's brothers - were both veterans as well.  Uncle Jim guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  One of my oldest sister Evan's daughters, Heather, is a veteran.  There are too many other member branches of the family tree containing a veteran for my limited intellect to attempt to list them all.  I shall forget at least one through inadvertence and risk offending him and/or her, which is something I am loathe to do. 

For all who serve and all who have served - including but not limited to those members of my own family - I say simply, "Happy Veteran's Day".  For all you do and all you have done you have earned a far better reward than you have ever received from the Republic that you served.  It is my most sincere hope that in his second term our newly re-elected Commander in Chief and his counterparts in the Legislative Branch do a better job of doing right by you.  You deserve far more than a single day's acknowledgement, a parade and - depending on your proximity to the nearest Outback Steakhouse - a free Bloomin' Onion and a Coke. 

Thank you. 



-AK

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When Candy Corn Goes Unharvested

Saturday already?  Man how the work week flies by when you only work a day and a half.  In fairness to me - and to all of the other fine folks at the Firm - the time away from the office was not in fact "time off".  Sandy knocked us off of the grid entirely from the evening of October 29 through mid-day of November 8.  I was fortunate enough to get my power back on at home on Election Day.  I learned when we all starting filtering back into the shop on the 8th that far too many of my colleagues remained without it.  I hope that by day's end today each of them - and everyone else for that matter - has rejoined the land of the energized.  After kicking us hard in the 'nads the past two weeks, Mother Nature is scheduled to let up at least a little this weekend and provide more than adequate amounts of sunshine and warmth.  It is about damn time. 

If there is one positive that I took from the events of the past (almost) two weeks it was the de facto cancellation of Halloween.   Halloween is a day (its dual citizenship as Jill/Joe's anniversary notwithstanding - 25th this year by the way!) that grates on my last nerve.  Margaret and I have had arguments in years past over my handling of candy distribution.  The nadir - or zenith depending upon one's perspective - was the year in which I waited until she and the kids had left (she was driving them to some sort of Halloween dance/party at school if memory serves) and then put the enormous basket of candy she had put together at the base of our front porch steps with a sign, "PLEASE TAKE ONLY ONE!" and then watched when all of five or six minutes later a young boy dumped the contents of the basket into his satchel like a jewel thief cleaning out loose diamonds at the Jewelry Exchange.  My reaction?  I waited until he had walked on to the next house  - I did not want to startle the little waif - and went outside, retrieved the empty basket, brought it back into the house and shut off the front porch light.  Voila!  Trick-or-treating was over almost as soon as it had started. 

Sandy (I cannot deign to refer to it as "Super Storm Sandy", which sounds to my ear something akin to a character name for the next Avengers movie) forced Halloween to be moved from its regular spot on the calendar at October's end to Monday, November 5.  One supposes that if our state was goverrned by a person with less of an obvious sweet tooth that C Squared perhaps the re-scheduling of Halloween might have been a low-priority item.  Regardless, when November 5 rolled around in my little town more than half of the good people living 'NTSG - including my lovely bride and the a**hole to whom she is married - were still without power.  I saw one group of kids (fewer than a half-dozen) on the outskirts of our neighborhood that afternoon carrying their T-or-T gear.  I presumed they were trick or treaters AND not looters because (a) it was broad daylight; and (b) they were in a variety of costumes.  I did not hear or see any of them at my front door.  Of course, given that we have no power at the time if they stood out there ringing the bell their fingers would have been reduced to nubs before I would have been alerted to their presence. 

Hopefully the candy industry will be able to hang in there until next Halloween.  I have every confidence they shall.  And perhaps the lesson to be taken from this is not for the kids but for the adults.  You know who you are.  The shopkeepers and store owners who cram Halloween-themed crap down our throats starting at 12:01 a.m. on the Tuesday following Labor Day. 

Trick-OR-Treat?  This year it was more a case of Trick-AND-Treat.  In view of what the former exacted from all of us in these parts however as a price for one night of peace and quiet, it may be time for me to rethink my position on the value of costumed urchins ringing my front doorbell. 

-AK

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Went Out Looking For The Next Big Thing....

Because Murphy was an Irishman, a couple of days ago - and mercifully close to the end of its two-year contract - my cell phone decided it was simply not going to play any longer.  At some point Tuesday evening it sent me a "Cease and Desist" order.  Unfortunately it sent it to me via e-mail to my work e-mail address.  Since my office was waylaid by Sandy on October 29 we have been off of the grid entirely - e-mail included - so I never received the communication.  Had I known it was on its way, I might have been better prepared.  Perhaps if the powers that be at the Firm took note of the fact that we are based in the NORTHEAST they might be better prepared in the unlikely event that adverse weather occurs.  Hopefully this punch to the larynx serves as a wake-up call.  Wishing something would happen does not make it effing happen.  Ask Ann Romney.  She knows of which I speak.
 
Anyway, I took advantage of playing on my home field on Wednesday to go to the closest Verizon Wireless store and secure myself a new phone.  One cannot have one's only reliable source of communication with the outside world scuttled.  Shit, I was one more day without power away from converting to Amish ("Get thee to a butter churn!") as it was.  I am an upleasant asshole to be around when I am in a good mood.  I have been nowhere in the vicinity of a good mood for the past ten days or so. 
 
Luckily the young woman behind the counter at the Verizon store was as helpful as she was pleasant.  It took her about thirty-nine seconds to size me up as Alley Oop with a slightly less pronounced forehead and only about another twenty-one seconds to get me set up on my new phone.  I ended up "upgrading" to a Samsung Galaxy S III.  She described it to me as my present/now former phone "on steroids".  As a Yankee fan such a sobriquet told me all I needed to know.  
 
Which is good of course since I know less about technology than any person under the age of one hundred.  All I knew about my new gadget pre-purchase was that it is the gizmo for which the incessant series of "The Next Big Thing is Already Here" television commercials has been created.   Both Rob and Suz are iPhone owners - although at gun point I could not tell you which iteration of the device either possesses (Apple has likely launched at least two since I started to write this piece) and seem very happy with their phones so I take no rooting interest in the "our contraption vs. your contraption" techno-brawl.  My decision to buy the phone was predicated upon the fact that it took me close to a month to learn how to use the last one and the woman at the store told me that while the new device has a lot more bells and whistles (including one that accompanies every incoming text message) the basic operations are similar to those on the old phone.  In other words, having figured out the first one even I can figure out this one with a rather limited learning curve. 
 
We shall see.... 
 
....I missed three calls before I figured out how to answer it. 
 
-AK

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Flag is Still Here....

Nice dramatic effect - probably ordered up by Michelle Bachman and her fellow ledge-dwellers in the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party - to have a Nor'easter cued up to lay waste to the New York metropolitan area the day following Election Day.  While it is difficult for anyone (at least anyone who is not a Republican member of the House Committee on Science & Technology) to continue to ignore the relationship between human behavior and the planet's weather, re-electing an incumbent President is NOT an example of that relationship in action. 
 
Mercifully this election cycle has now ended, which means that it shall be at least two weeks until anyone declares his/her intention to seek the nomination of the Donkeys or the 'Phants.  Well, anyone other than Ron Paul that is.  His fellow Republicans long ago learned that it was simply a better investment of party resources to allow Paul to run in perpetuity than to alert him to the fact that an election has in fact taken place.  To date, Paul himself has expressed no displeasure with the arrangement.
 
Contrary to the mouth-breeding spewers on both Fox News and MSNBC, an election result unfavorable to "their" guy and their interests would not be - and shall not be - the death knell for the Republic.  Truth be told, Limbaugh and his lot are happier this morning than they would have been had Mr. Romney been elected.  Sure they would have spent from now until January 20, 2013 lying through their teeth about how much their efforts had influenced the outcome but once Mr. Romney took the oath and they felt their "influence" wane, he would have done nothing but continue to piss them off.  Walt Kelly once famously observed, "We have seen the enemy and it is us."  Easy for him to say.  Not so easy to say from the comfort of the EIB Studios/Apothecary.  Nope.  In the long run, having a Democrat in the White House is good for the business of being Limbaugh or Hannity or O'Reilly.  Do not believe for a minute to the contrary. 
 
As a registered Republican and someone whose head on the inside contains as much matter of gray as its outside does I know - as you do too in your heart of hearts - that the beauty and frustration of our system of government is that governing requires bipartisanship.  Sure the Tea Party can win a mid-term election but what type of legs does it possess?  Tea Partiers managed to excise a reasonable, smart and well-respected member of the Party of Lincoln from the United States Senate in this year's Republican primary in Indiana.  Richard Lugar was sent packing by Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party favorite.  Mourdock is the moderate, even-keeled fellow who squarely jammed both of his legs (up to the knees at least) in his mouth a couple of weeks ago with his comment during a debate regarding pregnancies that are the result of a rape.   Perhaps not surprisingly he finished second in his race on Election Day. 

The election result that pleased me more than any other is the election of Bridget Mary McCormack to the Supreme Court of Michigan.  One hell of a fine lawyer and an even better person, Bridget (sorry!  "Justice") McCormack is a lawyer who gives our profession a good name.  She is whip smart, compassionate, fair and tough as hell.  She shall ably serve the people of Michigan. 

-AK

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Primary Colors

At or about four o'clock yesterday morning the Missus and I rejoined the land of the electrified.  PSE&G did the voodoo that they do so well.  Sure it took them more than eight days to do it but do it they did.  I am smiling as I write this.  You would be smiling too if you were sitting in your home not listening to the sound of your generator as it provides light (and all-important refrigeration) to your humble abode for the first time in more than a week.
 
The past week-plus was less than fun for the Missus and me.  But all things considered, it was no big deal.  At no time since Sandy wrought havoc to the State of Concrete Gardens and our neighbors in the Empire State and the Nutmeg State did we spend one minute without (a) clothes on our back; (b) food in our bellies; and (c) a roof over our heads.  In other words, my incessant whining notwithstanding, we came out quite fine. 
 
Experience has taught us yet again that Mother Nature cares not at all whether one is "red" or "blue".  Decimation does not discriminate.  Sandy did not "pass over" the homes of Democrats and target Republicans or vice versa.  Take a look at any of the still photos or videos of the destruction.  Among the words that likely jumped to the forefront of your mind is "all-encompassing"; right? 
 
The Bard of Freehold once observed - talking about one's duty as an American to question the motives and actions or one's government - that such a duty, "is not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing.  It is an American thing."  We have been reminded these days in these parts that rebuilding the communities in our state - whether they dot our gorgeous Jersey Shore region or are inland (such as my little burb) - is neither a Republican thing nor a Democrat thing.  It is a Jersey thing. 
 
Adversity can bring out the best in a person.  It can also reveal their worst nature.  Once upon three decades ago, the Bard of Freehold pointed out that, "Down here it's just winners and losers" and cautioned against getting caught "on the wrong side of that line."  Look down.  Check your feet.  Step lively.
 
-AK

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Vote for Justice

For the past few months in this space I have implored the people of Michigan to elect Bridget Mary McCormack to that state's Supreme Court. Today is Election Day. For Bridget's sake, I hope she wins. I hope for that result even more though for the people of Michigan.

Today Bridget hopes to be elected to the job of Justice. As a concept, justice is something she has sought for everyone her whole life, including but not limited to her stellar legal career.

Occasionally, a good thing happens to a good person. I hope today is such a day. I hope Michigan is just such a place.

-AK

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Week That Was Not....


I learned yesterday that Chris Christie and I have a third common characteristic. In addition to a shared political affiliation and passion for Springsteen music, as of his mid-afternoon press briefing from Hoboken, both of us remained without power.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Daylight Savings?

This time last week we were basking in the glow of Margaret's birthday celebration. Since Monday evening, it has been Sandy, not Margaret, who has been the woman of the moment. At this point, Sandy has overstayed her welcome.

To say that an hour less of daylight is not what the people in these parts need right now is to state an obvious point with no subtlety at all.

-AK

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Timing and Other Issues

As I write this on Friday afternoon, using my phone, New York City still plans to go ahead as scheduled rhis Sunday morning. As a runner, as someone who has competed in the past two New Jersey Marathons, let me say that it is a decision I do not understand. It is one with which I do not agree.

As I write this, our power remains out. That is a distinction my home shares with two million others in the New York metropolitan area. Ours is a region that has been punched hard in the throat. Resources are stretched thin. Nerves are frayed. Having this event this Sunday in New York City seems to be nothing short of insensitive and inane.

-AK

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jersey Tough....

Hurricane Sandy did not kill New Jersey. It damn sure tried. In its wake it left a path of destruction that would have given Sherman pause. But it did not kill us. Bloodied us? Yes. Battered us? Most definitely. Killed us? No effing way. We are Jersey. We can take a punch.

On a not entirely unrelated subject, some mouth-breeding cowards have decided to spend $1,000,000 between now and Election Day in an attempt to smear Bridget Mary McCormack. Bridget is running for a seat on the Supreme Court of Michigan. To the faceless cowards behind the attack, allow me to say this. If Bridget McCormack was one-tenth of the person she is, she would still be ten times the person each of you is. And remember this too jagoffs. Before Bridget was a Michigan girl, she was a Jersey girl. She is not simply better than you. She is tougher.

Keep doing what you are doing Bridget. When the haters spend that much money to lie about you, it reveals the depth of their fear.

-AK

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And on it goes....

Still no power. An inconvenience to be sure but not a real problem. This storm took homes, livelihoods and in some cases lives.

Here is to hoping that those who have been hammered get a break soon.

-AK