Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blocks and Chips

This afternoon the best football team - professional or collegiate - in the New York metropolitan area will look to continue its historical 2013 season.  At 1:00 PM in the Bronx, the Fordham University Rams will host the Sacred Heart University Pioneers in a first-round FCS (f/k/a "Division I-AA") playoff game.  The Rams, who play their games in the Patriot League, are 11-1.  Their eleven victories this season is the most-ever in school history.  Their opponents - making the trip from Fairfield Connecticut - have had a hell of a fine season too.  The Pioneers belong to the NEC and finished their regular season 10-2.  

Once upon a lifetime or two ago, Fordham University was a national power in college football.  Google "Seven Blocks of Granite" if you need to tamp down your skepticism on that point.  And in answer to your question, "Yes".  The Vince Lombardi who starred at Fordham as one of aforementioned Blocks is THE Vince Lombardi. 


"Seven Blocks of Granite"
Vince Lombardi is 3rd Block from the left

It would be an understatement to say that the football program was in a down cycle when current coach Joe Moorhead (Class of '96) returned to Rose Hill to take the reins of the program in December 2011.  The 2011 Rams had finished 1-11.  In Coach Moorhead's first season - 2012 - the team's record improved to 6-5.  This year, in the second year of the Moorhead Era, their 11-1 record has earned them a national ranking and in the Patriot League a clean sweep of Player of the Year honors - Quarterback Mike Nebrich (offensive) and Linebacker Stephen Hodge (defensive) - and the Coach of the Year award as well.  

When I was a child, I was unaware that my father was a Fordham Ram.  Dad was what is known as a "Subway Alumni" by those who support the University of Notre Dame.  He never attended Notre Dame - and to my knowledge died without ever setting foot on the campus in South Bend - but he so fervently supported the Irish that I mistakenly assumed that Notre Dame was where he had attended college.  It was not until we had the first conversation that I recall ever having had with him regarding Digger Phelps.  When I was a kid Phelps was the head basketball coach at Notre Dame - having left his job as Fordham's head coach to take the position.  Dad shared with me the fact that Phelps had left his Alma mater to take the Notre Dame job.  Had I not been a college hoops fan as a boy, I wonder whether my father would have gone to his grave with me thinking that he was a Notre Dame alum.  

In Vince Lombardi's day, in William Kenny, Sr.'s day and in Jim Monaghan's day Fordham University was a top-flight academic institution.  It still is.  Fordham was, is, and likely shall forever be a great university.  But it is not very often that this oasis of higher learning is as well-regarded for its gridiron prowess as it is for its academic prowess.  2013 has been such a season. 

Whether the Rams have a twelfth win in them today I cannot pretend to know.  I know simply that I shall be rooting for them to get it.


-AK 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cigarettes and a Bottle of Beer


I have been a fan of Bruce Springsteen's music for as long as I can remember.  Many a terrific evening - especially within the past decade-plus - has been spent at a Springsteen show with Margaret, our kids and our friends.  I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect not simply for the work he does but for the way in which he goes about his work.  That fact, coupled with the fact that more than thirty-five years after he penned it the final verse in "Racing in the Street", which is my favorite Springsteen song, remains a marriage of language and emotion that I shall never be able to match, has firmly ensconced him in the role of principal contributor to the soundtrack of my life. 

Earlier this week his camp officially released the news that in January, 2014 he shall be releasing his 18th official studio album, entitled "High Hopes".  According to everything I have read thus far concerning this particular record, it seems to be a hodgepodge of material - whether stuff he has written or the work of others that he has recorded - that has been played live with varying degrees of frequency - for the past decade or so with several new songs in the mix as well.  Truth be told, it may be more accurate to characterize at least some of which is "new" as "unreleased".  Springsteen's liner notes for the new record have already been released as well:

I was working on a record of some of our best unreleased material from the past decade when Tom Morello (sitting in for Steve during the Australian leg of our tour) suggested we ought to add “High Hopes” to our live set. I had cut “High Hopes,” a song by Tim Scott McConnell of the LA based Havalinas, in the ’90s. We worked it up in our Aussie rehearsals and Tom then proceeded to burn the house down with it. We re-cut it mid tour at Studios 301 in Sydney along with “Just Like Fire Would,” a song from one of my favorite early Australian punk bands, The Saints (check out “I’m Stranded”). Tom and his guitar became my muse, pushing the rest of this project to another level. Thanks for the inspiration Tom.

Some of these songs, “American Skin” and “Ghost of Tom Joad,” you’ll be familiar with from our live versions. I felt they were among the best of my writing and deserved a proper studio recording. “The Wall” is something I’d played on stage a few times and remains very close to my heart. The title and idea were Joe Grushecky’s, then the song appeared after Patti and I made a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. It was inspired by my memories of Walter Cichon. Walter was one of the great early Jersey Shore rockers, who along with his brother Ray (one of my early guitar mentors) led the “Motifs”. The Motifs were a local rock band who were always a head above everybody else. Raw, sexy and rebellious, they were the heroes you aspired to be. But these were heroes you could touch, speak to, and go to with your musical inquiries. Cool, but always accessible, they were an inspiration to me, and many young working musicians in 1960′s central New Jersey. Though my character in “The Wall” is a Marine, Walter was actually in the Army, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry. He was the first person I ever stood in the presence of who was filled with the mystique of the true rock star. Walter went missing in action in Vietnam in March 1968. He still performs somewhat regularly in my mind, the way he stood, dressed, held the tambourine, the casual cool, the freeness. The man who by his attitude, his walk said “you can defy all this, all of what’s here, all of what you’ve been taught, taught to fear, to love and you’ll still be alright.” His was a terrible loss to us, his loved ones and the local music scene. I still miss him.

This is music I always felt needed to be released. From the gangsters of “Harry’s Place,” the ill-prepared roomies on “Frankie Fell In Love” (shades of Steve and I bumming together in our Asbury Park apartment) the travelers in the wasteland of “Hunter Of Invisible Game,” to the soldier and his visiting friend in “The Wall”, I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing. Hope you enjoy it. —Bruce Springsteen

Way back when on the Devils and Dust tour in 2005, we were privileged to see Springsteen perform "The Wall" at Byrne Arena in East Rutherford.  It is an exquisite, extraordinary piece of music.  And as someone who has been fortunate enough to have seen dozens of live shows over the years, a considerable number of the songs that shall occupy a spot on the "High Hopes" playlist are familiar to me as well.  Unfortunately - in my estimation at least - one of those songs is "Dream Baby Dream", which is among the more inane pieces of music I have ever been subjected to hearing.  It was a staple of the Devils and Dust tour and by the second or third time I had heard him perform it, I would have preferred a staple through each eardrum.  I know already which track I shall listen to not at all on this new record.

While I look forward to every release of new Springsteen, I find my expectation level for this set to be decidedly tempered.  Rightly or wrongly, my reduced expectation level is tied directly to the fact that none of the material on this record is "new".  The arrangement given to a particular song might be new but the material is not.  Throughout the magical ride on which Bruce Springsteen has taken my ears and my musical soul for more than three and one-half decades, it has always been a forward-moving journey.  At first blush, this appears not to be. 

And that, for me, represents a cause to pause and reflect upon just how much further on up the road his journey shall continue.  A question that - to be fair - I shall lack sufficient information to answer until January 14, 2014. 

Bruce Springsteen - "The Wall"

-AK

Thursday, November 28, 2013

An Ode to Rivers and Woods

Today is Thanksgiving in these United States.  This morning, I shall do what I did two years ago, which is start my Turkey Day by participating in a 5K race in Green Brook.  It is a nice little event and it is an event that does what many Thanksgiving Day races do, which is encourages its participants to bring non-perishable food items for those whose Thanksgiving has dawned a bit less fortunate than our own.  I know full well that what I do - bringing my bag of items - fulfills Webster's definition of "the least I can do".  I am appreciative of the fact that there are better people than I out there doing far more than I. 

I learned a long time ago - as a much younger man - that a sign of "getting it" is trading in lusting after that which you do not have (such as the seemingly always greener grass on the side of the fence) for an appreciation of that which you do have.  More so, those who you do have - in your life.  Those who you love and those who love you.  Life is a grind.  The day in, day out of what we do - irrespective of how it is we earn our daily bread - takes its toll on all of us.  In a perfect world, each of us would have that place, that sanctuary to which we can retreat, lick the wounds that a day's battle inflicted upon us and drink the soothing elixir that recharges our battery and enables us to get up the very next day and have at it again.  We live in a world that is located decidedly south of perfect.  If you are fortunate enough to have such a place - as I am - then be thankful for it and for those who make it so for you not just today but every day.  And remember too that just because you have it does not mean that everyone else does. 

Once or twice upon a lifetime ago - in a pre 09/11 world, which was also a world in which smoking was permitted in New York City - Margaret and I bundled ourselves up and Suz and Rob as well and took the train into Manhattan to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I was thinking of those trips the other morning as I was driving to work and smiling at the memory of how I used a large, eternally lighted, baseball bat-sized cigar to clear space for my wife and kids at curbside.  Nothing cleared space on the streets of New York City in the pre-Bloomberg era quite as effectively as a big, pungent cigar.  I recall a member of the NYPD responding to a woman standing near me - who had complained to the officer about my cigar - by telling her that it was a public sidewalk and I was permitted to smoke on a public sidewalk.  I also recall his knowing wink, having seen my two smallish children and pixie-sized wife and the space they had staked out for themselves on the curb directly in front of me, in acknowledgement of my mission.  Today, I would likely be subjected to Taser attack, arrest and incarceration.  

Our children are children no longer.  It saddens the Missus more than a little I know that she shall not break bread on Thanksgiving with either Rob and Jess or Suzanne and Ryan.  Truth be told, it saddens me a little too.  My small amount of sadness however is tempered by the happiness in the little lump of coal that I call my heart  for each of my kids and where life has taken them.  They are not in New Jersey today.  Instead they are precisely where they should be. 

They are at home.  And they are at peace.  

May this Thanksgiving find you and yours similarly situated.

-AK    

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Festival of Lights

Hanukkah begins today (this evening) at sundown.  For all of my friends, partners, colleagues and their families for who tonight begins the annual celebration of the Festival of Lights, may it be a period of time filled with laughter, love and joy for you and yours. 

Mazel Tov!


-AK  



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Well Worth the Wait....



This past Saturday a small and important part of  "normalcy" returned to Manasquan.  Slightly more than one year after Sandy had necessitated the cancellation of the 30th annual Turkey Trot, the second attempt at the 30th annual race went off without a hitch.  Under chilly - but by no means cold - skies in late November  several thousand runners did what we have grown accustomed to doing in 'Squan on the Saturday morning immediately preceding Thanksgiving.  We ran all over town. 

The Turkey Trot is among my favorite races.  'Squan is pancake flat so other than a quick over and back one small bridge there is no discernible change of elevation for five miles.  Flat or not, it is still a five-mile race, which means that it is a nice workout on a Saturday morning.  That is especially so when - as was the case on Saturday morning - there is just enough chill in the air to make taking big, gulping breaths of air an uncomfortable experience. 

A few years back I managed to complete the Trot in just under 40 minutes.  This past Saturday I did not travel in such rarified air.  I was, however, pleased with my finishing time of 41:31, although where I managed to pick up the second that prevented me from finishing in 41:30 I shall never know.  Moreover, I was pleased by the day itself.  Margaret and I met up with Gidg and Jeff and Lynne at Lynne's pre-race where we were joined by Trot rookies Pete, Yvette, Brooke and Joe.  We ended up with one hell of a running caravan.  For at least a couple of the members of our group - Brooke and Joe - Saturday represented the maiden attempt at five miles in a race setting.  Both of them ran phenomenally well.  Everyone in our little cadre did. 

Turkey Trot Saturday is not complete without some post-race celebrating as well.  On Saturday in 'Squan - both at Leggett's and later on back at Lynne's - the air was filled with a sound heard far too infrequently at the Shore in this post-Sandy era:  laughter.

It took twenty-four months to complete the journey from the 29th annual Turkey Trot to the 30th.  A trip delayed.  Yet one that was well worth the wait.  



-AK  

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Faces of Youth

I had the chance on Friday afternoon to do something that I had not done since December 1994.   I was in the gorgeous historic Court House in Somerville for a Pre-Trial Conference with the Hon. Thomas Miller, J.S.C.  The Conference was scheduled for 3:30 in the afternoon.  I expected the building to be empty when I arrived.  It was not.
 
Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM the young attorneys who are serving as Law Clerks for the judges of the Superior Court in Somerset County for the 2013-14 judicial term - and who passed the July 2013 New Jersey Bar Exam - were sworn in as members of the New Jersey Bar.  Each law clerk was sworn in by his or her Judge while a family member held the Bible. 
 
When I was sworn in - way back when in December 1994 - my 'ceremony' took place in the basement of the Middlesex County Court House in New Brunswick with at least one hundred other new attorneys.  We stood in front of Judge Longhi  - who was the Assignment Judge - and simultaneously took our oath.  It served its purpose.  But it was nothing at all like the event that I bore witness to this past Friday.
 
I have been practicing law for a long time.  It is an endeavor that has - admittedly - left me more than just a little bit jaded.  Friday afternoon however was something akin to a B-12 shot.  Seeing the looks on the faces of the new lawyers - and more importantly perhaps on the faces of the mothers and fathers who accompanied them for the ceremony - reminded me of how I felt way back when I was a "baby lawyer". 
 
Good luck to them all....and congratulations. 
 
-AK 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What the F*ck Is Wrong with Us?

Thursday is Thanksgiving.  It is a day that once upon a time was revered as THE original American holiday.  Now it is viewed as little more than a speed bump on the Halloween-to-Christmas continuum. 

No group of human beings exist who are better equipped and more willing to pounce on an opportunity to capitalize on the tendencies of other human beings than those in the retail trade.  Smart bastards they are.  Having inundated us for years now on television, on the radio, on-line and in our Sunday newspapers with advertisements promising "HUGE DISCOUNTS" and "BEST PRICES OF THE SEASON" right now as opposed to as we draw closer to Christmas, they rather craftily set the table for the transformation of Thanksgiving from "Holiday" to "Shopping Day".  Un fucking real. 

This year not only shall stand alone, big box stores all over New Jersey be open for business on Thanksgiving but several shopping malls shall be also.  An outfit, Simon Property Group, which owns and operates fifteen malls/outlets across the State of Concrete Gardens, shall have a number of its locations - including the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, Newport Centre in Jersey City, Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township and Rockaway Townsquare in Rockaway - open on Thanksgiving.  The malls shall open for business at 8:00 PM and shall remain open for twenty-six consecutive hours before closing for the night at 10:00 PM on Black Friday.  The company's stated reason for opening its locations for business on Thanksgiving?  Customer demand. 

Presuming that they speak the truth - and I am inclined to believe them if for no other reason than people in the business of making money are not inclined to consciously waste scads of it - then the eternal dash to Hell on this particular issue is a flat-footed tie between the bean counters in their respective home offices and the asshole consumers who simply must go out on Thanksgiving to buy whatever "needs" to be bought for Christmas.  Memo to the World:  Scant few things one "needs" to survive are available for purchase in the Apple Store, Best Buy or Hickory Farms. 

If you are one of those soulless trolls who heads out shopping on Thanksgiving, then make your first stop whatever hardware store or home improvement store is located in your neck of the woods.  Presuming the joint is open, bop on in and buy yourself a pry bar.  Then use it to unwedge your head from your ass. 

Repeat as often as needed....  


....and if is necessary to do it more than once, call me.  I will happily come to your location and beat you about the head and neck with it until you either begin to see clearly or lose consciousness.

What can I say?  I live to give.

-AK

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We Got To Trot....

Last November Hurricane Sandy - that bitch - put the kibosh on what was to have been the 30th Annual Edition of the Manasquan Turkey Trot, a 5-mile jaunt through 'Squan that is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  This morning, in the chill of a late November morning on the Shore, several thousand of us shall gather on the streets of 'Squan to celebrate where we are at "Sandy + 13 months" and to run in the 2013 Edition of the Trot. 

Even more remarkable than the number of people who shall run in the race is the number of people who shall gather at Leggett's and other establishments afterwards to celebrate the Trot.  As a general rule the post-race festivities are always better attended than the race itself.  As my great grandpa Phineas used to say, "I don't give a rat's ass what sort of shape you are in.  'Tis always easier to drink a pint of Guinness than to run a mile."  Smart old coot Phineas was.  Smart as hell.  

Here's to hoping that being able to have their beloved Trot going forward as scheduled from its appointed place on the calendar is a harbinger of good things ahead this winter for my good friend Lynne and the rest of her neighbors in 'Squan.  The Shore has been through a hell of a lot in the past thirteen months or so.  Truth be told it will likely take another few years before the places that Sandy inundated are back up and running as it were.  But after months of feeling fortunate just to crawl, the good folks in Manasquan are at last back up and walking.  

Nothing like a great little 5 mile race to help them all quicken their pace just ever so slightly.  


My Estimated Finishing Time

-AK    

Friday, November 22, 2013

Linkage

History is a relentless Master.
It has no Present, only the Past
rushing into the Future.
To try to hold Fast is to be Swept aside.
-John F. Kennedy

On November 19, 1963, the need to travel to Texas and help mediate a political dispute prevented President John F. Kennedy from being present in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  While he was unable to attend in person, President Kennedy did write a special statement, which was sent to Gettysburg, in honor of the event.  President Kennedy's statement concluded, "On this solemn occasion let us all rededicate ourselves to the perpetuation of those ideals of which Lincoln spoke so luminously.  As Americans, we can do no less."  Three days later, President Kennedy was dead.  Murdered on the streets of an American city.  In broad daylight.  In front of scores of people.  

I did not arrive on the scene until more than three years after President Kennedy's assassination.  I have no firsthand knowledge of the man of course.  Everything I have learned about him has come from secondary sources, whether books, television programs, articles or other materials - including but not limited to Doc Rud who shared with our AP American History class in November 1983 where he had been and what he had been doing when he learned that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.  

As a child I did glean quite a bit of information about him from listening to Dad speak of him.  While I know that Dad was not a Ted Kennedy fan, I always got the impression from him that he was quite fond of JFK.  Perhaps it was the fact that the Kennedys, like the Kennys, were Irish Catholics.  Then again, having not ever discussed the subject directly with my father, it is entirely possible that my recollection of his perspective on JFK is totally wrong.  I shall have to defer to Bill or Evan for clarification of that point.  

In the half-century since President Kennedy was assassinated, the national pre-occupation with him and with his family has not simply raged on but grown.  Kennedy the man has in many circles been lionized and been elevated to legendary status.  I wonder what the man himself would say about this myth-making.  Perhaps he has already told us:  The great enemy of the Truth is very often not the Lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the Myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.  


But then again maybe sometimes people need to believe in the Myth - even if only a little - for belief in the Myth makes them feel good about themselves and about the world in which they live.  And when reality intrudes and a bullet shatters their day-to-day and changes everything, having the Myth or its memory at least to fall back upon, provides a modicum of comfort in a world in which far too often comfort is a hard-to-find luxury.    

And perhaps, after all, there is a not a damn thing wrong with that at all....

....In short, there's simply not 
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
in Camelot.

-AK  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Accompanied by Bells and Whistles

Unbeknownst to my father-in-law Joe, who is retiring from his gig as the Manager of the Green Knoll Golf Course for the Somerset County Parks Commission at month's end, the people with whom he works are throwing a going-away/retirement shindig for him tonight.  The gathering is a surprise, which means that a reasonable possibility exists that Joe will be rendered speechless....for at least a second.  Two if he really has no idea what awaits him when he opens the front door at Jozanna's. 

Given that Joe is as prone to protracted episodes of speechlessness as I am, which is to say (a) not often; and (b) not nearly as often as those around us might secretly (and sometimes no so secretly) wish to be true, if there is anything more than a momentary loss of his ability to speak, it shall result in a flat-footed tie, between all those gathered, for the title of "Most Surprised Person in the Room". 

He is one hell of a man, my father-in-law.  This has been a year of significant adjustment and change for him.  While it was a move undertaken principally at his behest, he has had to adjust to sharing his communal space with the Missus and me albeit only part-time as he has become a self-proclaimed hermit and has turned his studio apartment off the back of the house into "The Hermitage" (any similarity between Joe and Andrew Jackson (or Joe and Peter Noone) is entirely coincidental).

I know not what he is going to do with himself once he officially retires.  He is such an outgoing, gregarious fella that I think it will hurt his heart if he cannot find a way that he can continue to interact with people as he does at his golf course.  He is also a wise man, which gives me every reason to believe that he will find a way to do just that.  

He will enjoy this evening - as shall I.  I enjoy when a good person is lauded by those who admire him and those who love him for all that he has done for them.  And I am pleased that both his daughter and his son - who were exposed to the teachings of Professor Joe long before the rest of the people assembled this evening were - shall be present.  Margaret and Frank have both known the measure of Joe's greatness the entirety of their lives.  Tonight they will get to see the extent to which others possess that knowledge too.  


-AK 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Seeing For Miles....

By now you you have most likely seen the footage of a really great event that took place in San Francisco last week.  If you have not - or if you are like me and deep inside your chest cavity presently home to a charcoal briquette an actual heart once resided you simply need the influx of good karma associated with seeing it again - then you have come to the right place. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Be Calm and Believe in....

....Batkid!


Kudos to five-year-old Miles Scott, City of San Francisco, the people at the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the thousands of people who spent a portion of their Friday at someplace other than their place of business - rooting hard for a young man whose superhero status is beyond dispute. 

Every now and again, something happens that tends to reaffirm my faith in the species - in spite of the genuinely mean-spirited, rotten and petty shit we do to one another.  Friday in San Francisco one such thing occurred.  A little boy's wish was granted.  And in the process, even if was just for that moment, he saved a whole hell of a lot of people. 

Now that is what I call a superhero.


-AK

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To the Completion of Unfinished Work....

One hundred and fifty years ago - on this very date - two hundred and seventy-two of the most moving, most important words an American President has ever uttered aloud were spoken by a man who could only have been an American creation and who America could use again right here and right now.

  

The Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met now on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate… we cannot consecrate… we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion… that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom… and that government of the people… by the people… for the people… shall not perish from the earth.”

The promise Lincoln made that day - at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg - is a promise that has been passed down over the course of a century of a half to each and every one of us.  It is a promise that it is incumbent upon us to honor and to keep.  Not just today.  But every day.

An undying dedication to the completion of unfinished work. 

-AK    

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Importance of Being Boulder....

Realizing that this will be of scant interest to anyone who resides outside of the figurative geographical confines of Buff Nation, the Alma mater is on one hell of a roll.   

More than a quarter century ago, when I was an undergrad at CU, the men's basketball team was a non-factor.  If memory serves, in the four years I was in Boulder the Buffs never won more than a dozen games in a single season.  As non-competitive as the men were in the '80's Ceal Barry's Lady Buffs were ranked nationally every year.  These days are golden days for basketball in Boulder on both sides of the gender line.  Coach Linda Lappe's Lady Buffs are nationally ranked.  Friday night they opened their home schedule by thumping Alcorn State.   Coach Tad Boyle's Buffs are unranked but after dropping their season opener they have reeled off three consecutive wins as they aim to earn their third straight NCAA bid

Saturday afternoon the women's soccer team opened its NCAA tournament play on the road against Denver University.  CU's seniors had never defeated DU.  They picked a hell of a time for their first win against the #15 Pioneers.  Next up for the Buffs is BYU in the Round of 32. 

On Saturday evening, Coach Mac's young Buffs took the field hoping to put the brakes on CU's Pac-12 losing streak.  The matchup was - for once - favorable.  CU took the field as a favorite against the Cal Bears.  The optimism instilled in them by the odds-makers proved to be well-founded.  The Buffs hung a good, old-fashioned whooping on Cal


What makes CU-Boulder great is not simply what the student-athletes do.  And "off the field" the Buffs have been making a lot of great news as well.  Physics professor Steven Pollock was honored in Washington, D.C. on Thursday as a 2013 U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.  Doctor Pollock is the second CU professor to win this prestigious honor - joining 2004 honoree Carl Wieman - also a member of the CU physics department and a Nobel Laureate.


Today is the first day of a 20-day window for the MAVEN Mission, which is the launch of a spacecraft on a mission to Mars.  At CU, which has had as large a role in this country's Space Program, it is being referred to as the most important space mission in which CU has ever been involved. 


"Be Boulder" is not simply an adman's creation.  It is what CU is.  As an alum and as someone who has long known this far-too-well kept secret I am damn happy that CU is making an effort to make the world at large aware of it too. 


Shoulder to Shoulder baby.  Shoulder to Shoulder.




-AK 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Truth and Freedom

When in doubt, tell the Truth.
It will confound your Enemies
and astound your Friends.
- Mark Twain

Random thought for a Sunday:  There are few things that sadden me as much as watching Mike Tyson come to grips with the train wreck that has been his life.  HBO aired last night Spike Lee's "Mike Tyson:  Undisputed Truth", a film culled from two July, 2013 performances of Tyson's one-man show that had run on Broadway in the Summer of 2012 and which Tyson took on a national tour in 2013.  If you are familiar at all with Tyson's back story and his career, then make time to watch it.    

"Iron Mike" is only a few years older than I am.  I smile still at the memory of watching him as a young, raw fighter just obliterate every opponent who he encountered on his way to winning the heavyweight title.  A lot of what has befallen him over the years has been his own fault, which he acknowledges.  But perhaps as much - if not more - of it happened to him because he was an equal opportunity dupe for men of all races and ethnicities. 

If there is not yet, then there should be a special place in Hell reserved for Bill Cayton and Don King for the shameless, toxic manner they treated him.  I wonder if it warms the cockles of the hearts of little do-gooders everywhere that a white man and a black man fucked Tyson over with equal impunity.  There is racial equality for you - the perverse, "through the looking glass" variety.

It has been said since time immemorial "The truth shall set you free."  Tyson has lived his whole life with the demons in his head.  Maybe, just maybe, the truth shall free him from them - at long last... 

....or maybe - just maybe - they shall continue to confound him.  An opponent who he never will be quite able to figure out.  An opponent who - in spite of his prodigious physical gifts - he cannot defeat.   

  
-AK

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Absolution, Certainty & Other Ideals

Today is my niece Jessica's birthday.  Jessica is my sister Evan's oldest.  She holds the distinction of being the "tip of the spear" for the Kenny Family:  The Next Generation.  She is the oldest of Mom/Dad's grandchildren.  She holds the unique, and sad I suppose, distinction among her group of being the only grandchild who Dad lived long enough to meet and to get to know.  Jessica also is the mother of a little girl, Zoe, who may very well be the most adorable, photogenic child on the planet.  While I have not yet made Zoe's acquaintance face-to-face, I have been able to watch her grow up through the photographs and videos that Jessica posts on-line.  That little girl is the elixir for a shitty day.  Beautiful.  Simply beautiful.  I hope that Zoe's mom enjoys a very happy birthday today.  I look forward to the photographs of Zoe wearing at least a portion of the piece of birthday cake she eats - while wearing that great, ear-to-ear smile that she appears to wear all day, every day.  One does not raise such a happy child by accident.  Well done, Jess and Happy Birthday.

I do not know where Jessica is celebrating her birthday today.  I can say with some certainty that I know one place where she will not be celebrating it:  Henry Dhabasani's house in Iganga, Uganda.  Old Henry is apparently a quite passionate fan of the Arsenal Football Club of the English Premier League.  He was so confident that his beloved Gunners would defeat Manchester United this past weekend that he made a bet with his good friend Rashid Yiga.  According to the terms of the wager, if Arsenal won Dhabasani would get Yiga's wife and a Toyota (Dhabasani apparently has three wives already but could not resist the Siren's song of Japanese automotive engineering).  If Manchester United won, Yiga would get Dhabasani's home.  Final score:  Manchester United 1, Arsenal 0.  No word whether Yiga is permitting Dhabasani and any or all of his three wives to sleep in the Toyota while he looks for a new home.  

Henry Dhabasani got himself in trouble because he thought with his heart (among other vital organs) rather than his head.  I will respectfully decline to comment upon whether Craig Cobb has ever committed such an error.  Cobb is a 61 year-old White Supremacist.  He lives in North Dakota so an argument can be made that his quest for supremacy is somewhat inflated.  I would be far more impressed by his stated position on the purported superiority of his ethnic group if he declared it from his home in Compton, California or Camden, New Jersey or any urban area in which one might reasonably anticipate encountering a more-racially diverse population than the nice people who call Leith, North Dakota home.  

Cobb apparently had plotted to take over Leith, which is where he is from, and create a "white enclave" there.  It turns out however that his best-laid plans have run into a snag:  Cobb may himself be 14% "Sub-Saharan African".  He submitted a DNA sample to a talk show ("The Trisha Goddard Show") whose host is African-American and during a recent taping of Ms. Goddard's show, the results revealing Cobb's true colors (sorry, could not resist) were disclosed to him and to the studio audience.  Ms. Goddard offered to fist bump Cobb but he declined.  The news of Cobb's DNA profile, which effectively doubled the African-American population of Leith (Population 16 in the 2010 Census), was greated enthusiastically by Leith's heretofore only Afrian-American resident, Bobby Harper.  Mr. Harper told The Bismarck Tribune - when informed of Cobb's results, "I knew there was one other black person in town.  Is he going to want to kick his own self out of town and discriminate against himself?"  

Poor Henry Dhabasani finds himself with no place to sleep these days.  Craig Cobb has no such issues.  His problem now is having made his bed he has to lie in it.  

-AK       


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Jackson Five....

Last Saturday morning in Trenton, Anthony Russo of Jackson, New Jersey participated in the 2013 Trenton Half-Marathon.  He completed the 13.1 mile course in 2:22:25.  You may wonder what significance if any there is to that time.  Only this:  Anthony Russo is five years old. 

According to Runner's World magazine, his finishing time on Saturday is the fastest-ever recorded finishing time for a child of five years in a half-marathon.  Yes indeed there is one other time in the annals of American running at the half-marathon distance that belongs to a child of five years or younger.  Anthony Russo's finishing time was approximately forty minutes faster.  On Saturday he became the youngest sub-2:30 half marathoner in U.S. history.  

At least for present purposes, I am an adult runner who can claim a better half-marathon time than young Anthony.  For now anyway.  I reckon that by the time this little dude is nine or ten he will be blowing right past me and my fellow 1:50 to 1:55 half-marathoners.  If he continues to sport his haircut of choice for another three or four years, at least I shall recognize him when he runs past.  

Monday night in Tampa, Florida something almost as rare as a five-year-old posting a sub-2:30 finishing time in a half-marathon happened.  The Tampa Bay Bucs won a football game, defeating the Miami Dolphins.  As someone who rooted hard for Greg Schiano the entire time he patrolled the banks of the old Raritan as RU's head football coach - and who keeps hoping against hope that Schiano lives to see Year Three as a head coach in the NFL - I was very happy to see his guys win one.  I watched only a little bit of the game and smiled when I saw my late, great mother-in-law's all-time favorite Rutgers player, Tiquan Underwood, on the field as a wide receiver for Tampa.  He made a very nice play on their first drive as a matter of fact.  The Tampa roster has a fair number of Schiano's former college players on it - six on the active roster and one on Injured Reserve.  If the Bucs' fortunes do not improve dramatically in the season's second half, then the possibility exists that Rutgers' NFL unemployment rate is going to skyrocket upon the completion of the 2013 schedule.    

I prefer my dog to most humans.  Agree with my position or not, I cannot fake giving the ass of a solitary rat.  For my money, Rosalita is more reliable than the average bi-ped.  She is also far less likely to either surprise me or disappoint me than an animal of the human persuasion.  As someone who values consistency that is not a little thing.  You may be able to imagine therefore my internal happiness at reading about the funeral of British RAF World War II veteran Harold Jellicoe Percival ("Jam" to his friends.  I just made that up.  I have no idea what his friends called him.)  Percival died on October 25 at age 99.  Sadly, he lived such a long life that at the time of his death he had no close family members living anywhere near him.  His obituary mentioned that "any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated."

Percival's funeral was this past Monday.  His call to attend was answered by several hundred mourners, including service personnel who came from all over Great Britain to pay their respects.  They sang songs and honored the life of a man who most of them had never met.  They did so because they simply determined that it was something worth doing.    

And what better reason does one need to do anything than that?

-AK

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Nice Guy's View of the Finish Line

Leo Durocher once observed rather famously - or is claimed to have anyway - that "Nice guys finish last."  Leo the Lip went to his grave fighting to ensure that what it was he said was actually placed in the proper context.  It was not.  Candidly, it never has been.  And it shall likely never be.  It makes for too good a story in its misappropriated version.

Nice guys do indeed finish first.  Proof positive of that fact is my brother-in-law Frank.  Frank is Margaret's sole sibling - her older brother.  Right around the time my wife and I met close to a quarter-century ago Frank was in the restaurant business.  He and one of his cousins ran a thriving little Italian joint named Catari's in Bound Brook.  Unfortunately, many a business is not immune from economic turmoil.  Catari's proved not to be.  While Frank is an incredible chef and restaurant guy, he is even more dedicated to the personal side of the shop - being a husband and a father.  He and his better half Chrissy (I can say that for I have had the pleasure of knowing them both for close to twenty-five years and I know he would agree with me) have raised six children and, now, have watched the family business reach the next generation with three grandchildren having made their arrival within the past four years. 

Frank never gave up the dream of getting back into the restaurant business - of once again operating his own place.  For more than a decade, he has operated Jozanna's.  Up until a few weeks ago, the full name of the establishment was "Jozanna's Fine Italian Take-Out".  Now, while it remains a place where one can order food that one wants to eat in the comfort of one's own home, his long-planned new dining room is open.  And it is beautiful.  Like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, "Jozanna's Fine Casual Dining" has emerged from what was once simply a great little take-out joint. 

If your travels take you through or near our little hamlet 'NTSG then do yourself the great service of calling upon Frank and his gang.  Jozanna's is located at 409 Lincoln Boulevard in Middlesex.  You do not need reservations and since it is BYOB, feel free to bring with you whatever your adult beverage of choice may be.  You cannot go wrong with anything you ask him - and his oldest son Joe - to prepare.  I am partial to the Stuffed Mushrooms and the Zuppa di Pesce (Fra Diablo) but even if your taste differs from mine, I assure you that you will not be disappointed. 

My favorite part of Jozanna's is what it represents.  It represents what happens when someone has the courage to pursue his dream and the werewithal to pick himself up after getting knocked down.  There is a great lesson in there too about the power of family and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts but you can see that for yourself when you stop in for lunch or dinner....

Frank and Joe

....thinking about the Zuppa di Pesce has made me really hungry.  

-AK   

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where the Highway Ends and the Desert Breaks....

You make up your mind, you choose the chance you take
You ride to where the highway ends and the desert breaks
Out on to an open road you ride until the day
You learn to sleep at night with the price you pay.
-Bruce Springsteen

I did something this past Saturday that I should do more often:  I bailed on going into the office.  I earn my living defending civil lawsuits - on behalf of individuals, public entities and businesses.  Litigation is a grind.  Always has been.  Always will be.  One matter closes as another matter opens.  Busy is good because busy pays the mortgage, pays for weddings and a myriad of other things.  Yet regardless of how good it is, it remains a grind.  A relentless, often unforgiving grind. 

Case in point, on Halloween a jury returned a "no cause" verdict, which means the good guys won, in a case that I spent seven days trying and in which the plaintiffs had demanded $4 Million to settle on the first day of trial.  I was a small part of a very well-oiled defense trial team that - at the risk of being immodest (and I really am not because the star of our side was someone bearing zero resemblance to me) - outlawyered the other side from opening bell through closing arguments. 

The jury in that case returned its verdict shortly after 1 PM.  Within fifteen minutes all of us were packed up and on our way out the door - off to our next respective adventures.  It took me close to forty-five minutes to get back to my office.  During the car ride back to Parsippany, I touched base with my claims representative to report the good news to him and then immediately started the process of working on other matters that had been deprived of their usual levels of attention while I had been on trial.  The wheel in the cage continues to turn.  You either keep up - forever - or you fall off and get smashed to bits.  The latter is not pretty.  Not at all.

Saturday morning, instead of spending four or five hours at the office, I simply punted.  Margaret and I ran some errands bright and early and by 9:00 or so I had my running shoes laced up for a nice Saturday morning through town.  The leaves are continuing to fight the good fight.  Although there are considerably more of them on the ground than on the branches these days, the ones that are still hanging on are doing so for all they are worth.  It is as if they recognize just how barren the landscape shall be once they loosen their grip and parachute to earth.  In another Saturday or so there will be little to nothing to see on the trees as I be-bop through suburbia.  But this past Saturday there was still more than enough Autumnal splendor to make even this cynic smile....

....and on a cold November Saturday morning, a five-mile run was indeed a price worth paying to see it firsthand.


-AK  

 



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Digital Display

If you are a numbers person - I am not having sought refuge from math in the abyss known as law school - then today is your kind of day.  It is 11/12/13.  What fun it must be to be a kid celebrating either a 10th or 14th birthday today huh?  Talk about four play. 

Here is a little bit of information that may or may not depress you.  If you are alive today and reading this, then this little slice of tango timekeeping is the second to last such event you are likely to live long enough to see.  Next December we shall be graced with 12/13/14.  And then that is it for the duration of this century.  Unless a Roman emperor comes to the fore between now and 12/31/14 and adds yet another month to the calendar, next year's appearance on the calendar of 12/13/14 will mark the end of the line. 

I have no inkling that the Italians are contemplating reinstituting the Empire.  But considering just how many forms of government - and leaders (using that word in the broadest possible definitional sense) - Italy has had in the seventy years since the end of World War II anything can happen.  Perhaps if the Italian courts acquit Amanda Knox a second time, they will name her honorary Emperor just to make amends?  Probably not.  And if I was her attorney I would advise her to remain absent from the jurisdiction just to be safe. 

You may be like me - and a lot of other people I know - and arise to earn your daily bread every day feeling very much like a number and not very much like an individual at all.  On most days, feeling like a number is probably one hell of a bummer.  But today?  Today feeling like a number is all the rage.  Embrace it.  Enjoy it. Celebrate it.... 

....and remember that while today is Tango Tuesday, tomorrow is merely Wednesday.  

 
-AK

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not Just Another Monday....


Big Head Todd and the Monsters - "Flanders Fields"
For every man and woman who wears now or who has worn the uniform of one of the branches of the military of these United States, from a man who has never been asked to do likewise, I say simply this:  Thank You.  
Today is Veterans' Day.  Truth be told, every day should be Veterans' Day.  How do you honor those who protect and serve us every day by setting aside just a single day on the calendar?  It seems less than adequate.  Administrative Professionals get an entire week.  The fucking ground hog gets a day.  Is that equity?  Just saying....
Happy Veterans' Day to active duty military members and veterans everywhere.  A grateful nation thanks you for your service.  We need to do a better job of expressing our thanks.  Every day between this Veterans' Day and Veterans' Day 2014 that should be our mission.  Whether through the Wounded Warrior Project, Hope for Warriors, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Fisher House Foundation or one of the other excellent organizations out there fighting the good fight for those who have been fighting the good fight for all of us, opportunities abound to help those who have served.  And whose service has been for the benefit of all of us.
 
-AK

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Precision & Perspective

Football is an ambiguous Sport,
depending upon both Grace and Violence.
It both glorifies and destroys Bodies.
- George Sauer, Jr.

True confession:  I love sports.  As a kid, I played pickup games in every sport imaginable and spent Saturdays as a participant in my father's Play Group program.  Once Mom and Dad sent me to W-H as a 5th grader I played sports almost every season of the school year through my senior year of high school, earning letters along the way in soccer, basketball, track and wrestling - and the latter also allowed me to earn several bruised ribs, a concussion and mat burn that still has not quite disappeared in its entirety from my shoulder blades.  As an adult, for close to fifteen years post-law school I played softball in one league or another on a team organized my one of my friends.  About four years ago, I discovered running.  While I do not play softball in an organized league any longer, my "hands on" sports fix is met through running.

In addition to being an active participant in sports, I love watching sports.  If you have wandered past this space at any time before today then you know already that I am an avid supporter of my Alma mater, the Colorado Buffaloes, in all athletic endeavors. I have rooted passionately for the New York Rangers for the entirety of my life and also root hard for the New York Giants and the New York Yankees.  A lifetime ago, when my kids were in fact kids I was given the opportunity to be an assistant coach on teams on which both played.  I had the chance to watch Suzanne play hoops at OLMV from a seat on the bench for a couple of years and to watch her play softball there as an 8th grader from a seat in the dugout.  When Rob played hoops at OLMV as an 8th grader, I served as his team's assistant coach and got to watch him play up close.  As a parent who was not home a great deal when his kids were in fact kids, having had those opportunities was - for me - something that I shall remember and treasure forever.

In spite of all of the above (and that was one hell of a long-winded preamble....even by my standards), I am constrained to point out as we the people of the United States prepare to honor the men and women who have served - and those who currently serve - in this nation's Armed Forces on Veteran's Day, the manner in which the media has spent this week discussing the "Warrior Culture" in the NFL really chaps my ass. 

Take the time - but not now because if you bail on me now you will hurt my feelings (as if I have a feeling to hurt) - to check out the piece Brian Philips wrote on Wednesday or Thursday for Grantland.com.  In my opinion, it is extraordinary.  This is America.  You are free to disagree with my assessment.  I swear I was kidding with that whole "hurt my feelings" bullshit.  Regardless of whether you end up agreeing with him or not, he says things that I think needed to be said vis-a-vis the whole mess that continues to ooze out of Miami.  

Here's my .02 on the whole "Warrior Culture" jive:  It is utter and complete nonsense.  Do not misunderstand.  I accept the position or the point of view that professional football is NOT a contact sport but, rather, it is a collision sport.  There are scant few aspects of the game that are not permeated by violence.  Large, athletic, muscle-massed men hurl themselves at one another with a vigor usually reserved only for multi-vehicle wrecks on a NASCAR track.  It is unquestionably a trying way to earn a living.  

But the men who avail themselves of the opportunity to play it are not warriors.  Sorry.  They simply are not.  A NFL athlete is no more a warrior than a marathon runner, a wrestler or an ice dancer is a warrior.  He is what he is:  a professional athlete.  To compare the voluntary, officially sanctioned and regulated violence of any sport to war is inane and offensive.  Yet every time a commentator drops the word "warrior", "combatant" or "hero" into their play-by-play parlance, they raise the athletes involved in the game to a level that frankly they have not earned.  

Sport is an important part of my life.  Always has been.  I presume it always shall be.  Yet it is what it is. What it is is an entertainment.  The men and women who earn their living as professional athletes are no more warriors than is the ER nurse in a major metropolitan trauma center, the school bus driver or the commercial fisherman.  They arguably are all warriors compared to a middle-aged cynic who earns his living as a lawyer but, candidly, that has far more to do with him and his chosen field than it does with them and theirs.  

Contrary to popular mythology the Republic shall not fall because a particular team wins the Super Bowl, the World Series or the NBA Championship.  The great American experiment shall neither succeed nor fail based upon the leader board at Augusta National at the conclusion of the final round of the Masters or upon which man and woman hoist trophies over their heads at the end of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship at Flushing Meadow. 

Athletes are not warriors.  They are athletes.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  You know what?  There is not a damn thing wrong with that either.  Not one damn thing. 

Tolstoy wrote, "The strongest of all warriors are these two:  Time and Patience." Neither has ever bounced a ball or shot a puck.  They do not need to for while both is a warrior, neither is an athlete. 

Let us start doing ourselves the great privilege of ceasing to use those two terms as if they are interchangeable. 

They are not....   

....Once precision of language arrives on the scene, perhaps perspective will follow shortly thereafter.

-AK      

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Just One Wish....

Contrary to what I believed when I woke up this morning, it is tomorrow - and not today - that is the birthday of my running companera Gidg.  Usually on her birthday I point out to her that unlike me she is old.  She is, after all, eighty-five days older than I.  That is more than twelve weeks for those of you keeping score at home.  Twelve weeks!  

Not this year.  This year I am taking a mulligan on busting Gidg's stones on her birthday.  These are tough days in the Family Kizis - a family that serves as a reminder that Cancer cares not at all about the quality of the family it invades.  It does not skip over the good people and attack only those you might think are less than ideal humans.  It is a ferocious, equal opportunity assassin.  And it is exquisitely easy to hate. 

My good pal Gidg has just one wish on this her birthday.  And whether it can be granted I know not.  I do know, sadly, that while she is a good friend and has been as great a friend to my wife as anyone I have ever known and I would grant it for her if I could, I cannot.  It is far beyond my conjuring skills.  Very far beyond in fact. 

Gidg's one wish is for her beloved mother - who she and the rest of the Kizis clan affectionately call Hazel - to wake up this morning cancer-free and pain-free and fully able to ease her canoe back into the stream of her life right where she was before this effing bastard started waging war on her several months ago.  Gidg's wish is strong - and its strength is buttressed by the fact that it is echoed by the entire Kizis clan and by those of us who have been blessed by the good fortune of making the acquaintance of at least one Kizis in our lifetime.  And her wish is perfect.  Neither its strength nor its perfection matter.  At least not today.

On this day - her birthday - Gidg's one wish shall not come true.  Not today anyway.  Tomorrow perhaps.  Or maybe the day after.  A wish delayed need not be a wish denied.  

On her birthday  I have but one wish for my friend Gidg.  I wish that her wish comes true.... 

....if not today, then soon.  Really, really soon. 

-AK    

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rooster Tales

I have fallen back into a habit this week - and it is a pretty good habit so my plan is to eschew all attempts to kick it for the foreseeable future.  A wise man once wrote something commenting upon the best-laid plans of mice and men.  I hope I fare better than the poor SOB of whom he wrote. 

When I first took up running as a recreational activity several years ago I used to run in the morning before I went to work.  No big deal.  Well, the size of the deal might be larger than envisioned at first glance.  I arrive at my office six days a week between 4:30 and 4:45 AM.  My "pre-work" run would start at or about 3:00 AM.  Admittedly, not the time of day that a lot of people are out and about getting in their mileage.  I made sure I ran safely - reflective vest, two lights and my cell phone (just in case I ran into a deer, a raccoon or as I did only one time (thankfully) a group of four of five seemingly intoxicated young men whose garbage can cover tossing competition I inadvertently interrupted when I turned the corner onto Harris Avenue). 

The older I have gotten the more of a prima donna I have become about things such as fatigue and weather.  Over time I abandoned my pre-work run altogether and became a night shift runner (No I was not tooling around 'NTSG in the Billy Blazemobile spouting $1 Million ideas into a hand-held tape recorder), getting in my run at day's end.  

Running after work has proven - generally speaking - to be a pain in the ass.  By day's end I am more tired, more cranky and pissed off at the world than I am when I wake up in the morning, which creates a disincentive to run.  Also, as someone who gets home usually between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM and who has - as we all do - a lot of things I need to get a handle on just to get ready for the next day - running at night has been fucking with my day-to-day.  

Margaret and I moved in May.  Now the treadmill, which formerly occupied the office in our old home (the most euphemistically-named room this side of the one labeled "Miami Dolphins Leadership Council") and was right down the hall from our bedroom, occupies a spot in the basement.  Damn thing makes a fair amount of noise - actually it makes little noise until I use it so I suppose that I, not it, am responsible for the sound - but tucked away in the basement far from where we sleep, my use of it interferes not one "Z" with Margaret's slumber.  

So, starting this past Monday I have worked my pre-work run back into my day-to-day.  I did not run yesterday, as I try as a rule to not run more than three consecutive days (it holds down the volume at which my left knee screams), but I ran Monday through Wednesday and again this morning.  I had forgotten just how hard it is to get up and running when your body is still half-asleep.  I was reminded right quick on Monday morning.  By Wednesday morning, my body had recalibrated itself.  The early-morning stiffness was gone.  

A maxim by which I live my life is adherence to the 5 Ps:  Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  By resuming my early-morning running program I am able to do something I love - and quite frankly something that I need to do for more reasons than I can recount here.  And I am able to do it without having to take time away from other things that I love to do - such as spending time with my wife at the end of a long work day - and things that I have to do to prepare for the next day's adventure.  

Time will tell just how well - if at all - I honor this promise to myself.  I hope not to disappoint myself.  However, if history is any guide....

....time will tell.  It always does. 

-AK   

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beach Bums

While there is a danger inherent in looking too far ahead from any fixed point on the horizon line, today I opt to poke Fate squarely in the eye with a pointed stick.  We awaken today already two months removed from my favorite event of 2013, which was the wedding of my daughter Suzanne to my (still new) son-in-law Ryan.  Neither time nor diminished memory has wiped the smile off of my face at the mere thought of that day.  I have every confidence that neither shall any time soon.  We awaken today but eight months removed from what shall be my favorite event of 2014, the wedding of my son Rob to my soon-to-be daughter-in-law Jessica.  

My only true hope when my kids were still children was that life would take them to a place and to a point in time at which it would not only become clear to them just how important it is to have someone with you inside of the canoe but the singular importance of finding exactly the right person.  Each has - and as importantly the person with whom they find themselves manning an oar - has as well.  As a parent you never outkick your coverage.  By that I mean simply that your kids never stop being your kids - even when they are no longer children.  You worry about them, whether they live up the street or on the other side of the continent.  That never goes away.  But you sleep a bit better - at least a little bit - when you know that wherever they are, peace is at hand.  

The Missus and I spent a portion of our Sunday making sure that we squared away our hotel accomodations for Rob/Jess's nuptials.  Early June at the Jersey Shore is a hot ticket.  But squared away we are.  We long ago mastered the division of labor for such tasks in our household:  Margaret makes all the arrangements and at the appropriate moment, I hand her the credit card necessary to process the transaction.  I will let you in on a little secret:  the planning for Suzanne's wedding went as seamlessly as it did because roughly nine seconds after we started the process, I was moved off of the Operations Committee and onto Finance.  No tribe needs two Chiefs.  

Our room is booked.  Joe's room is booked too.  I had not looked forward to trying to conquer the logistics of getting him to and from Point Pleasant Beach.  Problem solved.  Once he reaches the Beach on Thursday for the rehearsal dinner it is there he shall stay through the ceremony and the reception on Friday.  Happiness is no unncessary driving.  I spend close to 35,000 miles annually in the car - most of which are work-related miles.  I embrace the opportunity to not tack on to that total whenever such an opportunity presents itself.   

The only "issue" for us when we leave 'NTSG in the rear-view mirror for a couple of days in early June is what to do with Rosie.  Although methinks Rosie already has formulated an action plan herself.


Rosie and Sunbeam:  Perfect Together....

....and if you look at her face really really closely I swear you can see her smiling. 

-AK