Saturday, May 31, 2014

Always More Ground To Cover

Well the years have gone and I've grown
From that seed you sown.
I didn't think there'd be so many steps
I'd have to learn on my own.
But I was young and I didn't know what to do
When I saw your best steps stolen away from you.
Now I'll do what I can
I'll walk like a Man...
-Bruce Springsteen 



My childhood ended thirty-three years ago today.  Mine is by no means a unique experience.  My experience is by no means the worst experience a child can endure.  Every day the world reminds us of all of the ills taking place in it that far exceed the death of one's father in terms of impact upon a child.  Every day.  

For although my childhood ended on this very day thirty-three years ago, my life did not.  Nor did the lives of my five older brothers and sisters.  Nor did my mother's life.  Mom has lived such a long life in fact that she now has lived longer as a widow than she did as a wife - no small accomplishment considering my parents were less than two weeks away from celebrating either their thirty-first or thirty-second wedding anniversary when my father died.  

I spent a number of years in these three-plus decades that have passed since he died in which I thought about my father hardly at all.  I suppose that started to change when Margaret and I got married and suddenly I was a father myself.  My appreciation for the man my father was grew exponentially the more steps I took in his shoes.  He had a harder gig than I had ever fathomed. 

I suppose had he lived that at some point we would have passed through what was a fairly bleak period in our day-to-day and have come out on the other side.  Maybe even as friends.  It matters not.  He did not.  We did not.  We were what we were and who we were.  I still am.  

If I was a betting man, then I would wager that WPK, Sr. has been smiling a lot this spring.  The single best thing we ever shared was our love for the New York Rangers - even though rare was the spring that they advanced in the playoffs as deep as they have this year.  As I have watched the Rangers play this post-season I have thought of my father often and our trips to MSG on the New Jersey Transit train from New Brunswick.  Happiness was a Sunday night Rangers home game with a pre-game stop in Penn Station for a Nedick's hot dog and an Orange Julius.  

By this time next week my son shall be a husband.  I am at peace with the fact that I shall have achieved something that my father did not.  I will have borne witness to my son take a bride.  I smile in anticipation at the thought of it.  And I smile too because I suspect that WPK, Sr. would be smiling too - were he there to see the ceremony himself.  Perhaps the most important lesson he ever shared with me - out of all of the ones he ever imparted - was this one:  Be there.  For once a moment is gone, it is lost to the ravages of time forever.  And once it is gone, you shall never retrieve it. 

No matter how fast you run...

...no matter how far you walk.




-AK

Friday, May 30, 2014

And Then There Was One...

One week that is. 

One week from this very day I shall stand on the beach beaming from ear-to-ear (regardless of how hot I am standing in sand while wearing a suit) as Rob and Jess are married.  And if you do not think I am very much looking forward to the event and to all that it means for my son and my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, then might I suggest a remedial course in reading comprehension.

June's arrival shall not be one moment too soon. 

-AK 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Inescapable Swirl

I loathe those things over which I am impotent to exert any control.  I make a dreadful passenger in anyone's automobile and similarly have been reported as scoring something short of being an "Absolute Delight to Sit Next To" on the passenger scorecards passed out by the crew at the successful conclusion of most commercial flights.  The Lord and I have an understanding.  I have no time for misplaced faith in him.  I place all of mine squarely on the fellow whose gaze meets mine in the bathroom mirror every morning. 

This past weekend was - for the most part - delightful.  It was not however without its less than ideal moments.  Saturday morning, the Missus woke up in 'Squan, put both feet on the floor next to the bed and promptly fell back into it.  Her issue was not fatigue or residual intoxication.  Rather, for reasons that escaped her and scared the bejeebers out of me she simply was too dizzy to remain upright.  One of us voted for an immediate trip to a hospital or some such place for treatment.  The other, being a stubborn Italian woman, refused. 

When Saturday's early-morning awakening returned for an encore on Sunday, Margaret's opinion on the matter no longer concerned me.  Thus, over her protests we drove over to Somerset Medical Center where we proceeded to spend the next several hours.  The nurses with whom we interacted and the physician to whom her case was assigned struck me as being more than merely competent - although my comfort level with them was raised significantly by the fact that they ordered the battery of tests that I wanted them to order. 

The discharge diagnosis was Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.  While I know less about science and medicine than any person in the Northern Hemisphere, the little I do know involves knowing just how nice it is to see the word "Benign" prominently displayed as the first word in the title of what is presently tormenting my wife.  I am frustrated over my own inability to do anything to keep it away from her.  I am equally frustrated by my own inability to make it better.  But for my ability to drive the car from our home to the Emergency Department at Somerset Medical Center without incident I would be of zero value to her altogether. 


-AK

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The End of Cellasaurus

Margaret has prided herself - somewhat stubbornly to be candid - on the fact that while everyone around her, including Yours truly, has a cell phone manufactured in this century she has always carried what she refers to (only somewhat) facetiously as her "POS" phone.  While it is not true that her little phone was a piece of shit, it is not a stretch to say that all it was missing was the hand crank and the coin slot. 

Monday night - as I was putting the garbage can at the curb in anticipation of Tuesday morning's pickup - the Missus inadvertently tested the depths to which her "POS" was waterproof by knocking it into the toilet.  I re-entered the kitchen in time to see Margaret trying to dry her phone in a bowl of white rice in an effort to keep it alive.  Perhaps she should have used brown.  Or yellow. 

We made the short jaunt over to the Verizon Wireless store located at the Bridgewater Commons Mall in Bridegwater, New Jersey where we were quite masterfully assisted by Robert Sneddon.  His business card identifies him as a "Retail Sales Representative" while the lanyard he was wearing around his neck to which his photo id was affixed identified him as the "Manager".  Irrespective of his job title, he was a tremendous help to the Missus and me.  If you find yourself in need of assistance for whatever reason as a Verizon Wireless customer and you are reasonably close to Bridgewater, New Jersey, then go see Robert at that location. 

Not too terribly long after we arrived, we left the store with Margaret proudly carrying her iPhone 5s.  By night's end she had figured out how to use the Facetime (or Facetalk) feature on it to chat with Suzanne face-to-face, which experience she enjoyed very much.  When she hung up with Suzanne, she sent Rob a text message asking him to call her using that same feature whenever he could so that she can see him while she talks to him. 

It is not every often that a new piece of technology pays for itself less than twenty-four hours after it is purchased.  This one did.  Kudos to Robert Sneddon for all of his assistance, without which this purchase would not have been possible. 

And fare thee well Cellasaurus.  You had a good run.  Eventually, you went the way of the rest of the dinosaurs.  Extinction beckoned.  For you however, it was not a meteorite that sealed your fate.  It was an Apple.

Now you know how the rest of the world feels...

-AK

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chia Town

Summer arrived at the Shore this weekend.  The Missus and I drove down to Manasquan on Friday night to hang out with Lynne and Gidg in advance of Saturday morning's Spring Lake Five Mile Run.  'Squan is among our favorite places.  It seems as if every trip there involves each of us keeping an eye open for "For Sale" signs and the like.  Happiness shall be when the opportunity presents itself to remove the word 'future' from the phrase 'future home'.  Soon.  Not today.  But soon.

We make enough trips to 'Squan between Labor Day and Memorial Day that we have a fairly good understanding of what the "off season" looks.  As we pulled into town on Friday night we were reminded of the difference a day makes.  And in this case, the day is Memorial Day. 

There is nothing quite like the unofficial start of summer to kick start life at the Jersey Shore.  For the past eight months Lynne's neighborhood has been a ghost town - occupied only by the good people such as Lynne who call 'Squan home.  Friday night however the summer renters arrived in force.  The volume of people and the volume associated with those people rose exponentially.

Saturday morning after we returned to 'Squan from the race in Spring Lake, it was as if the entire town had awakened from its long winter's nap.  And experience teaches us that it is a state of consciousness that shall remain in full force and effect for the next ninety days or so. 

The Jersey Shore.  Home to the Chia Town...

...just add Summer.

-AK

Monday, May 26, 2014

Leaving You in Good Hands

Today is Memorial Day.  A day of solemnity and celebration.  A day on which those of you who stop by this space on a daily basis deserve something better than that which I can produce. 

It is for all of those reasons that this space on this day shall be home - as it has been each of the two Memorial Days that preceded it - to something my son Rob wrote about this day several years ago.  It was excellent the moment he wrote it - when he was just twenty-two years old - and its excellence has held up over time. 

Enjoy...

Just A Thought
 
I started thinking in this time of war what this day means. It is for those who didn't come back. They didn't come back to their mothers, their wives or their kids. They stormed beaches, fought and died in foreign countries. All that returned was a box and a folded flag.

I recently attended a Springsteen concert in North Carolina. I traveled by plane through this American land because I could, because I am free - and because of the generosity of some good friends. As Springsteen played a song called
"Last to Die" I got emotional. The song asks, "Who'll be the last to die...." presumably in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not matter what you think of the American involvement in these wars. What does matter is that we remember these brave American servicemen and servicewomen.

Meanwhile I am enjoying a Springsteen concert, enjoying a beer and enjoying starting a career with the best government in the world; enjoying freedom. How can I do this? These are my brothers, my peers, guys my age fighting and dying. They volunteered so I didn't have to. They're not coming back to their favorite band, their favorite beer, their families or the state they grew up in.

Their children will not know their fathers. They will know only their sacrifice and some stories their mothers will tell. They sacrificed for someone they will never meet - you and me.

Remember them today.

-RJM
 
Yes, what he said.  Exactly. 
 
 
-AK

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Faith Has Been Rewarded

At the risk of being drummed out of the "Father-in-Law as Curmudgeon" Club I must confess that there are any number of things that I both like and respect about my son-in-law Ryan.  First and foremost, of course, is the fact that he loves my daughter.  One hell of a good start.  

Above and beyond that however I am now - and have been since he and Suzanne started dating (however many years ago that was) - impressed by his self-confidence and his courage.  As you know if you have popped by this space at some point in time earlier than this very day - or you have had the occasion to spend at least forty-seven seconds talking with my wife - Ryan and Suzanne currently reside in the state where the stars at night are big and bright, which luminence does little to offset the corresponding lack thereof emanating from the Governor's office.  The commencement of their married life from that outpost is directly related to a decision that Ryan made slightly less than three years ago.  

Ryan is a finance guy.  My criminally limited intellectual abilities prevent me from describing what it is my son-in-law does in any greater detail than that.  He has explained to me not less than 1 million times.  It remains beyond my ability to comprehend.  Anyway, through the first half of 2011 he was doing what he does here in the State of Concrete Gardens and - if memory serves - feeling a bit frustrated both by what he was doing and where it was he was doing it.  So, when a friend who lives and works in the Houston area called him and made him aware of an opportunity there, Ryan did what he does.  He considered it carefully from every conceivable angle.  Then, and only then, did he decide to pursue it.  

His pursuit of it, which was successful, required him to pack the contents of his life in the only part of the country he had ever really known into his Jeep and head 1,800 or so miles away on down to Houston town.  In doing so, he left not only his home but also his family and Suzanne behind.  

His willingness to relocate halfway across the country to take his shot paid off.  He has been working doing something he enjoys in a place where he enjoys doing it for the past three years, all the while raising his profile in his field with an eye towards finding an even-more interesting position back in the New York metropolitan area.  Just last week, Ryan flew up to New Jersey for a quick final visit with a very prestigious, well-known firm in his industry that has hired him to become part of its Short Hills, New Jersey operations.  He and Suzanne shall be back home here in the State of Concrete Gardens within the next thirty to sixty days. 

It is good when good things happen to good people.  It is a great thing when it happens to a good person who you happen to love and who happens to be a part of your family.  What my son-in-law did three years ago took stones of church bell dimensions to do.  Truth be told, I would not have had neither nor the conviction to do what he did.    It is often said that a person makes his own luck.  Ryan did just that.  For that I shall be forever impressed.

And he has brought Suzanne back home into the time zone as her mother, for which I shall be forever grateful. 

-AK

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Foot Soldier in the Army of Joyous Noise

There is no insanity quite like the insanity of the Spring Lake Five Mile Run.  http://www.springlake5.org/.  Summer at the Shore does indeed begin this morning.  And with upwards of 10,000 people in the starting area jostling for position, an overhead shot of Ocean Avenue will bear an uncanny resemblance to an overhead shot of the Parkway southbound at or about the Raritan Toll Plaza.  Speaking of which, here is to all you lunatics who refuse to break down and get E-Z Pass.  Continue to embrace the smell of exhaust fumes as you sit in the cash and/or exact change lanes.  The Missus and I shall wave to you as we fly past you in the E-Z Pass lanes. 

This event has become an annual rite of Summer for me.  The first mile of this race is a battle for survival - working one's way towards open space in the crowd of runners so that one can run in a fairly unencumbered manner.  If history is any guide, then it shall take me just until about the one-mile mark to break free from all traffic jams and simply run as if I was out for a run by myself on a Saturday morning.  A bit of an annoyance but not worth bypassing the event.  Not even close. 

If you too shall be on the streets of Spring Lake this morning, then I hope your run is a good one as well. 



-AK


Friday, May 23, 2014

If Not Now...


At workday's end today (or truth be told by 11:00 am or so), we the people of these United States will be firmly immersed in our annual celebration of Memorial Day.  It is the unofficial start of summer after all; right?  It is a time associated with long weekends, outdoor activities, cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach and time spent with family and friends.  All of those things are good things.  They are not however THE thing.

Here is a fact - and it is one that cares not what side of the political fence you straddle or whether your state is Red or Blue or something altogether different:  The manner in which we the people of these United States treat the men and women who wear the uniforms of this nation's armed forces if fucking shameful.  Period.  End of conversation. 

These days, veterans are big news in the District of Columbia.  On the heels of Veterans Administration Secretary Eric K. Shinseki having disclosed that the results of an internal investigation that revealed utterly ridiculous wait times for treatment at VA facilities across the country and - better yet - the falsification of records at some of those very same facilities (Why treat them when you can simply doctor the records to make it appear as if you had?  Because when veterans begin doing really inconvenient things such as dropping dead upon having been denied the care for which records have been fabricated things tend to get messy.  Right Phoenix?), President Obama had a Howard Beale moment Wednesday. 

The President declared that he would not stand for it to continue, "So if these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.  Once we know the facts, I assure you if there is misconduct it will be punished.”  Ah, Presidential hand-wringing.  There is nothing quite like it in all of the world.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-sets-timeline-for-va-review-defends-his-record-on-veterans/2014/05/21/c1a23088-e0fe-11e3-8dccd6b7fede081a_story.html?hpid=z2

Except for Congressional hand-wringing of course.  A number of high-profile Republicans assailed the President's "wait and see" the results of the Inspector General's report approach.  Of course they did.  Mid-term elections are fast approaching and the GOP, needing to do whatever it can do to gain six seats in the United States Senate to take control of it, believes it has found an issue with a bit of meat on the bone.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/05/21/va-crisis-gop-obama/9374301/.   "Found" being the operative word in that sentence inasmuch as someone interested in finding it might have realized as long ago as March 2013, courtesy of testimony given to a House subcommittee, that there was indeed a marriage of smoke and fire.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/05/21/veterans-healthcare-scandal-shinseki-timeline/9373227/.  Makes for better television and poll numbers now it appears. 

How 'bout we the people of these United States do something that we have found it harder and harder to do here in the 21st Century.  Put our partisan bickering over fucking nonsense aside, look at this cast of characters we have elected to the highest offices in the country and order them to fix what is fucked up.  Stop talking about it.  Solve the goddamned problem.  The "This Way To Righteous Indignation" Bus Tour can wait.  Oh, and let us remind them too that simply blaming the other guy is not tantamount to actually solving the problem.   Spend two minutes or so taking a look at the video that was sent to me from the good people at Veterans Village of San Diego - who are doing really good things for our veterans - and then ask your Senator or Representative how much the men and women getting assisted by groups such as Veterans Village of San Diego give a rat's ass about who wins the hand-wringing war:



It is Memorial Day in America.  If not now, then when...



-AK 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Where The Streets Have No Name...

This evening - weather permitting - I shall bop on over to Somerville to take part in the Legal Runaround 5K.  It is a nice event.  It is a 5K race that takes place in the neighborhood in Somerville that is home to the Somerset County Court House.  This is, I believe, the fifth year in a row that I have signed up to run in this event.  To date, however I have actually only participated in it twice. 

Weather impacts this event more than any of the other events in which I participate.  The first year I took part, as we gathered at the starting line it was a hot, humid but precipitation-free evening.  Less than ten minutes later, just after I had passed by the 1 mile marker, the skies darkened ominously (think "moonless night in middle of forest" dark), thunder clapped, lightning struck and rain fell with ferocity not seen since Noah cleared space for the second zebra on his big wooden ship.  Almost instaneously a 5K race turned into a mini-dualathlon:  1 mile run followed by 2.1 mile swim.  It was not as much fun as it sounds, I assure you.

Following that maiden voyage (pun intended) I have become a bit more attuned to the effect weather has on this particular event.  Last year, as I drove home from the office to get changed for the race it poured non-stop the entire trip.  It continued to rain right up to the time I had planned to leave to drive over to Somerville.  I ran that night.  Downstairs on the treadmill in my basement.  I had not left myself sufficient time to add "Struck by Lightning" to my bucket list.

For the sake of the good people at the Somerset County Bar Foundation, http://somersetcountybar.com/Fundraising, whose event this is and all of the good people who benefit from the Bar Foundation's good works, I hope Mother Nature cooperates.  Her track record is spotty at best. 

If she does then I will lace up the old running shoes and run as fast as they shall carry me.  I know of course that it shall not be nearly fast enough to keep my longtime friend Beth (who lives with her husband in one of the houses along the race course) from shouting out something inspirational as I run past.  I cherish her support.  Two years ago, she shouted out, "C'mon Adam, run like you are using both of your legs!" 

You cannot put a price on that type of friendship.  Try as you might. 

-AK

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Involuntarily Irish

Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy,
Which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.
- Yeats

It is every parent's greatest fear - having to bury one's child.  Tuesday morning, as I was settling in at the office in the wee small hours I glanced down at my telephone and discovered through the intrusion that is Facebook that an old W-H classmate of mine is confronted this week with that incalcuably sad task.  It braced me to read Barbara Wilson Moody's beautifully succinct announcement of her daughter Quincie Evangelina's death and the arrangements pertaining to her funeral.  I envisioned her heart breaking as she wrote those words.  Mine did as I read them.

A mother should not have to bury her daughter.  Especially so when the daughter is herself still a child.  She should never have to do it when her daughter is eight years old and her baby.  If the world was indeed fair, Donald Sterling would have never been born and beautiful children such as Barbara's Quincie Evangelina would live long, happy and healthy lives.  It is not fair of course.  Never has been.  Never shall be. 

My condolences to my old friend and her family during these, their worst of days.  One wishes for something to do or to say that could make these horrible days seem less so.  I have nothing.  

There is a Land of the Living
And a Land of the Dead,
And the Bridge is Love,
The only Survival, the only Meaning.
- Thornton Wilder

-AK 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Digging Down Deep

“All I want to tell young people is that
you're not going to be anything in life
unless you learn to commit to a goal.
You have to reach deep within yourself
to see if you are willing to make the sacrifices.”
-Louis Zamperini

I care as little about how others spend their time as anyone I know and, in all likelihood, anyone you know or are ever likely to meet.  Anger issue?  Perhaps.  Well-founded belief that you know better what you like than I could ever hope to know?  Far more likely.  

That being said, I submit to one and all that you do a disservice to yourself if you do not read Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken", which is the incredible story of a genuine American hero, Louis Zamperini.  Zamperini represented his nation with honor in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as a member of the track and field team after having created a sensation as a high school distance runner. 

Thereafter, he served his nation honorably in World War II, which service included an almost unbelievable tale of survival at sea in shark-infested waters in the South Pacific after the B-24 bomber on which he was the bombardier went down and an even more harrowing tale of degradation and humiliation at the several Japanese POW camps at which he was interred for the final two-plus years of the war.  He not only lived to tell the tale but he is still alive.  And he is still telling it.  

Zamperini's story is one that deserved to be told.  I cannot imagine anyone telling it better than Hillenbrand has done.  I know not how many books she has written but I have read "Unbroken" and "Seabiscuit" and have been beyond impressed by both of them.  "Unbroken" has been made into a film, which is slated for release I believe sometime in 2014.  Read it before you see it.  For even if it sweeps the Academy Awards, it is inconceivable to me that it shall better tell Zamperini's story than Hillenbrand has done.  

Read it.  You shall never regret the time spent immersed in it.  I assure you. 


-AK   

Monday, May 19, 2014

Days Like These

Here in the State of Concrete Gardens our winters tend to be quite wintry and our summers gravitate towards being brutal in terms of both temperature and sweaty sock-like quality of the air.  If you are a runner as I am then you simply deal with the conditions.  They exist.  Whining about them will not make them go away.  Nor will it do anything to make them easier to handle.  The best course of action, it seems to me, is simply to deal with them.


And dealing with the rough conditions brings its own reward.  Perhaps ten to twelve weeks each year (six in the Fall and six in the Spring) offer the possibility of simply idyllic conditions in which to run.  We are fast approaching the conclusion of the Spring session and it has been nothing short of spectacular.  This weekend - as I have had the opportunity to do each weekend for the past month and a half or so - I spent a portion of my Saturday and my Sunday running through the streets 'NTSG with a hop in my step and a smile on my face. 


You have to enjoy days such as these.  They are too few and far between.  And when they are gone, gone is where they remain.  So take advantage of them while they are available and smile at the memory of them in the days to follow.


-AK

 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Noah's Hope

It's the children the world almost breaks
Who grow up to save it.
- Frank Warren

It has been my great privilege and pleasure - over the course of the past seven or eight years or so - to work with a talented young attorney named Christian Merlino.  Notwithstanding my United States Marshal mug out of which I consume my daily intake of a dozen cups of coffee or so his "Lawyer By Day/Rock Star By Night" mug might be my favorite one in the office.  Given the fact that he plays in a band with friends with whom he has played since all of them were in college together at Rutgers almost two decades ago, the fact that he is no better than the rest of us mere mortals at the "Lyric of the Day" contest we have in our department is a source of no small amusement for the rest of us.  Then again, his secretary Mary usually puts up a lyric that Springsteen or Hendrix would be hard-pressed to recognize. 

Through my relationship with him, I have been introduced to the rest of his family, including his son Noah.  Noah is an utterly great little dude who through no fault of anyone has been dealt a pretty tough hand.  Noah has Cystic Fibrosis.  There are those who have far better developed faith than I who possess the skill set to reconcile a beautiful child being afflicted with such a horrible disease and the existence of God.  I cannot. 

What I can reconcile with little difficulty is the juxtaposition between the love that parents have for their little boy and the incredible, tireless dedication they have to fighting for a cure for what ails him.   Today, at 10:00 am, "Noah's Hope" will participate in the 2014 Making Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis at Spruce Run in Clinton, New Jersey.  http://fightcf.cff.org/site/TR/GreatStrides/53_Greater_New_Jersey_River_Edge?team_id=20415&pg=team&fr_id=2222.

And this year - as she does every year - Noah's mom and Christian's wife Kristen will be front and center leading the team.  If the Department of Energy could devise a manner in which to capture her energy for public consumption, then the whole debate over the need for fracking and off-shore drilling would be over by lunchtime today. 

It is our great honor, Margaret and me, to be counted among the supporters of "Noah's Hope" again this year.  What Kristen and Christian and all of the other families fighting back against CF on behalf of Noah and all of the other children afflicted with it do not just today but everyday is nothing short of extraordinary.  Unless you are the one shoulder-deep in the struggle.  For you, it is not extraordinary.  It is simply what you do. 

For hope is one thing that you shall never surrender.  Not today.  Not any day.

-AK  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Place Where Liberty Dwells

Where Liberty dwells,
There is my Country.
- Benjamin Franklin

Today is Armed Forces Day.  I have never served in a branch of this nation's armed forces.  I am proud to be the brother, nephew, uncle and cousin of ones who have done so.  I am fortunate enough to enjoy the rights and privileges of living in a Republic preserved in no small part by those who have served and those who continue to serve.  Those rights and privileges are things that I enjoy every day. 

On this, the day set aside on the calendar to thank those who serve and those who have served for their service, I add my voice to the chorus of "Thanks" that you shall hear.  And I add mine as well to the chorus of "I'm sorry" that you should hear as well from those of us, including Yours truly, who wait for a Day such as Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day or Veterans Day to thank you for all you do every day. 

Your service is not provided merely when there is a special occasion.  Neither should this nation's appreciation for that service be reserved for designated spaces on the calendar.  


-AK  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Psycho Jungle Cats

I recognize the fact that every day has twenty-fours in it and that every week is comprised of seven such identical units of measurement.  That being said, some weeks just feel longer to me than others.  This is one such week.  My little brain hurts.  Welcome therefore to "Free-for-All Friday". 

Apparently, Margaret's boss stops by this space every once in a while.  Laughing as she told me this past weekend, my bride let slip that he commented to her that I appear to have "anger issues".  Hmmm... He and I have never met but kudos to him for a fairly prescient - albeit not entirely accurate - observation.  I am merely doing what I can to honor the diagnosis of Irish Alzheimer's Disease:  You Forget Everything...Except The Grudges.   In his defense, he is not Irish so he likely is unfamiliar with that particular affliction. 

I am not a fan of NBA basketball.  That being said, I did enjoy reading in various places all of the bluster from the Brooklyn f/k/a New Jersey f/k/a New York Nets prior to their recently-concluded playoff series against Lebron James and the Miami Heat, which centered on the fact that when the teams played in the regular season the Nets won all four games.  Huh.  In the playoffs, it took James and his teammates only five games to dispatch the Nets.  Apparently, most of the games were not especially close although the final game in the series was decided by two points.  http://nba.si.com/2014/05/15/miami-heat-defeat-brooklyn-nets-game-5-lebron-james-joe-johnson/?eref=sihp.  I look forward eagerly to the Nets' Public Relations Department putting a positive spin on the ass-kicking they just absorbed.  Something such as, "We beat the Heat 5 out of 9 times we played them this year" or "Proud to have won the season series 5 to 4" or some such twaddle. 

As a guy who owns two cats - including one who is appropriately nicknamed SixPoundsOfHate (she has her own hashtag) - and one dog I got a kick out of the instant YouTube classic "My Cat Saved My Son":


The one thing that I found most troubling about the video - and this may be due to nothing other than the fact that I have not looked into it any further - is the fact that it captures the dog's approach towards the unsuspecting little boy, which suggests to me at least that someone saw the animal coming.  Yet there is no adult involvement until after the boy is (a) attacked; (b) dragged a bit by the dog; and (c) rescued from possibly more significant injuries by the most homicidal psycho jungle cat this side of Hobbes. 


I shudder at the thought of having to rely upon either of our cats to save me from being torn life from limb.  As Spring has sprung, Margaret and I have been sleeping with our bedroom windows open - including the one under which the bed is located.  Boo (a/k/a SixPoundsOfHate) has grown accustomed to using me as her landing pad when - after her curiosity is temporarily satisfied - she dismounts from her window seat.  In the past week alone she has landed on my face and left arm, leaving scratches in her wake that have drawn blood, and just the other night immediately below my last rib on my left side.  She woke me up just for the purpose of attempting to knock the wind out of me. 

Facts are facts.  If she is all that stands between me and certain death,  then I am a goner. 

#SixPoundsOfHate

And Margaret's boss thinks I have anger issues...

-AK

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please,
Begging please.
-Eric Clapton

A bit of sad yet extraordinarily important business shall occur this morning at 10:00 Eastern Time.  The National September 11 Museum, which shall officially open one week from today, shall commence its week-long Dedication Period with a special Ceremony.  As per Joe Daniels, the President and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, "the ceremony will include stories that will be told in the Museum, reminding us of the history of the attacks and the acts of heroism, compassion and kindness that were our response."  You may - if you wish - watch the Ceremony live by accessing the Museum's web site, which is www.911memorial.org

Life is indeed a forward-moving exercise.  Yet, in order to keep sight of where you are going, you need to never lose sight from whence you came.  Pat Harrington's lovable Building Superintendent Duane Schneider on One Day At A Time  was spot on when he constantly reminded Annie Romano and her girls to "Always remember and never forget."  Those words rang true when he said them.  They ring true today.  

"Three Heroes"
Tunnel To Towers 2013

-AK 





Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Roads Over Which I Run

The only reason for Time is so that
Everything doesn't happen at once.
- Albert Einstein

I took full advantage of the free Summer preview that Mother Nature offered to those of us who reside in the State of Concrete Gardens this past weekend to get in some good, hard-paced roadwork on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.  "Hard-paced" of course is a relative term and what for me was really cooking was a pace at which my friend Jerry Della Torre could run in combat boots, hopping on one foot and carrying me on his back.  Ah, relativity thou art a fickle bitch.  Be that as it may, it felt good to get out and about in conditions - in terms of both temperature and humidity - that did more than merely hint at what awaits me during the upcoming Summer running season.  Perfect timing too.  The Spring Lake Five is now just ten days away.  

This past weekend was, of course, Mother's Day.  It also marked a year since Margaret and I packed up our home on one side of town and moved across town into the home in which she grew up.  Time being what it is and the experience being what it has been, there have been moments where it has seemed to me as if the year passed by in an eye-blink.  There have also been moments where it has felt something altogether different.  When we moved last May it was hard for me to say goodbye to our home.  The difficulty for me was two-fold.  First, I said goodbye to something that was most assuredly mine.  Margaret and I earned it and paid for every upgrade and modification we had put on it and in it in the thirteen years we were there.  A lot of my life was in that house.  It was not just a house.  It was a home.  More than that, it was my home.  Second, I was saying hello to something that will never feel as if it is completely mine.  That is neither a bad thing nor a good thing.  It is however a true thing.  

Margaret reminds me every now and again that there is a method to all madness, including our not-too-recent move.  Usually she reminds me by showing me a piece of property or a house down the Shore that may well emerge as our next - and perhaps final - landing spot.  And she reminds me that we could not have gone directly from where we were to where we want to be down the road without first being where we are now.  Smart woman my wife.  Her poor taste in lifetime traveling companion notwithstanding. 

On Saturday during my run I did something that I have consciously tried to avoid doing in the year since we moved - I actually ran on the sidewalk at 57 Delaware.  I have - by deliberate design - avoided setting foot on any piece of that which was once mine since we closed the door behind us last year.  Leaving broke my heart more than just a little so once the break was made, it seemed best to ensure it was a clean one.  Plus the guy who bought our house turned out to be such a douche-nozzle that any time I see him around town I want to punch him in the larynx.   He was nowhere to be seen on Saturday afternoon when I ran through my old neighborhood and allowed my feet to contact the sidewalk that I was responsible for shoveling for a decade-plus worth of winters. 

I have to admit that while I was only on my former home turf for five or ten seconds, the whole time I was it felt as if I was someplace I was not supposed to be.  Or perhaps someplace where I no longer belonged.  And you know what?  I no longer belong there.  The past is the past.  Life is a forward-moving exercise.  

Regardless of the pace at which you run through it.  

-AK       

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

And If This Is Where I Leave You...

A little less than one week ago, the New York Rangers were pummeled at home by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of their Best-of-Seven Eastern Conference Semi-Final Series.  The win in Game 4 gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead in the series.  It appeared to be all over but the handshake. 

Late in the regular season the Rangers traded their captain Ryan Callahan to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Martin St. Louis, coincidentally the Lightning's captain and a future Hall-of-Famer.  St. Louis made no secret of his desire to come to New York and perhaps his enthusiasm overwhelmed him more than just a little upon his arrival.  While not dreadful down the stretch of the regular season, he bore as little a resemblance to the player who has won the Hart Trophy two times as the NHL's Most Valuable Player as East St. Louis, Illinois bears to St. Louis, Missouri, which is to say none at all. 

The Rangers outlasted Philadelphia in a seven-game slugfest in the first round of the playoffs with little to no contribution on the scoresheet from St. Louis.  His drought continued through the first four games of the Pittsburgh series.  But just as fans and pundits alike were prepared to throw dirt on the Rangers and declare their season over, something tragic occurred.  And when it did, it did what real-life events tend to do to non-real-life events such as hockey playoffs, it put it in perspective. 

At or about the time the Rangers landed in Pittsburgh on Thursday to prepare for Friday night's fifth game, Martin St. Louis was informed that his mom - who was only sixty-three years young - had died suddenly.  St. Louis flew home to Montreal to be with his father, his sister and the rest of his grieving family.  His dad accepted his son's condolences and then told Martin to get on a plane back to Pittsburgh and play Friday night with his Rangers teammates in an effort to prolong their season.  St. Louis abided his father's wishes.  He flew back to Pittsburgh and rejoined his teammates.  Friday night, the Rangers played inspired hockey.  They defeated the Penguins 5-1 and in doing so forced Game Six at the Garden on Sunday. 

Shortly after 7:00 pm on Mother's Day, Martin St. Louis and the Rangers fought like hell to ward off elimination again.  Less than four minutes into the game, with his dad and his sister at the Garden cheering him on, St. Louis scored.  The Rangers never relinquished the lead.  Their 3-1 win knotted the series at three wins apiece and set the stage for tonight's "win or go home" game in Pittsburgh.

Whether the Rangers complete the comeback tonight I could not hope to know.  I know that they have never come back to win a Best-of-Seven series in which they trailed three games to one.  I know also that they have never defeated the Penguins in a play-off series.  Simply put, history would not appear to be on their side.  

I shall root for them tonight as I do every night.  And win or lose tonight, I shall wake up tomorrow as woke up today - a New York Rangers fan.  I am my father's son I suppose.  For while what happens on the ice is of paramount importance, sometimes what goes on off of the ice is pretty damn important too. 

A lesson Martin St. Louis has reminded all of us who root for the Broadway Blueshirts over the course of these past several days...


-AK   

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Journey's First Step

"The university is not the campus, not the buildings on the campus,
not the faculties, not the students of any one time —
not one of these or all of them.
The university consists of all who come into and go forth from her halls,
who are touched by her influence and who carry on her spirit.
Wherever you go, the university goes with you.
Wherever you are at work, there is the university at work."
- The Norlin Charge

Twenty-five years ago today, sitting next to Alex "Schneedz" Schreiber, my great friend and roommate for three of the four years we spent in Boulder, I graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Truth be told, had you asked me at the beginning of my senior year at W-H where I saw myself graduating from college four years later, CU would not have come up in conversation. 

My connection to the university grew out of coincidence.  But for Jill not loathing the year she spent in Indiana as a freshman at Notre Dame and transferring to CU after her freshman year, it would not have been on my radar at all.  But for Doug Flutie and Gerard Phelan pulling off one of the most improbable finishes in the history of college football on Thanksgiving weekend 1984 in the Orange Bowl against Jimmy Johnson's Miami Hurricanes, I might have fulfilled the Irish Catholic Male's destiny of getting accepted at Boston College instead of getting wait-listed in the avalanche of 17,000+ applications they had for their freshman class. 


She did.  BC did.  I did not. 

It was Jill who, when she came home at Christmas brought a CU-Boulder application with her, suggested CU as a destination for me.  W-H had been home for me since the 5th grade, a quaint, cozy and sometimes inadvertently suffocating environment in which to attend high school.  Jill told me simply that if I applied to CU I would likely get accepted.  She told me also that if I went to Boulder to visit I would never want to go anywhere else. 

I did.  I did.  I did not.

Among my closest friends to this day are those with whom I lived in close quarters at CU, including Loku and Jay.  While I could not prevail upon either of my two to attend CU, I take great joy in the fact that Suzanne humored the old man and applied (I still have her letter of acceptance framed at home) and Rob ended up starting his life with Jess only an hour or so up the road from Boulder, which has enabled me to do three things I never imagined having the opporunity to do:  Run the Bolder Boulder 10K into Folsom Field with my son and sit with him on two separate occasions and cheer for the Buffs at a home football game. 

President Norlin was right.  I carry CU with me in my heart every day, irrespective of where I am and irrespective of what I do.  And I shall always do so. 

Shoulder to Shoulder.  Same as it ever was...


Norlin Library - West Entrance

...and by the way Boston College, our miraculous finish stomps the snot out of yours.  Not just because Keith Jackson was at the microphone for it either.  Just sayin'.



-AK 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

"M" is for Mother

That best Academy,
a Mother's knee.
- James Russell Lowell

Today is Mother's Day.  To the simply extraordinary Joanie K., the three daughters she raised, the three daughters-in-law she acquired along the way (all of whom are equally extraordinary mothers and in some cases grandmothers!) and mothers near, far and everywhere in between, may this day find you well and in the company of those you love and those who love you. 

Having been at the Dad business for more than two decades now, I remain firmly wedded to the idea that in any household that has two parents, Mom's day-to-day dwarfs Dad's.  Admittedly, the only two laboratories in which I have ever performed that experiment were the house in which I grew up, which had Dad in the picture until his death when I was fourteen, and the house in which my children were raised.  And in both cases, Mom's work was never finished.  Now, even with our two a time zone or two away in their own households, it still never appears to be finished.  And nary a complaint shall be heard.  Not then.  Not now.  Not ever.  

I am now and have admittedly been for the entirety of my life a "Momma's Boy".  Mom, now rapidly working her way to her mid-80's, is without exception the bravest person I have ever known and quite possibly the greatest teacher I have ever had.  The further removed I am from my childhood the more I realize just how many of the lessons she taught me when I was a boy I continue to carry with me on my day-to-day.  I know not where I would be without them or without having had her to teach them to me.  

A number of years ago Springsteen wrote "The Wish" for his mother.  It is a song that always makes me think of Mom.  Perhaps it shall make you think of your mother too...


...and if it does, whether your mother is still alive or - as is the case for Margaret with the great Suzy B. - remains alive in your heart and in your memory, then I hope it makes you smile.

Happy Mother's Day.


Mom & Me
Florida 2013

-AK     

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Best Pick of The Night

I love sports.  Football is a sport that I especially enjoy watching.  That being said, scant few things mystify me as much as the interest level in the made-for-television event that is the NFL Draft.  I find it almost mind-boggling that anyone willingly devotes a night (or two or three as I think it actually continues through today) to watch it on television.  It is wholly beyond my ability to comprehend that there are individuals who dress up in their full NFL battle attire and attend it.   Why one chooses to spend hours watching a process in which one can learn all one needs to know in less than sixty seconds either at night's end or - wait for it - the following day eludes me.  On a baseline level, I feel that any event that has elevated Mel Kiper, Jr. to a position of authority needs to re-examine itself.  Quickly.  

Regardless of my incredible lack of interest in watching the event, I know there are countless people who enjoy it.  Among their number are people who it has been my privilege to know and to count as my friend (well, up until a paragraph ago perhaps) for most of my life.  My lack of interest in it does not impact their enjoyment of it.  Likewise their enjoyment of it impacts not at all upon my point of view.  Obla di obla da indeed.

For those of you who might have missed it - eyeballs glued as they were as to the eventual landing spot of Johnny Football - allow me to share with you a bit of "war room" footage of the single best pick of the night: 


Television being what it is - and with CBS having renewed The Big Bang Theory for three more seasons, methinks that Johnny Manziel's path to success in the NFL might run far smoother than Penny and Leonard's path from engagement to wedding day.  On the other hand, if his time in Cleveland comes anywhere close to approximating the level of success that TBBT has enjoyed on CBS, then the good folks who root like hell for the Browns - irrespective of how bad things get on the field - just might have something for which to cheer.   

No offense intended to Mike Mayock, Chris Berman and draftniks everywhere.  This old man enjoys watching NFL Football just fine, thank you very much.  But if you ask me with whom I would rather spend a Thursday night in May - Kaley Cuoco or Johnny Manziel - and you really need to wait for my answer to that question, then might I suggest that you have taken a snap or two too many without your chinstrap properly secured. 

See you in September NFL...

...when the games actually start being played.  

-AK

Friday, May 9, 2014

His Mother's Son

All that I am or ever hope to be,
I owe to my Angel Mother.
- Abraham Lincoln

Earlier this week, the National Basketball Association handed out its 2014 Most Valuable Player Award.  This year's recipient was Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  While I have a negligible interest in professional basketball I know enough about it to know that if we are choosing up teams and you let me have LeBron James and Kevin Durant on my side, then my team will win an overwhelming majority of our games even if the other three players are me and two guys who suck even worse than I do. 

Kevin Durant is not only an exceptionally graceful basketball player, he is an exceptionally gracious young man.  And at 6'9" tall, the 25-year-old Durant proved during the awards ceremony that he is every inch his mother's son.  


The NBA has been in the news a lot these past couple of weeks.  Courtesy of the vocal stylings of Clippers now-deposed owner Donald Sterling its press has come as much for things that have taken place off of the court as for its on-court action.  Do not fall victim to the desire to paint the league and all those who earn a living in it, off of it and from it with the same broad brushstrokes as you might want to paint Sterling.  Kevin Durant is a member of the NBA too.  If we are picking teams for who gets to represent our organization - whatever that organization might be - and you allow me to pick Kevin Durant, then I like our chances for success.  In fact, I like them very, very much.   

His mother's son. 

Then.  Now.  Always. 

-AK

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Throwback To A Comeback

There are no second acts in American lives.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

With apologies to the great Fitzgerald, beware the man who speaks in absolutes.  

It was on this very day five years ago - having departed this workplace that I have called home since January 1998 for what I reasonably (and as it turns out mistakenly) believed would be greener pastures - that I came around again.  Opportunity knocked and the Firm and I - having spent the first quarter of the year separate and apart from one another - reconnected.  It is a decision that I have not regretted for one day since I made it.  Five years ago.  This very day.

Life being what it is neither the Missus nor I had any idea just what she was going to endure in the thirty days after we had experienced what was for us a very happy day.  On May 8, 2009 I decided to return to the Firm.  On June 2, 2009 Margaret's rock - her mom - succumbed to her long, vicious battle against cancer.  Irony is a cruel bitch indeed.  Suzy B. entered the hospital for what turned out to be the final time the weekend preceding my official 'restart' date at the Firm.  

During the entirety of her mom's battle against cancer, Margaret not only ran our household, which meant taking care of Suzanne, Rob and the big moron to whom she is married, but she also ran her parents' household too.  She became the primary caregiver for not only her Mom and her Dad but, up until she died in early August 2008, for Nanny too.  

While Margaret stood front and center supporting everyone, I did what little I am capable of doing to provide support for my wife.  I wanted to make sure that she was capable of standing upright for as long as she could and did not grind herself down to a nub while trying to take care of everyone else and trying - against impossible odds - to save her mom.  

During the first quarter of 2009 though I dropped the ball.  I presume that because I had become so preoccupied over my own work-related angst that 'what little I am capable of doing' dropped to a level that even an asshole like me recognized as unacceptable.  I was not there for Margaret as I needed to be.  I had elevated wallowing in self-pity to an art form.  I hated myself for doing it.  I remain pissed at myself now as I think back upon it.  

I remain forever grateful that due in signficant part to an opportunity with which I was presented, which opportunity I had the good sense to pursue, on this very day five years ago I finally extricated my head from my own ass.  I resumed being the rock that Margaret needed me to be for her while she was the rock for everyone else.  I regret that I let her down.  I regret far more however that Suzy B. died less than one month later. 

It is a cliche to be sure but it is true.  Sometimes you cannot fully appreciate what you have until you no longer have it.  I cannot say that I regret the decision I made that led me to step away from the Firm for the first quarter of '09.  Had I not done what I did then my point of view of this place that I call home would likely be different than what it is.

That which does not kill me...

...Indeed. 

-AK    


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The First Sign of Summer

It arrived in my mail on Monday.  And it brought with it irrefutable proof of Summer's arrival. 

The Bib # refers to my anticipated finishing position
and the "TS" signifies that I am "Too Slow"...
(I'm kidding - at least I hope I am)

Yes, I know the Summer Solstice is six weeks away but if you really think that summer begins on the 21st of June then might I suggest that you open up your eyes and look around you between this day and that day.  You are missing a hell of a lot. 

Saturday, May 24, which is the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, shall be the annual Spring Like Five.  A five-mile race through the streets of Spring Lake in which an intimate crowd of approximately 10,000 runners shall take part.  It is a rite of Summer.  It is the event that - for those of us who run at least - heralds Summer's arrival at the Shore.  

Here in the State of Concrete Gardens we have had our asses handed to us fairly severely these past two winters.  There are too many good folks to count who are still trying to pick themselves up from Sandy, which Margaret and I had a chance to see for ourselves when we meandered through Mantoloking and Bay Head a couple of Saturdays ago.  Summer has taken on increased significance in the hearts and minds of those of us who live 'round here these past couple of years.   

It is the season in which the days are long, the evenings are warm and the time, of course, is right...


-AK

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Sixth of Fifth

I think that love is so much easier than you realize,
If you can give yourself to someone, then you should.
-Dawes

The 6th has become my favorite day of the month.  It was on the 6th of September - eight 6ths ago - that Suzanne and Ryan were married.  And on the 6th of June - one 6th away - Rob and Jess shall be married.

Pretty heady times for my two - and for their two too.  Damn happy that I have been given the chance to be here and to bear witness to it.  On a shelf in my office I have a photograph that Margaret took of Suzanne, Rob and me on the Tilt-A-Whirl at Jenkinson's in the summer of '91.  The four of us went there one evening not too long after Margaret and I started dating.  I smile when I look at that photograph.  All three of us look incredibly young.  Each one of us has a smile on our face. 


I am not an especially bright man.  Nor am I, all things considered, an especially good human.  Nevertheless, in spite of myself perhaps, twenty-three years up the road from that summer's night on the Jenkinson's Boardwalk, I still am privileged to see those two smiling faces.   And I am still privileged to spend my day-to-day with the woman who was behind the camera that evening.  

It is enough to make every day feel like a 6th irrespective of its position on the calendar.          

-AK

Monday, May 5, 2014

Viva Puebla!

For all those celebrating it, Happy Cinco de Mayo to you and yours!  Is there any nation in the world with whom the French have f*cked militarily that does not have a holiday commemorating a battle in which their undermanned army kicked the shit out of the French army?  I do not know the answer to that question.  I do know that Mexico does.  http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/a/cincodemayo.htm

If you are partaking in today's festivities, whether because it is a day celebrating your heritage or because much in the same way you were Irish for a day six weeks ago you are Mexican for the day today, then I beseech you to honor these two simple requests.  I promise you that doing so will (a) not reduce the amount of enjoyment you derive from the day; and (b) substantially reduce the likelihood of those around you wanting to kill you thus depriving you of your chance to see the sun come up on Seis de Mayo.

First, do not run around all liquored up acting like a douche nugget - especially while it is still daylight.  This is a day, much like St. Patrick's Day and New Year's Eve, which quickly descends into amateur hour for those who opt to imbibe.  Contrary to what your frat brothers might have told you, this date's appearance on the calendar does not carry with it a license to act like an asshole. 

You might indeed spend your afternoon celebrating but many of us, including Yours truly, shall spend our Monday working.  Do not become a slobbering mess who becomes at least a distraction and at worst a full-fledged problem for those of us sharing the globe with your today.  It will substantially increase the likelihood of you getting through the day without getting punched in the larnyx. 

Second, do not celebrate the day by drinking Mexican beer - especially Corona.  Here's a bit of a newsflash for all of the college girls and men whose testicles have not fully descended yet who drink that swill:  Beer should not require fruit accompaniment or a garnish.  I am Irish.  The Irish have been shoulder-deep in two things for several centuries now:  Guinness and potatoes.  If beer required a garnish, Irish bartenders would have started peeling steak fries into pints decades ago.  They did not.  They do not.  If you spend your money on a beer that requires a fruit chaser, then you are an idiot. 

While Corona is particularly dreadful, truth be told you are an idiot if you spend any money EVER on any Mexican beer.  It is true that there are Mexican beers that taste better than Corona, but that does not make them good beers.  Rather, that distinction is something akin to being the thinnest kid in fat camp or the tallest Munchkin in Munchkinland.  Upon further examination, it is not as impressive as it might seem at first blush. 

Something akin to being the most fiercesome soldier in the French Army...

...Viva Puebla! 

-AK     

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Running with Skewers

Among the things I enjoy the most about running - notwithstanding the impressive collection of race t-shirts I have accumulated over the course of the past four-plus years - is the sense of peace that envelops me when I run.  It is hard work to be sure.  Especially so when you are as decidedly mediocre at it as am I.  But happiness really is for me the solitude of the road early on a Sunday morning as most of the rest of the residents here 'NTSG are just beginning to stir.  It is nice to have the opportunity to be alone with my thought.  It gives a man a sense of peace.  It also gives me a sense of hope.  Maybe, just maybe, another will appear and I will have a pair.

For better or worse, among the things that has been bouncing around in my oversized cranium for some time now is an idea first planted there by two long-time friends of mine.  A lifetime ago, when I was just a baby lawyer working my first job out of law school the three of us worked together in a law firm where our day-to-day existence was "adventurous".  When any combination of the two of us gets together presently we still laugh thinking about our shared experience back in the day. 

Anyway, for years I have been saying "Oh the stories we could tell" about the things we saw and experienced and my two friends have responded by imploring me to write a book about it.  Talk about your ultimate vanity project.  Luckily for me I have an ego as big as my head.  After years of resistance I finally have succumbed to their peer pressure and started writing.  

Now that I have started it, I am obligated to finish it if for no other reason than I absolutely hate leaving something unfinished.  I hope to do sooner rather than later - perhaps by the end of the summer.  Whether it ever sees the light of day I know not.  I would not hazard a guess as to whether it actually ever should.  Ultimately that decision shall not be mine to make.  I have no plans to give up my day job.  I assure you. 

It makes me laugh as I work on it, and as I think about some of the shenanigans that we endured and the ones about which to write.  Plus, it gives me something to do between work, running and trolling DirectTV in search of reruns of The Big Bang Theory or Law & Order:  Criminal Intent.   Even if no one other than Ollie, Lonnie and Yours truly ever reads it, its purpose will have been served. 

But just in case I started following Brad Pitt on Twitter.  What better way to offer him first crack at a plum role in the film adaptation.

Goddamn alarm clock... 

...Always goes off just as I get to the good part of a dream.

-AK