Monday, October 31, 2016

Marathon Men

Before going any further, congratulations to eighteen-year-old Brendan O'Brien for one hell of a maiden voyage in the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon.  He covered the course in 4:33:49, good enough for a forty-first place finish in his division.  

As of this morning, the distance between this day and New York City Marathon Sunday is measured in days and not in weeks.   This time last year, as I prepared for my initial trip through the five boroughs I did not know everything that the NYC Marathon entailed. I have run the New Jersey Marathon multiple times but while the distance at the two events is identical, nothing about the two events is.  

It is an extraordinary day.  And now, it is just six days away.

-AK  


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Semper Fi Sunday

Every time I hear someone of my vintage or older say something less than flattering about young people. It is after all two seventy-somethings who have been the principals in the least inspiring Presidential election in this nation's history. 

I am spoiled I guess.  The young people who I know are extraordinary, whether my own two and their respective spouses, my nieces and nephews, or the children of good friends.  Not a slacker in the bunch.  

This morning, one of the finest young persons I know shall spend a few hours doing something terrific. Brendan O'Brien, who graduated from W-H less than six months ago as a member of the Class of 2016 is taking part today in the Marine Corps Marathon.  Having had the pleasure in 2010 of taking part in the 10K race that is part of MCM weekend, I know firsthand what an experience he shall enjoy.  I am very happy for him that he shall be part of this year's MCM Marathon. 

He is not simply running of course.  He is running on behalf of the Travis Manion Foundation, which provides assistance to seriously injured veterans and their families as well as to the families of Americans soldiers killed in combat.  Simply put, he is doing a great thing for a great reason in an event that is nothing short of extraordinary.  If you are inclined to lend some help to Brendan - to help him help the Manion Foundation help this nation's veterans and the families that love them, you can.  Here's what you do:  go to https://donate.travismanion.org/fundraise?fcid628307.  

Congratulations, Brendan, and thank you.  

Young people.  Where exactly would we be without them...

AK

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Still Struggling To Be Homeward Bound

The hurricane party's winding down,
and we're all waiting for the end.
And I don't want another drink, 
I only want that last one again.

Four years ago today, a severely-pissed off piece of weather named Sandy hung a left turn while rampaging her way up the Atlantic Coast and dropped Mother Nature's hammer on New Jersey. Countless people in this state's coastal communities, whether on the ocean or on a bay, suffered incredible, life-altering, devastating losses.  Those of us who live inland fared better, by and large, although rare was the Jersey resident who emerged from Sandy unscathed.  At our home in Middlesex County, a considerable distance inland, the Missus and I were without electricity and heat until Election Day. We were - and still are - among the more fortunate people we know in terms of what Sandy did to us.  

Today, four years after Superstorm Sandy inundated New Jersey, her effect is still being felt. Homeowners, including those who have actively participated in the State-created and operated programs established to help get homes rebuilt and the families who had lived in them prior to October 29, 2012, find themselves facing foreclosure on homes that - to date - remain uninhabitable. 

I do not pretend to know all of the ins and outs of the rebuilding process and the programs, at the State and Federal level, set up to provide assistance to the homeowners whose homes Sandy destroyed.  It seems almost incredible to me (and not in a good way) that four years after taking Sandy's knockout punch, people are still prone on the canvas.  

I know not what is to be done for them.  Four years further on up the road it seems to me that it is an intellectually difficult argument to make or accept that whatever has been done to date has been a success.  


-AK 

Friday, October 28, 2016

So Far, So...

Memo to the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs:  I know that you are both kinda, sorta new to the whole World Series business.  I am inclined therefore to cut you some slack.  As a baseball fan, I am thrilled that after two games, you are tied 1-1.  That being said, I beg you to play a game that is actually compelling and competitive at some point this weekend in Chicago.  

The first two games of the Series have featured two brilliantly-pitched games.  Unfortunately, in Game One all of the brilliance resided on the Cleveland side of the field and in Game Two, it was completely consumed by Jake Arrieta of the Cubs.  

Major League Baseball will honor the historical significance of playing a World Series game at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field for the first time in seven-plus decades...by playing all three of this weekend's games at night.  Of course all three games will be played at night.  Baseball's pursuit of the almighty TV dollar being what it is, there was zero possibility that fans of the Cubbies would be permitted to attend at day-time World Series game at Wrigley Field.  Same as it ever was, I suppose.  

Neither the fans or the Cubs nor Yours truly should take it personally.  Baseball's whoring of itself for television dollars is not a new phenomenon.  No World Series game has been played in the daytime since Game Four of the 1987 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Twins, which was played in Minnesota at the Twins' then-home, the Metrodome.  Ah, nothing says great American pastime quite as much as playing baseball indoors, during the daytime, on a concrete-covered rug.  The last time a World Series game played outdoors started in the daylight was October 14, 1984, which was the fifth and final game of the World Series in which Sparky Anderson's Detroit Tigers defeated the San Diego Padres.  First pitch at Tiger Stadium was 4:30 PM, which guaranteed that the game finished after the sun had gone down.  

Thankfully, not having to worry about pesky little things such as honoring the history of his sport or one of its seminal franchises has left Commissioner Manfred free to devote his time and energy to truly important issues...such as the resurrection of Chief Wahoo.  

Hey Indians and Cubs, if you delight all of us with a weekend full of competitive, close baseball, none of this other junk will matter.  Not even a little.  

No pressure. 

-AK 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lost and Running 'Neath A Million Dead Stars...

Today is Margaret's birthday.  I shall not reveal her age here - although Margaret is no unaffected by the thought of getting older that by 1:30 pm today she will no doubt have already started to refer to herself as being "almost" next year's age.  Suffice it to say that as of today, my wife is just three years removed from the day on which she shall be as old (in years) as she is tall (in inches).  

I am an unrepentant asshole, which I say not out of any sense of faux self-effacement but, rather, out of a sense of accurate self-assessment.  I offer no apology for it.  I am my father's son.  It was my father after all who said one of the truest things anyone has ever said to me when he told me, "Life is not a popularity contest.  And if it is, we're not winning."  It is a mantra by which I live my life.   

Margaret has always been, is presently, and shall forever be the great mystery of my life.  I will be fifty in February.  Margaret and I have been together for more than half of my life and given my pronounced lack of curb appeal, I remain at a loss as to what is in this for her.  While I am an asshole, I am not an imbecile.  I learned long ago that the old saw about there being no such thing as a stupid question is a lie.  The world is chock full of stupid questions and people who do not know well enough to not ask them.  I am not among their number.  

Much to my wife's great embarrassment, I make no bones about the fact that she is not only the great love of my life but is the one who saved my life.  As a young man in his early 20's, I had little interest in anything other than consuming however much alcohol was necessary to make whatever fucking day it was tolerable enough so that I could both begin it and finish it.  It was what it was.  The life I was then living was the life I had chosen for myself.  No self-created drama.  No self-pity.  Not then.  And certainly, not now. 

Suzanne and Rob are both adults now, with their own lives in their own homes.  When they were kids, I preached to them to the point of ear-blindness about the importance of finding peace.  I know of which I speak.  Among my wife's great many gifts and the innumerable, important roles she has played in my life for a quarter-century, none is more important than her being my source of peace. 

Every day for the past twenty-five-plus years, through her presence she has reminded me of the difference between living and merely being alive.  

May today, and every day, be everything she wants it to be.  May she be happy.  She deserves nothing less.  


-AK 


    

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Family Affair


One week from Sunday, when I run for the second time in the New York City Marathon, I will do so accompanying my sister, Kara, and her husband/my brother-in-law, Russ.  Russ has competed in the NYC Marathon on several occasions.  He is a significantly better runner than either Kara or I and because of that, he will begin his journey through the City's five boroughs in Wave 1 at 9:50 AM. 

Kara and I (and my running companera, Gidg) will not begin our trek over the Verrazano Bridge until 11:00 AM, which is when Wave 4 hits the streets.  She is not able to participate this year but my sister, Jill, is also a NYC Marathon veteran.  The Kenny family has turned the Marathon into quite the family get-together. 

Or so I thought. 

It turns out that what we shall do this year does not mean diddley (Bo, or otherwise) to the Siemann siblings.  The twenty-seven-year-old quadruplets, Brian and this three sisters (Amanda, Maria, and Jessica), are all competing in this year's Marathon.  Brian, who suffered a spinal cord injury days after his birth in 1989, which left him paralyzed from the waist down, is competing in his fifth NYC Marathon.  For each of his three sisters, November 6, 2016 shall represent a maiden voyage.  There is a simply terrific piece on these four marathoners - and the parents who lived through sleep deprivation raising them (as well as their big brother, John) - right here.   Give it a read.  

And whether you are in Central Park or somewhere along the course on Marathon Sunday, if you see Brian, Amanda, Maria, or Jessica Siemann pass by you, give them a cheer.  The New York Road Runners Club believes that the Siemanns are the first set of quadruplets to compete together in the marathon's four-decade-plus history.     

Cue the music, Mr. French...


-AK 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

10 25 86...Forever


Thirty years ago today, I sat in the student section at Folsom Field and bore witness to what remains - three decades later - the most extraordinary sporting event I have ever watched live and in person. For on this very date thirty years ago, the Colorado Buffaloes sprung the upset on the third-ranked and undefeated Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Prior to that historic October afternoon, the Buffs had last defeated Nebraska anywhere in 1967.  Even more daunting was the fact that the Buffs had last successfully defended their home turf from the Huskers in 1960.   

At game's end, the scoreboard at the south end of Folsom Field read "20 - 10" and its lights remained illuminated for the week that followed.  Every night, after dinner, when eight or ten of us would head out to Farrand Field to play our daily, spirited game of two-hand touch, we would gaze to our east and see those lights as they continued to publish the game's result to the world.  It was as if the University was afraid that once the scoreboard's lights were dimmed, the game's result would somehow be invalidated.  

They need not have been.  Thirty years later, it remains what it was, which was the foundation upon which a program was born.  

I still smile simply thinking about it. And thinking about the coaches and the players who not only made it happen but who then shared the fruits of their hard work with those of us whose sole contribution was standing in the stands and cheering ourselves hoarse.  

Best case of laryngitis I have ever had.  


-AK 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Gift of Diplomacy

There might be no greater irony than a Kenny sharing a birthday with United Nations Day.  Yet, indeed one of us does.  

Today, however he spends it (although I suspect he shall spend it at work, since today is a day of the week that ends in "Y"), I hope that my brother, Kelly, enjoys his birthday.  Perhaps, this year, following in the new tradition of long-suffering franchises attaining heretofore unprecedented success (or at the very least, revisiting success last attained multiple generations ago) our beloved New York Rangers will etch their names on Lord Stanley's Cup for only the second time in Kelly's lifetime - and the first time in more than twenty years. 

The Rangers' season is only six games old.  If they are to hoist the Stanley Cup they shall not do so until June, which is of course several months from now.  Methinks, however, if such is the present the Rangers give him, then Kelly will gladly accept it.  

-AK

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Fish Can't Whistle and Neither Can I


A week ago Saturday, in connection with the Alumni Awards Ceremony at W-H, I learned something - well, two things if one chooses to accept the pretense that "reciprient" is an acceptable derivation of "recipient".   

But I digress. 

At the post-reception get-together at Darby Road, Margaret and I were hanging out at the bar talking to my friend Em's younger sister, Karan.  Back in the day, Karan graduated from W-H and did so - in fact - four years or so after Em and I did, which was 1985.  The Rinaldo home on Scotch Plains was the center of all things wonderful when we were high school and college-aged youngsters. Many a night was spent at parties that Em hosted at her house, with folks downstairs in the basement or upstairs crammed around the kitchen table playing a dice-based drinking game with a politically incorrect name that conjures up images of the Republican nominee for President and a certain barricade he wants to erect between the United States and our neighbor to the south.  It was also, coincidentally, a drinking game at which Bowinkle and I excelled, in significant part because we cheated relentlessly.   

I did not know Karan well back in that era.  Truth be told, given the dual demons of time passage and foreign substance inhalation, I have little memory of her at all.  But, over the course of the past several years as Em has reconnected a fair number of us who knew one another a lifetime ago, I have gotten to know Karan - and her husband - Rob Trucks, who on occasion appears to lose the same bet that Margaret does (although less frequently than Margaret does) and accompanies his wife to events at which he finds himself surrounded by middle-aged strangers.  Note:  If you have a Twitter account and you want to make at least pseudo-productive use of the time spent there, follow Rob on Twitter (@eyeglassesofky).  

Last Saturday night, as we stood at the bar at Darby Road, our conversation turned towards books we are reading and/or have read.  Karen, presuming incorrectly that the size of my brain fairly approximates the over-sized carrying case that contains it, told me that she was reading "The Tao of Pooh" (Pooh as in "Winnie the" and not as in "What did I just step in?").  I thought that she was making it up, which it turns out of course she was not.  In fairness to me, she had just attempted to order something so obscure at the bar that I thought Clarence Oddbody had just sat down next to me. My skepticism meter was, therefore, set on "high". 

As someone who has never been a Winnie the Pooh fan (although as a child I always dug Tigger - after all his top was made out of rubber and his bottom was made out of springs), the idea that the story represents what Hoff's book posits it does never occurred to me and never would have occurred to me.  It is, I suppose, food for thought...

...which I can enjoy with a hearty glass of mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves.




-AK  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Come What May...

Every action of our lives touches on some chord
That will vibrate in eternity. 
- Sean O'Casey

Today, in a church on Staten Island, Judi, who is the eldest child of Margaret's cousin, SalliJo and SalliJo's husband, Kevin, shall take such an action.  She shall marry her fiance, Rob, in front of the couple's families and friends. 

Margaret and I shall be in attendance at the wedding, as shall Joe.  Suzanne and Ryan are making the journey across the water from the Jersey side as well.  I am not certain whether Mother Nature shall grace the happy couple with weather as delightful as the day's circumstances deserve or, perhaps, something less so.  While weather is always a wedding-day concern, in the long run it matters not. 

They marry today - not simply for the day - but hopefully forever, which time frame shall undoubtedly include at least one or two less-than-ideal days, speaking in terms both metaphorical and meteorological.  Today's UV rating has no legs.  Whatever it is, its significance dissipates upon the snapping of the day's final photograph. 

The important stuff?  Much like the day's photographs, it is intended to last a lifetime.




 -AK

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Lost Generation

Among the many things that I do not know how to do is how to accurately calculate a generation.  A quick check of various resources on-line yesterday did as much to further confuse the issue for me as it did to resolve it.  Based on a number of pieces at which I looked, including the one linked to here, it appears that when being measured for family purposes, anywhere from twenty to twenty-five years is an acceptable answer. 

I mention that today in this space because of two things that occurred the other night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the third and final Presidential debate.  First, the two candidates once again did not shake hands before the start of the debate.  Second, during the debate the Republican candidate repeated his claim/assertion that the election shall be "rigged" and refused to acknowledge that if he fails to win the White House, then he shall accept the results.  A remarkable night to be sure...and I do not mean "remarkable" in a good way.  

Perhaps Chris Wallace should have asked the Republican nominee, after the latter declared that he shall keep the nation "in suspense" with respect to his acceptance of an adverse outcome on Election Day whether he had bothered to notice the debate stage's backdrop, either the six words themselves or the imagery in which they were contained, and whether he believed in the sentiment behind them and represented by them. 


"The Union and the Constitution Forever"

In 1992, William Jefferson Clinton took incumbent President George Herbert Walker Bush out behind the Electoral College woodshed, capturing almost 70% of the electoral votes.  It was a loss that stung not only President Bush but his family.  Yet, two and one-half months later, as his successor prepared to take the oath of office, President Bush wrote a short letter to President Clinton, which letter he left on the President's desk in the Oval Office, which in the event that your eyesight is as poor as mine now is, the Huffington Post has transcribed in easy-to-read, large-sized type.




The letter that President Bush wrote to President Clinton, with whom (by all accounts) he has continued to enjoy a warm relationship, which relationship President Clinton also enjoys with the "other" President Bush (#43), and with whom he has worked on a number of causes and projects in the years since each man left the White House, was written less than twenty-four years ago.  Within the span of a generation - a period of time in which we the people of these United States have made extraordinary advances in countless different industries and fields - we have apparently regressed with frightening speed in this most critical of areas.   

Make no mistake either.  Whether this year's major-party candidates (or simply one markedly more than the other) repulse you or fascinate you, invigorate you or sicken you, there are not too many of us of the adult persuasion who do not have at least a trace amount of blood on our hands owing to their existence.  By and large, whether we realize it or not, we the people end up with the candidates for national office who we have chosen.  

To have reached this point in time in this particular election cycle, and to have secured the nomination of the party, the Democratic Party's nominee and the Republican Party's nominee had to compile more votes than their respective rivals did during the seemingly-endless primary process.  Is the last person standing on either side in this cycle - or in any cycle for that matter - the "best" qualified person to be President?  Not necessarily so.  He or she is, simply and critically, the person who garnered the most votes, which in turn secured enough delegates to be awarded the nomination at the National Convention.  Those votes came from somewhere.  If not from you or from me, then perhaps from a co-worker, a neighbor, or a spouse.  

We lament the death of the "best and the brightest" candidates for public office and gasp in horror at the diminution of the election of this nation's President to a high-school student government level popularity contest.  But should we really be surprised?  I know not of a nutritionist or a physician anywhere who will advise a patient that a Big Mac is better for his health than Brussels sprouts. But there is not a McDonald's in this country that would have a "Billions and Billions Served" banner outside of its front door if the latter - and not the former - was its signature menu item.  We the people cannot always be trusted to do that which is best for us.  It is a character flaw that has dogged us since it was just Eve, Adam, and an apple.    

May we find our collective footing to ensure that declarations such as those made by the Republican nominee on Wednesday night remain the exception and that those such as the one made by President Bush (#41) to President Clinton remain the rule.  For if we do not, then we may in fact ensure that in the not-too-distant future there shall be no more words to write.  

-AK 









Thursday, October 20, 2016

And Somewhere Larry Doby Smiles...

It may sound blasphemous for a Yankees fan to say but I have always been a fan of Terry Francona. In my defense, I follow the example of Joe Torre, who was always an enthusiastic Francona supporter when Francona managed the Red Sox and Torre the Yankees.  

For all of their success, the final scenes of Torre's final days as Yankees skipper and of Francona's last days in the Red Sox dugout played out in an unkind fashion for both men.  An argument can be made that each deserved a better fate.  

Joe Torre is long retired from managing in the big leagues and is now, in fact, enshrined in the Hall of Fame.  Francona is still at it.  And still doing one hell of a job.  His Cleveland Indians are the 2016 American League Champions.  For the first time since 1997, the Cleveland Indians are playing in the World Series, which they won most recently in 1948.

I know that a lot of people are rooting for the Cubs, whose date with destiny is not nearly as sure a thing on October 20 as it might have appeared on September 20, and still others are cheering for the Dodgers. Irrespective of whichever of the two represents the National League in the World Series, I am cheering for Francona and his Tribe.  


-AK

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

R.A.W. Wednesday

Having never resided in South Boston for even one day in the first half-century of my life, Wednesday has never been Prince Spaghetti Day for me.  This week, however, Wednesday is something immeasurably better than little Anthony's favorite day of the week. 

This morning, serving as further irrefutable proof of the absence of God in 21st Century America, I have to travel to one of my least favorite places, Atlantic City.  While the adversary with whom I shall spend some time this morning is both a skilled advocate and a very nice human being, I loathe Atlantic City.  Simply loathe it. 

Atlantic City, New Jersey's Cesspool by the Sea.  If the Chicken Man was alive to see the condition of Atlantic City here in late October, 2016, he would go back and kiss Springsteen on the mouth for blowing him up in Philly thirty-five years ago.  

Yet, today is still a terrific day - road trip through the Gates of Hell notwithstanding.  Why?  It is R.A.W. Wednesday.  Atlantic City is simply an onerous drive from either my regular home base 'Neath the Snow Globe or from my office in Parsippany.  So, last night I packed a bag and drove south to my little Paradise by the Sea.  This morning, before the sun ascends, I will be on the boardwalk, enjoying an otherwise impossible to pull off in the middle of the week Run Along the Water.  It shall bookend nicely with the one to which I treated myself last night after I got down here. 

There is a cliche about even if one applies lipstick to a pig, the wearer of the lipstick is still a pig.  But when a bit of lipstick for the soul is applied to a day that involves a round-trip to Atlantic City, Atlantic City - for that day anyway - ceases to be the boil on New Jersey's ass and dissolves into something significantly less obnoxious.  

Such is the power of R.A.W. Wednesday.   Anthony, the kitchen is open and you, you little short-pants-wearing spaghetti monster, have been served...


...Buon appetito! 

-AK 


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vox Populi

Three weeks from today - twenty-one short days - is Election Day.  For whomever you vote is your business but vote you should.  

Voting is indeed your right but it is a right that - in order to be exercised - has to be perfected.  How does one perfect it?  Simple.  One registers. 

In New Jersey, the last day to register to vote on Election Day 2016 is...TODAY.  If you have already done so - as Yours truly has - then good for you.  If you have not yet registered, here is a newsflash for you, Slick:  No one is going to do it for you.  

But, first, watch this Schoolhouse Rock video that explains the Electoral College.  It might take your mind off of the fact that none of the options with which we are presented in this year's Presidential election is particularly encouraging...




...and even if it does not, register and vote anyway.

-AK

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Toast to Nostalgia

Sentimentality is always about a lie. 
Nostalgia is about real things gone.
Nobody truly mourns a lie. 
- Pete Hamill

On Saturday evening, a fairly representative group of the Kenny Family assembled in the All-Purpose Room at Wardlaw-Hartridge for the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, during which W-H honored our father, WPK, Sr., as the recipient of this year's Distinguished Faculty Award.  It was a very nice event - as it is every year - and it was great to see the reaction of honorees such as Athletic Hall-of-Fame inductee, Steven Maxwell, and to keep company with such an outstanding group of recipients.  When time permits you, click on the link below, which shall take you to the video of the Awards Ceremony and enable you to listen to and to watch the remarks of the honorees and their presenters.

Thanks again to Greg Casagrande for his incredibly gracious and generous remarks about Dad.  And thanks again, as well, to the people at Wardlaw-Hartridge, including Head of School Andrew Webster, Board of Trustees President Robert Rizzo, Athletic Director Karl Miran, Associate Head for Institutional Advancement Bill Jenkins, and the dynamic duo who oversee the school's Alumni Relations efforts and coordinate the annual awards ceremony, Rudy Brandl, Director of Communications and Publications, and Emilie Marvosa, Director of Alumni Relations/Annual Giving and a great friend of mine for close to thirty-five years (during which time she has aged approximately forty-one seconds).


-AK



Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Twenty-One Club

Three weeks from today is the 2016 New York City Marathon.  This weekend here in the State of Concrete Gardens and the New York City metropolitan area has been a dazzling example of fall in this part of the United States.  Here is to hoping that Mother Nature has at least a bit of a memory, three weekends from now.  

The show must go on of course and Kara, Russ, Gidg, and I shall run irrespective of the weather but it will make a tough task a damn sight less so if - while being undertaken - Mother Nature is smiling upon us. 

-AK 

Friday, October 14, 2016

'Neath the Cover of October Skies

Later on today, the Missus and I shall make the short trip over to Wardlaw-Hartridge for the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, which is the final act of Homecoming/Fall Fair Day, which is a day replete with great stuff to do at W-H.  We will not be able to be on campus any earlier than the Alumni Awards Ceremony but, if you are in the Edison, New Jersey area, and are looking for a place to spend a picture-perfect Fall Saturday, then I heartily suggest you make a bit of time to stop by 1295 Inman Avenue in Edison.  You shall not be disappointed.  

And if you cannot be in the area during the early portion of the day, I am confident in predicting that if you are in attendance at this evening's Alumni Awards Ceremony, you shall not go home disappointed either.  Among the individual honorees are two of the most gifted high school athletes I ever had the pleasure to see play live and in person:  Eloise Cordasco (Class of '81) and Steven Maxwell (Class of '82).  Also being enshrined this evening in the school's Athletic Hall-of-Fame is Ryan Hegna, Class of '99, whose acquaintance I have never had the pleasure of making and who I am very much looking forward to meeting.  His name appears with stunning frequency in the school's record book for its swimming program.  In addition to these three individual athletes, the school is honoring its golf teams that were - from 1980 through 1982 - as dominant in their realm as Joe Torre's 1998 through 2000 New York Yankees were in theirs. 

A true hero of mine is being honored today with the school's Annual Distinguished Alumna Award. Justice Bridget McCormack, an Associate Justice on the State of Michigan's Supreme Court is a credit to our shared profession as well as to our shared Alma mater.   I attend the Alumni Awards Ceremony every October and she is as deserving a recipient of any honor as any honoree that has ever been so feted.  On top of everything else, she is the only honoree in school history to be endorsed by EVERY significant member of a Presidential Administration.




She was even endorsed by President Bartlett's Deputy National Security Advisor, Kate Harper, who has a well-earned reputation for being a bit difficult to impress. 

Last but not least - and actually first in the hearts of the program-maker - WPK, Sr. is being honored today as this year's recipient of the school's Distinguished Faculty Award.  He is the first teacher to be honored posthumously.  At last count, I think ten members of the Kenny clan are scheduled to make the journey to W-H to be part of the celebration of Dad's career and, moreover, his legacy.  



Since he is - well - unavailable I shall make some remarks on his behalf.  Just for fun, I am going to make them in Latin.  

Dave Lackland will be at the podium with me to handle the translation.  

Res Ipsa Loquitur indeed.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

-AK 

A Very Good Day

It was announced yesterday that Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.  The   Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, declared Dylan "a great poet in the American song tradition."

Indeed.

And if you are of the opinion that the Swedish Academy somehow erred in awarding Dylan the prize and calling what he does "poetry for the ear", then watch the video below.  It is his February 11, 2010 performance of "The Times They Are A-Changin'" at the White House as part of President and Mrs. Obama's "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" concert.  Better still, once you click on the video, close your eyes, and simply listen.  



-AK

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Feeling Like A Number

67429 to be precise. 

2016 NYC Marathon Confirmation Card

My fellow Team Stomp the Monster member and running companera, Gidg, and I are fellow travelers in Wave 4 and Corral A.  My sister, Kara, who is breaking her NYC Marathon maiden this year (as is Gidg) is also in Wave 4, Corral F.  All three of us are in the Wave that begins its journey at 11:00 a.m.  All three of us are in "Green" as well.  I learned - from reading information provided by a man who this year shall run in his 38th NYC Marathon - that being in the Green Wave means that we shall traverse the Verrazano Bridge on the left side of the bridge's lower deck.  Last year, as an Orange, I began the race on the upper deck of the Verrazano.  Statistically speaking, if I opt out of running the race and decide to hurl myself off of the bridge instead, I have a marginally better chance of surviving the fall from the lower deck than I would have had from the upper deck.  I kid, of course.  From that height, hitting water is akin to hitting concrete.  It is a distinction without a difference.

Margaret is happy that she shall be able to go to Central Park with Rob and watch the elite runners cross the finish line, which they shall do at or about the same time as Wave 4 begins our journey through the five boroughs, without worrying about missing me on the course.  On the other hand, I thought this was the year that I might be able to compete for the prize money.  Starting at 11:00 AM makes that considerably more difficult than it might have otherwise been. The superstar among our group, my brother-in-law Russ (Kara's husband), begins his marathon at 9:50 a.m. as part of Wave 1, which will make it really, really hard to catch up with him before he hits Central Park.

Maybe next year...

-AK 




Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The First Fifty

When you are a person who has as few friends as I do, you have to cherish the ones you have.  When you are a person of as few friends as I am and you are - to boot - an asshole, the whole "cherishing" business does not always work as it should.  As a general rule, those of us of the asshole persuasion tend to be awful "cherishers".  

To the extent that the little charcoal briquette in the middle of my chest that masquerades as my heart feels such things, today I feel at least a little bit of sorrow.  For today is the birthday of one of my favorite people, my college roommate and friend Alex Schreiber, and today, for the "too many consecutive years to count" year in a row, I will send him birthday wishes, which wishes he shall not acknowledge. 

At some point in our shared history, I did something to offend Schneeds.  I know not what it was.  I know simply that I have played the movie over and over in the theater of my mind's eye and I cannot identify the scene at which shit and fan came together.  At some point it did. Or it must have as far as I can tell.  

Today Schneeds is fifty.  However, he is spending it, I hope he takes at least a moment or two to celebrate.  


-AK

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Trouble Waiting To Happen

Election Day is twenty-eight days away.  Four weeks.  The circus that has been the 2016 Presidential Election will finally pull up stakes and leave town.  The carnival will be gone.  One of the barkers will, however, stick around.  

For four years. 

Twenty-eight days.

If only staying in bed all day was actually an option.  It is not.

Sadly, it appears as if Mr. Zevon lied to us.



-AK


Monday, October 10, 2016

Calling An Audible

Well that was not the most fun I have ever had on a Sunday.   It was evil but, I firmly believe, a necessary one. 

I called an audible yesterday morning.  As a result, I did not end up driving an hour south of home down to LBI to participate in the LBI 18-Mile Run.  Instead, I ran eighteen miles through the rain-soaked, wind-swept streets of Lake Como, Belmar, Avon, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Allenhurt, and Deal.  

Three hours and ten minutes after I started my eighteen-mile journey, I made it home.  I was considerably soggier than I had been when I started...

...and very, very satisfied.  

Happy Columbus Day.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Island Life

I am starting to sense a trend here.  

Slightly more than five months ago, on May 1, I ran the New Jersey Marathon in monsoon-like conditions.  A decidedly unpleasant day on which to run. 

This morning, in conditions that also promise to be decidedly unpleasant, I shall run from one end of Long Beach Island to the other.  Eighteen miles beginning on LBI's southern tip, in Holgate, and wrapping up at the island's northern tip, at Barnegat Lighthouse.  A fairly challenging endeavor.  

Today's forecast for LBI calls for rain and twenty-five mile per hour to thirty-five mile per hour winds.  Coming out of the north.   There is no wind quite like a head wind.  

Ought to be one hell of an evil day.  A necessary evil.  NYC Marathon is three weeks from today.  No guarantee that the weather then will be any better than it is now.  Since not running on that Sunday is not an option, neither is not running today.  

-AK  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

An End to the Autumnal Interlude



Due to a combination of a couple of weekends on which we participated in a couple of terrific events (Sue's Crew VIII followed by the 2016 T2T Run) and a weekend on which the weather was so inclement that three of every species in the animal kingdom were gathered together, playing "Rock, Papers, Scissors, Lizard, Spock" for spots on Noah's big boat, the Missus and I had not spent a single weekend at our little Paradise by the Sea in almost a month.  To paraphrase Jack Nicholson in The Shining, "We're back...."

I awaken this morning for the first time in quite a long time able to smell the sea air and able to hear the waves reacquainting themselves with the beach.  They are as delicious a smell and as melodious a sound as any with which I am familiar.  

I am at my happy place.  May your Saturday provide you with the chance to spend at least a part of it at yours. 

Sunrise over Lake Como 
(I'd missing see this too)

-AK 


Friday, October 7, 2016

To Be Irish...



I am Irish every day have been every second of every day for almost fifty years.  Both sides of the family tree are densely populated by Hibernian branches.  I relate reflexively to Senator Moynihan's words.  Years of conditioning I suppose. 

And then I come across a story such as this particularly horrible one out of Kerrville, Texas.  Ask not what type of person would (according to his family) allegedly lure a 10-year-old boy who displays autistic tendencies and has difficulty speaking and hearing into a field, douse him in gasoline, and set him on fire.  Do not ask that question unless you are prepared to learn its answer, which is three other boys, ranging in ages from nine to eleven.  In fairness to the three boys who authorities in Texas believe to be involved, the authorities as of Thursday appeared uncertain whether what happened was an accident or deliberate.   

I know not whether young Kayden Culp is Irish.  Today he is whether he wants to be or not. May the world have a modicum of mercy upon him and his family and find another's heart to break.  This brave little boy has endured enough already.   

More, in fact, than he ever should have had to endure, whether he was the unfortunate victim of an accident or the deliberate target of an ambush.


-AK 



Thursday, October 6, 2016

In Good Company...

One week from Saturday, the one and only WPK, Sr. shall be honored at Wardlaw-Hartridge as this year's recipient of the school's Distinguished Faculty Award.  He is the first posthumous recipient of this award, which shall be given as part of the Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony that will take place at Wardlaw-Hartridge, 1295 Inman Avenue, Edison, New Jersey beginning at or about 4:00 pm.

It is our family's sincere pleasure and privilege to not only have Dad honored by a place he unabashedly loved but to know that he is being honored as part of an event that shall see three individuals, Eloise Cordasco (Class of '81), Steven Maxwell (Class of '82), and Ryan Hegna (Class of '99), as well as the members of the 1980-1982 Golf teams, a championship-winning juggernaut that won everything except for the Ryder Cup (and that was only because they were not invited to participate) during that three-year period, enshrined into the school's Athletic Hall-of-Fame.  

Also at this event, one of the law's best souls, brightest lights and sharpest minds (who also may very well be the spiritual heiress to the Notorious RBG as a member of the Supremes) Justice Bridget Mary McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court (Class of '84) shall be honored as this year's recipient of the school's Distinguished Alumni Award.    

It should be one hell of a nice afternoon/evening.  Speaking only for myself, I am looking forward to it very much. 


Tempora et Mores Dedication Page
 for WPK, Sr. - 1982

-AK  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Long Time Between Sips of Water

This week - for the first time since the 2005 season, the University of Colorado Buffaloes football team is "nationally ranked".   The Buffs are ranked #21 in the Associated Press Poll and #23 in the Coaches Poll.  What does that mean after the first college football Saturday in October?  Admittedly, not a whole helluva lot.  It would, perhaps, if the season ended on October's second football Saturday. 

Alas, it does not.  

This Saturday, Coach Mac and his Buffs shall travel to Los Angeles to take on the USC Trojans. In their history, CU has played USC ten times.  When the Buffs spring the upset (ranking be damned we are road dogs), it will be our first-ever win against SC.  

I do not pretend to know what the rest of the season holds in store for my Alma mater.  Through five weeks, the Buffs have four wins.  College football sets "bowl eligibility" at six victories.  The first opportunity to get to five wins happens on Saturday.  

Stay thirsty, my Buffaloes.  Stay thirsty...


-AK

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mr. Jingles, Mr. Springsteen, and the Lightning Ride

I am always happy when I reach home on a Friday afternoon.  There are countless times in my day-to-day, as I am certain there are in your own, when navigating the work week without killing another or inflicting significant (perhaps irrevocable) damage on your ability to continue to earn your livelihood represents a win.  In the words of the great British philosopher, Mark Knopfler, "Sometimes you're the windshield.  Sometimes, you're the bug.

This past Friday, my sense of elation at having reached the week's end was further buoyed by the fact that I received mail that - for once - I actually wanted to open:




Contrary to Margaret's rather cynical prediction, I did not finish Mr. Springsteen's autobiography prior to bidding the weekend farewell on Sunday night.  Truth be told, I am not yet through the first one hundred pages.  That which I have read so far has engrossed me.  I recognize the fact that if you are not a fan of Springsteen's music, then reading what appears to be an almost entirely unabridged recitation of his life to date is not something that shall appear today - or any day for that matter - on your "To-Do" list.  I get it.  It is not my place to make an attempt to talk you into or out of anything, including reading this particular book.  While I cannot state with certainty where "reading habits of others" falls on the list of things about which I give not even one teensy, weensy rat's ass, it holds down a spot on that list.  Of that, I am certain. 

The third chapter of "Book One" (entitled "Growin' Up") is "The Church".  And it is in that chapter that I stumbled across Springsteen's explanation of his relationship with Catholicism, the religion in which each of us was raised, that summed up accurately what I have been inadvertently misstating for a number of years.  It is language that spoke to me immediately upon reading it, so much so that I used a yellow Post-It note to mark the passage:

On my eighth-grade graduation day, I walked away from it all, finished,
telling myself, "Never again."  I was free, free at last...and I believed it
...for quite a while.  However, as I grew older, there were certain things 
about the way I thought, reacted, behaved.  I came to ruefully and bemusedly
understand that once you're a Catholic, you're always a Catholic.  So I 
stopped kidding myself.  I don't often participate in my religion but I know
somewhere...deep inside...I'm still on the team. 
- "The Church" 
("Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen 
(c) 2016) 

Much to the chagrin of my long-suffering, Italian Catholic wife (and several hundred miles away, my even-longer-suffering Irish Catholic mother), I hold firmly to the idea that there is a God and he and I belong to a mutual lack-of-admiration society.  So much so that I spend as little time as possible poking around in his day-to-day and invite him to return the favor.  There are two beings in whom I have placed - and remaining willing to place - absolute faith.  He ain't either one.  

Too much incomprehensibly horrible shit has happened to people who I have loved - and continues to happen to those I do love - to put any stock in the notion of some type of omniscient,benevolent Overlord, reigning somewhere above us mere mortals, and keeping a watchful eye out for us.  Quite frankly, I cannot fathom how anyone does.  For me, to do so is not an expression chock full of faith but, instead...I am not sure exactly what it is other than it is something that is beyond my ability to comprehend.   

I regret to admit that I believe enough in the specter of the Old Testament God (the "I shall drown all you sons of bitches who cannot tread water for 40 days and 40 nights!" God) that I understand that my sins are ones for which I shall be required to pay.  I anticipate that divine vengeance will come for me in a form akin to how it came for Paul Edgecomb in "The Green Mile".  




It is what it is.  I have neither the will nor the inclination to chart a new course.  Besides, Springsteen's autobiography is over five hundred pages in length.  I may need all the time I can get simply to complete it. 

-AK  


Monday, October 3, 2016

One Afternoon at Coogan's Bluff

Now it is done. Now the story ends. 
And there is no way to tell it. 
The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention.
Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic,
can ever be plausible again.
- "Miracle of Coogan's Bluff"
Red Smith

Those words formed the lead paragraph of the legendary New York sportswriter's column that appeared sixty-five years ago tomorrow in the pages of The New York Herald Tribune

They appeared there, then, because of what had happened in the Polo Grounds less than twenty-four hours earlier.  Playing in the first nationally-televised game, the New York Giants and their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, treated America to one hell of an afternoon of baseball.  An afternoon that ended with Bobby Thomson besting Ralph Branca and with Russ Hodges screaming, over and over, the five saddest words that the indomitable Joanie K. has ever had to hear...




The MLB post-season starts on Tuesday - in Toronto.    

-AK 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

With Heartfelt Thanks...

It was slightly more than six months ago that I requested - and was granted - a slot on the Stomp the Monster NYC Marathon Team.  It is a slot that carried with it a fundraising obligation of $2,750.00.  I am notoriously poor at asking anyone for help, a failing that is exacerbated when the "help" for which I am asking is money.  Sadly, it matters not that the money for which I am ask is not for me but is, instead, for a good cause.  Or, as it is in the case of Stomp the Monster, a great cause. 

Yesterday, upon receiving the thirty-sixth donation to my fundraising effort, I fulfilled my fundraising obligation to the good folks of Stomp the Monster.  $2,750.00 has, in fact, been contributed to my cause.  Thus, from a fundraising perspective, I have earned my keep. 

On November's first Sunday, I shall look to earn it all the way from the Staten Island side of the Verrazano Bridge to Central Park.  That part of it I must do by myself.  But this part?  This part of it could not have been accomplished without the help of a great many people.  My thanks to one and to all.  

The support is appreciated more than I can adequately express...


...verbally or otherwise. 



-AK 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Here Comes Ralphie...

I am a proud alumnus of the University of Colorado.  It is a place, the dust from which I simply cannot shake off of me.  In the interest of full disclosure I have never really tried. In furtherance of the interest of full disclosure, I have no intention of ever doing so.  

There are certain days on which I am even more than simply "normally proud" of my Alma mater.  Today is such a day.  October, as you most likely know, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Pink ribbons and other pink-dyed paraphernalia are ubiquitous.   

This afternoon, after a September on the football field that was as satisfying as any month I can remember in quite some time, the Colorado Buffaloes return home to Boulder to play the Oregon State University Beavers in the first home game of their Pac-12 schedule.   Today, the football team shall kick off the University of Colorado's Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend.   

For all intents and purposes, the football team is taking on two opponents today.  And there is not a Buffalo anywhere, I assure you, who will be satisfied with anything less than a clean sweep.