Monday, November 30, 2015

If Not For You

If Not For You ...

So I guess I've written a few words over the years, strung a few sentences together, made some sense some days, and probably no sense other days.

Sometimes, I think the world is like a song. Sometimes, I hear the music of life as a love song, and other times, it's more like a slow jazz number with a sad saxophone playing through a smoky room. Sometimes it's full of the kind of energy that makes me want to dance, and other times, I drift into some melancholy tune and find myself unable to move.

Variety, right? Spice of life and all that.

I learned a long time ago, that you can't be a writer and expect to live on an even plane. A writer lives on the edge of the sharp blade of emotion. A writer doesn't get to feel just his or her emotions but seems to feel some kind of chaotic rush of emotions from all over, feelings, both familiar and foreign, battering down the doors of sanity. I can't sit in a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even on a bus without wondering what the lady across the way is thinking and feeling. I can't see a couple in the corner of the room without wondering if they are in the first throes of love or finalising the affair with punctuated anger.

See? It's never a one-person show. It gets crowded in this brain of mine.

And, yes, you are always in my mind, swirling the magic cauldron of imagination to see what kind of broth I'll come up with on any particular day. I know, maybe we've never met, but there is always a you in writing, a someone for whom a piece is written. I guess that's the hardest thing to understand. I can't say that I always know who that "you" is, but he or she is always there, always driving the imagery one way or another, be it funny or sad, magic or tragic.

So, I wanted to write to tell you that you are important. You're a part of this process, this undoing of the knots that tie up words and thoughts as they spill out upon the page. I wanted to let you know that whatever I write, it's never for me and always for you. I know that I don't always catch your ear with the simple sounds of my writing. I know that, some days, you're distracted by more important things, and maybe you read without really reading. That's OK. Everything in life has a backdrop, and if I'm your backdrop for even just a few moments, then that's good enough for me.

Funny, thinking how we share a world for a brief time now and then. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. Without you, there would only be a blank page, an empty notebook, a blank screen. So, yeah, thanks and all that. You've made my world better.

So, so much better ...

Over the next month, I'll be busy with some personal matters, not the least of which is Christmas with five grandchildren. I can't say I'll be here every day, at least not until the New Year rings in, but I'll be around, so look for me from time to time.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday

Black Friday

Ohhhh ... it's Black Friday.

For those of you who do not know any better, Black Friday is not a special holiday for black folks. Black Friday is a national shopping event. In America, stores reduce their prices on a wide variety of items to send shoppers into a kind of mania, a buying frenzy of the worst kind.

I suspect more flat screen televisions and video game controllers are sold on Black Friday than on any other day of the year.

And why not?

I mean, the day after Thanksgiving, a day when Americans express their gratitude for what they have, they go out and fight for more. Why? Because people believe that more is better especially if someone tells them that the more they're getting is cheap.

Now, my mother didn't raise no jackass, and to be honest, I can't believe that we're so ... oh, wait a sec ... I have a phone call ...

"Uh huh ..."

"Uh huh ..."

"How much?"

"Get out ... really???"

"OK ... but I'm writing a blog ..."

"OK ..."

"Yeah, yeah, bye ..."

So ... ummm ... well ...

I guess ... uh ...



Thursday, November 26, 2015

La Joie de Vivre

La Joie de Vivre

So where is that old joie de vivre? Where is that joy of just being alive?

I swear the world is suffering clinical depression. Forget global warming, the biggest lie in the last decade. Forget the economic crisis, possibly another great lie. What the world needs is a crop dusting of Prozac. Never, for as long as I can remember, have so many people is so many places been "down" — smitten by a sense that life is a drag and barely worth living.

Man, all this negativity. We see it in the news, we see it on the Internet, we see it in our daily relationships with others.

Shake your head, people. If things are so bad, we need to make them better.

Yes, I understand that each of us lives in just a tiny corner of the "bigger picture," but if every tiny corner refused to accept the doom and gloom philosophy that permeates our world, then sooner or later, those who spout prophecies of the imminent crash and burn of humanity will have no one listening to their bullshit.

You are what you read or listen to. Tune in some good news for a change, and turn off those who just want to get you down into the hole that they're in.

Enough is enough.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Who Let The Dogs Out?

There's a new family in the neighbourhood. They seem a nice couple, with a couple of nice kids, a couple of nice cars, the usual double-double of suburban life. They have, however, added something very different to our perfect little landscape. They have not a couple, but three fully-loaded doberman pinchers which they allow to roam free every morning.

I suppose these good people believe that their dogs are the most well-trained animals in the world. They're probably right. Those three sleek brown and black canines slip in and out of reality as quickly as any hallucinations I've ever had. One minute, they're beside the car, and the next, they're cruising around the garbage bins at the back door. One minute they're across the street, and in the twitch of an eye, they're looking in my front window.

And I don't like the look in their eyes.

I suppose it would be more reassuring if they barked. But they don't. They just slink, slither, and skulk in suspicious S-curves.

I'm getting concerned.

Please understand that I have no great fear of dogs. Still, these poochies seem pretty intimidating. I suspect if one were to bite me on the ankle, another would go for my arm, while the third would be busy putting the death grip on my throat. I imagine it would be something like a frenzied attack of hungry sharks.

Yes, I'm definitely getting concerned. In fact, I've been watching them all morning to see how they would react to the kids who march up and down the street as they go to and from school. So far, no casualties. Not surprising. These dogs seem to like kids.

I suspect they're saving their angst for me. I'm not sure why. Possibly, they have a doggie score to settle.

Once, when I was a mere 8 years old, I had it in for a neighbourhood collie. He was sort of a demonic version of Lassie. Instead of having that wonderful tawny golden coat and a "let-me-save-you-Timmy" disposition, he was black and white with a serial-killer's imagination. On my way home from Tuxedo Public School one day, he knocked me over and ravaged my arm before turning his attention on my sister who was running for cover. My mother later counted 10 teeth marks in my left forearm, some of them quite oozy and bloody. So yeah, when I was twelve and had learned how to masturbate up some courage, I admit that I was the one who threw a lit pack of 52 firecrackers into that Son of Sam's doghouse one night. And yes, yes, yes, there was an element of unconscionable revenge involved.

Then there was the summer of '69 when I got bit by some mutt of dubious heritage as I was doing deliveries for a now defunct company called Eaton's. He got me good, just below the knee. Thirteen stitches and a week-with-pay off work. When I next saw him on my route, he was roaming the middle of the street and stood there defiantly in the sights of my delivery truck's hood ornament. Did I hit him? Did I already tell you about the thirteen stitches?

Now, I know some of you are going to write and say I'm a merciless, psychotic dog-hater. Hey, nothing could be farther from the truth. I've been blessed with canine companions all my life. My last dog was a little black mongrel who, after 15 years with me, died of old age in my arms. It was a sad and tragic experience, but I was damned if I was going to take him to a vet's to die by lethal injection among strangers. He'd been too great a companion for that. And, anyway, it would have cost well over $50.

No, I love dogs. I really do. I love walking into a new acquaintance's house and hearing the growl and skitter-skatter of enraged paws on the kitchen linoleum as the resident hound wakes from a life of sleep to rush at me and smash snout-first into my groin. I love how people say, "Oh, don't mind Bongo, he's harmless," while Bongo does everything but mistake my manhood for his newest rawhide bone. And I especially love how Bongo's version of "settling down" means he gets to hump my leg, even as I try to walk into the living room to sit down and offer him a more suitable and comfortable position for him to complete his endeavours.

I do love dogs, but dogs probably shouldn't be allowed to roam free. I mean if it's one of those little shih tzu fluff balls, I don't mind so much. They're fairly easy to drop-kick half the distance to the goal line. But dobermans? That's another story. I wouldn't even consider allowing them the chance to snag my foot with those razor-like teeth.

Let's not be naive. There is a dog mafia out there. It's run by the Poochini family. I know it and you know it. They are involved in all kinds of shady deals -- smuggling illegal Jack Spaniels across state borders, setting up eco-disaster puppy mills, pimping underage poodle bitches in dark alleys, and the like. And the designated hitmen for this mob, this pack of wolf-wannabes, are the dobermans. And three of them are out there waiting. For me.

What's that? You think I'm barking up the wrong tree?

Oh sure, your loving lab, cuddly cocker, precious pug, or marvellous maltese is cute and innocent now, but one false step on his tail, a few more repeated raps on his snout, or too, too many harsh words, and you could be next.

Something to chew over, don't you think?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015



Oh, dear ... that word ... the one up there ...

If there is a word that most women resent more than anything else, I suspect it's the word, "bitch."

Now, let's get one thing straight. I never ever use that word. Not ever.

OK, once I may have used it in the throes of passion. I guess that I thought it might have some kind of dramatic effect, you know, sort of get the piston pumping a bit harder, but to my dismay, the effect was the exact opposite. The aforementioned piston suddenly ended up with nowhere to pump.

So it goes.

For centuries, the word, "bitch," has been possibly the most demeaning insult one could offer a woman. I won't go into the various connotations of the word, but let's just say that it implies how a woman is something akin to a high-strung, emasculating, foul-mouthed, self-centred, cranky, cock-teasing ...

Oh, wait, enough already.

What strikes me as odd is how popular culture has begun to embrace the word as something quite positive. Many women, like Tina Fey (“Bitches get stuff done!”), Madonna ("Unapologetic Bitch"), and Nicki Minaj ("I’m a boss-ass bitch"), have empowered the word in a way to mean "powerful, assertive, independent, and free" — all good qualities.

Still, the bottom line is that the interjection remains drowning in a quagmire of sexism and contempt.

Maybe the only thing worse is for someone to call a man a "son of a bitch." Now, for me, those are fighting words. The perpetrator is not just slagging me, but my mother as well. And, trust me, you don't wanna go messin' with my mama ...



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