Sunday, January 28, 2007

Up and Running (Into Things)

As I write, Wyatt is propped up against my leg - standing as best he can. This is the latest development in his life. But having gone from combing the carpet to pulling up on chairs (and anything else that can hold his weight), Wyatt is also discovering the harsh realities of gravity.

And as attentive as we try to be as parents, there are times when Wyatt's rambunctious ways are leading to minor disasters and cries of pain. In the last week alone, he has accumulated no less than three small bruises on the left side of his face - including a small discoloration on his left cheek.

But never does he relenquish the drive to summit everything. He is continuously up on his hands and knees, then his knees and finally he stands - wobbling and about as sturdy as a unicyclist in a St. Patrick's Day parade.


Basketball: a Movement in Three Pieces


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Facts of Life: Part 3

I was talking to a couple at the church who have lived in Owensboro for over 40 years. I assumed they were both from Owensboro or at least Kentucky as many around here are, but when I asked if they have lived here their whole life, the wife immediately jumped in: "Oh, no! I'm a Yankee."

Yankee. It's not too often you find people referring back to the 1860's and the Civil War when defining themselves, but around Owensboro it's not that uncommon. Remember that much of Kentucky's economy was dependent upon slaves before and during the Civil War. Remember that it is closer to Nashville, Tenessee as it is to Indianapolis, IN (even though Owensboro is on the northern border of Kentucky). Also remember that it is also closer to Atlanta, GA from Owensboro than it is to Chicago, IL. Owensboro - by its very geography - leans towards the South.

And, if you drive out into the county of Owensboro - as we did while looking for houses during our early days here - you will come across another interesting testament to this area of the country; there are houses with huge white boards staked into the ground with a Confederate flag in the middle and "Sons of the Confederate Army" inscribed around the flag.

It needs to be said that Kentucky never seceded from the Union. In fact, it eventually sided with the Union after Confederate armies invaded its borders. But, as a key central state - stuck in the middle of the painful tearing our nation experienced during the Civil War - it was not uncommon for brothers to find themselves one in blue and one in gray. Ulysses Grant and Abraham Lincoln were from Kentucky. But so was Jefferson Davis who played a critical role for the Confederates.

Thus, the woman's quick desire to label herself a Yankee over and against a Southerner. As if the matter had not been settled.

The reality of Owensboro's southern culture is something I felt the first time I set foot in this city, but continues to strike me new almost weekly. I grew up in Indianapolis - a northern city where the Civil War was certainly discussed in 8th grade history class, but other events eventually pushed this war to the background: industrialization, world wars, America becoming the world's economic, political and militaristic power. But, for border or southern states, the Civil War is a wound that never went away, as all Americans learned again during the Civil Rights movement.

Perhaps people who come from Mobile, AL find it hard to believe how "Northern" Owensboro seems.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed it more when I could answer people's inquiries about my place of origin by saying, "Oh, I'm a Californian." Somedays, it still seems better to be a part of a state destined to fall into the Pacific Ocean than it does being a part of a state still hoping the sutures of time will heal a wound suffered 150 years ago.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Facts of Life: Part 2

When we first moved to Owensboro, I immediately noticed that a disproportionate amount of vehicles sported a handicap sign. At first this was disturbing only in that it reinforced something I had begun to fear: Owensboro was void of anyone my age. While I still believe the latter to be true, I have since found that the tragic fact of the former matter is this: the state of Kentucky has the second highest percentage of adults with a disability.

I’m still trying to figure out what that means.


Monday, January 22, 2007

A Baller

Go Horse

For Colts Fans Everywhere,

Somewhere Gary Tradeu was going crazy last night. Gary Hogeboom too. Shoot, Jeff George probably even found room to smile for a city that loathed him more than the Detroit Pistons.

This Super Bowl is going to be for Duane Bickett, for Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk. Bad boys and bad hands mates: Andre Rison and Sean Dawkins, you can cheer too. Even Steve Entman - perhaps the worst draft pick in Indianapolis Colts' history - can raise a foam finger in blue. Cornelius Bennet, Bill Brooks, Ron Stark (Zionsville Pride!), Hunter Smith (punters just love Z-ville don't they!), Adrien Bentley, Joseph Adai, Clarence Verdin: enjoy the still echoing sounds coming from the Hoosier Dome ... yeah, you read that correctly. The Hoosier Dome, the way it should be.

For all the years of the Dolts, for all the years of sellout crowds combined with "we're selling lots of real estate and surrendering lots of touchdown" defenses, for all the years of placing all our hopes on ANOTHER #1 draft choice, go get another one Peyton Manning. For average Joe's in the nose-bleeds and Lilly execs in the luxury suites, go get the ring, Marvin. For beer-drinking, Colts-Sundays-are-my-vacation guys, make their winter worthwhile, Dwight Freeney. For the city that has poured in billions of dollars and staked a great deal of its sports image on your very future, go ACTUALLY WIN a Super Bowl, Bill Polian. Don't let this one go through your hands, be as sure handed as Ken Dilger or Brandon Stokely. Become human missiles - a la Bob "don't need no pads" Sanders. Get your gold-toothed, Edge-smiles ready to go. Get crazy, angry like Jim Mora, but stay Marchibroda calm throughout. Let your team carry itself with Dungy-class and, well, I don't have much to say about Rick Venturi or Ron Meyer.

And somewhere out in Palo Alto Jim Harbaugh is thinking, "beat the Bears. Beat them like every other team beat YOU between 1984-1989 (except for the strike year in 1987) and in '97 and '98. Beat them like the Dolphins would crush you in the 80's and early 90's ... remember all that brash swagger they would walk in with. Don't let that Chicago nastiness stand in your way. Don't listen to that monster of the midway crap. Ignore Butkus. Ignore Singleterry. Ignore Urlacher. Ignore Ditka. Boy do I hate Ditka who ruined the start of my pro career. Go out there and play like we played in Kansas City in 1995 ... lights out, better than great. Be better than us, the Cardiac Colts. Be the Crushing Herd, the Wild Stampede. Do it for the Indianapolis Colts."


Sunday, January 21, 2007


The weather forecast promised snow (or at least freezing rain) last night, but it was wishful thinking. Instead, our backyard received another bountiful rain - creating standing pools. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed the closing hymn of our first service today: All Beautiful the March of Days. Here it is for your reading pleasure:

All Beautiful the March of Days

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go;
The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of snow;
Hath sent the hoary frost of heaven, the flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent loveliness on hill and wood and field.

O’er white expanses sparkling pure the radiant mourns unfold;
The solemn splendors of the night burn brighter than the cold;
Life mounts in every throbbing vein, love deepens round the heart,
And clearer sounds the angel hymn, “Good will to men on earth.”

O Thou from whose unfathomed law in beauty flows,
Thyself the vision passing by in crystal and in rose,
Day unto day doth utter speech, and night to night proclaim,
In ever-changing words of light, the wonder of Thy name.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Facts of Life: Part 1

I was out for a run yesterday, jogging down Parrish -- the one road in the city that has more than a mile of sidewalk. As I trucked along, enjoying a slightly warmer day and a bit of sunshine, I was pleasantly surprised to see some remnants of snow (albeit slightly discolored) along the sidewalk. This thought was almost immediately replaced by, “wait a minute, we didn’t get any snow,” at which point I realized I was looking at a stretch of piled cigarette remains. As I was contemplating this filth, low and behold a truck pulls up beside me and proceeds to flip a cigarette butt out the window, flying directly in front of Wyatt’s stroller. Lucky for him, we had the vinyl weather shield on and I don’t run very fast, or else he would have had to deflect the burning stub with his own chubby little hands. Does this happen anywhere else?

I feel as if I’m suffocating in second hand smoke all the time and up to my neck in the dirty butts of Owensboro. The depressing fact of the matter: Kentucky has the highest percentage of cigarette smokers in the nation. Perhaps I am.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Moby Interview

A worthwhile listen for anyone who enjoys Moby's music and also wonders a great deal how to live out their faith 2,000 years after Christ:

check out, there is a wonderful interview with Moby. This is the link, but the html part gets cut off.


Sunday, January 14, 2007


The season premier of "24" was tonight, and Jack was back to his heroic ways - surprisingly so, if you ask me. What man can honestly endure two years of Chinese torture and self-inflicted silence, and STILL remember the coordinates of a potential air-strike? Well, who else but Jack - the hyperbole of the American male: faulted yet impervious, loyal and yet independent, rebel and saint. He's a "I like my football on Sundays" kinda guy ... well, that is, he would be a football on Sunday's kinda guy if the whole world were not in a frantic, apocalyptic descent into nihilism. No, the football watching gets done by all the other poor schmoes Jack and the rest of CTU are always rescuing from the edge of annihilation. And apparently Jack never needs to use the restroom or sleep. He shrugs such mortal limitations off as easily as two pair of handcuffs.

Well, clearly I know way too much about this show to say I don't watch it, or don't care about it. But, what I also want to say is this: "24" is a classic example of the culture of fear dominating our media. Horrific, troubling images and scenarios are flashed before our eyes on a daily basis, paralyzing us by the worst possible outcome. This, then, is meant to minimize all other threats to our culture and nation, effectively shifting attention away from more manageable issues. Thus, the environment, the health care system, education ... they all get displaced by the issue that invokes the most fear: other people attacking us (personally or as a nation). Well, part of this is certainly understandable given the events of September 11th. But, what fault does our national media own in this culture of fear as they continue to create television shows and movies that routinely bring the subject of terrorism and torture into the conversation (if not before our very eyes)? Television producers always argue here that they are only dealing with issues presented to them by real circumstances occuring in the world. Baloney.

And another factor is at play here: the more often the media can make you feel uncertain or uneasy about your well-being in life, the more likely they are to influence your behavior ... which equates to influencing your behaviors as a consumer. So, whether it is presenting the subtle reminder that you are never safe alone or that you are not important if you don't have the proper gadget or latest bit of information, the ultimate goal is to slowly convince you that you need a way to be in touch ... and wouldn't you know Sprint happens to be one of the companies backing the television show you're watching.

And, clearly, by this point, you've realized what I've realized. Anyone, like me, who has this many conspiracy theories is clearly desperate for the return of "Lost." Now, that's some good television.


Friday, January 12, 2007

This is Our Country

A few minutes ago I was sitting in the garage painting door hinges while a quiet rain fell on Griffith Ave. It was quitting time, and folks were making their final odyssey of the Monday-thru-Friday life, headed home for their pizza delivery or left-overs ... and maybe a beer or three.

The day never seemed to come today, no patch of light broke through. It was still-born, remorseful. Subsequently, the zest and freedom so natural to a Friday evening commute was gone, and people were left to coast at 35 mph - traveling through the bleak, slippery cold. Driving: a great American freedom reduced and ritualized into boredom, frustration or tedium.

So I watched people driving by wondering if they actually get excited about the weekends on days like this. It's supposed to rain here all weekend, 100% chance. That's enough to dampen my spirits.

Sure, somewhere there will be a high school basketball game tonight, a gym buttery and bright. Basketball: winter's humble carnivals for places like Kentucky. If you're a student, parent, sibling, or long-time fan, it's a spark of fire in an otherwise dying winter.

But what do you do when you don't have a team to root for, a kid to watch, a girl to chase. You watch television. You let the insanity of violence and the allure of beauty dangle before your eyes. You soak up an evening of laughs, chaos and sex. You let your mind be manipulated and teased while you sit around on your couch motionless, waiting for sleep to overtake you.

Or you sit at home; you paint door hinges and watch the community drive by ... one by one in their SUV's and Chevy trucks.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

42 Up

When I was growing up, I wanted to be an archaeologist, a fireman, an NFL quarterback, a doctor and a hospital administrator ... in that order. And, as I look at the progression of career choices, the first career hope is a little misleading. I wanted to be an archaeologist not because of any great interest in long, ardurous days under a merciless Egyptian sun and meticulously combing over layer upon layer of dirt to steadily unearth a clay pot from 2,500 years ago. I wanted to be an archaeologist because I loved Indiana Jones. I wanted adventure.

Over time, fantasy gave way to a long-shot hope (quarterback), which gave way to great career (doctor), which gave way to respectability (administrator).

I mention all of this because last night we watched "42 up", a British documentary which followed the life paths of multiple persons. The various persons were originally documented at the age of 7 and have subsequently been interviewed every seven years (thus 42 up). And through the years, they were often asked the same question over and over ... what do you think of babies/children ... what do you think of boys/girls/getting married ... what do you think of poor people ... what do you want to be when you grow up. Not surprisingly, their answers as 7 year old children were shockingly poignant concerning the trajectory of their life.

The first boy interviewed, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, said he wanted to be a horse jockey ... which he eventually acheived by the age of 21. Again though, as a boy, he was asked what he would do if he couldn't be a jockey; "I'd be a cabbie," he said without hesitation. And, sure enough, he is still a cabbie to this very day.

Another woman became a bereavement counselor, another a professor of nuclear fusion, another a math teacher, another secretary, another a forklift driver, another financial consultant. And one of the boys grew up to struggle with a mental disorder, traveled Britain and Scotland homeless and nervous, and has now stabilized enough to do volunteer work as a politician.

And although some of them did, in fact, grow up to do what they thought they wanted to do, all of them found themselves weathered, surprised and even bewildered by the course of their life. And as they entered the mid part of their life, there was also a great deal of disillusionment and disappointment in their voices. Many of them had already dealt with the death of their parents or were currently dealing with aging parents. Some of them had experienced divorce, and a few were already experiencing the stress and demand of adolescents, looming financial demands (that just don't go away) and glass ceilings at work.

No doubt, this was depressing to watch, especially since life after life all showed the toll that living takes upon each of us.

We - Americans - hate this natural process of aging. We hate any indication that our life is becoming anything less than terrific. What with our air-brushed magazines and Disney Land resorts, there is no room for the broken or poor. We nip and tuck our way through the wrinkles and scars life inevitably places upon our faces. But, if we were stripped down to the core of our soul, we all bear the wounds of living.

Gosh, I don't mean to be morose or bleak, but I realize that is how this is playing out. Yet, I can't help but wonder if it is depressing because I don't have any clue how to deal with this aging process. Nothing I watch on television, nothing I read in magazines teaches me how to age well or to deal with loss graciously.

And, finally, "42 up" made me realize this: I will approach school reunions from now on with fear and trembling.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Lamp in Three Pieces

Anna's grandparents just happened to have some pendant lights laying around in their attic, which we have joyfully taken ownership of and hung in our kitchen area. Super fun. ~Wes

Wonder Boy

Here are some recent pics of Wyatt looking sly and dope.


Monday, January 08, 2007

2nd Chances

I write only to say our iMac has been to hell and back ... that is to say it has had a resurrection experience. And while it did not descend into hell (or the earth) for three days, it has returned from its time of lifelessness. There is much rejoicing in the Kendall household!