A Memorable Scituation

366478-610193-thumbnail.jpgAccording to the Historical Society, it flashes four times a minute... every 15 seconds.

By my count, that's some 42 million times since you took me there during Christmas Break 1986 (42,076,800 to be exact... counting the 5 leap years).  And still the candle burns.

Now, 20 years later, in case you happen to be reading, I just wanted you to know that I remembered... and remember. 


Come laugh with me, the best is yet to come

Within one block of a major thoroughfare jammed to near gridlock by impatient, irritable (and irritating) holiday shoppers, candles flickered, food was prepared, wine was decantered.

366478-603474-thumbnail.jpgA door was opened.  And we came.  At the core are three people whose friendship will turn twenty years old when the New Year dawns.  Three who, in that time, have assembled four (or perhaps three and a half) engagements, two marriages, four children, 10 occupations, a handfull of funerals, separation of time and distance.

As we moved through the blur of our friendship amid comrades and cousins, brothers and others... refreshing a bond that may stretch but will never break, I heard within the laughter and Christmas carols the unspoken whisper...

Come laugh with me, the best is yet to come.


Hidden in an envelope in my briefcase



40 = (15+25) = 40  [Again]

lenono2.jpgClose your eyes, have no fear.
The monster's gone, he's on the run, and your Daddy's here.

He was 40. 

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy.

I was 15. 

Before you go to sleep, say a little prayer.
Every day, in every way, it's getting better and better.

It was my first "I remember where I was when I heard the news..." 

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy.

It snowed the next day in Connecticut.  My family went out to pick out our Christmas tree.  I stayed home watching the Dakota vigil on TV.

Out on the ocean, sailing away.
I can hardly wait to see you come of late.
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient.

Listening to this song.

'Cause it's a long way to go; a hard row to hoe.
Yes, it's a long way to go, but in the meantime.

That he wrote to his child.

Before you cross the street, take my hand.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

I didn't feel what it meant...

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful boy.

Until I sang it to mine. 

Darling, darling,
Darling Sean.

Now I'm 40.

Goodnight Sean.

Watching the wheels go round.

See you in the morning.

Fade to black.

All those years ago...


My baby sister ROCKS!

"But you know me.  I'd just as soon spit in someone's eye than shake their hands if I think they're trying to put my peeps or me down."

Said to me 5 minutes ago in an email from my baby sister; 12 years my junior.  She's got lots of our paternal Grandmother in her.  (Not the Grandmother in cat glasses, but the other one.  The one who once told our other sister, "If that boy gives you any trouble, you tell me.  I'll slice the cords on the back of his knees.")

Loyal to the core!  That's my sister for you.  And I've looked up to her since the day she was born!


The Most Important Things [are] All You Need

366478-569580-thumbnail.jpgI want mo Mo'.

Every once in awhile, a song comes along and makes the world stand still.  And "Matrix"-like, you're isolated from your surroundings, moving effortlessly while they're frozen.  ...... aaaaand then it all snaps back.

I like it when that happens.  It just did.  Act I involves something new.  Act II is a new twist on, well, "Something," among others.

ACT I:  Take a bow, Keb' Mo'!  I'd heard of you before, man, but never listened.  Then someone pointed me toward the breeze of a melody called "Life is Beautiful."  Wow.

Let's go driftin' through the trees
Let's go sailing on the sea
Let's go dancing on the juke-joint floor
And leave our troubles all behind, have a party

This guy is good.

So easily forgotten, are the most important things
Like the melody and the moonlight in your eyes
And a song that lasts forever
Each song getting better all the time

Life is beautiful, life is wondrous
Every star above shining just for us
Life is beautiful, on a stormy night
Somewhere in the world the sun is shining bright

So easily forgotten, the most important thing
Is that I love you - I do
And I want to spend my days and nights
Walking through this crazy world with you.

Okay, it's a deal. I was hoping you'd ask.  I'm there.

ACT II:  By George! (Paul, John and Ringo)

366478-569621-thumbnail.jpgDecember is the Beatles to me.  It's when I got my first casette tape player, and my first tape:  The Beatles "Red" Album.  Years later, it's when I brought home the "Blue" Album on two vinyl discs.  Later still, sadly, it tolled The End

Listening to "LOVE," the soundtrack to the latest Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas, is an experience that defies the "Next Track" and "Shuffle" buttons on your CD player.  Get it, you'll know.  George Martin and his son--who have the keys to Abbey Road's deepest vaults--have done something here.  They've taken melodies and four-part harmonies that everyone can identify--and Feng Shui-ed their energy into new channels.  That's the best I can do to describe the indescribable. 

Hearing these songs anew is a reckoning.  They carried me back to the room I shared with my brother a generation ago--lying on the bed, listening, dreaming, scheming--and posed the question: 

Can you measure up to who you hoped you'd be by now? 

[There's GOT to be a lyric to make this point.  If you can think of one suggest it.  I'll put it in.]



To the power of Ten

Stars.jpgWhen he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

I knew that you were going to leave today, Jeff; on this indelible day in our friendship.  I don't know how.  I don't know why.  I just knew.

Our convesation a few weeks ago was short, light, and I think it gave us both what we needed at that time.  Laughter, mutual assurance that through time and miles that everything was going to be fine.  We spoke of setting a time to really get caught up; to have that longer conversation, but I think we both knew at the time that it wouldn't happen.  At least not here.  At least not now.

"I know I shouldn't, but I feel great," you said.  "I didn't before, but now, I'm going to fight this.  I've got options, choices.  They're doing some clinical trials that we're going to look at.  I don't know where it's all going to go, but I know there are things I can do about it."

366478-562199-thumbnail.jpgShe reached out a finger to point at the sky
Leaving me helpless, not knowing why.

Paul wrote those words about Linda, but they could have been written about you.  You have the singularly most inquisitive mind I've ever come across.  I took everything at face value.   I still do.  Your eyes were always skyward, like they were here, when you took pictures of the Comet Hyakutake.   I just found those a second ago when I Googled you.  I remember when you took those.  I'd forgotten. 

You taught me that Tuesday was "Science Times" day at The Grey Lady.  (I took the section home last night, thnking of you, planning to call you this morning to say Happy Anniversary, but knowing that you wouldn't be there.  How did I know?) 

You have a childlike curiosity, a boundless imagination, my friend.  I say "have," because there is no way a force of intellect and spirit like yours could possibly have stopped this morning when your body did.  Oh, the answers you must be learning now.  Oh, the journey you must be taking.

I've pondered before about the mystic powers of Bill Gates' Outlook, specifically whether the Calendar feature can transport you in time.  You always used to tell me how powerful Gates and his PCs were. 

366478-562209-thumbnail.jpgNow I'm wondering whether I can use my Address Book to reach you.   Not to tell you that I love you, which we've both done in word and deed.  But to say, "Hey, when you get a minute, give me a call.  Holy shit, Jeff, what's it like?  Where are you know?  Did your Mom and Dad come to get you?  Tell me what you see."  (Always with the Beatles.  We played all three Anthology offerings constantly in our shared offices... on those blasted Macs that you hated.  I think we both liked the "Oh shit," that Paul let out when flubbing a line in "A Day in the Life," and all the different intros to "Strawberry Fields.") 

And so you've gone.

Maybe you'll find out what really happened in Dallas 43 years ago today.

But I know you and I will never forget what happened 10 years ago today. 

"Sure, hold on, he's on the phone.  I'll get him." I heard you say.

"Uh, buddy, you'd better take this."

It was my wife calling.  She was on her way to the hospital... 3 weeks ahead of schedule.

You were there for the moment.  The one that Ricky Ricardo, Dick VanDyke, Fred Flintstone and every other sticom husband played for slapstick on TV.  The moment I learned that I may have woken up a son, but that by nightfall I'd go to bed as a new Father. 

And this is the hour when we turn out the light.
Nothing but memories burning so bright.
Burning so bright.

Ten years ago today, at 10 am, you took the call for me, and sent me on my way.

This morning I took the call about you, and now with my love, with faith, with thanks, laughter and some tears, Jeffrey, I send you on yours. 

Godspeed, my beautiful friend.  I'll see you again.  We will celebrate my son's birthday tonight; and I will toast our anniversary.  I will toast the stars.

It snowed in Flordia today just after you died.  Near where you live. 

I wonder why.



Who the hell is Kevin Finnerty?

I've been traveling this week.  Today, it's the latest in a series of nondescript rooms at the Sherriott-Hiltowne Plaza hotel in St. Baltimemphicago, where at any time I'm a Preferred Star-Award Ambassadorian, earning fractions of points that rack up in my monthly statements like a pinball machine... and for which I can redeem for valuable gifts and prizes.  At the current level of 1,500,000,000, I'm within reach of one of those plastic whizzers that sound like a siren when you blow into them.  [I love those.]  If I hold onto my points, I can get discount in-room non-dairy creamer next time I stay in Toledo.

Actually, I like to travel, so long as it's during the week.  Go to meeting; powernap and shower; go to dinner; find an interesting bar to have a nightcap or two.  Then fall asleep in an overstuffed bed with the TV on. 

Going to bed alone on the road can be very centering and self-affirming; just you and your thoughts.  The day has ended and you've ticked off the items on your checklist.

Tony.jpgWaking up in bed alone on the road can be very unsettling; just you and your thoughts.  The day has not yet begun, your'e a little fuzzy headed, and the checklist has regenerated itself.  You're not due downstairs til 8:30; it's 5:00 now; you can't sleep.  You left the curtains open so the sunlight would help roust you.  But it's as dark as night, and there's a beacon on the horizon.   

What should I be doing right now?  What're the other guys doing?  Sleeping?  No.  They're downstairs in the lobby... all of them... meeting together.  They could start the meeting if you'd only get your sorry ass out of bed and get in gear.  It's 5:03.  You've already fallen behind.  They all know where they're going; how long they're going to stay in their jobs; exactly when they're going to retire; their houses are already paid for; they've already saved for the college education of their toddlers; your oldest is already 10 and you've got $3.75 in your pocket.

finnertys beacon.jpgWho am I?  The wallet in the briefcase says my name is Kevin Finnerty.  Who the hell is Kevin Finnerty? 

Am I me, or am I him?  It's 5:05. 

What's with that beacon out there?  Is it calling me? 

I don't know.

[With apologies to Tony Soprano.]


SNL still has its fastball

"In an ironic turnaround, Iraq brought regime change to the U.S."

-- Amy Poehler, on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update."

[This is the last panel of my Election 2006 triptych.  Even though it cuts against where my politics lie.  But tell me, do Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert owe her some props, or what?!?  Ouch!]


Thought for the day