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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Person of the Year -- Reid Stowe


2010 Person of the Year -- Reid Stowe

First, let me say that if the main stream news media were anything but a gang of toadies doing the bidding of elite plutocrats, Reid Stowe would be on a dozen round up lists of incredible accomplishments. The man returned to New York City from the longest sea voyage in history. He sailed for more than 1100 days without touching land anywhere. Most of that time, he was alone. In ages past, he would have been greeted with a ticker tape parade through the canyon of heroes. In the Age of the Computer Screen as Reflecting Pool for Narcissists, his return barely rated a yawn. Being from a military family background, rather than an elitist Ivy Leaguer or the teenage spawn of the rich, the class-consciousness-supporting, youth-obsessed MSM have ignored this world-record-shattering accomplishment as much as possible.

Reid Stowe sailed alone on a 70-foot schooner that he built himself. Think about that for a minute, please.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

ATTENTION UKULELE FANS

In the next few days I will begin liquidating my rather extensive archives of vintage sheet music on eBay. First up will be all the sheet music with the word "ukulele" in the title.

Among the titles that will go on sale are:
UKULELE LADY
UKULELE BABY
UKULELE JOE
MY LITTLE UKULELE
GHOST OF THE UKULELE
WHEN OLD BILL BAILEY PLAYS THE UKALELE
and many many more.

There will be pictures of the cover of each sheet music but they are not meant as photographic art or as something that can be downloaded and printed. They are strictly to give an idea of what the image is.

The condition of each sheet will be accurately described. All sheets are vintage originals and

These sheets are suitable for framing, or for learning the music. Great for hanging on the wall of your music room or studio.

Hawaii-ana will also be listed among the first batches. After that I will sell the vintage ukulele songbooks. Then I will sell by theme -- songs with "rose" in the title; songs with "river" in the title, etc.

Why am I selling these? Basically, they sit in a box. Someone should enjoy them, and I can use the money.

LOBBYISTS -- More from the Dept of Random Thoughts

What do you call a Washington lobbyist? One of the Bribery Pirates.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

haiku at 2 in the am


Chimney puff shadow
Eclipsing moon made dark show
Shooting stars, no snow

STOP FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE ARTS


"I want to throw up because we're supposed to quietly and politely make house in this killing machine called America and pay taxes to support our own slow murder and I'm amazed we're not running amok in the streets, and that we can still be capable of gestures of loving after lifetimes of all this."
                                                            David Wojnarowicz

It’s time for some honor and honesty among artists. We – theater, performance, literary and visual artists – should demand that the Federal government stop all funding for the arts. I’m not certain that David Wojnarowicz would have agreed with this position, but my gut tells me he would have, and not simply over the blatant censorship of his writing recently exerted by the Smithsonian.

Almost no Federal money goes to contemporary artists. Federal funding for the arts is basically limited to supporting elitist institutions. As if the tax cuts for billionaires weren’t enough, the country is forced to support museums and theaters that are run by sycophantic administrators who would rather pucker up and kiss some corporate butt than engage in an exchange with living artists. (I’m talking about creators here, not interpreters – meaning pit musicians, directors and actors, for example. Don’t get me wrong. These folks can be creative, but they do not originate the pieces upon which their work is based.)    

The late great Henry Miller (the writer, not the theater manager) once said that museums are mausoleums built by the rich to show the rest of us how little we know. And much as I enjoy a stroll through the galleries of the MoMA or the Metropolitan, the idea of government funding for these institutions strikes me as criminal in this current economy. If the museums and institutional theaters were presenting work that challenged corporate dominance I might feel differently. However, the grant money that arts organizations receive has become hush money.

The pittance that is doled out by the Federal government is not worth the censorship and other strings that are part and parcel of this funding. Groveling for money might suit administrators but it does not become an artist, at all.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

SENATE EARMARK BODES INSANE ATTACK ON DELAWARE RIVER

The following press release was issued today by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network today. More than 20 million people from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania draw drinking water from the Delaware. Please consider the Delaware Riverkeeper as you make your year end gifts. Donate securely using PayPal. http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/join/donate.asp

Taxpayer and Conservation Groups Decry $5 Million Delaware River Deepening Earmark
Groups call on Congress to reject politically-driven earmark, focus on fiscal and environmental health
 
 
(December 16, 2010) Conservation and taxpayer organizations today decried the U.S.
Senate’s earmark funding for the Delaware Main Channel Deepening project in Delaware, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania in the FY 2011 ‘Omnibus’ Appropriations bill. This $332 million
project has been questioned three times by the Government Accountability Office, called
economically wasteful and environmentally dangerous in numerous studies and has been legally
challenged by two states and five advocacy groups.
 
“At the same time New Jersey and Delaware and several conservation organizations have
sued the Corps of Engineers for violating a host of state and federal environmental laws in
planning this project, some Senators are trying to force feed funding of this project by classic
log-rolling,” said David Conrad, Senior Water Resource Specialist of the National Wildlife
Federation.
 
Democrats and Republicans promised fiscal responsibility. Their Government
Accountability Office has three times questioned the deepening. Multiple state and federal
environmental agencies and experts have identified a wealth of risks to drinking water supplies
for millions. Hundreds of millions of dollars provided to the economy by Delaware River
resources are at risk with deepening. This project has pitted the federal government against the
states. Responsible leadership would not fund this project.” said Maya van Rossum of the
Delaware Riverkeeper.
 
“Clearly some lawmakers didn’t get the message voters sent Election Day. Instead of
tackling the record deficits and restraining from parochial project spending, powerful Senators
are stuffing hundreds of water project earmarks into the end of year spending bill, piling more
onto the billions of dollars in earmarked spending,” said Steve Ellis of the fiscal watchdog group
Taxpayers for Common Sense.
 
“The Delaware Deepening project threatens endangered species, municipal water
supplies, and the health of the river ecosystem including the Delaware Bay wetlands that provide
vital habitat and flood protection benefits. The project will also have wide-ranging risks to
human health, including potential introduction of toxic materials into the river and aquifer,” said
Dalal Aboulhosn from Sierra Club.
 
“We call on Congress and President Obama to reject these tactics and the blatant use of
earmarks to propel this poorly conceived and enormously costly project forward. Here’s a budget
savings, cut this $300 million project and help the environment at the same time,” said Jane
Nogaki of New Jersey Environmental Federation.
 
“These tactics by Republicans and Democrats alike is just one more example of putting
special interest pork over the needs of the people and the planet,” said Paul Schwartz, National
Policy Coordinator for Clean Water Action. “Scare tax dollars should go towards projects that
will help not hurt our communities.”
 
“The State of Delaware denied the project’s permit on July 24, 2009 based on wideranging
and poorly analyzed risks to human health, the environment, and outstanding economic
questions. Most recently the National Marine Fisheries Service identified the project as a major
threat to Atlantic Sturgeon, a species soon to be listed as endangered which used to generate over
$16 million of economic benefit (worth over $400 million in present day dollars) to the region,”
said Brenna Goggin, of Delaware Nature Society.
 
The FY2011 Omnibus Appropriations bill is expected to be voted in the Senate in the
coming days.
####

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THE EDUKATORS and German Film Making


Last night I watched The Edukators using my Roku to stream it from Netflix.

I don't usually do product links but the Roku has completely changed my viewing habits. We're disconnecting from cable TV (at $70 a month) and amending our Netflix account to streaming only and adding HuluPlus (each service $7.99a month) and will save over $50 a month and have more programming options. We'll also be out of the plastic and paper stream through the mails.

I try and watch several German movies each week, as part of my effort to master the language. I'm finding German film making much more appealing and entertaining than Hollywood fare. For one thing, Germans are not afraid to make movies about real people doing radical things. The Edukators certainly fit that bill.

The four main actors do a brilliant job. At one of those most tense moments in the action, I jumped up from my chair and spoke aloud to the screen: "Get out! Get out now!" I never talk to movies. I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. But I became totally caught up in the story, and the lives of the charming young people in this story. (ADDED EDIT: A big shout out to director Hans Weingartner is also in order.)

As the story progressed, my expectations of where it was going were repeatedly mistaken. Yours will be, too, if you watch it. Want a radical political thriller (without shoot em ups)? Watch The Edukators.

On a further note, another chapter of Broadway Vampire was posted today. It's FREE!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Obama's record so far, for the record

Ismael Reed defended President Obama on the Sunday NY Times Op Ed page with an attack on "white progressives" that seems to imply racism is at the heart of dissatisfaction with the President. I'm white and I used to consider myself a progressive. However, I'm not sure that term means anything anymore. It's been co-opted by the media elite.

Here are most of the reasons I'm not happy with the President. Feel free to add your own reasons why you are happy or unhappy with the Obama administration in the comments section.

War in Afghanistan escalated at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars daily.
Number of mercenaries paid $250,000 a year doubled.
In two years number of American troop deaths in Afghanistan more than doubled from the previous seven years.
Appointment of a cabinet of political hacks instead of people with fresh ideas.
Continuation of the "Burn it and we will profit" energy policy benefiting the elite.
Near-total capitulation to the medical-industrial complex without negotiations during health insurance expansion.
Continuation of the Patriot Act, wiretapping, surveillance of citizens' emails.
Covering up amount of oil spilled by BP during the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Allowing use of a destructive dispersant during Gulf disaster.
Two years into Obama's term, the ACTUAL unemployment rate is still more than 18%.
Don't Ask Don't Tell intact for the foreseeable future.
Attack on WikiLeaks.
Tax cuts for billionaires.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FRACKED AGAIN!

Today the Delaware River Basin commission issued proposed regulations for hydrofracking. The commission is only allowing 90 days of comments, with 3 public meetings in February -- the month most likely to present weather problems for those wishing to attend. I will rant further about this in the future. Right now, I turn this blog over to Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper:

Delaware River Basin Commission Issues Draft Natural Gas Regulations
Public Comment Period set through March 16, 2011
      West Trenton, New Jersey -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued draft natural gas rules for the Delaware River Basin today, December 9.  The draft rules have been posted on their website with a fact sheet at http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/notice_naturalgas-draftregs.htm   
 
            A public comment period of 90 days will close 5:00 pm, March 16 2011. Three public hearings are planned, expected to be held in February; the locations and dates are to be announced.
 
            The proposed public comment process was criticized by the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum.  “The public is deeply concerned about this issue.  For the DRBC to offer a brief 90 day comment period on these complex proposed regulations that will require highly technical analysis and science-based review, is an insult,” said Maya van Rossum.  “There is deep interest in the impacts of gas drilling in the Watershed and people want to submit substantive comments that will take time to develop. This is simply not enough time to do that.  We need at least 120 days but, in reality, a year is more like it”, said van Rossum.  “And there needs to be broad input from various geographic areas since every corner of the Watershed will be impacted in some way.  Each of the four Basin states should host a Public Hearing and the major population areas like Philadelphia and New York City, both dependent on the Delaware River for water supply, deserve to be heard at a Hearing located in their cities,” concluded van Rossum.
 
            The DRBC issuance of the draft rules was objected to at the meeting by Commissioner Mark Klotz from New York who represents Governor Paterson.  Governor Paterson filed a letter with the DRBC on December 6 requesting the rules not be issued until New York had completed its environmental review of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas in shale formations in New York State.
 
            The DRBC action is being taken prior to the issuance of a cumulative impact assessment of gas drilling on the Delaware River Watershed, which is expected to be funded by the federal government in the coming weeks.  The issuance is also done over registered objections from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NYC Council, Philadelphia City Council, NY Congressman Maurice Hinchey, numerous environmental and conservation organizations, hundreds of individuals who have attended and spoken on the record at DRBC public meetings  and at least 8000 written comments submitted by the public.
 
            "It's a grave mistake for the DRBC to rush forward with half-baked regulations before the needed scientific analysis is done through a cumulative impact analysis", said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
 
            "The cumulative impact assessment that the federal government will be funding in the coming weeks needs to be done in order to inform the gas rules. Without this informed and science-based approach, the DRBC doesn’t have the information to develop comprehensive and effective regulations that are designed to prevent pollution and avoid degradation.  We’ll be continuing to fight for that study to be done before regulations are finalized”, said Carluccio. 
 
            15 million people rely on the Delaware River for water, including at least 7 million residents in New York City, 1.5 million in Philadelphia and 2.8 million in New Jersey. The Delaware River is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River, recognized by Congress due to its outstanding natural features. The DRBC has classified the entire nontidal River, from Hancock NY to Trenton, New Jersey, as Special Protection Waters based on its exceptional water quality.  The DRBC’s Special Protection Waters program mandates an anti-degradation approach.  This means that strict regulations are required for to all activities that could have substantial impacts on the water resources of the Basin to prevent any degradation of the existing high qualities of the River. 
 
For more information on gas drilling go to www.delawareriverkeeper.org
###

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BROADWAY VAMPIRE Chapter 13

Today I posted Chapter 13 in the serial version of my novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE.

I'm still waiting for someone to comment on the inside joke that runs through the entire book.

Happy reading!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Elaine R.I.P.

This is a difficult post to write. Elaine Kaufman passed away last week. I posted a notice on my Face Book page at the time and mulled over what I would write about this great New York character.

Elaine's was the place where I used to go fairly regularly in the 1980s. She always donated a case of wine, as a raffle prize, to any benefit for which I was a committee member.

Then I gave up living in the city due to losing my home/apartment when the landlord died and the heirs got greedy. Ancient history.

Whenever I was in Manhattan, I still made a bee line for Elaine's. She always had time for me (even though I'm the unknown playwright -- to her I was a writer, which was important to Elaine). When I was out of town for long periods of time -- which incidence increased of late, as the economy worsened -- we stayed in touch by mail.

Elaine is a character in my novel, and lots of scenes are set in her saloon. (I recently discovered that Stuart Woods sets lots of scenes in Elaine's in his novels, too; though his sell books lots more than mine, for sure.) Did I do Elaine justice in the book? Probably not.

The last time I saw Elaine was in her place shortly before Halloween. Just like the vampire in my novel, I'd polished off a bottle of Veuve Cliquot with some friends while the Yanks were getting eliminated from the post season. Elaine waved me over to her table. It was clear her strength was waning. We talked a bit. She told me she had taken my book home to read, and enjoyed it very much.     

I gave her a kiss and said goodbye.

R.I.P. Elaine Kaufman. There will never be another.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WikiLuck

With idiots like Chuck Todd of NBC and MSNBC talking about Senator Tom Coburn's goatee, and trying to pass it off as news, WikiLeaks clearly becomes a blessing. We no longer get genuine news from the network "news" pimps like Todd and the ever-bubbly CNN media slut Kyra Phillips.

Phillips, almost no one recalls, was a total corporate whore during the run up to the Iraq war. When Scott Ritter -- the man who actually oversaw the dismantling of Iraq's weapons programs during the 1990s, as head of the UN weapons inspectors -- went on Phillips' completely forgettable show on MSNBC as the media cheered for the start of the Iraq war.

The former US Marine intelligence officer stated unequivocally during the Phillips interview that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that it was impossible for Hussein to have rebuilt his programs that quickly after Ritter and his teams destroyed them. Phillips response? "It sounds to me like you've been drinking Saddam Hussein's Kool Aid." This from an idiot who never served this country other than to screw and squirm her way up the corporate "news" ladder.

Shortly after that exchange, Ritter was charged with attempted child molestation. Sound familiar? Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is now wanted for alleged sex crimes. Oddly, these charges are being promulgated by a Swedish prosecutor who already said there is no merit to the charges when they first were proffered, then dropped.

Strange isn't it? Obama wins the Nobel Peace prize and turns total war monger. WikiLeaks and Assange release info that delineates possible war crimes, at worst, and crappy leadership on the part of Bush, Obama and all their henchmen in the Pentagon and the military industrial Congressional complex, at best. For this, he gets persecuted in the home country of the Nobel Prize.

I wish the guy lots of luck.He will need it.