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Friday, December 30, 2011

A Thought for 2012

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito." -The Dalai Lama

Saturday, December 24, 2011

R.I.P. Dad

Cornelius M. DiLauro (1921 -2011) Aviator, farmer, father of 12, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away Saturday December 24 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by members of his family at home in Sarasota, Florida.

He grew up in upstate New York on a fruit farm, the son of Italian immigrants. In the Second World War, he flew a P-38 Lightning fighter plane in the North Africa and Italian campaigns. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and the Purple Heart.

He often told the story of how, after he was shot at the poker table in a tent when a German plane strafed his airfield, he was in the triage tent for almost 3 weeks with a .50 caliber machine gun bullet in his gut. There were initials found scratched on the bullet when finally it was removed – the initials of the surgeon..

After the war he worked at odd jobs and for awhile promoted Dixieland jazz concerts at the local grange. Eventually, he joined Capitol Airlines, which became part of United Airlines, as a pilot. In January 1949 he married Ellen Ferrin, who survives him. This writer, born in January 1950, was their first child.

Cornelius DiLauro carried on the family tradition of fruit farming by planting 60 acres of cherry, peach and apple trees with his sons and brothers, outside Albion, NY during the 1950s. Due to his job he moved to Clinton Township, New Jersey, in the 1960s, where he grew raspberries on 17 acres.

He will always be remembered for his wit, sense of humor, and toughness in the face of any and all adversity. He was affectionately known as Corny by friends and family. He is survived by, in addition to my mother, 9 children, several grandchildren, and a great-grand-daughter. R.I.P., Dad. Love you. See you on the other side.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Tribute To Horowitz: Lola Astanova, Piano Debut

A Tribute To Horowitz: Lola Astanova, Piano Debut

Benefit Concert for American Cancer Society
Donald J. Trump, Gala Chairman
Julie Andrews, Special Guest Artist Host
Thursday, January, 19, 2012- 8pm

New York, NY – On Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 8:00pm, piano virtuoso Lola Astanova makes her Carnegie Hall debut in “A Tribute to Horowitz” performing the works of Chopin, Scriabin and Rachmaninov at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage.
The evening is a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The gala chairman is Donald Trump. Julie Andrews will appear as the special guest artist host to introduce Ms. Astanova on stage. The event is being executive produced by Misha Levintas and sponsored by Tiffany & Co. Tickets for $100 – 20 are available at the Carnegie Hall Box office, Carnegie Charge 212-247-7800, Further information at
As you might imagine, for a young piano virtuoso from Russia, now a U.S. citizen residing in Manhattan, this evening is an astounding milestone in Ms. Astanova’s career. Lola is a mashup of a classically trained piano virtuoso and a modern musician who uses her 2.5 million You Tube views and Twitter to reach her fans.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Message from the Delaware Riverkeeper

Clean Water: A Priceless Gift that Future Generations Will Thank You For

Healthy rivers are the lifeblood that sustains healthy communities. The protection of our rivers should be a top priority for us all. But rather than making the protection of our rivers a priority, there are those who would take advantage of our public waters for personal profit. They hire high-priced lawyers to find new ways around already weakened environmental laws. They hire “experts” willing to dispute established science. They tell us we must choose between the environment our children will inherit and the economy.

In truth, protected environments are an investment in a sustainable and nourishing future.  We documented this in our River Values report. We’re not stopping there; the Delaware Riverkeeper Network is working to make sure agencies charged with protecting the environment are doing their jobs. We go to court to enforce environmental laws when they don’t. And we train citizen scientists to help monitor the watershed when the agencies aren’t watching.

But we need your help. I am turning to you today to ask you to invest in the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. We need your help to raise $100,000 before the end of the year to ensure that the Delaware Riverkeeper Network remains the strong advocacy organization that the River and the communities that depend upon it need.

Your donation will give you the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting the only grassroots river advocacy organization operating throughout the 13,539 square miles of the Delaware River watershed.  Your contribution is critical to the number of threats to the River we will be able to take on as we moveinto 2012. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network is a not for profit organization entitled to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.  Your generous gift will be deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Make your secure donation online at Please give as generously as you can afford.

Thank you for investing in the Delaware Riverkeeper Network now so that future generations may have the priceless gift of clean water.

Maya K. van Rossum
the Delaware Riverkeeper

George Whitman Remembered by Eddie Woods

I received the following missive from the poet and international litterateur Eddie Woods in Amsterdam this morning and have re-posted it with his permission:


Anyone who manages to survive as long and wonderfully as George Whitman did,
surely deserves more than a mere RIP when they pass on.

George, the iconic proprietor of Paris’ legendary Shakespeare & Co. bookshop,
died yesterday just two days after celebrating his 98th birthday!

Here’s the Guardian’s obituary:

And for those of you who have not yet read it,
here is the story I wrote about my experiences with George,
as published in the online magazine Parisiana:
“A Place to Change Trains”

Along with my condolences to his lovely daughter Sylvia,
and his very many close friends,
there’s nothing else to say other than:
Bon voyage, mon ami.
When the good Lord made thee,
he certainly did break the proverbial mold!



Shakespeare & Co. website

Eddie Woods website

Inside Shakespeare & Co.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Mele Kalikimaka" songwriter video

R. Alex Anderson -- songwriter who composed "Mele Kalikimaka" and "Lovely Hula Hands".

And here's Bing's version:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gifts Made in America

I just watched a segment on Dylan Ratigan's show and they were lamenting a deficit of Christmas gift items made in America. BUY A BOOK!

Buy my books on Amazon. (click here) The books are printed in South Carolina. Amazon is an American company.. (Yes, There are Kindle editions around the planet, too, thanks to Amazon.)

Do e-readers so command the attention of the media elite and hip youth that no one even mentions books anymore? Most books are printed and manufactured in America. Some people still read them.

Books make great gifts. Think how rare they will someday be.


The Bookstore Speakeasy tonight

Friday, December 9, The Bookstore Speakeasy

Ginseng Roots Trio
9pm - 1 am
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015-1661

(610) 867-1100

Uke Jackson on ukulele, vocals, and the Grand Contraption
Johnny Peppers on saxophones
David Winograd on tuba and bass fiddle

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Save the Delaware River!

Over 20 Groups Petition PA Dept of Environmental Protection for a Regional Upgrade of the Delaware River and Tributaries
to Exceptional Value Status
12/8/11, Bristol, PA – Delaware Riverkeeper Network, American Rivers, Clean Water Action, Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited and over twenty local, state, and national organizations are submitting a regional stream upgrade petition to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to urge the Commonwealth to redesignate the Upper and Middle Delaware River and all tributary streams flowing into the River in these reaches on the Pennsylvania side to “Exceptional Value” status.  This designation is reserved for the cleanest streams of the Commonwealth and only about 4% or 3,076 miles of Pennsylvania’s 86,000 miles of streams have received this designation (2009 data).  Many of the streams of the proposed upgrade area have High Quality designation because of the clean streams in this region. The petitioners are submitting a 70-plus page petition that highlights water quality data from agency and non-agency sources and other qualifiers that they say, make this watershed deserving of an upgrade to Exceptional Value - the highest designation available to Pennsylvania streams.  With this designation should come stronger protections to ensure this region’s water quality does not degrade in health over time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December Gigs

NOTE: Yesterday evening, after posting this, another gig came in -- for Christmas Eve. Still waiting and hoping some classy rich folks to decide they want live music on New Year's Eve.

So far on New Year's Eve, we have an early evening one hour gig for the full band at a senior living community in New Jersey. If you know anyone craving some New Orleans jazz and blues while bringing in the New Year, we'll be all dressed up and ready to swing!

Meanwhile, here are the gigs that we DO have booked this month:

Friday, December 9, The Bookstore Speakeasy

Ginseng Roots Trio
Uke Jackson on reso uke and vocals

Johnny Peppers on saxophones
David Winograd on tuba and string bass

9pm - 1 am
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015-1661

(610) 867-1100

Friday, December 16, Porter's Pub

Ginseng Roots Band
Uke Jackson on reso uke and vocals

Johnny Peppers on saxophones
Pete Reichlin on tuba, electric bass, and trombone
with special guests
Arlene Schar on fiddle
Chris Centrella on washboard

9 pm - Midnight

Porter's Pub
700 Northampton Street
Easton PA

Saturday, December 24, The Bookstore Speakeasy

Ginseng Roots Trio
9pm - 1 am
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015-1661

(610) 867-1100

Friday, December 2, 2011

R.I.P. Bill Tapia

The planet's oldest touring musician has left the building. Bill Tapia passed away peacefully in his sleep last night at the age of 103.Thanks for the music!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Moon of Innocence -- published

The Moon of Innocence a new novel by Uke Jackson is now published.

You can order it in Kindle format for $3.99  to read on your Kindle, your smartphone, your laptop, your iPad or other tablet:

You can order it in paperback:for $9.99:

You can read it for FREE as a 50 week blog serial:

As always, the green links are for clicking, not golf.

Here's a description of the book:

Friday, November 18, 2011


Great news from the Delaware Riverkeeper:

Turning Point in the Delaware River Watershed
Against Gas Drilling and Fracking
Delaware River Basin Commission CANCELS Special Meeting
Governor Jack Markell of Delaware Announces Opposition 

            Wilmington, DEThe Delaware River Basin Commission has cancelled the special meeting set for Monday November 21 they had scheduled to vote on opening the Delaware River Watershed for gas drilling and fracking.  The dominoes began to fall when Governor Jack Markell announced that Delaware would vote against the plan to allow gas development to commence in the Delaware River Watershed.  New York had earlier stated that they were voting “NO” on the proposal.  Apparently, the Commission did not feel they had the three votes needed to move the proposal forward, cancelling the use of the War Memorial Theater for Monday. 

            Members of the public who opposed the adoption of the proposed natural gas development regulations praised Governor Markell for putting science above politics and listening to tens of thousands of people who have said “Don’t Drill the Delaware”.  They also cheered the cancellation of the meeting and heralded the news as the first step towards killing the plan to allow drilling and fracking for natural gas in the sensitive Delaware River Watershed, water supply for 15 million people and a National Wild and Scenic River. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Plexus is Back in Town

Last night in the Music Deparmet of NYU, John Gilbert hosted a celebration of the great Sandro Dernini's new book about the Plexus art movement of the 1980s. The title is Art Slavery from the Plexus Eighties and it is an illustrated catalog of photographs from Plexus events from around the world.

It is worth noting that until now, Plexus has remained ignored by the art and performance world's "official gatekeepers" (read elitists). The reason for this is that Plexus was open to any artist who showed up to participate. We opposed the elitist attitude that established an "art market" hierarchy dominated by the elitists for the elitists. We were a community-based effort to make art accessible and open to all.

In those days, The Unknown Playwright was the impresario and dramaturge fror Plexus. Several of my early posts on this blog were about Sandro and Plexus. Anyway, lots of old friends and colleagues showed up Here are some fun shots from this blog's resident cartographer and photographer Mike Anton.  

As always, the green links are for clicking, not golf.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The Unknown Playwright is currently in Hollywood (Florida). However, on the morrow he returns North and he will join the inimitable JJ Peppers on Friday night at the Hunters Lodge on Route 46 in Knowlton Township, NJ.

Working Class Bohemians

Hunters Lodge
 9pm - Midnite

Route 46 Knowlton Township, NJ

Friday, November 11, 2011

Startling (Horrifying?) Realization

It took coming back to south Florida to see the whole picture.

After the line up of clowns running for the Republican presdiential nomination have shot themselves in their respective feet,  the wildly unpredictable Tea Baggers may very well split the primaries to the point where the convention opens deadlocked. A "true conservative" is drafted in a series of backroom deals. He is presented to the convention and wins the nomination by overwhelming popular acclaim. His coffers and those of the superpacs supporting him are immediately overflowing with double the incumbent's touted billion dollar campaign fund. The Republican nominee goes on to defeat Obama easily. In 2013, the world witnesses the inauguration of President Jeb Bush.


On Vacation

The Unknown Playwright is on vacation in South Florida, relaxing af6ter finishing his new novel "The Moon of Innocents". Regular posting resumes November 18.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bookstore Speakeasy Tonight

Friday, November 4, The Bookstore Speakeasy

Ginseng Roots Trio
9pm - 1 am
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015-1661

Thursday, November 3, 2011

General Strike blog reactivated

In 2009, when it became obvious that Obama's campaign rhetoric was more cheap lying from a hack politician, I started a blog to promote the formation of a General Strike Committee. That did not go very far as an idea, or a blog. However, now I am reactivating it. If there are any readers who support the idea of a general strike across America, and you would like to post on this blog, please let me know.

Meanwhile, most of my political ranting not related to the arts will be posted on the General Strike blog:

Representative Paul Ryan -- lying piece of crap

Morning Joe has Rep. Paul Ryan of Minnesota as a guest today. He was denouncing crony capitalism. Who is his second biggest contributor of campaign cash? Goldman Sachs. "Securities and investment" is the second biggest industry source of money contributions. Crony capitalists are among his biggest contributors and we're supposed to believe he will rein them in. Hah!

The bloviators on the show are saying nothing to challenge the guy on this. He's still on. With all their Blackberries and laptops, they could have fact checked this lying piece of crap. I did.

No one in public office anywhere deserves to be re-elected. The standard of truth in American politics is -- "Say whatever you like. The media will only challenge you on something if there's sex involved."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Video from SteelStacks gig

So, last week we played at the Bethlehem SteelStacks cultural center. Bob Peruzzi sat in on trombone for several tunes. You can see him in this video. Also, JJ Peppers on sax and Jim Daniels on tuba.

I look like a damn zombie thanks to the lighting (or maybe I really do look like a zombie) but it was Halloween weekend, so it sort of works. The video quality is so-so, at best; the sound quality less so. Still, it's kind of fun to watch.

From the Dept of Random Thoughts

Banking is theft, not business.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Love This Idea

Do it!

Broadway Vampire 60 Week Blog Serial Complete

Chapter 60 and the Epilogue of my novel Broadway Vampire was posted in honor of Halloween. That's it. That's the whole thing.

Happy Halloween!

The Moon of Innocence -- my new novel

Ok. Last week I finished my new novel The Moon of Innocence and the inimitable Chaz deBourbon came up with this for a cover. We may tweak it, but I love it.

The Moon of Innocence is a story of love and murder set among the peasants of Catalonia under Franco circa 1963 The moped is a large element of the story. Chaz chose to put Franco's flag on the gas tank and the flag of Catalonia on the chain guard.

More soon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snowmagedden -- Porter's Pub gig Canceled

Trees down. Roads impassable. Half of Easton, PA is now without power, including Porter's Pub, according to reliable sources. And so, Uke and the band will not be appearing to0night. Stay warm.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gigs This Weekend -- Oct 28, 29

Friday, October 28, ArtsQuest at the SteelStacks

Ginseng Roots Trio -- Uke Jackson, JJ Peppers, and Jim Daniels

8pm - 11 pm

101 Founders Way
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 332-1300

Saturday, October 29, Porter’s Pub

Ginseng Roots Band

Uke Jackson, JJ Peppers, Mike Green, Pete Reichlin, Scott Hartley

10 pm – 1 am

Porter’s Pub
700 Northampton Street
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-6561

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shallow Graves by Goat Carson

Okay, so I really enjoyed this book, despite one quibble -- which I'll get to. Shallow Graves is a tour de force of language and storytelling. It's full of colorful images and similes that seem to roll off the tongues of southerners, and Texans in particular. It was written by Grammy-winning songwriter Rev. Goat Carson.

This retelling of the Parsifal story -- Percival, from King Arthur's Round Table, and the quest for the Holy Grail -- is rife with occult imagery and social commentary, while being a rollicking good story. It is set in Hollywood and the Hamptons during the 1970s. The Satanic rituals described  reminded this reader of scenes in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

Here's the thing -- anyone who was around during the 1970s might find this tale plausible, rather than fiction. There was a lot of weird stuff going on back then -- who remembers Andrew Crispo? --  and that was certainly the time when the suits in media began to do away with any idea of redeeming social value in their presentations. When I mentioned the book and its premise to a friend in the business, he said "There's probably more truth to that idea than any of us want to admit. In the 1970s, there was a battle between good and evil in television. Evil won."

In Shallow Graves, the machinations of the Satanic covens are thwarted by Masonic overlords protecting a descendant of Jesus. In reality, well, turn on your television.

Okay, so here is my one quibble with the book. There are so many simple typos throughout that it became aggravating at times. The word "off" does not appear in the book once -- it is always "of". Likewise, "It" or "In" at the beginning of sentences as often as not, it seems, appears as "I". There are some others. None of them are truly egregious, and the story always moves right along. However, if the author paid for proofreading services, he should get his money back.

That said, Shallow Graves is a great read, a real page turner told by a rip-roaring storyteller. It is literate, provocative and compelling. Get yourself a copy and settle in for a first rate read.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and With a Paintbrush Sticking Out of His Ass

So yesterday The Unknown Playwright visited Manhattan to bid adieu to his old pal Stu Goodman. Stu produced the GM Mark of Excellence production of my play "Avenue Z Afternoon" back in the '90s. He's done lots more, of course, including exec producing the A&E series "Manhunters." Stu and his wife Shelley are moving to South Florida.

Stu and I figured it out yesterday over lunch that we have been friends for almost 30 of the 40 years he lived in the Upper West Side apartment he's now giving up. The end of an era,. He'll be back, for sure and often. He's producing an Off Broadway children's musical.

After lunch The Unknown Playwright jumped on the 2 train and went down to Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park and sat in on a Think Tank meeting about the goals / demands of the OWS movement. I put forth the idea that the 1% basically lives off the debt of the 99% and that eliminating / forgiving all debt everywhere, and declaring a hiatus / moratorium on all lending and borrowing for one year would completely change the social dynamic. The stranglehold of the 1 % would be broken.

My remarks included the idea that, while the greed meisters of Wall St will tell you that America has been nothing but a business / corporate proposition since the Hudson Bay company, the fact is that America started in Philadelphia -- a city founded the the principles of tolerance and  brotherly love.

Delaware Riverkeeper Resigns From Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission

Delaware Riverkeeper Resigns
From Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission
10/20/11, Bristol, PA – Days before the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission is scheduled to release its final report and recommendations, Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, resigned from her post as a Commissioner for the group.
“While the final report will contain a number of good recommendations for reforming regulations needed to protect communities from the ravages of shale gas drilling, the Citizens Commission came up short in important ways including – it didn’t notice and implement its 5 statewide hearings so as to ensure full participation by all citizens who wanted to speak to the gas drilling issue; and it failed to give voice to the clear message and need that resulted from hearing testimony that there should be a stay on gas drilling until identified minimum protections for public health and the environment are first achieved,”  said Maya van Rossum.  “In the final analysis, the Commission’s leadership insisted on what they deemed a politically palatable report, rather than one which fully served to seek protections from known harms and informational deficiencies associated with shale gas development,” van Rossum said.  
“The failure to articulate a need for a moratorium on further drilling and/or drilling permits until needed protections were put in place and needed studies to inform those regulations are done was a conscious oversight.  The lack of publicity over the hearings needed to ensure citizen awareness of the opportunity to speak out on this important issue was another major short coming,” said van Rossum.
van Rossum continues:  “The Delaware Riverkeeper Network has worked for over 4 years to protect communities and their waterways from shale gas extraction.  A current moratorium on drilling in the Delaware Watershed has remained in effect for over two and a half years even with pressure from drillers who have leased large swaths of the Basin. Why should the Delaware River enjoy a stay/moratorium on drilling while other areas of Pennsylvania are allowed to be sacrificed, especially in light of the science and expert opinion showing irreparable harm where gas development is occurring, that the technology is inherently polluting, and that current regulations are not protecting Pennsylvanians?  All Pennsylvanians deserve protection from the ravages of gas drilling. The moratorium in the Delaware Basin has been supported by tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians in written and spoken comments.  PA legislators including Rep.Vitali, Rep Quinn, Rep Cohen, Rep Freeman, Rep. Payton, Rep O’Brien, Rep Miccozzie, Rep Curry, and Rep Santarsiero submitted comment to the DRBC requesting a hold on drilling until full environmental reviews are done.  Just last week Philadelphia City Council members unanimously voted to join a lawsuit led by Delaware Riverkeeper Network to compel DRBC to do a comprehensive environmental review before drilling is allowed to proceed in the basin.  With all of these facts and such widespread support for the moratorium concept, including from those that testified before the Citizens Commission, how can the Commission say a stay is not palatable? With what we heard from those that did participate in the hearings, myself and my organization simply could not condone or support these major failings,” van Rossum concluded. 
The Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission was first announced August 30, 2011, and held 5 hearings in September, the first held on just one day after public announcement of the Commission in the Pittsburgh area.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Greece and

Workers in Greece have launched a 2-day general strike.The problem is that the government of Greece and the European Union have decided to take away pensions and health benefits and lower wages and give the savings to the bankers. Is that insane or what?

Well, it's happening here, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street suggestion

The protestors might want to consider painting signs of economic and political defiance on their tents and tarps to receive First Amendment protections.

That would get Bloomberg's panties in a twist.

What's Really Wrong with "Anonymous"

Edward De Vere did NOT write Shakespeare's play. For one thing, he died years before a dozen or so of the plays were written. For 3 decades, since it first came to my attention, I've railed against this theory for the blatant plutocratic resentment that it is.

Edward De Vere as the author of Shakespeare's plays fits right in with the current state of American culture, which began under Reagan, where the Ivy League elite dominate with mediocrity and money. It's easy for the upper class to believe that nothing good could have come from a working class bohemian like Shakespeare. However, just because one is wealthy that doesn't make their self-serving, narcissistic delusions reality. What's next? Did the Duc d'Orleans write Moliere's plays?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ukulele Land -- now live! has honored me by publishing an electronic version of the book and lyrics for my musical comedy (music by Terry Waldo) Ukulele Land.

I've not been a huge fan of reading on a computer screen, but the clarity of the format offered here is very easy on the eyes. And it's easy on the budget. $1.29 (of which $1 goes to the author)  to read Ukulele Land.