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Friday, December 28, 2012

Uke Jackson's $5 New Year's Eve Bash!

Uke Jackson

New Year's Eve Bash

Hotel Bethlehem
Downtown Bethlehem PA
437 Main Street,
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018


Uke Jackson's Ginseng Roots Band
from 10 pm - 1 am

$5 Admission    Cash Bar

Join us on New Year's Eve for a memorable end to 2012
and a musical beginning to 2013.
If you want to have dinner before the music, please call 610-625-5000. Everything is fully booked for dinner before our 10 pm show. However, if you call in advance and ask for a restaurant reservation, and you mention that you are on Uke Jackson's mailing list, they promise to get you a table.

No reservations are required to come in for the music and party. There is a $5 cover charge and it's a cash bar. It's going to be an amazing celebration and we really hope you will join us.

Band members are:
Uke Jackson on vox and silver ukulele
Johnny Peppers on soprano, bass and contrabass saxophones, and bass clarinet
Tuba Pete Reichlin on tuba and trombone
Lenny Pucciatti on percussion.
Some of our stellar jazz musician friends may come by to sit in, as well.

So please join us and ring in 2013 with live music and great people.

Thank you and Happy New Year!
Uke Jackson

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Andrew Cuomo says "Frack your drinking water"


It seems the Cuomo Administration is unwilling or unable to get even the simplest things right when it comes to fracking. It shouldn't be that hard; first you assess the environmental and health risks, then you write regulations to minimize the harm. That's the way it's supposed to work; but that's not the way it is in Andy's Albany.
Although The DEC still hasn't completed its environmental review, and outside experts haven't publicly released their comments on health impacts, Cuomo went ahead and issued draft fracking regulations on December 12th, thereby triggering a thirty-day public comment period that just so happens to coincide with the holiday season.
What's wrong with the regs? Plenty. We've prepared a number of letters that highlight some of the major flaws. Please take a minute or two to submit each one; we'll print them out and mail them in on the very last day of the public comment period. Our goal? To bury Albany in a blizzard of paper on January 11th.

Don't stop now! Our friends at GRASSROOTS Environmental Education have created a wonderful present for us all – 30 Days of Fracking Regs, which is designed to help concerned citizens submit a “comment a day” during the month long public comment period. For information on how to write your own comments, see NY Fracking Regulations.
Is your organization signed onto the American Clean Energy Agenda Contact for more information.

Please share this Update link, cut and paste to Facebook and Twitter: 
For more information email or call (845) 468 7063

Two out of three people who find out about fracking think the risks aren't worth the rewards.
Public awareness is the key to our success, so spread the word!
Please donate to Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Uke Jackson's Big Bottom Holidaze

Since my band is getting booked mostly as a trio in the winter months, we've decided to give the trio a name: Uke Jackson's Big Bottom Band. It's me on resophonic ukulele/vox, JJ Peppers on Bass sax and Pete Reichlin on bass. "Two bass instruments in a trip?" you ask. Yes indeed. And hence the "Big Bottom".

And to start things off with a bang, so to speak, we're playing every Thursday at our favorite 1920s theme night club / restaurant -- The Bookstore Speakeasy, where the food is always delicious and the selection of exotic drinks and great beers is exceptional. Reservations strongly advised.

Looking for stocking stuffers? Please check out my books and ebooks on Amazon:

Using an ereader that's NOT a Kindle? So far 3 of my books have been formatted to suit other ereaders. Please check 'em out on More coming in 2013!

Books make great gifts. Thank you for a great 2012! Happy Holidaze!
Uke Jackson

Monday, December 3, 2012

Are NEA Literary Fellowships Unconstitutional?

What Would Mark Twain Say?
By Uke Jackson

On November 30, 2012, the 177th anniversary of Mark Twain’s birth, the National Endowment for the Arts posted the eligibility requirements for applying for a tax-payer funded NEA Literary Fellowship. I’m not eligible but that puts me in good company. Mark Twain could not have applied either.
                You see, Mark Twain was a self-published author. Twain, as Sam Clemens, ran his own publishing enterprise and paid to have his books printed. Either and both of these facts would have left him out in the cold as far as today’s federal grant-making bureaucracy.
        Today, there’s a pretty good chance the old man from Hannibal would have whole-heartedly embraced the technologies for self publishing such as Amazon’s KDP platform and CreateSpace. However, using these innovations disqualifies writers from applying for an NEA Literary Fellowship.
                The bureaucrats at the NEA are not Luddites by any means, though. Applications are only accepted online and the NEA arbiters of literature will not accept hard copy anything from applicants. Some might say the reason for these restrictive eligibility requirements are the overwhelming numbers of individuals availing themselves of the new technologies.
       Isn’t that tantamount to saying the NEA cannot do its job without being elitist or anti-democratic? It’s interesting to note that any author published by Simon & Schuster or Penguin also should be disqualified, as both those companies have started divisions which will publish authors who pay to bring out their books. Will the NEA make exceptions for authors bound by contract to these corporate entities?
       With hundreds of thousands of authors choosing to bypass the traditional gatekeepers, and with ongoing negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff, the NEA Literature bureaucrats are treading awfully close to the edge. As word of their egregious and undemocratic approach to awarding tax payer money spreads, the vast number of indie authors who are also taxpayers may choose to make a ruckus, and rightfully so.
       The NEA has long been a bugaboo for Republicans. Democrats could win the current round of negotiations by throwing the entire NEA under the bus. It would be the sort of symbolic gesture (the $146 million overall annual NEA budget is minuscule in Federal terms) that would allow Republicans to save face and take home a butchered sacrificial lamb. That would be a damn shame.
       The NEA supports all sorts of great programs, including music education efforts, small museums, and historic buildings and neighborhoods, as well as cultural institutions like symphony orchestras, operas, and  regional theaters. Yet, as word of the NEA’s elitist approach to dispensing writers’ fellowships spreads, the potential hue and cry from a very verbal constituency could be devastating to the entire agency.
       The NEA has no business carrying water for corporations and academe. Frankly, their eligibility requirements for creative writers smack of a violation of the Bill of Rights First Amendment prohibition against restricting freedom of the press. Corporations may be people under the law. But no one ever said they are the only people allowed to publish books with de facto government subsidy.
       With this past year dispensing twice as much money to artists as the NEA (keep in mind that NEA money often goes to administrators and other purposes as well as creatives), a good argument can be made for doing away with all Federal grants/fellowships for individuals in any creative discipline.
       The NEA Literary Fellowship administrators cannot be allowed to both embrace and reject 21st century technology just to make their jobs easier. Rocco Landesman, the outgoing NEA Chairperson, should suspend the NEA Literature Fellowships immediately. As currently restricted, they have no place in our constitutional democracy.