Monday, August 31, 2009

Bill Moyers On REAL TIME With Bill Maher

Bill Moyers visits REAL TIME with host Bill Maher, and talks about healthcare reform, the war in Afghanistan, and other subjects. Most revealing....and something Democrats might not want to Moyer's take on what is wrong with the Democratic Party. Perhaps a lack of spine?

Take a look at the interview, presented in Three parts, from last Friday's REAL TIME.

Consumer Alert: Job Scams

A segment on GOOD MORNING AMERICA exposing how some third party sites like "Google Money Tree" are tricking people into believing they are working for GOOGLE as online workers. Reported by Becky Worley and Tory Johnson, with Robin Roberts hosting. Click link below.

Consumer Alert: Job

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy; Six Degrees of Separation and Closing Thoughts

This photo shows my Dad with the late Senator Kennedy, probably during the 1980 Presidential campaign when my father was part of the New Jersey delegation to the Democratic National Convention in New York City.

The photo above has rested in my parents TV room for the last 29 years. There is a second photo of Teddy Kennedy and my father someplace, with the two standing side by side...but it seems the house may have eaten it.

Its been fairly obvious that I have done some mourning for the loss of this giant among statesmen. And I don't expect everyone to react to Senator Kennedy's passing in the same way that I did. But one thing I do find disturbing is the presence of "the haters"- those who look at the human failings Kennedy had, and cannot find it in their hearts to forgive him, and to move on.

Scripture tells us that Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of the early Christians. He was in instrumental in the arrest, trial, and execution of St. Stephen. Stephen was stoned to death by an angry mob. It is said that Saul "made havoc", and dragged many men and women off to prison. Saul was on the road to Damascus, allegedly to round up more Christians for more executions. Then he saw a bright light that blinded him.

Then he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said "Who are you Lord?" And the Lord said"I am Jesus whom you are persecuting."

(The Acts of The Apostles,9:4-5)

The accident at Chappaquiddick that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne might have been the blinding light, Ted Kennedy's road to Damascus. In a span of less than six years he had watched two of his older brothers murdered. I'm sure not a day went by from 1963 to 1969 where Kennedy didn't think that one day an attempt on his life would take place. Many in the nation thought that would happen. I was among those who believed that Ted Kennedy, too, would be murdered.

But after Chappaquiddick something happened to was as if the next 40 years were set to atone for that day. He stopped being the "Kennedy Cub", and began his ascent to becoming "the lion of the Senate".

Its just a thought I had about Kennedy among many these past few days. I could be right, I could be wrong.

Back to Saul of Tarsus for a second. After his blinding on the road to Damascus, he became a convert to Christianity. After he recovered his sight, he became known as Paul, and became the greatest evangelist of all time. Paul the Evangelist was a Jew who lived in a Greek city, Tarsus, and was a Roman citizen. You could say he was "multicultural". And he determined that a person didn't have to be a Jew to become a Christian- that premise opened up Christianity to the Hellenic and Roman worlds, as well as to Egyptians, Persians, and others. Had this not become doctrine Christianity might have remained a small Jewish sect. But this first Christian liberal changed the rules, and changed the world.

Its amazing what good Christian liberals can do when they set their mind and determination to something.

And Ted Kennedy, too, was a Christian liberal, who held on to his faith even though some saw his beliefs in conflict with the teachings of his church. But examine his body of work; the Americans With Disabilities Act, Project Head Start, the Military Child Care Act, the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Children's Health Act of 2000, the Project BioShield Act of 2003, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2005, the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

Or his sponsorship of the Family Medical Leave Act,the Pension Protection act of 2006, or his securing relief for the struggling fisherman of Massachusetts, the Civil Rights Commission Act of 1978 to protect the disabled,The Civil Rights Act For Institutionalized Persons to protect abuse to mentally disabled people, laws to give the physically disabled access to voting booths and public buildings.....and there is so much more.

So to the haters of Ted Kennedy, and to those pinheads who cheer his death....Ted Kennedy did more positive things to improve your life, and for that of your aged, young, or disabled loved ones than you could ever repay in a dozen lifetimes.

And to those who hear the words "liberal" or "Democrat" and think the words "Godless"...I didn't see any Godless liberals in Mission Church in Roxbury yesterday.

And neither did my former bishop, now the Bishop Emeritus of Washington, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, who officiated the burial service in Arlington. To add another wrinkle into this "Six Degrees of Separation" theme, my grandmother spent her last days in the McCarrick nursing facility, named in honor of Cardinal McCarrick's mother.

All the cliches are true. History does repeat and rewrite itself with different players. We are all six handshakes away from any other person on the planet.

And like Teddy Jr. said of his father...he showed us how to like Republicans; they love America as much as we do.

Just watching the spontaneous displays of affection for Kennedy from staffers on the Capitol steps, and from tourists and residents in Washington yesterday was indeed a small miracle, and a sight I will never forget. And in a strange way it was appropriate for the final minutes of the burial service to be held in the dark, unable to be shown to the outside world. Let those last precious minutes with all Ted's loved ones be with him one last time, in darkness, contemplation, and warmth, and in love.

Good bye sir....and God bless.

Some Thoughts on BEING HUMAN (Season One)

Last year HBO debuted a vampire series, True Blood, which I watched one episode of and decided to take a pass. Truth be told, I didn't buy the premise of the story, and found myself not really liking the characters. I just found it to be a strange hybrid between Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, DELIVERANCE, SWAMP THING, and all that was missing was the late Lowell George and LITTLE FEAT singing TRUCK STOP GIRL.

Now I love horror films, especially the Gothic horror stories, like the old Universal movies from the 1930's and 1940's, and the post World War II British HAMMER films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. I like a certain adherence to the "creep old castle in Transylvania" style, for lack of a better description. Francis Ford Coppola's BRAM STOKER"s DRACULA was one of the great horror films of the last 20 years, with layers of plot and story, a tragic romance, and sympathetic monster who was once a noble Christian warrior turned personification of evil...not unlike George Lucas' Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Dracula had charm, sophistication, and a sense that he was living a hell that was his own creation and wanted out, but to get out would only come with his ultimate destruction.

Coppola's DRACULA was my kind of horror movie....genuinely creepy, sad, romantic, horrific, funny, visually engrossing. The characters as portrayed by Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, and the great Anthony Hopkins made this film a new classic of the horror genre. I loved it.

Having said that, and laid out my criteria and benchmarks, I was laughing when I heard the premise of the BBC series Being Human. In this series a werewolf and a vampire who's trying to "dry out" become house mates in the UK. And to make this series an odd variation of THREE'S COMPANY (or MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE in the UK), this odd couple is joined by a third member....a beautiful young ghost who is inhabiting their apartment.

Sounds stupid doesn't it? Really idiotic.

But I loved it....and I became hooked.

And much of it had to do with the young actors in the lead roles, and the characters they play. The tall, dark, sexy John Mitchell (played by Aidan Turner) is a vampire who's decided to stop killing and try to blend in with his human neighbors. George (Russell Tovey) is his werewolf buddy. George is a nice guy, but socially awkward and childlike, who sounds like Stan Laurel when he gets upset and about to break into tears...he does tend to go to pieces at the drop of a hat. Mitchell and George are hospital porters in Bristol. The lovely ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow) is the resident of the house Mitchell and George are renting. At the beginning of the story she is heartsick because she's been separated from her fiancee Owen (GreggChillin) by her death. Owen is also the owner of the house, making him George and Mitchell's landlord. We find out later in the series that Annie's fatal fall down a flight of stairs was not an accident; Owen pushed her.

William Herrick (Jason Watkins) is a police sergeant- and a vampire who is over 100 years old who is the reason Mitchell is a vampire. He is the de facto leader of the brood of bloodsuckers in Bristol and has sworn to bring Mitchell back to the group. His henchman is the evil Seth (Dylan Brown), and Lauren (Annabel Scholey) is a victim of Mitchell in a moment of his weakness, bitten, killed, and turned into a vampire herself...and drawn into the formidable group of vampires in Bristol.

And then there is Nina (Sinead Keenan), a nurse who becomes romantically involved with the shy George, unaware of his secret.

In the past weeks of the series we have seen Lauren rip open the throat of a young woman who was out for a few drinks with Mitchell, George finding a fellow werewolf- and discovering that the new friend was beast responsible for turning him into a werewolf, and Annie meeting a fellow ghost who falls in love with her. Also, Annie finds out the truth of her murder by Owen- she exacts revenge ultimately by driving the bastard mad, and an incident where George and Mitchell are ostracized by their human community (who don't know their secrets) when they're mistakenly taken for pedophiles. Through it all there are some scares, some creepiness, and a surprising amount of laughs. Since Annie is a ghost she repeats activities she did in life, such as making tea. But because she can't drink the tea, every tea cup in the house is usually dirty. And once when George transforms into a werewolf in the apartment, he 's locked in and secured by Annie and Mitchell....and proceeds to trash every last item in the area he's locked in- the place looks like Attila the Hun and Company rode through and pillaged for a day or so. The next day while George is sleeping it off, Annie and Mitchell are putting all the broken furniture on the curb.

As much as I enjoyed the series I was taken aback by the fast wrap up of Season One. It seemed rushed, like the writers really weren't sure where to take the series, so it came abruptly. That reminded me of some of Stephen King's minor works, where the reader invests time in reading only to have the climax leaving the reader say "That's IT?"

In BEING HUMAN the viewer wanted just a bit more....and maybe that was the writer's intent, to leave us hanging until next time.

The last episode reminded me, strangely enough, of the western TOMBSTONE. Mitchell and Herrick are to meet to settle their personal score....and even Mitchell believes that Herrick can and probably will beat him. George tells Annie and Mitchell that he has to leave town and start a new life with Nina...with Mitchell's blessing to do so. But much like Doc Holiday ( in place of friend Wyatt Earp) showing up to gun down Johnny Ringo in TOMBSTONE, George meets Herrick instead of leaving town...and George transforms into a wolf, and tears the vampire Herrick to bits.

We're left with "what's next?" for Annie, Mitchell and well as a possible new problem for Nina in the months to come.

All in all...a good job by all involved. And thanks for another great import, BBC America.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Edward Kennedy Remembered

Here's a few of the highlights from speeches made about Senator Edward M. Kennedy from some of the people who knew and loved him.

First up, former Senator John Culver of Iowa, Kennedy's friend and former classmate at Harvard, on a memorable sailing trip with Teddy. The video is from the memorial held on Friday August 28.

Culver should be a standup comic.

Next, from today's (August 29) funeral Mass in Boston, Senator Kennedy's sons, Teddy Jr. and Patrick.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Hits For August 28, 2009

(1) I mentioned this before on TWITTER. I was food shopping today at a one of the large national grocery chains. There was a sign by the pharmacy section....

It speaks volumes about the state of healthcare in America, doesn't it? Last fall all you got was a free turkey after buying $500 of groceries.

Maybe they can just bring back GREEN STAMPS, and make them redeemable for elective surgeries.

(2) Cannot get used to Terrell Owens as a Buffalo Bill. I wonder what Tim Russert would have to say about "TO" on his beloved team?

(3) Michael Vick as a Phiily Eagle....he's the Worst Person In The World until he's on your team. However....he's not on my team. And I like it that way.

(4) A funny "tweet" on TWITTER today from former UCONN women's basketball star (and current broadcaster) Rebecca Lobo-.... My daughter has kindergarten orientation today. She keeps asking, "When are we going to Auriemma-tation?"

(5) Still no sign of Queen Bea on her Home Shopping Blog. Just hope she's OK and will rejoin her readers before long.

(6) And while I'm at it....some real low rent idiots have said some pretty cruel, ugly, and stupid comments about "QB" on her blog in her absence, of course done anonymously. But that's how most gutless cowards operate. They are probably the same professional haters that dumpster dive on the QVC and HSN bulletin boards....miserable, meanspitited folks who live to spew venom. To those people I say just take it to a town hall meeting. They have cameras there and you'll be in good, angry company.

And to the one clown who said on QB's board that I only posted there to publicize my own blog....I get about 5,000 new readers here per month, and my highest readership ever has been in the past two weeks with the WOODSTOCK series I did. I have about 600 posts here, and only 10 to 20 have a connection to homeshopping.

So....if you're reading this....ya got anything else?

(7) Now...I know some of you want to know why I have a picture of the beautiful Maria Celeste (pronounced mah-REE-ah cel-EST-tay), star of TELEMUNDO and occassional substitute host of the TODAY show?'s the story. As I'm typing this I have Channel 9 in New York on so I can listen to the White Sox-Yankees game. But the problem is this, MyNINE is broadcasting the game with a Spanish audio...and Jeter just homered....I understand that, but little else. Its like the SAP button is stuck at MyNINE, and nobody knows how to unstick it!

Anyway...I regret not knowing Spanish better. I should have paid more attention in class way back when. And I get that same feeling everytime I buzz by UNIVISION or TELEMUNDO... I really wish I knew what these people were saying. And I don't, mainly because I was young, lazy, and kind of stupid.

Anyway...on the ocassions when I do stop to watch a Spanish channel, there's a good chance Maria Celeste is the reason. I don't understand 90% of what she's saying...but I really don't care. I mean....look at that picture!

Besides...everytime I do one of these "Quick Hits" I include a gratuitous photo of a beautiful woman....its just my cheap way of getting you guys to "tune in".

So sue me.

(8) Hurricane Danny is no longer a hurricane and barely a tropical storm. But right now its rain, tomorrow more rain, and Sunday even a little more. Its looking like no Trenton Thunder for tomorrow night. I guess I'll be forced to stay dry, open a beer and watch the Giants-Jets in a preseason game on the high def flat screen.

No complaints.

(9). Where the hell did the summer go?

(10). And even more disturbing...where the hell did this decade go? It seems like we were wringing are hands in worry about the Y2K bug only a few months ago. And then the reality sinks in that we're talking in terms of a decade....and its almost gone. And like George Carlin used to say- stop talking about "getting old-er". The truth is...some of us (ie "me") are just getting old.

I'm going to stop now. Its past my bedtime.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Brothers Kennedy

I'm old enough to remember the Age of Camelot- that's no secret to anyone who's read these pages before. And consequently I remember the End of Camelot on November 22, 1963. It still seems surreal after all of these years, the most terrible day of my life, or that of most Americans, until 9/11. John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, gunned down by assassin's bullets in Dallas.

And June of 1968 saw the death of Senator Robert Kennedy, also by a gunman, murdered in Los Angeles. At first there seemed to be a glimmer of hope that he would survive, but by the time I went to school the next day, RFK was gone.

Its forty-one years later, and Senator Teddy Kennedy has left us, the only one of Joe and Rose Kennedy's three sons to have survived into old age.

And emotions I have today, even though Senator Kennedy's death has been anticipated for many months, are not dissimilar to those I felt as a kid those many years ago. This seems indeed a loss in my extended family but also to OUR extended family.....not just the great American family but of that of mankind. Yes, there has been a feeling of underlying sadness in my day, and it will probably be present for next few days as we mourn collectively. True, his life is one that should be celebrated. But it is taking me time to realize that an icon such as we may never see again is lost to us.

Edward Kennedy, the youngest brother and youngest of Joe and Rose's nine children, was the Kennedy who had the longest and richest legacy, and who has touched most lives. He served in the Senate longer (47 years) than the lifespan of any of his three deceased brothers.

Now he lies in repose in the Kennedy Library, and thousands will pay homage to him. And in a few days he will join Robert and John in Arlington National Cemetery. The question remains- who will pick up his mantle, and who will replace him in the Senate? But that can wait for a day or so.

Let these days be used to remember a legacy of service that we may never see the likes of again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tribute and Legacy

From The President of the United States

Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.

In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.

For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.


President Barack Obama

Ted Kennedy Tributes Tonight

There's several tributes to the late Senator Edward Kennedy on TV tonight, on CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC. I don't know about Faux News. I really don't think I could stomach watching Dick Morris and Ann Coulter discussing Teddy Kennedy with Beck or Hannity. The life of my TV set would be in danger, lest I throw a shoe at the screen.

I think the best way to show tribute to this great American is to spend some time reflecting on his life, and the legacy of Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy family.

And that's what I intend to do for the rest of the evening.

I'll see you all tomorrow.

Ted Kennedy; The Last Liberal Lion of the Senate Passes On

Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, holder of his seat since 1962, the last surviving brother of the Kennedy Dynasty, the patriarch of the Kennedy clan, and the "the liberal lion" of the Senate has died at age 77 from brain cancer.

And this morning, America is a little poorer with his loss.

Ted Kennedy was the son of a multi millionaire who always championed the working class and the little guy. It was Ted Kennedy who pushed bills into law for healthcare for the children of the working poor, Meals On Wheels for the elderly, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

He was the head of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, but was always open and friendly with his rivals in the Senate; conservative Orrin Hatch of Utah was among Kennedy's best friends, both on and off the Senate floor.

There hasn't been a family that has produced more public servants of note than the Kennedys, the Bush and Adams included. The Kennedy legacy began with Jack and Robert in the 1960's, and continued on with their deaths under Ted. Camelot may have died on November 22, 1963, but the youngest son continued its dream for almost another half a century.

Ted Kennedy fought for the expansion of universal healthcare. Maybe it is fitting that the bill that will be debated for approval should have his name on it, as a lasting tribute as it is passed into law.

Kennedy's personal life had many flaws, and I'm sure in due time the usual suspects will throw them back out for public scrutiny before the man is even placed in his grave, such being the miserably acrimonious state of political "discourse" in the United States in 2009. He was no saint. But neither am I, nor is just about anyone else reading this passage.

But a saint wasn't needed; a flawed but bold lion was.

And now he's gone. God bless you, Senator Kennedy. And thanks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Long Beach Island; A Day "Down The Shore"

You might have noticed that the past couple of weeks I've been adding fewer entries to this blog. The old guy was running out of gas, blown away by the summer heat, and needing to get away and enjoy the sunshine before I turn around and its a cold November day.

So yesterday it was time for a mini- road trip. And the place to be in New Jersey in August is Long Beach Island- LBI for short.

And a couple of other points to bring out regarding the "Jersey Lexicon"....LBI is the general term we use to talk about the 18 mile barrier island, which is divided into two haves by Barnegat Inlet, which is the passage from Barnegat Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. A "Benny" is the name the Ocean County locals gave to visitors from North Jersey and points North and East; Bergen, Essex, Newark, NY....BENNY.

You don't have to be from Bergen, Essex, Newark, or New York to be considered a BENNY by the locals. I think the definition and application has now extended to the Central Jersey Counties of Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer- most of those people moved to Central Jersey from North Jersey and New York. To the townies in Ocean County one can never live down one's pedigree. So you too may be a BENNY, but you don't know it.

Also....people in Florida, California, Massachusetts, South Carolina, etc "go to the beach". Jersey people don't. We go "down the shore". Its bad grammar, but that's what we do.

Now, off of I-80 in Pennsylvania near State College there is a town called Jersey Shore. Its about five hours from the ocean, but I figured it was given the name by Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. He could always tell the kids he was recruiting about the Nittany Lions being so close to Jersey Shore without being deceptive. But he never said THE Jersey Shore.

The North half of the island can actually be subdivided into halves itself. The Northern part is dominated by the thing that is Seaside Heights, with the boardwalk, frozen custard, arcade games, cotton candy, rides and more rides, games of chance, and the carnival atmosphere that most people associate with the Jersey Shore. Its fun, but its main purpose for existing is to separate the Benny from his hard earned cash.

I got off of the Garden State Parkway at Route 37 near Toms River and shot across the bridge over Barnegat Bay . But instead of going up Hamilton to Ocean Blvd, I stayed right, getting on 35 South to Island Beach State Park, one of the last vestiges of undeveloped land on the Jersey shore, 10 miles of dunes and beaches on one side, and Barnegat Bay on the other.

It was just me, the seabirds, the waves, and a zillion beach umbrellas with a zillion families there on Monday. You see, the weather, for the most part, has been pretty miserable most of the summer. When it wasn't exceptionally cool and wet, it became hot and even wetter. And Monday was as close to a perfect day as we've had all summer. And half the state of New Jersey showed up at the same place, same time. That's just the way we do things here. Yes, we are lemmings marching to the sea. But we're lemmings with a bad Jersey attitude.

But it was beautiful and relaxing. Its days like this, and places like Island Beach that make you appreciate New Jersey.

Stop laughing...I'm being serious now!

After spending a few hours at Island Beach I thought about my next move....go over to visit Old Barney....the Barnegat Lighthouse. Its just across the inlet from Island Beach....but you can't drive there as the crow flies. The most direct way to get to the lighthouse from Island Beach would be to anchor a boat at Tice's Shoal on the bayside of the park, and boat over to the public docks by the lighthouse.

The problem with that is, my boat is sitting in the backyard with a cover on it....its a long story.

So to get to the lighthouse I had to go back on 35 to 37, get on Route 9 South to Route &2 and get on the Manahawkin Bridge to the south half of LBI. To go the five miles to the lighthouse, I had to drive about another 35 to go around to get there!

One of the first things you notice about the south half of LBI is the relative affluence and the relative calm of the place. There were no teenagers hot rodding down the street, few bars and clubs, just a lot of beach homes with limited public access to the ocean. Long boulevards with little traffic and a 40 mph speed limit that just screamed SPEED TRAP! The only thing missing was LIFE ON MARS playing on the radio- this seemed like another planet, almost too sedate and quiet to be New Jersey. So I made a left on to Long Beach Boulevard and drove the 9.5 miles north to Old Barney, through Surf City,Harvey Cedars, and Loveladies until I got to The Barnegat Lighthouse.

I had been there twice before, once as a kid and again ten years ago. The first lighthouse was built in the 1850's, and after it was damaged in a storm the engineer who restored it was none other than General George Meade, the hero of the Battle of Gettysburg. The place is still awe inspiring, and one of the best preserved lighthouses on the east coast. Its a state park now, and a wild life sanctuary as well. Migratory birds pass through Barney, and off the coast dolphins and an occasional whale can be spotted. People took pictures, some guys were snorkeling in the inlet near the shoreline, boats struggled to get through the passage between the two halves of LBI....Hurricane Bill had churned up the water of the Atlantic, and the tide met the flat waters of the bay violently. You could see the skippers hitting full throttle to bust through the whitecaps. Fishermen fished, crabbers had their traps going...and I was getting a real jones for some seafood...I wanted to eat, and I wanted to eat right then and there.

Right around the corner from the lighthouse was Kelly's Old Barney Restaurant, an unassuming place that looks, to be polite, quaint. I went in and had a seat. The place was empty and no air conditioning (only propeller fans and the sea breeze) but I thought I'd give it a try. They had some fish specials so I ordered the broiled flounder....and what I got was the largest fillet of fresh fish I had ever had in my life! With potato skins and cheese, and corn on the cob, it was a great meal. Worth checking out.

As I was leaving I noticed more people were going into Kelly's I think they benefited from the people who squeeze in a trip to the lighthouse after a good beach day, like me, and find themselves hungry and with a ten mile drive to the mainland. So why not get some chow here before leaving?

It worked for the folks at Kelly's.

All and was a good day. And something to pull out of the memory banks in the throes of winter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Twitter Pal DELANEY WALSH'S New You Tube Video

Yeah, I said I wasn't going to post anything until tomorrow, but......

I logged on to TWITTER (OK, I'm addicted) and Delaney Walsh sent me an alert about her latest YouTube video.

Its called Love's Got A Hold On Me, with JOHN CORABI on backing vocals. If you're into the kick ass old school rock of Bonnie Bramlett, Maggie Bell (you Brits know who I'm talkin' about) or a lady named Janis, you'll like this

More "Delaney Delirium" on her friendly neighborhood My Space.

OK....this time its for real...I'm outta here! Until the AM.

UPDATE! Just a few more things to add, starting with an interview Delaney did on YouTube, talking about her early life, influences, and the creative process.

More Delaney on Facebook, TWITTER, and iTunes

Announcing Summer Schedule (Retroactively)

I know its August 24th and its a heck of a time to announce my "summer schedule"...but the truth is I was out all day enjoying the great weather as summer winds down....and I don't have a thing to say at this moment, except "pass another cold one".

But I'll be back tomorrow....and I'll be the last person on the planet to comment on the news about MJ's death being a homicide, and other fun stuff.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pete Townshend- SLIT SKIRTS

Yesterday I went to a Hungarian deli in New Brunswick to get some stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikas for dinner tonight. I waited in line for a long time, and while getting impatient and tired of waiting to be served, lo and behold....this old gem from Pete Townshend comes over the radio. And I haven't been able to get it out of my mind for the past 36 hours.

Love Pete, love THE WHO, and love this song.

"I was just thirty-four years old and I was still wandering in a haze
I was wondering why everyone I met seemed like they were
Lost in a maze

I don't know why I thought I should have some kind of
Divine right to the blues
It's sympathy not tears people need when they're the
Front page sad news.

The incense burned away and the stench began to rise
And lovers now estranged avoided catching each others' eyes

And girls who lost their children cursed the men who fit the coil
And men not fit for marriage took their refuge in the oil
No one respects the flame quite like the fool who's badly burned
From all this you'd imagine that there must be something learned

Slit skirts, Jeanie never wears those slit skirts
I don't ever wear no ripped shirts
Can't pretend that growing older never hurts.

Knee pants, Jeanie never wears no knee pants
Have to be so drunk to try a new dance
So afraid of every new romance

Slit skirts, slit skirt
Jeanie isn't wearing those slit skirts, slit skirt
She wouldn't dare in those slit skirts, slit skirt
Wouldn't be seen dead in no slit skirt

Slit skirts, slit skirt
Jeanie isn't wearing those slit skirts, slit skirt
She wouldn't dare in those slit skirts, slit skirt
Wouldn't be seen dead in no slit skirt

Romance, romance, why aren't we thinking up romance?
Why can't we drink it up true heart romance
Just need a brief new romance

Let me tell you some more about myself, you know I'm sitting at home just now.
The big events of the day are passed and the late TV shows have come around.
I'm number one in the home team, but I still feel unfulfilled.
A silent voice in her broken heart complaining that I'm unskilled.

And I know that when she thinks of me, she thinks of me as him,
But, unlike me, she don't work off her frustration in the gym.

Recriminations fester and the past can never change
A woman's expectations run from both ends of the range

Once she walked with untamed lovers' face between her legs
Now he's cooled and stifled and it's she who has to beg

Slit skirts, Jeanie never wears those slit skirts
And I don't ever wear no ripped shirts
Can't pretend that growing older never hurts

Knee pants, Jeanie never wears no knee pants
We have to be so drunk to try a new dance
So afraid of every new romance

Slit skirts, slit skirt
Jeanie isn't wearing those slit skirts, slit skirt
She wouldn't dare in those slit skirts, slit skirt
Wouldn't be seen dead in no slit skirt

Slit skirts, slit skirt
Jeanie isn't wearing those slit skirts, slit skirt
She wouldn't dare in those slit skirts, slit skirt
Wouldn't be seen dead in no slit skirt

Romance, romance, why aren't we thinking up romance?
Why can't we drink it up true heart romance
Just need a brief new romance"

SLIT SKIRTS by Pete Townshend- from the album "All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes"

Click here for the Official Website of THE WHO

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick Hits For August 22, 2009

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you already know the drill. If you're a newbie, here's what's happening; old Hugh Jee is either having a brain lock or is just feeling too damned lazy to write a blog post with length, substance, and any kind of literary now he has to resort to "QUICK HITS", where he plays "stream of conciousness", and comments on anything that pops into his head, or that has fallen between the cracks.

There always has to be an obligatory and gratuitous picture of a pretty girl (or two) to get your attention. Hey, blogging is just a poor and untalented man's version of show biz.

(1). I put on the tube at 7:00PM on Saturday evening. In my area we get TV from both New York and Philadelphia. This evening the ABC affiliates in New York and Philly had infomercials on at 7:00 PM on a Saturday. They were selling music collections put together by a certain news magazine. Early Saturday evenings used to be used for local news magazines, showing the audience things they may not know about the neighborhoods, or about interesting people, places, and things...stuff that people should know about their own little piece of the planet. Now that same time is not being used to educate and inform- its being appropriated to sell people more stuff. And the dumbing down of America marches on.

(2) Last month we lost Walter Cronkite. This week it was Don Hewitt, the CBS news producer who gave us 60 Minutes and is generally credited with inventing the modern presidential debate. It was Hewitt who came up with the format used by John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 debates. And later in that decade Hewitt invented the television news magazine with 60 MINUTES. After spending several years at the bottom of the ratings barrel, 60 MINUTES found its legs on Sunday nights, and became a money making news juggernaut for CBS. But it wasn't about making Brinks truck full of bucks for the network; it was telling the public stories they needed to know about, and not what they wished to hear, that made 60 MINUTES what it became- the measure by which other news magazines are judged.

Thank you Don Hewitt....and say "hi" to Uncle Walter, and Harry Reasoner, and to my favorite, Ed Bradley. God did well, sir.

(3) I try and do a lot of reading in the summer....but 2009 was an exception. I was only able to read two books (so far) in Summer '09. Finding OZ by Evan I. Schwartz is a biography of the author of THE WIZARD OF OZ, L. Frank Baum. I already mentioned this book and Mr. Schwartz in my post about THE CARDIFF GIANT, and that story, as well as that of PT Barnum, works its way into that of Frank Baum. Along the way we get to meet Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sitting Bull, and the sensation of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, Swami Vivekananda. Most of these people had a role in forming the world of Oz in the mind of Frank Baum, who failed as an actor/playwright/, salesman, shopkeeper, newspaper editor and entrepreneur before finding his calling as a writer of children's books. His was an up and down roller coaster of a life, but a full one, and ultimately a happy one. And you'll be fascinated when you read the story of his formidable mother-in-law, Matilda Joslyn Gage, a forgotten leader of the womens suffrage movement. Mrs. Gage is said to be the inspiration for both the good AND the wicked witches in THE WIZARD OF OZ. After reading the book, you'll know why.

The other book I read was Brimstone, by Robert B. Parker. Its the third in the series of western novels featuring the lawmen for hire Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, and Cole's runaway love Miss Allie French. Parker is best known for Spenser mystery series, and lately has gotten more notice with his Sunny Randle and Jesse Stone crime novels. But Parker has found yet another home in the Old West of the 1880's. Cole and Hitch remind the reader of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call of Lonesome Dove a point. Like Woodrow and Gus, Everett and Virgil are best friends and partners. But while Gus and Woodrow had personalities that were complete opposites, Virgil and Everett were like two old folks who had been married for decades- they know what the other was thinking or going to say, and often seemed like they were complete machine, a law enforcement beast with two heads and four arms. We met them in Appaloosa, followed them to Resolution, and then on to Brimstone.

Cole and Hitch find the wayward Allie, and all three move on to Brimstone, where a corrupt saloon owner and a fanatical preacher seem ready to take a public feud on to the next level. New deputies Cole and Hitch are there to keep the peace. Throw in a renegade Commanche who's terrorizing the neighborhood, and Cole and Hitch have more than enough to keep themselves occupied. The dialogue between Hitch and Cole is classically laconic, never more than one or two sentences spoken at a time....with more than a few humorous zingers and one liners thrown in. They would have been perfect TWITTER buddies.

Its a good summertime read....or anytime for that matter. If you aren't a fan of western novels, give it a try. If you have not read Robert B. Parker...well, shame on you. And this book (or any of the three Cole/Hitch series) is a good place to start.

(4) I warned you....its time for the "pretty girl pic and post". You may remember my TWITTER pal Delaney C. Walsh, self described "singer, songwriter, and rockin' revolutionary". Well...if you don't, check out the previous entries in the drop down menu.....but not before watching her performance video on YouTube....gee, I just happen to have right here.

So if you like her singing, and you want to see more, check her out on My Space.... or become her buddy on Twitter. She might even send you a gift or two if you follow her on Twitter (I've regifted a couple of things she sent me....please don't tell her, okay?).

But above all...give her music a listen....and buy some, OK?

Alright....the Giants are down to the Bears 17-3. They need my help. Talk to you later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Would Jesus Carry A Gun To A Town Hall?

If you think this image is offensive, what do you think Jesus would think of a society where the question of "would He be packing" is a legitimate one?

I didn't sleep well last night....the usual stuff; family concerns, followed by insanity that seems to be gaining more and more traction with certain elements of our society. So I flipped on BBC AMERICA ON DEMAND, and watched an episode of DR WHO ( the one from several years back when The Doctor hooks up with Rose Tyler....and then the thought popped into my head.....

Would Jesus carry a gun to a town hall meeting?

For the past couple of days I was troubled by the images of Second Amendment types carrying weapons to town hall meetings, particularly ones where President Obama was speaking. We have a pretty bad track record in this country of having our Chief Executives used for target practice. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy were killed by assassins. Former President Teddy Roosevelt was shot when he ran for the Presidency as a Progressive (thwarted when the bullet struck a book in his coat pocket), Franklin Roosevelt missed assassination in an attempt that killed the mayor of Chicago, Harry Truman had an attempt on his life by Puerto Rican nationalists,
Gerald Ford had two people try to shoot him within weeks of each other, and Ronald Reagan was shot by a deranged guy who wanted to impress imaginary girlfriend Jodie Foster. Reagan was centimeters away from having an almost certainly fatal wound.

We've has 44 presidents in this country. Nine of the 44 presidents have either been assassinated or had an attempt on their lives- that rounds off to about 20%.

So there's a one in five chance that a president will have an attempt on his (or her) life, that's about one every 20 years. The last attempt on a president's life was in March, 1981 (Reagan). You can do the math.

And today we have people showing up with sidearms and automatic weapons at town halls and presidential events- there is little anyone can do about it, because these people, most of whom oppose Obama and his policies, have permits to carry weapons.

Now, its not right to paint people with a broad brush, but many of these people say "they want their country back" (from what?) They don't want their country to be taken away and changed (in their words). But what some of them fail to see its is because of them that the country has ALREADY changed, and not for the better. Armed opponents of a sitting president showing up in protest....since when did we become, if you'll pardon the expression, a banana republic?

And last night I thought about this question; if Jesus were around today, would he carry a weapon to a town hall meeting?

I'm not saying that to be a wiseguy lefty loon. One of the credos of those on the Right is to always ask, "What would Jesus do?"

And in this case, all I'm doing is asking the same question about a specific situation....with all due respect.

A few months ago I saw a man on one of the news magazines talking about the Second Amendment, and the "inalienable" right of all Americans to keep and bear arms, given to us from God. Now if this man is correct, and God did grant this right to Americans, wouldn't he be able to do the same for His own Son?

And as offensive as the picture above might be to some people, it should make perfect sense to others; if the Second Amendment is sacred to man, by implication it is sacred to God as well...and to His Son.

Now personally, I find that picture offensive...but for a different reason. Showing the individual referred to as "The Prince of Peace" armed with an assault weapon is disturbing. I really think He'd be refuting the wisdom, logic, and the necessity for this twisted need for more Americans to own more guns....and then to take them to meetings with our elected officials.

I believe in the Second Amendment. But I don't believe in using the right to bear arms in these disturbing displays of contempt and intimidation, all done in the name of uber-patriotism.

The town hall protests- and the far rights attempts to sully the Obama administration- has taken an ugly and dangerous turn. Because its not about anti-healthcare reform protests anymore. It becoming dangerously close to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

And I'm getting a bit help me God.

Other voices

Below, Second Amendment advocate John Velleco on HARDBALL with Chris Matthews, and New York Times columnist Frank Rich with RACHEL MADDOW.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meanwhile, Senator John Ensign Says His Affair Wasn't As Bad As Clinton's

.....but should his colleague David Vitter be impeached or forced to resign?

You all have heard the sad story of Sen John Ensign, (R-NV) and his affair, his mistress, and Ensign's parents paying off his mistress $96,000 . Now, according to The Huffington Post Ensign is saying that his marital infidelity wasn't as serious as that former President Bill Clinton because he (Ensign) didn't do anything illegal.

Ensign called on President Clinton to resign in the wake of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, alleging that Clinton lied to a grand jury, which would be a felony

So by implication, would this suggest Ensign thinks his colleague, Sen David Vitter, should resign because of Vitter's dalliance with the prostitution ring of the "DC MADAM", which would be a felony in the District of Columbia?

Am I right?

Vitter has announced his intention to seek re-election in 2010, Ensign will run for his re-election in 2012.

Senator David Vitter; Destroy Canada's Prescription Plan For Lower Prices in US

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has a novel solution for lowering the price of prescription drugs in the United States.

You have to see it to believe it.

If you're unaware, Senator Vitter has a very, very colorful past. Just GOOGLE his name, and some very interesting things "pop up", if you'll pardon the expression.

And don't say I told you so.

To our Canadian friends and visitors....sorry about this example of American democracy in action

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Its A Midsummer Meltdown, Man!

Whoaaa! Three days of writing about and showing WOODSTOCK videos has taken its toll. I'm having a flash back!

Don't worry....I'll maintain. Its going to take a little time, though. Its a hot afternoon and my brain feels like its been.....

I forgot what I was going to say. Sorry.

Anyway...this is a one man operation (as any regular reader knows). And I'm taking the day off....just tryin' to get it together, man!

Be back with you tomorrow!

"Hugh Jee"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

War Against Healthcare- Where Lies Become Reality

An old axiom is that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes fact. In the "debate" about healthcare and healthcare reform the "deathers" and their allies on The Right, seem to have taken a toll on the chances of a bi-partisan healthcare reform package.

Opinion; I don't know what upsets me more, the lies of The Right, or the gullibility of those who believe the lies. I reckon there are certain people out there who, for reasons unknown, are either incapable of thinking for themselves or are too intellectually lazy to do so. And then we have Republicans, the insurance industry, and their allies who gleefully fill their heads with nonsense about a "total government takeover" of healthcare, and of the "death panels". The same people who screamed for years about the "obstructionists" who sought to undermine the Bush presidency are doing their damndest to sandbag that of Obama.

The digging in of their heels and just say "NO" attitude by the GOP reinforces one of my beliefs; that those of us who say we "vote for the man" and not the party are only deluding ourselves. You mean to say that no Republicans in either house would vote "YES" for reform? Is that independence? Is that voting your conscience? Is that standing for your beliefs and doing what's best for America?

I ask those Republicans in does it feel to be owned? Because you sure as hell look like a group that has been bought by the special interests. Once you were the party of Lincoln, and you stood for freedom. But sadly, you've become a prisoner of the almighty dollar.

For once, the GOP should just be honest- just tell the truth, and say your beloved party believes the nation doesn't need healthcare or health insurance reform. and just end the charade of pretending of working for reform, because you could care less. This Kabuki dance the GOP's been doing for all of these months is getting pretty old, and its insulting to intelligence of anyone with actual brain functionality.

And the Democrats....its time to stop making nice. The Republicans will try and stonewall any reform, so go ahead, Dems, and get the reform done without those guys. Your country will thank you years from now- and the public will come around to appreciate the effort. Its time to do the job you were elected to do, because the other guys will not give you an iota of help.

Give us reform....because its the right thing to do.

Reform is a key to helping to turn the corner to economic recovery. Not only is reform the moral thing to do, its the responsible action for the economic patriotism of all who hear its call.

A Great Teacher, Scholar, and Pastor Has Left Us

I was saddened this morning to read that Msgr. Michael J. Alliegro had passed on yesterday, succumbing to a ten year battle with leukemia at age 62. I knew Msgr Alliegro from his time as pastor of St. Bartholomew's Church in East Brunswick, NJ (1990-2007). He was the priest who officiated as my parents renewed their vows on their fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, ten years ago this week. In a culture that seems to get more "in your face" and contentious he was always a voice of contemplation and alternatives.

Granted, I am not the most religious man in the world, and have I'm definitely not dogmatic in my beliefs. And that was OK with Michael Alliegro- he wasn't here to point fingers and condemn, his credo was one of openness and tolerance, and of looking at the world through the eyes of others, and perhaps seeking a new interpretation to truths that might be out there that would ultimately lead to the same goal. He was a leader in a faith that began 2,000 years ago, but he was very much a 21st century man. So what if Christ didn't literally transform a small amount of loaves and fish into more loaves and fish to feed 10,000. The point- and the real miracle- was that He found a way to be certain that all were fed. Msgr. Alliegro always began his homilies with a story (usually humorous)- it got people to "tune in". He was wise enough to know that Christ usually spoke in "parables" or metaphors; and it worked pretty well for Jesus, so do likewise.

Much of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, were indeed metaphors, stories that tried to explain the unexplainable by authors who lived 2,000 years ago or earlier. And Msgr. Alliegro had a knack for repackaging those concepts for the 21st century in a way I had not seen done by any other clergyman.

Its too bad he died so relatively young at 62. He should have written books and been able to share those insights he had with more people. We lost a great teacher yesterday. And I feel privileged to have known him for a brief time.

More on Msgr. Michael Alliegro here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Woodstock + 40 Years; JIMI HENDRIX

We'll close this look back at Woodstock '69 with the final act of the original concert. Jimi Hendrix closed it all with his iconic performance early in the morning of August 18 (a Monday). The show continued all night, and by the time of Hendrix's performance the majority of the crowd had left, though it has been estimated that there was still a sizable contingent of 50 to 70 thousand people still on hand.

That's it ladies and gents.


Woodstock + 40 Years; THE WHO

Saving one of the best for next to last...The Who, Live from Woodstock, 1969. At that time they were the hottest band in the world, having recently released the rock opera TOMMY.

Woodstock +40 Years; SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE

They got the crowd on their feat...Sylvester Stewart, aka SLY STONE leads The Family.

Woodstock +40 Years; TEN YEARS AFTER

You can't do a Woodstock retrospective without this one....Alvin Lee and Company (Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill, and Ric Lee)...."I'm Going Home" ....(by a helicopter, as noted by Alvin).

Woodstock + 40 Years; BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS

Blood, Sweat, and Tears reinvented "Big Band" rock in the late 1960's. Founder member Al Kooper left after the first album, but it is with his replacement as lead singer that BS&T had their greatest hits.

Here with lead singer David Clayton-Thomas is another outtake that never made it to the first records or to the movie, BS&T performing MORE AND MORE.

Woodstock + 40 Years; Creedence Clearwater Revival

In the summer of 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival was probably the hottest American band in the world. At the time of Woodstock, CCR had released their third album, Green River only two weeks before, and were in the midst of their domination of album and Top 40 radio that lasted until their breakup in 1972. Guitarist Tom Fogerty died in 1990, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook moved on with different lineups as CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVISITED, and John Fogerty has continued as one of the Godfathers of American Rock.

Their appearance at Woodstock was never included on the albums WOODSTOCK or WOODSTOCK 2, and was never part of the film. It has been said they opted out because of the insistence of leader, composer, singer, lead guitarist John Fogerty that their Woodstock performance was subpar.

Take a look, and judge for yourself.

Woodstock + 40 Years; COUNTRY JOE McDONALD

Legend has it that Country Joe McDonald was never supposed to appear at Woodstock as a solo artist. He had performed previously with his group, Country Joe and the Fish, but when there was a long lull in the performances one of the stage managers saw Joe, stuck a guitar in his hands, gave him a makeshift guitar strap (a cord), and more or less threw Joe on stage, telling him to "sing something" to 500,000 people.

Joe gave them "The Fish Cheer". Its a song that rock historian Pete Fornatale has said liberated the "F word" for a if you're easily offended, don't click on this video. To the rest of you take a trip back to those wonderful, crazy, sad, but always amazing times...and enjoy.

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