Tuesday, July 31, 2007
In mid 1967 I was just becoming aware of the counter culture that was developing. A friend "turned me on" to the Beatles "Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. Sometime that year or in early 1968, I discovered "The Marconi Experiment," a free form, progressive FM radio show hosted by "Herman" (Dave Herman) on WMMR in Philadelphia. This show was my connection to the "movement" of the late 60s. Contemporary music was so much a part of what was happening then in the country. Musicians and their songs were often unabashedly political. Country Joe And The Fish, Big Brother And The Holding Company With Janis Joplin, Donavan, The Jefferson Airplane, It's A Beautiful Day, Spanky And Our Gang, The Doors, Phil Ochs...these were just a few of the bands and performers that I was listening to during the 1967-1970 period. Songs like "White Bird," "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," "Small Circle Of Friends," and "Give A Damn," seem naively Utopian to us today, after the past 40 years that brought us the cynicism, greed, and war mongering of Nixon, Reagan, and the Bush father and son acts, interrupted only briefly by the mediocrity of Gerald Ford, the incompetance of Jimmy Carter, and the grave disappointment of the Clinton years.
I would gladly return our country to the late 1960s promise of a decent, peaceful, love-filled society if I could. Since then we've gone awry as a nation with both domestic and foreign policies that are selfish, arrogant, and reactionary. Unfortunately, I don't see the possibility of this turning around anytime soon, especially when I look at the front runners in the current crop of presidential wannabees. I yearn for a return to the promise and hopefulness of the late 1960s even as I realize the improbability of it. It was a great time to be alive and young. My idealism, instilled in me then, still remains even if tarnished and buried under the weight of the decades that have passed since those special few years that came and went all too quickly.
(Thanks to psychedlix.com for the graphic)
Monday, July 30, 2007
This past weekend a friend from New Jersey, Paul Orlando, visited Cherry Grove.
Paul and his partner Charles used to be Grove regulars, but in recent years
they have not often visited and are selling their home here. So it was a sentimental
journey to see them again, and I had wanted all summer to give Paul
a copy of "Queer Collection" which has a story based on certain adventures in his life.
After he recounted an early period of his life several years ago, I asked him if I could use the material in a short story. He consented and I wrote a piece called "The Golden Tattoo." With a certain amount of artistic license the story recreates a period in America's history, that time in the early 1970s when the country was full of hopes for a better future. These dreams are intermingled with the story of how Paul came out as a gay man.
During a few years when another gay magazine considered the story for publication but ultimately rejected it, I hoped somehow the story would eventually be published.Then I heard of the new publication "The Queer Collection" and sent the story out yet again.That's frequently the way it works in publishing fiction. I was pleasantly surprised when"Queer Collection" accepted the story last Fall and published it this Spring.This past Saturday I was finally able to give Paul a copy of the magazine with the story.
Both he and his life were great inspirations, and I hope he enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In the photo: a picture of Grove friends dinning in the Pines, taken in 2003, the year that Paul recounted the fascinating story of his early adulthood. Paul is the handsome gent in the foreground left, seated next to his partner Charles. I'm next to Charles, in a yellow shirt. Among the other Grove friends, the waving, smiling man in the background was Jerry Ehrlich, now no longer with us, but fondly remembered as one of the finest persons Jim and I have ever met and known on Fire Island.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I'm listening to the political shows on TV this morning while I'm typing this morning's blog entry. Presidential politics is the hot topic. While HC and Obama are the main subjects, John Edwards is currently ahead in the very important Iowa Primary, and he could change the entire dynamic if he were to win Iowa. The team of political pundits on "Meet The Press" is putting a lot of emphasis on the win, place and show final outcome of the Iowa caucuses. Their analysis is helpful in understanding the Democratic primary process.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Speaking of art, the Arts Project Of Cherry Grove annual community art show opens today at the Community House. This give local artists a venue to display and sell their creations.
Last evening Dan and I attended a lovely party at "Blueberry Hill," one of the largest homes in the Grove. Hosts Bob and Dick know how to throw a party complete with a full bar and wonderful food.
This weekend we'll also get a chance to see our Philadelphia friends Gary and David who are guesting with our friend Juan. We're looking forward to chatting with them all.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Is Obama's strategy of touting himself as the "change" candidate going to work? Some analysts think it's a smart move. Portray Hillary as "Bush Lite" while presenting himself as the real force for change. It will appeal to the Democratic base that is virulently anti-war. However, in the general election some of the Obama soundbites like "I'll talk to Chavez, etc." may hurt him. Andrew Sullivan has some new Gallup poll data on his blog today that shows Hillary losing to Giuliani but Obama beating both Giuliani and Thompson if the election were held today. Hillary's negatives are sky high. Sullivan wonders why any Democrat would prefer Hillary over Obama. It's an interesting question. Because she's a woman?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular
values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a
corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or
two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to
bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes
not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.
Of course, this assumes that the Democrats win the presidency in 2008 and maintain control of both houses of congress. It also assumes that the Democrats have the political will to reverse the backward course that the Roberts Court has charted - which is not a given. It does give us some hope that the damage done by the Bush-appointed neanderthals can be limited.
Photo: "Bradley" - by Bob Russell
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Clinton and Obama are going at it. That's nice. They both have a pile of money so it will be a long fight.
Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General without a memory, went before Congress again and lied, I mean, told them he couldn't recall.
And the show goes on...and on....and on.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
From the Democratic YouTube debate last evening, this question and answer caught my attention:
COOPER: Our next question is on a topic that got a lot of response from
YouTube viewers. Let's watch.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is Mary.
my name is Jen.
QUESTION: And we're from Brooklyn, New York.
If you were
elected president of the United States, would you allow us to be married to each
COOPER: Congressman Kucinich?
KUCINICH: Mary and Jen, the answer to
your question is yes. And let me tell you why.
Because if our Constitution
really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what
it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our
brothers and sisters who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender
should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes
the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony.
Yes, I support you. And
welcome to a better and a new America under a President Kucinich
If only that could happen. Other than Mike Gravel, the rest of the Democrats are opposed to same-sex marriage. My vote will go to a candidate who is courageous enough to support my right to marry my partner. I know I won't be voting for a Republican but I doubt that I will be voting for a Democrat.
Monday, July 23, 2007
(click to enlarge)
(all photos Copyright Jim Kelly)
"TREY MC INTYRE PROJECT"
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Above: "PASCAL RIOUT DANCE THEATER"
(click on each photo to enlarge)
"TREY Mc INTYRE PROJECT"
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
The cast takes a well-deserved bow.
Left: "ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER"
Kirven J. Boyd
Below: JORGE GUZMAN AND WILLEM DE VRIES
Saturday, July 21, 2007
America has really gotten off track under George Bush. This has largely be due to the fact that for the first six years of his presidency, Bush had a Republican controlled Congress that rubber stamped everything he did. We had "unitary" government, where both the executive and both houses of Congress are controlled by the same political party - the Republicans.
However, with the Republicans struggling to remain viable thanks to Bush's disastrous presidency, it now appears highly probable that they will not only loose the presidency in 2008, but the Democrats are poised to retain control over BOTH houses of Congress. In other words, the Democrats will have the same advantage of unitary government beginning in 2008, assuming this scenario plays out. This will present a wonderful opportunity for them to reverse course and jettison Bush's terrible domestic and foreign policies. But it will also put the Democrats on the hot seat - they will have to produce. It will be interesting to watch this play out. Let's see if the Republicans use this as a scare tactic by warning:"Don't give the Democrats total control of government." No matter that when they had it they screwed up the country.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The freight boat on its way over to the Grove loaded with supplies.
I spoke with a Suffolk County Police Officer late yesterday afternoon. I asked him if the police had apprehended any of the bad guys who are responsible for the recent crime spree in The Grove. He told me that they caught one individual, but he did not elaborate and apparently did not know what particular crime(s) that this individual was charged with.
Have you been following the free fall of the American dollar vs. European currencies? The last time we were in London a couple of years ago, we felt the pain of the unfavorable exchange rate at that time. It's worse now, with the dollar worth only about 1/2 a British Pound. Ouch!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
On the down side, we continued to get reports of the burglaries and other unpleasant incidents that have taken place recently on the island. It's summertime and the popularity of the Grove as a "party-hardy" adult resort brings with it a certain element that creates problems requiring the presence of law enforcement. On Monday, a police helicopter circled the community while police on foot searched for suspects in a burglary. Some residents feel as though in summer the Grove morphs into a party town where anything goes. We have only about 300 homes here, yet we have SEVEN bars! We seem to lack the resolve as a community to organize and take back our town from the wild bar/party set that controls it in summer. One example of how out of control this has been is the noise problem that has existed here for years. Loud music is clearly audible in much of the community well into the wee hours most summer nights. There has been a lot of talk about it year after year, but nothing much has been done to control the problem. Another resident assigns the blame for this state of affairs as follows::
I blame our local civic organizations who would rather address raising
money and pretend that everything is ok than confront real issues and make waves. Were these disturbing recent events even given lip service at last Sunday's CGCAI/CGPOA (community association) meeting? I haven't heard that they were. Probably too busy dishing out the "I'm okay, you're okay bullshit."
That's a pretty damning assessment, but it is well past time that the community stands up for itself. Over a year ago I sent an email to the president of the community association with the following suggestion (among others):
12. Organize a town watch in conjunction with the Suffolk County Police to help
address pressing community concerns such as noise pollution.
I have noticed that another community on the Island, Ocean Beach, has some sort of auxiliary town youth corps that appears to serve a function similar to a town watch. Why not try this approach in The Grove?
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
It was relaxing to dine out after our grueling 200 mile road trip on Monday to Maplewood, New Jersey. We paid a visit to Dan's father, who turns 99 this week. He still lives at home with 24 hour nursing care. After our visit we drove to Ft. Lee to do some fine sake shopping. This trip had me driving on four of the most notorious highways anywhere: the Belt Parkway, the Staten Island Expressway, The Cross Bronx Expressway, and the Long Island Expressway. I usually avoid the LIE, but the Cross Island was jammed so I took the LIE. The Cross Island was the only one of these tough highways that was a problem!
The AM replacement for Imus on MSNBC is former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough. He's mostly predictable. This morning he half-heartedly defended pig "family values" Republican Senator Daivd Vitter (R- LA), who came out of seclusion to hold a news conference yesterday to apologize to "those he let down" by frequenting the now famous DC Madam. Vitter, of course, all the while he was seeing prostitutes was beating up on gays and lesbians claiming we are a threat to marriage. What a creep. Anyway, Scarborough argued that Vitter had done enough by apologizing. "What more do his critics want him to do?" asked Scarborough. Well, one of the important differences between the Scarborough morning show and the former Imus trash is that Scarborough has one John Ridley as a co-host. Ridley often represents or articulates the "left" political position. Ridley told Scarborough that Vitter should have apologized to gays and lesbians for demonizing them all the while he was soiling his own marriage. Scarborough had to agree albeit reluctantly. It was a refreshing bit of honesty on national TV.
Monday, July 16, 2007
"Meet The Press" featured a heated discussion between Senators Webb and Graham about Iraq policy. Andrew Sullivan has a link to the video on his web site. It was interesting.
The other big discussion was about John McCain, and whether he can make a comeback from the free fall that his campaign is in. The jury is out on that one. I say good riddance. Now if we can get rid of the other backward candidates....about a dozen of them....
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Photo: a beachfront view in the Pines.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Photo: one of our favorite Pines beachfront houses
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Photo: another short of a lush Fire Island Pines garden
Monday, July 9, 2007
Photo: a favorite garden in the Pines
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Photo: another Pines beachfront palace