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Peacefulness always, John
When I first heard of his passing, I needed to reflect on his importance to me. Yes, I needed to find a quiet place after hearing of John becoming free – and then I was blessed with this:
Initially outta the shadow of silence of early morn, there were mental scrawls of graffiti, titillation and exploded feelings that masqueraded as great power with each morn’s sunrise – and then with the sun’s rays beginning to jostle our sleepy little town, there was a jukebox jive from a soulful bebop rebelliousness of goosebumps ’n’ mindset.
It finger-snaps to a dancing sock’um simile from the ballyhooed groove of a “borne in a whirligig” presence of Jogger John’s movements and vocal soundscapes. With his knack for extraordinary Johnspeak and poetics, the only meaningful response was often a knee-jerk “You betcha!”
When he entered my sphere, it was always a wakeup call. Boy, was he in the zone, where he’d be able t’shit out what I believed he considered “societal sameness.” And I was on a ledge of his choosing, which brought ‘bout a much-needed one small step for ooz ‘n’ ozz, and one giant leap for me to say, “Ohmygosh John!” And as always, in one peaceful fell swoop, he’d put a smile on my face. And I also know that when with John, all our faces would have that big smile, too.
For me, we cued up the dawn like this almost every day, with Bread Alone being our watering hole, both outside and inside. Yeah, IMHO, his maze of thinking was a “stop following the instructions of some generational internal blueprint; find a positive answer, and always have ample room for one’s personal eccentricity.”
Spontaneous renewal was deeply embedded in John’s character. The cup of camaraderie and friendship that he drank from and shared was always filled with a continuous soft crackling of liveliness and effervescence. The wonderful thing about him: He didn’t settle for just being okay. Often his words and connectivity was like a wackadoodle “poetry in motion” kind of experience of slam-bam insights, outta-sights and wonderful kaleidoscopic sites to dance around in.
What you saw was what you got – often “free-falling into the rabbit hole,” which he created with whimsical nonsense; a revolution to spin for, a flamboyant twirl and then jostled by pulsing fingers of his self-described euphoria hanging for a while. He’d metaphorically danced with invisible pirouettes before breaking loose.
He infected everyone with his exuberance and wonderful spirit. As a result, and I am positive, our collective brain had been dissolved in the roaring circuitry that flows in this Woodstock skull beneath the community’s skin.
Yes, his words and notions and his full-throttle motions could have an awesome power, and trying t’ stay human with extraordinary quantities of “Be here now” sometimes made his angel hair a tangled mess. He was a trip fer sure!
“Jus’ being” true to who he was, was so damn genuine. It became a part of our community’s core and our little hamlet’s colorful palette in a big way. He was one-of-a-kind and a treasure to discover. All things considered, and in my estimation, he definitely “talked the talk” as well as being skillful at “walking the walk” with a high bounce in his step – all with his signature John-style élan.
Though no longer attached to earthly delights and distractions, in my mind, my friend, our friend ain’t goin’ nowhere! This is no half-baked notion of mine; our John easily filled our personal plate with all the good stuff plus huge amounts of laughter, instruction and nourishment. With our memories of John, we can rewind the sublime and even step between the walls of continual time. And that is something I will always do, because his endless love for people, his boundless positive energy for life, is something I can never let go of and will treasure always.
Peacefulness is now, always, dear John. À la belle étoile (under the beautiful star), the right path will be illuminated. Again, thank you for being you. Finally, dear John, there’ll be no weeping – jus’ some good ol’ sweeping!
I think the tribute to John on our Green was wonderful. A lot of good folks within the community came out. I was thinkin’ this should be a regular Sunday-after-Thanksgiving Day tradition. Often people like to sleep in on the first day of the week (Sunday); I say we sweep in the week in John’s honor every year hereafter. Whatta ya say?
Enter at your own risk
One enters Heaven from below; one enters Hell through the roof.
Houselessness in Ulster County
I moved here 13 years ago from Ohio, following my heart. The child of that marriage is now ten years old and calls Ulster County her home. In the time since I started my family here, I have seen affordable long-term rental housing go from very scarce to literally nonexistent.
The evidence is slowly becoming undeniable. The explosion of profits in the short-term rental industry has decimated the availability of affordable housing in some areas of the country, including this one.
I’m talking about Airbnbs, of course, and its spawn and ilk. Depending on your perspective, it’s a fun way to get to know an area and visit as a tourist; an easy way to get rich quick off your ownership or management of multiple properties; or a primary cause of your current housing insecurity or houselessness.
Or perhaps to you they are only a potential source of parking problems in your neighborhood. After all, there are five of them on your street now! Wasn’t that way before. Visitors might have extra cars! Or a noise complaint or two may arise. But on the whole, certainly, no trouble now, no issues at all. Nothing to see here (www.dailyfreeman.com/2022/04/23/saugerties-town-boards-efforts-to-regulate-short-term-rentals-draw-support).
Outside of New York City, Ulster County leads the state in the number of potential long-term rental homes devoted to generating profit for their owners by short-term rental use. With three out of every hundred homes in the county registered as short-term rentals, this has significant impact. Rents have predictably soared and keep soaring for the steadily decreasing number of properties which remain for local families to rent, so that currently in Ulster County, it requires 66.7 average renter wage hours to pay the average family home rent in Ulster county. And that’s just the rent, folks (https://ulstercountyny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/planning/hap2021_county.pdf).
Perhaps serious worker shortages caused by untenable rent levels may eventually bring this issue in front of a few more local town councils – the ones not more concerned about potential parking and noise violations. However, for many landlords and homeowners and local policymakers, these dots still apparently need to be connected.
From my perspective, it is unconscionable to leave unregulated a short-term rental industry which is spawning rampant profiteering in the local rental market and forcing working families inexorably, and likely permanently, out of the community or into substandard conditions within the community. And forgive me if I slow-clap the recent rent control ordinances in Kingston (and Newburgh in neighboring Orange County). We need far more wide-ranging and comprehensive policy initiatives – starting with a state of emergency being declared – and an all-out effort on all fronts to address what is in fact an emergency in our communities. These highly publicized rent-control gestures are of course important and welcome, but they only impact larger apartment complexes, of which there are relatively few in this largely rural county. Every other landlord remains free to gluttonously raise rent as much as the market will allow, or remove their house from the rental market completely and leave it vacant most of the time if they think they’ll make more money that way. Apparently some do.
If the current inaction continues, don’t feign shock when you start reading exposés of wealthy locals keeping smuggled slaves in sheds and closets, when comes that dreadful day that local maids can no longer be found. Or perhaps Ulster County can extend the free busing to communities where housing is still available and affordable – maybe West Virginia, eastern Ohio or central Pennsylvania? I haven’t checked there yet.
Perhaps those charged with crafting the local regulations are personally benefiting from this recent wave of rampant profiteering off working people’s essential need for housing? All across the country, communities are creating solutions to the widespread shortage of affordable housing – including outright abolishing short-term rentals in residential areas (https://parktownship.org/our_offices/short_term_rentals.php). Now that would certainly increase the affordable housing in the area, wouldn’t it? According to the Ulster County Housing Snapshot 2020, 13,355 habitable units sat vacant in Ulster County in 2019, mostly reserved for seasonal vacationers. That’s an awful lot of vacant units while local families suffer great need.
Three percent of total units – a staggering 12 percent of all potential family rental stock – are estimated to be dedicated to short-term rentals. That’s 2,587 units: a number roughly five times more than the estimated number of homeless families in this county. Go figure (https://comptroller.ulstercountyny.gov/audit-reports/short-term-rental-snapshot).
With the amount of wealth and expertise concentrated in this community, the resources are obviously here to make investments and policy changes a priority. If the people with resources who are making the rules don’t even care to see that there’s a problem, much less understand the causes and the extent of the problem, that’s a serious problem.
No time for me to contact our local elected officials at the moment. I’m too busy keeping up with my daily necessities – with my kitchen at the local park, my bed parked on the street, my bathroom at the corner gas station and my studio down the road. After my own rent went up 60 percent last year at the same time I became disabled from Lyme disease, I am deeply in debt both to friends and credit cards, trying to start a new career after being recently evicted from a beautiful country home I’d hoped to buy. My doctor suggested that I park my new family home in front of the Kingston Family Court, where a judge has ruled that I must continue to live near my daughter’s father, whose rented home in High Falls seems more secure. For now.
If he ends up forced to get his own camper and move into it with a few months’ notice, maybe we’ll be neighbors in the Court parking lot, until we agree on where to relocate. At least professional mediation will be available for us nearby!
WILS 2022 giving thanks
The 11th edition of the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers’ Showcase (WILS), October 21 to 23, 2022, was a huge success. Returning after a three-year hiatus, over 1,000 exhibiting luthiers, vendors and sponsors, performing artists and instructors, panelists and attendees enjoyed a perfect Catskills autumn weekend for a reunion of the international acoustic guitarmakers’ and players’ community.
So many thanks and acknowledgments are due. First up is team WILS: Thanks to production partners; Sharon Klein, music coordinator; LuAnn Bielawa, events and volunteers coordinator; Mark Heller, clinics administrator and showcase development; and Stuart Mono, program publisher, database and website manager. I can’t thank you all enough for your commitment, devotion and incredible abilities helping to make our “little festival in the woods” the premier event of its kind in the world today. Thanks, too, to Kali Quinn, administrative assistant; Peter Wilson, executive photographer; John Guth, chief sound engineer, assisted by Jeff Selear and consulting sound engineer Dave Cook; David Laks, videographer, assisted by Hank Neimark; and Kenny Schneideman, poster artist. And special thanks to Linda Sheldon for the pies!
Many thanks to all our wonderful volunteer production assistants, residents of the Town of Woodstock and surrounding areas and the luthiers’ community at large: Carmel Arendash, Bill Barrett, Ed Bielawa, Rennie Cantine, Rob Cohen, David Danick, Ross Elakman, Elmer Fairbanks, Rick Folger, Sydelle Freed, Russell Glazer, John Hall and Mike Wendt (Blues Creek Guitars, Hegins, Pennsylvania), Jerry Heard, Doris Kaminsky, Bob Krause, Gary Kromirs, Tom Lindtveit, Madt Mallinckrodt (St. Louis, Missouri), Chris and Laura Maul (The Guitar Doctor, Lancaster, Pennsylvania), Eleanor & Jules Minsky, Ric Ochet, Ron Parker, Patrick Reen, Casey & Linda Roe, my dear brother Michael Rorick (Tiburon, California), Bill Russell, Norman Savitt and Yvonne Sewall.
Special thanks to Tamara Cooper and the many volunteers from Family of Woodstock, Inc. who run our annual charity raffles to benefit the John Herald Fund, administered by Family of Woodstock, Inc., with extra-special thanks to Russell Glazer, who won the 2018 WILS autographed guitar charity raffle and regifted that guitar to raffle again this year. We were able to raise $1,485 for the John Herald Fund and Family of Woodstock.
Thanks to the management and staff of all our venues: Bearsville Center, Colony, Tinker Street Cinema and the Woodstock Playhouse.
Our thanks to Ulster County Tourism, the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts, WAMC NPR and WKZE 98.1 FM for their support and promotion, and to the Woodstock PBA, Jeff and Karen Shultis and the Woodstock VFD Wittenberg Engine Company # 2.
My very special thanks to my wife, Betsy Friedman, for her love and support.
The next Woodstock Invitational Luthiers’ Showcase is scheduled for October 13 to 15, 2023.
Founder/producer, Woodstock Invitational Luthiers’ Showcase
Open season to switch health insurance plans
The open session is upon us, a period during which seniors can switch health insurance plans. Seniors are receiving solicitations to join Medicare Advantage plans with promises of huge money savings, perks like gym memberships, vision and dental coverage and more. They are trying to lure seniors from government-run Medicare into private, for-profit plans. Medicare Advantage plans maximize profits to reward their stockholders. Traditional Medicare limits what physicians can charge and keeps their overhead to less than two percent.
Some Medicare Advantage plans are cheaper than straight Medicare, but provide less coverage. There are many indirect ways to reduce coverage, including obstacles to obtain authorizations, size-limited panels of doctors and as many ingenious ways as they can create. Their major goal is profit, not health care. The main goal of traditional Medicare is health care, not profits. With straight Medicare, one can see most any provider and never be denied care by a clerk administering the rules of the company. It is the plan for those who want to be sure they will get what they pay for.
Commentary on life
Nan, biscotti, matzo, garlic knots. OMG, my ever-expanding waist has been donated to the Wurts Street Bridge to be used as a support beam, in keeping with my continuing positive impact on our community. My worst to the Wurts!
If you get lost driving and ask for directions, the worst answer you can get is, “Oh, no, you are on the wrong side of the river!”
To all you Black Friday (every day) stores: What happened to layaway? You are missing out on many customers short on cash and overdone on credit. Just do the right thing!
On relationships: My buddy Jill asked her friend Jack for “friends with benefits.” He got her ADT, a Medicare Advantage Plan and unlimited visits to Big Moe’s Massage Parlor.
Have a happy turkey or hilarious ham. Ta-ta, I am late to my spot as guest speaker at the Granny No-Botox Coalition.
Times, they are a changing
A few years ago, Brian Hollander wrote: “We used to have really long Town Board meetings. We took the approach then that if you took the time and made the effort to come to a Town Council meeting, you should be able to be part of the discussion. And so, we’d not move off an issue until people on all sides of it were satisfied they had had their chance to express themselves.”
Midterm election outcome
The midterm election of 2022 was an important election to determine whether the Senate and the House go entirely Republican or they split, one chamber GOP and the other chamber Democrat. Or they go entirely Democratic. Much depends upon this swing one way or the other. Let’s see the fallout.
Biden has two more years to finish his four-year term in the Oval Office. The GOP did not claim the Senate back; Democrats did, but lost the House to the GOP. There will be gridlock for the next two years, with nothing but major calamities to be avoided and even then, begrudgingly at that. (This is the reverse of the first two years, when the GOP had the Senate and the Democrats the House.)
But the important aspect for this writer is that the GOP did not get both chambers of Congress; therefore, there is a brake on the dismantling of my benefits: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “Why?” History has reflected that the Democrats are much more concerned about my benefits than the Republican Party.
After all, it was the Democrats under FDR who passed Social Security in 1933, with the support of the GOP due to the behavior of the seven GOP POTUSes previous to Hoover. It was the Supreme Court decision of 1886 of Santa Fe County v. Southern Pacific Railroad that created the corporation as a “personhood” and took them out of the tax regulatory system of the states. From this time on up until the first term of FDR, the Republican Party paid no tax funds to the states, disallowing any kind of assistance for development of programs through the years. Railroad entrepreneurs such as Harriman and Rockefeller paid no taxes to the states, even though their railroads were crossing through their states! Think about that.
It was this attitude of “grab, grab, grab,” “every man for himself,” “business-only” attitude which led directly to the catastrophe that befell the American public in the Great Depression, with the banking industry a main culprit in the rise of this Depression. There was no separation between commercial (investment) banking and retail banking. Someone could place a large sum of money in the bank and, unknown to him, that bank could and did take his money and invest it in some scheme to make more money. And went it did not come to fruition, this individual lost his entire savings. It was not until FDR that Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Bill of 1933, called the Banking Act of 1933. This act prevented investment banks from using depositors’ funds, retail, for risky adventures and created the FDIC (Federal Insurance Corporation), where depositors’ money was protected up to $250,000.
President Trump has thrown his hat into the ring for his second term in the Oval Office. However, there is a strong possibility that he might not be the candidate for POTUS in 2024. His renomination has a great deal overshadowing it. He has financial problems (he might even be indicted), problems dealing with the taking of sensitive, top-secret records from the White House, in addition to his bizarre behavior in and out of office. This leaves many GOP members on the line as to whether they will support his renomination, particularly if their reelection is on the line! Very important. The precursor to this is the election of 1934 of FDR and Hoover.
Hoover was the last in a line of GOP “business-only” presidents stemming back to the Supreme Court Act of 1886, Santa Fe County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. In his first term as POTUS, he did very little to alleviate the suffering of the populace during the Great Depression of the ‘20s and ‘30s. With Hoover’s record, the Republicans lost confidence in him, and they supported FDR, not only electing him, but supporting his policies. Because if they did not, they would lose out in the midterm elections; likewise, if they voted for Hoover and he did nothing, they would lose out as well in the midterm elections. If Trump wins and he butchers the New Deal programs, they will also lose out in the midterm elections.
But even if he wins, there is still a block on the butchering of my benefits that I have paid into for so many years via FICA. With the Senate under control of the Democrats, therefore, it will be pretty much a gridlock for the next two years. But if he is renominated and loses or is not renominated, he will be a “spoiler,” as he will try and discredit the process and create as much trouble as he can. Right now, there is unrest in the GOP ranks as some of the heretofore GOP aficionados are having second thoughts of supporting him.
In addition, there is also the problem who the Democrats pick to run for POTUS in 2024. Personally, I believe Biden is too old (just turned 80) and in 2024 will be 82, although I do like his low-key style of governing. If he decides to not run and supports Kamala Harris, his vice president, for POTUS, I fear the Democrats will lose again, just as they did when they nominated Hillary Clinton to follow Obama. I believe the Democrats should pick someone who is not going to be a flashpoint for radicalization, but someone who can work with Congress and tamper down the emotion and rhetoric.
Where I missed giving thanks
As I sit on Black Friday, I realize there is little in the history of the holiday of Thanksgiving that I believe relates to giving thanks. Yet the word Thanksgiving reminds me I am thankful. But offering thanks is hard for me to make time for daily. So, when I am grateful and share, I lift my eyes to see the faces, hands and hearts of those I am thankful for having in my life; that is what I am trying to do right now while writing this.
I remember those who supported me and kept me alive: first, my parents; next, those Marines who kept me living in a war where we were all targets of death and killers of the enemy. Next, I remember those who helped when I came home, bent and damaged from battle. My first wife, a son, best friends, two brothers, my sister, veteran brothers, best friends, stepdaughter, therapists, family, business partners, bosses, doctors and my community all have helped me eventually return home.
Finally, I have to add the thousands of patients I met over my 25 years as a therapist at Four Winds Hospital, where I was allowed into their lives to help them heal. What they don’t know is letting me in became a deep healing I needed for what I did in the Vietnam War. Becoming a small part of their recovery was my effort to atone for what I did to the Vietnamese people.
Finally, I am profoundly thankful today for my wife, Helise, who teaches me with love and acceptance why I am alive.
We make our history together with and separate from our country’s. Therefore, it would be wise for the politicians we elected to make at least one day a week to thank our soldiers, who have given their lives, and our citizens for giving their money, instead of one day we call Thanksgiving.
Shinola is a four-letter word
Regarding Neil Jarmel’s rejoicing over the midterm results last week in his “The GOP Shinola show” letter, perhaps he should consider the following proverb: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or Ha Shem will see and disapprove.” (Proverbs 24: 17-18).
In any event, despite Neil’s predictable post-election “I hate Trump” diatribe, the Democrats lost the House (so long, Nancy) and The Donald is once again a presidential candidate who, if nominated, might just win. I can imagine many readers derisively thinking “Perish the thought,” or even saying aloud “Bring it.” However, if the unthinkable does occur (again), Neil and all the other “There was no Red Wave, and the Democrats only lost the house by seven seats and Orange Man looks weak” gloaters will experience a serious mood change.
On the bright side, a Trump win would bode well for Mr. Jarmel’s letter-writing career, because he could resubmit all his previous anti-Trump letters to Feedback rather than write new ones. Moreover, since I suspect that Neil’s comments about any Republican POTUS will echo the worst of his anti-Trump rants, if Ron DeSantis or another Republican wins the Party’s nomination and is elected, Neil could simply substitute that winner’s name in place of TFG (That Fabulous Guy) Donald Trump’s in those resubmissions.
With all of the above in view, one thing seems certain: either scenario will be fun for Neil and interesting to Rebecca Wilk. Ms. Wilk finds Neil’s weekly diatribes against Donald Trump (and, apparently, the 74 million people who voted for him) a sign of alertness and awareness rather than an example of repetitive propaganda that even a committed anti-Trump progressive like Meyer Rothberg (if he’s being honest) must find at least as tiresome as my silly Civile song parodies: especially since Neil’s Shinola is hard to put to music.
What a wonderful day to celebrate by giving thanks for the miracle of living here in the Hudson Valley at this time. We who can truly have won the great lottery called life, with no glaciers, and no barbarians at the gates. Now we have 8,000 million others to pray for. Peace.
A good read
Rokosz Most’s article in the November 23 issue, “Down the rabbit hole,” concerning the organizations called Public Authorities, was a worthwhile expenditure of more ink than might have been expected for such a subject, especially starting on the front page above the fold. Most’s lively and occasionally over-the-top writing style was well employed to make this possibly dry subject matter more interesting. The piece was informative and, as far as I know, accurate while also entertaining. Good job, HV1!
Still time for changes to the design for Woodstock town offices
I am responding to Ken Panza’s letter dated November 9, 2022 regarding “Building to reduce GHG emissions.”
Ken Panza is to be commended for keeping climate change part of the discussion with regards to the new addition about to be constructed at the Woodstock town offices. However, his letter cheerleading the GHG attributes of the new addition design does not directly respond to Robert Young’s and my concerns regarding the town’s failure to embrace zero-net-energy building practices and a design that takes advantage of the available passive solar gain i.e.: orienting the building to face south.
There are apples and oranges in the energy design universe and Ken frankly should know better than to be confusing the two for your readers. The town and their architects are apparently ignoring the availability of free, carbon neutral, infinite energy from the sun. This certainly does require a valid explanation. That falls on the architects and decision makers who ignored a beautiful, energy-saving, south-facing orientation in favor of an east-facing, less-efficient and more energy-costly design.
Designing a building for passive heating and cooling is the low-lying fruit of zero-net-energy design and pays dividends as long as the building stands. Hauling electricity over expensive infrastructure for 100 years, whether from a hydro plant or other source, is still costly and is not a carbon-neutral method of providing for a comfortable living space. A design utilizing southern exposure and passive solar should have been the starting point during the concept phase of this design.
The good news is there is still time to reorient the building to face south. The foundation has not been poured. There is certainly time to do an energy audit of the building and redesign it for passive solar before it gets built. Future generations deserve no less from us.
More power to you
So as to try to keep the record straight around Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), I would like to point out that an article headlined “More power to you” in the November 23 edition of HV1 incorrectly stated that on 11/16/22 the Saugerties Town Board voted 3-2 on a motion to “…find an new energy source to replace Columbia Energy” after Columbia backed out of their CCA agreement. The article also incorrectly stated that that motion was an agreement for municipalities participating in litigation “to pay the fees for litigants in a suit against Columbia.” In fact, the motion made no mention of finding a new energy source and was actually designed to the eliminate the financial burden of the ten municipalities (including Saugerties) participating in that suit by Joule against Columbia by requiring their legal costs be paid first and actually not holding responsible for legal fees in any settlement. The motion in question can be found on the agenda for the 11/16/22 Town board meeting on the town website — it was much to the advantage of Saugerties and fortunate for the town that it passed.
There were, and are, many misconceptions and misinformation about Saugerties’ participation in the Community Choice Aggregation program. Though it was shorter lived than expected because of the unprecedented and unethical withdrawal of Columbia Energy as energy provider for the program, in fact, the participants in the program, nearly 23,000, collectively saved nearly $8 million, somewhere around $300-400 per household during the ten months is was up and running. No one in the program lost any money as the result of its demise as there were no fees or contracts for homeowners. Though Central Hudson’s billing debacles were happening concurrently with the program, the billing delays and overcharges experienced were completely caused by Central Hudson’s mishandling of its IT issues and were not the fault of the CCA program, though some erroneously laid blame there. It’s unfortunate that Columbia’s untoward actions, Central Hudson’s incompetence and misinformation have put a pall on an otherwise money-saving and environmentally advantageous program.
Addressing three letters
After reading Allyson Rubin’s letter of 11-23-22, I pose a very simple question to Allyson. Would you want yours or anyone’s six-year naive and impressionable daughter/granddaughter exposed to a book that teaches there are 72 genders and which depicts explicit sexual behaviors that many would put in the same category as pornography? Moms for Liberty, founded by two women/mothers as well as being former school board members, are interested in parents being made aware of and involved in decisions that guarantee our children getting the best education possible through the teaching of real and relevant subjects such as Math, English, Science, Unadulterated History, etc. that will prepare them to function and succeed in the real world. And with a simple goal such as that, you refer to Moms for Liberty as “a hate group?” Really? C’mon Allyson, as a former teacher, you can do better than that.
And, to address Rebecca Wilk’s letter of 11-23-22, she goes to great lengths to try, unsuccessfully, to connect her understandings of the flavor of the month terms of “fascism” and “neofascists” to the direction that she believes the “Trumpians” will certainly take our country. In Rebecca’s many defining characteristics of fascism, she apparently doesn’t realize that she has just described China, Russia, Cuba, and North Korea, to name a few, to a tee. I don’t think any Americans of any color or of any political persuasion would say we are anywhere near the same category as these named countries, with or without any influence from Donald J. Trump. And, mysteriously, Rebecca is still very much hung up on my continually and courteously referring to her by her first name.
Finally, I can’t pass up another opportunity to address Neil Jarmel, most recently his letter, also, of 11-23-22. Since I can see two sides of an issue, I have to agree with Neil about his assessment of Trump’s negative impact on a number of critical midterm results favoring the Democrats. Of course, I disagree with Neil’s referencing the right wing as “the countenance of violence.” If Neil is looking for accurate examples of REAL violence, it appears he’s already forgotten about how the Democrats and Democratic city leaders initiated, encouraged, and supported, with their cricket-like silence, the hardly silent “peaceful demonstrations,” aka riots, of the 2020 “summer of love.” I guess Neil wants us to believe that the out-of-control demonstration on 2/3 of one day, January 6, 2021, caused far more damage to our country than 574 violent riots in a four-to-six-month time period. The worn-out phrase of “a threat to our democracy,” referring to a group of unorganized, Keystone Cop-like clowns and falsely and comedically labeled an “insurrection,” did not even come close to what a real insurrection represents — a bloodbath and success.
And, Neil’s praise of the Gen Z crowd is a sad commentary on where some of our future leaders may potentially come from. Not all, but far too many of them have shown their aptitude and knowledge, during street interviews, where they can’t even tell George Washington from Abe Lincoln when shown photos of important figures. They know far more about the lead dog who won last year’s Iditarod than who their local political representative is and what he/she stands for, assuming they even know what the issues are. So, how do they vote? They vote for whoever Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande or Lizzo tells them to vote for. And, some are pushing for the voting age to be lowered to 16! OMG!!!
John N. Butz
Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen at Christ’s Lutheran Church in Woodstock has been offering meals three days each week for over 25 years! Our motto, “No one should go hungry” has been our guiding principle. Through the generosity of local restaurants, volunteers, and donors, we are able to provide meals to all who come to our door. We’d like to especially thank the following restaurants for joining with us in this community service:
Blue Mountain Bistro, Kingston; Bread Alone, Woodstock; Catskill Mountain Pizza, Woodstock; Cucina, Woodstock; Garden Cafe, Woodstock; Hickory Smokehouse BBQ, Kingston; Pearl Moon, Woodstock; Oriole 9, Woodstock; Santa Fe, Woodstock; The Reservoir Inn, West Hurley; Woodstock Meats, Woodstock; and Yum Yum, Woodstock.
Our volunteers are also at the core of this ministry and we are so very grateful for their dedication. Many contribute two hours or more each month preparing meals and warmly greeting our guests. New volunteers are very much appreciated and if you are interested, please call the church office at 845-679-2339 and someone will return your call. Many thanks again to our restaurants, volunteers and our donors.
on behalf of the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen
God save The King
Jogger John has been called home. The angels sing Forever Young as the real Peter Pan leaves this realm to enter the next. Recently, the Queen of England died causing a hush to fall upon the whole of the United kingdom. The passing of John has had that effect upon the people of Woodstock. All men with honor are kings, but not all kings have honor. John was the uncrowned king of Woodstock and he will long be remembered as a man of honor. The whole town of Woodstock cries out in mourning ‘Jogger John is dead’ and this town will never be the same again!
What would Jogger John say to us if he were alive today to such doom and gloom at his passing?
Below is a poem inspired by John O Donohue that might capture what John might say?
Come on man! Come on!
Don’t just sit there and look for me in your memory
where you would grow lonely without me.
Cheer up and get a life!
I want you to find me in presence,
beside you when beauty brightens,
when kindness glows
and music echoes eternal tones.
when orchids brighten the earth,
darkest winter has turns to spring;
Let your dark grief flower with hope
Don’t weep my loss!
I now dwell in a safe place in your heart
where no storm or night or pain can reach me.
My love for you is like the dawn
brightening over your lives,
awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of color.
The sound of my voice
will always find you
A fresh new music
that brightened everything.
Whatever I enfolded in my gaze
will now Quicken in the joy of its being;
I placed smiles like flowers
on the alter of your heart,
My mind always sparkled
with the wonder at things.
My spirit is still alive, awake and now complete.
I now dwell inside the rhythm of your breath,
as close to you as we are to ourselves.
Though we cannot see each other with outward eyes.
We know our souls gaze upon each other’s face.
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.
In every heart that loves me.
Allow me to continue to inspire you:
Enter each day with a generous heart.
Serve the call of courage and love
Until I see your beautiful faces again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose each other again.
— Inspired by John O Donohue