Archive for August, 2010

Gigli’s Photo of the Week 08/15/2010

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Up, Up, & Away - It's a bird, no it's a plane, no it's super kite! Kites have made their appearance over three thousand years ago, in China. All the materials needed were found there, for it's making: Bamboo for the frame, and silk for the sail and bridle. The American Kite-fliers Association now, have over 3,000 members, in 25 countries, and are the largest association of kiters in the world. Photo was taken along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.Up, Up, Up, & Away – It’s a bird, no it’s a plane, no it’s super kite!

Kites have made their appearance over three thousand years ago, in China. All the materials needed were found there for it’s making; Bamboo for the frame, and silk for the sail and bridle. The American Kite-fliers Association now have over 3,000 members, in 25 countries, and are the largest association of kiters in the world. Photo was taken along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.
Photography by Rich Gigli

Sleazy Home Town Ads

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

Pick up a copy of the Times Herald-Record (or a host of other daily newspapers around the country) any day of the week and you might see a baker’s dozen or more advertisements for massage parlors and strip clubs. The ads are always towards the back of the paper, nestled among the box scores and horse racing results in the sports section.

There’s an ad in the Record for Jenna’s Gentlemen’s Club in Middletown that boasts, “Hot New Babes Everynight!”  Another announces the “Grand Opening” of the New York Spa in Newburgh: “Restore with our Healing Hands of Beneficial Treatments for Body Mind Spirit.” That one includes a photo of a young Asian woman playing the flute. Also in Newburgh is the Hanna Spa, which offers “Ground Floor Discreet Park & Enter.”

There was nothing discreet about the Young Spa, which opened in Pine Island in June and was shut down six weeks later. I knew that one was a goner as soon as I saw their ad in the paper. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. As reported in the news section of the Times Herald-Record on July 15, “Across the street from a Catholic church and a statue of the Virgin Mary, police say, workers at a new spa on Pulaski Highway offered customers ‘happy endings.’”

“As soon as it opened, police officers realized what it was,” said Warwick police Lt. Thomas Maslanka.

The windows were blacked out, but the place was “anything but discreet,” reported Heather Yakin of the Record. “The front door was locked, with entry by buzzer only. Neighbors saw BMWs and Mercedes — cars out of place in the onion- and sod-farming mecca of Pine Island — there at odd hours. Immediately, people started calling police to complain about the shady business that had opened across from St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church.”

Two people, identified as Myoung O. Kim, 53, of Colorado, and Teck I. Park, 60, of Queens, were each charged with operating an unauthorized practice, a felony; and prostitution, a misdemeanor. How someone from Colorado ended up opening a massage parlor in Pine Island would make an interesting story I think. In any case this was either a setup of the first order or the proprietors are complete idiots.

Meanwhile, the Record continues to accept advertising money from such places, which is what enables them to attract customers. Then it covers the news when the places get busted. As my father used to say, “They’ve got a pretty good racket going there.” In fairness to the Record and the others that accept these kinds of ads, times are tough in the newspaper business. Advertising sales have plummeted in recent years as readers turned to sources like the internet and cable TV, which can deliver information more quickly, if not more accurately.

A month before the bust at Young Spa the Record ran a story by Adam Bosch: “Seven women at two Newburgh massage parlors were charged Thursday with giving massages without a license, a felony under state education law.

“Newburgh Lt. Mike Clancy said the bust was part of an investigation into suspected cocaine sales at the Gold Spa on South Plank Road and Hanna Spa on Route 17K.”

Yes, that is the same Hanna Spa that continues to tout its discreet “park & enter” in the sports section. No drugs were found, but seven Asian women from Queens were arrested and charged with giving massages without a license. 

Back in 2007 the paper ran an article by Alexa James about the arrest of six women who worked in massage parlors in Newburgh, New Windsor and Montgomery. The six were charged with failing to produce a license to practice massage in the state of New York, a felony charge regarded by the courts as more serious than prostitution. The women, all undocumented immigrants from Asia, worked at the Gold Spa on South Plank Road, Tokyo Spa on Meadow Hill Road, Ruby Spa on Route 17K in Montgomery, and the A&A Spa in New Windsor.

The Ruby Spa ads have been replaced by ads for Centure Health Center on Route 17K in Montgomery. Tokyo Spa seems to have been reincarnated with the aforementioned “grand opening” of New York Spa. And A&A is operating—and advertising in the Record—from its new location in New Windsor.

The New York Times does not run such advertising. Nor does the Wall Street Journal, which, like the Record, is owned by Rupert Murdoch. 

I would rather see the paper assign a couple of the fine reporters who still work there to investigate the glut of massage parlor businesses in the region and shed some light on the exploitation of the foreign-born women they employ. I’d like to know more about the patrons, too….those  drivers of BMWs and Mercedes who drive to them in search of “hot babes” and “happy endings.”  What do you think?

Michael can be reached at

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 8/17/10

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Fat Guy at the Diner

On a recent, sweltering morning, we were going in to eat at the diner in this painting, when I saw a car parked with a dog in it.

The windows were cracked open, but the car was in the direct sun. It was already 86 degrees and getting hotter by the second.

“Who owns the car with the dog in it?” I asked, loudly, when I got into the diner.

“We do,” a man said. “And he’s all right.”

“No,” I said, “he’s not. And if he is now, he won’t be in about 10 minutes.”

“He’s all right,” the man said, “and it’s none of your business.”

“Yes, it is,” I said. “It’s everyone’s business. That dog is going to get sick or die if you don’t get him out of there.”

“You want to take him for a walk?” the man said. “Take him for a walk then.”

“No, I don’t want to take him for a walk. I want you to move the car.”

“He’s my damn dog, and he’s fine,” the guy said. His wife and young daughter said nothing. The three had clearly just arrived, and were studying the menus. It would be a long time before that dog was safe.

By this time, we were seated, and I was crying. I hate this, but it happens to me, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

“I’m going to call the police,” I said to Peter.

The guy overheard. “You want to call the police, call the damn police.”

“Fine,” I said, “I will.” I turned to Peter. “Let’s go,” I said. “I can’t stand to be here and watch this.”

I called the police, and we left.  I wish I had done more. I wish I’d stayed until the cops came. I wish I had taken the poor dog for a walk. But at least I did something.

“Fat Guy at the Diner” is oil on canvas, 24 inches by 36 inches. If you’re interested in buying it, please email me at

Sustainable Living by Shawn Dell Joyce

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Shawn Dell Joyce

Overlook Farm Market

Overlook Farm Market is the ubiquitous building on Route 9W that seems to be a magnet for passers-by. It’s the brain child of Jim “the farmer” and Nina “the marketer” who combine their skills to create a place where people can get fresh, local produce direct from the farms.

“We are witnessing the disappearance of small family farms,” says Jim Lyons. “All people need to buy local.”

Lyons is right and recent research shows that growing the food that feeds our country is one of the most thankless and low paying jobs a person could have.  In 2002, the median net income for a U.S. farmer was $15,848, while hired hands and migrant workers averaged around $10,000 per year.  Farming has become so unpopular that the category was recently removed from the U.S. Census, and federal prison inmates now outnumber farmers.

The Lyons are more than just working the land; they are stewards of the land, and actively work to preserve the environment. Jim and Nina are very committed to the local community, and share part of their space with Newburgh artist Mary Evelyn Whitehill.

Nina and Jim have been in business for twenty-five years offering fresh vegetables, fruits, as well as a bakery, deli, garden center and even a petting zoo.

“Our market has been here for many years,” Nina says, and with the awareness currently about our value and service we’ll continue from March through January for many more years to come.”

Shawn Dell Joyce is an author of “Orange County Bounty” local foods cookbook, and director of the Wallkill River School and Art Gallery in Montgomery.

Corn Souffle
(Courtesy of Overlook Farm Market)
Reprinted from Orange County Bounty local foods cookbook available at the Wallkill River School.
16 oz. fresh corn cut from the ears (about 8 ears)
1 C. Milk
3 Eggs
2 T. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1T. Butter cut into six pieces
Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend on medium until mixed thoroughly. Pour into a medium sized baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Dot the top with butter pieces and bake at 325 degrees for an hour or so until firm. Yields 6-8 servings.

Mr. Fix-it At Your Service

Thursday, August 12th, 2010


By Jeffrey Page

Americans don’t like to wait. We perceive a problem, discuss it for, oh say, 10 minutes, come up with what seems like a satisfactory solution – as facile as it might be – take action, and sit back with a knowing, self-satisfied  smile. Occasionally this works.

But we tend to get a little testy when something resists a quick fix. Take these wars of ours in Afghanistan and Iraq. They’re the result of 9/11, and a decade later we’re still at it. Was it Rumsfeld the Genius who said we would be wrong to call them a quagmire? They’re a quagmire, and we’ve lost more than 5,000 of our young people in it.

Nowadays we are very concerned by the presence of millions of illegal aliens – or undocumented immigrants in the kingdom of political correctness – and there have been many proposals put forth on how to deal with this. These include a fence to rival the Great Wall of China, armed troops, armed civilian militias, and that demagogue’s delight of a state law in Arizona.

The newest idea is to repeal Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. This is the part that grants automatic U.S. citizenship to anyone born in the United States, including, therefore, the children of those who are here illegally. The 14th Amendment is a testament to the fairness and humanity of the United States because it was a repudiation of the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott in 1857, in which the justices ruled that black men and women could never become U.S. citizens, even those born here.

Now, 142 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is out front in the discussion about repealing the compassion, goodwill and humanity of the 14th’s citizenship clause as a way of dealing with Mexicans illegally crossing the border. It’s not drastic. It’s Graham, imitating Homer Simpson: “Doh! Nothing else worked.”

Well, if we’re going to spay the 14th Amendment because we’re unable to come up with a reasoned way of dealing with undocumented immigrants, we ought to consider changing other parts of the Constitution that we find bothersome. Thanks to Lindsey Graham, this seems to be the easy way to deal with annoying situations. Find it, fix it, forget it.

Let us modify the First Amendment to satisfy the opponents of the proposed mosque two blocks from Ground Zero by making it read: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion except Islam.” There, wasn’t that easy?

For the benefit of Americans who get nervous by the sight of political demonstrators, we could change the assembly clause in the First Amendment to read: “Congress shall make no law regarding the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances as long as those assembling and/or petitioning are quiet, respectful, middle class, middle aged, do not shake their fists and generally are non-threatening.”

For those who oppose the possession of firearms, let us repeal the Second Amendment altogether. It’s only 27 words; who would miss it?

Then there’s that pesky Fifth Amendment. Let it now read: “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself unless everybody knows he’s guilty as sin, in which case, he’d better talk.” The altered Fifth could be paired with an altered Eighth Amendment, which could read: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted unless we know the S.O.B. is guilty, in which case no trial is necessary. Just take him out and hang him.”

For the anti-tax folks, we’ll repeal the 16th Amendment, the one that empowers Congress to lay and collect taxes on income, and order a National Day of Prayer – pray or die – every year to ask God to rain down all the money we need to maintain civil society in the 21st Century, but without taxes.

There are people – come on, you know who you are – who’d like to do something about the 19th Amendment, which gives women the right to vote. Hey, if the framers wanted women to vote, they would have said so, right? So, maybe late one night when the nation is fast asleep, Congress could start the machinery to, uh, do something about the 19th.

Wasn’t that easy?

Jeffrey can be reached at

To think, perchance to have an idea

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

 By Bob Gaydos

A couple of friends of mine, who clearly have too much time on their hands, recently asked me a question that was guaranteed to provoke feelings of anxiety, inadequacy and insecurity: Who are the 20 most influential thinkers of the 20th century and beyond?
 My inner voice immediately screamed out (in?), “How the hell should I know? I know baseball and politics, a few writers, some movie directors, and enough philosophy to be decent at Jeopardy. That’s it.”
 The truth is, something inside me recoils at the challenge to come up with my list of the “best” or “most influential” or “most important” or “my favorite” of anything. I haven’t figured out why. Then I thought, “Well, that’s just an excuse to avoid thinking a bit beyond the normal exertion and, being retired, I have no legitimate excuse for that, so why not give it a try. Besides, it will give me something to post on my Facebook page.
 The trick, for me, in compiling such lists is getting past the obvious names, the ones that go on the list automatically and, if anyone challenges them, their name goes on another list. So I have to have Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers (they count for one), Thomas Edison and Picasso. Already, it’s getting tough.
 Off the top of my head and with just the briefest scanning of the web to remove the cobwebs, I also came up with Bertrand Russell, Noam Chomsky, Carl Jung, Jean Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud, T.S. Eliot, George Carlin, Albert Camus, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rachel Carson, John Dewey, Bill Wilson, Dorothy Day, Bill Gates, Thomas Watson, Sam Walton, George Orwell, Margaret Sanger, Winston Churchill, Khalil Gibran, Philo Farnsworth, Betty Friedan and Isaac Asimov.
 That’s 29 names in all and I don’t think I’m done. Even my cursory Internet refresher suggests to me that Martin Heidegger was a great 20th century philosopher, if just because all the other philosophers seem to think he was. (Personal confession: Reading philosophical writings often demands the kind of attention to minute detail for which I have seldom had the patience, even in college when I wanted to get a decent grade. This is one of my character defects with which I have learned to live. It’s also probably why I got into journalism. Truthfully, when Bill Clinton said he wasn’t sure what the meaning of the word “is’’ is, I got a headache even though I knew what he was trying to do.)
 But this list, say my friends, is for influential thinkers, not just philosophers, and Heidegger happened to be a genuine Nazi, to which I can only ask, “What was he thinking?” And since this is a personal list, even though he had wide influence I will leave him — and Adolf Hitler — off my list since their core idea was soundly rejected.
 I’m going to stop here before I start including Knute Rockne because he popularized the forward pass or Miller Huggins for making Babe Ruth a fulltime outfielder. Those thoughts were pure genius.

*  *  *

No, I’m not going to leave it there. I’m sure someone thinks I’m an idiot for names I included or excluded. Or maybe you’re just nice and want to share your own names. Send them along and we’ll compare notes. It’s bound to be more satisfying than following the ramblings of the tea partiers.

Bob can be reached at

Gigli’s Photo of the Week 08/08/2010

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Photography by Rich Gigli

WATERLILY & DRAGONFLY - Once upon a time a Dragonfly landed on a Waterlily and commented to the Waterlily "what a beautiful flower you are", and the Dragonfly flew away contented. Each day the Dragonfly would remind the Waterlily of its beauty and each day the Dragonfly flew away contented. One day however, after telling the Waterlily of its beauty, the Waterlily responded, "I know I'm beautiful", and the Dragonfly flew away disgusted. - (Gigli 2010)

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 8/10/10

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Sunny Saturday

On Saturday, artists from the Wallkill River School took to the historic streets of Montgomery and painted. We started early in the morning, and finished at noon. Then we framed our wet paintings and put them up on easels in the Montgomery Senior Center.

A few hours later, the paintings were up for bid at a wet-paint auction.

What fun this day was! I challenged myself with this painting, a long downhill perspective on a skinny canvas (10 inches by 30 inches). I fought and struggled, painted and repainted, and when it finally fell into place, I was delighted, and my onlookers were, too.

That’s one thing about painting in public – you’re out there on display, and every stroke, good or bad, is made with people looking on.

At first, it scared me. I make a lot of strokes that I change. I scrape paint off, I push it around, I cover it up. I am an active, intuitive painter. Sometimes I wish I were more thoughtful, more measured, more precise – but I yam what I yam.

I made two paintings on Saturday morning. This was the first; the second was a little hurried, a little time-crunched. Both paintings sold at the auction, which made me happy, indeed. Most of the money went to the Village of Montgomery Bicentennial, and that seems like a good cause.

I met a few Zest readers while I was out on the sunny sidewalk, and that was a real treat! Thank you all for stopping by and introducing yourselves.

Coarsening the Culture

Friday, August 6th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

For years I’ve been concerned about the debasement of our society as a result of the transfer of certain words from the do-not-say list to common, everyday nouns and verbs.

Note: This is not a call for government to send in the speech cops or the thought police. Nor is it about private speech between and among individuals. Rather it’s about my dismay that we’ve reached a point where you hear little boys and girls using “it sucks” as a statement of disapproval as in “The Mets? They suck.” You’d think parents would understand that “sucks,” used in this sense, derives from half a word used to describe someone who performs fellatio. And what parent wouldn’t jump at the chance to change their child’s vocabulary if it meant avoiding having to explain fellatio to a 5-year old?

The casual use of “sucks” is all around us. Not long ago I heard a commercial on radio for a book entitled “Your Marketing Sucks,” in which some guy promises to improve your business operation if you’d only read his book.

The casual use of “cojones” has been building for years. This Spanish vulgarism for testicles often is used to connote courage as in the English vulgarism “balls.” The formal word for “testicles” is the far less colorful sounding “testículos.” But “cojones” recently lost some of its ability to startle when, during an interview on Fox, Sarah Palin let fly with “Jan Brewer has the cojones that our president does not.” Brewer, the governor of Arizona, is a woman but this subtlety was lost on Palin.

In fact, she never missed a beat, never slowed down to consider her coarseness, never realized how ridiculous she sounded in her anatomically erroneous discussion of a woman’s cojones.

(And why should she? After all, it was Palin who assured the nation in 2008 that Alaska’s proximity to Siberia made her sufficiently qualified in foreign relations to be vice president.)

The irony – or hypocrisy – was too rich to ignore. Fox viewers might have been left scratching their heads and wondering what happened to Palin’s own “cojones.” Didn’t she quit as governor of Alaska as an ethics investigation was about to get underway?

The public crassness continues in the current issue of The New Yorker, which contains a full-page ad for the new Showtime series “The Big C.” The show is about a woman’s confronting her cancer. The kicker in the ad: “Grabbing life by the balls.”

In 2004, the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney, was angered by Senator Patrick Leahy’s hard questioning of him about the Halliburton Corporation. “Go f–k yourself,” Cheney advised Leahy. It was on the floor of the Senate, which used to be known as the world’s greatest deliberative body.

The recently released movie “Dinner for Schmucks” is rated PG-13. The parental advisory at the Internet Movie Data Base ( notes, “A man’s ex-girlfriend sneaks into his house. She is in a revealing outfit. She then proceeds to have sex with another man by making sexual remarks (so her boyfriend can hear.)”

The advisory also notes the script’s use of “f–k,” “s–t,” “bitch,” “ass,” and “hell” and adds that “God’s and Jesus’ names are abused many times as well.”

Just think, some genius at the Motion Picture Association of America gets paid to decide that “f–k,” “s–t,” “bitch,” “ass,” and “hell” are OK for children over 13.”

But nowhere do the producers explain that “schmuck,” while commonly used to refer to a dimwit, is the Yiddish word for “penis.” If “Dinner for Schmucks” is acceptable now, can “Dinner for Dickheads” be far behind?

Speaking of movie titles, remember “Meet the Fockers” of a few years back? My sense was that you were supposed to read the advertisements for the movie and be sufficiently titillated to make the connection between Fockers and f–kers. I checked and sure enough, there it was: “The surname Focker plays on the F word.” This movie also was rated PG-13.

Any number of times on New York radio, I have heard raging talk show hosts refer to the people they disliked as “a-holes” and “scumbags.”

So there you are, driving the family to a ball game with the radio tuned to some talker. And all of a sudden your kid asks, “Mom, what’s a scumbag?” Go ahead, rehearse a response.

Am I making too big a deal of this or have we been witness to and, by our inaction, participants in the degrading of our lives?

What’s your take on this?

Jeffrey can be reached at

Target’s Political Donation

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

When the details of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law were revealed, some people called for a boycott of the state. The counterargument was that this could cost people their jobs. Of course that might never happen but would I want it on my conscience if it did?

However the Arizona Atrocity is no minor irritant. When it comes to Arizona, we’re dealing with the enactment of the first American Apartheid statute, one that can get you arrested for passing a red light and then being scrutinized as someone who just might be in the country illegally. Or arrested for failing to have proof of legal residency on you at the time you pass that red light. As far as I know, there’s nothing in the law that requires certain other born-elsewhere Arizonans – John McCain, Jon Kyl, Jan Brewer – to carry proofs of their legal residency with them at all times.

So, boycott Arizona? Sure. Deal me in. But it should be known that this isn’t much of a sacrifice. I had no plans to go to Phoenix.

Then there’s Target.

Do I continue to shop at Target stores now that the CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, has contributed $150,000 in corporate funds to support the candidacy of a man named Tom Emmer, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in Minnesota and who stands for many things I find repellent? Or do I boycott Target? By the way, such corporate contributions are legal for the first time in about 65 years, courtesy of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case.

All right, who is Tom Emmer, and why should I care about what happens on Election Day in Minnesota? After all, it’s 1,200 miles from my house to Minneapolis.

This is the extent of Emmer’s thinking about marriage: “I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman.” Twelve words to deny basic rights to a segment of the Minnesota population. At his campaign web site, Emmer makes no mention of where marriage is discussed in the Constitution and how it became a political issue. He doesn’t explain why anyone would care about his definition of marriage.

But never mind Emmer. Let’s concentrate on Gregg Steinhafel. Some of the gay employees in Target’s 1,700 stores became alarmed with his sending that check to aid one of those not-now-not-ever candidates and then trying to wriggle out of the public spotlight.

Target has 350,000 employees. What’s the American gay population? About 5 percent of the total? So let’s agree that Steinhafel has about 17,500 gay and lesbian people on his payroll. He heard their shouts and the best he could come up with was: “Target’s support of the [Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender] community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.”

Unwavering? When you remove the plain brown wrapper, the truth lies there like a rotting walleye, the Minnesota state fish. Steinhafel divides where division is not possible. You can’t lean back on prettily written corporate personnel policy – Target supports domestic partner benefits and some other programs important to gay people – while forking over $150K to someone who would withhold a basic human right to 17,500 of your employees.

So follow the money. I frequently buy socks, shirts and veggie burgers at Target. The money I spend there goes into the corporate treasury. The treasury is tapped to allow Steinhafal to donate money to Tom Emmer so Emmer can wage war on human rights for 5 percent of the population. Does that sound unwavering to you?

The result is that it’s some of my money going to help Emmer.

Spend my money at a Target store, such as the one in Middletown? No. There are other places to buy socks and veggie burgers.

Either I stand with the struggle for full rights for all people or I turn my back. There’s no compromise.

Jeffrey can be reached at