Archive for September, 2010

Sustainable Living

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

By Shawn Dell Joyce

“Omnivore, Vegetarian or Vegan? Which is more sustainable?”

Picture in your mind the food ladder. Starting at the bottom rung, we have the most abundant and free source of energy on the planet: solar, which is consumed by plants (next rung) to make food energy, which is consumed by animals (next rung) to make protein, which is consumed by man. Except in a few rare cases involving bears, sharks, wild dingoes or cannibals, the food ladder ends with us humans.

Each rung on the ladder represents about a 10 percent loss of resources. The plants waste 10 percent of the sun growing things the animals won’t eat. The animals waste 10 percent of the plant by growing things like feathers, fur and bones that we won’t eat. You get the picture. What does that innocuous 10 percent really look like?

To produce a pound of wheat takes about 25 gallons of water, a lot of sun, and less than an acre of land. Yet it takes 16 pounds of that wheat (plus soy), and 2,500 gallons of water fed to a cow to make one pound of beef.  More than half our farmland and half our water consumption is currently devoted to the meat industry. A 10-acre farm could feed 60 people growing soybeans, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn but only two producing cattle, according to the British group Vegfam. We eat most of our grain in the form of meat, 90 percent actually, which translates into 2,000 pounds of grain a year. In poorer countries, grain is consumed directly, skipping a rung in the ladder.

“Imagine sitting down to an eight-ounce steak dinner,” writes author Frances Moore Lappé in “Diet for a Small Planet,” “then imagine the room filled with 45 to 50 people with empty bowls in front of them. For the ‘feed cost’ of your steak, each of their bowls could be filled with a full cup of cooked cereal grains.” We Americans don’t often see the unappetizing effects of eating 260 pounds of meat per person, per year. We waste 90 percent of the carbs, fiber, and plant protein by cycling grain through animals for meat. Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer estimates that reducing meat consumption by just 10 percent in the U.S. would free enough grain to feed 60 million people. This year, about 20 million people, mostly children, will starve to death.

We don’t often see the hungry and malnourished in our culture, so it’s difficult to make that connection when standing by the grill waiting for your hamburger. Consider ways to replace meat for two or three main meals a week. Marge Corriere, a Blooming Hill Farm customer, said recently, “Treat meat like a condiment. Use just a small amount for a meal, much like they do in other countries.” By eating lower on the food chain, even just a few meals a week, we reduce our risk for heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and colon (and other) cancers, and save valuable resources that could be put to better uses elsewhere.

“It boils down to a simple equation,” says Alan Durning, head of the Northwest Environment Watch. “We currently consume close to our own body weight in natural resources every day. These resources are extracted from farms, forests, fisheries, mines and grasslands, all of which are essential to the health of the planet – and to the health of human beings.”

Adding more vegan meals to your diet, and treating animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) as condiments and using very little, as Corriere says, improves your health and the health of the planet.

Reach Shawn at

Shawn’s Painting of the Week 9/20/10

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Kezia Lain Farm in Westtown is one of the oldest family farms in the county. This is the view of the cows grazing in the distance with rolling Black Dirt hills and the barn from last week on the edge. If you want to try your hand at painting this scene; come paint with the Wallkill River School next Sunday from 9-noon. It’s free to try it, and I’ll show you how I did this painting.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 9/20/10

Thursday, September 16th, 2010


On Saturday, I painted in the art tent at the Deerpark Family Festival.

It was a beautiful day, and Deerpark residents made a good showing. I saw old friends and neighbors, met new friends, saw beautiful art, listened to music (even danced a little, with a woman who spent her afternoon kicking up her heels), and I had a great time.

I made two paintings to donate to the Port Jervis/Deerpark Humane Society. Frick, above, is one of them. The other, you will see next week. You can see them both in person, if you visit the Humane Society’s tent next Sunday at the Fall Foliage Festival in downtown Port Jervis.

The donations are part of the Art for Shelter Animals Project, a group I co-founded and continue to run. You can check out our blog at

Here’s how it works: You make a portrait of an animal in your local shelter or with a local rescue group, and then donate the art to the shelter or rescue group. Before you give it to them, you take a photo and send it to me, and I will upload it to the blog and write a little about you, and a little about the recipient group.

The shelter or rescue group can do whatever it wants with the art. They can sell it, auction it, reprint it on tote bags (this idea came from a young shelter worker, Michaela, who befriended me on Saturday), give it as an inducement for adoption, or for volunteer work – or they can just use the art to make their shelter more attractive. What they do with it is up to them.

In the summer, Susan Miiller, an artist who lives in Deerpark, engineered a small-works animal show in a doctor’s office in Port. Art for Shelter Animals Project painters from around the world sent pieces to be in the show. If they sold, the entire price went to the shelter. If they didn’t sell, the pieces went to the shelter.

My paintings on Sunday were really part of that show.

I love our home here in Connecticut. I love being near my family. I love not living beside a river with a temper (we lived on the banks of the Neversink in Meyers Grove). But I loved living in Orange County, too, and I miss it. Painting in the festival, visiting my old neighbors and neighborhood, and seeing again – and with fresh eyes – the beauty of the region made me miss my old home even more.

But life takes you where it takes you. And that’s OK with me.

Dealing With Her Urges

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

With regard to Christine O’Donnell, the press has come up short in asking the hard questions.

Bill Maher says there is tape of O’Donnell, the holier-than-thou-and-everyone-else Tea Party candidate for the Senate from Delaware, saying she would never tell a lie. Never is too far in the future to let pass without elaboration.

What if Hitler rang the doorbell and O’Donnell had Anne Frank hiding upstairs. “No, I would not lie,” O’Donnell was quoted by Maher. “God would find a way.”

But of course in Anne Frank’s case, God did not find a way.

Still, couldn’t some lady or gentleman of the fourth estate have asked O’Donnell how God would have protected Anne? Because when the Nazis finally came for her she was unceremoniously shipped off to Bergen-Belsen where she died. She was 15.

I don’t think it’s unfair to infer that someone who would refuse to lie in order to save a human life most likely would refuse to steal to save a life as well. Could O’Donnell identify even in the slightest with Jean Valjean who stole bread in order to survive in “Les Misérables?” Or would she dismiss him as a common thief who deserves everything he gets from the merciless Javert? But no one asked such questions.

In another matter, no one put the words “I dabbled into witchcraft”—complete with that strange preposition – into Christine O’Donnell’s merciless mouth. The words came gushing out on their own in one of her many appearances on Maher’s television show “Politically Incorrect.” Granted, the witchcraft discussion was in 1999, and nowadays she reminds us that this dabbling occurred when she was in high school. Macbeth listened to some witches and you know what it got him.

“One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that,” O’Donnell said. “We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.” That would be the altar with the little bit of blood and stuff like that, right? Unless you have O’Donnell’s phone number, you won’t know whose blood it was, or how it got there because no one in the press has asked her about that.

She said all that fun on the satanic altar after the movie was one of her “first dates” with a witch. But no one asked her how many more such bloody dates she has had with witches, or when the last one was.

She did, however, ask a cheering crowd: “How many of you didn’t hang out with questionable folks in high school?” Actually I hung out with Judy Levine but, despite the fact she always dressed in black, I don’t think Judy was questionable. She wasn’t a witch; she was a beat generation writer. When we were reading “The Catcher in the Rye” and thinking ourselves pretty cool for doing so, Judy was reading “On the Road.”

Now, masturbation is to be avoided, according to the story of Onan and Judah in Genesis 38:3-10. And I know that everybody has violated the word at one time or other – maybe many more times or other. O’Donnell has said that masturbation is a form of adultery.

“It’s not enough to be abstinent with other people; you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery so you can’t masturbate without lust,” O’Donnell said, and I’m really not sure she knows what she’s talking about.

Isn’t anyone in the press going to ask O’Donnell if she ever had fun with herself under the covers late at night and, if she did, if she considers herself to have committed adultery with – who? Her right hand?

If masturbation is lust that must be avoided, surely extramarital sex is lust that must be avoided as well. I wish that some reporter had asked O’Donnell straight out what she does in those moments alone when a strong libidinous craving overtakes her poor defenseless self and there is no husband to relieve it. She is, after all, 41 years old and single.

Is she suggesting that she has spent the decades suppressing her sudden private needs?

Do you buy that? I don’t. But we won’t know much until someone asks her. And no one seems inclined to do that. Why do you suppose that is? One possibility: Publishers sell newspapers when they can put some certifiable character on Page 1, and publishers these days want to sell all the papers they can.

Jeffrey can be reached at

The Jimmys: Murray, Cannon, Palmer

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

By Bob Gaydos

At one point in my four-plus decades in newspapers, I was a sports editor. It was for a paper in Binghamton, but it was still a great job. I got to go to sports editor seminars where everybody talked sports, hung out, ate and drank. I got to cover some Yankee games. Jerry Izenberg, former columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger once lent me his typewriter (see Wikipedia) so I could file my story after a game because I had left my machine in Binghamton. I also once interviewed Baltimore Orioles ace pitcher Jim Palmer as he soothed his aching body in the whirlpool. Yes, au natural. And yes, the sonofagun was as handsome in person as he was on TV.

But the best part of being a sports editor was that I also got to write a column on whatever I pleased. The bosses preferred local topics, of course, but it was Binghamton so they let me wander off to professional sports. And when their travels brought them to the Southern Tier, I talked with the likes of Roger Staubach (polite, if dull), Rocky Graziano (the textbook image of a pug) and, too briefly, Jackie Robinson. All in all, it seemed like the best job in the world and I often wondered wistfully, as my career veered back to the hard news side, what life might have been like if I had pursued a career as a sports columnist.

Now I know and now I have no regrets. I found the answer in a discarded copy of Jim Murray’s autobiography, which I picked up for a buck at the Thrall Library used book store (still the best deal in town if you read without the aid of a Kindle). Murray, one of the founding fathers of Sports Illustrated, was also a nationally syndicated sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He covered everything from NASCAR to golf and his style was unique. Murray was not a numbers guy. He didn’t cover events so much as the people participating in them.

On Muhammad Ali: “He didn’t have fights, he gave recitals. The opponent was just the piano, the backdrop. All eyes were on Ali. He loved it. It was his stage, his life. He was like Bob Hope with a troop audience. Olivier at the Old Vic.”

And what of the column that won him a Pulitzer and made him famous? Murray: “(It) came into my life in 1961. And took it over. A column is more than a demanding mistress. It is a raging master. It consumes you. It is insatiable. It becomes more you than you. You are not a person, you are a publicly owned facility. Available on demand.

“It has a calamitous effect on family relations. It confuses the kids’ identities. It rearranges your priorities — and not for the better.

“Jimmy Cannon had the right idea. He apparently accepted the fact early that he was wedded to the column. And he lived alone in a midtown Manhattan hotel and devoted his whole life to it.”

Maybe it‘s just me, but it sounds like Jimmy Cannon (one of my other favorites) shortchanged himself on the whole “we only have one life to live” deal. I was thinking about the two Jimmys because I had just spent the weekend watching some of the most godawful professional football games that people were ever asked to fork over a couple of grand for. The kind of games that rekindle the romance of high school football Friday nights.

Take the Jets. “Please,” as Henny Youngman (whom I once met in an art gallery in Woodstock) famously said.

Maybe it’s just me, but if Mark Sanchez is ready for prime time, so is Jimmy Fallon. The Ravens’ best play was pass interference on third and long. But hey, don’t beat up on Sanchez too much. Tony Romo and Philip Rivers and Drew Brees and Bret Favre — established stars all — all stunk up the joint in their first games.

Maybe it’s just me, but when most opening games were comedies of errors and penalties (Washington vs. Dallas was almost unwatchable) and ex-con Michael Vick is your standout quarterback, if you’re the NFL you should think twice about cutting the preseason by two weeks and adding two games to the regular schedule.

And don’t get me started on Joe Girardi. He makes Keanu Reeves seem animated. Girardi doesn’t manage games so much as he scans actuarial reports. He has all the instincts of a computer. If he has the best job in baseball, how come he never smiles? Just asking.

One more thought before I get too carried away with this whole sports column thing: If, as some observers claim, Tiger Woods being unable to play golf at a high level is good for the game because it has opened the field to so many other unknown golfers to make their names, how come the golf writers keep writing only about Tiger’s struggles and we still don’t know the names of those other golfers?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the two Jims — Murray and Cannon — would have loved writing about Tiger. After all, he doesn’t just win in grand style, leaving the rest of the field in shambles, he loses in epic fashion, his life burning down around him like some tragic Greek hero out of Aeschylus. Win or lose, all eyes are on the Tiger. The score is secondary.

And I apologize for all the name-dropping.

Bob can be reached at

Death Penalty (cont’d.)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

Regular Zest of Orange readers may recall the ongoing debate I’ve had with myself, and with you, over the issue of capital punishment. I noted last year that I was a lifelong opponent of the death penalty but that I have my limits.

I recall and honor the words of Clarence Darrow in his famous summation in the Leopold-Loeb murder trial of 1924: “You may stand them up on the trap-door of the scaffold, and choke them to death, but that act will be infinitely more cold-blooded whether justified or not, than any act that these boys have committed or can commit.”

But then came Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City, and after that came Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that field in Shanksville, Pa., and I wasn’t sure of much. I still believe that the use of capital punishment relegates society to the same circle of hell as the criminal, and I wonder if I will be relegated to the same circle as McVeigh and Mohammed.

In the names of the children McVeigh murdered in the day-care center in Oklahoma and in the names of the kids aboard the four airplanes brought down by Mohammed on Sept. 11, whatever compassion I once might have held for their killers is gone.

And now comes Steven Hayes, proving to be another test of what once was my rock-solid conviction on the death sentence. He’s on trial in New Haven. This is what the authorities say he did.

–Hayes and an accomplice – he will be tried later – broke into the home of William Petit and Jennifer Hawke-Petit in Chesire, Conn. three years ago. Hayes tied Petit up in the basement after slugging him several times with a baseball bat. He forced Hawke-Petit to drive to the bank and bring back $15,000 while he imprisoned her husband and the couple’s two daughters, Michaela, 11, and Hayley, 17. But he wasn’t finished.

–When Hawke-Petit returned, Hayes raped her. Then he beat her. This is not an allegation; it’s an admission from Hayes’s lawyer in his opening statement to the jury. But he wasn’t finished.

–Hayes murdered Hawke-Petit by strangling. Again, this is something that has gone past the point of allegation. Hayes admitted the killing. But he wasn’t finished.

–Authorities say Hayes and the accomplice, Joshua Komisarjevsky tied Michaela the 11-year old, and Hayley the 17-year old, to their beds. Then they set the house on fire, and the girls died of smoke inhalation.

Steven Hayes’s trial began on Monday in New Haven. In that opening statement, after acknowledging his client’s rape and murder of Hawke-Petit, Hayes’s lawyer wanted the jury to understand that when Hayes was arrested, he told the police that things had gotten out of control.

Gotten out of control? How were things supposed to have gone?
Such people as Steven Hayes make it difficult to despise capital punishment.

When I wrote last year about my opposition to the death penalty becoming shaky, one reader cautioned me that by killing a mass murderer, I might create a martyr. A valid point, but doesn’t society stand a chance of being called an instrument of brutality and torture every time it sentences someone to life imprisonment without parole?

Another reader noted that veering just one step from the straight and narrow path of death penalty opposition makes one a death penalty supporter. I guess that’s true. But indulge me for a moment and let me pose this: If Hitler or Pol Pot were on trial for their crimes, and if there was a conviction and a sentence of death, ought they be spared because we might create a martyr or might let our emotions rule our lives?

What is the extent of compassion ordinary people are supposed to have for someone like Steven Hayes, whose home invasion “went out of control” resulting in the murders of a woman and her two children? Are we supposed to wonder about Steven Hayes’s childhood and whether his father was a scoundrel who abandoned the family or whether his mother used drugs?

Jeffrey can be reached at

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 9/12/10

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Autumn Sky

I look up from the kitchen table when I hear the whir of a hummingbird outside the screen door. He’s hanging there, looking in, or watching me, or  looking at his reflection in the glass beside the door.

Or maybe, just maybe, he’s saying goodbye.

Last summer, Peter told me he was sitting at his desk when a hummingbird came up to the office window – something they never do – and hung in the air, looking him full in the face, then zoomed off. That was the last he saw of the hummers last year. It was Sept. 15.

The hummingbirds amused us all summer, darting and fighting and zooming around the deck. Now they’re moving south. The bluebirds are long gone, the robins, too. Most of the goldfinches have left, though some will spend the winter. In the gardens, the weeds have won at last, and here and there, trees are turning red and gold. Summer is slipping off, into the cool mornings and the cool evenings.

On the beach a few days ago, fall rolled in on dark clouds and darker water, and the sweet, short sun of a September day. Seagulls turned and whirled and dove for fish, and the beach was empty, the summer crowds gone home, and peace come in their wake.

Today is Sept. 12, my mother’s birthday. Autumn was her favorite time of year, and she would have loved this one, with its brilliant skies and its golden days and its bright, happy promises.

If you’d like to buy this painting, please email me at for price and delivery information

Sustainable Living by Shawn Dell Joyce

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

By Shawn Dell Joyce

Very few developers have a vision for their hometown like F. Edward Devitt. “Ed” as we all call him, is a third-generation Montgomeryite  with his local children, Marc, Edward, and Meghan being the fourth generation, and his local grandchildren Maia and Hudson being the fifth in the Devitt line.

Ed’s grandparents came to Montgomery in 1909, from Paterson, N.J. They were bakers, and owned a bake shop in the building currently housing Eddy’s Deli (no relation), on Clinton Street in the village. Ed’s father, William J. Devitt Sr. was born there, and lived upstairs.  William became postmaster for Montgomery, and married a fine Irish lass named Frances Flannery.

Ed’s parents purchased a house on Boyd and Wallkill Streets where Ed’s wife Mary currently resides. Ed and his siblings were born in that house. He was brought up in Montgomery, and went to Montgomery High School, where his mother once taught home economics, and was known for having the first “boys Home Ec class.”

Part of Ed’s passion for preserving Montgomery’s heritage lies in his childhood memories. His bedroom in the Boyd Street house was in the corner next to St. Andrew’s Church. Through his window came the sounds of the blacksmith shop down the street; the smell of the smithy’s fire, and the clank of metal-on-metal.  He could also hear the mill saw at Brescia Lumber ripping wood into building materials.

These early memories sparked Ed to purchase and restore the old blacksmith shop into a two family home. Actually, Ed owns a good many of the historic landmarks in Montgomery including the Patchett House which holds my nonprofit Wallkill River School, and its carriage house where I live. Ed’s love of the town, and desire to preserve it, has led him to purchase and restore many buildings that are integral to our town and may have been lost otherwise.

One may question investing in real estate in a market with such wild fluctuations, but Ed says; “Why invest in bonds, and CD’s with such a low rate of return when you can own real estate and have something to show for it?” Never underestimate Ed’s business acumen. He is a self-made man, and started his entrepreneurial career by delivering groceries in his wagon from the A&P for 10 cents.

Ed landed his real estate broker’s license in 1966, and began selling real estate locally from the garage of his Boyd Street house. His cottage business grew, and his reputation as a fair and honest businessman helped him prosper. Ed made much of his money by building the Super 8 hotel in Montgomery. He then built 42 more across the country, hiring more than 500 employees to run his small empire.

He decided that owning a hotel chain was far from the local focus he wanted, so he sold off much of his holdings. He now runs a real estate office in the building that was once Stratton Mill at the intersection of Routes 17K and 211. He owns the Winding Hills Golf Course with his son Marc, along with several historic buildings, and a few new buildings that pass for historic.

Ed and Marc have a vision for Montgomery that combines preserving our cultural heritage, with bringing in rateables, affordable housing,  and new cottage industry. They have incubated several small businesses like the Wallkill River School, Montgomery Sporting Goods, Yoga on the Wallkill, Ms. Claire’s Musical Cupboard, the Village Pharmacy, and most recently, Montgomery Montessori School. These businesses all add to the historic charm of our quaint village, and attract tourism and visitors to other local businesses. Not many developers have such a deep love for their community and tie their family’s fate to our town the way the Devitt family has. We are fortunate to have them in our midst.

Ed’s current passion is the Firefighter’s Museum which he founded. Ed was a volunteer firefighter for 50 years and is a past captain of the Wallkill Hose Company. He fought to bring the historic pumpers to Montgomery, and create an educational center where children can get a hands-on experience in learning how to protect themselves from fires. Right now, Ed is fundraising $70K to add tech equipment to the museum so children can learn about fire safety and prevention 365 days a year.

Let’s help this community-builder achieve a lasting legacy. Visit the museum in person, or online at, or make a donation at 457-9654.

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning, syndicated newspaper columnist and director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery.

Gigli’s Photo Week of 9-12-2010

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Photography by Rich Gigli

DIAMOND IN THE WILDERNESS - Lake Louise, Canada's diamond in the wilderness. This area offers a tremendous diversity of recreational and sightseeing opportunities. The region abounds with spectacular scenery, from glaciers to waterfalls. Located in the heart of pristine Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. "In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet." - Albert Schweitzer

Shawn’s Painting of the Week 9/12/10

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010