Archive for July, 2010

Sustainable Living -Kiernan Farms

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

by Shawn Dell Joyce

     Gardiner has a sweet jewel of a farm nestled right at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge; Kiernan Farm. This 140 acre farm has some of the most spectacular and unique views of the ridge, yet is flanked on either side by encroaching housing developments. Right now, the farm is in danger of being lost to development, if the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) are not secured.

     What this means is that the town purchases the PDR rights, to keep the farm as a working farm. You would be hard pressed to find two harder working farmers than Thelma and Marty Kiernan. Marty purchased the farm in 1982 to raise horses. His three sons and daughter have been raised on the farm, and one will inherit Marty’s position as farmer if he ever gives it up.

     Thelma runs Blueberry Inn Bed and Breakfast on the farm, in their lovely 1800’s farmhouse. “It’s a great site for a B&B,” says the vivacious Thelma. The Kiernan’s guest enjoy a spectacular view of the  ridge, and the gentle lowing of beef cattle in the fields. “Our guests enjoy watching the cows graze, agri-tourism,” she says.

     Visitors also get an education in the difference between pastured beef, and commercially-raised beef. When you see the cows grazing at the base of the ‘Gunks, you get the feeling that is the way God and nature intended cows to live. Baby calves get the opportunity to nurse from their mothers. The cows are happy, they look peaceful and content, and make happy cow noises.

     Commercially-raised beef cattle are packed together and fed an unnatural diet of corn, soy and wheat primarily with many nasty chemicals and additives packed in. They are poorly treated, live lives of misery, and treated in a way that would offend even the hardiest carnivore. The result of factory farming is meat that is marbled with fat, and loaded with cholesterol. Pastured beef is much lower in fat and cholesterol, and has more of the healthy Omegas that we need in our diet.

     The Kiernans want to see their farm preserved, and are willing to put in the work to make that happen. If we community members purchased grass-fed, organic beef from these folks, we will help keep one family farm solvent, and preserve priceless views. Marty says; “you either have to use tax money to buy development rights, or the consumers have to make the decision to buy the products that grow on that open space. Otherwise, that space will be gone. Simple as that.”

     You can purchase pastured, organic beef directly from Kiernan Farm by calling (845) 255-5995 or visit their website

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

First Rule of Journalism

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

It’s been a handful of decades since I had contact with Vic Ziegel but as I leafed through some papers over the weekend I came across his obituary and was transported back to my earliest days in a newspaper’s city room.

Vic – young in my recollection; 72 when he died – was my boss for a time at The New York Post, where he was an editor on the night sports desk in the years before Murdoch. He was the one who taught me the most important lesson in journalism: Get it right. The facts you present must be correct. The names of the people must be spelled correctly. The quotes you attribute to them must be correct. The words you choose to tell your story have to be correct. And when you have doubts, look it up, check it out, ask someone you trust. But never embarrass the paper and yourself through laziness.

A little background. I began work as a copyboy at The Post about a month after President Kennedy was murdered. I filled paste pots, sharpened pencils, restocked the carbon paper, took coffee and sandwich orders, and ran the reporters’ stories to the editors. Then I either took the stories back to the reporter for more work or out to the composing room where the stories would be set in type. Then I’d do it all over again.

It was boring as hell. When the chance came to be a temporary editorial assistant on the night sports desk while the regular guy was out, I leapt.

When Vic Ziegel was satisfied that I understood the rules, he gave me a chance to do something more productive for the day’s edition of The Post than take coffee orders.

One night he had me take dictation on the phone from a guy named Jerry DeNonno, who was the Post’s thoroughbred racing handicapper. Jerry’s job was to pick winners. My job was to make sure his picks got into print.

Vic said I would type the names of Jerry’s three best picks in each race at Aqueduct, and God help me if I got anything wrong because Jerry had a reputation to uphold. Get it right, I thought.

Jerry called in, was transferred to me, asked who I was, and sounded quite concerned about having a newcomer take his pari-mutuel wisdom. He went slowly. We went through the entire Aqueduct card. And then he told me to read it all back to him – race by race, horse by horse, spelling out the more unusual names. When I finished, he insisted I read it back to him again.

It was bad for Jerry when his picks ran out of the money, Vic told me, but it would be far worse – for me – if Jerry’s readers bet the wrong ponies because some dumb clerk screwed up the listing of his choices.

Later, Vic told me I would be taking dictation from Milton Gross, one of The Post’s most popular sports columnists. Milt, too, was not happy with someone he’d never spoken with before. But he dictated and I typed. Once, when I yawned, he asked petulantly if he was boring me. He was serious. In the length of a yawn – two seconds more or less? – I might miss one or two of his 800 words. When I had the column down, I had to read it back, word for word while noting every punctuation mark, every new paragraph.

Vic also assigned me to write some headlines. Nothing big, like the banner across the back page, but what were known as No. 1 Heads, which went on stories of one or two short paragraphs.

Something like: Cubs Top Cards, 3-1.

Vic assured me that people actually read these little out-of-town items, and that if I accidentally made the score 4-1 or 2-1, I’d be back sharpening pencils. For years I kept a small spiral notebook of those headlines.

Soon, the guy I replaced was back and I returned to paste pots and dull pencils. I stayed a year, asked for a tryout as a reporter, and was told to get a job out of town and then reapply.

As it happened I never went back to The Post and never again encountered Vic Ziegel. But you never forget the people who take a chance on you and point the way.

Jeffrey can be reached at

Hail & Farewell to Billy Loes, 1929–2010

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

Billy Loes seemed surprised when Bill Raley told him that people were selling his old baseball cards and autographed memorabilia on the internet. “He did not use or know of the internet as far as I could tell,” recalls Raley, who befriended the former major league pitcher in 2008 while working for Adult Protective Services in Tucson, Arizona. “Billy was just getting out of the hospital then and I saw him in an official capacity. But we got to know each other a bit. I never saw a computer in his apartment. I printed out a lot of stuff for him to read about himself. He was amazed that people were making money off his name ….and that he himself never had received any of it.”  

Loes, best known for his seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, died July 15 at a hospice in Tucson. “I really enjoyed my time with him,” adds Raley. “He still had a sense of humor. He had been in an assisted living facility after a hospital stay, but left against medical advice and went back to his apartment at Prince and Campbell Roads. In a gruff way, he said the assisted living place was a ripoff and they weren’t doing anything for him that he couldn’t do himself. He complained they were overcharging him. He seemed stubborn…but in a way that made me smile.”

Raley remembers Loes as “very humble.” He did not talk about his baseball career unless others brought it up. “I was the one who talked and made a big deal about it.” According to Raley, Loes was a regular at a small diner where he would walk from his apartment and was a favorite among the waitresses and other patrons. “During my time knowing him, he was living alone and didn’t seem to venture far away from the immediate area of Prince and Campbell in Tucson. He spoke of enjoying the casinos but it appeared he was not able to get there much, if at all.”

Raley and others who knew Loes were surprised to learn that he was still legally married at the time of his death. His estranged wife, Irene, of Chapel Hill, N.C., is his only survivor. “Those who had assisted him thought he was single or divorced,” says Raley, who wonders if Billy might have thought so too. “Certainly in his time of need (medically) back in 2008, he didn’t mention her and I was under the assumption he was all alone.”

As noted in the obituary by Richard Goldstein in The New York Times, Loes compiled a record of 50 wins and 25 losses during his best four years with the Dodgers, from 1952 through their World Series championship season of 1955. His best season was 1952, when he finished 13-8 with four shutouts and a 2.69 earned run average. He was sold to the Baltimore Orioles during the 1956 season and pitched for the American League in the 1957 All-Star Game. He ended his big-league career pitching for the San Francisco Giants in his last two seasons and retired with an 80-63 record.

William Loes was born Dec. 13, 1929, in Queens and became a star pitcher for William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City. Popularly known as the “Kid from Astoria,” he made his debut with the Dodgers in 1950 and rejoined the team in 1952 after serving in the Army. He is remembered as much for his sense of humor as for his pitching skills and was often depicted as a goofy character by sportswriters for some of his antics and comments. But he was also a stand-up guy who was not afraid to confront the management of the teams for which he played. In 1948, fresh out of high school, he negotiated a $28,000 bonus, a huge amount in those days, from Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey to sign with the team. He maintained his stubbornness as well as his sense of humor, until the end.

Two days after George Steinbrenner had his fatal heart attack at his mansion in Tampa, Billy Loes died quietly at a hospice in Tucson—so quietly that his death went unreported for nearly two weeks. Both men were 80. Steinbrenner loved owning a baseball team. “When you’re a shipbuilder, nobody pays any attention to you,” he said, “but when you own the New York Yankees…they do, and I love it.” Billy Loes loved playing baseball. Too bad he wasn’t around to play for one of Steinbrenner’s Yankee teams. He’d have given The Boss what for.

Michael can be reached at

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 7/27/10

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Sunny Flowers

Every year, I vow to take advantage of summer. I will stay outside in the long evenings, I tell myself, watching the fireflies, watching the moon, watching the slow slide of hot July days slipping into warm July nights. We will eat supper on the porch, and then sit out in the yard, listening to baseball on the radio until it’s time to go to sleep. I will pull weeds, I will prune, I will pick berries, I will forget about “inside the house.”
And then, every year, I end up spending an inane amount of time indoors, in air conditioning, grateful but hateful!
I really don’t like air conditioning, though these past few weeks, I have appreciated it. And honestly, at least one of our dogs would be dead now, were it not for A/C. She barely made it through, with it.
This terribly hot summer has not been a total indoor waste. I painted outdoors during this torrid stretch – my attic studio was just unbearable.
I did three outdoor shows, too. And talk about a steamy way to make a living! The sun bounces off the pavement, heats up the air inside the little tent, and you just can’t take in enough fluid to stay hydrated. Setting up and taking down the display is worth a week at the gym.
This morning, as I write, it’s cool and dry, and I feel like myself. Soon enough, all the nights will be cool, and soon enough, the days will be cool, too, and I will look back at summer and feel a little sad that once again, July and I passed each other, with barely a nod.

Gigli’s Photo of the Week 7/25/2010

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Spider Man

SPIDER MAN - A yellow Cat Face Spider spinning a web on a Bee Balm flower. Spiders are beneficial arthropods, that survive by feeding on insects. Oftentimes they are the most important biological control of insect pests in gardens.

Photography by Rich Gigli

Steinbrenner Coverage: Over the Top

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

For a while there I was afraid someone was going to nominate George Steinbrenner for sainthood last week, what with all the glowing tributes that followed his passing.  I wasn’t going to write more about him, either–except that I started remembering some specific things I probably should have talked about before letting Hunter Thomspon’s words about Richard Nixon speak for me. 

Confused reader Frank Manuele wondered if the post was supposed to be about Nixon.  In any case, wrote Frank, “I agree totally and you will always find hypocrites coming out of the woodwork when a famous, controversial person passes….May Nixon never rest in peace and may Billy Martin hound Steinbrener throughout eternity!”

One day he may also be hounded by Dave Winfield, who played for Steinbrenner’s Yankees from 1981 to 1990 en route to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Winfield contributed mightily to the Yankee teams that decade, driving in 744 runs between 1982 and 1988 alone, and was named to the American League All-Star team each of those seasons. Winfield won five of his seven Gold Glove Awards for his stellar outfield play as a Yankee.

But in 1985, after the Yankees finished second in the American League East, Steinbrenner publicly derided the future Hall of Famer, referring to him as “Mr. May,” a demeaning comparison with Reggie Jackson, who was known as “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in late-season and post-season games. Winfield, however, would have the last laugh. In 1992, at age 41, he delivered the game-winning (and World Series ending) double for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th inning of their game with the Atlanta Braves. The jubilant headlines in Toronto paid tribute to “Mr. Jay.”

Steinbrenner regularly leaked insulting and trumped-up stories about Winfield to the New York baseball writers. He also ordered Yankee managers to move him down in the batting order and even to bench him. But the bullying Boss was frustrated in his frequent attempts to trade Winfield. Thanks to the efforts of the Major League Players Association, Winfield could not be traded without his consent. He was a “10-and-5” player (10 years in the majors, five years with a single team).

In 1990 Steinbrenner was supposedly “banned for life” from running the Yankees because of his connections to Howie Spira, a known gambler with Mafia connections, whom he had paid $40,000 to provide embarrassing information about Winfield.  (Winfield was traded mid-season to the California Angels and went on to earn Major League Baseball’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.) The Lords of Baseball, who can make the Wise Men of Chelm look like Mensa Society material, lifted the lifetime ban on Steinbrenner after two years.

The Boss’s mistreatment of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield, and others who proudly wore the Yankees uniform are a small part of a larger picture. Steinbrenner showed similar contempt for the people of New York City, especially those who live in the Bronx neighborhood closest to Yankee Stadium. Reader Tom Karlson, who took part in that community’s efforts to keep Macombs Dam Park out of Steinbrenner’s reach submitted his recollections in verse:

The Boss (By Tom Karlson)

Ends at eighty
Silver spoon found near his moving jaws
Filled with white teeth and fleeing grey words
1952 Air Force, Ohio bound, no Korea for him

The Boss sending orders
Hiring, firing
Secretaries, managers, coaches
Church going family man

Running his old man’s business
Buys the Yankees 1973 $8.8 million

Stadium renovation, complete 1976
Strapped city shells out
200 million
Yankees, rent less with sweetheart lease
City, landlord from heaven

Extorting dough for Tricky Dick
Obstructing justice…1974 felony
Suspended from baseball 2 years
Pardoned by Ronnie 1989

Desires Macomb’s Dam Park for three decades
Play land, one thousand working class ghosts
Running, racing, catching fungoes, footballs, kicking soccer balls

Second felony
Trying to renege on a contract
Banned for life from baseball, 1990
Sanitized and reinstated 1993
Blackmails city threatens abandonment
Will run the Yanks to Jersey, Connecticut, the West Side
The braying mayor springs for another stadium
Rises up on Macomb’s 28 acres, $2.3 billion
Tickets $25 to $5000
The people’s team

Michael can be reached at

For Art’s Sake?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

By Jeffrey Page

America loves its celebrities. So in all likelihood, the late Larry Rivers will be remembered as a celebrated painter, film maker and pop art pioneer, and Roman Polanski will be recalled as a renowned movie director. By rights, they ought to go down in history as child abusers.

Thirty years ago, Rivers came up with the idea of making a film featuring his two young daughters. OK so far, right?

Except he filmed the girls nude, starting at age 11, because the focus of the movie was the development of their breasts. Still OK? Or maybe you’re getting a little slimed out.

Dani Shapiro, writing in The New York Times, noted that Rivers zoomed his lens to get close-ups of the girls’ breasts and genitalia. The vomitorium is to your right.

After Rivers’ death in 2002, the films became the property of the Larry Rivers Foundation, which has sold most of its holdings to New York University. NYU has said it doesn’t want the films. Rivers’ daughters do, and have moved to get possession of them, presumably to make sure they never again see the light of day and to maintain a modicum of personal modesty and dignity. Who’s going to take issue with that?

But The Times also reported a foundation spokesman saying a decision on whether to give the films to Rivers’ daughters had not yet been taken.

Shapiro noted that in the narration of the film, Rivers acknowledges his children were disinclined to be so photographed, leading one to believe that Daddy presumably used his Daddy power to make the movie.

Is anyone really going to argue that what Rivers did was art simply by virtue of the fact that he was an artist? Or impose the handy cliché that it’s unfair to judge until you’ve seen the movie? Or regurgitate the line about one of the purposes of art is to unsettle the everyday order of the universe, and thus anyone who complains about such “art” is a philistine?

More recent is the Swiss disposition in the case of Everyone In The Civilized World vs. Roman Polanski. Polanski is the celebrated director of such movies as “Chinatown,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Tess,” and “Repulsion” who pleaded guilty to raping a girl in 1977 when she was 13 and he was 43.

Fearful that the judge would come down with a sentence harsher than expected, Polanski fled to France and has been in exile ever since. Last year, he was arrested in Switzerland and held for extradition to the United States. But Switzerland has declined the American request. So Polanski pretty much beat the rap.

Though his friends bemoan his inability to return to America, Polanski’s life in exile hasn’t exactly been one of drudgery, privation or hard times. In 2003 he won the Academy Award for directing “The Pianist,” which also was nominated for best picture. In 1981, he was nominated for the Oscar for best director for “Tess.” He won scads of other awards during his years outside the U.S.

Still, his friends insisted, it just wasn’t right for a great artist like Roman Polanski to be forced to stay out of America. All because of something that happened so long ago, some say. Oh, by the way, what was it that happened 33 years ago? Polanski drugged the kid with a Quaalude and gave her some nice champagne to wash it down. She told a grand jury at the time that she asked to be taken home, which Polanski did after having vaginal and oral sex with her and urging her not to tell her mother or boyfriend about what happened. Once again; she was 13 years old.

So until his fawning claque gets active again, Polanski must avoid the United States and any country with which it had an extradition treaty.

But hey, Switzerland’s not so bad. Allow me to paraphrase Harry Lime in “The Third Man,” itself a great movie by Orson Wells: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long, Roman.

Jeffrey can be reached at


Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 7/19/10

Monday, July 19th, 2010


On Saturday, I had the last of three back-to-back-to-back weekend art fairs. I’d worked on this fair, and it was scheduled long ago, so I was committed.

But that meant missing the opening reception of a show that is probably even nearer to my heart.

This is an exhibit of animal-themed works to benefit the Port Jervis/Deerpark Humane Society. It was put together by Susan Miiller, a wonderful painter and fellow Wallkill River School artist. The show is in the Port Jervis office of Dr. Jeffrey Parker, artist and podiatrist.

The show remains there (156 Pike St., Port Jervis) through Sept. 10. You can go see it! I don’t think he’s open every day, but you can call hims office at 845-856-7700 to find out his hours.

The paintings are by local artists, and also by artists who participate in one of my projects, the Art for Shelter Animals Project (

Artists who are involved with ASAP make portraits of animals in their local shelters or with local rescue groups, and then donate the art to the shelter or rescue group. The shelter or rescue group can do whatever it wants with the pieces. It can sell them, auction them, offer them as rewards for adopting pets or putting in volunteer hours. It can use the art to make the shelter a more pleasant place. Whatever the shelter wants to do with the pieces, it can do.

Before the artist hands the piece over, he or she sends an image of it to me, and I post it on the blog.

Artists from around the world participate in ASAP, and are participating in the Port Jervis exhibit! Painters from South Africa and England have sent pieces, as have artists from many places in the U.S.

So, thank you to Susan Miiller, and to Dr. Parker, and to everyone who has participated. I hope you all go to see the show! And if you can buy a painting, please do. The proceeds will help the animals in the Port Jervis/Deerpark shelter.

If you’re interested in joining the Art for Shelter Animals Project, check out the blog ( or email me ( with questions. Also, if you’re interested in buying the sheepdog, or having me make a painting of your pet, please get in touch!

Gigli’s Photo of the Week 07/18/2010

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Photography By Rich Gigli

THE SUMMER WIND – “The summer wind came blowin’ in from across the sea. It lingered there to touch your hair and walk with me.  All summer long we sang a song, and then we strolled that golden sand, two sweethearts and the summer wind.”  (Recorded by Frank Sinatra, 1966).
Photo was taken along the Cavendish beach , Prince Edward Island, Canada.

THE SUMMER WIND - The summer wind came blowin' in

Not-so-fond memories of Steinbrenner

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

By Michael Kaufman

I wasn’t going to write about George Steinbrenner. I never liked the guy but it doesn’t seem right to kick a man when he’s down…especially when he’s down for the count. But after reading the outpouring of eulogies and tributes, I’ve had some second thoughts. Like I remember how the millionaire owner of the American Ship Building Company was convicted of knowingly funneling illegal contributions to Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign. Was there ever a more aptly named organization than Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP)? This was no misdemeanor. It was a felony crime conviction ….but Steinbrenner was able to shrug it off and keep laughing all the way to the bank.

As head honcho at American Ship Bulding, Steinbrenner was known as fiercely anti-labor. After years of hard-fought negotiations with the unions representing workers at the Lorain, Ohio, shipyard, Steinbrenner shut it down in 1983 and moved all operations to Tampa, Florida. He is not remembered fondly in Lorain by the families of those who lost their jobs.  

Nixon and Steinbrenner were kindred spirits. They could “shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time,” which is what Hunter Thompson said about Nixon after Nixon died in 1994. Thompson, who worked for the Times Herald-Record early in his career, had some other choice words for the disgraced former president after his death. It seems appropriate to recall them now in lieu of mourning the passing of Steinbrenner. 

“If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles,” wrote the great Gonzo journalist. “He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

“These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern–but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.

“Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man–evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him—except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.” Make that a sinking ship built in Tampa by non-union labor.

Goodbye and good ridance to Mr. Steinbrenner.  

Michael can be reached at