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I have such an urge to direct again…

… and what I really am eager to do is a production of the 1953 musical “Kismet“, whose music was adapted from classical work of Borodin.

The wonderful Arabian Nights story of 16th Century Baghdad about a fortune teller, a Wazir, a young Caliph and two very lovely women is something I have loved most of my life.

Many of it’s musical numbers became song classics. “Baubles, Bangles and Beads“, “Stranger in Paradise” and this:


“This is My Beloved.”

The show was a starring vehicle for Alfred Drake and the Broadway debut of Richard Kiley.

Unfortunately, my current physical condition makes it seem like I will never be able to direct again. If the tumor is removed it will probably endanger the part of my brain where cognitive creativity is connected. If we don’t solve the problem and I keep having seizures I will never be able to drive again and won’t be able to put in the solid effort that coordinating a musical production, especially a large and complex one as this, would be very difficult. It could certainly, however, make West Virginia community theatre history.

And then I have to find one of the local community playhouses who might let me do it… find 20 great performers … get a nice piano score for my dear collaborator Ruth Robertas to play from… and find a local choreographer who can bring the dancing girls to life.

If I get through this surgery and all that accompanies it, it will take at least a year before I can even get started (apart from notes I am doing now) putting it together. One can hope. It gives me something to focus on.

 

My daughter, Cassandra, has come down from Connecticut and is helping my wife coordinate all the brain surgery problems…

I don’t know what I would do if I were on my own, here, dealing with doctors changing schedules without giving us warning, accidentally taking medications that should have been discontinued before certain tests, getting up at 5:00 every morning to get into three or four appointments which don’t seem to get us anywhere.

The newest big problem is reports we have gotten from friends, employees of the hospital and others, where we have been told that the particular hospital we were going to have the surgery in is not one ANY of them would use. Isn’t that thrilling?

Now we are in a holding position. We haven’t cancelled the now set Monday surgery or anything, but tomorrow we are interviewing another practice at a much better hospital with a much better reputation and this may stop everything and set up a new schedule.

Cassandra

Fortunately for me, my daughter Cassandra Corrigan who is a private school Senior Database Administrator in Connecticut (Loomis, Chaffee School), took off from work, drove down here to West Virginia, and has been coordinating with my wife on getting all the papers ready, information on MRIs and other tests that have been collected in the last couple of weeks to bring to Ge0rgetown, down near DC, for the new practice interviews. We will be making a new decision after that, so surgery will most likely be postponed some more.

I am so impressed with Cassandra… my first-born, a fine wife and mother and a brilliant woman. I taught her to use her first computer and now she outshines and outperforms me in all things technical. Wow! And she and my two other kids (can you still call them kids after they are older, married and out of the house?), my Mother, My sister and so many friends have been so concerned that the phone doesn’t seem to stop ringing with folks wanting to know what’s happening.

Cassandra is just doing a spectacular job of getting me organized with all of this. I don’t know what I’ll do when she goes back up to the snow.

We’ve spent this morning and into the afternoon tracking down test reports from four doctors’ offices and we had a new blood test at a lab… and Elly got to go to work and teach her classes while my daughter brought me from office to office. I’m so glad Elly got to go to work today… she’s been giving up so much of her time for me, and when you are in a one-income household, the thought of impacting that one income is awesome.

Just Returned From Early Voting…

After having done the Friday Morning radio show on WSHC with John Case, Elly and I set out to go to Charles Town, WV, for a visit to the Jefferson County Courthouse for early voting. Since John and his wife, Carol, were already planning to vote today, Elly and I arranged to meet them at the polling place and to have lunch afterward at our favorite Charles Town restaurant, Mezzaluna.

We spent over an hour from getting into the Court House line through voting at the booth. I never expected that it would take that much time, but the lines were very, very long. It seems like many of our fellow citizens were there to vote early… but remember, this was the third day of early voting and it was still mobbed this morning.

But we HAVE voted and I feel very good about it. The odds are very low that West Virginia will agree with me on most of the votes… particularly it is not considered likely that WV will go for Obama. But you have to vote your conscience anyway, and I did.

The Courthouse is a famous location in Jefferson County since it was here that John Brown was tried and convicted for the Harpers Ferry raid during the Civil War. Now it’s famous as the place where Elly and I do early voting.

I hope everyone out there remembers to vote, either early or on election day.

 

Hey WV folks… it’s Early Voting time…

Today’s the day. Early voting starts today in West Virginia and I think Elly and I will be heading over to the Charles Town County Courthouse on Friday to cast our ballots for Obama. Speaking of Obama… he will be doing early voting in Chicago on his current speaking tour. That makes him the first President in office to vote early.

BTW… polls are open on Saturday.

 

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote. Let’s keep it up!

 

Some words about this blog and me…

I often get e-mail from folks out there in the web world who want to know about Under The LobsterScope and why I keep it going and put a major part of each day into it. It is for that reason that I’ve decided to say a few things that will clarify my relationship with UTL and, perhaps, encourage you to get involved as a commentor.

I started this blog through another editing site, Blogspot, during the 2004 presidential election year. I did several thousand entries over five years or so and then something happened. For some reason, someone got into my blog at Blogspot and did some fairly confusing stuff leaving it impossible for me to post on. I cancelled my relationship with Blogspot and over 4000 posts ago I started UTL up again through WordPress where it remains today.

While I was interested in electoral politics (originally in Maryland before my wife and I moved to West Virginia), my biggest interest at the time – and even now, a little – was in theatre directing. I got to do a couple of musicals and some plays at local community theatres and spent a lot of time attending theatre events (one of the reasons we moved to the Shepherdstown, WV, area was to be closer to the Contemporary American Theater Festival which we attend every year.

I also have a great interest in the visual arts… Elly’s background is as a painter and visual artist. That means heading off to galleries locally, in DC and other places. Add to the visual stuff an interest in music and poetry and dance. The arts in general are very important parts of my life.

As to politics, during the past couple of years beginning with the election of Barack Obama, I have become more and more an active Democrat and have felt it is my obligation, since this is a published item read by thousands of people a week, to expose the really awful things Republicans and extreme conservatives are trying to pull off.

Several of you have also noted that I often expose dangerous things being done by religious organizations. As you probably know I am a non-believer… an atheist, a humanist… and cannot understand how people with developed intellectual capacity can believe this stuff. I have no problem exposing things that might make readers see what I see. I am, however, as opposed to pushing my atheism on others as I am of them pushing their religious beliefs on me.

Now that my current age and health keeps me in the house most of the days of the week, I have much time to read other web sites, magazines and other publications, many of which I quote or comment on in the blog. On an average day I do at least 5 posts.

I have established some regular features in this blog that I hope you enjoy. Cartoon(s) of the Week is the one people think of first when I talk about regular features. I have been interested in editorial cartoons for many years. During the current election I have regularly been posting poll results which I see by the search term roundups many of you are looking for. And, of course, there is my regular posting of celebrity obituaries.

If there is any kind of post I do that you would like to see become a regular feature, just let me know and it’s likely to happen.

- Bill

 

My radio show is short and earlier today…

Shepherd University is loaded with alumni this weekend and there is a home football game which is covered on WSHC starting at 11 AM. That means that my show, Talk To Me, is only 1 hour long and starts at 10 AM.

I’m putting my short list of songs on my playlist now and that will keep me from blog posting until I’m back home after 10 AM.

If you want to listen at 10, but are outside of the fifty mile or so tuning radius for 89.7, you can listen live on the WSHC  web site:

http://897wshc.org. When you get there, click on “Listen Live”.

Early voting is underway in many states… how about yours?

 

Nov. 6 is officially Election Day , but  the election has started right now — thanks to modern-day open absentee and early voting.

Voting has already begun in multiple states, including some key swing states: North Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia. My state, West Virginia, started absentee voting five days ago (ends Oct. 31) and begins in person early voting on October 24 (through Nov. 3).

Check the list below and see where your state has early voting. I notice that Connecticut, my original home state, is not on the list (nor is Massachusetts and Rhode Island). Not sure why.

 

 

States whose polls are open early…

 

First Thoughts on NBC put this out last night:

Idaho and South Dakota today are the first states to begin early-in-person voting. Also today, absentee voting begins in Minnesota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Georgia, Arkansas, Idaho, and Maryland. This brings the total number of states already accepting ballots to 12. Thirteen additional states (South Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Delaware, Virginia, Louisiana, and Missouri) will begin absentee or early voting on Saturday.”

So by tomorrow, half the country will be casting votes  (battleground states in bold): AR, DE, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NH, NJ, NC, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV, WI.

Geez… I go to flea markets all the time. Why don’t I find Renoirs?

 

Take a look at this WaPo article:

“A ‘lost’ landscape thought to have been painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir will go on the auction block Sept. 29 on behalf of the Baltimore-born woman who purchased the artwork at a West Virginia flea market for $7. ‘Paysage Bords de Seine,’ a 6-inch by 10-inch canvas dating from about 1879, is expected to fetch $75,000 to $100,000, according to … the Alexandria, Va., auction house overseeing the sale. She said that it’s one of several depictions of the river Seine that the French Impressionist master created near the towns of Bougival and Chatou.

“The Virginia-based buyer, who prefers to remain anonymous, purchased a box of odds and ends at a flea market just across the West Virginia state line and near her home in the Shenandoah Valley in late 2010 or early 2011. She didn’t much care for the painting and said she would never have bid on it if the other stuff in the box hadn’t caught her eye.

“There was a plastic cow that grabbed me, and a Paul Bunyan doll,” said the woman, who lived in Baltimore until she was 4 years old. “And I liked the frame. It was gold and ornate. I thought I could use it for something else if I cut out the painting.”

- Mary McCauley of the Washington Post

And here’s the assumed Renoir:

I don’t think I would even have bought it FOR the frame. But a PLASTIC COW! That should have been worth something!

 

Back from Milwaukee and once again trying to get over my broken bones…

 

It was a wonderful wedding, watching my son and his bride having the time of their lives, but a painful one for me. I spent most of my time looking for places to sit and keep my left side from interacting with the world… and I almost got away with it.

There was one accident, however: after taking wedding pictures of family and bridal party on the Oriental Theater’s stage, I missed a step coming back into the audience area and fell hard, re-injuring my cracked collar bone and shoulder blade. Several nice wedding party members helped me get back on my feet, but I returned to West Virginia more in pain than when I left. Believe me, the 18 hour train rides (switch in Chicago… if it weren’t for the redcap service I never would have been able to change trains… were incredibly unpleasant and I got no sleep on the overnight run.

Bob and the Fat Man

One great thing about the wedding was I got to see my cousin, Bob Barsale, who, since he lives in Chicago, I have not seen much of in the past 25 years. Growing up, Bob was the closest thing I had to a brother and he (and his wife Suzie and daughter SueSue) mean a great deal to me. Since he occasionally reads me on Facebook, I send my best wishes out to him.

OK… now I have to get back onto my life, my string of Doctor’s appointments and more. I hope you all have a nice day. I home Buddy and Rachel are enjoying their mini-Honeymoon at Lake Geneva. I hope all the family and friends I saw got home OK.

 

Booknotes – Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt…

 

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and the brilliant graphic story teller, Joe Sacco is a brutal depiction of Reality!

 Journalist Chris Hedges and graphic artist Joe Sacco have covered the most depressed pockets of the United States combining graphic art and narrative nonfiction in their book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  Together they report on how the greed and love of money by major corporations nationwide (including our devastated coal fields here in West Virginia) offering a ground up view of society when corporate capitalism is unregulated and unfettered.

 

This is a problem which we either deal with or succumb to. The Romney campaign will support the growth of these greedy corporations. Will You?

 

West Virginia interaction: JohnCase responds to Senator Manchin…

 

My good friend and radio personality John Case received an e-mail from Senator Joe Manchin (D – WV) which, to all appearances, supports many of the subjects which we on the left do as well. John points out that this is a ruse… and, of course, with an election coming in November, Joe is trying to make himself look OK to Democrats.

 

Here’s the correspondence:

 

On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM, Joe Manchin <info@joemanchinwv.com> wrote:
Dear John:

West Virginia is still recovering from the storms that did so much damage these past few weeks. The power is back on, but families lost their groceries, saw their fuel expenditures rise, and many, many people lost pay because businesses weren’t operating. What more evidence do we need that American infrastructure needs improvement?
 
English: Joe Manchin (D-WV), United States SenatorBut in the middle of our suffering in West Virginia, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it had awarded a $94 million contract to provide reliable electricity for Helmand Province, Afghanistan. That’s right – while thousands of West Virginians were without power just a short drive away, the federal government decided it would be a good idea to spend all that money halfway around the world to buy electricity for a country that doesn’t even want our help.
 
I went to the Senate floor and I let my colleagues know that I am very frustrated and angry about this, and that I’m not going to just sit by and watch Washington treat West Virginia like it’s less important than Afghanistan. Now that West Virginia is officially asking for federal disaster recovery help, I’d like the folks in Washington to hear what you have to say, too.
 
Add your name to my petition and leave your thoughts for the record on my website.
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you build a bridge in West Virginia, we won’t blow it up. If you build a school, we won’t burn it down. In fact, we’ll be very appreciative. And if you help us invest in a more reliable electric system, we will use that power to make this country stronger, to power this nation’s economy, and to provide good-paying jobs.

-Joe

 

John’s response:

 

I am sorry, Senator Manchin, but — while I am glad you are opposed to further unnecessary expenditures in Afghanistan — I will not support you for re-election. I believe that candidates who espouse, as you do, Republican talking points on energy, the president, climate change, and other matters should be defeated. I will not vote Republican — so I am not planing to vote for you.

I think voters who are tempted by racism or ignorance, or simple misinformation about the future of coal and the its costs/benefits to West Virginia, to vote for you — should really get to enjoy the full consequences of Republican policies you are pursuing — why get it half-baked and stale from you, or Gov. Tomblin for that matter. Get the full dose of political poison!

By the way — I have a radio program on weekday mornings in Shepherdstown. Maybe I have it all wrong! Feel free to call in to WSHC Listen Live  line from 8-9 AM Tues thru Friday, 304-876-5369, if you would like to discuss this.

very truly yours,

John Case

Host, The Winners and  Losers Radio Program
WSHC, 89.7 FM / 897wshc.org
Shepherdstown, WV

 

Of course, the odds of Joe Manchin calling into the Winners and Losers radio show are greatly weighted to “no show.” John is correct that this so-called Democrat really seems to be a Republican (as does Earl Ray Tomblin) – from not supporting the President in the Senate to publicly affirming that he will NOT attend the Democratic Convention.

 

Thanks for making this correspondence public, John.

 

Back to the Radio…

I just got into the WSHC (89.7) studio and I’m setting up for my 11 – 1 show. Given the Shepherdstown Street festival combined with the number of trees that came down in the storm last night, getting in here took longer than I expected.

Elly did the driving, since I am banned from doing it for at least six months (assuming I have no more seizures.) It’s another hot day out but the studio is AC’d and relatively comfortable.

If you are outside of our area you can listen on the web at http://www.897wshc.org.

So, it looks like we’ve sold our Town House…

Three months after moving over here to rural Harper’s Ferry, we have just signed the agreement to sell our Shepherdstown town house…not for as much as we wanted, but for enough to move forward in our plans to eventually build a totally sustainable house in the lot next to ours. In Elly’s mind, we are moving again next year, but I’ll just wait and see.

Life is never easy.

 

I’m really tired of hearing how Obama is costing WV coal jobs. Not True!

This is for you folks out there who are buying the Tea Party Joe Manchin lies. From West Virginia Blue, a blog I have great respect for:

West Virginia Coal Mine Jobs Rise Under Obama

      Despite the lies told by Sen. Joe Manchin (Joe Manchin) and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (Joe Manchin) and the Friends of Coal Barons Who Kill Miners, President Barack Obama’s EPA has not spelled doom to coal jobs. In fact, the opposite is true:

While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountain top removal mining permits, a quick look at coal mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4%. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the 2nd Quarter of 2009) to the third-quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9% over this period.

People have to really hate Obama to push the lies that come out of the coal industry, out of Manchin’s office and out of the Romney Campaign. It’s possible that the West Virginia politicos (even those claiming to be “Democrats”) have other goals in mind for this pathetically poor state.

We’ll see.

The real war on coal

My friend Sean O’Leary wrote this well researched op-ed in the Martinsburg Journal, and I reproduce it here in its entirety… maybe now we can get Bob Manchin off Obama’s ass…

Much is made of President Obama’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal”. And it’s true. In order to reduce air pollution and retard global warming, this administration, along with the governments of nearly all industrialized nations, is trying to reduce the burning of coal for the generation of electricity.

But, how much of a difference are the president’s policies making on the amount of coal that’s mined and on the number of jobs in the mining and power generation industries? In fact, let’s ask the big question. If this president is swept from office in November and the EPA’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is removed, as presumed Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has said he would do, what would it mean for America’s coal industry?

Would there be a rebirth? Would coal-burning power plants that are currently slated for closing become viable again? Would new coal-burning power plants be built to meet the growing demand for electricity? Would mines that have been closed be reopened? And would there be a rebound in hiring creating thousands of new jobs in the mining industry?

If you believe that the answer to any of these questions is, yes, you haven’t been paying attention to the market forces that, far more than government action, are killing coal in general and the Appalachian coal industry in particular.

What are those market forces? First, there is natural gas.

If the Obama administration is conducting a “war” on coal, then the English language hasn’t invented a word of sufficient ferocity to describe the conflict between coal and natural gas. Although West Virginia politicians are loath to admit it, every new gas well that’s sunk in West Virginia is another nail in the coffin of coal. Why?

The practice of fracking has greatly increased supplies of natural gas and reduced the price to the point that it costs only half as much to generate a megawatt of electricity from natural gas as from coal half as much.

That’s warfare. And, in case you’re under the delusion that the competition between coal and gas is friendly, consider that between 2007 and 2010 Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, the largest gas driller in West Virginia, donated $26 million to the Sierra Club’s campaign to block the construction of coal-fired power plants. Just last month McClendon did a victory dance when a Wall Street Journal writer asked him about his reputation as “the scourge of coal”. McClendon said, “I probably am not as strident as I used to be because I don’t have to be. Natural gas has won in the marketplace and it is continuing to win.”

Far more than the president’s “war on coal”, the natural gas industry’s war has had measurable effects. Last year the amount of the nation’s electricity generated by coal dropped by 8.9 percent and coal is now responsible for less than 40 percent of the electricity generated in the US. This was partially attributable to warmer-than-average winter weather, but the bigger factor was natural gas which saw its volume grow by 7.2 percent.

And natural gas’s price advantage isn’t going away anytime soon. One of the reasons gas is so cheap is that the “wet gas” found in many of the Marcellus shale wells in West Virginia, also produces byproducts such as ethane, which is used in the plastics industry. At current prices, these byproducts almost double the value of natural gas. Economically this functions as a subsidy for which coal has no answer.

The second market force crushing coal in Appalachia is cost. The volume of Appalachian coal produced per miner dropped by 25 percent between 2001 and 2008. This decline in productivity is driven by the exhaustion of easily accessible coal seams and produces higher costs and reduced competitiveness in the face of the onslaught by natural gas.

The third market force killing coal is the American people.

In its April issue, Mother Jones magazine ran a story by Mark Hertsgaard documenting the virtual moratorium that has fallen upon the construction of new coal-fired power plants, particularly in the eastern part of the country. While there are just over 30 new coal-fired plants currently under construction in the US, more than 160 have been blocked often by local residents who don’t want what they perceive as a dirty industry in their back yards. The look not only at the global warming impact of coal burning, but at its effect on health as measured in elevated levels of asthma attacks and death.

By the end of the decade these combined market forces will have produced almost twice as much of a reduction in carbon emissions as would have been achieved under the proposed (and, in West Virginia, the much-reviled) cap and trade legislation that died in 2010.

Does that mean that Obama administration actions on coal are irrelevant or superfluous? Not altogether. Clean-air regulations are causing some older coal-fired power plants to be taken offline sooner than they otherwise would be because it’s not worth the cost to retrofit them with pollution control equipment. However, this is only slightly speeding up the inevitable. Those plants, like the coal industry as a whole, are dead men walking, not because of government action, but because of the free market. And the question for West Virginia’s political leaders is whether they will finally focus on building a post-coal economy rather than trying to postpone the inevitable.

- Sean O’Leary can be reached at seanoleary@citlink.net.

Once again, I am embarrassed to live in West Virginia.

I have said many times in this blog that, with the exception of Shepherdstown and most of the Eastern Panhandle, I dislike being identified with West Virginia. Whether it is a supposedly Democratic senator who acts and votes like a Republican (Manchin) or the hillbilly stereotype other states see us as, being in West Virginia is no place for a liberal. We are victims of tons of jokes told in other states, like:

Q. Why do ducks fly over West Virginia upside down?
A. There’s nothing worth crapping on!

Well, we topped ourselves again, In yesterday’s Democratic primary, a man in prison in Texas got 4 out of 10 votes for the Presidential nomination.

Keith Judd, is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Obama received 59 percent of the vote to Judd’s 41 percent. He got on the ballot  by paying a $2,500 fee (don’t know who paid it for him…but I am not surprised that some West Virginian did) and filing a form known as a notarized certification of announcement with the Secretary of State’s office.

Interviewing a WV resident, the AP published a statement:

“I voted against Obama,” said Ronnie Brown, a 43-year-old electrician from Cross Lanes who called himself a conservative Democrat. “I don’t like him. He didn’t carry the state before and I’m not going to let him carry it again.”

When asked which presidential candidate he voted for, Brown said, “That guy out of Texas.”

Now it’s a question whether Judd will have a representative at the Democratic National Convention (15% of the vote or more usually gets you a rep.)

So, West Virginia has embarrassed me once again. Where will it end?

Why I can’t stand Joe Manchin, unfortunately my Senator.

From National Journal:

Joe "the Turd" Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has done more than any other Democrat up for reelection this year to distance himself from President Obama, said he does not know if he will vote for Obama or presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November.

“I’ll look at the options,” Manchin said this week. The last three years “have made it pretty rough” for his state, he said.

That stance is at odds with almost every other Democrat who is up for reelection this year or is from a state that Romney is likely to win. And it’s an indication of the unique effort Manchin has made to establish his independence from Obama and other Democrats. The senator has regularly used floor speeches and closely watched votes to, as he puts it, “respectfully” highlight differences with Obama, especially on environmental issues. He said Obama has never called him or sought a one-on-one conversation.

Manchin said his own vote will depend on how his constituents view the contest.

Well, I tell ya. My vote is not likely to be for Joe Manchin. I may not vote Republican. I may write in someone else… but I will NOT vote for Joe Manchin if he can claim to be a Democrat and not support his party’s candidate.

In my house, Manchin is considered lower than dog poop.

Saturday Morning and I’m getting ready for my radio show…

Talk To Me” is on WSHC FM from 11 Am to 1 PM today and I’m getting my music list and discussion topics ready for the broadcast. If you are outside of our local area (we’re a very small university radio station at Shepherd U.) you can listen by going to the web site at http://897wshc.org/listen_live/index.html. and feel free to call in and, well, talk to me: 304-876-5369.

We have only one line, so if someone else is talking you’ll have to wait til they are done (and my regulars, Ralph and Stu, talk a lot.) I also don’t answer the phone when I’m playing old Bob and Ray cuts.

Elly is going to Frederick, MD, this morning for a student Graphic Design Portfolio Review for the Blue Ridge AIGA… this the third time she’s done the portfolio review and she’s going there with our friend, designer Jill Harner. That gives me most of the day to myself, so after the show I’ll be going back home to continue unpacking at the new house.

Another Saturday in West Virginia.

 

If I could have done something like this at age 11, I probably wouldn’t be stuck in WV now.

Then again, if I were Mozart, I would have been dead over thirty years at this point.

Anyway, this piece, Allegro Molto, composed when Wolfgang was 11, was recently discovered. Take a listen:

This was played by Florian Birsak in Stuttgart on Mozart’s own pianoforte. What a complicated and beautiful piece.

Just got back from a Solar Project lecture at Town Hall

Than Hitt starts it off...

Sustainable Shepherdstown had David Brosch of University Park Solar LLC from Maryland to discuss how that organization created an investor solar project, got some state laws changed, and got small investors involved in solar energy.

This is the project that Than Hitt spoke about on my radio show last Saturday, and the show and a Sustainable Shepherdstown mailing brought in about 30 people (would have been more if the Chronicle had run the release, but it didn’t.)

David Brosch

The concept of setting up a (small) profit-making LLC to get groups of people involved with solar power for multiple locations with a 20 year profit of about 7% (money deducted from the electric bill). It has been successfully started in Maryland and could be done in West Virginia.

This was a good start and everyone left Town Hall interested to take it further.

Here’s why I don’t support Senator Joe Manchin (and I’m a West Virginia Democrat):

Here’s an article and video from Russell Mokhiber at Morgan County USA. It points out with disturbing accuracy why I am unable to support Joe Manchin, the self-appointed Senator who is up for his first real election:

Joe Manchin Meet Glass Steagall – 2/18/2012

English: Official portrait of Senator Joe Manc...Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) came to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia yesterday to meet with citizens.

One citizen asked Senator Manchin about Glass-Steagall.

Glass-Steagall was the depression era law that prevented banks from gambling with your savings account.

It was repealed by President Clinton in 1999.

And many economists believe that the repeal of Glass-Steagall had a lot to do with the most recent economic collapse.

There’s a move to bring it back.

In the Senate and the House.

But Senator Manchin said he never heard of Glass-Steagall.

Not that the law was passed post depression.

Not the fact that Clinton repealed it.

Not the fact that it may have had something to do with the recent Wall Street collapse.

One man in the crowd tried to explain to Manchin what it was.

Manchin thought the man was referring to Dodd-Frank.

No, not Dodd-Frank, the man said.

Glass-Steagall.

I suggested to Senator Manchin that the reason the American people hold Congress in such low regard is because the American people think that Senator Manchin and his colleagues are corrupt.

I started to read to him from a list of his major corporate contributors.

FirstEnergy Corp. $88,000.

Mylan Inc. $59,900.

American Electric Power $45,950.

Jackson Kelly $45,398.

I told Manchin about the story of Rose Baker, the Wetzel County woman whose life was destroyed by fracking.

As a result of fracking by Chesapeake Energy and others, her quality of life went from a 10 to a 3 in a couple of years.

She can’t drink her well water now because it’s polluted.

There’s night light pollution, noise pollution, water pollution.

Manchin supports fracking.

He’s opposed to a moratorium on fracking.

How do we know that it’s not because of the money he takes from Chesapeake Energy ($21,900)?

Manchin is opposed to single payer national health care.

How do we know it’s not because of the $139,100 he takes from the pharmaceutical and other related industries?

Could it be that Manchin cares more about Chesapeake Energy than he does about Rose Baker?

Could it be that Manchin cares more about health insurance and pharmaceutical companies that give him money than he does about the 120 people who die every day in America just because they don’t have health insurance?

Manchin says he cares about Rose Baker.

He says he cares about a 63-year friend of mine who has been diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, but can’t get it fixed because he has no health insurance and the operation will cost $120,000.

Manchin says every member of Congress has to raise money from corporations just to get re-elected.

True enough, said one woman in the audience.

So, what are we going to do to get money out of politics, she asked.

Manchin said we need transparency.

But we already have transparency.

Here’s the list of money you take from corporations.

We need to get the money out.

But Manchin is marinated in corporate cash.

He’s in no position to support a moratorium on fracking.

Or single payer.

Or legislation to clean up the system.

He’s corporatized to the core.

He doesn’t know Glass-Steagall.

He doesn’t know Rose Baker.

He doesn’t know about my friend with the aortic aneurysm.

Why should he know?

Or care?

Thank you so much, Russell. This was very revealing and EVERYONE in West Virginia should look at this. Who, however do we vote for? Mountain Party?

I’m really afraid we’re stuck with this Republican in a Democrat mask.

Utterly surprised…

…to get a call from an old theatre friend from Northwestern… Dan Einbender, who hails from upstate New York. A brief bio:

Dan Einbender

DAN EINBENDER  has spent much of the last 32 years working with folk-music legend Pete Seeger’s Clearwater organization, whose efforts have helped to restore the Hudson River, while also creating a new generation of environmental leaders. Einbender was also the Grammy Award–winning producer of Seeger’s 2010 album Tomorrow’s Children. Einbender lives in Wurtsboro, N.Y. His work takes him all over the world, primarily to Hellebaek, Denmark.

Danny was in my first Systems Theatre group at Northwestern in the 60s and was one of my favorite performers then. I really admire his work with children over the years, and you can learn more about him at Kid Friendly Music.

Not having spoken with Danny for over 40 years, this was great having him call into the Occupy Movement discussion on WSHC this morning.
Hope I hear from him again as I sit trapped and retired in West Virginia‘s Eastern Panhandle.

Looking for a Project…

The hardest part of being a retired guy stuck in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is the lack of creative projects to get involved with that take up a substantial amount of time. So now I’m looking…

I have no current theatre projects to direct or design for, nothing I am currently writing (aside from this blog), no artwork I’m painting, drawing or sculpting, no public commissions or organizations I am participating in. Frankly, this is a boring November, and if it were’nt for family and dogs I’d be at the bottom of a depression.

So I am about to go sit at Mellow Moods to see who comes in that I can chat with who might have something going that I could latch on to.

Another day…….

Things happen that we are not used to in Shepherdstown…

Like this, a couple of hours ago (from The Herald):

3:53 p.m. EDT, October 5, 2011 – SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va.

A 55-year old Pennsylvania man who jumped off the James Rumsey Bridge over the Potomac River near Shepherdstown was pronounced dead by rescuers as he was pulled from the river Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

According to Doug Pittinger, director of Jefferson County (W.Va.) Emergency Services, witnesses said the man jumped from the bridge just before 2:13 p.m., the time at which the original call was placed to Jefferson County 911.

This will be news for days!

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