December 25, 2014 -

PERMIT #3036
Vol. VI, No. LII
Westchester’s Most Influential Weekly
Thursday, December 25, 2014 • $1.00
Editorial, Page 4
Page 2
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
White Plains Councilor Lecuona Offers New View on Suburban-Urbanism
-A suburban city district
devoted to young adults,
millennials and (naturally)
young families “just starting
-Planned and widespread development of
affordable housing with an emphasis on
mixing of generations?
-A main shopping and travelling thoroughfare closed to regular vehicular traffic,
re-directed to pedestrian commercial use
and enjoyment?
Which of these “visions” appeals to
you? Which would make you rethink a
move up county to more bucolic northern
Westchester County or reconsider migration to a larger city like New York City
or Boston? All of the above “visions” are
just that, for now. In the region, ideas and
planning concepts for a rapidly impending
future of resource conservation and evolving
energy choices are making the rounds of city
halls and planning and zoning departments.
White Plains continues its prominence as
governmental and commercial hub with
new upscale and affordable housing construction as retailed in these pages recently.
New Rochelle and Mount Vernon
continue their gropes at geographic,
political and economic relevance. One, with
no obvious “place to go” in the county developmental scheme of things sullied as it is by
the ongoing penal-coded travails of its longtime mayor.
The other, New Rochelle, guided by
a promising new development commissioner and steered by a harried city council
still vetting another development dream of
an underutilized Sound Shore municipal
property. But what are the goals? A greater
population of upwardly mobile, northern
and middle Westchester bound suburbanites? A way-station for newly arrived
foreign-born seeking their version of an
American Dream? The mayor does not say
and a purported Comprehensive Master
Plan silently echoes in city hall where it
awaits resurrection, following delays by
electoral politics and an aborted Forest City
Ratner Echo Bay scheme.
Those of us living in the several cities
and larger towns in Westchester have our
own visions of suburban-urban life. In
Mount Vernon, originally a bedroom community, the prospects point towards local
traditions; creating and recreating strong
Continued on page 3
Mission Statement
Table of Contents
Community/Government Section.............................................2
Westchester Guardian Opinion..................................................4
Creative Disruption.................................................................6
Travel Section..............................................................................8
Arts/Entertainment Section.....................................................10
Eye on Theatre.......................................................................10
Cultural Perspectives.............................................................13
Retail Recon..........................................................................14
Movie Review........................................................................15
Community Notes Section.......................................................16
Legal Notices.............................................................................14
neighborhoods with solid housing stock and
local, walk-to shopping and services.
New Rochelle seems to have an
identity crisis, with numerous permutations
of its once- storied, now somewhat sullen
downtown retail district, despite a growing
residential population.
For Milagros Lecuona, White Plains
Common Councilmember for seven years,
however, the path to the future appears
much clearer and more certain. “Its all about
policies. Where and how far do you want
your city to go; to grow and develop?”
In an interview this week, Lecuona,
an urban planning professional with
degrees from the University of Madrid
and Columbia University, sketched her
view of her city’s future and perhaps a way
forward for embattled cities and other areas
throughout the region, facing the economic
competition of a surging metropolis like
New York City and the consequent struggle
for relevancy, as places of living and business.
Urban renewal is not a simple matter of
facilitating the erection of office and housing
complexes. “Aim for varied and even conflicting uses. If you are considering our main
artery Mamaroneck Avenue for instance, the
new challenge is not just to attract stores and
shoppers; it involves accommodating people
Sam Zherka, Publisher
Mary Keon, Acting Editor /Advertising
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Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 3
The planner/politician observed that
the mayor and planning department were on
the right course, and that mixed population/
use projects pending or proposed variously at
the former American Red Cross facility on
North Broadway, the somewhat bumptious
commercial strip on Westchester Avenue
and the Westchester Pavilion site were
promising developments. She professed
a love for “open spaces” in the city and the
county, but bemoaned “lost opportunities” at
the Main Street pedestrian plaza, including
the perils of wind-driven “sprays of water
from decorative fountains!”
Notably, most of the current development in White Plains has benefited from
little or no local Industrial Development
Authority (IDA)-type tax breaks and
rebates. Since the city does not have an
IDA in its own name, it has relied mainly
on the Westchester County IDA whenever
such “incentives” have been called on. This
limited resort to crony-capitalist schemes
has saved White Plains the controversy, citizen-taxpayer outrage and disappointment
that have plagued for so long the reinvention
and rebirth of New Rochelle where private
property owner subsidies are more common.
The Canary Islands, Spain native
commented on regional development and
renewal in general and reported a proposal to
plan and rebuild the State University of New
York, College at Purchase campus to provide
multi-generational housing for seniors and
students. This revelation and Lecuona’s own
ideas for enhancing life in the NYC metroplex were provocative and inspiring. They
will encourage rethinking of what southern
Westchester might look like to future populations of our cities, towns and villages.
Her professional work is focused on
education, cultural and health care facilities. She is principal of Lecuona Associates,
a design and planning consultancy and
teaches a masters urban planning course and
at SUNY Empire State College.
deemed it dead. He didn’t even bother
getting into the specifics of the two year
report that studied fracking. He more or less
told the press that if the report said it was not
a good idea, he was going to go along with
it. When asked about why he finally vetoed
fracking, Cuomo stated, “not a single person
has ever said fracking was great”. That may
be a good enough sound bite for the media
but does it really answer the question about
what makes fracking a questionable practice?
Of course making this announcement
is all about timing. The price of gasoline is
down (largely due to national fracking practices) and most folks are just elated about
filling up at under $3.00 a gallon. As usual,
Cuomo took advantage of the timing in this
White Plains Councilor Lecuona Offers New View on Suburban-Urbanism
Continued from page 2
who are travelling, shopping and seeking
entertainment and eating,” she stated.
Instead of encouraging or discouraging one
type of use or another, sometimes it pays
to seek out imaginative outcomes; with the
proliferation of bars and cabarets on its main
streets, she suggested refashioning a culture
where pedestrians would feel welcome and
“everyone, visitors and residential neighbors
included, would not mind the noise and
enthusiasm of crowds.”
Such approaches require reflection
upon comprehensive plans (in White Plains,
a document of several decades vintage) and
zoning laws. She acknowledged that the
present landscape would need to change
to permit such “street life” but felt this was
a possible and fitting outcome of the processes of the city planning department and
common council.
Enclosed malls, much like shopping
malls in the more open spaces in the county,
are things of the past. She claimed, “Mixed
uses are the future. Renovation, reconstruction and even razing of older structures
like the Westchester Pavilion (presently
slated for redevelopment by Urstadt Biddle
Properties), can make way for projects with
unique designs and construction to accommodate living, working and retail.” Lecuona
noted that such an outcome could befall
the oft-derided Galleria Mall, site of considerable commercial distress and criminal
activity in the past.
Like the “pedestrian artery” offered
in the introduction, room can be made for
varied utilization of public areas. “We need
‘complete streets,’ ” she said. “Streets are
not just for cars; pedestrians, bicyclists, and
drivers of autos have their place.” She noted
that provision of simple narrow bike lanes
stripes is not the answer; too many cities and
towns have resorted to quick fixes of painted
lanes as “more of a political statement than
a recognition of urban life.” A trolley route
might be an appropriate complement to
closed or limited access White Plains streets.
Lecuona’s approach accepts the reality
of America’s love affair with the automobile and also the “gift of White Plains
geographic centrality and location on unparalleled commuter train lines.” She anticipates
necessary redevelopment (facilitated by a gift
of $1 million from the Federal government
for a planning study) on the dated Metro
North tract on the city’s western border.
New permutations of mixed zoning
also promise better results for the city’s
permanent population of 56,000 residents
and an additional some 200,000 workers
and customers visiting workdays. “We
must accommodate light industry and even
garage-type and recycling businesses if we
are to remain a diverse town, open to all
residents and income levels.” She continued,
“The new White Plains picture should also
reflect our history, the unique contributions
of our long-established institutions and
businesses and environmental and ecological reality.“ The council member chairs the
Sustainable White Plains Committee,
where she brings 30 years of experience in
architecture and urban planning.
Stephen I. Mayo is an attorney, owner of Mayo
Linoleum Works, LLC and host of “The Steve
Mayo Show” on WVOX radio, 1460 AM;
Mondays from 6 to 7 PM with co-host Cornelia
Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York State
This week, just six short
weeks after his re-election,
Governor Andrew Cuomo
banned high volume hydraulic fracturing for shale gas,
also known as “fracking” in New York State.
Fracking involves injecting water, sand and
chemicals at high pressure in hopes that the
process will release oil and natural gas. In
theory, the process sounds great but there
are many questions as to what happens with
the leftover water from the drilling along
with those questionable chemicals used in
the process. No one seems to know what
happens with that run-off but New York
State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard
Zucker believes there are significant health
risks when it comes to fracking. Because
the fracking process is relatively new, there
are no definitive studies that would indicate
that contaminated run off water would break
down enough to be safely absorbed in the
earth. Dr. Zucker went so far as to say that
he would not feel comfortable with his own
children playing, or living in a community
where fracking was taking place.
New York State were less than thrilled by
the Governor’s decision to ban fracking.
Economically depressed upstate areas had
hoped for the economic boon that fracking
has brought to areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio
and Texas. Fracking has given those areas
jobs, and a form of economic stability that
the northern area of our state has been sorely
missing. But the dilemma has always been
whether a state should sacrifice the health
and safety of those who live in the area?
Governor Cuomo literally sat on the
subject of fracking during his campaign
for re-election. Republican challenger Rob
Astorino supported fracking for the positive
economic impact that it would have brought
to our blighted upstate, however when he
lost his bid to unseat the Governor, fracking
just sort of fell by the wayside. During
his re-election campaign, Cuomo artfully
dodged any questions concerning fracking
but six weeks after his re-election, he has
now banned it. Political chess or has Andrew
Cuomo suddenly become an environmentalist who wants to protect our water table?
More than likely, this was a political move.
Governor Cuomo is nobody’s fool
and after being re-elected, he knew he had
to “make nice” with the WFP after he just
about abandoned them in order to establish
his “Women’s Equality Line”. The ban on
fracking also holds Zephyr Teachout and
Tim Wu at bay; after all, even though their
campaign failed, they have taken an unwavering stance against fracking. They have
continued to lobby against the questionable
safety of fracking citing the questionable
health and safety ramifications of the process.
Nonetheless the Governor has spoken
and fracking in New York now becomes a
moot issue. Without giving a “real” reason
for killing this project, Cuomo just merely
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Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Celebrate Good Will at Christmas
fitting the theme that the Savior born is the
Light of the World.
What does this season of Christian
celebration bring to people everywhere? The
Christ child came to save the world. The
good news is announced as a great joy “for
all the people” (Luke 2:10). The practice of
giving gifts to relatives and friends during this
season, has been extended by some groups
and churches, to include giving gifts to the
poor, the homeless, and especially to children
living in impoverished circumstances. The
post office receives thousands of letters each
year for Santa Claus.
Santa Claus can be traced back as far
as the Vikings. The man who became Santa
Claus was a Christian saint, to whom the
Vikings dedicated a cathedral, in Greenland.
But it was the Germans whose love of
Christmas was so great it kept toe feast of St.
Nicholas alive. John Pintard, who founded
the New York Historical Society in 1804,
promoted naming St. Nicholas the Patron
Saint of the Society and of New York City.
Washington Irving joined the New York
Historical Society in January 1809 and published the Knickerbocker History of New
York, which included numerous references to
the “jolly” St. Nicholas. By 1821, a children’s
poem attributed to Clement Clark Moore (an
Episcopal) had Santa Claus arriving from the
North Pole with flying reindeer.
The Coca Cola Company popularized
our familiar, beloved Santa Claus, wearing a
bright red suit through advertisements, during
the years 1931 to 1960. The ads show Santa
bringing toys and pausing to have a drink of
coke. The Salvation Army Santas ringing the
bell to collect money for their programs is
one example of how many people contribute
to worthy causes at Christmas. A child often
goes to a department store to ask Santa for
the presents he is wishing for, and there is no
doubt Santa is an indelible part of Christmas.
The joy and good will of the season sets
the tone for a wonderful new year.The spirit of
Christmas belongs to everyone.
Surprise! Agent Violates FBI Policy to Obtain Zherka Wiretap
him in jail, without bail for more than three
months, pending an appeal to the Second
Circuit. There was bad faith on the part of
the government from the very start of the
investigation into Mr. Zherka’s business
affairs. Who had the power and influence
to induce an FBI agent to jeopardize his
career to obtain authorization for the illegal
wiretaps? Did the agent really think this up
all by himself or was the agent just puppet: a
bit player in a much larger plan, orchestrated
by someone else? Who, we wonder, is the
puppeteer hiding behind the scenery, hoping
not to be discovered?
This is not a Merry Christmas for the
Guardian family though we wish you and
your family a Merry Christmas and belated
Happy Chanukah wishes to our Jewish
By Peggy Godfrey
Throughout November
and December, beautiful
lights decorate our streets
while stores display an
assortment of Christmas
scenes and menorahs. Christian churches are
decorated with crèches, Christmas trees, and
special services or masses are scheduled for
Christmas day. The good will that permeates
the season along with the happiness of many
people is evident.
A fact of present day life is that the celebration of Christmas has been co-opted by
secular interests,particularly through shopping
and gatherings of families and friends, all of
which do not emphasize the religious reasons
for the Christmas season. But all this should
not detract from the wonderful fellowship
and good will that permeates this season,
which offers an opportunity for everyone to
extend good will to all, regardless of their religious or secular affiliation.
While the practice of religion in this
country is diminishing, there is plenty of
evidence that about 80% of Americans do
consider themselves members of one religious faith or another, even if they do not
attend church services. This is reinforced by
the history of our nation. The United States’
Declaration of Independence signed July 4,
1776, stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are
endowed by their creator with certain inalienable
rights, that among there are life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.” This dedication to a “creator”
permeates the country’s history and many
immigrants came to this country because they
wanted to freely practice their religion.
It is no surprise that the Christmas
season reflects the
nation’s history and
the diverse religions
that are practiced by
generations of Americans. The lack of church
attendance does not deter those who cherish
the traditions of this holiday season, though
many people do take time attend Christmas
masses or services or Chanukah services, even
if they do not worship formally on a regular
Historically, early evidences of the
liturgical feast of Christmas can be found
in Egypt around 200 A.D. But until the
fourth century, the celebration of Christmas
was not common. At first, recognition of
Christ’s birth was celebrated on January 6th,
the Epiphany, a separate feast day. After a
while, December 25th was selected and it
is still uncertain whether this is the day of
Christ’s birth. However, that date has been
related to a solstice festival call Natalis Invicti
on December 25th. Another interpretation is
that the days start to get longer at that time,
False & Misleading Statements Knowingly Used in Sworn Supporting Documents
“All truth passes through three stages: First,
it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and
third, it is accepted as self-evident.” –Arthur
On Tuesday, Dec. 16th, 2014 our publisher,Sam Zherka and his attorneys returned
to court to further discuss the exchange of
voluminous discovery documents for his
June 1st trial. Much of the information is
not indexed for search-ability, making it difficult to locate relevant documents among
a mountain range of paper, if in fact critical
documents are there at all. In response, Mr.
Jacobsen, the Asst. U. S. Attorney stated that
he turned over documents in the form they
were received; items that required scanning
were not indexed and electronic documents
were turned over as such. Judge Cathy Seibel
instructed Mr. Jacobsen to turn over the
wiretap line sheets noting the topic covered,
to the defense.
Midway through the proceeding, Fred
Haftez, Mr. Zherka’s attorney, stunned those
in attendance when he referenced a letter
dated December 12, 2014, from the US
Attorney’s office stating that the FBI shut
down electronic surveillance of Mr. Zherka,
alleged to have occurred between April 11, 2006
and July 6, 2006, because a formal inquiry
determined that “one of the supplemental
The Real Wars on Christmas
By Glenn Slaby
Why am I crying
silently? Why am I hurting
and my soul in distress? Why
are there so many feeling
the same way? Christmas
should be celebrated with pure joy. Unlike
Easter, which should be celebrated with a
pure gloriousness, this Feast of the Nativity
creates immense tension mainly because it is
a religious feast in a multi-cultural society (so
beneficial in many ways) with an economy
based on consumerism and capitalism.
Multiculturalism creates issues via the fact that
a cultural segment inundates/overwhelms
me with commercialization to improve their
profit margin and I find this difficult to shut
out of my life.
The history of Christmas as a Holiday,
beginning with its root as a rebuttal to an
Imperial Roman celebration, is very familiar.
affidavits submitted to the court by the case
special agent (SA-1) in support of the wiretap
applications contained inaccurate statements.”
Quoting the letter, Mr. Hafetz told the
court, the Department of Justice Office of
Professional Responsibility inquiry further
concluded that “certain statements regarding
a confidential informant made in SA-1, the
agent’s supplemental affidavit dated April 7,
2006 and repeated in a supplemental affidavit
on June 2, 2006 …were knowingly false and
misleading and that by swearing to the statements, SA-1 had violated FBI policy.” Mr.
Hafetz is demanding to see the applications
and affidavits for the electronic surveillance,
allegedly requested on April 7th, 2006.
The Asst. U. S. Attorneys have indicated
“they would not use information obtained
via the tainted warrant in their main case
against Mr. Zherka, though they reserve the
right to cross-examine him on this information.” Mr. Hafetz pointed out that the
questionable legality of the wiretaps raises
issues of probable cause.
In short, an FBI agent knowingly submitted false and misleading statements to
support a wiretap application, violating Mr.
Zherka’s rights to privacy and triggering
subsequent investigations that have landed
Appearing in only two (Matthew and Luke)
of the four Gospels, this Feast was celebrated
as early as 200 A.D. which is also the time
when the Latin Church began observing
December 25th, as the birth of Jesus Christ.
(The Pocket Catholic Dictionary by John A.
Hardon, S.J. Image Books 1985). Though
many may not be believers in Jesus Christ as
Savior, still, they celebrate and exalt kindness,
so badly needed in our world, at Christmas.
In his book, The Purpose of Christmas,
(Howard Books, 2008) Reverend Rick
Warren reiterates that this day as a time for
celebration, salvation and reconciliation. We
can readily agree that The Birth we celebrate
is very much ignored; in my opinion, if we
focused instead of the birth of Christ, then the
celebration truly becomes one of joy and the
trappings of commercialization will become
lessor appendixes. (Reminds me of the moral
of The Grinch -original, cartoon version – the
stolen gifts had no effect on the celebration.)
For me, the real joy,The Truth, is difficult
to truly comprehend, for it extends and amplifies an event beyond the material/physical
component of our world - the unseen; the
spiritual manifested in the physical person.
Two separate worlds joined together and
nothing has ever been the same since! Christ’s
physical presence in our world lasted for
approximately 33 years - ending in the victory
of the first Easter, a miraculous singularity in
human history.
Today a battle is being fought within
our secular culture: material concerns and our
busy-ness overwhelm the spiritual, yet when
the trappings are diminished or removed,
miracles can, and will happen. The profit
motive has dissolved the spirituality of the
season. Our children are overwhelmed by
propaganda for “the next best thing” that will
Continued on page 5
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 5
which can never touch you, …! That there are
no more limitations! ... That you are standing
on a threshold of infinite possibilities!” (A
Thomas Merton Reader revised edition,
ed. Thomas P. McDonnell, Image Books.
1974. Due to my illness, the messed up biochemistry of my brain, I may experience
some portion of what the average person
can accomplish, but God willing, I may
experience it nevertheless.
Gift giving should not overwhelm, but
support the traditions and other positive
aspects of this day: special recipes cooked
to perfection (most of the time), desserts of
course (always save room for more), hearty
and healthy wishes, many hugs & many
kisses, greeting cards, family get-togethers
(comes with issues) and music (overplayed
at times). The trappings of this Holiday are
all aimed towards joy. These trappings have
evolved and continue to evolve and most of
the time that’s a good thing strive to find
something deeper that will draw us closer
to what’s important - God, faith and family.
Tradition is a very important aspect of
growth - spiritual, emotional, etc.
Christmas is not just one day, but a
feast within a special season, ending with
the Epiphany – Tuesday, January 6th, 2015.
Time from daily chores and work should be
made to continue the celebration, visiting
relatives, exchanging gifts. But don’t tell
the manufacturers – they will tell us to buy
more gifts, spend more money and expect
presents every day. The battle between religious ministries and secular consumerism
is won’t be over any time soon. So what, if
non-Christians appropriate and celebrate
Christmas as just a holiday without an
understanding of the deeper meaning of
the day? Out of respect, I will wish them a
Happy Holiday!
Since then, advocates of personal freedom
have grown exponentially, and their voices are
louder than ever: not just with each election
cycle, but on each day that someone discovers
a new YouTube video of a Ron Paul speech or
a heated debate where he crushes the establishment puppets that parrot the “parties”
talking points.
Despite media blackouts during both
of his presidential runs, by both the liberal
and conservative media who desperately
attempted to marginalize him, Ron Paul
just grew stronger. But Ron Paul will tell you
himself that he is not a leader! Instead, like all
great leaders, he is a launching pad for a new
generation of leaders who are to taking up the
fight to protect our freedoms - - a daunting
Quite often we hear people talk about
achieving the American dream: the life that
people can create for themselves when there
is unbridled opportunity before them….
That’s it: nothing more than opportunity.
Opportunity means no barriers. When
America earned the title” land of opportunity” it was not a result of it being a “welfare
state” - either social welfare or corporate
welfare; rather it was a place where people
from distant lands were able to come and test
their entrepreneurial sea legs. People here are
free to “try” and “fail” and try again until they
succeed at whatever they focus their sights
on. Ultimately, the ‘idea’ of America is a place
where those who embrace the challenges
of uncertainty can go because this land has
unlimited potential. It is the “land of opportunity” because it has the least restrictive barriers
on the application of human energy…and as a
result leaves room for the individual to prosper.
Ron Paul is not a leader who pushes the
American dream; he is a leader who pushes
the idea of freedom. He pushes the human
dream of a world where people live peacefully without the use of force, fraud, violence
or coercion; a place where there is not an elite
ruling class that is “bought and paid for” by
lobbyists and moneyed interests behind the
scenes. Ron Paul is a leader, because he has
inspired a whole new generation of leaders
to become involved in the political process so
that it works for everyone.
It is time for us to rediscover ourselves,
rediscover individual liberty; rediscover
personal responsibility and most importantly,
it is time to rediscover the ideals that made the
young America the beacon of hope for those
who are hopeless.
Leaders run to fix problems, they don’t
run away from problems or leave them for
someone else to fix. Leaders inspire others
to learn for themselves and then in turn take
their newly acquired perspective and through
practical application turn it into wisdom based
upon experience. Leaders don’t indoctrinate.
Leaders inspire and inform. And through
their actions and ideas they compel others to
act and launch even better ideas that serve to
help promote prosperity and positivity in the
human condition. Leaders call upon people
to embrace a civilized society rather than one
built on blind obedience to authority. Only
independent free thinkers, who challenge the
status quo and the existing paradigms, will
save the world from those who hold productive human energy captive to bad ideas for
the sake of maintaining political power and
influence. Sometimes leaders pay a steep price
when they speak out against certain political
figures; leaders like Sam Zherka, who has
been sitting captive for three months, held
hostage in a cage.
The Real Wars on Christmas
Continued from page 4
make them happy. Seeking to achieve and
maintain joy through the material becomes
a trap, a continuous cycle; an addiction! The
cult of Materialism, the idea that acquiring
things will create peace, joy and happiness,
will drag them down for a very long time,
in the absence of qualities that do bring
inner joy and lasting peace: kindness, love,
ethical behavior and the willingness to lend
a hand to someone in need, for example.
(The art of making money has evolved into
even cutting at least one thirty eight second
scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas for
the sake of adding more commercials. It’s
playing a second time for an hour, so maybe
this classic will be shown in its entirety.
Blessed John Paul II wrote, “It is not
wrong to want to live better; what is wrong
is a style of life which is presumed to be
better when it is directed towards ‘having’
rather than ‘being,’ and which wants to have
more, not in order to be more but in order to
spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself ”
(Centesimus Annus, 36, © Copyright 1991
- Libreria Editrice Vat). Joy enhanced due
to The One’s Birthday should be celebrated.
Presents should not be the goal: presents
should be the results of this joy rather than
joy resulting from presents. Getting something, i.e., flowers, for just the reason of
getting is a wonderful idea. Giving for just
the reason of giving is fantastic.
Fr. Thomas Merton’s critiques still
applies to today, “It is good that somewhere
in the world there are men who realize that
Christ is born. There were only a few shepherds
at the first Bethlehem, and it is the same now.
The ox and the ass understood more of the first
Christmas than the high priest in Jerusalem.
And it is the same today”. Not with our priests
today, but with the current leaders of society
– politicians, capitalists, socialists, etc. If we
take that next step of opening our eyes to
something beyond our vision, we may see
so much more.
What occurred when Thomas Merton
made that leap? “The emptiness that had
opened out within me, that had been prepared
during Advent and laid upon my own silence
and darkness, now became filled. And suddenly
I was in a new world.” What we think has
been lost, leaving a void, creates an expanse
for Faith and Truth to enter, creating new
freedoms and liberty. The results of such
discipline, he continues, “You know that
Christ is born within you, infinite liberty
(love): that you are free! That there are enemies
The “Leadership” Illusion
By Kurt Colucci
The illusion of leadership surrounds us in all
aspects of our lives, be it
work, government or media.
But what is the current state
of leadership in America? I will attempt to
answer this today.
What does it mean to be a “Leader?”
According to Wikipedia, Leadership has
been described as “a process of social influence in
which a person can enlist the aid and support of
others in the accomplishment of a common task”.
For example, some understand a leader simply
as somebody whom people follow, or as somebody
who guides or directs others, while others define
leadership as “organizing a group of people to
achieve a common goal”.
Today, the word leadership is grossly
misused. I am brought to the brink of despair
when I hear people like John Boehner Mitch
McConnell, Barack Obama and George
Bush referred to as “leaders”.
These are men were elected because
they had “investors” who allowed them to
‘spend’ money for the purpose of ‘convincing’
a majority of voters that they are “leaders” and
as a result, they were elected to positions of
leadership. Convincing a majority of people to
vote for you does not mean you are a leader. It
means you’re a salesman with a good marketing team behind you and the fuel that propels
all marketing is money.
True leaders do not treat others like playthings to serve a vicious cycle of predatory
dominance. Effective leaders inspire others
to achieve their optimal potential, exercising
their freedom of choice to contribute their
abilities to a given cause.
It has been nearly 50 years since one of
America’s greatest leaders stood proudly on
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and passionately proclaimed: and “I have a dream
today…” Those words have inspired generations of Americans, uplifting the soul of
America and in the process changed the face
of this nation forever. It was the final straw;
the gauntlet was thrown down in a powerful
and peaceful revolution for civil rights through
civil disobedience.
Dr. King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech” took
place long before I was born. Yet, when I look
back at the video and listen to his words,
I feel a sense of empowerment as I watch
a defiant man standing in front of a huge
crowd: professing his dream for all the world
to hear. Almost half a century ago, we saw a
true leader of men put his life on the line to
fight for a worthy cause. Contrast this to our
current “leaders” who instead tell us “I have a
scheme today”! Most of us do not even react to
this and when we look back to the civil rights
movement of the 60’s we can see just how far
we have fallen.
Our American social, political and
economic systems are broken. We know it.
We can feel it. This is no longer a debate; it
is a fact that our democracy is in jeopardy due
to recklessly flawed leadership. Are there any
true leaders out in the mainstream inspiring
people to think for themselves?
I frequently hear people say: “we need
leadership.” But, by saying “we need leadership” what these people are really saying is “I
Former Republican Congressman Ron Paul
need someone to follow.” This reminds me of
the quote by author Tom Peters: “Leaders don’t
create followers, they create more leaders.”
Individuals who have transformed their
societies throughout history have, for better
or worse, compelled or inspired people to
take action for the sake of achieving a specific
goal. How do they do this? Consider Ron
Paul. Not so many years ago, he was a lone
voice in the political wilderness. A little over a
half-decade ago, there were many people like
Ron Paul spreading the message of liberty,
but Ron Paul, as a presidential candidate,
had the most visible platform from which to
speak, along with a cogent message: liberty,
self-governance and personal choice. What
did he do with that opportunity? He has
created a wave of momentum since his 2008
presidential run, which ignited a brush fire of
passion among the public for the preservation of liberty and constitutional governance.
Page 6
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Creative Disruption
The Internet --The Promise Or The Peril?
By John F. McMullen
As we turned the
corner into the 21st
Century, those publishing
companies, such as John
Wiley, & Sons, Que, and
O’Reilly, which specialize in telling us
how to work new hardware and software
products, had their act pretty well down.
They had developed rather involved templates for each type of product into which
authors could plug in the information
about the new entry. Hence, these books
could reach market in a very short time,
unlike my first book which took over
a year, and be relevant to purchasers of
the new Kindle, Nook, iPhone, Android
tablet, etc.
The area that became the battleground in this century has been the rather
more interesting “what does this all mean?”
– after all, if you can’t ascertain how to
use your fifth Kindle, should you still be
buying them? (it may be good to have the
book for your most current purchase but is it
really “I couldn’t put it down” reading?).
The “what does it all mean” question
has opened a literary battleground
between those who think that the Internet
(with its stepchildren Google and Social
Media) will provide us with a world of
peaceful prosperity (at least if we manage
it as that particular person wishes us to) and
those who feel that the brave new world
in which we are being ushered into to is
one in which we will be digital serfs with
little freedom and no privacy. To be fair,
there are those authors who feel that we
may make choices that will determine our
individual fates and those of the world in
general -- but most of the authors persuasively argue for either heaven or hell.
Nicholas Carr is one of the best
known writers of cautionary tales about
the Internet with “The Shallows: What
The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains”
(2010) and “The Glass Cage: Automation
and Us” (2014) and, while he writes very
well and with verve, it strikes me that he is
constantly finding reasons to say “Whoa,
Nellie” about technology without looking
at the positives on the other side of the
coin. For example, he begins a section
in the Shallows on memory by quoting
Wired writer Clive Thompson as writing
“I’ve almost given up making an effort to
remember anything because I can instantly
retrieve the information online” and David
Brooks, New York Times columnist, who
wrote “I had thought that the magic of the
information age was that it allowed us to
know more but then I realized the magic of
the information age is that it allows us to
know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants – silicon memory systems,
collaborative filters, consumer preference
algorithms and networked knowledge. We can
burden these servants and liberate ourselves.”
Sounds good, huh? Not to Carr, who
quotes Augustine as calling memory “a
vast and infinite profundity” and William
James “The art of remembering is the art of
thinking;” in other words, the Internet is
eroding our ability to think! He then brings
in studies by Eric Kandel and others that
show that our brains have a plasticity that
lets them adapt to new requirements and
that we are giving up very important brain
functions because of the Internet. To John
Naughton in his “From Gutenberg to
Zuckerberg: Disruptive Innovation in the
Age of the Internet” (2012), the plasticity
of the brain is a fact but the changes due
to the Internet are simply another positive
step along the path of evolution. He traces
this evolution back to the changes that
were made necessary by the advent of the
printing press and points to the work of
neuroscientist Maryanne Wolf (author of
the 2007 “Proust and the Squid: The Story
and Science of the Reading Brain”) who
pointed out that human beings invented
reading only a few thousand years ago
and that this invention actually changed
the way we are organized, which in turn
altered the way our species evolved.
So we have two bright, credentialed, and articulate authors taking the
same facts and arriving at two different
conclusions – an interesting sidelight
here is that Clive Thompson, whose quote
led us into Carr’s negative conclusion on
memory is the author of “Smarter Than
You Think: How Technology Is Changing
Our Minds For The Better” (2013).
Perhaps the severest critic of our
ongoing movement to Internet reliance
is Evgeny Morozov, author of “The Net
Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet
Freedom” (2011) and “To Save Everything,
Click Here: The Folly of Technological
Solutionalism” (2013). Morozov sees the
trend toward bringing the “smart technologies” available on the Internet to bear
on the “Big Data” now available on the
Internet as “solutionism”, a pejorative term
that he borrows “from the world of architecture and urban planning, where it has come
to refer to an unhealthy preoccupation with
sexy, monumental, and narrow-minded solutions – the kind of stuff that wows audiences
at TED Conferences – to problems that are
extremely complex, fluid, and contentions.”
He sees the Internet as the enabler of
such a tendency, writing “The Internet has
allowed solutionists to significantly expand
the scope of their interventions, running
experiments on a much grander scale. It has
also given rise to a new set of beliefs – what
I call ‘Internet-centrism’ – the chief of which
is that we are living through unique, revolutionary times, in which the previous truths
no longer hold, everything is undergoing
profound change, and the need to ‘fix things’
runs as high as ever.”
The whole constantly expanding
inventory of books related to the on-going
changes that the technology is making
in our lives is merely a reflection of the
greater society attempting to deal with
these changes. There are great positives
being brought on by technology yet we
must look at the real and potential attendant negatives and try to mitigate them
– and reading as much of the literature as
possible can only help us to understand the
benefits and challenges.
Science writer Charles Seife, in his
2014 “Virtual Unreality: Just Because The
Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s
True?” shows the reader how critical he/
she must be in accepting information
gleaned on-line while Patrick Tucker in
“The Naked Future: What Happens In A
World That Anticipates Your Every Move?”
(2014) explores both the promise and
pitfalls of Big Data and predictive analysis
(“Predictive Analysis: The Power To Predict
Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die (2013) by
Eric Siegel and Pam Baker’s 2014 “Data
Divination: Big Data Strategies” take us
deeper into these areas).
Then we have books that are generally Internet-positive but feel that we must
take certain steps to insure that we do not
become the victims of the technology.
Four of the more interesting are Ethan
Zuckerman’s “Digital Cosmopolitans:
Why We Think The Internet Connects
Us, Why It Doesn’t, and How To Resolve
It” (2013), “The End of Big: How The
Internet Makes David The New Goliath”
by Nicco Mele (2013 – I particularly
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Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 7
around us – eliminating jobs, keeping track
of all our actions, analyzing our on-line lives
in depth – and, at a minimum, we should
understand what is going on around us
and that it will, in whatever direction it
moves, impact our lives and those who will
come after us.
With such complexity, it should not
be difficult to understand why there can be
such a disparity of opinion. One has only
to look at another complex field, economics, and consider the writings of two very
bright and well-written pundits of very
differing opinions, Paul Krugman and
Thomas Sowell. The one thing that all of
the writers mentioned above agree on is
that “the more we know, the better we will be
able to cope with the challenges we face.”
changers normally happen under our personal
radar until we find that the world as we
knew it is no more.
He then offers suggestions for activities that will “take us off the grid” (not his
term) and concludes with a great quote
from former President Dwight D.
Eisenhower – “If you want total security,
go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given
medical care and so on. The only thing lacking
… is freedom.” The column is well written
and, hopefully, will cause readers who
haven’t been concerned with these issues to
wake up and determine whether they wish
such a country.
Luke Hamilton’s column, “Social
Media” The Shiny New Weapon of
Progressives,” is another story. He sets up a
straw horse – that Liberals have the ability
in Twitter and Facebook to bombard users
with messages aimed at “forcing progress
on the unenlightened.” We can really stop
right there -- in neither Facebook nor
Twitter, can anyone bombard anyone with
messages, if those users don’t choose to be
bombarded. In Facebook, the user chooses
“Friends” (the chosen friend must approve
the “friendship”) and he / she will only see
postings from those friends. If she or he
feels that the friend is bombarding her /
him with unwanted liberal or conservative
nonsense, it is a simple task to “unfriend”
the bombarder.
In Twitter, the process is a little different, one reads the “Tweets” of people
that she / he has chosen to “follow” (unlike
Facebook, the “followed” does not have
to approve the “following”). Once again,
someone bombarded only has to stop following the bombarder. On Twitter, one can
also read postings on particular subjects by
following “hashtags.” These # are subjects
put onto tweets using the “#” – so there
might be a subject #conservativegop (there
is) and those who selected that hashtag
would see every tweet which had that
hashtag embedded. Once again, any person
who felt overwhelmed by such material
could just stop receiving those tweets.
It is also good to realize that Facebook
has one billion users (not all of them active)
and, with that many persons there are
bound to be many, many political views.
Another way to receive information (to see
postings on the user’s “timeline” co-mingled
with those from friends) is to join Facebook
“groups.” There are many Conservative
groups on Facebook, just as there are on just
about any topic that might be imagined –
to list just a few:
Conservative Daily -- 6,575,031 likes
iamconservative with the cover page
“American and Proud”
Conservative Coalition Against Liberal
Agenda – C.C.A.L.A -- https://www.
Conservative Post -- 556,724 likes
. Reason Magazine -- 228,117 likes -
Magazine (I “follow it”)
National Review -- 179,919 likes
nationalreview (I “follow it”)
The Cato Institute -- 243,404 likes
CatoInstitute (I “follow it”)
The Facebook user is free to join or
leave any of these groups so, once again, I
don’t see how anyone can be “bombarded”
without her/his acquiescence.
As far as the “unenlightened” to
whom Hamilton refers, they are probably
not using Social Media for any political
purpose but rather to discuss movies, personalities, friends, enemies, sex, and other
Hamilton asks “Have you ever
imagined Joseph Goebbel’s Twitter account?
Or Leni Riefenstahl’s You Tube channel?
Imagine the perverse delight that they would
take in finding a facile vehicle for propaganda
so astonishingly popular with the teeming
masses.” Another whoa! There are Nazi and
Anarchist groups, hashtags, and websites
out there now. The leaders may be full of
racism, bluster, and craziness but we see
little following by the “teeming masses.”
In addition to the misunderstandings
Creative Disruption
The Internet --The Promise Or The Peril?
recommend this book for its balance), “technocreep: The Surrender Of Privacy And
The Capitalization Of Intimacy” (2014)
by Thomas P. Keenan, and Astra Taylor’s
“The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power
And Culture In The Digital Age” (2014).
Each presents a problem with the current
state of the technology and posits corrective action.
Just a browsing of these few titles (and
there are many many more) may be confusing; how can so much, often conflicting,
material be written about a technology
that most of us use every day – e-Mail,
Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon
and Best Buy purchases – without much
thought. It’s all very easy, right? – and that
is the problem. Under the shell of this
very easy, user-friendly technology is a
ravenous beast that is changing everything
Comments on this column to [email protected]
Creative Disruption is a continuing series
examining the impact of constantly accelerating technology on the world around us. These
John F. McMullen is a writer, poet, college
professor and radio host. Links to other
writings, Podcasts, & Radio Broadcasts at, his books are available
on Amazon, and he blogs at
© 2014 John F. McMullen
Creative Disruption
Ideological Views of Technology
by John F. McMullen
There have throughout the last 300 years been
many, many books, articles,
and movies warning us
about uses and misuses
of present or future technology. Many
are based on a concern that the mythical
(or real) “state” will use technology to
watch us constantly and control us in
some way – among the more famous are
George Orwell’s “1984,” Ray Bradbury’s
“Fahrenheit 451,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave
New World” and the “Matrix” and “Total
Recall” movies. Each of these portrays a
world in which the government or some
insidious group has used some form of
technology not yet available to the populations’ collective mindset or bring fear,
justifiable or un-justifiable, into its heart.
The books mentioned dealt with some
things relatively far in the future when
they were written and, with the possible
exception of 1984, have not arrived in our
physical reality. It is, however, more and
more difficult, to write such lasting fiction
because of the pace of the progression of
technology. Science fiction today becomes
science reality tomorrow. A case in point
is Bruce Sterling’s 1988 “Islands In The
Net.” Written at a time in which only academics, computer professionals and a few
others were “online,” the world of textbased virtual reality (early 1990s) and then
the World Wide Web (mid-1990s) caught
up with Sterling’s tale of total connectivity and “data pirates” (although it took until
2012 for Google’s “Google Glass” to catch up
with Sterling’s vision of personal screens with
global connectivity).
The use of technology has become so
pervasive that some of the people writing
cautionary tales about the use of technology are neither science fiction writers nor
technologists but are writers with a political or social outlook or agenda. They are
often writing critiques of present uses of
technology (usually the Internet) and may
have a strong ideological bias. I have no
problems with any of this, no matter what
side of the ideological coin they are on, as
long as they “get the technology right;” to
not get it right is a disservice to readers.
The December 11th issue of this
of paper, the “Westchester Guardian”
(available both in print and online -- http://
wg_12_11_fin.pdf ) contains two pieces by
regular contributors who do not normally
write about technology, Kurt Colucci and
Luke Hamilton. One gets the technology
right; the other sadly doesn’t.
In his “The Ultimate ‘Reality Show’
is ‘You’,” Colucci asks us to return to our
early teenage years and consider an imaginary world that might be posited by a
history teacher – a world in which the
government knows everything – that’s
EVERYTHING – what you buy, your
phone calls, where you shop, your online life
(banking, social media, search history, website
viewing online purchases, e-mails), where
you live, your marital status, what you
read, your medical record – in short, everything! Colucci imagines that you would be
shocked or, at least, would have been in your
seventh grade years. Without mentioning
the Snowden revelations by name, Colucci
shows that this total surveillance world
is really closer than we think and points
to video cameras, investigative databases,
GPS surveillance, and other data collection devices and systems set up to “protect
us.” He writes “The purpose of this ’scrutiny,’ in
the eyes of the lawmakers, is to discover patterns
of behavior that makes it easier to find terrorists and common criminals. They say this type
of database is necessary to protect a civilized
society because it will allow the ‘authorities’ to
root out the bad guys.” Colucci isn’t buying
it, writing “We are living in a growing police
state and there is no running from it.”
about social media, I find the column itself
to be full of invective – ex. “any new source
of prosperity and innovation is a magnet for
the social vampirism of the left” and “After all
fascists and progressives have a long history
of militarizing social and political struggles.”
“Fascists and Progressives”?? How would it
be if I used “Conservatives and Pedophiles” in
the same sentence? It’s just not inappropriate – it’s a cheap trick to demean those of
opposing views.
One of the problems that I see is that,
in our polarized society, most do not read
or listen to opposing opinions. A poll, I
believe, last year showed that well under
10% of viewers of the Rachel Maddow
Show are Conservative and that approximately an equal number of Sean Hannity
viewers are Liberal. If we don’t consider
opposing opinions, we will never question
our own beliefs. We live in a society with
many complex problems – the appropriate balance between security and freedom
/ privacy (as addressed by Colucci), the use of
“offshoring” which benefits consumer prices
but eliminates jobs, the ongoing impact of
technology on employment, the “disappearing middle class,” and on and on. We need
respectful discussion of these problems
and attempts to find real solutions in these
areas as we move along in the 21st Century.
Comments on this column to [email protected]
Creative Disruption is a continuing series
examining the impact of constantly accelerating technology on the world around us. These
changers normally happen under our personal
radar until we find that the world as we knew
it is no more.
John F. McMullen is a writer, poet, college
professor and radio host. Links to other
writings, Podcasts, & Radio Broadcasts at, his books are available
on Amazon, and he blogs at
© 2014 John F. McMullen
Page 8
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Ravello—The Amalfi Coast’s Best Kept Secret
By Richard Levy
Thinking about taking
a romantic vacation in
Italy-- maybe to Capri,
Positano, or Sorrento on
the Amalfi Coast? Well
forget about them and keep heading down
the Amalfi Drive, both hands on the wheel,
until you reach the charming, historic seaside
town of Amalfi. Take a sharp left at the
Ravello sign and make your way up the
twisting, winding mountain to the “Amalfi
Coast’s best kept secret”: the incomparable
Ravello. This mountain top village perched
high above the entire coast has some of the
most breathtaking views you’ll ever see.
In the 6th century, Ravello was home to
rebellious noblemen who resisted the ruling
dukes of Amalfi, due to Ravello’s easily
defensible, high mountain location. For
hundreds of years, nobody ever talked about
Ravello, until by chance, composer Richard
Wagner came to the town, in 1880, and fell
in love with Ravello’s serenity and beauty,
raving about it to all his opera friends. Many
years later, the controversial literary figure
Gore Vidal almost single-handedly spoiled
the secret of Ravello by building a spectacular villa he named “La Rondinaia,” on a cliff
overlooking the Amafi Coast. He invited
lovers, famous actors, writers, composers and
political figures to La Ronindaia, including
JFK and Jackie. The media reported his
lavish antics and before long, trendy celebs
made it their secret destination.
Ravello is an idyllic, charming, historic
and importantly, a largely tourist-free
town with beautiful gardens and fountains
everywhere. Ravello has one of Italy’s most
spectacular grand plazas, surrounded by
places to eat, drink, shop and people watch.
Or perhaps you will prefer to just sit in a café,
leisurely sipping cappuccinos as you gaze out
at Ravello’s non-stop, magnificent vistas.
Where to stay? Well, for the one
decadent splurge of your holiday, try to get
a reservation at the world famous, (and
expensive) Five Star Caruso Hotel, (check it
out online). The Caruso features a stunning
infinity pool that appears to go right to the
edge of a cliff, high above the Amalfi Coast.
And there are other charming, more affordable hotels, like II Ducato di Ravello, La
Moresca, Hotel Bondies or my favorite, the
Villa Maria, also with incredible views and
a fabulous restaurant overlooking the Amalfi
coast. Visitors can also find affordable apartments to rent by the week or by the month.
But if you’re an old fashioned romantic
type like me, stay where we did, in fabulous
designer apartment justifiably named “La
Dolce Vita.” It was total heaven. (Check it
out at La Dolce Vita has
two corner terraces offering spectacular vistas
Wake of boat as it leaves Positano
of the Amalfi Coast. We had breakfast on
the terrace, sunbathed during the afternoons
and sipped wine at sunset while devouring
tidbits of fresh mozzarella, wrapped in slices
of prosciutto. By the way, the “La Dolce
Vita”’ high season rate is $145 Euros a night,
and worth it - April-October; and only $110
Euros off season November-March.
There are a few small family-run restaurants in Ravello serving authentic Italian
home cooking. My favorite was Cumpa
Cosimo, Via Roma, 44; where “Netta,” the
owner, recommends her delicious “Five
Pasta Entrée: small portions of five delicious gourmet pasta dishes. She’ll come by,
as you’re finishing, ask which you liked best
and say, “Maybe you’d like some more?” And
she’ll give you more! My other favorite restaurant was also Gore Vidals: Vittoria, Via
Dei Rufolo, 3.
The must see historic places in Ravello
are Villa Ruffalo, which is right in town,
and Villa Cimbrone. Villa Ruffalo is very
beautiful and they have concerts every week.
Richard Wagner used their huge color-filled
gardens as his inspiration for the home of
the Flower Maidens, in his opera Parsifal.
Villa Cimbrone, is a medieval-style villa with
magnificent rose gardens made famous in
part, because Greta Garbo liked to stay there.
Be sure to make reservations for an
event at the sleekly spectacular Ravello
View From Our “La Dolce Vita” Apartment In Ravello.
Auditorium, designed by Brazilian architect
hour-long hike down the mountain to the
Oscar Neimeyer. Ravello is also renowned
seaside village of Minori next to Ravello,
for having one of Italy’s best music festivals
enjoy lunch and a local wine in a seaside
- check out The Ravello Concert Society restaurant, then catch the bus back up to
schedule of concerts from March through Ravello.
October, also known as The Amalfi Coast
You must take two very memorable
Chamber Orchestra.
day trips to Positano and Capri by boat
In the Plaza of Ravello, you’ll find the from Amalfi’s harbor, right below Ravello.
beautiful Romanesque cathedral of San
Positano, the former jet set hot spot, is totally
Pantaleon with it’s mosaic-laden pulpit
beautiful. Have lunch on the beach at Le
and its bronze doors, designed by Barisano
Cambusa restaurant; order their mixed hot
da Trani, featuring 54 panels depicting the and cold appetizers and fish of the day. Rent
Passion of Christ. Be sure to spend some beach chairs and soak up the golden Amalfi
time (and money) at the famous Ceramiche
sun. Walk off your lunch by strolling the
d’ Arte ceramic factory, which makes the
winding fashionable shopping street that
most artful, gorgeous dishes and ceramics
runs through town. (Wear comfortable shoes
in all of Italy. Mention my name to owners because it’s all up-hill.) The moment your
Madalina or Pascal and they’ll give you a boat approaches Capri, the colorful, breathceramic gift from their factory.
taking harbor filled with luxury yachts, will
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its’ blow you away. Have a delicious lunch at
any of the outdoor restaurants overlooking
gigantic lemons, the size of oranges and
super- aromatic, used to make the local the harbor. Take the funicular up to Ana
Capri and just wander around, shop, stop in
liquor: Limoncello. Bring home a bottle to
a café and take a taxi around the island; your
remind you of Ravello!
If you’re in good shape, take the scenic,
Continued on page 9
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Ravello—The Amalfi Coast’s Best Kept Secret
Continued from page 8
driver will point out all the villas which dot
the island.
While staying in Ravello, do plan to
spend some time in the seaside village of
Amalfi. Visit the Duomo di Saint Andrea
Cathedral, a unique blend of Moorish and
Gothic architecture. Have an Amalfi lunch
at II Tari restaurant a few minutes North
of the Duomo. Order local ‘Scialatielli alla
Sarana” extra long pasta with their homemade sauce and wash it down with a pitcher
of the fruity Amalfi wine.
Between the scent of all the fragrant
flowers, lemon trees and salty air, breathing in the Ravello air is so intoxicating, it’s
almost an aphrodisiac. Maybe that’s what
makes it such a romantic place! When it’s
time to leave Ravello, you’ll probably say like
most people lucky enough to experience the
magic serenity of Ravello, “Ohh, I can’t wait
to come back!”
Getting to Ravello is easy. Just fly from
New York to Rome, spend the night, have
dinner at my very favorite restaurant, La
Rampa a few blocks up from the Spanish
Steps at Piazza Mignanelli 18. We loved
their fried artichokes and stuffed zucchini
blossoms appetizer, followed by the Vongale:
pasta with baby clams. For dessert, make
room for their chocolate covered meringues.
In the morning, take the express train to
Naples, and then a taxi from Naples to
Ravello. It’s a million times safer than driving.
Make reservations before you go, and contact
Michelle at The cost is about
$100 Euros and worth it: you don’t want
to be on the Amalfi Drive unless you are a
former Grand Prix driver. Michelle will have
Our Rented “La Dolce Vita” apartment in Ravello.
The Infinity Pool At The Caruso Hotel In Ravello
a driver waiting for you at the Naples station.
On the very scenic, two-hour, drive you will
pass the infamous Mt. Vesuvius and city of
Hopefully I’ve managed to convince
you to consider spending your next
vacation in Ravello. And if you go, please
don’t tell too many people just how
fabulous Ravello is, you see my girlfriend
and I are returning in September and we
like it just the way it is. And whatever you
do, don’t write a travel article raving about
what a great, “must go to place,” Ravello is.
After all, it’s been the Amafi Coast’s bestkept secret for hundreds of years and we
want to keep it that way! Grazie.
The Ravello Auditorium Designed By
Brazilian Architect Oscar Neimeyer
The Building And Terrace View Of Our “La Dolce Vita” Apartment
Page 9
Page 10
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
From Pitiful to Playful
For divers dramatists, as diverse as
Saroyan, Rattigan, O’Neill and Ayckbourn,
the restaurant or barroom has proved a
rewarding locale. There it is that people
from various social strata come together,
and the author can assess the society of his
era, either naturalistically or with varying
degrees of stylization.
Count among naturalists the Genius
Award-winning Samuel D, Hunter, who,
in “Pocatello,” locates the action in his
native state of Idaho, viewed by some as
an unadulterated paradise, inhabited by
down-to-earth, unspoiled human beings.
I myself, during a brief stay in Boise,
the state capital, got a rather romantic
impression of a remote, paradisiac location,
which made this alleged Gateway to the
Northwest immediately alluring. As for
Pocatello, ranked “one of the top small
places to move and raise a family,” it would
seem a prime environment for a pleasant
purview of humanity at its most insouciantly playful.
But that is hardly what Hunter
provides. We are in the local branch of an
Italian-style restaurant chain, during what,
proudly proclaimed by a sign, is Family
Week. We are indeed treated to two related,
Pictured L to R: Brenda Whele, Brian Hutchinson, Crystal Finn and T. R. Knight in a scene
from the Playwrights Horizons world premiere production of Pocotello by Samuel D. Hunter.
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Pictured L to R: Leah Karpel, Danny Wolohan, T. R. Knight, Elvy Yost, Cameron Scoggins and
Jessica Dickey in a scene from Pocotello. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
T. R. Knight in a scene from Pocotello. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
friendly families at separate tables. At one
of them, we get Cole, a patriarch in the early
stages of Alzheimer’s, his daughter-in-law
Tammy, and her daughter Becky, 17. Troy,
her father, is an atypical waiter at the restaurant, whose manager, Eddie, a closeted
homosexual, is the play’s protagonist.
At another table, we get Eddie’s older
brother, Nick, who has moved to Michigan
for a better job, his wife Kelly (not, as it
emerges, a perfect marriage), and Nick and
Eddie’s widowed mother, the not so serene
Doris. Other waiters include Max, a former
meth addict, supposedly clean, and Isabelle,
a free-spirited, promiscuous young woman,
the one apparently untroubled person. Out
of them, Hunter spins a tale alternatingly
cheerful and grim, comic and dramatic, fraternal and hostile.
Reading the script, I was struck by a
punctuation mark all Hunter’s own, dash
plus ellipsis: -- . . . The dash for a tense or
merely uncomfortable pause, the ellipsis
for a thought remaining incompletely
expressed, either out of the speaker’s reconsidered reluctance or the interlocutor’s
ill-considered interruption. Of this there is
altogether too much.
A great deal remains unsaid, notably
Eddie’s homosexuality, heavily suggested
but never stated, whether that’s how things
still are in Idaho or because Hunter, who is
gay, feels uneasy about fully addressing it.
The dialogue can be convincing. Thus
Isabelle, caught in flagrante after a night
of sex with Max at the restaurant, “”Look
Eddie we’re sorry, but he lives in that group
home thingy and my roommate is all judgy.
. . . We’ve only done this three times, and
we won’t do it again. And we’ve never contaminated anything or whatever, We just do
it missionary, with most of our clothes on.
And I never do any of his meth, I swear.“
And here is Max: “It’s not like before. I just
do a tiny bit before we-- . . . It’s just recreational,” and so on, ending with “I’m not
really addicted anymore--.”
Or take Tammy, unhappy in her
marriage to Troy: “This isn’t-- . . . I see
myself. I think about who I’ve turned into,
and it’s like—I don’t even know who I
am anymore. I’ve turned into this strange
person, this person I don’t even like and
Becky, Tammy and Troy’s daughter,
doesn’t even want to be called Becky, or
anything else, because no one in America
deserves to have a name: “Grandpa. I just
hate everything about life.” And Tammy
again: “Maybe I need to accept that . . . we
both need to realize that we aren’t gonna be
the people we wanted to be, we aren’t going
to- -. . . I mean there are plenty of unhappy
people in the world, why should we be the
ones who get to be happy? Maybe we’re
just unhappy people.” As semidemented
Cole puts it, “Eh, lucidity is overworked,
remember that,”
Unhappiness in “Pocatello” is endemic
and, with the probable exception of Isabelle,
nobody even knows how not to be unhappy.
Again, Cole tells Becky, “For the intelligent
person, the world is full of idiots.” Yet even
that knowledge, he concedes, is “not very
helpful.” But neither is it helpful for a playwright to portray such almost unrelieved
The acting is almost uniformly persuasive under Davis McCallum’s solid
direction on Laurel Helpern’s wonderfully
authoritative restaurant set. T.R. Knight is
a thoroughly sympathetic Eddie, occasionally exploding, as when he tears the banal
pop music-supplying loudspeaker angrily
off the wall. Ordinariness may be more
stressful than generally conceded, but is it as
distressing as depicted here?
Every Brilliant Thing
The hour-long “Every Brilliant Thing”
is a piece full of zany, sometimes surreal
humor. Based on a short story by Britain’s
Duncan Macmillan, “Sleeve Notes,” it
Continued on page 11
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 11
From Pitiful to Playful
Continued from page 10
was adapted by him, George Perrin (his
director), and Jonny Donohoe (his first
and steady performer), after eight years
of turning it into a play with audience
It begins with the Narrator (henceforward N) arriving half an hour early, and,
by chatting, picking three of the audience
members for somewhat longer parts. They
and the rest of us get slips of paper with
numbers and bits of text, sometimes no
more than a word or two, to be read out
loud when N calls out the number.
For starters, the seven-year-old N,
whose depressed mother has attempted
suicide, compiles a list of eight brilliant
things worth living for. This begins with
ice cream and water fights and ends with
people falling over and Super Mario. (It is
to change somewhat for whatever country
the show is playing in.)
Soon eight is not enough and we head
for a thousand and, eventually, a million,
with, needless to say, ever greater and
greater leaps. Only Dad, a Veterinarian (for
N’s dog, Sherlock Bones, impersonated by
a coat borrowed from a spectator), Mrs.
Patterson (a school councilor) and finally
Sam, N’s inamorata, getting the longer
parts. Mrs. P. also has to take off a sock and
put it on her fist to impersonate a puppet.
List items now include Cookie
Monster, without proof that he is superior
to spaghetti bolonaise [sic in the script], a
ham and mayo sandwich just without the
ham, knowing someone well enough to
get them to check your teeth for broccoli,
Christopher Walken’s voice (1654) and
Christopher Walken’s hair (1655), the
prospect of dressing up as a Mexican
wrestler—not the action of dressing up
but the prospect of it, a lot about “The
Sorrows of Young Werther,” finding out
that Beyoncé is Gustaf [sic] Mahler’s sixth
cousin five times removed, and so on.
By way of 1000, N concludes that
he might be a genius, especially when
Dad, who sequesters himself to listen to
his mostly vinyl records, has his hideout
invaded by N, who enjoys the records even
before the music starts for “the faint hiss
and crackle of the sharp metal point”; and,
after the music begins, for listening while
“reading through the sleeve notes.”
Every Brillian Thing Poster
N’s discourse (not in Dad’s room)
is often interrupted by a few recorded
bars of his pop favorites, and, since the
show is performed in the round, by some
of his wanderings through the audience.
Unfortunately, when Donohoe is not facing
you, he is hard or impossible to hear. As for
the audience, shamefully none of them can
properly speak up. Later on, N provides a
portable mike, at which point the audience
can be heard, proving only a slight improvement, if any.
Somewhat later, N, who thought
he might be a genius, proclaims, “I’m so
grateful to be ordinary.” Try to sell that
notion to the characters of “Pocatello.” Or
indeed to us in the audience, who might
appreciate a bit more ordinariness, like, for
instance, a ham and mayo sandwich with
the ham not removed.
John Simon has written for over 50 years on
theatre, film, literature, music and fine arts
for the Hudson Review, New Leader, New
Criterion, National Review, New York
Magazine, Opera News, Weekly Standard, and Bloomberg News. He
reviews books for the New York Times Book
Review and Washington Post. To learn more,
visit the www.JohnSimon-Uncensored.
com website.
Jonny Donahoe in a scene from Every Brilliant Thing. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
Jonny Donahoe in a scene from Every Brilliant Thing at The Barrow St. Theatre. Photo by
Matthew Murphy
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Page 12
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Canoeing The Congo
Author Philip Harwood, Troubador
Publishing, Ltd. Jan 1, 2012
Book Review by Lee Daniels
“And this also has been one of the dark
places of the earth,” Joseph Conrad’s character Marlow wrote about the Congo in his
1899 novel Heart of Darkness. For centuries,
the word “Congo” has been synonymous
with mystery and intrigue. Its political and
social upheavals, often with violent outcomes
over the years and through various governments, to its split into the current Democratic
Republic of the Congo--comprising the
majority of the land mass--and the Republic
of the Congo, have lent a vivid notoriety to
this central African country, roughly onequarter the size of the U.S.
It has attracted the likes of missionary explorer Dr. David Livingstone, in his
search of the source of the Nile; journalist and renowned explorer Henry Stanley,
during the mid-19th century; French
novelist André Gide, who trekked through
the Congo during his two-year expedition in Central Africa in 1925; British
Army Officer John Blashford-Snell, who
navigated the Congo River using inflatable
rafts and jet boats in 1974; British naturalist Redmond O’Hanlon, who traveled
through the Congo in search of the remains
of a legendary dinosaur in 1995; American
journalist Jeffrey Tayler, who journeyed up
the Congo River in 2000 using a variety of
means of transportation; British journalist
Tim Butcher, in an attempt to follow the
trail of Stanley’s expedition through the
Congo, in 2004; and most recently, British
wilderness guide Phil Harwood in 2008,
the first explorer to paddle the length of the
Congo River from source to sea.
In 2008, Harwood, a former Royal
Marine and expeditionary guide from
London, researched, gathered funding for,
and embarked a five-month solo attempt to
navigate the Congo River in a 15-foot canoe,
from its source to the Atlantic Ocean.
At nearly 3,000 miles in length, the
Congo River is the eighth-longest in the
world, running through 10 countries, with a
flow rate, or discharge, averaging 1,448,000
cubic feet per second, just behind that of the
Amazon. It is actually comprised of a series
of connecting bodies of water and tributaries that run through 10 countries, including
the Chambeshi River, Bangweulu Swamp,
the Luapula River, Lake Mweru, the Luvua
River, the Lualaba River, and the famous
Stanley Falls (now known as the Boyoma
Harwood began his canoe trip In
Zambia, several hours of cycling and walking
on jungle trails from the village Masamba,
near the source of the Chambeshi River,
which he ascertained through meticulous
research to the most likely of the three
possible actual sources of the Congo, at that
point taking the form of just a trickle of
Arriving at the source of the river after
so many months of planning, preparation,
and side-stepping bureaucratic obstacles
and delays through his resourcefulness, his
elation is palpable.
“…It was quite a moment when we
finally forced a way through the thick bush
in a pocket of lush greenery to get to the
source. The tiny spring by a banyan tree was
the start of 4,703 km of an incredibly diverse
river, the most powerful in Africa. A book
I once read said that the water here takes
six months to reach the Atlantic. I hoped
to do it in three, but seeing the tiny trickle
bubbling up from the ground caused me to
rethink that estimate. Either way I was tremendously excited to be so close to starting.”
Hampered by bureaucracy, thieving
immigration and corrupt police officials, and
harassed periodically by locals demanding
money from him, Harwood had to call on
every shred of calm and self-restraint, as well
as his ingenuity, to avoid disaster at several
points on his journey.
At one time, while paddling near the
village of Kasongo, on the Middle Lualaba
River in Congo, he was chased by four men
who he was almost certain were ready to
injure or kill him to get to his money and
“I still had $3,000 in cash on me,
along with my stills camera and video, and
I was damned if I was going to give them
anything. I was pretty sure these guys were
not bluffing and were prepared to get violent
unless I put the fear of God into them. For
me, if you threaten to fight, you’ve got to
Philip Harwood
Philip Harwood
be prepared to fight. As embarrassing as it
seems now, I tried to visualize a machete
battle to get myself mentally prepared for
the worst-case scenario. I didn’t look around,
hoping and praying they had given up the
chase. Even my thick canvas top was soaked,
and I could feel the sweat running down
my body. Some 20 minutes later, convinced
they couldn’t have kept up, I glanced around
and to my horror there were still two dugout
canoes with four guys standing up in each,
paddling like madmen and less than 20 m
away. When they saw me stop, the shouting
continued: ‘Mazungu! Give us money!’”
For the greater part of his journey,
however, Harwood is captivated by the
kindness shown to him by locals who offer
to help him find his way, obtain clearance for
passage through certain villages, give him a
place to sleep, or share food with him, and
it is clear that his ultimate impression of the
people who helped him along the way is
what made such an arduous and hazardous
journey so worthwhile.
Near a particularly difficult passage of
the Middle Lualaba River known as “The
Gates of Hell,” he describes this camaraderie, which, transcending two cultures very
foreign to one another, is rooted in the act of
a stranger recognizing and helping a fellow
man at his task:
“The more serious the water, the more
useful eddies are. This next section didn’t
have any at first, but I just managed to hold it
all together till it started to get ugly. Luckily
there was an eddy on the right just before the
nasty bit, and I broke out of the main flow
into the safety of the reeds. Clambering and
dragging my canoe over numerous fish traps,
I finally came across a tight S-bend with
steep rocky banks. It was no more than 15 m
wide with the whole river pulsating through
it. It wasn’t so much white water as hugely
powerful surging boils, where the whole river
was rising and falling a couple feet at a time,
such was the force of the water in so small an
area. As if on cue, a teenager appeared from
nowhere and gesticulated that I needed to
wait for the right time to paddle it, and when
he realized I understood the message held
up his hand and studied the water. Carrying
the boat around would have been a lot safer,
but also a lot of hard work. Instead I put on
my buoyancy aid and waited for him to give
me the go-ahead. I put all my trust in this
complete stranger with a friendly face. After
a couple of minutes, down went the hand,
frantically waving me on, and 20 seconds
later it was all over, job done. I gave him some
fishhooks and line for that little gem.”
In reflecting on the trials and tribulations of his Congo odyssey, along with the
great sense of accomplishment he felt at the
end of the journey, Harwood never loses the
self-effacement and sense of humility with
which he not only writes, but follows as a
code of living:
“…I had achieved what I had set out
to do. More importantly, I had been privileged to experience the best and the worst
of human nature, both with the local people
and in my own behavior. These lessons
alone were well worth any hardships I may
have encountered. I also hope that I’d never
complain about anything, ever again.”
More information about Phil Harwood and his
work, including the 48-minute documentary
film he produced about the trip, is available on
his website:
Photos Courtesy of Troubador Publishing Ltd, 9
Priory Business Park, Wistow Road, Kibworth
Beauchamp, Leicester LE8 0RX,
Lee Daniels, a former reporter for the Journal
News and Reuters, is Arts & Leisure writer
for the Westchester Guardian. His work has
appeared in the Danbury News-Times,
Litchfield County Times, and Orlando Sentinel.
He is the winner of the first-place prize in NonFiction in the 2013 Porter Fleming Literary
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 13
walks are accompanied by his music, an
excellent example of Arabian rap, contributing to the energy of the film, which runs
70 minutes. This interesting and creative
documentary includes interviews and talks
with many other people, capturing a broad
spectrum of Libyan society: former guerillas, workers, businessmen, politicians,
political prisoners, journalists, artists, who
comment on the issues raised by the story’s
main character. Through the use of heavily
edited televised video-footage, creating
contexts of images that are sometimes
highly manipulated, juxtaposed against the
use of unedited long-sequence shots, the
director tried to achieve a certain truthfulness that leaves a lasting impression.
Yusef’s Song
By Sherif Awad
After the Arab Spring
movement overturned the
rulers of Tunisia and Egypt;
Libya experienced a fullscale revolt beginning on
17 February 2011. Yusef ’s Song, a new documentary, that took two years to complete,
shows another side of the Arab Spring,
particularly in Libya. Filmed in the Libyan
cities of Misrata, Tripoli and Benghazi,
the documentary revolves around its title
character Yusef, the most famous rapper
in the country right now. While living
in Benghazi, this Yusef chronicles the
revolution in his own country through his
lyrics and music. His songs express many
stories about the vision of young Libyans
for their country following the rule of
Muammar Gaddafi, which lasted more
than forty years. The camera follows Yusef
everywhere, recording his daily routine
and his intense conversations on everyday
matters, social issues and politics. Yusef ’s
Arab rap songs, accompany his presence
on the screen, adding beat and vigor to the
moving images.
The director of Yusef ’s Song, Kostas
Pilakos, comes from the other side of
the Mediterranean Sea and he was born
in Athens, Greece, in 1969. Pilakos
studied economics, cinematography and
journalism and has worked as a journalist,
independent filmmaker and producer. His
work has taken him to Europe, Asia, Latin
America and Africa. Pilakos has collaborated with magazines, radio stations and
agencies in Greece and abroad, covering
stories worldwide both for the media and
for his own documentaries.
Kostos is an accomplished photographer who has been honored in photo
contests and his work has been showcased in two solo and four group exhibits.
Pilakos has also directed Welcome to the
Show, (2013), a documentary about Greek
contemporary singer Pavlos Sidiropoulos,
a pioneer of his time, who was among
the first to combine rock with Greek
verse and traditional music. Sidiropoulos
was also the one who introduced rock
music to the public, in a period when
leftist political song was predominant as
an aftermath of the military junta (196774). Sidiropoulos is a legendary figure of
the Greek underground scene, and one of
its most influential ones. A restless mind,
he experimented not only in music and
composition, but also in acting, poetry and
writing. This film records and preserves his
musical legacy for future generations.
His background as a reporter, enable
Pliakos to observe very closely, the events
of the Arab Spring, particularly those in
Libya. Eventually, one of his colleagues
inspired Pliakos to give more attention
to this evolving revolution, orchestrated
by western intervention. In March 2012,
he started to make contacts with Libyans
in Greece seeking short stories, faces and
events until he made contact with the rap
music scene in Libya. With the help of his
Libyan partner, Mohamed Ben Gkouzi,
the director began to learn more about
songs written after the outbreak of the
so-called Arab Spring. Through music and
lyrics, a vision unfolded about a new generation of people who know little about
politics and the western world; who only
aspire to a better future.
Yusef is an artist whose music and
songs are very sharp and touching. He
uses social media to upload his work and
though he is a young man who admires
Che Guevara, he avoids aligning himself
with a specific political ideology.
Yusef ’s songs take on politicians along
with Libya’s struggle over the past few
years. He is a symbol for the revolution
and survival; currently one of the “voices”
of a revolution that had high expectations
for great social change with lot of dreams,
hopes, and frustrations. Yusef ’s talks and
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Page 14
Westchester Community College Unde
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
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filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 11/14/14. Office in
Westchester Co. SSNY design. Agent of PLLC
upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall
mail copy of process to The PLLC 103 S Bedford
Rd Ste. 205 Mount Kisco, NY 10549. Purpose: Any
lawful activity.
Mon – Sat Before 9PM
20 W. 20th ST. (btwn 5th & 6th)
OF WESTCHESTER Date Filed: 03/06/2014 Plaintiff designates Westchester County as the
place of trial. Venue is based upon the County
in which the mortgaged premises is situated.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., s/b/m to Wells Fargo
Home Mortgage, s/b/m to Wells Fargo Home
Mortgage, Inc, s/b/m to Norwest Mortgage,
Inc., Plaintiff, -against- Ogedi Ohajekwe a/k/a
Ogedi A. Ohajekwe, Chinwe Ohajekwe a/k/a
Chinwe F. Ohajekwe, JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., Medical Management Corp of America,
John H. Kaufman, Eric G. Cheng, Yvonne Choi,
Samuel Yakubu dba Sky Brokerage LLC and
“JOHN DOE #1” through “JOHN DOE #10”, the
last ten names being fictitious and unknown to
the plaintiff, the person or parties intended being
the persons or parties, if any, having or claiming
an interest in or lien upon the mortgaged premises described in the Complaint,, Defendants. TO
HEREBY SUMMONED to answer the Complaint
in this action and to serve a copy of your Answer or, if the Complaint is not served with this
Summons, to serve a Notice of Appearance on
the attorneys for the plaintiff within twenty (20)
days after service of this Summons, exclusive
of the day of service; or within thirty (30) days
after service is complete if this Summons is
not personally delivered to you within the State
of New York; or within sixty (60) days if it is the
United States of America. In case of your failure
to appear or answer, judgment will be taken
against you by default for the relief demanded in
captioned action is to foreclosure a Mortgage to
secure $189,000.00 and interest, recorded in the
Office of the Clerk of the County of Westchester
on October 1, 1992, in Liber 16507, Page 269, covering premises known as 542 South 5th Avenue,
Mount Vernon, NY 10550. The relief sought in the
within action is a final judgment directing the
sale of the premises described above to satisfy
the debt secured by the Mortgage described
above. NOTICE YOU ARE IN DANGER OF LOSING YOUR HOME If you do not respond to this
summons and complaint by serving a copy of
the answer on the attorney for the mortgage
company who filed this foreclosure proceeding
against you and filing the answer with the court,
a default judgment may be entered and you can
lose your home. Speak to an attorney or go to
the court where your case is pending for further
information on how to answer the summons and
protect your property. Sending a payment to your
mortgage company will not stop this foreclosure
Williamsville, New York: January 23, 2014 BY:
Ashley Schaub. Frenkel, Lambert, Weiss, Weisman & Gordon, LLP Attorneys for Plaintiff 53
Gibson Street Bay Shore, New York 11706 (631)
969-3100 Our File No.: 01-068744-F00
Community College is the
latest public institution to
come under scrutiny of the
New York State Inspector
Keonit was revealed that a former
assistant basketball coach falsified academic
Merry Christmas
and forged an administrator’s
Happythe community college
As a result,
to its
all of
has canceled
2014-2015 Basketball
our readers! My staff
season. However the story doesn’t stop
is hard at word distribthere, because many student athletes use
uting our paper; with
Westchester Community College as a
any luck, you are reading this on Tuesday or
springboard and
to you
at have
a littlefour-year
time to
finish last minute shopping, in whichseveral
of the
So, take a deep breath
Vernon High School star,
and survey
a star player
for up
you seewas
a Starbucks?
at thelovingly
school spoons
on a fullfrothy
Retail Recon
onto your steaming cappuccino, check out
the many coffee mugs, travel cups, K-cup
packages and gift cards on the counter in
front of you. But wait! Starbucks also has
CDs for sale, great presents for anyone
who enjoys popular music. Odds are, their
checkout lines are not as long as those in
KING list and
other stores, so survey
your shopping
your options. I love Starbucks
a I spend
lot of time there,November
as a constant supply
quality caffeine keeps me going during all
scholarship. He played on the award winning
team and was granted, upon completion of
what was thought to be a two-year stint with
WCC, a full scholarship to play ball with
late night
Don’t see
A&M University.
long after his arrival at Florida ground
packages tipster
in a pretty
an anonymous
that make a great hostess present.
and the NCAA that Walker’s scholarship at
a favorite
been giftee
a year
prior, after
taurant? Is it nearby? Hurry over for a Gift
was revealed he only taken one class at the
Certificate – Everyone appreciates being
college. In order to maintain a scholarship at
treated to dinner and gift certificates come
the college, a student must be matriculated
in really handy at the most unexpected times.
for asalons
full credit
offer gift certificates so your
it was
giftee can befurther
pampered, as soon
time permits.
are path?
also playing
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has isopened
an investigation
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also one
at The Westchester.
Apple stocks great products and many accessories, at a variety of price points that come in
handy for Apple addicts. The stores are generally very well staffed and the person who
helps you is the person who checks you out,
so there is very little waiting around.
of the
I hope
this helps
complete your
a minimum of stress!
Public shopping
Safety with
to commemorate
wonderful holiday!
of the shooting death
of Kenneth
Chamberlain Sr. The 68
Community Marks 3 Years Since
vigil was held in front
year old former marine was shot to
Reserve Now for Holiday Parties!
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Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
Page 15
Movie Review
Exodus: Gods and Kings
By Mary Keon
Director Ridley Scott brings the story of
Moses and Pharaoh Ramses II to life in
this epic film, dedicated to the memory
of his brother, Tony. Spring for the IMAX
seats and you will feel that you are in
Pharaoh’s palace, riding into battle and
walking across the sea to freedom.
A masterful interpretation of the
familiar biblical story, the movie makes it
clear, just how close Moses and Pharaoh
were to each other. Moses was raised side by
Exodus Director Ridley Scott
strong, silent type, for much of the film. But,
this is an action film and you can count on
Ridley Scott to deliver action. The cinematography, the sets re-creating Memphis and
Maria Valverde as Zipporah
side with his cousin Ramses II, heir to the
throne and he received the same princely
education: both are generals in Pharaoh’s
army as the film begins. This is honestly
not the greatest script ever written, competent enough, but the dialogue is really a bit
thin, requiring Bale to portray Moses as the
the chariot chases are truly spectacular, contributing significantly to the overall enjoyable
experience of the movie.
As the movie opens, we are in 1300
BCE (Before The Common Era) at
Pharaoh’s court in Memphis, the capital of
Egypt. The Moses we meet is an agnostic,
Christian Bale as Moses leads the Egyprions into battle
who does not believe in Pharaoh’s gods -- or
anyone else’s. He is a young, battle-hardened
man. Ignorant of his Jewish heritage, Moses
undergoes a powerful transformation as the
movie progresses.
Christian Bale plays Moses with the
charisma and quiet self-assurance of a
man born to lead: a commander capable of
turning a rabble of slaves into a fighting force
to be reckoned with; convincing them to
follow him across the uncertain sea to avoid
sure death at the hands of Pharaoh.
Joel Edgarton plays Pharaoh Ramses
II – born to the throne of Egypt – a competent enough general who still manages to get
himself into a difficult situation that Moses
gets him out of, fulfilling the prophecy of the
high priestess about leadership. Pharaoh’s
dying father, Seti, played by Yonkers John
Turturro, ruefully admits that Moses would
be the better successor but can do nothing
about it. The script and Edgarton portray
Joel Edgarton as Ramses
Ramses as a man who faithfully practices
the religion in which he was raised, and who,
with great reluctance, realizes that he and
Moses are on life paths that are diametrically
opposed. Ramses struggles to understand
the problems that confront his country and
dimly senses that he is way out of his league
when it comes to solving them. Ben Kingsley
is Nun, who reveals Moses’s true lineage to
him during Moses trip to Pithom, to inspect
the slave precinct on behalf of Pharaoh.
Sigourney Weaver, unrecognizable in
black wig & eye makeup is Tuya, Ramses
II evil mother, who suspects Moses will
supplant her son and plots against him.
Maria Valverde plays Zipporah, the pretty
girl who persuades Moses to stop and rest
in her village for a while, after he has been
exiled from court.
Ridley Scott has re-created the capital
city of Memphis with opulent palace sets,
palm trees and a grand promenade lined
Joel Edgarton as Ramses and Christian Bale as Moses
with stately figures of gods. There are panoramic views of Memphis, the surrounding
countryside and the squalor of the slave
sector at Pithom where the slaves are
building the pyramids along with Ramses
tomb. The battle scenes are fierce, with some
harrowing chariot scenes and the series of
plagues are truly awe-inspiring.
This is a very entertaining movie. There
are some gory battle scenes and lots of
entrails being inspected before being offered
to the gods but Ridley Scott has successfully
captured and brought to life the bible story
of Moses and the Exodus.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox. Running
Time: 150 Min. MPAA Rating PG-13
for violence including battle sequences and
intense images
Page 16
Thursday, DECEMBER 25, 2014
News & Notes From Northern Westchester
By Mark Jeffers
Open 10AM - 8PM Mon-Sat.
Juice Bar • Smoothies • Salads
Paninis • Rice Bowls
Dine In -Take-Out • Dobbs Ferry Delivery
We hope everyone
had a great Christmas; the
Jeffers gang certainly did,
and there was just one tiny
piece of coal in my stocking!
We opened so many wonderful presents, but
still found time to write this week’s “Happy
Holidays” edition of “News & Notes.”
I wanted to get the word out on this;
Michael Dellorso is now a student at
Fox Lane High School. The 15-year-old
Bedford Hills resident has been undergoing
dialysis since October of 2013 at Montefiore
Children’s Hospital and he’s hoping for a
kidney donor. The initial donor criteria is
someone with O positive blood type, in good
health and under the age of 60. Anyone who
is interested in learning more about being
a potential donor should contact Jennifer
Flood of Flood Sisters Kidney Foundation
of America by emailing calling 646-7158976. She is working with Michael’s case
manager at Montefiore Children’s Hospital
to find a match. The Flood Sisters have had
success in helping local residents connect for
transplants through local & social media.
See some of the area’s best high school
basketball match-ups during the 16th
annual Westchester County Slam Dunk
Tournament, Friday through Monday,
December 26 - 29, at the Westchester
County Center in White Plains.The tournament will showcase 24 of the best boys’ and
girls’ high school basketball teams in the area,
featuring some of the most exciting play this
high school basketball season.
It’s quite the festive season in Peekskill
during their citywide celebration, featuring
a Polar Express Holiday Light Tour, family
events throughout the month and even a
New Year’s Eve ball drop.
Speaking of the ball drop, don’t
forget the White Plains New Year’s Eve
Spectacular with live music and a big
countdown to 2015…
Congratulations goes out to thirteenyear Bedford Department veteran Melvin
Padilla who was recently sworn-in as the
force’s new interim chief, marking the first
time an Hispanic person has been named
police chief in Westchester County. Padilla
was most recently a lieutenant with the
department, and he will remain chief until
the position is permanently filled in the
spring of next year, he replaces retired Chief
William Hayes.
Are the kids tired of playing with their
new gifts already? On December 26, 30, 31,
Conductor Richard Milan Simons
January 2 The Katonah Museum of Art is
Simons will present New Year’s Day Gala
offering a creative and fun events for kids. Concert at 3:00pm on Thursday, January 1st
Teaching artists introduce a different project
at the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church
each day, including kimono dolls, origami, in Croton-on-Hudson. The program will
masks, and Japanese-inspired cards, children include favorite music by Strauss family as
age 3 and up.
well as popular American composers. Early
arrivals can enjoy a pre-concert hour of
I’m shivering just writing about this…
join the brave souls at the Peekskill Riverfront Dixieland jazz by Simons Family Funtime
Green at 1:00pm on January 1st for the 3rd
Annual Polar Plunge. Sponsored by The
I hung up my clubs long ago, but did
Quiet Man Public House, all proceeds from you know that the six Westchester Countythe Polar Plunge will go to the This is Me owned golf courses will close for the season
Foundation, and specifically towards college
after play on Sunday, January 4th. They will
scholarships for local students who have remain open until that date, weather and
faced adversity, or helped a friend through conditions permitting; check with the indiadversity, and students nationally who have vidual course. The courses are expected to
alopecia. This event is open to the public to
reopen in March, weather and conditions
watch and encourage the brave plungers to
jump in. The This Is Me Foundation was
Don’t forget to make all your New Year’s
created to raise awareness about alopecia, an resolutions, so we can break them together…
auto-immune disease that causes hair loss, see you next week.
while giving hope to any individual who
Mark Jeffers resides in Bedford Hills, New York,
faces adversity.
with his wife Sarah, and three daughters, Kate,
The Cortlandt Chamber Orchestra
Amanda, and Claire.
under direction of conductor Richard Milan