Wednesday, August 28, 2013




A few columns back i mentioned I had only been arrested once. Well, that's not quite true. I should have noted that I only spent one night in jail in my life. I have, in fact, been arrested three times. The first was that time in Tenn. for not wearing a helmet. The next time was in Montgomery, NY. Mistaken as "the mad bomber", I was manhandled (as well as womanhandled) by a bunch of cops who thought my mouthing off, after being asked for ID, was direct evidence of me being someone who would place a threatening phone call to the local bar. I have always been a proponent of "stand your ground" when it comes to dealing with John Law. A disorderly conduct charge was eventually administered by the court for saying "Fuck You." to a cop. "$40. Pay the clerk." I'm guilty of being an asshole. My third arrest was for marijuana and LSD in Rockland County, NY. This one gave me a taste of what it's like to be in the system.
   My first court appearance I winged it. When I stood before the judge reading the charges against me, I stood alone. Mistakenly I thought I could quickly deal with this and represent myself. "I plead insanity, your honor. I was crazy to drive through your town holding." Once the judge saw i had no representation I sensed a blood-lust in his eyes. "Am I to assume you want me to rule on this case now?" the judge asked, after I had entered my plea of not guilty. There was something in the way he asked the question......I swear I saw a drop of drool glistening in the corner of his mouth. Thinking fast I came up with this response: "No, your honor." He hit his gavel on the desk. "Case postponed until defendant can attain proper counsel." Phew!
   What followed was trips from my 1993, crack and heroin infested neighborhood of 7&C to the suburban Rockland County court house of New City, about once a month for 6 months. In between court dates i tried to communicate with my public defender on the phone. He had the most surly secretary, running interference for him, that I'd ever had the displeasure to meet. Many's the time she would just say "He's not fucking here!" and hang up. In court the experience was no better. A slovenly caricature of a fat lawyer, this guy would pontificate for the peanut gallery, and then with a flourish, ask the judge for another postponement, leaving my ass swaying in the breeze. "Plead it down to possession of the pot....not the LSD." I pleaded. My lawyer would then lecture me on how serious this charge was. "I can plead guilty to all charges." he offered. "That's not a plea!" I'd scream. "Don't you watch TV?" He'd just shrug and scrape the dried egg off his tie with a dirty fingernail. "Call my secretary on Monday. We'll see then." I was fucked.
    While I waited for my case to be put off another month, I watched the parade of young black men receive stiff sentences for relatively minor crimes- trespass, vandalism, loitering, possession of small amounts of drugs. Almost to a man, they received time. I was beginning to worry. My ace in the hole? I was a middle-aged, educated white man. One could only hope the system was as racist as it appeared. Then, one night as I sat in court, ready to either be sentenced to  County time or put off again, a stranger walked up to me with a folder. He introduced himself as my new public defender. He looked at my folder and scowled. "Why hasn't this been settled?" he asked. I shrugged and scrapped the egg off my tie with a dirty fingernail. He smiled. "Give me a minute." he said and went to talk to the DA. They chatted like old buds and shook hands. "Will you plead guilty to disorderly conduct?" he asked " You must agree to 50 hours of community service." No pot? No LSD charge? I was elated. Case closed. The racist system works.

    I'm still an everyday criminal. I smoke pot, go over the speed limit, and given the rare opportunity will snort coke, drop LSD, eat mushrooms and say "FUCK YOU!" to any cop, if I feel he (or she) is overstepping their authority. Even with all this attitude, and illegal activity, I have very little to fear from the system. I have a pistol permit, vote, own property and maintain all the inalienable rights promised me in the Constitution. The statistics reveal I have very little chance of being stopped and frisked. Setting aside my party pants, long hair and beard, I will not be profiled. I wonder if the kids that were slinging dope in my doorway on 7&C, or the ones sentenced in that Rockland county courtroom in 1993 can say the same? I sort of doubt it.      

Tuesday, August 27, 2013



Summer's almost over. The more distressed branches of the maple trees are starting to turn red and every day there are fewer mini-vans on the road. Time to hit Staples and load up on pens and notebooks. Before you know it the kids will be back in school, the bucks will be shedding their velvet and searching out a doe in estrus. My bow is ready. In the larger universe the march on Washington celebrated it's 50th and the Syrian Government has just dropped chemical gas on its own people. But what is everyone talking about? All grown-up tweenie star Miley Cyrus' VMA performance during their lame-o awards ceremony. Elbows are akimbo.
   I admit it. Before yesterday i had no idea what "twerking" was. Good old Wikipedia informed me that it came out of a New Orleans Hip-Hop song of the early nineties. Anyone who's ever been to a strip club will recognize the move- hands on knees, gyrating lap dance ass, head turned around, tongue out, va-giggle-jaggle. "Thank you 'mam. Here's a twenty." Music videos appropriated the move years ago. And i guess it's taken until now to bring it to the masses. I'd rather dig my eyes out with a dull spoon than watch any awards show, so I googled Miley and caught the act.
   If being "all grown-up" means using a foam rubber sports finger as a phallus, rubbing your crotch, surrounded by a sea of plushie infantilism- in the form of giant teddy bears, while an army of black girls support your every thrust and grind........well I guess I'm putting my Hanna Montana lunch box on the shelf. Miley's a 'ho....I mean a woman now. None of this would even be worth mentioning if it were not for the Hollywood hypocritical reaction. It's like the over-sexualization of the Disney tween queen mill is something new. Miley has the same manager as Britney Spears, making sure her vagina is waxed properly and there is good production value in any "leaked" sex video. Is this really so shocking in 2013 Hollywood?
    After watching a five minute clip of this performance the glaringly obvious, and quite insulting thing that I noticed was the use of Afro-American women as props. As Miley slapped the gigantic ass of a gigantic black dancer it became more and more apparent that the throngs of black woman were used as no more than juxtaposed "color" against that fleshy bikini wearing white girl. Street cred.? I don't think so. And as the male Black rappers take the stage, it doesn't get any better for the black women. Watch any Tarzan movie and you'll be just as offended. The only good thing you can say about this mess is they all got paid.....I hope. THE NEW JIM CROW? You're damn right.            

Monday, August 26, 2013





 Nothing like a weekend at Wolf Lake to lower the blood pressure and refresh the soul. The occasion was my 71st birthday. The weather cooperated and the party was well attended by friends and family. Surprise visits from Ct. brother Smokey and old friend PAPER publishing magnate DH and fam. rounded out the usual suspects and supermodels. Shewho was the consummate hostess, Mupp and Ginger (always invite the owners) the gracious landlords, and even Teehoo showed up (as herself) for the Q and beer. The gift theme was books and booze. I'm a lucky man to have the time to read, as well as the constitution to drink. Sometimes I can do both simultaneously. Theology and bourbon go very well together. But none of this is what I want to talk about. I want to discuss the upcoming referendum on Casino gaming in NYS. Couldn't you see that coming?

   I touched on this last week in the $ column. As the voice in the wilderness on this issue, I feel i should continue the debate. Actually there doesn't seem to be much of a debate at all anymore. All I see is VOTE: YES signs at the end of driveways and along the road. As recently as 5 years ago there was a much more vocal opposition to the idea of Sullivan County Casinos. Five years of recession and plummeting real estate values has silenced the minority. These days to be against casinos around here is to be the neighborhood pariah.You might as well open an assault weapons store in Newtown.
   So, once again, let me lay out my argument with an example. My first wife was from Ledyard, Ct. It was a sleepy little New England town, not rich, not poor, with red brick buildings and a great art high school. Outside of town was a collection of run down shacks, dirt roads and sometimes chained up dogs. Unknown to me, (and almost everyone else) this was all that was left of the once proud Pequoit Indian Tribe. The grandson of a feisty old woman, who refused to license her dogs, citing that she had no obligation to obey the whiteman's dog laws, made a promise to her on her death bed- full tribal recognition and with that a casino. That was the start of what would rival any Vegas organization: FOXWOODS CASINO.
   Of course I love the underdog. And who doesn't want the Indian to screw the whiteman? But the reality of this ultra-successful casino plopping down in small town New England is, that the town, as we once knew it, is now gone. The amount of traffic that these operations bring CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZED. You cannot buy quality of life. If you can't get to paradise there's not much sense in residing there. Once again, this won't be much more than a minor inconvenience to me. I don't go anywhere. But, a big reason this place has become a paradise for me is that I have visitors. If they have to sit in traffic for 3 or 5 hours from Manhattan (another lost Indian tribe), they'll stop coming. More box stores, more fast food joints, more gas stations and quickie-marts, more low end wages will follow the casinos. Taxes will not lower. The people will not prosper. Again, the shiny new Plymouth today looks pretty sad in 20 years. I may be wrong......and I don't say that often. But I still say vote no on this issue. Slower, more thoughtful resort and recreational development, that showcases what we already have, would be my approach. But nobody's asking me.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Thursday, August 22, 2013



A day after receiving a 35 year sentence for espionage from a U.S. Military tribunal, Army Private Bradley Manning announced today that he now thinks of himself as a she, and wants to be referred to as "Chelsea". KK. No problem. To say this kid has issues is an understatement. Here he....I mean she... is facing a long stretch in Federal prison and what's his first act as a convicted felon? Sexual identity switcheroo.  Does this make him a WAC? Is it like ordering kosher on an airplane in order to get a better meal? Will he go to a women's prison? So many questions.
   Chelsea is a little girl. She looks like she weighs about 105 soaking wet. Being such a petite thing the usual advice of hitting the first big guy that gives you shit in the yard, DOES NOT APPLY. So why not think out of the box, if you will. The one time I was in jail, the kid in the next cell set his mattress on fire and through a mix up, I was charged with attempted jail break and denied bail for 24 very tense hours. Before the mattress fire my only offense was riding a motorcycle without a helmet. If I ever get arrested again the first thing I'm gonna do is change my sex. When you think about it, it's brilliant. I'm a girl BITCH! Deal with it. I demand lipstick!
    Seriously, I feel for Private Chelsea. She got a bad deal from life in general. The chips were stacked against her from the beginning. I'm sure the recruiter that signed her....I mean him.... must have been short on his quota that month. This individual never should have been let in the military, let alone given access to all the info he was privy to. Like Snowden, he had the computer chops. These days that's all that matters. Who cares if you don't have a high school diploma or have a few sexual identity issues? He....she.... Manning was way too sensitive to witness the atrocities committed in our name, and be expected to turn a blind eye. The higher ups should've known that. I wish her luck. My advice? Wear flats, don't be too much of a slut, and write letters to Pussy Riot. They could be looking for back-up singers when you get out.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Tuesday, August 20, 2013




 I graduated high school in 1970. As a male, you had two choices back then- army or college. The Vietnam war was still raging and my draft lottery # was 33. I picked higher education. I hated the regimental, institutionalization of secondary school, but the prospect of having my head shaved and dropped into the middle of some jungle, half a world away, while being handed an AR-15 and ordered to kill someone....well the choice seemed obvious. I put three years in at three different colleges, dropping out when Nixon ordered the end to the draft. Four years of marriage and the work-a-day world led me right back to college. This time I loved it. Nothing like work and a wife to turn you into a scholar.
   I was lucky enough to go to school at a time in U.S. history when loans and grants were readily available, and tuition was affordable. Those days are long gone. I took out a guaranteed student loan for $5,000 in 1979. It's called "guaranteed" because the government WILL get it's money back (with interest) eventually. Of course I did not readily subscribe to this. When I got a phone call from a collection agency I would curse and scream at them with such vehemence that the calls would cease. I'm sure there was a little red star next to my name. My philosophy was that until I made money in my field (art), I was not obligated to pay back my loan. Twenty years went by.  In 1999 I actually did an art project that made me some money. My $5,000 loan had ballooned to $15,000. I made a deal with the collection agency and paid $9,000. Done and done.
    Like I said, this was a long time ago. I've been saying for years that college education is no longer worth what they are charging. Hell, if it wasn't a safe haven from the draft, it was barely worth it back then. Just add zeros now days. It's obscene what a higher education now costs. It's the top heavy hiring of fat-salaried administrators and the "glamming" up of campuses with sushi bars and rock climbing walls that is driving the price up. If it was faculty salaries I wouldn't have any problem with this. Ask any teacher what they make. It's not teacher salaries. And ultimately it is the bottomless pit of government loan money that allows this to continue. To saddle an 18 year old with a debt comparable to buying your first house is criminal. Parents have little choice. The rich will always send Buffy and Bimmy to school. Not so much the working poor and middle class. Actually the dirt poor have a better chance getting a free ride. But it's only if their spawn is brilliant that they will benefit. The dumb poor don't have a chance.
   Finally the media is waking up to the education bubble, realizing that this upward spiraling in tuition and limitless loans can not be withstood forever. I'm sure it's editors and reporters facing their little darlings going off to school that has created the interest, and flurry of articles.. "How much do you want?" they groan into their iphones, as mom sews "Chloe" into the underwear. Wake up America! These days, ignorance may just be bliss.    

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Friday, August 16, 2013



 As you all know, i don't have kids. I have cats and surrogates. Both the cats and the surrogate children are dealt with in similar ways. If it's really cold out I'll let them in the house. Otherwise they are on their own. I feed them when they bitch enough and my lap is always open for a short visit, providing they don't scratch or drool too much. These surrogates can be related or not. I feel the same about all of them- Swifty, Skype, Mathew, Lil Bobby, Tristan Epic, Wheels Budde, Junebug Caprice, Lucas Diamond, Ooo-la-la Short, etc., etc. There are too many to mention. They are all great kids. But I must admit, because Shewho is my sole heir, Teehoo is just a titch closer to my heart. She'll eventually get all my firearms.
    I never met Teehoo until she was the ripe old age of 13. We hit it off immediately. She had just tamed a wild whitetail doe, having her eat out of her hand and named her Daffodil. Now that's a girl after my heart. She's now about to turn 18 and I like to think my surrogating had a little effect on her. She's got a birth father and that's about the nicest thing I can say about him. But that's another blog. Teehoo and I have the exact same fashion sense. Her switch from fashionista to rocking ripped up, old man clothes saved her mother thousands. She's smart, lively, cute as a I gushing too much? Alas my favorite little surrogate is not perfect. Augmenting the birth parents in guiding my charges can be problematic. Like I say, the little fucks are not perfect. And no parent wants to hear that.
    I try to treat them like adults from day one. As the gurgling, pooping little shits are held in my arms I'm whispering little known facts about their parents and cluing them into a little philosophy they may find helpful when they get their sea legs. As consciousness develops, they begin to resent me, screaming at the top of their lungs when i enter a room. This eventually passes and we become friends. Meeting Teehoo so late in life has put us both at a disadvantage. She never went though the screaming phase. So when I criticize her unwillingness to get up from the couch, turn off MurderTV, maybe help her mother or clean her room or just make her bed or ride her bike or breathe fresh air, or help me with the lion cage, or read a book or shoot her pink .22 or get a's because she's special to me. i love her and want the best for her. She's like Ray Gilkey. I love all three cats, but Ray is my favorite. So it is with my surrogate Teehoo. Don't any of you others think I love you any the less.      

Thursday, August 15, 2013





   I've been coming to Sullivan County since I was a baby. My grandfather built a little two story shack on Wolf Lake in the 40's and 50's. In the 60's my old man bought it and made it ours. And recently my brother Mupp and wife Ginger bought it. I still have (as of this writing) visiting privileges. Legend has it my grandfather had the choice of a new Plymouth or the property. His decision changed all our lives. The experience of having a lake house you can chill at all your life is immeasurable in monetary terms. It is also the reason I live in Sullivan County today. Chances are without Wolf Lake I never would've found the church..... and none of you would've burned a dollar bill.
   Osterhout is a common name in these hills, and always has been. Pick up any history of the Catskills and you'll read about my Indian killing kin. I'm not proud of them. I'm just stating the facts. Can't pick your family. What it does do is reinforce my roots amongst the red shale, blue stone and black hats of this county today. We've been here almost as long as the Indians. We were farmers, trappers, bootleggers and civilian contractors going back as far as the French and Indian wars- the early gentrifying Dutch.
   Today Sullivan County is a much different place than the one of my youth. The big hotels are gone. The bungalow colonies have transformed into large Hassidic enclaves. The dairy and chicken farms are either processing factories or have disappeared. On the surface it looks bleak. And in the wings wait our saviors: Casino Gambling and Natural Gas Drilling. But all you have to do is scratch the surface and what do you find? Pristine rivers and lakes, rolling meadows of wild flowers, abundant game, speckled trout dancing on the dappled sunlight.....Ok I'll stop. My point being that the uniquely non-industrialized and lightly developed (a depressed economy, if you will) has given us an opportunity to save it. Like Cuba- the money stopped coming in '59. We have an ecological jewel here. Hell, I hear there's even unicorns making a come back.
   A referendum is coming up on gambling. Soon the voters of this county will be able to vote on gaming in Sullivan County. It's all about $. Sure gaming will bring that.....along with unbearable traffic and more knuckleheads than we need. A few people will make a lot of money. These people already HAVE a lot of money. With that kind of money they don't put up with the everyday inconveniences the rest of do anyway. Traffic? Rent a helicopter. Loads of low end service jobs will be provided and once casinos are built, they will never leave. I'm old. I'll be OK. But I'd sure rather leave my great nieces and nephews that beautiful piece of lake front than a rusted old 2013 Plymouth.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



 My old man was always known as Dick "Ostie" Osterhout. Being the eldest male in my family, I took on the moniker of Ostie very young in life. My nephews Brian and Isaac also carry the nickname. Back in the seventies when pop culture started putting letters and images on everything, the Old Man decided it would be cool to put "Ostie" on hats, t-shirts and whatever else the local mall outlet could emblazon. Most of us thought it was pretty lame, and were embarrassed to wear the goofy stuff in public. But, then, as the years went by, it seemed sort of sweet to rock the Ostie wear. I gave a bunch of mine to Teehoo, who had her yearbook photo taken wearing the Ostie frock. All of the sudden it was cool to be an Ostie.
  About 20 years ago I dropped the "e" from my nickname and had Osti tattooed on my right shoulder. I had no real reason for dropping the "e". I just thought it looked better. Going back even farther, in the mid-seventies I began to imbue my rather minimal conceptual work with theological themes and significance. Not growing up religious in anyway, I thought the "God" stuff had been overlooked by the modernists. Why not scratch out a little fresh ground? It felt comfortable, so I continued on this path. Art academia has appropriated the word "practice" from Drs. and lawyers, in order to convince parents that all the money they are spending to keep the kid in school is actually worth it. It's outrageously transparent. But, not to be out of step with the youth- my "practice" has always included religion.
   Like the Green Man and now the Lion of Judah, I'm learning more and more about the Osti. Recently  brother Duke was up in Canada, wearing his Ostie t-shirt when a waiter came over to his table and asked why he was wearing this common offensive curse word on his shirt? Duke was clueless. Years ago a French friend had informed me of the French Canadian meaning of Osti (or Ostie). Turns out that our family nickname means "host", as in the body of Christ. This is crazy enough. But the real clincher is the use of the word amongst the Canucks as a cuss word. Like I said I never was (and still am not) religious. I use religion in my work. I see belief as a stumbling block to enlightenment. If you believe (even in NOT believing) you are narrowing your scope and denying another's point of view. Where's that gonna get you? As far as I'm concerned we are all Ostis. Welcome to the family.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013




  It took me a while to embrace Google. It all seemed a bit too easy, a little like Cliff Notes- those ubiquitous yellow and black classic cheaters of my youth. Did I really want to make life that easy? The short answer- yes. The library at your finger tips that is Google is now part of my every day internet activity. I'm not supposed to tell anyone that I received a National Security Letter (not even my lawyer), so I won't. Google it and find out why. You can't tell the future with it....yet, but almost everything else is possible.
   My 71st birthday is coming up. So Shewho asked me what I wanted? I thought hard and came up with the titles of two books: THE NEW JIM CROW by Michelle Alexander and THE I AND THOU by Martin Buber. I remembered the later title from Seminary and wanted to revisit it. I've forgotten way more than I learned in seminary, so I Googled Martin Buber. I'll leave it to you to find out exactly who he was, but in my search for information a familiar name came up. Turns out Martin Buber was friends with Helena Rubinstein. Once again- Google her. The reason I knew who Helena R. was is family legend had it that she was friends with my great uncle Bob Osterhout. Here's where it gets interesting.

Bob Osterhout was my paternal grandfather Wray's brother. I met him only once, on Cape Cod, when i was about 13. But I grew up hearing stories about Bob. He was a soldier in WWII. One story had it that , lost in the jungle, he had unknowingly ingested the meat of a Japanese soldier, prepared by the natives of New Guinea. Bob said it was tasty. True story? I have no idea. That's not why I was fascinated with Bob. The reason i hung on every word when it came to "Bob stories" was the fact that he was an artist. Growing up in a small town there weren't any artist role models to emulate. The other thing about Bob that set him apart from all the rest of us was the fact that he didn't wear socks or underwear. This may or may not be true, but it took me years to figure out that this was code for something else. Uncle Bob was gay.
    Buber led me to Helena, which led me to Bob....and Peter. Bob worked for Peter Hunt in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. Peter Hunt was famous and maybe Bob's boyfriend. Google did not tell me that. Reading between the lines, Peter Hunt, Bob and many others basically started the "gay scene" on Cape Cod. And, low and behold, Google led me to a 1969 review of a show Bob was in at a Palm Beach, Fl gallery. And there was a photo of one of Bob's works. It was a reproduction of a portrait, in profile, of a high collared man, painted on something other than canvas. In fact Bob was known, like Peter Hunt, as a "primitive" artist who would paint on anything other than canvas. And yes.....they were all friends with Helena Rubinstein. I have no idea if he knew Martin Buber. If you want more information you can Google it.    

Monday, August 12, 2013



 You'd be amazed at how little of a plan i have as I plod through life. A friend just turned 30. I asked him if he was where he'd thought he'd be at his age? "More money and maybe a relationship....." he answered, but then confessed that he had to admit he wasn't doing too bad. I had to try hard to remember my 30th. After some doing I recollected that I was visiting from Cali, with a 19 year old beauty on my arm and a plan to take the NY art world by storm. I'm still friends with the 19 (now ? year old).  NYC did not treat me as well, refusing to bow before my genius. So much for plans.
   Now twice that age, I have no plan at all. But as circumstances roll over me, I'm realizing just how little I have to say in the matter. Plans be damned. Here's an example illustrating what I mean. I'm searching Craig's List for a decent used car for Shewho when I, completely by accident, see a photo of an old hay wagon for sale. Before the day ends I've purchased the wagon and my then 29 year old friend has towed it to my front yard. Within hours I've decided to build a lion cage. *NOTE: At no time did I say I was going to put a lion in it. Thus begins the process of building a cage that will safely and comfortably contain a lion. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.
   As I tore the sides off the hay wagon and constructed the cage I began to research the lion in religious  imagery. Up comes the Rastafarians and Haile Selassie, the Ethiopian and Jerusalem flags, the Christian use of lion iconography, as well as all that Narnia crap. It's loaded, of course without me knowing it. Just like the "Green Man", I didn't know shit until I was already neck deep in church services. Only then did I realize all the significance in what I was dealing with. You may think I know what I'm doing.... but I don't have a clue most of the time. I've told the story many times of finding an old certificate with my name on it in the church, the first day I spotted the place, only to never find it again. You see where that got me almost 20 years later. Not to be too mystical, but ..........

Today I finished LION OF JUDAH, with the addition of a DO NOT FEED sign on the bottom. But it was not without one more tiny piece of other worldly synchronicity coming my way. What with all the heavy rains I've been concerned about the Glen Wild Shul leaking. The roof isn't too good and I wanted to make sure it wasn't flooding. So yesterday i drove down there and went in the open side door. It didn't look any worse for the wear. Plaster was still falling in and the musty rugs still stunk, but all looked pretty........then as I turned around, inspecting the place, I spotted what I had never seem before- Two beautifully crafted lions facing a crown- the exact composition as the cage signage. I had to sit down and catch my breath. I swear I never saw them before. It's just the way things go. As the title says- I'm at your service. No plan required.    

Friday, August 9, 2013




 For those of my readers who don't already know this, we live in the largest concentration of Hasidim outside of Williamsburg. It's been that way for quite sometime. Because having kids is an intregal part of that culture, this population will only grow. For many non-Hasidim in this county, this is a source of constant irritation. As far as I'm concerned the only ones that have an innate right to reside here are the Leni Lanape Indians. Try finding one of those. So as the newly bearded hipsters drive up the real estate values in Brooklyn, and follow the old bearded ultra-orthodox up the Thruway in search of that dream bungalow for their "practice" in the Catskills, I ponder which is worse?
    Aside from their inability to drive politely and an unexplainable desire to fence off every property with chain link fence, I have no problem with my Hassidic brothers and sisters. In fact they are arguably the only thing standing in the way of this little piece of paradise becoming the next Hudson, Woodstock or Hamptons....God help us. Hasidim may produce kids, but the gentrifying hoards of yoga practicing, expresso swilling, skinny jean wearing, over-educated and under-employed trust fund glampers, with fresh facial hair, seem to be an inexhaustible virus of destruction. How long can we keep them and Starbucks out of the county? This is what we should fear- fracking, casinos and  hipsters.

   Yesterday I attached the signage to the lion cage. In Hebrew it states simply- LION OF JUDAH. I no sooner had the sign up than an elderly, (about my age) grey bearded, Hassidic gentleman in a long black coat pulled up. "How do I get to rt. 42?" he asked. I gave him directions, as he took in all the billboards and the lion cage. "What's with the Jewish?" he asked. I gave him my usual response. "I don't understand the question." Then he got more specific, as I explained my role as artist in the community. "Do Jewish people come here?" I answered that yes, they did. "To pray?" He had me there. How the hell do you know if people (Jewish or otherwise) are actually praying? They may say they are praying, when they are actually catching a quick snooze. They don't teach that in seminary. "I think some pray." I admitted. He seemed pleased. Then i asked a question. "How's my Jewish?" He smiled and gave me the thumbs up. "Lion of Judah." he said with a grin. We shook hands and he drove off. THAT'S what's with the Jewish. Pray for us.        

Thursday, August 8, 2013

LION OF JUDAH- almost done

CALIOPE GONE- Confessions of a Cat Fag

Since Shewho has moved up to the mountains full time, my sched. has become one of a commuter's. I work on whatever project i have going on here at my house and around 5pm get in the truck and head for WSSP, for cocktails on the back deck and a nice dinner with the "old lady". My fears of neurotically acting out, at my girlfriend being within 20 miles of my front door, seem to be unwarranted. Everything is going swimmingly....that is until the other night.
    I had barely arrived, greeted both cats- Mojo and Caliope, telling them how proud I was at the two of them becoming acclimated to the country, when Caliope peeled off, leaving Mo and I to continue the conversation. A matter of minutes went by, when Shewho called to Caliope. We heard a meow under the car. For some reason she wasn't coming out. As soon as she emerged we knew something was wrong. Blood was coming from her mouth and we immediately surmised she had been hit by a car. How? Five minutes previously she was rolling on the deck. As Shewho furiously dialed the phone, trying to find a vet on a Sunday evening, I wrapped the cat in a towel and got her in a box. Shewho was still on the phone when Caliope went stiff.

   I used to be a hard ass when it comes to cats. They showed up they disappeared. I never got too attached or close. It was all good. As Shewo crumbled in tears, clutching her dead pet, I realized those days are long gone. I was as much of a mess as she was. How? Why? IT'S SOOOOOO UNFAIR! We never heard tires screech. Now if anyone drives by the house fast I glare at them. Are they the killer? We consoled each other and went into mourning.
  The next day I built a coffin for Caliope. I hadn't measured her, so I snuck up on Nicole with the tape measurer to get an idea. She ran like a streak, sure that I was getting the specs. for another trip to the death house. On the box I wrote CALIOPE- Beloved cat of Shewho and Teehoo and drew a bad picture of a cat. Then I dug a hole up on the hill by the fence line. Shewho wrapped her in red cloth and sprinkled her with catnip for the journey. We both teared up again. The box was a tight fit. I had to put my knee on it in order to nail it shut. Caliope never felt a thing. She was already on another plain. Now it's just her son Mojo being spoiled rotten by the both of us. Cars whizz by the house, as Mojo watches from the window. He will never step outside again.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013



 A recent ruling by the high court of the state of NY asserts that calling someone "Gay" can no longer be considered as a crime of defamation. For years calling someone a "fag" was right up there with "unchaste", "criminal" and "disease ridden" in the court's eyes. The finding in a recent case in which a man sued a woman for spreading the rumor that he was gay, in an attempt to get his girlfriend to leave him, stated that what with all the recent strides in gay rights, the term "Gay" could no longer be considered derogatory. To be Gay is to be just as wonderful (or as fucked up) as the rest of us. If my girlfriend had ever paid attention to all the gay rumors surrounding my "Gay Church" and questionable life style, she would've left years ago. I take that back. Come to think of it she's been gaying me up for years. "OK, I'll wear that shirt, but NO "cack" please. Thank you."
  Sadly our NY state of enlightenment does not reach across the 7 seas. One of the gayest places on earth- France is now in the grips of a battle to see who is the most homo-erotic- homophobic organization in the anti-gay universe . Straight men, in form fitting pink shirts, kerchiefs and short shorts, are storming the beaches of Normandy, drenched in Pour Homme, spouting anti-gay vitriol. I love the topsy turvy, contrary aspect to all this, but scratch the surface and these fags ain't  gay at all. In fact they are about as unchaste, criminal and disease ridden as a Frenchman can get. I realize the French are not a cheerful, funny people, but I'd suggest instead of worrying what Vischy General, blew what Gestapo sargent in which hotel in Paris, they should stop these poseur fag-haters. I guess the first step is to spread rumors that they REALLY ARE Gay (whatever the hell that means anymore). In France it's obviously still an insult. That's a start.