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Hi!

We are in pre-production for our climate change rock opera; The Nature of Man, (our bizplan is getting serious interest) and things are frantically busy so I’ll get right to the point.

Our friends at The Sane Energy Project (SEP) are working very hard on a really nasty problem: the proposed Port Ambrose LNG Terminal.

From SEP’s materials on the matter:

“Liberty Natural Gas, LLC, proposes to build Port Ambrose, an offshore facility for liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, just a few miles off our
beaches. Port Ambrose could be used to import or export natural gas.

LNG is natural gas that is super-chilled to -260° to liquefy it for
transportation. It is highly flammable and unsafe.

Top Reasons to Oppose LNG-Port Ambrose

1. LNG tankers and facilities pose serious security risks and make us vulnerable to terrorism. Port Ambrose is just miles from NY/NJ Harbor, JFK Airport, and located between channels used for commerce including chemical oil tankers.

2. LNG is a disaster for our climate – we know that liquefied natural gas is 40% worse for our climate than regular shale gas. LNG steers us away from efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy.

3. Liberty Natural Gas is a shell corporation for a secretive group of nameless backers based in the Cayman Islands. These anonymous investors will benefit from Port Ambrose while the public gets nothing.

4. Port Ambrose will likely become an export facility. Once approved for import it can be flipped to export without further public input, worsening the industrialization of our oceans, affecting fishing and climate change, like we saw with Superstorm Sandy.

5. LNG Port Ambrose will create only six (6) long-term jobs; A real green energy future, including energy conservation and renewables, will create thousands of high-paying permanent jobs.

6. Federal agencies are considering an offshore wind farm for the same plot of ocean as the Port Ambrose project. We know that 85% of Long Islanders want offshore wind power.

The choice between clean and dirty energy doesn’t get more direct that this – a wind farm would produce thousands of long term jobs, could actually cut down the force of hurricanes, and supply New York with clean renewable energy, while the Port Ambrose project would endanger our health, our communities and our climate so that a few private investors can make a profit.”

Here’s a link to SEP’s website with more vital information. Please read it and get involved, especially if you are in NY/NJ.

Oh, and one more reason to oppose this: if there’s an accident, the resulting fire CAN’T BE EXTINGUISHED. Please pay particular attention to the paragraph beginning with Why is this project so risky?

Please help. The world needs you. This kind of thing is everyone’s fight.

God speed

MAD

 

When I was a little kid we swam in a small swimming hole at a place called Herschfield Park. It was kind of idyllic, tucked into a wooded area of Pompton Lakes with a play ground filled with swings and slides and shuffleboards and concrete ping pong tables (playing on those was weird).

There were town events there. The high school football field was there and in those days there were lifeguards and such that watched over the little pool in the middle of the Wanaque river that was the park.

There was a dock in the swimming hole. Just this side of the river channel that wandered lazily down stream. From the dock you could dive and swim and do cannon balls and can openers and fly, for a few brief seconds, liberated from the Earth.

And every little kid who had been through the town’s swim classes (blowing bubbles and everything else), wanted to achieve the rite of passage that was swimming out to the dock.

I was no different. I wanted to get out there and jump and splash and cannonball and open cans and fly and clamber back up on the dock and do it over again.

But I was afraid of the swim to get there.

A few years before, I was maybe three or four years old, I had been in a children’s pool with some kids from the neighborhood and it didn’t go so well. I guess you could say I drowned because my mother pulled me from the water blue and unresponsive and managed, through sheer force of will, to revive me by rolling me over her knee.

I don’t remember sputtering back to life like an old, tired car but I do remember going under for the last time. I remember realizing that the pool was too deep for me and that I couldn’t get to the edge to hang on. I remember watching the world of air and sun and blue sky recede as I lost consciousness.

So, you can see why the dock represented a nearly overwhelming challenge for me.

My friend; Paul, who I wrote about in my last post (thanks to all the people who donated), had a little sister; Jeannie, who is still a close friend to this day. And on a certain day, I was standing in knee deep in Herschfield’s water watching all the other kids on the dock.

It seemed so close, but I couldn’t make myself believe I could make it. Jeannie appeared at my side and asked if I was going to swim out to the dock. I shook my head no and she laughed, saying that it’s not that far and to prove it, she jumped into the water and effortlessly squirted out of it at the dock.

Once there she waved me out, yelling that I could do it.

My mother had been watching this and appeared at my side saying that she’d swim with me if I wanted to try.

I must have been reluctant because Jeannie dove off the dock and squirted up out of the water in front of me, saying that they could both swim with me. With two people who swam like fish swimming with you, what could go wrong?

I reluctantly agreed to try and in we went.

To this day I can hear their encouragements, but less in words than in the way they made me feel. They not only believed that I could do it, they knew I could. They believed in me.

And so I swam as if my life depended on it until, very out of breath, my hands closed around the rungs of the ladder to the dock.

I was there! I made it! And for that moment, standing there on the dock, looking at all of the other kids who had made it and those who weren’t yet ready playing in the shallows, I had become a real swimmer.

We were out there a long time and Jeannie taught me how to dive and all sorts of aquatic necessities. Some things I suck at to this day (I always slap my head on the water when I dive), but I was learning at the feet of two masters. Both Jeannie and my mother were amazing swimmers.

I went home that evening a new person.

The swimming hole was closed ages ago by upstream polluters and with the climate warming as fast as it is, only God knows what’s growing in those waters now.

I had completely forgotten about the whole thing until I posted on FB that internal battles are the hardest to fight and that I had to steel my resolve. You see, my wife and I are the authors of a rock opera about climate change and we are working right now, adapting it for the stage. There is a great deal of interest in the show (bizplan just completed) and in many ways this risk is the biggest we’ve ever taken in our lives, but one we’ve been working toward for twenty years. And it’s a story that it so important to the times we are living in.

Any sane person would be afraid of the consequences of our stupidity, but courage–the mastery of fear–is in what you do. Do you pale and back away or do you face it, stare it down, get bloodied by it and move forward  anyway?

Jeannie saw that FB post and replied simply:

“You can do this. Remember the dock.”

Thank you, Jeannie. For so many things; thank you.

MAD

I recently learned that one of my oldest friends had fallen on very hard times. Paul and I were boys together–part of a whole pack of kids who inhabited the neighborhood we called home. There was a pipeline behind the houses across the street that was, for us, the earthworks of an ancient fort, with woods near enough to hide in with our toy guns while we waited to ambush our enemies. To us, this great big land was the entire earth and in it, we were kings and queens; generals and privates; special forces and infantry.

In those days, we were outside more often than not. Being made to stay inside was a terrible reckoning for some awful crime of which we were surely innocent. That is, unless we were testing our boundaries the way we would test the defenses of an opposing army.

In the decades following World War II, playing “army” or “war” was a given. Our parents and/or grandparents had either served in the war or were children while it raged. It was an area of regular discussion around the dinner table. It was infused into every facet of life in those grammar school days, even to the point of being a constant topic in comic books. The current generation might be forgiven for thinking they invented Captain America or The Avengers, or even Ironman, but the people who wrote the comics we read on an almost daily basis beat them to the punch by at least fifty years.

As children, we were those super heroes and villains; the conquering heroes and defeated enemies of wars fought in our imaginations and yards across our vast domain. We would split up into teams and the rules were simple. You got “shot” by someone from the other team and you were “dead” until you counted to a certain number at which point you became a new guy (or girl. Not many girls were soldiers, but Paul’s sisters sometimes were.)

Paul was, by far, the best soldier on any team that was lucky enough to pick him. He could do almost anything and was rarely shot by the other side.

And we were pals. When we weren’t playing army, we were exploring the wild and remote forests of our little world and swimming (or falling into) the streams and rivers that enclosed the kingdom we called home. Sometimes, our escapades were harmless. Other times we were probably lucky to survive; but as a kid, you don’t see it the same way as would a parent. What we shrugged off as a joke would later give us fits when we saw our own children in similar circumstances!

In time, my parents decided to move to another section of town and Paul and I eventually lost touch. His life headed in one direction and mine in another, but I never forgot about him. Every time I thought of those days and the games we played, his face would always find its way in front of my vision.

Flash forward a good twenty years, I came around a corner in a local grocery store and I saw this really big guy built like a Mack Truck in army fatigues standing on line with a basket of stuff. He seemed oddly out of place, but also oddly familiar. When he turned to look out the plate glass windows in the front of the store, I caught his profile and was stunned to find myself looking at my boyhood friend. Here was Paul, after all these years! And he was in the Army!

It’s funny how you can talk to a childhood friend as if you just saw them a few days ago. Decades pass but these people live on in your head, as attached to you as your own arms and legs. We talked for quite a while, filling each other in on the course of our lives. He was actually getting paid for playing Army and we both got a chuckle from that. The service suited him perfectly and he was happy to be part of it.

I didn’t hear of him again until his sister found my personal Facebook page and signed on. Jeannie and I chitchatted a little back and forth about the way things were back when and it was a good way (though limited) to be able to keep a finger on the pulse that was our childhood.

It was in this way I found that Paul was in a really, really tough spot. He had developed congestive heart failure and found himself in an emergency room during the holidays. He was frantic, not knowing whether he was going to live or die and desperate over what would become of his family. His wife is disabled and their son has special needs. Both require ongoing medical attention and Paul, the sole provider for his family, was helplessly staring at the ceiling of an ER.

As a civilian contractor working closely with the Army, training Special Forces, there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to make the money required to retain their home and pay the ever-mounting medical bills for his wife and child. And now this! His heart is only functioning at 10 percent of its capacity.

Jeannie told me how they are now living in a horse barn that doesn’t have the basic services most of us take for granted. A situation born of human frailty and an ill designed support system.

Paul recently underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker to try to regulate his failing heart. If that doesn’t work out, then he will go on the list for a transplant. We’ll know for sure in another month or so, but the doctors feel confident that, due to the severe cardiac damage, he will need a new heart. No one knows how he’s going to pay for it, or what will happen to his wife and son should all measures fail. They are already crippled by medical bills and their current situation.

Paul needs two things: a way to make the only home he can provide for his family into a livable space and help paying medical bills. This is where you can offer support. If you are reading this, you are already better off than they–and the majority of vets–are. Please click the link below and consider donating to the funds we’re trying to raise to defray these costs.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/rq48/disabled-and-deserving-the-paul-s-family-home-retrofit-fund

Paul has devoted his life to his family and the service of his country. Whatever your politics, this is a family who needs our help.

MAD

My daughter has married the love of her life and she richly deserves it. She’s had her share of obstacles to overcome and she passed those tests and learned from the experiences.

She learned wisdom instead of bitterness, faith instead of desperation, determination instead of simple tenacity, hope instead of resignation and–because of it all–a compassion difficult to achieve.

She works in healthcare and has seen the innocent abused, the desperately ill healed and the terminal pass into history. She understands the sanctity of life and that in this fleeting existence, the best that we can do as human beings is to comfort, console, visit, clothe and nourish those whose paths we cross. It doesn’t matter who they are or how they live. It’s not for us to judge, only to do.

Her new husband is cut from the same cloth and has been polished by similar experiences. Together, they make a formidable force for good in the world, even at the smallest scale, because in the words of JRR Tolkien; “it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

Except that these two are far from ordinary and I am blessed to be their father and father-in-law.

God Speed, Erika and Adam Jones, on your new life together. I love you.

Dad

How much can one say about the horror rapidly unfolding in Sao Paulo, Brazil? Those of us who are paying attention knew it would strike somewhere, sending a shock wave through our collective consciousness, but most of us were probably thinking that our American Southwest–which is completely unsustainable–would be the first to feel the full weight of what we’ve wrought.

Instead, it is a city the size of the state of New York and home to 20 million people. Here’s The Daily Kos’ report.

To those in the movement: fight on. They will continue to destroy our planet if we do not. On this end, we will not falter.

God Speed.

MAD

Things have been busy. And cold. And snowy. Very snowy, but not nearly as bad as poor Boston and points north. We have a couple of feet on the ground but that’s nothing compared to what’s been slamming New England.

Fortunately the latest storm will only brushed us again as it passes. A fine, cold snow, bitter cold and a lot of wind. Just a few more inches on the ground here, but a grim reminder of the ferocious blizzard that’s pounding New England.

Boston and points north have more than 8 feet of snow on the ground and 60-70 MPH winds. Buildings are collapsing under the weight of the snow.

No one should be surprised by the events of this winter. Seven feet in buffalo a few weeks ago, eight plus feet in New England and wave after wave of brutal arctic temperatures.

Because the arctic is warming and melting the jet streams are destabilized and wandering all over the place, often bulging down deep into the eastern third of North America. And with the extra water vapor in the atmosphere due to warming, we have exceptional precipitation events in nearly every storm. Climatologists call them Extreme Precipitation Events and they are up by 74% in the North East and mid-Atlantic regions of the US.

To quote Winston Churchill;

“They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent”  Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger.  The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close.  In its place we are entering a period of consequences”.  We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now.”

Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936

He said this in reference to the appeasement of the Nazis in the run up to World War II. It’s eerily prescient when applied to our current dilemma.

Everyone needs to get involved in the climate fight. Now. It’s everyone’s problem.

On to cheerier stuff.

We have read three drafts of the business plan our attorneys are writing and are waiting to see the numbers. I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to shake out. It’s interesting doing something that has never really been done before in a way that most people don’t use. The nuts and bolts of it are fascinating. So is the great adventure it represents. We are on a journey. All great discoveries are made this way. Wondering what is over that next hill is the very thing that led to our survival on this planet.

Somebody once said that never taking a chance was the greatest risk we face. They were right. Don’t become complacent where you are unless you are completely happy there. If you’re like us, everything is a new adventure and we’re kind of addicted to exploring. These so much to do and see. So many people and cultures to appreciate.

We’re looking at the music to see what can be trimmed back without hurting the “rock” part of the rock opera. We want to bring it in at right about two hours so that the story is well presented and everyone feels as though they’ve seen a great show (and it will be, I promise you).

We’re also tinkering with some story elements that you won’t see until we start performing it. Sorry. It’s all good stuff, though.

We’re also (lots of “also’s” today) starting to post more music on the band Facebook. Well, videos, actually. Facebook is supposed to authorize an account for music when you pass 5k fans. We’re quickly rising toward 10k and not a peep from them. I asked someone we know there and he said it’s easier to just post videos.

We don’t have a high quality video package to work with at the moment, so we’re putting together slide shows with the music. The first two we posted are The Star Spangled Profit (our new national anthem) and Consequences, which is a combination overture and opening scene.

I’ll be posting more soon so swing by every now and again to take a look.

Stay warm and dry!

MAD

As I said in a post at the time, our holidays were a great big pile of awesome. We got to spend a lot of quality time with family and very close friends.

We received warm hugs and teasing from our children and our two small grandchildren (who are the coolest little people on the planet). Huge hugs and loving conversations with our daughter-in-law and our soon to be son-in-law. (He’s a really great guy who treats our daughter like a queen. We have never seen her so happy.)

Liquid warmth from our son’s brother-in-law, who is always wonderful to see, by refusing my money for two glasses of D9 Brewing’s finest black IPA. ;-)

A Warm hug and conversation from a cousin we didn’t know we had until last year’s Thanksgiving.

Talking with extended family and some very dear friends of that same extended family, particularly a man who I will call “Walter” who is a fountain of wisdom who has achieved many great things in his life and still deeply understands the necessity of remaining as wide eyed as a child. He inspires me with his kindness and advice.

The sight of my wife talking with all of these people and playing on the floor with our grand kids. She too appreciates the necessity of retaining the ability to be childlike, which is why I married and cherish her.

The satisfaction of watching all of this and knowing that my personal efforts were very well spent and that the future is bright for all of us regardless of anything that life throws at us.

The sight of my wife talking and laughing with her sisters and parents and the whole bunch of us going to see the latest hobbit film together. Talking with my niece and fiance about their upcoming weddings plans (wedding-wise, it’s going to be a busy year!)

Managing to catch two dear friends (our son’s god parents) in NYC the day before NYE. We haven’t seen each other for more than a few minutes in more than thirty years. I had a blast telling his daughter and the very nice gentleman she’s dating all about how her father and I got into trouble in college. She may never look at her dad the same way again. ;-)

And time spent with two very, very dear fiends and their awesome children in NYS for New Years. This is becoming a wonderful tradition.

Ate too much. Drank too much. Didn’t give or receive a single present other than love, laughter and warmth. This is the way all holidays should be. It’s not about what you spend or get. It’s about giving of yourself, your time and thought. Valuing those God gave you.

It simply can’t get any better than that.

We hope your 2015 is filled with all of these things because if it is, you can consider yourself wealthy in the best way imaginable.

More soon.

MAD

Merry Christmas and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year!

Frohe Weinachten und ein froehliches und erfolgreiches Neues Jahr!

Feliz Navidad y un feliz año nuevo y próspero!

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, do so joyously and safely. We wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous new year!

On our end, we are taking the holidays off, mostly. We have been busily finishing the charts for both the musicians and singers and pulling together a world class team for The Nature of Man.

2015 is going to be a very interesting year.

God speed.

MAD

Well, Thanksgiving is upon us. For us, it means seeing family we don’t see nearly as often as we’d like. It means good food and drink and maybe a little too much of the latter.

We really hope that you enjoy your holiday and while you do that remember that most around the world, and around the block, might not have it so good.

Remember the people who are trying very hard to make the world a better place: the folks at the Peoples Climate March and the May Day Space in Brooklyn NY, who have a kickstarter offering up for much needed funds to keep their outreach and support activities going. What we are doing there is vitally important to social justice world wide. Be sure to read the description of the activities they are trying to fund.

Remember the people at the Sane Energy Project for working so hard to warn our friends in NYS about fracking pipelines headed their way with this awesome tool.

Remember people like Rev. Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir who are performing at Joe’s Pub in NYC every Sunday until Christmas. It’s a great show and one designed to make everyone think and everyone act in the best interests of our continued existence on this planet. Awesome show! Go see it!

Remember anyone who you can think of that is putting the welfare of their neighbor, their community, their world before their own interests. There are a lot of them and by God we need every last one of them.

Remember the type of world we want to pass on to our children and our children’s children and look for ways to make that happen.

You–the truly good people of Earth–are blessed with that holy objective. To love your neighbor as you love yourself, without any qualifications. To aid your neighbor when they are hungry, cold, homeless, alone.

And please remember us. We are in the process of pulling together a business plan for our climate change rock opera, The Nature of Man. The goal is to get it in front of people who can help us raise the money needed to bring the show to the stage where we can shift climate change to the red hot front burner of the American conversation. Where we can shame our political and business “leaders” into real action that will ensure we leave a survivable world to our children and grand children.

It’s a nerve wracking and expensive process (all out of our own pockets) but the result will be the wide spread discussion of our precarious situation. A discussion not spun with falsehoods but one that will shine a harsh and damning light on those who place their profit over our survival.

A friend of ours calls what we are doing our “ministry.” I chuckled the first time I heard it, but over the years I have come to embrace the label. He’s right. It is a ministry to us. One we have dedicated our lives to.

We are especially thankful that we can do this work because it is our passion and our contribution to the future of our children, our children’s children and all of mankind.

Happy thanksgiving to one and all.

God Speed.

MAD

Well, we’ve kind of been on a roller coaster the last few weeks. It started with the devastating IPCC report and moved on to the terrible beating the Democratic Party took at the polls which have the republicans control of key environmental committees in both the house and senate. Continued with Obama pulling a climate deal (non binding) out of his hat (much like a magician produces a rabbit), before going to the G20 conference in Australia where the Australian PM, Tony Abbott didn’t want climate on the agenda at all, but the rest of the world basically told him to piss off and put back on the agenda.

And then, back here in the US, the looming Republican majority in the House and Senate are promising to dismantle the EPA.

What to make of it all? Where do we go? What do we do? What can we do?

The Peoples Climate March showed that we (the people) are demanding change. That we understand that we’re in big trouble and something must be done about it. However, the Republican Party in this country really doesn’t give a damn about that nor do they give a damn about our future.

They care about the obscenely wealthy interests who put them in power.

So, overall, the game hasn’t changed very much.

Here’s what you can do: get involved. The home of the Peoples Climate March (PCM)-the MayDay Space in Brooklyn, NY, is one place you can get involved. There’s always something going on there. Check out their Facebook and website for more info.

The People’s Climate March website lists a whole pile of partner orgs who are working toward a sustainable future and are partners with the PCM. You can find one near you, that aligns with your own feelings on the matter and pitch in. World-wide.

And learn.

You see, it takes more than recycling or attending workshops and marching. It requires educating the public. The mainstream media puts out too many distractions and outright lies to confuse people and they are very good at it. We must clear away that confusion and lead people by supplying accurate information.

You’ll get a good basic working knowledge of what to do and say from orgs you decide to work with. They’ve been doing this for a long time and know the ropes.

And once you’ve learned enough, you can set up a chapter of your own, or maybe even a new org of your own.

Collectively, we can win. It takes more than a village. It takes all of us.

More soon. Godspeed

MAD