Monday, October 26, 2009

White Deer in Roger's Backyard


White Deer in Roger Beckwith's Backyard
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Check out Roger's Roadhouse Report

The White Deer pix is from the photo section of Roger's Web Site, where you can get weekly updates on where the best bands are playing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kelly at Key West

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Jude Burkhauser & the Walum Olum

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Jude, was an artist and weaver from Cape May.

She fought to get the State of New Jersey to include a percentage of all major building projects be allocated for art - and she got the commission to add the art to the public library in Upper Township in Cape May County.

Jude did three tapestries that now hang on the back wall of the library, weaved images that reflect images from the Walum Olum - or "Red Score," the ancient legend of the Lenni Lenape Indians native to New Jersey.

The pattern of the tapestry Jude is photographed with is one of the legends of the Lenape - how the cranberries got their red color.

As Jude related the story to me, the Indians, who arrived in New Jersey about 12,000 years ago, just as the last of the elephant sized tusked mammoths were killed off, tell the myth of a battle in the mountains among the mammoths and the saber tooth tigers, and in the end they killed each other off, their blood flowed down the mountains and died the cranberries red.

The cranberries provided the Indians with the red die used to draw the pictographs of the Walum Olum on the backs of tree barks.

There were over a hundred pictographs to the Walum Olum, each with a meaning and a story behind it.

Two Indians, Talking Wood and Dancing Bear were entrusted with the sacred Walum Olum, and traveled among the different tribal communities of the Lenni Lenape, including the Wolf Tribe of the North, the Turkey Tribe and the Turtle Tribe, each with its own totum.

While Talking Wood read the story of the symbols of the Walum Olum on the tree bark, Dancing Bear would act out the saga in a dance around a fire.

When Jude went to Europe to research a book she wrote "Glassgow Girls," about the weavers of Scotland, I stayed in her apartment above the pharmacy across the Washington Street Mall from the Ugly Mug.

Before she lived there, Jude stayed in an apartment above the carriage house at the Physick Estate, and ran the Cape May County Art League.

Jude waged a tremendous battle before dying of cancer, leaving behind her legacy of art and her book "Glassgow Girls."

Lowell George at Browns Mills


Lowell George at Alexanders in Browns Mills, N.J.
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Lowell George and Little Feat played Alexanders in Browns Mills in 1979.

I didn't stay for the whole show, but took this photo, along with a few others I can't find. In any case, I remember telling Bill Vitka at WMMR about seeing Lowell George a few nights before he died, and Vitka said that he interviewed George at the MMR studios in Philly the day after he did the Browns Mills show. He died the next day or shortly thereafter.

Flashback 1979 - Alexanders

From Atlantic City Sun newspaper (September 28, 1979)

Rockin' in the Pines

By William E. Kelly

The quiet hamlet near Mirror Lake is known as Browns Mills "in the Pines," but today it is better known as the rock music capitol of South Jersey.

Alexander's Sunset Inn has put Browns Mills on the map as the area's only showcase of traveling rock bands.

Some years ago, the old Sunset Inn was refurbished and renamed Alexander's. The large dance hall was closed off from the side bar by a sliding wall. With the wall closed, Alexander's has the appearance of a typical small, local tavern, complete with electronic games, pool table and a small stage for go-go dancers.

The dancers were the club's biggest attraction as they gyrated before lonely soldiers on leave from nearby Fort Dix.

Then, last January, owner Butch Lupinetti let Steve Benson produce a few shows in the huge back room dance hall. The sliding doors were folded back, another bar opened, and a traveling rock show performed on stage. It was such a success that they are now doing it as regularly as a couple a nights a week. The acts that perform aren't local talents but rather top recording acts.

The popular acts from the Tower Theater and the Bijou Cafe in Philadelphia were persuaded to come to Browns Mills for a one night stand at Alexander's - just far enough outside Philadelphia not to bother the Electric Factory concert promoters, yet close enough to attract the 18 - 20 year olds who are not old enough to drink legally at home, but are old enough to drive to Browns Mills.

Alexanders and Browns Mills became Philadelphia household names when Steve Benson and Lee Stulman placed radio ads on the popular FM rock stations that beckoned you to go out of your way to see and hear a great show. The ads gave directions from Philadelphia: take the Ben Franklin Bridge to Rt. 38 east to Pemberton, then Rt. 530 past Burlington County College to Browns Mills. If you got lost you were instructed to call 893-6174. Browns Mills is only 40 miles from center city Philadelphia and 60 miles from Atlantic City.

By sunset, the large parking lot is full of cars, most with out-of-state plates - Pennsylvania, Delaware and even New York.

It's not the club, but the music that packs them in. The bands that play Alexander's are top recording acts usually out on the road promoting a new album. The cover charge is typical for a concert, with tickets available from Ticketron, and a dollar more at the door.

Last summer Johnny Winter, Steve Forbert, George Thoroughgood and the Delaware Destroyers, the Average White Band, James Cotton Blues Band, John Lee Hooker and Jorma Kaukonen all made their first South Jersey appearance. Those who follow Jorma's entourage to New York say that his three-hour Alexander show, which he did solo, was by far the best performance of the tour. But the best act last summer had to be by the late Lowell George.

Last June 26, two days before he died of a heart attack, the former leader of Little Feat put on one of his last concerts at Alexander's. Although he was popular for the album, "Feat Don't Fail Me Now," and the song, "Dixie Chicken," Lowell George was more respected by his peers. After he died, the largest benefit since Bangladesh took place at the LA Forum, with Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Ricki Lee Jones and the rest of the California rock fraternity. Lowell was more influential than popular. His Alexander's concert was a classic.

The lineup of shows for this fall is even better. Edgar Winter and the Nighthawks were at Alexander's on September 21, followed the next night by the Greatful Dead ofshoot, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Steve Forbert did a one-night engagement on September 26. Tonight, the Philadelphia area's own Nan Mancini and Johnny's Dance Band take the stage.

The big name attractions slated for the fall include Hall and Oats on Saturday, October 13, and Arlo Gunthrie on Sunday, November 11.

Alexander's is not really that hard to find from Atlantic City. To get to Browns Mills take the White Horse Pike to Rt. 206 towards Trenton. From 206 take Rt. 38 east to Pemberton and Rt. 530 to Alexander's. And remember, if you get lost, call Steve at 893-6174 and ask for directions.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Interview with Admiral Fallon

This is an edited transcript of the interview. Do you think he's a little gun shy of interviews? - BK

When Retired Adm. William Fallon came back to Jacksonville for an award ceremony Saturday night, much had changed since the days when he was aide to the commander of Fleet Air Jacksonville.

Fallon rose from that position to become a four-star admiral, eventually running Central Command, overseeing military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, Horn of Africa and combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired and was replaced by Gen. David Petraeus after an article in Esquire magazine painted him as at odds with President George Bush over Iran.

The admiral was in town to receive the Distinguished Sea Service Award from the Naval Order of the United States.

He sat down with the Times-Union before the ceremony. This is an edited transcript of the interview.

Q: Why is it important to look at the history and the heritage of the Navy?

The U.S. became first and foremost a maritime power, and in that time, we have become the guarantor of this vast commercial enterprise. ... I think it's well we remember we wouldn't be where we are without their services and sacrifices.

Q: Where do you see Afghanistan going, based on your experience?

First, we ought to remind ourselves how quickly things change. ...It's difficult for people who are not there ... experiencing these changes to actually distinguish that ... I would say very similar things are occurring in Afghanistan. It's not Iraq; it's very different. But things have changed.

Q: Do you see a need for more troops going to Afghanistan?

Certainly, for training. The time I was there, I had a need for more troops that we could muster and the primary need was for training.

Q: Do you regret the interview with Esquire?

The problem was the author wrote it in the way that it was a direct challenge to the commander in chief, my boss, daring him to fire me for insubordination.

Q: You were the first admiral to hold your position at Central Command.

Despite the fact that we're involved in ground wars, there's a number of admirals in key positions, including heading up European Command and Pacific Command.

Q: What does that say about what the Navy brings to the fight?

(W)e put a lot of responsibility on people and we have them often operate in situations where they don't have a lot of help. They make tough decisions on their own.
timothy.gibbons@jacksonville. com, (904) 359-4103

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fallon Lecture on Strategic Energy

Former head of U.S. Central Command: Energy use, foreign policy closely tied

The launch of an Iranian missile doesn't threaten the United States nearly as much as the energy Americans waste at home each day, according to the man who used to oversee U.S military operations in that part of the world.

Retired Adm. William Fallon warned Monday that energy - its production and its use - underpins most of today's major challenges and opportunities in world security. The University of Montana president's lecturer said reducing the United States' own energy consumption would help its international relations while boosting its domestic economic health.

Fallon led the U.S. Central Command during 2007-08, directing all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa, focusing on combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He retired last year amid controversy that developed over his criticism of American policies and attitudes regarding Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

He is now a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research and development center serving the Navy and other defense agencies.
"He has demonstrated expertise in how power is organized, particularly soft and hard power," former UM President James Koch said in introducing Fallon. That also extended to the ideas of power as military force, political control and energy resources, Koch said.

All three must come together to get a better understanding of world affairs today, Fallon argued. For instance, Russia has found its natural gas wealth a more effective negotiating tool than its military strength, having captured much of the energy market for Western Europe and its former satellite nations.

That, in turn, has inclined Russia's leaders to push for "our way or no way" relationships with its energy-dependent neighbors. While this doesn't directly affect U.S. security, Fallon said, it does make Russia less willing to help U.S. efforts in places where it has influence, like Iran.

Misunderstandings about energy can also have global impacts. Fallon said this played out in the Strait of Malacca, between Indonesia and Malaysia. Several years ago, this major shipping route became infamous for high levels of piracy. Even though oil tankers were virtually never pirate targets there, the insurance companies that covered the ships increased their rates enough to affect energy prices worldwide.
The United States proposed increased military patrols in the area, but Fallon said local governments did not welcome the idea. Instead, they devised a local response to the pirates, which essentially eliminated the threat to shipping.

Empowering and assisting such local responses plays into the United States' long-term interest, Fallon said. Places like Afghanistan and Pakistan have the potential to become successful trading partners with the growing economies of India and China. But the region clings to a habit of assuming big decisions are made elsewhere, in places like Moscow or Washington, D.C. Fostering more trade security and opportunity could reduce the need for military presence, he said.

We must look in the mirror for some energy solutions, however, he said. As the world's biggest energy consumer per person, the United States has a heavy responsibility to cut back its consumption or innovate in alternative energy sources. Doing so, Fallon said, would both increase our own economic security (by lowering dependence on foreign energy suppliers) and divert the rest of the developing world from multiplying past pollution and consumption mistakes.

"This is really a pretty good investment for government," Fallon said of alternative energy development. While renewable energy systems still don't make economic sense, the long-term payoff for both people and the planet are unmistakable.

A year and a half ago, it was hard for U.S. solar energy companies to get attention, Fallon said. That's changed dramatically as individual state governments have gotten involved with incentive programs and research opportunities. Much of that stemmed from the energy shock of the last couple of years.

"The politics of the energy embargo of 1973 was our first real wake-up call, but we didn't wake up very long," Fallon said. "A lot of that same kind of politics is at play today."

Reporter Rob Chaney can be reached at 523-5382 or at
Posted in News on Monday, September 28, 2009