The Last Boy- A Story Not worth 450 pages 1-2-10

The Last Boy, by Jane Leavy

Richard J. Garfunkel



I just finished 450 horrible pages of debauchery and self-destructive and wanton idiocy of an American idol, who hated himself. I have been a Yankee fan since 1951, my first game, and was a Mantle fan like everyone else. I learned about his true character when I was a freshman in college from a classmate who lived next to him in Dallas and often baby sat for the Commerce Comet. Over the years many stories leaked out about his career and how he wasted possibly the greatest physical potential since Babe Ruth. Leavy tells in intimate detail all of his failures, disgusting conduct and his dissolute life. Don't cry any crocodile tears for The Mick. He wasn't misled he made and dissipated fortunes, ruined his children, abused his wife and countless women and was at best a disgusting lout. He was surrounded by idolaters who generally warned him, helped him, gave him the best legal, moral and medical advice and he ignored them all. In the end he left almost $7 million to his do-nothing, drug-ravaged idiotic off-spring, who never were loved by him, and amounted to nothing. His financial legacy continues to pour money into the bank accounts of his Okie, trailer park trash heirs.


Probably of all the ballplayers in the post WWII era, from Williams through Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio, etc, never made together as much as Mantle, from merely his name. The rumors of his business losses are just that. All his lawyers made good on his earlier investments, and his later advisers, despite their loutish client, were always there for him. Don't waste your time or money on this book. it is a disgusting account, with little about his baseball career.  Leavy was obsessed with this guy and decided to let all the poisons come out. Alone the language she quotes and his actions would make anyone with an iota of taste throw up.


As bad and boorish as DiMaggio was, he comes across as prince compared to Mantle. DiMaggio, who was incredibly uneducated, and self-absorbed, never made it easy for his center field heir, but so what! His life has already been parsed and it wasn't much of a bargain. But, again, compared to Mantle he was an alter boy and a saint.


Mantle was a somewhat of a babe in the woods, but his actions towards fans, strangers, family and friends was at a level of obnoxiousness that had to be unrivaled. But his buddies like Ford, Martin and others loved his “good-time Charley” spending and partying. As bad as most of them were, they couldn't keep pace with The Mick. Maybe Billy Martin, a drunken and disgusting lout could have rivaled Mantle if he had the fame and had not killed himself when he drove off the road drunk.


FDR tackles HL Mencken for a loss at the 1934 Gridiron Dinner! 11-24-10

FDR tackles HL Mencken for a loss at the 1934 Gridiron Dinner!

(Only 76 years ago this December)

November 24, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel


Upon FDR’s return to the District from his Thanksgiving holiday at his Warm Springs retreat, known as “The Little White House,” he was to be the featured guest at the Gridiron Dinner, which was hosted by the press corps which covered the White House and all the action that abounded within the political scope of the Congress.


FDR understood that the host of this annual event was HL Mencken, whose diaries later revealed his dark side. When the diaries were made public, his racism and anti-Semitism, not to mention his deep anti-democratic sentiments came to the surface. Innately he had little concern for people and for sure almost no compassion for the needy. But most of this was certainly hinted about in his lifetime. Mencken relished his reputation and his friends and apologists, thought of him as an eccentric contrarian, but in truth he was basically a chronic, dissatisfied complainer. But, all in all, he was more venal and self-absorbed, and his vehemence showed more and more to FDR as his initial support for the president quickly waned.


At the December, 1934 event, the sponsors seemed to be inspiring mischief and therefore were looking for “blood in the water,” Mencken was well known for venting his spleen and he was expected to reveal his true venom as the Roast Master. Maybe it was because of the President’s presence at the event, that the so-called “Sage of Baltimore” was a bit more cautious and reserved or possibly it was because FDR represented the “home team” and would speak last


Mencken opened with welcoming, “fellow subjects of the Reich,” and he said, “Every day in this great country is April Fool’s Day,” He started out relating his support for the President, but quickly launched into a diatribe about him being a “slippery posturer.”


When FDR’s turn came to speak, he opened with what Mencken called his “Christian Science smile,” and referred to “my old friend Henry Mencken, “ and then in a room filled with the members of each level of the press, he began a rancorous denunciation against their whole profession. He attacked the “stupidity, cowardice and Philistinism of the working newspapermen.” FDR continued with a look of piety only that he could do, and to the laughter of almost all who were there, he claimed that those assembled did not know what a “symphony is or a streptococcus” and then described their industry as “pathetically feeble and vulgar, and so disreputable.” Of course, the audience became quite frosty and strangely silenced. But his words eventually became crystal clear to many of the old-timers. FDR had taken it all from an editorial called “Journalism in America,” written by Mencken himself, ten years before in his own publication, The American Mercury. Eventually FDR, with a large smile finally revealed to all the true source of such venom.


Mencken, incredibly embarrassed, boiled over and said, “I’ll get the son of a bitch. I’ll dig the skeletons out of his closet.” As he was fulminating and trying get out a retort, FDR moved passed him at the conclusion of his response, as the audience reverberated with laughter when the true author was revealed. FDR had turned the tables on Mencken, got in the last word, and as Harold Ickes would write later, “FDR had smeared Mencken all over.”



The Poconos, Flea Markets and Hyde Park 11-15-10

The Poconos, Flea Markets and Hyde Park

November 15, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel



The economy is alive and well just west of the Delaware River. All one has to do is to head west from the George Washington Bridge to Route 80 and keep on driving until one reaches the Delaware Water Gap. Once over the bridge, Jersey becomes Pennsylvania and one enters the edge of Middle America. There are a string of towns along the Delaware River named Bushkill, Stroudsburg, Marshall’s Creek, and Tannersville. These communities straddle roads like 209 and 611 and the backups at the intersections make traffic jams anywhere in the Big Apple passé.


We were last there about a month earlier in 2009, and we stayed in the same time-sharing facility, called the Villas at Fairway. Our villa was so large that a whole family of boat people could live there and never meet each other for days. It has fireplaces all over and a sauna and whirlpool in our bathroom! So it was quite pleasant. We stopped in a place galled Odd-Lot Outlet in Marshall’s Creek on our way from Route 80 to Bushkill. We picked up all sorts of ephemera goodies from stationary, to notebooks, to picture albums. All in all, with 20% discount coupons, one could not go wrong buying items from 75 cents to three dollars. By the way, one of the big “cash cows” for the retailers, right over the border from New Jersey, is fireworks, and all sorts of these dangerous toys can be purchased quite easily. After finally reaching our destination, we unpacked, relaxed and went out to an “early bird” dinner at the Big A Grillehouse. After our meal, we headed back to an evening of Bond-A-Thon movies, Turner Classics and needed relaxation.


The next day we headed out after breakfast to the massive Pocono Bazaar Flea Market, right on 209 in Marshall’s Creek. We found great bargains on gloves, sox, apples, tomatoes and all sorts of other trinkets which included Sinatra CD’s at $3 a throw. By the time we left at 10:50 am, our space had a line of suitors awaiting our departure. The lot was jammed, and we headed south to Route 80 and Stroudsburg, where we found the Olde Engine Works Market on North 3rd Street. Again we found some reasonable books and other collectibles. Once we satiated our interests, we headed back to the Villa for lunch. After our meal, we then made our way north, a mile or two, to the Bushkill Falls, which cuts through the hills and valleys of the upper Poconos. It’s a fun walk up and down the steep wooden steps flanked by critical handrails. The weather was wonderful and the park was alive with visitors from all over. We met some young people from Brooklyn with their two cute little girls, one who was named Eleanor. After our long climbs and some picture-taking, we departed the “Falls” and still had some energy to head down to the Indian Museum just south of the Fairway Villas. It was a full day, capped off by a wonderful dinner of lasagna and a filet sole stuffed with crab meat at Petrizzo’s Italian Restaurant.


After dinner it was once again back to our Villa and while keeping one eye on television, I enjoyed reading a fascinating biography of the star-crossed operatic diva, Maria Callas. What a saga, her story relates, from her birth in NYC to her being trapped in Italy during the war, to her struggles with her weight, self-doubt, desire for success at the Met and La Scala and her disastrous love affair with Aristotle Onassis. Along with that tempestuous story, I was also re-reading the late Grace Tully’s memoir, FDR, My Boss. On Sunday, we had to plan our morning carefully, because we wanted to be at a reception in Hyde Park, NY at the Roosevelt Library at 2:00 pm. So after breakfast, since we wanted to do more shopping, we headed out to Tannersville, which is about 15 miles west on Route 80. We wanted to stop at the Peddler’s Village and the Crossing Factory Outlet Mall. Peddler’s Village is a series of buildings that has hundreds of consignment booths of collectibles. Last year, I was able to get some interesting books at a deep discount. This year I wasn’t disappointed. I found and interesting book, Battlefields, Then and Now, which compared views of these fields of conflict, in their original setting, to the contemporary changes in the topography and landscape. The book included, Alexander the Great’s victory at Gaugema in 331 BCE,  Julius Caesar’s triumph at Alesia in 52 BCE and others through Waterloo, Gettysburg, Rorkes’ Drift in Zululand to Normandy and Khe Sanh. Among the other books was We Few, about the 400 Marine officers who were hurriedly graduated in 1944 from Camp Le Jeune, because of the desperate need for junior officers in the Pacific, and were thrust into the fighting on Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Linda also found some bargains, and we hurried over to the Outlet Mall, whose parking lot was already bursting with cars, and looked for a Harry & David’s, who offers a wonderful jar of artichokes with merlot. It’s just great on anything! We were really short on time, so we sped back to Bushkill, changed for the reception, finished packing and got on the road. to Hyde Park.


We had originally planned to stay the whole day in the Poconos, but a few weeks ago, long after our plans had been formulated, we were invited to a reception regarding the official opening of the “Tully Papers” at the Hyde Park home of our late, great President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The late president’s last private secretary, Grace Tully, who was born in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1900, and had never married, died in 1984. All of her papers, which included personal notes from FDR, among other ephemera and collectibles, went to her family. Ms. Tully worked for FDR from 1928 to his untimely death on April 12, 1945. She had originally worked for Bishop, and later, Cardinal Hayes in New York City, for ten years, was a bit bored with her work. After leaving the Diocese and a stint working in the presidential campaign of 1928, she was offered a job as an assistant to FDR’s long-time personal and private secretary, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand. Missy, who was one of FDR’s closest confidantes, was born in Potsdam, NY and raised in Somerville, Ma. At the tender age of 22, she had held a number of jobs before she worked for the Democratic National Committee in 1920. After FDR’s defeat as James Cox’s Vice-Presidential running mate in the 1920 election, they were both out of jobs, and FDR hired her as a secretary. She started working for him before he was struck down by polio in 1921 and stayed with him for 21 years until she suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 43. Many attributed her stroke to the pressure of her ceaseless and devoted work and devotion to the President. With her death three years later, an important member of FDR’s original team was now gone. Both Missy and Lois Howe, who were FDR’s closest confidantes were now gone. His relationship with her will never be fully gauged, but for sure he depended on her wise judgment and counsel. Missy had many, many admirers over the years and the famed NY Times columnist Arthur Krock praised her in his eulogy as an incredibly important influence to both FDR’s life, family and the workings of his administration. Over the years, Grace Tully and Missy had become very close, and they were an integral part of the President’s small, but intensely loyal circle of friends, confidantes and advisors. Grace and Missy were like sisters and when Missy became ill, Grace moved up to the number one position as FDR’s top secretary. In fact, from 1928 on, she performed the dictation and typing chores that Missy shunned. Like Missy, Grace and FDR’s other close aides, often dined with the Roosevelt family, attended social events at the White House and traveled on all of the campaign trips to Hyde Park, Warm Springs and the national conventions. She was present at the Warm Springs “Little White House” cottage, with his cousins Margaret “Daisy” Suckley and Laura “Aunt Polly” Delano, among others, on the day he was stricken. A few days later, after the White House funeral service, Grace, wrote, “I went home for dinner and found my young niece, Alice Lee Sinton in a state of near collapse. She wanted to remain with me while I unpacked and repacked for the trip to Hyde Park, and she wept the entire time. Between sobs she exclaimed, ‘What are we going to do Gracie? I’ve never known any other President.’ Here was a girl in her early twenties who could remember no President but Roosevelt. I found it hard to realize at the moment, but I have since heard scores of young people of her generation repeat her identical words, and with the same feeling of hopelessness about the future.”  On that Sunday morning in the Rose garden, just where FDR had planned to be laid to rest, Grace concluded her book by writing, “…Franklin Roosevelt was buried in the rose garden, close to the Big House, high above the Hudson.”

After Missy’s death, Grace Tully had inherited all of her personal White House papers and memorabilia, and it was these papers and her own that went into her estate. In 1980, the then Director of the Roosevelt Library, Mr. William Emerson asked Ms. Tully if she would give the personal letters she had to the Library. She refused, but said that after her death the Library would then have them. In 1984, Grace Tully died at age 84, but the family refused to release the letters. No one had any idea that the estate contained over 5000 pieces. From then to 2000, there was no mention of the papers until Cynthia Koch, the current Director, noticed that some of the “pieces” were listed in an auction catalogue. Eventually the whole lot, which included other presidential material and letters from Missy LeHand’s estate along with 39 personal letters from Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, FDR’s friend and distant cousin, were bought by Conrad Black for $8 million. In the ensuing years, Lord Black, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and had to give up his Canadian citizenship, wrote an outstanding and encyclopedic history of President Roosevelt entitled, FDR, Champion of Freedom. He quickly got into a financial snit with the IRS, his company Hollinger International, and creditors. He was indicted and convicted in Illinois U.S. District Court on July 13, 2007, for diverting funds, along with other irregularities, to his personal benefit from money due Hollinger International when the company sold certain publishing assets. For example, in 2000, in an illegal and surreptitious arrangement that came to be known as the “Lerner Exchange,” Black acquired Chicago's Lerner Newspapers and sold it to Hollinger He also obstructed justice by taking possession of documents to which he was not entitled. He was sentenced to serve 78 months in federal prison, to pay Hollinger $6.1 million, in addition to pay a fine to the government of $125,000. After his early release from prison, this year, pending the re-opening of his case on appeal, the Internal Revenue Service initiated a legal proceeding in the United States Tax Court against him for $71 million in back taxes which it claims is owed on $120 million in unreported income between 1998 and 2003. Black is challenging the claim, arguing that he is not subject to US taxing authority claiming that he was, “neither a citizen nor a resident of the United States” and was not obliged to pay taxes in the U.S.Recently, on October 28, 2010 the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit overturned two of the three remaining mail fraud counts. It left Black convicted of one count of mail fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice. The court also ruled that he must be resentenced. There seems to be more troubles ahead for Lord Black.

After the adjudication of the criminal proceedings against Black for using corporate funds to buy the collection (among with his other indiscretions) and his conviction and imprisonment, the ownership of the “Tully Papers” went into litigation. Eventually, the Sun-Times Media Group, the successor to Hollinger International, put the whole 5000 piece collection of letters, memorabilia and presidential “chits” (or notes) up for auction at Christies. Since it was deemed that many of the papers were of presidential material and that under FDR’s presidential directive, before his death, he had stated that they should go to the Library the sale was halted by the National Archives in 2005. Negotiations immediately began for the Library to gain possession of the documents. In actuality, the documents were stored, under court order for safe keeping, in sealed boxes, at the Roosevelt Library and Museum since 2005. Despite all the problems that proceeded throughout the long negotiations, including the bankruptcy of the Sun-Times, a special Congressional Bill, SB 692, was sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Louis Slaughter (D-NY) and signed by President Obama, which facilitated the donation of the “Tully Archive” in its entirety. The law provided for the waiver of the government’s claims to the papers, provided that the owner made a gift of the entire collection to the National Archives and Records Administration. With all that in mind, these papers are now permanently part of the FDR Library.


After the program and the wine, cheese and other culinary goodies, we were all able to meet the archivist and look directly at a number of the documents. About two dozen of them were scattered on a table and for the first time in many decades these papers were made available for public view. They were all in remarkably good shape. Seeing a 75 year old note from FDR to Grace Tully regarding Harry Hopkins and the President’s recommendation on spending $150 million was quite unique. In fact, today all of the papers will be open to the general public at Hyde Park. It was a busy and exciting weekend trip which started at the Bronxville Metro North train station and wound its way through the rolling Poconos, along the bluffs above the mighty Hudson River and back down the Taconic Parkway (which FDR had a major part in creating) to Westchester and our home in Tarrytown.







Milt and Dana Hoffman, with the Tigerlillies at the Hebrew Institute 11-4-10

Milt and Dana Hoffman, with the Tigerlillies at the Hebrew Institute

November 4, 2010

Richard J. Garfunkel



Milt Hoffman, the Dean of Westchester County’s journalists, was a guest on The Advocates this week. He recently lost his beloved wife Judy of over 50 years. We met the Hoffmans many years ago at a Jai-alai Fronton in Connecticut and on vacation in Florida. They were a great partnership, and Milt, who covered seven Democratic and Republican National Conventions, knew more about local government and how it worked, then anyone I, or any one else, has ever known. His column, Tales of Hoffman, ran for over 30 years and he was always at the forefront of governmental reform and transparency. Today, after almost nine years of retirement, he is busier than ever; serving on many governmental, historical and review boards. One can hear Milt’s visit to The Advocates by going to


Yesterday, at the Hebrew Institute, where Milt has been a member for many decades, his granddaughter Dana Hoffman, and her a cappella singing group, the Tigerlillies came to entertain and honor her grandmother. Since my son Jon, was a Princeton graduate, the Class of 1998, I was aware of the long and wonderful tradition of Princeton’s a cappella groups. Therefore, despite a heavy rainstorm, I made my way over to Greenridge Avenue in White Plains, and joined the enthusiastic throng of Hebrew Institute regulars to hear their performance. I also had the pleasure of sitting at one of the tables where half the Tigerlillies were having lunch. These young women, who reflect some of our best and brightest, came from places as disparate as Shanghai, California, Long Island, and Philadelphia. They were first year students, sophomores and juniors and all had diverse intellectual interests ranging from engineering to history to English literature.


The Tigerlilly tradition began at Princeton University on a fall afternoon in 1971. Maria Danly '74 and seven other women gathered beneath the gothic architecture of 1879 archway, filling it with a four-part arrangement of the jazz classic How High the Moon. This was the inception of the female a cappella sound at Princeton. The group has changed over the past three decades, but the tight-knit combination of music and sisterhood has stayed the same. Since 1971, the Tigerlilies have traveled far and wide, touring exotic locales such as Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Bahamas. Don't forget Boston, Birmingham, Cape Cod, or Colorado: we have also made our way all around the continental U.S. Though our working repertoire changes as new songs are arranged and added, the Tigerlily sound and performance personality has always remained strong and unique.


Meanwhile the performance was not a disappointment. Their skill at harmonizing was wonderful, their synergy was obvious, and the music was great. It was a wonderful musical event, and I was one of the first to buy their Sincerely Yours CD, which has 23 tunes from Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend to How High the Moon. To buy the CD, one can go to this site: , I am sure you won’t be disappointed.



Scottsdale, Cave Creek and the Red Rocks of Sedona 11-2-10

Part I


Arizona continues to enchant us and our 6th trip there since 2000 had not been a disappointment. Even though there have been talks of boycotts, problems of illegal immigration and the fact that the State has a governor named Jan Brewer who has a problem understanding the US Constitution along with two Senators; John McCain and Jon Kyl who are troglodytes at best, the state remains a great place to visit.


One thing for sure is that politics is alive and well in that beautiful state. On almost every vacant corner of Scottsdale, as we drove to and from the Camarillo Tennis and Fitness Center, there were scores of campaign signs flacking for each candidate. There seem to be hot contests for governor, US Senator, the Congress, superintendent of schools and other positions. Though most of the stations we receive at the Westin Kierland are national cable outlets, we were able to see a commercial or two for McCain. He’s not much different from what he was in 2008; just over the hill and a poster child for term limits. Ironically compared to some of his GOP Tea Party colleagues, he comes across as a Rhodes Scholar, not the dolt who was a high school flunky and 895th out of 900 in his class at Annapolis.   


The flight left at 9:30 am, was decently smooth on Jet Blue, and except for some turbulence over Oklahoma, we cruised at 492 mph at about 34,000 feet above sea level. (On the way back we reached over 675 mph and were 25 minutes early.) We arrived at sunny Sky Harbor International Airport right on time, deplaned, gathered our luggage, found the jitney to the rental car pick-up, and picked up our brand new Ford Taurus with Sirius-XM radio. We listened to Frank Sinatra all week!


Its about 15 miles and 20 minutes to the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, and after arriving and checking in, we headed down Scottsdale Road to Olde Town Scottsdale for a little shopping. We bought a lot of post cards and quickly noticed this key shopping districts for visitors was quiet. Of course, it wasn’t a big travel week, but according to most of the store-owners traffic was off, and there were many sales.


Finally we headed back to the Kierland, did a little shopping for vittles at the Safeway on Greenway Drive, unpacked, and rested a bit. Linda had bought tickets to see, “Backwards on Heels, the Ginger Musical,” about Ginger Rogers, produced by the Arizona Theater Company at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. We drove down Route 51 South, were able to park on the street, and walked a few blocks to the theater. It was the 2nd to the last performance, it wasn’t sold out, and it was a pleasant review of Ginger Roger’s career from the time she was in Texas at age 15, through her early movies with Fred Astaire, her battles with her stage door mother, her various marriages and her Academy Award for “Kitty Foyle” in 1940 at the age of 29. The dancing and the music were entertaining and though the production was a bit disjointed, and the characterization of Astaire was a bit silly, but it was overall worth the time and the price of the tickets.


Meanwhile every morning we were able to play tennis on the hard courts of the Camarillo Tennis and Fitness Center. There were always many players early in the morning, but by the time we finished between 10:30 and 11:00 am the courts were empty.


One afternoon we drove up Scottsdale Road to both Cave Creek and Carefree, two small towns north of Scottsdale. We’ve been up there a number of times. In Cave Creek, where it is more casual and reminiscent of the old west, there are stores on Cave Creek Road which sell all sorts of pottery, bric-a-brac, tiles and cowboy-style garbs. We stopped in at Buffalo Bill’s Store and bought some more $1 tiles and then worked our way to Frontier Towne where we had lunch at the Smoke House Restaurant. Across the street was the Cave Creek Cowboy Company, which featured Ostrich boots and belts that ranged up to $2500 and $500. Too rich for my blood!


Not far up the road is the modern, planned town of Carefree, which is much more upscale and has many various stores which specialize in Native American pottery and all sorts of Hopi and Navajo dancing figures, known generically as Kachinas. We even got haircuts by a very nice woman from Tashkent, named Tatiana Makarova. In Carefree, on their main street which is called fittingly Easy Street, we visited a branch of Ortega’s, the English Rose Tea Room, the Desert Treasures and the Native American Gallery. The owner of the English Rose Tea Room is a British woman named Jo Gemmil, and we have met her, now and again, over the years. She has some interesting China and a lovely place to have high tea. At about 3:30 pm we were on our way back to Scottsdale.


After returning to the Westin Kierland, we decided to go over to the Westin Hotel and watch their piper play his bag pipes at sunset on their deck. As we listened to his sonorous and age old tunes, we had drinks and engaged in conversation with some young women from Ontario and other folks more from our generation. Amongst their group was a woman named Sylvia Bennett who was an entertainer who sang with Lionel Hampton and his band for ten years.


The next day, after tennis, our usual trip to the post office and a few other chores, we headed for our rooms, showered, changed and packed for out 100+ mile trip to Sedona. The roads in Arizona go quickly from 55 to 75 mph as one leaves the more populated areas and as soon as we reached I-17 we were flying along at over 75 mph. We cruised into the red rock region of Sedona in less than two hours. We found our time-sharing unit at the Sedona Pines, which is about six miles south of Upper Sedona on Route 89A. It was quite comfortable and, ironically, we had toured this place as part of a “time-sharing” meeting that we had years earlier.


Once we were settled in, Linda had an appointment at The Spa at Sedona Rouge which is on 89A. By the way almost everything in Sedona is on Routes 179 and 89A. I took Linda over to the Sedona Rouge; she then went to the hot tub, and would eventually get ready for her 90 minute massage. I left at 5:30 and came back at 7:00 PM. After her treatment we went to dinner at a nearby and very crowded restaurant named Dahl & DiLuca. We enjoyed a wonderful salad, an appetizer of mushrooms stuffed with mozzarella, and entrees of tortellini with Bolognese sauce and chicken picata. We sat at the bar; the service was good and the food was excellent.


Scottsdale, Cave Creek and the Red Rocks of Sedona 11-2-10

Part II


The next morning we were up very early as usual. We never really adapted to Arizona’s three hour difference. Even though the state is in Mountain Time, they do not observe daylight savings time in the state, and therefore they are on the same time as California. Our first activity was to drive up to the airport and see the morning light shining on the valley below us and the surrounding red rocks. We found the airport parking lot surprisingly empty and after taking some photographs we strolled over to the nearby Sky Top Hotel which overlooks the valley. Once finished we headed down the mountain road, drove north into Upper Sedona and then turned east to Tlaquepaque, which is an enclosed Spanish-style shopping district on Route 179. We had been there before. It was a wonderful place to relax and take pictures, but it was way too pricey for us.


Next on our agenda was a trip to the old mining village of Jerome, which is 27 miles southwest of Sedona and seven miles up a very steep mountain from Cottonwood. Jerome used to be a copper-mining town, whose population peaked at about 15,000 in the late 1880’s. The mining operation was finally abandoned in 1953, and Jerome is now a quaint area populated by about 450 individuals. It serves as a jewelry and antique center. There are numerous restaurants atop the 5200 foot precipice and one has to take a steep winding road once inside the municipal limits. The old Hotel Connor, which was built in 1896, still serves as a structure that holds many storefronts at 164 Main Street. It is a block or so from the post office, which stays open until 2 pm. It was there that I had all my post cards and letters hand cancelled by a most accommodating postal clerk. We had lunch at the Mile High Café, which is also known as Grapes Restaurant and Bar. Linda had soup and salad, and I had a patti melt, which was a hamburger with delicious melted cheese, meat and onions cooked together and served on rye toast.


Nelly Bly II is also a terrific store that is one of the many that overlooks the valley, the old abandoned Daisy Hotel and the sprawling town of Cottonwood. So after walking around and sticking our heads into almost every little emporium we said goodbye to Jerome for another year. We then made our way down the mountain and headed off to Cottonwood, and their Old Town section. It’s pretty quiet in the sprawling City Cottonwood, where about 12,000 people live. Once on Main Street in Old Town we did find an interesting book store, named Adventures Unlimited Books and I picked up a biography of the famous WWII, Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist, Bill Mauldin and a book on the WPA. A Life Up Front, by Todd DePastino is a wonderful biography of a remarkable and unique man. Bill Mauldin was an original and he was the most important editorial news source (through his Willie and Joe cartoons) from the battlefields of Italy and France. One May 9th, the day after VE Day was declared; Bill Mauldin opened the Stars and Stripes and read that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, “for distinguished service as a cartoonist.” He even incurred the wrath of General George S. Patton, whose “spit and polish” attitude was offended by the realistic and battle weary figures Willie and Joe embodied.


Once finished with Cottonwood, we were back on 89A north to Sedona. After we reached our rooms, rested and got refreshed, we headed back out to Airport Road to see the sunset at one of the best vantage points in Sedona. Unlike the morning, the airport parking lot was quite full. It seems that people from all over knew what we knew. We met some nice folks, took some pictures and as darkness enveloped the valley we headed back down the mountain to the main drag.


We bought a little food for dinner at Basha’s a local supermarket, headed back to Sedona Pines and hunkered down for the evening with the World Series. (Even though I always root for the American League, I could never root for the Texas Rangers because of their association with George W. Bush. My father was a loyal Giant fan whose rooting went back to Christy Mathewson and Iron Man Joe McGinnity. In retrospect, I was very happy with the Giants winning the World Series. It brought back warm memories of their remarkable victory over the favored Cleveland Indians in 1954.)


The next day, we went to a time-sharing meeting at the beautiful, well-located, Hyatt, and learned that we didn’t need to buy a week in Sedona for $35,000. But we received a nice gift for our time, which we immediately blew at the local Hyatt shops. The Hyatt at Sedona is truly beautiful, but we have never found a problem finding time-sharing days in Sedona. We had lunch right there at the Wildflower Bread Company. We also bought a terrific seeded rye there. It was almost as good as any one could get in the five boroughs!


Before we headed off to Scottsdale, we drove through Oak Creek Canyon, found a rest stop with a Dairy Queen, bathrooms, and a number of Native Americans selling their silver pins and turquoise jewelry. Ten years before, I had gotten a silver eagle for my western hat from a similar type dealer on our way to Flagstaff, which is only about 30 miles north of Sedona. After a few more photos, it was back into Sedona, and south to Scottsdale.


Within a few hours, we were back in Scottsdale, at the pool in the 90 degree sun, and finally after sunset, back in the room for dinner, rest, and more baseball. The next day, our last full one, we got in another few sets of tennis and headed off to tour some of the more interesting hotel-resorts that surround the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. We stopped by the Hyatt Regency, had lunch at the JW Marriot-Camelback, walked the Cactus Garden of the Phoenician and finished our excursion at the remarkable Arizona Biltmore, which was built in the late 1920’s with the help and inspiration of the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. Years ago we visited his Taliesin West which was Wright’s home, studios and school for architects. It’s worth a visit for any newcomer to Arizona. When Wright first built his home in 1937, it was 25 miles into the desert and Scottsdale had 200 inhabitants. Now it is not far from the middle of Scottsdale which has a population of over 450,000 souls. We were able to get back to the pool as the afternoon heat reached 100 degrees. We spent another few hours outside before going up to the room, finished our packing and found a reasonable Asian-Fusion restaurant named Flo’s not far from the Westin.


Saturday found us finishing our packing, having a little breakfast, and heading to the airport. With all the news about bombs found on board airplanes coming out of Yemen, we expected a higher level of concern at the airport check in. We dropped off the car at Avis, headed to the airport; we were there early, breezed through the security and boarded Jet Blue right on schedule. The trip was very fast, smooth and helped by an over-active jet stream. We were in NYC air space 25 minutes early, we circled for a while awaiting a landing slot, and finally touched down. What a difference a day made. Now its back to the real world, the consequences of the election and the real world that faces us all.








The Advocates 10-27-10

“The Advocates”


“Politics and the New Voting Machines, Will Your Vote Count”


Allegra Dengler

Hosted by

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

October 27, 2010

All archived Shows at:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest is Ms. Allegra Dengler, conservationist, activist and expert on voting machines.

Allegra Dengler served as a Dobbs Ferry Village Trustee, and also was a candidate for Mayor of Dobbs Ferry, NY. She is a member of the Sierra Club’s Atlantic Chapter Conservation Committee and also serves on their Global warming and Energy Committee and their Gas Drilling Task Force. She currently is the Energy Conservation Coordinator of the Town of Greenburgh.


She currently Chairs, Citizens for Voting Integrity and distributes the election integrity newsletter CVIVoter. She also Chairs, the Election Reform Task Force of the Atlantic Chapter, Sierra Club and is a member of the Progressive Democrats of America Clean Elections Group and the New York Democratic Lawyers Council HAVA Committee
Allegra worked with groups around the state to try to implement a reliable, trust-worthy voting system when New York gave up its
Lever machines:  LWV, New Yorkers for Verified Voting, the Brennan Center, and the NY Democratic Lawyers Council.   Allegra travelled to Ohio, PA, NH and Florida as well as New York locations where she worked for election protection. In NH, she participated in the recount of the Clinton- Obama primary in 2008.  In FL, she worked at the polls for four days in Broward County with the FL Attorneys Election Protection effort, observing six hour lines and voter intimidation in the Obama-McCain 2008 race.
Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.
One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at All of the archived shows can be found at:  Next week I’ll be hosting Allegra Dengler, who will discuss the advent and impact of the new voting machines and her views on the coming election!

Election 2010, the Choice is Clear! 10-22-10

Election 2010, the Choice is Clear!

Richard J. Garfunkel


Let us not forget what the Republicans and their friends got us into these past number of years. We were attacked on 9/11. The country backed the President, and after years of an unfunded war, we are still practically no where in Afghanistan and the Democratic Congress and President Obama was left with a Hobson’s Choice of whether to stay or get out.  The War in Iraq, whether justified or not, has cost us thousands of lives, hundreds upon hundreds of billions and what did we attain? Very little, but a worn out army and 10’s of thousands of wounded along with huge VA bills far into the future. As bad as Sadaam Hussein was, he had less to do with 9/11 then our “friends” in Saudi Arabia. Let’s talk about the deficits, who ran them up in the first place? Who created unsustainable tax cuts, especially for the rich? Who created less than 1 million jobs in eight years? In which Administration did the Great Recession start in December of 2007? Who squandered money on faith-based initiatives? Who fell asleep after Katrina? Who pushed through an unfunded “drug bill” benefit? Who gave us Dick Cheney and Karl Rove? In fact, who was in charge when the attack on 9/11 happened and was reading a book upside down?


But let’s move on. When President Obama was sworn into office the job market was bleeding 700K jobs per month. Wall Street was teetering; the automobile industry was toppling along with the insurance giants, the investment banks and almost everything else. Who bundled the mortgages? Who invented derivatives? Who created all these exotic trades backed with worthless mortgages? Yes, the Democrats wanted easier mortgages for people, but what happened to the fiduciary responsibility of the banks, and who oversaw the wheeler-dealers like the people who ran Countrywide Financial? The so-called small government blowhards and de-regulators had a party for eight years. Where were the SEC, FINRA, and other agencies that allowed Madoff and his clones to loot and prosper? More oversight, the Party of “NO” says no!


What does the Party of “NO” want? They want deregulation, less oversight, more tax breaks for the billionaires on Wall Street, and just look at their complaints. They scream that the President is anti-business, but the Dow-Jones Industrial Average is not at 6000 or 4000, but at 11,000 and rising. Funny thing is that bonuses on Wall Street will run to $149 billion this Christmas, but the Party of “NO” wants more tax cuts in face of the deficits they scream about. Where is the money? Where are the profits? They are right in Wall Street and in the banks that won’t lend. Over 85% of the Fortune 500 companies have beaten the “street” estimates! Why high unemployment? The Fat Cats won’t hire until after the Chamber of Commerce buys the election of the House. Enter into that equation; women’s rights, civil liberties, the environment, safety in the workplace, energy dependency and China owning all our money! You know where the GOP and their Tea Party surrogates stand! They stand for flat-earth thinking and flat-tax economics!


Their solution is more service sector layoffs, less teachers, less environmental concerns, more Love Canals (more unemployment) more tax giveaways, and the cutting of Social Security and Medicare. They oppose Health Care Reform, but what is hemorrhaging the budget are overruns in Medicare and Medicaid by the elderly, the sick and poor. They would rather force mothers to give birth to unwanted babies, or a deformed fetus, or the child of a rapist than care for the sick, elderly and our indigent veterans. Let us not forget the Bush scandal and the treatment of wounded vets at the Walter Reed VA Facility in Washington!


Who are their candidates? Sharron Angle, Linda McMahan, Rand Paul, Christine O’Donnell, Carl Paladino, an anti-Semite Jim Russell, right here in NY’s 18th CD, who writes papers on white supremacy and neo-Nazi theory, and many others who are outside the mainstream of American thought and values. They hide behind the flag, but as Samuel Johnson wrote, “the last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism.”  Christine O’Donnell even believes that “the separation of church and state” isn’t in the First Amendment of the US Constitution! Where did she go to school? But what about the family values of Linda McMahan and her World Wrestling Federation? Has anyone looked into the “blood money” that sordid side show brings?


The party of “NO” has forced more cloture votes, (efforts to stop filibusters,) in any 18 month period in our recent history. Their plan is to stop progress at any cost. Just open up the Internet and read the comments of their “fellow travelers” on the right. These revisionists will claim that FDR started the Depression, the Democrats are “pinko communists” who started every war, and that Barack Obama was born somewhere overseas and is really a Marxist Muslim in Mufti.


The choice is clear, more Sarah Palins and her dysfunctional and greedy friends, clones and family or positive reform and progress? The choice is up to you and yours. You’ll have no one to blame but yourselves for not voting and allowing the Chamber of Commerce, FOX Noise,  the hypocritical Elmer Gantry type bible-thumpers,  the Rush Limbaughs and the Glenn Becks for being in charge of your future. Think about the consequences!


The Advocates 10-20-10

“The Advocates”


“Politics, the Tea Party and

Governing through Stalemate”


Michael A. Cohen

Hosted by

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

October 20, 2010

All archived Shows at:


Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest is Mr. Michael A. Cohen, author and commentator about American politics and issues and a Senior Fellow of the American Security Project. Our subject will be Politics in NY and Washington, the influence of the Tea Party on the GOP and what we can expect on Election Day.

Michael A. Cohen is the author of Live From the Campaign Trail: The Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century and How They Shaped Modern America (Walker Books: 2008). His most recent articles: Is America Ungovernable? and Obama’s Problem is Economy,Stupid can be found at

Previously, Mr. Cohen served in the U.S. Department of State as chief speechwriter for U.S. Representative to the United Nations Bill Richardson and Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat. He has worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Foreign Policy magazine, and as chief speechwriter for Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT). Mr. Cohen serves on the board of the National Security Network and has taught at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and was recently a Senior Research Fellow at the New American Foundation.
A frequent commentator on politics and international affairs his work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, the St. Petersburg Times, the World Policy Journal, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the New York Daily News,, Courier de la Planete,, Politico, Worth Magazine and he is a frequent blogger at During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign he was a regular contributor to the New York Times Campaign Stops blog.  He has also been featured on ABC News, Fox News, BBC TV and radio, South African television, Al Jazeera, Air America and XM Radio's Potus '08.
Michael Cohen’s recent articles on Afghanistan’s military outlook and their recent elections can be accessed below:,
Mr. Cohen holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from American University and a master's degree from Columbia University.
Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.
One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at All of the archived shows can be found at:  Next week I’ll be hosting Allegra Dengler, who will discuss the advent and impact of the new voting machines and her views on the coming election!

The Advocates 10-13-10

“The New Roosevelt Initiative”

Reforming Politics in New York


Bill Samuels



Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

October 13, 2010

All archived shows at:

On Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at 12:00 Noon, I will be hosting my show he Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, and you can also listen to the program’s worldwide, live streaming at One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. My guest is Bill Samuels, entrepreneur, political activist and the founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative.                                             

<?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml” />Bill Samuels has a lifetime of experience as a successful businessman and CEO, high tech entrepreneur, innovative political thinker and activist. Born and raised in Canandaigua, and currently living in NYC with his wife Marie and his daughter Kitty, Bill’s family and political roots are deeply anchored in upstate New York.  His great-grandparents were from Fulton, NY, where his great-grandfather ran for mayor, and his father Howard founded a plastics company, Kordite, in Victor, just outside of Rochester.  With products like Baggies and Hefty Trash Bags, in its time Kordite (now Pactiv) was a major employer in upstate NY and today is one of the largest plastics companies in the United States.


As an undergraduate at MIT, Bill earned degrees in political science, economics and engineering, before attending Harvard Law School to get his JD.  After graduation, while growing his small business into a major international corporation, Bill became active in the movement against the Vietnam War, raising money to finance the 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War March on Washington, one of the pivotal moments in the anti-war movement.

As a socially-responsible entrepreneur and business owner, Bill became one of the founders of the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP).  For over 30 years, CEP was the premiere public interest organization focusing on companies’ policies on the environment, women & minority advancement, corporate disclosure of information, labor relations, family benefits, and worker rights.

He built ACTV, a cutting-edge interactive education and media company.  Working with investors such as the Washington Post, the company developed some of the core intellectual property for interactive television and the web including two of the first fifty patents issued on the internet, before being sold to an affiliate of Liberty Media in 2002.


Bill is currently working with his brother, Howard Samuels, to found the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, a facility dedicated to helping people overcome addiction, and he serves as chairman of Resonant Software, Inc., a provider of creative productivity software to financial services businesses. 


While developing these businesses, Bill has remained involved in progressive politics, fundraising for Democratic candidates and speaking out on key issues.  In the 2004 Presidential campaign, many Democrats were outraged by the “swiftboating” and lies of the Republican Party against John Kerry.  Bill, who had known Kerry since his anti-war activities in the 1970’s, responded with action, producing the documentary Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry.  After the 2004 elections, Bill turned his attention to state politics, working with Eliot Spitzer to raise money to help the Democratic Party regain the State Senate.  He funded the launch of The Albany Project, one of the leading political blogs in the country, and founded the Blue Tiger Democrats, an innovative grassroots organization designed to reconnect the Party to its communities.


In the 2008 elections, Bill served as Finance Chairman for the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, leading to Democrats gaining control of the State Senate for the first time in decades.   In this role, Bill developed a deep understanding of the structural problems in the legislature that prevent good people from running for office, and ultimately corrupt so many of the people who do choose to run. 


Recognizing the kind of fundamental structural change that is needed, Bill has launched the New Roosevelt Initiative, a multi-year campaign to achieve critical reforms in New York’s fiscal practices, ethics rules, redistricting policies and campaign finance, allowing our Legislature to regain the integrity, functionality and common sense the voters are demanding.  His goal is simple – through direct electoral work, elect the “New Roosevelts” – individuals who will approach government and elective office with the integrity and dedication we need to give our state the best legislature in the nation.


Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.


My essays on FDR and other subjects at can be accessed at One can also listen to all of the archived shows at:


Next week, my guest will be Michael Cohen speech writer, political commentator, and author of Live from the Campaign Trail: the Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century.