From the annual Buckwheat Harvest Festival in Penn Yan NY These and all photos shown by Jude Nagurney Camwell
I love the New York State Fair. The sights, the sounds, and the smells. Comedian Tom Kenny (who is the creator of Sponge Bob Squarepants) is from my own hometown of East Syracuse, N.Y. I saw him perform here at the Landmark Theater a few years back, and I recall a great joke he told about feeling like the most handsome man in the world when he walked the fairgrounds of another local fair, the East Syracuse Field Days. He looked around at his fellow fair-kind and realized he wasn't so bad after all. You certainly see a lot of ego-free characters at fairs. Odd folks - and I'm talking about the ones going to see the freak show, not the ones who are in it. Freak shows. There's a whole 'nother story altogether. Otis the Frog Boy had no arms to speak of, yet he could light a cigarette and flip it into his mouth and out again with it being still lit. How cool is that? Kids, don't try that at home.
This is me and Charlie Daniels at the New York State Fair
When I think of the New York State Fair, I think of the smell of fried dough and the wonderful scent of saugage, onions and peppers floating in the air from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que stand. The Dinosaur is a favorite of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who visit the NY State fair every year without fail. After his first NY State Fair visit, then-President Bill Clinton said, "I come from a place where barbecue is not food; it is a way of life. It is a philosophy of human nature. I have rarely had any as good as this." (September 1, 2000).
I took this photo of a pair of feet and legs, and took home the Red ribbon at the New York State Fair a number of years ago.
Songwriter Chris Trapper of the Push Stars (Boston) wrote a song about fairs. Growing up in Buffalo, NY, I can't help but wonder if he wasn't inspired by the same New York state carnival scenes....
I've got cotton candy lips Salt water taffy smile I'm blowing all my money But I'm going out in style I start skipping down the street 'Cause I smell it in the air Yeah I was, and I am, and I will always be a square Meet me at the Fair..
There is an analogous relationship which can be derived from a view of the physical ground that shifted beneath the levees of New Orleans and the political ground which has shifted beneath the Republican party.
The Gulf coast was far more vulnerable than most people realized. The Republican party was far more vulnerable than cocky politicians thought when they believed that they would never collide with the consequences stemming from their perverted policies and practices.
I think you will be interested to read Professor Juan Cole's analysis and opinion about Democrats and the Iraq war.
Quotes from the article (Full text can be seen HERE [truthout.org]):
...The Democrats on the Hill may in some instances be anxious about criticizing the war because they had voted for it, and fear being tagged as inconsistent. But they have other options than silence. They could point out that they were misled by the Bush administration, which menaced them with visions of mushroom clouds from Iraqi nukes, visions that now seem likely to have been outright lies....
.....The potential of a strong antiwar stance striking a chord with the public has already been demonstrated by Paul Hackett. A Marine who recently served in Iraq, Hackett became a civilian and ran in August as a Democrat for Congress in Ohio's 2nd District, traditionally heavily Republican. He lambasted George W. Bush as a chicken hawk and said he should never have begun the Iraq war. Yet Hackett is no peacenik. He says, "I love the Marine Corps. I happen to think it's being misused in Iraq." He only narrowly lost the election, and the Democratic leadership is seriously thinking of putting him up for an Ohio Senate seat, according to the Hill.
Even Democrats who are not veterans of Iraq need to find the courage to speak out on the war if they are effectively to challenge the Republicans. Simply waiting around for things to get worse in Baghdad is a dangerous strategy, not so much because the situation is likely to improve any time soon but because the American people want real leadership on this issue and they know they are not getting it from Bush.
I couldn't agree more. Nothing turns me off, in a political sense, any more than when I hear prominent Democrats talking about purchasing more American blood and spending more American treasure for a failing venture of which we citizens were conned into. It's a poisoned war. The mission was never accomplished. If you ask any American what the mission was, I gurantee that you would get fifty different answers from each respective citizen. It's become the deadliest flip-flop in American history, and our President has led us into it. It is pathetic and unnerving to think that a Democrat would perpetuate this disaster, thinking that they're keeping themselves "electable." (Count the number of years now that they have lost American elections).
Americans need leaders who are brave enough to stick with convictions that fall in line with reality - and who can communicate the reasons for those convictions so the average citizen can understand, hope, and trust.
Listen to the Generals (courtesy of Mark Mazetti/LA Times). "The 149,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq are increasingly part of the problem." That is not what we've heard from Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton.