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Phil-osophically Speaking: August 16, 2012

Written by Phil Guarnieri Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00

Freedom: A Double Edged Sword

It is now axiomatic that economic freedom begets political freedom. Capitalism works because of its potential to reward the entrepreneur whose success depends upon meeting the needs and wants of others. Steve Jobs is a classic example as are many others. So it’s a two-way street or, if you like hygienic metaphors, one hand washes the other. Freedom does not, however, make one successful or virtuous but merely creates the condition for becoming so. Too much of it carries the potential for harm, which is why we not only have laws restraining freedom but also traditions, customs, mores and institutions. All these mediating forces tame and pacify the liberating instinct so it does not, by a sinister osmosis, mutate into anarchism and undermine all manner of authority. It is one of the salient themes of John Milton’s Paradise Lost where the poet essentially asks what the nature of freedom is when it means freedom from God. What does this mean for morality, the very essence of fellowship? The “new atheists,” with iconoclastic delight, argue that rubbing out the stain of superstition from the garment of humanity will unshackle minds and hearts thus diminishing violence and even enlarging our beneficence. I have my doubts. But whether people are moral because of a divinity that ineffaceably inscribed eternal laws into the catalogue of human nature or, like Darwin maintained, that evolution embraced these moral values because developing a personal and social conscience increased the species’ chances of survivability, the question of freedom’s impact on values has been significant and defining.

 

Turn It Up: August 16, 2012

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 17 August 2012 00:00

Live + Performance (Shout! Factory) is a double-CD reissue of two in-concert releases by the late Donny Hathaway. A gifted pianist and gospel-influenced vocalist, Hathaway’s performances on these discs include a mix of solid originals and tour de force interpretations of material by Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Leon Russell and Nina Simone.

 

Editorial: Hardwood Memorial

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00

On Saturday, July 28, the Adelphi University gymnasium was the site of the second annual Malone Mulhall Benefit Game. This event was created in the memory of the late Michael Mulhall and Malone sisters Jamie and Paige, all of whom perished in a car accident on the way to their job at Lido Beach’s Camp ANCHOR (Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Organized Recreation), a recreation program for special needs kids and adults. Spearheaded by creator Joe Lynch, who was also a friend of Mulhall and the Malones, it was a sold-out affair with more than 1400 people packing the place to watch a team coached by Knicks announcer Mike Breen take on a squad helmed by NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. A full account of the pro ballers involved (Danny Green, Vernon Goodridge) can be found in a terrific cover story penned by Stephen Levine in last week’s Floral Park Dispatch. While the star power was exciting, the best part of the event was the fact that sales of tickets, t-shirts and raffles netted Camp ANCHOR more than $25,000. Undoubtedly a bittersweet day for those who knew and loved Michael, Jamie and Paige but also a heartwarming example of a community pulling together to honor three remarkable young people.

— DGdR

 

Phil-osophically Speaking: August 9, 2012

Written by Phil Guarnieri Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00

Everyone Gets A Trophy

It is a paradox that the esteem of young Americans appears to grow in proportion to how far they academically recede from their counterparts in the industrial world. Perhaps this is because they have been serenaded about how wonderful they are ever since they were mewing about in their playpen. If you are always being congratulated the idea of self-improvement strikes one as totally unnecessary. As a corrective, perhaps on this year’s assigned reading list we can recommend a book of maxims, those quotes characterized as much by their concision and pithiness as by their sagacity. When we think of maxims or aphorisms, sayings of Benjamin Franklin come to mind: “Haste makes waste” and other assorted pearls that serve as a guide for living efficiently and wisely. But there are other maxims, not as well known that illuminate our weakness, frailty, self-delusion, pretensions, unseemly piety, vanity and a host of hypocrisies too subtle and unnerving to admit to ourselves. In the hands of a master, these self-serving delusions are not only revealing but bitingly comical. The French writer Guy De Maupassant said that if you want to understand human nature look to the underside.

 

Turn It Up: August 9, 2012

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00

GREEN ONIONS (Stax) is the 1962 debut of Stax/Volt house band Booker T. & the MGs and was recently given a 50th anniversary reissue. While its funky title track is an instantly familiar slice of strutting organ runs and biting riffs, the rest of the album is equally as engaging with jazzy covers of Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson and the Isley Brothers.

 

Editorial: The Definition Of A Hero

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00

In our sports-obsessed culture, far too often the term hero gets tossed around a bit casually. Not only should it be restricted to the likes of service members and civil service workers who put their lives on the line everyday, but definitely for the late G. Michael Godfrey, the former chief of the South Floral Park Fire Department. A volunteer firefighter for 35 years, he spent seven of them as the chief of the department.

 

Phil-osophically Speaking: August 2, 2012

Written by Phil Guarnieri Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00

The Age Of Foolishness

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Thus begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which for my money is the most memorable opening of any novel written in the English language. It encompasses all the nuances and shades of the vast human comedy, both its glory and absurdity.  This past week was a good example of some of its foolishness. In an informal interview Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil - A, a popular restaurant franchise, expressed his view that marriage should be between a man and woman.

 

Mayor’s Message Village of Floral Park: July 31, 2012

Written by Thomas J. Tweedy Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:24

The Village of Floral Park has applied for funding from the State of New York in order to support its innovative proposal to create a state-of-the-art Clean Energy Facility with Belmont Park. Just like its sister communities of Long Island that have already created their own electric utility services, such as Rockville Centre, Freeport and Greenport, Floral Park’s proposal could dramatically reduce residents’ monthly utility bills while providing more ecologically friendly and reliable electrical service to its residents. The proposal would also put into place some of the infrastructure at Belmont Park that will be needed in order to support improvements at its 435-acre property that is fully owned and controlled by the State of New York.

 

Editorial: Olympic Pride

Written by Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00

On Friday, July 27, the opening ceremony for the Games of the XXX Olympiad will be held in London, England. With more than 10,000 from 204 Olympic National Committees expected to participate, this will be the largest multi-sport event ever to be held in the United Kingdom. The United States will be sending 530 athletes across the pond and while none are from Garden City, the village has ties to its own piece of Olympic history by way of the late Al Oerter, an alumnus of Sewanhaka High School. From 1956 to 1968, Oerter won medals for the discus, becoming the first track and field athlete to win four consecutive gold medals. Even though he made a failed attempt to make the American team in 1980 at the age of 43, he forever became an ambassador for the Games. So much so that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation opened the Al Oerter Recreation Center at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in 2009, two years after his death from heart disease.

— DGdR

 

Mayor’s Message Village of Floral Park: July 27, 2012

Written by Thomas J. Tweedy Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:49

The Village of Floral Park has applied for funding from the State of New York in order to support its innovative proposal to create a state-of-the-art Clean Energy Facility with Belmont Park. Just like its sister communities of Long Island that have already created their own electric utility services, such as Rockville Centre, Freeport and Greenport, Floral Park’s proposal could dramatically reduce residents’ monthly utility bills while providing more ecologically friendly and reliable electrical service to its residents. The proposal would also put into place some of the infrastructure at Belmont Park that will be needed in order to support improvements at its 435-acre property that is fully owned and controlled by the State of New York.

 

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