John Delach

On The Outside Looking In

Month: March, 2015

Odds and Ends

Relative Perpetuity Revisited


In December, I reported that Lincoln Center would pay Avery Fisher’s descendants $15 million to remove his name from the home of the New York Philharmonic allowing a new donor to contribute a substantial amount toward the estimated $500 million needed to improve acoustics for the 21st Century.


Enter David Geffen former movie producer and current philanthropist who has pledged $100 million toward this project. In return, the Philharmonic will re-christen its home David Geffen Hall. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Geffen insisted that the Philharmonic’s hall bear his name in perpetuity.”


Really, that’s what they told Mr. Fisher. Though the 72-year-old Geffen will long be dead and buried when a name change again becomes an issue, Mr. Geffen better not bet his yacht or his extensive art collection that his name will not join Mr. Fisher’s as a footnote on a plaque in the lobby.


The same piece noted that David Koch (as in “Coke”) donated $100 million to the New York State Theater in 2008. In return the theater was renamed after him for 50 years. It may then be renamed again, but the Koch family will retain the right of first refusal. Now that’s how you make a deal!


Trustee Goes South


As the town of Mastic Beach joined other Long Island’s towns and villages in battling the February snow storms, Town Trustee Gary Stiriz, went A.W.O.L. Mr. Stiriz was responsible for the village’s streets being plowed but had been vacationing in the Florida sun since the middle of January missing all seven storms. He spent a total of four months in the sunshine state this past winter. Needless to say the 63 year-old trustee didn’t stand for re-election on March, 18th.  Adios, Gary.


Mount Holyoke College Redefines Who Is a Woman


Mount Holyoke’s admission policy remains committed to its historical mission as a women’s college but they note in their admission guidelines: “Yet, concepts of what it means to be a woman are not static. Traditional binaries around who counts as a man or woman are being challenged by those whose gender identity does not conform to their biology.”


Take your time, read that again if necessary. Let me know when you are ready. Okay, shall we continue? Again from their admission policy:


The following academically students can apply for admission consideration:


  • Biologically born female; identifies as a woman
  • Biologically born female; identifies as a man
  • Biologically born female; identifies as other/they/ze*
  • Biologically born female; does not identify as either woman or man
  • Biologically born male; identifies as a woman
  • Biologically born male; identifies as other/they/ze* and when “other/they identity includes s a woman
  • Biologically born with both male and female anatomy (Intersex)**; identifies as a woman


*Ze a gender neutral pronoun. See also sie, hir, cd and ei.

**Condition of being intermediate between male and female: e.g. hermaphrodite.


Sooner or later cads will apply on the grounds that although in appearance, in dress and manner they seem to be male; in their hearts and souls they are women. Baloney, in their hearts they want to get laid and if that means entering into a lesbian relationship, then so much the better.


Mandatory Composting


“San Francisco may have been the first city to make its citizens compost food, but Seattle is the first to punish people with a fine if they don’t.”


The land of fruits and nuts strikes again only this time it includes the fruits and nuts. But as well-intentioned as these simple souls may be, there are unintended consequences that arise from composting. Cedar Grove Composting in Everett notes that problems arise from those little plastic stickers that are affixed to every piece of fruit. They identify if the product is organic, where it originates and has the code the cashier uses to price it. Steven Banchero III of Cedar Grove explains, “They are so little we just can’t sift them out. They end up popping out in people’s gardens. That’s really annoying.”


No, Mr. Banchero III, what’s really annoying is that the two-legged fruits and nuts have amassed the amount of power that they have. Hopefully the big quake will hit sooner rather than later.


Day after day, more people come to L.A.

Shush, don’t you tell anybody the whole place slipping away.

Where can you go when there aint no San Francisco

Better get ready to tie up the boat in Idaho


Day After Day by Shango


Terriers Denied

The following is a guest blog written by the Honorable Peter King, representative from the 2 NY congressional district. Peter King and I graduated together from St. Francis College in 1965. The NIT is providing the Terriers with a second life. They open in Richmond, VA against the Richmond Spiders on March 18.     


As a graduate of St Francis College I saw my old school play their hearts out last night and just miss a miracle ending to what was already a dream season for the Terriers basketball season. Down by 10 points (57-47) with barely 4 minutes to go, St Francis waged a furious rally to close to within 2 point (62-60) with seconds to go, then be down 63-60 with 1.6 seconds left and have a 3/4 court shot hit off the rim as the buzzer went off.

This was a heartbreaking defeat. If St Francis had won, it would have been invited to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the history of the 67 year old classic. St Francis has had near misses before but as more than 1100 screaming fans crammed themselves into the 4th smallest Division 1 basketball arena on Tuesday evening, anticipation was high that this would be St Francis’ year and the 67 year drought would be ended.*


This season had been one for the ages. A tough, gritty high quality college located in Downtown Brooklyn, St Francis Basketball always had to punch above its weight. But never more than this season. Starting off 0-5, St Francis was written off before finishing off the regular season 21-10 and running away with the Northeastern. Conference Championship (15-3).


After winning its first two NEC Tournament games, St Francis just needed to defeat Robert Morris University to fulfill the long sought dream of its students, alumni and fans and play in the NCAA Tournament. The game was a classic hardnosed struggle with the lead going back and forth throughout the 1st half until the Terriers ran off 4 points in the final 20 seconds for a 35-29 halftime lead.


The 2nd half saw St Francis suffer through an 8 minute dry spell where it scored only 1 basket, fall 10 points down and make its gutsy and dramatic closing surge, only to fall short at the buzzer. The crowd which had been cheering at roaring decibel levels fell silent-the long sought prize denied once again. But as the crowd filed slowly from the undersized gym onto Remsen Street, disappointed as we were with the result, there was nothing but pride in the team which had played its heart out literally to the final second of its almost magical season.


Driving home through the rain, my classmate John Delach and I agreed that Coach Glenn Braica and his St Francis team had given us a season to remember.


*The dought ended less than a week later when SFC’s Women’s Team beat Robert Morris to become the NEC Champions. The good news; this gave The Terriers a berth in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. The bad news – they open against UCONN.

“This Is an Outrage”

From the March 5th edition of The New York Times:


For more than a decade, the New Jersey attorney general’s office conducted a hard-fought legal battle to hold Exxon Mobil Corporation responsible for decades of environmental contamination in northern New Jersey.


But when news came that the state had reached a deal to settle its $8.9 billion claim for about $250 million, the driving force behind the settlement was not the attorney general’ office – it was Gov. Chris Christie’s chief counsel Christopher S. Porrino…


With The Times setting the agenda and leading the charge, Jersey Democratic politicians, environmentalists and activists were empowered. Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D), “The reported settlement is appalling and disturbing…”


Bradley M. Campbell, former Jersey environmental commissioner wrote in an NYT Op-Ed piece that same day: “The decision…to settle an environmental lawsuit…for roughly three cents on the dollar is an embarrassment to law enforcement and good government.”


For the record, this lawsuit involves the sprawling Bayway Refinery originally built by Standard Oil of New Jersey, (Esso) that Esso and Exxon operated for many years. Located in Bayonne and Linden adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike, this foul smelling location has been the bbrunt of jokes for years.


The late Jean Shepherd once called out to his radio audience one Saturday night, “Listen, right now as I speak, there is a boy and a girl out on a first date traveling down the turnpike just south of Exit 13: she thinks it’s him and he thinks it’s her.”


The state contended that Exxon contaminated 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes and meadows around the refinery. Judge Michael S. Hogan was believed ready to rule on the amount of damages that Exxon owed when the settlement was reached.


In a rebuttal to these critics, Gov. Christie’s administration stated the actual amount of the settlement is $225 million while noting this amount was, “the single largest environmental settlement with a corporate defendant in New Jersey’s history.” They further debunked Campbell as a “known partisan” who, when a commissioner, stated that this action could reasonably be settled in the hundred millions of dollars.


Eventually, justice will prevail, but what the paper of record and these critics are ignoring is if Judge Hogan rejects this settlement and awards a substantially higher amount to the state, that would only be the beginning of years of further litigation.


Exxon does not take judicial rulings lightly. They are the biggest, baddest battlers on earth and unlike any other entity except Uncle, they have all the time, all the money and all the lawyers they need to fight a judgment for as long as it takes.


Witness the litigation surrounding the grounding of the tanker, Exxon Valdez in March of 1989 that released 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. Judge H. Russell Holland presided over the suit brought by 32,000 fisherman, Alaska natives, landowners and commercial businesses. In 1994, the jury returned awards for a bit over $500 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages.


Exxon appealed. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the amount of the punitive damages was excessive. But Judge Holland, a Reagan appointee, didn’t think it was that excessive so reinstated the award to the tune of $4 billion.


(That’s when I discovered that the Judge Holland looked like a bearded mountain man, that the H. stood for Hezekiah. This prompted me to coin the slogan, “Never trust your fate to a judge named Hezekiah.”)


The case returned to the Ninth Circuit who admonished Holland to re-consider the award using the Supreme Court’s guidelines. This offended Holland who punted the case back to the Ninth with a battle cry that the Supremes’ views didn’t cut it with his original analysis.


This took the process from 2002 until 2004. In December 2006, the Ninth issued its own ruling setting punitive damages at $2.5 billion. On to Washington, DC and on June 25, 2008, 19 years after the grounding and 14 years after the original judgment, the Supremes voted 5-3 (Justice Samuel Alito recused himself) setting the award at $507.5 million an amount equal to the original compensatory damages. (With interest: $1.515 billion.)


I cannot speak on the merits of the Bayway case. But based on history, may I suggest that before continuing this assault to tar and feather Christie and Porrino, it may be well to consider what would be achieved should New Jersey’s litigation goes forward and at what cost.




Good Riddance to February

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray,

I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day.

I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.;

California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day.


                                       California Dreamin’


February is a good month to hate. Personally I’ve hated February since I was old enough to see the writing on the wall and the only reason that it took me so long to utterly detest the second month of the year is my birthday comes in February. Growing up celebrating a birthday on February 22 was grand. I had the luxury of being off from school every year. Several times my mother took me to Manhattan for lunch at the Automat and a first-run movie at the Paramount, the Palace, Radio City or the Roxy.  Fortunately I graduated from primary school before the Feds ruined my birthday together with George and Abe by stripping both of their holidays replacing them with that satanic substitute, President’s Day. President’s Day indeed, what baloney! Who celebrates the birth of lesser presidents like Pierce or Buchanan, Harrisons (both of them) Hayes, Arthur or Coolidge? Balderdash, we might as well celebrate Tom Dewey’s or Adali Stevenson’s birthdays as national holidays.


Ah, but I digress, the issue before us is the horror of February. Our discontent is not limited to snow zones although they have been clobbered. Lake effect snow has delivered its share of misery from the Dakotas through Chicago and Cleveland to Buffalo, east across New York State, through Albany, into Massachusetts hitting Springfield and Worchester hard and often. Nor’easters have been especially cruel to the New England coast dropping tons of snow on Boston where the head of the MBTA, Beverly Scott, was reduced to speaking in tongues during a news conference on the day before she resigned. That’s what eight feet of snow can do to a human being!


Not content, to paralyze the Mid-West and the Northeast, the Jet Stream dipped further and further south bringing chaos and mayhem to the Sun Belt. Ice storms hit Texas, freezing temperatures in Georgia and Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia. Snow, ice, wind and cold began soon as Super Bowl XLIX ended continuing on and on and on throughout the month. (You decide if this was God’s payback for under inflated footballs?)


February is, has been and always will be a horrible month. Each year, February produces another Valley Forge, a Stalingrad or a Chosin Reservoir. Sieges to be endured huddled up, house bound, held hostage hoping power doesn’t fail or pipes burst. What do we get in return, Punxsutawney Pete, Ash Wednesday and Lent!


Good riddance February, good riddance and goodbye.


Then I’m laying out my winter clothes

And wishing I was gone

Going home.

Where the New York City winters

Aren’t bleeding me

Leading me’

Going home.


                 The Boxer