Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ayers Speaks: An Exercise In Evasion

By Joseph Kellard

Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground terrorist who was turned into a central figure in Obama’s bid for the presidency, decide to keep quite, that is, to speak no evil, during the campaign. Now that Obama, who once wrote a positive blurb for one of his books, is headed to the White House, Ayers has spoken: he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, published on Friday, Dec. 5. I’m posting the link to it here because it’s a good example of an exercise in evasion. As an example, I give you this paragraph:

"The Weather Underground crossed lines of legality, of propriety and perhaps even of common sense. Our effectiveness can be — and still is being — debated. We did carry out symbolic acts of extreme vandalism directed at monuments to war and racism, and the attacks on property, never on people, were meant to respect human life and convey outrage and determination to end the Vietnam war."

Mind you, the Times once wrote a profile piece on Ayers entitled “No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives.” Here’s the opening paragraph from that article:

“‘I don't regret setting bombs,’ Bill Ayers said. ‘I feel we didn't do enough.’ Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings. And he still has the ebullient, ingratiating manner, the apparently intense interest in other people, that made him a charismatic figure in the radical student movement.”

I find it eerie that this article was published on September 11, 2001. It’s quite possible that on that morning some soon-to-be murder victims -- who boarded a few airplanes that radical Muslims would hijack and crash into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon -- had that edition of the Times in hand and read Ayers’ words: “I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough.”

No doubt, the likes of Ayers and his America-hating leftist-anarchist comrades, indirectly, helped pave the way for their horrific deaths on 9/11.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Consider Obama's Pending Cynics

By Joseph Kellard

Over at the Harry Binswanger List, a subscriber wrote the following about the presidential election:

“What's really depressing is that 70% of newly registered voters (if I heard Fox News correctly) voted for Obama. Welcome to the future.”

While this is discouraging news, we must project where these new, mostly younger voters will be after Obama's four-year term. When the reality of the president-elect's policies smack them across the face -- whether it's when his spinelessness toward our enemies emboldens them to slaughter more Americans, or when his socialist policies further sickens our ill economy, or when he starts inviting Rev. Jeremiah Wright-types to the White House to talk slave reparations, or when he's unable to deliver on his vague and impossible promises on a host of issues from the environment to health care --I'm sure many of them will, eventually, become disillusioned by and cynical of their political Messiah.

These teen and 20-something voters may come to realize, even if not explicitly, that what Obama originally offered was not actual "change," but rather the same tired, failed Leftist policies that their teachers and professors never taught them about in their economics and history classes. The worst among them, of course, will stick by Obama, evading reality to defend and rationalize even his most obvious disasters -- encouraged, in part, by a still worshiping mainstream media.

But this time around, as against the Carter and Clinton years, these cynics will have a new, potent force to reckon with: an increasing number of Objectivist activists. Following the lead of the Ayn Rand Institute and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, we will offer them a realistic alternative before they give up and start attending Sunday Mass, as Obama did and found Rev. Wright instead of Ayn Rand.

After writing the above, I read this New York Times article that seems to buttress this post: "With Victory in Hand, Obama Aides Say Task Now Is to Temper High Expectations”:

"President-elect Barack Obama has begun an effort to tamp down what his aides fear are unusually high expectations among his supporters, and will remind Americans regularly throughout the transition that the nation's challenges are substantial and will take time to address."

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and commentator living in New York. Contact him at

Friday, October 31, 2008

Greenspan Abandoned Objectivism Long Ago

Of course, the financial mess is largely being blamed on capitalism, and given that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently admitted that his ideology was wrong, Ayn Rand’s detractors are falling all over themselves to point fingers at her philosophy of Objectivism. Greenspan once, long ago, adhered to that philosophy, but abandoned it for sure once he became the head of the Fed. These facts are what Miss Rand’s detractors want to ignore so that they can smear her ideas. So whenever I see their evasions pop up in some article or opinion piece, I’ve been answering them with this stock comment:

To Whom It Concerns:

The economic meltdown in the U.S. was essentially caused by government intervention and regulations, not their lack thereof. For many years now, banking, housing and insurance have been the most regulated areas of the economy.

As to Mr. Greenspan, the philosophy he put into practice is the opposite of capitalism. Back in the 1960s, Ayn Rand taught him why capitalism requires that there be a wall of separation between economics and state, and why the Federal Reserve, as the state’s central economic planner, must be abolished. Yet Greenspan went on to become the Fed's leader and champion -- keeping interest rates artificially low and manipulating the money supply. So he long ago rejected Miss Rand's philosophy of Objectivism -- and now he and all of us are paying the price for it.

East Meadow, NY

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peikoff On The Election

By Joseph Kellard

Dr. Leonard Peikoff offers his brief thoughts on the presidential race on his Oct. 20 podcast:

Here's how Dr. Peikoff starts:

"I have this podcast to discuss ideas, not to choose among the lowest subhumans. I wouldn't dream of voting in this election, not for either side."

Here's how he sums up:

"Personally, I think McCain comes across as a tired moron, Obama as a lying phony, Bidden as an enjoyably hilarious windbag, and Sarah Palin as an opportunist struggling to learn how to become a moron, a phony and a windbag."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

McCain's War Policy is a Dud

McCain’s War Policy is a Dud

By Joseph Kellard

So John McCain may "bomb" Iran. The important questions are
what should he bomb and to what extent.

A committed altruist-pragmatist Republican, McCain would likely
just compromisingly target Iran's nuclear facilities, thus leaving the
ruling theocrats unscathed to rebuild or import their nukes and
capabilities to strike us another day.

But even if McCain wiped out that whole lot of theocrats, they'd be
replaced by their ideological peers. The theocrats pull the strings on
everything in Iran, from how women must dress in public to the
thugs that have taken hostage, terrorized and murdered Americans
for nearly three decades. Supposedly most young Iranians are more
secular, pro-American and want "democracy," but how long must
we wait for them to overthrow their Islamic regime? They've done
little to even weaken it, and I'm suspicious about just how
committed they are to freedom. That the theocrats remain in power
tells me that they still have a lot of support.

So an effective bombing campaign would not only wipe out Iran's
theocrats, but also all their major mosques--especially those where
congregants chant "Death to America"--and any major religious
schools, as well as their nuclear facilities and military complexes.

If the Iranians dared to rebuild another Koran-based government,
our leaders must tell them they will suffer similar consequences.

I can dream, can't I?

Meanwhile, Obama wants to have a "dialogue" with the Iranian
theocrats. So, right now, about the best we can expect is that the
theocrats' own irrationality will do them in. But the timetable for
such a collapse is really impossible to predict, particularly when
you consider the endless propping up Iran receives from the
American Left, our appeasing, so-called European allies and our
enemies in Russia, China and North Korea.

Ultimately, McCain's limited bombing campaign would amount to
little if anything, just as Bush's "surge" is nothing more than a push
for "representative government" so that Iraqis can vote themselves
into some form of statism, as the Taliban-Al Qaeda regroup again in
Afghanistan-Pakistan and Iran contracts out to have others do its
dirty terrorist work.

Our terrible political choices are part of the suffering we continue to
endure due to years of pragmatic foreign policy, and we're assured
to suffer further deadly consequences under Obama or McCain.
This won't change much until our leaders start acting on what the
Yaron Brook- and John Lewis-influenced policy makers in America
propose: all out war!

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and commentator living in New York. Contact him at

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Conspiracy Theorists: The "9/11 Truthers"

By Joseph Kellard

The City Journal has an article on its website, “A Conspiracy of Crackpots,” by John Avlon, regarding the so-called “9/11 Truthers.”

I sent the following post in response to the article:

Conspiracy theorists like the so-called 9/11 Truthers are fundamentally akin to the radical Islamics who, yes, actually attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Islamic 9/11 terrorists held radically to the essence of Islam (and religion as such): faith, that is, the suspension of reason to believe in something that otherwise has no evidence to tie it to reality. The Islamics have faith in the dogmas of their religion, which commands them to go slay non-believers, simply because they reject their particular faith.

Faith, too, explains the essence of the “Truthers.” The “Truthers” enemy is the actual truth, since it doesn’t conform to their particular faith: that America is an evil nation that deserved what it got (from the Islamics) on 9/11. But they try to mask this hatred by, figuratively speaking, faithfully flying planes into the facts, that is, by dreaming up conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact, that is, America itself perpetrated 9/11, so that it’s war-mongering leaders could go to war in the Middle East. The reality they evade is that the Islamics in the Mid-East, most particularly the Iranian theocrats, have been waging war on America for decades before 9/11.

Conspiracy theorists such as the “Truthers” are fundamentally at war with reality.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

They Deserve Every Penny

By Joseph Kellard

Fellow Objectivist Sylvia Bokor and I had letters published in the Boston Globe in response to another letter-writer who challenged Ayn Rand fans to justify CEO pay. Here's the relevant part of his letter:

"The average chief executive makes 344 times as much as the average worker in major US corporations … I challenge any 'free'-market apologists, clutching their Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman books, to come up with a reasonable explanation for this execrable distribution of wealth."

Here's how our letters appeared:

They deserve every penny

September 2, 2008

RE BRYAN Tucker's challenge to Ayn Rand fans ("Too little outrage over pay inequity," Letters, Aug. 28): There's no need to apologize for free markets. But because of considerable miseducation, there is a need to explain them. Tucker's use of the phrase "execrable distribution of wealth" indicates his mistaken Marxist-Keynesian views. Properly, wealth should not be "distributed." It should be earned. Chief executives do that. They earn a lot of money because they have a great deal more responsibility than other employees do. Most important, they create jobs, expand production, and thereby raise the standard of living.

Politicians' promises to "create" jobs are self-aggrandizement. Politicians don't create jobs. CEOs do. That's why they're highly paid.

SYLVIA BOKOR, Albuquerque

CEOS MAKE much more money than the "average" worker because they are exceptional. In short, they are the brains behind a corporation, that is, the Atlases on whose shoulders the entire operation of the corporation fundamentally depends.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Harlequin Saves

By Joseph Kellard
In her book “Infidel,” Ayaan Hirsi Ali acknowledges several people who made it possible for her to survive the Islamic tribalism she grew up under in Africa, to escape to Holland after her father arranged for her to marry a man she didn’t love and to prosper thereafter. But if I were to cite one overriding factor that saved her, it would be the Western novels she read.

Throughout “Infidel,” Ali brings up these books again and again, particularly in regard to love, sex and marriage. To understand their impact, it’s important to recognize the mind-numbing, repressive culture she had to endure. Ali was born in Somalia to religious, clannish Muslim parents, and her mother taught her to memorize old chants of war and death, raids, and camel herding, and female Somali poetry that never mentioned love, which is, she writes, “considered synonymous with desire, and sexual desire is seen as low — literally unspeakable.”

Fortunately, Ali and her family moved to non-Muslim Kenya, where she attended a British colonial-based school and learned English. There she read “1984,” “Huckleberry Finn,” “Wuthering Heights” and tales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.

“Later on there were sexy books: Valley of the Dolls, Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steele,” she writes. “All these books, even the trashy ones, carried with them ideas — races were equal, women were equal to men — and concepts of freedom, struggle, and adventure that were new to me.”

Here are some other excerpts:

“[T]he spark of will inside me grew even as I studied and practiced to submit. It was fanned by the free-spirited novels … Most of all, I think it was the novels that saved me from submission. I was young, but the first tiny, meek beginnings of my rebellion had already clicked into place.”

“I always found it uncomfortable to be opposed to the West. For me, Britain and America were the countries in my books where there was decency and individual choice.”

“I knew that another kind of life was possible. I had read about it … [T]he kind of life I had always wanted, with a real education, a real job, a real marriage … I wanted to become a person, an individual, with a life of my own.”

“Infidel” is a great study for someone who would like to (further) concretize the crucial, life-sustaining role that art plays in man’s life.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Monadnock Valley Experience

By Joseph Kellard

My sister, nephew and his friend, Evan, who had never been to New York City before, visited me from Virginia recently. Acting as amateur tour guide, I drove them around Manhattan one Saturday. Once we made it into the city from the Triborough Bridge, Evan, who is 14, expressed awe at the size of some large, modern apartment buildings. As we drove through mid-town, he kept looking upward out the back window. (I was reminded of that line from the first letter in the book "Letters of Ayn Rand": "I am so Americanized that I can walk in the streets without raising my head to look at the skyscrapers.")

Among our stops or the places we passed were Park Avenue, the Metropolitan Museum, Central Park, Trump Tower, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the GE Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Flatiron Building, McSorley's Old Ale House, Wall Street, the still undeveloped property where the Twin Towers once stood, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

I noticed Evan continued to take particular interest in the buildings, and he revealed that he wants to be an architect. So later, back on Long Island, I handed him a copy of the 25th Anniversary edition of "The Fountainhead," whose cover features Frank O'Conner's wonderful painting "Man Also Rises." I told Evan he may be too young to understand the book. If so, I suggested he pick it up again in a few years.

Evan told me that his mother's boyfriend had already suggested that he read the novel; that it had "changed his life." (Sound familiar?) Evan also said he liked to read and enjoyed books about "psychology." I said that the novel is very philosophical. He thanked me, and said that after reading the description on the back cover, it sounded interesting.

Afterward, I thought about the young man on the bike who meets Howard Roark while he sits on a boulder overlooking a valley dotted with summer resort homes that he created. No, I didn't create "The Fountainhead," but giving it to a youth like Evan nevertheless reminded me of that famous line from that scene at Monadnock Valley: "Roark looked after him. He had never seen that boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime."

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Electric Cars and "Alternative" Energy

By Joseph Kellard

The New York Times on Saturday (7/19/08) published an honest report, "Costly Toys, or a New Era for Drivers?" by Joe Nocera, on the state of electric car technology. A discerning, objectively-informed reader can see in the article a microcosm of the "alternative" energy industry. That is, electric cars are still years away from being a viable competitor to gas-run vehicles, just as other so-called green technologies, including wind and solar energy, still fail to possess the capabilities to be mass-productive and send oil into obsolescence.

Here are a few key excerpts:

"In the documentary ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’ – about the EV1, an all-electric car General Motors began making in 1996 and killed once and for all in 2003 – the filmmakers posit the theory that the vehicle was done in by a grand conspiracy involving the oil industry, the Bush administration and the car industry. But that's not what happened. Gas was cheap when the EV1 was on the market; auto buyers preferred S.U.V.'s. And the technology didn't exist to allow the EV1 to become a viable mass-market automobile. Among its flaws, the EV1 used a nickel metal hydride battery that couldn't get more than 75 miles before needing a charge."

"[E]ven though the range of an electric car can extend to 200 miles or more, that is still not enough for people to abandon internal combustion engines. Surveys have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of people drive 50 miles or less a day - and the nascent electric car industry takes great comfort in those numbers. But what happens when you want to take a longer drive?"

"A plug-in hybrid would drive completely on electricity until the battery runs down - after about 40 miles or so - and only then would the car switch to internal combustion. Such a solution has the potential to cut the nation's gasoline bill in half."

Read the whole article at:

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at

Sunday, June 29, 2008

George Carlin The Nihilist

By Joseph Kellard

The late comedian George Carlin was at his best when he dissected the English language and the ways that people misused it. For example, watch this classic routine on airline safety:

Carlin was also great at demonstrating the absurdities and contradictions of religion. Here’s a pretty standard routine on what he had to say about it:

But mostly I could not watch Carlin because he spewed a seething hatred toward man as such. Despite being an atheist who understood the evils of religion, this view was part of his broader perspective that human beings are evil. Apparently, Carlin never let go of the idea of Original Sin — that man is born corrupt by his nature — that I’m sure he learned in Catholic school.

Carlin’s man-hatred is clearly evident in his views on environmentalism, in which he disparages the green movement, not because he (correctly) regards it as anti-man, but because he primarily sees it (incorrectly) as a movement to make life better for man on Earth. But, actually, this was only his ostensible view of environmentalism. Notice that, when he puts himself in the position of Mother Earth in the video clip below, he says that he “dreams” for a virus like AIDS as Earth’s defense against man. In turn, he comes off as man-hating as a radical environmentalist:

Below is an excerpt from an AP article on Carlin after he died last week. It will give you a better idea as to why I believe he was, essentially, a poster-boy nihilist — that is, a person who fundamentally has no values and actively seeks to destroy values as such:

"I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas," he told Reuters in a 2001 interview.

Carlin told Playboy in 2005 that he looked forward to an afterlife where he could watch the decline of civilization on a "heavenly CNN."

"The world is a big theater-in-the round as far as I'm concerned, and I'd love to watch it spin itself into oblivion," he said. "Tune in and watch the human adventure."

George Carlin wasn’t joking. He meant it.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Communists and The Olympics

By Joseph Kellard

In the March 2002 issue of The Intellectual Activist, Robert Tracinski wrote an essay on that year's scandal at the winter Olympics. The scandal involved collusion between Russian and French judges to alter scores in figure skating. At those games, a flawless pair of Canadian skaters was robbed of first place so that a Russian couple could take the gold.

In his essay, Mr. Tracinski, while providing historical perspective on the former Soviet Union's state-run Olympics program, wrote the following: "For decades, Olympic gold medals were a key element of Communist propaganda. The Olympic games, like other cultural and intellectual 'exchange' programs, were meant to present the Soviet Union and its satellite dictatorships as countries worthy of dealing with the West as equals, both as moral equals and as cultural, technological, and material equals. Sports had a particular role in promoting the alleged material strength of Communism. The healthy bodies of East-Bloc athletes on the Olympic podium were meant to distract our attention from the starving masses of their countrymen."

Tracinski goes on in that essay to note how the Soviets invested many resources in their Olympic athletes, particularly their figure-skaters, and that for those athletes this investment was a rare way for them, under the Soviet dictatorship, "to obtain money, special treatment, and the privileged of traveling abroad."

(Incidentally, I must add that the Soviets also poured a lot into their hockey program. Soviet hockey players were breed to be outstanding athletes -- thanks to the state paying their way, they were able to eat, sleep and drink hockey, 24/7/365. The Soviets won the Olympic gold metal in four consecutive winter Olympic games prior to the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid -- when the Americans "miraculously" defeated them and later won gold -- and two took two more gold medals after this. Note, also, that Russia has not won gold in hockey since the Soviet state dissolved).

Anyway, I thought of Tracinki's TIA essay this week when I read about China's state-backed Olympic program in a recent Time magazine article ("China's Sports School: Crazy for Gold"). Although Communism is waning in influence in modern China, this article clearly demonstrates that collectivism and nationalism are nevertheless very much alive well. But Communist authoritarianism is still being used to recruit athletes in order to help the mother country reach its goal of wracking up the most gold medals at this summer's Olympic games in Beijing.

Here are some excerpts, the first being the opening paragraph:

"A year ago, a slender girl called Cloud had no idea she would dedicate her life to lifting disks of iron above her head. Then a stranger came to her remote village in eastern China's Shandong province, took detailed measurements of her shoulder width, thigh length and waist circumference -- and announced she would have the honor of serving her motherland as a weight lifter. The then 14-year-old daughter of vegetable farmers had little choice in the matter. She had been chosen to be a cog in China's vast sports machine, a multibillion-dollar apparatus designed with one primary goal in mind: churning out Olympic gold medalists."

"For most Chinese, victory in Beijing will not only prove their country's status as a potential superpower but also erase its historic humiliation by colonial powers. Stupefied by opium, cowed by Western firepower, China was dismissed at the outset of the 20th century as the 'sick man of Asia.' Indeed, the first article Chairman Mao ever published was on the importance of sporting success to the national psyche. 'Our nation is wanting in strength," he fretted back in 1917. 'If our bodies are not strong, how can we attain our goals and make ourselves respected?'"

Read the full article here:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Skyscraper Boom Signals Post-9/11 Defeat

By Joseph Kellard

It's great to see that the quintessential American architecture, the skyscraper, is growing in popularity globally as record-high buildings are piercing skies in various corners of the world. What's discouraging, however, is that many are rising in the Middle East (e.g., Saudi Arabia), while it has become tougher to build tall in post-9/11 America.

I read all about this trend in a New York Times' article on Sunday:

"Nearly seven years after the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York portended a pullback from cloud-grazing construction, the world is in the midst of a huge wave of tall building construction, both in number and in size."

"Some of the most ambitious developments are in the petro-fueled economies of the Middle East and Russia. Among the most anticipated is the $1 billion Burj Dubai, a massive tower being developed by Emaar Properties in the United Arab Emirates."

"In contrast, she [Carol Willis, an urban historian and director of the Skyscraper Museum in New York] says that large developments in New York and other Western cities these days are likely to encounter public opposition - as evidenced by initial public reaction to Forrest City Ratner's plan for the 22-acre Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and Jean Nouvel's soaring Midtown Manhattan tower, commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer."

Observe that in the land that produced the terrorists that destroyed the Twin Towers, some of the tallest skyscrapers are going up, while in the city where the attacks took place, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to build at all, and the skyscraper that will replace the towers is significantly smaller in scale.

This is a less obvious but nevertheless significant example of how the radical Islamics are winning the so-called "war on terrorism."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We Must Learn From Their Era's Example

By Joseph Kellard

Occasionally an unusual, even incredible story falls onto a journalist's lap. It happened to me in 2003, when I was a reporter for the Oceanside-Island Park Herald. After Ed Hynes read my article on Nat Glanz, these two fellow World War II prisoners of war decided to reunite.

It's incredible that they had met for just 10 minutes in a Nazi prison camp nearly six decades before, yet Hynes remembered Glanz from certain details in my article about his war experiences. Incredibly, they had both lived in Oceanside all those years, and even belonged to the same veterans organization, but never knew about each other until after my story appeared in the Herald.

That story still makes me reflect on my seven-plus years as a reporter, writing about people from many walks of life, and how among all of them, I’ve come to learn about and respect no group of individuals more than war veterans. Growing up, I'd never attended Memorial Day or Veterans Day ceremonies. But after hearing the vets and their supporters speak while I reported on those events, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001, I began to understand their significance more deeply. And no vets are more significant to me than those who fought in World War II.

They were called on to defeat Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan, two evil regimes bent on America’s destruction. With the fall of both regimes at American hands — especially the decimation of two Japanese cities with atomic bombs — our leaders set an example to the equally evil Soviet regime (a parasitic "ally"), which sought world-wide Communist rule, that it too could meet with our nation’s unprecedented military might and will to use it.

This is why men such as Hynes and Glanz — who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, were imprisoned together in a Nazi camp, and witnessed the tragedies of war-torn Europe — should be admired and endlessly thanked. They put their lives on the line so that they, their loved ones and all of us can enjoy the freedoms that have made America the most advanced, prosperous and greatest nation in history — a status earned thanks to our forefathers’ original and core ideal that each individual has an inalienable right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

When I watched as Hynes and Glanz embraced and exchanged war stories at their first meeting in sixty years, I realized how special it was for me to be among two members of a rapidly shrinking fraternity who fought in history’s most significant war. I still think about how vets like them are ordinary men, but are nonetheless extraordinary in what they helped accomplish. In short, they fought to preserve the only ultimate hope for mankind and civilization: the United States of America.

Today, I am also reminded of how we are in the midst of a new war (well, actually a war whose origins can be traced to the Iranian theocrats who took Americans hostage in 1979), one in which we face an enemy of Islamic radicals who are as evil, and in certain respects more dangerous, than their Nazi and Communist predecessors. They seethe with hatred for America’s ideals and her outstanding success, and they seek not merely to conquer, but to annihilate us infidels and our way of life, and would certainly do so if given the chance.

Hynes and Glanz embody an era of Americans who righteously and confidently faced down, fought and destroyed those earlier threats to this great nation. Let's hope the lessons of their lives, and the moral certainty with which they and their leaders’ fought World War II, are not lost on us today. Those lessons and, more importantly, their implementation in action are our only hope.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally, A House He Can Call His Own

Architect builds California-style home in Long Beach

By Joseph Kellard

At around 9 a.m. on Mother’s Day, guests arrived at the Henrys’ residence on East Walnut Avenue. The group of four didn’t even know Kathy Henry, mother of four, or her husband Matt.

But the Henrys are used to having uninvited guests. This quartet was the latest group to stop by to get a closer look at their new, five-bedroom California-style home, still under construction at the corner of East Walnut and Roosevelt Boulevard.

"This should be in Architectural Digest," one woman half-joked as she greeted Matt where the backyard L-shaped pool wraps under the house.Passers-by and friends alike have told the Henrys that their flat-roofed, sand-colored home seems more suited to the beach or the Hollywood Hills than this neighborhood of older homes, some 1930s Spanish-style — like the one the Henrys tore down to build their new one.

"We get that all the time," said Matt, 39, standing in his yard, which was crammed with ladders, scaffolding, wheelbarrows and a large green dumpster. "Some people stop and talk and ask what kind of home is it. Others say thank you. They tell me, ‘I want to see it when it’s done.’ People just show up. It’s really been exciting."

Henry, a general contractor trained as an architect and a lifelong Long Beach resident, owns HKH Construction, a design company that focuses on residential remodeling. But he has never built his own home, which, he says, has been much more daunting and nerve-racking than building houses for others. But it has also brought him closer to his growing family.

"He waited a long time to do this," said Matt’s wife, Kathy, 41, who is six months pregnant. "When someone mentions the house, I say it’s all Matt. He’s had the ideas for years and they’re his drawings.

We’ve been in the house over 10 years, and we’ve waited a long time to do it. So it’s a testament to his patience and hard work."

In 2002, Matt drew up the plans for the house while coloring with his children. He was inspired by books on Richard Neutra, a prominent architect of the 1940s who was famous for his California moderns. "He did a modern style with a natural feel," Henry explained.

When he began mulling the details of a design, Henry, a graduate of New York Institute of Technology, brought sand from the beach to match a stucco exterior to give the house the appearance of emerging from the sands.

Although the house is modern, he explained, he and Kathy are striving to give the interior a natural but old feel. They hope to achieve this effect not only with the architecture, but also with the materials they’ve chosen: stone-like tiles in the bathrooms instead of porcelain, and walk-in closets on the second floor with sliding doors made of wenge, a dark-grained wood that contrasts with the blond maple floors.

Henry also designed parts of the exterior to integrate with the interior. Each projected, block-shaped section outside the house is paneled in rustic cedar, which in one area will extend onto a broad white wall in the living room.

"Exterior walls pulling in aren’t characteristic of modern design, which has more of a streamlined, sanitary look, whereas the cedar kind of warms it up," Henry said, citing the influence of architect Richard Meier for these touches.

The high-ceilinged living room will have a staircase and a balcony, and a large picture window looks south down Roosevelt Boulevard toward the ocean. A triple-sided fireplace divides the living room and the family room.

In the basement, Henry plans a kids’ playroom that may double as his office, and a staircase will spiral up three floors. The master bedroom has a three-level ceiling ranging from eight to 10 feet high, and the master bath has a special feature: shower heads in the ceiling that project water like rain.

For Matt, the most difficult part of the project was making this house different than anything he’s built before. "When you’re in the industry for 20-something years and you work on enough houses, you kind of get into this track where you don’t want to do what you did at someone else’s place," said Henry, who worked for architect Mike Burkhold, an NYIT professor, in Seacliff and developer Alexander Wolf & Son in Manhattan before starting HKH Construction in 1998.

"At every turn I was stifling myself by saying, ‘you can’t do that because you did that at so-and-so’s house,’" Henry continued. "But that’s silly because there are always going to be some similarities between the houses you build. And what I’ve done for other people has been beautiful, so why not celebrate that and take advantage of that a little bit?"

Henry periodically took his plans to the city’s building department and architect committee to find out what exactly city code permitted. He had to ensure that his home fit the character and style of the neighborhood — including the Congregation Beth Shalom building, which abuts his property and also has a flat roof and square structure.

"In the end, taking up the property and doing this house like we did, for me it’s a love, and I’m inspired by my wife and kids," said Henry, whose family is living temporarily in a home in East Atlantic Beach until mid-summer, when they hope to move into their new digs. "But more than anything, it’s also almost a love or trust and confidence in Long Beach. It’s the town as well, and I wouldn’t make this investment if it weren’t that."

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Introducing My Journalism Blog

I've created a new blog devoted strictly to my favorite articles that I wrote at work for the Herald newspapers here on Long Island.

The few articles I've posted so far were all written and published over the past couple of years, most of them within the last few months. If some seem familiar, that's probably because you've already read them here on this blog.


~ Joseph Kellard

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Commentary Rewrites My Letter on Iran

By Joseph Kellard

I’d like to report that Commentary magazine published my letter about Iran in the May issue. But they cut and rewrote the original so significantly, that not a single sentence is as I wrote it, and it only hints at my main point.

Anyway, the Norman Podhoretz essay on Iran that I replied to can be read here:

My letter and all the others published in response to the essay can be found here:

And below is the published version of my letter, followed by the original.

To the Editor:

Norman Podhoretz argues that the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but would this be sufficient? The mullahs might simply reconstitute their nuclear program, or they might attempt a spectacular terrorist attack on our troops in the region or on American soil. Only if an effort were made to topple the regime would a bombing campaign be worthwhile.

To the Editor:

The problem with Norman Podhoretz’s essay “Stopping Iran: Why the Case for Military Action Still Stands” (February 2008) is that it is too timid.

In the debate over gun control in this nation, some Americans who uphold the Second Amendment properly point out that guns don’t kill people, people do. And that also holds true for nuclear weapons — it’s not the weapons per se that are the danger, but the people who possess them. Podhoretz’s essay is premised on the false alternative of whether or not the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is a false option because even if the administration or another did bomb those targets, the “people” -- that is, the American-hating Islamic fanatics that rule Iran -- would nevertheless live another day to rebuild those facilities, or import nuclear capabilities from other dictatorial regimes that threaten us and other free people.

The case for bombing Iran is unquestionable, given the war its regime has waged on America for nearly 30 years (including in Iraq and Afghanistan today). The only question to rationally debate is to what extent our so-called leaders need to bomb the ruling mullahs and ayatollahs, their nuclear facilities and their mosques and schools that preach “death to America.” Only when we use devastating force against them will their threat to America be eliminated.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Performing 'Wonderous' Music

Band covers entire classic rock albums

By Joseph Kellard

Wonderous Stories once played the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the Who’s “Tommy” and Yes’s “Close to the Edge” — all in their entirety. While that’s an unusual set for the five-piece band, performing whole albums is a trademark of Wonderous Stories, whose members further pride themselves on never practicing together or following a set list.

At a show at TJ Farrel’s in Bellmore last Friday, the band played no LPs, yet hinted that they might by opening the show with “Baba O’Riley” and “Bargain,” the first two tracks on “Who’s Next.” By evening’s end, keyboardist Mark Bonder let loose the eerie wind and cathedral-like synthesizer sounds that introduce “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” as drummer Ricky Martinez did his best Elton John on lead vocals. Bonder and Martinez are two of the band’s multi-instrumental musicians, along with front man Kenny Forgione and Kevin McCann, who both sing and play guitar and bass, and lead guitarist Tommy Williams.

In between the Who and Elton John songs, the band peppered their sets with a host of Beatles’ tunes, including “Magical Mystery Tour,” “A Day in the Life,” “Taxman,” and “Birthday,” the last at the request of some fans in the crowd celebrating their special day.

“Here’s one you won’t hear everyday,” Forgione said before breaking into “I Am The Walrus,” as Bonder’s keyboard supplied the string section.

While Wonderous Stories’ library features enough familiar tunes, the band never shies away from playing relatively obscure songs. Last Friday, they performed Yes’s most popular song “Roundabout,” when Jon Anderson-like vocalist Laura Press stepped on stage to sing, as well as the lesser known “Heart of the Sunrise” from the same album. “Here goes nothing,” Forgione said before he plunged into that technical number.

While the band is faithful to the recorded versions, sometimes uncannily so, they still take enough liberties with the covers to express their particular styles. The one constant, though, is their spot-on, tight precision, a quality all the more outstanding considering their disdain for rehearsals.

“We’re able to do this because these are all songs we grew up listening to,” said Forgione, who spent his pre-Wonderous Stories’ days performing with McCann.

The duo’s acoustic gigs ranged from well-known Beatles’ tunes to Tears for Fears-like pop songs of the day. But they also injected some personal favorites, such as Peter Gabriel-era Genesis tunes. “And we’d always have some people who would tell us, ‘I can’t believe you’re playing that stuff,’” Forgione recalled.

In 1993, he and McCann formed a trio with Chris Clark, the band’s original keyboardist, who introduced much of the intricate progressive rock, including Yes. After adding a drummer, the quartet played increasingly more sets of this intense, relatively obscure music. The following year, Martinez, the drummer on PBS’s “Sesame Street,” replaced the band’s percussionist, and two years later Williams, the musical director for 1980s pop star Debbie Gibson, completed Wonderous Stories (named and spelled after a Yes song).

In more recent years, Bonder has filled in as Clark has performed on Broadway, most recently in “Wicked.” But when Bonder, Martinez and Williams joined the band, each brought more songs to cover, from Pink Floyd to Steely Dan.

The idea to play whole albums grew out of Forgione’s love of one in particular. “‘Tommy’ affected me from the time I was a kid,” said Forgione, who keeps his long brown hair in a ponytail. “When I heard it, it freaked me out. So if it did that for me, it must have done it for other people, too.”

“All of us said, ‘Wow, this is really fascinating and challenging, let’s try to pull this off,’” Martinez remembered.

The band first tested the waters with “Sgt. Pepper,” as Clark learned to play the difficult parts, like the strings on “She’s Leaving Home.” “People loved it,” Forgione recalled, “because not only are you playing the hits everyone knows, but also the songs that people forget about.”

The band then played “Tommy,” a double-LP, and several other, mostly “concept” albums, including the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” which they once performed at Heckscher Park before some 4,000 fans.

Wonderous Stories draws many fans in their 40s and 50s, but is attracting a sizable younger crowd, including college-age kids, at its gigs at venues like B.B. King Blues Club in Manhattan, Coyote Grill in Island Park, Mulcahy’s in Wantagh, and the Jones Beach boardwalk band shell.

Williams, who grew up in Merrick listening to the Beatles, Cream, Yes and Genesis when disco and punk were the rage, is surprised and heartened when younger fans sing back to them every lyric of every song, even the obscure ones, from any random album they play. He sees this as their yearning for the album era.

“With the advent of downloading, very few people download a whole album — they mostly take a song or two from many different albums,” Williams said. “So the idea of an album as an entity that you listen to, it’s become like an aging bottle of wine. It’s much cooler to get one of those now.”

The band opened its second set on Friday with a medley of vintage numbers, including “Lucky Man” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” and Traffic’s “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” Among the last few songs on their impromptu list were the Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out” and “Bodhisattva” by Steely Dan.

“That’s the thing with us,” Forgione said, “you never know what we’re going to play. We don’t even know what we’re going to play.”

To learn more about Wonderous Stories, visit the band’s Web site at

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Pope on Pedophile Priests

Below is a letter I wrote to the New York Times in response to an article on the pope addressing the issue of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church (“Pope, in U.S., Is ‘Ashamed’ of Pedophile Priests,” by Ian Fisher and Laurie Goodstein, April 16, 2008).

This letter is a revision version of an earlier letter I wrote here.

To the Editor:

The pope reportedly has difficulty understanding the actions of his church’s pedophile priests. He would do best to honestly examine certain Christian-Catholic doctrines, specifically their fundamental ideas on man and sex that give rise to pedophiles.

Christianity starts with Original Sin, the doctrine that tells man he is corrupt by nature. Along comes Catholicism to tell him sex is materialistic and thus debased, devoid of spiritual meaning, a “necessary evil” permitted only for procreation among married couples. And so Catholicism deems certain other actions as inherently immoral: pre-marital sex, masturbation, homosexuality and birth control -- because the Bible or its earthly authorities (i.e., the popes) say so.

Moreover, according to Christian doctrine, man is damned not only for his sexual acts, but also for his thoughts, as when he covets his neighbor’s wife. Accordingly, a good Christian must repress sexual fantasy because just that mere thought is morally indistinguishable from a sexual act. Notice, too, that Christianity’s ideals are Jesus, a man without sexuality, and the Virgin Mary, who conceived him without the alleged stigma of sexual intercourse. Priests and nuns embody these ideals in their vows of celibacy.

Meanwhile, Catholics understandably rebel against such a repressive sexual philosophy. Yet some of their religion’s most devote practitioners, priests, essentially revert to another mindless false alternative: sexual hedonism. They who try most to adhere to their faith’s contradictory, anti-man, anti-life ideals must fall short of achieving them and thereby feel unearned guilt and low self-esteem. These consequences can, for some, manifest themselves in an attraction for those they can feel some sense of power over: children.

Ultimately, the pope should understand that Christianity-Catholicism is devoid of, even hostile to, the actual virtues and values that lead to a healthy sex life — independent thought and egoism, and a view of sex as a prideful celebration of one’s rational achievements.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Book: Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts

By Joseph Kellard

While browsing through the new books section at my local Barnes & Noble, I came across “Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts: How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers” by Carl J. Richard.

The book’s liner notes and it chapter headings spoke of individual rights, described America as a republic (not a democracy), and noted the important intellectual influence the ancient Greeks and Romans had on the founding fathers—all of which encouraged me to add this book to my “to read” list. Here is’s review:

“This lively and engaging book is the only popular work to explore the profound impact of Ancient Greece and Rome on the founding fathers. Recounting the stirring stories the founders encountered in their favorite histories of Greece and Rome, renowned scholar Carl J. Richard explores what they learned from these vivid tales and how they applied these lessons to their own heroic quest to win American independence and establish a durable republic.”

Mr. Richard’s also published a similar book in 1995 titled: “The Founders and the Classics: Greece, Rome, and the American Enlightenment.”

Again, has a review:

“While it is well known that the Greek and Latin languages and literatures informed the educations and cultural vocabularies of 18th-century Americans, few studies have fully attempted to describe and explore the formative role of the classics for the leaders of the American Revolution and the framers of the Constitution. Providing abundant examples, historian Richard (Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana) argues compellingly that the classics played a definitive role in the minds of figures such as Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Washington, and many others, providing not only theories of constitutional government, human nature, and virtue but even models for emulation.”

It appears Mr. Richard’s books may be good sources of intellectual ammunition to be used on the religionists who put so much non-objective emphasis on the founders’ faith and Bible readings as the basis for the government they established.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Whistler's Mother Has Nothing on Them

Long Beach-based artist group for moms shows works in gallery

By Joseph Kellard

A print of Renoir’s "Child in White" on her bedroom wall served as the sister she never had while growing up in Indiana.

"Throughout my life, art has inspired me," said Sueanne Shirzay, the Lido Beach woman who last Sunday opened an exhibit featuring the Long Beach-based Artist Mothers Group at her namesake gallery, located on the second floor above Carpet Craft, at 4410 Austin Blvd. in Island Park.

While Shirzay hopes patrons will find their own personal "Child in White" to inspire them among the AMG’s works adorning her studio walls, she found that joining the group last year inspired her to open the gallery by year’s end.

"It’s really been a constant source of information," Shirzay said about the 13-member group comprised of artists who create in diverse mediums, from paintings to fiber to PhotoShop.

The exhibit, which runs until April 19, also features drawings, jewelry and decorated coffee tables, with paintings ranging in price from prints that go for $45 to originals that climb into the thousand dollar range.

Shirzay, a former advertising and publishing art director and mother of children ages 6, 11 and 13, exhibited her painting "Hydrangeas," featuring the flowers in a suspended glass vase. The painting shared wall space with PhotoShop collages that came from the lens of Denise Bory, a co-founder of AMG. The Lido Beach woman takes detailed digital shots of her subjects, including insects, flower buds and sunsets, and merges these components, usually around a portrait of a child or animal, to evoke a particular theme, such as tropical or seasonal motifs.

"I often change around colors," Bory said about the artistic side of her medium, which she dubs "digistration." "I may start out with something green, like a leaf, and change it to purple.” Bory, whose son is now 8-years-old, was living in Long Beach when she helped establish the Artist Mothers Group in October 2001. Among her cohorts is Lillian Gruber of Long Beach, who then had a toddler daughter and recalled that the idea for a moms-oriented group originated in a breastfeeding group. They found other women there had artistic sides that were inhibited by motherhood. The group would grow to include textilists, sculptors, ceramic craftswomen, and pencil and pastel artists, some of them award winners and others who’d worked for the likes of Hanna-Barbera and Disney.

"We found that it had all been some time since we’d done our art," Gruber remembered, "and that there was nothing here for women with children who could do art."

Some AMG members, along with Bory and Gruber, belonged to the Long Beach Art League, and found that people at that and other groups were simply intolerant of children around for various reasons.

Elizabeth Connolly of Long Beach, a textile designer before she had a child and joined the AMG, said people were mostly concerned that the children would disturb things, whether pieces of art or the calm of the class.

"With the Artist Mothers Group," Connolly said, "we were able to band together and make a place for ourselves, because having our children beside us is important."

At last Sunday’s exhibit, Connolly displayed her coffee table-type polyvinyl bowl, and on a wall hung one of her tapestries, called "Self-Preservation," which featured a canvas covered in layers of objects, including a bouquet of dried-up roses and lavender, a scarf-like fabric and filaments such as earrings and twigs.

Originally, the AMG met weekly at one member’s house, where a babysitter watched their children upstairs while the mothers drew or painted hired models downstairs. The next year, in 2002, the group staged its first show, and it received a grant from the Nassau Council for the Arts, and later was given the opportunity to hold weekly drawing sessions at the Long Beach Community Center, where the group operates today.

Members went on to hold more shows, and in March 2003 received an award from the Nassau Council for the Arts for an exhibit entitled "The Motherhood Experience." This show was held at the Long Beach Library later that year, which made the pages of Newsday, and since then the AMG has exhibited at South Shore galleries. And while the group’s exposure grew, so did its membership that started to include women who had older children.

Paula Gach Moskowitz of Long Beach joined the AMG as a mother of teenagers who needed a place to retreat to paint her portraits and landscapes. But that didn’t mean her children were no longer a distraction.

"When I go to paint, it’s like I leave the world," Moskowitz explained. "But once I had kids, I could never really totally relax like that because your life belongs to them, 24/7, and you’re always worrying about them, and it’s very hard to leave that space of anxiety, concern and vigilance to totally remove yourself."

Moskowitz — whose large painting "Long Beach Sky" is dominated by a dark-blue cloud that dwarfs the beach-goers below — said AMG is important to her because of the empathy they showed for her concerns with family.

"I felt that everyone was serious about their art," she said, "but had the same issue of having to choose between doing your art or taking care of the kids."

Jennifer Turturro of Baldwin got involved with AMG three years ago after her daughter was born, which gave her the opportunity to work at least one time a week on her art when once she had seemingly endless hours. The group also gave her the chance to be around women with the same creative needs.

Besides paints, Turturro works in wool, and one of her pieces on display at the gallery was a basketball-sized hibiscus, whose red, orange and yellow petals were needle and wet felted from a ball of wool. It took about 10 hours to create, but when asked if she did it in one sitting, Turturro laughed and said, "No, over days, because I have toddlers running around the house, and there’s diapers to be changed, meals to be made and toys to be picked up."

For information about the Artist Mothers Group, visit their Web site at, or contact the Sueanne Shirzay Gallery at (516) 241-5836, by email at or visit the Web site at

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'm The Old Kid In Town

(I was recently promoted to editor of the second-largest newspaper in my company's chain of community publications here on Long Island. The following is a rather light introductory column addressed to my new readers).

By Joseph Kellard

I’m an honest guy. So there’ll be no empty words here telling you that, after six-plus years as the reporter/editor of the Oceanside-Island Park Herald, I took the position of Long Beach editor because I have an undying love for the city. Let’s just leave my main motive at this: I needed a raise.

Now, let’s get on with what’s probably important to you, dear Herald reader, and that is that I know Long Beach well and have always enjoyed this city. I grew up nearby, in Oceanside, and spent my adult years there before moving to East Meadow last March. Over the decades I’ve spent many sunny days catching rays on the beach and, I must admit, numerous nights socializing at Long Beach’s bars, including, yes, Chauncey’s, the notorious West End watering hole turned townhouses.

But that was many broken waves and Budweisers ago, and what’s most relevant is that I got my start in journalism as a reporter for the Independent Voice, the Long Beach newspaper that the Herald purchased in 2001, after which I was hired as a reporter under Keith Grant, then the editor of this publication. Between the two papers, I have about 16 months of experience reporting in Long Beach under my 32-inch belt.

So even though the interim has been long, I believe I still have enough of a feel for the pulse of this city to pick up where I left off. And I’ve never really left. I continue to frequent the boardwalk on summer days and can be found chatting with friends or reading at Starbucks near City Hall, and I’ve periodically covered some Long Beach-related stories. In recent years they’ve included the murder of city native Robert Calabrese Jr. and his killer’s trial and sentencing, the East End residents unnerved by noisy Island Park nightclubs and the school district’s debate over whether to enroll Island Park high school students (see my front page follow-up).

If anything stands out about my earlier experiences reporting here, it’s that there was no shortage of stories to tell. The news is constant, and the interesting and accomplished people to profile are many. And that’s another big reason I took this editor’s position. Of all the South Shore communities the Heralds cover, Long Beach is by far the most exciting. The one concern I foresee is that there’s only so much editorial space, so selectivity of stories is of the essence.

In undertaking this task, first and foremost, I need to find out what issues you, the readers, and I think are most important. But I also aim to provide the unexpected — that is, what really makes the news “new.” This way, when you pick up your Herald each week, I hope you’ll do so with the expectation that we’ll cover not only the obviously important and traditional stories — but also with an eagerness to see what new angles we may take on them, or what connections we might make between seemingly unrelated events, or what new intriguing personalities and unsung heroes we find.

That’s the path down which I’d like to steer this paper. There’s no telling which way it’ll lead, but hope you enjoy the ride and the new scenery.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York. Please post comments about this article.

For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New Sins, Pedophilia & Catholicism

I wrote the following letter and emailed it to various nationwide newspapers. The article that sparked my response can be read here:,2933,336330,00.html

To the Editor:

The Vatican lists pedophilia among its newly-added seven deadly sins, and the Pope apparently believes that Catholic priests sexually molest children because they put “trust in themselves and in their own merits,” he said, and are “blinded by their own ‘I,’” – that is, independent thought, pride and egoism made them do it. In reality, however, the causes can be traced to Catholic doctrines.

While I’m not a psychologist, I’m sure an adult’s desire to have sex with children involves many complex causes that even the most rational of psychologists find difficult to understand. Yet, while many non-Catholics molest children, I nevertheless maintain that Catholicism’s views on man and sex contribute strongly to this problem among its practitioners.

Christianity starts with the doctrine of Original Sin, which tells man he is corrupt by nature. Along comes Catholicism to tell him sex is permitted only for procreation among married couples, while maligning sex for an individual’s own rational pleasure, happiness and self-celebration as materialistic, low and devoid of spiritual meaning. And so Catholicism regards certain actions as inherently immoral: pre-marital sex, masturbation, homosexuality and birth control – and only because the Bible or its earthly authorities (the Popes) say so.

Moreover, according to Christian doctrine, man is damned not only for what he does, but also for his thoughts, as when he covets (sexually desires) his neighbor’s wife. Accordingly, a man must repress even sexual fantasy because just the mere (impure) thought is morally indistinguishable from a sexual act. Notice, too, that Christianity’s ideals are Jesus, a man without sexuality, and the Virgin Mary, who conceived him without the alleged stigma of having had sex. Priests and nuns embody these ideals in their vows of celibacy.

Meanwhile, Catholics understandably rebel against such a repressive sexual philosophy, but some of Catholicism’s most devote practitioners, priests, essentially revert to the other false alternative of hedonism. They who try most to adhere to their faith’s contradictory, anti-man, anti-life ideals must fall short of achieving them and, subsequently, feel unearned guilt and low self-esteem – consequences that, I believe, can for some manifest themselves in a attraction for those they can feel some sense of power over: children.

Pedophilia is neither, as some moderns contend, an uncontrollable “diseases,” nor is it the product of independence, pride and egoism – the actual values needed for a healthy sex life. Instead, a pedophile’s thoughts and actions are rooted in his fundamental philosophic premises, and are, in part, among the many tragic consequences of a faith in religious doctrines.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Monday, March 17, 2008

ARI Op-ed on Subprime Published

By Joseph Kellard

Today I printed Alex Epstein’s insightful ARI op-ed “Too Big To Bail” in the Oceanside-Island Park Herald. This newspaper, which I’m now leaving to become the editor of a larger publication in the Herald’s chain of Long Island community papers, has some 5,000-plus subscribers, and potentially thousands of other readers. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Epstein’s op-ed, followed by a link to the complete version:

“For decades our government has had a semi-official policy that large financial institutions are too big to fail--and therefore must be bailed out when they risk insolvency--a policy that creates perverse incentives for them to take on far more risk than they otherwise would. ‘Too big to fail’ is implemented through a network of government bodies that protect financial institutions from the long-term consequences of their decisions at taxpayer expense--a phenomenon we can observe right now.”

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York. Please post comments about this article.

For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama's Racist, Anti-American Mentor

By Joseph Kellard

On Friday night (March 14), I turned on The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, and Bill O’Reilly was interviewing two women who were defending Barak Obama’s long-time mentor and “spiritual leader,” Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Wright has stated that 9/11 was the “chickens coming home to roost” for America’s supposedly aggressive foreign policy (particularly for its support of Israel over the Palestinians). A self-described “black liberation theologian,” Wright has also made the following statements during his sermons at the United Trinity Church of Christ:

“We cannot see that what we are doing is what Al Qada is doing under a different colored flag.”

“Fighting for peace is like raping for virginity.”

“God damn America for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating us citizens as less than human.”

“The government lied about inventing the AIDS virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”

“The government lied about the Tuskegee experiment. They purposely infected African American men with syphilis.”

The following is my email to O’Reilly (with a reference to an invitation, by one of his guests, to visit Wright at his church), who can be contacted at (

Mr. O’Reilly,

Rev. Wright is essentially a racist and viciously anti-American. I see that you understand this, and I hope you have the courage to call him such to all of his apologists—and Wright himself, when and if you meet him.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, New York

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spitzer's Comeuppance Falls Short

By Joseph Kellard

Over in the comments section of a post at Gus Van Horn’s site, Galileo Blogs offered the following insight about Eliot Spitzer that I believe is right on target:

"He was less an enemy of business as such than he was an enemy of particular businessmen whom he felt had opposed or slighted him in some way ... As an example, witness how he had a penchant for personally threatening men such as John Whitehead, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs."

I had noticed this penchant, but was unaware of the depth of Spitzer’s personal vendettas. When Spitzer ran for governor in 2006, I entered the voting booth with an overriding theme: vote against the Republicans. Their actions since the 2004 presidential elections — from George Bush’s rhetoric on the war that proved to be all hot air, to the religionists who showed total disregard for our Constitutional Republic during the Terry Schiavo matter, to the increased “me-too” pragmatism of conservatives on issues such as health care — convinced me that the Republicans were accelerating the rate of pacifism and statism in our nation. And so I voted for the Democrats across the board, no matter who they were, so long as I knew them not to be evil, such as the explicit racist Charles Barron, a former Black Panther who sits on the New York City Council. The only Dem I refused to vote for, however, was Spitzer. He was too dangerous a thug for me to give him any kind of sanction.

Before and after Spitzer’s resignation, I heard some of his Republican opponents praise him for some of his political policies. But given what a wannabe dictator the man was, whatever good policies he may have had (and I don’t know of any), they are essentially irrelevant in the face of his basic, evil nature. So to hear Republicans speak of him, even with just faint praise, confirmed that I made the right choices in 2006 — both in voting against them and refusing to pull the lever for Spitzer.

Meanwhile, I dashed off and sent the letter below to both the New York Post editorial staff and the author of his opinion piece on Spitzer at:

Here is an excerpt from the column:

“Spitzer, as attorney general, was repeatedly accused of improperly threatening Wall Street investment bankers - not to mention their firms and other related businesses, such as insurance - with legal actions if they didn't admit to alleged wrongdoings and pony up hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

"While few initially doubted the legitimacy of Spitzer's charges, serious questions began to be raised after John Whitehead, the highly regarded former head of Goldman Sachs, wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal describing a harrowing confrontation with a menacing attorney general.”

To the Editor:

Fred Dicker’s piece on Eliot Spitzer (“Bully Gets His Comeuppance,” March 11) further confirmed what a thug the man was -- or is. The problem with Spitzer’s downfall is that [it] happened over a sex scandal and not for the dictatorial behavior he exhibited toward his real or perceived enemies, such as innocent businessmen like John Whitehead.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Send letters to the editor:

Sent letters to Fred Dicker:

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Devious Swtich to "Climate Change"

By Joseph Kellard

Daily Tech reports the following:

“Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.”

Read the complete article here:

Objectivist blogger Ergo asks in regard to this report on the record cold temperatures throughout the world: “So, is it time to return to the global cooling hysteria of the 1970s?”

No, for the environmentalists, it is time now to turn to “climate change” hysteria. It is exactly their anticipation of this natural cyclical trend — between years/decades of general warming followed by years/decades of general cooling — that has made the greens switch to calling our alleged weather crisis “global warming” to the completely elastic term “climate change.” Environmentalists have denied that this is a natural trend, and that doesn't matter anyway: when they’re proven wrong they can just switch the terms of the debate.

When the world was generally cooling during the 1970s, the green hysteria was that Industrial Man was returning us to a new Ice Age, one that would mean mass death for many people the world over, particularly those in the coldest climes. In the 1980s, when their predictions failed to materialize and global temps began to rise, the greens turned to a new hysteria, “global warming,” and propagandized it with pictures of Mother Earth going up in flames — i.e., an inferno courtesy of Industrial Man.

Now that the cycle of cooling is apparently on again, the greens — having anticipated its return — have reverted to calling our supposed weather crisis “climate change.” It’s a transparent means of keeping themselves from getting trapped in the narrow boxes of using specific words such as “cooling” and “warming" to describe these man-made crises. They recognize the corner they’ve painted themselves in and have reverted to calling these natural climate fluctuations “change.” What a nice, broad, flexible word that can be bent to mean anything at any time! If the global climate trend is starting to return back to cooling, once again, this is no problem for the greens. They’ll just call it “climate change” ” — i.e., shifts in weather patterns. The term “climate change” allows them the flexibility to make any changes in the weather appear as if they are unnatural, chaotic and, of course, due to Industrial Man.

We cannot let the environmentalist get away with this shift from the narrow, specific term “global warming” to “climate change.” We have to remind the environmentalists that an Ice Age did not occur after their hysterical cries of “global cooling” in the 1970s, that the earth did not fry after their cries of “global warming” the past few decades, that the weather has always and always will “change," and that "climate changes" is meaningless term.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Don't Forget: Praise the Good

By Joseph Kellard

Overall, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve found that it's more important to spend your time supporting the good than condemning the bad. In the long run, it encourages more of the good, and you're more likely to get that from those who are already preaching the correct policies, than with those you're condemning and perhaps trying to persuade to see things more rationally.

That's why I've posted this email I sent to Caroline Baum, who wrote a column for Bloomberg News called "John Galt Plan Might Save U.S. Financial System." Baum hedges at the end of her column, suggesting there is still a place for the government to get involved in the economy--a "backstop"--but it's unclear exactly what she means. I decided to go ahead and praise here nevertheless for her support of capitalism. And I’ve posted this email here to encourage OActivists to spend more time praising the good wherever and whenever they appear.

Hello Caroline Baum,

I wanted to thank you for having the courage to assert the John Galt plan to save the economy. To essentially state that there should be a separation between economy and state takes courage in today's alarmingly statist environment that is seemingly morphing non-stop. The post-Enron anti-freedom regulations are perhaps the most damaging of these interventionist measures.

Please know that there are principled people out here, even if only a small minority, that support you on this plan, and we're doing our best to battle the statists who are doing everything to smear and stop our pro-freedom take on the economy--not to mention our entire Objectivist philosophy.

Please stand by your plan and soldier on.

Joseph Kellard

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Letter to Times on Castro-Communist Apologists

I sent the following letter to the New York Times regarding a good article the newspaper published on the evasions of American leftists and Cuban apologists of communism and Fidel Castro.

To the Editor:

It is good to see the New York Times publish an article about how American leftists and Cuban apologists for Castro continue to evade the harsh realities of his communist regime (“For Those Who Fled, a Retort to Cuba,” by David Gonzalez, March 10).

However, I would have liked to have seen those realities spelled out in more detail, beyond just the arrest and jailing of some dissidents, and I could do without the underhanded championing of Cuba’s supposedly superior educational and medical industries. (Cuban “education,” for starters, comes with a heavy dose of communist indoctrination, and the medical care is characterized by shortage of inferior services and materials typical of socialist systems.)

Nevertheless, the Times appears to be coming more and more to terms with the anti-human life existence under communist regimes (at least in Cuba and the Soviet Union) that others, such as philosopher and author Ayn Rand, knew and wrote about for many decades before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Letter on Iran to Commentary magazine

The following is a letter I wrote to Commentary magazine, in response to an essay on Iran in last month’s issue.

To the Editor:

The problem with Norman Podhoretz’s essay “Stopping Iran: Why the Case for Military Action Still Stands” (February 2008) is that it is too timid.

In the debate over gun control in this nation, some Americans who uphold the Second Amendment properly point out that guns don’t kill people, people do. And that also holds true for nuclear weapons — it’s not the weapons per se that are the danger, but the people who possess them. Podhoretz’s essay is premised on the false alternative of whether or not the United States should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is a false option because even if the administration or another did bomb those targets, the “people” -- that is, the American-hating Islamic fanatics that rule Iran -- would nevertheless live another day to rebuild those facilities, or import nuclear capabilities from other dictatorial regimes that threaten us and other free people.

The case for bombing Iran is unquestionable, given the war its regime has waged on America for nearly 30 years (including in Iraq and Afghanistan today). The only question to rationally debate is to what extent our so-called leaders need to bomb the ruling mullahs and ayatollahs, their nuclear facilities and their mosques and schools that preach “death to America.” Only when we use devastating force against them will their threat to America be eliminated.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, New York

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Abstaining from Voting

By Joseph Kellard

As circumstances currently stand, I do not plan to vote for either McCain or Hillary in November, if they are indeed the last two candidates standing. I know little about Obama; I haven't paid much attention to the primaries -- but what I do know leads me to believe he has many more flaws than virtues. (If I recall correctly, at his coming-out party at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, he completely turned the essence of the Declaration of Independence on its head to appear as if it supported his collectivist politics.)

Depending on who I think will win as the November election nears, I will probably vote for a Republican Congress if Hillary is the favorite, and I will do the opposite if McCain is likely to win. I always root for gridlock and bickering between the two parties -- with the hope that increasingly more Americans will get disgusted with both sides and seek an alternative: Objectivism. (Unfortunately, however, I think the danger here is that many Americans, being the un-philosophical lot that they are, will turn to Libertarianism instead.)

As I see it, McCain is the poster boy for all that is wrong with conservatism, and considering his uber-pragmatism, a la George W. Bush, I’m not buying his words that he’ll he “tough” on Islamic terrorists. And I simply will not vote for Hillary -- a transparent power-luster who will undoubtedly seek to socialize medical care once again, especially if given a leftist Congress -- as way of opposing McCain and sticking it to the Republicans.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Seasons of Perfection

Athletes, coaches reflect on undefeated Oceanside H.S. teams

By Joseph Kellard

Statistically speaking, the 1973 Oceanside High School boys’ soccer team was more dominant than the New England Patriots, who head into Super Bowl XLII on Sunday with a perfect record. That’s the opinion of Ron Atanasio, the star player on that OHS squad, which posted an 18-0 record and outscored its opponents 100 goals to 4.

“That was, and to this day is, the best high school team that was ever fielded,” said Atanasio, who was a junior in ’73. “We would have beaten a lot of college teams with that high school team — that’s how good we were.”

Consider also that the squad’s stats could have been even better. Atanasio, who shattered all of the school’s scoring records and went on to play profession soccer with PelĂ© and the New York Cosmos in the late 1970s, recalled that in games in which the Sailors took a 5-, 6- or 7-goal lead by halftime, his coach, the late Artie Wright, would yank him from the lineup.

“Wright used to take me out and never let me play the second half because I used to score the goals, and he didn’t want to win 15-0 and rub it anyone’s face,” Atanasio recalled. In the playoffs that year, Oceanside downed Calhoun 6-0, Lynbrook 7-0, Mepham 4-1 and, in the county championships, Farmingdale 7-0.

The ’73 soccer team was one of just six OHS teams in the school’s history that have posted undefeated seasons. The 1938 football team finished 7-0, the 1955 football team was 8-0, the 1958 boys’ soccer team went 15-0, the 1969 boys’ soccer team was 17-0-1 and, for the decade between 1965 and 1975, the boys’ track team was in another category entirely, winning 82 consecutive meets.

The soccer program is arguably the school’s most successful. Wright, who started the program in 1953 and coached the team until he retired in 1978, compiled a 315-80-40 record and led his squads to 19 championships, including nine county and four Long Island titles.

“It was something very special,” said Warren Cadiz, who was Wright’s assistant coach from 1968 to 1973. “With the 1973 team, Artie just pulled all the right strings. He seemed to know when to make the right moves.”

For Atanasio, the question was never whether the team would manage to go undefeated, but rather how badly the Sailors would defeat their opponents. “There really wasn’t any pressure, because we were so much better,” said Atanasio, 51, who retired to Hampton Bays after co-owning a Manhattan-based woman’s handbag company. “You know how the Patriots almost lost a couple of close games this year? We weren’t even close to that. Our average scores were like a football team winning 42 to nothing all the time.”

The coaches’ biggest fear, Cadiz said, was that the players’ confidence, which grew as the season went on, might work against them. And the unthinkable almost happened in the team’s final game of the year, the Long Island Championship, in which the Sailors defeated West Islip 1-0.

“I think everybody might have been uptight in that game,” Cadiz remembered, noting that West Islip played a defensive game and managed only a few fast breaks. “But our defense was so dominant, we always seemed to clear the ball, and even the goaltenders, when they had to make a play, they would,” Cadiz said.

Wright’s players attribute the success of his program to the youth soccer leagues that he started at Oceanside schools when the sport was still alien to most Americans. Paul Fardy, a midfielder on the 15-0 team in 1958, said Wright got kids interest in soccer when they were still in elementary school.

“Mr. Wright had a wonderful and very captivating personality,” said Fardy, 66, who became a cardiologist and now lives in Point Lookout, “and so he got a lot of kids who were good athletes to play soccer that might just as well have played football. He introduced them to this new game.

Fardy played in what he believes was the first-ever night game on Long Island at OHS, before a couple of thousand spectators, when the ’58 Sailors defeated South Side 2-0. “The place was packed,” Fardy recounted. “It was standing room only and was really quite something. It was very exciting.”

In the county championship, the Sailors blanked Garden City 2-0, and they played South Side again in the South Shore Championship at Adelphi, winning 4-1.

A track record of winning

In 1965, in a meet against Uniondale, coach Roy Chernock’s boys’ track team was the last Oceanside squad to lose a meet until April 28, 1975, 82 meets later, when the Sailors fell to Uniondale again.

From the time he took over the track team in 1957 to the day he passed the coaching baton to Ken Hendler in 1967, Chernock’s teams posted a 105-3 record, capturing the Eastern State championship in 1963 and indoor state titles in 1961 and 1964. Hendler, who continues to coach the high school track and cross-country teams, recalled that there was a lot of pressure to win when following such a successful coach. “Roy Chernock passed the tradition to me,” Hendler said, “and you knew what was expected and what those goals were, and we tried to continue those goals.” Hendler continued Chernock’s notoriously difficult workouts, all the while reminding his athletes of the stars of teams past and the undefeated streak.

Brian Batzer, who ran the 440 and the 880 in 1972, called Hendler an excellent motivator who always worked the athletes into peak condition for the biggest meets. While he never let them forget the streak, Batzer said that he and his teammates felt no extra pressure.

“We just expected to win,” said Batzer, an assistant principal at Holy Cross High in Flushing who lives in West Hempstead. “It wasn’t conceit or anything like that. There were just great athletes on that team.”

Batzer remembered meets against schools that the Sailors were almost sure to beat, when Hendler would enter his athletes in events that weren’t their specialties. “And we’d still beat those teams by a lot,” Batzer said, recalling one event in which his coach made him run the two-mile, and then immediately follow it up with the 200-yard sprint.

The loss to Uniondale in 1975, as Hendler remembers it, was a thrilling meet that could have gone either way, and came down to the final relay. In the three seasons that followed, Hendler’s team again never lost a meet. The Sailors lost once in 1979 — again, to Uniondale — before going undefeated again in 1980.

Gridiron greatness: from worst to first

Oceanside’s football team had lost all eight of its games in 1954, the year before Joe Scannella took over the program and earned Coach of the Year in 1955, when the Sailors finished 8-0.

Scannella later coached at Cornell, Baldwin High School and C.W. Post before he became a special teams coach for the Oakland Raiders team that won the Super Bowl in 1977. In 1984, he became offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

His four-year OHS career couldn’t have started on a better note, when the Sailors returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in an 18-0 victory over LaSalle Military Academy. The Sailors shut out their next two opponents — Levittown, 26-0, and Garden City, 6-0 — and blanked Wantagh 26-0 in the sixth game of the season.

John Maxwell, a tight end and defensive end, said that there were no outstanding players on that team — although they had a good quarterback and running back in Frank Santoli and Bobby Renner, respectively — and that their success was due, in part, to the fact that they played together for a number of years. “We were lucky in that everyone seemed to come together at that time,” said Maxwell, 69, a retired New York City Police Department sergeant, from his home in Florida.

The big difference, Maxwell said, was coach Scannella, who simplified the playbook. “The blocking scheme really just came down to four different blocks,” Maxwell recalled. While there was no football playoff system in those years, the eighth and final game of Oceanside’s season was against its longtime rival, South Side, and the Sailors prevailed 21-7.

Before there was a Scannella or a Maxwell, there were Charles Mosback and Steve Poleshuk, the coach and caption of OHS’s first perfect team, the 1938 football squad. Mosback, who became the principal at Oceanside High School (then on Merle Avenue), and Poleshuk, who became an All-American at Colgate and returned to coach the OHS team, lead the Sailors to a 7-0 season.

In those pre-playoff days, the team was awarded the Rutgers Cup, recognizing the most outstanding football team in the county, and defeated Valley Stream Central in its final game. “In a driving rain, before 10,000 people in bleachers that were installed around the field at Merle Avenue,” said Frank Januszewski, a basketball coach who built the Hall of Fame at OHS in 1960, “Oceanside beat Valley Stream 6-0.”

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Detoxing from Defeat-Worship

By Joseph Kellard

I’ve got a confession to make: I root for sports teams to lose. Sure, this is legitimate if it means one team’s loss benefits my favorite team. But when I actively root against perfection, that’s something else altogether.

I’ve been a Miami Dolphins fan since the team’s glory days in the 1970s. The ’72 Dolphins are the only NFL team ever to win all of its regular and post-season games. A few teams have since come close to joining the ranks of the undefeated, and when they each lost their first game, I was gleeful that my favorite team’s record would still stand.

And what Dolphins fan can forget that Monday Night Football game in 1985, when the then 12-0 Chicago Bears, who won the Super Bowl that year, marched into Miami and fell to Dan Marino and the Dolphins, as members of the ’72 team cheered from the sideline? Yet, while I rooted for Miami to win like I did every week, I was still also rooting for the Bears to lose.

Fast forward to Dec. 29, 2007, the day the New York Giants almost upset the still perfect New England Patriots in their regular season finale. Even as I rooted for the Pats to fall, and even as I anticipate I’ll do the same come Super Bowl Sunday when both teams meet again, I knew then that I can’t go on like this — I can’t keep rooting for perfect teams to lose. It contradicts what I enjoy most about watching sports.

People watch sports for different reasons. Some simply enjoy the competition, others love seeing the Davids slay the Goliaths, while still others like to bet. But I believe most sports fans, to some degree, share my primary motivation: to find the spectacle of human achievement. I eagerly root for athletes to jump higher, run faster, lift heavier weights, swim further, hit more home runs, score more points and, yes, win more games than their record-setting predecessors.

Let’s go back to the 1990s, when I never watched basketball but then caught a glimpse of Michael Jordan. I soon found I was cheering him and his Chicago Bulls on as they broke records and won successive championships. I rooted for them, not because I was a Bulls fan, but because I always hunger to find an extraordinary, inspiring athlete like Jordan, who was the best basketball player I’d ever seen.

Today, as I continue to watch basketball, I hear analysts describe each great, up-and-coming talent as “the next Jordan.” But I don’t watch Kobe Bryant and LeBron James because I want to see Jordan’s equal. I want to be witness to a player greater and more innovative than His Airness.

For a Dolphins fan nothing was better than watching Dan Marino play for my favorite team as he set quarterback records for most touchdown passes in a season and a career. And once he hung up his helmet, I wanted his records to stand forever. But why? Just because he’s my all-time favorite quarterback who played on my favorite team? Well, that would mean I’d ultimately be rooting for the status quo — for non-achievement. But if I primarily watch sports to see athletes and teams reach ever-greater heights, then I’d want to see others break the records held even by my favorite athletes and teams.

So now I’ll try to stop rooting for perfect teams to lose. But, so far, I’m finding that old premises die hard.

My early attempts to detox from my defeat-worship have lead me to realize that Miami’s 17-0 record is one that actually can’t be broken — it can only be improved upon. If the Patriots win Sunday’s Super Bowl, they will have achieved a higher mark, a 19-0 season. And that would further validate two ideas I hold dear: that perfection is possible, and that you can improve on perfection.

Besides, with each new football season, I’m still going to continue to root, first and foremost, for the Dolphins to win. I would do so even if, instead of the Giants, Miami were 10-6 and playing the perfect Pats in Sunday’s Super Bowl. I may root for perfection, but not at the expense of my Dolphins, who success comes above all else.

Since I actually always root for the Dolphins to win all of their games, that means I’m actually always rooting for each new Miami team to go 19-0 and thereby top the ’72 Dolphins’ record anyway.

What could be more perfect than that?

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

Please post comments about this article. For inquiries about Joseph Kellard’s writing services, email him at: