Catholic Comfort & Irish Illumination

I’ve reached that late moment in life where I dread the prospect of burying my friends, but at the same time, I’m not terribly keen on the idea of them burying me.                                                                                             author unknown 

pals_at_cryans                                                                                                                     So what do three old friends with longstanding Irish Catholic inclinations that haven’t seen each other for a very long time talk about when they finally do manage to coordinate a rendezvous? The answer, of course, is death–or the ever looming prospect  of personally acquiring the condition. And such was the case a few weeks back when Susan O’Brien, Howard Casey, and I gathered together for an afternoon repast at Cryan’s Tavern in Annandale, New Jersey.

Our conversation began with a recap of those friends and acquaintances in common that were either at death’s door or had already crossed that threshold since last we met. After the appropriate number of toasts to those that had gone before us, we entered into a cheery discussion about our individual preferences concerning the benefits of cremation as opposed to accepting that final embrace from Mother Earth. And when those whimsical ramblings had finally delivered us to that perfect state of melancholia, we opted to augment our need for drink by moving the discourse from that of the inevitable crawl to the grave to the current race for the White House .

Soon the only thing darker than the mood in our hearts would be the Guinness in our glasses. And while we shared an equally pessimistic view about the present state of American politics, those instilled parochial school virtues of faith, hope, and charity combined with that indomitable Irish sense of humor would carry us through that particular day.Whether or not those same attributes will sustain us through the trials and challenges that America will face after this election remains to be seen. But as long as my own life is blessed with tavern mates the likes of Miss O’Brien and Mr. Casey, I will gladly choose to carry on no matter who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The following piece of music by our mutual friend Billy Mulligan, who for the better part of his life has lent his voice to social and political justice, reflects those moments when one might be tempted to seek a bit of divine intervention on the issue of personal mortality.

The entirety of this fine release, Beyond the Paleis available for purchase at CD Baby.

Posted by: Chris Poh for  American Public House Review

Shut Up and Sing

Irish decor at Yesterdays in Warwick, New York

As hard as it is, especially in the wake of having had to endure the most recent round of presidential primary  returns, I will attempt to refrain from the usual political pontificating that has all too often populated the pages of Pub Talk. After all, it is Saint Patrick’s Day! So for the sake of that day, I will defer to those voices that are much better suited to the task of sinking our sorrows and raising our joys!

Click on the titles or thumbs below to enjoy some of our Celtic favorites from the American Public House Review Jukebox.

 Billy                                                         Mulligan as seen                                                         in American                                                         Public House                                                         Review Billy Mulligan “Traditional Tunes

Jealousy by                                                     RUNA as seen in                                                     American Public                                                     House review Runa “Courted a Sailor

Gerry Timlin as                                                     seen in American                                                     Public House Review Gerry Timlin “Will Ye Go Lassie Go

Charlie                                                       Zahm's album; THE                                                       CELTIC CONCERT as                                                       seen in American                                                       Public House                                                       Review Charlie Zahm “The Minstrel Boy

Totes                                                   for Goats Burning Bridget Cleary “The king and the Fair Maid

Slainte 

Pay No Attention to the Curtain Behind the Man

trump_christie

“Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America,”  Governor Chris Christie commenting about Donald Trump at a January campaign stop in New Hampshire

Perhaps it was merely a matter of window dressing on Donald Trump’s own behalf that motivated him to include Governor Christie as part of the political backdrop at the makeshift press room at Mar-a-Lago after Tuesday night’s election returns. The Donald could tout a bit of inside the Republican establishment support while basking in the glow of those very favorable primary results courtesy of the faithful that bank on Trump’s brand of outside the Beltway salvation. But the bigger question remains–just what are Mr. Christie’s motivations for taking the stage at the potential winter White House in Palm Beach?

One might wonder could there possibly be enough room on the same playground for these two blustering, bellicose bullies. And the look in the Governor’s eyes the other night indicated either similar misgivings, or just maybe he was feeling an attack of Catholic conscience coming on. For any of us that have had a past with the Church of Rome, there is always that recollection of some priest or nun that reminded us to be weary of the sin of guilt by association.

There are those pundits and commentators that are suggesting that Governor Christie is simply continuing to set his sights on Washington. Speculation abounds about the possible appointment to attorney general under a Trump presidency. And yes, I could easily imagine Chris and Donald sipping pina coladas at the estate in Palm Beach as they review who on the president’s enemies list should be subject to federal prosecution.

As for myself, I believe Governor Christie was in Florida on the evening of Super Tuesday because he simply can’t stand the idea of having to spend any more time in the Garden State than is absolutely necessary. His travels over the past several years have made that fact abundantly clear. And for the better part of the rest of March, he will most likely not be seen anywhere near the vicinity of the New Jersey Statehouse. And I find that all to be very troubling. Because while there may be many important dates in the month of March that will require the governor to function as the commander-in-chief toady to the Trump campaign–there is no more important date than that of the 17th.

And any self-respecting, bona fide Trenton politician will be spending St. Patrick’s Day at the Tir na nog Irish Pub!  

St. Patty's Day at Tir-na-nog Irish Pub in Trenton, New Jersey

 Posted by Chris Poh for American Public House Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America Revisited

Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends
“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, thought I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America                                                                                                                                    from “America” by Paul Simon

With a full two years of teenage existence already in my back pocket, Christmas of 1968 would mark some degree of  recognition on my parents part as to the direction my restless awakenings were taking me. On that particular December 25th, while they weren’t quite ready to give into my sense of fashion, they would at least accede to my musical tastes. Bob Dylan’s  Highway 61 Revisited and the Bookends album from Simon and Garfunkel would provide the early high-fidelity soundtrack of my adolescence. And in the summer of 1972, with only a few dollars in my wallet, some Paul Simon inspired optimism in my heart, and a touch of Bob Dylan’s cynicism in my head–I would take to the road in search of my own version of the “American Dream.”

The lessons of those wanderings would not be fully understood until much later in life. But after a few years, it did become clear that I would need much more than acquired wisdom, the generosity of strangers, the benevolence of friends, and part-time employment in order to achieve my share of our national ethos. So I decided to further my education at a New Jersey state college. And it was there as part of an assignment for a film class that I, like those adept marketeers at the Bernie Sander’s campaign, decided to use the song “America” as the basis for a visual statement about the country.

McGovern's logoArmed with only an 8mm Bell and Howell movie camera, I would head onto those mean streets of Newark, New Jersey. Well actually, where I was the streets weren’t all that mean. My goal was to try and capture the faces of American diversity in the Portuguese section of the city. Here there was a thriving scene of ethnic restaurants that were reviving and bringing economic stability to a neighborhood that formally was suffering the ravages of crime and poverty. And luckily for me, there were a couple of decent bars in that part of town that would provide a break from the early March chill in between takes. One of those urban watering holes was the legendary McGovern’s, and the other was a comfortable corner tavern whose name escapes me after these many years. But it was that place that had the greater impact on me during my brief stint as an extremely amateur film maker.

During the two days of shooting, I made friends with an older woman (whose name I also cannot recall) that tended bar on most afternoons. In between eight-ounce Schaefers, shots of Rye whiskey, and decorating the place for St. Patrick’s Day we spoke about those things that were at the forefront of each of our lives. My challenges and issues were by no means as pressing as this human being who was then struggling to survive cancer.  In the matter of a few short hours we had become very close. And I remember saving her the inconvenience of waiting for a bus by giving her a ride to a bowling alley where she would join her mom for league night. I was invited in for a quick beer, and to meet her mother and the other gals that comprised their team. And like a politician in a New Hampshire diner, I would shake a few hands,  share a couple of fond embraces, and then part their company forever.

Looking back at those times, I remember the challenges and fears that tested our national fortitude: runaway inflation, recession, an ongoing energy crisis, Three Mile Island, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran, and of course the individual sufferings and misfortunes that are visited upon all of us. But the courage and compassion of those that I met along life’s earlier journeys have hopefully served to bring about a greater kindness and empathy toward all as I negotiate, with now shorter strides, the paths that lie before me.

For the record, my pairing of Paul Simon’s genius to Super 8 imagery was judged to be worthy of nothing more than a B-. Whereas, Mr. Sander’s short musical take on the matter has been heralded by some as being one of the best political ads in history.

Hopefully, whichever candidate completes that journey to Pennsylvania Avenue they will bring to that coveted address those heroic and exceptional qualities characteristic of those better Americans that they have met along the way!

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review

 

 

 

 

Our Condolences to the People of Boston

As seen in American Public House Review

As the situation in Boston continues to unfold, the editors and contributors of American Public House Review and Parting Glass Media extend our condolences, well wishes and prayers to the citizens and first responders of this great American City.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 19, 2013 at 9:55 am  Comments (2)  
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Christmas Wishes from American Public House Review

The Tree 12/12

Our lives at American Public House Review and Parting Glass Media reflect the greater human condition. There is ample strife, a bit of hardship, copious challenges; but there are those occasional victories, many reasons to smile, the comfort of kin and comrades–and of course that most precious of all gifts ~ Love! 
 
So to all those who like to fill their cup with the milk of human kindness, benevolence and holiday cheer as much as we do, we wish you, your family and friends a Very Joyous and Blessed Christmas–and a Peaceful and Substantial New Year!
 
As a special gift to our readers we invite you to enjoy a couple of podcasts concerning our very favorite seasonal tradition, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
 
724px-Charles_Dickens-A_Christmas_Carol-Title_page-First_edition_1843In episode ten of Sit Downs and Sessions we explore our mutual connection to this timeless story of rebirth and reclamation. And in the episode that follows, we replay an actual performance of Dickens’s masterpiece recorded at WDVR-Fm in December of 2010, and featuring The Bleecker street Players (another incarnation of those same rascals that are responsible for the content of our online magazines).
 
Episode Ten: http://partingglassmedia.com/podcast_roster/introduction_to_the_christmas_carol/index.html
Episode Eleven:  http://partingglassmedia.com/podcast_roster/wdvr_christmas_carol/index.html
 
As always, all podcasts are available on iTunes and on our sites at:   
http://americanpublichousereview.com/ and http://partingglassmedia.com/
 
Glasses Raised…Spirits Lifted…Journeys Shared

An Ornament 12/12

Forget the Debt Ceiling, Too Many Americans Are Still Pacing the Floor and Pounding the Pavement

"SLOW TRAIN DOWN SOUTH" BY DON COKER

The above painting was created by Don Coker, an extremely talented and gifted human being who for much of his professional career plied his craft in the newspaper business. But like so many of us, Don fell victim to the economic upheaval that has left a large portion of our workforce facing changes and challenges that we were  never adequately prepared for.Fortunately though for the Coker household and their extended family there is enough genius and creativity to probably weather the darkest hours and the worst of storms.

Don’s wife, Bernadette, a songwriter, and his brother in-law, Chip Martin, a Nashville based producer and writer collaborated on a piece that poignantly speaks to the difficult journey that so many of our fellow citizens find themselves on. Via the technical support and expertise  provided by their sons, Alex and Zach, Bernadette and Don put together a video to go along with the song performed by Justin Spears.

Since Don has always been generous with sharing his work with the readers of American Public House Review, I thought it only proper that we feature this wonderful song and video. 
 

Posted by: Chris Poh

Published in: Uncategorized on July 15, 2011 at 12:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Photographic Evidence of Spirits at Frenchtown’s National Hotel

Recently, I was invited to attend a “reveal” of evidence gathered during an investigation of a potential haunting at The National Hotel in Frenchtown , New Jersey. That investigation was conducted by Don Wilson and his team from Open Gate Independent Paranormal Research Group. While their data was inconclusive, there were some rather intriguing indications of something out of the ordinary occurring at this historic old hotel and restaurant.

After a bit of fine tuning of my auditory capabilities, I believe that I was actually able to make out the disembodied voice of someone, captured on tape during an (EVP)  session, expressing their general misgivings about ghost hunters. But what really piqued my curiosity was this particular orb photo captured in the basement lounge of the hotel.

Both myself and Don Wilson, the founder of Open Gate, are extremely skeptical about the evidential credibility of orb photos. Since the advent of digital photography, everyone seems to have  filled their photo albums with those tantalizing  balls of light presumed to be the discarnate presence of their dead relatives. The truth be told, the vast majority of orbs are the result of retroflection; the phenomena by which the light being generated via the camera’s flash bounces off normally sub-visible particles (e.g., dust, pollen, water droplets), and is reflected back into the lens. It seems that digital still and video cameras are much more prone to produce this effect. Interestingly though, our purple visitor, hovering just below the ceiling, was photographed without the use of a flash.

But perhaps the most compelling proof of life beyond our mundane existence comes by way of this image taken by freelance photographer, Kathleen Connally.

Behold another one of the National Hotel’s truly friendly spirits!

You can enjoy more of her outstanding work by visiting  Shots With Kathleen, a newly featured photoblog at American Public House Review

 Posted by: Chris Poh

Finding the New Spirit of the Molly Maguires in Jim Thorpe, PA

Standing on the heights above Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania one can not help but get a sense of the powerful mystique that pervades this historic American town. Every door and window beckons to those that care enough to hear the tale. Step through these portals and meet the ghosts of our past and the spirit of our future.

I began this year’s annual March pilgrimage  with a pint and a song at the quiet shebeen located off the back parlor of the Gilded Cupid Bed and Breakfast. My cup was filled with Guinness, and my ears were filled with a tune trumpeting the struggles and exploits of the Molly Maguires. In past years, I would have raised that first glass honoring those intrepid Irish colliers from a bar stool at the old Molly Maguire’s Pub; but unfortunately that celebrated saloon on Broadway, like so many of the region’s anthracite mines,  is no longer in operation. 

But Jim Thorpe is that resilient community that epitomizes the grit and fortitude of the nation. Today once more you can hear the coal cars of the Reading and Northern Railroad  rolling through the Lehigh Gorge from the outside deck of the  recently reincarnated Molly Maguires Pub. It was there that I ended this year’s journey – raising a final pint in tribute to both the Irish heart and the American spirit! 

All of us at American Public House Review wish everyone a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 Click here to enjoy some suitable Irish tunes for the celebration.

    Posted by: Chris Poh

A Very Merry Christmas From American Public House Review

The Old Town Bar - New York City

And May God Bless Us, Every One! 

Published in: Uncategorized on December 25, 2009 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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