Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What goes around comes around

During medieval times, jousters would practice their sport by lancing a dummy opponent set up on a pivot know to some history buffs as a Quintain post. One end of the dummy would bear a shield or target, at which the jouster could aim his lance. On the other end, there was usually a counter weight to balance the mechanism and offer a deterrent for any ill-timed blows. Someone slow with the lance would strike the target and would promptly have several hundred pounds swinging rock bearing down on his horse.

This ingenious and sometimes painful device proved of little value after the demise of jousting. Even the Renaissance fair warriors are less than keen to the notion of being unseated from their steed by a hurtling pile of rocks. But the device did give pundits an operant idiom to use whenever a certain political candidate spells their own doom: What goes around comes around.

In the case of state Senate’s 43rd district candidate Joanne Yepsen, it’s certainly coming around now. The Saratoga Springs supervisor is just days away from having the plug pulled on her ill-fated campaign after the state Board of Elections upheld the disqualification of nearly a quarter of the signatures she submitted to run. In the end, they ruled she had collected 968 signatures, which is an admirable amount, but still short of the number she needed.

Obviously frustrated by the challenge, Yepsen lashed out at the one person she could: fellow 43rd candidate Mike Russo, the other last-minute entry into the race. She blamed Russo for orchestrating the challenge, a charge that may or may not be valid as there were three people who disputed the validity of her petitions. Naturally, Russo denied her allegation. He may have been vindicated too. The Daily Gazette reported Tuesday one of three Yepsen challenges was made by Donna Lynch, a woman identifying herself as the sister of former city Supervisor Cheryl Keyrouze.

“Lynch denied a connection with any campaign,” the Gazette reported. “However, she said she is the sister of Cheryl Keyrouze, a former Saratoga Springs county supervisor, and did not care for the faction in Saratoga Springs politics led by former Mayor Valerie Keehn.”

Update: a Post Star reporter has corrected the above. Indeed there are four disputes to Yepsen’s petition, with Lynch’s being among them. But Yepsen remains undeterred by the challenge. After a pow-wow with the very faction that may have lead to her demise, she decided to petition the Supreme Court Thursday in an effort to remain on the ballot.

And the plot thickens. Few people outside of the local party committees recognized the feud developing between Keyrouze and Yepsen in the run up to and following the colossal disaster that befell the city Democrats during the 2007 general election. There were far bigger battles to wage for the electorate to get that upset about a three-way race for two essentially moot supervisor seats on the Republican-dominated county board. Yepsen, who was then best described as a sort of fence-sitter between the great democratic divide between the McTygue and Keehn factions, decided to throw her allegiance behind the later.

In doing so, Yepsen also bought into the splinter faction’s mantra, which was to demonize anyone affiliated with McTygue, McTygue’s friends, or even breathing in the same room as either. There were accusations that she crossed party lines to embrace Republican challenger Matt Veitch in order to oust Keyrouze from her seat. Less than a month later, the alleged plot had obviously traveled back to Keyrouze, who fired out a rather coarse missive to Party Leader Lou Schneider, asking him not to send her any information regarding Yepsen.

“She is a fraud,” she wrote in the December letter. “Her best quality is fooling the public and her worst quality is [not] knowing what good government is or even understanding it.”

But there are others who speculate it wasn’t the Keyrouze kin that drilled cannonball-sized hole in hull of Yepsen’s senatorial bid. In fact, it was Keehn propellant Shawn “Nuke ‘Em” Thompson who spelled her doom by inserting a few of his own petitions from his state committee run in with Yepsen’s.

Update: The Saratogians City Desk reports Yepsen had a quick rap with Keehn and her former deputy mayor, Eileen Finneran during a lull in Tuesdays City Council meeting. Talk about playing with fire...

Months ago, a rumor drifted across Saratoga County, insinuating Yepsen and Keehn would make a push to oust Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco from their respective strongholds. Keehn would challenge Bruno, while Yepsen would take a swing at Tedisco, according to the rumor. Word of this plot was leaked to a Times Union columnist, who published it and caused laughter to erupt across the city for several weeks.

However, there was a grain of truth to the rumor, which likely originated with Thompson. Being a paid shill for the Democratic minority leader, Thompson likely caught wind of Bruno’s impending retirement and started grinding the warped gears of his political machine. Undoubtedly, it was these gears that started to grind again when Bruno finally announced his retirement in June.

On a side note, the timing for Bruno’s retirement certainly coincided with the deadline to submit petitions for the race. Who wants to guess whether hand-picked successor Roy McDonald had an idea he’d be running for the seat months in advance?

Unfortunately, Yepsen already had her eye on Bruno’s seat. Thompson tried to elevate Keehn as the more worthy of the two, but quickly realized he’d only spur a four-way race that would eat all the party’s money and end in a loss to McDonald. So to simplify things, he inserted a Trojan horse among Yepsen’s petitions, knowing that someone from her growing list of political enemies would inevitably challenge them.

Yepsen still has another day to weed through her signatures and find 32 that could go either way. But even if she does, the whole affair must leave her wondering where her allies now stand, if she even has any. Returning to the jousting analogy, politics is a fast-paced game, where if you don’t thrust first and the hardest, you could end up staring at the sky and wondering if the stars you’re seeing are real.

70 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not true. Yepsen never "decided to throw her allegiance behind" Keehn.

In fact, the ex-Mayor was rather furious that the current Supervisor would dare stand in her way of taking a run at the Senate.

Keehn pressured Yepsen to
get out of the way. Yepsen refused. Despite the public comments, Keehn and her followers then put Yepsen on their Enemies List, with most of them now actively supportig Russo's efforts.

Yes, Yepsen tried to play the part of the "Uniter" in the city party (McTygue is also on record as suppporting her).

But she has obviously learned the very hard lesson that Keehn and the Democrats for Change are not willing to play by someone else's playbook.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excerpt from the Post Star...
Russo denied any connection to challenging Yepsen's petition and said he heard that the third Democrat in the race, Brian Premo, was behind the challenge.

"I don't know why she's saying that," Russo said. "Neither my campaign or I is not involved in any of the objections."

He added: "From what I'm hearing, it's actually a Brian Premo supporter that filed the petition."

That drew a strong rebuke from Premo, a Brunswick lawyer.

"Mike Russo is a liar," Premo said. "Mike Russo informed me personally he was challenging Joanne Yepsen."

end of excerpt
Yepsen accused Russo because too many people had told stories about him boasting that he was going to get her off the ballot by the end of the day. Russo was behind the challenge and then got caught lieing about it.

There was no Thompson strategy that occurred. A mistake was made under very stressful and rushed conditions - i'm so sorry that none of you perfectionists can relate to that.

As far as Keehn goes, Yepsen likes and secured support from both Keehn and Mctygues - so much for Larry Bulman saying he wants unity, huh?

As far as Cheryl Keyrouze and her sister goes, who knows. I think there is something to be said about enemy of my enemy...maybe Russo set her up to do this as well? yepsen actually tried to help Keyrouze in the election, Keyrouze was very difficult and had her mind set that Joanne was working against her. I might add that despite Keyrouze's post election tantrums undeservedly calling Yepsen every name in the book, Yepsen maintained her civility and never reacted.

In the end the only people hurt by this ruling are the people in the 43rd district who will have a limited choice of candidates...

5:30 PM  
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

2:55,

Yepsen aligned herself with the Keehn folks just before the 2007 election. Or at least that was the perception they were giving when a good quotient of them were boasting a Veitch-Yepsen ticket, castigating Keyrouze as a McTygue lackey.

I definitely wasn't insinuating she was in step with these people this time around. She did clearly accept their support, which has come back to haunt her.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Kyle York said...

HA-

The first three responses to your post are the most honest, most informed, and most Human posts in all of Cyberspace.

I commend you for your clear eye.

I'd like to thank 2:55 and 5:30 for their articulate insight. Right or Wrong, they are the voices of integrity and intelligence.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 2:55 is either delusional or a friggin' idiot! Keehn went door to door with Yepsen collecting signatures. She and many of her former support group worked hard for Yepsen. McTygue, on the other hand , did nothing! He or his cronies got no signatures for Yepsen.

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ho,

You would be a great fiction writer. This stuff you make up only gets McTygue supporters hot and bothered. They foam at the mouth to attack Keehn or blame her for their failed lives. Let's face it! Keehn Yepsen and Premo are all out of their league at this level.
Let's go Russo!

4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Egotistical, ruthless, deceitful, arrogant, and uncontrollable power urges are characteristics of so many politicians -- not missed by these individuals -- nor by those they wish to embrace. What goes around comes around.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that was the perception, HA. But even if it were, it does not reflect reality.

Mrs Yepsen sought--and received--support from both of the camps.

Further: look at the people that she had involved in her inner campaign. Although she had both "DFC" types AND "longtime" Dem's involved, the latter outnumbered the former.

Granted, a case could be made that it is a tactical error to reach out to the Keehn radicals in any shape or form.

But to conclude that she was 'more aligned' with the them than with their adversaries is just not the case.

If anything, the opposite would be more accurate.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

City police, in their quest to find the three people who damaged the horse statue on Broadway last night, just announced that the videotape has identified the culprits:

Yes, it was the three McTygue brothers.

Val in 09!

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Val for WHAT in '09?

Meter maid? Parking garage sweeper? City Hall window washer? Police station cleaning lady?

She wouldn't pass the civil service exam for any of them.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:30,

“As far as Cheryl Keyrouze and her sister goes, who knows. I think there is something to be said about enemy of my enemy...maybe Russo set her up to do this as well? yepsen actually tried to help Keyrouze in the election, Keyrouze was very difficult and had her mind set that Joanne was working against her. I might add that despite Keyrouze's post election tantrums undeservedly calling Yepsen every name in the book, Yepsen maintained her civility and never reacted.”

First off, whether you believe me or not, it holds no consequence, but Mike Russo did not “set me up to do this.” My sister, Donna Lynch, had enough information to recognize the fact that Joanne Yepsen would not be a good Democratic representative for the people of her district. It’s just that simple.

Secondly, Joanne Yepsen NEVER lifted a finger to help me in any way, shape, or form, EVER. The opposite was always the case and in fact I gave her help much of the time and had to explain quite a bit to her when she didn’t understand something. Joanne Yepsen has always gotten other people to do her work and that is a wide spread fact around Saratoga Springs -- especially coming from most of the not for profits that she claims she has helped. In fact, if you took her claims of accomplishments one by one and investigated them you would see she had very little (if anything) to do with what she has claimed to do. This is why people around Saratoga Springs are bored with Joanne Yepsen. They are tired of her taking credit for things she hasn’t done. These accomplishments that she has claimed would indeed have happened with out her.

Thirdly, in following with having others do her work, Joanne Yepsen could “maintain her civility and never react” because she had her best friend Jennifer Leidig send me a very threatening email saying she had something on me and would expose me to the public. This is not the first or even second time this woman has threatened people around Saratoga Springs and one woman was down right frightened of her. How sad is that that Joanne has to maintain a friendship with a woman who goes around threatening harm to others on her behalf. I believe she may even be Joanne’s campaign chair?

I do believe in karma and I must say I haven’t been happier. I don’t miss this kind of nonsense at all (and I don’t miss the rain either).

One of the funniest things I heard was that Joanne did not know the difference between the Town of Malta and the Village of Round Lake on her petitions. And the reason why this is funny to me is because before we were elected in ‘05 I had made a public comment on making sure that while I was Supervisor to visit all of the other towns in Saratoga County so that as a Supervisor I could see the needs of the other towns while explaining our City’s needs. The towns in Saratoga County are quite diverse. After that idea went public Joanne claimed it as her own, and this was to become a pattern throughout my term. So getting back to the humor in this. After elected, I called Joanne and said that I set up a tour of the Town of Malta with Paul Sausville and would she like to come? She said she would and not only did we take a tour of the town but a tour of Round Lake, where we even met the Mayor. Joanne should have known there was a difference. PS -- I had toured several other towns, while Joanne never followed through, even when asked.

And while maybe some thought I had a “post election tantrum,” it was well deserved. I had held back as a “Good Democrat” for a very long time and never publicly blew the whistle on Joanne with all the antics she pulled on me while trying to fool the public.

Politics is a dirty game and I am very happy to have climbed out of the mud, still intact. All I ever wanted to do was to help Saratoga Springs and its people. I hope the busses are still running strong and I hope that someday in the future you will have a horse park that will help to keep your taxes down, while maintaining open space. I also hope that someone there will continue to hold forums at the library to show how the City and County work together through the different departments. That was two years worth from me.

While I am sure people will believe that I am still reeling from my election loss no one can possibly imagine how much I have gained because of that loss -- I can truly say now that it happened for a reason and I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t lost. I harbor no ill feelings towards Joanne, she was even invited to our going away party. However, I, like my sister, believe she is not NYS Senate material. I didn’t know my sister was going to object to her petitions until she was on her way to the Board of Elections. What is really amusing here is that everyone is speculating but no one (except one reporter) asked my sister as to why she is doing this. Please people, do your homework or you might end up with the wrong answer -- and that wrong answer could be your next representative.

Cheryl Keyrouze

9:18 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

Anon 7:39:

My day is Roohan'd because i didn't think of that first...

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a crock to think the hard core McTyglits were helping Yepsen. If they were then why didn't they collect signatures?

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Kyle York is blowing again! The final word! You are an arrogant sack of crap! Enough with thinking you are the know all!

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Warren Antiques said...

anon 9:09
You don't have the ambition to do any of those jobs! That's why you didn't get Yepsen any signatures. You think getting yourself on the DEM committee is more important! You are sitting back collecting SSI and selling antiques on the side! Can you say IRS investigation? You are all mouth no action! You are wretched!
OOPS! I forgot that may set you off! Prozac boy!

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I hope the buses are still running?"
Talk about stealing someone's work! Valerie Keehn did all the leg work setting up meetings bringing CDTA to the people for input on their routes. Keyrouse some few months later jumped in and acted like it was her idea! Was McTygue behind that manuver? You lost that election because you are on the wrong side of the democrats!

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donna Lynch is a vinditive bitch! Cheryl Keyrouse and her weasel of a husband are both a disgrace to the democratic party. Saratoga already has a horse farm that they financed! It's McTygue's homestead!

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"9:18 To Yuma" - Cheryl Keyrouze: " I can truly say now that it happened for a reason and I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t lost."

A Sage once said that, the aggressor must vanquish but the defender must simply survive. Your journey and your accomplishments will last forever as long as you can remember that they are not only yours but -- everyone’s. As in life, as the windows and doors are cut into a wall, it is their emptiness that makes them useful.

Saratoga will miss your cone of influence and your laughter.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Real Saratoga Dem said...

Bitter, bitter Cheryl.

Maybe you lost the election for one simple reason: you didn't put together a very good campaign organization and strategy? Hmmm?

Your sister obviously holds the same leve of bitterness.

She can now be proud of the fact that she joins the Keehn wackos in further dooming the party's future in the city.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:51 you're misinformed. CDTA, by law had to have public input. it is the two Saratoga reps ont eh CDTA board who are responsible. As usual Val and her minions take credit for someone else's work.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheryl
You lost because you spent most of your time trying to get a hrose park in Milton. You were supposed to represent the interests of the City.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheryl:

A question: none of the Yepsen people reached out to assist you in your re-election bid?

That would be troubling, if true.

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"THE TRUTH, YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH."

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OOPS" "The truth you can't handle the truth was not directed towards Ms. Keyrouze but to the people who engage in the vindictive badgering of one another. Instead of searching out the real reasons why things occur, trying to fix them and making your district strong, showing young people how to be civil and that good people can disagree and still be friends at the end of the day, you choose to be mean spirited and cruel. You comment on things you have no clue about. But the truly sad thing is that good, honest and caring people choose not to run or to serve because they don't need this nastiness in their lives. They don't want their families called names or hurt so that leaves the electorate with the level of incompetence we see today.
So, my friends, continue your smart remarks, your lies and allow your personal unhappiness to dictate your next move.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:55AM,

My weasel husband, vinditive? I think that was supposed to be vindictive? bitch of a sister, and my bitter, bitter self are getting the last laugh LOL!

4:01AM,

"Saratoga will miss your cone of influence and your laughter."

Laughter is the best medicine.

“I have to teach myself not to read too much into everything. It comes from too long having to read so much into hardly anything at all.”


8:24AM,

Your mistaken, the Executive Director of CCE was the person who was interested in Milton.

NYHP, Inc. is looking for an area that would support a 600 acre NY Horse Park. There was not enough acreage in Saratoga Springs unless Skidmore wanted to get involved next to the polo fields but they were not interested. That would have been a great benefit to Saratoga Polo (who agreed) and the two tracks because of the great need for horse stalls. The fact is, the money the City would receive is in ancillary funding. Just like the track -- the millions of people who would come to a NY Horse Park would spend their money in your City at all the local businesses which would keep the City’s taxes down. http://www.nyhorsepark.org/data/

I do agree with you to some degree, I spent way too much time working and not enough time campaigning. As a NYS Assemblyman once told me, “Cheryl, you were a really good elected official but a bad politician.” LOL, I liked the work, not the BS!

8:42 AM,

“A question: none of the Yepsen people reached out to assist you in your re-election bid?” “That would be troubling, if true.”

I didn’t even know who the “Yepsen people” were. Like I said previously, Joanne Yepsen never offered to help me with anything, period. If she didn’t do her own work, how could you expect her to help others?

CK

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Idiot 8:24

You dont think a nearby horse park -- along the lines of the one in Ketnucky -- would have a beneficial impact on the city of Saratoga Springs?

I realize that you most likely just moved here, but...

This town has a BIG race track in the middle of it.

I'll show you where it is some day. Just ask.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“I have to teach myself not to read too much into everything. It comes from too long having (to) read so much into hardly anything at all.”

Yes Grasshopper. That can be a problem -- especially if one is prone to reading the drivel that often permeates a fifty-post blog.

As Lao-tzu told us,
“He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.”

So while enjoying crab melts every once in a Blue Moon, keep in mind that….“A journey of four hundred and twenty miles began with a single joyous step.”

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheryl,

You anger / frustration / whatever is mis-directed.

You became an entry on the Cult of Keehn's enemies list. They wanted to see you gone and are the ones who assisted Roy the Boy's Boy (Veitch).

Apparently, you and Ms Yepsen were not on te best of terms. But I think we can surmise that her core supporters voted for you also.

It was the Keehn supporters who abandoned you.

Because in their warped view: "it is OK to let the Republicans own the elected offices, as long as we can control the party."

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:41 AM,

“As Lao-tzu told us,
“He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.””

What did Lao-tzu say about asking questions?

“So while enjoying crab melts every once in a Blue Moon, keep in mind that….“A journey of four hundred and twenty miles began with a single joyous step.””

Yes, that first step was a doozy, especially when I couldn't find the second step! One I will never forget . . .

Weedhopper?

9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:30PM,

I haven’t been angry, frustrated, or misguided since December of ‘07. If there is anyone to blame for me losing the ‘07 election, it was me because I ran for the seat in the first place. However, the only thing I lost was the election, I gained far more in that experience than most people experience in a lifetime. The only people who lost were the people who won’t benefit from my work in office. Hopefully, your Supervisors are returning your calls? If they don’t, call the media - then they will call you back quick! :)

CK

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CK 9:20 "If there is anyone to blame for me losing the ‘07 election, it was me because I ran for the seat in the first place. However, the only thing I lost was the election, I gained far more in that experience than most people experience in a lifetime."

Enlightenment is its greatest reward. The Taoist Philosopher once wrote, that when the best leader's work is done the people say, "We did it ourselves." So I guess that means, We’ll get our horse park.

But as far as your journey, it has been said that a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving and if you hadn't changed direction, you may have ended up where you were headed …She who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. Yet remember, give a man a cone and he’ll have a cone…teach him how to find cones and the world returns to its natural State.

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ck,

Those comments you are receiving are the sour grape portion of the dem committee. This is the McTygue portion. McTygue's gang discredit everyone to help their own cause. They complain about Democrats for change taking over the committee. If they are so concerned then why won't they fight for it! Because as usual they expect good democrats like you and Valerie Keehn to do their work and they reap the benefits. How many of those entrenched McTygue people bother door to door to get out their message? A big fat zero!

5:43 AM  
Anonymous BS Tracker said...

To idiot 5:43 (Roger, Hilary, Gerard or whoever's turn it is over there at Nxivm to man the Keehn Propaganda Machine,

You gloss over the (correct) point: that your 'wacko wing' did not support Cheryl.

Remmeber, she was allied WITH McTygie and and the 'sane wing'. You folks therefore banished her.

Another sign of a cult, isn't it? Along with the hero worship part...

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:43AM,

The City’s Democratic Committee is suffering from growing pains and I would say that it is in its adolescence stage. Some teenagers can be very difficult.

The younger committee members should take the wisdom of the older members (“The only thing new in this world is the history that you don't know” - Truman) (Of course my other favorite Truman quote was, “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”) And the older committee members should listen carefully to what the PLAN of action is for the changes the younger Democrats want. But they need to have a plan first to include everyone (and their best qualities, not their worst) to work together. The older residents should explain why things work and why they haven’t in the past and be open for change when it can be of help. The newer residents must respect the fact that what was good for them in their previous town might not work in Saratoga Springs. Basically, everyone must have an open mind, be positive, stop bashing one another, (because it doesn’t move anything forward) and most importantly recognize that a good plan is all about being on the same page while having tasks handed out and timelines to follow. Focus on the good in everyone. In other words, stop beating each other up and get to work. If you get enough done there will be plenty of credit to go around for everyone. But you need to accomplish something first.

When two sides don’t get along they need to look for a reason to become allies.

Case in point:

One time, when my two sons were younger they were fighting with each other and their punishment was a time out in our dining room chairs -- facing each other - about four feet away from each other. I made them sit there for quite some time. They both ended up being so mad at me, that they became friends again.

It’s time for everyone to move on, including me. I was accepted into the Leadership Jefferson program and our first team building excursion will be white water rafting on the Shenandoah River -- a little different from Leadership Saratoga!

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:45AM,

I saw a florescent, lime green cone the other day and was in awe :)

Something I would like to share from "The Tao of Pooh."

Vinegar Tasters

"You see, Pooh," I said, "a lot of people don't seem to know what Taoism is..."

"Yes?" said Pooh, blinking his eyes."

So that's what this chapter is for - to explain things a bit."

"Oh, I see," said Pooh.

"And the easiest way to do that would be for us to go to China for a moment."

"What?" said Pooh, his eyes wide open in amazement. "Right now?'

"Of course. All we need to do is, lean back, relax, and there we are."

"Oh, I see," said Pooh.

Let's imagine that we have walked down a narrow street in a large Chinese city and have found a small shop that sells scrolls painted in the classic manner. We go inside and ask to be shown something allegorical - something humorous, perhaps, but with some sort of Timeless Meaning. The shopkeeper smiles. "I have just the thing,", he tells us. "A copy of The Vinegar Tasters!" He leads us to a large table and unrolls the scroll, placing it down for us to examine. "Excuse me - I must attend to something for a moment," he says, and goes into the back of the shop, leaving us alone with the painting.

Although we can see that this is a fairly recent version, we know that the original was painted long ago; just when is uncertain. But by now, the theme of the painting is well known.

We see three men standing around a vat of vinegar. Each has dipped his finger into the vinegar and has tasted it. The expression on each man's face shows his individual reaction. Since the painting is allegorical, we are to understand that these are no ordinary vinegar tasters, but are instead representatives of the "Three Teachings" of China, and that the vinegar they are sampling represents the Essence of Life. The three masters are K'ung Fu-tse (Confucius), Buddha, and Lao-tse, author of the oldest existing book of Taoism. The first has a sour look on his face, the second wears a bitter expression, but the third man is smiling.

To Kung Fu-tse (kung FOOdsuh), life seemed rather sour. He believed that the present was out step with the past, and that the government of man on earth was out of harmony with the Way of Heaven, the government of, the universe. Therefore, he emphasized reverence for the Ancestors, as well as for the ancient rituals and ceremonies in which the emperor, as the Son of Heaven, acted as intermediary between limitless heaven and limited earth. Under Confucianism, the use of precisely measured court music, prescribed steps, actions, and phrases all added up to an extremely complex system of rituals, each used for a particular purpose at a particular time. A saying was recorded about K'ung Fu-tse: "If the mat was not straight, the Master would not sit." This ought to give an indication of the extent to which things were carried out under Confucianism.

To Buddha, the second figure in the painting, life on earth was bitter, filled with attachments and desires that led to suffering. The world was seen as a setter of traps, a generator of illusions, a revolving wheel of pain for all creatures. In order to find peace, the Buddhist considered it necessary to transcend "the world of dust" and reach Nirvana, literally a state of "no wind." Although the essentially optimistic attitude of the Chinese altered Buddhism considerably after it was brought in from its native India, the devout Buddhist often saw the way to Nirvana interrupted all the same by the bitter wind of everyday existence.

To Lao-tse (LAOdsuh), the harmony that naturally existed between heaven and earth from the very beginning could be found by anyone at any time, but not by following the rules of the Confucianists. As he stated in his Tao To Ching (DAO DEH JEENG), the "Tao Virtue Book," earth was in essence a reflection of heaven, run by the same laws - not by the laws of men. These laws affected not only the spinning of distant planets, but the activities of the birds in the forest and the fish in the sea. According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance. The more forcing, the more trouble. Whether heavy or light, wet or dry, fast or slow, everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties. When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable. Only then did life become sour.

To Lao-tse, the world was not a setter of traps but a teacher of valuable lessons. Its lessons needed to be learned, just as its laws needed to be followed; then all would go well. Rather than turn away from "the world of dust," Lao-tse advised others to "join the dust of the world." What he saw operating behind everything in heaven and earth he called Tao (DAO), "the Way."

A basic principle of Lao-tse's teaching was that this Way of the Universe could not be adequately described in words, and that it would be insulting both to its unlimited power and to the intelligent human mind to attempt to do so. Still, its nature could be understood, and those who cared the most about it, and the life from which it was inseparable, understood it best.

Over the centuries Lao-tse's classic teachings were developed and divided into philosophical, monastic, and folk religious forms. All of these could be included under the general heading of Taoism. But the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is happiness. You might say that happy serenity is the most noticeable characteristic of the Taoist personality, and a subtle sense of humor is apparent even in the most profound Taoist writings, such as the twenty-five-hundred-year-old Tao Te Ching. In the writings of Taoism's second major writer, Chuang-tse (JUANGdsuh), quiet laughter seems to bubble up like water from a fountain.

"But what does that have to do with vinegar?' asked Pooh.

"I thought I had explained that," I said.

"I don't think so," said Pooh.

"Well, then, I'll explain it now."

"That's good." said Pooh.

In the painting, why is Lao-tse smiling? After all, that vinegar that represents life must certainly have an unpleasant taste, as the expressions on the faces of the other two men indicate. But, through working in harmony with life's circumstances, Taoist understanding changes what others may perceive as negative into something positive. From the Taoist point of view, sourness and bitterness come from the interfering and unappreciative mind. Life itself, when understood and utilized for what it is, is sweet. That is the message of The Vinegar Tasters.

"Sweet? You mean like honey?" asked Pooh.

"Well, maybe not that sweet," I said. "That would be overdoing it a bit."

"Are we still supposed to be in China?" Pooh asked cautiously.

"No, we're through explaining and now we're back at the writing table."

"Oh."

"Well, we're just in time for something to eat," he added, wandering over to the kitchen cupboard.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Food for thought:
Question: What's the difference between a veteran politician and a "newbee?"

Answer: Most of the veteran politicians are backing stabbing political hacks who are in it for themselves, and often involve themselves in illegal, corrupt or meanspirited activities to get elected. The "newbees" are back stabbing political hacks who are in it for themselves, and often involve themselves in illegal, corrupt or mean spirited activities to get elected BUT "newbees" often times are just plain STUPID.

4:01 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

anon 4:01-

i agree in part but gently dissent in part .

like i say to any woman i want to know better:

"remember, young horses run fast, old horses know the way!"

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agphoto: two things come to mind:
1. they shoot horses don't they 2. they also put horses out to pasture... be careful

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It depends if those old horse's know the way that is best for all , not just themselves.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:29 Those were the good ole days! Life was simpler then. I did that type of thing with my boys too. I hope Billy and Brian are doing well!
The problem we have is the new blood that is on the committee(BS Tracker /Tighe) is a cancer that keeps spreding! He continues to place blame and does his back stabbing like above BS Tracker.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

Anon 12:53 and 2:56.

Congrats! you are actually the first two respondee's except HA in awhile...i was wondering if we were all just talking simultaneously.

My 10:33 above was typical lighthearted stuff. your responses are factual and therefore you both get the home version of the i-saratoga game. go to gaffney's and ask for it at the main bar.

Specific to 12:53- if that's today's menu i'd like #2 please. the pasture i would like is the infield of the harness track. i may run around it sometime today.

to 2:56 - i fear that we have no one who knows "the way that is best for all" regardless of age. my take is that the key element is consensus-building ability.

Obviously, this is a highly-charged electorate, with committed factions. Either that, or warring packs of ill- mannered hyena's. It's not totally clear.

Another reason why i would never run for office. And i tip my hat to anyone who tries.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we need is to get rid of the party system. How about just voting for the best candidate.

This Year:

Matt Dorsey is by far a better choice than Wait or Montagnino

Russo or McDonald are good choices for the senate

No one even speaks about the republican city committee. How about the democratic city party!

People not to vote for:

Lew Benton
Roger Wyatt
John Tighe
Bill McTygue
Cliff Ammon
Anyone named Kuczynski
Actually anyone named McTygue
Valerie Keehn
Phil Diamond
Sharon Boyd
Gordon Boyd
Joy King
Bob Cleary
Nancy Goldberg

Ah what the hell! Don't vote for any democrats for the committee!

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one wants to listen to the people who "know what's best for all." Sad isn't it? As for the track, a little muddy don't you think? As for Gaffney's, I thought that belonged to the younger crowd? Haven't we all gotten so far a drift from the real issues, I am curious about how the judge ruled today. Anyone know?

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:26PM,

You won't know until tomorrow - after the judge rules.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Judge? What Ruling?

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:29 (gee who could it be) Was that a cheap shot at Leadership Saratoga? The program our community should blame for getting you to run for office?

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:29AM

"Anon 6:29 (gee who could it be) Was that a cheap shot at Leadership Saratoga? The program our community should blame for getting you to run for office?"

Absolutely NOT!

I was describing the difference between the two programs -- both of which are very good.

I learned quite a bit from the Leadership Saratoga program and was always very grateful for taking it and I thanked Linda Toohey every time I saw her. She did an amazing job at facilitating the program. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

I never had a problem but if your application was rejected you can always re-apply. Let me know if I can put in a good word for you and anytime you want to go rafting let me know!

CK

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:45AM,

No comment on the "Tao of Pooh?" It was actually a neat little book to read. There is also "The Te of Piglet." It's about the small virtue of a cone :)

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CK
Couldn't agree with you more. I went through it in the early years and Leadership Saratoga is a wonderful program

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon:)
Even as a small solitary cone, I never felt quite as insignificant, hopeless, or useless as Piglet might represent. As a roadside Taoist, I would certainly place little virtue on professing to be any bolder or important than all the other sentries – both those on the road and those living in the community.

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, right.

Leadership Saratoga is basically an indoctrination program designed to convince everyone to bow down to the status quo of Saratoga's incestuous little empire of power brokers.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:53AM,

This is really where I was going with this as I was thinking of the previous entry you wrote "Your journey and your accomplishments will last forever as long as you can remember that they are not only yours but -- everyone’s."

Quotes from 'The Te of Piglet'



Observe, Deduce, and Apply.

...Modesty, moderation, compassion and consideration...

I have three treasures,
Which I guard and keep.
The first is compassion.
The second is economy.
The third is humility.
From compassion comes courage.
From economy comes the means
to be generous.
From humility comes responsible
leadership.

To rejoice over victory by violence is to rejoice over slaughter. He who rejoices over slaughter cannot unite all within the empire...The wise ruler sees a military triumph as a funeral.

When all cones stand shoulder to shoulder . . .

8:44 AM  
Blogger A small "r" republican for fairness said...

7:30,

Your post was so ignorant; so blatantly wrong, and so stupid that it doesn't even warrant a response. But I'll try-Not that it would have any impact on the likes of you, considering how stupid you must be if you really believe what you posted.

Leadership Saratoga is open to everyone, regardless of income level, religion, political status, nationality, race or gender and is an excellent program that shows how things in our county work, and how to effect change on those institutions, if one desires.

Why don't you give it a try? Actually, go work on getting your G.E.D. first. Take a Carnegie or charm school course and THEN apply for the program.

You're welcome, you ignorant little tic.

Small 'r'

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just received the results of the Yepsen challenge. I will be anxious to see how smart the "different camps" are going to handle this "win" or "loss." If they truly have the best interest of the people of Saratoga Springs and now the entire 43rd in their hearts and minds,let's see who reaches out to whom and who begins the healing process. It is important to ask two questions:
1. Do you want your Senator to come from Saratoga?
2. Do you want your Senator to be a member of the majority? (keeping in mind the Senate could flip this November). If your answers are yes to both, then please grow up, share your toys and stop the fighting or at the end of the campaign you will take your marbles and go home without anyone to blame but yourselves. So please show the people of the 43rd who are not from Saratoga Springs that you can in fact do what is best for the people of the entire district and that you ALL want what's best for everyone. That would be the democratic candidate from Saratoga County. Remember you know longer have the power of the office with all its monies supporting your district,(ala Bruno) now you must rely on BRAINS and TRUE COMMITMENT.

Good luck.

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small "r"
re: your response to the moron at 7:30 - well said. Graduates of the program come from all sectors of Saratoga County. Fortunately. 7:30 is unable to sit still long enough to fill out the application

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small 'r' plus 5:06

Dear Morons:

I never raised an issue of it not being 'inclusive', now did I?

It is very inclusive. That's part of the mission: brainwash as many people as possible.

Including you two sheep, obviously.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Homer J said...

Dear 4:43

Actually, I prioritize the 'brains and true commitment' part over the 'from Saratoga county' part in this race.

The 'brains' qualifier certainlyeliminates Mr Russo.

Question: have you ever met this guy and tried to have a coversation with him? It's like talking to Val Keehn--a whole lot of blank stares.

WHAT exact qualifications does the guy have? He was a flunky for a LABOR UNION? He was a gopher in the district office of a politician? Give me a break.

And this is without even commenting on his 'dirty tricks' campaign and broken promoses against Mrs Yepsen.

Hey Mike: sleep with dogs named Kim, you're sure to get fleas. You're doomed by that association.

As for Roy McDoanld: somone get me the barf bucket.

Although he's not a great candidate by any means: the obvious choice is Mr Premo.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:14 You do not hide your jealousy very well. It seems that the committee that reviews the Leadership Saratoga applications did the right thing in rejecting yours. So people are being brainwashed to run for office on the republican and democratic side, work with big businesses and nonprofits and join boards that help the poor, young and old, preserve what's good about the county's past and make sure we are ready for the future? That's my kind of brainwashing. You could use some of that.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 4:43,
Russo didn't do the right thing in the beginning and now his people dare to ask Yepsen people to?????? Do me a favor and stop throwing stones when you live in a glass house. Honestly the right thing here is illusive.

Some may say the right thing to do in this circumstance is to tell the people all the disgusting inside details of how Russo lied and lied, and attacked and then lied again. Don't you think the people have a right to know who they will be voting for? After 32 years of corruption it stinks that we are left with this line up.

Anyone know anything about Mr. Senay? :-)
In other words, as a Saratogian, I would rather vote for someone outside Saratoga who had decent values and principles over scummo Russo any day.

Russo will soon find out that there will be consequences to his actions and no amount of begging from Larry Bulman is going to prevent that from happening.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people just ndon

Do any of you care about the ISSUES and the people? After reading your comments, I am convinced more than ever you are all small time people wishing to compete in the big leagues but in reality you are all just pitiful examples of why the electorate is screwed.

Grow up and do the right thing for ONCE.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK 4:25

Please educate the masses.

What exactly is the right thing?

We await your commnd, genius.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when playing party politics and bidding the unions wishes while overshadowing the issues people are facing everyday is deemed the right thing to do, I DONT MIND BEING WRONG

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 4:25 Thank you for getting it right. Too bad more of you out there don't get it.

To the other Anon 4:25: If you have to ask, you probably know the answer and are afraid of it. If you truly don't have the answer, begin with a dose of fairness, ask as many people as you can and realize the truth lies somewhere in all the information you obtained. Remember sometimes you you may not like the answer but it is usually there to discover. Good luck, keep searching and remember this, if name calling is involved, if mean spirited people are the only respondents, than start your search again and head in a different direction. No one person has all the answers, no one person is always right and compromise is the way to succeed.

Good luck in your search.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:02AM,

I wasn't 4:25PM and I don't proclaim to be a genius but I found this entry by Stephen R. Covey that I thought was appropriate for today's date.

"In the short run, in an artificial social system such as school, you may be able to get by if you learn how to manipulate the man-made rules, to "play the game." In most one-shot or short-lived human interactions, you can use the Personality Ethic to get by and to make favorable impressions through charm and skill and pretending to be interested in other peoples hobbies. But eventually, if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success. “

(http://coach-snippets.blogspot.com/2007/03/personality-ethic-and-character-ethic.html)

When looking at the politicians you support (personal backing and financially) think about the above statement with regards to the politician you want in office. I will look for accomplishments over personality every time. You may hear a politician say, “I can get along with everyone” but if you look at the REAL accomplishments (not the smoke and mirrors kind) you will see that a person with successful accomplishments would have had to get along “with everyone” to achieve that accomplishment.

I will never give up on trying to reach Maslow’s Theory on Self-Actualization -- Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity , Problem Solving, Lack of Prejudice, Acceptance of Facts. Feed you head! :)

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 9:29 AM

Amen sister!!!! PS Only a woman would reference Maslow. He's too complex for most men.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dem roc said: i love how mctygue spent the better part of the year pissing off democrats with his embarassing antics, then spent time trying to force boyd in as mayor, then turns around and complains about people working against him. huh???? it was quite clear that these 2 dopes didn't have the support of the democratic party. now they turn around and complain about there being no party unity. no, we just chose to follow someone else and leave you 2 behind. someday you'll understand tmac. so whats the split of this party anyway, it seemed pretty united to get rid of the likes of you 2. 95% to maybe 5%.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wtf?!

8:18 PM  
Anonymous One Asshole to the other said...

DemRoc

Now they're trying to force feed a second rate politician from Ballston to the County. Pat Southworth is not the answer! Just more of the same! McTygue ran out of angles in Saratoga to manipulate people so he is moving outside the realm.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He's too complex for most men."

Most women find complex men interesting.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“A journey of four hundred and twenty miles began with a single joyous step.”

5:38 PM  

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