Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(Those of you who own homes are alrealy laughing. What were we thinking?)
Anyway, we have three (formerly four) cats. The male we have now has had urinary tract problems, therefore when he used to get infections he'd pee wherever was convenient. The old man kitty we had then had to hit those same spots, until there were some corners that were simply horrible. Cat urine will soak into the padding and the floorboards, and after that no amount of cleaning will kill the smell. So, over the years, we've had to cut out and replace floorboards (and occasionally wallboards & molding.) Andrew's gotten quite good at this, unfortunately. We then clean the heck out of the carpet and put in new padding, then feed the cat there for a while and they cease to relieve themselves in that area.
There is one corner of our office that has become the worst of all. There is an outside door there that we never open and it seemed like the boy cats had gotten in a pissing war with strays outside. When it rained, the humidity would just bring out the smell. When we put storage units there so they couldn't have access any more, they started hitting the area around it, too. We can no longer clean it and the smell has become unbearable.
So, Andrew decided that before we have the carpets professionally cleaned (like we do every winter,) he'd do the floorboard thing.
He pulls up the carpet to find out- ahh, you homeowners saw this coming, didn't you?- that it was much worse than we imagined. The screen door outside had been basically funneling water in for years. ("Hadn't these people ever heard of caulk?") It wasn't the humidity that brought out the smell- it was probably fresh water. The flooring, the subfloor, the sill under the door had to be replaced. We had to buy a new door, and we'll probably want a new storm door too.
Now I wish we'd opened that door more often. We might've noticed before now. The best luck I guess we had in this is that we found no mold or termite damage.
So, what started as a simple weekend home project that should have taken a day or maybe a day and a half has run way over schedule- as home projects often do. We both have to work so we haven't even gotten to cleaning the carpet or running new pads, plus we've found a few more areas that could do with the new floorboard treatment. So much for a one-weekend project.
I love my cats, but when they go to the great litterbox in the sky, there shall be no more cats. At least when my dog had an accident recently, she had the decency to poop on a bathroom floor.
I'm in favor of defining it by county: Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex, Hunterdon, and Somerset. Not Union. It's in North Jersey, by culture if not by geography.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
If you haven't seen these yet, here are some good Thanksgiving weekend links:
Turkeys who got the hell outta Ramsey.
Rob S. has the classic WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Drop.
Proud Members of the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy should visit BlueJersey.
Jay's got some Grattytude.
Have fun, y'all. Happy Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
GOP officials are passing on budget bills and some other stuff they don't want to deal with, wrapping up the lame-duck a week earlier than anticipated and dumping as much as they can into the next session, so the Dems will have less time to focus on their own agenda.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The city council in Atlantic City on Wednesday introduced a measure to ban smoking indoors in workplaces, which passed 9-0. Hearings will be held at the council's next two meetings, with a final vote late in December. The law would take effect 30 days after signing, so maybe sometime early next year, AC will be smoke-free.
Atlantic City Asm. Jim Wheelan proposed a bill to repeal the casino loophole in Our Fair State's Indoor Smoking Ban, but it has been languishing in committee since January. The state law does allow cities and towns to adopt their own, tougher limits.
I'm sure the casinos will lobby heavily and mount any possible legal challenge, so they're in for a fight, but the health of the people who work in the hospitality industry is worth it. The casino workers have been treated as a second class for too long. Kudos to the council of Atlantic City for this move.
(cross-posted on BlueJersey)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
"I would never have suspected something like this went on in a public school," (student Matthew) LaClair said yesterday.
He said (teacher David) Paszkiewicz told students that if they didn't accept Jesus, "you belong in Hell." He also dismissed as unscientific the theories of evolution and the "Big Bang."
The kid knew he wouldn't be believed, so he made recordings of the teacher to back up his claims. So, this "teacher", when confronted, stood up and faced the allegations!
No, of course not. He lied about it. Ain't that grand?
On Oct. 10 - a month after he first requested a meeting with the principal - LaClair met with Paszkiewicz, (principal) Somma and the head of social studies department.
At first Paszkiewicz denied he mixed in religion with his history lesson and the adults in the room appeared to be buying it, LaClair said. But then LaClair reached into his backpack and produced the CDs.
At that point Paszkiewicz remarked, according to LaClair, "Maybe you're an atheist. You caught the big Christian fish."
So, according to this teacher, those who disagree with him on religion are probably athiests- and since they don't buy into his version of accepting Jesus, they get to go to hell, too. But I seem to remember there being some rules about lying...
The follow-up is that the school has "taken corrective action," whatever that means. (It's a personell matter so I don't expect them to be public in what has been done.) Let's just hope that the teacher has learned a lesson somewhere.
(Big hat tips to Steven Hart and DBK, who got to this story in a more timely manner than I.)
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The idea of abolishing 600 school districts and replacing them with one for each county has faded in favor of creating "super" county superintendents to oversee local school officials and spending, members of a committee studying the issue said.
Another of the more radical ideas considered by the Committee on Government Consolidation and Shared Services -- the creation of a state board that would identify which towns and school districts should merge -- remained unsettled as legislators debated how to give voters the final say.
Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), the committee chairman, also said a proposal to shift fire district elections and budget votes from a Saturday in February to the November general election is being crushed under heavy lobbying by firefighters.
"Would you believe the most controversial idea is shifting the fire district elections?" Smith said. "On one hand there is more accountability on fire budgets, on the other hand the argument is let the firefighters do their thing. It's turning into a bit of a bear."
A proposal to shift school board elections and budget votes from April to November will be one of the recommendations.
So, let's see: instead of consolidating school districts to save money, we'll add another layer of bureaucracy on top of the 600+ that we already have! And, since the firefighters don't want to give up their fiefdom and risk accountability on their budgets, we'll let them keep their own separate elections, regardless of the expense- even while we combine the others.
I want to hear the committee's explanation on exactly how this will lower my property taxes. Maybe that will be what we hear on Wednesday?
- Cake, "I Will Survive." It rocks.
- Foo Fighters, "Baker Street." This was a great song by Gerry Rafferty, a mainstay of late 70s AM radio. Apparently a lot of folks covered it, but I thought the Foo's version was a particularly good version.
- Matthew Sweet, "Do Ya." I heard this song on the radio exactly once, then went out and bought the album. I hate to spend money at all, so you know how much I loved it. The cool thing is, the recording on Live at 6A is a sound check, not for an audience; they played the hell out of it because they love the song.
- Soft Cell, "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go." Everyone and their twin sister covered this one, but I have a soft spot for the big ol' 80s one hit wonder version.
- Ataris, "The Boys of Summer." Can't explain why, this just works.
- Lyle Lovett, "Summer Wind." It's not better than Sinatra's version, but it's hard to put Lyle Lovett with one of my favorite songs and not be happy about it. Am happy.
So that's it. Enjoy the rainy Tuedsay.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
My mother used to watch 60 Minutes religously. Every Sunday after dinner she'd sit with her cigarettes and vodka & 7up and watch while she painted her nails. I used to sit with her and even tried the nail thing, but it was not to be, and I couldn't go for the cigarettes or vodka either. But sometimes even now, if we're done dinner early enough or if it's on late because of football, I still curl up on the couch, with a beer and cleaner air, and watch 60 Minutes.
The Ed Bradley reports were always a highlight. He will be missed.
(via Professor Kim)
I also took down my signs and bumper stickers yesterday and today. It's like seeing Christmas lights on January 7th- no more, please, we're all done for this year.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Bergen (Not updated at post time)
I can't find info for Salem County or Camden County, sorry.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Here's this cool primer on the ballot questions in New Jersey from the League of Women Voters (Thanks Jay!)
There are identification reqirements to voting, see the list here. Bring ID with you or you may have to vote provisional.
I have had DOZENS of searches come to this blog with the question "am I registered to vote in New Jersey". You can check if/where you are registered by contacting your county Superintendent of Elections, list by county here.
I know I'm preaching to the converted here- you don't come to a New Jersey political blog unless you care about the political process- but I'll say it anyway: GO VOTE TOMORROW! The world has many peoples fighting and dying for the right to have a say in their government, and here in the Greatest Country On Earth people blow off voting because they forget, are too tired, or it's raining, or there's something good on TV. That's pathetic. It is your greatest right and obligation; exercise it tomorrow.
(I took these pictures out of the windshield of a moving car (I was a passenger!) so I must apologize for the quality. )
The small Central Jersey town of Hightstown is having a mayoral election this year. The incumbent, Republican Bob Patten, clearly has drawn support from both sides of the political spectrum, to judge by the number of "Democrats for Patten" signs you will see as you drive down Main Street, as I did yesterday.
Some of the signs are put up by genuine Democrats supporting the mayor, I'm sure. But, somehow, I don't really believe the particular folks whose lawns are pictured above are "Democrats" when they put their signs right next to the Kean JUNIOR, Chris Smith, and Coolbaugh (the Republican candidate for county surrogate) signs, do you?
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Seems that Stuart W. Bowen Jr. and his agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, was doing so good a job at auditing the occupation officials (getting 'em convicted on bribery charges, exposing Halliburton as having done shoddy work, that sort of thing) that they've been eliminated.
Can't have any accountability out there, can we?
BTW, Stuart's a Republican and has served with Teflon W since Texas. But, with Dear Leader George, if you go out of line (and be honest,) you're thrown out.
Please, oh please, America, if you ever needed a reason to go vote, it's to get this rubber-stamper Congress changed. Throw the bums out.
(hat tip to Red State Blues at Blondesense, via Tami. )
In a letter to Feinberg, township attorney Paul Adezio explains that a plan by a township consultant shows that at least 34 homes -- and as many as 40 with zoning variances -- could be built on the site. The $4.1 million price, Adezio says, was based on the ability of Fieldstone to build 41 homes on the land.
"Additionally, since the parties were mutually mistaken as to the number of buildable lots on the property when they entered into their agreement ... the Township will ask the Court to consider correcting the mutual mistake of the parties by amending the purchase price to reflect the applicable number of lots ...," the letter said.
Adezio does not specify how much the township feels the price should be reduced. Fieldstone attorney John H. Buonocore did not return calls for comment on the suit and Adezio said he had not heard from the developer on the possibility of dropping the price or crediting the interest payments.
Hamilton also requested "guidance" on how to proceed since one councilman, attorney David Kenny, still feels the purchase was illegal because funding was never approved and will block the approval now. Yeah, good luck with that.
Rocky Swingle (what a great name, Rocky Swingle), president of Save Hamilton Open Space: "We need to save this money so we can preserve other land with it. If we spend too much on this, there is less to spend on others." The land ought to be preserved, absolutely, but at a price that Hamilton's and Our Fair State's taxpayers can afford.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
How did this slide by?
Anyway, while looking the story up, I found a wonderful post by Chris Durang at HuffPo who has a lovely rant about it and Sen. Patrick Leahy's response. Go ahead and read it, he's said it all better than I would've.
"Lord, get rid of the rubber-stamping Congress, would you?"
At the bottom of the CNN article you can sign up for news alerts, including on Ann H. Coulter. Whaddya think the H stands for?
(hat tip to DBK)