Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here's to 2008!

Happy New Year from the Center of NJ

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Laughing into the New Year

It was a year that strode boldly into the stall of human events and took a wide stance astride the porcelain bowl of history.

It was year in which roughly 17,000 leading presidential contenders, plus of course Dennis Kucinich, held roughly 63,000 debates, during which they spewed out roughly 153 trillion words; and yet the only truly memorable phrase emitted in any political context was "Don't tase me, Bro!''

It was a year filled with bizarre, insane, destructive behavior, an alarming amount of which involved astronauts.

Dave Barry's 2007 Year in Review.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

My media-verse for December


I love The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It's not what I'd call a page-turner, in that I've put it down for days several times. (Had to return it to the library, even, and wait until I reached the top of the waiting list again.) Every single page has something fascinating on it; a great, great book. I've been laughing myself silly over Dave Barry's The Shepherd, the Angel and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog and The Onion's Our Dumb World. You must read Our Dumb World's description of New Jersey- but preferably not out loud when someone's twelve year old nephew is in the room.

Graphic Novels:

Not having had a chance to go see Beowulf yet, I loved reading the Gareth Hinds version to tide me over until the DVD comes out. Hopefully over the holidays I'll have a chance to read the Preacher books I've borrowed.


Finally saw 300 the other day, and maybe I had too high expectations for it. It was ok. a delightfully bloody and overacted comic book of a movie, but not interesting enough. We watched Elf for the first time this holiday season and it was truly "fun for the whole family." (Meet the Robinsons, however, wasn't. The kids didn't even appreciate that one. ) Sticking with Will Farrell for a moment, Stranger than Fiction is a very well-written and put-together story; an English teacher friend of mine recommended it, and it's not hard to see why. If you haven't seen Pan's Labyrinth yet, go get it immediately and watch it. At least twice. Scrooge may not be the best adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but singing "I Like Life" and "Thank You Very Much" always gets me in the spirit.


30 Rock is still the funniest thing on TV- and you can watch episodes online if you missed them. Please, for the sake of all of us who survived the 80s, can we get rid of Christian The One-Trick Pony on Project Runway? (Not to diminish the auffing of Steven, though- what he did to that wedding dress was a shame.)


My kids are in love with my new Foo Fighters disc Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. I'm so proud, but I'm starting to wish we didn't have to play it twice a day every day. Ah, but it's time to haul out the Christmas music, and where would be be without Eddie G?

So, what haunts your media-verse these days?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

MOM funding boost

Two of my least favorite New Jersey politicians did something pretty good recently:

Nearly $1 million in federal funding for the proposed Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex (MOM) Passenger Rail Line was approved by the House of Representatives last night, according to a news release from U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, and Jim Saxton, R-Mount Holly.
The funding for the MOM Alternatives Analysis was included in the U.S. Department of Transportation budget -- which last night passed in the House by a vote of 272-142 -- after Smith and Saxton made a request earlier this year to the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.

Rail service is essential in helping the growing Mon-Oc area relieve congestion. Any additional funding is good news.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Iowa should vote for Mike Huckabee

Not a crook, a weirdo or a Mormon. Let's leave it at that, OK?

(More of Lee Stranahan's campaign parody videos.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I get searches- not that kind of blog edition

Among the usual searches I get for Princeton Hospital, Carla Katz photo and Raging Rudolph, three terms which brought people to this blog in the last 24 hours caught my eye:

  • New Jersey milfs
  • nj bongs
  • shrooms nj

I'm sorry folks, it's just not that kind of blog.

It's official

Our Fair State is officially out of the death business.

Blue Jersey has a list of reaction from across the country and the world. The Colosseum in Rome will be lit in honor of our abolition of the death penalty:

Death penalty opponents hailed the new law as a historic victory against capital punishment. Officials in Rome planned to light the Colosseum in support. Once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, the Colosseum has become a symbol of the fight against the death penalty.

Although the death penalty hasn't been used in the state since its reinstatement, it's good to know that it never will.

UPDATE: The Colosseum, bathed in light.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Looking for Raging Rudolph?

If you type "Raging Rudolph" into Google, this post comes up as the seventh result, so we've had a lot of visitors coming by looking for the Space Bass holiday adult classic. Welcome!

Space Bass has put several of his holiday films, including Raging Rudolph and The Reinfather, onto DVD and is offering them up on his web site. Looking for a last minute gift? Here ya go.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Go vote tomorrow!

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not kidding. Deptford, Elk, Franklin, Hamilton, Cheserfield, Monroe, Toms River, Westwood, Hampton, Gread Meadows regional district, Milltown, and Voorhees are among those who have important issues on the ballot tomorrow; issues which will impact both our property taxes and the education of our children.

If you got a sample ballot in the mail, then there is a vote going on in your town. Whether it's about new construction, breaking up a district or other funding issues, you owe it to yourself to find out about it, make an informed decision and GO VOTE.

"Did you really just do that?"

I had to do some shopping yesterday, just a quick stop and a very small purchase. After ringing up the sale, the cashier put my items in a bag and asked for the money. I paid her and, saying I didn't need a bag, put my handful of stuff in my handbag. The cashier promptly crumpled up the fresh plastic bag and threw it out.

I stood there for a split second, then said incredulously,

"Did you really just do that? Did you really just throw away that perfectly good bag?"

She stammered, "Oh, um, did I?" and proceeded to make up some cockamamie story about how some customers won't take previously used bags. At this point, the cashier at the next register joined in and asked just as incredulously, "Seriously? Someone wouldn't take a used bag?" At this point, now committed to her hastily made-up defense, the first cashier stood firm that yes, some people won't take a used bag. The second cashier looked at her like she was plainly crazy.

Instead of pointing out that the bag had hardly been used, I just left. I know she was embarrassed and that pressing the point would only have made her feel worse.

Hopefully, she'll think twice next time about tossing away plastic bags. At least, in front of the customers, that is.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A happy hound and adopter

I've always thought that the most famous retired racing greyhound is Santa's Little Helper, the dog who was thrown out of the track and became a Simpson in the very first episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. "He's a loser! He's pathetic!... He's a Simpson."

However, I think it's now safe to say that Bart Simpson is no longer the most famous retired racer adopter:

"Something magic happened in our kennels a few days ago. A very nice lady booked an appointment with us with a view to adopting a female Greyhound, to go with her male Jack Russell terrier Butch. We asked her all the usual questions including how long the dog would be left alone and she told us that she worked from home. Her husband and her lovely family and Butch were there. They finally found a little blue girl who got on great with Butch and it was love at first sight. One could see that they were a very kind family and their body language with the dog was marvellous. The family all agreed upon the little girl Sapphire and the lady completed the adoption form, signing her name, JK ROWLING. A very private but wonderful lady. We asked her if she would send us a picture for our website. She kindly agreed and here are some photos of a very happy Sapphire."

Welcome to the adopter's club, Ms. Rowling. I know Saphire is thrilled to have you and to be in her forever home.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Post-script to Santa

From Oldest's letter to Santa (Oldest is fully aware of the true status of Santa, but wrote a letter because Youngest was writing one):

"P.S. Why elves? Why not dwarves? They're skilled workers. Or robots?"

Love that kid. Time to let Oldest roll up a D&D character, methinks.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Somebody's birthday is coming up...

... and I think we all wish him a Happy one!

Happy 20th, Happy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Producing more than they use

The nation's first commercial building that produces more electricity than it uses sits right here in Our Fair State, up in Hunterdon County. It's the headquarters for Ferreira Construction, and it's covered with 1,276 rooftop solar panels:

While the building falls short of being completely self-sufficient -- lighting and heating itself -- the Hunterdon County highway and bridge construction company's achievement is significant enough to have captured the attention of state energy regulators, conservationists and even Gov. Jon Corzine.
"It's a fabulous project, and it has set a great example of how practical solar power can be," said Ed Seliga, vice president of Advanced Solar Products in Hopewell. Ferreira's owners proudly point out that their new headquarters and large-scale garage at 31 Tannery Road is much more than an environmental exercise.
"This is not some bio-dome out in Arizona with guys running around in lab coats," said Nelson Ferreira, president and CEO of Ferreira Construction. "This is a real office building with real employees doing their jobs the same way they would in any old regular building."

Woo-hoo for Ferreira Construction!

"But," say you doubters (and yes, I can hear your voices in my head), "Doesn't Jersey give insanely generous grants for solar installations? Solar just wouldn't be practical for most businesses in the Northeast!!" Well, my dear doubters, you'd be a little mistaken there. There are grants, yes, but that ain't the whole story:
"Believe it or not, the Northeast is a great place to use solar energy because of its mild temperatures. The solar panels don't work as well in the extreme heat of the desert," said Joe Grabowski, a vice president at the company and the brother of the spokesman. "Even snow is not a big issue; it actually melts off the panels pretty fast."
Considering nearly $1 million in state grants the business has already received, its owners believe the technology will pay for itself in five to seven years. (The technology cost about $2 million, increasing the total cost of the building to $8 million.)
"They (The Ferreira Group) are one of our clean energy leaders for 2007, and they did it by using a combination of products that are already on our shelves," said Mike Winka, whose BPU division provided most of Ferreira's state grants. "It just goes to show how any local company can reduce its operating costs and stay competitive in the global market."
Without the state grants, Winka said, a similar-size project would take 15 to 20 years to pay for itself.

...but it still would pay for itself in the long run. See that, doubters?

Go solar!

Speak up, speak out

I've added a new one to my blogroll: daTruthSquad.

I know very, very little about the politics of Manalapan. But I do know that everyone gets to speak out.

Keep talkin', daTruth.

Um... sorry about that

I didn't mean to be gone so long from blogging. I had a couple of big things taking up time, specifically a holiday and a very important test. It's all done now.

Thank you to anyone who stopped by to see if I was back yet.

I'm back.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Need Season- 2007 edition

(This is an update of a post I did two years ago. It seems appropriate to re-run it now. -Sharon GR)

I ran into a neighbor in the grocery yesterday. She asked, "Thanksgiving shopping?" and commented about how it was better to get this all out of the way this week because the stores are packed next week. I agreed; yes, I was shopping for Thanksgiving, but not for me. I met her in the canned veggies isle. I was stocking up for donations.

Now, we all know times are tough. Gas and oil prices shot way up this year, and pay raises were a lot harder to come by. But somehow, my "tough times" rarely include making a decision of whether to feed my kids or pay the electric bill, which means it ain't so tough for me after all. If I can afford high-speed internet to sit here and talk to you nice people, I can certainly afford to buy extra cans of food and some more books for the church and school holiday drives. There are kids whose parents do have to make that decision, and they need a bit of help.

It's also good for my kids to help us do this. I ask them to carry the bags in, put cans in the donation boxes, and stock the shelves at the food pantry. I want them to grow up knowing that helping others is a regular part of life. So, the food banks get cans of soup and beans, and I get a nice little parenting moment out of it. We're both winners there.

New Jersey is the best state in the Union. By far. We are one of the richest, most educated groups of people ever assembled. We should also be one of the most generous.

So, I've got a couple of bags of food in the car to take to the church donation drive. I'm realizing that I need to buy a couple more. Or, more accurately, that someone else needs me to.

"It's the difference between thinking of oneself as an accumulator of objects and material wealth, and imagining oneself as part of the fabric of problems and solutions." - Tata from Poor Impulse Control.

Ready for winter?

There's a chance of snow showers overnight tonight here in The Center of NJ.

The Mercer County Ice Skating Rink is open.

The Eagles are (currently, in the second quarter) losing.

Sounds like winter to me!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lookin' for bad beer news?

It's here.

And it ain't good.

(Thanks for the nod, Rob.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Election Day is over

So, please, take down your signs. If you put 'em up, it's your job to take 'em down.

Jennifer Beck? Dammit.

Dammit, dammit, dammit. Ah, Ellen, it was nice while it lasted.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Make your voice heard. Vote!!

I've gotten some searches already this morning on voting issues, so hopefully these links will help:

Go vote. Take your next door neighbor with you. Offer a ride to the lady across the street who doesn't walk very well anymore. Ask that guy at work who always complains about the conservative pundits if he voted before work or is going after. Remind people that voting is the most important thing we do in a democracy. Don't let something so silly as rain make a difference. Get out the vote!

Costliest and contentious

That's how Tom Hester described the race between Ellen Karcher and Jennifer Beck for the Senate seat in the 12th. That it has been, and I'm glad to see the end. I can only hope that folks see Ellen Karcher for who she is, not who Jennifer Beck wishes she was.

You want someone who will work tirelessly against corruption? Ellen is it. You want someone who can inspire people? Ellen is it. You want someone who is willing to work for Our Fair State? Ellen is it.

Karcher's last ad was a great idea; positive, in a campaign that has been increasingly negative. I can only hope that voters respond to it, and to her.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Democracy Inaction

Low voter turnout is expected in tomorrow's election...

Interest will be low, because there are not national or statewide offices up for election. Instead, each voter gets a chance to decide on state Senate and Assembly races in one of 40 legislative districts.
Although four ballot questions are being asked statewide, only one, on stem cell research, has generated much interest.
Also at stake is control of the Legislature. Democrats now control both houses, with a 22-18 edge in the Senate, and a 50-30 advantage in the Assembly.
State officials will not issue a prediction on turnout. Party officials don't think it will be much different from 2003 -- the last time the state Legislature was the top of the ticket -- when only 34 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

...everywhere except here in the 12th.
Turnout is expected to be better than average in a few of the 40 legislative districts, notably the 12th, where Democratic state Sen. Ellen Karcher and GOP Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck are spending more money than any other race this year for the Senate seat.
Beck said her "door-to-door, grass roots efforts" should inspire voting, but acknowledged it's a tough sell.
"People tend to follow national politics a bit more than they follow state politics," she said. Karcher said voters around the state may be repelled because of recent
criminal cases.
"People think that with corruption, their vote doesn't count," she said. "If people believe we're doing it for their interests ... they will invest in understanding what the races are about and getting to the polls."

On this, as with most things, Ellen Karcher is right. I believe there are some politicians who are working in my interest as well as some very serious ballot questions, and I plan to get myself to the polls tomorrow.

34% is pathetic. We can only hope that prediction is what turns out to be low.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another poll?

How many of these will I be getting this year?

Interestingly, this one had different questions than the last one (and this pollster was able to pronounce Declan O'Scanlon.) They asked whether I'd seen anything that the candidates for senate were tossing around about scandals, including one I hadn't heard yet: That Jennifer Beck has had her driver's licence suspended five times.

I wonder what she did to deserve that. I'm surprised that Republican State Chairman Tom Wilson didn't tell her how to drive; the state Repugs dictate everything else she says or does.

Beck v. Karcher were on On The Record this weekend; if you want to watch, it's here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Dance with her."

I had to pull out the black silk blouse today.

Most women reading this immediately know what that means. For those who don't: many women have a "funeral outfit." A black dress, shirt, suit or sweater we only use for funerals, or routinely wear with something bright red but for funerals is worn with other black and white clothes. Usually we get no advance notice for needing mourning clothes, so we have something in the back of the closet we can whip out when needed.

Today I had out the dreaded black silk blouse. This time it helped me mark the loss of a relative who was a friend; a woman with a great sense of humor and an easy laugh who was loved by her children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and so very much by her husband of over forty years.

At the funeral this morning, my cousin, her husband, shook my husband's hand and hugged him. My husband was then directed, in no uncertain terms, to hug me every day, and whenever possible, dance with me. "Don't forget," my cousin said again when we were leaving, "dance with her. Whenever you get the chance."

He's right, and we will do our best not to forget. You never know when the people we love suddenly won't be there, and we won't get to dance together again.

So, call. Send a quick email. Hug. Tell someone how much they mean to you now, before the black blouses make their appearance.

"Dance with her."

Monday, October 22, 2007

I just got polled!

Get yer minds out of the gutter.

I mean that I just took a survey on the phone about the upcoming election. The woman doing the survey sounded very new- I could hear the supervisor over her shoulder prompting her on the questions. Poor thing, she absolutely couldn't pronounce Declan O'Scanlon.

Hopefully, none of us will have to remember how to pronounce it come Nov. 7.

BTW: don't forget, you don't need a reason to vote by "absentee" ballot in Our Fair State. You can request a mail ballot up to seven days before an election. In other words, you don't have an excuse not to vote.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stubbornly Turning Their Backs

That's Frelinghuysen, Garret and Saxton! From this morning's Daily Record:
Gov. Jon S. Corzine accused Reps. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen and Scott Garrett of "stubbornly turning their backs" on the state for opposing the expansion of a children's health insurance plan.
Frelinghuysen, R-Harding and Garrett, R-Wantage, responded by saying Democrats are politicizing the issue and reiterated their support for President Bush's veto of the bill.
Corzine pinpointed the two local congressmen along with Rep. Jim Saxton, R- Mount Holly, as the only three members of the state's 15-member delegation to reject the bill to expand the program by $35 billion over five years.
The governor and other state Democrats are calling on the House members to vote to override President Bush's veto of the bill on Thursday.

The gov, state Democrats, and most people of compassion and thought.

(hat tip Blue Jersey)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Flu shots: Hamilton, Princeton, and more

After my last post about the flu vaccine, I got several searches looking to get flu shot schedules for certain towns. So, since we sometimes like to provide a service here at CoNJL, here are several locations throughout Central NJ:
  • Branchburg Township: click here
  • Hamilton Twp. clinics: click here (click on the "flu and pneumonia clinic" link under health)
  • Robert Wood Johnson clinics, both at Hamilton and Ewing: click here
  • Princeton University: click here (FluFest!)
  • Princeton Borough & Township: click here (seniors only)
  • Ocean County flu clinics: click here
  • Visiting Nurse Association (throughout Monmouth and Middlesex counties): Click here
Most seem to charge $25 or take Medicare, read up before you head out. Some folks shouldn't get a flu shot without checking with a doctor, check out that list here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just a pinch

My throat is a little bit scratchy, I have a lil' bitty headache, and my arm is sore.

All that is because I got my flu shot yesterday. I'm one of those folks who gets a mini-flu after the shot. For about a day, I feel not quite all right; then it's all better.

I never bothered to get a flu shot until a few years back when I got the flu. If you've ever had the flu, you know it's no simple winter cold- it's seven straight days of lying on the couch wondering if death would be preferable to this. It's taking three Advil to start and noticing that it barely takes the fever down. It's going through several boxes of tissues a day. It's hell. For some, it's even deadly.

It's also preventable. Now, every year, I get the vaccine. It doesn't hurt; it's just a pinch and it helps to prevent a whole lot of agony.

Go get your flu shot. There's supposed to be no shortage this year.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Better than I could've said it- drunken sailor edition

This is from Eugene Robinson's Friday column in the Washington Post, which my paper got around to printing today:

To say that George W. Bush spends money like a drunken sailor is to insult every gin-soaked patron of every dockside dive in every dubious port of call. If Bush gets his way, the cost of his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will soon reach a mind-blowing $600 billion. Despite turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit, the man still hasn't met a tax cut he doesn't like. And when the Republicans were in charge of Congress, Bush might as well have signed their pork-stuffed spending bills with a one-word rubber stamp: "Whatever."

So for Bush to get religion on fiscal responsibility at this late date is, well, a joke. And for him to make his stand on a measure that would have provided health insurance to needy children is a punch line that hasn't left many Republicans laughing.

Hasn't left many voters laughing either. Certainly not any parents or children.

Bush's veto Wednesday of a bipartisan bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program was infuriatingly bad policy. An estimated 9 million children in this country are not covered by health insurance -- a circumstance that should shock the consciences of every American. Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft an expansion of an existing state-run program that would have provided coverage for about 4 million children who currently don't have it.

It was one of those art-of-the-possible compromises designed to advance the ball toward what has become a national goal. Health care is arguably the biggest domestic issue in the presidential contest and, while the candidates and the country may be all over the map in terms of comprehensive solutions, there's a pretty broad consensus that some way has to be found to ensure that children, at least, are covered.

Make that an extremely broad consensus: According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 72 percent of Americans supported the bill Bush vetoed.

72%. Wow.

Head stuck firmly where no information or sunlight will reach it- that's Teflon W! (Along with Rep. Jim Saxton, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and Rep. Scott Garrett- Our Fair State's own who voted against the bill.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

My media-verse, updated

30 Rock is the funniest thing on TV.

Watch the 1st episode of this season. There's a part of that which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen on television. Ever. Including Soap.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Clean Election" Debates for the 14th

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring the two Clean Election debates (required by the program):

On Oct. 10, there will be an hourlong debate among the 14th District Assembly candidates starting at 7 p.m. at Monroe Township High School Performing Arts Centre.

On Oct. 22, an hourlong debate will take place among 14th District Senatorial candidates followed immediately by a one-hour debate among 14th District Assembly candidates. This event will begin at 6 p.m. at Steinert High School in Hamilton.

Mark your calendars!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Out of touch Jim Saxton- again

Today's Times of Trenton had a nice juxtaposition on pg. A7. At the top of the page is an article about Jim Saxton voting against children's health insurance and the Democrats targeting him to change his vote: ( I can't find the article on, but since it's an AP piece, here it is at the Home News Tribune.)

Rep. Jim Saxton, R-3rd Dist., cast one of 159 nay votes in the House on the bipartisan bill subsidizing health care for children and families. Though the measure passed with 265 votes, it's still 15 votes shy to override a presidential veto.
President Bush vetoed the bill Wednesday. A veto-override vote has not been scheduled.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running radio ads Monday targeting Saxton and seven others they view as vulnerable in the next election, hoping to spark voter ire and, ultimately, change their votes, said committee spokeswoman Carrie James.
"The Democrats are clearly using children and children's health care as a political tool as they gear up toward an election," (Saxton spokesperson Jeff) Hollendonner said. "It has been well-known for months President Bush would not accept something with such high spending."

Well, Bush wouldn't accept something that helps American children with such high spending; he's willing to shovel money at Iraq, though.

Oh, sorry, went off subject there. Anyway, back to my morning paper: at the bottom of pg. A7 is a Newhouse article about a survey done by the Rutgers Center for State Heatlth Policy: (here, from the Star Ledger:)

Concern about the availability of health insurance runs so deep that a majority of New Jerseyans would support a tax increase to guarantee benefits, a new survey revealed yesterday. Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who is preparing legislation to provide universal health care coverage in the state, said he was greatly encouraged by the poll.
While it isn't clear Vitale's legislation will require tax increases, the Rutgers survey showed 57.1 percent would support some tax increase to ensure that everyone has health insurance they can't lose. It found 47.9 percent said they would accept an increase larger than $500 annually to fix the nagging social problem.

So, Rep. Jim Saxton, and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and Rep. Scott Garrett, your constituents here in Our Fair State are so concerned about health insurance they'd be willing to accept a tax increase to pay for it. Did'ja see that? Do you care about what Our Fair State's residents actually want before you vote, or are you just willing to fall into Bush Lockstep?

Cross-posted at Bluejersey

My media-verse for October

My media-verse is about to change drastically. Yesterday, I recieved my Amazon shipment with my new Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace and my new Voice of Crow, so there's my audio and literary media-verse for the next week right there.

Also, Top Chef ended last night (I didn't see it yet I was too tired to stay up I'll watch it tonight don't tell me who won lalala I can't hear you) so for TV viewing I'll stick with DVDs. We borrowed the British show Chef! and I do love it. Lenny Henry is great.

What's haunting your media-verse lately?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So this is Clean Elections?

GOP leader balks at signing Baroni letter Party faithful decries content as unethical and negative. From today's Times of Trenton:

Racquel Chiarella of Monroe considered herself a faithful Republican, so when she was asked to write a letter to the editors of several newspapers in support of state Senate candidate Bill Baroni, she was more than happy to oblige.
But when Baroni's staffers sent her a form letter to sign that was critical of Democratic Senate candidate Seema Singh, Chiarella not only refused, but resigned her leadership position with the Monroe GOP committee.
"Bill Baroni is about running clean campaigns and I felt that this letter was unethical and so negative that I wouldn't sign it," Chiarella said. "If it had just been a letter supporting (Baroni), I would have signed it without a problem, but because it was attacking his opponent and I don't even know if the issues it raised are legitimate, I could not put my name on it."
Chiarella said she was originally contacted by Baroni staffer Arnaz Ali, who said the campaign was looking for a Monroe resident to sign a letter in favor of the Republican. The instructions accompanying the letter asked Chiarella to send a copy to four newspapers.

Form letters-to-the-editor are pretty common in campaigns, but who would write one so unethical that even the party faithful wouldn't sign it? Well, of course, it was all done by an overzealous young staffer (according to Baroni spokeswoman Stacy Schuste). Isn't it always some young staffer?

Monday, October 01, 2007


Seen a lot of ads on cable TV recently pro-Ellen Karcher and anti-Jennifer Beck. 'S nice to know that the Dems take the 12th seriously in this election.

I've seen Jennifer Beck at town halls and such a couple of times, and honestly- even if I wasn't a die-hard Ellen Karcher fan, I'd be anti-Beck. She spent no time doing anything other than spewing the NJ Republican line. She struck me as someone who has no idea what she wants to do for Our Fair State, just someone who wants to get elected to a higher office. That's a lousy recipe for a State Senator; it was a lousy recipe for an Assemblycritter too.

Go Ellen!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

You know they all pretend

The new, very cool video from the Foo Fighters

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle The Whole Earth Center Way

Princeton's Whole Earth Center organic grocery store is undergoing a huge expansion. In keeping with their main philosophy, they set a goal for themselves to divert 75% of the project's waste from landfills. So, now that they're almost done, did they make that goal?

They've beat it, and by far. As of now, they've recycled or reused more than 93% of the constrution waste and byproduct.

It's a great little (soon to be bigger) store. I first found out about it as a way to buy local grass-fed beef from Simply Grazin' farms, and now I can't walk out of the store with fewer than three grocery bags full. They have signs over some of their organic produce telling where it's from and miles to market. They have a bakery and a big bulk foods section- bring your own containers and bags, please!

Princeton Business Journal did a big article on them and the expansion this week. Check it out, then check them out: 360 Nassau St. (near the corner of Harrison St.) Princeton.

(Cross-posted at sfoodblog)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Ahoy, mateys! It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Avast, if ye need some help, there be a book fer ya:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I would look awesome as an anime monkey

I was bartending at a catered function recently, when two young-teenage girls came up to me and handed me this drawing. "We thing you would look awesome as this animal," said the artist.
"Thank you, I think." I said, then thanked them profusely for the drawing, telling them how good it is.
Later in the evening, when we were cleaning up, I discovered that a coworker of mine had also been presented with a drawing in the same way- hers looked like an anime giraffe.
That was proof positive to me that the girls were right about this being a cool animal for me to be, because my tall, thin coworker really did resemble an anime giraffe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago today

It was a clear, sunny, beautiful day. I was taking my oldest to the second day of preschool when I heard the news of a plane hitting the first tower on the radio. I went home and turned on the TV, just in time to see the second plane hit.

I remember having to explain to my three-year-old, walking that fine line between truth and too much information. When she asked if we were going to be ok, her father and I reasured her over and over that we would be fine- the whole time having no idea if we would be fine, or if the country would ever be "ok" again.

That whole, awful day, I wondered what the survivors told the three-year-old kids of the victims. They would never be fine again.

Every time George Bush whips out his 9/11 card for partisan political gain, I think of three thousand people who he dishonors... and their now nine-year-old kids.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Michael Jackson has died

No, not that Michael Jackson, the other one:

Mr. Jackson especially loved Belgian brews, which his books “The Great Beers of Belgium” and “The World Guide to Beer” introduced to many export markets, including the United States.
By identifying beers by their flavors and styles, and by pairing them with particular foods and dishes, he also gave impetus to the North American microbrewery movement.
His television documentary series, “The Beer Hunter,” a title that popularized his nickname, was filmed around the world and shown in 15 countries.
Mr. Jackson was a beer critic for more than 30 years, writing in newspapers and gastronomic magazines, holding seminars, giving speeches and appearing on talk shows. His many books about beer and whiskeys were published in 18 languages.

We have his book Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, and it has always been a useful reference for us. His work in promoting and writing about good beer and whiskies was a strong voice for quality. He will be missed.

(cross-posted at sfoodblog)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back from vacation

Thanks to folks who stopped by during my long hiatus from posting. We were gone quite a while.

Excellent vacation. Hiked, tie-dyed, waded in waterfalls, watched sunsets, drank a lot, laughed a lot, laughed some more, won some poker and played a lot of games.

Now, I'm completely off the anti-caffeine wagon. Gotta get back up there.

Starting, um, tomorrow I think. Or maybe Wednesday. Possibly Thursday.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Every once in a while,

...Dr. Science is exactly right about something:

Q: What is the deal with corn? Submitted by Scott W. Short from Canton, MO

A: Indeed, what is the deal with corn? There's too much already in storage so prices are low, yet every year we plant zillions of acres and then whine if the yields don't break new records. Planting and harvesting are extremely energy intensive, it demands large amounts of water and corn's so-called value added use as ethanol is a farce because it takes more energy to plant, harvest and process corn than it yields as a fuel. So what, indeed is the deal with corn? Our nation's agribusiness is addicted to it. And like any addict, they'll go to any lengths to deny or justify the addiction. As long as we're all willing to enable the addict, it's pure insanity to think anything will change.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Put to good use

Michael Vick jerseys are being put to good use at an Atlanta area humane society.

As Jeri Smith-Ready says, "Somehow the thought of his name and number being repeatedly soaked in dog urine just warms the cockles of my heart." Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I'm cutting back on caffeine.

This is hard.

I went from 2-4 cups a day down to one. I've past the part with the headaches; luckily I only got a few, probably since I cut down gradually.

What's getting me now is the tiredness. I still get the mid-afternoon sleepys, but now I can't just toss back a cup of coffee or tea. I have to try to walk around, get active, whatever- and that helps but not so well.

The other day I had no tea in the morning, so when the mid-afternoon sleepy hit me, I got a cup of coffee.

Starbucks coffee. Good coffee. Powerful coffee. All bow to the awesomeness that is coffee.

I was so awake for the rest of the afternoon and day; awake like I never felt when I was downing coffee on a regular basis. I discovered that once I'd reduced my dependency on the drug, using it again gave me the full potential. (Something most relapsing addicts know, I'm sure.)

Now that I've been reminded of the real thing, I have to avoid getting hooked again. Unfortunately it'll be mid-afternoon soon, and I just hope I don't get too sleepy...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Cat Blogging- Big Cat Falls edition

Obviously, they're not my cats.
We headed to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday, the kids and I. We were very lucky on the timing, because the new Amur Tiger cubs were having their public debut! We were ushered in to the exhibit in small groups, so as not to startle or upset the cubs and the new mama. The cubs, for their part, couldn't have cared less that there were humans on the other side of the glass; they had fun just splashing and playing with each other and periodically tackling Mom.

We love the Philly Zoo; close by and small enough to see everything in one day trip. Right now is a great time to visit; in the fall, the three African Elephants will be gone to their new home, so not only are there new tiger cubs, but it's your last chance to see the elephants.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Summer is almost over; the end is in sight.

Last night I was considering when I would take the kids to the zoo, and I realized that I have exactly two chances left before school starts. I hope the weather cooperates on those days.

We still have one real, true and much-anticipated vacation coming up this summer. We have relatives coming to visit, too; summer's not over just yet. What I'm realizing is that we've done much less hiking, canoeing, backyard camping and day-tripping than we'd like to have done, and few chances left in the hot season. It's a little sad to think about it.

I guess I get this way every year about this time. I love when the corn, tomatoes and peaches are all in- but it's a fleeting time that means school, fall and more busy-ness are just around the corner.

Enjoy what's left of the dog days of summer. They're numbered.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Media-verse

*Rob has challenged folks to list what's been in their media-verse lately. I'll give it a go. It's late summer and I'm clearly not into anything heavy or serious right now:


Of course, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows leads the list. First I read it, then I listened to the Listening Library version. I was very happy with it. I'm listening to Eragon right now, as read by Gerard Doyle. I have a Playaway of it from the library, and I'm not enjoying it too much; I think it's the Playaway's fault- the sound quality sucks. Am waiting for A Thousand Splendid Suns at the library, and watiting for Voice of Crow to be published.

Graphic Novels:

I am reading the Y-the Last Man books. Since there are only nine compilations of those and I need a Brian K. Vaughan fix, I'm wolfing down Ex Machina too. Catching up on my Sin City as well- I haven't seen the movie yet, and plan to read most of the books first. (I can't believe I have Graphic Novels as a separate section. I blame you, Rob. I do.)

Print media:

Newsweek had a great article on the Global Warming denial machine. There's a lot of money going into confusing the public about what's actually true and what's trumped up. I read the Times of Trenton every day- or at least, go through it if I don't have a lot of time to read it. Speaking of not having enough time, I'm a little behind on my National Geographic right now.


Finally watched Clerks 2 this past weekend and it was fun, although as full of plot holes and awkward segues as the original. I caught the Devil Wears Prada on cable this last weekend and it was awful. I read the book a few years ago and it was entertaining, but they butchered it here. (Her boyfriend works in restaurants and complains about her hours? Not believable at all.) Am on the waiting list for 300 at the library; I've borrowed Volver twice and not been able to watch it either time. I'm hoping to finagle a babysitter to see the new Bourne movie.


Morning: I've switched from Today to American Morning on CNN. I only get to watch a few minutes in the morning, and I've decided I prefer some actual news to infotainment. Primetime: we always catch Olberman if we can. Love Top Chef. Love Mythbusters. We've watched two episodes of Mad Men and I've decided that's enough- I simply don't care what happens to anyone on the show, so why bother? Strangely, I do watch this show, and I can't explain why- I just keep watching.


Very little music, it seems. I've been listening to audiobooks and am out of the loop for music. I have WXPN on right now, but it's background noise really.

So I guess that's it. What's in your Media-verse right now?

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Like most voters in Our Fair State, I didn't declare a party when I registered to vote. I remained an independent until recently, when I finally declared as a Democrat to vote in a primary.

Right now, I'm so embarrased that I ever did that; I don't want to be called a Democrat. Not when they pull shit like this:

Senate Democrats reluctantly agreed to pass a bill Friday night that would update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. The House planned to consider the measure Saturday after rejecting a Democratic alternative.
Bush is demanding passage before Congress' planned summer vacation, scheduled to begin this weekend.
The president praised senators for acting "to give our intelligence professionals the legal tools and authority they need to keep America safe. I appreciate the hard work they did to find common ground to pass this critical bill. Today, the House of Representatives has an opportunity to consider that bill, pass it and send it to me for my signature."

Bush said I want it passed before vacation, and the Senate Democrats rolled over and said, well, ok, if we must, but we'll do it reluctantly. I guess that makes it better, huh?

The Senate Bill requires:
Initial approval by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
FISA court review within 120 days. The final Democratic plan had called for court review to begin immediately and concluded within a month after the surveillance started.
The law to expire in six months to give Congress time to craft a more comprehensive plan.

So, in other words, Bush gets his blank check on eavesdropping for six months of his remaining seventeen in office.

On the good side, some Democrats weren't cowering:

Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said "provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review."
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will.
"The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said. "We make the policy -- not the executive branch."
Likewise, civil liberties advocates said they were outraged that Democratic-led Senate would side with the White House.
"We're hugely disappointed with the Democrats," said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they're in control -- it's mind-boggling."

Mind-boggling, indeed. I was hoping to hold on so I could vote in the presidential primary, but I don't know how long I can stay a Democrat, if I have to hold my nose every time I say it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Didja file yet?

Don't forget, the Homestead rebate app needs to be filed by 8/15/2007. You can file online.

East Windsor gets the decision

Late last week, the the state Supreme Court ruled on the Twin Rivers case , upholding the homeowner association's rights to limit political signs and other types of ordinarily protected "free" speech:
In a ruling that could have implications far beyond New Jersey, the State Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the right of homeowners’ associations to restrict the posting of political signs and other forms of constitutionally protected speech, as long as the restrictions are not “unreasonable or oppressive.”
“We conclude that in balancing plaintiffs’ expressional rights against the association’s private property rights, the association’s policies do not violate the free-speech and right-of-assembly clauses of the New Jersey Constitution,” the court ruled unanimously.
Like many big developments around the country, Twin Rivers is run by a homeowners’ board, and some residents there objected to the restrictions on the political signs as well as restrictions on the use of community rooms for meetings and the publication of dissenting views in the homeowners’ association newspaper.
A state judge supported the association’s contention, ruling that people who moved to the development were aware of the rules and had to abide by them. But last year a state appeals court reversed that ruling, finding that residents of Twin Rivers were entitled by the State Constitution to express themselves as they wished.
The Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the trial court’s decision.
The ruling could affect about 1.3 million New Jersey residents — nearly 40 percent of all private homeowners — and more than 50 million people around the country whose homes are part of an association.

Blue Jersey has got Ed Barocas, ACLU-NJ Legal Director, commenting on the case.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A solar power player

Our Fair State is second to California in our solar energy production, but tough days are ahead for that all imporant state rebate:

So far, government rebates — financed by $6-a-year charge to residential ratepayers and a higher charge to businesses — have been the basis for solar's growth in New Jersey. But with a lengthy waiting list for rebates, officials are searching for less expensive ways to expand the state's solar energy initiative.

The state's solar program started in 2001 with six homeowners installing panels that capture the sun's rays and turn them into electricity. Since then the program has grown to over 2,300 installations on homes, businesses, houses of worship and schools, generating about 38 megawatts of electricity — enough energy to power about 4,500 homes. During that period, about 100 solar-related companies have sprouted up.
Some in the industry fear a state Board of Public Utility proposal, which tries to encourage more private investment and move away from direct government subsidies, has serious flaws that may slow or even halt the state's progress in a competitive solar energy marketplace.

(Let's hear it for the fact that we're second to sunny California in production- and beat Arizona! Can I get a Woo-hoo?)

Unfortunately the rebates, which are very generous and have been a great incentive to go solar, are expensive for the taxpayer at large. Moving toward private investment is a good idea, but as Mark Warner, CEO of SunFarm Network, asks about the BPU plan: "Are they going to get it right or are they going to get it wrong?"

They're expected to vote on the plan Aug. 1st, so they have very little time to finish putting it together. It's a sure bet that everyone will be unhappy with some aspect of the new solar plan, but it makes sense to try to move away from an entirely taxpayer-funded rebate.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Brewing fun

We're more than halfway through the bottling process of a batch of beer- the bottles are sanitized, the priming malt added, the beer is in the bottling bucket- and we go to sanitize the bottle caps.

I don't have enough caps. Dammit. Andrew's on the run right now to pick up some more.

The only good thing about this is, since he's already on the way there, I called Brewer's Apprentice and placed an order for ingredients for another batch. He'll pick it up while there and we can get the fermenter full again; keep replenishing the empty basement homebrew stash.

This batch is an American pale ale (our version of an ESB, but with American hops and yeast) and now we're making a porter.

Hey, it's too hot to go hiking or even walk the dog, we've got to do something this weekend, why not brew?

Well, duh.

Corzine's motorcade told to cut speed:

A panel that studied Gov. Jon Corzine's State Police protection detail after he was gravely injured in a motor vehicle accident said yesterday the motorcade should not drive at excessive speeds or use emergency lights unless there is a specific threat.

No kidding!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finished it

I'm holding true to that promise not to say anything about the book.

But it's hard to keep that promise.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Waiting

It's not here yet. I checked when I got up.

So, I made breakfast and put it in the oven. Now I'm on the computer waiting for both breakfast and my package to be delivered.

Just checked- it's still not here.

Amazon said they sent it, so it should be here soon. Just like so many people (most of them under 15 years of age, but certainly not all) I'll be on media blackout until I finish the Harry Potter book. I'm taking no chances of accidentally tripping over a spoiler.

I checked again. It's still not here.

I was hoping to get some reading done before my oldest wakes up and asks for the book; I guess we should have ordered more than one copy for the three people in this house who want to read it. We made a strict family rule about not saying one single thing about the book until we've all read it.

I just thought I heard a truck, but it's still not here.

I promise to honor that strict family rule here on the blog and give not one detail. I'll be back when I'm finished reading.

Maybe I'll go check on breakfast. Or make some coffee.

Or sit in the living room to wait for the UPS guy to show up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wha... huh?

The Republican council members in Hamilton want to put a referrendum on the ballot to ask township residents if they want to spend the alloted $4.1 million to buy Klockner Woods.

The Republican council members posing the question have fought the purchase of the land since taking office in 2006, but have agreed to abide by the people's vote.
"I think the voters have already spoken loud and clear that they don't want the land at the price," said Council President Dave Kenny, referring to the 2005 election, when the purchase was a major campaign topic. "The mayor has said the people support the purchase, so let's ask the people."
Mayor Glen D. Gilmore, who championed the purchase of the land after receiving a petition signed by neighbors of the woods asking for its preservation, said he also would abide by the referendum, but doing so might be complicated.
"I would be glad to let the people of the township decide whether or not they think Klockner Woods should be preserved," Gilmore said. "At this point we are under court order to move forward with the preservation so if the community decides we should not preserve these woods I imagine what we would need to do is complete the preservation as ordered and then put the land up for sale."

That's right, there is a court order! Oh, yeah! (council members smack their foreheads as if remembering they could've had a V8.) "Complicated" is an understatement. So putting this on the ballot now is what, simple political posturing?

BTW, the price is no longer $4.1 million- It's over $4.6 million, because of the interest that's accruing while you continue to bicker. Be honest about what you're spending here.

Insuring for Civil Unions

We've heard a lot about the failure of civil unions in Our Fair State, not surprising since all separate-but-equals eventually are proven only to separate and not to be equal. So, it was refreshing to get a notice with an insurance renewal notice that Endorsement FE-6854: Civil Union endorsement will be added to my policy, replacing the word "spouse" with "spuse or party to a civil union considered valid under the laws of the state shown in our policy records as your state of residence" as well as redefining "relative" to include parties to a civil union.

A small bright spot, anyway.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Darkman wouldn't go up the stairs this morning. Usually, when we leave the house for a while, we put the dogs in our room (so no more cherished stuffed animals get their faces eaten off.) I tried to get Darkman to go up without grabbing his collar and dragging him, but he wouldn't go; he was wating for Blackjack to go first. Blackjack always went first.

Last night, Blackjack became ill rather quickly. When we realized he was in pain we called the vet and headed to Red Bank Vet Hospital, but we didn’t make it; he died in the car. We have theories, but we’re not sure what it was, and we’ll never know.

Darkman will never really understand. He'll have to get used to going first, now that he's alone.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Freezing summer

Today the air-conditioner guy came to where I work to fix the air conditioner. It was early, 9:30ish, before it was even warm out. While the air conditioner was off, two of the people I work with were terribly hot. One got fans and aimed them directly on where we were working (which is to say, on ME) because the oppressive heat was bothering her so much.

Ice cold, I left the area, finding duties in another room to occupy me.

A little while later when I had come back, a co-worker commented he felt cold. Relieved that it wasn't just me, I shut off the fan that was still blasting on us, and checked the thermostat.

It was sixty-eight degrees.

That's the temperature my heat gets set for in the winter!

Why does the world have to be refrigerated six months of the year? Why when I wear summer clothes anywhere do I feel like I must bring a sweater? Why??

I'm not asking to sweat. I'm asking for mid-seventies temperatures indoors.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hamilton looking into solar

Hamilton mayor Glenn Gilmore is considering solar for township buildings:

Gilmore's plan involves soliciting solar power firms to install the solar panels, then sell the generated power to the township for a specified length of time, generally from 10 to 25 years.
"Solar panels could help us significantly reduce our electric costs, while also helping us to be more environmentally responsible," Gilmore said. "We're looking at not only cutting our energy costs, but also at cutting harmful emissions we as a municipality generate."
Gilmore estimated the township could save as much as 10 percent off the township's nearly $1 million per year energy bill by finding a solar provider willing to enter into the "purchase power agreement."

Good luck finding a solar provider willing to do that!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Speaking for the 79% of us who disapprove of Bush's 'performance' as president, Keith Olberman, once again, says it best:

(hat tip On Our Radar)

A new low

Quinnipiac released a new poll this morning which puts Bush's approval rating in Our Fair State at 21%:

Voters say 76 - 18 percent that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.
They disapprove 75 - 21 percent of the way President Bush is handling the war and say 57 - 38 percent that Congress should set a deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq.
"President Bush's approval rating has hit an all time low of just 21 percent - lower than we've ever measured for a President in any state or national poll," Richards said.

Lowest approval rating for any president ever. Now, that's something to be proud of; you have to really work to get that low. Bear in mind also that the poll was taken from June 26- July 2nd; so the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence doesn't even factor in here.

(cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vote for Springfield NJ

USA today has the voting up for the Simpsons premiere: vote here.

(Springfield, PA didn't even field an entry. What's up with that?)

Blogger in the State House

Great article about Jay Lassiter, Blue Jersey's state house correspondent.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quick note from New Hampshire

I love lake livin'. (And, apparently, alliteration.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Takin' a little break

I'll be back soon.

Closin' the loophole

The state senate voted unanimously to close the loophole allowing smoking on casnio gaming floors. Woo-hoo!

The vote came 18 months after the Senate approved a statewide smoking ban that exempted casino gaming floors and cigar bars. State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, said the original ban unfairly left out the health interests of casino employees.
“Thousands of workers each and every day are exposed to second-hand smoke,” Vitale said. “Why should thousands of casino workers be subject to cancer and emphysema?”
Said co-sponsor Sen. John Adler, D-Camden: “We're doing the right thing for public health. It's overdue. A year and a half late, but better late than not at all.”

It's nice to know that the state senate doesn't consider casino employees to be second-class citizens. Now, let's see if the Assembly follows suit...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Locally grown

The Times of Trenton food editor Susan Sprauge Yeske had a great article yesterday about Central Jersey farmers markets. She included a list of some local favorites, which I condensed here and added a few:

Trenton Farmers Market, 9 a.m. -6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 960 Spruce St., Lawrence.
Lawrenceville Farmers Market, Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the parking lot of Lawrenceville Fuel, 16 Gordon Ave., Lawrenceville.
West Windsor Community Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Vaughn Drive lot of Princeton Junction Train Station.
Sergeantsville Farmers Market -- 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays on the township green on Route 604 Rosemont-Ringoes Road in Delaware Township
Liberty Village Premium Outlets Farmers Market -- 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays at Liberty Village Shopping Center, off Route 12, Flemington.
Toms River Farmers Market -- Wednesdays, 12-6, Ruddy Park.
Burlington County Farmers Market -- 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the former Winner Farm at Hartford and Centerton roads, Moorestown.
Freehold Farmers Market -- 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays at The American Hotel, 18 E. Main St., Freehold.
Hopewell Community Market, 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays near the train station, off Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell Borough.
Montgomery Farmers Market -- 12:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning June 28 behind the Red Oak Diner at Routes 206 and 518.
Capital City Market -- 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays beginning July 12 at East State Street between Warren and Broad streets
Russo's at Buckley Plaza -- 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays, Buckley Plaza, Route 130, Hamilton

Some of these, such as the Trenton Farmer's Market, have rules about only selling what you grow- but there's no guarantee for the rest. There are "farmer's markets" and roadside stands where you can see the employees unloading fruit and veggies out of the same boxes they get at Shop-Rite, so be careful. Don't be afraid to ask where the produce is grown. If you want Jersey Fresh, speak up.

(cross-posted at sfoodblog)

Good luck Springfield!

Springfield NJ wants to host a premiere of the new Simpsons movie:

The Springfield that cartoon characters Homer and Marge Simpson call home bears little resemblance to the Springfield nestled between the Rahway River and the Watchung Mountains -- or the more than 70 other Springfields scattered across the country.
But one of the nation's Springfields will host the première of the first "Simpsons" movie July 26, and residents of the Union County community hope it is theirs.
Cameras were rolling yesterday in front of Town Hall for the final scenes of a video that, if picked, will clinch the honor. Fourteen Springfields are known to be in the running (New Jersey's other Springfield, in Burlington County, did not enter), with each community required to create a three- to five-minute video showing its "Simpsons spirit."
As she prepped residents yesterday for a scene in which they would be the crowd at a rock concert, (producer Robin) Cornelison exhorted, "Tell your friends, tell your friends' friends, tell your friends' friends' friends, to vote for Springfield, New Jersey."

Good Luck!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why does this not surprise me?

Nothing is ever easy, is it?

Closing Fort Monmouth: Costs double from $780 million to $1.5 billion (Asbury Park Press)

The cost of closing Fort Monmouth has ballooned from $780 million to nearly $1.5 billion in the two years since a federal commission voted to shutter the 90-year-old Army post, according to the Army's fiscal year 2008 budget request.
The rise in cost is driven by a 571 percent jump in the price of moving the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School to West Point, N.Y., and an 85 percent increase in the price of military construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, according to Army budget figures.
The nine-member federal Base Realignment and Closure commission voted in August 2005 to close the fort and transfer most of its research mission to Aberdeen by 2011.
The Pentagon blames the cost increases on factors such as inflation and changes requested by the Army, but two former members of the BRAC commission said the panel members may not have voted to close the fort had they known how much it was really going to cost.
"I think it would have changed the commission's vote," said former BRAC commissioner Philip Coyle, who voted against the proposal to close Fort Monmouth. "People would have said, "What is the point?' "

Would knowing the true cost have changed the closing of the base? I doubt it. Fort Monmouth has been on the chopping block so many times that the ax was bound to fall. Maybe it would have delayed it until the next round- maybe.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Moving to Robbinsville

A petition with nearly 1500 signatures has been filed to change the name of Washington Township (Mercer County) to Robbinsville Township. The measure will be on the November ballot and if passes, will be a legally binding name change.
(Lewis, who got the petition) Koushel said the identity problem in Washington Township causes confusion in everything from school closings and athletic competitions to attracting new businesses to the community.
Koushel pointed to the fact that in 2003 the school board opted to name the new $50 million high school Robbinsville High School, rather than using the traditional and less-recognizable Washington Township. The decision followed an overwhelming community response supporting the "Robbinsville High School" name.
"We don't owe any allegiance to (the name) Washington Township," said Koushel. "I mean Washington never slept here."
On top of the name identity problem, there is added confusion because most of the township lives in the 08691 ZIP code, which is listed as Trenton.

Changing the name of this town, officially, to Robbinsville township is long overdue. I don't think that automatically fixes the zip code problem, though; West Windsor has been struggling with that one for a long time, too.

Love it here

Our Fair State's image is improving, even among our own residents. What's not to love?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Busy, busy

End of school year (field trips and parties galore)
End of soccer season
End of swimming season
End of ballet (rehearsal & recital)
Birthday parites galore
Going on vacation soon
And, oh yeah, work.

Am tired. So tired.

And it's only Wednesday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Swim safely!

The swimming bans in four shore towns have been lifted after tests showed the water meets state standards. The beaches were shut as a precaution after a spillage from a sewer treatment plant. Rep. Frank Pallone plans to introduce legislation to require sewage treatment facilities to have alarms so accidental discharges are immediately stopped.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dear Hollywood Directors,

Hold the friggin' camera still.

I understand that a hand-held camera gives your movie more of an art-house feel, and judicious use of it during, say, a long chase sequence gives us the adrenaline rush of following our main character through the paces. Unfortunately, however, I just sat through an otherwise amazing film that I would have loved and raved about except for the fact that I spend half the movie noticing the camera work and feeling vaugely motion-sick. The hand-held camera is terribly, terribly overused now and unfortunately often so shakey that it looks like you strapped the camera to a poorly trained seal.

Excellent camera work should be like excellent make-up: it's so good you don't notice it.

There are devices that might help you; they're called a tri-pod or a camera dolly. I'm sure they're still in use in some movies. Please, find out what they are and start using them again.

What shall we do with all this useless beauty?

The Ft. Monmouth re-use plan probably won't be ready by the December deadline, fears the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority, the organization dedicated to redevelopment at the base.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

NOT a blue moon after all!

Yesterday evening on All Things Considered, they shattered the idea that tonight's full moon is a blue moon. The next blue moon will be in May 2008- the third full moon in a season that contains four.

See, we all thought that a "blue" moon was the second full moon in a calendar month, something that only happens rather rarely. This is a mistake, perpetuated by a Sky and Telescope article over sixty years ago. Give the NPR article a listen to hear the details.

Property Tax "reform" goes on and on and on...

Gov. Corzine slammed the plan to devote the whole penny of last year's sales tax increase to property tax relief: "It's just money in one pocket versus another.... It does little to protect whether we will keep in place the rebates."

I don't want a ridiculous, gimmicky rebate check right before election day! I want the penny increase in sales taxes to go directly to municipal governments in the form of increased school aid and increased funding to towns, so they don't have to raise my taxes sky-high to afford decent schools and services.

Monday, May 28, 2007

This is the story of how we begin to remember

Never let us forget that we are the land of the free only because we are the home of the brave.

Sargent Sameer Rateb, Absecon
Specialist Eric Palacios River, Atlantic City
1st Lt. Ashley L. Henderson Huff, Belle Mead
Specialist Alain Kamolvathin, Blairstown
Specialist Christopher Duffy, Brick
Specialist Marc Seiden, Brigantine
Specialist Ryan Baker, Browns Mills
Specialist Philip Spakosky, Browns Mills
Sergeant Frank Carvill, Carlstadt
Lance Coporal Michael Schwarz, Carlstadt
Lance corporal Bincent Sullivan, Chatham
Major John Spahr, Cherry Hill
Pvt 1st Class Stephen Benish, Clark
Lance Corporal Harry Swain IV, Cumerland
2nd LT Seth Dvorin, East Brunswick
Captain James Gurbisz, Eatontonw
Specialist Kyle Griffin, Emerson
Specialist Simeon Hunte, Essex
1st Lt. Dennis Zilinski, Freehold
Airman 1st class Carl Jerome Ware Jr., Glassboro
Corporal Marc Ryan, Gloucester City
Private Eric Wilkus, Hamilton
Corporal Michael Edward Curtin, Howell
Specialist Marlon Jackson, Jersey City
Sergeant 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, Linden
Specialist Anthony Dixon, Lindenwold
Sergeant Micheal Hullender, Little Falls
Sergeant Matthew Fenton, Little Ferry
Staff Sergeant Vincenzo Romeo, Lodi
Sergeant Bryan Freeman, Lumberton
Specialist David Mahlenbrock, Maple Shade
Sergeant Ryan Doltz, Mine Hill
Staff Sergeant Anthony Goodwin, Mt. Holly
Specialist Narson Bertil Sullivan, North Brunswick
Sergeant Stephen Sherman, Neptune
Sergeant Humberto F. Timoteo, Newark
Specialist Yoe M. Aneiros, Newark
Pvt 1st Class Joe Baines, Newark
2nd Lt. J.T. Wroblewski, Oak Ridge
Pvt. 1st Class Bruce Miller Jr., Orange
Captain Michael Yury Tarlavsky, Passaic
Specialist Gil Mercado, Patterson
Sergeant Michael Egan, Pennsauken
Specialist Adam Froehlich, Pine Hill
Corporal Sean Kelly, Pitman
Staff Sergeant Edward Karolasz, Powder Springs
Pvt. 1st Class Min-su Choi, River Vale
Pvt. 1st Class Miguel Marcial III, Secaucus
Pvt. 1st Class Ryan Christensen, Spring Lake Heights
Pvt. 1st Class Donald Brown, Succasunna
Pvt. 1st Class Vincent Frassetto, Toms River
Corporal Thomas Saba, Toms River
Sergeant Alan Sherman, Wanamassa
Staff Sergeant Stephen Sutherland, West Deptford
Lance Corporal Brian Parrello, West Milford
Staff Sergeant Terry Wayne Hemingway, Willingboro

In memory, and in gratitude.

(NJ Iraq casualty list from

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Native American Arts Festival

The Powhatan Renape Nation is having its American Indian Arts Festival this Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday May 26, 27 & 28.

Great way to spend an afternoon this holiday weekend. Drive safely, folks.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I was tagged by Nordette, the Jersey Goddess, for the Eight Random Things meme. I need eight random facts about myself that you probably don't know, then I must tag eight of you to follow up as well. Hmm....

  • I hate slugs. I really, really do. When I was a kid I brought in the dog's food dish from the back yard and it had a couple slugs in it; I thought they were snakes, and I was really upset. I can handle snakes much better now, but I still can't take slugs. I love my garden, however, and that makes things difficult.

  • I'm allergic to kiwis. The fruit, not people from New Zealand.

  • My first hair cut by a professional was when I was 28 years old. My mother always cut my hair when I was young, and through college and after I drafted friends, boyfriends and my husband to trim the back for me.

  • My own mother once said about me "You're not just frugal, you're cheap." Bet you figured that out after the haircut item, didn't you?

  • I took two semesters of Chinese in college. I remember almost no characters, but I can still understand greetings when I hear them.

  • I don't have the patience for Monopoly anymore. I used to play it constantly with a friend when I was 11 or 12, so maybe I've burned out on it. I can play long involved games- we ran the same D&D campaign for almost eight years- but just not Monopoly.

  • My husband is my best friend.

  • I've lived in three different counties in New Jersey, four towns total, and I'm not leaving. I can't imagine living somewhere else. I didn't pick to live here- it's just where I was born- but I love it for all its faults. Sometimes I am fiercely loyal to things I didn't originally want or I just got stuck with, and maybe Jersey falls into that category, but I am fiercely loyal to it.
Now the harder part- tagging eight folks to meme.

  • Rob S. Laughing at the pieces indeed!

  • Janet When you have time to blog again, no hurry.

  • Tata Do you meme, Princess Tata?

  • Andrew Never has time to blog anymore, but still.

  • DJ Rix Has been putting up some great poetry lately.

  • VeeganMD is back on a new page.

  • *Rob or Brenda Or maybe both!

  • Greg! Back from the deep?

I will be not offended if you cannot or choose not to participate. I must say it was more fun and a little harder than I expected.