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.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I get searches- Carla Katz take two

I made a flippant comment in the Blue Jersey news round up today about a Jon Corzine-Carla Katz item being in the news:

Joe Cryan and Tom Wilson are having a shouting match over financial issues and private email between the Gov and Carla Katz, with Wilson threatening to sue to release the correspondence and Cryan criticizing Wilson's tirade: "Mr Wilson is doing nothing better than engaging in political voyeurism." Sorry- maybe I should have put this in the same category with American Idol that I dismissed earlier; let's call it "Gossipy non-news."

Non-news, indeed. I got over 600 hits yesterday on this blog, mostly from Google searches on the name Carla Katz or Carla Katz photo.

Six Hundred.

Tom Wilson may be engaging in political voyeurism, but it looks like a lot more of us are engaged in simple voyeurism. A NY Times article about the money involved in the relationship is the spark for all this interest, of course. People still want to know about the woman to whom Corzine gave all that money.

An ethics panel cleared the gov of any allegations that union negotiations were affected by the old relationship. Katz and Corzine stopped dating a long time ago; he has been seeing someone else for years now.

There's nothing to see here folks; move along...

Violets are blue

One more casualty of global warming: our State Flower, the blue meadow violet, may disappear by the end of the century. Many wild flowers will be endangered; 17 other state flowers are threatened, according to a report by the National Wildlife Federation.

Drive Safely this holiday weekend

Governor Corzine's seat belt public service announcement, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

(hat tip jmelli)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mercer County Supports Our Troops

I forgot to post this last week, sorry! The donation drive continues through Memorial Day:
"The small comforts of home have become luxury items for our military personnel serving overseas," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, who announced the supply drive on Friday (5/11). The project is part of Operation Open Arms, which is run by the non-profit American Recreational Military Services.
The county government will accept supplies at several locations, including the Mercer County McDade Administration Building, 640 South Broad St., Trenton; the Mercer County Connection office, 953 Route 33, Hamilton; the county clerk's office, Mercer County Criminal Courthouse, 175 South Broad St., Trenton; and all 10 branches of the Mercer County Library System.
The items needed most include: insect repellent and wipes; lip balm; small packs of cotton swabs; razors; eye drops; powdered drink mixes; white or green socks; protein bars; mouthwash; granola and cereal bars; sugar-free items; hard candies, chewing gum and mints; batteries; tissues; baby powder; shaving cream; toilet paper; deodorant; feminine products; cookies; microwave popcorn; coffee and tea packets; over-the-counter medications; small cereal boxes; snack foods; and nuts.
The drive will end on Memorial Day, May 28. For more information, call Sharyse Porter at (609) 278-7193.

ARMS has other drop-off sites throughout Central NJ, if these aren't local to you.

We should end this war now. But since we can't, at least we can support our men and women fighting it. Please help out if you can.

Zach Braff Can't Sing

...but the man does love North Jersey.

hat tip to Shabe

I think it's worth more

The natural beauty of Our Fair State is worth about $20 billion, according to a study by the University of Vermont along with state officials. The study puts a dollar amount on natural land in order to make it easier to weigh environmental benefits while making policy decisions:

The goal of the study, one author said, is to give policymakers a better way of weighing environmental benefits as they judge regulations, building projects and other decisions.
"It's no longer a question of economy versus environment," said William Mates, an economist at the state Department of Environmental Protection. "It's really, if you want to call it that, economy versus economy. It's a question of what balance of natural capital versus physical [development] is going to be appropriate."

The most valuable areas: the Pine Barrens and the shore.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Healing Power of Bob Barker

Sick as hell, I have been.

It started Tuesday; now with several days of antibiotics and lots of missed work, I am feeling better. I have to get from "better" to "good" by tomorrow; I can't miss any more work.

What do you do when you're home sick? Well, you get some sleep. You take ibuprofen and drink extra fluids. You take naps. You lie on the couch. And, when you're unable to focus your eyes and mind enough to read (I couldn't until yesterday), you watch TV; far, far too much daytime TV. No matter what, you watch The Price is Right.

This is the stay-home-sick-from-work/school plan I've followed since childhood. And I've always gotten better.

I firmly believe Bob Barker has healing powers. There's something about sitting on the couch with your box of tissues and stale glass of water watching people drastically underestimate the retail prices of furniture they'd never buy that always makes me feel better.

Maybe it's the simple comfort of the sameness of it all; the show hasn't changed much in the last thirty years. They must've spent a lot on that Showcase Showdown wheel back in the 70s or 80s, since they still use the very same one. Most of the sets and games are all the same, and the prizes haven't changed much either. I didn't see Rice-a-roni this week, but I bet it was there. Even though the voice has changed over the years, the trademark "Come on down!" still elicits shrieks of joy from the faithful in the audience.

I'm sure you've heard Bob Barker is retiring. Apparently CBS plans to replace him; I wonder if they will revamp the show completely or just try to drop another host in his place. I won't know until the next time I'm home sick, since I have no patience or time for game shows or daytime TV unless I'm stuck on the couch.

Bob, I'll miss you. Next time I'm under the weather and you're not there anymore, I'm sure I'll hear your voice telling me the Actual Retail Price in my feverish dreams. I hope I can still get well without you.

And, thanks for reminding us. I did spay or neuter my pets.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Read a good book lately?

I have and I have to recommend it heartily. I just read the first two books in the graphic novels of the comic books Y-the last man.

It's one of the best comic books I've ever read.

Now, I'm not a regular comic book junkie. I've read things Rob S. has recommended and several popular series like The Crow, but I'm by no means an aficionado. I'm usually a text-print book reader.

But I have to tell you, this is amazing. The story is astonishingly good and the art is too. Do yourself a favor and seek it out, from the beginning.

When I finish with this, a new book just came in the mail for me to start: The Last Three Miles, which only just became available. You know the author from his opinion mill.

Tell it to her Tuesday- Speed of Lightning, Roar of Thunder edition

Janet's Tell it to me Tuesday series continues today with the question Who would make your best underdogs list of all time?

Obviously, our hero here is tops of my list. And now I have the theme song (as done by the Butthole Surfers) stuck in my head. Thanks, Janet. Guess I should go add that to Rob's earworms list next.

Now it's time to list some big underdogs:

The Philadelphia Eagles: They've been the underdog in two superbowls: 2004 and 1980. 1980 they got roundly trounced but 2004 was so close it hurt.

Silence of the Lambs: Who expected this to take the oscar from JFK and Bugsy, which took the Golden Globe? Thriller/Horror usually had no chance, and then this one took the best actor/best actress/best picture trifecta. Creepy as hell, too.

Willie McCoy (Slim): He refused to believe that you don't mess around with Jim.

There are a bunch more, I'm sure. Have fun with it!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Book Sale

Need some used books cheap- or want to find treasures to resell on ebay? Two Mercer County Library book sales this weekend:

Hightstown is having a huge sale to coincide with the townwide garage sale on Saturday.

West Windsor branch library is having a book sale through Sunday.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Quote of the day

From the Star-Ledger article, McGreevey's life journey is taking a spiritual turn
Ex-governor enrolls in Episcopal seminary

Richard Codey, who succeeded McGreevey as governor, said he was surprised by his predecessor's latest endeavor.
"Just when you thought it couldn't get any wackier in New Jersey politics, it did."

I love Dick Codey. Did I tell you that lately?

(hat tip to

Mushrooms in Princeton

The New Jersey Mycological Association is having a foray to find the morels of spring this Sunday morining at 10AM at the woods of the Institute of Advanced Studies near the Princeton Waterworks. They have experts who can identify different 'shrooms so you don't have to worry about your finds.

I can't go! I'm so upset- I would love to do this. The details and more info are at the link above; make sure to check it out.

(cross-posted at sfoodblog)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Hightstown story that won't go away

The mayor of Hightstown was continuing his media rounds, on Bill O'Reilly (needless to say, I didn't see him) and a cover story on yesterday's Times of Trenton, to talk about the town's immigration policy. Tomorrow, there will be a press conference in this little Mercer County town with the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey where they support mayor Bob Patten.

Patten continues to insist that the response has been mostly positive. I hope he's right.

Not gonna happen

It was nice to read the articles of impeachment for Dick Chenney.

Thanks for the idea, Rep. Kucinich. I'm sorry that it's not gonna happen.

(And thanks for the link, OTTami.)

Happy Birthday

Their birthdays are all in the spring, April and May sometime, but we've long since forgotten exactly when- or in one case, never knew exactly. So, years ago, we decided on May 1st, all cats age one year.

Happy Birthday.

Cooper in the sun - age 14

Gypsy, who really has green eyes -age 15

Alaska avoiding having her picture taken- Age 13