Friday, March 27, 2009

Word A Day

Miss. Connor, my 4th grade teacher at PS 277 told us to learn a new word every day. And she told us to keep a notebook, and write down words we come upon when reading so we can look them up in the dictionary later on.

In this notebook we were supposed to write down the meaning of the word, and then a sample sentence with the word.

Today, I learned a new word:


The overwhelming feeling of euphoria induced by a particularly stirring political moment. An orgasm of a political nature.

Guy: Do you remember Obama's speech at the 2004 DNC?
Girl: Oh hells yes. I had a total politigasm.

Wise woman, Miss Connor.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good fences make good neighbors.

On my inaugural Spring walk this morning, I saw an interesting sight in Flemington on Broad Street: Two houses, side by side.

One had a green peace flag hanging off the front porch.

Another had a lawn sign---“I am the NRA, and I vote.”

Must be fun at their backyard BBQs over the summer.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Freedom to “Wax on, Wax off”. Ouch.

Recently, the Mercatus Center of George Mason University completed a study on which states were the “free-est”. Their criteria —perhaps a bit too Reagenesque and libertarian ---for measuring such “free-ness” included fiscal policy, regulatory policy, personal freedom, and economic freedom.

Number one, by their standards? New Hampshire---whose state motto is “Live Free or Die”. Well, if you’re gonna put the lives of your residents on the line, it’s pretty tough not to come in at number one. Although New Hamsphire is number 1, New Jersey clocks in at number 49 overall. We do beat out New York, by the way.

However, there is one area where we are now a bit “free-er” than we were before: the freedom for women to get a "Brazilian" wax ---the bare-it-all bikini waxing---just in time for summers at the Jersey Shore.

At first, the state Cosmetology and Hairstyling Board proposed banning "Brazilian" bikini waxing after two women were hospitalized for infections following the procedure. Ouch for their Jersey Girly-parts.

Then Consumer Affairs Director David Szuchman got a ‘closer’ look at the issue, and killed the plan. Said Szuchman, “Many commenters have noted that the procedure can be safely performed. I, therefore, believe that there are alternate means to address any public health issues identified by the board.” “Many commenters”? Just who are these folks and how did they take ‘notes’?

Anyway, maybe we should contact the folks at the Mercatus Center and see if this new found freedom gets us moved up a notch or two. And by the way, Brazilian waxing is OK in New Hampshire, too, apparently.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hides of March

I love living in New Jersey, and I have put down my roots here. However, we do have the world's greatest city just a few train stops away.

I served on the Flemington Borough Council for 12 years, so I have become intimately aware of the multitude of financial problems that confront New Jersey towns everyday. While I do not have any childhood memories of going to The Shore [however, I do have my own memories of going to Coney Island and Brighton Beach, where we could see the Jersey Shore in the distance], and I did not 'get' the whole Bruce Springsteen until fairly recently [after "The Rising" and the We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions] ---I do consider myself firmly a New Jersey resident.

This week I experienced two things that surprised me: two lifelong Jersey residents who never go in to New York. One friend said she has lived in Manalapan her entire life and the last time she was in the Big Apple was she was ten. Ten---for her that when the Mets won their first World Series. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon. That's a long time to be a train ride away from the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and United Nations without visiting. At least send a card. She said she was a self declared 'hick', proud of it, and never looked back.

The other friend asked me about taking his daughter to Times Square to go the Hershey store, Toys R Us, and the M & M store. He asked me 'where Times Square was', what subway to take, and how far a walk the various locations may be. "Should I take the subway?" "What subway should I take from Penn Station?" "Should I take the Shuttle?" were some questions. "Yes, the D,B, or N" and "No, the Shuttle goes to the Eastside from 42nd Street" were my answers.

Now, I don't have a four year old who will be thrilled to go to the Hershey store, Toys R Us, and the M & M store. And I would rather take a trip to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and United Nations ----but that's me.

However, I was very inspired by a father looking to take his daughter to Times Square. Families having a reason to go to Times Square. Imagine that. That never would have ocurred thirty years ago.

So, I am hopeful that what begins with the Hershey store, Toys R Us, and the M & M store will evolve in to seeing Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and United Nations.

It's spring, and we can always hope.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Art imitates Life

In a never ending effort for TV networks to become relevant again, they are planning shows to reflect the realities of a recession, job loss, and home foreclosure. For joy! Maybe they will run the shows right below Jay Leno at 10pm, to help him draw an audience.

From the NY Times:

Networks are even considering entire series based on the recession. Fox is developing a comedy titled “Two-Dollar Beer” that features a group of friends living in Detroit who are trying to weather that city’s worsening financial condition, and ABC Studios is developing “Canned,” a situation comedy about a group of friends who all get fired on the same day.

“Television serves as a crucible for exploring and tapping into real emotions,” said Gary Newman, chairman of 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces “Lie to Me” and “The Simpsons.” “When our characters are dealing with things that are relatable to our own lives, it can become more meaningful.”

Sure glad Mr. Newman has that all figured out. How'd President Obama miss having him in the cabinet?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Following the recession/Recession on Twitter

I am taking a long form improv workshop at the Magnet Theater in NYC. A group of theaters has sprung up on the Westside of Manhattan featuring long-form improv [as opposed to ‘short-form’ improv, the kind you’d see on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Anyway, I digress.

The class is filled with people much younger than I---mostly young actors and actresses making their way through the NYC acting scene, attempting to get their bite at the big NYC acting apple ---they are maybe 20s and 30s, tops. I attended law school with much younger folks, and feel comfortable in that environment, in case you're concerned.

Anyway, [again], during one class break we got chatting as a group, sharing some personal information about where we lived, where we grew up, went to college, yada yada, yada.

One young women [let’s call her ‘K’] shared that she lived in Long Island with her parents, and was going to move out when the “recession was over”. Hmm, I thought, she thinks these economic downturn thingies have a beginning, middle and end date. Sad to say for me, her perspective is certainly more hopeful than mine. With age comes wisdom, I guess.

But her comment got me thinking: This recession has not been ‘capitalized’ or ‘dated’ just yet [becoming The Recession like The Depression or The Great War, before we started numbering Great Wars]. Perhaps her perspective is colored by her experience, much as mine is. She follows the news in bits and bytes; emails, text-messages, and MySpaces/Facebooks. She has a “To Do” list that includes getting on with her life after the recession is over. And I am sure she will leave to future generations the capitalization of the whole Event.

So, let’s get on with Life, and not capitalize this recession, either. Let's follow the recession on Twitter ----but not become Friends with it on Facebook.

We all have much more important things to do, also. I am sure K will MoveOut very soon.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fake Money?

Americans are really good at faking it. We are even good at faking that we are faking it.

Toupees. Silicon breast implants. Collagen for various body parts. Even so-called “reality shows” are actually quite fake. Most of Michael Jackson and Joan River’s face. That woman who has had so much plastic surgery that her fake face looks unreal –[I think her name is Jocelyn Wildenstein, maybe].

The other day I was having a conversation with a group of fellow Democrats about where the bailout money is coming from, exactly. One guy said that our ancestors and their ancestors will have to pay the money back. Hell, that I know. But where is the money coming from, I asked.

One person said, “From China. They own most of out national debt.” Hmm. Maybe, I thought. But I keep on reading that the Chinese have no money, either ---so how are they affording to buy our debt.

“We’re just printing it. The more we need, the more we print,” another guy said. That does not seem like a good idea. Doesn’t cause rampant inflation? At least that is what I think I remember learning in high school economics.

So, I am going to have to try and figure out exactly where this money is coming from. Are we faking a good bailout?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Less state spending? Maybe start by cutting Lonegan's campaign money....

It's playing hand shadows:

Conservative candidate for governor Steve Lonegan the other day called for less state spending by cutting the DEP, Community Affairs, Health and Seniors Services, and Labor and Workforce departments.

Seems like a good idea to me---that way the only areas of the state affected are clean drinking water, clean breathable air, small towns and communities, senior citizens, and New Jersey’s working families. Seems absolutely workable without cutting in to the heart of New Jersey.

Ironically, the one area Mr. Lonegan seems to have neglected to cut is the funding of gubernatorial candidates themselves. This stalwart for less and less government is receiving money from the hand he wants to bite off----the state government itself. Lonegan is set to receive “an additional $139,640 in matching funds soon,” according to PolitickerNJ.

Now, if Mr. Lonegan was a true conservative libertarian as he claims to be ---over and over again ---he would refuse tax payer state funding of his Republican primary campaign, and seek funds from the private sector. Charlie Stiles of the Record called Lonegan, "The Bulworth of Bogota…kooky, iconoclastic wild card…the voice of the disenchanted party’s right wing..”

Now, a strong argument can be made that primary elections, unlike general elections are purely political party affairs and no state tax dollars should go to fund such races. However, that being said, Lonegan is certainly fun to watch, if nothing else, and his inclusion in the Republican primary does make the race more interesting to watch---so maybe that makes it worth the money.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Twitter can track and report the microscopically minuscule movements

... of millions of people across America and the world.

Facebook can befriend/connect millions more, post videos, pictures, updates, report who you’re like, not like, Scrabulous plays, compare you to the dozens and dozens of denizens who like the same movies, desserts, and American Idol shows you like.

Google Earth can show you the front yard of the house you lived inn when you were 12 or back office of where your ex-spouse works. With a shake of an iPhone you can summon the GPS genie to let you know where the nearest Thai restaurant is located or which Starbucks is accepting a coupon for a dollar off on a Venti™ latte. IChat messages and videos of Paris Hilton going viral on some guy flow hither and yon faster than the lies from W’s mouth.

And yet, the power-computers that be and their super satellite allies in the sky could not track where the dollars were with any speed or accuracy to help us avoid or at least be forewarned about the current mess o’ money?

Now, I do have trouble balancing my checkbook when I can find it. And I use more than my share of cash machines and pay two bucks a pop because I forget to carry cash. But I am sure that someone somewhere could have done better.

As my Aunt Rose would say, “They can put a man on the moon, but they can’t figure out this drek.”

Problem is we have not put a man on the moon in more than 35 years or so. Hope we remember how. We could have Twittered our way to avoid this financial mess, me thinks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

23rd Turns Right, and right again and again.

Is the 23rd the ONLY district left in NJ where the Right wants to alight?

First, Warren County freeholder John DiMaio [pro-life, pro-gun, anti-climate change, etc] gets the convention nod from Hunterdon/Warren to replace Marcia Karrow in the Assembly.

Then, Hunterdon Freeholder Erik Peterson [also pro-life, pro-gun, anti-climate change, etc] gets the county line in Warren and Hunterdon for the Assembly race.

And now, to complicate things even more---the Chief of Staff of Assemblyman Mike Doherty [ even more so pro-life, pro-gun, anti-climate change, etc]---Ed Smith has decided to jump in to the race. His stand on the key right wing issues---you guessed it----pro-life, pro-gun, anti-climate change, etc.

Does he believe in evolution, gravity, magnetism? Who knows.

So, just how does the average Republican voter choose between the right-wing guys running? Again, who knows. One is more right wing than the next.

Former Senator Lance was a reasonable Republican---labeled himself an Eisenhower Republican. And for a while Ms. Karrow was reasonable, too. But Doherty is about as anti-progressive as you can get, and so are the three heirs to the throne.

So, you can bet the words/phrases you'll hear most often in the coming primary will be "Reagen", "Pro-life", "I never raised taxes" and "Corzine is a %$#!"