Category Archives: new jersey

Snow, snow, thunder, rain, and yet more snow.

snow

2/13/14 – It snowed. A lot. Again. The above photo was taken sometime after breakfast yesterday morning. Rex seems to be enjoying this winter, and if I had a coat like his I’m sure I wouldn’t mind half as much. My other dog, Loki, on the other hand, is not built for this weather and had little interest in being outdoors. Can’t say that I blame him. And this photo was taken a few hours later, during a lull in the storm. Note the patio table and the railing from one photo to the next.  One day’s snow, and the day, and the snow, are far from over.  We’re expecting another 6 inches before dawn, then another round of 4-6″ from Friday night to Saturday morning.

yet more snow

And me? I just spent the last two hours clearing the latest layer from the driveway and walk. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m curling up in my favorite arm chair with a nice glass of brandy while I watch the Olympics. Which, ironically, was held in Russia rather than New York City, in part because, well, you know. It’s the Winter Olympics, and for that you need a whole lot of top quality snow and ice.  Maybe we could ship some of this white stuff to balmy Sochi — I’m sure they could put it to good use, and I for one, would be happy to see it go.

2/14/14 –  It snowed/sleeted/rained/thundered/sleeted/snowed most of the night. The snow is saturated through and through, and heavy enough that it’s caved in rooftops on some buildings. It’s clearing out now, for a few hours at least, but should return tonight for another round. Meanwhile, my table continues to disappear.

snowsun

Darwin in Metropolis..

I was amused to learn that scientists have determined a unique and previously unrecognized species of Leopard Frog has been residing here in the tri-state region, “Croaking away in plain sight,” according to the New York Times.

Most times, when you hear about the discovery of a new species, it’s from somewhere remote and exotic, usually some mountain or rainforest on the far end of the globe. But this amphibian’s home territory falls in and around New York City. They’ve got ’em in Staten Island. They’ve got ’em in the Meadowlands, in Connecticut  — in fact, if you stuck a pin in the center of their limited range, it would fall not far from Yankee Stadium, though so far none have been spotted in the Bronx.  And these frogs are nothing new — they’ve been around for years, and I’m sure I probably caught my fair share as a kid — but they so closely resemble another species, the Southern Leopard Frog, that they were believed to be one and the same. It wasn’t until a scientist noticed that their vocalizations were quite distinct and different that they took a closer look and found the two frogs had completely different genetic lineages. Apparently, (thought not surprisingly for anyone who lives around here,) southern frogs have a different croak than ones living in commuting distance of NYC.  I guess we wouldn’t know the difference, that’s just what our frogs sound like. (Tri-State frog: “Accent? Whad’a you talkin’ about? I don’t got an accent. You got an accent!”)

Spring has arrived… (whatever floats your corpse, revisited)

The following is a re-post of my post last Thursday at Write on the Water, where it received a resounding lack of comments. Perhaps the subject matter may have been a bit questionable. Judge for yourself… I felt it would be of interest.

 

While the calendar claims that it’s only the beginning of March, there’s no denying it’s been an unusually warm winter here in the northeast. Buds are swelling on the trees, the crocuses have been blooming for weeks, even hyacinths have been clawing their way through the dirt, reaching upward like green zombie fingers towards the sunlight, all well ahead of schedule. And this leaves me wondering: will Floater’s Week come early this year?

What is Floater’s Week? It’s a local event on the waters surrounding New York City. NYC and its neighboring communities hold the title as the nation’s largest metropolitan area, with roughly nineteen million people living in a region bordered by the Atlantic and laced with harbors, bays, vast rivers and hidden creeks. It’s a city of bridges and tunnels, over two thousand, in fact. Lots of people, lots of water, and lots of access to that water.

With those statistics, it’s a given that over time, a certain percentage of deceased bodies might eventually find their ways into said waters. Drowning victims, boating accidents, bridge jumpers, and unfortunate fatalities of criminal activity. As air in the lungs is replaced with water, a body will sink to the bottom, and so long as that water is cold, decomposition is slowed and the corpse will stay put, more or less. But once the days grow longer and water temperatures rise, bacterial activity and decomposition speed up, producing gases that make them buoyant, bringing these bloated bodies bobbing back to the surface in a synchronized resurrection.

So there you have it. Floater’s Week. Annually, that perfect mix of conditions usually arrives sometime around mid-April, though, like fishing, it varies based upon a number of factors including position of the body in question and whether or not they may have been additionally ‘weighted’, so to speak, as well as depth, current, hours of sunlight and so on. And yes, in case anyone is wondering, I have encountered a floater or three in my time on the Hudson. Around here, we see it as a sign of spring.

(And here’s a nice, upbeat song by Justin Townes Earle, titled ‘Harlem River Blues’, about taking a permanent swim in the Harlem River.)
 

This I knew…

Intelligent positive exposure makes me happy.

The Jersey Shore gone Wilde!

In the name of all things literary and Jersey, I bring you Oscar Wilde takes on Jersey Shore, hilarity ensues in five acts. It’s all in the presentation.  Enjoy!

What Exit???

What's your exit

It seems Last Exit In New Jersey is all over the internet this morning. A while back I set my web-browser’s home page to display the Google results for any mentions of “Last Exit In New Jersey” within the last 24 hours. It gives me a handy snapshot of my online presence and alerts me if anyone is mentioning my book, as well as providing directions to local events and a certain funeral home in Fort Lee, but that’s what I get for using a prominent New Jersey road-sign as my book’s title. And as I went online this morning there it was:

“Last Exit in New Jersey: book explores the literary possibilities of the state”

Apparently NorthJersey.com was running an article about MY BOOK! They were running it in the Arts & Entertainment section.  Even better, this same article was being posted on some other Jersey related sites, such as The Sopranos.Com and New Jersey Gambling News.

Wow. Someone did an article about my book and I didn’t even know it. As Annabel would say, “How cool is that?” Pretty cool, indeed. But… wait a minute. That’s not my book.

The article is, in fact, about a book edited by Joe Vallese and Alicia A. Beale, entitled What’s Your Exit? A Literary Detour Through New Jersey. The book is a collection of contemporary fiction, poetry, and essays from forty-nine writers inspired by the Garden State.

What's Your Exit

Hmmm. Let’s see. I think I see the confusion here. Both books do have the words “Exit” and “New Jersey” in the title. Both are Jersey-centric, and both would likely appeal to similar audiences. But What’s Your Exit is an anthology celebrating the fine contemporary literature of our state, while Last Exit is a modern thriller done in a classic, hard-boiled noir style. Clearly two entirely different books.

So, for those of you who may be trying looking to find What’s Your Exit, they are located here on Amazon and they have an interesting blog as well at: http://nj.wordriot.org/ And if you are looking for the Last Exit In New Jersey, you can find it HERE.

last exit in njI should hope that the above links will help sort out any confusion between my book and What’s Your Exit. I can only imagine how I’d feel having an article run about my book with a headline that makes it sound like an entirely different but similar title. Who knows? Maybe the papers will do an article about Last Exit In New Jersey, and they can even title it “What’s Your Exit?” That only seems fair.

Scandalized in Atlantic City…

Atlantic City Inlet 1904 New Jersey PostcardOver the years I’ve acquired a few vintage postcards from New Jersey; they’re charming time capsules both visually and by the amusing little messages they share.  This is easily one of my favorites,with two graceful gaff-rigged sloops under sail and three more waiting scandalized at the dock.

Scandalized? Did they do something immoral or shocking? Absolutely not. But reducing sail area of by lowering the gaff or raising the boom is known as scandalizing. As I understand it the expression originated from the term ‘scantelize’, from scantle or ‘make small’. See? You never know what you might learn on my blog.

The other amusing detail on this card is the message. Look close and you can read, “My dear little boy –  I hope you are being a very good boy and having a nice time. Be good to Mildred – Mother”

It sounds to me like mom got away for a few days and left Junior at home.