Browse Category: New Jersey

The Ride Home 2

(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

A few pictures taken on the ride home from work yesterday…

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Another beautiful sunset. This picture was taken while on Route 31 in Hampton.

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This is a photo of Route 31 traffic taken from Cemetery Hill in Washington not too long after sunset.

Posted at 11:15 PM (EST)

The Ride Home

(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

Here are a few scenes from my ride home after work.

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I like how the rays of the sun appear to be about to “beam up” the car in the middle lane. This was taken on Route 78 near Clinton.

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Of course “packing tape should not be used for painful practical jokes!” DUCT TAPE works much better! This was taken while I was getting gas at a Hess station.

Posted at 9:45 PM (EST)

HERE WE GO – HALLOWEEN WITH THE BOUNCING SOULS

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(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

I could not think of a better way of spending Halloween than going to a Bouncing Souls show. What better place to see them than The Stone Pony in Asbury Park? The Stone Pony was made famous over the years by the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and of Bon Jovi, to name just two New Jersey bands. The Souls are a well known punk band from Jersey with a worldwide following of loyal fans. The Stone Pony plus The Bouncing Souls plus Halloween equals… a damn good time!

First, a little background, then the story.

MY SON and some of his friends love The Bouncing Souls. The first time that I took him to see them was September 12. They played at Irving Plaza in Manhattan along with The Arsons, Strike Anywhere and The Pietasters. Unfortunately, I had a migraine that day. By the time we got to New York, I was operating on my last two brain cells, and one of those was shorted out. So, I didn’t enjoy the time. Honestly, the first two bands sounded like consecutive train wrecks. The third band had the most annoying singer. But I did enjoy The Souls. It was either that my migraine medicine was working by the time they came on stage or the sound of hundreds of people yelling “F*** YOU!” when the singer said “East Coast” that jump started my flickering brain cells. Yeah, they have a song called “East Coast F*** You!” Honestly, I love it!

When we found out that The Bouncing Souls were playing on Halloween at the Stone Pony, we were excited. Since seeing them in New York, I had borrowed CDs from my son and a dvd from one of his friends. The more I listened, the more I watched, the more I appreciated this band. There were some last minute fanagling and juggling of responsibilities. Nonetheless, tickets were ordered, arrangements were made, and our attendance at the concert was assured.

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SINCE I drive a little two-door Toyota, and there were five kids and myself going to the concert, we used a van that belonged to one of the kids’ parents. It was a big conversion van with plenty of seats, a cd player, a tv and all the comforts of life. It was a mobile studio apartment. It was huge and green, like a rolling mountain, much larger than my tiny red Toyota. In fact, we could have loaded the Toyota in and still had room for everyone!

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Our first stop on the trip to Asbury Park was at the McDonalds in our own town. Five excited teenagers and one crazy dad is a recipe for chaos in any fast food establishment. From blowing straw papers at the girls behind the counter, to me speaking as if I had brain damage (and my son playing right along with it), we caused a little commotion. People! We were on our way to a punk rock concert! How else were we supposed to act? That’s why, when the proper little family in the powder blue mini van blocked our way through the parking lot, one of the kids jumped out of the van and motioned for them to move out of the way. What else were we to do when the man rolled down his window and proceeded to yell at the kid than to give them the middle finger with all sincerity and earnestness? For crying out loud, this is New Jersey! Just to emphasize our sincerity, I drove around the building again, pulled up along side the cute little mini van in the drive up line, and we all gave them the finger one more time. “East Coast F*** You, buddy!” How funny it was when the wife jumped out of the van with her middle finger raised in the air. F*** you, sister! Get back in your van!

Ahhh! New Jersey! Ahhh! Punk rock!

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AFTER some time, we finally made it to the Garden State Parkway. We in the front listened to various punk CDs on the way. Those in the back amused themselves with video games. All was smooth sailing until…

We ran out of gas at a toll plaza on the Parkway! It wasn’t my fault! I’m used to driving a Toyota! They go forever on a tank of gas!

“What are we gonna do now? I knew it was a bad idea to give the finger to a family in a mini van!”

After a few tries, the van started again. At the toll booth, I was told that there was an exit about a half mile down the road. As it turned out, it was the exit we needed to take for Asbury Park. I was told there was a gas station there.

We made the exit. But we saw no gas station. A little way down the road, the van stopped again. There was no gas station in sight an to make matters worse, all the kids had to pee due to the super size sodas they drank.

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After a few tries, the van started again. (So it’s not such bad karma to flick off a mini van family after all!) A little further down the road we saw the ever glorious Texaco star! An oasis! It was up a hill and the traffic light at the intersection turned red as we approached. Yet, we made it into the entrance of the gas station just as the van conked out again. At that point the doors of the van burst open and five boys with bursting bladders burst through the doors in a desperate search for a bathroom. Miraculously, I was able to start the van one more time and pull up to the pumps.

The attendant, obviously bewildered by five screaming boys holding their crotches so as not to piss themselves, said to me, “What happened? What’s wrong?”

I replied, “What do you mean? Gimme ten regular, please.”

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With the gas tank full and all bladders empty, we soon made it to Asbury Park. The club was easy to find. Parking was readily available. We waited in line for some time. Then we were in.

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THE FIRST band to play was Let it Burn. They were good. They played their hearts out. The bass player was decked out like Frankenstein. Very cool. The guitarist was a decent punk rock version of Eddie Munster. Also very cool. A very good opening act. And oh… they had the cutest girl (Sharon Stein) in the world playing lead guitar. There’s nothing like falling in love while the opening band is playing!

NEXT UP was Tsunami Bomb. Their Scooby Doo costumes were pretty cool. Musically they were good. Their female singer just needed a little more confidence. She’s got a great voice, smooth and strong. All in all they were a great act.

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THE THIRD band to perform was Strike Anywhere. Now, you have to love a band whose singer comes on stage dressed as Alice Cooper, eye make-up and all. Awesome! As a diehard Alice Cooper fan, I instantly loved these guys! My admiration was not for nothing either. They sounded great! They sounded much better than they did at Irving Plaza in September. (Though the Stone Pony is small, they do a great job with the sound system there. Much better than Irving Plaza.) They played their guts out and the crowd loved them.

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THEN CAME the Bouncing Souls. Just as they did at the Irving Plaza show, the crowd increased their excitement as they waited for the Souls to take the stage. To hear all those kids singing the band’s lyrics “Here we go, here we go, here we go,” before the band even came out was pretty cool. The kids in Jersey love the souls. It is obvious that the Souls return that love. Even though it’s a punk show, there is a certain affection and identification that is communicated from the band to their fans. That is very cool. The Bouncing Souls are not a group of unreachable, untouchable superstars. As the singer expressed from the stage that night, they are just a bunch of guys that get up on stage and “act like a bunch of retards.”

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There is so much energy and excitement when the Souls play. The moshing in the crowd was wild! A few times, I got crushed up against the end of the bar where I was sitting. If I wasn’t old enough to be everyone’s father and didn’t weigh almost 220 pounds, I would have jumped right in there and moshed with the best of them. However, the words “law suit” prevented me from doing so.

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As their latest album is titled, “Anchors Aweigh,” the band came on stage dressed as pirates. They looked fantastic! To complete the Halloween motif, there were plenty of pumpkins and plastic skulls on stage. Being that it was a punk concert, these ended up either smashed on stage or thrown out into the audience. What better definition of a good time than loud music and pieces of pumpkin flying through the air?

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AN INTERESTING tradition that the Bouncing Souls have is to print their logo on the back of used work jackets, leaving the original name tags on the jackets. My son has one. Before we went to the show, he assured me that it would not be a “weird dad” thing if I got a jacket for myself. Disappointingly, they were not selling any jackets that night. However, I found one on eBay this week. I watched the auction for a few days. During the last hour, two eBay newbies were bidding like crazy on the jacket. I waited until there were only 45 seconds left and placed my bid. I won. See, I may be too old to jump in a mosh pit, but when it comes to winning something on eBay, I’ll kick your ass! And the name on my newly acquired jacket? “Donte.” How cool is that? East Coast F*** You! I got a Bouncing Souls jacket and you can call me Donte!

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AFTER the show we hung around for a while. We all bought T-shirts and I got another Souls sticker for my car. A real treat for the boys was meeting Johnny X after we hung around long enough. The Souls do a song about Johnny (“Johnny says he’s bound by only 6 strings to this world/ Johnny always keeps them one turn out of tune”). He appeared on stage to perform the song with them that night. When we saw him outside, he agreed to a picture with the boys. They were delighted. I was happy to be part of their excitement.

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We left Asbury Park, all wound up. What a great show! The ride home was uneventful (other than paying way, way too much for burgers at a rest stop on the Parkway). I remembered to stop for gas before we ran out this time. ! We finally made it home at 3:30 in the morning. I slept until 3 in the afternoon. My ears were still ringing on Monday morning. But I was inspired. Long live punk rock! Long live the Stone Pony! Long live the Bouncing Souls! Long live the middle finger! Long live the opportunities to be involved in the lives of our kids!

THE END
THE END

There’s No Place Like Jersey!

(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

There’s no place like New Jersey! If you don’t love it… don’t friggin come here! We won’t care! We don’t need ya anyway!

How’s that for a Jersey attitude? Right on!

As one of my best (and best looking) friends is fond of saying, “New Jersey’s a garden… Dig it!”

So here is an ode to New Jersey that my mom passed on to me this morning…

  • New Jersey is a peninsula.
  • Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida.
  • New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.
  • New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky.
  • New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq. mi.) than Havana, Cuba.
  • New Jersey has the most dense system of highways and railroads in the US.
  • New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the Diner Capital of the World
  • New Jersey is home to the original mystery pork parts chub (no, not spam) Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.
  • Home to the less mysterious but best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.
  • North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.
  • New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
  • The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.
  • New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns, some of the nations’ most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch & Cape May.
  • New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for Water Quality Control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.
  • New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.
  • Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy.
  • New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts?)
  • Here’s to New Jersey-the toast of the country! In 1642, the first brewery in America opened in Hoboken.
  • New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah in 1940.
  • New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80% of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.
  • New Jersey is home to one of the nation’s busiest airports at Newark Liberty International.
  • George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington.
  • The light bulb, phonograph (record player) and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ laboratory.
  • We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.
  • The first seaplane was built in Keyport, NJ.
  • The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.>
  • The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.
  • New Jersey is home to the Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City.
  • The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on their playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City.
  • And Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.
  • New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.
  • The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains.
  • New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)
  • New Jersey had the first Medical Center, in Jersey City.
  • The Pulaski Skyway, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.
  • NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson. (Holland Tunnel).
  • The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.
  • The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick i n 1889. (Rutgers College played Princeton.)
  • The first Drive-in Movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ.
  • New Jersey is home to both of “NEW YORK’S ” ProFootball Teams!
  • The first radio station and broadcast was in Paterson, NJ.
  • All New Jersey natives:

    Sal Martorano, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Queen Latifa, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Joan Robertson, Ken Kross, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Budd Abbott, Sam Snyder, Lou Costello, Alan Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Linda McElroy, Eileen Donnely, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Richard Wojewodzki, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Sam Snyder, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Robert Blake, John Forsyth, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gorden McCrae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Zebulon Pike, James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm. Halsey, Jr., Dave Thomas (Wendy’s), William Carlos Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia and of course………Frank Albert Sinatra and “Uncle Floyd” Vivino.

You know you’re from Jersey when….

  • You don’t think of fruit when people mention “The Oranges.”
  • You know that it’s called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
  • A good, quick breakfast is a hard roll with butter.
  • You’ve known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
  • You’ve eaten at a Diner, when you were stoned or drunk, at 3 a.m.
  • You know that the state isn’t one big oil refinery.
  • At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from.
  • You know what a “jug handle” is.
  • You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
  • You know that the state isn’t all Newark. There is also the farmland, mountains and horse country.
  • You know that there are no “beaches” in New Jersey – there’s the shore and you don’t go to the shore, you go “down the Shore.” And when you are there, you’re not “at the shore,” you are “down the Shore.”
  • You know how to properly negotiate a Circle.
  • You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.
  • You know that this is the only “New…”state that doesn’t require “New” to identify it (like, try…Mexico,…York, …Hampshire – doesn’t work, does it?)
  • You know that a “White Castle” is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich.
  • You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege.
  • You don’t think “What exit” is very funny.
  • You know that people from the 609 area code are “a little different.” Yes, they are!
  • You know that no respectable New Jerseyian goes to Princeton – that’s for out-of-staters.
  • The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar. make that eagles-giants!
  • You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
  • You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.
  • Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.
  • You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.
  • You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way.
  • You weren’t raised in New Jersey — you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.
  • You don’t consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.
  • You remember the stores Korvette’s, Two Guys, Rickel’s, Channel, Bamburger’s and Orbach’s.
  • You’ve had a Boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.
  • You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.
  • And finally…

    You’ve NEVER, NEVER pumped your own gas.

  • Posted at 12:00 PM (EST)

    Fire in Washington, NJ – July 14, 2003 (Photos)

    (Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

    There was a fire in our town yesterday. Rumor has it that the fire was started by a 5 year old boy playing with matches in his bedroom. Thankfully, no one was injured. But the house appeared to be fully gutted by the flames.

    At first, I felt a little like the “Paparazzi” chasing after photo ops. Then I saw a few professional photographers and just imitated their gait and style. Rather than looking for the sensational shots, I tried to focus on some “in action” photographs of the firefighters and rescue workers.