What a week this has been and continues to be. We have been without power since Monday night and consider ourselves lucky. The devastation elsewhere in New Jersey and New York has been beyond belief. Seeing familiar places damaged or destroyed tugs at the heart. Our kids have been home all week and will have no school through at least the rest of the week but it is more a matter of making the best of it.
As we saw in this region on 9-11-01, sometimes the most difficult circumstances bring out the best in people. We have seen this from our leaders, particularly Governor Christie and President Obama putting aside any political differences to focus on a rapid response to the disaster. Whatever side of the political spectrum one is on, I believe this is a very positive message that would be good to follow, regardless of who wins the upcoming election.
We see the tremendous heroism of first responders, of neighbors helping each other, of people all over the USA pitching in any way they can. It will be a great challenge to rebuild but I am optimistic that with this resilient approach, out of the horrible damage from Hurricane Sandy, things will improve. As a New York native who has lived in New Jersey now for quite some time, my thoughts and prayers go out to all who were impacted.
Two years in a row, October 29th has turned into a meteorological marvel here in New Jersey and nearby states. In 2011, a surprise Nor'easter left millions without electricity for days as heavy, wet snow that adhered to trees caused many branches to snap, in many cases landing on electrical wires. While temperatures in the 40s after the storm would normally feel fine, when those temperatures are inside your house and you are sleeping with a winter jacket, that is an interesting experience.
Flash forward to October 29, 2012, and Hurricane Sandy is the top story. By dinner time this evening, Sandy is expected to make landfall along the real Jersey Shore. The current prediction has the eye of the storm passing in the vicinity of the beautiful Barnegat Lighthouse. Storm surge is expected to be a major problem further up the coast in New Jersey, as well as in New York City, Long Island, and southern New England. Meteorologists are telling us that what is so challenging with Hurricane Sandy is that it is a combination of a strong weather system from the west, cold air from the north, tropical conditions from the Atlantic Ocean, and a full moon that is causing astronomical high tides. In 2011, we also had Hurricane Irene in August, causing major flooding problems, mostly along inland rivers. This morning, we see on The Weather Channel the Hudson River flowing rapidly, complete with ocean-like waves and whitecaps.Tropical force winds are anticipated to spread over hundreds of miles, even as far as Chicago and Lake Michigan.
So if you are in the path of Sandy, stay safe and warm. Heed the warnings to stay off the roads.This will make it easier for first responders and utility workers who put themselves in harm's way to ensure we are safe and warm.
Autumn in New Jersey - Changing Colors & Light
Last night, my daughter caught a little bit of the final Presidential debate and asked some interesting questions. I've always found the workings of government fascinating, so this warmed my heart. In that spirit, I thought we would have some fun with a quick history class, Jersey style. Don't worry, there is no quiz.
These days, there seems to be an oversupply of reality shows taking place in the Garden State. We have Cake Boss, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, and Married to Jonas, just to name a few of the programs set here. But over the years, New Jersey also has been home to some of the greatest minds the world has ever known, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.
With Election Day just two weeks from today, here are some Presidential connections:
Yankee Stadium - Summer 2012
In the crazy world of professional sports, we sometimes forget to take a step back. Outrageous salaries that are often more than most of us will make in a lifetime add fuel to the fire.
If you watched Saturday's Tigers-Yankees playoff game, you know that Derek Jeter suffered a season-ending ankle injury. In a post-game interview after the Yankees staged an improbable comeback in the ninth inning, only to fall short in extra innings, one of the Tiger stars of the game talked about how he wished Jeter well and how many of the Tigers and other major leaguers look up to Jeter as a mentor. That was a very admirable and sportsmanlike thing to say. In yesterday's game, a call at second base went against the Yankees and may have impacted the end result, as a one-run Tigers lead became three runs. In post-game comments, one of the Tigers acknowledged that the umpire's call should not have gone the Tigers' way. Again, I think this is a sportsmanlike thing to say - essentially, that your team was lucky. One other moment that deserves mention was when the struggling Alex Rodriguez was pinch-hit for against the Orioles, there he was on the top step of the dugout leading the cheers for Raul Ibanez when he hit his home runs. Whether A-Rod is overpaid or not, that was a classy thing to do.
Those of us who are fans of the Yankees sometimes forget that it is not automatic that we will win the World Series every year. (maybe "we" should be "they" - I have never set foot in the batter's box in the Bronx). Every year is a new battle for the championship. Even Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio had to earn the rings. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, it is good to acknowledge that the Orioles played a wonderful series against the Yankees and that the Tigers deserve to be up two games to none based on how well they have played thus far.
Maybe if kids see sports stars behaving in a dignified way, that will carry over as the kids become adults. Maybe courtesy will become contagious. One can only hope. So "let's root, root, root for the home team - if they don't win it's a shame" - but that's as far as it should go. It's not the end of the world if the Yankees or your favorite team comes up short.
According to a report from the Pew Research Center, there has been phenomenal growth in the use of tablets in just two short years. In September 2010, just 4% of American adults owned a tablet. Undoubtedly fueled by the success of the iPad and Kindle Fire, that figure has jumped to 25% by the summer of 2012. With the holiday season just around the corner and with Apple speculated to be launching a smaller version of the iPad, it would not be surprising to see these figures continue to jump higher. In other research, Pew also has found that with the rise of mobile computing, the use of desktop computers, not surprisingly, is on a downward trend. The report on tablets, authored by Lee Rainie, DIrector of the Pew Internet Project, is posted online at http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2012/PIP_TabletOwnership_August2012.pdf.
The data on gadget use, which shows a decline of desktop presence among adults from nearly 70% to just under 60%, is also on the Pew website.
Here in the Garden State (it's not all about counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike), there are certain signs that it is autumn, that we have turned the corner from summer, that winter is on the horizon. Just a few days ago, temperatures were in the low 80s. This morning it dipped to the mid 30s. Air conditioning or heat in the house? Polartec sweaters?
Wherever you drive, a pumpkin stand is not too far away. While the number of farms has shrunk, the ones that remain generally are a short drive away. This past Saturday, while the skies were a mixture of sun and clouds, the color orange was everywhere to be seen.
Stores that have been stocking Halloween merchandise since the summer are starting to discount and advertise at a faster pace - but if you wait 3 1/2 weeks, prices will probably be 50-75% off. The sun is noticeably lower in the sky, especial;y during morning and afternoon rush hours. The glare can be overpowering at times. Mix in frost on the really chilly mornings, and it's a good idea to defrost your windshield.
Other signs that it is October? The Yankees are in the playoffs again. Of course, they are a New York team, but just try to drive across the George Washington Bridge on game days. But wait - Rutgers is now undefeated in college football and ranked in the top 20 in several polls!
As a native New Yorker, but now a long-time resident of New Jersey, I have an affinity for both states. New Jersey is nice enough to share its two professional football teams with New York. (See map below - that's the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) in the lower right side.) Some of the most spectacular views of the New York skyline are from the New Jersey side - anywhere along the Hudson River or the Palisades, or from Eagle Rock Reservation a few miles away in West Orange, the views are particularly amazing! And let's not forget that the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are closer to New Jersey than to New York.
Unless we get another crazy snowstorm like last October, this is a terrific time of year to be in the northeastern United States. So whether you were Born to rRun to New Jersey, or are more in a New York State of Mind, or both, enjoy the changing seasons and the changing scenery!
Lots of curves ahead (Google Maps photo)
Growing up and living in the New York and New Jersey area most of my life, our roads, needless to say, can be a challenge to drive. In the spirit of David Letterman's Top 10 lists, here are some things that make many a driver wish for a more logical way. In no particular order, here are some of my pet peeves (feel free to add to the list):
Did I miss any of your driving frustrations? Please feel free to add.
Blog Author - Ken Felsher
With over 25 years of writing, editing, and research experience. I enjoy sharing with my readers my love of working with content on a variety of subjects.
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