Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is That All There Is?

So the Star-Ledger, trying desperately to regroup and hang on, comes out with its'"new and improved" version Tuesday. And after all the mock anticipation, what do we get?

A rip-off of USA Today! Arrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhh! Honestly, even the use of color seems "borrowed" from the free staple of hotel rooms and lobbies all across the country. The basic page layout system in particular seems a clear steal.

Plus there was a a column by its chief editorial thug and would-be tough guy, Paul Mulshine, dumping on internet journalists and bloggers. Yes, Paul, your stuff is the "real thing" because a)you're from Jersey and b)as you've told us a thousand times, you surf. Good, why not try doing it in Peru for the next several years?

The death watch perforce continues. The very last stages, I'm now betting, will neither be pretty nor fun to watch.

And the most nettling thing for me about New Jersey's largest daily newspaper remains that the Ledger still cannot distinguish properly between its and it's.

 Next time...

A look at a seeming new trend in Jersey restaurants, one I could easily get behind. But let me say this now as summer fades: both restaurant-wise and from the supermarkets, it's proved an awful summer for Jersey tomatoes, which are supposedly our pride and glory. I have yet to order a sandwich in a deli or at a diner, or to have a salad in a full-service restaurant in this state, that actually smacked of summer. Instead, they've all reminded of hothouses. Once, a long, long time ago in a biker bar frequented by the North Jersey chapter of the Pagan's (sic) MC (special regards to Gunner & Truck!), I had real, luscious Jersey tomatoes on my grilled cheese sandwichyes and burgers. Since then  - and again, it's been a long, long time  - the incidence of tasty, juicy tomatoes grown in-state has been rare indeed.

Have a grand weekend, all, too.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Star-Ledger Death Watch - The Bleeding Continues

No Real Transfusion Here

On both Thursday and Sunday, the Star-Ledger ran the exact same story signed by its publisher heralding "a new and improved Star-Ledger." On Thursday said story ran on the front page of the newspaper.  Yesterday it ran on the front of the paper's 'Perspective" section, which purports to be its weekly collection of op-ed material.

But it was the exact same story. Which is important to note because, really, what newspaper is apparently so lacking for inspiration that it basically runs a press release twice? They can't even change things somewhat to allow for the presumed differences between the groundlings who read the front page and Thursday and the more thoughtful types who lap up the op-ed material on Sunday?

Anyway, the newspaper uses these two occasions to announce "a reading experience we hope you will enjoy." By which, however,   -  and this is important, folks  -  they don't mean a newspaper akin to the Star-Ledger of just a few years ago which had some heft and serious, statewide reporting to it. Rather, they mean a Star-Ledger "improved" somewhat since the last major round of cuts at the paper of  approximately a year ago. So they're adding a page (a page! Yeehah, buckaroos!) of local news to their Monday edition. Plus "new puzzles and games." (Yeehah again!) They also promise a re-design.

Ominously, however,  Richard Vezza's statement adds "let me tell you what is not changing - The Star-Ledger's newsstand and home delivery schedules." Since nobody to my knowledge has bothered to ask the Star-Ledger about this (does anyone ever dare "demand" anything of the Star-Ledger?), one logical assumption is that the Star-Ledger has itself discussed changing those schedules. Remember, too, that in the wonderful cutback-mad world of Newhouse-owned newspapers, there is already precedent for cutting a paper's publishing schedule. The New Orleans Times-Picayune only in fact publishes three times a week these days. So a similar retrenching is probably in the works, especially if the Star-Ledger's attempt to re-invent itself here falls flat on its face.

(Nettlingly to me, however, the Star-Ledger has not yet deigned to announce the full and complete interment of its sports "columnist emeritus" Jerry Izenberg. Who continues to get to choose his gigs and always opts for the high-profile events. God but I wonder what this man has on his ostensible superiors. It sure isn't his great literary gifts.)

Were I at the Ledger (let's be familiar with the old biddy), and were I as aware of the futility of attempting to stave off death as they must be there, I'd probably swing for the journalistic fences the last few months of life. You know: call politicians nitwits and slackers if they deserve it (and so many seem to in NJ); print scandalous (but true) stories about their sex lives; complain about everything and anything in sight; even, to cite something the Ledger never ever does, get critical of the seeming bozos who run Atlantic City's casinos and politics and sold us the white elephant of casino gambling.

Not gonna happen, I'm sure. It'd be fun to read. But it's not going to happen. So the Ledger will instead go on wheezing out for its last months of life without making any real dent. But with improved design, more puzzles and games and an extra page per Monday of local news.  The newspaper's extended, sad death rattle continues.

Oh, and the Ledger,  claiming to have come to the realization that its readers  "no longer utilize printed television listings  in favor of onscreen listings provided by cable operators," is now, after a free two-week preview, going to charge the interested 67 cents a week for a  new TV listings magazine. (Actually, because it takes forever to scroll through listings for all those hundreds of cable channels, I prefer its current newspaper listings format for its ease and brevity.)  This in a publishing
environment in which TV Guide has been dying for years itself. Such brilliance to thus launch a competitor to it!

The Ledger is sorely lacking in editorial verve and imagination, on that I hope we can all agree. Watching its drawn-out demise is akin to being a mongoose getting off on a cobra it's toyed with slowly bleeding to death.  The fun never stops.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back At It, In Case Anyone Cares

Approximately a year ago, I launched this blog because I sensed a need in my native state for a critical eye to be turned to matters of politics and culture. Hoo boy did I sense a need, you know?

But then after a month or two I also got lazy and didn't do much with it. (And not because, in the vein of Coriolanus, I was expecting a groundswell of posts begging me to keep on blogging.)

Anyway, I'm back. Mostly, perhaps, because I realized how much I have to say about New Jersey even now. Posting probably once or twice a week. For your edification and amusement and, with luck at times, even the stirring of your sense of outrage. This state does not have to be the joke it often seems to be in so many ways.

Please be kind. And voluble. And if I have to choose, I naturally opt for volubility.  Thank you.

Reconsidering Rutt's

The sharp-eyed past fans of this blog will of course have already noticed that I've changed the photo above (from a Scottish megalithic structure, no matter the current popularity of the TV series "Outlander") to one of Rutt's Hut in Clifton. And in fact it's of Rutt's on a weekend evening when it still has an hour during which to be open and serving up rippers. Yep, this is what Rutt's Hut often looks like now during "primetime." Business doesn't seem to be so hot. We'll try and examine why this is so.

Now, in the entire state of New Jersey there are probably only two places about which folks say, in an awestruck tone, "We're really here. Golly!" or something very close to this. (There used to be three, until Bruce Springsteen thoughtlessly  had that berm thrown up in front his house in Rumson, the one across the street from the private school he sent his kids to.) One is Jon Bon Jovi's mock version of a Loire Valley chateau on the Navesink River, outside the (closed, understandably) gates of which often sit bands of female adolescent Japanese tourists whose diligence approaches stalking.

The other is Rutt's Hut, and here, so great turns out to be the reach of both PBS specials on American food and the Food Network, the awestruck cut across every age and ethnic group. "We made it!," they often chortle into their cellphones to some relative or friend. "We're actually here." It is in fact a rare weekday afternoon during my own visits to Rutt's when I am NOT asked by some folks to take a picture of them with their cell or Iphone. (Maybe I just have that kind of cooperative, semi-bovine look upon my aged countenance.)

I never get to talk to these people subsequent to their first ripper washed down by a "large howdy," however. Yet I really do wonder what they make of Rutt's Hut other than its fame via television coverage, because the truth is that Rutt's, hot dogs aside, is a terrible place. A very terrible, unwelcoming place. Some might even see it as slum-like. One into which its owners have apparently sunk no money whatsoever since the long-passed time of my own childhood. They are so lackadaisical about all this that even their website,, after 5+ years, is still promising that it's coming soon in full accessibility. It's great if you're a famished seagull but maybe not so hot otherwise.

When I was a kid, Rutt's was so popular that it had hired security, big African-American guys who enjoyed prodding teenagers with the carefully burnished nightsticks they carried. We'd show up there around 11:30 PM on a Friday, a half-hour before we could "legally" eat meat back then thanks to the strictures of what Phil Donahue always jeeringly terms "Holy Mother Church," and the guards would thus deny us entrance until midnight. Sometimes, probably for the sheer sake of sadism since the smell of crisping franks is so pervasive in this corner of Clifton, they'd make us march in step around the agglomeration of sheds that is Rutt's while they counted cadence.

At this time, too, Rutt's was but one part of a Trinity of hot dog hangouts in Clifton, if obviously the most successful. There was Neilley's, in a building as old and run-down as Rutt's was even back then. And Bertlin's, which had the advantage for its own business of being open on the one day of the week Rutt's was closed in those days, Mondays. Rutt's is also, and since as far back as six decades ago, the first place I can recall in NJ which served foreign-brewed beers, in both bottles and on draught.

Eventually, however, the highway leading south to Newark past Rutt's was built and somehow, by some engineering process I don't pretend to understand, Rutt's was suddenly on a sort of bluff high above the Passaic River, where it'd previously hugged the shoreline. Neilley's disappeared but Bertlin's also survived, for some years until it eventually was transformed into a now-departed Chinese restaurant. The Trinity is down to one member, has only seemed, thanks to TV coverage, to grow in fame since then. But it doesn't seem to have translated into an increase in business. Truth is, Rutt's often seems relatively deserted, both at the counter and inside in the "formal" (vaguely, that is) restaurant. Lunch, let alone Friday and Saturday nights, is no longer SRO, no longer requires thrust-forward shoulders and an aggressive mien. The meek have inherited Rutt's, perhaps because the aggressive have headed off somewhere else. 


The counterpeople at Rutt's are famously irascible. Not as cranky as, say, civil servants in NYC's courts system, but none too helpful. Brusque, too. Inside, the actual restaurant waitstaff is worse, Much worse. Where diner waitresses in Jersey often seem possessed of a world-weary wisdom only acquired after years of late shift service, the waitpersons and bartenders at Rutt's merely seem impatient to get home themselves and back to the misery of their own private lives. You don't go here for a gracious meal, nor even for shared happy reminiscences of the time a crew from PBS came in and raved about the rippers.

The walls, too, are caked  -  and I mean this literally, run your fingernails across its walls if you doubt it  -  with the accumulated grime of decades upon decades of hot dog grease. (Legend has it that Rutt's was once even one of Babe Ruth's favorite filling stations after his playing days.) Even the normal-sized cannot turn around in the men's room stalls, so you have to back into them. And it's at least three years since the automatic doors into the counter area have worked. The prevailing impression one gets at Rutt's Hut is of exceedingly tight-fisted ownership. Of folks unwilling to add even a fresh coat of paint. And I honestly don't think this is because ownership  fears its establishment will lose some of its charm if things are changed and/or updated. Rutt's has no charm. It instead has efficient charmlessness. If Hell in fact has a company cafeteria, it might look and feel like this place.

As for the food, it remains what it's always been. Meaning passable. Great dogs, fantastic carrot relish, cottony buns. Onion rings with an appalling grease level, thus the delight of cardiologists. "Barbecued" beef and pork sandwiches which are really no such thing unless you count one slice of meat as a "sandwich." But a decent selection of both domestic and imported beers for what is fundamentally a hot dog stand, one which seems to hearken architecturally back to the time of the 30 Years War and seems destined to someday soon collapse in upon itself. (Thereby freeing into the Passaic River below all that accumulated cooking oil, thus creating a reptilian evolutionary cycle the likes of which we haven't seen since the last "Godzilla" movie.) 

And yet...and yet...Even I own a Rutt's Hut t-shirt. And you can wear it most anywhere in these United States and attract both those who've been there and those who still aspire to. And should any of these fools of the latter sort ever be there when I am, I promise to take their pictures for them. Even with some things utterly lacking for the most part in this dismal place: graciousness and an honest smile. 

A relatively quick jab at the casino industry

Yea verily, four AC casinos have closed over the last year. The usual defense/alibi/explanation from the casino industry blames competition by other states' casinos.

Which doesn't make much sense for several reasons. No one else remembers, back when AC was planning its fleshpots, the claim that the combination of the Atlantic Ocean beaches and casino gaming would prove irresistible? Does anyone even recall now, so determined were casino interests and their political allies (we look for good example at you, the Brendan Byrne administration of yore), that New Jerseyans actually voted twice on this one? That the pro-casino gambling referendum actually lost the first time out?

"Help us help ourselves" was a frequently chanted mantra during the nascent days of casino gaming in NJ. Well, "they" may have in fact helped themselves (to all sorts of then free-flowing monues and state aid) but they didn't do much for the actual city of AC proper. Much of it remains a mordant slum. Especially as one moves back off the Boardwalk area into neighborhoods where people really live. Casino interests also selfishly said "screw you, jack" to other then-struggling shore towns like Asbury Park and Long Branch which might at the time have used the (only temporary, alas) boost gambling provided to AC's economy. 

 And the casinos have time and again whined and whined some more when they've wanted legislative favors. I still remember, for instance, when the casinos demanded and got an exemption on the casino floors against NJ"s ban on smoking in public areas. Some dopily saw this as casinos being socially "tolerant." I saw it, rather, as their cynical estimation that their true customer base was probably composed of suckers who just happened to add smoking to their general air of social boobishness and boorishness. (Along with the blast furnace-like puffing, to the point of ash gray and choked skin, Asian gamblers for whom AC casinos often run "special,"  impossible-to-comprehend-for-anyone-who-grew-up-in-Western-type-culture games, and even sometimes actively discriminate against "Westerners" who want to try their hand at, say, Fan Tan.)

Even the Revel Casino and Hotel whose travails were so widely publicized  -  really, who lends out $2 billion in a shaky economy to build such a place? Who wen dares spend that kind of money in a struggling industry? What great financial brains saw this one as potentially wildly profitable? (And have their heads since been cut off by their corporate bosses?) We even gave NJ's casinos the horror of online gambling  -  because nothing says "class" quite like pissing away the mortgage payment via a few computer key taps  - and thus even cluttered up Facebook with their pleas to genuine suckers. None of it, however, has worked well.

I suspect that the real reason four AC casinos went down recently is very simple: bad, extremely bad and likely very shortsighted and unimaginative marketing. They could not sell these places as necessary or at least fun destinations. Not enough people out there accept any longer the casinos' self-definition of themselves as places with "class." And the heyday of those seniors-centric buses with the truly fantastic day tripper benefits is long, long gone.

Can Atlantic City "come back?" Really, who cares? It's had its day twice. Mothering twice!  If it wishes to help itself, it should be forced at this juncture to do it all by itself.  If Atlantic City in fact can't do so, it deserves to remain what it seems to have become, Seaside Heights with slot machines and bigger name acts. A step up from Rutt's Hut, maybe. But not a terribly big step.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Star-Ledger Death Watch -  Does This Wheel Roate?

Journalists, in my experience, truly agonize over typos. At least the serious ones do. And I write this even as I also recognize that, no matter how many pairs of eyes look over a "piece" of copy (which of course is no longer in hard copy form), things can and will slip through. Serious journalists, however, often wish to kill themselves when something like this occurs.Yes, they take it that seriously.

Still, in the Star-Ledger this past Sunday, there was this, in headline-sized type on page 5 of Section Five (meaning the Sunday Sports section), in a story about the Yankees as they begin spring training: ""Questions abound: Aging roation a key cog." All  but the biggest numbnuts out there will note the missing "t" in the word "rotation," but perhaps those ranks include the Star-Ledger's editors.

Now, this is a terrible headline in the first place, and as such it probably should have led into a Jerry Izenberg column. But worse than that, it is the sort of reason journalists and reporters ponder falling on their swords. And type is no longer set in the traditional fashion, so that excuse, that a piece somehow got "lost" while being set, isn't viable.

At a paper where one can clearly prove on a daily basis that so few apparently know the difference between "it's" and "its," however, this kind of contempt for one's own craft seems disastrous. Just another indication that the Ledger is in its death throes, writhing on the newsroom floor while coughing up blood.

More's The Pity

In a possibly related development, and perhaps the dumbest-sounding remark I've ever read in a Jersey newspaper (which is saying something in this state), the Star-Ledger's editor Kevin Whitmer, in a story Sunday on how his paper did for 2012 in the New Jersey Press Association's "Better Newspaper Contest," said that "Winning awards in New Jersey is difficult because there is so much competition." And when he made this utterance (which seems to me on the level of Senator Menendez's pitiful attempts at public literacy), somewhere Homer Simpson said the loudest, most sustained 'Doh!" he has ever said.

Nonetheless, our plucky Ledger editor also opined that 2012 was "a year of remarkable accomplishments." I'm reasonably sure he didn't mean either the Ledger's economic woes, its recent layoffs or even the fact that Jerry Izenberg keeps churning out dreck for his employer.

It Gets Worse

Intrigued by the Ledger's proud announcement that it had won 42 NJPA awards for 2012, I went to the NJPA's own website. Where I naturally expected to find proud headlines about the NJPA's awards. (And I really don't begrudge the Ledger its awards, they seem to still be "big fish" in a rapidly draining journalistic pond and that's fine.)

Still, the opening page of the NJPA's own website doesn't include so much as one stirring quote from the likes of Thomas Jefferson or Lenin or even Jerry Springer (I read it's his birthday day, if so we should all go and do as Jerry once did: get elected mayor of a large city, solicit a prostitute and get busted for that by a cop who doesn't recognize him as his ultimate superior) as to the value of a free press. And it certainly doesn't proudly tout its own supposedly prestigious journalism awards.

Rather, and this is truly terrifying, the cover page encourages visitors to its website to place either their statewide classified or display ad "Now." In some circles, this is termed pandering of the worst sort. It definitely does not inspire confidence as to the common desire and moral resolution of Jersey's daily and weekly papers alike to  hold high the banner of a free, independent press as long as possible.

Interestingly, too, in the Ledger's own story on those 42 awards (it's credited to "Star-Ledger staff," as well it might), the claim is made that "the Star-Ledger competes against daily newspapers with daily circulations of more than 35,000." But last year, in its own story on its website, written by the Ledger's Jessica Calefati and about the awards the paper picked up from the NJPA for its 2011 efforts, the claim was that the Ledger competes against dailies with daily circs of more than 45,000 (italics mine).

So it's either a simple factual error (fairly common in all of Jersey's dailies, if distressing) or a major "readjustment" downwards by the NJPA of the criteria for its own lead awards category. The latter possibility is deeply chilling. Things may indeed be this bad for Jersey newspapers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Spot Of Cross-Selling

The "other" blog by this author may be viewed at It focuses on a novel about the modern "Holy Trinity" of God, Harley-Davidson and near-unspeakable evil, and I'm understandably, I think, quite big on it. Please go there and then feel free to comment. Thanks much.

Star-Ledger Death Watch - Izenberg's Still At It

Well, another Super Bowl has passed. And of course sports columnist Jerry Izenberg was there "covering it" for the Star-Ledger. Which amounted, as far as I can tell, to but two (or was it three?) columns,each of which could have been written without one's actual physical presence in New Orleans.

The Ledger loves identifying Izenberg, who actually retired several years ago,  as one of only  two sportswriters who've covered every Super Bowl since the first. Somehow, however, the paper never gets around to identifying the other sportswriter. Oh well, I suppose we should be grateful that they've dropped that truly awful "columnist emeritus" sobriquet they used to pin on the old hack.

Still, even as I don't totally begrudge him his annual junket, it hints that the Ledger, which just two weeks ago again cut back on its reporting and editorial staff, is quite cavalier about money when it involves one of their seeming beloved old sweats. Really,too, the sad fact remains that Izenberg is a truly bad writer. The man views metaphors as the verbal equivalent of mix-ins in ice cream cones, and he will leap desperately for each and every deplorably inapt and pretentious usage with thudding reliability. That the Ledger allows him to  go on so makes me think that it just holds its reading audience in contempt. Thus, too, that the speculation that Si Newhouse will try and milk the Ledger and its rapidly declining revenues and circulation numbers for as long as possible, then just shut it down abruptly.

Since I suspect that Izenberg would probably in his stead like to hold on until the Super Bowl comes to New Jersey (and he is especially baldly tiresome with his metaphors about the Meadowlands and predictably inane references to Hoffa maybe being buried there, to the point where I always wish upon him an attack by rabid muskrats born and raised in East Rutherford), I half-hope the Ledger shuts before that. It has milked New Jersey readers and advertisers for much too long already.

And if one believes that the Ledger could well do with new editorial blood, gallons and gallons of it if it's to even have a distant chance of survival, then there is even more pressing need to quick get rid of Izenberg and all that his survival at the Ledger connotes about dear dead old journalistic days.

 Really, Jerry, it's way past time that you paid for your own ticket to the Super Bowl. In fact to any game or event in any sport.

I Don't Really Hate Saying "I Told You So..."

Something like 20 years ago, I wrote an article for the New York Times' Sunday Jersey section (remember when the NYT took NJ seriously as a place deserving some coverage other than the occasional restaurant review?) which suggested, in a rather modest way, that the town of Sea Bright, in lieu of what even then seemed to me constant rebuilding and clearly futile beach replenishment efforts, should simply be abandoned to the elements. Even perhaps turned into a park. This was, too, around the time when a husband-wife team on the Rutgers faculty had written a much talked-about book proposing their "Buffalo Commons" theory, basically meaning that most of the Dakotas should similarly be bulldozed over and given back to prairie critters. This  book was taken quite seriously at the time, despite (because of?) its rather chilling dismissal of the rights of Amerinds to keep living, albeit today with modern conveniences and Indian-owned casinos, where they'd already resided for hundreds of years. The Rutgers couple also rather blithely said "screw you" to both cattle ranchers and wheat farmers.( I was especially personally upset that their land usage theories would have meant the demolishment of both the Corn Palace and Wall Drugs, as well as an end to the annual biker pilgrimage to Sturgis, SD.)

Anyway, my relatively modest suggestion re Sea Bright did not sit well with the Times' reliably liberal and prone to frothing readers. (About as well as did to me   that the Times did not in fact pay people like me for such articles, I was told by the editor I dealt with there to shut up and simply be grateful the Times had deigned to run my essay in the first place.) As a tribute to the kindness of Times readers I was pilloried for even daring suggest such a notion. Only they did it through my then-wife, whom many knew how to contact, and they did it cruelly and very aggressively. In a fishwifely, near-threatening vein of "Tell your husband that..."

Well, what do I see lately in the Star-Ledger (that magical place of respect for the English language where the concept of martial law was recently spelled "marshal" with no pun apparently intended and, in a news story, the famous Latin phrase was spelled "per say") but at least four columns so far by its resident editorial thug Paul Mulshine dealing with pretty much the same topic. Covering the entire post-Sandy shore, more or less, but still pretty much with the same basic idea, that "the Shore" has to be, uh, "rebuilt."

Now, Mulshine epitomizes much of what I find offensive about the Ledger as it goes through its public death throes for good reason  -  he's arrogant, pugnacious and clearly contemptuous of the opinions of others even when they might be expected to agree with him. (I once wrote him congratulating him on a column he'd written, and he wrote back in an amazing "Yes, I am quite wonderful" tone"without ever thanking me for taking the time and effort to write.)

This past Sunday, Paul Mulshine was at it again. Maintaining that the Shore of course has to come back and quoting with approval the mayors of Brick Township and Seaside Heights as to why, perhaps even how, sea walls might in fact save those towns and many others. (Galveston in 1900 had a seawall too, as the song, a frequent component of Tom Rush's act, uncomfortably reminds; nonetheless something like 8000 people died there.) Yet not with any comparable discussion of what such projects might cost, let alone where the money might come from. 'Desert the shore?Withdrawal is not an option" was the title of Mulshine's column, and he brooks no opposition.

Really,however,  the debate about what to do about NJ's beaches post-Sandy has to be more truly open than that. When I was a little kid, the Shore seemed a magical place to me. I even found the tiny, obviously fragile cottages of the Ocean Beach development near Lavallette charming. I suspected even then that they were all really made of balsa wood, but I nonetheless found them cutesy little dwellings, fit littoral-side summertime shelter for the likes of Beatrix Potter's characters as much as for vacationing factory workers from Garfield and Edison and their families.

As I got older, however, and began to understand that it's hard to ever completely separate the idea of intemperate greed from even rational discussions about the real estate industry, Sea Bright in particular, but also "simply" much of beachside Monmouth and Ocean counties, struck me as precariously situated, placed where no sane architect would have built. Where no totally rational and prudent buyer would buy, either. But then, the myth of the Jersey Shore remains a very seductive one indeed. (As opposed to, say, the actual, to a scare-the-horses level, grubbiness, raunch and tattoo festival that is the Seaside Heights boardwalk every summer.The Shore calls more for a Tom Wolfe at his most excoriating than "the Boss" lyrically waxing romantic.)

That feeling has only intensified with storm after storm hitting Sea Bright. Sandy was just the final straw. Hard as it may be to speak unemotionally about the shore, too. (Although it's maybe useful to note that even Bruce Springsteen lives well away from tides and waves, first in that berm-protected Tudor-style place in Rumson, for the last several years in Colts Neck.)

It is therefore time for Paul Mulshine in particular to grow up and shut up.The time for "Shorebirds Commons" may well have finally arrived. More's the pity, I know, honest.. But whatever is finally decided, there has to be actual debate.And the present, grumpily Mother Nature-defiant attitudes of neither Paul Mulshine nor Govenor Christie are much of a genuine help. One might even term both men obstructionist on this one, and to an absolutely foolish and self-defeating degree.