Friday, January 31, 2014

New Jersey

With the possible exception of Idaho, New Jersey has been maligned more than any other of these United States. Not fair. More than a garden state, New Jersey has managed to assemble an enviable array of scenic and cultural riches within its borders. Many outsiders simply do not appreciate it.

New Jersey has mountains, seashore and historic treasures by the handful.  It is certainly much more than the New Jersey Turnpike, the frame of reference for the unknowing. The current flap about its governor and unnecessary closings on the George Washington Bridge (“Bridgegate as it is now called) did a real disservice to the citizens of the state. But let's pause for the moment to focus on some positive things.

Visitors to New Jersey come from near and far.  In general they enjoy themselves mightily, returning home with rich memories. People from New York State, right next door, have easy access to the northern end of New Jersey with its extensive beaches, the Statue of Liberty Park and countless other attractions. Those of us from Philadelphia, just across the Delaware River bridge, have always considered “Jersey” our second home. Going “down the shore” was part of our vocabulary.  Beyond submarine sandwiches (“zeps”, “hoagies” or whatever you prefer to call this delicacy) we share an affinity for cinnamon buns, field grown tomatoes and sweet corn.  Those of us of a certain age remember our teenage years on the home front during World War II, when too young to serve in the military, we spent our days in Ocean City, Atlantic City and other towns along the southern part of the state. Those were times when members of the Coast Guard and their dogs patrolled the beaches on the lookout for German submarines that might be landing spies. (From time to time they did just that along our USA shores.) Adventurous boys and girls hid in the sand dunes evading these patrols. Days of innocence and insanity to be sure.  These are just a part of my personal memories. Others have their own fond reminiscences of that great state, New Jersey.

The point of all this is to say that even those who are not residents of the State of New Jersey feel offended. We decry the politically inspired mess and inconvenience Bridgegate caused to so many hard working people. Equally onerous, we simmer at the terrible cost to the reputation of the State of New Jersey. It is reprehensible. Those responsible for this disgrace simply must be held responsible. Starting at the top, which is usually a very good place to start.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mrs. Claus and the New Year

Now that Santa has completed his 2013 Christmas run and is safely back home in the North Pole, he deserves some R&R.  How does Santa chill out?  Is he knocking back a few Heinekins as he sits in his big easy chair away from the manger and also away from the fireplace? (“ I don't want to even see another damn fireplace until next December,” he rumbled).  We assume that Mrs. Claus is happy to have him back, but having Santa and the flying reindeer away for a while did give her a mini-vacation of sorts.

Mrs. Claus has her own fans in Christmasland. One holiday shopping photo that showed Santa without his wedding ring brought a number of irate complaints on the Internet. Well, relax. Rest assured that the marriage is intact; their biggest domestic challenge right now is to make New Year resolutions. It's no easy task for them, nor for us.  Historically many a good intention dies by the wayside even before the end of January.  Did you ever wonder about those grassy hills that dot the land just to the sides of our turnpikes and major highways?  They are made up of garbage, trash, discarded furniture and broken New Year resolutions.

Where to start?  Many of us consider losing weight. I've made that resolution every year since forever. (Now I simply look at the percentage of gain as compared to other years.)  Barbara Szala our esteemed President here at In-Person Communications has made a very successful career out of helping clients. Her annual project of baking delicious Christmas cookies also falls into that category, but woe to waistlines. Count me in anyway. There are many desirable New Year resolutions  -  not losing your temper when caught in endless traffic around Fort Lee on the George Washington bridge or refraining from comments on the idiocy of Washington, D. C. among them.

But here's one we can all embrace: simply put, it's being grateful for the blessings we have already received.  If we but pause to think about them, 2014 will be off to a great start.

Happy New Year!