This is why we are Jersey Strong!

Regardless of what state I am in or the classiness of the bar I attend, I am greeted with the same series of questions by every single bouncer:

1. You know the guys from Jersey Shore?
2. Are you all like that?
3. Should I watch out for you since you are from Jersey?
4. Jersey sucks

Thank you to the mental impaired cast of Jersey Shore for six magnificently destructive years of bad television. Like a facial wart that would just not go away, Jersey Shore has managed to destroy the reputation of New Jersey far worse than even the Sopranos, that spring break episode of American Dad with the bus load from Rutgers, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Real Housewives of Jersey, My Big Friggin Wedding, Charles in Charge, The Richard Bay Show, Jerseylicious or Bikini Barbershop.

Thank goodness Empire Boardwalk and House were there to redeem us the last few years.

Now as we rebuild New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, we are certain, we will be better than ever!!

For those of you outsiders that have never seen New Jersey past the Newark or Liberty International Airport, you may be in for a rude awakening. There is a reason we are called the Garden State.

Here are a few facts about New Jersey that may surprise you and hopefully the brilliant minds in television development will think twice again before airing shows like Jersey Shore.

1. There are 9800 operational farms in New Jersey and the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production as well as top five in tomato production.

2. Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

3. New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky and the National Equestrian team trains here.

4. On November 11, 2010, 671 students and staff members of The Lawrenceville School in central New Jersey set the new Guinness World Record for the biggest custard pie fight.

5. New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.”

6. New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, one of the first symbols of American for many.

7. In 1884, a young Milton S. Hershey learned the art of candy making as an apprentice at Day’s Restaurant in Morristown, after which he returned to Pennsylvania to start the world-famous Hershey chocolate candy empire. Yes Jersey helped make chocolate available to the masses.

8. The Passaic River in Paterson was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.

9. New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.

10. The first national historic park in America was established in 1933 in Morristown.

11. The world’s largest elephant statue, Lucy the Elephant, is in Margate.

12. The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.

13. The first copper mine in America was opened by enterprising Dutch settlers in the Kittatinny Mountains, circa 1640.

14. Famous NJ natives include William “Bud” Abbot, Alan Alda, Jason Alexander, Robert Blake, David Copperfield, Lou Costello, Tom Cruise, Sandra Dee, Brian DePalma, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Kirsten Dunst, John Forsythe, James Gandolfini, Janeane Garafolo, Savion Glover, Ethan Hawke, Frank Langella, Jerry Lewis, Ray Liotta, Bette Midler, Frankie Muniz, Ozzie Nelson, Bebe Neuwirth, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Christopher Reeve, Paul Robeson, Susan Sarandon, Roy Schneider, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, John Travolta, Lee Van Cleef, “Uncle” Floyd Vivino, Bruce Willis, Clerow “Flip” Wilson, Scott Wolfe, William “Count” Basie, Jon Bon Jovi, Connie Francis, Deborah Harry, Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Les Paul, Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Frankie Vallie, Sarah Vaughn, Dionne Warwick, Yogi Berra, Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Vince Lombardi, Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Theismann, Buzz Aldrin, Aaron Burr, Clara Barton, Thomas Paine, Molly Pitcher, Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, President Woodrow Wilson, President Grover Cleveland, Judy Blume, James Fenimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Allen Gingsburg, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, Albert Payson Terhune, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Malcolm Forbes, Robert Wood Johnson II, “Stormin” Norman Schwarzkopf, Samuel Colt, Thomas Edison, John P. Holland, Joe Piscopo, Marilynn McCoo, Eddie Money, Joyce Kilmer, Caesar Romero, Nathan Lane, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Dave Thomas (Wendy’s), Robert Wuhl, Ernie Kovacs and Kelly Ripa.

15. Leo the MGM Lion, Cheetah the chimp and Elsie the Borden Cow are buried in New Jersey.

16. First Football Game – On November 6, 1869, Rutgers met Princeton in what is considered the first intercollegiate game of American football, although it bore no resemblance to today’s sport. The game was played with 25 players on a side and under Rutgers’ rules, meaning that the ball could only be advanced by kicking or batting it with the feet, hands, heads or body. Catching, carrying, and throwing the ball were all illegal. Rutgers won the game six goals to four. A week later, a rematch was held using Princeton rules, one of which was the rewarding of a “free kick” to a player who caught the ball. Princeton won this game eight to zero.

17. The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden in 1933.

18. NJ’s Pulaski Skyway, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway ever built.

19. The first Indian reservation was in the NJ Watchung Mountains.

20. The worlds largest brown bear (12 ft tall and over 2000 lbs) resided at Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Bemmerville until his death. “Goliath” is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest brown bear ever on record. His stuffed body is now on display at Space Farms.

21. The first steam locomotive to actually pull a train on a track was built by John Stevens of Hoboken in 1824.

22. The first robot to replace a human worker was used by General Motors in Ewing Township in 1961.

23. NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River.

24. In 1893, the world’s first film production studio, the Black Maria, was completed by Thomas Edison in West Orange.

25. The first balloon flight in America was made by Jean-Pierre Blanchard. On January 9,1793, he landed a balloon at Deptford carrying a letter from George Washington.

26. The first phonograph records were made in Camden, New Jersey.

27. The first recorded, official baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken.

28. The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after actual streets in Atlantic City.

29. New Jersey has over 4,100 freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams — almost 61,000 acres of water

30. Picturesque Cape May holds the distinction of being the oldest seashore resort in the United States and one of the most unique.

31. Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.

32. New Jersey has the tallest water tower in the world.

33. New Jersey has Sinatra and Springsteen

New Jersey is a state full of rich history and firsts. A state built on pride, family, nutrition, determination, hard work and celebration. We are a state that has a proud tradition and it continues to shine today. Others will continue to try and throw shots at Jersey and we welcome that. At the end of the day, we are all proud of where we came from. With all the innovation, creativity and hard work, New Jersey will continue to lead the nation and the world as we look past the horizon into the future.


Are Dogs the Owners of Humans?

It dawned on my recently that perhaps us humans have a very inverted perspective on the relationship between man and canine. I suspended reality for a moment and put myself in the shoes or space flip flops of an alien and observed from a distance the daily rituals of the man/woman and dog. The dog walks, we follow. The dog poops, we pick it up. The dog gets hungry, we feed it. The dog is tired, they take the bed, couch or where ever they want. Hmmm, so who owns who?

Let’s break this down and see if we can come up with a logical answer:

1. During a given day, a dog with run, eat, drink, sleep, lounge, bark, cuddle, stick its head out the window and play with other dogs. A human will get up way too early, eat a rushed meal, worked way too hard for little pay, run errands, pay bills, maybe sneak in a beer or two and pass out weak and weary. Judges: 1 – 0 Dogs

2. When a dog has to go, they don’t have to wait on any lines, seek out a rest room or even wash their hands afterward. Even if they try to cover it up with their hind legs, they know their human will be there to pick up the waste. There is another one for the dog.

3. Humans have to court a girl with a courageous opening line, a well planned out and many times expensive dinner and then fingers crossed they get a goodnight kiss. A male dog walks up to female and does the deed. 3 – 0 Dogs.

4. Here is one victory for us humans…We live a lot longer.

5. Everyone wants to pet a dog, rub its belly and give great big warm hugs. Humans, not so much.

6. Dogs always get doggie treats. Humans only get to eat treats until their metabolism starts to slow down and then only on special occasions.

7. The leash. I think this is a plot by the canine community to give us humans the impression that we still have some control. I don’t know that they even need it.

8. Dogs can be naked all the time. Except Halloween when we feel the urge to dress them up in the most embarrassing thing ever. In most places society still shuns on that for humans.

9. Dogs can fall asleep anywhere. I mean anywhere.

10. Dogs are lovers not fighters. Even when they play fight, love always wins at the end. We could learn a lesson from that.

11. Dogs will always be by your side. Not matter what you do, they forgive and remain loyal. Again, something we could learn from.

12. Humans have to bathe every day. At least society puts pressure on us to. Dogs bathe about every week or two.

13. Dogs are so cool, they usually only need one name.

I think it is clear, dogs may be more superior than humans.

One thing is certain, the partnership between humans and canines is very special and one that should never be taken advantage of.

To man’s best friend, we salute you, love you and will always be by your side.

Taylor – Original Poem

Her spirit is seen glowing through her daughters eyes

A mother
A daughter
A student of the world

Riding the waves of life and searching for a love that has not found its way to her celestial point of rest

Distance is the force driving them together; keeping them apart

Each day alone, manifesting the dream of being in each others arms
Under the same blue sky but hundreds of miles of fields serve as the barrier to this affair of the heart

The odyssey of two gypsies, guided by the movement of the sun and the map of the stars, set out for home

On the edge of the harbor without direction; without purpose but endurance to fight toward the light at the end of the darkness

Abandoned by the misfortune of a thorn, she must choose a new path
One mistake, now a blessing
The cry of a newborn now the prayer of a promise land

As the legs get heavier and the heat soaks through the pores. a mirage forms
Reaching out it gets further with each step closer
She hears the lullaby that rocks her baby to sleep and her fears away

It is the voice of her lost love
Never seen through her tired eyes
Never felt with her weak hands
But the feeling of completeness is felt like a vice

Vindication in a sea of resistance
All is at peace with the eternal being and two hearts mended now to complete the journey of life together as one

Goodbye Blue Eyes – Original Poem

You wane away in the distance blending into the backdrop of the setting sun
Goodbye blue eyes
Penetrating my soul and leaving behind a mystery

This aching I cannot hide
This pain is the only memory of your love
With a thousand pierces, knives open the wounds and bleed out the reminders of a brief moment of perfection

Goodbye blue eyes
Volumes spoken without a word uttered
Feelings shared without human touch
Lives changed forever and forever I am your slave

The sky and ground now one and you no more
Gone; not turning back
With fondness, I witness the decline of the sun and as the night sky fills the air, a cinema of pictures of you form on the Imax of the universe

I smile with each passing image
Your beauty and soft caress
The expressive laughter and heartfelt tears

As an audience of one I am taken away to another time
A period of innocence lost to the fury of today

I will miss your blue eyes but rest each night as you spirit will always be by my side

Falling Into You – Original Poem

First voice in the morning; last at night
The energy that lights my candle
Whispers of friendship have blossomed into endearing love
But wait, time can destroy this union of destiny

It is about you now; it has to be for you are the flame that lights the sun

The world has shrunk to a small space reserved for you and I

Life is a journey traveled alone until the soul runs weary, rests on a stone and relies on the comfort of another to continue the path

Let’s just be
You and me
Alone, together for all eternity

I want to bleed your love

Did I say I love you?
I am a fool because I have not said it enough
I am a jester because I exposed my weakness with my words

My fear is your strength
You hold me in your arms with the power of a thousand armies
Your sword pierces my will to live; your words conquer this momentary bliss

Hold me til I die and then hold me a little longer

My paranoia is that someday I will fleet away to a pond of loneliness
The water will quench my thirst, but the drought of your absence will send me to this grave

I’m a lucky man
For just one moment I found you
Locked in your eyes I found the answers to questions too distant to reach

You are the shelter that will save me from this storm
With this power you can release me and destroy me
To my knees I go and wait…

Broken Spirit – Original Poem

Alone in the midst of the fields of wheat, clouds hover over her listless flesh and bones
Cold as the night air she stands
Feet as heavy as an anvil surging to the bottom of the ocean

The pouring rain rages from the heavens coating the porcelain skin with the essence of touch
Hands in the air
Prayers flowing through her lungs to the sky above

In a moment of weakness, she is grounded to her knees
The wind rests in front of her face; she stares eye to eye with the guardian of all that is
Trying to inhale the power of the almighty and humble to his calling

Wind sucks the life from her fragile body
Breathing becomes harder
Darkness becomes prominent
Conscious life is a distant memory

As she falls, the ambassadors of nature cover up the shell of this once brave and ample young vision
It is that final surreal moment where all flashes of life come to the forefront like a cinema directed by the mind and viewed by the judges of the afterlife

From birth to death is but a trial with a jury of idiots pondering a sentence with no meaning
Judged by imagination and faith

The wind vanishes, the sun rises, the harvest gleams
Birds fly with broken wings for another is gone

Everybody has a dream…What’s your dream?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

There you have it.

As working class adults you are witnessing unprecedented times. As many of us are parents, the fear that times may get worse and our children will be suffering the same or worse fate than us a frightful thought. The world in a period of extreme concern. Civil unrest, terrorism, unemployment, poverty and personal struggle have put our dreams on hold.

Then again, some of us never pursue our dreams. We get comfortable in knowing a pay check is coming every week and lose sight on what our true passions are because of the risk. The risk of losing money and falling out of our comfort zone.

As a child, we all dream about being something amazing. Then we grow up, work 9-5 Monday through Friday and drink beer watching our athletes achieve all their goals. Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?

Why are we holding back our dreams?

There are many success stories I have heard in the last few years about people leaving their jobs and starting their own businesses or moving to remote locations to starting something amazing. One of the things that makes every human unique is the talents, courage and the compassion we are all dealt at birth. Harnessing these qualities and translating them into something that is fulfilling, memorable and reflective is what so many of us lack.

We take comfort in:

1. Income – The ability to pay our bills
2. Following – Living vicariously through the lives of our favorite celebrities and trends
3. Routine – Having the comfort of going to the same places and seeing the same people
4. Low risk – Not taking too many chances or risks in our lives
5. Technology – Why would I put that in there? Easy: Technology makes life easier and more efficient.
That does not always mean better.

What would it take to throw it all away?

I hear stories of people traveling around the world, moving to Alaska and starting a band, climbing to the clouds, writing the great novel, helping children around the world find homes and families, run community gardens so everyone can have a nutritious meal or volunteering so that everyone has a fair chance at life.

That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Unfortunately, these are isolated stories. Stories of inspiration for us to glance over on our social communication channels but not absorb and understand.

Life is a continuous path of education and learning. Through shared experiences we become stronger. In this strength we find personal fulfillment and greatness.

What are you waiting for?
I’m talking to all of you.
Find it in yourself. Do not hold back. Never look to your past and say to yourself, “I never tried”.

Is that what you want?

Take some time and think really hard about your life and if you can answer the question, “Am I happy and where I want to be?” with a positive answer, then you are on the right path.

If not…..