Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scrabble

Do you play Scrabble?

I do. Love the game. And I can still beat my 7 year-old at it, although she's catching up quickly.

I played by myself today, and ran right into the greatest challenge of the game: the limited number of each letter.

To see what I mean, see below, a pic I took during my game:


Can you see the problem?

Scrabble comes with only (1) letter 'k'... so in order to spell "Weehawken", "paid hack" and "stalker" you run into an obvious problem. The solution: using one of the (2) blank tiles that come with the game.

Again, you can see that I ran into the same problem with the letter 's'. There are only (4) in the game. So in order to spell "Seton law", "nasty", "loser", "smear merchant", "stalker" and "busted"... you need to use one of those blanks again.

If you don't mind this kind of challenge, by all means, Scrabble is a lot of fun; it's a great way for kids to learn new vocabulary and improve their spelling.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stuff on My Cat

Well, I hear the voice of the the people at MSV where there is a good, healthy and lively conversation in response to today's Guest of the Stable gig.

It's quite edifying to be critiqued by sensible people, because so much crap's been blown my way by the strident lunatic fringe and their rental lackeys that all issues seem to take on extreme dimensions and nuance gets lost. Folks who know me well (neigh,neigh... whinny, whinny) know how stubborn an individual I can be (yes, indeed), but today I'm really hearing the comments made by reasonable, decent folk- except for you, ss1959, and would like to incorporate some going forward!

So allow me to test-drive a 'kinder, gentler' Grafix Avenger blog post... no politicians in dumpsters or wanna-be politicians floating in you-know-what. No, this will be soft and cuddly and sweet and nice... and even feature a furry domestic animal!

Here she is, my cat Pearl:


Isn't she cute?

What do you think so far, people? See, I haven't even photoshopped her head on a tick! Yet. But that could be funny...

Pearl was rescued from a kill-shelter literally hours before execution, by an angel from Zani's Furry Friends, a Manhattan-based animal rescue group. Well, that's a story for another non-offensive posting day.

Alright, there isn't much of a point to all this, other than showing you pics of my cat, and telling you that my daughter, LA (Little Avenger), keeps beating me at Othello- 3 times in a row, now! Can you believe it? She's 7. I'm older (and it gets worse--tomorrow's my birthday, blech).

Well, after the last time she beat me, I challenged her to a rematch. On my cat.

Pearl was a terrific sport, but she had to keep doing this breathing thing (how annoying)... which shook the pieces around:


Then finally, she bolted.

Game over.

So, there you have it. A blog post without politics, featuring a fluffy animal. Who was not harmed in it's production.

Now, if you enjoyed looking at stuff on my cat, there's a web site that's been around forever called- Stuff on My Cat. When LA was little(r) she'd love to peruse it with me... all 10,000 pages. Maybe more.

OK, GA over and out.

Day at the Stable

Folks, this is exciting!

Today I am Da Horsey's "Guest of the Stable"! I can't wait to call my mom and tell her the big news! Although she can't stand horses.

The only problem so far was with squeezing into this suit of armor... especially on such a hot summer day. And using the bathroom-- how does that work? Thank G-d for the zipper in back. Well, small hardships really, just to make a point.

Hypocrites, take notice.

Please come see me at the stable . And can someone bring a box of tissues? I'm allergic to hay.

Thank you, Horsey, for hosting me today. Have you got anything else except carrots to eat here?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Mason Sympathy Tour

Do we see a strategy taking shape in the Mason camp?

First, Beth Mason's press release, now Ricky Mason's letter in The Hoboken Reporter.

What's it all about?

They believe their children are being targeted by political opponents. Not true, but that's their complaint. Were it true, it would be reprehensible. In any case, they've taken their anger on the road, picked up a few groupies, and will be appearing soon at a theater near you.

How ironic, such outrage coming from the couple who pay scum from Weehawken to dig up dirt on the Mrs.' critics and political enemies. Another specialty of their rental lackey is cyber-stalking and online harassment; publishing their victim's name and address on a highly-trafficed internet message forum is like handing any nutjob a road map to that person's CHILDREN. You see, the Masons don't worry about OTHER people's children.

At least they didn't worry about MINE.

I was the target of one of their vindictive cyber-smear campaigns.

Sure, it's quieted down lately-- since the Weehawken fish left some tracks back to his fishy lair, tracks as irrefutable as a fingerprint. That's a topic for another post. But, the enlisting of Markevitch to recite almost verbatim their slimy operative's talking points shows they are adapting their filthy tactics to changing circumstances. Proof that cockroaches will inherit the Earth.

In no particular order, peruse through a tiny sampling of their vicious smear campaign, bought and paid for. Simply because I'm a Mason critic. And she doesn't like my graphics. (So you wonder why her personal Igor, Lane Bajardi, was directed to download one and cart it around town like "a naval officer with the nuclear codes"?* You know the answer: crush, kill, destroy.)

Their fishy operative uses (2) screen names: 'insidersedge' and 'patiofurniture'.

Now, if you are a 'normal' individual, you may feel some shock and disgust at what you are about to read: the price of crossing Beth Mason. Who, with her husband is now on a Sympathy Tour.

After you read this, tell me how much sympathy you feel for them.

click on any image to read










Did that gross you out?

Well, maybe you remember this little Hoboken411 "exclusive":

And:


Let's give Mason all benefit of the doubt.

Assuming she had NO HAND in the opposition research for this piece, or coordinated its publication with the Hoboken411.... and assuming Mason is so opposed to the exploitation of a candidate's CHILD in political campaigning or in political discourse, then I have these 2 questions:
  • Why didn't Mason denounce Hoboken411 for this piece which dragged her opponent's 14-year old girl into a media firestorm, exposing her most private and painful personal history for public consumption, all for a sensational and politically-damaging headline?
  • Why does Mason CONTINUE her relationship with Hoboken411 if she finds the exploitation of children-- ANYONE'S children, in a campaign or in political discourse abhorrent?
Well, I'll just let these questions hang in cyberspace while the Masons take their truckload of bad karma on the road.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back at ya, Liz

Hoo-boy. Just try to check out of Hoboken local media, politics and the blogosphere for a couple of days... just try it and see what happens.

My friends the leeches finally left today with their suitcases and inconsiderate demands (foot massages? bedtime stories?) and I pounced on my laptop like a starved wretch... only to find... this.

Oye vey.

Since Markevitch seems to be a Grafix Avenger fan (why else is she preoccupied with its content?) I will respond here.

Pretty outrageous, Liz.

Using my unpaid, volunteer service on a municipal board to condemn my right to have an opinion, to voice my opinion on my own blog ON MATTERS UNRELATED to my service. You should be ashamed of yourself. Nice try at embarrassing me. Nice try at trying to shut down this blog because you don't 'like' it. Nice try at questioning my capacity to serve Hoboken because you don't like what I publish here.

You are a hypocrite.

You, a woman who posts regularly on Hoboken411- a web site known for posting photoshops mocking dwarfs and fat people, that 5 short months ago had a feature comparing Mayor Zimmer to assorted monkeys.

And you're calling for "more civil political discourse" online?

So, Ms. Markevitch, where was YOUR condemnation of Hoboken411's mocking of the physically challenged in your letter? Why do YOU keep posting there if you are so upset at the tone of the discourse online? You are a regular on Hoboken411, while you complain about the discourse on a TINY blog like this? Hoboken411 is YOUR playpen, not mine. I don't like it, I don't go there. If you don't like my blog, why come here? It's not required reading.

I am curious if you know the difference between a 'blog' and a web site that purports to deliver 'news'?

I am the former. This is my small, personal space to write what I think. Opinion. Commentary. Things American citizens are allowed to have.

Now, for the web site YOU patronize, a so-called 'news' site that purports to serve a community-- the mud-pit of Hoboken411 delivers only the 'news' it's benefactoress, her slimy political operatives, and her minions want you to know. You ought to worry about the misinformation and propaganda being disseminated there as 'news' and not the opinions of a blogger on a blogspot.

Don'tcha think?

As for your contention that others may have influence over the content on this site: let me set you straight. NO ONE tells me what to say, or how to say it. NO ONE.

You can call me a "Zimmer-ally" till the cows come home-- nice try at a political hatchet job, Liz-- if you want to call me something call me an American citizen. Call me someone who lives in a country that protects Free Speech. Call me someone whose Free Speech you don't like, who expresses that speech on a venue of her own that you seek to SHUT DOWN with your public attack on her SERVICE to our community.

You actually disgust me for that.

How nice that you have allied yourself with the nasty crew of smear merchants that have been using this exact same line of attack on internet message boards, like the nasty Weehawken fish whom I've had the courtesy not to 'out'. Yet. If only I were treated with the same courtesy.

Thanks for the memories, Liz.



Remember this deception? An example of Markevitch and her team's USE of Hoboken411 to disseminate propaganda- a letter critical of Zimmer by the WIFE of one her running mates (only Real Results forgot to mention the 'wife' part).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Break

I've got some guests arriving today, Monday June 21- the parasites will be mooching off me until Friday, June 25, sucking up my valuable time among other precious resources. So, no blogging until the ne'er-do-wells are off my property. I'll be counting the seconds. See you back at GA on Friday.

Meet Lenz!

Folks, this is going to be a par-tay. Show up to show your support... nothing more is wanted than your smiling face, your presence.

After the recent theatrics surrounding the critical passage of the $16M bond to save the city from defaulting on the municipal garage you must see how important it is to keep Mike's seat- the '5th vote'- from slipping across the aisle to the 'Council of No'.

No joke. That is exactly what's at stake.

Now, if you've heard the 'myth' of Lenz, here's your chance to meet the man.

You will find the 'myth' pretty mythic in a mythological sense. Mike's as caring as he is brilliant. But please show up on Thursday, because at the rate he's disappearing (he's lost 1.5 Greg Bonds in weight*) he may be all gone by next November. No kidding. The guy is vanishing.

So, please pencil this into your calendar. Go. Bring your enthusiasm. Bring your friends. This Thursday, June 24th at 7 pm.

See invitation for location and details.

*Greg Bond is that fabulously talented and very skinny Canadian.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

My dad never stuffed me in a box, or smacked me on the head with a bat... but after watching this I wish he had.



Happy Father's Day, to all you dads out there.

And to my own dear Dad.

And to all of yours, wherever they may be- on Earth or one of the other possibilities.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tim's In!

I just read some thrilling news over at Da Horsey's!

It looks like Councilman Mike Lenz will have some competition in the 4th ward race for City Council this November.

From this guy:

Tim!

How exciting! We've never had a celebrity on the Hoboken City Council before!

That Lenz-guy is a little too serious, knows a little too much about finance (former CPA, Financial VP, municipal CFO) and budgets (runs Hudson County's Meadowview Complex) ... BORRRRING. Who needs someone like THAT making policy for Hoboken? Responsiblity is way over-rated. Personally, it's much more fun living on the edge, borrowing off our assets, falling into giant piles of debt then sticking it to the taxpayers and finally being taken over by the state. I miss our Judy, don't you?

We need someone to lighten the tension on our divided Council; somebody funny, somebody who likes to wear costumes, someone with perfect comic timing.

That's Tim.

Have you ever seen this?



Tell me that he isn't the right guy for our City Council. You know he is.

Oh my goodness, Lenz would never do that, never wear make-up. He doesn't even dress up like an old guy.

Would Lenz wear this wig?


You bet, he wouldn't. Go, Tim!

So I'm telling you, dump the serious guy and vote for Tim!

GA Product Endorsement


Do you have an aquarium?

I highly recommend this lovely Weehawken background for your fish tank. My friend, patio chicken, sometimes pretends he's a fish... and he swims in this type of habitat. Mr. Chicken said hello to me today, which reminded me of this fabulous product.

Do you know him, by the way? He's very shy.

Blind Quote

Who said this:

“I speak for no one but myself and anyone who agrees with me. You can put that on the record for Jake Stuiver out in the hallway who has other masters.”

Post your guess below.

Extra points if you know where and when.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Campfire Song



There comes a moment when political theater becomes theater of the absurd, when talking points no longer shield the politician from the public's verdict, when everyone sees through your clothes to your underwear.

The choices then are to double-down or sing "Kumbaya".

Last night, after 2 hours of debate in the City Council Chamber to approve a $15.95 M bond ordinance for the municipal garage, the 3 dissenting members, Michael Russo, Theresa Castellano and Beth Mason dropped arguments made moments before to join hands with their opponents, Carol Marsh, Michael Lenz, Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello and Peter Cunningham, for a rousing chorus of "Kumbaya".

All eight voices rose up and filled the chamber. Even Lane Bajardi, who had given his most subdued performance in memory, joined in with his lovely baritone. As did all in attendance, clasping hands and swaying to the lyrics while the bond ordinance passed 8-0.

Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's laughing, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone's singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone's singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

The entire city applauded. This will be remembered as the night our once bitterly-divided City Council rallied around the campfire united for our common good.

Hopefully to be repeated and repeated often.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jake Unloads


I confess to being cynical about folks who switch political alliances, particularly after their candidate has tanked and they're jumping onto the winner's bandwagon.

Then there are cases where the candidate you thought you knew morphs into a stranger, or someone behaving strangely. Because everybody knows either great success or great failure can change a person, twist them like a pretzel.

It seems for Jake Stuiver, campaign manager for Beth Mason's first 2009 mayoral campaign, the latter is the case.

Jake left the Mason camp after she lost that first race, joined forces with Zimmer, and never looked back.

In a letter today to The Hoboken Reporter, Stuiver unloads on Mason in a most direct fashion, possibly pushed to the brink by her 2 latest disingenuous email blasts. The first, a scary intimation that the bond ordinance passage would move the municipal garage in your back yard. The second, an attack on Zoning Board Chairman Tony Soares, accusing him of personal attacks on her children.

Read his letter.

Coming from a former ally, someone who knew her quite well and respected her, it's a pretty scathing indictment of what she's become.

Photograph from The Hoboken Reporter

That photo was taken last year.

Fast forward to now.

Here's an excerpt which resonated in particular with me:

I urge her to turn rhetoric into action by denouncing the various surrogates, consultants and blogs that have systematically worked to tear down -- yes, even to the extent of attacking their families -- anyone and everyone who disagrees with her and/or supports Mayor Zimmer and the City Council majority.

From the smear piece on Peter Cammarano’s personal life to the “expose” on Kim Glatt’s personal finances to the hit job alleging Keith Furman to have a nefarious agenda for having the audacity to criticize Ms. Mason on the municipal budget to depicting Mayor Zimmer as a chimpanzee and mocking Mr. Soares’ height, a local website known for relentlessly toeing the Beth Mason line and attempting to incinerate anyone who doesn’t is something Ms. Mason can no longer appear to condone if she is to have any credibility calling for civility. Her unofficial spokesman who at every council meeting calls pro-Zimmer public speakers disingenuous is promoting an environment in which some might shy away from speaking at meetings for fear of being attacked -- something Ms. Mason, with her own personal track record of civic activism, should seek to stop immediately.

Right on, Jake.

But you forgot to mention someone.

Me.


Her 411 goons were responsible for outing me, her 411 goons were responsible for the campaign to embarrass me on the municipal board I serve on as an unpaid volunteer, her sleazy consultant goons were responsible for the unrelenting message board harassment campaign, which included a chicken- but they left big tracks and I know who they are now.

So, I like to believe there's hope for those who've gone astray, if they reflect upon what's brought them down, see themselves as actors not victims, accept responsibility with some humility, and repent for the harm they've done.

Maybe an honest letter will spark that.

More likely not.

Bond

No, not this one.


This one.

Bond ordinance, that is. On tonight's City Council meeting agenda.

Due to the punt at last Sunday's special meeting, it's to be heard and voted on this evening. City Council members aligned in favor of the ordinance are Carol Marsh, Ravi Bhalla, Michael Lenz, Dave Mello and Council President Peter Cunningham. Council members positioned as unconvinced are Michael Russo, Beth Mason, Theresa Castellano and Nino Giacchi. The majority in favor will need a naysayer to 'flip' in order to reach the 6 votes required for passage.

Will that happen? If so, who would it be?

Nino Giacchi is reportedly not flying back from Italy for tonight, so it will have to be one of the others.

Beth Mason? On June 10 she sent out a scary email blast seeming tying the passage of the bond ordinance with the relocation of the garage in your backyard. Doubt it.

Mike Russo? The loudest voice on the Council of No. Don't think so.

As for Theresa Castellano, I don't wish to speculate how the tragic death of her nephew, State Trooper Marc K. Castellano, 9 days ago will affect her appetite for political theater. She and her family have suffered a terrible tragedy, and have my deepest condolences.

No doubt the public angst over the possible relocation of the garage has been played by political opportunists like a violin. An example of the kind of fear-mongering following the leak of a potential municipal garage site to Hoboken411: a flier that went out last month to residents in the area:

Nice work.

The public relations battle and political gamesmanship have nearly overshadowed what's at stake tonight.

A marvelous, succinct summary of the consequences of tonight's vote was provided by blogger Lincolnlogger, in a post on nj.com:

There it is.

See you on U-Stream at 7 pm.

In closing, I would like to pay tribute to N.J. State Trooper Marc K. Castellano, killed in the line of duty on June 7.



R.I.P., Officer Castellano.

Carlo's Way to A&P

(Updated, June 16, 2010)
Two weeks ago I posted this in response to some hoopla about a Hoboken street corner being renamed "Carlo's Bakery Way", in honor of their 100th anniversary in business. Since Carlo's Bakery became a stage set for the wildly popular TLC program "Cake Boss", just try buying your kid a cookie without waiting on a long line of tourists from Bay Ridge. The gist of my blog post was, forget Carlo's. The local A&P has a fabulous bakery. I'd gone there and snapped some pics before I was ordered to stop by the manager on duty.

Well... on Monday I went to A&P for a couple of thing and was intercepted by a very excited Baker Judy (see below).

She told me there had been a big response since my post, lots of calls, emails and business had picked up. A moment later A&P Store Manager, John Bincoletto, appeared, shook my hand and said that he was very appreciative of the piece because he was trying to "get the word out" about his bakery, and has gotten calls from folks who read it, and was in fact getting more business from former Carlos' customers.

Now I'm allowed to take pics there anytime.

A&P Store Manager, John Bincoletto

Well, Grafix Avenger is a small blog, but gets some respectable traffic for this kind of niche site. Thanks to the marketing campaign of a certain unhinged but irresistible local bloviator. And by "irresistible" I mean the kind that makes you slow down on the highway to look at a five-car smash up. In fact, his predictably enraged performances at City Council meetings have become must-see web streaming for local political junkies. Like me. Psssst...I hear he actually hands out transcriptions of his rantings to the local media in attendance! Wow.

But I digress...

So I figured I'd drop by A&P today for more pics. Well, it was slow over there, Judy's day off. I'll have to go back when she's around and have her send me pics of the fabulous custom creations she's got stored in her cell phone.

Here was one order they had for pick-up, something simple and typical. Ruthine, the baker on duty, told me a lot of parents come in with a picture and they'll make up a cake- or in this case, a pull-apart cupcake assemblage. About a dozen cupcakes in all, custom decoration, cost $6.99.

I don't want to diss Carlo's- I wish Buddy Valastro and his family all the best.

But does he sell anything anymore for $6.99?

(original post, Wed. June 2, 2010)
Well, the local blogs are abuzz with the big news: tonight the City Council will vote on naming the corner of Washington and Newark Streets, "Carlo's Bakery Way" to commemorate the shop's 100th anniversary. Yes, my 2 favorite blogger-boys, Da Horsey and Da Kurt already have it covered. And I have nothing more to add.

Except for "congratulations" to the entire Valastro family. I met Buddy once after his TLC success, and he seemed like a lovely, earthy fellow. Really. And tan, too.

In fact, I used to live down the block from Carlo's, and would stop in every now and then for a treat- either a slice of creamy tiramisu or a crunchy sfogiatella (yum) and was served many times by Buddy's now-famous sisters and mom. Since moving to midtown, I've gone less frequently, mostly to get LA (Little Avenger) her favorite: a big cookie coated with M&Ms. Or a cupcake with a big, frosting flower on top.

Let's face it: success has destroyed Carlo's as a functioning neighborhood bakery. Who wants to wait on a long, long line of tourists just to patronize a local business? I once tried to go there with LA for her cookie, but turned away... and before you feel sorry for her, she got upgraded to a Rita's mango ice.

So, without Carlo's Bakery, where can We the People of Hoboken go for our cakes, cookies and pastries?

A terrific alternative is Giorgio's Italian and French Pastry Shop at 1112 Washington Street.

Here's where I go:

That's right.

Now before you stick your nose up in the air and say, "how could you?," look at this:
And this:
And a close-up shot of my fave-- a jumbo, crispy Napoleon filled with a rich custard topped with fresh fruit...this one's a BIG hit wherever I've brought it:

Of course, if you eat one of these every day, you'll get a big, giant ass and clog those pristine arteries of yours. But you're allowed to indulge sometimes. Like on your birthday.

So, who makes these fabulous beauties? Here is one of the 2 talented bakers I know there, named Judy. No one stuffs a cannoli like her. Judy, Judy, Judy.

Now, this was a posed shot. She'd just gotten off the phone and had removed her gloves. As she was putting them on, the manager cam over and asked me to stop taking pictures because it was against store policy! Even Judy was surprised.

So, unfortunately, further photography was prevented. Too bad. You'll never get to see that artful frosting carrot poised atop a carrot cake.

But please take my word for it: their baked goods are delicious. with decorating skills that can compete with any 'professional' bake shop'. I've ordered several sheet cakes there for LA's birthday bashes over the years... always with whipped cream, not butter cream (blech). And gotten compliments.

Alright, now a gratuitous pic of LA's last birthday cake that I baked... because it's my blog and I get to show off if I want.

I wrote her name in jellybeans, edged in marshmallow twists with bubble gum tape bow ties and marshmallow and white chocolate chip decorations... and M&M's on all sides, of course. I didn't have time to do layers, unfortunately.

But I digress... Back to my point. It's sad for Hoboken that Carlo's has been disabled by success, but don't hesitate to try alternatives, like our local A&P-- or Shoprite, for that matter. And of course, Giorgio's. Please let me know of others, there must be others.

Bon appetit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

About Last Night

What happened at last night's Hoboken Democratic Committee Reorganization meeting?

Da Kurt has a nice summary of the evening, with pictures. I brought my camera with me, too but cleverly left it's memory chip in my laptop at home. So I'll paint a picture with words. Or a line drawing.

I'd heard a rumor that "Column B' folks and their supporters were heading down early to pack the place, Room 84, before the 8 pm meeting. So I arrived shortly after 7 pm. The downstairs room, a stylish white cave partitioned on either end by floor-to-ceiling sheer white curtains, was still being set up, and the place was empty. So much for rumors.

Around 7:30 pm folks started to trickle in, but... it became apparent that the place was filling up with 'Column C' folks.

Uh-oh.

I stood by the 'check in' desk which was manned by 2 elected 'Column B' Committee persons and one who had lost his seat, when a force of nature entered the room. Michelle Russo. I'd never met her in person (technically still haven't). Wow. I watched her pitch a fit at the sight of the former Committee person; she was angry, insisting that he was not entitled to be inside the room, since he was no longer on the Committee. She yelled a bit, then it stopped. As more 'un-entitled' persons showed up, among them a smiling Lane Bajardi, Perry Belfiore, Carol Marsh, Ravi Bhalla's brother.

The un-entitled folks, an assortment of political allies and enemies- a toxic brew combined, were ushered to the back room where I was wishing to be a fly on the wall.

Meanwhile, I chatted with a smiling and upbeat Mike Russo, who I've known for some time through friends at Church Towers. He's gracious and charming in person. He teased, "Are you voting for Ines?", and I said my vote was my secret. Then he laughed, "I know which side you're on", suggesting I could be recruited in the future. With a smile.

I am relaying this for a reason.

Beth Mason cabal, pay attention: you don't need to spit on your political opponents. You don't need to destroy them. You don't need to dispatch nasty political operatives from Weehawken to pound them on their fishy blog. It is possible to be civil and courteous to your opponents while you you fight them on the political battlefield. Nasty mailers, smear merchants and scummy political operatives do not apply. Ditch the malice. Ditch the dirt. Ditch the crazies. Stop feeding your critics.

Lesson over.

So by 8 pm, most of us were seated and waiting. As I surveyed the room, it seemed the 'Column B' side was out-numbered.

How could I tell the 'B's from the 'C's, you ask?

Easy.

In stark contrast to the mood of their leadership, the 'C' Committee persons were dour, unsmiling, looked peeved. The 'B's on the other hand looked anticipatory, upbeat. In contrast to their leadership, a worried-looking Ravi Bhalla standing in the corner running through a list of names. 5 on the list hadn't arrived, in addition to the 2 who were traveling and couldn't make it. Numbers, numbers.

Those stragglers did finally show up, bringing the total of 'B' attendees to 38, and the 'C's at 27.

So, guess what the final vote was in the Ines Garcia Keim- Ravinder Bhalla face-off for Hoboken Democratic Party Chair? I'm not telling you, see above numbers and figure it out. No defectors.

Ines looked quite disappointed. I got the feeling she expected to prevail. When the Executive Committee nominees were announced, she nominated herself for Treasurer, opposing 'B'-side nominee Gary Holtzman. She lost.

Next Chairman Bhalla announced the Honorary Chair, Mayor Dawn Zimmer would be arriving shortly, and get this: most of the 'C' side stood up and left. A supreme snub, discourteous and disrespectful to the Office of Mayor. What do you think? There was a lot of anger in the room.

I heard from a Committeewoman about grumbling overheard on the stair, to the effect of "First they take over the Board of Ed, now THIS".

Or, more succinctly expressed by the ever-lacking in impulse control Lane Bajardi, "F*ck you, F*ck you, you piece of sh*t!".

Yes, as Bajardi was leaving, he said, "F*ck you, F*ck you, you piece of sh*t!", to a Committeeman whom I believe he felt "betrayed" his people, the Russos.

The victim does not wish to be named. But this disgraceful and profane outburst by a public figure became a running joke for the rest of the evening. I repeatedly asked his victim, "So, did he say F you, F you, you piece of S?"

Message to Bajardi. Get a grip, man.

Message to everyone else: let's work together, guys. A new day is not a bad day.

Here they are, the Hoboken Democratic Executive Committee:

Dawn Zimmer Honorary Chair
Ravi Bhalla Chair
Ilsie Bennen Vice Chair
Phil Cohen 1st Vice Chair
Latrenda Ross 2nd Vice Chair
Keith Furman Secretary Correspondence
Rami Pinchevsky Secretary Recording
Gary Holtzman Treasurer
Peter Biancamano Sergeant at Arms

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tonight, Tonight

Remember that scene from West Side Story?

Anthony and Maria, star-crossed lovers who were never meant to be (oops, I hope I didn't ruin the ending for you). Well, unfulfilled desire often happens in life, usually minus the blood-drenched finale.

No knife fights are expected at tonight's Hoboken Democratic Committee Reorganization meeting, but there may be some blood left on the floor as one side's desire for control of the Hoboken Democratic Party 's future will be unfulfilled.

First, we have 2 who moved from the Column C tally to Columm B, increasing the majority's count to 40. Will more follow? Don't forget 'no-shows', an unpredictable variable which can throw all expectations out the window. Then there's Ines Garcia Keim's play for Hoboken Democratic Party Chair, in her June 11th appeal (letter) to elected Democratic Committee persons.

I like Ines, although I suspect the feeling is not mutual. I am not sure how she's calculated that victory is achievable, but perhaps she knows something the rest of us don't. Well, good luck to Ines. But better luck to Bhalla.

Tonight will be interesting, to say the least.

A reminder to all winning Democratic Committee persons: bring your Certificate of Democratic County Committee (the pink card you received by mail) AND a photo ID with you tonight. If you haven't received your card, then you must bring a photo ID. Or you ain't getting in. And you ain't voting.

Be there: at Room 84,at the corner of Washington and Newark Streets, at 8 pm.

Punt

Starting with the conclusion: there was no vote on the $16 million bond ordinance at last night's special City Council meeting; it got punted to Wednesday's City Council meeting.

Confession: I missed whole portions of the meeting: LA (Little Avenger) asked me to read her a chapter book, then there was bed time, and well... I fell asleep on the sofa, the web stream a discordant lullaby. But I caught much of it.

Compelling pleas from the public to pass the ordinance. Scott Siegel, a muni-bond trader by day, spelling out dire consequences of the city's certain default on our loan payment to Capital One, the holder of the garage's mortgage, due on July 1 if the ordinance is not passed. Foreclosure and repossession of the garage, ruin of the city's bond rating to near junk-bond status, crippling the city's ability to secure bonding in the future.

Cogent, clear presentations from Councilpersons Lenz, Marsh, Bhalla, Cunningham and Mello on passing the ordinance as 'insurance' and a show-of-faith to the bank that the city can buy back the garage if the scheduled August 13 closing with the developer Hekemian does not happen. The $16 million cannot and will not be used for any other purpose. Without it, the city will suffer certain default on the garage.

The "other side", well let's say a large wheel of cheese would have complimented all of that whine.

Of course, no one wants to 'work' on a Sunday evening. Ask any police officer, fire man, public services empolyee on the week end night shift where they'd rather be. I found the complaints embarrassing- for them. They wanted the job, campaigned for it, and a majority their constituents voted for them. Who will be screwed if the city defaults and gets a huge load of debt dumped on their doorstep.

Well, have to run, will add more later.

The operative word of this story is 'punt'.

And my condolences to Coucilwoman Theresa Castellano and her family on the death of her nephew.

(Updated June 14, 2010, 11:20 am)

When I read this post earlier on nj.com I grabbed a screen shot, knowing it would be zapped in short order. And it was. As is the fate of posts which cut too close to the truth for Beth Mason's minions who patrol the board 24/7 it seems (did you know one of said minions is a minnow from Weehawken waters?).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ooga Booga


My friends Da Horsey and Da Kurt have covered this story already, so here are my 2 cents.

On Thursday, June 10 Beth Mason sent out a 473-word email-blast (I included "Beth" in the word count). Now, 473 is a lot of words. Our previous president, you-know-who, didn't like to read lengthy reports or his daily briefs so had aides summarize them for him. Which I will do for you here.

So what did Councilwoman Mason say in her 473-word email? Here is my summary:

Ooga Booga.

Do you know what that means? Think of it as an incantation, something a witch doctor or shaman might utter to frighten you senseless or make you believe a patent falsehood.

Please click on above links to read Mason's 473-word email in it's entirety. You won't find it on GA. Instead, here are selected excerpts from her email. With some editorial inserts. Mason said:

I need your help to protect our neighborhoods. This Sunday, June 13th at 7 pm, the City Council is having a special meeting where the Mayor will ask the Council for the authority to borrow $15 million to relocate the Hoboken Department of Public Works Garage (commonly referred to as the Municipal Garage)

Ooga Booga. Your neighborhood is being threatened.

Both the City Council President and the Mayor’s Spokesman have stated that strong consideration is being given to relocating the garage on the campus of Steven’s Institute of Technology.

Ooga Booga. Fantasy-land. Show us the videotape. Ooga booga.

It is widely believed that City Administration and Stevens intend to place this garage on either the corner of 8th and Hudson Streets or on valuable waterfront property directly across from Frank Sinatra Park that would be better used to provide more open space for our residents.

WHO "widely believes" this? A nasty smear-merchant fish out of Weehawken waters? His cohorts? The two-headed monster at H411? Ooga Booga.

Now, had you read the 473-word email as I presume the Councilwoman intended, you'd have swallowed the association between the approval of the $15 million bond ordinance being voted for on Sunday and the fact that the new Municipal garage is going to be located in your backyard. Ooga Booga.

In fact, the only path to the city buying back the garage is to approve the $15 million bond ordinance.

So what is Mason up to? It looks to me like sabotaging the Zimmer administration has become her calling, to the detriment of all of us who live here now and in the future.

Ooga Booga.

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Intrigue

Oh my, goodness.

This just in from my source on yesterday's exclusive... are you sitting down? It's mighty juicy.

I'd requested an update on the Russo's vote-poaching effort and here's what my source had to say:

Here's the scoop.

The Russos shouldn't count their chickens (or their votes) before they've hatched on Monday. I've got it on very good authority that two so-called Team Russo winners, are actually
not (and never were) with the Russos. In fact, they support the Mayor and her team, and have from day 1.

So, you can add two more votes for Column B (we're up to 40 now) and take 2 away from Team Russo.

Cheers.


Wow. Imagine that, a double double-cross on Column C.

Who'd-a thunk it?

Deadly Cutlet

In a departure from politics, this post is about chicken.

No, not that guy.

It's more of a public service announcement, a cautionary tale of a 'boneless' Perdue baked chicken cutlet carrying a concealed weapon.

A bone.


An inch long.

Had I been the one to find it, I'd probably have praised the crunchiness and unusually sharp texture. Unfortunately it was LA (Little Avenger) who cried, "Ouch!" Then spit it out.

Well, better to find a bone in your chicken cutlet than a beak or a claw, and comforting to know that the processed meat was (most likely) from a chicken, not a squirrel. However, since many parents substitute high-quality home-cooked foods their kids reject for this sort of dreck, I am telling you to be careful. For young children, I'd serve it cut in small-sized pieces -- 'cause you never know.

I do consider this a rare event, and am not suggesting a cutlet boycott.

Just beware.

I've saved the package and will be notifying the manufacturer.

Poor LA. Now she's got chicken cutlet-phobia.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hijinks Underway

A credible source has confirmed that at least (3) winning Democratic Committee men and women have been called by Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo to persuade them to 'flip' at the Reorganization meeting.

In other words: vote for a Party Chair other than the 'Column B' Democrats' pick. The source used the term "goodies" to describe what benefits were suggested would come to them should they cause an upset. The source described said "benefits" of flipping as, for example, being awarded a "Vice Chair" or another role in the Party.

Although, my source said Mr. Russo did not state a desire for the Party Chair position, the notion seemed implicit.

Here's all that our elected Democratic Committee men and women need to know: you MUST attend Monday's Reorganization meeting at 8 pm at Room 84 (corner of Washington and Newark streets).

The stealth campaign to steal the new direction of the Hoboken Democratic Party is underway and it's fierce. If ALL of our elected 'Column B' Democrats show up and vote for new leadership on Monday night, then our win should be secure.

Guest Artist

Today's Guest Artist is... ME!

I was in the in the mood to create this morning, so I thought I'd share this one with you.

I call it, "Moron".

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No News is Good News


Election Update

I just got off the phone with a credible source, and here's the latest:

The count stands at 38-33, a majority for the 'Column B' Democrats.

All machine votes and absentee ballots have been counted, provisional ballots will be counted on Friday. However, the number of provisional ballots is considered nominal and the count as it stands is not expected to change.

My source tells me that the City Clerk will have final numbers on winners and losers today- although they cannot be certified until Friday when the provisional ballots are counted. The City Clerk will then advise Ruben Ramos, Chairman of the Hoboken Democratic Committee, on final numbers of winners and losers and in turn, Ramos will send out congratulations letters (prior to final certification) to all winners.

Again, provisionals are not expected to impact the final number of winners and losers.

Finally, the Hoboken Democratic Committeee Reorganization meeting will take place on Monday at 8pm at Room 84 (corner of Washington and Newark Streets).

And there you have it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Results

(update: June 8-9:15 pm)
VICTORY for the Democratic Committee men and women candidates!

I have just confirmed that our Democratic (Column B) candidates won a majority 38 seats, to their opponents' 33 seats! Mind you, provisional ballots have not been counted, but it's looking good!

Congratulations to ALL of our candidates, winners and not-winners.

(update: June 8-8:00 pm)

If you haven't voted, you blew it, Charlie. Or Charlotte. The polls have closed. Some districts will be won by a handful of votes. You could have made the difference.

Don't you remember how George B*sh stole the 2000 U.S. presidential election with 500 votes in Florida, after Katherine Harris scrubbed 58,000 registered Democrats off Florida's rolls, many for the crime of sharing the same surname as a felon? Huh? Don't you remember that? And what does that have to do with Hoboken , you ask?

NOTHING. It's just a gratuitous jab at the worst American president in our history. Or at least in my lifetime.

Election results should be in around 9 pm.


(original post)
Not yet. Polls close at 8pm, in an hour and 45 minutes.

But, as you may have heard, an sleazy effort is underway to steal defeat from the jaws of victory for targeted Democratic (Column B) candidates. How? The usual: harvests of absentee ballots, smears against good people, organized write-ins.

I received this email from Peter Cunningham, City Council President this morning:

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

It has been brought to our attention that the standard bearers of corrupt Hoboken politics are trying to mount a "write in" campaign against our democratic colleagues in Column B. This is their last stand, and as thought, they will not go quietly. Many absentee ballot applications have been submitted to the County to support their candidates in various Districts and they will be pulling out the vote all day today.
They are NOT wanted and there's NO place for them in Hoboken politics anymore. It is most critical that you find the time to cast your vote (at the very least Democratic Committee) for candidates under Column B.

Polls are open from 6am to 8pm. Please pass this note around and let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Peter

Right, Peter.

This morning I ran into one of our Democratic Committee candidates who told me that a whopping 23 absentee ballots were turned in for his district. That may not sound like a lot, but for an election with a light turnout, this is decisive.

Another Democratic Committee candidate was the subject of a smear poster, focusing on loss of affordable housing in Applied buildings.

And a midnight flyer went out in Peter Cunningham's district calling him an "empty suit".

I'll do updates as any information comes in. Final results should be available around 9pm.

If you haven't yet voted, it's not too late.

Vote Today

This is not a ballot.

Nor is this.

Or this.
Or this.

Vote.


Polls are open from 6 am- 8 pm.

And please choose our Democrats on Column B.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Scene You'll Never See

Maxwell Place on the Hudson luxury condos

Looks nice there, doesn't it? Pretty upscale.

Oh, I made a mistake. It was actually hanging here:

Hoboken Housing Authority (HHA) ball field

Oh, right. That's where it... uh... belongs.

Drink up, kiddies!

More at Da Horsey and Da Kurt.