Monday, April 18, 2011


There was one warm day last week, sunny with a high of 80F(25C) and the next day every early flowering plant was in bloom. Forsythia, dogwood, fruit trees, and even the daffodils and tulips which had been hiding from the late snows and frosts were showing their colors. It reminded me of the spring times I spent in the Mediterranean, in Spain, Italy and Greece. After a dreary Winter, Spring arrives overnight. Demeter returns from Hades and the hills are covered with wild flowers and the clouds are gone until next winter. Unfortunately that isn't what happens in north New Jersey. We haven't had anymore frost or snow and the colors haven't gone completely, but the days have been chilly and rainy and thunder storms and bad weather has been the norm. Fortunately, MY training session is almost done and by next Sunday, I will be back in Virginia Beach, where I know that Spring has really arrived.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Sometime in the late 1960's my uncle Bill Hogan moved from the Bronx to Fort Lee, New Jersey. At that time the Giants were still playing in Yankee Stadium and the "Meadowlands" was a Tidal swamp that stank of raw sewage at low tide. From his apartment you could look over the swamp. The Jersey turnpike had been in operation for several years and was going through a big expansion. He would often say that the turnpike authority intended to pave the entire state and make it just a way for everyone to travel between New York and Pennsylvania. That is just what they did with that area. The Meadowlands is now a combination of Sports venues and their associated parking lots. There is a football stadium, a racetrack, a hockey rink and a basketball arena. Then there are highway interchanges that rival anything in LA. But the Turnpike Authority did not rest on its laurels. Here in the center of the state the Turnpike is undergoing a major expansion. It is already six lanes wide and it is being expanded to at least 12, 6 in each direction. The ramps and toll stations are being moved and expanded and new interchanges are under construction. The roads around the expansion are also being widened and "improved". The result is a big, muddy mess and traffic congestion on a full time basis. If my Uncle can see this now, he must be laughing. Eventually New Jersey will be nothing more than some beaches, the Delaware Water Gap, the Pine Barrens and THE TURNPIKE.