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In Memoriam: These Places Were Not Such A Shore Thing


This post was written in honor of Memorial Day, the unofficial kick-off to summer and most importantly, the first major weekend of shore season. Going “down the shore” for those of us who grew up in and around Philadelphia, is and always has been a way to escape to a relaxing paradise, replete with sand, sea, good food, good friends, family and a host of landmarks, attractions, restaurants and watering holes that offer just enough nostalgia to elevate even the most average places to must-visit/see status, and to propel the very good to levels of unimpeachable perfection. We all have places we take visitors who have never been to our little island (Absecon Island, home to Margate, Longport, Ventnor and Atlantic City), without fail…our favorites…you know, the ones we are most proud of, the ones that bring extra special smiles to our faces just thinking about in the freezing cold depths of winter.

There are many places down the shore that have reached pantheon status…regulars in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of the Shore” issues. The shore just wouldn’t be the same without them, they pre-date all of us (or at least seem to), everyone we know hits them regularly, or at least semi-regularly, and they define our summer experience…or help shape it. Even if we don’t go, or don’t go as often anymore, some of these places remain as important landmarks and just knowing they are there is comforting (and we definitely use them when giving others directions). Some of them aren’t even on Absecon Island, but they are close enough to become part of our shore world. In no particular order, these gems include the big three sub shops (Dino’s, Sack-o’s and The Whitehouse), Angelo’s Fairmont Tavern, Gillian’s Fun Deck, Smitty’s Clam Bar, Ventura’s Greenhouse, The Boardwalk (ours and the one in the OC), Robert’s Place, Frank S. Farley Rest Stop, The Dairy Bar, The Knife and Fork Inn, Downbeach Deli, Mentos, Chef Vola, Casel’s, Ozzie’s (despite a brief time in absentia), Storybook Land, Johnson’s Popcorn, Tony’s Baltimore Grill, Jo Jo’s, Little Saigon, Memories, The Point, The Tilton and Towne 16 Movie Theaters, Two Cents Plain, and of course Lucy.

But this is Memorial Day weekend, so this post is written to memorialize those old haunts down the shore that are no longer with us. Those forever emblazoned in our memories, sometimes even our hearts, but are no longer there. Seasonal places like beach towns make it difficult for some businesses to survive. For others, the skyrocketing real estate market created opportunities for developers to purchase our beloved places and explore new highest and best uses (in real estate speak). And some were destroyed by fire, changing tastes, greed, stupidity, hubris and bankruptcy. And a few on this list never deserved to line our shore landscape in the first place, but are notable nonetheless.

Without further ado, and in reverse order of significance, at least according to your humble author, a trip down the shore’s memory lane:

The Showboat: Look, it was all the way at the north end of AC…such a hike anyway. It was never the nicest casino, and architecturally was perhaps interesting in its own weird way, but losing it last year was nothing worth shedding a tear over. But the bowling alley was cool (remember that?), and provided some good times back in the day.

Pat’s Steaks: Notable only that the Philadelphia institution failed, and failed miserably, when opening an Atlantic City location.

Pantry Pride: There was another grocery store in Margate, for those who can remember that far back.

Lenny’s Hot Dog Stand: IDROS has faint memories of this place (it closed when IDROS was 5), but IDROS remembers sharing a dog with his dad here once upon a time. It would have been nice to have another option than pizza for late night grub, but with all the great junk food littering the shore, not too broken up over this loss.

Party Pak: Make way for the bigger and better Wawa. No real loss here.

Mojo: Not a lucky spot (more on this later), but a nice enough restaurant with pretty good food, and some decent live jazz on some weekend nights.

Captain Starn’s: Great restaurant overlooking the Absecon Inlet, and for those that rode their bikes or jogged or walked all the way to the northern end of the boardwalk back in the day, Starn’s was there…

Lou’s: A long-time Ventnor diner/kitchenette with killer milkshakes and a musty smell derived from both its hundred year old furnishings and an aging (read: aged) clientele.

Tivoli Pier: In the late 80s, the Trop, then called TropWorld, opened an amusement park which included a roller coaster (it was lame) and a Ferris Wheel (it resembled the big wheel in every casino that has the different denomination dollar bills on it) in an effort to mimic the Las Vegas trend of offering a “family friendly” experience. Alas, it closed in 1995, making way for the Trop’s new, and much better, entertainment area, The Quarter.

The Waterfront: There have been quite a few new brands to take over since it closed. Built with a shitload of wood and an expansive deck overlooking the bay, there was live music, boat drinks and pretty good food. Baia is the latest…Inlet before that.

Sailfish Café: Great beach town restaurant name. Lasted forever. Only ate there once.

Bubba Mac’s Shack – This short-lived BBQ and Blues joint in Somers Point wasn’t bad…but the real estate it sat on was worth more to developers.

Gilhooleys: Fun bar that had its day before your author’s time, but it did honor IDROS’ fake ID once upon a time. One of the updated bars along the famed Barbary Coast that foreshadowed a trend toward nicer establishments to please the well-heeled summer home owners that were slowly replacing the locals and college crowds, and the dive bars those crowds preferred. (Read this account of the Barbary Coast)

The Golden Nugget: Steve Wynn’s first foray into AC was the most easily accessible to us downbeachers. For a summer or two in the late 80s/early 90s, there was a summer stage on the beach in front of the Nugget, and every weekend we had the likes of Rod Stewart, Steve Miller, the Beach Boys and Don Henley setting the tone for those summer nights.

Land of Oz Amusement & Arcade Hall: Boarded up after a fire in 1981, this place was a little kid’s dream.

Omar’s: Late night at the pool tables at the first bar IDROS ever got into with fake ID. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very rigorous entry policy at the site that eventually gave way to Mojo.

The Taste: This ice cream, yogurt and dessert shop run by a crazy Aussie who seemed to be a character in an 80s movie, was ahead of its time and also up against some stiff competition in the Margate City ice cream scene.

Billy Ho’s: The pink Margate restaurant still stands, but unfortunately the name does not…and what a name. This is definitely your author’s brother-in-law’s favorite entry on this list.

The White Sands: Margate’s only hotel (motel?) that IDROS can remember…bought and converted to condo during the last real estate boom cycle.

The Islander: There have been quite a few restaurants to open and subsequently close in Seaview Harbor on the Longport Bridge…but this was the first, and IDROS worked there one crazy summer…

Ventnor Mini Golf/Ice Rink: Loved everything about that place…especially the open air architecture with a suspended roof. Bonus points to those who actually ice skated there. IDROS did.

The Crab Pot: Now Lamberti’s, Steve and Cookie’s first restaurant had better real estate and served breakfast. IDROS worked there as a bus boy a long time ago.

Jefferson Miniature Golf: IDROS still has two or three free game cards from this crappy but beloved course in Margate. A favorite hang-out for your author and his cousins.

Polo Bay: Tomatoes’ new spot (remember when Tomatoes was on Ventnor Avenue where Miyako sushi and hibachi restaurant is now?), the crowd was twenty years younger, on average, in its heyday.

Million Dollar Pier: A few of ACs amusement piers closed and re-opened over the years, but MDP was the one IDROS visited every summer as a child. When it burnt down, IDROS was very upset.

Michelli’s: Great pizza spot to soak up the booze when bar crawling along Amherst or Washington.

Ocean One: A mall built on a pier jutting into the Atlantic. A couple friends of mine worked there one summer. It was cool for a hot minute. The Pier repurposed it with some better, higher end shopping and a few of Philly’s finest restaurants. Now Blatstein will try to improve upon that.

Brigantine Castle: Scared the crap out of IDROS back in the day. But even scarier than the attraction itself is how many haunted houses have caught fire over the years and burnt down…many times injuring and even killing people inside them.

Fideli’s: Too many restaurants to count have opened and shut over the years (Fai’s, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, Dune, and so many more), but this old Italian stalwart had a very nice run.

Playboy Hotel & Casino: A number of gambling halls have come and gone over the years in AC, with four more shutting down just last year. But Heff’s black glass tower was one of the least gaudy looking monstrosities erected to take its patrons hard-earned money, and because IDROS was just hitting puberty when it opened, IDROS was a huge fan of the scantily clad bunnies that ran rampant throughout the building from day one. And everyone has to admit…that bunny logo at the top of the tower gleaming amid the growing neon glitz of the city was so much better than anything TRUMP.

Reds: A personal favorite of your author, combining a decent pool room with a disco and lounge that played primarily new wave and alternative music. Hated when it closed to make way for condos.

The Margate and Ventnor Twins: With summer traffic it can take a half hour to get to Tilton and forty five minutes to get to the Towne 16. Having two theaters on the island was priceless. Over the years IDROS saw ET, Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bull Durham, Dirty Dancing, The Abyss, Beverly Hills Cop 2 and Terminator 2 and countless others at these theaters.

Maloney’s: A restaurant and four separate bars rolled into one. Many incredibly fun nights ended here…IDROS thinks.

Our Youth: How lucky were we all to have this place when we were young? How lucky are we to still have it now? While we can’t turn back the clock, our incredible memories remain…and new ones will be made with our own kiddos.

If you have other places you feel should be included in this list, please comment below.

As always, your author is grateful for all of his tens of loyal readers, and wishes you all a happy holiday and a terrific summer.

Hope to see you down the shore next month.

All the best,



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Four Questions

In honor of Pesach, of the improbable parting of the Red Sea, the ten plagues, Moses, Pharaoh, the bitter herbs (especially the bitter herbs), and escapes from bondage anywhere and anytime…

  1. Better song revival in the past 15 years – Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” or Sir Elton’s “Tiny Dancer?”
  2. Remember Ellis from Die Hard? You know, “Sprechen ze Talk…Hans, Bubby,” i.e., the character once voted by Maxim Magazine as the second greatest movie sleazeball of all time (and it was quite a list). His name, by the way, is Hart Bochner (with a name like that, he was born to play a douchebag). Anyway, did you know Hart directed the cable movie extraordinaire PCU (his directorial debut, PCU was the classic that paved the way to stardom for Jeremy Piven and John Favreau)? (I know…this was two questions and a bunch of nonsense…but the first question was rhetorical…so just chill and roll with it. You’re supposed to relax on Pesach anyway.)
  3. If Netflix is releasing (allegedly) 13 episodes of Fuller House – and oh yes, I am dead serious (click here) – should we now prepare ourselves for Different Strokes With Different Folks (RIP Gary, Dana and Conrad), Fully Grown Pains, More Wonder Years, Better Times, Retired With Grandchildren, and Uber (I like that one too)?
  4. What is scarier: The tragedy on that Germanwings flight last week (and what it means in a broader sense) or the Iran deal Obama just forced down the world’s throat?

Mah Nishtana – Halaila Hazeh…

Sorry to end on a serious and somber note. Enjoy your time with your families.

Hope all of you find the Afikomen, whatever, metaphorically, that means to you.

Happy Passover and Easter. And save me some peeps.

All the best,


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1) Pretty sure I saw the big DJ from Maloney’s circular bar a few weeks ago when I was at the shore…I did a double take and may have even stared a second or two too long…but that guy played Bon Jovi and Bruce and kept the party going until hours I only see when my baby cries in the middle of the night (because my two year old woke her up crying and I am useless).

2) Where in the world did Tia Carerre (her real name is Althea Rae Janairo, BTW) go? First off…her real name is Althea. I love the name Althea. But she was one the hottest actresses on the planet for a hot cup of coffee in the early to mid-90s…almost ubiquitous. Then she took a wrong turn with Pauly Shore and a second misstep with Eric Roberts and then found herself mired in B-Movie hell with a veritable who’s who in the netherworld of straight-to-video C-Listers from Stevie Baldwin to the pro’s pro, Steven Seagal…

3) A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus. That’s right…look it up (or just click this link). Not only that, Venus is the only planet in our Solar System that spins counter-clockwise…so the sun rises in the West and sets in the East. Talk about an Axis that’s Bold as Love

4) These two guys:
Things 1 and 2

5) I just finished watching The Wire, which was tops on my list for shows to be snarfed down like a box of Bugles or Thin Mints or anything else that it is extremely difficult to stop eating/drinking/doing once you start…binge watching at its finest. As promised, the show now rests firmly in my own pantheon of top five dramas of all time (where, exactly, I am still not sure)…but I can say this unequivocally: Whereas The Sopranos and Lost had endings that irked and disturbed me because they were executed somewhere between questionably and poorly (for Lost, that might be kind)…David Simon’s opus (vastly different than Mr. Holland’s) disturbed me at its end because the subject matter is just incredibly frustrating and vexing and well, disturbing…from beginning to end and everywhere in between.

6) I recently learned that Quentin Tarantino has the exact same IQ as none other than Steven Hawking…yeah, I wasn’t sure what to do with that either, but on some level it just makes sense. You will all get a kick out of this link

7) And lastly, there is a time when you and your partner/spouse/significant other are pregnant, but you are mired in the delicate period of “loose lips sink ships,” unable to tell anyone but the closest of relatives for fear of jinxing everything. It’s a weird couple of months, and as the safe zone approaches, I find it more and more difficult to keep the secret. Recently, in our eleventh week, I ran into a couple while out with friends (wifey wasn’t with me)…the woman was probably eight months preggo…it was so obvious I felt comfortable breaking rule number one for men when speaking to women…assuming (or asking) if she is, in fact, knocked up. I was excited as a father-to-be and so I found myself blurting it out to these two complete strangers just because of the bond of pregnancy.

Anyway…that’s my show for today. Enjoy the day and fruits of your labors.

Love and peace,


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White Trash

ImageI walked out of our house today to jog and almost tripped on a disgusting white bag covered with ants and a reddish brown substance I really hope was ketchup. It was crumpled up near our mailbox in the street. Around it were two yellow cheeseburger wrappers, also crumpled up. My first thought was that the garbage must have fallen out of the back of the garbage truck yesterday, which was trash day. But then I remembered that when I got home the previous night from work, the trash had already been picked up, and there was no nasty waste strewn about the street in front of our home. I was angered, of course, at the fact that the sanctity of our home and neighborhood had been violated…but I was not at all surprised.

For the past few months, during my morning jogs through our neighborhood, I have unfortunately encountered a similar sight far too often (and by the way, once is far too often). We seem to have a serial litterer in Weston, or a few of them (perhaps copy-cat litterers?), and the culprit(s) use(s) white McDonald’s drive thru bags along with yellow cheeseburger wrappers as their exclusive suburban DE-beautification devices of choice.

I have wracked my brain on these runs, set to whatever random musical soundtrack my Shuffle spits out that morning, thinking about litter – don’t judge me.

First the obvious stuff, like the word litter itself. I mean, how can a word with such a dirty and even criminal definition also have such a beautiful, adorable and joyous meaning? Image

Then I think about these particular incidents/crimes like a detective…as if I am going to find the hooligans responsible, and…and…and what? Wring their necks like Homer does to Bart? If only…but back to the facts. Always McDonald’s. Always thrown to the side of the road, by the curb or on the shoulder, as if it were the murder weapon tossed out the window of the getaway car fleeing a crime scene. Throughout my life I have unfortunately seen my share of litter. I would say the majority of it has been fast-food related. Not once have I ever seen litter from “The Palm,” or “Joe’s Stone Crabs” or even “P.F. Chang’s.” I know, I know. Millions and millions more people eat at fast food joints every day than at nicer restaurants, so the stats are skewed. Plus, a good percentage of people use drive-thrus at fast food restaurants, while most upscale diners eat in, and when they take out, they certainly don’t eat the food in their cars. Fun facts, but nothing that will lead to a break in the case.

So where I really have been focusing with this sudden rash of littering that has invaded my otherwise pristine suburban neighborhood is on the who and the why. While the who could be anyone (no, not Townshend, Entwistle, Moon and Daltrey), I am pretty confident it is someone (or a couple people) under the age of 22. Yes, I am profiling there, so call me an ageist, but I just don’t see the perpetrator(s) being property owners, or even renters. The crimes have a juvenile air to them, and strike me as being munchies- or alcohol-induced as well.

I also don’t see the asshole(s) responsible for using suburban Weston as his/their personal dumpster being from out of town. Nope, I seriously doubt someone from Parkland, or Cooper City or Hollywood is driving to Weston just to rid their cars of their fast food remnants…and because Mickey D’s has locations pretty much everywhere, I also refuse to believe they are coming here to eat their burgers and fries and then tossing the waste as they head back to their own town.

Furthermore, I don’t see the troglodyte(s) being female. The nature of the crime just strikes me as being male. Feel free to disagree if you must.

The why is a bit more complex. I don’t see a situation where littering is something even an adolescent would do to impress his or her peers. I also don’t see this being a reaction by a kid or young man getting grilled (no pun intended) by his girlfriend or mother about the filth accumulating in his car (“Your car is disgusting! I refuse to set foot in here ever again if you don’t clean it up. Call me when you grow up”…Or…”Clean up your car Billy. If you don’t, not only will you lose the car, but you will no longer be welcome in our home…that’s right Billy. Clean your car or move out. The choice is yours. Your father and I didn’t raise you to live like an animal.”).

Nope…this is a douchebag (or a couple of them) all the way…but the motivation is unclear.

What I do know is this…and it is clear as day:


If you have any information that leads to the arrest, or at least the public humiliation, of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, please call me…I will reward you with a happy meal, and Mayor McCheese will present you with a key to the city of Weston.

As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy the Super Bowl tonight.


My pick for tonight: Denver will cover, as the Broncos capitalize on a few key turnovers and win big in New Jersey, 31-20.

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Happy Halloween

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe night of candy, costumes and community.

Happy Halloween to everyone outside of New Jersey. For those in the flooded Garden State, feel free to open this on Friday, when you are permitted to celebrate. Actually, due to conditions, you likely won’t be able to read this until then anyway (too soon?)

Seriously, though…I do hope all of you along Sandy’s devastating path are safe, along with your families, friends, pets and homes, and I send my thoughts and best wishes for a quick and easy return to normalcy, whatever that might mean.

And just think…next Halloween, I will likely be dressed up as a dad!

Peace, love and warm regards to you all,


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Happy Father’s Day

This is a test post (technical difficulties), but the sentiment is real


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Five For Fixing, Part IV

So here is my long-awaited fourth installment in a growing list of issues and frustrating cluster-f*#ks that if eliminated or amended, would help improve the world we all live in…sure, I offer opinions and recommendations on how to best resolve and/or eradicate the issues at hand, but other than to type and edit, I seldom lift a finger in an effort to enact change. I know my strengths, and I am definitely a better complainer and instigator than I am a doer. I campaign for and champion change, but as an idea man rather than as a front-line warrior. So without further ado:

1)      Recent legislation requires minors (read: girls under the age of 17) to have a prescription from a doctor in order to purchase “the morning after pill” known as Plan B at a pharmacy.  Sure, I can see both sides of this debate, and am actually somewhat sympathetic to those who agree with this legislation. But the double standard with regard to other contraception sold in pharmacies – and make no mistake, Plan B is contraception; nothing more and nothing less – as well as the fact that we do not live in a perfect, “Green Acres” world has me shaking my head much in the same way I shudder at pro-life activists who cannot see any possible scenario where their philosophy wouldn’t hold water (rape, incest, extreme poverty, illness, etc).

For those of you who haven’t been following this story, the FDA approved over the counter sales of Plan B, which was then quashed by Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius last Wednesday, December 7. In fact, last Wednesday marked the first time EVER that a scientifically backed FDA decision was publically overruled by a HHS secretary.  This decision by Sebelius was clearly made based upon political (and perhaps religious) beliefs, and is another in a long line of attempts at government trying to dictate how its constituents, and particularly women, should choose to live their lives and treat their bodies. 

Parenthood is a decision for the parent(s), not our government; particularly when the often difficult decision is made not to have a child. Even if the government is offering the parent(s) in these cases the going rate of surrogacy inclusive of all health care costs during pregnancy and childbirth and then is willing to foot the entire bill for raising and educating the child (and beyond should prison, mental health issues and/or unemployment enter into the equation), the parent(s) should still have the ultimate decision. And the government makes no such offer, and even if it did, the true financial burden then falls on us, as taxpayers. So for crying out loud, reverse this ludicrous legislation and allow Plan B to be sold over the counter. I am not happy to give our immature, ignorant and often misguided youth such omnipotent free reign to act foolishly and without responsibility for their actions, but unfortunately, it is the better alternative in this case.




2)      When ordering in a restaurant and a dish comes with a predetermined number of pieces (i.e. –  5 dumplings, or 3 chicken strips, or 4 chocolate beignets, etc.), your server should automatically ask the table whether everyone will be sharing, and if there will not be enough of a sharable dish to accommodate everyone at the table, the server should let his or her table know the situation, and offer a solution. This solution is simple: If there are four people at the table and the dumplings come 3 per order, let the table know that fact and recommend getting a fourth dumpling for 2 dollars more, or whatever makes sense. This is a simple solution and does not create that awkward moment when you are forced to splitting bite-sized pieces into smaller and unappetizing pieces in order to allow everyone at the table to taste everything. This lack of service is particularly vexing at higher end and pricier restaurants, where frankly, for the prices charged, this should be done automatically for no additional charge, but is no less frustrating at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant. People go out to eat for the food and the service – so to all of you restaurant owners and managers, please get a clue regarding service. And to all you servers out there, 20 percent gratuities are expected on your end…please earn them.




3)      We all know the BCS system needs fixing. Most people would like to see some sort of playoff among the top four or eight teams. The NCAA and BCS proponents champion their current system based upon the monopoly they have and the fact that, as far as the most popular collegiate sport is concerned, they are the only game in town. But remove the “C” and it is clear that the BCS is total BS. And this year in particular, when we all get to behold a rematch of one of the most boring games in recent college football history, a 9-6 bore fest between colossal SEC stalwarts Alabama and LSU, the demand for systemic change is as strong as ever. There is only one unbeaten team (LSU), and countless one-loss teams behind them. There is no doubt LSU deserves to play for the national championship, but why should they have to play a team they already have defeated on the road again?

I am not going to explain how and why the system should be fixed. That has been done to death, and frankly, I do not want to bore you all with the thousands of words it would take to effectively debate the merits of a new system. However, my recommendation for this year to all of you fans and non fans out there is rather simple. DON’T WATCH THE GAME. Don’t go to the game in New Orleans and don’t watch it on television. I guarantee if Madison Avenue feels the pain of only getting true Crimson Tide and Tiger fans to watch their pricey ads on Tuesday night January 9, 2012 (and we all know advertisers coveted demographic are the large and sophisticated populations of backwoods Alabama and bayou country Louisiana), there will be widespread ramifications, not the least of which will be a push by the deep-pocketed sponsors of the BCS for change.

So will it be that difficult for all of you to just ignore the game this year? Spend time with your family, or on work, school or a hobby. Just don’t turn on the TV. If you must, check the score on your iPhone or laptop. But judging from the prior meeting this year in Tuscaloosa, you will not be missing much. And your ambivalence may very well be the pivotal factor to bring about much needed change.





4)      Recent sex abuse scandals are dominating our headlines, and clearly change is necessary as it relates to sex crimes across the board, from education of society as a whole to finding and helping victims of such heinous acts to making it more difficult for situations like what allegedly occurred at Penn State and Syracuse Universities to transpire. But among the long and growing laundry list of things that piss me off and bewilder me beyond words about both scandals is a fact that leaves me shaking my head in disbelief.

How can a Statute of Limitations be placed on a crime as heinous as the rape and molestation of a child (or children)? I understand the need for statutes and/or periods of prescription (the equivalent term used to describe statutes of limitation in civil courts or proceedings) for non violent or horrific crimes. After all, over time, evidence can be corrupted or disappear, memories fade, crime scenes are changed, and companies dispose of records. The best time to bring a lawsuit, clearly, is while the evidence is not lost and as close as possible to the alleged illegal behavior.

But unfortunately, because the crimes in question are all committed against children, who are seldom mentally equipped to handle the stress of questioning and scrutiny under normal circumstances, a time limit to bring charges seems ridiculous. After the life-changing experience of being raped and/or violated, youths often do not have the courage to even come forward and speak to their own parents, friends or trusted loved ones about the ordeal let alone strangers in a courtroom setting.

There are no statutes of limitations for murder. There should not be for rape or child molestation/abuse either. Syracuse (and any other city, state or municipality that has a similar statute) ought to be ashamed of itself right now, and may have the lives of many children on its hands.

5)      I realize it isn’t baseball season right now, but pitchers and catchers report on Sunday February 19, 2012, just 66 days from now, in case you were wondering. Anyway, I was at a game last year and a play occurred that left everyone at the stadium absolutely dumbfounded as to what happened. No replay was shown, no scoring decision was posted on any of the many digital screens throughout the stadium and no announcement was made.

I love to attend a live sporting event, particularly a baseball game on a nice day or night. But there is no excuse for the paying fans to be left on their own to decipher the occasional complex umpiring decisions and rulings on the field with no recourse. I was forced to call home to figure out what just happened at a game I was at, for a play I watched live. Read that sentence again and you will begin to crack the surface of the absurdity of this phenomenon.

Is it so much to ask that someone on the stadium staff gets the ruling from an umpiring official, either by direct communication or through an umpiring official upstairs and posts the scoring decision or on-field ruling on the giant screen for the fans? Furthermore, on weird plays, a replay or two should always be run. Finally, an announcement could be made on certain occasions where a play was unclear or bizarre, with some sort of explanation. Even if the play is so obscure and bizarre that a formal ruling can’t be posted until a few minutes later, please humor us paying fans with some sort of acknowledgement that the people who actually forked over the dough to see the game may actually care what they are watching.  

Thank you.



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My Blog Has Moved….

In order to cater to my throngs of fans, I have relocated my blog to WordPress. Please check out my new link at:

You can now follow my blog without being given the third degree by an archaic and frankly, poorly conceived blog site heretofore not to be mentioned again.

Thank you to my loyal readers for your diligence and patience as I find my best online solution to quench my thirst to write.

Thank you also to those of you who will now join my journey to find and comment on truth, justice and humor.

All the best,


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Five for Fixing, Part III….

1) Multiple person restrooms (those without locking doors) located in public venues, such as restaurants, shopping malls, casinos, amusement parks and movie theaters, etc., should be required by the NIH and OSHA to engineer their entrance doors to open as a pull door from the outside and as a push door from the inside…ALWAYS. People entering a public restroom will not care that they are forced to touch a door handle on their way in, but we all loathe any situation requiring us to touch the obviously germ-infested handles on our way outs, particularly those of us who make a habit of actually washing our hands after using the facilities.

2) Be it white collar, blue collar or maximum security prison, any person who serves time in jail during their lifetime, gets out after serving their sentence, and makes more than $100,000 per year (maybe less, but that would be a good starting point) at any time following their release, should be required to first repay the full cost in tax-payer dollars to keep them in prison throughout their sentence, and then pay a “prison tax” above and beyond their traditional tax requirements on a sliding scale, based on income.

The scale could ensure all moneys are repaid in full over the same period they were imprisoned, so for example, Michael Vick, who served nearly 2 years, would need to repay the full cost of his imprisonment over a two-year period, and since Vick earns a ridiculous salary, he would also need to pay the “prison tax” on top of said repayment, and continue to pay it for as long as he earned 6+ figures. Someone like Vick would be taxed an additional 25 to 30% over and above his tax bracket, making his total tax percentage somewhere around 60%. His ridiculous $100 million contract, if paid in full, would therefore net Vick around $40 million, minus whatever his total cost of imprisonment turned out to be.

It is totally ridiculous that people like Michael Milken, Martha Stewart, Plaxico Burress, Wesley “Demolition Man” Snipes, Michael Vick, Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, myriad Mafiosi, drug dealers, ponzi schemers, inside traders, embezzlers, DUI killers (like Donte Stallworth) and repeat offenders (like half of Hollywood), tax evaders, sex offenders, arms dealers, insurance fraud perpetrators, robbers et al are 100% free to make egregious sums of money without repaying the cost to taxpayers their crimes and others like them cost us every day.

I know. I know. They all pay their debt to society when serving their prison sentence. And I agree, in a moral sense. But financially I completely DISAGREE. There are costs to our society to have a criminal element among us. Police departments, prisons, auditors, and our entire court system to name a few spend billions in taxpayer dollars every year dealing with criminals of all types.

Compare this to our health system, which I agree is broken, but still helps make a case here. All of us who have health insurance are forced to pay even higher premiums and co pays to basically cover the costs of all the people who refuse or cannot afford to get insurance. Similarly, those criminals who will earn 6-figure salaries after serving time will be “covering” (or at least defraying) taxpayer costs for themselves as well as all the criminals who will not (and there are a lot more of them) as well as all the criminals who will never be released.

3) People (and by people I am generally referring to females, and possibly bottoms) need to stop referring to every milestone in a relationship or marriage as an anniversary. There is no such thing as a 5-month anniversary, or a 3-week anniversary. Anniversary is a word which derives from the Latin root word annus, which means YEAR, and versus, the past participle of vertere, meaning to turn. So while everyone is certainly entitled to celebrate 8 months together or 2 weeks together, please stop referring to the event as an anniversary. It completely dilutes and belittles true anniversary celebrations, and is frankly infantile, reminding people of early childhood when most of us referred to our ages in fractions. Moreover, our youth does not engage in celebrations upon turning 4 ¾ or 8 ½.

4) I think movie studios should raise their own stakes for cop-out decisions to remake a movie, whether it was a classic or not. With the pending release of an “updated” Footloose, and the atrocious recent performance of an updated “Arthur,” I had a pretty great epiphany. I am fine with ambitious updates of movies that market great stories to new generations in original ways. Last year’s release of True Grit by the Coen Brothers was a perfect example of re-releasing a classic movie with sharper writing, smart casting choices all while still honoring the original film with a modicum of deference and respect.




With Footloose, however, I am a bit skeptical. So, here is my recommendation, guaranteed to increase the stakes of releasing an updated film and generally heightening the experience for everyone. Every studio or producer that intends to update a previously released film should always have an addendum to their contract with the original studio/owner of the film when purchasing the rights. And if the same studio or owner of the film’s rights decides to update a film on their own, they still must be subject to this same addendum:

If the updated film fails to earn more than the original, when converting original box office receipts to present day dollars, all proceeds must be yielded to the original studio, cast and crew. If the updated film fails to break even, all future revenues attached to said update (including but not limited to international box office, DVD sales, television rights and merchandising) go to the original studio, cast and crew.

Recent releases “Fright Night,” and “Conan the Barbarian,” both updates of 1980s films, are not faring too well at the box office. Were my recommendation enacted, perhaps the Governator would have been right all those times he warned “I’ll be back.”

5) Why do armored truck companies like Brinks and Dunbar insist on emblazoning the sides of their trucks with the company name and the words “armored vehicle”? This is a clear signal to criminals to target that particular vehicle for a heist. I understand the advertising value inherent in name recognition, but there has to be a better, safer way. Banks put their name on the outside of their buildings because they NEED people to be able to find them, walk in and make deposits or secure loans. Armored trucks do not need or want people to find them.

The same principal holds true for police officers. Uniformed officers wear their uniforms and drive clearly marked police cars so that everyone around knows there is an officer of the law in the vicinity. It makes the innocent feel safer and deters criminals from committing crimes. But undercover police officers and detectives drive UNMARKED cars and wear civilian attire so they attract no attention. This allows them to perform their detective work and gain access to places and sometimes gangs or drug cartels unnoticed, to uncover massive injustice and illegal activity. It also allows some police officers and U.S. Marshalls to make our highways and airplanes safer by patrolling the roads and skies unbeknownst to other drivers and fliers. Similarly, unmarked armored trucks would be free to engage in their primary responsibilities without a blatant bulls-eye on their sides.

So to all armored truck companies, please rethink your strategy. Advertise on television, in periodicals and on-line. Put your name on billboards and in stadiums. This may not completely eliminate robbery attempts on your trucks, but it will certainly decrease their frequency.

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WY SP, WY? Say it isn’t so….

As Philadelphia’s once undisputed FM radio king of the ratings, 94.1 WYSP, sets to close its doors, ending its nearly 40 year run in a now anachronistic era of terrestrial music radio, I feel it imperative to give the station its due.

Having come of age in the Philadelphia area during WYSP’s heyday, I have very fond memories of the station.

I suppose you could say I have always been an old soul regarding my musical preference. From a young age, I generally have preferred music dating from before my time with very few exceptions. Sure, I loved MJ, Madonna and The Police as much as most every other adolescent girl and boy of the 1980s did. In fact, I was a fan of most 80s music, which helped shape my generation, for better or for worse, and still love most songs from that decade to this day.

But the music that truly shaped my journey through puberty and that I must credit (along with my father and various camp counselors) for my vast musical knowledge to this day mostly dates from the 1960s and 1970s. From Aerosmith to ZZ Top and all things Motown, I couldn’t get enough. I was sure from a very young age that I had been born at least a decade too late.

This was before MP3s. This was even before CDs. Exchanging music was done through mix tapes and copies of albums. My first album collection was an incredible stack of 8-track tapes that included Billy Joel’s The Stranger, Steely Dan’s Aja, Simon and Garfunkle’s Bookends, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.

My father made brunch on many a Sunday as I grew up with the melodious tunes of Liverpool’s Fab Four echoing throughout our house. Breakfast with the Beatles, a Philadelphia staple since 1976, was an actual event, not just a radio show, in my household for most of my youth. My father’s vinyl collection was an impressive sampling of all the greatest artists of the 1950s through 1970s.

When 94.1 WYSP went to a “Classic Rock” format in 1981 (and WYSP invented “Classic Rock,” becoming the first station in the nation to adopt the format), it seemed to be catering to my personal musical preference. Except for the Motown, all of my favorite artists and songs were played on this station – and the best part was, I wouldn’t become sick of the same two or three tracks from each album that they would play over and over again for quite a few years.

Sure, WYSP expanded its playlist over the years, adding late 1980s and even 1990s music to its repertoire (and making me and my generation feel old in the process, as music from our youth became “classic”), but the lions’ share and most significant and beloved music the station had to offer dated from the preceding decades, tacitly acknowledging that all music created after those decades, even if attaining classic rock status, owed everything to the pioneers of the genre, the golden age of rock, the 1960s and 1970s.

Furthermore, in 1986, WYSP became the first station on which Howard Stern syndicated his incredible and controversial morning show and ratings monster. 94.1 became a force to reckon with on the airwaves, destroying its local rival 93.3 WMMR. I loved Howard Stern and listened and laughed as I got ready for school (and later drove to school) each morning. And when school let out, I listened to WYSP’s music on the way home.

But for me, what I will always remember about WYSP is how it basically built my vast music collection overnight.

For many years, the station featured Classic Rock’s Top 500 Countdown over Labor Day Weekend. Listeners would help determine the list and rankings by voting for their favorite songs of all time. WYSP hosts would ask listeners to mail in a postcard ranking their top 3 songs of all time, from which various station employees would cull and order the ultimate top 500. In 1991, my senior year of high school, I mailed three such postcards to the station.

One ranked the following 3 songs: 1) Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin; 2) Deacon Blues, Steely Dan; 3) Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd

The second listed these songs: 1) Sugar Magnolia, Grateful Dead; 2) A Day In The Life, The Beatles; 3) Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, Billy Joel

And the third listed these songs: 1) Funeral for a Friend, Elton John; 2) After the Goldrush, Neil Young; 3) Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

I left for college that August, never getting to hear the countdown that year.

Tuesday after Labor Day I got a message in my dorm room from my father. I returned his call and he asked me if I was sitting down. I lied and said yes. He then asked if I happened to have sent any postcards to any radio stations before I left for school.

I wracked my brain, and told him I had. “Why?” I asked.

“You are amazing,” he informed me. “Remi [your cousin] called me first. She was pretty sure she heard your name announced on WYSP as the winner of their Labor Day 500 contest.”

My heart was in my throat and I got a little dizzy from excitement. It was already hot in my non-air conditioned dorm in early September North Carolina. I was sweating.

“Ok,” I managed to reply, hoping to urge my father to get to the point.

“Well they called the house and left a message today.  I called them back and sure enough, your postcard was drawn. You won.”

“Did they say what I won?” I asked, fairly sure I already knew the answer.

“Yup. Every song on the countdown, on compact disc, and a Yamaha rack system with five CD-changer and six speakers. Pretty serious prize. Just wanted to let you know the goings on back home and keep you up to date. I will let you know when and how they want you to claim the prize.”

“Me? Dad, I am in college 500 miles away. Can’t you pick it up? I’ll make it worth your while.”

“Well I don’t know.  Your name was on the card. If they let me claim the prize, I will be happy to. Otherwise, maybe you can get it over Thanksgiving.”

“Holy shit.”

“Holy shit is right. Congratulations. This should make the transition to college a little better, no?”

“I am speechless. Thanks dad. I love you. Say hi to Mom and Mel.”

“Will do.”

My CD collection grew by 341 discs. The sponsoring music store even allowed me to exchange my doubles for anything in their store, even exchange. The new stereo was too big and expensive for the college experience, and thus did not make the trek to Durham. Sure, some of the songs overlapped on compilation and greatest hits albums. I even got a couple box sets. But the vast majority of songs came on unique, original albums with colorful and playful cover artwork.

I received every Beatles and Rolling Stones album ever released, as they were the two bands with the most songs on the top 500 list.

I still remember sampling the goods with my buddy Marc as he drove us to and from school a few times a year. The rest were unveiled at my own pace and became a significant part of the soundtrack of my collegiate years. Deep tracks on many of the discs yielded musical gems never played on stations like WYSP. I devoured them eagerly.

So thank you WYSP for playing the soundtrack of my formative years, and for providing that playlist to me in the form of an incredible prize, which allowed me to continue to revel in some of the best music ever created for years to come. I will always remember you as my favorite terrestrial radio station of all time and the left-most button (preset number 1) of every car I drove in the Philadelphia area.

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