Life: July 2009 Archives

Protest 7/25 @6pm City Hall

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Life is a series of events, if you think about it.

We certainly are defined by our day-to-day mundane events, but life is about putting together those "moments of definition".

It could be a life living abroad. It could be enjoying life in the wine country of Italy with your family. It could be a day you lost someone special.

These are the moments that define you. There are hundreds of these in a lifetime.

Tonight is one of those moments. It's easy to sit on the sidelines when events like this happen, but to take action says more than anything. It doesn't matter who you voted for in the last election, I think we can all agree that we do not want to stand for corruption in our city.

Peter may be innocent. He may be guilty. It is not like he was caught by a local blogger on tape admitting to taking bribes -- he was recorded by the FBI. They don't accuse seated mayors unless the evidence is fairly conclusive, and i'm sure you have read the complaint, which details what was said.

Mayor Cammarano's ability to govern has been compromised, even before a trial has started. What he needs to do is step down, face the charges he is accused of, and let the courts decide if he is guilty or not. To have this circus going on, for the next couple of years, and for him to try to push forth an agenda is ludicrous. Who is going to trust anything he says? Who is going to trust anyone he nominates in his cabinet?

Until we find out the truth here, Hoboken will never progress. I highly encourage everyone to show up at City Hall tonight at 6pm to peacefully protest. It will only take 20 minutes of your life to define who you are...someone who stands up against corruption.

Michael Jackson's Famous Pepsi Video

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I know we are all tired of the Michael Jackson news, but I only posted this because I never saw the video before. It is the actual video of the fire explosion where his hair caught on fire. I never saw this before, and figured that you may want to see it, also.

The Good Samaritan Deed Of The Day

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Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, I can say that the better part of my life I was isolated from city living. I did the occasional trip into Philly to watch a sports game, maybe visit my father's office, see Franklin Institute or a holiday at the Union League.

Upon moving to Hoboken in 1995, I learned about living in the city from trial, error and exploration. During that time, I had lots of various experiences that I would never forget. Like the time when I first moved up, I offered a seat on the subway to a woman. She exploded in seething rage, snarling at me saying, "Do I look like I need your seat!?"

Plus, there were the homeless. After years of taking the PATH I would see Teddy. Teddy was a small African American man, who would claim to be collecting for a homeless shelter to give "bread, juice, milk" and other things to the homeless.

Later, I learned from Hoboken411 that Teddy was not working for a homeless shelter.

As the years passed, I can say that I have seen it all. With the harried people at the Port Authority Bus Terminal coming up to me saying, "Hey man, I lost my wallet. I need bus fare to get home. I'll pay you back, you give me your address and I swear I will send you the money!" to the woman dressed as a nun collecting money to the homeless guy outside of Bloomingdales at 59th who somehow trained two cats and a poodle to sit/lie perfectly still while he begged for money (trust me, the animal act was heart wrenching, that poodle had perfected the begging look).

So, like anyone who has lived here for a while, and at first was free with giving money to the homeless (or the so-called homeless, who were really scammers) - my heart slowly hardened and mostly my attitude towards giving money to homeless was "I pay my taxes, that's how I help."

I was out at Mulligan's last Friday. We had a nice Phillies crowd of about 15 people at the bar, watching the Fightin's vs Pirates. I didn't have a lot to drink, left around midnight and walked home. I got to the corner of Willow and 1st, turned and walked towards my condo. I walked past an African American man and woman who each had a bicycle. The man says something quietly to me to get my attention, and I turn to him.

"Yes?", I ask.

"My wife and I are homeless. We are both very hungry. Can you spare any money for us to get something to eat?"

Now, like I wrote before...99% of the time, i'd say no, and just walk away. But looking at the guy, and the woman they didn't "look" homeless. Nor did they strike me as your typical people looking for drug money.

Oh, I know. My jaded readers are all rolling their eyes, like I probably would be doing right now also.

But my spidey senses didn't say they were homeless, and I can't say that i'm always right, but I have a fairly good track record of being more right than wrong.

Yep, there's another eye roll out there from the readers.

So, to continue the story...

I could have given money, but I don't do that anymore. I simply don't. But, he said he was hungry. OK, fair enough. So I turn to him and say:

"No problem. Lets walk up to Washington Street and i'll buy you and your wife anything you want to eat."

They immediately agreed and we turned around and walked up the four blocks to the main street. While walking I find out that the man worked for a contractor as a painter, but all the jobs have dried up...and he couldn't find any more jobs. The homeless shelter in Hoboken was full, he told me, and they were going to try the one in Union City next, but they weren't sure if that was full. He said they might just sleep outside tonight. He said they didn't eat since that morning. I asked if they had any family in the area, and he said they didn't.

The story was, with this economy, believable. Plus, I called them out. My attitude was if they are hungry - fine, i'll feed you, but I won't give you any money.

Since it was late at night, I had a choice of pizza or Cluck-U. I asked them what they wanted, and they asked for Cluck-U. We walk into the store and they ask nicely, "What is our limit?"

I tell them to order whatever they want, there's no limit.

They ordered some chicken, not asking for sides or a drink. They got it to go, and I paid the cashier the money and we walked outside. I kindly explained to them my reasoning about not giving them money, saying that it wasn't personal to them - it's just a conscious decision by me. If you are homeless and hungry - I have no problem helping that way. They both thanked me, and I went home.

Now the moral of this story isn't about "Boy, is Sean generous! Lets all pat him on the back!" - it's more about how sad it is that our society has come to this. I can't discern between those that actually need and those that do. Yes, I fully recognize and understand there are legitimate agencies that collect money to fully help the homeless, and I could have donated my money to them instead.

Also, after reading books like The Soloist, you also glean a bit of a better understanding that you can't paint a broad stroke to explain all homeless people. Some have mental issues. Some have, in fact, fallen between the cracks. There are people working day jobs in cash-only businesses and only a bad recession away from losing their homes.

Personally, I think (and in a way hope) that it was the case on Friday. Both of them seemed like nice people who fell on hard times and weren't drug addicts looking to score. They just wanted something to eat and a place to sleep.

Would I do it again? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is like my mom used to tell me as a child, about The Parable of the Good Samaritan. I would come home from school, and tell her about doing something nice and she would always reply, "See, you did a Good Samaritan deed of the day!"

I always try to do good things like this. Always. But, like I wrote there are people who take advantage of kindness. If I can give out kindness in other ways, then I try to do that. Even if it is offering a seat for a woman, or opening a door for someone holding packages or helping people down on their luck.

There's no real moral here. I saw. I helped. I blogged. Take it for what you will. Maybe next time you see someone begging and asking about something to eat, you can do a Good Samaritan Deed, too. No one is keeping score, except God.

Sod Off Bankers!

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Awesome commercial for Strongbow Cider in the UK...

Food Inc.

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Want to make a difference? Shop at the Hoboken Farmers Market today or at the uptown one on Thursday.


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I was on staycation last week, and couldn't be happier. I'm one of those people who can have a great time just hanging in Hoboken, and enjoy relaxing and catching up on a whole lot of doin'....nothing.


My main event was going to Atlantic City, NJ. I hadn't been to AC for a while, and was itching to go gambling. This itch was driven into high gear after watching The Hangover, and I coerced a friend of mine to go down with me (Chris) for a night of gambling.

Suffice to say, it was a fun time. I played 3 card poker, which I did well on when I went to Vegas - but not so well in AC, and lost $300. 3 card poker is all luck there's no real skill to it, with the exception of to stay in on a bad hand or not to protect your $25 Ante bet. I usually will stay in with a Queen-6-4 or higher. I was at the table, betting $25 on Ante and $25 on pairs plus. I'm not going to explain the rules, just look it up. I was at the end of the table right before the dealer, with about 3 other players.

Another player sits to my right, and there are seats open, so there's not much I can do about it. The guy sits down, and i'm not thrilled about this, even saying to him, "Oh man now you get my cards and I get the dealers hands..." - what do you think happens? Four hands later he gets 3 of a kind (and of course it is 6-6-6). The payout is 30 to 1 on the Ante and 4 to 1 on pairs plus. I would have won $875. I glared at the 21 year old kid, saying "Nice hand" and walked away. All I needed was this kid to sit at another table or just stay off our table for 10 minutes and that would have been my hand. Sigh.

I played craps, thanks to a helpful guy next to me showing me how to play, and learned that I will never bet when someone is throwing the dice and doesn't know how to throw. I know there is lady luck and all that but when one of the seasoned dice guys hands a cute girl the dice, and she throws it off the table...that's a bad sign. The next two girls after her did the same and we all quickly lost our bets. The only good shooters were the guys who had been at the table for hours, and had some method to their madness when it came to holding & throwing dice. They all had little rituals, like touching the table, rotating the dice and a specific throw style that wasn't fool proof, but they won more than they lost. The three girls in a row were all like "Wheeeeeee!" and throwing the dice like they were trying to throw a frisbee. It was sad, and the seasoned pro next to me rolled his eyes more than once, and added "Well, at least the girls were cute to look at...."

But still wasn't worth losing $300 at the craps table.

I withdrew another $300 from the ATM, and tried 3 card poker again. I was up, down, up, even, down...walked away when I had about $225 in chips. Sat down with Chris at his table and it was funny to watch him play. Chris is a funny Costello to his Abbot. My Spade to his Farley. He was up & down all night, just playing blackjack and tormenting those around him with his wisecracks. The dealer said nothing, but it was clear he couldn't stand Chris. The player to Chris's right was fairly trashed, and Chris kept laying into him about each of his bad plays. The dealer would show a 5 and the guy is hitting with a 5 and Chris would be saying to the drunk guy, "What are you doing? Oh great. You got the 10. Wonderful. Now i'll stand with my 18, and watch what the dealer does..."

The dealer pulls a 4 and then takes everyone's money off the table with his 19.

Chris would look at me with a "Do you BELIEVE this" look. This went on for about an hour. The guy was good natured (or just too drunk) to really care. I started to talk to people at the table, convincing them that Chris was my lawyer. Then I changed my mind and called him my "Consigliere". I bantered with Chris, while he taught me his strategy on playing blackjack. Thanks to him, I was able to get up at one point where I had about $800-900 in chips.

But the good news is that I fared a bit better At one point, when mentally calculated my losses for the night, and guessed I was probably down about $650, I decided a one time bet. It was 3am and I was getting tired. I figured that if I win, I quit. If I lose, then i'm done for the night.

I won. Then scooped up my chips and left knowing that I was down $200 for the night.

I was tempted to play more, with the whole "YOUR LUCK HAS CHANGED! WIN BACK THE $200!" - but I didn't. Oh, I really, really wanted to, but figured I will take my good luck and leave.

I will take my winnings and use them towards a membership at Club H. My condo gym is going to be closed for 2 months (Aug/Sept or Sept/Oct) while they renovate/paint it. I suspended my diet for last week, but didn't go crazy and eat cheeseburgers, fries and milkshakes each night - just kept my calorie count at a good average, while eating whatever I wanted. Yet, I didn't even gain any weight. I'm back on my diet today, and back to the gym - one week break was a nice vacation from work and from my diet.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Life category from July 2009.

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