Amazing Aug02

Amazing

Met an absolutely true gentleman tonight during Roselle Park’s National Night Out. We were waiting in line for the water slide with Mariposa and Ezekiel as our youngest gets more excited with each little step that brings us closer to the slide. A bit in front of us some young pre-teen girls are blowing raspberries at each other in a joking manner. This young man (who we later find out to be) eight years old is between us and the girls. He looks around as they do this and must have seen some reaction in my face. The young boy whispers, “I don’t think they should do that. That’s not a nice thing to do.” I tell him, “You know what? I think so too.” He smiles back and says, “I like the water slide. This is fun.” His wet face shows he had been on it before. I say to him, “You are a really nice young man.” Without missing a beat nor with any sense of self-import he responds, “I want to work to be a good man someday.” What eight-year-old says that?!?!?! I just instinctively put out my hand and say, “Hi. What’s your name?” He shakes it and says, “Michael. But you can call me Mike or Mikey.” I look to Lis and say, “Amazing!” That young man has more sense than I ever will. For all the disappointments we express about our little hometown, there are wondrous examples of decency with people such as Michael and his parents. Simply amazing. Seriously, what eight-year-old says that?!?!? Share...

Rollberbladed May27

Rollberbladed

After 25 years of faithful service, a quarter of a century, my favorite pair of rollerblades have given me their last glide. Adieu my eight wheelers. You were good. Share...

Mother’s Day 2016 May08

Mother’s Day 2016...

Some pretty f*$%@ I mean messed up sh*#, I mean stuff, you find out about your mother and father that are terrifying and amazing. Out of all things, it started with her wedding ring falling to the ground. For those who do not know, my mother suffered a pretty severe stroke on January 2nd. She is recuperating now and what started out with half her body being completely paralyzed is currently lack of strength in her left hand, especially her index finger and thumb. But that night she and my father went out to eat and were dancing and suddenly my father heard her wedding ring hit the floor and went to pick it up and ask my mother what happened. It was then he realized something was wrong and it looked like she was having a stroke. She had suffered a mild one 16 years before. He immediately walks her out and gets the car to drive her to the hospital. When they get there his and her fears are confirmed. She was suffering a stroke. After preliminary necessary stuff the doctor comes in to tell them that there is this procedure that can possibly reverse the damage being done to the left side of her body. The two risks are that it might not work (only a 5% chance) and it might kill her (50%). Mind you, I hear about this later but in those early hours with just the two of them, she asks him, “Well? Do you think we should do it?” My father says to her, “I don’t know. What do you want? It’s a tough decision.” It is at this point that my mother says, “Remember what we told each other about not wanting to have one of...

We Won The Lottery! Jan16

We Won The Lottery!

Sitting around the dinner table during supper tonight, after talking about our individual days the conversation gets around to the lottery. We all start talking and laughing about the first things we would do if we won: everything from the thoughtful to the outrageous (helping out family & friends to changing the name of the town to Rosaul Park to creating college funds for all the children in the neighborhood to paying everyone’s property taxes in town for one year). Looking around at our family I say out loud, “You know I’ve already won the lottery.” Our second oldest Robert says, “That’s some real happy-ever-after shit right there.” For those unfamiliar with the lingo of young ‘uns today, it means ‘That was touching. I agree with that.’ That about sums it up. Share...

Speechless Jan08

Speechless

A beautiful gift from a wonderful woman. I am speechless. The Qersdyn family is beyond grateful and blessed to know Cathy Drake. Share...

Unsub Oct18

Unsub

My friend Marc posted on my wall a show called UNSUB. It was before CSI, Criminal Minds, etc. and was a really good show.  It was so good it actually was of value in real life. There was an episode where the old guy on the team finds out how the serial killer gets children by crouching down at the height of a child to see they saw a store sign. I actually did that once to find a boy who left his mother to see he went into a Shop-Rite. She was hysterical. We were in a long line to Hometown Buffet (don’t judge me) and all of a sudden this woman just starts yelling her child’s name. Everyone tries looking for him and looking around and I think where the hell would this kid go. So I crouch when she said his description to the height she gave and look around and see in the distance this Shop Rite has some sale on candy. The police are being called and I walk over to the Shop Rite and tell Lis to have the police go to the Shop Rite. I walk in and go aisle by aisle till I see the boy scared just standing in an aisle. I ask his name and he nods yes, that is his name. I walked out with him as the police come in and explain to them that he is the boy. They ask me how I figured it out and I told them I crouched to the boy’s height to see the candy sign. We all walk back and the mother does the whole crying yelling “Don’t ever do that again” shit but I thought of the show and went to myself “Ain’t that...

Some Numbers Oct09

Some Numbers

16,801 days I have been alive. Out of those, I have had my parents in my life all those days. 10,569, Marc has been the one to make me double over gut laughing and made me realize what really good solid writing and friendship is all about. 8,204 I have had Lis in my life and has been my life. It is hyperbolic to say I cannot live without her but I cannot imagine my life without her in it. I would be absent of joy. 4,283 our oldest son Rashad has been an integral part of my heart. 1,450 Mariposa has stepped into our lives and made our home a kingdom with her princess ways. 1,346 Ezekiel has been the mirror of me and shown me for who I am. Out of all of those days i can honestly say that less than handful in the low double digits have been bad, and most of those have been because of my doing. Some days were a nightmare but they were important. Those days in particular made me realize that every day counts. The other 16,700+ days have been a joy. I have been blessed to have my family and friends and music. They have filled my life with more memories than I have had days. And even though I have a treasure trove of memories to look back on, I know that the best one is the next one. 16,802, here I come. Share...

You Can Buy Happiness Jun28

You Can Buy Happiness

Who says you can’t buy happiness? Look. Here. I bought for two bucks at a garage sale!   One man’s trash is another man’s trash that hasn’t worn out its nostalgia. Just remember when they tell you “You can’t buy happiness” that it was at a garage sale for two bucks. Happiness is where you find it. Share...

Memorial May25

Memorial

Andreotta, Glenn U., 20 On April 8, 1968, 20-year-old Glenn Andreotta was the door gunner on a Hiller Raven helicopter in Vietnam who was killed while taking enemy fire. He never made it home. His name is on panel 48E, line 50, on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. He is just one of the estimated 1,354,668 American soldiers, sailors, airmen/women, Marines who died while serving our country in the military. But to understand something about Memorial Day, you might want to know about something Glenn did about three weeks previous, on March 18, 1968 to realize sacrifices military men and women make. For what we believe in. For what America stands for. Glenn Andreotta was part of a three-man helicopter crew led by 24-year-old Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr. and Glenn had just jumped out to grab a little boy injured by gunfire to get him back on the helicopter. The small village this took place in is My Lai. A quick primer on My Lai. For some time, the Viet Cong set up camp in My Lai at night and threatened the villagers with death if they did not shelter them so they could attack American soldiers stationed and patrolling some distance away. In the morning the VC would pull back further into the jungle and the Americans would come in asking where the Viet Cong were, knowing they had been there the night before. On that March day, American soldiers, tired of day after day of being attacked night after night by the VC and scared for their lives had reached their breaking point, but they crossed the line. They began burning the village to the ground started killing the villagers – unarmed villagers. Throwing grenades into huts filled with...

Ebola Nov18

Ebola

Took ZZ to the doctor today. Nothing more serious than a cold. But checking in to see the doctor, I was asked if I visited any of the countries affected by Ebola. I told the registration clerk ‘yes’, that I live in the country affected by Ebola. She did not find that as funny as I thought she would. Actually, her answer was, “Sir, I am just requested to ask you this question. You can answer yes or no.” Share...

45 Oct10

45

What a day! What a life! Yesterday was the first day of my 46th year and we celebrated my 45th birthday! Being a true believer of making every day count, I chalked up another day to make it 16,436 days alive – or 16,733 days if you count conception (We will forego any questions and simply acknowledge that, for some reason, I know the date of my conception – shaking that off, shaking that off) Soon will be the 17,000 mark and I know I have more memories worth remembering than days I have been alive. As we sat at dinner I took a look around and realized, this, this is the gift life has given me. My family. Elisabeth, Rashad, Kaylia, Mariposa, Ezekiel, Marc, Aesop (aka my father), and BG (aka my mother) A gift that brings new memories everyday. Like yesterday when Mariposa was coming down the stairs in the morning and Lis asks, “Posey, do you know whose birthday it is? It is the king’s birthday.” She thinks for a second then her eye light up as she jumps and runs to me yelling, “Happy Birthday Daddy!” Or when Ezekiel sings Happy Birthday – more like “Hap urday you” while wearing a paper bag on top of his hair because, of course, everyone knows that a party hat (however made) is the appropriate attire for singing Happy Birthday. Or when Rashad comes and gives me a real long hug that says more than any card could. Or when my parents called me at the time I was born (huh, again, sorry) to wish me a real Happy Birthday. To Lis just being Lis. My wife, my love, my life. She got me the Exorcist Anthology and if you know and her...

TheSound&FuryOfMusic Sep21

TheSound&FuryOfMusic...

(or “The Passion And Power Of Song”) So during this session of the Qersdyn Weekend Morning Record Review (just made that up) the family got to … Okay, just to back up a little, every weekend morning while making and eating breakfast, the family gets to hear some LPs from various artists … Okay, just to back up a little, a long time ago, music was heard on what is called an LP, think of a really big black vinyl CD that was play on what is called … Okay, just to back up a little, not so long ago, music (aka MP3s) used to be played on what is called a compact disc or CD Back to the story On the roster this morning, after Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” is 25677-1, aka “The Funky Bible” aka “The Black Album” by Prince. Okay, just to back up a little, back before he called himself Prince after calling himself the artist Formerly Known as . . . oh forget it . . . young ‘uns listen to “Classic” by MTKO and the guy in the chorus is this guy. So, anyway, as “Le Grind” kicks in Rashad correctly guesses Prince. Then I relate the rumors and gossip regarding why he pulled the record; told Rashad that the album was the only Prince record not to have a “God” song on it and that Prince felt he had gone too far. Rashad ponders a bit then asks seriously, “How does a musician know he’s gone too far?” It is at that point that I realize what an utterly ridiculous statement that was . . . gone too far!!! Like his music took physical form and roamed the countryside like a Funkenstein monster infecting people involuntarily with ‘the...

MindFi Aug22

MindFi

(Or “I Got The Whole World Wide Web In My Hands”) Okay so who wants to help me with my invention? I found a way to enable brain-mapping by emulating a wifi signal. The electric impulses send out a frequency and tuning that to a signal seems to have worked past the first stage. A router-type unit will facilitate the connection, just like a wifi signal. This will help with psychiatric diagnoses and medical analysis of health issues, just to name two uses. The only problem is once it takes off, there will be the most bizarre kinds of hacking with people’s minds being broken into for mind control. Not to worry, I also have the anti-hacking blockers in the shape of vitamins. Thinking of calling it Soylent Beam. Millions I tell ya. Millions. Share...

Fuck The Poor Jul14

Fuck The Poor

This is a great example of the difference between being right and doing right. Some people think it is more important to feel good about themselves and sit on their high horse to show how righteous they are instead of doing anything to help. Share...

World’s 23,312,017th Greatest Dad! Jun15

World’s 23,312,017th Greatest Dad!

Brace yourself. Just wanted to let you know that you are looking at the World’s 23,312,017th Greatest Dad! That is a pretty damn good number to be. I mean, think about it, with so many World’s Greatest Dads or #1 Dads around, that group is really really crowded and I know I am nowhere near to being that good of a father. Heck, not even the World’s 2nd or 100th or 1,000th Greatest Dad. But think about it, just being conservative with the figures, we could say there are a billion fathers on the planet. With those numbers, I am in the top 2%. Not too shabby. Plus it gives me room for improvement. Goodness knows I need it. Seriously, being the head of a family is a pretty daunting task. One that never ends. My father can testify to that. It is true that parenting does not come with an instruction booklet. But you know who has an instruction book? Children. And that book is me and their mother. We are the book from which they will learn and copy or reject. And like with all textbooks, they will skim over the words of what we say and simply skip to the illustrations and examples of what we do. Not when we think they are listening or paying attention – because they are always paying attention – but when you find them liking the same things you do, or laughing like you or reacting to things like you. Again, “Please see example A”. They separate the bullshit you want them to believe from the person you are without the hype. Every day is a page they turn in their manuals on the road to becoming themselves. They may take some things, leave others, but always use my actions as the baseline reference point. And every night I think about all the things I could have done better by them and all the things I did right by them. You see, today is really not about me. It is about our children: Rashad, Mariposa, and Ezekiel. They are the real stars – not only today – but everyday. They are the reason for everything, including the rings – one for each of them on advice from Mariposa and on both hands. So that is why today is why I reflect and rejoice at being the World’s 23,312,017th Greatest Dad! Hoping that next year I might move up a bit, not a lot, just enough to show that I have improved as a father. Share...

Lilia May11

Lilia

Okay, so what is a mother? I ask because today is the day to say ‘love you’ to mom. Great mom, best mom, wonderful mom, mommy, mama, mother. But, whether we really think about it or not, these women are people, beyond that title. For me, I just want to take a moment to talk about Lilia, the woman who is my mother. Now, before I start I must let you know I do love my mother and she is still alive so this is not going to be one of those I wish I still had my mom around (I do) or glad she is out of my life (I do not) kind of rambling. This is about taking some time to talk about the woman who had a history with dreams, aspirations, and a life before I came into the picture. She was a little girl with friends and dreams, a teenager with friends and dreams, and a woman with friends and dreams who had expectations of what she wanted out of her future. She grew up, went to school, got a job, fell in love, got married, and then I came along. In between all those things was her developing identity as a person – not a mother. Not sure I was what she envisioned for a son. I will tell you she does not understand my choices in life. But still she loves me. I know that for a fact. But still, this woman has friends, relatives, co-workers, and acquaintances who see her and choose to be with her for her own merits, beyond and apart from the woman I know as mom. But what if she was not my mother? Would I choose to have her in my life...

Time Enough For One More Story Apr21

Time Enough For One More Story

Happy Elizabeth Dane Day! Well, not so happy for the crew of the Elizabeth Dane . . . and not so good for the town of Antonio Bay . . . and really not so good for Father Malone. Come to think of it, it really was not good for anyone involved, well, except for Nick Castle with a hell of a hitchhiker story to tell. You know what? Forget the Happy, just stay out of the fog. Share...

First Down Jan13

First Down

January 13, 1982. So remember that Polar Vortex we experienced last week? Well, imagine being stuck in that with no coat. Add that your clothes (and entire body) are soaked in ice water and that snow is falling hard . . . all this because the plane you were on slammed into a bridge and hit the river you are now drowning in. That happened on this day 32 years ago. Amid that tragedy is a guy who might be called a hero. Now, I am not someone who has many heroes in my life. The list is short and includes my father, my eldest son, Malik El-Hajj El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), the unknown postman (he is for another day), and a guy named Lenny Skutnik. Now while the first two might be understandable and the third is well-known, there is Lenny – Martin Leonard Skutnik III to be exact but I have always known him as Lenny although I have never met him. Just a guy. On his way home from work, he became one of many bystanders on the side of the Potomac River watching a tragedy unfold. A passenger plane had crashed amid afternoon traffic and was sinking into the river. Air Florida Flight 90 had just taken off from Washington National Airport but something went horribly wrong and it stalled, careening into the Potomac, killing four people who were in their cars just sitting in traffic before bulleting into the river. As the snow fell, the crowd that instinctively gathered saw about a half dozen people floating in the water. What no one knew then was that all but one of those people in the river were going to be the only survivors of that crash. 79 people on board, 5...

Bowe Bergdahl Oct16

Bowe Bergdahl

4, 3, 2, 1 As of yesterday Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been held behind enemy lines by the Haqqani Network for 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks, 1 day. Amid our government shutdown, election season politics, and philosophical bickering, a soldier is lost. There are different takes on June 30, 2009, the day then PFC Bergdahl went missing which range from fellow soldiers stationed with him stating that he simply walked away from the outpost to the official Army statement saying that he was unarmed and outside the base perimeter with three Afghan soldiers when the four men were seized by insurgents. Still, the one thing everyone agrees on is that he was captured by the enemy and remains America’s only known Prisoner Of War. He has not been demobed. He has not been issued his DD Form 214. He is not home. A father speaks for his son but for the most part, people are not aware that those black POW-MIA flags actually have significance and there is still one American who signed up to stand at post who has not stood down. Bowe Bergdahl Contact the House of Representatives. Contact the Senate. Contact the White House. Let them know that this American soldier should not be forgotten. Bring him home. Share...

We The People . . . Sep17

We The People . . .

Those three words start the piece of paper from which our nation was founded. To be followed by 10 amendments written about a week later plus another 17 throughout two centuries – the last of which was ratified 21 years ago – add to that voluminous Supreme Court cases that have been heard about how to interpret those laws . . . all started by those three words. Today marks the 226th years since the piece of paper that defines us was written. Even though July 4th is a kick ass day since it was the day we agreed to give the ultimate ‘screw you’ to our oppressors, September 17th is when we defined what we were going to be as a country . . . one of We The People. Happy Constitution Day everyone. Share...

Q5 Aug09

Q5

A woman. Two men. A scream from a basement hallway. And so his story began. On January 17th 2012, a little baby boy was making his way into this world after a stranger named Moses heard the expectant baby’s birth mother scream from a rooming house on Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Newark. The man went downstairs to the basement to find nature taking its course – not waiting for a hospital, not waiting for an ambulance, not even waiting for another woman . . . not waiting for anything. He ran outside, flagged down a Newark police officer and, with Moses unwrapping the umbilical cord from around the newborn’s neck, both men helped as ZZ was welcomed to the world. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story… That was the easy part. After then, decisions and circumstance – the one thing that brings everyone to where they are in life – presented moments that were joyous, sad, frustrating, uplifting, and wondrous. Issues and events showed that his mom was unable to care for ZZ. Our family was notified immediately about him since we were blessed enough to have adopted ZZ’s older three-year old sister Mariposa just last year; this after being graced with our first son, Rashad (who is 21 years old) becoming a part of our family 10 years ago. Two weeks after being born we visited with him to see if we would welcome him to our family and grow up with his biological sister. I recall when he was first handed to me – I had my hands stretched out and was turned away talking with my wife Lis as she reassured me I would not break him. As I felt him around my hands I remember saying to his foster mother that she could let go because I had him. She said, “I’m not holding him.” He was so light! I could not believe how light he felt. His eyes darted around the room, every once in a while catching my glances. After a couple of minutes, holding him against my chest, we both just went to sleep on the couch. Simpatico. There was no question if he was coming home, just when. Fast forward to May 2012 when he finally comes home. So many things could be said about being there for so many ‘firsts’ and of witnessing treasured moments but suffice to say that the wonder of family is an ever-changing landscape of amazement. Now we fast forward to today, August 9, 2013. Although he was a member of our family the moment we met that February day last year, today was the day that society legally and officially recognize him as a Qersdyn. We went to court, raised our hands, a few magic words were said filled with henceforth and therefore, then tada, he became a Qersdyn. From Adam till now and from the North Pole to Antarctica with every latitude in between, there have only ever been five people with the last name Qersdyn on Earth and today we welcome the latest Qersdyn to our clan, making it Q5. For two people who – when we got married – said to each other, “Children? Nah.” life sure has a way of making things lively. Decisions and circumstance. It is what got us here and what will get us to where we are going. So, ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, we formally and joyously introduce and announce the arrival of Ezekiel Jewelyn Umanzor Louis Qersdyn. Share...

My Father Is The Man Jul24

My Father Is The Man

My father is the man. Lemme splain . . . Issa too mucha, lemme sum uppa. Tonight’s soccer game was a semi-finals match for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The teams? Honduras vs. USA and my father is an American citizen originally from Honduras. He loves America. He came to the US legally in 1968 and quickly joined the Army. He has unquestionably demonstrated his allegiance for this country to a degree most others, fortunately, have never had to do. When asked about tonight’s game he said America should win but whomever wins is the best team. Underneath the hip hip hooray I could tell a part of his heart routed for the place he came from. Maybe he saw the faces of young men who, like, him, may have been born dirt poor in an already poor country; and when I use the term ‘dirt poor’ I mean that the floor in my father’s home (which was a tin shack) when growing up was the dirt. He grew up poor but – more importantly – he grew up loved, he got himself an education, learned English, got married, filed his papers for America, came over, joined the Army during Vietnam, had a son, came back home, started working as a custodian in AT&T and worked his way up through the company to retire a few years ago as a computer system analyst responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of nationwide networks. Homeowner, worker, husband, father, grandfather, American. My father is the American Dream. Still, tonight’s game may have given nostalgia to where he came from and how far he has come. A heart longing for a country that is struggling but gave him his drive and foundation on life and the nation that gave...

The Talk Jul14

The Talk

Today, some parents are going to have to sit down with their children and have ‘the talk’ again – one that most likely has been given numerous times before – a refresher of sorts : On how to behave when dealing with the police, and how to immediately keep their hands visible with their palms open, and how to answer questions without losing their cool . . . or their dignity. On how to react when being eyed as they walk through a neighborhood then having the police stop them because someone called in thinking that walking down a public street was the equivalent of suspicious activity because ‘I don’t recognize them’. On how to deal with someone who openly yells nigger out of a car as they drive by in a manner where things do not get out of hand and end up with the involvement of the police or an ambulance or worse. On how to follow the step-by-step procedures when being pulled over by the police in their car which include placing their hands on the steering wheel, not making sudden gestures, how to answer, and how to react when asked to get out of the car. On how to keep cool and simply keep walking when a car is stalking them while they walk home from the convenience store. If you do not have to have that talk with your children today, then that is the best example of what the problem is. The fact that some are ignorant to the reality that still, certain people, because of the color of their skin, need to be reminded to keep THEIR attitudes in check and alter THEIR behavior because of the prejudice of others instead of having those who are prejudiced change theirs. It is what it is . . . but maybe if more people realized that, then maybe a real change can begin. Count yourself as blessed if you have the luxury of not having ‘the talk’ with your children, and understand that there are parents who need to. Share...

America @237 Jul03

America @237

For those who do not know, I volunteer to teach ESL and have done so for almost five years now. It started in Roselle, moved to Roselle Park, and now has expanded to Elizabeth. Tonight at class we started having our dialogue section where people have conversations. It was in question/answer style with questions such as “Where are you from?” “When did you come to America?” and a student inadvertently misheard a question and answered what he liked about America. So we asked the question around the room. People came up with answers such as work, pay, order, safety, variety, choices . . . It basically came down to one word – opportunity. The opportunity to make good money, the opportunity to go where you want to, the opportunity to find a job, the opportunity to buy what you want, to live where you want; all the opportunities we, Americans, sometimes take for granted. In class there is a man who is in his mid-70s who has a broken hearing aid and can speak English minimally, but he still comes. There is a young man from Japan who was born in Peru and is here for only three months but still wants to improve in speaking English. There is a young woman who is starting a new job tomorrow and needs to brush up on her communication skills so she can use it for her job. There is a mother who wants to learn English to help her children before school starts again. All these people want to learn a language we take for granted and see things in America that we take for granted. People who come from a country where they wait up to three hours for the police to show up,...

Neighbor Nov11

Neighbor

Folks, let’s just call it what it is. We’ve all seen it over the past 12+ days but we’ve given it some pretty highfalutin terms: neighborly, friendly, prudent, helpful, kindness, outreach, responsibility, etc. And there are all those examples: a family chainsawing a neighbor’s tree all the while knowing their roof was ruined by the storm just so everyone else would be able to have an open road through town; a block or residents deciding to have pot luck dinners where those with power cooked the food of those without so everyone would have company through the darkness and use food instead of letting it go bad; a man who went to drop off food to a senior citizen who lived by himself and realized he could not leave him in the dark and cold and drove him personally to a community shelter; a family who gave up precious fridge space to maintain life-saving medicine for another family who had lost power; a woman who had her own parent to care for but went out of her way to make sure her neighbors, who were elderly, could get something to eat and to help them stay warm; a family who gave their portable power battery so phones could be charged and lights could be on; people who said “If there’s anything you need, just let me know” and really meant it. All without fanfare, all without credit, all without asking for something in return. And these examples are just scratching the surface of what was done. To be sure there were those who used this time to reveal the less-than-graceful attributes of our better nature but there will always be those people. Just realize that for every one of those, there are more than...

Live The Dash Jun17

Live The Dash

LIVE THE DASH A father of three . . . words I honestly never thought would be used to describe me. So today is Fathers’ Day. For me, today is a day to reflect on fatherhood and all the joys and responsibility that come with that one word – “Dad”. That one word has been used to express everything from happiness to “Help!” to frustration to anger to love. Funny how kids pick up on that – knowing how to say it so you know what they mean. To be a parent is probably the hardest thing in this world to be – of having someone need, really need, you. The word need is used too often nowadays to mean ‘really want’ but children need to be fed and loved and comforted and hugged and kept safe and taught . . . A father needs to do all those things, and more, everyday. I guess it holds true that a man is not defined by what he has but by what he takes care of. Children listen and learn from what their parents do (more than what they say) and we, the parents, are torn between our greatest wish for our children – to protect them from the world – and our greatest responsibility – to prepare them for it. I look back at the years I had growing up and the times I took for granted one of the only true heroes I have ever had in my life – my own father. A man who I am blessed to still have in my life. I think of all the things he said and did and how I refer to his words which were backed up by his actions when I, myself, need...

XI XI Mar30

XI XI

After 13 years as part of our family, we made the decision to give XiXi, our pet cat, rest after she endured through months of labored discomfort which became a consuming pain. This photo of our hands caressing XiXi was taken just after the moment her existence transformed into a memory. She was held and comforted in her last moments by those who loved her. Share...

Mohammed Nabbous Mar21

Mohammed Nabbous

Citizen journalism. A term used recently, and most commonly in America, to denote those upset with the government due to taxes they think are so high. In other parts of the world, it means something else. It means speaking a government that does not belong to you. It means reporting on false imprisonment, government-sanctioned violence, it means reporting on unjust persecution. It means fear being imprisoned, tortured, or killed. Mohammed Nabbous was a citizen journalist. He was killed two days ago. We here in America cry and complain about keeping an eye on our government for high taxes and quality of life. He was trying to report on a government that imprisoned, tortured, and killed its people. I never met him and only heard of him in news reports. He leaves behind a pregnant wife. Puts things in perspective. So whenever we ‘citizen journalists’ forget the purpose of what we do and get tempted to fall into the culture of vanity or personalities, maybe it would do good to remember that the problems are what we should try to address – that it’s about bringing out information. Mohammed Nabbous died for what we take for granted. Share...

The Lies & Times Of Brian P. Keane (PSA) Jul26

The Lies & Times Of Brian P. Keane (PSA)

I sincerely apologize beforehand for the use of both our times to address Brian P. Keane, a 54 year old man who goes under the screen names flipityflop, healthscares, Citizen X – among others. In fact, if you have never heard of Brian P. Keane, you can go right ahead and skip this posting. If not, consider this a Public Service Announcement. Some quick background on Brian P. Keane: This is a guy who claims to have been in so many places and met so many people in his life but has nothing to show for it – think Forrest Gump without the personality, or the intelligence. That should give you a basis as to what you are in store for. So, like I said, feel free to skip this one if you do not know him. Brian P. Keane is such a sad case and usually that in and of itself is no cause to take notice but within this past week Brian Keane has made it his mission to garner the attention of his fellow residents — my attention in particular. Well, he has gotten it for the next few minutes but probably not the way he wanted it. After this post, I will move on to other, real and pertinent, issues and never discuss him again. He is the equivalent of that piece of garbage on the road that needs to be picked up and thrown away. Now keep in mind this all happened within the the span of one week. Fireman’s Wetdown (July 17, 2010) The Fireman’s Wetdown was a community event held to support the firemen and to have a general good time as a community activity. This was the time that Brian Keane decided to verbally accost the sitting third ward councilwoman while she was enjoying the day with her infant son. In an event meant for others, he decided to take to task the councilwoman on her legal right to breastfeed in public. Too bad for Brian that the councilwoman not only stood her ground but respectfully put him in his place by asking him to defend his position with mature points. He started telling her what he felt were inappropriate times to do what she has every right as a woman to do. When she asked him when would be a good time to do it, he began to stutter and continue with not addressing her question. After hemming and hawing and the councilwoman not relenting in her respectful discourse, he ended up with “well, I just don’t like it” and walked away – and he appears to have forgotten to call her by the name he has repeatedly referred to her as – Breastzilla. Weird. It was then that, to my shame, I decided to show Brian what such an act felt like. I guess I misread him ’cause he did not like that one bit. Michael Crook (July 21, 2010) After being called on his latest insult to a poster online, Brian P. Keane makes the following post about Michael Crook: Michael Crook To Move To Roselle Park – Let’s welcome him. Now, this is the depths Brian P. Keane’s pathetic nature will go. For those not familiar with Michael Crook and his relevance to Roselle Park, I apologize in advance for the explanation and the accompanying couple of seconds you will never be able to get back. In 2009, a Roselle Park student died in a car accident. Soon after, when friends and family were grieving their loss, Michael Crook made public statements that ridiculed and demeaned a community’s loss. That is what Brian Keane resorted to – bringing up some pretty hurtful sentiments because he was being ignored due to his posts not being answered. September 11th (July 21, 2010) Now the worst of it. Brian Keane had a laundry list of lies posted about him on...

Why Jul01

Why

Although there has been no public statement, Councilwoman Chen-Hoerning has decided not to run for a second term. The woman who came from nowhere to win the seat held by Robert Rubilla seems to be leaving the scene with official silence. Bring issues to the forefront in a town which, to put it nicely, is averse to change was a breath of fresh air and new direction. Everything from asking basic questions at meetings that most others had but, for fear of looking silly, did not publicly ask to taking a quiet, yet important stand, on women’s rights, Mrs. Chen-Hoerning made people talk about things they did not want to talk about. And now, just when things were being questioned in the interest of progress, that voice of progress is leaving. Hopefully others will take the example given to stand up for what one believes in and offer up their voice Share...

March 27, 2010 Apr12

March 27, 2010

A LETTER TO THE NEW PRAGUE HIGH SCHOOL MARCHING BAND It’s amazing how what we do affects others and the things we think are unimportant, end up having the most meaning. Now, visiting New York City is a highlight for everyone and although I live in the Elizabeth area and love where I live, Elizabeth, New Jersey is not one of those “must-see” places in anyone’s itinerary. It’s just a place. But not that day. That day, March 27th, 2010, my family was walking around the Jersey Gardens Mall and arrived just in time to hear you begin your performance. If you look, you’ll see that in the videos there is a precious 19 month-old baby named K who had lived with my family for a year — a year to the date as a matter of fact. She loves Classical Music. You can tell by her applause throughout your performance and how upset she got when we had to leave. To offer some personal background, my family had attempted to adopt K and make her a permanent member of our family. Well, things didn’t work out that way. After a long process, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) had decided to remove K from our home and unite her with a maternal aunt. We were heartbroken. The heartbreak was compounded when we were called on March 23rd by DYFS and told that K would be removed from our home two days later on March 25th. We wouldn’t be able to have friends and family say goodbye to K. But through some providence, on March 24th, we were granted an extension to have her stay with us until March 29th. We were blessed with four extra days with our precious K. Four...

Another Brick In The Wall Apr01

Another Brick In The Wall

No matter what side you are with regard to Governor Christie’s actions to cut aid to schools and the vote on the school budget coming up later this month, it is something to see people, in this case teenagers, taking a stand and having their voice heard. There are those who state that the ‘kids’ no nothing about what they are protesting and are being manipulated but, in the end, do any of us know fully about everything about this issue? Not really. Most of us just care how we think it affects us. The same can be said for the students but the difference is they took a public stand today. To those who claim they missed a day’s education might be missing the point of the education those students gave to us – a lesson in the first amendment from some students to the rest of us. Share...

Teenagers Feb17

Teenagers

To All Concerned, With respect to Ordinance 2294 regarding curfew for juveniles my concerns are with the enforcement of it. Personally, my son, although 18 years old, does not have a driver’s license nor any other form of state issued identification that he carries with him at all times. To my knowledge, there is no law that requires people to carry government issued identification with them at all times. He has private personal identification but that is for emergency purposes. My questions are as follow: How will a police officer determine if someone is, in fact, a juvenile if there is no clear verification of age. Suppose someone who is 18 looks younger and has no ID but is hanging out after midnight? Would they be taken to their home? Would they be taken to the police station? Would they be arrested? Would unnecessary questioning occur? If someone is under 18 and is out after the curfew but for good cause (as mentioned in the ordinance), how would that be determined? An example, after the musical in March there is a wrap up party; last year that party was held at the Casano Community Center. If that party went on after midnight and a minor, for whatever reason, needed to walk home, how would an officer determine that there was, in fact, good cause for that minor to be out after hours? What would stop someone else who did not attend that party from stating such a reason? These are just two examples that should be clarified before passing this ordinance. I fully understand that my son would, most likely, not experience harassment due to the fact that he is known to Roselle Park police officers as an upstanding citizen. The concern comes in when it...

Time Has Come Today Jan08

Time Has Come Today

05:00 Yesterday, Roselle Park’s council amended its by-laws to limit the time that members from the public have to speak during the public portion of a Mayor & Council meeting. Not that big of a problem. There are those who disagree with the time limit as an infringement on free speech. That could be argued but first, some history. The municipality’s latest by-laws never explicitly gave a time frame for the public to speak, it did hold it to the discretion (not whim) of the chair. Common practice for the past few years was 10 minutes with an additional five (5) added if council interacted with the speaker, for a total of 15 minutes. This was a very respectful practice by sitting mayor Joseph DeIorio who allowed the time limit to fluctuate and would occasionally allow the person’s time to exceed the 15 minute mark. This was most noticed in the summer of 2009 when residents from our neighboring town of Roselle came to Roselle Park Mayor & Council meetings to address an issue of shared services. In Roselle people are allowed three (3) minutes with an extension of time at the discretion of the Chair and they have to stand. In Roselle Park not only was the time allowed to exceed for some speakers but they got to sit and relax. Now, there were times when the time went over limit but recently, especially at the end of 2009 when the mayor was not present and another council member was the Chair, the time was being cut short. This can be noted when one resident in particular, Glenn Marczewski, went to speak before council. On more than one occasion, while Mr. Marczewski was speaking, the Borough Clerk, Mrs. Doreen Cali, not the Chair...

The Greatest Luxury Dec28

The Greatest Luxury

To start things off, here are the original post by Michael Peterson which is on www.nj.com/forums/rosellepark and my response to him which was removed (by request from someone other than me). Michael Peterson (10729 Gross distortion by Saul by jerryp, 12/27/09) I would like to know just where Saul got his information that I (Michael Peterson) publicly stated that I could support PILOT. Saul knows better. I spoke against it at Concerned Citizens meetings and in Council meetings and at the public meetings on the issue. Joe Accardi also opposed it but was willing to accept 15% while I opposed it in all circumstances. In going door to door while campaigning, I spoke against PILOT and of my opposition to the council’s vote and I separated myself from my fellow Democrats on the issue and also pleaded with them to vote against it. Joe Accardi and I discussed it and pretty much agreed with each other. No one, either privately or publicly, has heard me utter a single word in support of PILOT. I am still outraged by the concept. Of course, Saul knows this full well. I sit quietly while I read his pontifications and personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with him. Since Saul is so well informed, I can only assume that his distortion (that is the politest word I can use here) had some personal agenda as the driving force behind it. Is there anyone out there that you actually respect, Saul? My Response The information as to how you would vote on PILOT I got directly from YOU. We were talking after a meeting at the Sullivan property and I specifically asked you how you think mayor & council would vote. You stated, and I quote, “Well, you know,...

Mad World Nov18

Mad World

During the Roselle Park Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, November 17, 2009, Board member Alex Balaban spoke on the Holocaust Curriculum and Cultural Enrichment Curriculum that the Roselle Park school district has been pursuing for over a decade. Born out of a state mandate, its goal is to educate students on various acts of genocide around the world throughout history including the the Holocaust (the Shoah), the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor), the Rwandan Genocide, the Darfur Conflict, the Armenian Genocide, as well as other genocides. Mr. Balaban went on to state that the lessons learned from awareness of genocides would hopefully prevent future occurrences from happening in the future. In terms of cultural diversity, Mr. Balaban acknowledged that Roselle Park has a culturally diverse population and thanked the teachers and educators for being on the forefront of bringing such lessons and diversity to students. Board member Ken Iachio then followed up on Mr. Balaban’s comments. This is where it all goes wrong. Mr. Iachio asked if the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were being kept in the forefront of the curriculum since first graders were not even born when the attacks happened eight (8) years ago. He wanted to know if the school district teaches that as well. He asked this question while a huge 3′ x 5′ September 11th Remembrance flag hung right behind the dais where he was sitting. Before I continue, let me state clearly that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were horrific, inexcusable, and devastating. Innocent people were murdered. Families were devastated. It changed our nation forever. That tragedy should never be marginalized. With that stated, mentioning the attacks of September 11, 2001 as something that should be in the forefront of a Holocaust & Genocide Awareness curriculum...

Time To Say Goodbye Nov09

Time To Say Goodbye

Another election cycle in Roselle Park comes to an end . . . and hopefully an era will as well. During the election, campaign promises were made by all the candidates: curb spending, lower taxes, revitalize downtown. But one in particular was made by the Chair of the Roselle Park Democratic Committee, Greg Kinloch. He said if  ‘he’ lost the election, meaning his candidates Michael Peterson and David Jacobs lost their respective elections, he would put his house up for sale and move out of Roselle Park. He lost. After seeing four (4) years  that had Democratic campaigns resort to tinges of racism, homophobia,and finger-pointing with no solutions nor suggestions, the best Greg Kinloch could do is make council an even split with with (3) Democratic councilmembers and three (3) Republican councilmemebrs. A major reason that occurred was that two (2) Democratic candidates were running the same year as our President Barack Obama. Now that there was an opportunity for Greg to show Roselle Park what Democrats had to offer, he squandered any momentum by alienating his own people (what a shock!) and caring more about playing politics instead of participating in the issues that really mattered to all residents. In discussing issues with him once I flat out asked him how he planned to help all residents of Roselle Park — By volunteering? By encouraging interest of young people or new residents? By attending budget meetings? By attending any meetings? His response to me was his plan was to help 13,000 by getting four (4) votes. In other words his entire plan for the betterment of Roselle Park was getting Democratic candidates elected so they would have a majority when voting. That might work on the national level or even the state level but for Roselle Park, that is the most out-of-touch approach one could take. November 3, 2009 was the result of that failed attitude. His two contenders, one of which was endorsed by a local paper, the Local Source, lost by a two-to-one margin over the Republican candidates. Now the time has come to Greg Kinloch to say goodbye, step down, move if he wish, and leave Roselle Park and particularly Roselle Park Democrats to try and give direction to the meanderings of a Party head that had nothing more to show other than “We are not Them”. He is not me, nor a lot of other people who want to show that Democrats have something to offer other than finger-pointing. It is time for Greg Kinloch to say goodbye and time for the RP Democrats to step up and re-establish a relationship with Roselle Park. Share...

The Cold Read Nov27

The Cold Read

David Mamet, in his offering, “The Spanish Prisoner” has wonderfully performed what is probably the longest con ever perpetrated on an audience – where the viewers themselves, not the film’s character, were the intended mark all along. One of America’s best contemporary playwrights has outdone himself with a film that has more hidden turns and false exits than any funhouse maze. It is safe to say that “The Spanish Prisoner” was the Best Screenplay of 1998, and definitely a contender for Best Film. In speaking with several people who had seen the film and reading numerous reviews of many critics, the broad range of reactions we received stretched from justifiable triumph to disappointment in the predictability of the plot – and everything else in between. It was almost with exception that we ever came across someone who had realized the scam had kept going even after the credits had rolled. For even though most marks felt a sense of justice when the bad guys didn’t get away with their devious scheme, it was those who felt that the ending of the film was completely predictable that seemed to be the main target of Mamet’s scam. Although they may have felt the climax of the film was completely unplausible, they failed to question why that was the case. They figured out the primary con which involved “the process” and then proceeded to pat themselves on the back for getting it before everyone else did. Here’s where the mastery of Mamet’s con revealed itself because the point of every good scam is to let the mark’s guard down and make them feel that they are ahead of the game. In general, the American film audience has become complacent with the blatant and literal nature of mainstream...