829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Driveways, menus and GPS

Why is it that people find it hard to back out of my driveway?
For some reason back 50 or so years ago when my house was
built, they cut the driveway on an angle to the street.  Obviously
they weren't thinking of the landscaping nightmare that would soon
ensue.  Now, my lawn is far from being in a Scott's commercial,
especially after last summer's drought which it may never recover
from, but I still do take some pride in it.  Whenever I can remember,
I remind people to make sure they use their driver's side mirror
when backing out.  They don't always remember until they go over
the curb and clunk down into the street.  Sometimes they catch
themselves half-way down and apply the brakes, taking a tire-width
swath of sod along with them. I've replaced many divots. 
Apparently my driveway is hard to navigate.

Reading a menu is often a daunting task.  When there are way
too many items to pick from, my job in choosing what to eat
instantly becomes harder.  So many combinations of flavors,
textures, accompaniments, cooking techniques. Just a few more
minutes please, then we'll be ready to order.  When the server
re-appears, everyone looks at me.  I'll go last, that way I 
have more time to whittle down my options, and ultimately
order something that is a completely new choice.
 Diner and Chinese menus are especially troublesome for me. 
Will it be the pastrami reuben or the calve's liver platter? 
 Chow Har Kew or Moo Goo Gai Pan?  I'm so undecided. 
And if the multitude of choices weren't enough to confuse you,
the instructions and rules will. There are menus that suggest a wine
pairing with each menu item. Then there are menus that suggest the
order in which each component of the plate should be eaten to
 experience the desired sensation. There are reminders that a
sharing charge will be applied.  A 20% gratuity will be added to
parties of six or more.  Cell phones are not appreciated in the
dining room. Jackets and ties are desired.  Substitutions are
frowned upon. Vegetarian selections are notated by an image
of a Birkenstock. We compost all of our kitchen trimmings.  
All of our menus are printed with soy-based inks on FSC
certified mixed 100% post-consumer waste paper. 
And I never even mentioned the word "organic"!  Get my drift?  
Menus are often a real pain to navigate.    

 I sail by the seat of my pants.  I learned that trait and phrase
from my Dad.  Basically what that means, according to me,
is that I use experience and intuition to make my way from
here to there.  So far it has not let me down.  Not to say that
I don't look at a chart every once in a while. 
Barnegat Bay is a fairly narrow body of water, and unless
it's a severely foggy day, on which Buff suggests making it a
bar day instead, I can normally make my way back to the dock
without hailing the Coast Guard. The shoals and bars are
what could cause me problems with my 4'6" draft.  I do have
 a depthfinder but by the time it tells me it's too shallow, it's
often too late. I consider myself very comfortable with my
sailing capability. Especially when it's within the boundaries with
which I have become so familiar. GPS is a very popular form of
navigation these days.  I actually have it!  And it's the most
convenient ship's clock I've ever had.  Yeah, sure it provides 
co-ordinates, waypoints, tracking, speed, shipping channels,
currents, tides, restaurant suggestions, Dow Jones Industrial
Average, and the current price of a gallon of Diesel. We often
hang the camera on it.  I will navigate by the seat of my pants.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thanks, Friends!

Many times over the last year, I wasn't sure if I had
the right ideas for my posts.  But I went with them
anyway.  Quite a few I regretted having gone through
with, but that feeling never lasted very long.  There
was always someone with a funny comment or wise
word or two to change my mind.  I'm lucky to be
in the midst of a small group of very intelligent,
 witty, and frankly caring and compassionate people
who I consider to be my close circle of friends.
I know there's way more to life than just the blog,
but often, it's just what the doctor ordered.
You all like meatloaf, right?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grateful for his Patronage

I get chills when I hear these two guys sing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coxswain = Navigator

And this bridge too, Tom!

More Waddling

Any time we beat Gardner Cox was a good day.  I mean, he
was an Olympic sailor!  I seemed to be struggling with something
in this picture; it was probably the jelly donut from the registration
table that I snuck on board. Dad's Murphy and Nye sail was his
 go-to light air sail.  I think it started out that way, but as the
day wore on, he probably wished he had the Seidelman on.
I liked the Murphy and Nye sail better because it had
cooler looking sail numbers. If you look close-up, check out
Dad's weather helm!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sailboat Week, May 14, 1973

A hotly contested  "Who's Who" fleet of Penguins raced for
the Region II honors on Staten Island.

All the obvious skippers were there.

I love the classifieds.  This one is definitely for Tillerman.
The strictest One Design racing in the world.

And a Harken Bullet Block for a mere $2.75?
That design is unchanged to this day, and rightly so.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Febuary made me shiver

Forget Ground Hog Day.  The first real harbinger of
Spring is the arrival of the new West Marine catalog.
In it I can find hundreds of pages filled with stuff that
I want and need, and never knew that before I got
this goddamn catalog in the mail.  It so drives home
how spartan and ill-equipped my boat really is.  It's
kind of depressing in a way, when you come to the
realization that there actually are people out there 
that have everything in that catalog that you want.

I usually get music for Valentine's Day.  The way I see it,
another five years or so and I will have a CD of every
album I've ever owned.  It'll be a good while after that
before something new comes down the pike and makes
CDs a thing of the past.  Trust me, I know what I'm doing.
Hey, I need another beer.  Are you done with that can opener yet? 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nifty fifty

Look at this birthday present and tell me what I will never do again.


Friday night we went out for dinner and I couldn't help thinking
about my blogging friends at the Ear Inn that night. There are
at least three things wrong with these sketches, beside being
amateur at best.  What inaccuracies can you find?   

My nephew, niece, and two daughters.  They've been skiing since
they've been able to go potty by themselves.  They giggle all the
way up the lift, and they bomb all the way down. We always
hoped it would be that way. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Oysters are "functionally extinct" in many locations around the globe
to disease and overharvesting, a new study has found.
The wide-ranging survey, published in BioScience, the journal of the
American Institute of Biological Sciences, compares the past and
present condition of oyster reefs around the globe. The international
team of researchers led by Michael Beck of the Nature
the University of California found that more than 90 percent of
former reefs have been lost in most of the "bays" and ecoregions
where the mollusks were formerly abundant.

In many places, such as the Wadden Sea in Europe and Narragansett
Bay, oysters are rated "functionally extinct," with fewer than 1 per- 
cent of former reefs persisting. The declines are in most cases a
result of over-harvesting of wild populations and disease, often
exacerbated by the introduction of non-native species.

"Overall, we estimate that 85% of oyster reefs have been lost
globally," the study says. "Most of the world’s remaining wild
capture of native oysters comes from just five ecoregions in North
America, yet the condition of reefs in these ecoregions is poor at
best, except in the Gulf of Mexico."

Beck's team examined oyster reefs across 144 bays and 44
ecoregions. It also studied historical records as well as
national catch statistics. The BioScience authors rate the
condition of oysters as "poor" overall.

 Oysters provide important ecosystem services, such as filtration,
as well as food for people. The survey team argues for improved
efforts and the removal of incentives to over-exploitation.
It also recommends that harvesting and further reef destruction
should not be allowed wherever oysters are at less than 10 percent
their former abundance, unless it can be shown that these activities
do not substantially affect reef recovery.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oyster Bowl XII

 Every Super Bowl Sunday for the past 12 years, Jack
Morrison and his crew from the Blue Point Grill
and Nassau Street Seafood have held the Oyster Bowl,
an oyster eating contest to benefit Susan G.
Komen for the Cure, a charity dedicated to education
and research about causes, treatment, and the search
for a cure for breast cancer.  The event is held on the
 sidewalk outside of the Blue Point, which is adjacent
to Nassau Street Seafood, my all-time, hands-down
favorite fish market. Ever.  Here I stand next to one
of my favorite fishmongers, Colin, an Irish gentleman
who I want on my side any day of the week.  I thought
I knew my fish until I met him many years ago.   

Inside Nassau Street Seafood, the first thing you smell
is fresh produce.  You can't say that about most of
the fish markets you walk into.  I always tell people
when they ask where to buy fish:  "Anything they have
in their case, you could eat raw.  That's how fresh it
is."  No lie.  And the prices aren't discount, but you 
should never skimp on fish. On the other hand, good
vegetables can be found elsewhere much cheaper. 

But when you're there, and those baby pattypans
are staring you in the face..........no wait, look away,
be strong!  Stop and Shop is on the way home.

2 out of 3 reasons to be.  My older daughter was
working this afternoon. Gotta have gas and
spending money! By the way, did I mention
that it was an unbelievably beautiful day today, the
first in seemingly months?  No?  It was.

Her love of all things oyster came from me, I think.
The oyster stew was sublime, and the price was
justified when we remembered it was for charity.

Congressman Rush Holt asked me and Liv if he could
get a shot with the two of us.  I said okay...............
but make it quick!

War paint (cocktail sauce).

They shucked 7500 East Point oysters from South
Jersey this morning in anticipation for the event this
afternoon.  7500 oysters.   

Waiting for the contestants to line up. Eat as many
oysters as you can in two minutes, and deposit
your shells in the buckets provided in front of you.
Your oyster count is tabulated by the number of
shells in your bucket. If you leave a shell on the tray,
it will not count. You may dress your oysters with
condiments before the gun, then all hell breaks loose.

This clip captured the action in all of its primeval gore,
with shredded bivalves hanging from the maws of the
gladiators, only to be slurped up in nauseating fashion.
It was really cool.

Charles and Dorothy, the couple in the middle of the
frame, have been a part of the Oyster Bowl from
the very beginning.  They both use the "Slurp from
the Shell" method, which, while not being the fastest
way to eat oysters, may be the most traditional.
Notice the "Oyster Cam" on the guy to the
right of Charles. I'd love to see that clip.
Hats off to Charles, who polished off 62 while
suffering a cut to his upper lip from a rather sharp
 oyster shell edge.  Dorothy actually made the
perpetual Oyster Bowl Trophy 12 years ago,
pictured below.  Those two are some of my all-
time favorite former, and hopefully future customers.
It was so so good to see them both today. 

The winner today ate 87 oysters in two minutes.  The record
was set in 2009 at 102.  I guess every year is different. 
Beside winning the Oyster Bowl for a year, the victor
receives a vacation for 2 in the Caribbean.  Not bad, but
the trip is over in 14 days.  The Oyster Bowl is theirs for 365.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhog Day: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

By the time I grilled tonight, all of that ice was gone.

As was the ice on the net.....

and the Chinese Maple...

And my car.

Corny, but funny year after year.

Hey, everyone slips up sometime, right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I'm so excited that the month of my birth has arrived!
For 28 days, I will cringe while people of all ages,
financial strata, college degrees, colors and creeds
will mispronounce the month in which I was born.

While I'm at it, Happy Valentime's Day!