Archive for March, 2004

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Authentic Asopao

For a really rich chicken soup, perfect for a cold and rainy day, El Nuevo Dia has the recipe in Spanish.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Centerpiece Theater

One of the interesting aspects of living in The Principality is who pays for what.

The resplendent yet-to-be-opened 55,000 sq.ft. Library, for instance. It is facing a $491,000 increase in its $3.7 million budget, which is paid 71% by the Township and 29% by the Borough, even when it is in the Borough, and was to remain in the Borough for the sake of a “vibrant (Borough) downtown”. The result is that “the Borough and Township are joined by the hip at the library”, as a Township Committee member so accurately described in page 7 of today’s newspaper’s Library Budget is Centerpiece Of Township, Borough Debate.

Every year there are these rumbles, but this year the rumbles are louder since several large donors apparently gave money to the Library with the understanding that the Library would validate 2 hours’ worth of free parking for its users. Now the Borough doesn’t want to carry more than 29% of that expense: “the Borough had acted on its own”. Still, the Township representatives voted conditionally to approve the budget, and “agree to meet several times before January 1 to discuss library parking”.

No need to rush.

As it goes, the Library and parking-building-built-on-the-stream won’t be opening until April 15, for now.

An article on page 2 tells us the “Library opening has now been moved three times . . . [it] can’t move unless there’s a driveway, and we won’t open without the garage”. The garage/parking-building-built-on-the-stream “is experiencing problems setting up electrical and phone line equipment”. Since, from the looks of it, it’s built on a giant French drain, let’s hope it’s also watertight.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Worry, who, me?

Well, we saw it coming. Smart growth law gets warm greeting, in today’s newspaper, tells us the Gov. McGreevey signed a law that “permits municipalities to steer development to designated growth areas”. The article explains that, “For municipalities that adopt a program under the new state legislation, developers purchase development rights to build in a “receiving area” that is targeted for growth. Those funds are then used to permanently preserve land in the “sending area” at no cost to the taxpayer”.

I’ve lived in NJ long enough to be wary of anything that has to do with

a. Government intervention in property markets

b. Designation of areas of any kind (who does the designating?)

c. Anything from the government that promises “no cost to the taxpayer”

Jim Hess, v-p of planning with the Regional Planning Partnership, put it like this, “Hopefully it will address the issue of property owners’ loss of equity, and it will allow towns to preserve critical natural resources without having to spend money of acquisition.”

We’ll see.

No chads will hang in the Principality

The Township hall will host a display of digital voting machines Wednesday and Thursday. The county budgeted $4.2 million to buy 600 state-of-the-art voting machines. I wonder if originally they were supposed to come at no cost to the taxpayer.

Just how short do you want your haircut?

The Board of Education will vote on its $62.1 million 2004-2005 budget. It means the average Borough homeowner will pay 6.8% increase in school taxes to a total of $5,382. The average Township homeowner’s increase will be 5.2%, for a total of $5,600.

Must I remind you that these numbers do not include state taxes or local property taxes?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

Cultural items

Back in the 1980s I went to the MOMA whole-museum Picasso show, and a couple of years later to Picasso’s house in Spain. The result of that was that I can’t stand most of his work. What I’ve read about the man hasn’t been all that pleasant, either. This morning I came across this commentary by Jerome du Bois, based on Calvin Tompkins’s bio of Duchamp, which only confirmed my original impression.

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

British-born American Alistair Cooke died, age 95. The New York Times and the BBC have his obituary. Because of him I learned to appreciate a topic well-reasoned, well-developed and clearly presented. Update A friend sent this article from The Telegraph

Monday, March 29th, 2004

A nice obit on Peter Ustinov, who was chancellor of Durham University. He had decided on the epitaph for his gravestone – “Keep off the grass.”

Monday, March 29th, 2004

Eat your veggies

From The Height Gap: Why Europeans are getting taller and taller—and Americans aren’t, in The New Yorker:

Steckel has found that Americans lose the most height to Northern Europeans in infancy and adolescence, which implicates pre- and post-natal care and teen-age eating habits. “If these snack foods are crowding out fruits and vegetables, then we may not be getting the micronutrients we need,”

Also from the New Yorker, Gals! Are You Entering Your “Goddess” Years?, a cartoon by Roz Chast, “”A five question quiz. Do bright-colored tunics and big, bold jewelry suddenly appeal? Are you starting to carry an eccentric tote bag? What’s with the hair? Have you gotten heavily into herbal tea, especially the “soothing” varieties? How about aromatherapy? Magic crystals? Yoga? Have your house and garden become extremely important to you lately? Like millions of times more than before? Has it just struck you that you absolutely need to make Some Serious Changes in Your Life Style? And, has your husband recently purchased an expensive sports car?”

Hm. That house & garden question hit home.

Sunday, March 28th, 2004

Quote of the week:

“The only defense against interesting food is to assert your independence and eat before you leave the house. This is one of the first things anyone who chronicles parties learns: If you don’t eat when you go out, except for maybe just a little taste on occasion, they don’t own you when you get home. It’s a physiological solution as much as it is anything else.”

William Norwich, NYT Style & Entertaining section, Sunday, March 28, 2004, replying to the question, What is my defense against interesting food? Salmon poached in licorice? Bacon-and-egg ice cream dispensed from liquid nitrogen canisters?

Sunday, March 28th, 2004

Take law back from the lawyers”, today’s article by Paul Mulshine.

Saturday, March 27th, 2004

A very good essay, worth reading, by Ron Rosenbaum