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Newark USA

A fotojournal about LIVING in Newark USA, New Jersey's largest and most cultured city, by the author of the foto-essay website RESURGENCE CITY: Newark USA.

Monday, February 01, 2016

EveryoneOn; Everyone Off; EveryoneOn Again; Everyone Off Again

There has played out, over many months, a desperate drama, in which low-cost Internet wifi service has been offered, then threatened, then rescued, then ENDED. I have been one of the participants/victims in this drama.
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I mentioned here on February 18th, 2015 that because the City of Newark partnered with the organization EveryoneOn.org (also offered as JerseyOn.org), Newarkers below a specified household income could get low-cost wifi service to the Internet for as little as $10 per month. In that I am barely surviving on ungenerous Social Security — which must cut benefits for the poor and middle class in order to give money to the RICH, who DO get Social Security, from taxpayers, even tho they are already secure, and do not need so much as one cent of Government funds to be comfortable in retirement — I qualified for that low-cost Internet access. I had to purchase a wifi modem, but once I did that, I had essentially unlimited wifi Internet service. Perhaps excessive usage would have caused my connection to slow down, but I don't think my own usage ever rose to that threshold, and I certainly never noticed any slowdown.


You wouldn't know, if your first visit to EveryoneOn.org, were February 1st, 2016, that the very next day, existing accounts on its Mobile Beacon service were scheduled to be shut down. Here is the opening screen of the EveryoneOn.org website as at February 1st.

I had some problems setting up a stable wifi connection, as detailed in my post of April 4, 2015, but once I coped with those complications, I was set to go, and have functioned very well with my EveryoneOn service in the nearly nine months since.
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Alas, Sprint, which had partnered with a wifi provider called "Clear", decided it wanted to upgrade its service to all customers, including Clear/Mobile Beacon customers (partners with EveryoneOn), which to Sprint meant terminating service to older devices and substituting newer devices at a new charge. Because this country lost its mind several decades ago and decided that "deregulation" was the way to go — allowing corporations to do anything they wanted, the public be damned — there was no one to stop Sprint from throwing hundreds of thousands of poor people off the Internet unless they could afford to buy new devices to accommodate the new services.
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EveryoneOn challenged that decision in the courts, and its customers, including me, thought they had prevailed. But in truth they had only won a delay, and Sprint was permitted to end service via Clear to enormous numbers of poor people.


If one clicks on 'offers' in Newark, this is what is presented.

Before Sprint could end its service to the poor, EveryoneOn cast about for a new partner to provide the same, or comparable, service to people of low income. One such partner was T-Mobile, as shown in the screenprint below.


Here appears what a new visitor to EveryoneOn from my Newark zip code, 07106, would see if s/he hovered the cursor over the info button at the $10/month offer. It sounds pretty good, but entails an equipment fee for new signups, whereas if you were a current subscriber to EveryoneOn's (doomed) "Mobile Beacon" service, you could get the new equipment, a Netgear FUSE hotspot, for free. I was a current subscriber to Mobile Beacon, so I qualified for that offer. The EveryoneOn website did not, however, mention that. It should have.

More to most people's taste, however, was a substitution for Clear of "PCs for People", which sent out a number of astonishingly incompetent emails in which crucial information was conveyed by graffics that DID NOT APPEAR in the emails.
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Finally, two days before the service-cutoff date of February 2nd, EveryoneOn sent out an email announcing that yes, it had partnered with PCs for People, and provided a link to a website by which one might continue to enjoy $10/month Internet wifi.
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Alas, (a) the signup process is appallingly complicated, even for a person who has dealt with many opaque websites in the past, and (b) one has to pay IN ADVANCE for a given contract term, such as six months for $75, which is $12.50 per month, not $10, or $120 for a year, which IS $10/month but has to be paid in advance, in a lump sum. A great many poor people do not have $120 lying around in their checking account, if they even HAVE a checking account, with which to purchase Internet wifi in advance. Fortuitously, thanks to birthday/Christmas gifts from my family (my birthday and Christmas are within a few days of each other), I was able to contráct for a year. UNfortunately, I needed to obtain a new wifi device, Netgear's Fuse hotspot, which PCs for People arranged to be granted for free. But it has to ship out from wherever to my house, and that can take, if I remember correctly, 7-10 business days.
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The long and the short of it, then — when did you last hear that expression? — is that my Internet service may end at midnite tonite and not resume for 7-10 days. I will probably not be able to schedule future posts to fill in until I can get back onto the Internet. Google Blogger allows an author to upload a post but alter its appearance online to a specified date and time, which can be in either the future or the past. I have generally used that feature only to backfill long gaps between posts in the past. You see, I often get bogged down in (needlessly?) long posts and do not get them online. I have enormous numbers of fotos to use, and enormous numbers of words with which I can explain what those fotos relate to, or to set out different ideas that may relate only tangentially to the fotos I offer, by way of giving readers a glimpse into my world.
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You see, I am who I am, wherever I am. I chose Newark to live in and show to the wide world over the Internet. But this is MY Newark, seen thru MY eyes and MY politics and esthetics.
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I learned a very long time ago that I am not very like most other people, and not just in being gay rather than straight. I am very unlike most gay men too. For one thing, I am a lot more self-aware and self-assertive. My father taught me never to put up with crap from ANYbody, and my older brother Alan taught me something about physical self-defense. So I have never been afraid of anybody or anything. I'm still not afraid of anything, including the big-D (by which I mean not Dallas, a city I liked when I visited, but Death), which I am acutely aware of. I'm 71 years old. What is anybody going to do to me that exceeds or even equates with that?
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In any case, this may be my last post for a week or ten days, but I have been so overwhelmed by demands upon my personal life and, esp., finances, on many occasions over many months in the past, that I have gone comparable spans without posting anything new. If you have learned how to use an RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") feed you can be alerted to when something new appears in this blog, so don't have to go to this URL every day. I sure don't know how to use RSS. I was an early adopter of personal-computer technology, before 1993, and going back to my Commodore 64, when an ordinary Microsoft-compatible PC plus printer could cost $1,400. But there is a lot about today's computer world that I don't understand.
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Perhaps we all need updating tutorials on everything we do. So maybe there should be a major website dedicated to retraining EVERYONE in the new ways of doing things, something like "Retrain.org", "CatchUp.org" or "KnowItAllNow.org", that everyone who feels that the technology train has zoomed by their station without stopping can learn what s/he missed.
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Such a re/training site would NOT put the onus upon the user to tell what s/he does not know, but would ask things like "What would you like more information about?", and then offer a list, broken down by categories such as "the newest Windows operating system", "Word-Processing Programs", "Internet browsers", etc., starting from broad categories into more and more detailed subcategories, such as "storing images in 'the Cloud' — procedures and cautions", or "Making a blogpost private so that only people you intend to read it, see it". Such a site would offer advice about questions lots of people might have, such as "Do I need to keep a copy on my hard drive or backup external hard drive, of anything or everything I upload to 'the Cloud'?" Etc.
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In any case, we must not let dopy pride get in the way of admitting we need help in mastering all the multitudinous changes that are thrown at us by all the new versions and varieties of current devices. For instance, every time Apple puts out a new version of any of its devices, there will be multitudinous people who are able to master the version they then owned but who just cannot "get with the program" of the new device and its new features or even new operating system. The manufacturers/offerors of these new devices and new operating systems try to make people who are lost feel that the problem is in them, whereas the problem is actually in the arrogance of the manufacturer.
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Perhaps, indeed, Government (Federal or state; local probably would not work) should require offerors of new devices, with different operating systems or different procedures, to provide instructions as to how to operate their devices, and not just as a new device differs from an old device, by means of a comprehensive, plain-English tutorial, in text and video. It is not for manufacturers to cow people into being abused and terrorized away from insisting on having features explained. Even the most intelligent person may not have the specific KIND of intelligence necessary to make sense of a particular manufacturer's particular device's particular features.
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Ordinarily, I spend a lot of time — an enormous amount of time? — online. If I cannot go online, there are multitudinous things I can nonetheless do, such as indexing my thousands of un-indexed fotos, deleting bad pix, reviewing old posts that I did not, for whatever dopy reason, finalize soon after drafting, and non-computer things, such as housework of many kinds, playing pool in my (fairly cold) basement, lavishing attention on my two beautiful kitties (see foto below), and even listening to Bill Maher podcasts that I downloaded earlier but have not yet listened to. Indeed, the optimistic side of me looks FORWARD to being unable to accéss the Internet. There was a world before the Internet. There still is.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Probably Won't Get to NPS Show


Snow remains in what should be a parking space right outside my house.

I had hoped to be able to drive to the Newark Print Shop's opening reception of the "Beneath the Surface" art show that was postponed from last Saturday to tonite. We are now almost an entire week past last Saturday's blizzard, but, despite daylite temperatures being above freezing every day, and even significant periods of the nite being a bit above freezing, the 28.1" of snow that fell on Newark has not completely melted. I was finally, on Wednesday nite, able, with difficulty, to get my front door open, but only because I had, since last year's inundations, kept my snow shovel on the front porch right alongside the door, so was able to get it thru the door, if just barely, after kicking the metal panel at the bottom of the storm door and then using the shovel to subvert the snowpack to the point where I could pass thru the doorway, then clear a fair portion of the porch, then all 13 of the stairs from the sidewalk to the porch, then the entire 55' of sidewalk on my frontage. My sidewalk is slate, which has nearly magical qualities of melting snows atop it. The driveway, on the southern edge of my property, is blacktop, however, and I couldn't clear that smoothly down to the pavement, as I could one snow-shovel's width of the slate walkway.
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I was struggling to find the energy to persist toward the end of this snow-clearing project, and wondered briefly if I were risking a heart attack. 71-year-old men who have a largely sedentary lifestyle are often well advised not to attempt such things. My friend Joe from Belleville says that some kids (teenagers, I suppose) in his neighborhood come around to offer to clear away snow for a fee, but my friend John Lauritsen in Boston (which had well over five FEET of snow last year) remarked to me then that in his area, kids do NOT come around. Nor do they do so in my area. Why not?, I must wonder. Are kids today less enterprising than they were when I numbered among them? Are they lazier? Out of shape? Too comfortable on their allowance or fast-food jobs to exert themselves mightily to clear snow? What?
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In any case, I had decided, after careful consideration prior to the blizzard, not to leave my car on the street, because I had been snowed in for extended periods last year and the year before, and some inconsiderate neighbors had piled snow not just right up against my car but even onto the roof of my car while it was immobilized. (See the fotos in my post of February 17, 2014, "Mal-ICE: Sno Way to Treat a Neighbor".) And there was always the possibility that I would clear a spot for the car right outside my house, but if I left it to go to the supermarket or an art show, someone else would take the spot I so arduously carved out in my absence, and I'd have to clear another car-sized spot. I thought it wiser this time just to leave the car up the driveway and around a bend to a spot behind my house until Nature cleared the snow for me. There will be other NPS art shows, which I can attend without risking a heart attack. (As it is, clearing my porch, stairs, and sidewalk, without more, required the largest part of an entire calendar day for me to recuperate from. I need a day between bouts of vigorous physical activity: one day on, one day off.
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The foto at the top of today's post shows no fully cleared space directly in front of my house as of yesterday afternoon. Tire tracks show that at least one car was able to pull in and out without getting stuck, but I wouldn't want to chance that. I'd feel better if that spot were clear of snow down to pavement.


The foto above shows the sidewalk as I cleared it Wednesday nite. However, the snowplow and neighbors' removing snow for their own parking spots created a barrier some four feet high across the outlet from my driveway to the street. This foto shows that that barrier had melted down by perhaps a foot by Friday.


The next foto shows that as of late afternoon yesterday, the entire length of my upward-sloping driveway, some 80' to the point where I turn to park behind the house, was still covered in snow. So the least I would have to clear to get out is two tire widths, each some 80 feet long to the sidewalk, and then hundreds of pounds of snow between the sidewalk and the plowed traffic lane of the street. I can wait for the sun to clear the way. Or at least most of the way.


At least I can now see most of my car, the sun having reached down thru the powdery snow to the deep red paint of the car and warmed that surface to melt the snow over the roof, tho the hood is still fully covered because the low angle of the sun meant that the roof blocked direct sunlite to the hood most of the day.


The most urgent of my concerns was being able to put out on the porch some dry food for the outdoor ("alley") cats — tho they don't like the Alley Cat brand of dry food. I didn't have to put out water for the cats, in that Nature has deposited enormous amounts of powdered water for them. Now if only the neo-Prohibitionist Government of New Jersey would permit the sale of "Palcohol" (powdered alcohol), I and other people who get snowed in for extended periods wouldn't be denied our right to drink alcoholic beverages in a form that is convenient and easy to carry, even over surfaces covered in deep snow, over icy sidewalks, and up icy stairs. But this country has long had a problem with alcohol, and lawmakers, including the glutton Chris Christie, who would surely fite any attempt to ban powdered and otherwise dehydrated food, insist on playing nanny to adults. I thought Conservatives were supposed to oppose the Nanny State. If a blizzard of unexpected intensity, like this one, drops so much snow that we could not anticipate how much booze to stock up on, and thus keeps us from making a hot toddy or keeping ourselves feeling toasty in winter's cold, that's just our tuf luck. Intelligent adults could not possibly know how to follow directions to create safe beverages from powdered alcohol. No, Prohibitionists have to protect us from our own stupidity. By contrast, if we get alcohol in liquid form, enclosed in heavy glass bottles (as is the case with Bacardi dark rum), we couldn't possibly overdo it, could we? The Legislature and Christie's stance makes a lot of sense, right? Oh, no. It makes no sense at all..

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Record-Setting Snowfall


Snow piled high on the trash cans in my yard in Vailsburg, the westernmost part of Newark proper.

Those of you who read this blog from time to time within the Newark area of course know about last Saturday's deep snow. But some members of the Newark diaspora are spread widely across the Nation and world (such as foreign students who attended our universities and who have since returned to their country of origin, or traveled to third countries, so would have no such knowledge). So I present today some text and pictures about that snow event.


Snow sticks to the siding, not just to sills of five windows of the small apartment house just north of my house in Vailsburg.

This follows up my post of last Friday about a Newark Print Shop art-show opening likely being snowed-out. Yes, indeed it was. No one knew, when I uploaded that post on Friday, how much snow we would get. Estimates on the various Metro NY TV weather forecasts varied from 6" to 18". We got 28.1" in Newark, and NYC got very little less. So much for "global warming".


High snow on garage of house nextdoor to mine in Vailsburg. Note that little rests on the roof of the back porch, but that the level on the roof of the garage is quite high, such that there is shadow on the right side.

The snow was very fine and powdery, so blew sideways with ease. But the winds were so strong that even wetter, larger snowflakes would have been carried sideways. The word "blizzard" seems apt, tho Microsoft's Encarta World Dictionary says that, technically, in a blizzard, "winds must exceed 56 km/35 mi per hour and the temperature must be -7̊ C/20̊ F or lower". Dictionary.com is not so technical, but defines "blizzard" as "a storm with dry, driving snow, strong winds, and intense cold"; or "a heavy and prolonged snowstorm covering a wide area." I don't know if the temperatures were below 20° F during the snowfall. They might have been at some point. Accuweather says the low on Saturday was 23°, and on Sunday, 17°. I assume that the dividing line is midnite, but I don't know if the snow fell only within calendar Saturday or continued into calendar Sunday. In any case, the temperatures at issue are actual, not "real feel". As to another part of the definition, snow in 17 states, accounting for hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory, surely qualifies as "covering a wide area".
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In any case, the powdery snow blew onto my front porch as tho there were no roof over it, and rose so high that I still cannot, three days later, open any of my three doors to the wide world, all of which open outward. Opening outward is a building-code innovation that emerged after major fires trapped many people in blazes in which people fell in front of escape doors that should have opened inward but were blocked by fallen bodies. A requirement that doors open outward is fine for fires, but not for blizzards. You just can't provide for all exigent possibilities, and decisionmakers opted for one-way doors that opened outward, not for two-way doors that could open either way. Should we reconsider?


Wide view of the snow left by the blizzard of January 2016 (called "Jonas" by the Weather Channel), from an eastern window in the gable of my third floor. Mine is a House of One Gable. Two windows in that gable, but only one gable. And I love it.

Fortunately, there's noplace I need to be until there is enuf melting to allow me to open at least one of my doors, preferably the door onto the porch. My only concern about being snowed-in was that I initially did not see how I could put down dry food for outdoor cats, which could endanger their lives if it went on several days when everything was covered in deep snow so they couldn't get to other sources of food (that is, whatever they eat when they are not eating the Kit & Kaboodle I put out). In the picture below, you can see a short trail of cat prints that ends only perhaps three feet in from the rolling gate that blocks the top of my stairs. What seems to have happened is that one or more cats struggled to get to the porch thru or over more than a foot of snow but then neither saw nor smelled food, so turned around and retreated without getting anything to eat. Terrible.


After mulling things over, I figured that I could fill a big (lite, plastic) bowl, center it on a large towel, and carefully lower the towel thru a window to the snow-covered porch, then throw the ends of the towel aside to give the cats access to the food. As of perhaps 16 hours later, I saw no paw tracks, so the cats had not yet eaten. I hope they were sleeping in relative comfort until they could get to the food. The next day I saw that one or more had indeed gotten to the bowl, eaten most of the contents, and spilled some. I then lifted the bowl and, separately, the towel, with a mechanical reacher, refilled the bowl, and again lowered it by means of the towel. This procedure should do nicely until I can get out onto the porch and clear it, the stairs, and my sidewalk with the snow shovel that I learned last year to keep on the porch. Now that I think of it, keeping the snow shovel (or, as I sometimes think of it, the "sho snuvvel") inside my front door wouldn't do much good, since it wouldn't be long enuf for me to shovel aside, from the nearest window, snow that blocks the door. I'll have to check that hypothesis once I can open the front door and take the snow shovel in hand. If it turns out that I could clear the front door from the closest window if the shovel were inside the house, I will move it indoors for future emergencies.


This next foto shows my car. You will not see a car, of course, esp. a brite-red car, because it is completely covered in snow. I hope the battery does not go kablooey in the period during which I cannot get to the driver's seat to turn the car on, if only to recharge the battery by running the engine for 20 minutes or more.


As I hoped, the Newark Print Shop rescheduled the opening of its art exhibition, "BENEATH THE SURFACE", to next Saturday, January 30th, from 6-10pm. You can see fotos of some of the artworks to be shown then, in the online version of the emailed invitation to the reception. I presented the text last Friday, but not the illustrations that are now online here.


View down toward the street from my third floor, showing snow on the roof of my front porch and on the widely spreading yew a few feet up from the curb in my sloping front yard.


The foto above shows, if poorly, snow piled up to almost the middle of the bottom pane of a southward-facing window in my guestroom, and then up from the base of the upper pane, separated by several inches of clear glass. The contorted plant in front of the window is a dracaena marginata (pronounced, in my Fanetik for Pronunciation Keys, dra.sée.na mòr.ji.nót.a) for which I did not provide adequate support to keep it uprite. In any case, it has grown so tall that it couldn't be fully uprite and still fit within easy reach of the sun from any window in my house. I love this "dragon plant" or "~ tree". Fortunately, I had 23 double-glazed windows installed in my house when the premature death of my mother at age 90 due to an insane medical mistake left me with the wherewithal to have my roof and windows replaced. So not much of the heat generated in my house escapes from those windows. The marginata can be up against the (inner) glass without freezing.
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The foto below shows snow piled up more than half the height of the lower pane of an eastward-facing window in my bedroom. You can see, thus, that the winds swirled from various directions in the course of the blizzard, as to pile snow against windows that faced different directions.


Names for Winter Storms? The Weather Channel has taken to giving names to major winter storms. The name given to last Saturday's is "Jonas", as in the Jonas Brothers of NJ, a place hit hard by that storm. But that is a private organization's naming practice, not the Government's, and a lot of people see no need for such names for winter storms. Tho having a name like Jonas does offer some convenience (I can remember vividly Hurricane Carol, which forced our small family boat up a little inlet/creek from Sandy Hook Bay in the 1950's), are we to name every weather phenomenon? Droughts? Tornados? Rainfalls? I don't think so. Let's just forget about giving names to anything but hurricanes and typhoons.


You can see in the fotos above and below this paragraf that some snow has built up on windows looking out on my side yard and neighboring houses.


Last year's big snowfalls were much wetter, and stuck to the trees more dramatically, as you can see from the fotos in the latter part of my post of February 2, 2015. This next foto shows that essentially no snow stuck to the branches of trees in my vicinity this time.


There was almost no traffic on my block for two days, but by 7am this morning, the street was plowed, so I am not going to complain about the City's response, as some absurdly unrealistic and ungrateful people have done. There is still very little traffic on my very long block (over 1,000'), but that's not because the street is impassable. It is. People cannot always make up for the effects of natural disasters in short order. Have some patience.


Friday, January 22, 2016

NPS Show to Be Snowed Out?


View of large workroom at NPS during a prior show. The man with the hat is Stephen McKenzie, curator of the coming show.

The Newark Print Shop ("NPS") has scheduled its next art-show opening reception for tomorrow, Saturday the 23rd. Unfortunately, Nature has scheduled its own show, of what could be massive snows whipped by wind. for around the same time. The weather forecast has been, shall we say, up in the air, with different computer models differing as to the geograffic line between snow and rain, and the timeline for arrival of the snow and wind. This is the bulk of the text of the emailed invitation.
Please join us this Saturday, January 23, 2016 from 6-10PM for the opening reception of our next exhibition "BENEATH THE SURFACE". Curated by Stephen McKenzie, this exhibition showcasing the intaglio print. Intaglio,,,, meaning "to engrave" or "cut into" is the family of printing in which the image is incised into the surface, and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink. When the time comes for an impression to be taken the plate is inked, the plate surface wiped clean, and only the ink left within the incised or etched lines "beneath the surface" is printed using a press. The intaglio print has no formal inventor. The artists of the early years were anonymous and often trained as gold- and silversmiths. They are credited only as Masters for the work they created. Durer is one of the first artists to receive recognition for his creative efforts in the medium. He is then followed by such artists as Callot, Rembrandt, Canale, Piranesi, Cassatt, Degas, Goya and Whistler. Each advanced the overall process and contributed to the further development of the medium.

This exhibition is on view from Saturday Jan 23rd through Mar 11th, 2016 [at 304 University [at 304 University Avenue, 2nd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102] * * *.

Exhibiting artists:
MICHAL BRODKA
KEVIN DURKIN
RACHEL HEBERLING
YVETTE LUCAS
KATHERINE ROGERS
ONNIE STROTHER
EVAN SUMMER
CAROL WAX
304 University is at Campbell Street, one block north of Market Street.


The formal exhibitions are in the smaller room of the second-floor suite.

If the snow is delayed beyond the hours of the reception, I might attend, but I don't want to drive in a blizzard. My friend Jerry, who often comes in from Manhattan to join me for Newark art-show opening receptions, made plain that he is definitely not going to risk getting caught in a blizzard. Maybe he'll make the next event.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Free Admission and Multiple Activities at NuMu on MLK Day (Monday)


The Newark Museum (which I often refer to as "NuMu") has a rare free-admission day tomorrow. The screenprint above shows an illustration in the emailed invitation, the text of which I found completely unreadable, and I told them in an email reply, that email is not the place for fancy graffics, but only for information and clear, uncomplicated illustrations.


There was a clickable link beneath that illustration that, when followed, produced an informational page at which I saw further issues, including the illustration in the second screenprint above, which is so dark that details are nearly or wholly impossible to see. I also told the Museum, by reply email, that the text in part of that website was so small and so lite in color (gray on white) as to be almost unreadable to many people, and that there was a glaring error that any proofreader could have caught. So I encouraged them to improve their graffics and hire a proofreader. This is the text of that email to NuMu:
A FEW minutes ago, I sent you email about unreadably tiny type on a dark background. Then I clicked on a link to a page on your website in which you have placed tiny, GRAY type that is scarcely readable. On the right of the screenprint below, a slightly larger font is a little less difficult to read, but you left out the word "a" in the phrase about jewelry "made of wide array of materials". NO, it's not "made of wide array" but "made of a wide array". Get a proofreader!
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The Newark Museum is supposed to be a world-class institution, but its publicity materials are bush-league. Make things EASY to read -- of a large-enough type size, style, and contrast -- to be scanned quickly and without any difficulty, or many people will decide not to struggle but just stop reading, in annoyance. Have someone who sees mistakes PROOFREAD everything before you send it out. I'm on your side, but when I get emails and see webpages that are a hardship to read, and contain stupid mistakes, I stop reading. And I am surely not alone in that.

Only people who live outside of Newark's City Limits need concern themselves with special free-admission days at NuMu, because city residents always get free admission.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Mentions of Newark from 1972

Antenna TV, OTA ("Over The Air") channel 11.2, is now airing reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson from decades ago. The one-hour episodes air twice a nite, at 10:00pm and 2:00am. 90-minute shows seem to air at 11:00pm and 1:30am.
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Two of the guests on the episode from 1972 broadcast on Saturday, January 9th, were Flip Wilson and George Carlin. Wilson was born in Jersey City. Carlin delivered a comedy bit alone, in which he did an impression of Ed Sullivan referring to Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio. who was the last white mayor of Newark (to date). Addonizio was a crook, and justice was done in 1970 when our first black mayor, Kenneth Gibson, defeated Addonizio in the latter's attempt to be re-elected mayor; and a couple of months later, Addonizio was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption (seeking $1.4 million in kickbacks from contractors). He didn't serve the entire term, but was paroled after 62 months in prison, and died not long thereafter. Of Gibson, Wikipedia says:
He was the first African American elected mayor of any major Northeastern U.S. city. He served from 1970 to 1986. * * *

He was later indicted for bribery and for stealing funds from a school construction project in nearby Irvington, New Jersey, but the charges were dismissed and instead Gibson pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2002.

Both Gibson's predecessor and successor as Mayor of Newark were also convicted of 'white-collar' criminal offenses. Sharpe James was convicted of federal fraud charges in 2007.
Makes you proud, doesn't it? As tho you want to look up the words to the song "Tradition" from the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Hopefully we are forever beyond that particular Newark tradition.
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Then Wilson and Carlin did a news-broadcast skit in which Carlin again mentioned Newark, suggesting that Newark was several hours behind standard time. Dopy, but perhaps we should not be too concerned about what media say of us as long as they spell our name right, and as long as it's not malicious and unfair. Neither of the mentions on Friday's Tonight Show specified "New Jersey" after "Newark", which makes plain that for most Americans, there is only one Newark. Good.
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I have no fotos about the Carlin mentions of Newark, but I thought I'd mention some people and entities who have a New Jersey origin you might not be aware of. Patrick Warburton, an unusually handsome actor familiar to viewers of TV and movies, was born in Paterson in November 1964. He can still be seen these days on WPIX, albeit in the loathsome "sitcom", Rules of Engagement.


Foto from Wikipedia by Mike Lin.

A guest on another Carson show earlier this past week was Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in four movies. In the Carson interview, he referred to a skiing accident in his hometown in New Jersey. He didn't mention the town, but I thought I remembered it to be Princeton. It was. Later in that same interview, Reeve discussed another incident that, in retrospect, was positively eerie. He said he had to learn to ride a horse for a film role he was up for. He had never ridden before, and didn't like horses, but did learn to ride. Being thrown from a horse he himself bought, in 1995, perhaps two decades after the Carson interview, when he was NOT riding for a role, broke his neck, rendered him a quadriplegic, and ultimately killed him nine years later, in 2004, at age 52. One of the places where he received care was the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange, now part of East Orange General Hospital (and no longer a Kessler facility, tho we currently have a Kessler facility on Ferry Street in Newark).


Foto from Wikipedia by Gage Skidmore.

Melissa Rauch (pronounced roush), who plays "Dr.  Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz" on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, is from Marlboro Township in Monmouth County. "Marlboro" was, when I was a child, shorthand for Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital, as "Jamesburg" was shorthand for the New Jersey State Reform School (for boys). I'm pretty sure that neither of those institutions exists any longer, but being sent to Jamesburg was a threat of power over kids during my entire public-school career (K-12); and my paternal grandmother's second husband spent a couple of weeks in Marlboro, where I think he received electroshock therapy to restore him to sanity when he went off the rails, probably in the 70s. The treatment worked brilliantly, and he was soon back home, good as new.


Foto from Wikipedia by iDominick, Retouched by Danyele.

In addition to a cast member who was actually born in New Jersey, The Big Bang Theory has two fictional characters from New Jersey, "Leonard Hofstadter, Ph.D." (played by Johnny Galecki) and his mother, the cold, weird "Beverly Hofstadter, Ph.D." No town is mentioned, but the Princeton area seems likely, since she is said to be associated with some prestigious New Jersey university. In looking up info about the show, I came across something I hadn't known, that the two most important characters in BBT, "Sheldon Cooper" and "Leonard Hofstadter", were named for the late actor, writer, director, and producer Sheldon Leonard.


Betterfied. Almost everyone has by now seen the "Betterfied" commercial for the Vonage Internet fone service, a screenprint from which I show above. What you may not know is that Vonage is headquartered in Holmdel Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, which is right nextdoor to the east, of Melissa Rauch's hometown, Marlboro Township. Small world. And small state.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Downtown Christmas Decorations

I have not, this year, done anything like a comprehensive sweep thru various neighborhoods to show holiday decorations, esp. inasmuch as I have shown many in prior years. But I do have two pix from the area of Market Street east of Dinosaur BBQ. This first, taken from across Market Street, shows the raised right leg of John Krawczyk's giant hockey-player statue against the imitation Christmas tree deeper within Championship Plaza. Unfortunately, I think there is no way to show that visual combination without including the traffic signs in the picture as well. Aside: how long do we have to wait for the Devils to give us another Stanley Cup championship to justify continuation of the name "Championship" assigned to this plaza?


The second foto today shows something I had not noticed in prior years, so might be new: a lited snowflake design on a streetlite stanchion. Very nice, and tastefully restrained. I have not this year been to the areas east of Newark Penn Station and just short of the Five Corners to see if the 'Christmas trees' made up of multiple lited snowflakes are in place again this year.


Happily, you can enjoy such other decorations as may be on offer Downtown and in Lincoln Park without chilling yourself to the bone, if you go soon. But don't long delay, because temperatures are soon to return to normally cold levels.