Thursday, November 15, 2012
Actually, I've been back for a week or so but I'm just now getting around to updating the blog. Where was I? I was back in my home state of New Jersey. I arrived there nearly a week before super-storm Sandy ravaged the NJ and NY coastal areas. I was supposed to fly back to sunny California a few days after Sandy hit but that didn't happen. They cancelled my flight. I couldn't get another until 5 days later. I couldn't even return my rental car, which meant I had to pay for it while it sat in the driveway of my cousin's home in Fair Lawn, NJ. (Where I stayed for the extended part of my stay.) Why wasn't I driving it around for those extra days? Gasoline. Couldn't get any.
Still, in spite of the storm, my trip wasn't bad. In fact, it was great! My trip, I mean. Not the storm. I had such a good time visiting family and friends. I hadn't been back to NJ for 35 years! Course, some of my friends blamed me for bringing Sandy with me but I denied any and all allegations of that sort. It simply wasn't true! I'm innocent, I tell ya! Innocent! I mean, why would I bring a hurricane with me to screw with my long overdue visit home?
You see, I was not guilty of any meteorological crimes against my home state. In fact, I wasn't guilty of any crimes at all while I was there! Well, except maybe that toll booth I ran on the Garden State Parkway. But hey! Is it my fault there were only two toll booths on that exit? One of them for "Fast Track" or something like that... which is something you stick on your car and it reads or senses something and lets you go through. The other booth was "Exact Change Only," which I didn't have. Neither booth had a live human being in them. (So much for job creation.) So what was I supposed to do? I stopped. I pondered. People started honking and yelling obscenities at me. I hit the gas pedal.
Finally, there was that other accusation I heard-- one I only needed to defend once to one person. My answer is the same now as the answer I gave my accuser: No! In spite of what I do for a living, I did not make a pact with the devil! (You know, as Pat Robertson said the Haitians did, resulting in that earthquake a while back.)
We were all eating dinner at my other cousin's home in HoHoKus, NJ, when the storm actually hit. (Her Baked Ziti was awesome, BTW, as were the meatballs and sausages.) In all, she and her hubby lost five trees on their property. Five big trees! But not one of them hit her house or any of their family cars. Sure, there were a couple of near misses but no damage. The same can't be said of their vacation home down the shore in Lavalette, NJ. It's still standing but with some damage, albeit not excessive damage. Unfortunately, the row of houses directly in front of my cousin's beach house weren't so lucky. My cousin's beach home is in the second row of homes from the beach front. All the houses on the beach front in front of my cousin's home are gone. Swept away. History. Finito! Suddenly, my cousin has beach front property... not that she or her family would ever want to suddenly have beach front property via other people's misfortunes but that's what they've been left with.
Have you seen the pics of Seaside Heights? You know, with the roller coaster in the water? I spent many fun times at Seaside Heights when I was a kid: riding the rides, walking the boardwalk and more. Now, much of it has been damaged or destroyed. But have no fear! Seaside Heights, indeed all of the Jersey Shore, will rise from the waves like some mythological water-Phoenix and be reborn from the sand and water of New Jersey's Atlantic coastline. That's how we roll in New Jersey.
I'll get back to writing about photography with my next update which, weather permitting, will be real soon.
The pretty girl at the top, the one feigning a semi-sense of modesty with her pose, is Ali. (Click it to enlarge it.) At last year's Cannes Film Festival, it was announced that Ali was going to be the new Emmanuel for a comeback series of Emmanuel films. (Assuming you remember the Emmanuel films which began in the early 70s starring Sylvia Kystel. Unfortunately, Ms. Krystel recently passed away. RIP, Sylvia.) Anyway, I don't know if the new Emmanuel project ever moved forward or not.