Archive for March, 2012

Buyer Beware

Excuse my logic but the transparency of some advertising campaigns leaves me in stitches.  Some are listed below.

  • Ads for these erectile dysfunction (ED) medications.  The ad’s pitchman rambles on at the end of each of these television commercials with a hodgepodge of fine print, which he reads at breakneck speed.  “This product may cause drowsiness.  This product may cause lack of appetite”. You know the game.  However the one that absolutely leaves me laughing uproariously every time is when they tell you “if your erection lasts for four hours or more make sure to consult your physician.”  Do you think?
  • Cigarette and alcohol ads that urge the viewer to “smoke or drink responsibly.” Do the people who air this material really care if you heed that advice?  Maybe some do.  However, these companies are just trying to advertise their brand and get more and more people hooked on their product.


  • Other ads that do like the ED people I mentioned above. At the end of the ad, the speaker lists off so many dangers to your health, or other disclaimers related to the product and at such infinitesimal speed that only a robot would be able to remember everything the guy says.  It’s all designed to indemnify the company that makes the product from any legal action on your part if said product causes you harm.
  • Last but not least, those BP commercials that urge us to come back down to theGulf of Mexico and enjoy some “Gulf Shrimp.”  “Shrimp has never been better,” claim these ads.  I did a little checking on some scenarios.  White Shrimp, the Gulf’s specialty are bottom feeders. So you may think, well all the oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is on top of the ocean so no big deal.  This could be true.  Oil has a specific gravity which is less than that of water. So it floats. However, what I have read tells me that if lighter substances within the oil evaporate, the remaining substances in the oil will have a higher specific gravity than water and sink as if they were the Titanic.  Ergo, the bottom of ocean where the Shrimp eat gets affected.  There’s also another process known as emulsification in which mixtures of small droplets of oil and water occur.  These droplets can cause oil to sink to the ocean floor as well. The result is the water’s surface looks clean but the dangerous stuff lurks beneath.  Still want to taste that shrimp?  The government tells us all the shrimp is safe to eat.  Onetime EPA Secretary Christie Whitman told 911 cleanup workers they were safe and we now know what a hoax that was.  Are the shrimp as we’re told safe to eat or is this government misinformation?

 The bottom line on some advertising then is you had better read between the lines.



Copyright 2012; Greg S.

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Give Obama a Passing Grade on Fighting Terrorism

Excuse my logic but there’s some talk going around the comments sections to internet stories about President Obama that suggest he is a softie and I would like to refute that suggestion once and for all.

I saw one comment in particular from a writer who said that Iran’s ratcheting up its nuclear ambitions, Egypt putting 16 Americans on trial and increasingly frequent murders of Americans in Afghanistan are all a test of Obama’s mettle.  This writer went on to say that these countries and others think the President is “soft.”

Now I am not one of these people who think President Obama can do no wrong.  However give credit where credit is due.  He authorized the taking out of the World’s number one terrorist Osama Bin Laden.  More recently he ordered air strikes that may have played a large part in weakening Muammar Gadhafi’s position and leading to his capture and execution.


Do these two actions listed above sound like those of someone who is “soft?”  I am sure that for thousands of relatives of 911 victims and Pan Am Lockerbie victims, Mr. Obama’s actions have brought a deep sense of relief.

The people who complain about Obama being weak will be the first ones to protest if their children are sent to war.  As well, the people with no children and nothing to lose are always squawking that we should go to war. 

Separately, I would offer several words of caution for all you hawks who think we should decimate Iran.  I know a young man from Iran who is fairly intelligent and not prone to exaggeration.  He says in a ground war, the U.S.would sustain many casualties, probably many more than in Iraq because the Iranian soldiers are very adept fighters and are known for being willing to fight to the death. 


 Copyright 2012; Greg S.

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Kudos for New Jersey


Now that that’s out of the way I’ll examine some of the crazier misgivings people have about our state and then follow that with the reasons I’m so proud to call the Garden State my home.  Yes, this is my fluff post of the year but every post can’t be investigative or incendiary.

For starters there is this misconception.  Take for example, a woman we know who came here from Chicago.  She confided in us some years ago that upon moving to New Jersey she didn’t step foot out of her house (except maybe to do grocery shopping) for a full year. She said that she was THAT frightened of interacting with Jersey people whom she heard were very tough.  Well talk about people in glass houses, isn’t Chicago infamous for being a tough city?  Need I go any further than to say Al Capone aka “Scarface” called it his home?  In later years, Mayor Richard Daley, the undisputed Democratic boss of the city who served as mayor for 21 years until his death rued the city with an iron fist.  He has been called by Wikipedia, “The last of the big city bosses.”

Then you have people of the West Coast.  As I former limo driver in this state I used to pick up my fair share of Californians and other people west.  Often I was told by these clients that West Coast people hated to fly into Newark Airport because they were afraid there were riots going on there.  I would remind these people that the riots occurred in the 1960s, many years ago and furthermore that the airport isn’t even in downtown Newark but actually neighboring Elizabeth, NJ.  Again we have the glass house syndrome.  Here we have Californians mocking our homeland when in fact the Los Angeles area was the home of raging riots in 1992 after the officers in the Rodney King beating case were acquitted.  Furthermore, the Watts area had terrible riots in 1965.

Another one of the snubs to New Jersey that peeves me off the most are the famous signs that greet visitors entering the state of Pennsylvania.(see below).




If America starts in Pennsylvania, who are we from New Jersey, aliens from another planet?  Or maybe we’re citizens of a third world state?

There have been other slights to New Jersey.  People call the area bordering the New Jersey Turnpike “Cancer Alley.”  There was that recent sensation on the internet, “A Viral Map of New Jersey” which stereotypically delineated Poor Minorities in Bayonne, Hipsters in Hoboken and Russians, Polacks and Toxic Fumes just north of Perth Amboy  to name a few. 

Furthermore travelling back several decades was the rumor that former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa was actually buried under the old Giants Stadium.  It was rumored that he was whacked by orders of Anthony Provenzano of Teamsters 560. Years ago, New Jersey’s Teamster’s 560, the local branch was labeled by author Steven Brill as the most dangerous and ruthless labor local in the entire country.

People also love to diss our state for its high auto insurance rates and property tax rates.

So after all this, why do I love New Jersey?

Well start with a biggie.  We almost never have tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or other horrible wraths of Mother Nature.  Our four seasons run a complete course. It’s not like we have a short winter but a long spring.  In Jersey we get a full three months of each season, mostly.  This winter has been an exception.

Sticking with environmental and nature oriented plus sides for the state, our beaches are wide and pure white.  I have been to Malibu Beach in California and I swear, our sand is whiter, and you get more beach for your buck. 

As mentioned above, Cancer Alley, the land abutting each side of the New Jersey Turnpike can be grotesque.  However, if you head west, say on I-78 or I-80, you will be treated to rolling hills, and picturesque farms. At night, take a ride to Clinton, NJ and look straight up at the heavens. You will see as many stars in the sky as anyplace on earth. It is that clear.

Californians love to brag about places like San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury as a mecca for incubating music and artistic talent.  Well consider this partial list of New Jersey born and raised artists: Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Susan Sarandon, Shaq, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Lauryn Hill, Ice-T, Danny Devito, Joe Pesci, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Paul Simon, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Kelly Ripa and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.  I’d say artistically speaking, New Jersey is fertile ground.

Another reason I like New Jersey is its size.  You can travel from any one point in the state to any other point in the state in three hours or less.

I like that we are the Diner Capital of the world.  Our diners run the gamut in size from giants like the Arlington Diner in North Arlington or the Tick Tock Diner along Route 3 in Clifton, to the microscopic but incredibly popular White Manna Diner in Hackensack which boasts about 10 seats. I also like that many people will tell you we have some of the best pizza in the world.  Also on the subject of food, I love that you can drive down the garden State Parkway to exit 131 and a few hundred yards off the exit ramp is an entire community of India people with a host of Indian restaurants.  Similarly if you like various ethnic foods, many are offered in various communities such as Cuban food in Union City, Middle Eastern food in Paterson, etc.

While we don’t have our own baseball team, we have teams in the other three major professional sports including the New Jersey Devils who have won several Stanley Cups in the past 15 years and The “New York” Giants who play in New Jersey and have won two Super Bowls in the past 5 years.

We have the first ever built tunnel under a river (The Holland).  We have the most shopping malls in one area with seven major ones located within a 25 square mile radius.

Menlo Park,NJ was the home to that prolific inventor Thomas Edison who invented the phonograph, motion picture projector and light bulb while living there.

The largest seaport in the country is located in Elizabeth NJ and nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports from overseas runs through that port.

I could go on more but you get the point.  In conclusion, I am proud to be an American and equally proud to be a Jerseyite. Or Jerseyan. Or well you know.



Copyright 2012; Greg S.


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