As In New Jersey

Photos From Times in Montclair

 The "Librarian" — artist Elizabeth Smith Jacobs in Montclair

In the Garden of Master Gardener Jose German-Gomez, Montclair

At their annual Hydrangea Bouquet Free Share, Montclair

Witching over the garden, Montclair

Miss Lily summer 2017 Montclair

Cheers for Montclair High

Enterprising local folks of Montclair

Homage to Yogi Berra October 2015, Montclair

Keeping things on track in Montclair

At the Montclair Unity Church

Montclair patriot
Shop Montclair

Photo Series: Shopkeepers at Work in Montclair, New Jersey

Page in Development

You know how Seinfeld had that way about saying "Newman!!!". I have something like that with Rachel Maddow.

Lately I've been tuning in to her "news" show to enjoy the panoply of facial expressions and body gestures, coloratura talking, and intellectual gymnastics. Not to mention opinion asserted unequivocally and with high confidence as fact.

Last evening, speaking to the leavings and firings around the Trump White House, she stated, "Obviously, (paraphrasing the following slightly since I don't have the transcript) we are seeing the disintegration of the Trump administration." "Obviously"!!!

Maybe that is what we're seeing. But, at this point it's a conjecture. Nothing obvious other than the actual facts as they happen.

My issue centers on how that sort of "typical" Rachel rhetoric may pass for truth among her own base audience.

Totalitarianism can come from both sides of the political spectrum. When you are certain and enough people are similarly certain, and you have the clout or wherewithal to compel others to follow, that's what it's called.

And now, Colbert nails the entertaining Ms. Maddow.

For when you find yourself on one side of an issue ... any issue.

You do know that as correct as you or I think we may be, there's another side — maybe even completely the opposite — who thinks their position is the correct one. And, as full of it as we may think they are, our rationalizations notwithstanding, the other side see us similarly.

Just how can two people — groups, families, countries, ideologies — can look at the same thing and see completely the opposite? Well folks, don't wait to figure that one out. It's been that way ever since we left the Garden.

It's called "Duality". It's the structure of "Maya". The antidote really is to question the reality of the show in the first place. And, when you do start to inquire ... as Mirabai Starr writes in her introduction to The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Ávila, "Be brave and walk through the country of your own wild heart".

The current times are showing the intolerance of the so-called liberal mind. [And, don't shoot at me. I mostly weigh in on the progressive side of a lot of issues.] 

Much of the commentary tends to be talk among folks of the same ilk. Have your ilk! Maybe the solution is in finding a way for one ilk to talk constructively with the other ilk. Because, otherwise, we will do battle from hardened and entrenched positions.
The Farmer's Hat

Model and Inspiration: Mr. Jim Matarazzo of Matarazzo Farms in the Garden State New Jersey

Farmers wear hats. That should come as no surprise. But, make that, real hats. That would mean, with a brim. Useful. What for to shade from the sun. 

His is made of woven straw. Nothing fancy. Just another tool. Shaped fancily, however, with years of use. Putting it on, taking it off. Giving it a little shaping caress every time. Spanking the dust from it. Keeping the rain off. Rough handling. This hat was for work. It shows it's history. Kind of like the lines in the gentleman's face. 

Farming is hard work. It's hot. You sweat. His hat bears witness to that. Almost becomes a part of you over time, and with the many outings into the fields. So much so that he would feel undressed without it. It's his signature look. Hey, farmers like to show up looking good too. No? It's not all work. But, it is ... mostly. And, a kind of servitude. It's not just the horse that's harnessed to the plow. A farmer is a servant to the elements, to the timing of the seasons. To the arc of the Sun. Farm work doesn't wait.

Gets to thinking how certain items of clothing convey one's place and function in the world. 

For example: Uniforms ... Footwear ... Styling ... Quality of materials and construction. Purses. ("First I look at the purse.") What you drive. That's a kind of article of clothing, don't you think. 

And, of course ... Hats. 

Men don't wear hats the way they used to. In the early last century you wouldn't be seen without a fedora walking down any city street. And, if you happened to be wearing a cowboy hat in the middle of a big city, you'd stand out. Maybe even get more than your share of stares.

So, a cowboy hat is a western thing. You should be out West while wearing said item. A hard hat, you don't wear to the fancy dress gala. Unless you're Kanye West. There are hats for the armed forces. Police. Fire fighters. Make your own list. You know he's a Shriner if he's sporting one of those tasseled fezzes. All bedazzled and all. Especially if he's riding in a mini-sized scale car in a parade sporting an outsized grin. 

Some hats, though, seem to wear themselves. 

And that farmer's hat .... it surely did. That's for sure.

Tip your hat to the farmer. 

That's Real Magic

As a boy I was fascinated with magic. Now, here's a trick for mature magicians.

(Some will say "immature". But, you gotta admit it's a charmer.)


Definition: To use language which conjures an image(s) in listeners' minds which may not be what is so in actuality technically. Also, from the marketing practice of including only just enough of something to justify making a claim. Or, turning hypotheticals or conjectures into probabilities; then, into facts.

Underlying this term is a deep cynicism, and contempt for the intelligence of people and an unconscious nihilism. In short, you and I are just some dumb assholes who will slop up whatever is put in front of us. Unconscious to our inner fears and fantasies, to be manipulated by clever hucksters and seekers of power and position.

In other words, what's really going on, what you or I may think is going on, and what we're told what's going on ... they don't always match. 

" ... fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before." This does not [necessarily] mean nuclear war. Or, that "wall". It sounds like bricks and mortar, doesn't it? But, even the President has said subsequent to his original announcement that it might be something that "works like" a wall. The utterances of the current President of the United States of America are littered with buttertopping. Make that any Politician. Also, any of the Pundits. Or, that guy who wants to get into your pants. Figuratively, or literally.

Recently we tasted Chocolate-Hazelnut Ice Cream. It was made with Nutella, a Chocolate spread which contains Hazelnuts. There may be Hazelnuts in there somewhere technically, but that flavor didn't come out in the tasting.

Or, when I was an Ad Biggie, we advertised a "Butter Top" Bread. Even showed it being poured on the loaf in the preparation of the bread. Only a quarter ounce of Butter, however. Just enough to make the claim.

Originally: "There's a high degree of confidence that the Russians did it." Now: "The Russians did it." Here's a hot button example, "Born that way". Absolutely no science on that. 

Then the whole business of "Organic" and "Natural". 

Or, take "Farm Raised" for example. I could have a decrepit warehouse, dirty and squalid, breeding some animal or other for food. I call it "David's Farm". Naturally, it's "Farm Raised". And, of course it's "Natural". The critter is natural by definition. Right? 

That is an extreme example to make the point. But, check into it. That whole list of various terms in the marketing of eggs. "Free Range." "Farm Raised." "Cage Free." Or, "Grass Fed" or "Pasture Raised". Conjures up an image of green fields with Cattle lazily grazing, don't it? Don't be so sure.

Or, did you know that a crop can be labelled "Organic" and fertilized with non-organic fertilizers. Look up "Bio Solids" aka "Sewage Sludge". 

In short, words illuminate ... or obfuscate. Pay attention.

PS I only buy "Gluten Free" bottled Water.

Montclair Garden Visit

Friends own an historic home on a double lot in Montclair. We took a few photos to show the abundance and variety after years of care and evolving garden design.

This is for the birds. Well ... yes.

Lady Liberty is known to hang out there.

You want a bust of Shakespeare? How many? A statue of the BVM? 

They're preparing for a house sale.

Not actual garden animals. It is Montclair, after all.

A Blue Heron has been spotted mornings sampling the fish in this pond. 

Garden design by Mr. Jerry Harmyk ...

Next Steps

When my younger daughter was a little girl, I was explaining to her about numbers. How they just go on and on. Never ending.

She came back to me one day with, "Daddy, I love you 'til the numbers stop."

I was obviously very impressed with her powers of abstraction. And, metaphor. And, creative thinking.

Now, that little girl is grown. With children of her own. And, the many challenges.

Well, the numbers do in fact stop. 

The question is ... then what?

I've been investigating that question, and can say this ... that's were Love really begins.
A Garden in the Garden State

In our town Montclair, New Jersey, there are so many beautiful homes, with so many lovely plantings. 

One, however, stood out. 

Recently we stopped to take some photos of the flower spectacular in the front of a home we often drive past.

Turns out the owner/gardener recognized his garden from a post we made in a local Montclair Facebook group. 

And, we were invited to see the back yard. 

I expected to see just some more of the same as the front. 

What a surprise. A 17 year spectacular work in progress. Flowers, bushes, vines, trees, vegetables. Mushrooms. Bees. Butterflies. Around 650 pounds of vegetables annually. A Secret Garden to spend some tranquil solitude. A Buddha. And, the gracious gardener. Went home with a sampling of right off the vine Tomatoes. 

Many thanks, Mr. Jose German-Gomez ...