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August  31

Restaurant Buzz

chelsea_grill_3 Heard over at egullet.com: the Chelsea Grille, which closed after its chef-owner Joseph Palmieri died suddenly this summer, is going to become a Turkish restaurant. A glance across the street while picking up necessities at Whole Foods, provided confirmation. Meanwhile, lights were off tonight over at Church St. Cafe, which had told us that it was going to be serving dinners starting last Thursday.

August 31, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (4)

Pascrell Coming to Montclair

Ok, you blowhards on Montclair Unmoderated! Want to talk politics in person? And with someone who has some political clout? Here's your chance. Rep. Bill Pascrell is holding a town meeting tonight in Montclair, and there's a Q&A session. Town Hall, 205 Claremont Ave. 6:30 pm.

August 31, 2004 in Civic Virtue | Permalink | Comments (2)

What if They Threw a (Grand Old) Party, and Everyone Left Town?

How boring is it? Soooooo boring that they can't even find anything to grouse about over at NJ.com's Transit Blog.

... for all the hype and drama in the media, there was very little of interest on my train this morning, aside from the rather compelling novel I brought to work with me.

Yawn. So far, the most exciting piece of news we're heard is that he was there.

August 31, 2004 in Sheesh! | Permalink | Comments (4)

And Just When We Thought Absolutely Nothing Was Happening

We find this on Craigslist:

Beginning Sunday September 12th, The Ride the Planet Tai Chi Studio will host an hour of silent sitting to help balance the planet every Sunday evening from 7pm to 8pm. All are invited and admission is free. The art of non-doing, or the taoist concept of wu wei is the precurser to the idea of zen sitting. The hour is meant to be a counterbalance to the chaos all around us.

Free! Free, did you notice that? Ride the Planet Tai Chi Studio is located at 408 Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair.

August 31, 2004 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (4)

daily dish

August  30

Ledger Flunks Glen Ridge

Glen Ridge's plan to charge high school students $200 apiece to participate in after-school activities gets a great big "F" from the Star-Ledger, which ran an editorial about it today.

Understandable? Sure. The right way for the district to raise money? Not by a long shot. Yes, Glen Ridge residents pay punishingly high property taxes, about $12,432 for the "average" house in 2003. There are few commercial ratables. But state data show the $70,000 in projected activity fee revenue is less than half of 1 percent of the school district's 2003 property tax levy.

Adding the $70,000 would raise the average residential property tax bill by $50 or so. Hardly a family budget buster.

Not mentioned by the editorial: the district's financial deal with the devil Pepsi, to take $5,000 from the soft drink giant in exchange for an exclusive contract to put its vending machines in the high school -- with a $3,000 bonus incentive for selling cases of sugar water.

Clearly, the district hasn't thought about the most obvious alternative source of funding: selling grades. Or maybe partnering with tobacco companies to sell grades. Why not a Virginia Slims Valedictorian? Do we hear $20,000? $30,000? Going, going.....

August 30, 2004 in Controversy | Permalink | Comments (2)

NJ: You Have to Be Rich to Live Here

News out last week that New Jersey is the richest state in the union. In the Star-Ledger story, the state's master demographer, James Hughes, was quoted as saying, "If New Jersey seceded from the U.S. and became a separate nation, we would be the wealthiest nation on Earth, just ahead of Luxembourg."

New census data puts New Jersey's median income at $55,221. According to Property Tax NJ, the average property tax bill in the state is $5,200.

And property taxes aren't the half of it. After car insurance, high school activity fees, EZ-pass charges, the weekly sushi bill and the cost of having illegal aliens blow away errant leaves, what does the average (or median) New Jerseyean have left? The price of a one-day beach pass to Asbury Park -- as long as you go in November.

August 30, 2004 in Barista Does the Math | Permalink | Comments (4)

Time for a Sit Down

And the winner of Soprano Sue Traveling Mug Contest #1 is: the Proprietor! As the Prop correctly stated, the actor pictured last week holding Sue's Barista latte mug was Joseph Gannascoli, who plays Vito Spatafore in the show and whacked Jackie Aprile, Jr.

Although the Prop, who runs the competing coffee-themed blogsite Coffeegrounds, insists he was playing for fun, he did send the following instructions for collecting his payoff:

I suggest we meet at Satriale’s Pork Store in Harrison, or some other neutral spot, accompanied by only one soldier each, unarmed, of course. Email my consigliere with time and date... ;)

August 30, 2004 in Bada Bing | Permalink | Comments (2)

Local Author Makes Bestseller List

"Shem Creek," a new hardcover by Montclair novelist Dottie Frank, makes the New York Times Bestseller List for the third week straight. "Shem Creek," which is about a Star-Ledger distribution manager who escapes dreary New Jersey winters for the South Carolina "lowcountry," is currently at number 14 on the list. Last week it was number 10.

August 30, 2004 in Buzz | Permalink | Comments (0)

A New Place to Kvetch in Bloomfield

Montclair has the Montclair Watercooler and Montclair Unmoderated. Now Bloomfield has a second message board too. Alison Meyer, a regular at NJ.com's Bloomfield Forum, where she posts notes on Board of Ed meetings, has set up her own forum site. She's keeping out the riffraff by making people register to comment, but even without registering you can catch up on local gossip.

And what's the favorite gossip topic in Bloomfield these days? The supposed delayed opening of the high school. Alison's board has a rumor that the presence of fire trucks last week signalled some kind of school-delaying problem with asbestos. (Not true, apparently. Just a false alarm.) And we heard a juicy one: that the high school would open late because there was no roof over the cafeteria. Well, Pat Orsini, Bloomfield High's principal, told us last week that school will open Sept. 8 as planned. But kids can always hope, can't they?

August 30, 2004 in Brand New, Buzz | Permalink | Comments (0)

daily dish

August  29

They're Here!!!

When a certain 15-year-old we know suggested a shopping trip to New York City this week, we winced. "You know, it's a big terrorist target with the Republican convention." To which a certain 12-year-old added, "And who in the world would want to go to a place with terrorists and Republicans?" Of course, you can't go by us.

Plans for the GOP convention:
Work from home.
Grit my teeth and commute in anyway.
Watch gavel to gavel coverage on TV.
Hobnob with the Bush crowd in person.
Watch old Michael Moore movies on DVD.
Central Park or bust.
Set up a concession selling Colin Powell puppets outside Madison Square Garden.
Go away. Far, far, far away.

View the results

August 29, 2004 in Barista's Sunday Poll | Permalink | Comments (1)

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