Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Review

For some of us Tuesday was Trick or Treat and the rest of you get the pleasure tonight to hand out candy and other goodies. I remember some very cold years going out with my kids when they were young but this marks the fifth consecutive Halloween the temperature has been at least 60 degrees which is a nice bonus. Also parents have to be thrilled over the delay in the time change, making it much safer to stroll the streets with the little ones in tow.

We probably had around 200 trick or treaters Tuesday and for the most part they were very polite and very cute. Princesses seemed to be very popular for little girls with many young boys dressed as Spiderman and Batman. Of course the real little ones still opt for favorites like Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Elmo. There was also a fair share of cow girls, witches, devils, pirates, good and bad clowns and a few Hannah Montana’s’ sprinkled in.

A couple of upcoming events I’ve been asked to mention:

The New Jersey Ballet will be performing the holiday favorite “Nutcracker” at the OceanFirst Theatre in Manahawkin on December 16th and tomorrow they will hold auditions for Mother Ginger’s Clown Children. The auditions at the Stafford Township Arts Center will take place at 4pm and are for children ages 7-12 with ballet and/or gymnastic experience. You must register in advance by calling (973) 597-9600.

Ocean County College will honor four alumni-athletes and one coach at their
Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Tuesday, November 13th at 6pm at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood. The 2007 inductees are Lorraine Farrell Airey, Barara Farrell Meyer, Eunice Farrell Pschorr, Cynthia Patton Stout and longtime coach Hy Mittelberg. For tickets and information you can call the OCC Office of Resource Development at (732) 255-0400. I will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies for the induction dinner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trick Or Treat

You have moved to Toms River or a surrounding town like Beachwood or Pine Beach within the last year so you want to make a good impression on your first Halloween in the neighborhood. You have purchased a lot of candy for the kids who come dressed in everything from Winnie the Pooh to Darth Vader and you want to make sure you’re home in plenty of time Wednesday to greet the trick or treaters….after all that is Halloween. However while driving home from work today you see the streets filled with children in costumes and you can’t seem to figure out what’s going on. You arrive home and are greeted by a neighbor who wonders when you’re going to start giving out treats and you scratch your head and ask…”isn’t Halloween tomorrow?” The answer is yes and no.

Welcome to Toms River, maybe the only area in the country where trick or treat is not on Halloween but rather the day before…an occurrence which fools newcomers each year and has others questioning this long-running tradition. Of course the reason is the parade which is held each year on Halloween night in downtown Toms River. There’s no question this is a huge event and draws thousands of spectators and participants. Main Street in Toms River is already lined with chairs of those seeking to reserve prime viewing spots and it looks like the weather will cooperate for tomorrow night.

However holding the parade on Halloween has some downside which many are bothered by. Over the last few years it seems there has been a greater problem with kids coming from out of town to cash in on a bonus night of trick or treating. They can hit the Toms River area tonight and then their own community Wednesday and it’s most common in the northern sections of the township. You also have the fact that most of the time the parade is held on a school night which makes it challenging for the little ones and their parents as it makes for a long day and evening. Plus those from outside the area can’t attend the parade without giving up trick or treating…a tough choice.

With that in mind I offer my annual suggestion that the parade be moved to the Saturday before Halloween. It’s a relatively quiet day in downtown Toms River and would take away the objections and make it something all could enjoy. I’m sure such a move would take a lot of discussion and would not be easy but change never is.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Boston: Sportstown USA

Sunday featured a host of high school football games which were postponed from Friday and I have mellowed on my position when it comes to this. Yes football is a game in which the elements are and always will be a factor. However a high school team usually only gets to play 4 or 5 home games each season and there is more than just the action on the field. A football game is an experience involving the band, color guard, cheerleaders and others and by playing in heavy rain you eliminate those groups…plus a majority of the fans. Also, many schools schedule their Homecoming games at this time of the season which is another reason why waiting a day or two often makes sense.

Toms River North and Holmdel are the only undefeated teams of the 42 in the Shore Conference. The top-ranked Mariners had a bye this weekend as they get ready for Friday’s big game at Southern. Meanwhile the Hornets won a battle of undefeated teams Sunday night when they scored a touchdown with six seconds left to edge Point Boro 13-10 and clinch the National Division championship. That came minutes after a gamble by the Panthers did not pay off. They had a 4th & 1 at their own 29-yard line and rather then punt the ball away went for a first down that would have iced the victory. Holmdel came up with the stop and went on to score the game-winning touchdown which gives them their first outright title in 21 years.

It has to kill a lot of New York sports fans that right now Boston is the toast of the sporting world. The Red Sox won their second World Series in four years Sunday, Boston College is undefeated and the #2 ranked college football team in the country, the NFL’s Patriots are 8-0 and the Celtics have Boston basketball fans excited again.

After the Yankees exited the playoffs MVP-to-be Alex Rodriguez talked about how much he loved New York and wanted to stay a Yankee. Now he’s opting out of his contract and his days in the Bronx appear over. No matter what you hear, it’s always about the money.

Congratulations to the new couple! Kevin Bernick and Jackie Hibbs of Toms River were married over the weekend and are now enjoying their honeymoon in Aruba. A good time was had by all at the wedding reception.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Rainy Saturday Isn't All Bad

This final weekend of October should a great one when it comes to sports, although it does not appear the weather will cooperate…at least not for the first half.

The Breeders Cup gets underway at Monmouth Park with three million-dollar races on tap for today…the final three of a 10-race card which begins at 12:30. Saturday is the big day with eight races and live TV coverage all day on ESPN.

If College Football is your thing well there’s Rutgers hosting 6th ranked West Virginia at high noon on Saturday while in the evening top-ranked Ohio State travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.

Certainly the weather figures to be a factor with the high school football schedule which features two games tonight which will decide or at least have a lot to say about division championships. Holmdel and Point Boro are two of the three undefeated teams left at the shore and they meet at Al Saner Field to determine the National Division champs. At the same time Wall visits Red Bank Catholic with a win by the Crimson Knights giving them the Liberty Division title.

Shore Conference Tournament soccer crowns will be on the line Saturday night at Neptune with Howell battling Manalapan in the Boys Final before Jackson Memorial takes on Brick Memorial for the Girls title.
The weather has already forced a postponement with the Shore Conference Boys & Girls Cross Country Championships moved from Saturday to Monday afternoon at Holmdel Park.

Oh…and the World Series moves to Colorado for games Saturday & Sunday Night.

Pardon me as I take care of a couple of items involving the town of Beachwood, where I happen to live. The PTO’s Children’s Fair and Craft Show scheduled for tomorrow at Beachwood Elementary School has been moved to Sunday (11am-3pm) because of the weather forecast as the event will be held outside and inside.
The Beachwood Soccer Club will host a Gift Basket Auction on Saturday, November 3rd at T.R. Intermediate South in Beachwood with doors opening at 5:30. Tickets can be obtained by calling (732) 473-0915.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fires, Hurricanes & Blizzards

Its ironic how things work in this country when a particular area is struck by a disaster those in other parts say something like “that’s what you get for living there.” The truth is at some point just about all of us have the potential to become victims of a tragedy, some delivered by Mother Nature and others man-made.

Southern California is the latest area to feel the wrath as wildfires have displaced about a million people….a staggering number. Watching the footage leaves you shaking your head over the losses and the fact that many of the homeowners might be affluent is irrelevant. Lives are in danger, including firefighters and not only homes but many have lost a lifetime of memories. More than once I’ve heard someone allude to the fact that all these people have insurance so its not that bad…well in watching TV over the past couple of days that seems to be little comfort to many. The other thing you will hear at times like this is that if you live in Southern California you know that fires come with the territory. We can say that for just about every type of weather-related disaster like:

Hurricanes like Katrina- Well if you live in the gulf coast you know hurricanes are a danger. Of course you can say this for Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and many other states. And there will be a time when they say that for Long Beach Island and other parts of the Jersey Shore.
Tornadoes in the mid-west- When they hit people will say something like
“that’s why they call it Tornado Ally.” If you live there then you know it’s a risk, especially during the summer.
Snowstorms - Blizzards that result in loss of life and disrupt residents for long periods. Hey you know that living in northern states can mean severe winter…you chose to live there so you deal with the circumstances.
Floods, Heat waves, Earthquakes…wherever they occur you can be sure those not affected will often say “that’s what you get for living there.”

You can even go as far as saying that when the World Trade Center was attacked someone living a couple of thousands miles away probably uttered….”you want to live in New York then you take the risks.”

There is a common theme here. Unless we live in an underground shelter with no exposure to the outside world we all face certain dangers. However at the end of the day we are all Americans and should pull together for one another because you never know when you’ll be on the receiving end.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hitting The Wall

I’ve known this day would come and it’s here. As I sat down at my computer to put my thoughts into words which you look forward to and absorb and quote later in the day I realize there is nothing left to say.

For all these years I’ve done this I’ve wondered what would happen when
that morning came when my fingers had no keys to punch because my brain
could no longer deliver anything of substance.

Marathoners call it the “wall”….that time in a race in which their legs can’t go any more and everything is telling them to quit. They persevere and once past “the wall” usually go on to finish the race. I’m at that point…have said it all and realized hundreds of these segments have done nothing more than take up time. Sure I could get through today with things like:

Esquire Magazine has named actress Charlize Theron as the Sexiest Woman Alive for 2007. Previous winners were Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel and Angelina Jolie.

Headline in today’s Asbury Park Press….”New Jersey drinking water running out.” Goes on to say we won’t have supplies to meet what we’ll need by the year 2020. I would tell you that’s another reason to move to Florida but I think they’ll be out of water sooner.

San Diego is burning but the wildfires are not the biggest problem for some.
They’re concerned the NFL’s Chargers won’t be able to play at home this
Sunday. Might have to take their tailgate somewhere else.

Weather forecasters, including our own Alan Kasper insist the unusually warm fall weather is coming to an end. Of course none of them are in our studio this morning where the air conditioning is not working and it’s at least 95 degrees.

Raise your hand if you’re excited that the Breeders Cup is at Monmouth Park this week. Raise your hand if you know what the Breeders Cup is.

The Ocean County College Women’s soccer team beat Brookdale Tuesday to advance to the Region 19 finals on Saturday.

Time’s up…made it through another one. I’m sure you can’t wait until tomorrow

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Super Bowl Of Horse Racing

The hype over this weekend’s Breeder’s Cup at Monmouth Park is quite amazing when you consider horse racing is for the most part a dying sport and the track itself has to fight to draw a few thousand fans a day during the middle of the summer at the Jersey shore. The “sport of kings” used to grab headlines on the sports pages with regularity and in old photos and videos you will see men in suits and women in dresses packing the stands.

Of course things change over time and only on special occasions do large crowds visit Monmouth Park, a treasure I first discovered as a 17-year old.
That first trip produced a winning daily double and even an exacta or two…probably the worst thing that can happen to you. I actually thought I had picking winners figured out but many years later I know that was truly a case of beginners luck. Despite that I would always make a few visits a summer and even remember a fall when the track stayed open late which was great for us locals.

I used to love the pace of a day at the racetrack. You had time between races to head down to the paddock and watch jockeys climb aboard their horses, walk around the circle and then head out to the track with shouts of encouragement from bettors always looking for an edge. The bugler would then play the call to the post and you’d get excited with anticipation. A few minutes later you tore up another losing ticket but it didn’t matter because a bad day at Monmouth Park was better than a good day at work…or school. Now with simulcast racing available it seems like the time between live races is devoted to trying to find a winner at another track and that slow pace has been replaced by our need for constant action.

One of my fondest memories was when Julie Krone was setting the racing world on fire and the most popular jockey around. I took my then 2-year old son to the track and put him on my shoulders as she climbed aboard her mount in the paddock. Brandon shouted out “good luck Julie” and she stopped, smiled and spoke to him for a few seconds. She then went out and lost with a 2-1 favorite which of course I had bet. However after Julie made the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1989 I got her to sign it for my son and she remembered that cute little boy…he still has the autographed picture.

The rest of America may only discover Monmouth Park this week but for many of us it’s been right in our backyard for a lifetime and I hope it remains forever.

Monday, October 22, 2007

First Look At The Rock

I got to see up-close-and-personal Friday the $375 million Prudential Center
which open this week and is the first new professional sports and entertainment arena built in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area in 25 years. The facility in downtown Newark will be the home of the New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Ironmen of the Major Indoor Soccer League and Seton Hall Men’s Basketball.

However it’s a concert, not a sporting event which will christen the area on Thursday when Bon Jovi performs the first of ten concerts. During our media tour Friday it didn’t take a genius to figure out workers will be putting the finishing touches probably about the same time Bon Jovi takes the stage.

However “The Rock” is nothing short of spectacular and will seat 17,625 for hockey, 18,500 for basketball and 19,500 for concerts. If you happen to know someone who invites you into one of the 76 luxury suites or more than 2,300 club seats don’t say no….unless you call me and offer the tickets.

When plans were first announced much was made over the location but downtown Newark is experiencing a resurgence and the Prudential Center is very close to Penn Station. For those of us living at the shore the train might be the best bet as it’s a short walk from train station to the arena and special ambassadors will be on hand the first couple of weeks to guide walkers. There is no real on-site parking, except for private lots and garages so that could pose a problem for some. However New Jersey Transit is going to add trains on days of events and the real push is to use that service.

The Devils are the cornerstone of the Prudential Center and after playing their first 9 games on the road they finally get to test their new home Saturday night when they host Ottawa. They will also practice there with a beautiful 800-seat facility which you can see from one of the several restaurants and bars. Seton Hall basketball debuts on Sunday, November 11th when they welcome Monmouth University.

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek told me he never had doubts about this project and believes fans will take to his team’s new home from the time the first puck is dropped.

From what I witnessed Friday I would have to agree.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nobody has asked my opinion….however...

The latest to suffer from our way-over-the-top concerns over being politically correct is Halloween, which all of a sudden is this satanic and demonic-like event. It seems some are offended by the dark nature of Halloween; others view it as anti-religion and now more and more are
saying there are racial overtones. Maybe I missed something because I always thought of Halloween as a day for kids to get dressed-up and go around their neighborhood to collect candy and goodies. While I think some adults go over the top on what I view as a time for kids critics of
Halloween should spend their time on something more constructive. Plus I look forward to raiding my daughter’s candy collection.

The real story will eventually come out but it does not seem too difficult to figure out why Joe Torre is not coming back to manage the New York Yankees. The team was in a sticky situation after aging owner George Steinbrenner said a first-round loss to Cleveland would result in a managerial change and of course the Yanks did lose that series. It appears the front office was divided over whether or not to bring back the popular Torre so as to save face they offered him a one-year deal with a base salary that was 50% less than what he earned this season. The fact that incentives could have made him another $3 million is irrelevant. The Yankees have wasted a lot of money over the years so to nit-pick with Torre at this point in his career was nothing more than trying to force his hand. I truly believe that most of the Yankee front office officials are happy that Joe said “no” and they can close the book on an era.

Rutgers win last night over #2 South Florida was not as significant as the victory over Louisville on a Thursday night last season but it was huge. The
Scarlet Knights elevate themselves back into the national spotlight and with a win over West Virginia next Saturday would put themselves in position to win the Big East title and earn a nice bowl game invite.

So you don’t believe in global warming? It’s October 19th and we’re looking at thunderstorms and warm, muggy conditions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Items Of Interest

Summer refuses to give way to fall and the warm weather is a good thing when you’re sitting atop a large billboard on Route 88 in Brick as is Dr. Phil LoCasio of our sister station 105.7 The Hawk. For the third straight October our Dr. Phil (not to be confused by the TV guy) has committed to living on a billboard for 105 hours or until he raises $105,700 for Ocean of Love, an Ocean County-based organization that gives financial and emotional support to families of children stricken with cancer. Click for more information.

Dr. Phil went up on the billboard Monday evening and there are a couple of ways in which you can support his effort. You can visit the billboard on Route 88 just east of Van Zile Road in the parking lot of J’s Garden Spot or you can call 1-877-HAWK-1057 to make a donation.

When I first started at WOBM in 1979 one of those who showed me the ropes when it came to high school sports was Jackson Memorial Athletic Director Don Connor and it was 20 years ago today we lost one of the all-time great characters when the “Duck” died way too young. He has certainly not be forgotten in Jackson as the high school is on Don Connor Boulevard and beginning next year his name will be synonymous with the football rivalry between the Jaguars and the new Jackson Liberty High School. The Board of Education announced earlier this week that the winner of the game will hold onto the “Connor Cup” for at least a year.

Toms River North will host Brick Memorial Friday night in a football game that will feature a pre-game ceremony honoring Marine PFC Vincent Frassetto, who was killed just over a year ago while serving his country in Iraq. Frassetto was a 2003 North graduate who played football for the Mariners and during the ceremony his jersey will be retired. Several guests will be on hand to make remarks and for more information you can call the Toms River Regional School’s Communications Office at (732) 505-5570.

High School Football will be the topic of conversation tonight on the AutoLenders Football Show. Guests include Toms River North’s Austin Kugler and Coaches Corey Davies of Howell and Frank Edgerly of Red Bank Catholic. The show airs from 6-8pm on 1160AM or on the web at

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ocean County Pretty In Pink Day

The fact that pink is one of my favorite colors makes it easy to wear today which has been dubbed “Pretty in Pink Day” in Ocean County by health officials as well as the Board of Chosen Freeholders. While I get busted pretty good by my friends for the half dozen pink shirts and even pink socks I own and wear I always respond with “real men do wear pink.”

Today I happily display the color to show my support in the fight against breast cancer and more importantly to draw attention to an on-going battle
against a terrible disease that affects the lives of so many and I can say this from first-hand experience. My wife is among the millions of breast cancer survivors who have benefited from not only early detection but the advances that have been made over the years to pro-actively treat this disease and save lives.

There is no question that progress is being made and part of that is due to education…the theme of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The more women and others know the better chance that they will take advantage of all that is out there. This is why I’m personally thrilled that we at 92.7 WOBM have teamed up with Community & Kimball Medical Centers and other sponsors on our own version of “Pretty in Pink.” Along with the Ocean County Cancer Coalition we want to make you aware of the resources out there and encourage all women that early detection has been and always will be the key to good health.

As I said earlier my wife is a survivor and we have no reason to believe she’ll have any problems in the future. Before, during and after surgery she had a great support system of family and friends and as a celebration many of them join her annually in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach. That event is this Sunday and she’ll have about 50 walking under the banner of “Team Booberang.”The weather forecast is calling for a perfect day Sunday and that’s the way it should be because they will all be “Pretty in Pink.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Salvation Army Ocean County Citadel

Prior to Monday Night the only thing I really knew about the Salvation Army was that during Christmas time they ring a bell and collect money in shopping centers and malls. In another case of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” I learned they are a lot more than that.

If you listen with any regularity you might be aware that I get called on often to serve as Master of Ceremonies for dinners, golf outings and a myriad of banquets during the course of the year. My ego would say I’m asked because of how good I am but at least part of the reason is that I usually do these for free. By the way don’t think this is a hint that I want to do more because I don’t and I’m getting good at saying “no.”

However when I was asked a couple of months ago to MC the first-ever dinner for the Salvation Army Ocean County Citadel I couldn’t refuse for a couple of reasons…..Tom Addalia and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County. Tom is best known as the owner of “Flowers by Addalia” and last night he received the prestigious William Booth Award for his generous work in the community through various organizations. Among them is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County, who along with Ocean County Hunger Relief and The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties was presented with the Salvation Army’s Organizational Partnership Awards.
As you might know I’m somewhat active with Big Brothers Big Sisters so how could I not do this dinner.

Speaking of the dinner held at Toms River High School East….it was an International Food Extravaganza coordinated by Chef Murray Dychtwald and a staff of top-notch chefs and featured gourmet foods from Japanese to Greek. It was wonderful and truly there was something for everyone.

As for the Ocean County Chapter of the Salvation Army. Well I learned that they are a truly outstanding organization which works with people of all ages and provides assistance in so many different ways without discrimination. Captain Larry and Lorie Travaglino along with a host of others are to be applauded for their time and efforts to make things just a little bit better for many. And when you see that kettle during the holiday season…give generously.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday Morning Observations

Some Monday Morning Observations:

You know it’s the political season because the battle of the roadway signs is well underway. You know how it works….a sign is placed in a highly-visible location for a candidate and then the opponents follow-up with their signs which are often put right in front to block out the originals. Then it goes back and forth and before you know it you have an intersection with 10 identical signs for two candidates. I guess esthetics is not very important to a lot of people.

Showing you how our sense of priorities is so far out of whack. Why is it that age is an issue when it comes to coaches but not politicians? Isn’t it kind of ridiculous that people feel that even if successful older coaches should step aside while life-long and aging politicians keep getting elected?

Does that mean we feel knowing what play to call is much more important than voting on things like budgets and wars?

I’ve been checking out some of the new prime-time TV shows and have come to the conclusion that “sex’ is the central theme in just about all of them.

There can’t be too many worse traffic spots than traveling south on Route 70
in Brick between the old Laurelton circle and Chambers Bridge Road. Either that or I just hit that area at the wrong time, every time.

If ever there was a year for a Shore Conference Football Tournament this would be it. There are a host of teams that can make legitimate claims to being #1 right now following Toms River North’s upset win over Middletown South this past weekend. It was only the second loss in a 54-game span for the Eagles over the last five seasons. Second-year Mariner head coach Chip LaBarca has put his team in position for a championship season although there are plenty of challenges left, including games with Southern and Toms River East.

Just wondering how many east coast baseball fans stayed up this weekend to watch playoff games which ended past 3AM and 1AM. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why ratings and interest often drops during the playoffs.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Not only will be it feel like fall this weekend but the stakes are certainly rising as the high school football season enters its sixth week with several high-profile matchuups.
Two of the nine undefeated teams at the shore go head-to-head tonight when top-ranked Middletown South visits Toms River North. The Eagles have won 52 of their last 53 games, including a dramatic one-point victory over Wall just two weeks ago in which quarterback Patrick Campbell ran for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns and then made the tackle on what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion. The Mariners also have a premier quarterback in Anthony Penna but he does most of his damage in the air, having thrown for a shore-leading 12 touchdowns.

The North-South meeting is a non-conference game as is the one sending Southern Regional to Brick in what’s been a one-sided rivalry over the years. The Green Dragons have owned the Rams but times are changing and Southern is not only 4-0 but coming off last weekend’s stunning upset of Toms River East. Meanwhile Brick continues to find ways to lose as against Lacey they had two fumbles returned for touchdowns and at 2-2 are badly in need of a victory. Lacey looks to build on that momentum when they invade Colts Neck Saturday with both teams trying to stay within distance of Constitution Division-leading Howell. The 5-0 Rebels host border-neighbor Jackson Memorial tonight.

Saturday afternoons at Manasquan are always special and tomorrow should be no different when Point Boro invades Vic Kubu Warrior Field. It’s a homecoming for Panthers coach Calvin Thompson, who played for Manasquan. His Boro team is 4-0 and trying to keep pace with undefeated Holmdel, who they’ll play in two weeks. First they have to get past the Warriors, who have injury problems in their backfield and can’t afford another division loss. The game will be broadcast on our Shore Sports Network, including 1160AM.

Among tonight’s other games, Toms River East looks to bounce back from their Southern loss when they visit Brick Memorial (1160AM) and Wall hosts Long Branch in a key Liberty Division match up.

The number of winless teams is sure to drop this weekend because six of the tem play one another, including Pinelands at Central tonight and Toms River South meeting Middletown North Saturday night.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Events Of Note

Bouncing around a bit today on some very worthwhile events and efforts taking place in Ocean County.

The Leta Family of Brick will hold their Pumpkin Express this Sunday from 9am-1pm at the Laurelton Fire House on Route 88 in Brick. This is a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and what started as a relatively small event at their house has grown into a Halloween season highlight with pony rides and even a petting zoo. Featured are beautiful painted pumpkins starting at just $4.00 and these have been painted by local artists who donate their time and talents.

100% of the proceeds from Sunday’s Pumpkin Express go towards finding a cure for diabetes.
For more information you can visit

The Salvation Army of Ocean County will honor florist Tom Addalia during Monday evenings International Food Extravaganza at Toms River High School East. At its annual dinner the Salvation Army will showcase its role with community organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County, the Ocean County Food Bank and Ocean County Hunger Relief.
Tickets to the gourmet dinner are available by calling (732) 270-8393.

The Central Regional Alumni Association is participating in “Cell Phones for Soldiers” in which cell phones and accessories are sent to a recycler…regardless of their condition. The profits are then used to purchase calling cards for soldiers overseas and their families at home. For a list of locations in which you can drop off your old phones call (732) 606-6040.

A spaghetti dinner to benefit a Beachwood woman stricken with a rare disease will be held at St. Barnabas Church in Bayville on Saturday, October 20th at 5pm. Barbara Trevena is a single mother of two teenage daughters who was recently diagnosed with POEMS Syndrome, an extremely rare multisystem disorder. She will be spending at least two months at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and proceeds from the dinner will go towards living expenses there and at home. For tickets you can call the Main Office of St. Barnabas Church at (732) 269-2208.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Celebrity Obsession

I’m going to admit to an obsession that’s taking control of me more and more and frankly I don’t know what to do about it. I’m obsessed with those of you who are obsessed with the lives of so-called celebrities, most of whom would be minimum-wage bottom feeders if not for the alleged ability to sing, act, dance or just have the right look…whatever that is.

Before I go into detail I have to admit that all of this is the fault of the media which spends way too much time and space on this garbage which many of you eat up 24/7. When the front page of a major New York newspaper is devoted to how much Brad and Angelia are paying to rent an apartment you know the apocalypse is not coming but has already arrived.

The newspaper ran that headline because they knew “we the people” were more likely to be attracted by that than something like the war in Iraq or the latest medical breakthrough. By the way, it’s scary that all I had to say was Brad and Angelina and most of you knew who I was talking about. It’s kind of like JFK or FDR….you don’t need the entire name to identify these major newsmakers. If you don’t know Brad and Angelia I applaud you or question whether you’re living in a vacuum.

Anyway as I sat down to watch TV last night one of the many entertainment shows which are loaded with gossip and trash…and little substance just happened to be on . The big story (I think) was about Brittany Spears driving around in her car. She is the poster child for what’s wrong with everything and why my obsession with your obsession is growing out of control. Why would anyone care about the antics of this stupid, slutty woman the stable of men she has in her life? Yet there were the cameras following her around as she drove her car…unfortunately not off the end of a pier.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop here. I know we all fantasize at times about trading places with celebrities, even if it was just for a short period. Sure I’d like be Tiger Woods or even Bob Costas and play in or announce a major golf tournament. But what I see and hear today is at times way over the top and a large dose of reality is badly needed. Sadly it’s probably not coming anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Bronx Is Burning Again

The Phillies were gone from the playoffs so fast you didn’t even know they were in them and the Yankees have exited in the opening round for the third straight year. With the exception of the Red Sox the teams left in baseballs postseason can’t thrill network TV officials with major markets like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia out of the picture.

Speaking of being out of the picture, Joe Torre’s 12-year run as Yankees manager may be over if owner George Steinbrenner follows through on reported statements he made the other day. Many seem to feel sorry for Torre but before you shed a tear be aware that he made $7.5 million this season and became filthy rich and a major celebrity while wearing the pinstripes. If he never works a day again Torre can sit back and sip the green tea he endorses and smell all the roses he wants.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Southern Regional’s football upset of Toms River East, who many (including myself) were ready to coronate as the best team at the shore. The win was the most significant in Rams history and gives them a clear path to the American Division title with the November 2nd game against Toms River North possibly a winner-take-all showdown. Southern visits Brick on Friday Night, a team they have lost to in 33 of 36 meetings all-time.

I’m sure some of those who jumped on the Rutgers bandwagon are looking to jump off after consecutive home losses to Maryland & Cincinnati. The truth is the Scarlet Knights are not as good as last year and miss Brian Leonard as well as several defensive players. What’s probably most concerning to fans of the Red and White is that after playing Syracuse Saturday they have back-to-back games with top ten powers South Florida and West Virginia. It’s not easy being the hunted all of a sudden.

Toms River East and South may be rivals on the baseball field but they certainly can co-exist off of it. For the third straight year the parents clubs of both programs ran a golf outing at the Lakewood Country Club and last night I helped out by serving as Master of Ceremonies for the dinner and awards program. Of course the coaches of the teams are brothers Ken & Bill Frank so that has to help when it comes to working together.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Weekend Football

While it will feel more like summer than fall the high school football season reaches the midway point this weekend with some very big games…none bigger than tonight’s showdown in Manahawkin between Southern and Toms River East. The fact that Southern is playing a big game in October is news in itself as more often than not the Rams would be licking their wounds by this point of the season. There’s been occasional success under Coach Chuck Donohue and even a couple of trips to the state playoffs but the word championship has not been uttered in quite some time. The Rams have not won a title since the 1972 squad quarterbacked by Joe DePasquale finished in a three-way tie for the then-Class C championship and that was before the building boom made Southern one of the biggest schools in the state.

While wins over Jackson, Marlboro and Brick Memorial have allowed the Rams to go 3-0 for the first time since 1990 everyone who wears the black and gold knows that Toms River East is by far the best team they’ve played to this point. The Raiders might be the best team in the shore and on their way to not only another American Division championship but their first-ever state sectional crown. East has won their first three games by an average of 34 points and they were all pretty much over by halftime. Led by two-way standouts like Ryan Dolan and Mike Murphy this just might be a very special Raider team and we’ll have a better idea later tonight. I’m sure there will be madness in Manahawkin as players like Todd Kaiser, Glenn Carson and Brad Gesser look to pull off what would be a major upset.

East & Southern are among the 11 undefeated teams at the shore and among the most surprising in that group is Holmdel, who will host Barnegat tonight in key National Division contest. Barnegat has quickly become a title contender thanks to quarterback Brandon Clarke and all-purpose back Erik Smithman. After winning 14 straight games Lacey has lost it’s last two and can’t afford another if they have hopes of repeating as champions of the Constitution Division. The Lions host another title contender, Brick Saturday afternoon in what should be a close, low-scoring contest.

Our broadcast schedule on the Shore Sports Network will find us in Rumson tonight for the Bulldogs game with Manasquan. Saturday night we are at
Toms River North where the 4-0 Mariners host Jackson. The games can be heard on 1160AM and via the web at

Thursday, October 4, 2007

80 In October

There are not too many who like summer more than I do but even I have to admit a little fall-like weather would be welcome. I’m sure many if not most of us have already put away some of those summer clothes and here we are in early October with 80-plus degree days. I wouldn’t mind afternoons around 70 and nights where a sweat shirt is needed. Of course before you know it we’ll be complaining about the cold weather.

Jim Dowd’s hockey career is not over…at least not yet. The 38-year old Brick Township native signed a one-year contract with Flyers Wednesday and will make Philadelphia his 10th NHL city in a 16-year career that started with the Devils in 1991. Dowd had two stints with New Jersey, playing 66 games last season for his home-state team, scoring 4 goals and adding 4 assists. Now a resident of Point Pleasant, Dowd had an incredible high school career playing for Bob Auriema at Brick, scoring 146 goals before graduating in 1987. After helping the Devils win their first Stanley Cup he brought the Cup to a huge celebration on the football field at Brick.
Dowd is one of the real good guys out there and rarely says “no”. especially when it comes to children. He has been a big booster of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County, just like former major league pitcher Al Leiter.

Speaking of Leiter….I did speak with him for quite a while last weekend. The ex-Yankee and Met is enjoying his time as a Yankee broadcaster on the YES Network and plans to return in 2008. The Central Regional High School graduate has been offered other network broadcasting opportunities but does not want to commit to anything full time with his YES assignment giving him enough down time to spend with his family. Al, who cut his broadcasting teeth as a guest on shows I’ve hosted, has improved dramatically as an analyst and is a very good listen…even if he is doing Yankee games.

Among those I’ll be speaking with tonight on the AutoLenders High School Football Show will be Southern Regional coach Chuck Donohue, whose Rams are 3-0 for the first time in 17 years. Our show will be broadcast live from Val’s Tavern in Rumson with players Pat Campbell and Matt Martino of Middletown South appearing, along with Matt Wassel of Rumson and his coach Shane Fallon. You can hear the show (6pm) on 1160/1310AM or on the web at

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Keeping It Clean

Maybe it’s sign of getting older but I am definitely more aware of how profanity has now become an almost acceptable part of our daily language. I can throw four-letter words around with the best of them but there is the old adage about a time and place for everything. Yet today you can be almost anywhere in public and witness typical conversations in which the language is at least “R” rated if not worse. It’s the ease at which the profanity is spewed and it does not seem to matter whether the speakers are male or female, young or old. I seem to remember a time when if you felt uncomfortable with such language you might say that to someone who would apologize…now they are likely to look at you with disdain.
It’s a trend that shows signs of only getting worse.

Businesses have become very cognizant of sexual harassment in the workplace and most if not all of them have policies that warn against such behavior. It appears that Madison Square Garden officials didn’t even read their own handbook because a jury has awarded a former New York Knicks top female executive more than $11 million after finding that Coach Isiah Thomas and MSG sexually harassed and then later fired her out of spite. The losing side has vehemently denied the charges and plans on appealing but it really does not matter. A once-proud franchise has become a shameful example that poor leadership can run even the most successful empire into the ground. I grew up such a fan of the Knicks that I would write the numbers of my favorite players on white tee-shirts….19 for Willis Reed, 10 for Walt Frazier and 18 for Phil Jackson, an unathletic appearing left hander like me. Those days are sadly over.

I often wonder why anyone runs for any reason other than getting in or staying in shape. I say this because I’ve never looked at the face of a runner and seen a smile. Often you see this sort of distorted grimace of pain and agony with the only joy coming when you finish.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hometown Happenings

There’s hardly a day that goes by in which I don’t get a press release or invitation to some kind of fundraising dinner or event seeking my support and/or attendance. My weekends are pretty much tied up with high school football from Thursday to Saturday so making these events is nearly impossible but I would at least like to mention a few of them.

Klee’s Bar & Grill is holding their annual golf outing for Ocean of Love at Gamblers Ridge Wednesday and this is annually one of the best run and most successful golf events on the schedule. Over 200 golfers will tee it up and best wishes to Glenn McCarthy, Joe Carey and the rest of the volunteers for a great day.

Speaking of golf outings, the Toms River East and Toms River South Baseball programs will hold their 3rd annual Tournament next Monday at the Lakewood Country Club while on the same day the Central Regional Golf Classic will be held at Cedar Creek Golf Course with the football and baseball programs joining forces to help their programs.

This Sunday (October 7) the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a gala at the Georgian Court University Casino beginning at 2pm. The event includes food and drink, entertainment and a silent auction and will also induct founding members Monsignor Casimir Ladzinski, Father Walter Hartt and Father Kevin Moroney into the organizations Legacy Society. The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County provides shelter, food and support servicesto homeless families. For ticket information you can call them at (732) 736-1550.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Ocean County holds its annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, October 13th at the Bayville Firehouse and it’s not your typical event. That’s because the servers will include some celebrity guests who will try and solicit tips which go towards the effort. NAMI is a national organization whose main goal is to support caregivers of family members afflicted with brain disorders.
For information on the organization of the dinner call (732) 886-7461.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mets Collapse

Welcome to day number one of Met rehab and I’m here to offer my services and help you fellow fans of the Orange and Blue by telling you it’s not as bad as you think. Sure there’s the sting of being called the greatest chokers in baseball history by blowing a 7-game lead with 17 left to play…although the Phillies collapse in 1964 was really worse as they had a 6 ½ game lead with only 12 games remaining. That’s just semantics and provides little if any consolation as the fact of the matter is we crashed and burned.

The truth is we blew it and there’s no getting around that. Yes the Phillies did play great down the stretch but even their fans know it’s more the Mets giving it away than anything else. Speaking of Philly fans, they do deserve a break once in a while as they are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years and only the 10th time in franchise history. They were right in whopping it up at Citizens Bank Park Sunday as a division title is something special and most of their fans rarely have had baseball interests in the month of October. Plus the Phills success gives the city something to root for because the Eagles at 1-3 are a bust and what relief will come from the 7ers, Flyers and Temple University.

Now back to Met rehab. OK as bad as it is dealing with the Phillies fans (many of whom are coming out of the closet) there are of course the ever-present and obnoxious wearers of pinstripes. Yes the Yankees are headed to the playoffs again after being dead and buried on Memorial Day and as tough as it may be you have to throw kudos their way. However the same fans that called for Joe Torre’s head and were saying the team was too old are now insisting they never gave up and knew at the end the talent (and payroll) would prevail. Look in the mirror because you’re looking at a liar.

With all of this said Met fans you’re wondering when I’m going to offer some help and consolation…well here it is. Do you know how tough it’s going to be for Yankees and Phillies rooters to stay up at night and watch these playoff games? Can you imagine the foul moods they will be in due to lack of sleep, especially after one of those midnight marathons ends in a loss? Remember only one team celebrates at the very end and everyone else is a loser. Meantime we Met fans can DVR our favorite shows, get a good night’s sleep and maybe even start our Christmas shopping with all this extra time. Don’t you feel better now?