Monday, December 29, 2008

WOBM Christmas Classic: Championship Tuesday

Championship Tuesday is all set following Monday’s Boys semifinals in which Point Pleasant Boro topped St. Rose 55-45 and Brick Memorial escaped with a 61-55 over Toms River East.

The Panthers victory was once again sparked by forward Pat Hart who has been the most impressive player in the tournament so far. The 6’4 senior scored a game-high 25 points, including two of Boro’s five 3-pointers. Will Hawthorne was solid, adding 11 points for the Panthers who outscored St. Rose 16-8 in the final quarter to improve to 5-0 on the season. Center Sean McPaul led the Purple Roses with 20 points as they drop to 3-2 on the season.

Memorial led by as many as 16 points in the 3rd quarter before the Raiders rallied, just like they did in their quarterfinal upset of top-seeded Toms River North. East got within a point in the 4th quarter and had a chance to take the lead but their rally came up short and the Mustangs pulled away down the stretch. Matt O’Brien led Brick Memorial with 17 points, 12 of them in the second half. Jose Ramos added 15 for Memorial while Richie Suhr scored 18 for East and Alex Bergstrom added 17.

Memorial and Point Boro meet in the Boys Championship game at 7:30. It’s the second straight appearance in the finals for Boro, who fell to Toms River North last year 40-38. The Panthers won their only WOBM title in 2002. Memorial won the title in 2005, the only other time they reached the championship game.

The Girls Final at 5:30 on Tuesday will find top-seed and heavy favorite Rumson meeting #3 Southern with both teams pretty much cruising into the final. The Bulldogs feature Princeton-bound Kate Miller and her supporting cast includes Julie Kelly and Ashley Cooper. Southern’s Rams are led by the inside play of Kristen Sharkey and Avery Hodgson along with Alex Spark. The game features two of the shore’s most successful coaches in Rumson’s George Sourlis and Kathy Snyder of Southern, who will match wits for only the second time in their careers with the other coming in the 2005 championship game won by Rumson.

Both games will be broadcast live on the Shore Sports Network (1160 WOBM AM and Fox Sports 1310) and streamed on shoresportsnetwork.com

The final day of the 7-day tournament begins at 10am with the Boys JV Consolation game between Point Boro and Ocean and following that at 11:30 Brick Memorial and St. Rose play in the JV Final. Then it’s the Girls 3rd place Consolation with Manchester facing Wall followed by the Boys 3rd place game between St. Rose and

WOBM Christmas Classic: Saturday

A superb day of basketball ended with one of the most exciting games in the 25-year history of the tournament as Toms River East upset top-seed and defending champion Toms River North 74-72 in overtime in the Boys quarterfinals. The 8th seeded Raiders trailed 55-43 going into the final quarter but rallied behind Richie Suhr, Alex Bergstrom and Charlie Olsen, who hit three key free throws in the final moments to tie the game. Suhr (27pts) and Olsen (14pts) hit key baskets in overtime and a blocked shot in the final seconds by Ray Cochran helped secure the victory as East moves into the semifinals Monday against Brick Memorial. The 4th seeded Mustangs edged Lacey 43-39 behind Steve Zronska’s 10 points and a superb defensive effort.

In the other quarterfinals, #2 St. Rose fought off an upset bid from Ocean for a 45-43 victory and will next face third-seeded Point Boro, who just got past Southern 43-39 with Pat Hart scoring 27 points.

Sunday’s eight-game schedule features the Girls Semifinals with Southern facing Wall at 6:15 and top-seed Rumson taking on Manchester at 8pm. Both games will be broadcast live on the Shore Sports Network (1160 WOBM AM and Fox Sports 1310) and streamed on shoresportsnetwork.com

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Classic Blog: Girls Round 2


Wall has been the surprise of the Girls Division as they advanced to the quarterfinals after upsetting second-seed Shore Regional 44-40 behind Kathryn Campbell’s 18 points. The #7 seeded Crimson Knights hit 11-12 free throws in the 4th quarter with Jessica Nevins (12pts) making all six of her attempts from the line. Wall had rallied in the opening round to beat
Jackson and will now face #3 Southern in the semifinals Sunday (6:15pm).
The Rams used Kristen Sharkey’s 18 points and a stifling defense to roll past Ocean 53-31. The Spartans were held without a field goal in the middle quarters as they fall into the consolation bracket.

The other Girls semi will find top-seed Rumson going up against #4 Manchester. The Purple Bulldogs had a tough time with Toms River North before finally pulling away in the 4th quarter for a 41-30 victory as Ashley Cooper and Kate Miller each scored 11 points. Meanwhile the Hawks hung on to edge Raritan in Friday’s most exciting game 54-52 as Ariele Parrish led three players in double figures with 17 points. Alexa Ryan had a game-high 23 for the Rockets.

Saturday features the Boys quarterfinals beginning at 2:30pm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How "Green" Will Christmas Be?

(The Hometown View resumes Monday with blogs from the WOBM Christmas Classic)

The holiday season is when many retailers ring up enough sales to make their year a good one or at worst at least salvage an average year. However 2008 is very different and those who depend on strong sales this time of year are just hoping to do enough business to be able to open the doors in 2009. All you have to do is look closely while driving around at the number of stores with signs that say “Going out of Business” to know we are in shaky times. Probably the biggest concern is nobody knows what to expect after the holiday season when consumers are likely to tighten their belts more than any other time in recent history.

There is no doubt the financial crisis is having a major impact on Christmas and you can see it in so many ways. It seems like many have decided not to decorate their homes like in the past and Christmas card sending has to be at an all-time low. Businesses have cut out everything from holiday parties to gifts and forget about bonuses…although most agree that just having a job is a bonus. Companies large and small are trying to keep their people working
and to do so will consider just about everything from slashing hours and some benefits to even asking workers to take unpaid vacation time.

Clearly the good times for many are over and we are now in a survival mode which is completely unfamiliar to those who have grown up only to know what it’s like to pretty much have whatever they want. Some insist that what we are experiencing is necessary to change the mindsets of Americans, who will learn the harsh lesson of living with less which will make us all appreciate things that we’ve taken for granted.

Maybe the end result will be that Christmas and the holiday season will be more about what it’s supposed to be then gifts themselves. That’s a nice thought but it would be somewhat devastating to an economy that dependson us displaying our feelings by pulling out a credit card.

Monday, December 22, 2008

WOBM Christmas Classic: Round 1


In the final minute of their 59-50 win over Manchester in the opening round of the WOBM Christmas Classic, Toms River East coach Tom Carpenter sent a substitute player in for Ray Cochran. The Raider fans then rose to their feet and gave Cochran a loud standing ovation as headed to the bench where he was embraced by his coach and teammates. He had scored 8 points and there were many in the Poland Spring Arena who probably had no idea why the crowd stood for a couple of minutes and continued to applaud the senior. Those that did know realized they had witnessed a courageous performance by a young man suffering like few of us could ever imagine.

Kathleen Cochran, just 44 years old died rather suddenly Friday which was the opening night of the basketball season. Despite dealing with the shock and loss of his mother Ray decided to play in East’s home game that night against Lacey and amazingly the outcome would rest with him. He sent the game into overtime with a big basket in the final seconds and then had a chance to be the hero but in what seems like a cruel twist of fate missed a pair of free throws as the Raiders lost by one point.

However losing a basketball game is nothing compared to the devastating loss of his mother and he would go home to share that agony with his three younger brothers and sisters and father Raymond. The next game for East would be Sunday at 5pm, the same time the viewing for Kathleen would end and certainly nobody really expected Ray to play. But there he was with his teammates and shortly after the start of the game his entire family arrived and sat behind the Raider bench having just come from the funeral home.


Cochran would score 8 points and help his team advance into the quarterfinals on Saturday against Toms River North. However it’s not the biggest thing on his mind….today is the funeral for his beloved mother and he has to be the big brother for Patrick, Logan & Erin. He’s already shown that being “big” is not a problem.
The first round of the WOBM Christmas Classic saw all the higher seeded Girl’s teams prevail but there were some minor upsets on the Boys side where 5th seeded Raritan, #6 Central and 7th rated Toms River South all lost.

# 12 Lacey knocked off Raritan 47-41 in a game that saw both teams struggle from the free throw line. Next up for the Lions is a quarterfinal date with 4th seeded Brick Memorial, who ripped Wall 56-41 as Matt O’Brien scored all 15 of his points in the first half. #11 Southern upset Central 60-49 behind Joe Tomczuk’s 24 points and will face #3 Point Boro, who coasted past Old Bridge 57-35. 10th seed Ocean, used six three-pointers from Scott Nelson to outlast Toms River South 53-42 in double overtime and meets St. Rose in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The second-seeded Purple Roses used Joey Quinn’s 25 points to coast past Brick 70-47. The other round-of-8 matchup is an all-Toms River affair as the top-ranked North Mariners (49-44 winners over Jackson) will play 8th seeded East, who topped Manchester 59-50.

Form held up when it came to the Girls bracket with top-seed Rumson rolling past Monsignor Donovan 75-26 to move into the quarterfinals Friday against Toms River North. The Mariners ripped Lacey 51-29 behind Dana Coronato’s 12 points. #2 Shore used 18 points from Liz West to rout Toms River East 55-28 and will play #7 Wall, who came from behind to topple Jackson Memorial 47-36 as Kathryn Campbell scored 23 points.
Southern had no trouble with Old Bridge 62-39 as Kristen Sharkey scored 21 points for the third-seeded Rams, who will oppose #6 Ocean, a 44-30 winner over Point Boro. 4th seeded Manchester led by Camille (22pts) & Gabrielle (18pts) Valmon raced past Toms River South 59-30 and plays Raritan in the quarterfinals. The fifth-seeded Rockets shut down Central 31-21 in the opening round.

After a break for Christmas the tournament resumes with the Girls Quarterfinals and Consolations on December 26th with the Boys to take the court the following day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

WOBM Christmas Classic Starts This Weekend

The winter sports season for shore high schools gets in full swing this weekend with basketball and wrestling teams taking to the court and mat.
Most of the basketball teams play their first games tonight while wrestling fans have the season-opening Neptune Classic as the traditional start to the season.

Of course the 25th annual WOBM Christmas Classic plays its first-round games this weekend at the Ritacco Center in Toms River. Tomorrow will feature eight games in the girl’s division in both the Poland Spring Arena and Toms River North gym beginning at 1pm. Among the matchups, top-seed Rumson will play Monsignor Donovan, second-seeded Shore faces Toms River East, #3 Southern battles Old Bridge and fourth-seeded Manchester opposes Toms River South. Top players to watch include Kate Miller of Rumson, Shore’s Liz West, Kristen Sharkey of Southern and Manchester’s Camille Valmon.
The complete schedule and brackets are available at shoresportsnetwork.com..

The boys take over the Ritacco Center Sunday starting at 1pm with defending champion and top-seed Toms River North, under first-year head coach Chris Kane playing Jackson Memorial. Some of the other matchups pit St. Rose against Brick, Point Boro facing Old Bridge and Brick Memorial battling Wall. A host of outstanding players from last year’s tournament are back including Steve Nyisztor and Pat Szukics of Toms River North, Point Boro’s Patrick Hart, Joey Quinn of St. Rose and Central’s Ibn Moye.
Again you can get the complete schedule and other tournament information at shoresportsnetwork.com.

After this weekend’s opening round the WOBM Christmas Classic will resume on December 26th and games will be played every day after that leading up to the championship games on Tuesday, December 30th

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coming Home For Christmas Break

I can’t tell you with any hint of accuracy how many Hometown Views I have done over the years but it’s in the thousands. There are some which have generated a lot of response because they touched a nerve or were subjects which people could relate to and among them was one I did in 2004 right about this time of year. I was reminded of it by a woman I spoke with yesterday who said she has recounted part of what I said time and time again.

The segment was aimed at parents whose sons and daughters were coming home from college for their first extended trip since leaving in late August. Many of course might have been home for Thanksgiving but that was just a long weekend as opposed to the 2-3 weeks most would be at home for winter recess. What I found and many of you agreed was the children we sent away were often very different from the ones returning to the nest for what they called a vacation.

First thing we had to deal with were the strange hours they operated by which might remind you of vampires, more than college freshman. During that first winter break I remember getting up for work around 2:30 and usually finding my son was not home and if he was it was more likely he was watching TV or on the computer than sleeping. Speaking of sleeping….if it was an Olympic sport he might have been a gold medal contender. Noon or later was not unusual as the time to finally get out of bed and get on with the day.

What you had to realize quickly was they had changed quite a bit in those three months or so living on their own. They not only acted differently but even their appearance changed…it seemed like they had gotten older by years not months. As much as you love them you had moments when you wondered if this really was your child. After a couple of weeks of dealing with their lifestyle you were ready for them to return to school in which you would return to normal and live by these words….”out of sight, out of mind.”

Not that I’m any expert but if you are about to experience this phenomenon for the first time fasten your seat belt because it’s a roller coaster ride complete with loads of laundry. The good news…it does get better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Quick Hitters

Joe Paterno obviously believes age is just a number that doesn’t mean all that much. Just days before his 82nd birthday Paterno has agreed to a new three-year contract to stay on as head football coach and beloved icon
at Penn State University. While he has had health issues in recent years and just last month underwent hip replacement surgery, Paterno still loves the game and players and has no plans to retire. JoePa has been at the school
for 59 years and has been head coach since 1966….three years before man walked on the moon. We may be taking vacations there before he finally leaves the sidelines.

I don’t know what is more amazing…the fact that two of the nation’s top college running backs played on the same Pop Warner football team or that they didn’t win a National Championship. Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno and Donald Brown of the University of Connecticut were both named 2nd team All-Americans by the Associated Press Tuesday. They were in the same backfield while playing youth football in Atlantic Highlands…of course Moreno would later play at Middletown South and Brown at Red Bank Catholic.

No surprise here….the Giants-Cowboys game the other night drew the most viewers ever for a Sunday Night Football game. The Giants get the Sunday night nod again this week when they host Carolina with a lot on the line.

For the past nine years downtown Toms River has housed the Colonel Charles Waterhouse Historical Museum which has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors, including students from the local area. Sadly the museum will close its doors on December 31st although officials hope to relocate it in the future. Colonel Waterhouse is the only Artist-in-Residence
In the history of the United States Marine Corps and a trip to the museum was an up-close history lesson which came with his vivid recollections of the military and Marine Corps. Hopefully a good home will be found for the Colonel’s artwork so it can be viewed by future generations.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday's Random Thoughts

52 employees at Community Medical Center have lost their jobs as the Saint Barnabas Health Care System continues to try and cut costs to deal with revenue shortfalls. The latest job cuts are in addition to 35 made at Community in November and a total of 63 at Kimball Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center over that same time span.

In the case of Community the biggest problem is federal and state reimbursement for charity care programs along with Medicare and Medicaid. Community has spent about $15 million in charity care this year but was reimbursed only $3 million….an equation that just doesn’t work.
The Medicare and Medicaid numbers are challenging because of the high number of seniors treated at the Toms River hospital.

One of the few good things to come out of Trenton in the last couple of years has been the NJ STARS and STARS II program which rewards students for excellence in the classroom and encourages them to stay in New Jersey for their higher education. However that program is headed for changes next year once Governor Corzine signs revisions which will exclude families with more than $250,000 in income. In addition under the STARS program high school students will have to graduate in the top 15% of their class (instead of 20%) to receive free tuition to community colleges like OCC. They can then move onto four-year colleges and universities through STARS II scholarships if they graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. However the new proposal will result in a required GPA of at least 3.25 and will cap the scholarship at $7,000. It is still a good program but many students will now find themselves on the outside looking in.

This is the third Tuesday of the month and at the First United Methodist Church in Toms River on the corner of Old Freehold Road and Chestnut Street that means the “Paula Brown Soup Kitchen” will be in operation from 2-6pm. The monthly gathering is open to everyone and as times get tougher more and more are taking advantage of a free hot meal. When volunteers started last year they would feed about 15 and that’s increased to about 40 each month. In addition to a meal a woman shows up with a trailer to give out free clothing to those in need. Organizers of this and other soup kitchens are concerned that donations will not keep up with demand for their services. This is just another program that people can support and help make a difference in their communities.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Some Good Out Of A Bad Economy

It would be hard to find anything really good in the current economic crisis that is affecting nearly all of us whether it is directly or indirectly. However what has happened or will happen is an appreciation for the simple things in life like having a job, roof over your head and food to eat. I have heard many people in the past few weeks say they are just happy to have a job and
they don’t even care that some of the perks that might have gone with that are gone. Is it possible that we will learn to live with less and in the end not worry about trying to keep up with others but be content with what we do have? Only time will tell but we are heading in that direction, not by choice but by necessity.

As long as people have a few dollars they will spend during the holiday season but the great unknown is what happens after it’s over. Retailers just don’t know what’s around the corner and have no idea what to expect for the first part of 2009. There really is no manual to read to tell you how to survive and most people I have spoken with said their greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. If we have not hit rock bottom yet you almost want it to get here as soon as possible so we can at least begin the slow process of recovery.

On a more uplifting note is the fact so many people really do care about their neighbors and we always seen at our best when times are at their worst. We hear, read and see all about the bad because that’s news but there are an amazing number of people from all ages who go out of their way to help others. Whether its donating food, clothes, toys or money we do have large hearts even when we have small pockets because in the back of our mind is the knowledge that so many have less than we do.

So was we approach this holiday season I chose to focus on the good things we do for one another rather than the bad because the difference between thriving and surviving is not as great as you might think and the gap can narrow very quickly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Charity & The Economy

There is no doubt that the state of the economy is having a major impact on
Non-profit organizations that depend on the generosity of companies and individuals. Going even further it’s making it very difficult for organizations like food banks and the Salvation Army to meet the growing demand for their services and it’s only going to get worse. That’s why it’s vital we do what we can to support the many campaigns and drives to help those badly in need which is magnified during the holiday season.

The Gamer’s Arena is working in conjunction with Ocean County Hunger Relief to collect and distribute food to families in the Toms River area all during the month of December. Anyone who brings a non-perishable food item into their store on the corner of Route 37 and Hooper Avenue will receive 20 minutes of free game time on the system of their choice, including XBOX 360 or Wii. Sounds like a nice way to help yourself and others at the same time.

The Salvation Army, Ocean County Citadel is in desperate need of new unwrapped toys as they attempt to bring joy to as many families as possible.
The demand this year is greater than ever and you can drop the toys off at their location on Route 37 East in Toms River. Thursday the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce was able help the Salvation Army at their annual Holiday Luncheon at which attendees donated a new toy. The event at the Holiday Inn of Toms River also saw Seaside Park Realtor Linda Stefanik honored for many years of service to the chamber and the community. A well-deserved tribute to a wonderful woman.

Our Shore Sports Network honored the top football players in the shore Thursday night on the season-finale of The AutoLenders High School Football Show. Our first-ever All-Ocean and All-Monmouth County Football teams can be viewed on line at shoresportsnetwork.com.
Players of the Year were Glenn Carson of Southern and Red Bank Catholic’s Nolan Vill while Coach of the Year honors go to Southern’s Chuck Donohue and Mark Ciccotelli of Freehold.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WOBM Christmas Classic Tipoff Brunch

The defending champion Toms River North boy’s basketball team was awarded the top seed for the 25th annual WOBM Christmas Classic and will open their bid for back-to-back titles on Sunday, December 21st against Jackson Memorial at the Ritacco Center. The seeds and pairings were announced Tuesday during our annual “Tipoff Brunch” which was hosted once again by the Quality Inn of Toms River and featured more than 270 players, coaches and tournament officials. St. Rose is the second seed in the boys division and will face Brick Township while #3 Point Boro takes on Old Bridge and fourth-seeded Brick Memorial plays Wall as part of the 8-game opening round.

Rumson-Fair Haven as expected was the #1 seed in the girls division and opens with Monsignor Donovan on Saturday, December 20th. Second-seed Shore Regional faces Toms River East, #3 Southern plays Old Bridge and 4th ranked Manchester battles Toms River South in first-round games. All the pairings are available at shoresportsnetwork.com

The tournaments 32 head coaches decided the seeds Sunday night as part of
a Coaches Dinner at Klee’s Bar and Grill in Seaside Heights but they were not revealed to anyone until Tuesday. Yesterday’s event also featured the announcement of this year’s scholarship recipients, who are now college freshman and will receive their awards at halftime of the championships games on December 30th. They are Lacey graduates Amanda Malkiewicz and Justin Rand, Ocean’s Karl Eichorn, Bill Carey of Southern, Brianna Crowe of Monsignor Donovan and Nicole Vaccarella of Colts Neck.
They bring the total to 65 student-athletes who have received scholarship awards from proceeds of the tournament.

Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael J. Ritacco welcomed all the players and coaches and said the school district is delighted to once again host the WOBM Christmas Classic, which moved to the Ritacco Center in 2003.

On an unrelated note…former football star Keith Elias and Reggie Dabbs, two well-known motivational speakers will appear at Central Regional High School tomorrow night at 6:30pm. The free event is open to students, parents, teachers and everyone from the community and promises to be an enlightening experience.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WOBM Christmas Classic


In the early part of 1984 a meeting of high school basketball coaches took place in a classroom at Toms River High School North. The topic of conversation that evening was the Southern Regional Roundball Festival, a holiday tournament that the coaches and schools had participated in a couple of months earlier. Southern was willing to give up running the tournament if someone else could pick up the ball and possibly relocate it to a more central location in Ocean County. Enter yours truly.

I was invited to attend the meeting and after listening to the conversation I spoke about the possibility of WOBM hosting a holiday tournament and doing so at Ocean County College. If I remember correctly everyone was pretty much in agreement that OCC would be an ideal location but doubted the college would get involved.


The following day I typed up (on my manual typewriter) a memo to my General Manager as to my suggestion and that December the WOBM Christmas Classic was born. Brick, Central, Manchester, Monsignor Donovan, Point Boro, Southern, Toms River North and Toms River South made up the original field and the tournament was an immediate success. We established a scholarship which would be awarded to the top scholar who played in the tournament and the first recipient was John Klimkiewicz of Southern Regional High School, who is now a highly acclaimed Orthopedic Surgeon and Associate Professor at Georgetown University Hospital.


59 other former student-athletes have received scholarships from the WOBM Christmas Classic and this year another six will be added to that list. In addition we have used proceeds to donate thousands of dollars to organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County and others.
That original eight-team tournament continued to expand to 10, 12 and eventually 16 teams. We added a Girls Division in 1994 and now have a total of 32 teams playing 54 games over seven days. The expansion forced us to leave OCC after 19 wonderful years for the Ritacco Center where we use both the Poland Spring Arena and Toms River North gym. This morning one of the highlights surrounding the Classic will take place when we host over 200 players, coaches and officials for a “Tipoff Brunch” at the Quality Inn of Toms River. The kids will be well-fed and then we will announce the pairings for the 25th annual tournament which opens on the weekend of December 20th and 21st. You will be able to view them later today on the Shore Sports Network website…shoresportsnetwork.com.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Cold Monday

Some random thoughts on a Monday morning:

The calendar says winter does not officially arrive until December 21st but
for all intents and purposes it made its debut this weekend. Unfortunately it
will be here for a long time.

67 years ago today President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous speech to congress in which he said “yesterday December 7th, 1941…a date which will live in infamy….the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Within an hour a formal declaration of war was passed and we were officially involved in World War II. December 7th, 1941 always will be a significant date in our history but sadly each year less and less people who remember it well are around to reflect back on the attack which took over 2,400 lives.

I have marveled at the ability of the Giants to not let anything get in their way this football season from injuries to player issues. However it did appear Sunday they could not recover from the Plaxico Burress hangover
As they played like a team which could not focus on the task at hand. The only good news after the loss to the Eagles was later in the day they would clinch the NFC East title when Dallas lost in Pittsburgh. As for the Jets…there is no excuse for their poor effort in San Francisco.

Belated congratulations to the Brick Memorial Mustangs for winning the second state football championship in school history with a dominating performance against Sayreville Saturday night at Rutgers University. Earlier in the day Southern showed their character in almost coming back from a 21-point deficit before falling to undefeated Mainland. Saturday was a good day for Shore Conference schools as Manasquan, Freehold and Asbury Park also won state sectional titles at Rutgers.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County held a very successful “Thanks for Giving Gala” Friday at the Crystal Point Yacht Club. Honorees included
Architect and builder Paul Barlo, the Lakewood BlueClaws, Ocean County YMCA and artist Francis McGinley.

Friday, December 5, 2008

NJSIAA Playoffs

For all its faults the NJSIAA Football Playoffs are still a very big deal and if you take the attitude that high school sports is supposed to be about the kids then we should not minimize the achievement of winning one of the 20 state sectional championships up for grabs each fall. Saturday Southern and Brick Memorial are among the six Shore Conference teams that will play for the right to call themselves a state champion.

Southern had never even won a playoff game until last season and now find themselves in the South Jersey Group 4 Finals at undefeated Mainland tomorrow at 1pm. Many are ready to coronate the Mustangs as among the best in south Jersey history as they have outscored their opponents by an average score of 41-6. However the Rams have truly arrived this season with their only loss being by one point to Toms River North, a defeat they would avenge in the opening round of the playoffs in mid-November. They feature a trio of seniors…Glenn Carson, Anthony Stroffolino and Steve Sibona who are among the best players to wear the black and gold. Certainly they are the underdog heading to Linwood tomorrow but veteran coach Chuck Donohue has assembled a group of players who are comfortable with that role and know the only thing that counts is the final score.

Walt Currie was 4-6 in his first season as a head coach at Brick Memorial in 2007 and while improvement was expected I don’t know too many who thought they’d be playing the first Saturday in December. The Mustangs finished behind Toms River North and Southern in the American Division but have worked their way into the Central Jersey Group 4 Championship game at Rutgers University where they meet Sayreville tomorrow night at 7pm. Quarterback Brian Staub has rushed for over 1,000 yards as the leader of their option attack and he gets plenty of help from lineman Anthony D’Elia. The Stangs are looking for their second state title against a Sayreville team that has made the playoffs 12 straight years but won only one championship in that period.

The Brick Memorial-Sayreville game will the finale of a tripleheader we will broadcast tomorrow from Rutgers on the Shore Sports Network. We will start at 1pm when Manasquan meets A.L. Johnson and following that Freehold plays Middletown South. The games can be heard on 1160 WOBM AM, Fox Sports 1310 and at shoresportsnetwork.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A "Half Full" Story

With all the negative that’s going on in the world today it would be easy to
feel that the glass is always half-empty. Everywhere you turn you’re reminded that for many this holiday season is about what they’ve lost and don’t have, including the simple things like jobs, homes and health. We wonder where the good is and when is it headed in our direction and just about the time you’re ready to give up hope comes a story that gives you a little ray of sunshine.

Nicole (Nikki) Sprague of Toms River has every reason to say “why me”
after her husband Steve was killed in mid-October while working on the New Jersey Turnpike. The high school sweethearts were married less than two years and were enjoying life as the parents of 8-month old Abigail when tragedy struck. As if the story could not get worse days after the accident Nikki’s van was burglarized and she later realized among the items missing was her camera, which held a chip with more than 500 family pictures from the past year. Those pictures included the birth of their daughter, her Christening and other impossible to replace moments of a young family that had so little time together.

However the day after Thanksgiving Nikki’s sister Jamie saw a flier on a telephone pole that contained a picture of the young Sprague family with the message, “Do you know us” and a phone number to call to claim the camera. It took a few days to connect but finally camera, chip and memories to last a lifetime were reunited. It turns out that the camera had been found by Earth Groomers, a Toms River landscaping company shortly after the burglary and they had been trying to find the owner since. They even went as far as to place an ad in the newspaper but had to pull it because there were so many calls from people claiming the camera belonged to them. Who would blame these people for giving up hope of finding the owners but they went an extra step by printing up fliers in the neighborhood where they found the camera in the hope they would get lucky which they did.

Steve Davidson and Kerry Betz of Earth Groomers found the camera and they did not know the entire story of the Sprague family and recent tragedy in their lives. All they did know was that camera was important to someone and they had to make every effort to find the owner and return it. What they have done is given a family an early Christmas present and one that gives them hope that maybe at some time their glass will be half-full.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Retirement Of Warren Wolf

In the end even Warren Wolf could not beat “father time” and at age 81 his body more than anything told him it was time. The most successful high school football coach in New Jersey history announced his retirement Monday in a packed cafeteria at Brick Township High School where it all started in 1958. It was a bittersweet event in which the legendary “silver fox” strolled down memory lane about his days in West New York and then coming to Brick after a successful career as an assistant coach under Joe Coviello at Memorial High School. Wolf took the job just two months before the inaugural season and notified Coviello by letter which was not well received. Ironically when Wolf became the winningest coach in state history in 1992 it was Coviello’s record he surpassed.

The Brick icon held his emotions in check yesterday as he looked out and saw faces which helped him build a once small community into a state football power. Sam Riello, Dave Vivino, Bob Auriemma, Ron Signorino, Pete Panuska, Dan Duddy, Tim Osborn, Jack Myers, Dick Roberts and high school Principal Dennis Filippone were among those part of a golden era
that put Brick and shore football on the map. It was a time in which you had to arrive early at a home game if you wanted a seat and they even sold reserved tickets. Keller Memorial Field on a Saturday afternoon was magical and Wolf was the wizard who made things happen which left opponents wondering if he really did have a direct pipeline to the man upstairs.

My first real contact with him came in 1979, my first year at WOBM. His Green Dragons went 9-1-1 and were to receive a trophy as our top team in Ocean County. I was invited by the late Hank Handchen, the longtime Athletic Director to make the presentation at the annual football banquet at the old Kings Grant Inn. It was a Sunday in January and I figured it would not take very long but of course this was my first real experience with Brick football. Wolf spoke personally and passionately about nearly every player on the varsity team and by the time I got up to make my presentation the banquet was about 4 hours old. When I asked Handchen afterwards how come he never told me I would be spending an entire afternoon for a 3-minute presentation he replied, “because you never asked.”

Warren Wolf will be in charge of one more end of season banquet…I’m sure it will be a beauty.

Monday, December 1, 2008

This And That

A little of this and a little of that on the first day of December:


It’s easy to pick on anything associated with government but Friday I was once again reminded on the improvements made when it comes to the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles. My daughter took her road test (which I’m happy to say she passed with flying colors) at the Robert J. Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township and then it was on to the motor vehicle office in Toms River to obtain her first driver’s license. Knowing that it was the last weekday of the month and the day after a holiday we expected it to be crowded and it was. But everyone working there treated people like customers, which was not the case many years ago. They were friendly, helpful and made the experience painless…a real upgrade from the way things used to be.

The movie “Australia” has been pretty much panned by the critics but my wife and I both enjoyed it although at three hours it’s a tad long. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman star….he’s very good in his role while she seemed out of place a bit. The movie wavers at times but is big and bold…sort of an old-style epic which we found entertaining.

I guess the Jets Super Bowl talk can stop a bit…I mean if you can’t beat Denver in November at home how can you expect to win on the road in January? The Giants meanwhile look better and better and as long as they don’t shoot themselves in the foot are on the Super Bowl fast-track. That was a bad attempt at humor as is Plaxico Burress pleading “not guilty” to charges of criminal possession of a weapon today. I mean how do you accidentally shoot yourself in the thigh if you don’t have the gun illegally in a nightclub? It appears Plaxico’s Giants career is over and don’t underestimate what he means to the team on the field where he drew constant double-coverage and made it easier for others. Off the field however he has become a public relations nightmare and a divorce is likely.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Little This, A Little That

The six shore teams that will play for state sectional football championships will all do so on Saturday, December 6th. Surprising SOUTHERN will visit highly-ranked Mainland in the South Jersey Group 4 final at 1pm while Rutgers University will be the site of a quadrupelheader feature shore teams.
At 10am ASBURY PARK faces Metuchen, MANASQUAN will face A.L. Johnson at 1pm, FREEHOLD meets MIDDLETOWN SOUTH in an all-shore sectional final at 4pm and BRICK MEMORIAL ends the day with a 7pm game against Sayreville. While those teams should be gearing up for the state sectional finals they all have to play on Thanksgiving Day first and several of them face stern tests from tough rivals. Brick Memorial visits Brick, Middletown South has Middletown North, Manasquan tangles with Wall, Asbury takes on Neptune in one of the state’s longest running rivalries, Freehold visits Colts Neck and Southern is home against Barnegat.

Congratulations to former Brick Memorial Mustang GARRETT GRAHAM, a junior tight end at the University of Wisconsin. Graham earned first-team
All Big Ten honors by members of the media and was a 2nd team choice on the team picked by the conference coaches. Graham led the Badgers with 37 receptions and 5 touchdowns.

Former Toms River North running back DARIAN BARNES played for his 7th NFL team last night when he wore the uniform of the New Orleans Saints. The 28-year old started the season with Buffalo before being released and then spent a couple of weeks with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Saints where he started at fullback last night. Barnes made a couple of tackles on special team in the Saints victory. The 7-year pro previously played for the Jets, Dolphins, Cowboys and Buccaneers where he earned a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season.

The 25th Annual WOBM Christmas Classic begins in just 3 ½ weeks and the schedule for the tournament is now available by visiting shoresportsnetwork.com. Just click on the basketball banner and it will take you to the schedule. The team pairings will not be released until December 9th.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back On The Job

Good to be back this morning after missing most of last week due to arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my right knee. Dr. Greg Foos performed the procedure on Tuesday and I spent the next few days on the couch keeping the knee iced and getting plenty of rest.
It’s still quite sore and stiff but I’m told that’s not unexpected. Special thanks to my friends at Community Medical Center for helping me out with a last-minute EKG and most importantly to my wife Jane, who took three days off from work and was a great nurse and cook while I recovered at home.

Some 600 people participated Sunday in the Steven Sprague Memorial 5K Run/Walk at Toms River High School East and organizers say about $13,000 was raised for a scholarship fund that’s been established for his 7-month old daughter Abigail. The 28-year old Sprague was killed while working on the New Jersey Turnpike last month and Sunday’s event was put together by the East Girls Cross Country team whose members include his sister Taylor Madden. Most of Sprague’s family is connected to the Toms River School District, including his wife Nikki who teaches at the Citta School and all were greatly appreciative of those who supported Sunday’s event.

Tis’ the season for holiday events many of which are organized to benefit those in need. Richie’s Repair Center’s 3rd Annual Christmas Toy Drive and Holiday Party will take place on Friday, December 5th from 6pm to midnight at the Pine Beach Fire House. Admission is $25 per person plus an unwrapped new toy and the evening will feature food, drink and live music by Superband. Most importantly it will support Beachwood/Pine Beach Local PBA 253 and their efforts to help local families in need during the holiday season. For information and tickets you can call Richie Engelhardt at (732) 341-2829.

Joe Finn and Irish music went together like peanut butter and jelly…you couldn’t imagine one without the other. The Jersey Shore lost a beloved entertainer over the weekend when the 66-year old Avon resident died months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Finn spent most of his adult life playing Irish music and singing and was a fixture at the Crab’s Claw Inn in Lavallette in recent years. He leaves behind 8 children, 18 grandchildren and a countless number of friends and fans.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good News For Community Medical Center

(The Hometown View returns Monday, November 24)

Community Medical Center got some long-awaited good news last week when they were granted permission to begin offering elective Angioplasty, something they could previously do only on an emergency basis. Community was among 12 hospitals in New Jersey chosen to take part in a clinical study to determine the success rate of angioplasty performed at hospitals without a cardiac surgery unit. It’s not surprising Community Medical was among them when you consider they treat more adults diagnosed with heart disease than any other hospital in the state and more Ocean County residents are treated for heart attacks as well.

Angioplasty is a surgical procedure in which a small balloon is inserted to open a blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart. Community has been doing them on an emergency basis for two years but prior to this recent announcement patients having the procedure done on an elective basis had to go to other facilities. Mark Pilla, Executive Director of Community Medical Center said he was gratified with the recent announcement and elective angioplasty will be available “as soon as possible” as the process to begin the service is already underway. Pilla in a release also said he was thrilled that Community recently earned the highest possible ratings for the treatment of heart attack and heart failure from HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent health care ratings company.

With apologies to the Toms River North football program and their fans, you had to be somewhat happy that Southern beat the Mariners in a first-round state playoff game over the weekend. The Rams have had success the past couple of years but always came up short when they played North and it cost them the American Division title the last two years and it was the Mariners who also bounced them from the state playoffs in 2007. However Southern made the big plays when they had to and came away with the biggest victory in the 11 years Chuck Donohue has been the coach in Manahawkin. Donohue, a true gentleman and class coach will now take his Rams to Cherokee with a huge monkey off their back.

For what it’s worth I will have knee surgery tomorrow and be out the rest of the week. The Hometown View returns next Monday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NJSIAA Football Playoffs Begin

The NJSIAA Football Playoffs begin tonight with 17 Shore Conference schools among the nearly 160 who have a chance to claim a state sectional championships the first weekend of December. It’s a terrible playoff system which leaves us with 20 schools claiming state titles based on geography and school size. Even that’s questionable as you have Pennsauken, which is near Camden competing in the same 8-team Central Jersey bracket with schools like Colts Neck, Brick Memorial and Middletown North. Anyone studying New Jersey in school would also question Burlington Township traveling 51 miles to play Point Pleasant Borough but they are in the same group.

However like college football’s imperfect BCS system what he have in New Jersey is what we have and it will stay that way until archaic minds accept that it’s time to do away with Thanksgiving Day games which prevent any real playoff. But you do the best you can with what you have and to coaches and players the ultimate remains calling yourself a state sectional champion so that’s what they’ll aim for.

Toms River North and Asbury Park are the only two shore schools with a chance of defending their championships and they will have very different paths. The Mariners will not only have to get past rival Southern tonight but would likely have to beat top ten state powers Cherokee and Mainland on the road to win in South Jersey Group 4. Asbury Park’s Blue Bishops on the other hand are expected to cruise through the Central Jersey Group 1 bracket where they could face Shore Regional in the final.

No team comes into the playoffs hotter than Point Pleasant Borough and even though the Panthers are seeded third in Central Jersey Group 2 they might be the team to beat. Boro has won all 7 of their games via shutout and allowed their only points of the season in a 3-0 loss to Manasquan in week two…the two rivals could face each other in the sectional final.

The Shore Sports Network will broadcast tonight’s Southern-Toms River North game from Gernerd Field. It’s the fourth time the Rams and Mariners have faced each other over the last two seasons with North winning the previous three meetings. Tonight’s game can be heard on 1160 WOBM AM, Fox Sports 1310 and at www.shoresportsnetwork.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday This & That

A little bit of this and a little bit of that:


The Jets have taken a back seat to the Giants throughout most of their history, especially after they moved to New Jersey in 1984 and became co-tenants of a building that’s called Giants Stadium. Much of that is due to the fact that the Jets have not exactly been an overwhelming success on the field, winning the Super Bowl in 1969 and not returning to the big game since. In that time the Giants have made four appearances in the Super Bowl, winning it three times. While sports fans in this area regularly talk about a Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets you rarely hear talk of a possible Giants-Jets Super Bowl because it’s not too often the two teams are good at the same time.

With that said the Jets visit New England tonight with the winner to take over sole possession of first place in the AFC East. “Gang Green” made a trade this summer to acquire future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre to win games like this and if they do Jets fans can’t be blamed for thinking about a February 1st date in Tampa with the team they share a building with.

Have you ever stopped to think about what creatures of habit we are? You know you have a routine when you approach the drive-thru of your Dunkin Donuts and upon saying your first words the guy at the other end says “I got it boss” before you even place your order. By the way, it’s large coffee with cream and splenda.

The common thread you have heard from people this fall over the economy here and abroad has been…”well if this is rock bottom then I think we’ll be okay.” Problem is we might not have hit rock bottom yet which is a scary thought.

One of the few good things about the onset of colder weather is being outside and taking in the scent of your neighbor’s fireplace while it’s burning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanks For Giving Gala

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County will hold their annual “Thanks for Giving Gala” on Friday, December 5th at Crystal Point Yacht Club in Point Pleasant. The event is a major fundraiser for the youth mentoring organization and also a way to say thanks to those who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of so many young people.

Honorees that evening include Paul Barlo of Barlo and Associates who will receive the prestigious President’s Award, Billy Nash and the Lakewood BlueClaws who will both receive the For Kid’s Sake Award, the Ocean County YMCA, recipients of the Community Service Award and artist Francis McGinley, winner of the Legacy Award. In addition Bill Schwinn of Community Adult Medical Programs will be saluted as the Big of the Year.

I will once again have the pleasure of serving as Master of Ceremonies for the gala, which will feature live and silent auctions. Special invited guests are former sports greats Tony Siragusa, Ken Daneyko, Mark Leiter and Joe Klecko along with TV personality Jack Ford.

For those interested in purchasing tickets or finding our more about the December 5th “Thanks for Giving Gala” you can call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County at (732) 905-5349.


Belated congratulations to the Ocean County College Women’s Soccer team who finished second in the national tournament last weekend in Dallas, Texas. The Vikings fell to Broome Community College of New York 2-1
in the final to complete an 18-3 season for Coach Karen Trump.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

About the only good thing that’s come out of our involvement in Iraq and the Middle East over the last five years is the new found respect many have for those who serve in the Military. If you think about it, with the exception of Operation Desert Storm in the early 90’s we experienced a relatively long period of peace from the end of Viet Nam until this current conflict. During that time it would be easy for some to overlook the contributions made by those in the military, past and present because as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind.”

We know that is not the case today and young people are growing up in a time of war just like many of us did, whether it be World War II, Korea or Viet Nam. They are witnessing the pain that goes with having family, friends and neighbors serve overseas and return home in uniform. Unlike the 60’s and 70’s when Viet Nam split this country, we are all united in our respect for the men and women who wear that uniform even if we’re divided over the cause they are fighting for.

Today is Veterans Day which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918. It is a state and federal holiday in all states although some schools are open and use today to learn about and honor those who have served. Many students will participate in and watch the annual Ocean County Veterans Day Parade in downtown Toms River.

Mayor Tom Kelaher, who served in the US Marine Corps, says this year’s theme is “Thank a Veteran” and one way you can do that is to come out and watch the parade and thank the tens of thousands of veterans who live in Ocean County. The parade starts at 9:30am in the Toms River Shopping Center and follows the same route as the Halloween Parade a couple of weeks ago.

In a related note for the second straight year the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals on St. Catherine Boulevard in Toms River is paying tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. With the help of local Boy Scouts, some 4,780 American flags have been placed in the lawn of the funeral home to commemorate the number of American men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a striking and sad reminder of the times we live in and that freedom is never free

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Thoughts For A Monday

Random notes and thoughts on this Monday which happens to be the 223rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps:

The official announcement is expected today but it appears 18 schools from the shore have qualified for the NJSIAA Football Playoffs, including Toms River North, Southern. Brick, Brick Memorial, Point Pleasant Borough and Lacey. The first week of the state playoffs will feature Southern visiting Toms River North in a rematch of a regular-season game the Mariners won 7-6 on October 17th.

The Giants 36-31 win in Philadelphia last night keeps them two games ahead of Washington and three games up on the Eagles and Cowboys in the NFC East. Just as important it looks like to get to the Super Bowl in the NFC you’ll have to come through Giants Stadium in January.

Sometimes you invest so much time and emotion into your favorite team and just as they are on the verge of something special comes a loss that you first think of as devastating. Such was the case for those of us who follow Penn State football as Saturday’s one-point, last-second loss at Iowa ends our dream of a chance to play for a National Championship. But as your learn with age and experience the sun came up the next day and the word devastating should really be saved for the bigger picture.

The Lakewood BlueClaws and Positive Coaching Alliance are teaming up to present a free workshop aimed at leaders of all youth sports organizations on Wednesday, November 19th at First Energy Park. The workshop is titled “The Double-Goal Coach: Coaching for winning and life lessons.” Due to a limited amount of seats, there is a 5-seat limit for each organization….to register for the event call (732) 606-9060 ASAP as space is limited.

The newest branch of OceanFirst Bank on Route 9 in Bayville will host a special Ribbon Cutting and Flag Raising ceremony today at 11am. At this morning’s festivities OceanFirst Bank will also present Central Regional High School and Bayville Elementary School with their School Library Grants as well as grants to all of the Berkeley Township Fire and First Aid Squads. The Bayville branch is the 23rd location for OceanFirst in Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Toms River's "Civil War"

They started playing in the early 70’s and have done so each year since.
Who controls the series has gone back and forth and while the old school still leads the series the newer kids on the block have dominated in recent years. It’s this area’s version of Army versus Navy in which records don’t mean anything and bragging rights mean everything.

Toms River South visits Toms River North tonight in the 37th version of what has always been called “The Civil War” and the one thing you can count on is the game will be played before the biggest football crowd of the season not only in Toms River but maybe the entire shore. As usual the storyline centers on the fact that many of the opposing players know one another, some even played together on teams when they were younger. Parents are often friends, separated only by the fact that some will wear blue and gold tonight and others will be dressed in maroon and white.

Since schools are closed today pep rallies were held during the week and students and players will not doubt be ready to rock and roll tonight for a prime time matchup of teams who are as opposite as night and day. North has built a football power under coach Chip LaBarca, who is 24-5 since taking over the helm of the Mariners before the 2006 season. They are big, strong, physical and at times dominating and have already clinched their second straight division title and are working on a possible second straight state sectional crown.

The Indians have been no match the last couple of years against North but believe the time has come to win one of these games. Bill Hill is in his first season as a head coach and has seen just about every game go down to the final moments which is exciting and gut-wrenching at the same time. South cannot match up physically with the Mariners but has big-play weapons all over the field so this truly is a game of two very different styles.

Besides bragging rights there are a couple of other things on the line. A North win earns them a high seed in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs which start next week and that could mean one or even two home games. An upset by the Indians opens the door for a possible spot in the state playoffs something that was hard to imagine a few weeks ago. Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on the Shore Sports Network, including 1160 WOBM AM.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post Election Thoughts

For weeks I talked about how much I was looking forward to Election Day coming and going. We were all tired of the constant barrage of campaign
garbage being thrown at us and could not wait for it to end. However to be honest yesterday was kind of like the day after the Super Bowl…you talk about the election/game, offer your opinion on the results and speculate as to what’s in the future.

It’s a horrendous time for the newspaper industry with readership and advertising dropping by staggering levels but this historic Election gave them a shot in the arm…even if it was temporary. If you went out yesterday afternoon looking to buy a newspaper you were probably greeted by empty racks as people gobbled them with the headlines trumpeting Barack Obama’s victory. Some papers printed extra copies to meet the demand as no doubt issues from November 5th will become collector’s items. Copies of the sold-out New York Times were being sold on eBay from as low as $10 to as much as $199.

The annual football game between Toms River South and Toms River North is always a special one for the schools but the 35th edition of what’s called “The Civil War” is front and center even more this year. As expected the North Mariners are a power again and after losing their opener have won six straight games. The South Indians have been like the “Cardiac Kids” with several games going down to the wire. They are 4-3 and could earn a state playoff bid with an upset victory. Adding to the rivalry is that MaxPreps and Nike have picked this game as part of their National Road Tour and they’ve has been in Toms River all week, taking videos of practice and pep rallies which you can follow on their web site…MaxPreps.com.

For many summers on the 2nd avenue beach in Seaside Park I was greeted by a warm smile and sweet Italian accent that belonged to Priama Cumella, the friendliest and nicest beach attendant there ever was. She would always comment about things I said on the radio and loved talking about her family. Mrs. Cumella or “Mrs. C” as I called her died Tuesday at the age of 82. My family sends their condolences to hers, especially her son Charlie who I grew up with. I will think of her fondly every time I walk onto the beach.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Change Is Coming"

While it may be hard for some to accept the message resonated throughout America last night….”change is coming.” Barack Obama’s convincing and historic victory might not have been welcome in Ocean County but if you
can step back a bit it might have been necessary to heal wounds very deep in our nation. Even if you were a strong advocate of John McCain you had to at some point acknowledge that Obama’s victory proves as a people we have come a long way. It was just 45 years ago that Martin Luther King made his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and who could have possibly imagined then that one day a black man would in the same city take residency in the White House.

Senator Obama is now President-Elect Obama because white people, especially women voted for him as the best choice to get us out of the mess we are in which in itself is somewhat ironic. He motivated young people, not unusual for a Democrat, but they just didn’t vote for him but rather believed in his ability to bring this country together. It is the younger generation more than any other who needs to stop judging people by the color of their skin because frankly there are too many others who will never be able to look past that.

You and I may not agree with his views on all the issues but as I listened to his victory speech before a huge outdoor crowed in Chicago you could not be anything but impressed and almost awed. His words were carefully chosen and they were right on the mark….not about him but a country he will try to lead under the most challenging circumstances many have ever seen. Obama was inspiring not just for blacks but for all Americans and it is now time to pull together because the will of the people has been spoken which is what makes us a true democracy.

Not all that long ago in my workplace I was reminded that the only constant in the world today is change and you can either fight it or accept it. Change is no longer coming….it’s here. Whether that’s a good thing or not only time will tell but it certainly deserves a chance from all of us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally...Election Day!

Sports fans often love politics because to them it’s just another big game
and if that’s the case then today is like the Super Bowl. We elect a new President amid uncertainty about the future like some of us have never seen before. It’s probably unfair to expect either Barack Obama or John McCain to make a big difference because it’s quite possible that the task is too large for any individual but before you go to sleep tonight you’ll probably know which Senator is about to become the 44th President of the United States.

I have always felt it was quite pompous for anyone to think their endorsement makes all that much of a difference. Newspapers don’t make them but rather a small group that might make up their editorial board and in some cases it may simply be the publisher or wants to exert his will on the public. I have rather strong opinions and am actually more interested in some of the local elections then the “big one” because I think the outcome of that one is a foregone conclusion.

Ocean County of course has been dominated by Republicans forever and for two main reasons. One is that the county has been run very well and most people have not seen any great need for change. The other is the Democrats have usually been their own worst enemies, running questionable candidates and doing little to back them. For the first time in a long time there are many who think change is coming to county government and it could start today. Joe Vicari and Jeff Moran will very likely be re-elected to terms as Freeholder and Surrogate over Stacy Lubrecht and Lawrence Jones although not by the huge margins they are accustomed to. However many officials and observers are intrigued by the race for County Clerk where incumbent Carl Block is facing a strong challenge from Berkeley Township Mayor Jason Varano, who has run a very aggressive campaign. You may not think of the County Clerk as a high-profile position but clearly the Democrats have run their strongest candidate for this office as a way to break through the GOP domination. Will they be successful and could it mark changing times? Listen to WOBM News for complete election results tonight to find out and I’ll comment tomorrow on what could be a historic day at the polls.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Random Thoughts To Start November

Random notes on the first Monday of November:

The longest and most expensive Presidential election ever is coming to a close and just about everyone agrees they are looking forward to that. It
seems like the candidates have been running for the Oval Office for years
and finally on Wednesday the talk will no longer about campaign promises
but more about the reality of the situation we are in. Regardless of who gets elected see how long it takes before they talk about how what they really would like to do they can’t and blah, blah, blah. We are suckers and accustomed to being lied to just to secure our vote.

If you ask me the best thing about Election Eve is that those annoying and often obnoxious electronic phone solicitations will also come to an end.
It’s bad enough that you get them for federal and state offices but the local ones are driving me crazy. I was expecting a call over the weekend and just as I got out of the shower the phone rang and I grabbed for it only to find it was about the 10th call for the same local candidates in my town who don’t
know when to stop. The most amazing thing is those in office and those seeking office wonder why we are often apathetic and disgusted by the process.

It’s almost sad to see what’s happened to the Dallas Cowboys, just about everyone’s choice to at least make it to the Super Bowl this year. Following Sunday’s lackluster loss to the Giants they are now 5-4 and will probably need to win 5 of their final 7 games to earn a playoff spot. Don’t count them out yet because they will get injured players back soon but for now it’s nice to look at the frown on owner Jerry Jones’ face. While the Giants were not great yesterday they are a very good team who could repeat as champions.

The New York City Marathon is the best example of how in many sports Americans only care it there are top American athletes to root for. When runners like Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar were the best in the world the New York City Marathon was the big sports story of its day. Now it’s more of a participant and spectator focused event because it’s dominated by foreign runners.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phillies Win

(No Hometown View on Friday, October 31)

If you are a Philadelphia sports fan under the age of 46 you got to do something last night for the first time in your life…celebrate a major sports championship by legally hoisting an alcoholic beverage. In a game that started Monday and finally ended around 10pm Wednesday the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to win the World Series. It’s only the second time in the history of the baseball franchise they have won the Series and it’s the first title of any kind for one of the four major sports teams that call Philly home since 1983.

As an avid Mets fan I of course have been rooting against our new arch-rivals but the championship is something badly needed for Philly faithful so good for them. Plus it’s a fitting conclusion to a lousy season with a lousy World Series that really on a few people cared about.

The good thing about the season ending last night is it does not interfere with Halloween which of course is tomorrow. That’s the day when young children and teen-agers all across the country dress up in costumes and go trick or treating in their neighborhoods. Well that’s what takes place in just about all of America outside of Toms River and some of its surrounding communities. They of course trick or treat tonight because only in Toms River does a parade take precedence over what’s being done everywhere else in the country. So if you have just moved into the area be on alert that kids will expect candy today even though Halloween is tomorrow. If you are scratching your head over this one then ask a neighbor for an explanation although they will probably have trouble explaining it as well.

By the way there is no truth to the rumor that there are plans to start a new parade in Toms River on Christmas Day and all celebrations would then be moved to Christmas Eve

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Frustration Of Route 9

Anyone who drives Route 9 with any regularity in Ocean and Monmouth counties knows that much of the roadway is a nightmare for a variety of reasons and one of them was confirmed in a report released Tuesday. When it comes to pedestrian safety Route 9 in Ocean County is the third most dangerous road in the state based on statistics over a three-year period in which 8 pedestrians were killed while Route 9 in Monmouth County was ranked 7th.

These are not the kind of numbers that you brag about and it’s a sad reality that especially in large sections of Ocean County every trip on Route 9 has the potential to be a horror. The report just out yesterday only deals with pedestrian safety which also is a problem for drivers because too many people cross the roadway in places they should not. It puts an added burden on drivers who have enough problems trying to navigate a roadway that was not meant for the volume of traffic we have today. Actually this road has been out of date for decades and despite band-aid attempts it’s not much better and probably never will be.

If you want to get a true picture of how frustrating it is to drive Route 9 then during any busy time try and make a left turn coming out of a store in which you have to cross the road first. Forget it….you can drink a cup of coffee and read the newspaper quicker. Often you get so frustrated that you are forced to turn right onto the roadway and then make a left into a parking lot of some kind before turning around and finally heading in the direction you wanted all along.

Route 9 is lousy for a lot of reasons and we don’t need any reports to tell us that….just drive it daily.

The game time weather for the resumption of Game #5 of the World Series tonight in Philadelphia will be more like football weather. The forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 30’s with 15 MPH winds making it feel below freezing. This is no way to decide the best team in baseball.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Phillies Fans Wait




The city of Philadelphia and areas around it including South Jersey were poised for a tremendous celebration last night….one they have waited decades for. The Phillies took a 3-1 series lead into Game #5 of the World Series last night and with their ace Cole Hamels on the mound and an early 2-0 lead over visiting Tampa Bay the outcome seemed all but certain. Only Mother Nature could rain on a victory parade which was already planned for Wednesday…and she did.

The rains came and the euphoria of early evening began to change as the night wore on. By the time the 6th inning started the weather was simply awful and things got worse for the rain-drenched faithful that remained in their seats when the Rays tied the game. After the final out in the top of the 6th the umpires finally halted the game and ordered the tarp put on an infield which had already started to turn into mud. There would be no champagne corks popped on this night as for the first time in World Series history a game had been suspended. It will resume tonight (maybe) at 8:29 with the Phillies batting in the bottom of the 6th. However the forecast calls for a 40% chance of showers, heavy winds and 40 degree temperatures at game time…not exactly ideal for baseball.

Considering this city and its fans have not had a major sports championship of any kind in 25 years you’ll understand why they are wondering if the sports gods are not looking to spoil a party which seemed inevitable. Phillies fans always think of the glass as half-empty and now they are wondering if there’s anything in the glass, one which they planned on filling with champagne. If and when the game does resume it will become a battle of the bullpens and while Philly’s has been superb what if the Rays are able to win Game #5 and send the series back to Florida.

You see the Phillies are not just battling another team but years of falling short and disappointing a generation of fans who badly need that ultimate moment when they can finally call themselves champions. Was last night’s rain divine intervention or did it just prolong the wait for a city, team and fans poised for a great party? Stay tuned for further developments.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How To Lose A Vote

If you are undecided on Election Day choices for everything from President to local municipal races I have a suggestion which may help your decision-making. Vote for the candidates who did not come into your home uninvited and stay far too long. I’m not talking about the old-fashioned way they and their volunteers used to campaign when they would knock on your door and leave bumper stickers, a pencil and some literature. I’m talking about the electronic phone calls which frankly have me on edge and wanting to scream.

The other day I came home and saw I had three messages and all of them were from candidates or should I say were for them. There was even a message from one of the candidates’ children telling me why I should vote for her father. Are you kidding me…I had to listen to all three before I could delete them and the worst is you can’t even respond to a live person telling them to leave you alone. At least one did leave a phone number to call if I wanted more information on his campaign and for a moment I thought about it but was afraid I would just get a staffer who would read a list of talking points off index cards.

At least when you get junk in the mail you can just throw it away, you can tune out radio and TV commercials but these long-winded phone solicitations are just that and I don’t like being solicited on the phone. So if you want my vote don’t call or maybe try me once and once only because after that you’re in trouble.

On a somewhat related note I have noticed more and more businesses displaying signs on their property making it clear who they are voting for and wondering why. I mean if you’re in business you want to attract customers and I’ve got to believe some potential ones stay away if they strongly disagree with your choice. It does not matter who you are voting for there are many people picking the other guy so what’s to gain by making your feelings public. It just can’t be good for business.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Parity Hits The Shore

Usually by this point of the high school football season you have clearly separated the contenders from the pretenders when it comes to possible championships. Welcome to 2008 where parity has hit the Shore Conference like never before and 19 of the 43 teams are still alive for the six division titles and more than half could still qualify for the state playoffs.

More then in recent years there’s a feeling that there is no great team with only Asbury Park, Red Bank Catholic and Freehold undefeated heading into week #7. However there are plenty of good stories coming out of this season including turnarounds at schools like Central, Shore, Middletown North, and Raritan who were a combined 9-31 last year and so far this fall are 14-6.

Toms River North and Middletown South started the season as the consensus top two teams at the shore but both were upset in week one. Reports of their demise though were greatly exaggerated because led by strong defenses the Mariners and Eagles have not lost since that opening weekend. On the subject of defense, Southern, Ocean and RBC have all held their opponents to an average of three points per game and while that’s very impressive then there is Point Pleasant Boro. The Panthers have scored 114 points in five games and allowed just 3 and are not undefeated. Their four victories are all by shutout but in week two they lost at Manasquan 3-0…a defeat which will probably cost them the Shore National title to the Warriors. Don’t be surprised if the two border rivals meet again in the Central Jersey Group 2 Playoffs.

This weekend’s schedule features a host of big games including Neptune at Middletown South tonight which we’ll broadcast on the Shore Sports Network. Saturday’s top matchups find Lacey visiting Colts Neck, Ocean hosting Matawan and Toms River East battling Middletown North.

In this unpredictable season you never know what each weekend will bring but one thing you can be sure of is some good stories will be told on the field.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seasons Change

Summer officially ended more than a month ago but I really don’t go by the calendar to tell me when one season arrives and the other ends. First of all we really don’t have four equal seasons anymore but rather long summers and winters and short springs and falls. The Kevin Williams calendar says summer ends when Stewart’s Root Beer on Route 37 in Toms River closes which it has. It is now Fall or Autumn and that lasts until Thanksgiving when winter begins. The arrival of spring is debatable.

Mentally for me it starts with St. Patrick’s Day because I always feel when we get to that day
it signals better weather days are coming. Of course it’s usually followed with at least another month of weather which makes us wonder what happened to spring which really doesn’t begin until late April and is then over by Memorial Day which is the start of summer. Whether this new calendar is a result of global warming or not I will leave up to the so-called experts but I do know summer is over because Stewart’s is closed.

If that’s not enough the Water Garden and Koi Company closed my pond yesterday
which means no more hearing that soothing sound of the water running down the rocks. Don’t you kind of envy the fish that now go months without a care in the world although it’s got to be boring.

However as a post-script to all of this we could still experience “Indian Summer” although there’s confusion over this as well. Some will tell you that any prolonged stretch of 70 plus degree days after autumn arrives qualifies while others say official “Indian Summer” can’t take place until after the first frost arrives. Of course if you want to be politically-correct I guess you would have to call it “Native American Summer.”

On an unrelated matter….The AutoLenders High School Football Show will be a live broadcast tonight at Southwinds Restaurant on East Lacey Road in Forked River from 6-8pm. On location guests include coaches Vince Casale of Central and Rob Davis of Barnegat along with a couple of their players. The show airs on the Shore Sports Network, including 1160AM.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Baseball & The Chamber

The World Series finally opens tonight with the Phillies and Rays playing the first two games of the best-of-7 series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. There will certainly be many people in the Ocean County area rooting for the Phills including those that watched some of the teams current stars play for the Lakewood BlueClaws. BlueClaw alumni include tonight’s starting pitcher Cole Hamels, slugging first baseman Ryan Howard, catcher Carlos Ruiz and relief pitcher J.A. Haap. Lou Marson, who was called up from the minors in September will serve as the Phillies bullpen catcher during the series. He was the BlueClaws catcher when they won the South Atlantic League Championship in 2006.

The Phillies are trying to win their second World Series with the only other coming in 1980. Tampa Bay, in their 11th year of existence, had its first winning season this year. I like the Rays to win in 7 games but I’ve been wrong throughout the post-season so my opinion is pretty worthless.

On the subject of baseball, the Manchester Little League is holding a fundraising Texas Hold’Em Tournament this Saturday at the Toms River Elks Lodge on Washington Street in Toms River. Participation is limited and players must be 21 years old to attend. There will be ten cash prizes, including a first prize of $3000. For information you can call Pat Barry at
(732) 904-0795 and you should call him today. That’s (732) 904-0795.

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual membership drive today and tomorrow. During tough economic times it’s easy for businesses to look to cut items like Chamber membership but now more than ever they really need an advocate for them and that’s part of what we do. I say we because as Chairman I obviously believe very strongly in the work of our organization, much of which is done behind the scenes.
The mission of the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce is to advance and develop the commercial, professional, industrial, civic, cultural, recreational and general interest of the community while looking out for the interests of businesses.

While your business may get a phone call today about membership you don’t have to wait….call (732) 349-0220 and find out about our programs and why joining is a great investment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Support The Scudieris’ Fund

It seems like on an almost daily basis you hear a story about someone’s misfortune and it leaves you shaking your head wondering how unfair life seems to be. Just the other day I was given a flyer about an upcoming fundraiser and asked if I could get it mentioned on the radio. When I read all the details I knew I wanted to tell you about a couple from Toms River facing a daily double of hardships.

Diane and Harold Scudieri have lived in Toms River since getting married in 1982 and have raised four children with the youngest now a senior at High School East. Diane, a past president of the Dover Township Junior Women’s Club, was diagnosed with brain cancer five years ago. After three surgeries and many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation she is now undergoing therapy at home in order to recover. During this ordeal her husband Harold has been her strength but recently he was diagnosed with lung cancer and he is now undergoing chemotherapy which has him on disability from his job with the telecommunications department of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Friends and neighbors have gotten together and planned a fundraiser for the couple of Saturday, November 1st at Hemingway’s CafĂ© on the boulevard in Seaside Heights. The event will take place from 6-9pm and include a buffet dinner, DJ, gift auction and cash bar. Tickets are now on sale for $25 and organizers hope to raise some money to easy the stress on the Scudieri Family. For ticket information you can call Heidi Stover at (732) 270-5325.

If you would like to help out with a donation and cannot attend checks made out to “Support the Scudieris’ Fund” can be mailed to Stover at 958 Yellowbank Road in Toms River, 08753. There is nothing more precious than having friends and neighbors when you need them the most and Diane and Harold Scudieri know that for sure.

On an unrelated note my wife would like to thank those that supported “Team Booberang” in Sunday’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk in Point Pleasant Beach. A special thanks to my WOBM family for their support as the team raised more than $3500 so one day our daughters will never have to worry about this dreaded disease.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Remembering "Mr. Maze"


A little of this and a little of that on a Monday morning:

So the Phillies will open the World Series in St. Petersburg, Florida and not Boston. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 3-1 in the 7th and deciding game of the American League Championship Series last night and will host the first two games of the World Series Wednesday and Thursday Night at Tropicana Field. Philly last won a World Series in 1980 and for Tampa Bay this of course is all new…they never had a winning season before this year.

It’s not unusual to be attending an event with a large crowd during election season and get word that a candidate is in attendance. So with over 110,000 people at Saturday’s Michigan-Penn State football game in State College, PA. it was an opportunity to get in some politicking for the Republican National ticket in the parking lot a couple of hours before kickoff. However seeing Sarah Palin’s husband Todd was not enough to get me to leave the comfort of my tailgating location.

For all the talk about how the Jets are so much better with Brett Favre at quarterback they lost to the Raiders in overtime Sunday and are just 3-3….can you say “same old Jets.”

From the “Big Picture Department.” Steven Sprague was 28-years old, married to his high school sweetheart Nikki and enjoying life as the father of a six-month old daughter Abigail. His life ended way too early on Thursday when he was working a construction project on the New Jersey Turnpike and he was hit by a car in which the driver fell asleep. The loss is a tragic one to so many….the Sprague, Madden and Hibbs families and the love for all of them was displayed Sunday when hundreds turned out at Anderson and Campbell Funeral Home in Toms River. A funeral mass will be held Wednesday at 10:30AM at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

Tom Maciaszek worked at WOBM from somewhere in the early 70’s
until 2006 and did just about everything. He voice was familiar on both ourFM & AM stations and he was radio’s ultimate utility man. Sadly “Mr. Maze” passed away over the weekend. Funeral arrangements are still being made and we will let you know when details are available

Friday, October 17, 2008

Big Night In Ram Country

The Southern Regional football program has been here before… a chance to win a game with championship ramifications that could put them on top of heap. It was only last November that the Rams hosted Toms River North in the final American Division game of the season with the winner to claim the title. Goldberger Memorial Field was packed with anxious and long-suffering fans wanting to celebrate that elusive outright Shore Conference division title but on that fall evening 50 weeks ago the Mariners spoiled the party 17-7. The teams would actually meet a few weeks later in the state sectional semifinals and this time it was a rout….North won 33-0 and the following week would complete a perfect season with the South Jersey Group 4 Championship.

So here we are again with one notable exception. Southern is the higher ranked team and the one chasing perfection after posting wins over Pinelands, Brick Memorial, Freehold Township and Jackson. The Mariners opened the season as the top-ranked team at the shore but stumbled in a season-opening loss at Middletown North. But they’ve rebounded from that non-conference setback and have been very impressive in wins over Manalapan, Howell and Brick Memorial.

Both teams are 3-0 in the Shore American and despite having two division games left after tonight whoever leaves the field victorious will have all but clinched a title. This is nothing new to North as they’ve got quite a few displayed on their scoreboard at Gernerd Field. However in Manahawkin the only football crown ever won in the history of the school came when they tied Wall and Asbury Park for the then Class C title in 1972. That was when Southern was a fairly small school and well before any of tonight’s players were even born.

Ram country is now big country as are players like Glenn Carson, Anthony Stroffolino, Mike Bonsky and Steve Sibona. They’ve played together for years dreaming of the opportunity which comes tonight. They will battle the likes of Mike Henry, Brian Newman, Evan Regas and Matt Sura who have tasted titles before and like the flavor.

However only one team can emerge victorious and after nudging the door last year Southern finally kicks it in tonight.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Phillies Win!


As tough as it is I must give credit to the Phillies for taking care of the Dodgers and advancing to the World Series for the first time in fifteen years. (Jimmy Rollins holds the National League Championship trophy in above photo). Obviously we have a number of Phills fans in this area and this is a big deal for them because they are accustomed to failure and disappointment and now they find themselves in the series for just the sixth time going back to
1903. The Phillies lost in 1915, 1950, 1983 and 1993 and won their only championship in 1980 but they’re now just four wins away from ending years of frustration for not just the franchise but the city. The NBA’S 76ers were the last major team to win a championship in Philadelphia and that comes out to 100 seasons of no title for the Phills, Sixers, Eagles and Flyers. Is the streak about to end or will Philly fans again have their hearts broken?

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce hosted the two major candidates for the 3rd District Congressional seat during a luncheon Wednesday. Democratic State Senator John Adler and Republican Medford Mayor Chris Myers spoke to chamber members and answered questions focused on the economic situation in Ocean County. Both were very impressive and agreed on many of the issues, especially those facing the business community during these rough times.

In speaking with people I have come to one conclusion about the Presidential election. Just about everyone is looking forward to November 5th, the day after Election Day.

It looks like our stretch of above-average warm days will come to an end today with the weekend looking very much like a fall weekend. Highlighting the weekend will be a much-anticipated football game Friday night between Southern and Toms River North. We will preview that game in depth tonight on the “AutoLenders High School Football Show” which airs from 6-8pm on the Shore Sports Network, including 1160 WOBM AM.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

On Sunday thousands of people across the state will be walking to raise dollars and awareness to fight breast cancer in New Jersey. “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks will take place in Point Pleasant Beach and five other locations in New Jersey and they are among the American Cancer Society’s biggest events of the year. These walks are a true example of communities coming together to educate, inform, celebrate and pay tribute
to those who have beaten the disease as well as those who lost brave battles.

If you participate or attend the Making Strides in Point Pleasant Beach you will be awed by the number of teams walking, often identifiable by nicknames of the back of their shirts. Most of the walkers will be wearing blue tee-shirts but the ones who will really stand out are those in pink as these are breast cancer survivors, whose battles have inspired others to join them in the fight against this horrible disease.

“Team Booberang” (yes that’s right) grows each year and Sunday about 50 will be walking under that banner. The woman in pink will be my wife Jane,
a breast cancer survivor who organizes a group of family, friends and co-workers from Manchester Township High School to walk and raise money and hope that some day there will be no such thing as breast cancer. It’s a disease that touches so many and I don’t think I realized it until after my wife went through her ordeal. Now it seems like I’ve run into hundreds who have been impacted, directly or indirectly and while progress is being made there is a long way to go.

Sunday will be an emotional day for many because there will be teams walking for loved ones lost as well as those who are now called survivors. Those tears of sadness are comforted by the fact that there are more tears of joy all the time as women get the message that early detection and prevention are the keys along with raising money for research. If you’re in Point Pleasant Beach for Making Strides on Sunday look for the pink shirts because they are what gives everyone hope.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Men & The Supernatural

As we get closer to Halloween there is a greater focus on the supernatural,
something I have no interest in and frankly don’t believe exists. My fellow men gave their thoughts on the subject in “The Average Guy” section of this month’s Men’s Health magazine and here are some stats and results:

· 50% of men believe spooks really exist.
· 33% say they’ve actually seen some kind of ghost.
· 20% think it’s possible to communicate with the dead.
· 1 in 6 say they have received advice from a spirit and
1 in 3 of those say they have acted on that advice.
* 90% of men say they’re convinced that psychics are frauds
but almost half of them become believers if their wives or
girlfriends disappear and they need help finding them.
· The average guy explains ESP as a “Lucky Hunch.”
· 80% of us men believe there are rational explanations for
all “supernatural” occurrences.
· Despite all of this 40% hesitate a second before heading down
into a dark basement.
· 10% of men say their psyches can’t handle horror movies and the
scariest supernatural flicks include The Exorcist, The Ring, The Amityville Horror and The Sixth Sense. What happened to Night
Of the Living Dead?
· 64% of men would like to haunt the planet after they die.
· 40% believe both people and objects can be cursed and 90% say
their lives took a step in the positive direction after they threw-out
a bad luck charm.
* Lastly the special power that most men would like to have is time
travel followed closely by invisibility which he would like to test
out in Scarlett Johansson’s bedroom. Typical male response.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Random Thoughts


So today is Columbus Day which for many people simple means a day off from work or school. It’s a shame the significance of the holiday is lost on many as it’s truly very special for a certain segment of the population and no I don’t mean Italian-Americans, some of whom who observe the day as a celebration of their heritage. Today is especially important to those with a poor sense of direction as it gives them hope because after all we are celebrating an explorer who was trying to find a new naval route to India but instead found the American continent.

For Rutgers to have a winning football season they would have to win their final six games which is highly unlikely. Following a loss at Cincinnati Saturday the Scarlet Knights are 1-5 and much of the progress achieved the last three seasons by Coach Greg Schiano has all but been forgotten. The big red “R” looks very small right now.

I guess some Jets fans are buying into the theory that when their team wears those old throwback uniforms (above) they win football games so why stop now. The answer is because the uniforms are hideously ugly and the wins are because the Jets might be better then the lousy teams they’ve played.

We brought a care package of stuff to my son’s Jersey City apartment yesterday and because it was such a nice day ended up taking the PATH into New York City. The economy may be suffering but tourism did not seem to be with the city jammed with visitors, many taking advantage of a three-day weekend and it was a banner day for double-decker tour busses. I’m always amazed when walking around Times Square the number of different languages you will hear spoken.

The countdown is on for Friday night’s football game between Toms River North and Southern in Manahawkin. This one has all kinds of championship implications and we will broadcast it on the Shore Sports Network.