Friday, May 29, 2009

Sports & Consolidation

Consolidation and mergers….it’s a clear sign of the times. In just the last couple of days OceanFirst Bank announces it will merge with Central Jersey Bank with OceanFirst to become an even bigger banking force in the shore area. Most of their 23 branches are in Ocean County while 12 of Central Jersey’s 13 branches are in Monmouth County. Then comes news Meridian Health is going forward with plans to merge with Southern Ocean Health System in Manahawkin. Meridian already owns Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune. And at the same time struggling high-end toy retailer FAO Schwartz has been bought and bailed out by Toys R Us. Like I said….a sign of the times.

The Monmouth University baseball team opens play tonight in the NCAA Division 1 Championships against the University of Mississippi, the #8 ranked team in the nation. The Hawks, who won the Northeast Conference Championship last week are in Oxford, Mississippi for the game against the Rebels. The 64-team tournament opens at 16 sites around the country with Monmouth and Ole Miss being joined by Missouri and Western Kentucky. Junior Brad Brach will start tonight for Monmouth with another junior Ryan Buch to pitch tomorrow in the double-elimination tournament.

The Jackson Memorial High School Athletic Department will hold their Spring Sports Awards Night on Monday at 6:30pm in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The evening will include the induction of Greg Archer into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. A 1971 graduate, Archer was a standout in both basketball and baseball, earning 4 varsity letters in each sport. He led the basketball team to a division title as a senior where he was a 2nd team All-Shore selection. In the spring he was named the Ocean County Coaches Baseball Player of the Year. After playing basketball and tennis at-then Glassboro State College, Archer returned to Jackson Memorial as a teacher and coach until retiring five years ago.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Back To The Locker Room

Returning to my roots a bit today I pass along some local sports news:

Jackson Memorial and CBA advanced to the championship game of the Shore Conference Baseball Tournament with semifinal wins yesterday.
The top-seeded Jaguars beat St. Rose 5-1 behind the pitching of Pete Kelich and a two-run homer from Brandon Adams. Meanwhile second-seeded CBA ousted Toms River North 4-1 to set up the championship showdown with Jackson next Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Park. The Mariners still have quite a bit to play for as they host Cherokee tomorrow in the South Jersey Group 4 finals. Point Pleasant Beach will also aim for a state sectional baseball crown when they visit Brearly Friday.

The softball teams from Toms River East and Central have reached state sectional finals after collecting victories Wednesday. Freshman Corey Schwartz drove in four runs and Lyndsey PeQueen tossed a 5-hitter as the Raiders blanked Cherokee 8-0 to move into the South Jersey Group 4 title game at top-seed Williamstown tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile Central’s
Katelyn Pepper allowed just one hit as the Golden Eagles beat Kingsway 4-1
and will now host Delsea tomorrow in the South Jersey Group 3 final.

Rumson-Fair Haven won the team title at the Shore Conference Girls Golf Championship at Fort Monmouth but Ocean County golfers took the top three individual spots. Toms River North’s Sung Song shot an 87 to win the title by three shots over Kelsi Kavanagh of Point Boro and Manchester’s Alex Pomar.

Onto the tennis courts where Toms River North edged Toms River South to win the Ocean County Boys Tournament for the third straight year. The Mariners got individual titles from Connor Lisco at first singles and the second doubles team of Nick Thistle and Matt Haimowitz.

A couple of high school football coaching vacancies were filled this week. Longtime Point Pleasant Beach wrestling Coach Steve Sasse will now double as the Garnett Gulls football coach as well. At Holmdel Frank Papalia is promoted from assistant to head coach where he replaces Andy Carlstrom, who was one of several non-tenured teachers laid off. Papalia previously coached at Central Regional, his alma mater.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where Have You Gone Manners & Respect?

Simon and Garfunkel once asked in a song, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio”? I ask today, “Where have you gone manners and respect”? It’s a question that should be posed to a younger generation that far too often shows little or no respect for their elders. Case in point, my 80 plus year-old mother is walking on a sidewalk when she approaches a group of teen-agers who are hanging out. They have done nothing wrong but are taking up the entire walkway as my mother approaches. Simple etiquette would be for the group to move to allow the older person (or any person for that matter) to continue walking on the sidewalk. However they don’t consider moving and expect my mother to walk around them which she does with complete disdain.

I would like to believe if that were many years ago and I was among the teenagers gathered we would have automatically moved and let an elder walk through. I would also like to believe my children would do the same but many teens today have little or no respect for those who have been around longer than they have. It’s not just with actions like I just described but also how they speak. I was reminded yesterday by someone in my age group how we always addressed an elder with Mr. or Mrs. or Miss….whatever was appropriate. Even though I am in my 50’s there are still those who I refer to in that manner even when they insist I call them by their first name. It’s a sign of respect that was commonplace but seems to have been lost in our very informal society. This is not a life or death issue but rather more one I would describe as right and wrong. Young people should automatically have a certain amount of respect for their elders, especially if those people hold authority positions like a teacher or police officer. Yet today more and more young people not only disrespect authority figures but have no fear over any ramifications.

So who is to blame for this growing trend? It has to fall on the shoulders of parents who too often have not instilled respect in their children at a young age as a given, not an option. Maybe if they did my mother would have been able to continue walking on the sidewalk instead of around a group that probably never even gave a thought to moving.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coming Off The Long Weekend

This Memorial Day weekend came with a bonus….better than expected weather. With the exception of some late Sunday night thunderstorms for some in Ocean County it was a pretty nice start to the summer season and one which allowed for any planned outdoor activities. Yesterday was probably the nicest day and kept visitors at the shore which of course led to the usual late Sunday traffic jams heading north. For many that’s a small price to pay for getting to walk on the beach for the first time and dip your toes in the very cool Atlantic Ocean. That always brings to mind one of my favorite “true” stories from many years ago when two young boys pointing in the direction of the ocean ask a lifeguard if that’s the Atlantic or Pacific. When the lifeguard responds with the obvious answer one boy proudly says to the other, “I told you that was the Atlantic Ocean….the Pacific is all the way down by Wildwood.”
Some things you just can’t make up.

If you’ve watched any of the NBA Playoff series between the Lakers and Nuggets you’re probably well aware of Denver’s J.R. Smith, who scored 24 points last night as the Nuggets evened the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece. The 23-year old Smith played high school basketball and football at Lakewood High School before transferring to St. Benedict’s Prep. A dynamic offensive player at times he averaged a career-high 15 points per game this season. I broadcast several of his high school games and used to say that he started shooting when he got off the bus. J.R. went right from high school to the NBA and has had his share of off-the-court issues.

He’s been dubbed “Mr. Ocean County” for his years of service and Thursday night he will be honored by the Rotary Club of Toms River at the Legend Lounge in Toms River. Jack Lamping’s list of contributions reads like a book and he was among the citizens who helped create the Ocean County Historical Society in 1950. Congratulations Jack!

The Toms River High School South Class of 1979 is looking for classmates for their 30-year Reunion Weekend from August 7-9. Members of the class are asked to reach out to reunion organizers at

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

(Hometown View returns on Tuesday, May 26)

While it won’t be nearly as nice this Memorial Day as it was last year hopefully the weekend will provide a major jumpstart to the summer season at the Jersey Shore. This appears to be a year when nobody really knows what to expect as far as tourism is concerned. Will the shaky economy mean more people will stay close to home and visit our beaches instead of going to places far away? Or will that same economy result in people simply staying home and not heading anywhere? Nobody seems to know although some real estate agents fear it could be a miserable summer for rentals which would have major ramifications on a lot of businesses. Those who rent for a week or more spend money in many different places and spread dollars around. However if it’s a summer filled with day-trippers it means they’ll not only wait for a nice day to make a trip but probably will do all they can to limit their spending.

If past form holds up though this should be a very good weekend for many
businesses and merchants. In many cases Memorial Day is the biggest weekend of the year as out-of-towners flock to beach towns, boardwalks and amusement areas. This year does bring a bit of a bonus…the longest possible summer. Memorial Day is as early as it can be and Labor Day is as late as possible so there are 16 weekends during the season. Here’s hoping most of them are filled with sunshine and visitors because we could sure use plenty of both.

On a somewhat related note. While this weekend is mostly dominated by good things like the beach, barbeques and the like we should pause for a moment to think of those who made the ultimate sacrifice which allows us to have a good time. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our nation and they should not be forgotten.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Little Bit Of This & That

A little of this and a little of that on a Thursday morning and let’s start with my brilliant prediction that Kris Allen would win American Idol. It simply comes down to knowing who voters across the country are likely to favor
and I nailed this one….adult women carried Kris to victory. Of course if past history is correct the future might be brighter for runner-up Adam Lambert as winning does not guarantee a long successful career.

Last week I spoke with an expert on oil pricing and he told me that he thought the price of gasoline at the pumps was close to where it would max out…at least for this year. Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service in Wall said its possible prices will even decrease over the summer and predictions of $3.00 per gallon prices are simply unfounded. The average price of gas at the shore is $2.19 per gallon which is quite a bit lower than the $3.66 we were paying at this time a year ago.

What baseball fans sometimes forget is that the season is a long one and just about all teams will go through peaks and valleys. Take for example the Yankees and Mets. A little more than a week ago Yankee fans were down in the dumps over their team which was under .500 and looking very lethargic. Alex Rodriguez returns to the lineup and all of a sudden the Yanks have won 8 in-a-row and look like a different team. The Mets meanwhile were riding high as a 7-game winning streak moved them into first place in the NL East. But injuries and poor play have them losing 4 straight and now their fans are seeking psychiatric help. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The semifinals of the Shore Conference Baseball Tournament are set with top-seeded Jackson Memorial to face St. Rose and #2 seed C.B.A. to face Toms River North next week. The championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3rd at FirstEnergy Park, the home of the Lakewood BlueClaws.

I finally got to watch the season-finale of “24” last night and I did not like the ending at all….so many loose ends. But of course I’ll be back next season to see how Jack Bauer manages to get out of this mess.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kris or Adam?

Odds makers have installed Adam Lambert as the 1-3 favorite to be named the next “American Idol” tonight and if you wanted to make a wager on Kris Allen to win you would get odds of 3-1. This of course would be in places where gambling is legal, like Las Vegas and London and if were in either place I’d drop a couple of bucks on Allen to win in an upset.

For those of you who do not watch “Idol” the two finalists are as different as night and day (borrowing a line from the Patty Duke Show). Lambert is a
26-year old from Hollywood, California who has jet black hair and at times is pretty much over the top in appearance. No question he is a terrific singer
but to some he’s a bit dark and eerie, although he’s a favorite of young girls.
Allen is a 23-year old from Conway, Arizona who is more the kind of guy a mother would want her daughter to bring home. He was not expected to be in the final group but his ability to not only sing but play the piano and guitar has impressed many over the final stretch of this five-month competition.

I’m one who really only watched “American Idol” in the past during the early audition portion because I found it to be amusing. Once it got down to the serious singers I did not pay much attention but for some reason have joined the millions who pretty much devote two nights a week to the show especially in April & May. I have not nor will I ever cast a vote by phone or text message but if I did I would vote for Kris…he’s just more likeable.

However here is why I think he will be the surprise winner later tonight. While everyone assumes its teen-age girls who watch and vote I think it’s more likely their mothers who will decide the winner and moms like Kris more, including my wife who has touted him from the beginning. Plus I’ve got to figure in the more conservative mid-west Adam will not play well…too much weirdness.

So in an upset I’m going with Kris Allen which based on my past predictions is good news for those who like Adam…I don’t get these right too often. Here is one thing I can guarantee….judge Paula Abdul will cry no matter who wins and proclaim the greatest Idol ever. That one you can take to the bank.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Non Productive Monday

Most of Monday was not a very productive day here in the office for a rather simple reason…we had no access to the Internet. I don’t know all the details except the problem had to do with our Internet Service Provider or ISP for those who know the language…I don’t but somebody told me. Anyway from early in the morning until early in the afternoon we could not get on the internet and in some cases that caused a tremendous inconvenience.

I tell you this to simply make a point as to how dependent we are on computer technology and how a business can be brought to their knees when they can’t get what we now take for granted. I used to kid around about being the last person to use a typewriter here but that pretty much worked all the time and when one broke for some reason you could use another. Now whenever there is any computer issue it causes chaos in the office to the point where people leave to go work at home because there is nothing they can do without their computer and access to things like the internet.

This also applies to individuals and can especially be troublesome for those who are regular procrastinators. Say you have a project due in the morning that you waited to complete the night before. You try and log onto your computer and quickly realize there is a problem. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s your provider or even an issue with your computer…all you know is you are looking at a blank screen and the clock is ticking. It’s too late to do anything but hope and pray that soon you will be able to do what you need to but you know longer control the situation.

For that reason I have decided that I should write my Hometown Views in advance instead of what I do most of the time….wait until the last possible second and race to make a deadline and get them on the air. Truth is it sounds good but who has time and after all we’re not due for another problem for………….well you get the picture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Career Day

I could not tell you how many times I’ve served as a Master of Ceremonies
or Guest Speaker over nearly thirty years but it’s got to be well over several hundred. I can tell you that one of my favorite invitations was to speak at the ceremonies welcoming in the new members of the National Honor Society at Toms River High School South a few years ago. I remember kidding that I don’t often get asked to speak at events that celebrate achievements in the classroom but rather usually ones that celebrate who did well on the football field or basketball court. Well tonight I’ll be back at High School South when they induct the newest members into the Indian Chapter of the NHS. However I won’t be speaking but listening as my daughter Alex is one of the students being honored tonight and I’m looking forward to applauding her efforts along with those of her fellow classmates.

I participated in East Dover Elementary School’s 11th Annual Career Day this past Friday and tomorrow will be a presenter at Forked River Elementary School’s 4th Annual Career Day. While I’ve never yet met an elementary school student who wanted to work in radio I do enjoy listening to an 8 or 11 year olds take on jobs and careers. Professional athletes, Veterinarians, singers and actors, artists and police officers are among the popular choices.

Belated congratulations to Toms River South baseball coach Ken Frank on winning his 700th career game on Friday when the Indians won the Ocean County Baseball Tournament for a record 11th time. It got me thinking that Ocean County is home to three incredibly successful high school coaches.

Recently-retired Brick Township football coach Warren Wolf and current Green Dragons Ice Hockey coach Bob Auriemma are the winningest coaches in New Jersey history in their respective sports. Frank, who won his 701st game on Saturday is third on the all-time list among state baseball coaches and at age 62 shows no signs of letting up.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Stuff

Nearly 200 people gathered at The View Restaurant at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood last night for the 46th Annual Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce Gala. The event serves as the installation of new officers on the Board of Directors while also honoring outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions to the area.

The Distinguished Citizen of the Year is retired Assignment Judge of the Ocean County Superior Court Eugene Serpentelli. The longtime Brick resident delivered an acceptance speech that poked fun at his alleged old age as he was forced to retire from the bench nearly two years ago when he reached the age of 70. He is currently a partner in Benchmark Resolution Services which provides mediation, arbitration and case management services to members of the Bar and public. Gene also spoke about citizenship and its importance and the eloquence of his words made you quickly understand why he was held is such high regard as a judge by fellow attorneys as well as others in his courtroom.

The Presbyterian Church of Toms River was honored as this year’s Organization of the Year and accepting on their behalf was Rev. Dr. David Joynt. More than just a church they have contributed much to the community including the building of the House of Hope, a project that saw them donate the land, finance the construction costs and pay the mortgage. The facility provides expertise and guidance to individuals navigating the social service network. Dr. Joynt spoke about the great team he has at the church and its active membership which supports many causes and takes pride in its place in the community.

As you have no doubt heard previously last night also saw me pass to gavel to Pat Blake and officially end my tenure as Chairman of the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. I was the 54th person to hold this position, joining a list that includes the late Joe Citta, Harvey York, Bob Novy and more recently Gary Lotano, Matt Smith, Bob Shea, Mike Ritacco and Jim DeAngelis. Not a bad group to be associated with

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Random Thursday Thoughts

Random thoughts on a Thursday morning which is somewhat significant for me because tonight is the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce 46th Annual Gala at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. It will make my swansong as Chairman as I will pass to gavel to Patricia Blake-Flum of Sylvan Learning Center. I’m sure you’ll hear more on this tomorrow.

The Ocean Road School PTO will hold a fundraiser tonight for their “Project 5th Grade” at Ferrara’s in Point Pleasant Beach. The evening will feature a
three-course meal plus comedy entertainment and there are still tickets for the event which runs from 7-10pm. Call (732) 714-1786.

Its cops versus cops to help a young girl in Jackson Friday night. The Jackson Township Police and the New Jersey State Police will square off in a flag football game to benefit Chelsey Thomas who was critically injured in a car accident. The game will be played at the Jackson Pop Warner Holman Field on Manhattan Street with the event beginning at 6pm and the game itself starting at 7:30. There will be food, door prizes and a DJ with a $10 admission for adults and either $7 or $5 for children.

The Beachwood Soccer Club is now holding registration for the fall season and the next sign-up will be Sunday from 9:30-11:30 at the soccer complex on Berkeley Avenue. Children born before September 30th, 2005 can register and for more information visit

The more things change the more they remain the same. Toms River North and Toms River South will meet in the finals of the Ocean County Baseball Tournament Friday night at Toms River High School East. While Jackson Memorial has been the dominant team at the shore this spring it’s the Mariners and defending champion Indians meeting for the title. South has won the OCT a record ten times under Coach Ken Frank.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Brick Coaching Saga

It is a story that will not have a happy ending….regardless of the outcome.
From all appearances the Brick Township Board of Education will soon hire Patrick Dowling as a teacher and the successor to Warren Wolf as head football coach of the Green Dragons. That move could come at a special meeting tomorrow night. Last night the Township Council cut nearly a half-million dollars from the defeated school budget at a meeting which saw Wolf and about 100 of his supporters question the decision to hire someone from outside the Brick community as just the second coach in school history.

The 81-year old legend retired after 51 seasons and publically and privately requested that his replacement be a “Brick boy.” Despite that Superintendent Walter Hrycenko selected Dowling to take over the storied football program although he has not been officially hired. Dowling was the head coach at Allentown last season and before that coached at Monroe and would also fill an opening in the Special Education department.

As word has leaked out over the past few weeks Wolf and his supporters have been vocal critics of the superintendent and school board for not giving the job to longtime assistant coach Len Zdanowicz, who is already established as a teacher and coach in the high school. Wolf has gone as far as rescinding his retirement and saying he would return to the sidelines, a move that received no comment at the most recent Board meeting. As a longtime fan and admirer of Coach Wolf I would hope that move was made to simply drive home a point because I do think he retired at the right time.

Last night’s Council meeting did not include any school officials and was simply an opportunity for the pro-Wolf side to show their support once again. The Council did unanimously approve a resolution urging the school board to hire from within when it is practical but that is more a statement then a mandate.

It is disappointing that this story has gotten to this point because again no matter what it will not end on a happy note. If and when Dowling is named it will likely mean Wolf goes into hibernation where as a Brick boy getting the job would have kept him around as the “grand old man.” Meanwhile Dowling deserves a better fate….its tough enough to replace a legend but to do so under these circumstances is more than anyone should be asked. Stay tuned…more in future reports.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let's Be Careful Out There

Tis the season for proms and graduations…a time that his exciting and fun and filled with pride and accomplishment. It is also a time that especially for parents brings about concern and fear. Does it not seem that just about every year at this time we read or hear about a tragedy associated with a prom or graduation? It’s just a matter of the location but there will be a story (or more) about a fatal car crash that involved students or one about a party that ended on a sad note. The odds are pretty good that it will not be in this area but to be honest if not this year there will be a time that it will be right here. While nobody ever likes to think it will affect them why won’t it be your son or my daughter?

We as parents tell our teen-agers time and time again to be careful and of course they always assure us they will. But we also know all too well that decision-making often becomes cloudy during times like proms and graduations when alcohol often enters the picture. It does not matter who they hear it from there are a percentage of teen-agers who will feel to need to associate these exciting times with drinking. Again we parents would like to believe it won’t be our children but there is no guarantee because we can’t be with them all the time. All we can hope is that we’ve instilled in them the belief that sound decision-making is more important than peer pressure.

Part of being a teen-ager is making mistakes and learning from them and as adults we’ve been there before and have made some of the mistakes our children do. But we not only want to limit those mistakes we want them to simply be associated with growing up. Somewhere over these next few weeks you will hear about a story in which the youngsters involved do not get a second chance and you will feel terrible for their families and wonder how they will deal with the pain. That’s why when the kids go out the door we’ll say “be careful” and pray they take those words to heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Recap

Random thoughts and notes on a Monday morning:

If Valentine’s Day is the biggest holiday for florists than Mother’s Day has to be the biggest for florists AND garden centers. It seemed like every garden center is the area was jammed on Sunday with brisk sales of flowers, hanging baskets, plants…you name it. My wife got a gift certificate from her favorite place for Mother’s Day and we returned yesterday to pick out what she wanted and then it was home for an afternoon of planting. Let me be clear….she does the planting. I watched the Mets win their 7th in-a-row.

It’s been a while since we checked up on the progress of Toms River’s Frazier Brothers as they try and make it to the Major Leagues. Todd is with the Cincinnati Reds Double-A team in Zebulon, North Carolina…the Carolina Mudcats. Now playing in the outfield, the 23-year old is batting .284 with 12 doubles and 13 RBI’s in 29 games. Todd recently hit his first home run of the season and remains a very highly regarded prospect who could be in Cincinnati late this season when the rosters expand and is ticketed for regular duty in the majors in 2010 or 2011. As for Jeff it’s been an up-and-down spring that is now very up. The 26-year old outfielder had a strong 2008 at Triple-A Toledo (Tigers) but started this season at the Double-A level in Erie. After batting .322 thought he was promoted to Toledo late last week and in his first two games had five hits in eight at-bats. That good news made for a good Mother’s Day for Joan Frazier, who while missing the two boys knows this is a crucial time for both of them.

After all that rain last week when the nice weather finally came it brought pollen a plenty. Piles and piles of the stuff which makes it very difficult for some who suffer this time of year and can’t wait for when the stuff is all gone. It is welcome news for the car wash industry because it seems to keep your car clean you have to wash it just about every day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Karaoke Night

There comes a defining moment in your career which really sums up just about everything and for me it might have come last night. I was at the Crab’s Claw Inn in Lavallette to judge the finals of their Karaoke Contest, which has been going on every Wednesday for the last several months.
At a point early in the evening I was introduced to one of the other judges in the following manner….”this is Kevin Williams and he is our celebrity judge tonight” to which the women I was meeting responded with “what makes you a celebrity?” If that doesn’t let you know that you belong in Lavallette on a Wednesday night what else will.

All kidding aside last night was about the contestants who frequent the popular restaurant and bar every Wednesday and take the stage in all shapes and sizes and levels of talent. I always pretty much thought of Karaoke as really bad singers who got up only after several drinks or because their friends forced them into it. Not at the Crabs Claw where the regulars put a lot of time and effort into not only singing but having outfits to match their songs and even dance.

I was recruited as a judge by Aileen & Becky who explained to me that what I was looking for was a combination of singing, stage presence and audience participation. Dave from Karaoke on Fire warmed the crowd up by singing but it doesn’t take long before people get up on stage and belt out their favorites. Last night featured performances by pretty much the top eight or so from the last few months and then it was time for host Cindy Dotoli to introduce the final three who we would be judging. There was Judy Mekles and Greg Walls of Lavallette and Kim Spinelli from Toms River and they all had plenty of supporters. Both ladies were very good and in truth had better voices than Greg but he put on a show that could not be overlooked. Wearing a white Travolta-like suit from “Saturday Night Fever” he belted out Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” and was simply sensational. The packed crowed went crazy as he sang, danced and strutted. I don’t think anyone was surprised later when it was announced that the 30-year old was the winner of the $1000 first prize. Kim was the runner up and collected $250 and Judy got $100 for her efforts. Today they go back to their regular lives but as Dave the DJ said “we’re here every Wednesday until the end of time….or I get fired.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kevin Does Pilates

Several weeks ago one of our Account Executives asked me if I would consider Pilates and then do commercials for the exercise program on the radio. Of course two things came to my mind….what exactly is Pilates and what if I hated them or it? The answer to the first part is it’s a program of exercise and movement that will stretch, strengthen and balance your entire body. The name itself comes from Joseph Pilates who originally created the concept during World War I to rehabilitate injured soldiers. As for the second part….well that’s not an easy answer.

Pilates By The Bay is a 1,500 square foot studio in Downtown Toms River
and is not to be confused with a gym. The place is private and peaceful and filled with all kinds of equipment that to be very honest was completely foreign to me. Having no idea what to expect I met Dana who is the Director and Senior Instructor. My first 60-minute session was as much an introduction as anything else to not just the equipment but the concept and I quickly found out my body was being asked to do things it had not done in a long time….if ever. Pilates is not an aerobic workout but is very challenging. After my first session I was non-committal about the entire thing…I just wasn’t sure. Well each time I have gone back I’ve enjoyed it….if you can enjoy having your body stretched and twisted and pushed in many different ways. Dana and Patty have both been extremely patient although I think they enjoy having a 53-year old man to beat up as most of their clients are women.

On that subject. Since I have been doing commercials for Pilates By The Bay many people have commented by saying they can’t believe I am actually doing this. I reply with something like, do you know what the Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Bucs and Milwaukee Brewers all have in common? No, not just that they are professional sports teams but they all use Pilates as part of their strength and conditioning programs. See, real men do Pilates and I am a real man….sort of.

On an unrelated note I will be one of the judges for tonight’s finale of the Crabs Claw Inn’s $1000 Karaoke contest. Greg Walls (Lavallette), Judy Mekles (Lavallette) and Kim Spinelli (Toms River) are competing for the top prize.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Average Guy: Criminal Misconduct

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed the findings of “The Average Guy” a monthly segment in Men’s Health magazine which reveals the thoughts of men on a variety of topics. This month’s was about our criminal misconduct over the years although that’s a bit of a stretch. Anyway here goes:

• 1 in 5 men will have a roadside discussion with a police office this
year and those that cop an attitude are most likely to get a ticket
instead of a warning.
• 70% of us admit to having spray-painted, egged or toilet papered
property when we were juveniles and among them about 40%
got nailed for the vandalism. 60% of us also said we have shop-
lifted on at least one occasion in our lifetime.
• The average guy says Bank Robbery is the crime he would commit
if he knew he could get away with it followed by speeding.
• 1 in 2 men said they have seen flashing lights in their rearview
mirror and briefly thought about trying to make a run for it.
• For every woman who gets a ticket for not wearing her seat belt,
three men are cited for the same violation.
• About 50% of us dreamed of being cops when we were kids.
• 5 in 6 men said they would lie to the police to protect their family.
• About 30% said they have spent a night in jail.
• 50% said they steal Wi-Fi Internet access from someone in their
• The most common first names among boys who commit crimes
are Luke, Walter & Preston and those with the name Michael are
least likely to be juvenile offenders.
* Among the TV cops the average guy would want to be his arresting
officer are Heather Locklear (TJ Hooker), Mariska Hargitay (Law
& Order, SVU) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer). I guess the
average guy is too you young to remember Angie Dicksinson in
Police Woman.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainy Weekend

This was certainly not the weekend for outdoor events but the Berkeley Little League was able to dedicate the new Volunteer Community Center
at their complex on Moorage Avenue Saturday as part of a day-long celebration that saw the 1984 Central Regional High School baseball team inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. The day was a combination of new and old. The new was the state-of-the-art facility which was a joint effort between the Township and Little League and survived many bumps in the road to get completed. The old was the coming together of Central and Wall players from 1984 who took part in a game that saw future major league pitcher Al Leiter and John Spinapont strike out a combined 50 batters in a scoreless tie finally called after 13 innings. Leiter threw a no-hitter when the teams played again that season and the Golden Eagles went on to win the State Group 3 championship. Wall got a bit of revenge Saturday when they won a softball game between the players, who are now all in their 40’s.

The long day concluded with the current Central team beating the Crimson Knights 4-2 after Leiter & Spinapont threw out ceremonial first pitches. Joe Rusk threw a 4-hitter for the Golden Eagles, who are 14-0 under Coach John Scran and have already clinched their second straight Class B South championship. A day to remember for young and old alike.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County will hold their semi-annual Spring Yard Sale this Friday and Saturday from 9am-3pm at their office in Lakewood on 85 Williams Street, just around the corner from Kimball Medical Center Their will be furniture, electronics, toys, jewelry and plenty of clothes, including floor model bridal gowns. Donations are still welcome with all proceeds going to the community and school-based mentoring programs run by Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more information including directions you can call (732) 905-5349.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Football Drama In Brick

Here’s the latest development on a story that I’ve talked about a few times in recent weeks.

Reports say about 70 supporters of Brick Township High School football turned out at last night’s Board Meeting to express their displeasure over the situation regarding a new football coach. Those people and others in attendance were told by Superintendent Walter Hrycenko that it was his recommendation that Patrick Dowling be the next head coach and the replacement for Warren Wolf who retired at the end of his 51st season as the only coach in school history. While no official action has been taken because of the failed school budget, Hrycenko said he and not the school board made the decision to recommend Dowling who coached at Allentown last season and Monroe before that. Wolf was not only at last night’s meeting but spoke and is quoted as saying “You’re doing this either because you hate Brick Township football or you hate Warren Wolf.” The longtime Green Dragon coaching icon wanted the job to go to someone with a connection to the program and the other finalists for the position included current assistant Len Zdanowicz and former player and assistant coach Tim Osborne, who is now the head coach at Jackson Liberty. To make his feelings clear Wolf announced last night he would like to rescind his resignation to retire.

Here is my take on the situation which has taken way too long to resolve and has become an albatross for the Superintendent and school board. When Joe Paterno retires at Penn State you can bet your life his replacement will be someone who bleeds blue and white. Brick should have and can still do the same only the colors are green and white. This is not about Dowling who has the credentials and has handled this touchy situation with class. This is about honoring Wolf’s only request that the job go to a Brick boy. Traditions don’t die easy…and they shouldn’t.