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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kissin' Cousins?

The June 17 Book Review of the NY Times reviewed a book by Rachel L. Swarns entitled, AAMERCIAN TAPESTRY, The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama.  Surprise, surprise.  Mrs. Obama is decended from a white slave owner named Henry Wells Shields.  Of course the author wonders if the relationship was consensual, in other words was she raped.  Probably, but who knows, and here in 2012, who cares?  Rape or not, if the contact had not taken place, Michelle Obama would not exist today.  What did surprise, and even amuse me, was the reaction of the white decendants of Henry Wells Shields.  Some refused to meet with the author and/or give a DNA sample.  Some of them, like a Joan Tribble, agonize over the fact an ancestor owned slaves.  Why worry about something that happened 160 years ago, something which we, today, cannot change?  Mrs. Obama seems to have been neutral about this book; she didn't help, but she didn't hinder either.  An intelligent woman like Mrs. Obama would probably shrug off all this info anyway.  Who cares about a fourth cousin living in the suburbs of Atlanta?  My interest in ancestors is not because I have remarkable ones; I don't.  My husband's are a tad higher on the food chain.  What I do find interesting is when I look at The Kid and think about his great great grandparents, this is what comes to mind.  For two greats, we're talking about eight couples who never knew each other and would not have liked or approved of each other if they had met.  On my side - you would find Polish peasants, devout Catholics, subjects of Alexander III and a German baker and his wife (probably the bosses daughter) and Lutherans.  On my husbands' side - Mayflower and DAR types who returned to the Anglican church and a Presbyterian minister and his wife in Nova Scotia.  Yet they are all ancestors of one Nicholas Iain Francis aka The Kid.  In closing, when this book turns up on overstock, I'll buy it.  Right now, I'm not prepared to drop twenty eight bucks. 

Mayoral Advice

After reading today's L.A. Parker's column three times, I offer some advice to my fellow Trentonians.  (1)  Forget where a candidate was born, raised, educated; (2) Ask what the candidate has been doing since reaching adulthood - successful?; (3) Ask what the plan is to solve the financial problems (and don't accept some vague, let's be prosperous again bullshit); (4) Check closely to find out if the candidte is strong enough to play hardball with the police (and I mean hardball).  The next mayor of Trenton should understand money - income, outgo, credit, debit, debt - everything.  And should be willing to tell us, the Trentonians, "Don't ask for anything because there is no money."  The mayor of Trenton should have the spine* to tell the police, "We can no longer afford this Cadillac contract.  We can afford a bicycle contract, but that's all."  As I've said so many times, we have to live on bread and water for awhile, and the bread will be stale and moldy.  Until we accept that, nothing will change.  We also need a mayor who will stop whining to the state - yeah, Trenton is the state capital.  Trenton is also the county seat, but I never hear anyone bitching and moaning about the county not helping us.  Policing, for an example.  And we must stop the blame game.  We are all at fault, yes, we the Trentonians, because so much happened, but we said nothing.  We did nothing.  We elected the same man for five terms straight.  Then we elected our current mayor because he's charming.  He's great on the campaign trail.  He's generous with ice cream for the kids.  The past is prologue.  We know what the problems are.  Who created them really doesn't matter.  What does matter, how are we going to solve them? 

*I use this word because it's gender neutral; if I were a sexist, I would use the word, "balls."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Good News

Good Evening, Blogolanders!  You may remember that about a year ago, The Kid was a bone marrow donnor.  He got an update.  His platelets went to a woman living in Italy who seems to be doing very well!!  I am so grateful for this news.

The Name Game

The Trenton Times published a long, long list of those property owners who are behind with taxes, water, sewer, you name it.  I always go through the list very carefully for two reasons.  First, there is a woman here in Trenton with whom I share the same name.  She does not pay her bills.  What is really funny (funny both haha and weird) is she and I both had a boob sliced off in the same hospital within a few days of each other.  Our medical records got confused.  The second reason is to learn who does not meet their financial obligations to the city.  Sadly, there are many people listed who should know better, who should behave better.  Of course these Trentontians may be engaging in civil disobediance; they decided to withhold payment to make a statement.  Perhaps.  One never does know.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012

OK - Suggestions

What can these poor kids do?  I've already heard about it!  News travels fast in this age of technology.  OK.  What can kids do?  Start a community garden.  Learn to play chess.  And here's a really radical suggestion - READ A BOOK!

La Corvee

Corvee was one of the causes of the French Revolution; essentially, it was a non-monetary tax that involved upaid labor.  French subjects, usually male and poor, were required to provide a few weeks of unpaid labor to the crown.  Repairing roads, dredging canals, fixing piers, stuff like that.  By the way, its use probably goes back about 4,000 years.  I bring this up because I think it may be time to reintroduce this program.  For the last few months, I've been hearing about finding things for our kids to do during the summer, finding things that will keep them off the streets, finding things that will keep them out of trouble.  Hearing these statements sets my teeth on edge because (1) I feel it is the parents responsibility to keep their kids interested and amused (2) I'm tired of caring for other peoples' children, and (3)  we do these kids no favors by letting them think someone else must keep them happy.  Good forbid they find constructive ways to pass their time!!  Which brings me to the corvee.  Trenton is broke and cannot provide many services it once did (our Honorable Mayor to the contrary, serivces have slipped badly).  Hence the corvee.  Lest these kids be bored, we give them a broom, a shovel, a rake, whatever, and put them to work.  If nothing else, they will gain value work experience such as arriving at a work site on time.  They might even learn a skill.  They would also give back to the community - maybe stop this gimme, gimme, gimme philosophy.  Blogolanders, I know many among you will scream, "That's abusive, not fair, etc...."  OK, but since all these summer programs must be paid for (in money - like dollars) don't bitch next time your property taxes go up

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Report from Neverland aka City Council

All things considered, council moved rather quickly last night (I left at 7:30PM).  There were, however, exhibits of bad behavior.  Since Ms. McBride ignores ROBERTS RULES, I may give her a copy of the MARQUESS OF QUEENSBERRY.  Council needs some guidelines.  Councilwoman Caldwell-Wilson asked for permission to speak, and Ms. McBride granted it, but when Ms. McBride realized Ms. Caldwell-Wilson wanted to adjust the adgenda, our president got damn snotty and rude.  She then began to babble about respect (I hate that word, and I will explain why in a future post).  Ms. C-W wanted to adjust the agenda so council could vote on the next president/vice president early which would allow Mr. Muschal to leave early for court testimony.  Big, freaking deal.  Actually, it made sense.  When council did vote, Phyllis Holly-Ward was elected council president.  No one was elected vice-president although a former city attorney told me there is no provision for the office of vice-president.  The voting to approve two judges bordered on farce.  I lost track of what they were talking about, and who made the motion to do what, etc.  As usual, Mr. Bethea was confused.  For once, I felt his pain. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Blog from Neverland

After reading the article in a negative medium, I was taken by the Honorable Mayor's announcement that Trenton would be hiring, "paid volunteers!"  Apparently here in Neverland no one realizes that, "volunteer," means no pay; you give of your time.  When you are paid, you are not a volunteer.  Maybe that's our problem, we've all fallen down the rabbit hole. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

School Daze

Francisco Duran, who is about to be our new school superintendent, recently met with the public and announced he felt Trenton was ready for a change (or so the papers reported).  When I read it, my reaction was, "You state the obvious."  What has to change, though, is the attitude to education.  It is not held in high regard by both parents and kids here in Trenton.  Kids have to want to learn and their parents have to want them to learn.  Parents, I believe, have to tell their daughters that getting pregnant at 15 is not a good thing.Sometimes I think reopening the Florence Crittenden Homes would be a good thing.  And to tell their sons that hanging around the bassetball court will not do their grades any good.  But the big thing is to change the attitude to education; to hold it in VERY high regard.  It doesn't take money, or the latest equipment, or an award winning teacher - it takes only the desire to learn. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Reminder

Good morning, Blogolanders!  Just a quick reminder - this afternoon @ 3PM begins Art All Night.  This is one of Trenton's really great, fun events.  You have 24 hours to attend.  For those Trentonians who have trouble sleeping, Art All Night is more fun than watching re-re--runs of Law & Order on cable.  And The Kid should be there. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Immodest Proposal

The City of Trenton is broke as in there is NO MONEY!!  And the State is in no mood to toss us millions, so where to find the funds?  I propose that the Honorable Mayor contact a few cable TV stations with an offer of a reality program - Trenton Troubles!  Maybe the first episode can be the return of the Honorable Cordelia Staton as deputy clerk.  I realize many Blogolanders are not taken with Ms. Staton, BUT, and it is a big BUT, the mayor, honorable or otherwise, has nothing to do with hiring the city clerk and staff.  That is council's responsibility.  Only council hires and fires.  Either our honorable mayor does not read newspapers or he has a short memory (maybe both).  Remember when Mayor Palmer locked horns with City Clerk Anthony Conti and tried to withhold Conti's pay?  Mayor Palmer lost and was told since the clerk worked for council, he, the mayor, could not order Conti's pay withheld.  Anybody out there want to be on TV?

Hail and Farewell - WZBN

Last Friday, we Trenton Blogolanders had the last news report from WZBN.  The station has been sold.  This really too, too bad as this station really covered local news, and they did it well.  They will be missed. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

mea culpa

The Kid was quick to point out the error of my thoughts with a, "Look, Mom, a big, international company like AMAZON scopes out places to build before they make the announcement.  It's too late by about two years."  This round goes to The Kid.

Oh, M'God!!

It seems the Honorable Mayor is really trying to do something worthwhile!  Based on an article in today's Trenton Times, he wants to contact Amazon about having a mega warehouse right here in Trenton!  Not a bad idea.  He also wants to form a commission/committee/group to work on this project.  OK, Blogolanders, this may work; however, our Honorable Mayor must avoid his thug pals, his no-count buddies, and really, really select people who know what they are talking about - you know, the intelligent, educated, knowledgable people.  I have my fingers crossed. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hello, Again

The Kid arrived back in Trenton last evening after doing thirty cities in thirty days to grant thirty wishes so he explained how this new (and improved!) format works.  Let's see if I get it.  And once I learn, and begin to like, this system, it will be improved.  Right now, I don't have anything to say about our fair city.  Kevin Moriarity and that irresponsible blogger have been doing a terrific job so why gild the Lilly?  Glad to be back, Blogolanders.