Tag Archive | New Jersey

A sneak peek into Santa’s magical bag

Since I have an important role in helping Santa arrive at his billions of destinations this year, I have top security clearance at the North Pole. This afternoon, I even got to take a glance into Santa’s bag! I noticed a superabundance of books. Upon closer examination, I realized that many of the books have the same title: New Jersey Folk Revival Music: History & Tradition. I was not surprised!

Before reporting to the North Pole for duty, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read this book, published just this month by The History Press. My friend Michael Gabriele is the author. I have always known Michael’s writing to be entertaining and informative. While folk revival music in New Jersey doesn’t involve many symphonies, the effect of this book is absolutely symphonic. Michael weaves together sparkling threads of history, biography, music appreciation, and eyewitness reminiscences, bringing the fascinating story of folk music in New Jersey to life.

Do you know someone who likes music? Enjoys learning about local history? Appreciates creative and clear expression? Lives in New Jersey? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should most certainly follow Santa’s lead and get this book for anyone (and maybe even everyone!) on your Christmas shopping list.

Trust me: Santa would never steer you wrong!

recommended by Santa

recommended by Santa

(New Jersey Folk Revival Music: History & Tradition is available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, other online booksellers, and local booksellers.)



Overlooking Principle in the Interest of Justice

Guess who recently received a jury duty summons—that’s right, the Graceful Grammarian did.

As I was preparing to return my questionnaire and some supporting documents to Jury Management in Essex County, New Jersey, something on the pre-printed return address on the questionnaire caught my eye: the spelling of the name of our county courthouse. In Essex County, the courthouse is named “Veterans Courthouse.” This is just common knowledge. On the questionnaire, though, the name of the courthouse is “Veteran’s Courthouse.”

Veterans Courthouse 1

The courthouse of which veteran? I don’t know! This prompted me to do some research.

The first thing that turned up in my search was this article on NJ.com.

Veterans Courthouse 2

Note that the title of the article refers to the edifice in question as “Veteran’s Courthouse,” while the first sentence of the article mentions “Veterans Courthouse.” It appears that a major news outlet is uncertain about the spelling of the name. Is it really so difficult?

Further research uncovered the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office website, the main page of which is pictured below.

Veterans Courthouse 5

Now, that’s more like it. “Veterans Courthouse” is the location of this office. See? I knew it!

I still wasn’t satisfied, so I turned to Google itself. I did a Google Maps search, and I found this.

Veterans Courthouse 4

What Google says and common wisdom corroborates must be true.

Either way, I wanted to be absolutely certain that my questionnaire and supporting documents arrived in the correct location. So, I held my nose and looked the other way (figuratively, of course) while I addressed the envelope.

Veterans Courthouse 3

Practical concerns outweighed principles this time. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen often.

A New Jersey poet

(National Poetry Month, Day 25)

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that when I hear “Joyce Kilmer,” the first thing that comes to mind is the Joyce Kilmer Service Area on the NJ Turnpike—because at this stop is the closest Roy Rogers to my home!

However, Joyce Kilmer was famous in the first place for other reasons—perhaps most notably for his poem “Trees.” It’s short and sweet, yet evocative and profound. As the leaves emerge over the next few days, think of this poem!

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

dogwood and fir and sun


Last year, in my travels around New Jersey, I encountered this monument to confectionary delight: a 7-foot-tall sprinkle machine! Imagine my glee!


It’s YOUR turn now! Give us a word or phrase to describe this contraption!