Friday, August 24, 2012

Free-For-All Friday

Under the best of circumstances I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer of cutlery.  This week it has seemed as if it has taken fifteen days to make it to the fifth.  The little nectarine pit occupying space within the cozy confines of my oversized melon is flat worn out.  Welcome to "Free-For-All Friday".  

If you know me then you know just how little I care about how others spend their free time.  Great thing about America - you do not need my permission to do....well anything now that I think about it.  You are free to do what you want.  As am I. 

Right now, what I want to do is point out to you that if you are going to be in the New Brunswick, New Jersey area on Labor Day weekend, then you might want to spend a bit of your Sunday morning getting some exercise, having a hell of a lot of fun and helping raise money for a great cause.  Erin D'heron Varga is the daughter of the late, great Jimmy D'heron, Deputy Chief in the New Brunswick Fire Department who died in the line of duty on September 3, 2004.  She organized the Jimmy D Memorial 5K in her dad's honor and September 2, 2012 shall be the 8th edition of it.  It has been my great pleasure and privilege to participate in the past two editions and I shall be among the runners toeing the starting line a week from Sunday as well.  The 5K is one of the signature events of the James D'heron Memorial Foundation, Inc., which raises money for burn survivors.  It is a great event and if you register for it today (click here) - you beat the registration fee increase that goes into effect tomorrow! 

Bridget Mary McCormack is a lawyer who by virtue of the manner in which she goes about her day-to-day makes something look very easy that is in fact exceedingly difficult.  She gives lawyers and the practice of law a good name.  As someone who has earned his daily bread for close to twenty years in the practice of law and is surrounded by lawyers every day, I have a keen appreciation for an attorney whose mere being elevates the rest of us.  Bridget is such a lawyer. 

Michigan is a state that elects Justices to its state Supreme Court. I am a registered Republican.  Bridget is running for election to the Michigan Supreme Court as a Democrat.  I care not at all about her party affiliation.  All that matters is that a serious, earnest, brilliant woman whose record of seeking justice for all in the criminal justice system speaks for itself is seeking a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court so that she can bring that reputation for evenhandedness and thoroughness to a place that always needs more of both:  the judiciary. 

I do not know a single thing about any of the other people seeking election to the Michigan Supreme Court.  That being said, it is inconceivable to me that any of them is a better candidate than Bridget.  If the people of Michigan do not need a state Supreme Court Justice like Bridget McCormack then they best prepare for the great ingress because those of us not fortunate enough to live in America's version of Shangri-La will soon be teeming across state lines (and in the case of those pesky Canadians overwhelming border crossings).   As Andrew Jackson once observed, "All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary."  Words to live by this November in Michigan....and everywhere else for that matter.


August has not been a banner month for the Yankees on the diamond (Note to Joe G and his troops:  that object in the rear-view mirror in in fact just as damn close as it appears to be) or for former Yankees off of it.  A week after Melky Cabrera was suspended for fifty games for violating Major League Baseball's policy regarding the use of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs), Bartolo Colon met with a similar fate.  Candidly the first question that popped into my mind - given Colon's "physique" was "When did Mrs. Butterworth's syrup earn status as a Performance Enhancer?" 

There are scant few places in the State of Concrete Gardens that I loathe to the degree of loathing that I feel for Great Adventure.  That being said, from my limited perspective the only worthy part of the joint on a day in, day out basis is the Safari.  I remember the Missus, Suzanne, Rob and I driving through their one time when my kids were in fact kids and interacting with the animals.  For good measure we also reported to the Ranger some ass hat who gave a rather large ape (where the hell is my brother Kelly when I need him to identify what type it was exactly) a bottle of Mountain Dew to drink.  In the guy's defense, his wife had apparently just finished off the last of the twelve-pack of Jolt Cola that he had brought to share with the animals so Mountain Dew was all that he had. 

Earlier this week the people who run Great Adventure announced that when this season ends at the Jackson attraction (I probably should have typed "the" in all capitals) it shall mark the end of an era.  Beginning in 2013, motorists shall no longer be permitted to drive in their personal vehicles through the safari.   Apparently when the Wild Safari (on the short list for the most redundant two-word names ever) opens for the 2013 season, it shall take on a new mission - in addition to educating New Jersey residents as to animals we might not otherwise encounter.  It shall help in the battle against obesity. 

As of 2013, the Wild Safari is going to become a "Pedestrian Only" attraction.  No cars allowed.  Just you and your kicks as you take a walking/running tour of the animal kingdom.  To help ensure that they stay just on this side of the State's prohibition of assisting in the suicide of another, no admission fee shall be charged.  Patrons will instead pay an "Exit Fee", which is only required to be paid once one reaches the safety of the Safari's far side.  I suppose - from the perspective of the big cats at least - Six Flags Great Adventure has put the concept of a "free lunch" front and center. 

Might I offer this unsolicited advice to anyone intending to visit the Safari in 2013?  Invite Bartolo Colon to come with you. 

-AK



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