Been a fun summer, with some of it spent here in town.

With the rain at the July 4th fireworks, my thought was that they didn’t want to make the mistake that they made with the Memorial Day Parade.

Verdict: They are 0-2. We got soaked to the skin. Decent show though but unfortunate that they started early. The next night we went to Clark and had a dry and enjoyable experience. They put on a pretty long show over there and there was plenty of room. Tip: The bridge over the pond on Raritan Road by Madison Hill Road is THE viewing place for those wanting to avoid traffic. There had to be 150 people there.

We have sampled some of the new-ish restaurants. Here are some notes:

River and Rail – Nice atmosphere, meh service bordering on clueless and forgettable food. But it looks like the clientele doesn’t really care as long as they have their Margarita or Coronita in their hands. I don’t understand why the owner is upset about the renovations to the substation, you really can’t see it with the trees lining South Avenue. Maybe he’ll want to be without power for 13 days sometime in order to have the preferred aesthetic.

By the way. RIP to the 1902 trolley station on the PSEG substation property.


Ciao Bello – Doesn’t this mean “Hey Guy” in Italian? Pluses: The eggplant parmesan was floured, not breaded (breaded eggplant parm is a heavy, greasy mess and is a major minus to me when eating Italian). The service was acceptable as was the food. The personal pizza came with a mound of arugula, which was good while being a bit of a surprise for the person ordering it.

Mr. Bin Sushi – They had good quality fish which we enjoyed; they are open surprisingly late. We’ve already been back.

A couple more weeks are left, maybe we’ll hit a few more places before the hordes come back.


Over in Westfield there is a lawsuit filed by recent homebuyers against the previous owners, the title insurance company and a letter writer who self-identifies as “the Watcher”.


The excerpts of the letter as in the articles are pretty chilling, but it seems to avoid making overt threats of harm. It’s like a mix between the Amityville Horror and the old movie “Burnt Offerings”, which I will leave you to Google.

If the first letter was sent five days before closing, and has never been an issue before…you will have to put me in the “this is a hoax” camp. If it is indeed a hoax, it’s not a bad one. But who would be the primary beneficiaries of the hoax?

Let’s suppose for a moment it’s real. Who could the person be? Someone crazy? Sure. There’s never a shortage of crazy people, even in Westfield (see List, John). But why would anyone fixate on a house on a fairly busy through street? Anyone besides a neighbor would be noticed. Someone placing a wireless camera? Possible, but it would eventually be discovered. A losing bidder? Perhaps. But the new owners have had the house up for sale until last week, per Zillow, anyway. They could have bought the house at a discount if they coveted it.


Also, by putting up the house for sale this past February, weren’t the new buyers about to commit the same wrong that they are claiming was inflicted on them? Do you think they would have disclosed the letters and the reason they never moved in?

I doubt it too.

I read the lawsuit. http://documents.gawker.com/the-watcher-lawsuit-1713657328

Having read it, I am more convinced than ever it is a hoax. Of course they are requesting a jury trial. Having served on a Union County jury myself and meeting fellow jurors, they probably have a good shot if they present themselves sympathetically enough.

But here’s the thing, if you’ve ever sold a house before and all of the rigamarole to get to the point of closing, is one creepy anonymous letter five days before closing sufficient enough to establish the precedent of giving the purchasers a free house plus another four million in cash?

Then wouldn’t everyone who has a bad case of buyer’s remorse start sending creepy letters a week before closing?

We’ll see how this pans out. My guess is that there will be a Lifetime movie in a few years.

UPDATE: If this lawsuit prevails, I am considering going into the creepy letter writing business for skittish home buyers. Letters will be creepy but no threats of actual harm or harassment. Just creepy. Options include being a humanized version of the house or Scooby-Doo type of villain. Written using Microsoft Word on Staples paper and Staples envelopes. Mailed with NYC postmark with no fingerprints or DNA (self-stick stamps and sponge for envelope sealing). Package would include series of letters – some prior to closing and some after. Flat fee and % commission based on damages obtained. Upcharges for extra creepiness, use of vintage stationary, use of vintage typewriter or anything requiring research on property history and/or local legends. Communication only via US Mail. Cash only in small used bills.

It could also be the start of a “work from home, make big money” empire.

However, I do have some ethical pangs about such a venture.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

May all of you have a great time with family and friends.

And may the Cowboys lose.

With 29/30 reporting, the Republicans look like they will have two places on the Township Committee.


Cranford Township Committee (2)
29/30 96.67%
Under Votes 1120
Over Votes 0
Vote Count Percent
Dem – Kevin CAMPBELL 3,253 23.83%
Dem – Kelly M. HOWARD 3,156 23.12%
Rep – Mary O’CONNOR 3,713 27.20%
Rep – Robert D’AMBOLA 3,527 25.84%
Personal Choice 3 0.02%
Total 13,652 100.00%


The Republicans performed better in the Freeholder election than I expected…but the Dems will have full control once again.


411/427 96.25%
Under Votes 56786
Over Votes 0
Vote Count Percent
Dem – Linda CARTER 47,873 18.65%
Dem – Bette Jane KOWALSKI 46,167 17.99%
Dem – Sergio GRANADOS 45,118 17.58%
Rep – Marc A. KRAUSS 39,303 15.31%
Rep – P. Mark MARTINI 39,434 15.37%
Rep – Ira GEIGER 38,708 15.08%
Personal Choice 33 0.01%
Total 256,636 100.00%

In Driver Ed, I don’t remember If there was any discussion about keeping to the right except to pass. I have seen some signs reminding drivers of the law, but they are usually hiding behind the “Welcome to New Jersey” signs.

But oh, how often have I wished that the drivers on the Turnpike or Parkway had that law stenciled into their visors.

Will this law make a dent, probably not. It will probably be rarely enforced as well.


The fact that this story made the S-L is a surprise, especially since I don’t think it’s that rare.

One time when I was taking the bus in for a meeting in the city, the driver heard a bulletin to avoid the Turnpike due to very bad traffic. And then our odyssey began that was a partial recreation of the Soprano’s opening credits.

But this sounds worse…and NJ Transit will hopefully call it “a coaching opportunity” for one of its employees…because you know they won’t get fired.

Passenger Aileen Iosso sent this text to her boss:

“I don’t know where I am and I don’t know when I’ll be in.”

She said she boarded her usual express bus in Cranford around 7 a.m., expecting to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan by the usual 7:39 a.m.

The bus didn’t get there until 9:22 a.m., according to NJ Transit, which publicly expressed regret.

“We apologize to our customers for their experience and we plan on reaching out to them,” said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the statewide transportation agency. “Appropriate action will be taken pending the outcome of the investigation.”

The driver’s name was not released.

During the convoluted trip, Iosso said, the bus was on Route 3, went by the Secaucus Junction train station on the Turnpike “three or four times,” passed the Secaucus outlets and pulled over before the entrance to the George Washington Bridge.




Hopefully the 7:59 will be back and its usual 4 minutes of lateness.

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