Beach replensishment – the fleecing of America

Posted by: on Feb 25, 2015 | No Comments

Note: This is an updated version of a post from a couple of years ago. I thought I was doing some minor grammatical edits but WordPress had other ideas and updated the whole thing, including the publication date.

Once again, certain beaches along the Jersey shore need to be replenished. I would really like to know how many tens of millions of dollars have been spent to keep sand on these beaches when it is clear that mother nature is clearly telling us “no, no….that’s not how things work.” Mother Nature is bringing an entirely new meaning to the words “If you build, he will come.” What she is saying is “if you build it, I will just throw a nice big nor’easter at you, and put it back the way it was because you guys screwed up my barrier islands.”

Here in NJ, the barrier islands are made entirely of sand. If you build on them, pave them and generally screw them up, Mother Nature is going to do her best to take them back.  The fortunate few who have property on these barrier islands, than coming crying to the government and the Army Corps of Engineers, silver spoons in hand, begging to save their beaches. And they do and who fits the bill? We all do. One woman on the news tonight sounded like she wanted us to feel bad for her because her house couldn’t be rented without the beach. I have a great idea – build your own f’in beach and you can use that silver spoon of yours to do some digging. I don’t ask you to take care of my backyard, so don’t ask me to take care of yours.

Stuff like this doesn’t just happen along the beaches. Let’s look at the folks who buy houses near major highways. For the most part, those highways were there when they bought there house. Didn’t they think it might be a tad noisy living next to the Garden State Parkway or some major interstate? Than they move in and oh my god, they are in shock. The noise is unbearable and can’t the government build sound barriers that stop the noise.  And who fits the bill? We all do. The great thing about these sound barriers is they suck. They don’t absorb the sound, they just bounce it around as if the cars driving by were in an echo chamber.

I live 3 houses off South Orange Avenue, not a highway but busy nevertheless. I also live 3 blocks from St. Barnabas Medical Center. Do you know what comes flying up South Orange Avenue on the way to St. Barnabas Medical Center at all hours of the day and night? Ambulances, that’s what and they don’t come quietly.  Oh my god…can the government build a sound wall around my house? That even sounds stupid.

Well guess what? So is rebuilding the beaches and putting up sound walls. I have a great idea. The next time a big storm comes, wiping out the beaches and maybe taking a few houses with it, don’t let these people rebuild with our tax dollars. If you have to continually rebuild the beaches to protect a few houses, than maybe…just maybe, you shouldn’t have put houses there in the first place.

If you bought one of those houses, you had to know that beaches were always going to be an issue when you bought it. And if you bought one of those houses thinking the beaches weren’t going to be a problem, than I suggest you build a barrier around your brain because it’s not like anything is getting in there.

Almonds Make Me Nuts

Posted by: on Aug 17, 2014 | One Comment

The other day I was reading some interesting info about almonds. Before I get to that, I need to be something off my chest about almond “milk.”  It’s not friggin’ milk! It’s juice or water or something entirely different but it’s not milk. Milk is lactated not squeezed out of a nut. Cows, humans and other living, breathing animals make milk. Almonds that grow on trees do not. To call it milk is udderly ridiculous.  Glad I got that off my chest.

Almonds are now the number 1 consumed nut in America, having replaced peanuts. In reality, the #1 nuts in America are the folks running our country, but that’s a completely different type of nut. Almonds are also very unfriendly to the environment in which they grow, which is mostly in California. I’m sure you are wondering how a nut can be anti-environment.  Let me ‘splain.

If you’ve been reading the news at all, you know the climate has been pretty weird lately. California is now in one the worst droughts that region has ever seen. Water is at such a premium they now drill for groundwater they way they drill for oil. Where there was once surface water, there is none. Where there was once ground water pretty close to the surface, that is vanishing rapidly.  So it’s drill baby drill. Let’s forget about the consequences of how much that destabilizes the ground above those ever deeper water wells…at least until parts of California become one big sinkhole.

80% of all the water in California goes to agriculture. Of that, 10% goes to grow almonds. Many of these almond groves used to grow cotton, vegetables and other annual crops. Cotton was not as lucrative but used 40% less water than almonds. In a bad water year, you let cotton or vegetable plants die, take the hit and replant the next year. Almond trees need constant care and constant watering. So just remember, every time you eat an almond, you are helping suck California dry (which some people might think is not such a bad thing).

This scenario reminds me of the 1st Superman movie back in 1978. In that film, the villan Lex Luthor was going to set off a nuclear bomb in the San Andreas fault and sink part of California into the Pacific Ocean. He had purchased all the land on the other side of the fault which would become beach front property with names like Lutherville and Costa del Lex (and Otisburg for you Superman aficionados). In reality, you really don’t need a bomb or the world’s #1 criminal mind to completely screw up California…just a bunch of nuts.


Another Ma Nature IRAnt

Posted by: on Aug 8, 2014 | No Comments

Another Ma Nature IRAnt

We all know the world is a scary place right now. My morning ritual these daze is to wake-up, turn on my computer, go to and Google News and pray the world hasn’t completely blown itself while I tried to get a good night sleeps.

Not completely lost in the multitude of wars, skirmishes, terrorism, etc., is the punishment that Mother Nature continues to inflict on our little planet. Let’s start in California, America’s fruit and veggie basket. Where there once was surface water, now there’s none. Where there was once well water near the surface, now there’s not so much…if any. So they drill, just like for oil, in some spots up to 2000 feet below the surface. Of course the one little side effect is that when you suck all that water out of the ground, you suck out the support system for the land above it. California may not float off into the Pacific but don’t be surprised if parts of it sink into the ground.

A little further up the coast, we have wildfires. Again, a little water would go a long way towards alleviating that situation. Unfortunately, when the rains do come, that will only lead to mudslides and more devastation. Without the trees to hold things in place, things have a tendency to slide down hill, often with catastrophic results as we saw this spring and in the last few daze.

Heading all the way up the coast, the problem is too much water and not enough ice. Where there once was the Arctic Ice Cap, we now have waves…big waves. Do you know what those waves do? They help break up the remaining ice so there is even less ice and more open water. According to more than a few folks who are a lot smarter than me, the day is rapidly approaching when the Arctic Ice Cap will be free of ice during the summer months. According to these experts, that would be bad. I guess during the summer we’d have to call it “the unfrozen water formerly known as The Arctic Ice Cap.”

On top of all these disasters, we have disease outbreaks. Ebola in Africa, which seems to be spreading much faster than anticipated; a tick epidemic on longisland (one which makes you allergic to red meat), rhodeisland and otherislands and inland areas on the east coast, which means lyme disease. In southern environs of the USA, there are reports of Chikungunya, which is carried by mosquitoes. Bad enough the little bastards are giving us West Nile Virus, now we have something I can’t even pronounce. Sounds like chewing gum or some long lost Indian tribe about to open a casino.

Maybe Ma Nature is taking a look at the state of things and realizes that humanity is on the verge of imploding her planet. Maybe she thinks it time she taught us another lesson on who is really control of things here on planet Earth. Let’s just hope she doesn’t have one big ass asteroid in her arsenal. If she does, we may be the next dodo to gogo.


Is The Earth Going To Drown?

Posted by: on Mar 25, 2014 | No Comments

If you believe everything you read in the Old Testament, there was once a great flood. If you believe just a little bit about what some scientists are saying today, the next great flood may not be so far away.

I’m not here to debate global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it. Despite the fact that we had a pretty nasty winter here in New Jersey, the earth is getting warmer. That’s just a fact. Is it the natural cycle of things? Is it Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth?” and mankind’s wicked ways is overheating the planet. Is it the wrath of God coming down to smite the human species once again? Who’s to say but at some point real soon, we are going to face the consequences….if we aren’t already seeing some of those effects already.

The one area that many scientists are focusing on are the polar ice caps. This past Sunday on the HBO series “Vice” they did a segment on what is happening in Greenland. FYI, the average temperature in this section of the world above the Arctic Circle has risen 3.6 degrees in the past 50 years.

Watching Vice was an eye opener to say the least. Not only is Greenland (which is roughly 3x the size of Texas and is 80% covered in ice) in a state of major meltdown, it is happening way faster than anyone had predicted just 5 years ago. Some scientists are predicting that at the rate things are going, the effect of this meltdown could potentially raise sea levels by several feet in the next 50 to 100 years. For all of you worried about your beach houses…this is not good news.

To make matters even more interesting, many climatologists are saying there’s pretty much nothing we can about it. If we were to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in the next 10 to 20 years, the best we could hope for is to stabilize the current rate of the meltdown, which appears to be accelerating every year.

For the hard left side environmentalists, this is a global catastrophe about to happen and issue numero uno. For the ignore the environment crowd on the right, the price tag to take on this issue is way too big. After all, who’s going to pay for this? In the end, I think we all are in same way.

As always, I look for a common sense answer to all of this. My brand of common sense tells me the earth is getting warmer, some of it is us and some of it is Ma Nature doing her thing. Common sense tells me the oceans are going to rise and their will be flooding more often and more damaging. Common sense tells me we can do something about it but I’m not so smart as to know what that is.

Later this week, the movie “Noah” opens in theaters. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if we should consider it entertainment or a users manual on how to build an ark (cue Bill Cosby).


It’s a “Barrier” Island

Posted by: on Nov 7, 2012 | 2 Comments

It’s a “Barrier” Island

I know this post is going to piss off a lot of people and make me seem extremely insensitive to the plight of many of the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath many are still enduring. On the first point, pissing people off, I really don’t care. On the second, I’m sorry. I do feel terrible about the loss of lives, property and the devastation that took place, much of which I think could have been avoided now and can be avoided in the future.

A few nights ago, I was watching the news and one of the many victims of Hurricane Sandy was being interviewed. Her house on the Jersey shore, which had been in her family for 3 generations, had been laid to waste.  This house was situated on a barrier island, probably no more that a couple of hundred feet from the ocean. She stated that her family planned to rebuild that house in a “responsible and sustainable way.” One of those moments that make me go “hmmm.”

Think about the term “barrier island,” which are usually narrow pieces of sand that are meant to protect the mainland from the ocean. A barrier, a shield, an obstacle to prevent the ocean from flooding the mainland. Mother Nature designed these strips of sand to flood at times, for the sand to recede during certain times of the year and than to be replenished at other times of the year. Here on the east coast, we have barrier islands that stretch from Florida to Maine. If you put something on that barrier island, a house, a road, a building of any kind. you disrupt the natural course of things. The island no longer becomes a barrier but a target for disaster, which we have seen time and again.

Some people call them natural disasters. If you ask me, the disaster occurred when you took the island out of it’s “natural” state. Now when these disasters occur, everyone’s knee jerk reaction is to rebuild; push the sand around; get the army corps of engineers into to replenish the beaches; yada yada yada. I ask why? To what end? I swear it seems to me we are always rebuilding the beaches.

Let me stop for a second and say that I’m a big fan of the ocean. Love the beach, would love to have a friend with a house on the beach, would love for that friend with a house on the beach to invite me down, maybe even give me my own room to use whenever I want. Just because I love the beach doesn’t mean I want to see it destroyed…and by destroyed I mean by people not by nature.

Now comes the aftermath. Our Governor, who has performed admirably during this catastrophe, talks about his days spent on the Jersey shore and how he wants to see it restored to it’s previous glory. Excuse me Mr. Fiscally Conservative Budget Cutting Governor but who is going to pay for this? Who are the primary beneficiaries of this rebuilding? You want to rebuild the beaches? I’m OK with that. You want to rebuild the all those structures, houses, roads, etc? Here we have a problem.

How many of you out there have been to the Jersey Shore? Ever been to Island Beach State Park? Island Beach State Park is a beautifully preserved part of the barrier island, that also contains Seaside Heights, a not so beautifully preserved piece of that same barrier island.  Between Seaside Heights and Island Beach State Park, there’s a piece of land called Seaside Park. What it should be called is Seaside Trailer Park because you have a cluster fuck of homes, one on top of each other that sprawl from the Atlantic Ocean to Barnegat Bay. For several blocks, I doubt there is one inch of what could be recognized as a barrier island – no sand, no dunes, no native beach grass. Just roads, cars, and mobile homes piled one on top of each other. This area is the poster child for everything that is wrong with allowing over development on a barrier island.

When Katrina struck New Orleans, I remember one of the political type comedians (either Jon Stewart or Bill Mahar) stating that he believed that “New Orleans should be rebuilt…in Arkansas.” Well, just like it doesn’t make any sense to me to build a city below sea level in an area surround by water that is historically prone to flooding, nor does it make any sense to me to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild these barrier islands unless you are going to start returning them to their natural state.

If you are like me, you believe that the earth is getting warmer, that the seas will continue to rise and our climate will become more volatile. I’m not calling it global warming because that term has political connotations to it. Our climate goes in cycles. Thousands of year ago we were in an ice age and now we are in warming cycle. Will it last? Who knows. What’s the cause? Probably a combination of things but the past several years should make us all stop and think. We need to realize our planet is changing, getting warmer (for whatever reasons), the oceans are rising, and if we don’t learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes.

In this past Sunday’s New York Times, I read an article about what we need to do to plan for the future with regards to our coastlines, the rising waters, the devastated eco-system and how we currently use our barrier islands. A Columbia University climatologist used the term “managed exodus.” In other words, we need to start retreating from the barrier islands over the next several years in a carefully thought our manner. If things keep going they way they seem to be going, by the end of this century, it won’t make any difference as many barrier islands will become un-inhabitable. Do we really want to invest billions of dollars to save slivers of sand that have been totally abused for decades and decades?  Only time will tell but I think we are fighting a losing battle.

Guns and the environment

Posted by: on May 25, 2010 | 2 Comments

The disaster taking place in the Gulf of Mexico has got me thinking about the environment and the ways we destroy it. Last week I wrote about how some people are pro life and pro death. I stated that I try to take a common sense approach to issues that many see as divisive.

One group of folks who don’t seem to share my common sense approach are gun owners, specifically those that are hunters. Common sense dictates that these people should want to try to preserve the environment. Afterall, if you destroy an animals natural habitat and they are forced to move or worse, don’t you also destroy the ability to hunt that animal. If you look at their usual political positions, the same people who want to hunt seem to be the same people who’d clear cut every tree in sight if they could make a buck (as opposed to shooting one).  I never quite understood those two political/societal stances on these issues. You’d think hunters would the first ones lining up to join the Sierra Club, the NRDC or other environmental groups but I don’t think they are because there extremist buddies see environmentalists as the enemy.

For those of you who are going to tell me I’m anti-gun and I’m anti-NRA and I’m a tree hugger, well I’m not (although I did hug my big backyard tree this weekend because it’s starting to show it’s age…but only on side). Yes, I do have issues with gun owners, the NRA and tree huggers but my common sense approach guides me to realize that these opposing sides don’t always make sense.

Why is it that it’s always those that take the extreme sides of an issue that you hear about the most? It’s always the crazy gun owners holed up in some backwoods cabin or the nutty tree guy chained and locked to a redwood. Hey crazy gun guy – do you really need an Uzi to hunt a deer? And you tree hugger – chaining yourself to a tree makes you look like a friggin’ idiot.

OK, so I think I may have strayed a bit from my original premise but you all get the picture. We are screwing up our planet but good and as they used to say in those old Chiffon Margarine commercials “It’s not nice to screw mother nature.” So I changed it a little. Deal with it!

Mother Nature is running amok

Posted by: on May 10, 2010 | No Comments

Is it my imagination or is the weather just getting stranger and stranger. In April, I shut the heat off in my house and at one point had to turn the AC on. Strictly a no-no in IraLand where the AC never goes on before May 15th. Couple of days later, had to turn the heat back on, another no-no in IraLand where the heat never goes back on after April 15th.

In early May, the AC goes back on when the temps hit 90 degrees. Last night we could have easily turned the heat back on but I refused. Afterall, a man has to draw the line somewhere and I am not turning the heat on in my house in May.

And look at what’s going on in other places. Not just with the weather but the whole planet seems to be in an uproar.  Massive flooding in Nashville, that crazy volcano in Iceland (shouldn’t lava in Iceland be an oxymoron?), earthquakes all over the place, tsunami warnings (doesn’t tsunami sound like a sushi roll?), crazy tornadoes, and the list goes on.

Maybe Ma Nature is just pissed off at us for screwing up the planet (is that olive oil glistening on my gulf shrimp?). Maybe she is trying to take the planet back. Or maybe she just wants to see who Pat Robertson is going to blame for all this mayhem.

In any event, I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of the strange weather and all the natural disasters. So Ma Nature, if you are listening, I’ll be on my golf trip in Oregon from June 2nd – 5th. No crazy weather please.