Welcome to a quick wrap up of my 2009. I hope you’ve all had healthy, happy, and fruitful years.
I am still working at WBJB-FM, 90.5 The NIGHT, Brookdale Public Radio out of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft NJ. It’s in central NJ for those of you not in the area. I’m the afternoon host and Music Director. You can visit the website to listen online. I’m now on every day from 3pm to 7pm. We’re a rock station. Specifically, a “Triple A” radio station. That stands for “Adult Album Alternative.” This past November we won our ninth consecutive Asbury Music Award for Top Local Radio Station To Support Local Music. Once again, I had the honor of accepting the award at the awards ceremony/concert at the legendary Stone Pony. After winning the Asbury Music Award for “Top Radio Personality” the first two years of the category, I was “graduated” this year and not nominated. My Program Director Rich did win though, and since he wasn’t at the ceremony I got to accept the award for him.
My folks are both doing okay. Dad is still singing with the Orpheus Club, a mens chorus based in nearby Ridgewood NJ. He had cataract surgery on both eyes early in 2009 and can now see much better. The arthritis in his feet has been slowing him down some too, can’t stand or walk for long periods of time. Both of them are now “retired” so there’s a lot of cleaning up going on at the old house. Well, that and sleeping. And, as far as mom’s concerned, shopping. Over all, their health has been pretty good this year. I, on the other hand, have discovered that I have frighteningly high blood pressure. I also had a 7 week battle with gout (that doesn’t seem to have gone away completely just yet), exacerbated by my first blood pressure meds (currently trying a different prescription). Trust me, I am working on getting my blood pressure back into the “normal” range. Besides the meds, I’ve altered my diet to be much healthier than it had been, lost some weight too. Now if I could just get my feet to feel up to it (remember, the gout) I might actually start some sort of exercise.
The kids, my brother Gordon and his wife Teresa’s kids, keep getting older and bigger. Stephanie is now 15 and in 10th grade. Still taking dance lessons and is now a varsity cheerleader. She’s even one of the “older girls” helping out with the JV squad. She is also still playing basketball and singing in the high school chorus. She seems to be doing well and enjoying school. She’s a high school sophomore now! Her little brother Phillip is 12. He still seems to be enjoying soccer, basketball and playing in the middle school concert band (trumpet). This year he even tried baseball. He too seems to be doing well in school. Victoria is 8 and is going to the same elementary school that the older ones went to. And mommy, daddy and Unkajeff for that matter. She’s also still going to dance classes with her big sister and has just started playing soccer. She’s apparently very good (for an 8 year old) and can kick the ball equally well with either leg. And the youngest member of the family, Gizmo the Papillon, is still reaking havoc wherever he goes.
In October I got to take Stephanie to her first rock concert. It was at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville NJ (which is only a few minutes from my apartment in Old Bridge). It was a good, fun (long) show with the bands All Time Low, We The Kings, Hey Monday, and Friday Night Boys. The crowd seemed to be 95% 13-18 year old girls, which is a strange crowd to be a part of. I found a place in back to sit with “the other moms and dads” and Stephanie stayed in the “spot” I set her up at for the whole show. She really enjoyed it. I did too, kind of. It certainly could have been worse. Believe me, taking a 15 year old girl to a concert of her choice could have been much, much worse.
And for the biggest news of the year… I bought a house! I’ve finally left my wonderful little apartment in Old Bridge for a small, 1948 Cape in nearby Keansburg NJ. It’s needed a fair amount of work and updating, but the time was right. While the house itself is rather small, it seems to be very sturdy concrete construction. And it has a bigger yard than most of the houses in the Bay Shore town. For many years the town was basically a “summer rental” type of town so most of the lots are very small and narrow with long bungalow type houses, small yards (or none at all) and very close to the next house. It was quite a steal to find a house with a 75×100 lot in my price range. I’m pretty close to the bay shore (as opposed to the ocean shore which is what most of us call “the Jersey Shore”) and the legendary Keansburg Amusement Park. Anyone who grew up in NJ in the 70’s will at least remember the TV commercial for the park if not actually going to the park. Prior to Great Adventure (now Six Flags) opening in Jackson NJ, the Keansburg Amusement Park was the place to go in the summer. Unless you were from north Jersey and closer to the Palisades Amusement Park. So…when ya comin’ over? Many thanks to those that made it possible… family, old friends and new friends. Especially: Mom and Dad (for everything); my brother’s whole family (for helping me move in one day); Greg R (for finding the house in the first place); Cliff C (for getting me a mortgage); Guy S (for insuring all that I own); Glenn H (for making it legal); Dino B (for putting in many hours of work on the house so that I could live in the 21st century and not the middle of the 20th); Jimmy P (for updating all the plumbing); Ray C (for giving me a stove and helping hang wallpaper); Domenic K (who next spring will make it all look as good on the outside as it does on the inside); and Tom B (for getting me to my lawyer’s office for the closing and then to the hospital on the way home since I could barely walk because of an unbelievable gout attack). Oh, and the crew from AJ Perri Plumbing who had to come by 3 days before Christmas (2 days after the blizzard) to dig up my front yard with a backhoe and replace my water AND sewer lines. So, when do the “good times” of home-ownership start?
Jeff’s favorite releases of 2009. In alphabetical order. By first name.
MAJOR LABEL RELEASES
Among The Oak And Ash – Among The Oak And Ash
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!
Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream
Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King
Gomez – A New Tide
Morrissey – Years Of Refusal
Pete Yorn – Back & Forth
Rhett Miller – Rhett Miller
Wilco – Wilco (the album)
INDEPENDENT LABEL RELEASES
Adam Franklin – Spent Bullets
Andy White – Garageband
Ari Hest – Twelve Mondays
Astrid Williamson – Here Come The Vikings
Cantinero – Better For The Metaphor
Clem Snide – Hungry Bird
David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
Gordon Gano & The Ryans – Under The Sun
James Maddock – Sunrise On Avenue C
Jeb Loy Nichols – Parish Bar
Jill Hennessy – Ghost In My Head
John Wesley Harding – Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead
Mike Gent – The Name Of This Record Is Mike Gent
Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls – Catching More Than We Miss
Steve Forbert – The Place And The Time
The Church – untitled #23
The Damnwells – One Last Century
The Duke & The King – Nothing Gold Can Stay
The Guggenheim Grotto – Happy The Man
The Spring Standards – No One Will Know
The Swell Season – Strict Joy
The Tragically Hip – We Are The Same
Various Artists – Ciao, My Shining Star: The Songs Of Mark Mulcahy
Young Dubliners – Saints And Sinners
Cavalier Rose – Primary Colors EP
Last Perfect Thing – The Signal
Quincy Mumford – South Edgemere
Rick Barry – The Antediluvian World EP