Tag Archives: New JErsey

Corey Booker: meeting the NJ Senator in LA

Back in 2005 I watched a documentary called Street Fight. It followed this young guy getting his figurative nose bloody in a race to be mayor of Newark New Jersey. He lost.IMG_4306

Of course that race was back 2002 and today no one remembers who the mayor of Newark was back then. A lot more people know Corey Booker.

In 2012 Mr. Booker, who by this time was mayor, made national news by running into a burning building to save a woman. The cynics thought it quite the stunt. I didn’t. This guy has been living in this sort of stunt since 1998.

You see, back in ’98 this guy had just graduated Yale Law. This after getting his BA in Poly Sci from Stanford (where he played football and was elected student body president)and studying as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. With this resume he skipped the penthouse and moved into the projects. He lived in the now demolished brick towers, Newark’s projects. How is that for downward mobility?IMG_4207

I didn’t meet Corey in the projects, I met him at a fund raiser in a home that another attendee joked could be purchased for a measly 1/4 of our countries national debt.

There were maybe 100 folks there in total. I knew none of them.IMG_4215

In the hour or two preceding Corey’s remarks I met a couple real estate investors, a wealth manager, a VP of a very well known online entertainment provider, a couple professors, a stay at home mom, and a guy in a yarmulke spent twenty minutes teaching me Yiddish words that I have regrettably since forgotten.IMG_4203

We ate caviar. They drank wine. At one point the man with whom I was chatting and I accepted some delicious looking sliders from the hors d’ouvre tray. before digging in my companion noticed a strip of bacon beneath the burger. he twisted his lips and looked disappointed. We looked around for a trash can, a utilitarian item that apparently didn’t fit the decor, and being the stand-up guy that I am, I volunteered to “dispose” of the offending food item. He thanked me and promised to return the favor should I find myself in possession of a glass of wine.

Senator Booker talked for about an hour and then answered questions.IMG_4204

In his remarks he covered his desire to have more people in elected positions coming out of the business world because they have had to “run something”. He talked about the need to make data driven decisions. He spoke of collaborating with all parties in order to solve problems. He recounted parables from the Talmud. He talked about reforming education and debt reduction.

He did not demonize. I have been to other political events that were nothing but demonizing and this was not that. Now make no mistake there was plenty of asking for money. Very direct requests for money. It was open, urgent, and in this place, location, and crowd that oozed privilege and dollars, there was a remarkable lack of sleaze.IMG_4208

Passionately rational and moral. That is how I would sum him up.

I won’t be voting for him. at least not any time soon. I won’t be donating either. Not because I don’t want to, I am simply unable on both counts. But should you be in New Jersey, or in possession of disposable income, I would encourage you to do either or both.

 

That slider was fantastic.IMG_4205

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Rutgers: Queen’s College and the King of games

In 1766 Dutch reformers formed a college in New Jersey. It was called Queen’s college in honor of Charlotte of Mechlenburg. Some time after the revolution the name was changed to Rutgers in honor of a revolutionary war hero.

The college became New Jersey’s land-grant college in 1864. Of the colleges founded before our country’s constitution was written, only Rutgers and WIlliam and Mary are now state schools.

But none of this is what you should really know about Rutgers. What you should know is that Rutgers is responsible for the bloody lip I got this Thanksgiving morning.

The Turkey bowl started at 9am. 30 or so folks of all ages arrived at the field, including a continngent of teenaged boys wearing under armor and cleats. There was the usual complaininng that “I was open!!” despite being double covered, and an occasional complaint of pass interferance any time there was an interception. The teenage competativeness was for the most part balanced out by fat old men and their 8 year old children.

Except for that one kid who decided to be an all-star at defensive line.

You can spot these kinds of kids at any touch football game as soon as they get in a three point stance. Three alligators were for the most part enough to give the QB some time and we fat old men just sort of rolled our eyes when he would hit the afterburners at two and a half. When the man assigned to blocking him had to leave to run turkey day morning errands, I figured I would step in.

He blitzed on first down. His shoulders were low so I stepped back and let his high octane motor drive itself right into the ground. He did not like this. I was a little surprised when he blitzed again on second down, you only get one blitz per series. Learning from last down he tried to swim me. When his arm was raised above his head, I caught it, shoved hard, and watched as he spun around and fell over flat on his back. I was not surprised when he blitzed for the third time in a row. This time I just caught him directly and held my ground while he drove his feet to no avail.

By this time others took notice and started to ask the kid what his deal was. When the quarterback questioned his following the one blitz per down rule I just waived them off. I figured this kid was wound up and I was no longer bored.

When the game finally ended this kid had gotten zero sacks and I had somehow gotten a bloody lip. As I wiped off my face I realized my lip looked a little like Angelina Jolie, the kid was kneeling on the ground with his face in the grass. I asked him if he was okay and his only response was to stand up and give me a manly hug and then walk away never saying a word or looking me in the eye.

It was at this point I fully realized our mismatch. When he hugged me his head only came up to my chest, but still, take it easy kid.

On November 6th, 1869 on the field where this building now stands, was held the first college football game in history. Rutgers beat Princeton 6 to 4. Since that day the world has been a better place, bloody lips and all. Were it not for Rutgers Thanksgiving may have never had any association with the Detroit Lions.

Yes, that is a ridiculous sentence. Just as ridiculous as getting a bloody lip the morning of the best meal of the year.

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