January 30, 2006

Hey, did you know there's a border dispute between New Jersey and Delaware? Here's how that's going...

DOVER, Del. -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted a request by Delaware to appoint a special master in a border dispute with New Jersey, dashing the Garden State's hopes for a quick resolution of the case.

The high court appointed attorney Ralph Lancaster Jr. of Portland, Maine, as special master, granting him broad authority to summon witnesses, issue subpoenas and gather any evidence he deems necessary.

The Supreme Court agreed in November to hear New Jersey's challenge to Delaware's claimed jurisdiction over a section of the Delaware River. Justices met last week to decide whether to schedule oral arguments or to appoint a special master to gather facts in the dispute, which involves New Jersey's effort to help energy giant BP build a liquefied natural gas plant on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

"Obviously, this means the case is going to go on longer than we would like, but we are prepared for whatever time it takes to see this case through," said BP spokesman Tom Mueller.

Delaware environmental officials last year rejected a permit application by Crown Landing LLC, a BP subsidiary, to build a 2,000-foot pier that would serve a liquefied natural gas facility proposed for Logan Township, N.J.

Delaware officials said the project represents an offshore bulk product transfer facility and heavy industry, both of which are prohibited under Delaware's coastal zone protection laws.

Under boundary determinations that date to the 17th century, Delaware controls the river up to the mean low-tide mark on the New Jersey shore.

New Jersey officials, who see the proposed LNG terminal as a boost to their state's economy, claim that a 1905 interstate compact gives New Jersey the right to control riparian access and structures on its side of the river, even if they extend across the border.

Collins J. Seitz Jr., a Wilmington attorney who is helping represent Delaware in the dispute, said he was pleased that the Supreme Court wanted to develop a complete record before resolving the case.

"I expect it will take some time to sort out all the historical information that will be presented to the special master," he said.

Peter Aseltine, spokesman for New Jersey's attorney general, said his state is confident in its position.

"Governor Corzine supports this project, which he believes is important for South Jersey's economic development," said Anthony Coley, spokesman for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. "He hopes this matter will be resolved expeditiously."

Lancaster, a Harvard-educated lawyer, said he has not followed the Delaware case, and he did not offer any timeline for how the case might unfold.

Lancaster has served as special master to the Supreme Court twice before. The first case involved a dispute between New Jersey and Nevada in the late 1980s over the disposal of hazardous waste.

The second involved a more recent fight between Virginia and Maryland over Virginia's attempt to place a water intake pipe in the Potomac River. The Supreme Court in 2003 upheld a determination by Lancaster that Virginia could withdraw water from the Potomac to supply fast-growing suburbs around Washington, D.C., without getting permission from Maryland.

Maryland owns the Potomac under a 1632 land grant from King Charles I, but a 1785 compact between the states gave Virginia certain water rights. Maryland argued that its historical control over the riverbed gave it oversight of Virginia's water plans, but a 7-2 majority of the court said the 1785 treaty allows Virginia to make various shoreline improvements and withdraw water.

The fact that Lancaster and the Supreme Court sided with Virginia was not lost on New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, who has engaged in a war of words with his Delaware counterparts over the LNG project.

"While I would not want to prejudge this particular case, there are similarities, and the thrust of New Jersey's legal challenge is very similar to Virginia's case," he said.

Last week, a state House committee in Delaware released a bill authorizing the governor to establish boundary markers and to mobilize the National Guard "to defend against encroachments upon the territory of the State of Delaware."

The bill, which may come up for a House vote Tuesday, was dismissed as "pathetic saber rattling" by Burzichelli, who has joked that he might inquire into the seaworthiness of the retired battleship USS New Jersey, now a floating museum on the Camden waterfront.

January 27, 2006

January: Favorites (no order)

1) all the friends who make me roffle and keep me sane
2) The versions of Debussy's "Beau Soir" and Schumann's "Mondnacht" on Classical Barbra (the album's not a masterpiece, but it's quite good when Babs scales back the little Broadway showstopping that's there and respects the material, and when the lieder she's singing aren't frothy/gothy middlebrow crowd-pleasers like Fauré or Orff)
3) Pete Seeger's "Walking Down Death Row" (on Dangerous Songs!?)
4) E! True Hollywood Story (recently watched: Angelina Jolie, Meg Ryan, Mel Gibson, Tawny Kitaen)
5) the jukebox at the Commonwealth (and also the cheap, cold Amstel Light)
6) Kidz Bop's enthusiastic and letter-perfect rendering of Crazy Frog's "Axel F" (a/k/a "The Frog Song") (and apparently Kidz Bop 9 has "Pon De Replay" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends"!)
7) The Sleuth Channel (cop shows galore, including Miami Vice)
8) Trader Joe's Tuna in Red Panang Curry Sauce with TJ's jasmine rice
9) learning that not only can I buy a Slurpee in the borough of Manhattan, but i can buy a sugar-free Slurpee!
10) my local likka sto and wino emporium

January 26, 2006

The Javits Center is one of my favorite pieces of New York architecture -- like Manhattan itself, it's so imposing and utilitarian. But I think people see it as representing an older, grittier NYC, a vision of Midtown West as an HQ for no-nonsense worker-bees to buckle down and get straight to whatever they're there for. That's changing now that developers are trying to gentrify every potentially desirable parcel of land, and the city is promoting some bullshit about "repurposing" the waterfront away from its storied industrial history and into a freshly landscaped mini-mall. That said, I've been looking at some designs for the new Javits center, and it's actually sorta pretty, even if it doesn't look anything like the New York I know. Which is the problem with all of this "NYC 2.0" stuff. It's all well and good, but it's devoid of character and might as well be any other anonymous-looking wealthy city in the U.S. or Canada -- Boston, Toronto, Denver. Why are cities so ashamed of their recent past? Will we be ashamed of this era in 30-40 years?

January 22, 2006

You know you watch too much TV when you recognize that the woman in the PediaSure baby formula commercial is the same actress from the K-Y Warming Liquid ad.

January 06, 2006

free enneagram test

Type Five
The Investigator
The perceptive, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with eccentricity, nihilism, and isolation. At their Best: visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time, and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Profile Summary for Enneagram Type Five
Healthy: Observe everything with extraordinary perceptiveness and insight. Most mentally alert, curious, searching intelligence: nothing escapes their notice. Foresight and prediction. Able to concentrate: become engrossed in what has caught their attention. / Attain skillful mastery of whatever interests them. Excited by knowledge: often become expert in some field. Innovative and inventive, producing extremely valuable, original works. Highly independent, idiosyncratic, and whimsical. At Their Best: Become visionaries, broadly comprehending the world while penetrating it profoundly. Open-minded, take things in whole, in their true context. Make pioneering discoveries and find entirely new ways of doing and perceiving things.

Average: Begin conceptualizing and fine-tuning everything before acting — working things out in their minds: model building, preparing, practicing, and gathering more resources. Studious, acquiring technique. Become specialized, and often "intellectual," often challenging accepted ways of doing things. / Increasingly detached as they become involved with complicated ideas or imaginary worlds. Become preoccupied with their visions and interpretations rather than reality. Are fascinated by off-beat, esoteric subjects, even those involving dark and disturbing elements. Detached from the practical world, a "disembodied mind," although high-strung and intense. / Begin to take an antagonistic stance toward anything which would interfere with their inner world and personal vision. Become provocative and abrasive, with intentionally extreme and radical views. Cynical and argumentative.

Unhealthy: Become reclusive and isolated from reality, eccentric and nihilistic. Highly unstable and fearful of aggressions: they reject and repulse others and all social attachments. / Get obsessed yet frightened by their threatening ideas, becoming horrified, delirious, and prey to gross distortions and phobias. / Seeking oblivion, they may commit suicide or have a psychotic break with reality. Deranged, explosively self-destructive, with schizophrenic overtones. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid Avoidant and Schizotypal personality disorders.

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.

Examples: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Georgia O'Keefe, Stanley Kubrick, John Lennon, Lily Tomlin, Gary Larson, Laurie Anderson, Merce Cunningham, Meredith Monk, James Joyce, Bjšrk, Susan Sontag, Emily Dickenson, Agatha Christie, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jane Goodall, Glenn Gould, John Cage, Bobby Fischer, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Trent Reznor, Friedrich Nietzsche, Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, and "Fox Mulder" (X Files).

January 04, 2006

There hasn't been much activity over at A Joshua Tree In Every Pot since November, but today Chris is back and he's got a MEME. And so it is my duty as lame-ass netizen of the blogiverse to post my own and pass it on.

Four jobs you've had in your life: copy editor, proofreader, sales & marketing douchebag, government relations douchebag

Four movies you could watch over and over: Oh jeez, don't get me started. I'll just leave TCM on and sooner or later they'll all be rerun anyway.

Four places you've lived: Brooklyn, NY; New Orleans, LA; Binghamton, NY, Portland, OR.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Good Eats, Seconds From Disaster, The Colbert Report, any of those A&E true-crime shows

Four places you've been on vacation: Rome, Italy; Seattle, WA; Albuquerque, NM; Montreal, Quebec

Four websites you visit daily: American Red Cross in Greater New York (the start page on my work account), Cyburbia.org, Gotham Gazette, NY1's The Political ItCH.

Four of your favorite foods: baked mac & cheese (with lots of paprika), chicken shawarma, green corn tamales, ANYTHING Ethiopian

Four places you'd rather be: Glasgow, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires in the '50s, Beirut in the '60s

And speaking of the Rust Belt, meet Gary, Indiana. (via the Cyburbia Forums)

Wikipedia on Gary:

Gary is the largest city located in Lake County in northwest Indiana, near the city of Chicago. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 102,746 and is the largest Indiana city that is not the county seat. It borders Lake Michigan and is known for its large steel mills (and the attendant air pollution) and as the hometown of the musical Jackson family. Gary is home of Indiana University Northwest, a regional campus of the Indiana University system.

Gary, Indiana is also the subject of a song in the musical The Music Man, and songs and albums by The Jacksons: "Going Back to Indiana," and "2300 Jackson Street."

January 03, 2006

It all began in Camden, New Jersey when a local businessman took the idea from his mother. Richard Hollingshead's mother complained she did not think the seats in the movie theater were designed for all sizes of people. She told her son it was a shame you could not sit comfortably in your own car and watch a movie.

With that idea in mind, Richard utilized a white wall of his auto parts machine shop to show a movie using a 16 millimeter projector along what would become Admiral Wilson Boulevard. He eventually built a new "Park-In" movie that opened on June 7, 1933, for $60,000. Six-hundred cars attended opening night. The first movie shown was "Wife Beware" starring Adolph Menjou.

from a Daily Iowegian article, courtesy of The American Roadside.

January 01, 2006

Starbucks Everywhere: every Starbucks ever, in photographs. Regardless of your feelings on the Big S, this is a fascinating (and often, surprisingly flattering) way to see America as it is in 2005/2006. There's a lot less homogeneity to the stores than most people expect -- my favorites are the ones housed in newly restored 1920s Main Street U.S.A. sorta buildings in upstate/rust-belt cities. Just... cuz it's nice to see those buildings looking beautiful again. :-)

You'll wanna scroll down the page for the full list.