A few days down the Jersey shore again, this time with my older son, Miles, and my daughter-in-law and grandson and his uncle, my youngest.
Rough surf at times, windy and hot and humid, and the pink-skinned among us (my daughter-in-law, me and my youngest) got patchy sunburn, but ultimately one of those great beach experiences where you're just happy to be alive and together with loved ones.
And then there was the observing of the various tribes. When I was a boy the dominant ethnic groups (Irish, Italian, Jewish, African, etc. all hyphenated "-Americans") gathered in different towns along the coast. And in Belmar, the town my family went to, gathered at different beaches.
Belmar has changed. Where there once was old Victorian hotels with Irish bars in the basement and Mass said in the dining room on Sunday morning, there are now ugly condos. And among the few little bungalows left, there are those McMansions taking up too much of a lot and monstrously designed as if to prove their bad taste.
But it's still a party town where some of those bungalows and even some of the monstrosities are rented out to groups of young people (late teens and twenties and even early thirties) for beach going and partying. We watched them circulate in small groups all of which seemed to have agreed on the uniform of the night (think "Jersey Shore" the reality show) but to our surprise, there were cops or security officers on almost every corner where there were bars nearby.
As I understand it, the new million dollar behemoth owners don't want young people partying in the town they have invested in so deeply. It didn't seem to be stopping the partying cold, but maybe is having a dampening effect. What a shame if that continues.
But now that Jersey has a Republican governor, it will be even more millionaire friendly and working folk neglectful (as in the recent two percent cap on property taxes the governor (speaking of behemoths) put in, while at the same time raising the cap on taxes for ordinary folks and making any tax raise for the rich verbotten) etc.
So, as I recover from a summer cold and some spotty sunburn back in my apartment in North Jersey, I'm catching up on the news I missed and seeing that people are still murdering one another around the world, global warming seems more in evidence than ever, and the rightwing Republicans are continuing to spread big lies about their subservience to corporate dictates while also continuing to fight any extension of unemployment benefits for ordinary out-of-work "Americans" and blaming everything on Obama, who actually does deserve credit, for getting more done in a year-and-a-half that helps ordinary people than the Republicans did in, well, ever.