Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

orgasms good for you


(From Huffpost)

Hard on the heels of breakthrough research that drinking champagne is good for heading off Alzheimers, we all know that doing crossword puzzles is good for your brain – but not as good as having orgasms, apparently.

Rutgers researchers Barry Komisaruk and Nan Wise, who study human pleasure, recruited female subjects (why only women? Ed.) willing to bring themselves to orgasm while lying in an MRI machine that measured blood flow to different parts of the brain. These experiments showed that orgasms increase blood flow to all parts of the brain – bringing nutrients and oxygenation along, too.

“Mental exercises increase brain activity but only in relatively localized regions,” Komisaruk told Will Pavia for the Times Of London. “Orgasm activates the whole.”

As well as keeping your brain sharp, orgasms are thought to decrease stress, ease depression and increase longevity. Komisaruk is also spearheading research on how orgasms can block pain.

In November 2011, writer Kayt Sukel volunteered as a subject for Komisaruk’s research. In an article about her experience for The Guardian, Sukel explained that the most difficult part of the experience was remaining still enough during the scan to keep the data viable, and explaining to her friends what she was up to.

“If you ever want to make even the most cosmopolitan of your friends speechless, telling them you have volunteered to travel to Newark, New Jersey, so you can masturbate to orgasm in an fMRI is a great way to start,” Sukel quipped in a blog post for the Huffington Post.

Komisaruk, who has been involved in this field of study since 1982, claims that his research is well-received by the academic community.

“We are desensitizing people,” he told the Times. “They used to be very squeamish about it and we’re very straightforward about it. They don’t make fun of it, we don’t make fun of it. A lot of people take it very seriously.”

Count his research as another good reason to keep having fun in bed.

Meanwhile, your fearless reporter has only one burning question to ask you, Dear Reader:

Would the fact that the research was conducted in New Jersey make it more or less likely that you would volunteer?

Anyway, we will be asking Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink to the boudoir in due course to glug a bottle of Bolly and, er “complete a crossword”. All in the interests of a healthy brain, naturally.

Brandon Holt. Dead. Never coming back. Aged, 6.

Brandon Holt. Dead. Never coming back. Aged, 6.

I do not pretend or propose to know what to do about gun control in America, and ultimately it is up to the citizens of that country, of course, but something needs to be done to stop tragedies like this happening.

New Jersey gun owners who know minors could have access to them are required by law to properly secure the guns. Securing methods could include using a container box or a trigger lock. Failing to do so could lead to disorderly persons offence, a misdemeanor.

It would be easy to yell “stronger penalties” for people who don’t keep guns safely under lock and key but then again, a family has lost their child. Another family has to live with the knowledge that a gun stored under their bed has killed another child. They must all be utterly devastated. I can’t see that punishing them further is going to serve any purpose.

So what is the answer? Education? Stronger controls? You tell me. I just know the current situation is not working. The sheer numbers of guns in that society means such tragedies are inevitable. At what stage does the “return” on having guns in society get outweighed by the negatives. I really don’t know. I just mourn.

Story begins:

A 6-year-old boy who was accidentally shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate has died from his wounds, authorities said Tuesday night.

Ocean County prosecutor’s office spokesman Al Della Fave confirmed Brandon Holt had died but said he couldn’t provide further details. Toms River police Chief Michael Mastronardy said Holt was pronounced dead at 5 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 24 hours after the shooting occurred in a neighborhood that residents described as “very quiet.”

The 4-year-old, whose name was withheld, was not injured.

Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, speaking earlier Tuesday at a news conference, said the boy got the .22-caliber rifle from his home and it discharged accidently Monday evening. The children, whose families live in the neighborhood, were about 15 yards apart.

The younger boy’s mother called 911 to report the shooting, Coronato said.

Coronato said it was too early in the investigation to know whether anyone would be charged. He would not say who owned the gun or speculate on how the 4-year-old got it.

Mastronardy called the shooting tragic and said it affected the whole community, a sentiment shared by those who live there.

One resident said the two families had not lived in the neighborhood for long and she did not know them well.

“I’m sad for the children involved and their families, but I’m angry with whoever owns that gun and allowed a little child to get hold of it. A 4-year-old can’t load a gun,” said Debi Coto, who lives a few doors down. “I had just been telling my sister how nice it is to see kids playing together and enjoying themselves, and then this happens.”

Coto said the 4-year-old’s mother seemed very upset in the minutes after the shooting and appeared to be trying to comprehend what had happened.

The shooting came just days after a 4-year-old boy in Tennessee grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot to death the wife of a sheriff’s deputy and amid debate over gun control laws in the wake of December’s Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Sometimes simple was best - it let the music shine

Sometimes simple was best – it let the music shine

Last night, for reasons so obscure they do not need elucidation, one found oneself with free tix for self, Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink and Fruit Of One’s Loins at the Melbourne opening night of the latest run of Jersey Boys, the autobiographical re-telling of the rise and rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons from the mean streets of New Jersey to mega-stardom and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

First opening night I had ever been to. Always good to rack up a first when already ensconced in one’s middle years. I don’t suppose it’s likely to happen all that often, so the credit card treated us all to dinner on the pavement at an ancient bistro next to the theatre (the type where you have to ask the price of the bottle of wine then you shouldn’t be there) and it was really quite amusing watching minor celebs arrive and be interviewed on the red carpet and photographed in front of the banners for the show and all that fluffy nonsense. Wannabee starlets primped and preened and wandered around squeezed into dresses that resembled sequin-encrusted handkerchiefs rather than practical garments. Luckily it was a warm night.

The PR hacks and the journos and the publicists and the great and good of Melbourne society swirled around, all trying to work out who was looking at them without anyone noticing that it was them that was doing the looking, and in general, a good time seemed to be being had by all. The whole thing was about three millimetres deep in societal relevance, and all the more fun for that. The former conservative Treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello, sat behind and above us in the circle. What my Mum would have called “the cheap seats, for the genteel poor”. It was only continual nagging by the Memsahib that prevented me from pointing out to him that the socialists had the better seats.

This multi-award winning show, which has already done amazing business in the USA and around the world, just seems to roll on and on. Almost everyone I know had already seen it, and I had actually not bothered last time it was here – “Frankie Valli? Pfft!” – so I wasn’t overly geed up to finally make the show.

But what an error, Dear Reader! This was musical theatre at its most approachable, enjoyable, and even, on occasions, genuinely moving. All around the world right now I have friends and readers telling me how they are flocking to see the musical movie version of Les Miserables and coming away feeling sad and drawn. My advice? Forget “The Glums”, (it’s a thoroughly depressing book, it was a thoroughly depressing stage show, and now, apparently it is a thoroughly depressing movie), and hithe thee instead to the nearest production of Jersey Boys. Fly, if you have to. Because it’s a corker.

With a set that brilliantly combines the raw simplicity of steel, echoing the mills and hardships of the young lads’ backgrounds, with witty, eye catching video effects and massive TV panels (allowing the very clever tromp l’oeil effect of combining on-stage performance with genuine footage of the audiences watching the original Four Seasons performing on shows like American Bandstand), the overall effect is to encourage one to suspend disbelief entirely, and to feel one is back in the late 50s and 60s, witnessing the birth of a genuinely mass-movement popular music phenomenon, and the effect it had on both the participants and the society surrounding them.

Jeff Madden channels Frankie Valli so accurately all disbelief is suspended

The Melbourne production was previously singled out by critics as amongst the most impressive worldwide, and I am sure the same plaudits will rain on the heads of the current cast, choreographers, stage designers and musicians. At times, Canadian actor Jeff Madden channelled Frankie Valli himself with a passion and credibility (and the “voice of an angel” that made Valli so famous, with a natural falsetto that defied belief) that meant one had to pinch oneself to remember that the real Valli is now 78 and all this was a very long time ago. But all the cast were flawless. The sets were tight, the timing impeccable, the dialogue convincing, and above all, the music sublime. It was a perfect reminder, and in my case a reminder was needed, that these young people were responsible for some of the finest pop songs ever written and performed. Their talent and their popularity was certainly rivalling other mega groups like the Beatles at the time, or the later Abba, and they deserve to be recalled with affection and some awe. Especially the song-writing and producing skills of Bob Gaudio, charmingly brought to life by Decaln Egan.

What made the evening truly special were a few moments when the audience, swept away by the talent on display, both inherent in the music and in the performances of the young cast, hollered and whooped their full-throated appreciation.

As if taken somewhat by surprise, the cast allowed themselves a little self-regarding emotion, occasionally just taking a second to the thank the audience for their enthusiasm, throwing in the occasional bow, nods of thanks, and smiles, with sparkling eyes.

It was charming, unforced, and it seemed entirely appropriate.

It further blurred the line between history and today, between acting and reality, between New Jersey and everyone else, between the entertainers and entertained.

For a moment the bond between actors and audience really did feel like that curious and intimate mesh that binds pop idol and fan, that can make one feel bereft and bereaved at the death of a John Lennon or a Freddie Mercury, or in genuine awe of the athletic rawness of a Bruce Springsteen or Roger Daltry, or warmed by the sheer good naturedness of an Olivia Newton-John or Cat Stevens or fundamentally,and sometimes life-changingly, stirred by the righteous wrath of a Bob Dylan. In the music of these giants of the entertainment world we see glimpses of them, the real people behind the carefully-constructed images, and thus in turn of ourselves, expressed in new and meaningful ways.

Now and again, last night, we were privileged to feel what Frankie Valli and his friends gave their many fans. And it seriously rocked.

If you’ve forgotten, well, here you go. Do yaself a favour. Some of the video is a bit dodgy. The music sure as hell isn’t.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun loved the show too. As they did in Adelaide. And in Sydney, the Sunday Telegraph commented “Jersey Boys isn’t just a cut above most musicals;  it’s in a different league”. And the Syndey Morning Herald raved “This is easily the best musical ever – truly thrilling – the hits explode from the stage with verve, polish and conviction.”

You can also see exclusive footage of the Melbourne show with cast interviews on this blog.

Well there ya go, and now you know. Be there or be square, man.

Great to see the NJ State Government making it easier for people to vote. Worth passing on to any friends and family in the stricken state …

Release begins: Already Available to Military and Overseas Voters, State Opens Electronic Voting System to Make Voting More Accessible to Citizens Displaced by Hurricane Sandy and First Responders Assisting in Recovery Efforts

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of State has issued a directive today to county elections officials to permit New Jersey registered voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote electronically. This directive also is intended to assist displaced first responders, whose tireless recovery efforts away from home has made voting a challenge.

“This has been an extraordinary storm that has created unthinkable destruction across our state and we know many people have questions about how and where to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election. To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “Despite the widespread damage Hurricane Sandy has caused, New Jersey is committed to working through the enormous obstacles before us to hold an open and transparent election befitting our state and the resiliency of its citizens.”

To vote electronically, displaced voters may submit a mail-in ballot application either by e-mail or fax to their county clerk. Once an application is approved, the clerk will electronically send a ballot to the voter by either fax or e-mail in accordance to the voter’s preference. Voters must return their electronic ballot – by fax or email – no later than November 6, 2012, at 8 p.m.

Voters can download a mail-in ballot application for their county by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-vote-by-mail.html. A list of county clerk websites, phone numbers and fax numbers are available by visiting http://nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-local-officials.html.

Separate directives issued today enable displaced voters and first responders to vote by provisional ballot at a polling place in a county other than the voter’s county of registration. The deadline for county clerks to receive mail-in ballots has been extended to November 19, 2012, for any ballot postmarked on or before November 5, 2012. Mail-in ballots post marked later than November 5 will not be accepted.

County elections officials have also been directed to print a sufficient number of provisional and emergency ballots to accommodate voters.

Voters are encouraged to take advantage of extended office hours at county elections offices to cast their vote early and in-person. Registered voters can obtain and cast their ballot in-person at their county elections office up until 3 pm Tuesday. County election offices are to remain open, at a minimum, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm throughout the weekend, until November 5. Voters that have a mail-in ballot and choose to deliver their ballot to the county elections office in person must present their completed ballot to their county elections office no later than the close of polls on Tuesday.

Information is also available by calling 1-877-NJVOTER.