Category Archives: Links

“Home” for the Holidays: Christmas in South Jersey

I’m proud and happy to announce the launch of a new website, exclusively for the holiday season. Christmas in South Jersey is the online version of a photo album I made 18 years ago.

I don’t know if the rural and suburban areas of Southern New Jersey are unique, but back in 1992, it was all I knew. And every December, the lawns become cluttered with lights and ornaments, a mishmash of Nativity scenes and North Pole motifs. Jesus and Santa Claus would be side-by-side. The Virgin Mary strangely close to a plastic snowman. Angels sharing porch space with reindeer. (Trust me, my Jewish friends, it was as confounding to me as it would be to you!) And in the harsh daylight sun, it was clear that these seasonal trophies were dreadfully old, weather-beaten and tethered to a dozen feet of orange extension cords.

And the faces of South Jersey are equally fascinating…

A few days after I graduated film school, I spent ten days combing the backwoods of my home state, taking about 800 photographs, and making a 45-page photo album, which has been seen by very few people since.

So, when you have a few minutes during your crazy December, check it out. I’d like to think being 18 years old gives the album nostalgic value, but I bet most of these Christmas ornaments are still in service.

(I made this website in iWeb and am still tweaking it. It looks the way I want it to, but, frankly, the program’s pretty unpredictable. It’s possible I’ll pull it down and relaunch another way. Until then, I welcome feedback of any kind, especially suggestions for alternatives to iWeb.)

And, please, in the spirit of giving, share this link with your friends!


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The Versatile Blogger

Eddie Copeland of (the always entertaining) Edward Copeland on Film has given me the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m extremely grateful since even though I’ve done this blog steadily for four months, I’m still a humble newbie compared to others in this community.

Here are the rules required for accepting this award:
            • Thank the person who gave it to you. (Here goes: Thanks, Eddie!)
            • Share 7 things about yourself. (See below.)
            • Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason. (Well, I’ve been meaning to branch out more in the blog world, now that I’ve gotten some posts under my belt. So I’ve wrangled together my latest faves, and they’re not just film blogs either.)
            • Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award. (Will do!)

7 Things About Me
            1. I rarely do things in moderation. In fact, the best compliment I ever received was from my friend who said, “No matter what you get into (i.e. a band, a movie, a topic), I can be sure that in two weeks you’ll have encyclopedic knowledge of it.”
            2. I saw Jaws 6 times in the movie theater before 1983. I also saw Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. 5 times apiece in their first run at the movies. I’m very proud of all of these accomplishments and eternally grateful to my Mother for enduring it all.
            3. The last time I saw La Strada I cried so much I embarrassed my wife.
            4. I pride myself in going into every movie wanting to love it. It breaks my heart when I don’t enjoy a movie, but I always put my best foot forward. I don’t have enough time to do otherwise.
            5. I called Andy Warhol on the phone when I was 16 (and he took my call). (NOTE TO SELF: Good topic for a future post.)
            6. I’d like to think I’m a good teacher (passionate and eccentric but thorough) and expect I’ll earn a living doing that one of these days.
            7. It’s taken me years to get around to doing this blog—a very special thanks to my wife and brother for nagging me!—and am continually shocked how much stuff I regarded as important during my high school years (i.e. my last post) has become fodder for posts. How cool is that?

So, here’s my 15. (My apologies I advance if I’m giving anyone repeat Versatile Blogger Awards. I tried my best to vet this list.)

            Big Media Vandal

            Mirror – Motion Picture Commentary

            Panic on the 4th of July

            The Man from Porlock

            Moon in the Gutter

            MONDO 70: A Wide World of Cinema

            Goodfella’s Movie Blog

            Some Came Running

            Too Much Horror Fiction

            Funk My Soul


A Little Bit of Everything:
            The Sheila Variations

            B as in Booya


            Words to Eat By (aka the Missus)

And now I have to let them all know what I’ve just done! Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!


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A Fun Film Blog I Recommend

I just found this one today. It’s Film Experience Blog, and this guy, Nathaniel Rogers–plus a host of contributors–have a lot of interesting posts. He writes frequently and intelligently about film and TV, from all angles. For example, I’d love to write a post about one of my favorite torch songs, “As Long as He Needs Me,” from Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, only Nathaniel already did it here.

Also, he has this recurring game of putting the first and last images (or lines) from films–it’s naturally called First and Last–which is wildly addictive.

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