“Seeking a Way Home: The Mystical Body and the Beloved Community,” St. Vincent’s College, May 22, 2015

“Seeking a Way Home: The Mystical Body and the Beloved Community,” St. Vincent’s College, May 22, 2015


































































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Budd Schulberg Centennial Celebration, Dartmouth College, November 7, 2014




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Jersey Hellhound on Chris’s Trail

Or, What would Jesus H. “Frank” Hague Do?

If da Boss were crossed, that is, by upstart Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Simple: in the next muni election Hague would run his own slate of candidates and secure for it the top ballot line. Heading the ticket? Dawn Zimmer: no not THAT Dawn Zimmer but somebody of the same name Hague would recruit from white pages of the phone book.

But those carefree days are gone and Chris Christie can’t simply reclaim his soul outa the pawnshop: deal making with blue-eyed devil/Dem. So. Jersey warlords is one thing, but C.C. Rider has squandered nearly all that his family staked in going GOP. Tom Kean Sr. boycotted Christie’s state-o-the state last week: that’s more than signal enough the Anglo-Republicans have once and for all concluded: no gentleman, he.

What a pickle has Chris wrought! All instincts say fight like a bastid, but they’re watching you!

As Judge Smails warned Danny Noonan, a would-be gentleman must abide by the rules of decent society, especially if you have the misfortune of being born Jersey-Irish (or Irish-Italian). See how my fellow apostate I-Cath Tom Moran, in a desperate bid to convince outsiders that C.C. does not represent the ‘core’ Jerseyan, lauds Kean Sr. as “always a gentleman’ but praises with a faint damn Kean’s fellow former guv and good pal Irish Brendan Byrne as “always a wit.”

Is that still the best we Harps along the Eastern Seaboard can aspire to even tho Byrne–like Kean–went to PU for God’s sakes! I mean c’mon how far removed is ‘wit’ from ‘witty stew bum’!

I gotta hunch Christie’s next hi-profile appearance will be in April at the coronation of Saint JP2; it’s not like Christie-booster Nerk Abp. Myers can do Chris any good locally, given his own self-inflicted predicament.

But even in Rome C.C.’s Jersey self-knowledge deficit will hound him like it’s hounded so many of our forebears.

When the guv visits Rome he might discover—to paraphrase the late George C. Wallace–that Robt. Johnson spoke both better Polish AND better Jersey than either the soon to be unsavorily minted saint or the soon to be shit-canned Gov.

Or, for yet another sloppy paraphrase–this time from the Coen Bros. first great film–I don’t care if you’re the Pope of Rome: out here in Jersey, you’re born and you die alone;  lucky are the few who check out before that ol’ Hellhound catches up.

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The Banished Children of B. Buono Voters

In the U.S. heartland–the ‘un-archipelago’–dictators punish the non-compliant real and imagined not by clogging access to bridges/tunnels but by raising parking fees. When I taught at St. Looie U for instance we had a burlesque-quality tyrant for a Jesuit president, who doubled or tripled faculty-parking rates whenever the help got uppity (and always in the summer when nobody was around).

Larry B. was finally retired, but as a Hoboken longshoreman once said to another (movie) Jesuit: ‘the waterfront’s tougher, Father, like it ain’t part of America.”

That may well serve as Chris Christie’s epitaph/backhand tribute. I’ll go down swinging for the case he’s a political genius, but 19 days living on this other coast is ample reminder my own understanding of things is a bit, say, Jersey-centric. Christie is unrivaled at machinations within the 21 counties; when he dreams of playing in Peoria, bad karma eventually ensues, as per his asinine plugging of the Hudson rail tunnel in 2010 that was aimed solely at impressing the rest of America.

By far the two greatest lines to come out of this latest caper are ‘time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee’ and ‘they’re children of Buono voters” (poor bus-stranded Fort Lee first-day-of school kids) That’s how we’re raised to think in the Garden State, and just when you hope that era must one day end, along comes Immaculate Heart Academy Hall O’ Famer and vice-Christie Chief of Staff Ms. Bridget Anne Kelly to affirm some traditions never die.

Ms. Kelly she may be only 41 (and seriously, why do these dames so often marry and un-marry Jersey golf professionals?) but speaks with the wisdom of the ages.

I Said it in 2010, 2011 and say it again: Christie plugged that rail tunnel–consigning his subjects to a virtually permanent 4th world rail transit system–because he looked into the future and reckoned NJ Transit riders–and everybody that looked like ’em–were arugula munching Barbara Buono voters anyway so fuggem all…real Tea Partiers of all genders don’t ride trains figured he; not that Chris actually knew too many of those folks he was counting on to make him Prez.

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Trigger Warning: Jersey Burger Establishments

Yes You Can! find lighter-hearted stories on NJ.com unrelated to the big (post) Sopes Opera; yet as a very recent out-migrant I let guard down jes’ long enough to get whacked by this, from the great Peter Genovese, a seemingly harmless piece on burger joints designed for appeal to next month’s Super Bowl goers,  forbidden from tail-gating in the Swamp (or hoofing it to the Meadowlands stadium, even from a hotel 600 yards away in Rutherford).

“I’ve heard nothing but good things about Loaded in Garwood, Genovese exclaims. “Just get there early,” advised Michelle S. “They sell out fast!”

What!? Of the hundreds of times I stood outside that location there a-bike with Charlie, I never noticed this fairly new joint’s name. I’ve heard of Loaded-for-Bear, but ‘Loaded’ for burgers?

And I do mean hundreds of times—Dr. Chew nods in affirmation—DAILY trips between late-spring and our recent departure West. Charlie would purposefully stop the bike at that S.E. corner of South Ave. and Center St. Garwood, right under the little awning of what had most recently been a Peruvian restaurant, then a deli before that and a Bar-B-Que before that…it changed hands in tempo with the saloon across the street which likewise knew a half-dozen incarnations during our decade+ in the nabe.

Charlie would park the bike on sidewalk at that corner and remain aboard and perform a kinda meditation-lookin thing like a junior Buddha boy. Every so often he also briefly resembled—strictly from civilian perspective of course—the Buddha’s agitate-able younger cousin and sometime nemesis; call him Larry.

Charlie’s traveling mantra was: NO GALLOPING HILL (his all-time favorite joint quite some distance of ground northeast of Center and South); that destination was limited to special bike ride occasions. ‘No Galloping Hill’ was signal to turn right on South Ave; a second devotional spot lay slightly further down the block.

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Chris, you gotta stop torturing these folk they’re doing all they can for you!

Thanks to dear friend Sharon for link re this vote of confidence from the Texas wing of the GOP social register. Chris, you gotta stop torturing these folk they’re doing all they can for you! (why do I keep hearing Carm to A.J. from season one of Sopranos, on day of kid’s confirmation, when she found him with some smokin’ weed in garage: ‘Can’t you even act like a Catholic for five fucking minutes!’ That’s not same as  Chris’s problem natch, but via analogy…on further reflection A.J, Chris, and A.J.’s late lamented dad share features aplenty).

And that’s what makes Chris so darn entertaining in the china shop: the blu-bloods know despite shenanigans he remains last best–Jersey!–hope to finally wrest back their party from the social– not ‘society’–cuckoos; fact is GWB (the man not the bridge) would be huge long-shot for nomination in current dispensation.

With daughter of 91 year old Fort Lee decedent in forgiving mode, Jersey funhouse is open for business. I had no idea til today that fall guy David Wildstein–Christie’s PA patronage plant-ee who Guv. now insists was his h. school classmate strictly in technical sense–was the Jersey politics blogger de plume ‘Wally Edge!’

Walter Edge was a lifelong spoilsman installed as NJ Gov. by Frank Hague on two occasions separated by decades. Hague overshadows all and is he enjoying this from, wherever…

See, not only was Hague wholly immune on religious grounds from being considered for ‘gentleman’ status (the most powerful political boss in U.S. history could never run for statewide office (Catholic thing; I know nobody believes it), he invoked his infallible authority to declare Jersey City “‘the most moralest’ place on earth.

Christie’s people come from Hague-land, but sounds like his old man made the conversion to GOP, an act of apostasy formerly viewed as endangerment to one’s eternal salvation. This was NOT all that long ago!

Chris was supposed to be the guy with crossover appeal, and he still may be.

Since we’ve been touting CaddyShack as the key text here, see where the PA employee in charge of GWB orange cone deployment was one Darcy Licorish: wasn’t her family members at Bushwood CC Back in the day?

GWB, Tom Kean Sr., good ol’ boy Haley Barbour,  and Judge Smails are clearly going to the mat at least one more time for Chris; message remains the same:

“You know, despite what happened, I’m still convinced that you have many fine qualities. I think you can still become a gentleman someday if you understand and abide by the rules of decent society.”

Easy for them to say…

Former George W. Bush Adviser: Chris Christie ‘Could Actually Benefit’ From Bridge Scandal

[Originally posted on Facebook]

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Why will C.C. survive this?

Why will C.C. survive this? Two words: Tom Kean, Sr. (is that two or three?).
Some things cannot possibly be overstated; among those is the regard with which Kean is held in the political/judicial establishments of the Garden State and beyond. Were Christie to achieve the presidency, his log cabin story would begin with the moment he knocked on Kean’s door as a 12? 14? year old–whatever–launching a relationship that endures after nearly half a century.

“Fake Huck Finn-ery is the real American boyhood,” wrote Garry Wills in his characteristically brutally incisive account of Ronnie Reagan.
Christie’s fake Huck Finnery entails his bogus Jersey toughness. The guy grew up in Livingston for God’s sakes; among his closest childhood pals was Harlan Coben the renowned mystery novelist (or is it detective stories? I’m not a big fiction guy).

Livingston is Philip Roth’s suburban Promised Land. This means that young Chris, Irish-Italian by inheritance, enjoyed some intimacy with the third person of Jersey’s white ethnic Holy Trinity. In that he’s not so unique: same thing went for me and millions like me of that era. But Tom Kean, Sr?

We Irish people long ago dubbed Kean and his fellow aristocrats “the old goyim.” Young Chris Christie knocked on Tom Kean’s door in Livingston and a political star was born: I caddied for decades for members of Kean’s family and friends at ‘the club’ in Bernardsville. It’s way too much to get into other than to suggest: Christie is the luckiest bastard in North America to have Tom Kean still in his corner after all the shit he’s pulled including a total betrayal of Tom Kean, Jr.

There’s too much going on here and last night when I wrote of such things as these, i failed to note what I learned from decades of caddying for these old, old money Republicans: their seeming aloofness toward their own masks a very profoundly deep kind of family loyalty that I could live for centuries without understanding. Kean, Sr., pretty much as I write, is saving Christie’s ass in a way that his own son, royally screwed just weeks ago by King Tubby, surely understands.

What I’m saying is: I know I’ve totally got Christie’s number by virtue of our common background but that doesn’t mean shit: he’s got Tom Kean in his corner and I’m still basically jes’ a caddy to those folk, albeit a caddy who continued to hustle loops at the club while serving as a junior faculty member at Yale. To the guys at the club that made perfect sense as it was obvious I was on a separate trajectory from the likes of Chris Christie.

There are some real good stories here though, beginning with my warm caddy-client relationship with Webster and Eleanor Schley Todd, parents of Christine Todd Whitman and two of the warmest, kindest, and most engaging humans I’ve ever met. Christie Whitman’s mom shoulda been the first female president of the U.S.; that’s how gifted she was. Chris Christie hitched his wagon to this remarkably intriguing cohort of Anglos, and right now they’re busy saving his sorry Irish ass. Here’s looking at you and yours, big fella…and to your credit I know you’ve avoided our tribal original sin of knocking the Wasps and the Jews, without whom you’d be working in a back office somewhere in Jersey City


(originally posted on Facebook)

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