Ocean City, N.J. Ferris Wheel/ Nick DeLuca
“Open or closed?”
The question is something of a secret password for nonnatives, or, conversely, a nod of respect to those who have tread the Ocean City, N.J. boardwalk before.
Johnson’s Popcorn, a Jersey Shore staple more than half a century, is celebrated for its decadently sweet, lightly buttered, pinch-salted caramel corn so saccharine it’ll give your dentist an anxiety disorder.
The sweet and savory ingredients act as an adhesive, creating chunky popcorn balls swimming in a sea of perfectly seasoned kernels.
Needless to say, it’s damned delicious.
The question, posed by the cashiers manning each of the four Johnson’s Popcorn kiosks on the historic boardwalk, is an on-the-spot test of your shore knowledge and acts equally as an identifier if it’s your first time.
And if it is, in fact, your inaugural visit, there’s only one answer:
Social media is arguably the biggest contradiction of this Digital Age.
A rather amorphous and ambiguous entity, social media can be broken down to a number of different platforms and apps most of which were designed for a specific uses or mode of sharing, all of which are intended to link a person or organization to another.
But it’s becoming increasingly clear, and subsequently supported by scientific evidence, that social media often yields the opposite result. Users yearning for acceptance via social networks too frequently and unknowingly ostracize themselves from the tangible world. Brands, companies and organizations attempting to engage with others similarly toe the line of over-sharing and alienating their audiences. Some looking to share their “true selves” invariably pick and choose how they want others to perceive them.
I, for one, have a deep-seated aversion to social media but I actively upkeep most of my accounts knowing full well that having an online presence in an increasingly tech-based world is mandate in the realm of writing and “content creation.”
And isn’t that the essence of successful social media? Knowing when to promote, provoke and prattle without falling short and without overstepping? It’s about trying to strike a balanced and harmonious chord in order to build relationships without razing any.
Dear Ms. Ayanna Pressley,
Boston needs you.
In roughly one year’s time, office-seeking residents will formulate and put into motion campaigns with the admirable hope of unseating Marty Walsh as Mayor of Boston.
I’m writing to you today to urge you to toss your hat into the municipal ring.
You probably don’t remember me and that’s okay. We’ve chatted a handful of times on city issues when I was a news reporter. It was clear to me then that you had the makings of a true political luminary, one who sought public servitude to increase the quality of life for all Bostonians — not just to reinforce the foundation of a formidable career as a politician.
Ayanna Prssley/ Image via City of Boston
It’s clearly not political aspirations that fuel the fire of your civic motivations. It’s doing good and being good. And that’s certainly lacking in the executive office of City Hall.
On Tuesday, April 5, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the Wisconsin Democratic primary over fellow presidential contender Hillary Clinton, former New York senator and secretary of state, by a margin of 56.6% to 43.1%.
Wisconsin’s primary could prove pivotal for Senator Sanders as he tries to oust Clinton, considered by many to be the Democratic front-runner. It was pivotal, too, for the young Massachusetts senator in 1960, John F. Kennedy, who carried the state in unlikely fashion and went on to triumph over rival Lyndon B. Johnson, the Senate Majority Leader from Texas, and assume the presidency thereby establishing a new era of American politics and enshrining the former as the insignia of unrealized political potential.
President Kennedy (left) & Vice President Johnson (center)/ Image via John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum [public domain]
The author at Book & Bar, Portsmouth, N.H.
Mankind has a natural affinity for the underdog.
Endorsing dark horses is a humanistic trait, dating as far back as, and certainly beyond, the biblical showdown of David vs. Goliath.
It’s a psychological phenomenon that, according to research, helps explain the likes of the nation’s unbounded enthusiasm for March Madness, the worldwide popularity of Harry Potter, the meteoric rise of presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and the surge of farmstand shopping over corporate supermarkets.
I would argue that the underdog role is one that can also be portrayed by locations, and that urban centers, for example, boast similar characteristics as those aforementioned. The Harvard Business Review described this twofold effect as having “a disadvantaged position… and a passion and determination to triumph against the odds.”
In that regard, Portsmouth, N.H. is the Northeast’s underdog city.
Mayor Marty Walsh (left) and the author
I consider myself a decent judge of character.
For better or for worse, I’m often able to discern what certain people’s strengths and weaknesses are, how to read their expressions and body language, why they act certain ways in certain situations, and even sometimes their thought process in particular scenarios.
In 2013 I employed this capability to the race to succeed Mayor Tom Menino who had announced in March of that year that he would not seek to prolong his tenure as the longest serving mayor in the history of Boston. Leveraging my then-embryonic role as a news writer covering my first election of any kind, I was able to compile an informative foundation upon which I built my unprejudiced rationale for my candidate of choice.
I’ll freely admit that I cast my ballot for the incumbent Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh.
One week removed from the 2016 Massachusetts primary, I regret it wholeheartedly.
Foundation Brewing Company
On the outskirts of Portland, Maine lies a quaint industrial facility comprised of 12 garage bays fit for one medium-sized vehicle each. The bays are coupled off and interspersed between each pair are office spaces that make prison cells look like penthouses.
With six garage spaces per each oblong facade, the building has become a haven for the more craft-minded of Portland’s citizenry. In fact, it’s occupancy has become predominantly small-scale breweries and tasting rooms, the likes of which would make misanthrope Frank Gallagher of Showtime’s Shameless salivate.
“Small-scale” as a description for these scrappy upstarts perhaps lends an exaggerated perspective to the size of these breweries. They rarely have more than three or four beers on tap, can fit just a handful of picnic tables or waist-high casks for sitting and standing, and are barely able to reserve a corner or two for peddling brand merchandise.
This particular park is anchored by three tastebud-tickling tenants: Foundation Brewing Company, Austin Street Brewery, and Bissell Brothers Brewing Company.
Separately each brewery operates in a distinguishing manner that echoes their own respective product and culture, but together they’ve established a cooperative that mutually benefits their business and beer enthusiasts alike.
I love women — their sensibilities, their features, their practicality, their zeal, their natural and profound counterpoise to the often irrational male Id and ego. This is a woman’s world, not a man’s; just ask the 2013 government shutdown, which was busted wide open by the fairer sex.
Is it some kind of reverse sexism to enjoy residing in the feminine realm?
To quote Charles Adams, son of the second President of the United States John Adams, “nothing so like perfection, in human shape [and in my own humble opinion, human mind], appeared since the world began.”
I have to agree.