July 2007


Fungus is SOOOOO COOOOOL. My first ever post for MCDP was a fungus, and I am always excited when I can use the “fungus” blog-tag.

We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and there are mushrooms popping up like you wouldn’t believe.

I’m sure this is a common kind of fungus, but I don’t know what it is. So. FIVE POINTS to whomever first correctly identifies this fungus.

(Edit: I think it’s a specimen of Lycoperdon perlatum.)

You can’t spell “fungi” without “fun!”

(For a couple more Monmouth County Fair photos, check out my Flickr page. I’ll be removing the photos sooner or later, because I like to keep my Flickr account tidy.)


bwana jim

If you go to the Monmouth County Fair (which ended today, Sunday… actually yesterday, since the fair was cancelled today due to lots and lots of rain), be sure to watch BWANA JIM’S WILDLIFE SHOW!

This, an 8-year-old alligator, is just one of the critters he was tossing around.


Although this is a Monmouth County photoblog, I rarely feature the west side of the county. But for the MONMOUTH COUNTY FAIR, I think I’d better!

The Monmouth County Fair (in Freehold) happens once a year in the summer for the better part of a week. There are rides, 4H and “living history” exhibits, vendors, tents for associations across the county, pig races, lumberjack shows, and the Home and Garden tent.

Home and Garden tennnnnnnnt

In the days leading up to the fair, people can enter their amateur H&G products (be they art, crafts, vegetables, flowers, or honey) for judging.


Jersey traffic is INSANE.

There are two reasons for this.

First of all, New Jersey is one of the primary homes to a traffic phenomenon known as the jughandle. (They may call these “cloverleaf” intersections elsewhere, but we Jerseyans know better.) Because traffic engineers sometimes choose to utilize jughandles and sometimes DON’T, our traffic patterns make no sense. Take this particular intersection at Rt-35(N-S) and Deal Rd(E-W), for example.

1. Traffic heading west can make a normal left or right turn at the traffic light from the corresponding lane. (Fig. 1)

2. Traffic heading east* must keep right, go THROUGH the intersection, and take a jughandle (bottom right circle-thing) in order to make a left; to make a right, it’s necessary to take the exit from the right lane (bottom left diagonal road) BEFORE the intersection and merge onto the south (downward) road. (Fig. 2)

3. Traffic heading north must take the one-way quadrant ramp (I’m making up names here, but it’s the bottom right diagonal road) from the right lane before the intersection NO MATTER WHICH WAY IT’S TURNING. The vehicle simply makes its left or right* turn a hundred feet east of the main intersection. (Fig. 3)

4. Traffic heading south must keep right, go THROUGH the intersection, and take a jughandle (bottom left circle-thing) in order to make a left*; to turn right, traffic can make a normal right turn (though not on red, a rule which does NOT apply to the west-bound normal right turns). (Fig. 4)

Note: in all figures, red = right turn, blue = left turn.
Fig. 1: Fig. 2:

Fig. 3: Fig. 4:

Locals are in the know about all these ridiculous patterns. So the second reason for crazy Jersey traffic is because the Bennies can’t figure any of it out and SCREW EVERYTHING UP.

* If you’re heading east and you think you’ve maneuvered past the intersection without a problem… a couple hundred feet down the road at the next light, the right lane suddenly turns into a right-turn-only lane without any warning, which leads to a whole ‘nother set of traffic problems.

bennies go home

Now, here on the Jersey Shore, we don’t speak particularly distinctly. We have, more or less, a standard northern dialect. But two phrases that seem unique and pervasive to this locality are “down the shore” (which I don’t use, but means “down to the beach”) and “bennies.”


Bennies are the out-of-towners who come to the Jersey shore only for the summer. They’re usually from New York (but certainly not always. there are a lot of Floridians here right now- but I assume most of them are snowbirds.)

There has always been a certain amount of prejudice against bennies. Yes, they support the economy, but they’re annoying.

The “local” newspaper (by “local,” I mean it’s the 66th-best-selling newspaper in the United States) has been trying to open people’s eyes to this unfounded prejudice by running a weekly “Benny or Local?” feature. Here, try it for yourself. (Click the image to enlarge, then check your answers.)

Benny or Local?

Click here for answers!

Really, they’re just like the rest of us.

(Want more info on bennies? Click here for the Wikipedia article on the term.)


I took some photos of the Asbury Park Casino back in February. At this point, they’ve removed everything to the right of that big pillar with the lantern on top.


The full plans- click here for full view To the right of the pillar- click for full view

These plans are posted on a plexiglass-protected board standing at the end of the Ocean Grove boardwalk (about 30-40 feet in front of the casino).

Another small point of interest- when I originally photographed the casino in February, the entire structure was fenced off; the fence is now (mostly) gone, and the casino once again acts as a walk-between for the Ocean Grove and Asbury Park boardwalks.

sweet pea

Apparently, not all things that look like “wild sweet peas” are wild sweet peas. After doing some research, I’ve decided that this is actually a meadow vetchling.

It’s pretty common- according to the guidebooks- but I’ve never seen one before.

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