Smaller Than a Postage Stamp

What Price Beauty?

Marilyn Monroe is said to have had $3.50 in her apartment when she died. Yet she will make more money this year than all but a handful of Hollywood stars. How is she worth more dead than alive? Who gets that money? Who doesn’t (but should)? Welcome to The Marilyn Wars.

Marilyn Monroe has been dead for 48 years. Do you care? In some years the dead Marilyn earned over $7 million on sales of over $60 million in merchandise bearing her name or image. Still don’t care? Well, I know who does care. A unique group of sharp business people, creative lawyers, nostalgic purveyors of porn, scheming collectors, paranoid political conspiracy theorists, fraudsters and infringers, fans and obsessed idolaters, and loyal devotees who seek to prolong their candle in the wind. These are the soldiers in The Marilyn Wars. They are engaged in a struggle of constant calumny, lawsuits, claims of fraud and theft, and even threats of duct-and abduction.

The main battlegrounds are the federal courts and state legislatures, and the principal combatants are the estates of various artists claiming conflicting intellectual property rights in Marilyn, and the publishers and photographers who took the iconic photographs reproduced on so many of the pieces of merchandise sold under her name. The rest of the colorful players (who are worthy of their own article) are cheerleaders of varying stripes. Over the last few years, The Marilyn Wars changed the entire playing field for intellectual property rights known as “rights to publicity,” sparking precedent-setting court cases from coast to coast who owns a piece of what or whom.

And all over symbol who would have recently turned 83. A product of national obsession and hard work behind the scenes, Marilyn’s estate—in tandem with its licensing agents and others—has fought to ensure that her memory lives on, and productively so. Marilyn’s name or image has appeared on dozens of products and advertisements, from a “Marilyn” perfume line in Europe to advertising campaigns with Dom Perignon, Absolut and General Motors. There are even Marilyn-themed casino slot machines and a line of pet clothing that includes a hot-pink dog dress with the slogan, “Diamonds are a Dog’s Best Friend.” (Seriously.) Would you reach for a bottle of water bearing the iconic image of Marilyn stretched out on a red velvet blanket over one of Fuji or Evian? Gauging from their labels, the makers of Star H2O must think so. So who owns Marilyn, and who or what has the right to the proceeds from her legacy? After all, that’s what The Marilyn Wars are really all about.

In her will, Marilyn left the residual of her estate to her acting teacher, Lee Strasberg of New York. Some years after Marilyn died, Strasberg married named Anna Mizrahi, who by many accounts never met Monroe. After Lee died, Anna connected with Mark Roelser, who had founded a company now called CMG Worldwide, headquartered in Indianapolis. This location is important because Roesler had lobbied the Indiana legislature to pass a law giving rights to publicity to the estates of deceased people— despite the fact that they were already dead when the law was passed, thus coining the term, “posthumous rights to publicity.” This allowed CMG to capitalize on the rights of publicity licensed to his company by the heirs of deceased celebrities. CMG began enforcing these rights around the country, encouraging those selling merchandise using those names to pay a licensing fee for the privilege. Over time, this became big business.

Today CMG represents scores of “living legends” ranging from Monroe to Malcolm X. Some American icons became, in effect, worth more dead than alive. Who in 1947—the year when Marilyn was crowned Miss California Artichoke Queen—would have guessed that over $30 million would have been collected on Marilyn merchandise and advertising through the end of last year? Among those requested to pay fees for the use of Monroe’s image have been the heirs to photographers who themselves had taken some of the iconic photographs of Marilyn that the estate was exploiting. One such instance involves the famous publicity still from the film The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn is standing above a New York City subway grate with her dress billowing up around her. Issues of copyright and right to publicity are now center stage as CMG and other combatants in The Marilyn Wars have staked competing claims over who or what has the right to capitalize on Marilyn’s robust brand.

While the CMG-friendly courts of Indiana have enforced posthumous rights to publicity, the courts and statutes of other states such as New York and California have not necessarily followed suit. Importantly, New York has no laws granting posthumous rights of publicity. California, another state in which Marilyn maintained a home, did have such a law passed, but only in 1984, some 22 years after Monroe’s death. However questions were raised about its retroactive effect. In 2007, a court ruled that because there was no such right in New York (and that California’s law had no retroactive effect), no such right existed when Marilyn died in 1962 and, therefore, it was impossible for her to have conveyed that right in her will. You can’t convey something that you don ’t own, and if it didn’t exist when you died, you can’t have owned it. While these litigations and appeals are ongoing, CMG continues to own numerous registered trademarks relating to Marilyn Monroe. But others are jumping on the Marilyn bandwagon, such as her photographers and others claiming interests in her image.

The Marilyn Wars, in other words, are just heating up (and one can only imagine the fires soon to rage regarding the Estate of Michael Jackson). Their outcome impacts hundreds of millions of dollars and has implications to the estates of scores of famous people and their future estates. It will take some years before the stardust settles, but in the meantime, Marilyn keeps smiling and profiting a great many well beyond her few happy years. Not bad for a “candle in the wind.”

Editor’s Note: Neil Patrick Parent is a partner in the Manhattan-based law firm Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP (www.rpl-law.com ) with affiliates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The firm has a practice group concentrating in intellectual property and entertainment law. This article is not intended to convey legal advice and individuals seeking information concerning the above should seek appropriate legal counsel.

Shooting Stars

Take Charge Guys

Business has never been better at many of NJ’s traditional wedding venues. A peek behind the scenes at the Park Savoy shows why.

Photography by Light Impressions Photography ©2012 Courtesy of The Park Savoy Estate.

Every bride begins her matrimonial journey with one thought: Make my wedding day a day to remember. There is more than a little wiggle room within that sentiment. Theoretically, you could have an unforgettable service and reception in a field of daisies, the upper deck at Yankee Stadium, a tropical resort, or your college roommate’s uncle’s backyard. To the out-of-the-boxers we say more power to you. Theory is one thing, however, and practice another. Which is why, despite all those “do-it-yourself” receptions you hear about, the demand for formal wedding halls has never been greater. It also explains why the folks who brought you Naninas on the Park—those original take-charge guys Barry Maurillo, Joe Maurillo and Vito Cucci—had over 250 weddings booked (no, that’s not a typo) just a couple of weeks after reopening The Park Savoy Estate following a $6 million renovation that began last December.

It doesn’t take an expert to spot where the money went. Every square foot of the 19th century mansion—which at various times played host to everyone from Charles Lindbergh to Jean Harlow to Lucky Luciano—was re-conceived to deliver the utmost in luxury, comfort and opulence. The entire property, indoors and out (they stopped counting at 30,000 sq. ft.), is devoted to one bride and groom at a time, and can comfortably accommodate over 400 guests. Weddings typically take place Thursday through Sunday, in the afternoon and evening, with an average of three to five a week. Guests flow from a spacious reception area and wood-paneled barroom to the veranda and landscaped grounds and ultimately to a grand ballroom. There is also a separate bridal retreat with its own martini bar (ask and the Park Savoy will create a “signature drink” for bride and groom). If you’re picturing a typical “wedding factory” then you’re missing the point. For those few magical hours, the Park Savoy is meant to feel like home. “People walk through the front door and they fall in love,” says Joe Maurillo. “They sense right away that there’s something different happening here. It’s not just the beauty of the space, it’s how we interact with them. They’re not clients, they’re family. We treat all of our guests that way. We even treat our employees like family.” All of this comes at a price, of course. The Park Savoy represents the gold standard of formal wedding venues in New Jersey, and it’s not for every budget. That being said, at roughly $135 to $250 a head, it is more than competitive in the current marketplace.

Photography by Light Impressions Photography ©2012 Courtesy of The Park Savoy Estate.

What’s on the Menu? Everyone has a different idea of what “wedding food” should be. When booking a venue, it is absolutely critical that your expectations are in synch with the kitchen’s. If chicken parm and pasta does it for you, fine, no need to pay for a CIA-trained chef. By the same token, if you expect the food at your event to meet the standards of your favorite four-star restaurant, then make that determination before you sign on the dotted line. The Park Savoy happens to have a CIA-trained chef, George Atieh. Among the favorites on his extensive passing menu are brie and pear tartlets, lobster bon-bons, grilled scallops with orange-saffron aioli, and spinach-and-feta “cigars.” Favorite main courses include porcini-encrusted Chilean sea bass, asiago chicken in a shitake-lime sauce, and a filet mignon with a secret rub (which Atieh will probably take to his grave).

The advantage of booking a wedding at the Park Savoy— or just about any other first-rate wedding hall—is that every aspect of the event is handled seamlessly by the staff. The bride and groom and their families are free to enjoy the day without sweating the details. That peace of mind can be absolutely priceless. “Our management becomes your wedding planner,” explains Sales Manager Melanie Clarke. “We have three different house bands, we have DJs, photographers, videographers, florists, and we can even make hotel arrangements for guests.” The process for booking a formal space is fairly standard throughout the industry. The initial meeting usually takes an hour and involves a tour of the facility and a sit-down with a sales manager. It’s helpful to have a few items squared away before you call, including the time of year you plan on tying the knot, the number of guests you’re considering and whether you intend to have the actual ceremony on-site or somewhere else. Be aware that every venue has a minimum and a maximum number of guests it can accommodate.

Also, afternoon weddings typically come with a generous discount, so consider that option to a prime-time evening affair. Part of the initial meeting will almost certainly involve a discussion of food. Every place has a set menu, often with a mind-boggling range of choices. Be prepared to think about hors d’oeuvres, chef’s stations, main dishes, and desserts—and whether you want waiter service or a lavish buffet. Some places will even handle your wedding cake, or at least point you in a reliable direction. If the executive chef is on hand, see if he or she can join the meeting. Often they will ask you things a salesperson won’t, and can guide you through the menu and answer questions. Most places will happily tweak their dishes to address dietary or cultural preferences. Alas, the rule of thumb for choosing a formal, do-it-all wedding venue is that there is no particular rule. It’s your day and your dollar, so pick a place that promises a memorable experience. If you get a good vibe when you walk in the door, trust it. If the chef speaks your language, listen. And if that final number is reachable, grab it and go!  

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to George Atieh of The Park Savoy Estate in Florham Park. The property’s web address is theparksavoy.com.

Hopelessly Devoted

The film version of Grease—loved by some and ignored by others—has achieved classic status.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Timing is everything. In the late spring and early summer of 1978, not a whole lot was competing for the attention of young people in this part of the country. Certainly, it was nothing like the summer of 1977. Lest we forget, one year earlier Son of Sam was running amok, the metropolitan area was plunged into darkness during the blackout, Reggie Jackson was the talk of the town and everyone was seeing Star Wars for, like, the fifth time. Into the media and entertainment lull of June 1978 burst the muchanticipated film version of the Broadway hit Grease. Everyone went to see it, and everyone walked out with an opinion. To those who’d seen it on the Great White Way during the 1970s—and so many of us did—something seemed a little lost in the Hollywood glitz and glamour. The fact that Danny, Sandy, the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies had been transported to the sunny suburbs of Southern California took off a bit of the edge that made the live show so much fun. On the other hand, to those who had only seen Grease performed by their high school drama club or had purchased the zillion-selling album or 8-track, the film was utterly fantastic. Looking back, what almost everyone can agree on is that, in defining the 1950s for a 1970s audience, Grease the movie defined in many ways who we were at the end of the 1970s. It was a confusing, dispiriting time of gas shortages, post-Vietnam-post-Watergate cynicism, serial divorce and unbridled narcissism. Everyone needed something uncomplicated to transport them to a time and place that clearly never existed, but was just real enough to provide a cherished escape. This was both the greatest strength of Grease, as well as its most glaring weakness. Perhaps the lyrics of Frankie Valli’s title tune said it best by saying nothing in particular: Grease is the word. It’s got groove it’s got meaning. Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion. Grease is the way we are feeling. To be sure, there was nothing particularly profound about Grease. And yet, all these years later, the movie has become a classic…and as such is deserving of a closer look.

Photo credit: RSO/Polydor

THE CAST With Hollywood musicals on the downtrend, producers Robert Stigwood and Alan Carr set out to assemble a cast that would appeal to virtually every member of the human race. John Travolta (Danny) was the reigning Hollywood heartthrob, not to mention the unofficial king of disco. Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) was the goldenthroated Australian beauty who pumped out pop hit after pop hit during the 1970s. She had a readymade international audience and also pulled an older demographic into the multiplexes. Stockard Channing (Rizzo) reminded audiences of Grease’s Broadway roots. Never mind that she and Newton-John needed spatulas full of makeup to look Travolta’s age. Jeff Conaway (Kenickie) provided another tie to Broadway, where he won raves playing Danny. Conaway offered the added advantage of being one of the stars of the critically hailed television series Taxi, which went on the air in 1978. The supporting players were also hand-picked to please. Didi Conn (Frenchy) was coming off a starring role in You Light Up My Life, where she charmed audiences as an overachieving underdog. Eve Arden (Principal McGee), Frankie Avalon (Teen Angel), Sid Caesar (Coach Calhoun), and Alice Ghostley (Mrs. Murdock) were among the many veteran actors whose names and faces were as familiar as breathing. Even Sha Na Na, the revival band largely responsible for bringing back the ’50s during the ’70s, got into the act.

THE CRITICS To devotees of the Broadway musical, Grease the movie was a pale, predictable comparison. Critical reviews were somewhat mixed, but mostly positive. It received just one Oscar nod, that for Original Song — “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Those who liked Grease agreed that it succeeded as a sweet, fun fantasy of American teen life in the 1950s. It grossed just under $9 million the weekend it opened in June 1978, and over the years returned many times its $6 million production cost at the box office. To date the movie has grossed over $150 million in the U.S.

Photo credit: Upper Case Editorial Services

THE SONG Grease the movie reprised most of the key songs in the Broadway original, while adding three significant others, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “You’re the One That I Want” and the disco-inspired title track by Frankie Valli. Olivia Newton-John’s recording of “Hopelessly Devoted” soared to #3 on the Billboard charts in 1978. “You’re the One That I Want”—a duet with Travolta—topped the U.S. and British pop charts. “Grease” was written by Barry Gibb of Bee Gees fame, and was a hit on both the pop and R&B charts. “Hopelessly Devoted” was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”. It was also up for a Grammy but lost the Best Female Pop Vocal nod to Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me”. Newton-John had won the same award four years earlier for “I Honestly Love You”. She sang “Hopelessly Devoted” at both the Oscars and Grammys in 1979, and her performance at the Grammys brought down the house. “Hopelessly Devoted” and “You’re the One That I Want” were written by John Farrar. Farrar first worked with Newton-John when she appeared on Australian TV in the late 1960s on the American Bandstand-inspired The Go!! Show, where he was a member of the house band, The Strangers. They reunited a couple of years later at London’s Abbey Road Studios, where he worked as a studio musician on Newton-John’s string of hits in the 1970s. He wrote for and/or produced several albums for her, including Let Me Be There, If You Love Me Let Me Know and Have You Never Been Mellow. Farrar was one of several songwriters asked to submit new material for the film version of Grease, which needed more musical numbers to work on the big screen. In the 1980s, Farrar produced Newton-John’s double-platinum Physical album. In 1994, the British pop siren Sonia took over the role of Sandy in a West End production of Grease. Her version of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” turned on a whole new generation to the song, thanks in part to an edgy music video shot against an urban backdrop.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

John Travolta • Danny Zuko After Grease the law of gravity seized hold of Travolta. He began picking flops over blockbusters, famously turning down An Officer and a Gentleman and American Gigolo. He packed on a couple of pounds but kept his soft-spoken charm and good looks, which helped a resurgence that began with his Oscar-nominated role in Pulp Fiction. Since then he’s turned in memorable performances as good guys (Phenomenon), bad guys (The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3), and even a stage mom (Hairspray).

Olivia Newton-John • Sandy Olsson The sexy turn in Grease did little to impact Newton-John’s music or film careers. However, her timing couldn’t have been better a few years later when she released “Let’s Get Physical” at the beginning of the fitness boom and music video craze. In 1992, a comeback tour was derailed when Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. She recovered and became an advocate for breast cancer research, adding this to a long list of humanitarian causes she has supported.

Stockard Channing • Betty Rizzo Channing’s fortunes skyrocketed after Grease —not bad considering she was in her mid-30s when she played Rizzo. Her acting résumé encompasses stage, screen and television, with countless nominations and awards, and a notable turn as First Lady Abbey Bartlet on The West Wing. J

eff Conaway • Kenickie On Taxi, Conaway played a handsome actor who could never quite catch the big break. The role was painfully close to the truth. By the end of the show’s first season he was overshadowed by the other members of the ensemble cast, including Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman and Marilu Henner. Conaway spent the next two decades taking sporadic guest starring roles, before landing a regular part on Babylon 5. He gained some notoriety in 2008 when he was featured in the reality series Celebrity Rehab. In 2011, Conaway died at age 60 of pneumonia.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Didi Conn • Frenchy Conn reprised her role in the unfortunate 1982 Grease II sequel, and then went on to starring roles in the TV series Benson and Shining Time Station. The mother of an autistic son, Conn became a celebrity spokesperson for Autism Speaks.

Frankie Avalon • Teen Angel Avalon appeared in a handful of films and television shows after Grease, playing himself (or some version of himself). His iconic status—and timeless good looks—helped him launch a cosmetics and skincare line. In 1987, Avalon appeared with his old buddy Annette Funicello in the movie Back to the Beach. In 2007 he crooned “Beauty School Dropout” for the finalists on the reality show Grease: You’re the One That I Want. And in 2009, at the age of 70, Avalon performed on American Idol.

Sid Caesar • Coach Calhoun Caesar stayed active in movies and television through the 1990s and beyond. In 1983, he hosted Saturday Night Live. He received a standing ovation and was made an honorary cast member in recognition of his contributions to live TV. Three years later, Caesar performed with the Metropolitan Opera. He turns 90 this September.

Eve Arden • Principal McGee Arden was a television, film, theater and radio giant long before she set foot on the Grease soundstage. Her final silver screen appearance came in Grease II. Arden passed away in 1990.

Annette Charles • Cha-Cha DiGregorio After Grease, Charles earned a handful of bit parts in television and movie productions. Although she stayed close to Hollywood, she didn’t quit her day job: speech professor at Cal State Northridge. Charles passed away from cancer in 2011 at 63.

Eddie Deezen • Eugene Felsnic Deezen’s performance as geeky Eugene established a blueprint for every film nerd that followed. Ironically, he was not cast in Revenge of the Nerds a few years later— although he is still asked about that movie on a daily basis. Deezen remains one of the busiest voiceover actors in the business. S

ha Na Na • Johnny Casino & the Gamblers Yes, they are still touring. And original members Donny York, Jocko Marcellino and Screamin’ Scott Simon are still with the band. Sha Na Na was at the height of its fame when Grease was filmed, with its own TV variety show that ran into the early 1980s. The popular front man Jon “Bowzer” Bowman went solo in the 1980s and still performs today around the country. For many years there was an urban legend that Bowzer attended Juilliard. It was actually true.

 

EDGE Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart attended the critics screening of Grease in 1978. He liked the new songs but didn’t think much of the movie—despite a family connection to the Travoltas.

 

Mack Attack

Curb Your Enthusiasm

The only people crazier than celebrity-obsessed fans are the dog-obsessed fans of celebrities. They drive countless web sites and have created a new breed of photographer: The Pup-arazzi. We kid you not. EDGE invites you on a walkie with some of the world’s most celebrated dog owners…and unleashes its picks for history’s greatest canine celebrities.

Five Fascinating Celebrity Dog Owners

Jessica Alba

Breed: Pug

Names: Sid and Nancy

Fun Fact: Owns a third dog named Bowie

 

Peter Dinklage

Breed: Undetermined

Name: Kevin

Fun Fact: Point Pleasant native gave a shout out to his dog-sitter during Golden Globes acceptance speech…but forgot to thank his manager

 

Angelina Jolie

Breed: Bulldog

Name: Jacques

Fun Fact: Resisted overwhelming temptation to get a Pitt Bull

 

Barack Obama

Breed: Portuguese Water Dog

Name: Bo

Fun Fact: Malia’s allergies dictated a hypoallergenic breed

 

Photos: Timmy & Lassie autograph courtesy of Upper Case Editorial Services; Barbra Streisand copyright 1966 Time Inc.

Barbra Streisand

Breed: Coton de Tuléar

Name: Sammie

Fun Fact: Streisand and her dog Sadie graced the cover of LIFE in 1966

 

Honorable Mention

Ellen Barkin

Breed: Who cares? Could there possibly be a better celebrity dog-owner name!

Burning Question What about Bob Barker?

 

Top 5 Celebrity Dogs

Toto

Breed: Cairn Terrier

Claim to Fame: Appeared in The Wizard of Oz and 11 more films

Did You Know? Made more per week than the highest paid Munchkin

 

Rin Tin Tin

Breed: German Shepherd

Claim to Fame: Made 25 movies and had his own radio show

Did You Know? Rinty scored a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

 

Balto

Breed: Siberian Husky

Claim to Fame: Annual Iditarod traces the path of the 1925 journey that saved Nome from a diphtheria outbreak

Did You Know? Has a statue in NY’s Central Park, near East 69th street

 

Lassie

Breed: Collie

Claim to Fame: Lassie TV series ran for 20 seasons

Did You Know? First dog to play Lassie was named Pal

Photos: Timmy & Lassie autograph courtesy of Upper Case Editorial Services; Barbra Streisand copyright 1966 Time Inc.

 

Eddie

Breed: Jack Russell Terrier

Claim to Fame: Offended Frasier Crane in every imaginable way

Did You Know? During the show’s 11-year run, Eddie was played by Moose and his son, Enzo

Where There’s a Will

  …there’s not necessarily a way when it comes to estate planning for pets.

Trouble, they say, comes in all shapes and sizes. When Leona Helmsley passed away, Trouble came with a $12 million price tag. That was what Helmsley bequeathed to Trouble, her cherished Maltese. Leona’s grandchildren convinced a judge to slash that figure to $2 million, but Trouble still managed to live out his dog days in the lap of luxury at that bargain-basement price. Nothing, it seems, ruffles the feathers of one’s heirs quite like money diverted to pet care. The amount of media play the Helmsley case received only underscored this point. Not surprisingly, the result was a surge in pet estate planning. New Jersey attorney Rachel Hirschfeld happens to be an authority on the subject. She was one of the first attorneys in the country to focus on what is now known as Animal Law. “I have done contracts for dogs, cats, birds, iguanas, snakes, ferrets and other exotic pets, and I have done contracts for whole African Safaris and Cat Colonies,” she says.

Hirschfeld even does estate contracts for horses, though she says these can get tricky due to their expensive care and their space problems. Hirschfeld moved the focus of her estate-planning practice in the direction of pet trusts and pet protection agreements about seven years ago, and now offers both counseling and document preparation to help pet owners protect their four-legged loved ones. She writes up some 200 agreements and trusts a month. Hirschfeld has appeared on numerous television programs, including ABC Nightline and The Today Show. She is also regularly quoted in media outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Fox News to The New Yorker. Hirschfeld’s book (Petriarch: The Complete Guide to Financial and Legal Planning for Pet’s Continued Care) was published in April 2010 and sales remain robust two years later.

Donald Trump called it a “terrific guide.” Hirschfeld’s mission is to ensure that every pet finds a loving home and is guaranteed a secure future. That commitment began around the time she lost her beloved dog, Soupbone, in 2005. A decade earlier, she had saved the two-year-old mixed-breed from being euthanized. “He changed me,” a wistful Hirschfeld recalls. “He was funny and so smart. We talked to each other and he never left my side. He was just so human.” While mourning Soupbone’s demise, Hirschfeld began wondering what might have happened had the tables been turned? Who would take care of her pets if she were no longer around? This dilemma led her to what she describes as her most important life’s work.

She has created the Pet Protection Agreement and the Hirschfeld Trust, both legally binding protection contracts for a pet’s continued care. Although some attorneys think that including provisions or directions in a will for a pet’s care will suffice, Hirschfeld stresses that intentions in a will do not have to be followed, and can be negated by probate of a court. In fact, she advises that more than one guardian be named in a trust to prevent misappropriation of funds or other abuses. “By naming several guardians, a close eye can be kept on how directed monies are spent,” she says, adding that a pet protection agreement or a pet trust is the “ultimate love letter to beloved pets.” The difficult part of the process for pet owners is the emotional one. “Most clients worry that whoever they appoint as guardian won’t love their pet the same way they do,” she explains. “I had one woman who wanted to name her husband as guardian to her much-loved pet, but he refused. The distraught woman soon found a horde of people willing to take on the responsibility, including her close circle of girlfriends, the owner of the corner store she frequented, and her doorman. Her husband oversaw the funds, and the care was in the hands of a whole community of people who loved both the woman and her pet.” A mother of three and grandmother to five, Hirschfeld adds that she loves people, but all animals hold a special place in heart. With a dog at her feet, another at her side, and a cat curled up nearby (all are rescues) she speaks about her work with great conviction and fervor. “I aim to make every animal’s life better,” she says.

Editor’s Note: Rachel Hirschfeld is pictured above with Swizzle and Adam, both rescue dogs. She has been working with Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson and Councilwoman Sue Henderson to create a year-round area where dogs (and their owners) can socialize. The Pet Protection Agreement, once the province of the rich and famous, is now affordable and can be completed online—without a lawyer—for as little as $39. A Pet Trust Agreement is a bit more involved, and like all trusts, requires funds. To get your paws on more information, log on to pettrustlawyer.com.

Jim Dratfield Is Picture Perfect

Jim Dratfield will do anything to get his shot.

Jim Dratfield and Sawyer

Jim Dratfield has been known to sing an aria to an Italian Greyhound, rub shoulders with a cheetah and transform a bathroom sink into a photofriendly backdrop for a finicky house cat. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get an animal to respond,” says Dratfield from his farmhouse in upstate New York. “I don’t expect animals to be models.” Improvisation comes easily to this former actor who has been called the Dr. Doolittle of animal photographers. His theatrical career hit a prophetic note in 1980, when he was cast as an aspiring photographer in a Broadway revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner. Born and raised in a pet friendly household in Princeton, Dratfield spent his childhood performing and mingling with aspiring filmmakers, many of whom were protégés of his dad, Leo, a legendary film distributor. Anxious to advance his acting career, young Dratfield landed a recurring role as a paramedic on TV’s St. Elsewhere, but reality set in as he approached his thirties. “The life of an actor is a funny thing,” Dratfield says. “It’s one thing to struggle as an actor in your twenties, but when you’re in your early thirties, it becomes more of a concern. I was fortunate to have done a Broadway show and some television work, but there’s something called waiting tables—I ended up doing a lot of that.”

Jennifer Aniston and friend

The turning point came when he shot some promotional photos with his dog, Kuma, opening the door to a lucrative new career. “A light bulb went off,” he says. “I’d always loved animals and photography and began wondering if there was a market for fine art pet photography. I thought it might be a way to help support my acting habit.” Dratfield exhibited some of his photos in the restaurant where he waited tables and caught the eye of a literary agent. “She liked the pictures on the walls and was a dog lover, so we started talking,” Dratfield recalls. The Quotable Canine, a coffee table book pairing dog portraits by Dratfield and Paul Coughlin with classic quotes, was published by Doubleday shortly thereafter. In 1993, Dratfield’s passion for animals and photography coalesced into Petography, Inc. He grew the business via private client commissions, more best-selling books, a prestigious gallery exhibit and evergreen posters, calendars and greeting cards.

It didn’t take long before he became the go-to guy for pet lovers in the entertainment industry, politics and sports world. “I think it launched me because it was such a specific niche and so different from what was out there at the time,” he says. “What do you get the person who has everything and is a pet lover? A photo session!” Dratfield’s private clients and book projects keep him hopping across continents, from the elegantly manicured enclaves of Beverly Hills to the volcanic terrain of Iceland and the wetlands of Yeehaw Junction, Florida. A client flew him down to Yeehaw Junction, aka Jackass Junction, to photograph a prized hunting dog. “It was like something out of Deliverance,” he recalls. “The ranch manager, Peanut Pitt, couldn’t meet me because he was taking his daughter deer hunting for her 14th birthday; so his wife, Spanky, met me at the gate. I called my wife and said, ‘If I don’t come back alive…’” Although he’s suffered his share of bites, scratches and knock-downs from his four-or-more-legged subjects, Dratfield finds pet owners to be challenging as well. “There was the therapist who was French kissing her dog in bed and wanted pictures of that,” he says. And a pair of renowned folk art collectors suggested posing their dogs drinking out of a toy toilet. “The craziest shoot I ever did was for a woman who had two cheetahs,” recalls Dratfield. “I went into this gated area with her and the cheetahs, and was a little nervous. One rubbed up against me, but I got the images.

Three weeks later, the woman was mauled by those cheetahs. I’m lucky I survived. I got them on a good day.” Dratfield’s celebrity gigs have taken him to Henry Kissinger’s backyard, where the shirtless statesman fussed and cooed over his black Lab while his wife, Nancy, and mother stood by. And there were jaunts to London to photograph British Labour Party Leader Baron Roy Hattersley’s Bull Terrier and to Jupiter, Florida, to shoot the St. Louis Cardinals with their dogs during spring training. While the furry companions of such mega-celebrities as Jennifer Aniston, Elton John, Kathy Bates, Charlize Theron, Jack Hanna and Oscar de la Renta can be found on Dratfield’s résumé, he is equally proud of his painstaking work on The Quotable Equine. For this exquisite book, published by Clarkson Potter in 2003, he insisted on travelling across Europe and Asia to photograph horses in their distinctive habitats. “With horses, it’s hard to get their personality the way you can with a dog or a cat,” observes Dratfield. “I thought the only way I was going to succeed was to take a cultural element and incorporate that into the imagery.” Whether he’s zooming in on a quizzical pug or a doleful dachshund, an ant farm, turtle or elephant, Dratfield believes that one constant fuels all of his photo shoots: the profound bond between pets and their owners. “You get unconditional love from pets that you don’t get anywhere else,” he says. “If a person is normally uncomfortable in front of a camera, when they’re holding their pet, they’re less self-conscious and more apt to give you something spontaneous because they’re expressing their love.” “I’ve done shoots for the biggest CEO; but when he’s out of the board room and around his little kitten, he’s making kitty noises and talking gibberish. People let down their guard with me. I ultimately see their best sides because they love their pets.”

Dratfield has no regrets about giving up acting for Petography, Inc. because he’s continually reminded that his life’s work makes a difference. “I get calls when a client’s animal passes away. They’ll say, ‘Your pictures meant a lot to me at the time, but now they’ll immortalize my pet in a way that I didn’t even realize.’ That makes me feel good because I’m not doing brain surgery, but I know I’m doing something that gives people contentment.” 

Editor’s Note: You can see more of Jim’s photos by logging on to petography.com. Judith Trojan has written and edited more than 1,000 film and television reviews and celebrity profiles for books, magazines and newsletters. Her interviews have run the gamut from best-selling authors Mary Higgins Clark, Ann Rule and Frank McCourt to cultural touchstones Ken Burns, Carroll O’Connor, Judy Collins and Caroll Spinney (aka Big Bird). Make sure to check out Judith’s FrontRowCenter blog at judithtrojan.com.

 

Line in the Sand

And the Winner Is

We Americans are a competitive breed. We go for the gold and shoot for the stars. Perhaps that’s why more than 50 million of us drop everything to tune into the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys & Golden Globes…and countless millions more follow the pre- and post-show activities on our TVs, iPads, laptops and smart phones. It certainly explains why New Jerseyans are particularly proud when “one of our own” takes the stage to grab a piece of that coveted hardware. Here’s a look at some Garden Staters who have taken Acting Out to award-winning extremes…

The Envelope Please…

Michael Douglas (b. 1944, New Brunswick) • Received his first Oscar in 1975 as Best Picture producer (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). • Accepted the 1987 Best Actor Oscar as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. • Won 3 Golden Globes (including one as producer of Romancing the Stone).

Linda Hunt (b. 1945 Morristown) • Won the 1983 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously, becoming the first person to win for portraying someone of the opposite sex.

Jack Nicholson (b. 1937 Neptune) • One of only three actors to win three Oscars (two for Best Actor in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and As Good as It Gets and one for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for Terms of Endearment). • Record holder for most nominations (8 for Best Actor and 4 for Best Supporting Actor).

Joe Pesci (b. 1943 Newark) • Won 1991 Best Supporting Oscar for Good Fellas. • Nominated 10 years earlier for Raging Bull.

Eva Marie Saint (b. 1924 Newark) • Won Best Supporting Oscar for On the Waterfront. • Received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in A Hatful of Rain. • Won an Emmy for the mini-series People Like Us in 1990.

Frank Sinatra (b. 1915 Hoboken) • Won the 1954 Best Supporting Oscar as Maggio in From Here to Eternity and was nominated for Best Actor two years later as The Man with the Golden Arm. • A trio of Oscars for Best Original Song, and Golden Globe Best Actor wins for Pal Joey and Come Blow Your Horn. • Hosted the Academy Awards broadcast in 1963. • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan in 1985.

Kevin Spacey (b. 1959 South Orange) • Won his first Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in 1996 for The Usual Suspects, and his second as Best Actor in American Beauty in 1999. • Artistic director of London’s Old Vic theatre since 2003.

Meryl Streep (b. 1949 Summit) • Nominated an astonishing 16 times (more than any other actor), winning it twice (for Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice). • Received the most Golden Globe nominations (25 total, winning 7). • Earned a pair of Emmys and a Tony nomination, as well as the 2004 American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Travolta (b. 1954 Englewood) • Won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Get Shorty. • Nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction.

No Time Like Primetime…

Danny DeVito (b. 1944 Neptune) • Won both the 1980 Golden Globe and 1981 Emmy as Louie De Palma on Taxi. • Earned an Oscar nomination as co-producer of Erin Brockovich in 2001.

Peter Dinklage (b. 1969 Morristown) • Won 2011 Best Supporting Emmy for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

John Forsythe (b. 1918 Penns Grove) • Nominated for Golden Globe six times, winning twice. • Emmy-nominated 4 times.

James Gandolfini (b. 1961 Westwood) • Won three Emmys as Tony in The Sopranos.

Ernie Kovacs (b. 1919 Trenton) • Received his only Emmy posthumously. • Emmy-nominated three times for The Ernie Kovacs Show.

Loretta Swit (b. 1937 Passaic) • Won a pair of Emmys as Hot Lips on M*A*S*H.

Jack Warden (b. 1920 Newark) • Won an Emmy for playing George Halas in Brian’s Song. • Oscar-nominated for Shampoo (1976) and Heaven Can Wait (1979).

Curtain Call

Jason Alexander (b. 1959 Newark) • Won a Tony pre-Seinfeld for his appearance in Jerome Robbins Broadway in 1989. • Earned Emmy nominations each year from 1992 to 1998.

Nikki James (b. 1951 Summit) • Won a 2011 Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Book of Mormon.

Jane Krakowski (b. 1968 Parsippany) • Nominated for a 1990 Tony for Grand Hotel and won in 2003 for her performance in Nine. • Nominated for Emmys 2009–2011 for 30 Rock.

Phyllis Newman (b. 1933 Jersey City) • Edged out Barbra Streisand for the 1961 Tony for her role in Subways are for Sleeping.

Some Very Honorable Mentions These New Jerseyans made huge contributions on stage, screen and television but were overlooked when it came time to pass out the serious hardware…

Bud Abbott (b. Asbury Park 1895)

Lou Costello (b 1906 Paterson)

Jerry Lewis (b. 1926 Newark)

Judith Light (b. 1949 Trenton)

Ozzie Nelson (b. 1906 Jersey City)

Unmentionable • The cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore. • Anyone who watches it.

A Sniff of Victory

  At the Union County Kennel Club Show, there’s competition at both ends of the leash.

The problem with a bright idea is that sometimes it becomes a do-it-yourself project. During a fit of `insomnia last January I found myself watching a silly late-night cable show called Animal Champions. It got me thinking about what makes an “official” champion in the animal world. A few days later I assigned a writer to attend the 101st Union County Kennel Club Show—held near the southern tip of New Jersey, at the Wildwood Convention Center—and try to capture the spirit of competition in a fun and lively story. Alas, the original writer, having been stuck in one too many snowdrifts during the winter that wouldn’t quit, bowed out after hearing rumors that the top two-thirds of the Garden State Parkway might be a sheet of ice on the morning in question. With one child in college and another getting close, a gruesome highway death didn’t seem to have the same downside for me, so I agreed to go in her place. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should point out here that I am not a dog person. And they seem to know it. Even “my own” dog—the one my wife and daughters outvoted me on 3-to- 1—is careful not to irritate me. I’ll spare you my troubled history with canine-Americans. Not that it isn’t interesting. It’s just that I can’t stand it when other people yammer on about their childhood this and childhood that. Upon arriving at the convention center, I was greeted with open arms by show officials, who cheerfully tolerated me as I got my facts straight and asked a lot of stupid questions over a quick lunch. Then it was out onto the floor. My goal? Quietly observe, form an opinion, and then dig-dig-dig until I understood what it means to compete at a real dog show. What surprised me after watching several breeds go through judging was that the dogs were not eyeing one another or trying to intimidate each other, at least not that I could tell. They were completely absorbed by their work. And make no mistake, they treated it like work. It’s a job they love, of course—a champion show dog has to enjoy the experience. However, there was no interplay between the animals even when they were standing inches apart in the ring. It was a little weird, but I got it. These were the “pros” of canine competition. Whatever makes my dog run in crazed circles around vehicles exiting—but not entering— our driveway had been bred out of these animals. Still, this was a competition, with money and prestige at stake. Someone in the building was driven to win. I just had to find out whom. I decided to cruise the aisles between the different handlers. Each had a space staked out, with dogs in crates, dogs on grooming stands, and dogs on their way to and from the judging rings. An unattended Cocker Spaniel eyed me with suspicion and I returned its glance with a raised eyebrow. I hadn’t lost my touch. The animal leaped off the table and ran down the aisle in front of me, causing a brief panic. I felt bad, like I’d broken something in an antique shop. Since the dogs clearly were not going to help me, I turned my attention to the people preparing them for competition. I’m better with people anyway. Among the many top handlers and trainers present at this event was one who towered over the rest, at least figuratively. His name is Kaz Hosaka, and he is to the poodle world what Michael Jordan is to basketball. Smooth, clever, elegant and nearly unbeatable. (And he’s been on Charlie Rose, so take that other poodle handlers!) Based out of Greenwood, Delaware, Hosaka attends as many as 150 shows a year and has been honing poodles like samurai swords for three decades. You do the math. The important number is #1, and he has racked up a bunch of ’em during his career, including the #1 toy poodle in 2010. Hosaka is a “finisher” of dogs. In other words, if you think you’ve lucked into a great poodle, Kaz is the man who knows how to transform it into a champion. He won’t take a dog unless he truly believes it can be a winner. Often he must break the bad news: This is a wonderful pet, but not a show dog. That being said, Hosaka will consider animals that other handlers have turned down because they may be too difficult. “I am the last stop,” he smiles. “If I can’t do it, nobody can.” Like many in his profession, Hosaka (left) is a handler of owners, too. Most ship their dogs off like boarding-school kids, dropping in occasionally to monitor their progress at important shows. The bulk of handler-owner contact is accomplished over the phone. When one does appear at an event, Hosaka’s rule number-one is don’t come near his set-up and throw your poodle off its game. Helicopter parenting may be tolerated in the human world, but during shows it is definitely frowned upon. One owner who left her dog alone was Charlize Sutton, and the strategy paid off. Her confident little Norwich Terrier went out and blew the fleas off the competition, grabbing Best in Breed. Charlize had more pressing matters to attend to, barely acknowledging the victory. She had her nose buried in an iPad, watching Dora the Explorer. Charlize is two—by far the youngest owner I could locate, though probably not, a neighboring groomer whispered to me, the least mature. Charlize (right) was stationed in a portable playpen in the midst of a dizzying ballet involving three humans, 17 dogs and a seemingly endless array of clippers, snippers, brushes and blowers, each of which was wielded with maximum expertise and minimum effort. Her parents, Jessy and Roxanne, along with assistant Tom Durst, have a first-class operation back in Narvon, Pennsylvania, and they get paid well for the work they do. The Suttons were on a winning streak when I barged into their little corner of doggie heaven. Miles, a regal, self-possessed Rhodesian Ridgeback, was returning from the judging ring with, yawn, another Best in Breed nod. Miles looked like he could stare down a lion (which, apparently, he was bred for), and so did Jessy. He handles the working breeds at shows, while Roxanne works her magic with terriers. “We are sticklers for conditioning,” Jessy responded when I asked what gave his dogs an edge. “When an owner hires us, it may not seem cost-effective right away, but the constant work we do pays off in the long run, because we finish dogs quickly.” Is the flip side of this equation, I wondered, that owners apply a huge amount of pressure? The Suttons confirmed this after getting off the phone with Miles’s owner, reporting the Rhodie’s win within seconds of the judge’s decision. “The owners who hire us believe they should win every time,” says Jessy, adding quickly that “it’s okay, because that’s the attitude we have. We want to win every time, too. Of course, not even the number-one dog in the country wins breed in every show—if they did no one would show. It would be boring.” After talking to a half-dozen handlers I began to wonder how often owners actually show their own dogs. The people I asked offered wildly varying percentages, but I could tell the number isn’t high. Basically, owners who can afford show dogs tend to work for a living and therefore rarely have the time to show them. Those that do are more likely to participate in a weekend show as opposed to mid-week ones like this one.

It is accepted wisdom, however, that owners don’t “shine” the way top handlers do, meaning they are not as adept at pushing a dog’s best attributes to influence judges. What is the price tag for a top handler? Hang on to your teeth. To take a dog from obscurity to the Westminster Kennel Club Show can easily cost $250,000. One breeder described the animals that reach Westminster as “Yale pHd’s.” My first thought was that a quarter-million is a bargain for any kind of advanced degree from Yale, even for a dog. (And believe me, I know a few.) Then I wondered how much of that goes to the handler? The answer is a lot, but also not as much as you’d think. A huge chunk covers the endless travel and other costs that mount up at this level of the game. That being said, dog handlers with a winning track record do generate handsome six-figure incomes, especially when they work with several championship dogs at once. This was something of a revelation to me. I was frankly astounded. Although, when you sit down with a pad and paper (as I did) and actually work out the huge amounts of time and travel involved, it makes a lot of sense. They may make a nice living, but they definitely earn it. Suddenly it dawned on me where the true competition was at these shows. For my first four hours I had been looking at the wrong end of the leash. Follow the money, right? Every win is a notch in a handler‘s belt, and every notch has a dollar value attached to it. More wins demand higher finishing and showing fees, and at the big shows there is serious bonus money, too. Come away from a few shows empty-handed and the phone might stop ringing. Simply put, the real competitors at these shows are not the dogs. They are the handlers. The competition is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s deadly serious, yet only in the rarest circumstances could it be considered cutthroat. You get that after you’ve talked to a few handlers. They are focused and tense and totally on their games. But they honestly adore what they do and adhere to a strict code of conduct and ethics. Apparently, there are enough owners, enough shows and enough money to keep everyone happy. Including my friends, the dogs. EDGE

Stars & their Cars

Cool New Jersey

 More remarkable stuff has happened here per square mile than in any other state in the nation. These are the cold, hard facts.

 Where would the planet be without New Jersey? Resist, if you can, the urge to crack wise and consider seriously for a moment the gravity of this question. Yes, we have given the world an occasional glimpse of our seamier underside. A submerged mobster may resurface from time to time in the Hackensack River. Occasionally a few civic leaders might get mixed up in some organ theft. And, okay, far too many of our youth are comfortable using the word “allegedly.” However, these are all mere jug handles on the road to greatness that our state has traveled. In these pages, EDGE celebrates the remarkable people, places and things that make New Jersey the hottest thing going.

SINGERS

New Jersey’s coolest “crooners”…

1. Frank Sinatra (Hoboken) Never recorded Newark, Newark. Why?

2. Dionne Warwick (East Orange) Her collaboration with Burt Bacharach made music history.

3. Paul Robeson (Princeton) Magnificent bass-baritone and stage actor, his three-year run as Othello in the 1940s still holds the Broadway record for any Shakespeare play.

4. Frankie Valli (Newark) Just too good to be true. He made Jersey Boys as famous as Jersey Girls.

5. Connie Francis (Newark) Where the Boys Are star grew up in the Ironbound neighborhood. Honorable Mention: Donald Fagen (Passaic) Depends on whether or not you like Steely Dan.

SWINGERS

New Jersey’s coolest jazz artists…

1. Count Basie (Red Bank) Led his own groundbreaking band for 50 years.

2. Sarah Vaughn (Newark) Her PBS performance with the NJ Symphony in 1980 ranks among the greatest TV moments in jazz history.

3. Dizzy Gillespie (Englewood) Those cheeks…spectacular!

4. Jimmy Johnson (New Brunswick) Gifted pianist helped transform Ragtime into early jazz.

5. Wayne Shorter (Newark) Saxophone virtuoso was a Newark Arts High School grad.

Honorable Mention: George Benson (Englewood Cliffs) Legendary jazz guitarist is a long-time Bergen County resident.

BLINGERS

New Jersey’s coolest rap and hip-hop stars…

1. Queen Latifah (Newark) Just celebrated her 20th year in the biz.

2. Lauryn Hill (South Orange) She and Zach Braff were friends and classmates at Columbia High in Maplewood.

3. Ice T (Newark) From Gansta Rap pioneer to TV cop on Law & Order SVU. Only in America.

4. Poor Righteous Teachers (Trenton) Who could forget this socially conscious hip-hop trio’s haunting single, Butt Naked Booty Bless?

5. Faith Evans (Newark) Wife of the late Notorious B.I.G. has three platinum albums to her credit.

Honorable Mention: Naughty By Nature (East Orange) Renamed East Orange “Ill-town.” But you knew that already, didn’t you?

CA-CHINGERS

New Jersey’s coolest music superstars…

1. Bruce Springsteen (Freehold) The Boss. Top of the list. Period.

2. Whitney Houston (East Orange) First wowed the world as a teen soloist at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.

3. Jon Bon Jovi (Sayreville) The hits keep coming.

4. Southside Johnny (Ocean Grove) The hippest thing ever to come out of Ocean Grove.

5. Les Paul and Mary Ford (Mahwah) Their Bergen County home studio turned out a bunch of #1 hits in the early ’50s.

Honorable Mention: Paul Simon (Newark) Moved to Queens when he was a baby, so not a “real” New Jerseyan. No truth to the rumor that Bridge Over Troubled Waters was actually the Goethals Bridge.

STAR FACES

New Jersey’s coolest acting talent…

1. Meryl Streep (Summit) A Bernards High School grad!

2. Jack Nicholson (Neptune City) You make me want to be a better man.

3. Ed Harris (Tenafly) Captain of the Tenafly High football team.

4. Tom Cruise (Glen Ridge) Cut from the Glen Ridge High football team.

5. Bruce Willis (Penns Grove) We forgive you for Hudson Hawk. Actually, no we don’t.

Honorable Mention: Frank Langella (Bayonne) He brought Dracula to life on Broadway.

SCARFACES

New Jersey’s coolest mobbed-up television and movie stars…

1. James Gandolfini (Westwood) Raised in Park Ridge,

graduated from Rutgers— a bona fide Jersey Boy.

2. Ray Liotta (Union) You’re a pistol, you’re really funny.

3. Joe Pesci (Newark) I’m funny how? I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how? How am I funny?

4. Steven Van Zandt (Middletown) A member of the E Street Band and The Sopranos… that’s a Jersey Double.

5. Joe Pantoliano (Hoboken) Joey Pants, yet another Sopranos alum.

Honorable Mention: Sterling Hayden (Upper Montclair) Film Noir heavy played the police captain gunned down by Michael Corleone in The Godfather.

WRITERS

New Jersey’s coolest authors and poets…

1. Allen Ginsberg (Paterson) The best of the Beat Generation poets.

2. Dorothy Parker (Long Branch) A leading light of the fabled Algonquin Roundtable.

3. Norman Mailer (Long Branch) The Naked and the Dead was on the best-seller list for 62 weeks.

4. Philip Roth (Newark) Several of his novels are set in Newark’s old Weequahic neighborhood.

5. William Carlos Williams (Rutherford) Haven’t read the epic poem Paterson? And you call yourself a New Jerseyan!

Honorable Mention: Walt Whitman (Camden) His New Jersey retirement cottage was the epicenter of American literary culture in the late 1880s.

DELIGHTERS

New Jersey’s coolest comic performers…

1. Jon Stewart (Lawrenceville) Reminds us each night that the news is an inexhaustible source of laughs.

2. Danny DeVito (Neptune) Grew up in Asbury Park, went to boarding school (Louie DePalma—a preppie?) in Summit.

3. Bud Abbott (Asbury Park) and Lou Costello (Paterson) Heyyyyy Aaaabbottttt!

4. Nathan Lane (Jersey City) Born Joe Lane, he changed his name to Nathan in honor of Nathan Detroit of Guys and Dolls.

5. Ernie Kovacs (Trenton) Only a guy from New Jersey could have come up with a three gorilla version of Swan Lake.

Honorable Mention: Jerry Lewis (Newark) Ranks higher on French lists.

FIGHTERS

New Jersey’s coolest pugilists…

1. Joe Walcott (Merchantville) Won the heavyweight crown at age 37. Anyone nicknamed Jersey Joe goes to the top of the list, right?

2. Marvin Hagler (Newark) Marvelous Marvin was undisputed champion for almost eight years.

3. James Braddock (North Bergen) Played by Russell Crowe on the screen, the Cinderella Man was born in New York but fought out of Hudson County.

4. Mickey Walker (Elizabeth) A beloved champion, the middleweight often beat heavier boxers.

5. Tony Galento (Orange) Two-Ton Tony once knocked down Joe Louis in a title fight. He also wrestled a bear and an octopus, and acted in Guys and Dolls and On the Waterfront.

Honorable Mention: Hurricane Carter   

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

MOVERS

New Jersey’s coolest political figures…

1. Grover Cleveland (Caldwell) Our 24th President, and the only one from the Garden State.

2. Aaron Burr (Newark) Killed Alexander Hamilton and tried to start his own county. Those nutty Princeton grads!

3. Frank Hague (Jersey City) For 30 years, no one in the state sneezed without his permission.

4. Thomas Kean (Hillside) 9/11 Commissioner set the bar high for NJ governors.

5. William Brennan (Newark) Progressive Supreme Court Justice was best known for his “absence of malice” stand.

Honorable Mention: Chris Christie (Newark) Um…we’re still waiting for that groundbreaking EDGE interview.

SHAKERS

New Jersey’s coolest cultural pioneers…

1. Alice Paul (Mt. Laurel) Took the fight for suffrage to unprecedented heights and won wo

men the right to vote in 1918.

2. Buzz Aldrin (Glen Ridge) His mom’s maiden name was—you guessed it—Moon.

3. Bull Halsey (Elizabeth) Guided the USS Enterprise through key battles in World War II.

4. James Marshall (Hopewell Twp.) The original Blingmeister—first to discover gold in California.

5. Alfred Kinsey (Hoboken) Known as the Father of Sexology….wait, I thought that was Barry White.

Honorable Mention: Martha Stewart (Nutley) Thanks to her, we all can be perfect.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

STAR-MAKERS

New Jersey’s coolest coaches…

1. Amos Alonzo Stagg (West Orange) A member of the very first All-America team in 1889, he went on to rewrite the playbook for college football.

2. Vince Lombardi (Englewood) Began his legendary coaching career at St. Cecilia’s in Bergen County. More importantly, has a rest stop named after him on the NJ Turnpike.

3. Bill Parcells (Hasbrouck Heights) The Big Tuna was born and raised in Bergen County.

4. Bob Hurley, Sr. (Jersey City) 900-plus victories, 20-plus championships and the coach behind the Miracle of St. Anthony’s.

5. Gene Wettstone (West New York) Gymnastics guru coached Penn State to nine national championships between 1948 and 1976.

Honorable Mention: Effa Manley (Newark) Co-owned (but never coached) the Newark Eagles in the 1930s and 1940s, she was the first woman enshrined in the Baseball

CHANCE-TAKERS

New Jersey’s coolest sports leaders…

1. Carl Lewis (Willingboro) Won Olympic gold in ’84, ‘88, ‘92 and ‘96. Top that Michael Phelps.

2. Marty Liquori (Cedar Grove) Marty ran a sub-4:00 mile… in high school!

3. Rick Barry (Roselle Park) Last of the underhand free throw shooters.

4. Larry Doby (Paterson) He and Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line in 1947.

5. Franco Harris (Mt. Holly) Steelers’ star was John Grisham’s favorite football player.

Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter (Pequannock Twp.) and Shaquille O’Neal (Newark) Both were born in Jersey but grew up elsewhere, so it’s a tie.

EARTH–QUAKERS

New Jersey’s coolest sporting events…

1. Princeton vs. Rutgers (New Brunswick 1869) The first intercollegiate football game. The first tailgaters convened three hours before kickoff.

2. Cosmos vs. Santos (East Rutherford 1977) In his farewell game in jam-packed Giants Stadium, Pele scored in the first half for the Cosmos, then switched sides and scored for his old Brazilian team in the second half. His fame helped America land World Cup 94.

3. Jersey City Giants vs. Montreal Royals (Jersey City 1946) In his first game as a pro, Jackie Robinson electrified the crowd at Roosevelt Stadium with four hits and four runs in Montreal’s 14–1 victory.

4. Ederle Sets Record (Sandy Hook 1925) Gertrude Ederle set a record for the 21-mile swim that stood for more than 80 years. A year later she stroked her way across the English Channel.

5. Knickerbocker Club vs. New York Club (Hoboken 1846) The famous

“first” baseball game took place at the Elysian Field. Shhh…rumor has it that baseball was being played for 20 years before this in New York City.

Honorable Mention: Let Pepe Play! (Trenton 1974) Two years after Little League Baseball banned Hoboken’s Maria Pepe from playing with the boys, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Today 50,000 girls play Little League baseball!

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

DRIVEABLE

New Jersey’s coolest roadways…

1. Boulevard East (Weehawken) New Yorkers pay through the nose for their Hudson River apartments, but the million-dollar view is really from the Jersey side in Northern Hudson County.

2. Green Sergeant’s Bridge (Sergeantsville) Beloved covered bridge. Scheduled to be replaced in 1960, it was rebuilt after public outcry from the people of Sergeantsville and their neighbors.

3. George Washington Bridge Iconic structure drops to #3 here because half of it is in New York.

4. Pulaski Skyway This engineering marvel gained national historic status in 2005.

5. Oceanic Bridge (Rumson & Middletown) Spanning Monmouth County’s Navesink River, it’s considered by many to be the most beautiful bridge in the state.

Honorable Mention: Bayonne Bridge One of the longest and loveliest steel arch bridges in the world.

ARRIVE–ABLE

New Jersey’s coolest tourist destinations…

1. Statue of Liberty As of 1987, Liberty Island is officially ours!

2. Atlantic City Boardwalk The longest boardwalk in the world…. but sadly, no longer home to the Miss America Pageant.

3. Jersey Shore From Sandy Hook south, more than 120 miles of beautiful beaches.

4. Cape May New Jersey’s #1 tourist destination.

5. Twin Lights The Highlands landmark was America’s launch pad for optics, wireless communications and radar technology.

Honorable Mention: Ellis Island Among the immigrants who came through this gateway were Bob Hope, Bela Lugosi, Charles Atlas and Chef Boyardee.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

SOUND IDEAS

Coolest New Jersey inventions…

1. Light Bulb (Edison) Edison was actually known as Raritan Township at the time.

2. Movie Camera (Edison) Menlo Park Mall is good. Menlo Park Museum is better.

3. Phonograph (Edison) Another Edison invention. Noticing a pattern here?

4. Transistor (New Providence) A little power in, a lot of power out. The first working one came out of Bell Labs in 1947.

5. Charge-Coupled Device (Holmdel) Another miracle from Bell Labs, circa 1969. The CCD is the key component in optical devices ranging from the Hubble Telescope to the camera in your cell phone.

Honorable Mention: Electric Chair (Edison) and Jughandle (Montville) A tie—quick death vs. slow one.

FOUND IDEAS

Coolest New Jersey discoveries…

1. Radio (Highlands) Marconi proved the commercial viability of wireless communication here in 1899.

2. The Big Bang (Holmdel) Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias proved this controversial theory with their experiments in cosmic background radiation at Bell Labs in 1964.

3. Dinosaurs (Haddonfield) The 1858 discovery of the aptly named Hadrosaur in a New Jersey marl pit launched American paleontology.

4. Antibiotics (Piscataway) Rutgers-educated Nobel Prize winner Selman Waksman developed (and named) these disease-fighting drugs in the 1940s.

5. Zincite (Franklin) Rare zinc oxide crystals, abundant only in New Jersey, were the “crystals” used in the first radio Crystal Sets before the advent of vacuum tubes.

Honorable Mention: Valium (Nutley) Making it all better since 1963. Thank you, Hoffmann–La Roche.

FULL BLOWN

New Jersey’s coolest headlines…

1. Hindenburg Disaster (Lakehurst 1937) Definitely not a miracle of German engineering.

2. Lindbergh Kidnapping (East Amwell 1932) H.L. Mencken called the abduction of the hero aviator’s son the “biggest story since the Resurrection.”

3. Martian Landing (Grover’s Mill 1938) Orson Welles’s Halloween prank proved the power of radio.

4. President Garfield Dies (Elberon 1881) He moved to the Jersey Shore two months after an assassination attempt and died 13 days later.

5. Black Tom Blast (Jersey City 1916) World War I sabotage in New York Harbor riddled the Statue of Liberty and shook windows all the way to Philadelphia.

Honorable Mention: Washington Crosses the Delaware (Titusville 1776) No actual headlines, but too important to leave out.

HOME GROWN

New Jersey’s coolest edibles…

1. Jersey Tomatoes Technically a fruit… which is probably why it’s New Jersey’s official state vegetable.

2. Jersey White Corn Sweet and tender. Hey, no stripping the corn in the store!

3. Salt Water Taffy Your dentist has just ordered new furniture for his living room.

4. Jersey Blueberries Once thought to be poisonous, today’s blueberries are the result of early genetic engineering.

5. Jersey Eggplant We grow more than any state in the nation. Can you say rollatini?

Honorable Mention: Taylor Pork Roll Introduced by John Taylor of Trenton. Unchanged since the 1850s. Why mess with…urp…perfection?

GLOBALLY KNOWN

New Jersey’s coolest cultural “firsts”…

1. Air Mail The first Air Mail service went via sea plane from Keyport to Chicago in the 1920s.

2. Diners The first gleaming pre-fab diners were made in Elizabeth during World War I.

3. Drive-In Movies The world’s first opened for business in Pennsauken in 1933.

4. Lazy Susan Keyport again! The first was produced by William Beadle in 1854.

5. Campbell’s Soup The Camden company was an international brand more than a half-century before Andy Warhol turned its cans into pop art. Now sold in 120 countries.

Honorable Mention: MTV’s Jersey Shore Proving you don’t have to be good to be cool.

 

PLEASE DON’T GROAN

Some final cool things about New Jersey that the world has yet to fully appreciate…

1. No Self-Serve Gas If I had the choice, I’d never fill ’er up in another state.

2. Pledge of Allegiance First recited as the National Loyalty Oath at the Twin Lights in Highlands in 1893.

3. The Pine Barrens A UN International Biosphere Reserve and home of the Jersey Devil. What’s not to like?

4. Omission of T’s in the middle of words Mitten, Kitten, Bitten.

5. Omission of R’s at the end of words …Ovuh, Rovuh, Clovuh.

Honorable Mention: Kelly Ripa Liked her on All My Children. Love her on Live with Regis.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Christine Gibbs, Rachel Rutledge, Mariah Morgan, Caleb MacLean and Lily Kennedy for their work on this feature. Special thanks to the Twin Light Historical Society (twin-lights.org). Memorabilia images courtesy of Upper Case Editorial Services.

Finding Mish

The Secret of 70th Street 

A golden lotus gracefully opens its ethereal petals, revealing diamonds dancing delicately on its pistils and stamens. It is an alchemist’s dream. No clunky piece of jewelry, this luminescent brooch blossoms with timeless design, creativity, and craftsmanship. So often we go treasure hunting in New York, yet so rarely do we unearth a real treasure. In this case the map couldn’t be marked more clearly. Forego 47th Street. Skip breakfast at Tiffany’s. Wander up Madison Ave. past Chopard and Chanel, and turn east on East 70th Street. Proceed to a cluster of brownstones close to Lexington Avenue. There, tucked behind a gentle garden sits a boite of a jewelry store called Mish New York. For years, my Upper East Side girlfriends have talked in hushed, reverent tones about Mish. They swoon over Mish’s chalcedony and diamond earrings, sigh at the sight of the topaz, gold and diamond pagoda pin and quietly covet the gold Chinese charm bracelet. This eponymous boutique also houses a select array of stunning jewel-encrusted rings, bracelets, necklaces and cufflinks created by Mish Tworkowski, a boyish, friendly former senior VP of Jewelry at Sotheby’s. A New Jersey native, Mish graduated from Rutgers with a double degree in Art History and Business Administration—both of which, no doubt, contributed to his accomplishments as a taste-making jewelry designer and successful entrepreneur. Along with the discerning artistic eye and business acumen, Mish’s interest in jewelry design, its process and art, grew out of an early exposure to all aspects of jewelry making. “A family friend owned a jewelry studio and factory where I would hang out watching the craftsmen at work—creating molds, casting, soldering and polishing silver and gold, and setting stones. It was a fun and amazing place.” Mish explains. “So through osmosis and access to the workshop at a young age, I got to the point where I could make drawings and then think about how to convert a drawing into a piece of jewelry through, say, the ‘lost-wax’ process.” After college came a 15-year stint at Sotheby’s, which included overseeing the estate sales of Diana Vreeland and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Soon Mish started creating his own line of jewelry. His early business “began organically, as many of my clients at Sotheby’s became friends and were interested in my designs.” He began selling his jewelry on the side with his Sotheby’s boss’s blessings. A self-described “happy workaholic,” Mish threw himself into his dream of opening a shop in 2001. His apprenticeship at Sotheby’s gave Mish some definite thoughts on the subjects of taste and style. To him, they are closely linked. “If you define tasteful and stylish, tasteful could be negative, implying that someone is boring, maybe too solemn or safe in her dress,” he says. “Tasteful and good taste are different. Good taste is always appropriate. Good taste is finely edited, never anything superfluous. Stylish, or having style, is someone who is willing to take a little risk. The little surprise that it gives is always wonderful. It might make you smile. It might make you think, ‘Wow, that person is creative and original.’ When someone is stylish, it is under the veil of appropriateness, there is a tastefulness, but with flair.” Nature is Mish’s primary muse. While at Wakaya, a client’s resort in Fiji, Mish was so blown away by the vibrant colors of sea life that—despite being a self-professed “waterphobic”— donned scuba gear and ventured out to the coral reef. “The colors were awe-inspiring,” Mish recalls. “Huge cobalt-blue starfish, yellow, pink, purple and salmon coral, fish of all colors. I went there to relax, but from the moment I stepped on the island, I was designing jewelry non-stop.” Mish has a devoted following of chic New Yorkers. His wide smile and signature bowties reveal a man confident in his own style, who effortlessly puts people at ease. I recently walked into the cheery shop to find a film crew interviewing Mish for a BIG birthday montage for a regular customer. I heard Mish thank her, teasing that without her enthusiastic patronage, he would “never have been able to buy Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris apartment!” When a museum curator friend heard I was researching this story, she emailed me pictures of her Mish treasures— the “go-to” orbiting pearl earrings, the aquamarine necklace, the Henderson brooch Mish designed for her, which she described as a “stunner on a navy suit jacket…the subtlety of colors shows the eye of the artist.” Even online at 72 dpi, she looked great. “What I love about this jewelry,” she wrote, “is his masterly way of mixing colors, keeping it all fresh and not serious-looking (even if the prices are serious). It’s easy to wear.” Mish enjoys collaborating with his customers and being inspired by their lives and interests. His playful wit emerged when designing cuff links and tuxedo studs for a client’s husband’s 50th birthday. The husband collected cars and especially loved his Aston-Martin. Mish made studs, using photos the wife took, that were replicas of the wheels (replete with gemstone hubcaps). He backed the cuff links with miniature gold versions of Aston-Martin tire treads. “What is special about coming to someone like me is that I’m not wholesaling, but dealing one-on-one with the client with a defined style,” Mish explains. “Many jewelers have globalized, so that you can buy their jewelry in any city or country and so can your friends. If you want to buy my designs or find something unique that none of your friends have, you have to come to my store.” In a world where so much is mass-produced, impersonal and brazenly marketed, it is rare to come across a business that thrives on artistry, workmanship and word of mouth. We sometimes forget that, in matters of the heart, a gulf still separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. Mish is a reminder of just how wide that gulf can be. EDGE

All photos courtesy of Mish New York; special thanks to Michael Oldford

 

Wardrobe Malfunction

Wow. Has it really come to this? I recently learned there is someone at this magazine who has been forbidden to purchase his own clothing. I won’t say who it is, but you’ll find his name closer to the top of the masthead than the bottom. He is a reasonable, intelligent man with a good eye for what works and what doesn’t—except when he’s standing in front of a mirror. The expensive, yellow plaid shirt that doesn’t go with anything (except possibly a wood chipper) was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since then, his wife must be present to approve all apparel purchases. This is nonnegotiable. If you—as a husband, wife or significant other—feel that you are headed toward this totalitarian state of clothes shopping, I can help. As the longtime host of the TV series A Makeover Story, it was actually my job. I found that focusing on five “essentials” often was enough to move fashion disasters in a safe direction, so that’s how I’ll handle it here. And just to keep things in season, we’ll focus on autumn. Men, stick to this plan and you never hear another What were you thinking! Ladies, arm your man with this information and you’ll soon be cutting him some slack (instead of cutting up his slacks) when he comes home from the store. Buy two sport coats. Although price-wise they will represent the lion’s share of the new wardrobe investment, quality navy blue wool and brown corduroy sport coats are an absolute necessity that will create endless outfits. I know that men can be tempted, at times, to purchase grey, black, or herringbone blazers (all of which can be dazzling), but coupling those colors and patterns with shirts, slacks and ties dramatically widens the playing field for fashion faux pas. I highly recommend J. Crew’s Cashmere Ludlow Legacy Blazer ($575) and Banana Republic’s Tailored Corduroy 2- Button Blazer in Camel ($198). As you’ll see, navy and camel act as an absolute and infallible base for each and every autumn ensemble. They make up the keystone in the flying buttress of a well-rounded wardrobe. Purchase two pairs of Chinos. Don’t call them Khakis, because they aren’t the same. What most people consider a stereotypical khaki is really just the bottom of the barrel in the world of men’s cotton trousers. I hate to say it, because they serve many a purpose, but it’s true. The word Khaki, by the way, comes from the Urdu word for dusty. During the Raj, English soldiers would dye their whites the color of the omnipresent and unavoidable dust in south and central India. Thus, was born both the color and the English word. Chinos, the more sophisticated cousin, are distinguished by the combed cotton sheen and the lack of back pocket cover flaps. Lacoste’s Classic Chino in Beige ($88) is perfectly conservative and appropriate for any occasion. Get two tailored shirts. You want the real deal here. A well-constructed gent’s wardrobe requires them in at least two colors; white and a light blue pattern. I’ve always been a fan of the Brooks Brothers Luxury Slim Fit shirt ($79.50). It is timeless, fits properly, and is available with or without a French cuff. Brooks Brothers includes its trademark “knot” cufflinks with each French cuff purchase, which is a fantastic pair of fashion training wheels if I’ve ever seen them. Every man needs an essential brown shoe. Keep in mind, a go-to black shoe is always a necessity, but I find that in fall, a brown shoe is always more appropriate and will mesh with infinitely more outfit components. Hugo Boss has always been a favorite of mine. And, in this case, the Saharian Chukka Boot in Dark Brown ($275) is a timeless, rich choice. Chukka sub-ankle boots are a great option for brisk months and seem to carry with them both endless style and rugged masculinity—two big advantages in my book. Most men have no idea what it’s like to suffer for the beauty of a shoe, and this will be no exception. Chukka’s wear like a Jimmy Choo, but feel like a Birkenstock. I know, it’s so unfair! Accessorize. No male wardrobe would ever be complete without a little accoutrement. I know most men shy away from (if not perpetually underestimate) the importance of the accessory. A stubborn man can mount successful arguments against a beautiful watch, a great pair of cufflinks or a dazzling ring. However, a first-rate leather belt is a must have, not a should-have. Again, since we’re building our fashion masterpiece within the framework of an autumnal palate, I highly suggest brown—if for no other reason than the fact that brown leathers seem to retain more beauty in texture, and stand out more prominently against other fabrics. Ralph Lauren’s Saddle Leather Belt in Papaya ($175) is a winner through and through. Its gold roller buckle and rich saddle leather echo country craftsmanship, while conjuring images of the luxury of Savile Row. A suddenly and unexpectedly well-dressed man can be a startling reminder of all the other fantastic, useful, and sometimes mystifying purposes he serves. So go forth and shop with new purpose and confidence. To the Short Hills… and beyond! EDGE

 

Hurting Instinct

 For more and more vets, evaluating pain has become less and less of guessing game

As judgment calls go, it is one of the most difficult in veterinary medicine. A dog in pain can’t speak for itself—we know that—but without accurately gauging the nature and severity of a canine’s discomfort, even the most gifted vets may find themselves at a loss when determining a course of treatment. Compounding this dilemma is the fact that dogs rarely display the pain they are experiencing at home on a trip to the animal hospital. Their adrenaline is pumping, their senses are under assault, and many experience off-the-charts anxiety—all of which can mask their pain once they hit the examining table. So what’s a vet to do? Keep score. They now can do so thanks to an elegantly simple document called the Canine Brief Pain Inventory (aka CBPI), which was developed at the University Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The two-page evaluation sheet contains 11 carefully constructed questions, each of which can be answered on a sliding scale from 1 to 10—not by the doctor or (obviously) the patient, but by the dog owner. The result is a score which, over years of trials, has proven to be remarkably accurate. Why the dog owner? The answer would seem to be a no-brainer. After all, who better to report on a pet’s condition than the person who sees that pet more than anyone? But there’s the rub. The idea of taking what is purely observational data and then translating that into unimpeachable science is not always an easy sell. It’s not weaving straw into gold, mind you, but to some it has a little of that flavor. Not so says the CBPI’s creator, Dr. Dorothy Cimino Brown, Professor and Chief of Surgery at Penn who also has a practice within the university. “There is a whole scientific method surrounding how you build a numbers-based assessment tool from something that is inherently subjective,” she says. “It is a multi-step process during which you develop interview questions and then determine what and how they should be asked, and also how the answers should be recorded. We knew that the signs and behaviors associated with chronic pain in dogs can be non-dramatic, and therefore would be best known by dog owners. That is why we devoted five years and $500,000 on studies and focus groups in order to develop a scientifically reliable instrument.” According to Dr. Brown, there was a lot of tweaking during CBPI’s first two years, and mostly fine-tuning over the last three. Some of the questions to be included seemed obvious to everyone, such as How is your dog hopping into the car or getting upstairs? One development that surprised the researchers was a sleep question. Dogs experiencing pain related to cancer have trouble sleeping, so everyone assumed a sleep question would make the final cut. “It didn’t,” says Dr. Brown. “In building a question about sleep we could never get it to mathematically behave. So we eliminated it. The problem was that not all owners sleep in the same room as their dog, so we dropped it from the inventory.” Brown’s team is pleased with the acceptance of the CBPI within the veterinary community. The form is available on the Internet at no charge, and it already has been downloaded more than 500 times; there is no way to track how often it is emailed or disseminated in other ways. After some initial resistance, the CBPI received glowing reviews in veterinary publications and today companies seeking FDA approval for canine pain medicine are using the CBPI to determine whether a drug is doing what it is supposed to do. Will the CBPI achieve “industry standard” status? From a research standpoint, it’s already a superb one. Considering that many local practitioners don’t use anything—they will ask how a dog is doing, but they don’t quantify it longitudinally—often a change in medication or treatment is based solely on feel. Old dogs can learn new tricks, as can vets who might initially resist an instrument such as the CBPI. From a patient record-keeping standpoint alone, says Dr. Brown, it just makes sense. “We recognize that the idea you can build an objective tool for a subjective situation is something new for veterinarians,” she offers. “But you can’t just pull six questions out of the air and expect to get a real evaluation.” EDGE  

Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart grabbed this story assignment for selfish reasons. He is the owner of an arthritic collie named Clementine. On his next vet visit, he will have a completed CBPI in hand. Mark also authored New Jersey Plants and Animals and All Around New Jersey: Regions & Resources; both books are now in their second hardcover printings.

 

Horse Play

 In the Garden State, Polo Is a ‘Family Thing’ 

Thousands of families in suburban New Jersey wake up on summer Sundays to a little something I like to call the eternal struggle. The kids want to kick around in cutoffs and flip-flops. Dad is looking to devote the day to the “competitive spirit” (translation: watch sports). Mom? By the time the sun sets, she would like to feel as if she’s moving forward—psychically and socially— not just treading water. Like most, I once assumed the solution to this Sunday dilemma was unattainable. And I’m not one to give up easily. I run a business that presents a new twist or challenge on an hourly basis; if I don’t hear someone screaming a four-letter word, I actually worry that something’s wrong. Perhaps that is why my favorite four-letter word is Polo. Yes, I know. We tend to think of polo as an exclusive pastime for those who enjoy the privileges of wealth and influence. And in some parts of the world this is true. But I have experienced firsthand the inclusive side of polo, too— the side that brings people from all walks of life together in a beautiful setting, transforming that sleepy Sunday into a vibrant sporting and social event. Some come to watch the action. Others come to connect with old friends and meet new ones. Big kids come and so do little ones. And a lot of people may not admit it, but they come for the amazing food. The point is that everyone comes. For those interested in business or social networking opportunities, well, obviously that goes on all the time at a polo match. In fact, much like golf, the two are constantly intertwined. Unlike golf, it doesn’t take a mother or father away from home all day. Indeed, I know of no other leisure activity that promotes the family dynamic the way that polo does. And this applies to virtually any family. Families with young children will find plenty to do at a polo match. There are the magnificent ponies to admire, the spotless stables to explore, a variety of kid-friendly activities and, naturally, lots of other young boys and girls. Families with teenagers typically park the car, get a feel for the layout and logistics, and then watch with confidence (and relief) as their sons and daughters fan out on their own—leaving mom and dad to enjoy a civilized afternoon and recharge their batteries for the week ahead.

THE CULTURE The people who gather to watch a polo match tend to have a few things in common. They enjoy good food, engaging conversation and, let’s face it, people-watching. Consequently, you won’t see too many folks wandering around in jeans and a t-shirt. You will see some big hats— hats that are unlikely to be worn anywhere but a polo match. As a rule, polo fans dress neatly and nicely. This includes the kids, who seem amazed that they can actually enjoy themselves without looking like their role models on Jersey Shore. Do you have to be wealthy to attend and enjoy a polo match? No. Polo is an expensive sport to play (just ask my accountants) but, in our area, a season’s pass to a polo club can be had for less than the cost of two tickets to a Yankees game. Are there wealthy people at a polo match? Most definitely. But they are not as easy to pick out as you might think; the old expression, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” often applies here. That’s because it’s not all about the money. It’s about the camaraderie, it’s about the aesthetics, it’s about people who—like the elite athletes out there controlling their powerful animals—are interested in elevating their game. Ultimately, I believe this is what makes polo such an inclusive sport. Truth be told, I encountered far less resistance from people in American polo when I first started getting into the sport in the 1990s than I did when I came to America from Europe as a boy in the 1970s. The real tip-off that there are multimillionaires milling around in the crowd is the number of corporate sponsors splashing their names on an event, and also the high-end jewelers and other retailers who like to display their wares to attendees. They know that there are lots of current and future customers at the match, and they also know that many people only watch some of the action—they come to socialize and shop, too. If you’re in the market for a new car, new jewelry, new wardrobe, new stock broker, new caterer or even a new face, there is a lot to catch your eye away from the field.

THE COMPETITION Lest we forget, polo is a serious sport. It is fast. It is exciting. And it has an element of danger. The athletes in the saddle must perform both as individuals and as members of a team, and they need unbelievable hand-eye coordination. The animal that riders must control is a “pony” in name only—they are full-on horses, four to eight inches taller than the riding ponies at your local stable, and a lot stronger and swifter. They tip the scales at around 1,000 pounds. When they thunder past the spectators, the air crackles with energy. A good polo pony can cost a cool quarter-million dollars or more, and requires up to two years of training before they are ready for competition. They continue to train daily, often twice a day. A polo pony must respond to a rider’s instructions through a variety of one-handed tugs on the reins and subtle weight shifts and leg movements. They are primped and pampered in between matches, but once the action starts they are pushed to their absolute limits. Many first-time polo fans are amazed to see how often a player changes mounts. His string of ponies usually ranges between three and seven. If you’ve ever watched an ice hockey team change lines, then you have some idea of the level of exertion involved. A quality horse can get its rider to the ball. From there, however, it’s up to the player to pass, defend or score. There are four players per side, each with different responsibilities. The point of polo is to work the ball up the field and knock it through a goal that is eight yards wide. The field itself is 300 yards long with tall sideboards to protect the spectators and keep the ball in play. Defense is all about position and timing. A player can thwart an opponent by interfering with his mallet, or by “riding him off” (picture a half-ton bodycheck). For us, polo is a family sport no matter where we are sitting. My great joy is that I now train and compete with my sons, Tyler, Shaun and Jeffrey. I have been working on my polo game for more than a decade and still feel like I’m learning something new every day. Often I am asked about the skill level required to play polo at a world-class level. The truth is that it’s difficult to define. Try hitting a golf ball one-handed on a bicycle at 30 mph without ending up in a heap and you’ll have some idea of the talent and training involved. Better yet, come out to a match this summer. You’ll see…it really is a family thing. EDGE  

Editor’s Note: Simon Garber is the owner of the Yellow Cab and SJS Jets polo teams, as well as the Polo Club of Colts Neck. For more information about this summer’s Sunday schedule, log onto poloclubofcoltsneck.com. Special thanks to Dario Garcia and Susan Belfer for their help on this story.

Love is a Battlefield

Dispatches from the Dating Front

The facts are irrefutable. The numbers are alarming. The statistics are startling, surprising, and just a little depressing. By  now you realize that I am not referring to the unemployment rate, the housing market, or the New Jersey Nets’ 2009–10 record. No, I am talking about dating. And specifically, dating post-30-something when, as the old saying goes, you’re more likely to be kidnapped by terrorists than find Mr. Right. Dating takes guts, and it is much easier to exit than to enter. If you don’t believe it, try these three numbers on for size—50, 3, 3 and 5. Around 50 percent of American singles have not been on a real date in more than two years. Human beings typically decide whether someone’s attractive within 3 seconds of meeting them. And the most common time for breakups is between 3 and 5 months into a relationship. Whether you’re newly unattached or, like me, a lifelong single, the odds may seem stacked against you. However, who’s to say you can’t tilt those odds in your favor? To do so, it helps to have a little clarity about what is—and is not—happening out there on the adult dating scene.

THE BASICS
You’ve probably heard these words of wisdom before, but they bear repeating. According to the most recent study I could find, instant dating turn-offs are bad breath, bad teeth and body odor. Followed closely by hair mistakes, raggedy nails, missing teeth, hairy nostrils, burping, flatulence, and goofy glasses. This goes for the guys and the girls—no joke! If you manage to make it past those harrowing first three seconds, remember not to talk too much about yourself or your ex, don’t bring up marriage too soon, and don’t appear to be an overeager beaver. Body language speaks volumes, so uncross your arms.

Look your date in the eyes, and gaze and hold that look a little bit longer than normal. Create an instant link to a person, and say his or her name at least twice during a conversation. Look for clues that your date is interested, and remember bits of information about a person and work that information back into the conversation. Happiness is contagious and hard to walk away from. So try to relax. Don’t worry. Be happy. In terms of gender specifics, remember that a large  majority of men are not confident meeting a woman for the first time. As a rule, men are put off by groups of loud women. So ladies, help these poor guys out and break away from the crowd. And please, help with the conversation. At the same time, avoid clinging, fishing for compliments, serial flirting, being a party girl or a drama queen. Men, stand up straight before you even utter a word—slouching gives a woman a negative first impression. Also, if you cannot decide what to wear on a date, go with blue. Studies confirm women are attracted to men in blue.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
We all know how important it is to be in the right place at the right time. Indeed, among the best places to meet other people and do some initial flirting are classes, coffee shops, gyms and shopping malls. And despite what you’ve heard, office romances have a surprisingly good track record, too. Four out of 10 result in marriage. Don’t ask about the other six. No longer taboo, no longer not talked-about, and no longer not admitted to is online dating. In fact, the online dating industry rakes in close to $2 billion dollars annually. Matchmakers and dating coaches pull in another $260 million. Goes to show you, there are a lot of people looking for Mr. or Ms. Right. Right on. The drawback of going cyber, of course, is that what you see isn’t always what you get. Statistically speaking, a woman’s biggest fear in the online dating world is meeting a serial killer. For men it is meeting someone fat. To the men I say hey, prioritize! To the women I say that only three percent of men are technically psychopaths, so the odds are with you until about the 33rd online date. Italian restaurants are the most popular on a first date. Hello—who doesn’t like pasta and pizza? Most people will kiss on the second date and consider themselves in a relationship after six to eight dates. Women feel it is appropriate to get intimate after a month, or two or three. Men feel it is okay on the third date, which also happens to be the recommended time to wait until cooking someone dinner at home. Interesting.

WAR STORIES
What do the boots-on-the-ground people have to say about New Jersey’s 30-to-50 dating scene? I convinced five friends to recount some recent experiences. Admittedly, it’s too small a sample to be scientific. But I think it’s a fairly accurate picture of who’s out there and how they’re doing.

LINDA
She doesn’t need a reason to celebrate, but a good date is cause for celebration. Linda likes to go out and have fun, and dating is a night out. The way she sees it, a night out—good or bad—is never that bad. “I go out every weekend with this frame of mind,” she says. “I am out to have fun and if I meet someone, great. If not, I am still going to have fun.” Linda has rolled the dice on the Internet dating site, Match.com. “I had what I thought were two great first dates, but both turned out to be total busts. All they were looking for was a physical relationship—on the first date. One guy lived in a boarding house in Belmar and ranted on and on about how much he hated his family. I thought about calling 911.”

DAVE
He’s 39 years young and the most fun guy I know. Dave has sworn off blind dates—they just don’t work, he says. Dave meets many of his dates in bars, where he can make the corniest opening lines sound like Shakespeare sonnets. He also finds Facebook to be productive. First dates are usually dinner, and Dave always pays. “I have found some old flames on Facebook and a lot of new ones, too,” he says. “I also meet a lot of people at weddings, but the younger women kind of get misty-eyed watching the bride. I smell commitment and usually run.”

HANNAH
She was married, a mother, and divorced before turning 30. The years leading up to and after Hannah’s divorce were trying, both emotionally and physically, and when she decided to get back into the dating game it wasn’t as simple as she thought. After many miserable and insufferable dates (almost all the results of set-ups), she tried Match.com and had substantially better luck than Linda. “I knew right away Victor was the one,” she says, sounding almost like a commercial. “We clicked. Our first date was coffee. We saw each other often after our first date, and very soon after we became inseparable.” Hannah and Victor, both in their 40s now, just celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary.

ROB
He’s what Jersey Girls call an Italian Stallion. Rob is a player—funny, smart, athletic, handsome, curious and, with some notable exceptions, fairly adept at juggling multiple dates. Suffice it to say that a glass of wine tossed in the face, a lap full of spaghetti, and getting his sports car keyed are not rare occurrences for Rob. Still, he lives and dates by a strict code. “I never let anyone I date see, hear, or know about others,” he says. “I don’t flaunt it and I am sensitive about it. Humor, discretion and comfort are very important.”

DANIELLE
She has to be the hardest working person I know, and she admits that dating isn’t easy. At 41, Danielle wonders if she will ever marry. Actually, she wonders if she will even date. “Believe me, I have tried. I am going on a singles cruise in a few months, and although I am not looking, it doesn’t mean I won’t look.”

Dating isn’t meant to be, nor should it be, a military campaign. I remember most of my dates, and yes, there are some I would love to forget. Like the time my date and I shared a dinner table with his friend and his friend’s girlfriend one Labor Day weekend. This couple argued throughout the entire meal. Finally, my date asked them to calm down. The other woman threw a drink in his face, he got angry, and then his friend punched him in the face and broke his nose. We spent the evening in the emergency room. I guess, in this case, love really was a battlefield. Most of my dates haven’t been catastrophes. My best, my favorite, and the date I still remember with longing and nostalgia, consisted of a long bike ride around the park, a messy soft-serve vanilla cone, a dinner of pizza and Pepsi, and watching a sky full of fireworks. Sparks flew that night. They certainly did.

Editor’s Note: In researching this story, Diane explored the worlds of dating “events.” Log onto edgemagonline.com to read an extended version of Love Is a Battlefield and get her take on Lock N Key and 7 in Heaven.

 

Cooking with Fire

A day together in the kitchen can be great couples therapy. Or a recipe for disaster.

Couples searching for something to do together frequently settle for spending a few hours at a nice restaurant. By definition, this serves the purpose—they’re doing something and they’re together. So why, after they pay the bill and argue about whether the tip was adequate (and was that last Sambuca really necessary?), does the sense of isolation remain?  Because
they haven’t really “done” anything; the experience was essentially passive. Now, if they were to cook the dinner together, they might enjoy being creative and productive, working toward a common, pleasurable goal. Assuming, of course, that no one gets sick afterward. First, let’s establish some ground rules. These evolve from my thirty years of marriage (no reprieve in sight) and almost that many years as a professional chef.

They don’t apply when one of the partners has serious cooking experience and the other doesn’t. Habits developed in restaurant kitchens die hard, and never remembering to turn off the burners can be a problem. Unless you both think liverwurst on rye with onions constitutes dinner, you should begin planning your menu at least a week ahead. Write it all down. No unilateral last minute changes. (“Uh, I thought we could throw a couple of habaneros in the stuffing.”) Start a notebook. Keep track of your meals à deux. If you’re really into it, take some pictures. Don’t keep insisting on foods that make him break out in hives. He may be a Neanderthal, but he’ll get the message eventually. Settle on how, as well as what, you want to make. “What? My mother always put cream of mushroom soup in the sauce. I suppose that’s not good enough for you?”

Avoid including Mom’s, or Nonna Esmeralda’s or Tanta Rifka’s specialties. Avoid tricky, last-minute preparations. No hollandaise, no soufflés, no deep-frying, no molten chocolate cakes. Pick a make-ahead first course. A salad or a soup would be perfect, and believe me, if you think making a great soup is too easy, you’ve never made one. Put together a platter of antipasto, and remember to take it out of the fridge an hour or two before you eat, so the cheese doesn’t taste like polystyrene.

For a main course, roast a leg of lamb, or do a baked pasta, or a casserole. Forget the veal piccata for now. And if neither of you can wield a carving knife properly, cook something that doesn’t require a surgeon’s touch. Watching him wrestle with a roast chicken, or, worse, a roast duck, will lead to merriment (yours) and resentment (his). If neither of you can bake…don’t bake. Baking is unforgiving. Many professional chefs dislike the weighing and measuring and fussing. Learn a foolproof recipe for tiramisu or a fruit cobbler and make it the day before. This isn’t a cooking show, and you don’t get extra points for creativity. Simple and successful is the goal. Just in case, have a couple of pints of ice cream in the freezer. Shop the day before, if possible.

Have some alternatives in mind, just in case all the asparagus is yellowish and limp, or your grocery is out of pancetta. Make sure you have all of the equipment you need. This is a good time to invest in a decent chef’s knife, or an enameled cast-iron casserole, or even a good pair of tongs. Looking for a pastry bag in the local drugstore on a Saturday night is a total bummer. Establish a timeline. Candles and cut flowers are optional, but leave enough time that you can shower and change. If one (or both) of you smells stronger than the cheese, you’re not going to enjoy dinner. Take it easy on the cocktails and keep them simple. A bottle of wine, maybe two, is fine. Three strawberry mojitos before dinner is just wrong. And don’t hurry. No one’s waiting for your table. Enjoy eating what you’ve cooked, and compliment each other’s efforts. Save the competitive juices for the tennis court. Is there one unbreakable rule? Yes, and it may not be an obvious one. Scrub the cookware; empty the dishwasher; wipe down the counters; take out the garbage. Before you eat.

The whole exercise is pointless if you come down for breakfast and there’s a heap of greasy pots in the sink and the house smells like garlic. The concept is to eat dinner and then follow your fancies. Or your fantasies. Ever met anyone whose fantasy life revolves around unclogging the garbage disposal the morning after? Many of us spend our days tapping away on lifeless little plastic squares. A day spent together in the kitchen provides contact with the textures and colors of nature. We get our hands dirty, and maintain the focus needed to work safely with hot pans and sharp knives. With a little forethought, you might have a pleasant afternoon followed by a memorable meal. After all, feeding and being fed by another person is an act of—almost—unrivaled intimacy.