Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Astrals Love a Parade

This weekend in Raritan NJ was the the annual celebration of John Basilone, a local hero who was the first US Marine to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Since Raritan has a pretty strong Italian heritage, it's sort of a a big deal. The highlight of the festivities is a parade, which was a lot longer than we had guessed.  Raritan also has some great Italian restaurants and bakeries. The Astrals have no complaints with that since they are all within walking distance. 

We spotted this guy on the floor of our elevator. I named it
"Aborigine with Silver Torch Running towards the Vent".

Autumn has begun although it was 77F and very humid.

Speaking of Italian restaurants, we walk over to Espo's three or four
times a month. It's a little hole-in-the-wall with a limited menu, but
it totally rocks. They have the best marinara sauce evar. Last night Astral
Wendy went with the Eggplant Parmigiana and I had the Manicotti.
Awesome!  She didn't have her camera so we only have shots of
the leftovers.

There are always leftovers from Espo's! 

When you have grandchildren, painted pumpkins are suddenly in vogue.

John Basilone

The parade was very Marine oriented.

One helluva model American.

It's a grand ole flag.

The USMC Band from Quantico. They were incredible.

Since we have two bulldogs in the family, we kinda dug this character.
Glad they didn't make him walk. Ten Hut!

I really wanted me a pimp hat.

Astral Wendy digs the kilt. 'Nuff said.

A bit of fife and drums.

Ya gotta love anything named the Devil Pups. Satan never
sounded cuter. I, therefore, cannot reject all of his works.

It's not everyday you see a top-fuel dragster idling down Somerset Street.

Speaking of pimp hats.

The littlest piper. Cute overload.

Which way is the beer?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Down By the River

There's a hint of autumn in the air in New Jersey right now. It still remains to be seen if we're going to charge right into the cold weather or whether we'll get a reprieve. In any event, you get the hint that winter is coming. A mellow Sunday with nothing much on the docket so the Astrals decided to cruise over to New Brunswick to check out a river festival, sponsored by the Beez Foundation, where our oldest son, Dale, was working as a volunteer. The Beez Foundation benefits kids with brain cancer and they have an annual rubber duck race on the Raritan River. We weren't planning to stay long enough for the race but we figured we'd sneak up on Dale.

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold*

If you look close, you can see bigfoot. Psyche!

The festival was held at Boyd Park. You can't make this stuff up.

Since I was a boy, I've ridden by this park hundreds of times
but was never there until today. There are some nice views of
the river.

This the pod that is craned over the river to release the ducks.

The sun was trying to come out but the clouds
pretty much prevailed today.

This was cool. The Raritan River is tidal so this was the river flowing 
upstream into the locks where the rubber duckies will be later to race.


So there ARE Raritan River Keepers! Who knew?


We have come to worship at the shrine of the Rubber Ducky.

Some of the early music was in our zone. 
Jackie Wilson Said.

Here's Dale on the right. 

Watchin' the River Flow.

Class of 1914? I'd like to see that crew now.

This ain't no Banksy. In fact, it's kinda freakin' me out.
I think I took the brown acid. A mistake, of course.

We decided to skip the river fest menu and went to Tumulty's Tavern,
a New Brunswick institution.

One of their signature items is a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce. No
matter what you order, you get one of these these.

The Astrals just went for the burgers. At 10oz, it was impossible to finish.

Not sure how old this building is, but it seems pretty dated.

I see a ghost rising. Do you?

Look into my eyes.

*'Fields of Gold' - Sting

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Down the Shore

We've been pretty much playing the role of slugs lately but today we decided to do a little road trip. In New Jersey, the idiom for describing a visit to beach is "Goin' down the shore". Hard to believe it's been five months since the Astrals have seen the ocean. And that was that cold, cold Pacific out in San Diego.  Today 
we went totally Atlantic. And the sea air made us crave cod. Act now before the extinction!

The day started beautifully so we figured we'd head down the shore. 
On the drive down, ( about an hour) we started to second guess our
decision because the early sunshine gave way to mostly
overcast skies. When we got to Point Pleasant, though, 
the sun came out and stayed out for most of our visit. Cool. 
Point Pleasant is kind of a weird place since the beach is actually
owned by a commercial enterprise, Jenkinson's. I think 
New Jersey is the only state where the beach
 is not free in most places. So much for 
my illusions of Quadrophenia.

Astral Wendy got right to work.

Yes, I do need to go on a diet.

Gulls, of course.

I'm pretty sure that palm trees are not indigenous to New Jersey.
Let go into the illusion.

There's been a few hurricanes and tropical storms passing through.
I think this was a hunk of flotsam (or perhaps jetsom) collected
by the local authorites.

Yeah, there's a kitschy boardwalk. Who would want
to take this home? And then live with the unnameable

Ditto for clowny.

Close enough for Ozzie fans.

Hurtricane Katia was offshore so the surf did a little bit of pounding.

Swimming was banned. OK for us, since we weren't prepared.

Ever since I was a young boy,
I've played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all.

But I ain't seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall.*

Step right up, step right up, step right up
Everyone's a winner, bargains galore
That's right, you too can be the proud owner
Of the quality goes in before the name goes on
One-tenth of a dollar, one-tenth of a dollar, we got service after sales
You need perfume? we got perfume, how 'bout an engagement ring?
Something for the little lady, something for the little lady
Something for the little lady, hmm
Three for a dollar**

The nice thing about semi-off season New Jersey shore is the lack of crowds.

Cheesecake boat's acomin'...We'll party tonight.

Oh! The humanity!

Do you know the way to Staten Island? Just talkin' 'bout Snooki. 
That cat Snooki is a mean mutha-f---. Shut yer mouth. Just talkin' 'bout Snooki!

The Astrals love a rainbow. You should too.

If I could type with a Scottish accent,  I would.

Back at home. Gonna cook me some cod and
cauliflower. Alliteration works in the kitchen too.

A partially neglected coney chaws some cauliflower greens.

Oh Yes! Baked cod with roasted tomatoes and panko.
Roasted cauliflower tossed with garlic, roasted peppers,
capers, and crushed red pepper. Yowzers! Cotes du Rhone
you say? Yes, the Astrals are red wine people, regardless of

*The Who, Pinball Wizard
**Tom Waits. Step Right up