Momentary Quartet October 29

jane-buttars-quartetExperience the excitement of music created live! The Momentary Quartet plays Saturday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 50 Cherry Hill Road,  in Princeton. Tickets at the door, $15.   Experience the excitement of music created live! Jane Buttars, piano, Harold McKinney, trombone, Patrick Whitehead, trumpet, and Lin Foulk, horn, improvise in styles from classical to blues to world music. With Daniel Harris, poet, and Aurelle Sprout, dancer. 

To continue in this vein, Buttars offers a workshop on Sunday, October 30, 1-3pm.   Enjoy inventing music with others in a fun, supportive atmosphere. Beginners to professionals welcome. $10 donation suggested., 609-683-1269,



Science scribe speaks 10-10-16

Mary Roach and Robert Krulwich. Photo by Stephanie Black 

New York  Times science writer Mary Roach talks  talked with Radio Lab’s Robert Krulwich tonight at Princeton University’s Friend Center 101 at 7 p.m.

Because I grew up with the smell of formaldehyde, I’ve long admired her for her best seller “Stiff,”  which dissects the truth about human cadavers. She’s on tour now for Grunt: the curious science of humans at war. 

Bon mots captured on my Twitter feed:

She positions herself as the ‘bottom feeder’ of science writers.

“Since I don’t have a science background I write (simply) for a roomful of me.”

To get her material, she said she does ‘random groping’ at start of her research and yes the word was deliberate.

“I don’t look for anything specific but I know when I find it’

Use vulgar words sparingly for best effect when you do use them, as in ‘A maggot breathes through it’s  – ss’


Before Bridgegate: Bennett Barlyn

10-5 Cover & Front (1-7).indd

“We were there first,” says Bennett Baryln. “Bridgegate has been fascinating because it lifts the veil of what we saw in Hunterdon, the taking over of agencies to serve only political ends.”

Barlyn finally got his just due — a $1.5 million payment from New Jersey settling the case against, as the U.S. 1 article states, a  “Bridgegate-like web — that includes small town shenanigans connecting to statehouse leaders, respected legal professionals getting fired, and a lone lawyer’s quest to find the truth.”

Dan Aubrey wrote the investigative article in this week’s U.S. 1  here. Aubrey’s first person similar investigation from 2014 is here. If you are a fan of Governor Chris Christie, either article will make you very uncomfortable. How could this happen? Bridgegate may have the answer.

Choose – to tell stories vs racism

princeton-choosePriya Vulchi and Winona Guo choose to make a difference in overcoming racism. With their cohorts at Princeton CHOOSE, they collected stories, from all over New Jersey, with the goal of inspiring harmony, and compiled them in a classroom guide. I am eager to hear the founders of Princeton CHOOSE present the Classroom Index at the Princeton Public Library on Thursday, October 6, 7 to 8 p.m.

The pair, seniors at Princeton High School, founded Princeton CHOOSE as a student-led organization aiming to overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment. They are fellow board members with me at Not in Our Town Princeton and I am continually amazed at their energy, efficiency, and effectiveness. Deservedly, they have won prestigious awards, including NIOTPrinceton’s Unity Award and the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. 

At the library  Vulchi and Guo will talk about their mission and explain how others can participate and engage with their program, including a full introduction to their Classroom Index a guide that includes statistics, research, and personal anecdotes from people all across New Jersey.

I’m looking forward to buying my copy!

Grinding ideas to powder?



“There are few sectors as resistant to change as government and health care,” says Susannah Fox, CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her interview with Laura Landro is in the Wall Street Journal today. “We count on their stability. But I have seen those two millstones grind a great idea down to powder. I’ve also seen initiatives flourish and grow, nurtured on the strong platform that this agency provides.” 

Here is the interview.

My take: In this election season, the image of government-as-inexorably-slow-millstone actually offers a modicum of comfort.

Disclosure: She is my daughter.

Above: Millstones from Evans Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Fleet Street, Liverpool. Used for grinding drugs from c.1846-1948. Catalyst Science Discovery Centre.

Photo by Mike Peel (, CC BY-SA 4.0,





Networking: stories well told

house_tour_2016-2-768x994The Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society will host its biennial House Tour, “A Step Back in Time” on Sunday, October 23, 2016 from 1-5 p.m.  This year’s tour includes 7 historic houses dating back to the 1800s.
A good example of a networking chain: I learned about this tour when doing the research for my talk “Button Pioneers of New Jersey.” Among the most prominent pioneers, nationally, were Hightstown residents Lillian Smith Albert and Alphaeus ‘Dewy’ Albert. Through Charles “Cappy” Stulz (I knew somebody from his insurance firm through my work for U.S. 1 with the Princeton Regional Chamber)  I was able to consult with Robert W. Craig, historian for New Jersey. We had delightful phone and email chats. A history prodigy himself, Craig — as a youth — had worked with Albert as an elderly man and had important insights. Craig, not missing a beat, introduced me by email to Shirley Olsen, publicist for the tour.
According to her press release, “all  of the houses have been preserved, refurbished, or renovated, and represent a variety of styles representative of New Jersey history. Antique cars will be at each house as well as floral arrangements made by The Rocky Brook Garden Club.”
“Pre-sale tickets are now available for $20 at Perennial Home, 119 W. ely_house_flags-150x150Ward St. Hightstown,  or Weichert Realtors,  East Windsor, 417 Route 130, East Windsor, N.J. The day of tour, tickets will be $25 sold at the Society headquarters (the Ely house, shown at right) 164 North Main Street, Hightstown.  For more information check the society website  or call 609-448-8388.”
Is it likely that I would I have stopped, on a rainy Monday morning, to post this house tour in Hightstown? Nope.  But as good networkers know, it’s vital to return the favor when you can. And now I’m sort of intrigued. What’s inside THIS house?h-1-img_4424-1-300x168
 Or this one?

Or this one?  h-3-image1-1-225x300

Never underestimate the power of networking or of stories well told.

Shoemaker’s child? 9/10 at 2 p.m.



On Saturday, September 10, at  2 p.m. at the New Jersey State Button Society Show and Sale, I will give an illustrated talk “Button Pioneers of New Jersey,” looking at how devoted button collectors operated in the 2oth century, aiming to inspire collectors in the 21st century.

Everyone is invited! The show is amazing — a dozen dealers, thousands of buttons to admire and/or buy and there’s even a raffle. It costs just $2 and is at the Union Fire Company Banquet Hall in Titusville. 

It’s a case of the shoemaker’s child. You’d think I’d have posted on my own blog before now, but I am having too much fun putting together at talk with adorable pictures like the one below. gertrude-patterson-1953