Is Clark, New Jersey, in the Uncanny Valley?

Indignity Vol. 3, No. 184

Is Clark, New Jersey, in the Uncanny Valley?

WHILE MAKING TODAY’S Indignity Morning Podcast, we came across and shared with listeners the New York Times coverage of Sal Bonnacorso, the mayor of Clark, New Jersey, who in the course of being investigated for allegedly making sexist and racist remarks also ended up charged with "two unrelated crimes linked to his private landscaping business."


Indignity Morning Podcast No. 168: A guy from New Jersey.

Tom Scocca • Nov 21, 2023

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But our curiosity about the world of Sal Bonnacorso was not satisfied. Via Google Maps, we did a bit of exploring in Clark, New Jersey. What we found is like the map for the beta version of an unauthorized video game based on The Sopranos. Grand Theft Prosciutto: Strip Mall City.

Every roof a mansard, like the entire realm of retail is one endless Pizza Hut. It's the kind of built environment where the Google Maps camera car just gives up on the distinction between roadway and human habitat and starts driving around the parking lots, involved in myriad of sidequests.

Wine Anthology! Your collected digest of wines. Vaccaro’s Bakery: Is the first visible item in the first photo in the upper-left corner of the website the cannoli? It is the plump, abundant cannoli. Do the clients of the Dog Diva and of Alice’s Dog House meet for a puppy playdate in the middle of the parking lot?

All that’s missing from the landscape is Bonnacorso’s now-notorious landscaping company. That’s because, according to WXKW-FM, New Jersey 101.5, prosecutors said the mayor “ran Bonaccorso & Son out of his office, using township resources to store and maintain records including computers and fax machine.”


IN RESPONSE TO The Pharmacy Lunch Break Is a Rude and Transparent Scam, (Indignity Vol. 3, No. 177), James writes:

Hi Indignity,

I just wanted to say Thanks for shouting out pharmacy workers who are walking off, and how customers and staff are pitted against each other. I am a pharmacist who recently quit Walgreens, and I was told many times I was spending too much time helping people, including to look up in our central inventory system to see where someone could pick up a med we were out of stock on (it wasn't super accurate, still required a call to confirm, and I would definitely get looks when I tried to call the other WAGS for a stock check—of course even with a direct call to bypass the infuriating robot, I would end up sitting on hold forever).

Then again I also had days at severely understaffed stores that were hundreds of prescriptions behind, when we did not answer a single phone call. Why was it so hard to find employees in SoCal, to work retail pharmacy (i.e., on your feet, constant line of upset customers, potential to make deadly mistakes) for $3 more than minimum wage? Corporate can't figure it out! So sometimes I wasn't very helpful at all! Gotta get those vaccinations done! Pharmacy services being buried so we can achieve, what's that? Shy of 10% of the US population vaccinated against the current COVID strain.

In regards to lunch breaks, I was going to offer a defense, or at least context, but what I can add exactly proves your point. Target has had the lunch break for at least 15 years, it was a selling point in their hiring because, for example, the pharmacists I trained under as an intern (15 years ago) in Michigan would work up to 14 hour days and eat their dinner when it was slow. But this is just understaffing, and as you reference, what store is even open until 10 p.m. these days? State labor laws play into this, there are mainly only 8 hour shifts in Cali, which pays OT after 8 hours in a single day, not just after 40 in a week, so there is usually weekday overlap and no lunchtime closure. In Colorado, there are still 12 hour shifts, which again are bad, but I also would have to think: would I rather have 4 hours of RPh overlap on my shift or the equivalent cost of closing for lunch but with another 12 hours of tech staffing? If my techs are well-trained and experienced, I want them every time. But in reality we get neither.

I am going to try working for the local Kroger chain next, because they are generally better staffed (I've been told they are willing to lose money on the pharmacy to keep customers in the store), but I've read things are not trending well there, and they are also publicly traded and also trying to merge with Albertsons. At least their pharmacies are unionized, so a strike would be infinitely more organized and effective than the WAGS walkouts, which I don't think made much of a splash other than some decent media coverage (leading up to but not during or after the actions).

And staffing is just one (big) issue out of many affecting pharmacy. If I think too hard about how much single-payer could improve everything (e.g. how well CA Medicaid works, there are still issues, but formulary seemed to make sense and zero copays and could reach a human to resolve issues), I will cry right now.

I sincerely hope you have better luck getting your medications in the future. I might recommend Costco, is there a local Costco in NYC around the corner? Or any independent pharmacy or grocery chain (not Target), if that is available to you. I might less sincerely recommend always only needing medication on the weekend, but not during lunch, who doesn't want to go to the pharmacy on the weekend?

Thanks for the excellent newsletters,

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of select sandwiches from Light Entertaining: A Book of Dainty Recipes for Special Occasions, edited by Helena Judson, Published in 1910. This book is in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

Take equal parts of chopped cucumbers and mild raw onions. Moisten with salad dressing and spread on rye or graham bread.

Chop cold boiled spinach very fine. Mix with mayonnaise dressing and chopped yolks of hard boiled eggs.

Cream butter and into it mix chopped parsley, capers, and green peppers. Use enough of the vegetables to make the butter a decided green. Flavor with pepper, salt and a little cayenne. By cutting the bread very thin, and insetting a slice of brown bread between two of white, an effective and appetizing sandwich is made.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to


ATTENTION, BOOK SHOPPERS! We are pleased to announce that we have SOLD OUT the first printing of 19 FOLKTALES. A second printing, which corrects the unorthodox (collectible!) spine alignment of the first edition, is underway, but new orders may be delayed even more than they are under our usual hand-fulfillment system. Some signed copies are available as premiums for Kickstarter supporters of the new FLAMING HYDRA publishing enterprise, which we encourage you to support as it has successfully satisfied its initial kick-starting and is now well into a “stretch drive.”

Totally not sold-out: HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

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