No, the Jersey Devil didn’t deter me, not for a moment. Long presumed “impervious to gunshot,” with “a kangaroo body, bat’s wings, pig’s feet, dog’s head, horse’s face, forked tail,” and possessing a peculiar penchant for reportedly “attacking and mutilating poultry, cats and dogs,” the fabled South Jersey denizen is, according to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, a strange creature inhabiting the tricky realm between fact and legend. Kinda like the Bush-Wah administration’s war on terror, right?

More than you might realize.

While the Jersey Devil supposedly “terrorized inhabitants of the Delaware Valley in 1909, when people stayed home even in daylight and factories and theaters closed,” as it turns out, “at least one person later confessed to … creating footprints of the supposed devil.”

Hmmm. These tactics sound familiar, don’t they?

Once again, perhaps to ratchet up the federal fear factor, our gummint’s generating warnings of imminent terror attacks, so, finally this story about a prior terror scare – remember Fort Dix and the pizza-delivery scheme? – can be revealed. And the thanks of a grateful nation go to the feds for ruining New Jersey for me as an ultimate travel/relocation destination by apparently staging that blatantly bogus Fort Dix terror sting of theirs, and then, if that wasn’t enough, actually setting the state on fire with military maneuvers.

You must have seen those vaguely astounding headlines about US F-16s unleashing “Shock and Awe” on South Jersey? How a raging wildfire reportedly started from an F-16 fighter jet dropping flares as part of a maneuver over a gunnery range this past May?

Well, gentle readers, until all this folderol transpired, I came THIS CLOSE to renting a cottage in New Jersey.

Bad enough Jon Corzine, that political problem child, would have been my governor. I’m not sure how I’d deal with that. Not only didn’t he buckle up when his state trooper driver was speeding, now he’s forsworn e-mail because of possible ethical repercussions of an ex-romance.

Instead of immediately moving, I’m numbing myself to Pennsylvania’s overarching mediocrity:

“Killadelphia,” er, I mean, Philadelphia, shocks the nation with more than a murder-a-day and impotent local politicians who shrug the phenomenon off like, well, a losing baseball team.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies face ramifications of their historic 10,000th loss, more than any other major league baseball team ever.

Plus, I must adjust to my current governor still being, you should pardon the expression, Edward Rendell, known to friends and foes alike as “Fast Eddie,” who never met a hoagie, or a gambling casino, he didn’t love.

Speaking of which, greedy city and state pols are drooling to carve the city up in little pieces and place huge casinos in actual neighborhoods where they are guaranteed to destroy any semblance of functioning communities, without even bothering to consult the very residents affected in the first place. Ka-ching!

The ruination of my latest relocation plans began when I bump into a genetically Republican Mercedes-driving bibliophilic attorney not particularly known for spouting any radical politics. Yet incredibly enough, it was he who first raised the possibility the alleged “terror” near-miss supposedly targeting Fort Dix, N.J. – its “revelation” conveniently trumpeted and timed to sway the spring primary elections? – was more government fakery to once again terrify a gullible public and convince us the “war on terror” is “working” while we quake in our boots waiting for the suitcase nukes to obliterate our kids at the mall.

So I contact a reporter who covered the story for a New Jersey newspaper.

“Fascinating case,” I e-mail him, “but do you really think ‘terrorists’ would have used such a public facility to ‘dub’ their video into a DVD, thus risking detection? Remember all the techno-heavy terror videos so far? Come on. Some folks are now suggesting this is one of those ‘fake’ pseudo-terror events created to terrify the public and convincingly dramatize how the ‘war on terror’ is being fought and won by the U.S. government. Think about it. Fort Monmouth, mentioned in reports as a possible alternative site for terror, was actually closed down several years ago and therefore has quite a reduced population. While Fort Dix, also the site for one of the largest federal prisons in the country, operates mostly as a ‘weekend warrior’ training center; no mention made of that in any of the news coverage I saw. It’s never too late to ask hard questions.”

“Thanks,” he writes back. “Interesting point.”

Yeah, right. Hold on tight – here we go again!

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