As you know, I live in the awkward. Bringing up topics that many people avoid and hoping to educate people or at least let them see another perspective.

Holiday gatherings are the best time to bring up controversial subjects.

Let's face it, if you can't have a conversation about a controversial subject, why are you hanging out with the person in the first place? I've written in the past about doing your best not to avoid controversy. Better to find common ground and be able to have a civil conversation. If that can't be avoided, again, maybe re-evaluate your choice of company.

Here are the best or the worst subjects to bring up (or avoid) at this Easter Sunday dinner:

Donald Trump

Republican National Convention: Day Four
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Whether it's about his being banned on social media or his possible 2024 candidacy, The Donald always offers plenty of energy and sidebar controversy with just the mention of his name. Even the mention of the number 45 could bring the house down.

Hunter Biden's Laptop

Democrats Hold Unprecedented Virtual Convention From Milwaukee
DNCC via Getty Images

Try this one on for size. You'll get one of two responses, conservative misinformation! OR, he should be in jail. Either way, this could be the most informative or ignorant conversation of the day.

Black Lives Matter

In this July 8, 2016, photo, a man holds up a sign saying "black lives matter" during a protest of shootings by police, in Washington by the White House. When it comes to picking a new president, young people in America are united in saying education is what matters most. But there's a wide split in what else will drive their votes. The poll showed major support for the Black Lives Matter movement among African-Americans polled — 84 percent. Support for Black Lives Matter polled at 68 percent for Asian-Americans, 53 percent for Hispanics and 41 percent for whites. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
In this July 8, 2016, photo, a man holds up a sign saying "black lives matter" during a protest of shootings by police, in Washington by the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

This one is especially good if you have a cop in your family. Just say "BLM" and see where it goes. Sidebar conversations will likely include the riots over the summer of 2020 and the governor walking with BLM in violation of his own covid-protocols.

Plastic Bag Ban

NZ Government Consider Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags
Getty Images

This one touches on a few fronts, climate change, animal welfare, pollution, it's one of my favorites. It replaced "fracking" which was one of my go-to controversies to address for years. It's off the list because, well, we frack a lot in the U.S. and we quickly became the world's number one producer of natural gas. No entertainment in gloating over the big win.

Illegal Immigration


Good one if you have new Americans in your family. If you have relatives from South of the U.S. Border, this one is particularly divisive. Some will go to the side of discussing how unfair it is to allow illegal immigration to flourish while so many followed the rules and came here legally. Others will accuse anyone who disagrees of racism! Either way, it's a fire starter for sure!

Anything I missed? Hit me up on the free New Jersey 101.5 app and let me know and I'll be happy to expand the list! Happy Easter!

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

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