All Roads Lead to Breezewood – The Town of Motels, Food, and Fuel! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jun03

All Roads Lead to Breezewood – The Town of Motels, Food, and Fuel! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

Who wants a hamburger, or needs a bathroom, or how about just to top off the gas tank?  Well, flip your signal on and head to Breezewood – because all roads will eventually take you there! Breezewood — it’s one of the few spots in the United States where you will encounter a traffic light on a major interstate.  It’s kind of a Las Vegas of the East, offering dozens of restaurants, motels, and fuel for weary travelers.  Once, it was simply a small gas station at a turnpike off ramp… now, it’s a spectacle on the highway. Breezewood is located in western Pennsylvania smack at the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-70, and US 30 (The Lincoln Highway.)  The interchange is a major stop for those traveling on I-70, which departs the Turnpike at this exit.  According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3.4 million vehicles used the interchange in 2004.  Heading eastbound on I-70, you’re forced off the turnpike, and to stop at a red light if you want to continue on to Washington DC. The Breezewood area has always been a major stop in the travel world since the earliest days of the United States.  The Native Americans had established a busy trail here.  Before the Revolutionary War, Conestoga wagons heading west would frequent the trail.  British troops led by General John Forbes continued upgrades that allowed troops to travel from Pittsburgh through the mountains to Chambersburg.  After the war, the road would become privately tolled and was known as the Chambersburg-Bedford Turnpike. In the late 19th Century, the New York Central Railroad began construction on their South Pennsylvania Railroad line that would run right through the area.  The company had hoped to compete with the colossal Pennsylvania Railroad that had long been...

This Ain’t No Clip Show: Jersey Joe’s Year One Rewind [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] May27

This Ain’t No Clip Show: Jersey Joe’s Year One Rewind [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

It’s been a full year since I’ve officially been writing my own blogumn here on FaN.  With this being Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to catch up on the topics I’ve written about.  Let’s see what’s changed in a year’s time. MAY 31, 2010 STAR TREK SLOTS In my first official blogumn I took a look at one of the greatest slot machines ever created; The Star Trek Slot machine.  This advanced machine allows players to earn medals which will unlock new games, even in different casinos. The machines were once front and center on the casino floor.  With their bright colors and video clips – they certainly generate excitement.  However, a year later most have lost their prime real estate.  While still available in most casinos, they have been moved further back to make room for the new Lord of the Rings machines that use the same design. Hopefully, WMS gaming continues to create new episodes and levels to unlock on these machines.  They recently introduced two new episodes, Live Long and Prosper and Mirror, Mirror. These slot machines still seem quite popular and I do have to wait at times to get on one.  A new multi-player version is set to be released this year, which will have two machines placed under a large screen with both players going into the bonus round to win cash! JUNE 6, 2010 BURGER KING RIBS Burger King introduced BBQ ribs to their fast food menu last summer as a new upscale item.  The ribs (more like riblets) took a long time to cook and were difficult to prepare.  While being just OK taste wise – they very quickly sold out.  Since then, BK has removed the item from their...

Another Piece of Vintage Vegas Folds Its Hand [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] May20

Another Piece of Vintage Vegas Folds Its Hand [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

The Sahara Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas closed its doors on Monday, leaving only two of the original Rat Pack gambling joints still in operation.  It’s a bittersweet goodbye for the famous casino whose absence is turning the north end of the famous Strip into a ghost town/ The Moroccan-themed Sahara opened its doors in 1952, just outside the official city limits.  It was the sixth resort to open on the Strip and was constructed by Del Webb.  The famous developer would eventually go on to own the Sahara along with other casino properties in both Las Vegas and Atlantic City. When the Sahara opened, Las Vegas Boulevard was quickly starting to grow from more than a sandy dirt path into the desert.  The resort quickly rose in popularity and many big name Hollywood stars would stop by to perform. The King of the Swing, Louis Prima was hired as the casino’s first official lounge act.  In 1956, Abbott & Costello would appear there together for the last time before the duo’s breakup. After Del Webb purchased and took control of the hotel, a 24 story tower was added along with new restaurant options in 1963. A year later the casino roof caught fire sending gamblers running out into the street and causing $1 million in damage.  It began from a spark from a welder’s torch — he was installing an air conditioning unit. A third 27 story tower was added in 1987 bringing the total room count to 1,720. The Sahara has appeared in a number of films and television shows.  The most famous may be the original Ocean’s Eleven, which was shot there with its Rat Pack stars and released in 1960. Many other celebrities would perform in the showroom including The Rat...

Is “Soul Daddy” America’s Next Great Restaurant? NBC Thinks So [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] May13

Is “Soul Daddy” America’s Next Great Restaurant? NBC Thinks So [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

On Sunday, May 1st, just hours before President Obama took to the air to inform the world that Osama Bin Laden was shot dead, NBC crowned the champion of their newest reality series, America’s Next Great Restaurant.  The winning concept, Soul Daddy, opened to the public in three cities the very next day.  I had a chance to visit the New York location to see if this chain will sweep across the country. America’s Next Great Restaurant is one of the newest reality shows to hit the small screen and is one of the most unique.  21 contestants compete to win a grand prize of having their idea turned into a chain of three restaurants across the US. When I first heard about the series, I was really excited.  Finally, a new idea for a reality show and the grand prize is something that we will all get to take part in.  It’s a cross between The Apprentice and Top Chef. A unique twist is that the four judges are also investors in the new chain and have genuine monetary motivation to make the winning restaurant work.  If the concept is successful, not only will the contestants win in the long run, but so will the judges/investors. After fighting through weeks of competition and surviving the other contestants,  America’s newest chain of fast casual restaurants went to Soul Daddy, which opened the very next day at these three locations: *Los Angeles at The Hollywood and Highland Center (near the Kodak Theater) *Minneapolis in The Mall of America *New York City at the South Street Seaport Soul Daddy is the brainchild of contestant Jamawn Woods from Detroit.  He had originally worked in the auto industry there, until being laid off, and eventually pursuing his love...

I thought Colgate knew all about dental care! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] May06

I thought Colgate knew all about dental care! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

After eating all that Easter candy, you better be brushing your teeth!  What would your mother say?  The name Colgate instantly makes you think of your teeth and dental care.  They’ve been on the front lines in the war against tooth decay and cavities for decades.  I truly thought they knew it all when it comes to caring for your teeth.  But, one of their popular products really misses the mark. In 1806, the Colgate company began business in New York when William Colgate opened up a small store to sell soap, starch, and candles.  He suffered a severe heart attack shortly after opening which caused him to stop all sales for several years until he recovered.  Once back on his feet, he once again began selling his goods. He passed away in 1857 and his son took over renaming it Colgate and Company.  In 1871, they began selling toothpaste in glass jars.  After a few years of work, in 1896 they began to sell their toothpaste in tubes. In 1928 the Palmolive-Preet company, Palmolive known for its signature green soap, bought the company and decades later it finally became known as Colgate-Palmolive.   To this day they are in fierce competition with Procter & Gamble who sell similar products. They also still have marketing and executive offices in New York to this day.  They used to manufacture their soap and toothpaste across the river in Jersey City, NJ, but relocated in the 1980s.  They still maintain a large, historic neon clock on the waterfront that can easily been seen from lower Manhattan on the site of their old plant.  While the clock still supports the Colgate logo, it is maintained by Goldman-Sacks as part of the clock’s relocation to build their skyscraper office tower....

The Best $1.99 Meal West of the Mississippi [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe] Apr29

The Best $1.99 Meal West of the Mississippi [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe]...

I’m about to share with you one my hidden travel secrets.  For less than $2 I am going to make sure that your belly is full and not only full, but extremely happy.  No tax.  No hidden costs.  No joke. So, where can you find this unbelievable deal?  It’s the $1.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vegas is known for cheap eats and gut busting buffets.  However, with the arrival of the megaresorts, the city is also now known for their Michelin Star chefs and award winning restaurants.  Some, making major contributions to the world of culinary cuisine. In our tough economy we can all use a way to save a dollar or two.  There are dollar menu fast food items all over, but if you can control your passion for gambling, Vegas has become a cheap travel destination. The economy has hit the city hard.  The north end of The Strip is now a barren wasteland of unfinished hotels stuck high in mid-air.  Others are slashing hotel rates to get people in the doors.  They are also offering rock bottom deals on rooms, food, and drink.  Sure, you can drop all the cash you want on a fancy meal, or you can take just $2 and head downtown for some history and for the Golden Gate Shrimp Cocktail. Now, I’m not saying to immediately call up your travel agent and book your next flight just for this meal alone.  What I am offering you is one of my hidden travel secrets when I visit there.  Because, it is one of the best deals in town and anyone can have it! The Golden Gate Hotel and Casino is located in downtown Las Vegas on historic Fremont Street. ...

NoBunny Knows Easter Better than Cadbury Creme Eggs Apr22

NoBunny Knows Easter Better than Cadbury Creme Eggs

You’ve seen the commercial, you’ve seen them in stores, and you’ve probably eaten a ton since you were a kid.  You know its Easter when Cadbury Crème Eggs make their annual appearance.  No kid’s basket would be complete without them. But from bunny to Britain, they’ve traveled a long way to become a part of our annual Easter feast. Cadbury Crème Eggs are an egg shaped chocolate candy, filled with thick white cream and yellow fondant to resemble the inside of a real egg.  The candy makes an annual appearance shortly after New Years and stays on store shelves until they sell out after Easter. To this day, my mother still runs to the drug store and picks up several packages for me.  When I take that first bite, it’s a sign that the winter is about to come to an end and spring is here.  To me, they are the ultimate treat.  They’re more than just a chocolaty snack and they’ve taken quite a journey to get on to our store shelves. The original Cadbury Crème Egg was first manufactured by the Cadbury Brothers in the United Kingdom in 1923.  (The Cadbury Chocolate company was founded in the 1800’s there.)  After going through some major modifications, they were introduced to the United States in 1971.  The original British design, had 171 calories and weighed 1.4 ounces. The eggs are usually sold individually, but can also be purchased in packs for four.  Larger bulk packs and cases are also available at warehouse clubs. Thanks to an episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien, actor BJ Novack (Ryan from The Office) drew attention to the fact that the American version were getting smaller in size.  Originally, Cadbury’s website claimed that they were not getting smaller,...

10 Gut-Busting Infomercials [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Apr15

10 Gut-Busting Infomercials [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

You see these commercials running all day and all night long.  They make great filler and are a cheap source of revenue for TV stations.  The geniuses behind these products are constantly working on the next big thing that will make our lives easier.  I’ve found no less than ten gut busting infomercials, that are totally real.  So, sit back and get ready… because operators are standing by! Don’t you hate when your boobs rub against the seat belt?  How about that shoulder strap digging in?  They can both be quite a pain, especially on a long trip.  Well, have no fear – this little bear is the answer! I think the woman at 27 seconds in should get an Emmy for her acting!  This thing looks like it came out of an episode of Saturday Night Live. Next up – finding it difficult to get a chance to practice your putting?  Did you lose that big golf game because you couldn’t sink that last bogie?  Well, you better take every last second and practice… don’t let going to the bathroom stop you! Yes, turn your bathroom into a mini-golf course!  I hope my friends are reading this…  (hint, hint)  The best line of the whole commercial is at 41 seconds.  Remember doctor’s say, rushing can be unhealthy…  I’m sure this will go over well when your other family members need you to get out of there! And now that you’ve taken the golf course to the bathroom, how about bringing the bathroom to the golf course? This was shown not too long ago on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  I think the audience is still laughing. I honestly saw this ad airing on a Long Island station just before Easter.  Finally, a cure...

Turn Your Kitchen into a PF Chang’s China Bistro [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Apr01

Turn Your Kitchen into a PF Chang’s China Bistro [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

Easy Asian food prepared right on your stove that’s just as tasty as the high-quality food you would find in a PF Chang’s China Bistro?  That’s what the bag claims.  I’ve noticed some of the restaurant’s signature dishes popping up in my grocer’s freezer; so my stomach and I gave it a try. The recent downturn in the American economy has very much affected restaurant’s business models.  While some are slashing prices, others are offering cheap promotional items or sales, and some are selling their products in your local grocery store.  While Americans tighten our wallets, instead of heading out to dine, they can now enjoy some of the same succulent restaurant dishes at home.  PF Chang’s has joined TGI Friday’s, Burger King, Uno Chicago Grill, and others to sell their products in stores. The first PF Chang’s China Bistro opened in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1993.  The chain and menu were planned by chef Paul Fleming and Philip Chaing.  The name PF Chang’s comes from a combination of the founders names, with the I being dropped from Chaing. Their restaurant concept is simple.  Serve upscale asian food dishes at family friendly prices.  While a bit more expensive than your local TGI Friday’s, their costs are more on par with a night out at the Olive Garden or a pricier meal at Red Lobster.  Oh, and if this is making you hungry, P.F. Chang’s is advertising a four-course special meal for two in the restaurant for $39.95 on their website. P.F. Chang’s now operates more than 200 restaurants in the United States, Mexico, Kuwait City, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  They can normally be found in upscale shopping centers, but some standalone restaurants are open in city downtowns and casinos. The chain is...

SHARPIES: One of the Greatest American Inventions Ever! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Mar25

SHARPIES: One of the Greatest American Inventions Ever! [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

Open up any junk drawer in your house and I’m sure you’ll find one.  Just about every person born in this country in the last 40 years has used one.  Sharpies, the ultimate magic marker have been a staple of our lives since the 1960s and more than 200 million have been sold worldwide. The original black Sharpie marker was introduced by Sanford in 1964.  Sold only in one color, the fine point permanent marker was designed for quick and easy use on everything from paper to metal.  They would quickly find their way into most American homes to be used on everything from wrapping meat, to labeling a CD, to minor home repair.  Most stars and athletes can be seen toting one to sign autographs.  Talk show hosts Johnny Carson and Jack Paar were said to be early fans of the product and could be seen with one, while hosting The Tonight Show. Sharpie markers are officially labeled as “non-toxic” and can be used by children.  While they are not meant for the skin, ink on the hands can be removed by excessive washing or with alcohol.  Though they are marked as “non-toxic,” they are known for their strong scent.  While not overpowering, extended exposure could lead to a minor headache. As the 1970s rolled around, Sharpies were introduced in the now-common 8 pack featuring the colors yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, and black.  As the popularity of the brand grew, new sizes were introduced including mini markers, paint markers, and highlighters.  The original 8 color line has been expanded to 30 colors and are sold in various packs, including limited edition colors. In 1989, the Ultra Fine Point was introduced becoming the first marker to write like a pen. Although...

KITTIES! [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe] Mar18

KITTIES! [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe]

Right now, I think we could all use some cheering up!  Let’s both take a second, relax,  and check out these hilarious cat videos I’ve found online.  Maybe you’ve seen one, maybe you’ve seen them all… but there’s no way you won’t chuckle at least a little! First up… how about some kittens riding on a Roomba! This one is totally creative!  It’s no carnival game, though… This cat can play the piano… and you can even buy his song on ITunes! Better than David Letterman’s stupid pet tricks… this cat crams its entire body into a goldfish bowl! Next from CBS News, we head to Poland where a cat gets stuck in a window!  Don’t worry, a good natured pedestrian helps him get out! The best way to break up a kitten fight… you probably should skip this if you are currently eating! Behold!  The cat that can walk on water! According to the description, this cat is 17 and trained herself to use the toilet.  You be the judge! This will be quite a mess to clean up… This little guy is entering the dating circuit, early! Do cats like to go to the vet?  Let’s find out… And let’s end our cat clip show… with a cat clip show!  Here’s a whole bunch of funny cats from America’s Funniest Home Videos, I believe… So, there we go!  A dozen cat videos that should make your day a little brighter! Domesticated cats have been associated with humans for well over 9,500 years according to new evidence of a kitten found buried in a sarcophagus in Cyprus.  Originally, domesticated cats were believed to have originated in Egypt, but new studies now point to them developing from ancient African Wildcats. I’ve been exploring the...

The LEPRECHAUN Movies [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Mar11

The LEPRECHAUN Movies [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

He’s not Chucky, he’s not Jason Voorhees, he’s not Freddy Kruger, but with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I was recently reminded of one of the craziest slasher movie villains… Leprechaun.  For seven films, nobody could take us from South Dakota, to Vegas, to outer space all to defend his gold like the evil leprechaun can! Now, we all know about Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play, and the Friday the 13th series of slasher movies, but Leprechaun is an often forgot about series that really took the genre to a bizarre, new level. Please note that all of the films in this series are officially rated R and this blogumn does contain some mild spoilers. Yes, Jennifer Aniston probably regrets being in this low budget slasher; but it was well before her career took off on Friends.  The original Leprechaun, directed by Mark Jones, opened in 620 theatres in January 1993.  The story is of an evil leprechaun, who is sealed away in a box (which is guarded by a four leaf clover) by a man who stole his bag of 100 gold coins.  After new owners move into the house in which the crate was left, the leprechaun is released, and goes on a killing spree to get his gold back.  Pretty simple, right?  Yeah, and pretty gorey as well. The film eventually went on to rake in $8.5 million on a mere $900,000 budget.  The acting is definitely not A+ material, although Aniston does show promise.  Though the film received mixed reviews, since it was a moneymaker, a sequel was rushed into production. The very next year on April 8th, we were treated to Leprechaun 2 and this time he’s in Los Angeles in search of a wife for his 1,000th birthday. ...

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: The Sport of Kings – A Day at the Horse Race Track Mar04

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: The Sport of Kings – A Day at the Horse Race Track...

It’s the sport of kings!  Horse racing has been around since well before explorers discovered North America.  While still popular as cheap form of gambling entertainment the industry has been on the decline for decades.  But as I found, the sport is more than just horses running around in a circle. Recently, I had the chance to spend the afternoon at the Atlantic City Race Course.  A friend chose to celebrate his 30th birthday there.  The track opened in July 1946 and time has not been nice to her.  Now, she stands in the shadow of the casino gaming in Atlantic City.  While still offering full time wagering, the course only hosts a few races in April each year.  The building itself is in serious disrepair and mostly blocked off.  The grandstand is now inaccessible during non racing and half of the main building is barricaded off.  TV monitors and auto pay tellers now fill the mostly empty shell of time. The AC Race Course is a testament to the decline of the industry in general.  When the track first opened, thousands would pack the gates on a weekly basis.  Now, the place is lucky to have a few dozen visitors inside at any given time. Since the ancient Greek and Roman times, horse chariot racing would draw crowds of thousands to not only witness the event, but to wager on the outcome.  In early times, you could only bet on the race at the track you were attending.  But, technology has changed all of that. The first horse racing track in the United States opened in 1665 on New York’s Long Island.  The American Stud Book was launched in 1868, which marked the official beginning of organized horse racing.  By 1890, 314 tracks...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The First Sign of Spring – McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes Are Back! Feb25

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The First Sign of Spring – McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes Are Back!...

You know spring is just around the corner when the granddaddy of all American fast food chains, McDonald’s rolls out their most heavenly treat – the Shamrock Shake!  How can you improve on perfection?  Oh, they’ve found a way! Now, I know I regularly review fast food here on my blogumn, but it’s not intended to be a weekly fast food review.  In fact, McDonald’s has some of the unhealthiest food out there. Dr. Oz himself probably cringes every time one of us pulls into a drive thru.  But, sometimes you just have to let that all go and treat yourself, and that’s what the Shamrock Shake is all about. Next to the McRib, for me the Shamrock Shake is a close second in the race to fast food heaven.  It makes its rare appearance for only a few weeks each year.  While some people look for the nearest pub to celebrate St. Patty’s Day… my thoughts and my taste buds look towards the golden arches. Since I was a kid, I love to imbibe on this vanilla-mint goodness, and, fortunately for all of us, they’re back and better than ever! Originally introduced in 1970, the Shamrock Shake is a vanilla-mint milk shake served at McDonald’s restaurants in medium and large sizes, starting in late February through mid-March, or until they run out.  They were available in most restaurants across the USA and Canada until the mid-90’s, but now they are more regionalized.. Growing up in Pennsylvania, we were one of the regional markets that were always treated to Shamrock Shakes this time of year, even after they were removed them from restaurants nationally.  As a kid, I remember making my mother head to the drive thru after seeing the yellow message board in...

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: Turn Your Kitchen into an Uno Chicago Grill Feb18

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: Turn Your Kitchen into an Uno Chicago Grill...

Who wants pizza?  Most of us probably do at one point or another.  Recently, I was browsing the frozen foods aisle at my local Shop-Rite supermarket and noticed a wide variety of Uno Chicago Pizzas to cook at home.  Uno Pizza whenever I want?  Sounds like a plan to me! The choices in the frozen pizza section can be a bit overwhelming at times.  Lots of different companies offer the same old flavors… cheese, pepperoni, supreme… but Uno has a few other flavors going that no one else has.  Thanks to their great marketing, I chose the Tuscan Chicken thin crust pizza and to the checkout I went. Now, I have a Uno Chicago Grill located about a block from my apartment.  Living in North Jersey, pizza restaurants are plentiful.  Sure, I will probably get a better pizza if I call one up and have it delivered. But, with this frozen version I can throw it in the freezer and heat it up whenever I want. Uno Chicago Grill is known for the high quality food that they serve at their chain restaurants across the US.  The company was formerly known as Pizzeria Uno until the current name change in 1997.  The first restaurant was opened in 1943 by a former University of Texas football star, Ike Sewell, and his business partner a WWII solder, Rick Richardo in Chicago. Sewell’s original idea was to open a Mexican restaurant, but he went with a pizzeria, instead. Pizzeria Uno, as it was originally called, is said to be the creator of the deep dish pizza.  But, a 1950’s article in the Chicago News states the recipe was created by someone else. The company was an immediate success and the pair quickly launched a second restaurant, Pizzeria...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: How Can I Get Out of Taking Bitewing X-Rays at the Dentist Office? Feb11

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: How Can I Get Out of Taking Bitewing X-Rays at the Dentist Office?...

As if going to the dentist isn’t bad enough… aren’t those terrible bitewing x-rays they shove in your mouth like going through a horrible alien abduction?  Why does my insurance company say that I have to have them, and is there any way not to gag on these medieval things? Last Saturday was my six month regular checkup at the dentist.  I had no problems at all, just going in for a routine cleaning. I found my dentist by doing a simple Google search when I moved to northern New Jersey five years ago.  I had been putting off a dental visit for years and now that I had dental insurance that was being deducted from my paycheck, I really had no excuse not to go. I had seen all the commercials for 1-800-Dentist.  But, honestly with the computer, there is no need for that.  A simple Google search, put me on Kannekt, which is a website that has sections broken out for the larger cities of Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Manhattan (NYC), and other areas of North Jersey.  The site is quite good, rating everything from car dealers, to restaurants, to doctors. I had found mine within walking distance of my apartment and he had nothing but glowing reviews.  I had also found a few glowing reviews on other website by doing a simple internet search.  It was easy and literally took ten minutes.  One final check to make sure he accepted my insurance and I made that initial appointment. I hadn’t been to a dentist in probably eight years and if you read my opening paragraph, you’ll understand why this was. Having little information to go on, he asked me to fill out about a zillion health forms that seemed to cover...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Super Bowl of Commercials and Why We Love to Watch Them!...

Sunday evening, more than half of the TV sets in the US will be tuned in to Super Bowl XLV.  The game itself is quite a spectacle, but the commercials now have an audience all their own and advertisers have found a clever way to get their message across – even before the game begins! The Super Bowl has become one of the biggest events of the year in American homes and is one of the most watched sporting events in the world.  The amount of food and alcohol consumed during the game is enough to end anyone’s New Year diet.  The first was played on January 15, 1967.  The game was created as part of a merger between the NFL and the then rival league, the American Football League.  Sadly, NBC has lost the original kinescope footage from their broadcast of that game. The action on the field and the fun at all the Super Bowl parties are a big part of the day.  But this program is one of those rare circumstances where viewers actually look forward to seeing the commercials. Last year, I hosted a small Super Bowl party and we were all glued to the set during the breaks.  We were part of the record 106.5 million viewers.  We all laughed together as Betty White rolled around in the mud for a Snickers bar, or the new version of the Super Bowl shuffle, and how about the dog putting the shock collar on his owner to get at his bag of Doritos? The advertisers know they have a captive audience during the game and usually blow a large amount of their advertising budgets to create the most eye-catching commercial.  If they create the right amount of magic, they will get...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: HOT IN CLEVELAND Jan28

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: HOT IN CLEVELAND

It’s about time that someone figured out that the classic television sitcom is not dead!  Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Betty White are proving that with each and every episode of Hot in Cleveland, which just entered its second season on TV Land. So, what makes this show so great while broadcast continues to churn out duds? Our story is about three friends, well past their prime and living in Los Angeles, who decide to pick up and move after their love lives hit the wall.  While en route to a vacation in Paris, their plane diverts to Cleveland, where they ultimately decide to stay. One of the biggest pluses for this series is the cast.  You have four veteran sitcom actresses: Valerie Bertinelli – her big sitcom hit came in the late 70’s and early 80’s with One Day at a Time for CBS.  She played Barbra Royer, who along with her recently divorced mother, picked up and moved to an apartment in Indianapolis.  This show lasted for 9 seasons and we saw Bertinelli grow from a teenager to a married adult.  Now, she plays Melanie Moretti, who was recently divorced, and is looking to move on with her life. Jane Leeves – her big hit was as housekeeper Daphne on NBC’s Frasier.  She starred in all 11 seasons of the show.  She also appeared on Murphy Brown. Now, she plays Joy, the unmarried beautician. Wendie Malick – best known as Nina Van Horn from NBC’s Just Shoot Me.  She also appeared on Frasier as his love interest and is a professional model.  She once auditioned for the role of Diane on Cheers.  Now, she plays Victoria Chase, the beaming soap opera star. Betty White – the first lady of television. ...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Ouch! Who’s the Genius That Invented Blister Packs? Jan21

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Ouch! Who’s the Genius That Invented Blister Packs?...

By now the holidays are winding down and we’re all still going through the mountain of gifts and cards that we’ve received.  This year, my aunt and uncle gave me a mini-mag light, and it came in one of those impossible to open plastic casings known as a blister pack.  I took the scissors to it and tried to pry it open, when slice – I cut my finger on the sharp end.  So, what’s the right way to pop that sucker open and who’s responsible for this American invention? Take a brisk walk around your local department store and you’ll come across dozens of items enclosed like prisoners in tough plastic casing.  CD’s, remote controls, toothbrushes, razors, ink pens, action figures, pills; the list goes on and on.  Yet, unlike a Ziploc bag, there is no tab or perforation to aid in opening. I love getting gifts under the tree, but I hate the frustration of trying to pry open these packs.  Forget about using your fingers or trying to tear it open with your teeth.   You’ve got to reach for the old trusty scissors.  But, one move in the wrong direction and you can either cut your finger, or like me slice it with the sharp edge in the plastic you just created. The main purpose of the plastic blister packs is to keep your item safe from the warehouse, to store shelf, to your home.  The plastic acts as a barrier to keep the air, water, and other elements away from the contents inside.  By forming a proper seal, the contents can be stored safely for years. There are actually three types of packs that are manufactured for shipping goods: For consumer goods that also contains a cardboard insert where the...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The BK Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffed Angus Burger Jan14

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The BK Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffed Angus Burger...

Last year, I wrote about Burger King’s new marketing strategy to add premium items to their restaurant’s menu.  Over the summer, we were treated to BBQ Ribs and at that time the company had also announced plans to create stuffed burgers.  Well, Happy New Year, because with the start of 2011 the first one is out and you know I had to give it a try! On Monday, January 10th (although the restaurant near me in New Jersey had it on the menu the previous Friday), Burger King officially unveiled the first of what it plans to be a line of stuffed burgers: the Jalapeño and Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse. In all honesty, many other smaller chains have had stuffed burgers on their menus for years.  I’ve seen them in many local eateries all over New York City.  But, this is the first time that one of the major fast food chains have tried it. The Jalapeño and Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse sells for $3.99, which is the same introductory price that was charged for their premium Angus sandwiches when they were released last year.  They are also offered in a combo meal with fries or onion rings with a drink for $2 more.  I purchased mine on New York City’s Upper East Side and ending up paying $7.17 with tax. The man who took my order at the register was quick and friendly.  I waited less than 3 minutes in total for my meal and that was during the busy NYC lunch rush.  I chose onion rings as my side and I was off. When I first opened the sandwich, I looked to see if I could spot any pieces of jalapeño and cheese like you easily can in the company’s marketing photos. ...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Spider-Man’s 30-Foot Plunge Off Broadway Jan07

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Spider-Man’s 30-Foot Plunge Off Broadway...

It sounded like a great idea when we bought our tickets to the ill-fated December 20, 2010 performance of Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark.  It was going well, until with only a few minutes left, actor Christopher Tierney plunged 30 feet into a pit in the center of the stage while fellow FaN blogger Ryan Dixon and I looked on in shock. I had been anticipating seeing Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway for months.  This past summer, I had walked past the Foxwoods Theatre numerous times and kept seeing the signs and wondering when it would finally open. The large amount of bad press the show had earned made me doubt whether I would ever get to see it at all.  Each time I past the theatre, I was waiting for the signs to come down and a “for rent” sign to appear. Finally, a preview date was announced and I became even more excited.  Ryan and I usually see at least one show together every time he comes to NYC.  About a month before, we were talking about what shows to see during his annual December trip and knowing me, he suggested Spider-Man, plus it was going to be my Christmas gift! “Perfect!” I told him as we chatted via cell phone on a freezing street corner.  Tickets were already selling fast for the previews, so I suggested Lombardi with Dan Lauria and Judith Light as our backup in case we couldn’t get tickets.  But, with a few clicks of the mouse online, he had not only found us two seats, but also at a discount!  We were set! We arrived at the theatre with about a half an hour to spare.  There was a steady stream of people...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Man Who Brought Some Holiday Cheer To One World Trade Center Dec17

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Man Who Brought Some Holiday Cheer To One World Trade Center...

It’s been over 9 years since the 9-11 terrorist attacks destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  Sadly, the last Christmas season celebrated there would have been in 2000, now 10 years ago.  Since that time, no significant sign of the holidays have appeared at the site, but thanks to one man that has all changed. Rebuilding at the site continues even as you read this.  The area has become a 24 hour hub of activity.  Not even the recent frigid temperatures in New York have slowed the work on the newest tower, One World Trade. Originally named the Freedom Tower in the wake of the attacks, the building is going up fast.  Construction officially began on April 27, 2006 and as of Tuesday, December 4, 2010, was 50 stories tall with cement being poured above the 42nd floor. I travel through the World Trade Center site all the time on my way to and from work via the PATH train at the station that has reopened below.  A few weeks ago, I was walking home in the evening and noticed quite a different look coming from the new tower.  The floors are still wide open, with only a few of the levels in the 20’s now containing windows, but I couldn’t help but notice that many of the floors appeared to be a different color! In fact, due to the generosity of one man, One World Trade Center has been turned into a giant Christmas tree! Joe Russo is a journeyman electrician for Five Star Electric and is from Staten Island, NY who is working on the construction of the building and wanted to do something special for the holidays. “The building was just white lights.  I wanted to make it...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The First Sign of Christmas We No Longer See Dec10

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The First Sign of Christmas We No Longer See...

Nat King Cole’s Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Gene Autry’s Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.  When I was a kid, we would start to hear these songs way back in August.  No, we weren’t singing them, but we would get to hear them on just about every television break thanks to the long gone tradition of the two minute Christmas record offer commercials. Just about the last weekend of summer they would start to air.  In most cases, I was still wearing shorts, hadn’t even been to school yet for the new year, and suddenly it was time for Jingle Bells! I can remember them most as big-time filler during the weekend movies.  Stations could fill an entire two minute break with just one of these commercials. Long before iTunes and the internet, the only way for record companies to sell their albums was either in a record store (do people even know what those are, anymore), with ads in magazine, or with two minute TV commercials, which allowed viewers to sample the biggest songs in the set. The Time-Life company was the grand daddy of these record offers.  In fact, Time-Life had a whole bunch of various collections they would sell in these two minute breaks.  Everything from Dick Clark’s rocking hits, to classical music, and even The Mysteries of the Universe book collection!  (We’ll save that one for a future blogumn.)  Simply call that 800 number, add a little extra for shipping and handling, and these babies were on their way to your door!  Towards the end of the year, they would turn their focus on their annual Christmas set. The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas was launched in 1986 and consisted of 45 songs on two records,...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: WHEEL OF FORTUNE [From Megahit to Casino and the Best Contestant Ever] Nov12

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: WHEEL OF FORTUNE [From Megahit to Casino and the Best Contestant Ever]...

I’VE GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS.  Could you solve that puzzle with only the L showing?  Long time fan Caitlin Burke of New Jersey just did and it won her a trip to the Caribbean!  But, the Wheel of Fortune as we know it today was quite a different show in the beginning. Wheel of Fortune is one of the highest rated and perhaps most watched television game shows in the entire world.  With more than 5,000 episodes, it is officially the longest syndicated television show in the United States.  It is also the third longest running syndicated show behind Entertainment Tonight and Soul Train. Wheel was created in 1974 by veteran game show mogul Merv Griffin.  Griffin was no stranger to television at the time, having produced a number of successful games, in addition to hosting his high rated talker, The Merv Griffin Show. Three pilots for the series were shot in 1973 & 1974 and only slightly resembled what’s on the screen today.  Originally titled Shopper’s Bazaar, the show featured a vertical wheel (similar to The Price is Right, which did not have one at that time), a motorized game board, and a high class set.  The set itself featured chandeliers and looked as though you were in a high class parlor, with the puzzle board sliding off to reveal the prizes for sale.  The shopping and prizes were the original emphasis for the show. Chuck Woolery was the host for the first pilot, with actor Edd Byrnes hosting the second and third.  It is rumored that Griffin overheard Byrnes practicing the vowels A-E-I-O-U to himself over and over, and that scored Woolery the job. The show premiered January 6, 1975 on NBC as a replacement to Griffin’s Jeopardy! which had...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Pee Wee Herman on Broadway Nov05

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Pee Wee Herman on Broadway

He was a major part of growing up in the 8’s generation.  Pee-Wee Herman and his Saturday morning show were hilarious must-watch television for both children and adults.  That is, until the show and the popular character were yanked off the air by the actor’s big mistake. Now, Pee-Wee’s back and so are all his beloved characters in his new Broadway show. The character of Pee-Wee was created by actor Paul Reubens as a small stage act back in 1977.  On one particular night, the Groundling’s comedy troupe which Reubens had been a member of for years, performed a sketch in which the actors would portray different characters you would see in a comedy club.  Reuben’s decided to play a guy who everyone knew would never make it as a comic.  In real life, Reubens often has trouble remembering punch lines and would often deliver jokes out of order.  It was on that night, where he developed Pee-Wee’s legendary laugh and catch phrase “I know you are, but what am I?” Eventually he would add the character’s signature grey suit (which he borrowed from his stage director) and red bow tie which he got from a friend.  The inspiration for the name came from the Pee-weiny herman brand of harmonica and Reuben’s thought the name Pee-Wee Herman sounded too real to be made up and would be a name parents would give to a child that they didn’t care much about. Reubens continued to develop the character when he auditioned to join the cast of the revamped 1980 season of Saturday Night Live, but lost out to actor Gilbert Gottfried.  After making a small cameo in Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, he was about to pack up and move home when he borrowed $3,000...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Candy Corn – From Snack to Liquor [More Than You Ever Wanted To Know] Oct29

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Candy Corn – From Snack to Liquor [More Than You Ever Wanted To Know]...

So is it a candy, a vegetable, what’s left after the wick burns out of your candle?  Candy corn is absolutely a staple of the Halloween celebration in the United States.  Bags upon bags show up in the grocery stores to fill the trick or treat baskets.  But, do we really know where this stuff comes from or how it got to be such a part of our culture?  It actually has quite a fascinating existence and it’s not just limited to Halloween! Candy corn was originally invented by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia, back in the 1880s.  The recipe was quickly taken over by a German candy maker; The Goelitz Confectionary Company of Cincinnati where they eventually headed west to California and were bought out by Jelly Belly who still continues to produce the product to this day.  The shape of a corn was chosen since farming was one of the largest occupations in our country at the time. Originally each piece had to be assembled by hand, once all the ingredients were mixed into a slurry and molded.  Once in the molds, workers would go down the line one at a time and paint the colors on.  Could you imagine working in the hot summer and oven heat painting millions of pieces? However, the flashy candies were a hit and they flew out of stores in bulk.  The company was so successful; they tried manufacturing other shapes and even had to turn away customers due to the high demand. In the 1970’s, a shortage of sugar put many candy manufactures out of business.  Goelitz was able to avoid bankruptcy all thanks to this now famous product. Each piece of candy corn is approximately three times the size of...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 5 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers Zachary Halley, Joe Rusin, and Jersey Joe (with Yasmina Jacobs). Today is the conclusion of the 26 minute film about John Dunn, a former high school teacher with a mysterious past who takes a late night run only to discover that he’s on no ordinary running trail. His run turns into a nightmare as specters of his dark past appear before him and threaten to consume his sanity — and his life. Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 2 Click here for Part 3 Click here for Part 4 And watch the final installment of John Dunn’s Last Run...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 4 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers Zachary Halley, Joe Rusin, and Jersey Joe (with Yasmina Jacobs). Today is the fourth part of the 26 minute film about John Dunn, a former high school teacher with a mysterious past who takes a late night run only to discover that he’s on no ordinary running trail. His run turns into a nightmare as specters from his dark past appear before him and threaten to consume his sanity — and his life. Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 2 Click here for Part 3 And watch Part 4...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 3 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers Zachary Halley, Joe Rusin, and Jersey Joe (with Yasmina Jacobs). Today is the third part of the 26 minute film about John Dunn, a former high school teacher with a mysterious past who takes a late night run only to discover that he’s on no ordinary running trail. His run turns into a nightmare as specters of his dark past appear before him and threaten to consume his sanity — and his life. Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 2 And watch Part 3...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part 2 [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

To celebrate Halloween, all week Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers Zachary Halley, Joe Rusin, and Jersey Joe (with Yasmina Jacobs). Today is the second part of the 26 minute film about John Dunn, a former high school teacher with a mysterious past who takes a late night run only to discover that he’s on no ordinary running trail. His run turns into a nightmare as specters of his dark past appear before him and threaten to consume his sanity — and his life. Click here for Part 1 Watch Part 2...

JOHN DUNN’S LAST RUN – Part I [Fierce and Nerdy Presents]

Just in time for Halloween Week, Fierce and Nerdy is proud to present the online premiere of John Dunn’s Last Run, a darkly comic psychological horror film written and directed by Hell House: The Awakening co-author and F&N contributor Ryan Dixon and produced by F&N writers Zachary Halley, Joe Rusin, and Jersey Joe (with Yasmina Jacobs). In the 26-minute film, which will broken into five parts airing each day this week., John Dunn, a former high school teacher with a mysterious past, takes a late night run, only to find that he’s on no ordinary running trail. His run turns into a nightmare as specters of his dark past appear before him and threaten to consume his sanity — and his life. Watch Part I...

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe – How I Got Verizon to Lower My Phone Bill Oct22

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe – How I Got Verizon to Lower My Phone Bill...

Can you hear me now?  With our economy still climbing out of the toilet, just about everyone is looking to save a buck here and there.  For the past few years, I’ve noticed my Verizon phone bill slowly creeping up and up.  Well, I got on the phone and did something about it. I am probably one of the last American holdouts to still have a land line phone.  My friends have been telling me for years to get rid of it.  I don’t really use it other than for delivery food, work or to give to someone who I don’t want to reach me via cell. In all honesty, I do kind of like keeping my land line around.  It’s still safer to call 911 on a land line so EMTs can locate me immediately.  When I have that heart attack, I don’t need them trying to find me via cell, which has my original Pennsylvania area code from six hours away! When I first moved into my apartment almost five years ago, I signed up for Verizon’s basic home phone service.  It was $19 a month with no long distance.  For the two or three local calls I make a month it worked out great.  I don’t have long distance service, since I can make those calls for free as part of my cell phone plan, which also happens to be Verizon. Everything was great for a years.  Suddenly, I noticed my bill had crept up to around $21.  I received a notice that the New Jersey state and our federal government had raised the tax and fees on calls.  Then, about three years ago, I received another notice in my bill that Verizon was would again be raising their rates.  This...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Knock It Off With The Confusing Prescription Drug Ads Oct08

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Knock It Off With The Confusing Prescription Drug Ads...

I was flipping through my Sports Illustrated yesterday and instead of reading about the upcoming World Series, the Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company of America would rather discuss treatment for gout.  Gout?  I don’t drink enough to suffer from gout!  After flipping through a few more pages, the AstraZeneca Corporation wants to discuss asthma, another condition from which I do not suffer.  My mind starts to wonder, why are they advertising all of these medications that I don’t need in a sports magazine? The ads are not just confined to magazines.  Flip on just about any television station and you’ll get bombarded with commercials for prescription drugs.  I’ve even seen them while riding the New York City subway to work everyday. I can’t really see how these ads can be effective for the mass audience.  Some drugs are advertising to a small percentage of Americans who actually suffer from a specific disease.  Can you honestly remember the last pill ad you saw in a magazine?  Doubtful. The drug names themselves make this process already difficult.  It’s not like they are simple product names.  Who couldn’t forget a pill if it was called “Baby Stop Birth Control,” “Headache Be Gone” or “You Lush Gout Relief?”  So first off – we’ve got to simplify most of these names. Next, take a close look at these print ads.  Most have a second page on the back that is nothing more than one big legal disclaimer.  Of course, they don’t want to get sued.  So, they list every little possible side effect that the drug could have.  Some of these are down right scary!  Chantix, for example, can cause you to have hallucinations, vivid dreams, and for your skin to fall off!  I love the TV ads that use the...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: I Survived the Burger King New York Whopper Pizza Oct01

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: I Survived the Burger King New York Whopper Pizza...

It’s a Whopper!  It’s a pizza!  No, it’s both and it’s certainly a mouthful.  Burger King is once again experimenting with new menu items and they’ve gone way over the top on this one!  I recently had the pleasure of giving this artery killer a try. The New York Pizza Burger is as huge as the name suggests.  This giant pizza/sandwich hybrid is 9½ inches wide, featuring 4 Whopper patties, and then topped with pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and a Tuscan Pesto sauce. Burger King has opened a new small spin-off chain called The BK Whopper Bar, which as of now only operates in a few select locations in the United States, Germany, Venezuela, Singapore, and Spain.  The concept behind the restaurant is a smaller style kiosk counter that can fit into tighter areas (such as an airport food court, casino, or sports arena) and only feature a limited menu of Whopper sandwiches, Angus sandwiches, and Tendercrisp sandwiches; while also serving beer. Last week, I paid a visit to the Times Square location that opened this summer.  The menu contains Whopper sandwiches that you cannot find at a typical Burger King.  The California Whopper for example contains a slice of avocado, a Meat Beast Whopper that contains pepperoni, bacon, mayo, lettuce, onions, American cheese and ketchup.  The restaurant also features an open semi-circular counter where you can see your food being prepared. There was quite a line on the Friday evening that I stopped by.  After about a five minute wait (they were only operating one register, which was bad since there was a line now to the door) I made it to the counter.  I ordered the New York Pizza Burger and the cashier informed me that it was suggested for more...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Great Cardboard Bear Re-Enactment Sep17

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Great Cardboard Bear Re-Enactment

Have you ever come face to face with a bear?  How about a cardboard one with a news reporter hiding behind?  “This is what it might have looked like, if it wasn’t a cutout.” I’ve never have personally run into a bear, but my grandmother did years ago on our patio.  Fortunately, they’re usually scared of man and run away as that one did.  Bears are quite common to those who live in the country, seeing one scurry through the backyard is no big deal.  That is, unless you live in Woodmere, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Woodmere, with a population of 828 residents, lies just outside the Cleveland metro area.  Homes there are surrounded by woods and wildlife.  This past summer, Tine Merrison spotted one of these furry beasts roaming through her backyard.  In a panic, she dialed 911.  Tina, was so frightened that she didn’t get a picture… but that didn’t stop a local news reporter from created a cardboard cutout and filing this amazing report: Todd Meaney, is a general assignment reporter at WJW FOX 8 in Cleveland.  Todd is a native of the area and according to the station’s website, has worked at a number of small stations in Ohio and West Virginia. With the lack of video of the bear, Todd decided to improvise and do an incredible re-enactment, using the cardboard cutout. The story earned “The Funniest Local News Report of 2009” on the Buzzfeed.com website.  It was recently screened on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where it was turned into a rap video.  It’s also had almost 900,000 views on Youtube.  A television station would love to get news ratings like that! If only more local news reporters would think out of the box like this.  He...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Domino’s Pizza – Bring Back the Noid Sep10

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Domino’s Pizza – Bring Back the Noid...

Avoid the Noid!  Remember the little Domino’s Pizza guy that was splashed all over our TV’s in the 1980’s?  He’s long gone and ever since Domino’s has struggled to find an image for the chain.  After a few black eyes, the company recently reformatted their pizza recipe and made a serious revamp to their website.  It’s been a while since I’ve ordered a pizza from the chain, so I thought I would give them a try. The first Domino’s started as a small pizza shop in Ypslinanti, Michigan in 1960 by Tom and James Monaghan.  The brothers borrowed $500 to pay for the store.  After a few months, James left the business in exchange for a Volkswagen Beetle.  Tom then began to franchise the business and the company experienced rapid growth. In the years since, the company has expanded their pizza menu to include buffalo wings, submarine sandwiches, bread bowl pastas, and even a lava crunch cake for dessert.  The company initially only offered two sizes of pizzas – medium and large.  They began to finally offer other sizes including “The Dominator”, which was a yard long and 30 slices.  (that product has since disappeared from their menu after heavy promotion in the 90’s).  They’ve also experimented with various styles of crusts from Deep Dish to the thin Brooklyn style.  However in 2010, the company completely changed their pizza recipe.  Everything from the sauce, to the dough, to the cheese was changed. While they’ve kept the original recipe on the menu, I remember seeing all the commercials announcing their new and better recipe.  Hoping this wasn’t a new Coke incident, I decided to place an order via their website. The first thing I clicked on was coupons.  3 medium, one topping pizzas for $5.55...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Motorola Droid X [FaN Favorites] Aug27

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Motorola Droid X [FaN Favorites]

. a favorite blogumn by Jersey Joe Jersey Joe Says: I chose my Droid X review, since it was my first technical review for Fierce and Nerdy.  Also, it was fun to share along with everyone as I discovered the new features and workings of the phone and then to comment along with everyone. From July 10, 2010 So, Verizon Wireless has decided to challenge Apple’s domination of the smartphone market by rolling out their super-duper new phone, the Droid X from Motorola. With my last cell phone dying and my contract up, I decided to go all high-tech and pick up this phone. So, can it give the iPhone a run for their money, and do we really need all these high-tech apps, and most importantly, can it actually make a call? I put the Droid X to the test. The Droid X officially went on sale at all Verizon Wireless stores on Thursday, July 15th. My previous phone was the LG Env 2 and it was just over two years old. For the last six months, the phone was basically a piece of junk. It would drop calls even if I turned my head just a little, the speaker was hard to hear from the start, and the internet was something out of the late 90s. Some recent events in my life required that I have a reliable phone, which my old one was not. My two-year contract with Verizon was up the Saturday before the Droid release, so I gave it some serious thought. I checked out the demonstration on Verizon’s website and I also looked up some early reviews online. I really couldn’t find any negative articles about it. Several people I know have the iPhone and love all the...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Six Flags Magic Money-Sucking Machine Aug20

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Six Flags Magic Money-Sucking Machine...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe The roller coasters, the thrills, the heart pounding rides!  No summer would be complete without a visit to the old amusement park.  The rides and attractions have really come a long way thanks to technology.  Riders are pushed to the limits with coasters that climb straight up, or a giant sling shot that sends you up in the air with G forces that only pilots get to experience, and you can even – fly!  Like everyone else, the amusement parks have been hit hard by our troubled economy.  I recently made my annual visit to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey and while it was a blast, these people have really made it an art to suck the money right out of your wallet.  But, a smart rider can still enjoy the rides, without having to take out a second mortgage. In 1961, the Six Flags chain started with a single park, Six Flags Over Texas.  The six flags stand for the six different flags that have flown over that state.  (Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.)  The company merged with the New York Railroad and through partnerships with The Pennsylvania Railroad was able to construct several of its early parks.  Eventually, the company bought out many independent parks and itself was bought out by Time Warner in the early 90’s. Before you even enter the park, you can cut the admission price and your wait time in the entrance line in half.  By purchasing your tickets online at sixflags.com, you can knock 30 bucks off of the $59.99 admission price.  You will also have the opportunity to print your tickets at home, just...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Is There Really Fruit in McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies? Aug13

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Is There Really Fruit in McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies?...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe McDonald’s – say the name and anyone on this planet will know their golden arches, burgers, and of course, Ronald McDonald.  Just about every person in the United States has indulged at one of their restaurants, either for a quick meal or for a tasty treat.  The chain has been the target of just about every health organization out there, asking thme to clean up their menu.  Over the past year, the Golden Arches have beefed up their beverage choices.  Now, the fast food giant has rolled out their newest menu offering: real fruit smoothies. My first thought – what do real fruit smoothies have to do with a fast food hamburger joint?  I was skeptical, but decided to give the McSmoothie a try. The big beverage change to their menu began with the McCafe line of high-end coffees and frappe drinks a few months ago.  These have been available in international restaurants for a few years, but now are sold in the US.  Clearly, they are trying to compete with Starbucks.  For decades, the only coffee choice was regular or decaf.  Now, it’s cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos.   The McCafe line has been a huge and profitable success.  Now, they’ve taking the next step: fruit. The company has been quietly test marketing the fruit smoothies for over three years.  After perfecting the recipes, they settled on strawberry-banana and wild berry. I stopped by the local Mickey D’s on a Thursday night and ordered up the strawberry banana smoothie to go with my meal.  After being the third person in line, I finally pulled up to the drive thru window and received my meal… but no smoothie.  The guy just walked away.  I’m thinking, did he forget – what’s...

Jersey Joe: Bob Barker, Come on Down! Aug06

Jersey Joe: Bob Barker, Come on Down!

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe When I was a kid, I would love having a day off of school.  It always meant that I would get to watch the great daytime television I was always forced to miss.  I couldn’t wait for 11am, when I would tune in (yes, we had a roof top antenna, so I had to tune in) CBS for The Price is Right.  It was a treat to play along with the pricing games, despite being so young and having no idea what the cost of Rice-a-Roni was.  Bob Barker was an amazing host.  He would get kissed, hugged, and pretty much thrown around by the excited contestants.  Even though Bob retired from TV in 2006, he has signed a deal to co-host a test run talk show.  With this, I thought it was time to look back at this television legend’s life and, at times, troubled career. Long before Bob took the reigns of The Price is Right, he grew up in the small town of Darrington, Washington.  He spent much time at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, in fact Bob is 1/8th Sioux Native American Indian.  After his father was killed, falling from an electrical tower while working as a linesman, the family moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he graduated from high school in 1941. Bob would enroll in Drury College on a basketball scholarship, but his time was cut short by joining in the Navy as a fighter pilot during World War II.  He would not see any action during the war as the conflict ended before he was assigned to go overseas.  After his service, he went back to college and graduated with a degree in economics.  While back in school, he landed...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Motorola Droid X [Nerd Reviews] Jul30

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Motorola Droid X [Nerd Reviews]

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe So, Verizon Wireless has decided to challenge Apple’s domination of the smartphone market by rolling out their super-duper new phone, the Droid X from Motorola.  With my last cell phone dying and my contract up, I decided to go all high-tech and pick up this phone.  So, can it give the iPhone a run for their money, and do we really need all these high-tech apps, and most importantly, can it actually make a call?  I put the Droid X to the test. The Droid X officially went on sale at all Verizon Wireless stores on Thursday, July 15th.  My previous phone was the LG Env 2 and it was just over two years old.  For the last six months, the phone was basically a piece of junk.  It would drop calls even if I turned my head just a little, the speaker was hard to hear from the start, and the internet was something out of the late 90s.  Some recent events in my life required that I have a reliable phone, which my old one was not.  My two-year contract with Verizon was up the Saturday before the Droid release, so I gave it some serious thought. I checked out the demonstration on Verizon’s website and I also looked up some early reviews online.  I really couldn’t find any negative articles about it.  Several people I know have the iPhone and love all the apps and the web browsing.  The Droid seemed to offer this as well.  I have been a Verizon Wireless customer for years and had no desire to switch carriers.  It was then that I decided, I would go for the Droid X. The Verizon Wireless store near New York City’s Herald Square...

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: What the Hell is Wrong with HELL’S KITCHEN? Jul23

Kicking Back with Jersey Joe: What the Hell is Wrong with HELL’S KITCHEN?...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe Get out of my kitchen you no good donkey!  It’s raw!  Stop f***ing wasting my time, madam.  Sound familiar?  If you’ve watched FOX in the last few months, you’ve no doubt seen Chef Gordon Ramsay screaming in a promo.  His venerable show is in the middle of the seventh and shall I say, worst ever season.  It looks as though the fire is starting to smolder out in Hell’s Kitchen. The show premiered on May 30, 2005 as a summer replacement series.  Each season starts with two teams, that are whittled down to one, and then to a final chef who is then rewarded with a job in a high profile restaurant.  Each week, the chefs go through various challenges.  Afterward, the winning team is given some type of reward, while the losing team is forced to do unpleasant manual labor.  The teams then return to their kitchens for a dinner service with real customers.  The person who performs the worst is then put up for elimination, with Ramsay making the final decision in the standard reality show format. The series originated in the United Kingdom in 2004 and was created by Ramsay.  He was only able to appear in the first season of the UK version, due to a contract he had signed with the British Channel 4, and was unable to move with the show to ITV.  This season of the UK show also featured a team of celebrities as opposed to real aspiring chefs. Ramsay is well known on the show for his fiery temper.  His dialogue throughout most episodes is heavily censored.  He also holds the chefs to extremely high standards.  Even the most minor mistake on a dish will subject the contestant to...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Actually, I Would Like To Be An American Idiot Jul16

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Actually, I Would Like To Be An American Idiot...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe I don’t want to be an American Idiot and I hope that I don’t fit into that stereotype during this 90 minutes of rock and roll, all set to a story, and originally produced as a album by the band Green Day.  Last week, I had the chance to see one of the newest shows that’s tearing up Broadway. I will give away some tidbits in this blogumn, But, I will in no way reveal the end, or offer any spoilers that could ruin the experience. The story starts with three angry friends living in suburbia (named Jingletown, USA, in the Playbill). They are bored with their lives and frustrated with our country and the saturation of television in their lives.  One of the men, Johnny, borrows money from his mother for the three to purchase bus tickets.  Will quickly learns that his girlfriend is pregnant and he decides to stay and care for her and the child.  Johnny, along with his other friend Tunny head for the big city and that’s where their lives go off in different directions. Johnny and Tunny don’t hang around together for long, as Tunny quickly gets bored with the city life and decides to enlist in the military.  He is sent off to fight and is quickly wounded, while Johnny falls in love with a girl he calls “Whatshername” and they head down a road of drugs and turmoil. These three plot points were adapted off of Green Day’s American Idiot album.  The musical not only uses most of the tracks, but also contains a few alternate lyrics, as well as mixing in of some of the more popular Green Day songs such as “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” The entire...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: “Don’t Call Me Shirley” [Celebrating 30 Years of AIRPLANE] Jul02

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: “Don’t Call Me Shirley” [Celebrating 30 Years of AIRPLANE]...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe It’s one of the greatest satirical movies ever made!  With big name stars and a whole list of imitators in the years after; no movie has dealt out the laughs the same way the original Airplane and the sequel Airplane II did.  Now, the original Airplane turns 30 and the laughs are just as good in 2010, as they were in 1980!  But, what I want to know is do you like movies about gladiators?  Because, that’s not really important right now… The original Airplane movie landed in theatres on July 2, 1980. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the movie during its original theatrical run.  I vaguely remember seeing it advertised outside a downtown movie house, but it wasn’t until years later that I would first watch it on television — back in the days when TV stations aired big name flicks under the title Million Dollar Movies. Airplane is a humorous take on the late 70’s Hollywood big budget disaster films.  After a decade of such films as Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, and When Time Ran Out, this film was a completely different take on the disaster film genre.  While a disaster is at the heart of the plot, it’s the comedy and one liners mixed in that really make this movie special. And talk about a cast!  Big name stars, mixed in with relative unknowns, and big cameos!  Robert Hayes stars as Ted Striker, an ex-fighter pilot with a drinking problem, who’s still getting over that flight over Macho Grande.  Julie Hagerty as his ex-girlfriend stewardess.  Leslie Nielson with his comedic timing; hits it out of the ballpark with his role as passenger Dr. Alan Rumack (and don’t call him Shirley).  Peter Graves is the bumbling Captain...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Bring Back UNSOLVED MYSTERIES! Jun25

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Bring Back UNSOLVED MYSTERIES!

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe Missing persons, ghosts, UFO’S, lost lovers, lost heirs, the unexplained, and more!  For one hour a week Unsolved Mysteries used to scare the crap out of me, but I couldn’t stop watching.  The thought that I might hold some vital clue to solve a case was and still is irresistible!   So, join me.  Perhaps you may be able to help solve a mystery! “This program is about unsolved mysteries. Whenever possible, the actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events. What you are about to see is not a news broadcast.” Each and every episode opened up with a similar disclaimer and to stay true to the show, my blogumn shall to… The original groundwork of what would eventually become Unsolved Mysteries aired on NBC as a series of three specials titled “Missing… Have You Seen This Person?” After good ratings, the format was changed to include more than just stories about missing people.  The title was also changed and the first official episode of Unsolved Mysteries premiered on NBC back on January 20, 1987 with Raymond Burr as host.  Six more specials were ordered with episodes two and three hosted by Karl Malden and Robert Stack hosting the final four for what turned out to be the show’s first official season. In the fall of 1988, the show was officially picked up as a series by NBC with Robert Stack as the permanent host.  Stack’s trench coat videotaped intros and his spooky voiceovers, mixed in with the mysterious theme gave this show a winning format that lasted for more than a decade. I always wanted to be an actor or extra in one of those great vignettes that were produced for each episode...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Are You the Next Oprah Winfrey? [BOOK WEEK] Jun18

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: Are You the Next Oprah Winfrey? [BOOK WEEK]...

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe Are you the next Oprah Winfrey?  Would you love to live like Oprah?  Would you love to host your own show on her new cable network, OWN?  Who wouldn’t, right?  Well, now we ALL have the chance! Just about every red blooded American knows who Oprah Winfrey is.  Most of us have seen at least a few minutes of her show over the past 25 seasons.  However, she is leaving the world of television syndication and is forming a cable network of her own.  Launching a new cable network will mostly original programming cannot be an easy task, but Oprah’s brain never stops working. She’s also making it easier on herself and trying to suck in viewers by picking one of us to join her! From television, to movies, to books, to Broadway; Oprah can be credited with making her own success.  She was born into poverty in rural Mississippi, grew up in Minneapolis, got pregnant and was sent to live in Nashville.  She landed her first job in radio while still in high school and began anchoring the local radio news at age 19!  She eventually moved to anchoring the TV news at the CBS affiliate in Nashville, before eventually heading on to co-anchor the six o’clock news at WJZ, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore. It was during her stay in Baltimore, that she moved onto to talk shows.  She originally hosted the local show People Are Talking which premiered in 1978.  In 1983, she left for Chicago to host the low rated AM Chicago for WLS-TV, the powerhouse ABC affiliate.  It was during this time that she honed her talk-show format.  In fact, she took AM Chicago’s ratings from dead last to beating the nationally televised Donahue!...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: I Heart Harlem (Jazz Clubs) Jun11

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: I Heart Harlem (Jazz Clubs)

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe Up until a few weeks ago, I had never visited any of the streets above the 100’s in New York City.  The opportunity came when I was invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday with a jazz tour of Harlem.  I had no idea what to expect.  Sure, I had stereotypes of what that neighborhood is like.  I’ve seen the negative news reports on crime and drug busts.  But, I have to say looking back on the evening; it was a truly great time.  I am going to share with you my experience and maybe you can consider it the next time you’re looking for a different type of fun in New York City. Unknown to me at the time, our birthday boy’s wife had planned this all as a surprise and had hired Gordon Polatnick from bigapplejazz.com, a tour guide and Harlem jazz clubs expert . Gordon is a middle 40’s white man who doesn’t look like he belongs in Harlem, but he knew exactly where to go, what to do to, and how to get there.  He had spoken with our group’s organizer earlier in the week to set up a so called itinerary.  His fee of $300 ($75 an hour for 4 hours) got you his services, which helped get your group around, get into the different clubs, and in some cases get seats and even food! We took the uptown A train and started at the American Legion on W. 132nd Street.  This is your standard American Legion club; however they have a small stage setup in the front with a large patio in the rear.  The music was definitely great and the club had a laid back atmosphere.  A long wooden bar was off to the...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Burger King Ribs Edition Jun04

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Burger King Ribs Edition

. a blogumn by Jersey Joe Burger King, one of America’s fast food giants has made some big changes to its menu.  A few months ago, they introduced their line of XLT burgers to compete with the Angus Three Pounders from McDonald’s.  Now, they’ve added a big ticket item – ribs!  With BK being one of my favorite restaurants, I thought I’d give them a try and share my experience. First off, I love when fast food restaurants try adding unconventional items to their menu.  Where would we be if some enterprising fast food joint hadn’t added chicken nuggets to their menus in the early 80’s?  I can remember when BK tried tacos, chili, baguettes — they’ve even served popcorn with table service in the past. Burger King first opened as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida in 1953.  The company is headquartered in a 9-story building just outside the Miami International Airport.  The restaurant has locations in countries around the world and is known as Hungry Jacks with the same logo and colors in Australia.  Most people can easily recognize the chain’s signature sandwich — the Whopper.  While BK is mostly known for it’s line of hamburgers, they also sell chicken sandwiches and tenders, salads, breakfast, desserts, and now – ribs! The ribs are available in several sizes.  A three piece addition to a meal, a 6 or 8 piece combo meal with fries and drink, or a simple order of 6 or 8 pieces. To be fair, I tried the ribs from two different Burger King restaurants, just to give a fair and balanced review for my blogumn.   You’ll find out why in a moment… My first taste was at the Burger King drive-thru near the Holland Tunnel into New York. I went...

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Star Trek Slot Machine May28

Kicking Back With Jersey Joe: The Star Trek Slot Machine

. a new pop culture blogumn Jersey Joe Captain’s Log… Stardate May 2010. This week marks the official launch of the Jersey Joe blogumn.  It’s continuing mission… to explore strange new ideas, to seek out new ideas and new points of discussion, to boldly go where no blogumn has gone before! I must admit – I simply love Star Trek.  It’s a darn fine show.  I loved all the versions with the exception of Enterprise, which I watched, but thought the writing and acting were weak. Another thing I enjoy are slot machines.  They too are just plain fun and really have taken a technological jump forward over the past few years. In 2008, I spent my 30th birthday with my closest friends in Las Vegas.  In fact, it was one of those trips that you simply dream of.  Thinking about it now, brings an instant smile to my face.  Now, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so I won’t go into those details, but one of the highlights of the trip was getting to experience for the first time ever, the Star Trek slot machine! Now, before I go on.  We are talking about gambling.  I’m not saying run out and blow the mortgage at the nearest casino.  What you spend is up to you.  Just make sure that if you put that twenty dollar bill in the machine, you can actually afford to lose it.  The odds are stacked against you, so this basically has to be considered disposable income.  Don’t take the next meal out of a kid’s mouth for a round at the slots. End disclaimer.  Now, onto the fun stuff! Officially released to casinos in early 1998 by WMS gaming, the Star Trek slot machine has created quite a...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: Jersey Joe Edition V

. a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe Ryan’s still on hiatus, but he’ll be back for the season premiere next week!  Until then, we once again get to enjoy the rants of everyone’s favorite fill-in — Jersey Joe! FIERCELY ANTICIPATING The Series Finale of Law and Order Dun Dun!  Everybody knows what those two notes mean, while staring at the black screen with plain white Times New Roman text on the TV… you’re watching some version of Law and Order. However, after 20 seasons and 450 episodes, last week NBC officially cancelled the show.  Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order: Criminal Intent will be back in the fall.  Joining them will be the new version Law and Order: Los Angeles. The original Law and Order franchise began in 1990 at the height of New York’s crime wave.  Since then, through various state and local efforts, the city has become a much safer place. I must admit, that I really hadn’t become a fan of the show until the last few years.  I had a former roommate who would watch marathons of it.  But, thanks to Netflix and the constant reruns on cable, I’ve been trying to catch up on the past 20 seasons.  For me, I find it almost like a time capsule of New York.  By watching the show, you can see the major changes that happened in the city season by season.  Looking back twenty years to the show’s first season, you get the dark gritty look at a Times Square covered in Peep Shows.  The police cars are the blue 80’s Ford Crown Victoria, long out of service by the NYPD.  The detectives would also have to pull over and use a pay phone or call it...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: Jersey Joe Edition IV

. a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe Ryan is continuing his internship on the International Space Station, but due to the volcano in Europe, he is unable to return from orbit, therefore you once again get to enjoy the rants of everyone’s favorite fill-in — Jersey Joe! FIERCELY ANTICIPATING Anything by Betty White She’s 88 years old, but the first lady of television keeps rolling out the hits! Last Saturday, I watched one of the finest episodes of Saturday Night Live ever produced.  Betty had been asked several times over the years to host and now in 2010, after a massive Facebook campaign, she finally said yes.  We were all delightfully treated to Betty as McGruber’s grandmother, a heavy metal version of “The Golden Girls” theme song, and even the parody “CSI: Sarasota.” It’s amazing to see her handle live television in our decade, with the same wit and professionalism as she did back in the 1950’s.  Now, I wasn’t alive back then, but I have seen her numerous appearances in repeats over the years.  But, watching her Saturday night, she didn’t miss a beat.  No flubbed lines, no awkward pauses, and just darn funny.  You would never know she’s 88! Betty’s best known television roles were as Sue Anne Nevins on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (for which she won two Emmys) and her greatest role, as St. Olaf’s Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls (which also landed her another Emmy). I can remember watching all those Golden Girls episodes with my grandmother on NBC Saturday nights.  Now, they are on all day on cable.  I must admit, I needed to grow up a bit to really appreciate it and get some of the more adult jokes the show had peppered in back...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition III May07

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition III

. a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe Ryan has been gone for quite some time, now.   We can only assume that he’s been assimilated by the Borg coll, so once again we’re stuck with the rants of everyone’s favorite fill-in — Jersey Joe! FIERCELY ANTICIPATING The Next Flavor of Mountain Dew Whoever is in charge of marketing at the Pepsi bottling company, or whoever they are outsourcing their marketing to, is a genius. So, how do you take a hot selling product with a huge fan base and make it even better?  By getting the fans involved, let them sample the product, and then vote for what they really want. Once again, Mountain Dew has released three new flavors to add to their already large line of flavors.  Mountain Dew: Distortion, which is Dew flavored with Lime; Mountain Dew: White Out, basically Dew with a splash of Squirt or 7-Up, and Mountain Dew: Typhoon, which is Dew mixed with fruit punch. While, I don’t intend this blogumn to be a commercial for the Mountain Dew family of products, I must confess that I am a major Dew drinker.  Some people start their day with coffee, I start mine with a bottle of Dew.  I was excited when a friend texted to ask if I had tried any of the new flavors.  I had not seen the commercial, so I had no idea they were released.  The next day, I ran right to my local Shop-Rite and bought several of each flavor to sample. And that’s where the genius of this marketing campaign shows its full force.  Known as “DEWmocracy,” fans are asked to sample each flavor and then go to their website, dewmocracy.com, and cast a vote for their favorite.  The winner then becomes...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition II Apr16

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition II

. a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe Ryan is still off on his maternity leave, so once again we’re stuck with the rants of everyone’s favorite fill-in — Jersey Joe! FIERCELY ANTICIPATING The Final Ticks of the Clock for 24 [Ed. Note — skip to next section if you’re not caught up on the current season of 24] After 8 seasons of non-stop thrills, chills, and spills, time is running out for Keifer Sutherland and his hit FOX series, 24 and that’s good for my waistline!  The action gets so exciting, I get lost in the show, and a simple snack turns into quite the bellybuster!  This week I unintentionally polished off a large strawberry-banana ice cream sundae.  A show that can get me that involved is just good televison. It’s hard to find a show, this original and this creative on television today.  While you know at the start of each day (or season) Jack Bauer (Sutherland) is going to get beat around, shot at, drugged, betrayed – you somehow know you’re in for one heck or a ride as he finds a way to save the day. After all of these seasons of action, the writers still manage to keep the show fresh and the audience guessing until the end, without going over the top.  While the show has powerful and well-written characters, you never know how long they will stick around.  Most either get killed off, locked up in prison, or are simply written off the show.  Good guys suddenly turn bad, just to become a good guy again.  And just because a character is a major player on the show, their continuation is by no means certain.  There have been so many great characters throughout the series, that my simple...

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition Mar05

FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Jersey Joe Edition

. a substitute blogumn by Jersey Joe Regular readers of Ryan Dixon’s blogumn have undoubtedly noticed my rants in the comments section below the majority of these FA posts.  I was surprised and honored when I received Ryan’s phone call at 3am from the 112th precinct, to ask if he could bum $50 for bail, and also if I could fill in this week. I kind of feel like that substitute teacher, suddenly thrown in front of a class without a lesson plan.  So, what’s the best way to keep the class occupied?  Roll in that cart with a TV on it and instantly – you’re a hero!  So, I think I’ll try the same here.   WOULDN’T WATCH IF YOU PAID ME NBC I’m going contra flow to the normal lineup for this column, because I’ve really got something on my mind… What’s up with NBC… BLOWING IT?!?!?! Just about anything and everything NBC touches this season has been a disaster.  First, just about everybody knew that putting The Jay Leno Show on at 10pm was going to be a flop.  Then, last week, I saw a promo for their new game show “Minute to a Million” hosted by the most annoying Food Network chef ever: Guy Fieri.  What’s up with this guy?  Spiked hair, annoying sayings, dumb wrist band.  So, what qualifies him as a game show host?  Finally this week, how about NBC bailing out of the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics too quickly to get to the premiere of Jerry Seinfeld’s “The Marriage Ref?”  I don’t believe Bob Costas himself, knew what was going on. The answer: Jeff Zucker, the President and CEO of NBC Universal.  How this guy still has a job is beyond me.  If I worked...