Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

Book Review: Good Night New Jersey

January 25, 2011

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs, rabid racoons, or guidos bite!

When I first heard of the book Good Night New Jersey, I assumed it was a depressing tale of some downtrodden loser aching for his chance to get out of New Jersey and say good night to this state once and for all. After borrowing Good Night New Jersey from my four-month-old niece, I found out that the book is nothing of the sort.

Rather than being some dark story of someone trying to get out, the book celebrates all things New Jersey. It presents a whirlwind tour of the Armpit of America, from morning to night, culminating in the climactic, if rather predictable, “Good Night, New Jersey” ending.

But before that, we say good morning, hello, greetings, good afternoon, and good evening to a variety of attractions throughout the state. The beach, a blueberry farm, Lucy the Elephant, Adventure Aquarium, and Asbury Park (with requisite Springsteen reference) are all visited. The book also pays tribute to the Lakota Wolf Preserve – something I didn’t even know existed.

Good Night New Jersey is a quick, easy, and fun read. The pictures are very colorful and accurately portray the various New Jersey attractions. I think the book is a great vehicle for New Jersey’s youngest residents to take pride in their state. And it can be used to teach those mini haters from other states just how good New Jersey really is. (more…)

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Snooki’s Book Doesn’t Suck

January 12, 2011

I actually enjoyed it. Really.

I recently read Snooki’s writing debut, A Shore Thing. And it was a lot better than I ever would have imagined. Snooki[’s ghostwriter] did a wonderful job of capturing the essence (beer and sweat) of a summer at the Jersey Shore.

The novel revolves around Gia, a short, slutty guidette (can you guess who she is modeled after?) and her cousin Bella. Bella seems to be a combo of Snooki’s Jersey Shore castmates J-WOWW and Sammi. She has implants, wears skimpy shirts, and knows how to fight (a la J-WOWW) yet is pretty naïve and has bad taste in men (like Sammi).

Snooki[’s ghostwriter] does a decent job at telling the story of the cousins who leave their home in Brooklyn to spend a month at the Jersey Shore – Seaside Heights to be exact. We see all of their troubles and triumphs, from searching for summer jobs to hunting for “Italian gorilla juiceheads” to hook up with. Regarding jobs, Gia secures employment at a tanning salon, and for some reason, upon being hired, gives the arm of the couch in the waiting room a lap dance. Seriously. Meanwhile, Bella gets hired at a gym to lead dance classes. (more…)

Pee-wee Herman is Amazing…Infinity!

November 12, 2010

That's his name, don't wear it out!

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Paul Reubens revive his long-gone but never forgotten character of Pee-wee Herman in his new Broadway show. It was spectacular. And although Pee-wee asserted throughout the show that he’s the luckiest boy in the world, I disagree. After seeing Pee-wee Herman live, I think that I’m the luckiest boy in the world.

So what’s the reason for all of this gushing? Well Pee-wee Herman, and his TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, was a huge part of my childhood. I learned more from Pee-wee than I ever did from my parents, teachers, and friends. I can fondly remember taking a cue from Pee-wee and putting scotch tape around my nose and ears. I remember starting and giving up on countless foil and rubberband balls. I remember stuffing both feet into one sock and hopping around like Roger, Pee-wee’s one legged, one-eyed alien neighbor. I remember putting pennies over my eyelids and pretending I was Penny of claymation fame. The point is, Pee-wee’s Playhouse was the highlight of my childhood.

So when I heard that Pee-wee was coming to Broadway, I knew I had to go. Now I hate going to New York City. The noise, the smell, the people, the smelly people – I can’t stand any of it. But the chance to see Pee-wee was enough to lure me away from the comfort of the Armpit America, pay the ridiculously expensive New Jersey Transit train fair, jump on an overcrowded and outdated train, and ride through a dark tunnel underneath the Hudson River.

After surviving the treacherous journey to Manhattan, we walked through Times Square (ughhh) to the Steven Sondheim Theater. After getting our seats and looking through the Playbill, I was thrilled to see that Lynne Marie Stewart was reprising her role as the effervescent Miss Yvonne. I was also pleased that John Paragon was back playing Jambi. Unfortunately, Lawrence Fishburne didn’t return to play Cowboy Curtis. (more…)

South Park Goes Jersey

October 19, 2010

"It's a Jersey thing."

As South Park satirizes everything in the worlds of politics, pop culture, and current events, it was only a matter of time before Trey Parker and Matt Stone took on all things Jersey.  They did just that on last week’s episode, and the results were incredible.

The episode featured the small town of South Park, Colorado dealing with a special kind of infestation.  While it’s been overrun in the past with hippies, metrosexuals, homeless people, wealthy black families, and immigrants from the future, its most recent infestation is people from New Jersey.  Although, it wasn’t just any people from New Jersey – the stars of Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jerseylicious, and, of course, Jersey Shore all made their appearances.  They also referenced a “Steve” from a show called Last Call, but I have no idea who or what that is.

Anyway, the town tries to deal with the influx of Jersey trash, who, whenever they do something rude or stupid, always answer with “It’s a Jersey thing!”  Just as everyone is getting sick of all the Jersey freaks, we find out that one of South Park’s own residents is from New Jersey.  It turns out Kyle’s mom, who has long had the reputation of being a bitch, is from Newark.  That explains a lot.  Though she now goes by the name Sheila Braflovski, she used to be known as “S-Woww Tittybang.”  Ha. (more…)

“Jersey Shore” Episode 1 Recap: Two Girls One Creep

August 4, 2010

“Jersey Shore” made its trashtastic return to our televisions last week, and it was just as entertaining as expected. So, if you didn’t see the Season 2 premiere, saw it and want to read about it, or just ended up here because you googled “jwoww tits,” you’ve come to the right place. On a side note, I seriously debated whether I should even recap this season. Despite its title, this show now has our favorite group of New Yorkers living it up in Miami and not in New Jersey. However, I just have too much fun analyzing these idiots.

I bet they left behind an oil slick rivaling that in the Gulf...

So here we go. The episode starts with some loser who calls himself “The Situation” giving us a recap of the previous season. He explains that there were a lot of fights, hookups, and drama. As we all know, Mike the Sitch wasn’t involved in any fights or hookups, but girlfriend sure caused a lot of drama. We then hear from Vinny, who contributes nothing constructive (in typical Vinny fashion).

But after his little spiel, our girl Snooki comes on. She explains how they had so much fun together last time, they had to do it again. Of course, she left out the part about MTV exploiting their shenanigans and giving them tons of money in return, but let’s let Snooki think that it’s all in her hands. Anyway, Snooki then exclaims “We’re coming to Miami!” My thoughts? Too bad 75% of the Golden Girls are dead; a crossover special would have been incredible. (more…)

Book Review: Living on the Edge of the World

March 2, 2010

NJ is the edge of the world? More like center of Hell!

Time for another book review! Last time, I wrote about the bible of the Turnpike, Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike. For today, I’m reviewing Living on the Edge of the World, edited by Irina Reyn. This book is a collection of short stories all about life in New Jersey.

There are 19 stories total, including Reyn’s introduction, each by a different author who grew up in the state. Anyone from New Jersey will probably relate in one way or another to these stories. And anyone who isn’t from New Jersey can read this book to get an in-depth look of what our state is really like.

What’s great about the book is that each story can stand alone and still be a wonderful read. Whether the author loves or hates his or her native state, each story is equally passionate. Of course, people from New Jersey aren’t known for their subtlety.

Another cool thing about the book is how each story provides not just the name of the author, but also the town and exit number of where the story takes place. Though Reyn doesn’t point out whether the exit is on the Parkway or Turnpike, she doesn’t have to. Us New Jerseyans know instinctively.

Though each story is good, some stand out a little more than others. Here are just a few of my favorites. If these pique your interest, go read “Living on the Edge of the World” yourself. (more…)

The Olympics Opening Ceremony

February 14, 2010

This past Friday, the world watched the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. You may be wondering why I would be talking about the Olympics on a blog about New Jersey. Well, not many people know this, but Jersey City actually made a bid to host the 1987 Summer Olympics. (Yes, I know there wasn’t an Olympics in 1987…but the good people of Jersey City didn’t know that.)

Anyway, I think the team in charge of the Vancouver opening ceremony did a great job of showcasing exactly what Canada is all about. Let’s face it, Canada is pretty much just an extra with no lines on the world stage. But the opening ceremony gave this perennial understudy the chance to shine.

Just like Australia did at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the U.S. did at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Canada paid tribute to its indigenous people at the opening ceremony. Although all three nations claim to take pride in honoring their native inhabitants, let’s get real. I don’t think these native Australians, Americans, and Canadians can forgive hundreds of years of oppression and neglect for the chance to dance around in feather headdresses in front of the world.

That being said, the native Canadian display was tasteful and entertaining. At least compared to other performances throughout the night. We watched several famous Canadian singers, like Sarah McLaughlin, Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams, and some opera singer with a glittery afro. We also saw a rather odd performance by Mr. KD Lang. Although he has a soothing baritone and was wearing a stylish suit, they didn’t give him any close-ups. He must’ve forgotten to shave or something. (more…)