Archive for the ‘Top 5’ category

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2010

December 31, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, you’ve undoubtedly seen countless websites putting out some kind of “best of 2010” list or the like. Well, here’s another one!

But before getting into that list, let me just tell you some of the things you can expect to see on this little blog in 2011. First of all, I hope to update a little more often than I’ve done this year. I also plan to have some more videos (such as a “Jersey Shore” makeover!) and maybe even some guest bloggers! So be sure to come back often to see what’s going on in the Armpit of America.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are my Top 5 favorite entries I’ve written over the past year.

1) New Jersey’s Ghetto Barber Shops – Join me in my quest to find a decent barber shop. As a bonus, I you’ll see a picture of me with my afro at full force.

2) Top 5 Overplayed Jersey Shore Cover Band Songs – Go to any shore bar over the summer, you’ll likely encounter a cover band. Find out what I think are the most overplayed songs those bands perform.

3) State vs. State: Idaho – Tomatoes vs. potatoes. Springsteen vs. Willis. Find out whether New Jersey or Idaho is the better state. (By the way, I promise to do more of these State vs. State entries in the new year.)

4) The Best of NJ: Adventure Aquarium – Camden New Jersey is known for two things – gang violence and fish. Check out my experience at Camden’s Adventure Aquarium and see if I made it out of the city alive.

5) My Snook-o-Lantern – For Halloween, I made a life-sized model of everyone’s favorite star of “Jersey Shore” out of pumpkins. You can watch my video of the entire process, as I assemble my effigy of Snooki Snook from wig to pumpkin boobs.

Well,l those are my favorite blog posts of 2010. What are yours?

Top 5: Reasons Belmar is Better Than New Brunswick

November 26, 2010

I suggest you turn around. Photo by city-data.com.

About three months ago, I moved out of my apartment in New Brunswick and into a new apartment in Belmar. And it was quite a drastic change. I essentially moved out of the armpit of the Armpit of America and into a more pleasant body part (I’ll let you pick which one). I’ve spent five years of my life living in New Brunswick, and, although I have fond memories of the city, there is plenty to hate about it.

With that, here are theTop 5 reasons why Belmar is better than New Brunswick:

1) Hippies – Both New Brunswick and Belmar are home to quite a few hippies. Still, they couldn’t be more different. The hippies in New Brunswick are mainly students of Rutgers University. Though they typically come from upper-middle class families, they like to pretend they’re poor and just getting by on their own. But don’t let those tattered tie-dye shirts, unkempt facial hair (on guys), and unshaven legs (on girls) fool you. They’re just miserable spoiled brats with Grateful Dead posters in their dorms who wake up every morning wishing they went to college 40 years ago.

Belmar’s hippies, on the other hand, are more grown up. Rather than playing their guitars and singing about imagined social injustices, these hippies have embraced capitalism. Instead of going out of their way to be part of some nonexistent, idyllic counter culture, these hippies actually contribute something to the real culture. They’ve opened establishments all over the town, like vegan restaurants, vintage clothing stores, and yoga studios. Still embracing their hippie roots, but earning a dollar at the same time. Who wouldn’t respect that? (more…)

Top 5 Overplayed Jersey Shore Cover Band Songs

July 7, 2010

Jon Bon Jovi or Jersey girl? I'm still not sure.

If you hang out at bars at the Jersey Shore, you’re bound to come across at least one of many bands making their living off of other people’s songs. While they may have their own musical aspirations, no record company is knocking at the door with a big advance. So, they settle for cover gigs at the shore, where they play inferior versions of popular songs to indifferent audiences.

Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy the Jersey Shore cover bands, which are primarily made up of a bunch of 20-or-30-something year-old guys, usually along with one heavy-set, middle-aged man on bass. They make for a fun evening, no matter which shore bar, from Atlantic Highlands all the way down to Cape May, you might find yourself in. Who wouldn’t want to hear a band play a bunch of classics that everyone knows, rather than a crappy band that plays their own stuff?

Despite my fondness for Jersey Shore cover bands, I do have one point of contention with them. THEY ALL PLAY THE SAME SONGS! No matter which band you see, you’re more than likely to hear all of the five songs below. While not necessarily bad songs, you easily get sick of hearing them all summer long.

So, if any member, manager, or groupie (ha, yeah right!) of a Jersey Shore cover band is reading this, please get your band to stop playing these songs:

1. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

Maybe it’s just me, but this song, more than the rest on the list, just seems so dated. Whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think of some trashy 80s Jersey mall girls bopping their hairspray-hardened coifs around to this song. See? “Pour Some Sugar on Me” even makes this crusader against the negative Jersey stereotype actually buy into it.

2. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

“Living on a Prayer” has now made its second appearance on one of my Top 5 lists. Though not a bad song by any means, it is definitely overplayed. Overplayed on the radio, and overplayed by Jersey Shore cover bands. Sure, it’s pretty much the Armpit of America’s unofficial anthem. But, for these bands to play it every single night is just plain overkill. (more…)

Top 5 New Jersey Towns With Stupid Names

April 1, 2010

Because you can never have too many hyphens...or hos...

New Jersey is home to almost 9 million people, all of whom are crammed into the state’s many cities and towns.  These municipalities have a wide variety of names.  Some are named after historical figures.  A lot are named after places in Britain.  A few even get their names from the Armpit of America’s original Native American inhabitants.  Whatever the case may be, some of these town names are pretty damn stupid.

1) Ho-Ho-Kus – Not quite Hoboken, not quite Hocus Pocus, Ho-Ho-Kus is probably the weirdest name of any town in New Jersey, if not the entire country.  Though the experts aren’t sure whether the name is derived from Dutch or a Native American language, they are sure that it is a bastardization of a word from one of these languages.  The various theories say that the name originally meant “running water,” “oak trees,” or “gray fox.”  However, the most widely accepted definition of Ho-Ho-Kus is “stuck up rich people living in a town with a stupid name.”

2) West New York – This town is in a tie with Kansas City, Missouri for having the most confusing name.  Despite having the words “New” and “York” in the title, West New York is in New Jersey.  Sure, it’s right across the Hudson River from Manhattan, but still.  As much as its residents try to make people think that they don’t live in the Armpit of America, they can’t deny the geography.  On a side note, the one person I know from West New York is a total douche. (more…)

Top 5 Bruce Songs About New Jersey

March 9, 2010
I wish my Jew-fro looked half as good as that...

Are we sure he's not Jewish?

A few weeks ago, I created a list of what I consider the top 5 songs about the Armpit of America. Noticeably absent from that list were songs by Bruce Springsteen. Since the patron saint of New Jersey has written so many songs about the state, it would be impossible to pick just one. So I made this list of the top 5 Bruce Springsteen songs about New Jersey.

1. Born to Run – Perhaps the most famous of all Bruce’s songs, Born to Run takes us into a world of motorcycle-riding punks looking for love and a way to escape from this horrible state. Now you may be wondering why I would include a song that is so obviously about getting the fuck out of New Jersey (especially with lines like “Baby this town rips the bones from your back / It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap / We gotta get out while we’re young / ‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run“). But, as anyone who has ever lived in this state knows, wanting to get the hell out of here is part of the whole Jersey experience.

2. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) – In this fun little song, Bruce sings about the trouble a guy has trying to get the girl of his desire to go out with him. Though he pleads and pleads to get her to come out (to meet up with characters like Jack the Rabbit, Weak Knees Willie, and Sloppy Sue) Rosalita refuses, since her parents don’t approve of her rock-n-rolling suitor. Our hero refuses to give up, though, and explains to the girl that a record company just gave him “a big advaaaancceeee!!!” At this point, the narrator forgets about convincing Rosie to hang out with local hooligans and, instead, he’s dead set on getting the fuck out of New Jersey. Especially since someone slashed his tires, rendering his car “a dud, stuck in the mud, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey.” Though we don’t know if he was successful in ever getting Rosalita out of her room, it sure is fun watching him try. (more…)

Top 5 Songs About New Jersey

February 2, 2010

Is this Jon Bon Jovi or a Jersey girl? I sure can't tell...

When I first decided to create this list of the top songs about the Armpit of America, I thought it would be pretty easy. However, as I began assembling the list, it became more difficult. There are plenty of songs that mention New Jersey, but I didn’t think that a mere shout-out was enough to put a song on this list. Instead, I wanted to include songs that represent the true spirit of living in this state. I could have included a couple Bruce Springsteen songs, but that would have been too easy. (Though you can look forward to a future Top 5 list of Bruce’s best songs about New Jersey.)

Anyway, I did manage to create a list. I’m sure there are plenty of songs I’ve overlooked. I’m sure people will disagree with the ones I did list. Agree or not, these are the songs I came up with:

1. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

Poor Jon Bon Jovi. As big as he and his conceitedly named band were, are, or will be, he’ll never grow out of his status as New Jersey’s second favorite son. But don’t feel too bad for him, his song goes first on my list! Though the lyrics don’t mention New Jersey by name, it is clear that his story about Tommy and Gina takes place right here. With references to the docks at Bayonne and the ubiquitous Jersey diner, the story can’t take place anywhere else.

Our protagonists might not have much, and it apparently doesn’t make a difference if they make it or not. However, they have each other, you see, and that’s a lot for love. So they decide to give it a shot. Though things may be rough for Tommy and Gina, they show the true grit and toughness New Jerseyans are known for. On top of that, this song is pretty much the unofficial anthem of New Jersey. You can’t go to any bar or club in the Garden State without hearing it. At least that’s one thing Bon Jovi can wave in Bruce’s face. (more…)

Top 5 Pretentious Restaurants in New Brunswick

December 22, 2009

Mmmm...pretentious...

Here’s yet another new feature for all of you – my Top 5 lists!

As you can tell, my first subject is pretentious restaurants in New Brunswick (New Brunswick the city in New Jersey, not that Canadian state province).

For those who have never been to New Brunswick, my former and current place of residence, the city has quite an interesting culinary scene. As New Brunswick is home to Rutgers, the State University of the Armpit of America, there is no shortage of cheap, unhealthy food geared towards college students – like the Grease Trucks and a countless number of pizza places.

On the other hand, New Brunswick offers plenty of more exotic options, like a couple Middle Eastern places and no less than two Jamaican restaurants. Oddly enough, there aren’t any of those casual chains, like Chilis, Applebees, and Fridays within the city limits (though there is a Qdobas and a Chipotle right across from each other). But what New Brunswick lacks in name brand restaurants, it more than makes up for with plenty of overpriced, snobby, and pretentious dining options:

5. Old Man Rafferty’s – I’m sure putting this on the list won’t make me any additional friends. Though Old Man Rafferty’s is a staple in New Brunswick, this place is more hype than substance. While I admit the food is good, it’s about the same quality and selection you can find at an Applebees or Houlihans (though a lot more expensive). Whatever your thoughts on it may be, people just love this place. But is the standard 45 minute wait you’ll almost always encounter worth it? I don’t think so. So let those parents visiting their children at college go to Old Man Rafferty’s, and everyone else can and should go somewhere else.

4. Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant – Admittedly, I’ve never been to this place. But it just oozes pretentiousness. First of all, who the hell opens a wine bar in a gritty college town? Secondly, on their logo, the “y” in Daryl is shaped like a wine glass. Uh, sorry to burst your bubble, Daryl, but New Brunswick’s beloved CLYDZ already had that idea and executed it a lot better than you! Anyway, a look at Daryl’s website just confirms its pretentiousness. Rather than showing a room full of people happily drinking and eating away, the main image is of an unwelcoming, stark, and empty dining room full of stiff, high-backed white chairs.

As for the food, it seems just as unappealing. The menu appears to be typical of many expensive, fancy restaurants – small selection, even smaller servings, and exuberant prices. The menu tries to go out of the way to talk up the food, with offerings like Bershire Pork Loin (the fuck does that mean?), Wild Caught Cod (putting “wild caught” in front of “cod” doesn’t make it any more appetizing), and Australian Sea Bass (I guess Daryl is too good for the more standard Chilean variety). (more…)