New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.78: Twilight Zone’s Mighty Casey

Let’s just say, I’d never get matched up with Baseball on Although, there’s not a single doubt that I’d get hooked up with The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone always offered up some eerie story that satisfied my needs of horror and the unexplained. Then, there were some episodes that were just plain goofy and lighthearted. Surprisingly, one of these episodes involved the Garden State.

Filmed in L.A, but set in New Jersey, this episode aired in June of 1960, “The Mighty Casey” is a favorite of Twilight Zone fans who also love baseball. This episode is more comedic than spooky or scary, but it still has that signature twist that TZ is known for.

A ragtag baseball team, The Hoboken Zephyrs, were abysmal. They were the biggest disappointments in the league. Their manager, Mouth McGarry, was beyond embarrassed by them. Until the day that a man came by the field during practice to show off his star pitcher. McGarry had never seen pitching skills like this before. The pitcher was whizzing balls to the catcher so fast that he was making the balls smoke. He was zig-zagging and screwballing, and doing all kinds of stuff that McGarry and his team hadn’t ever seen before.

It turned out that Casey, the seemingly inhuman pitcher, was in fact…a robot! Once the league got wind of the fact that there was a robot in the league, they put a stop to it because it was required that all players are actual men. Using a loophole, Casey’s keeper, Dr. Stillman and McGarry both wondered if the league would reinstate Casey if they implanted a heart in him. The league indeed granted Casey back into the league once he had a heart put in, but, ultimately, receiving a heart removed all of Casey’s incredible pitching skills.

It’s not the worst Twilight Zone episode ever, but not really one that I ever go back and watch. It’s great for baseball fans, and fans of obscure fictional sports teams based out of New Jersey. If you Google the Hoboken Zephyrs you can actually buy a replica of their jersey! Now that’s geeky, and awesome.

*At the time this post was published, this episode of The Twilight Zone is streaming on Netflix

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.54: Hatchet

Hatchet NJ DMV
Samuel Barrat a.k.a Shapiro Driver’s License in HATCHET

In Hatchet (2006), the character of the pseudo filmmaker scumbag Shapiro (Joel Murray) was somewhat of a genius if you ask me! Shapiro went around with a video camera recording hot “Girls Gone Wild” type exploits of Misty and Jenna who frequently flashed their goods to the camera.

Shapiro convinced airhead girls that he was a film producer so he could amass his own little porn collection. He was basically a hornball whose name really wasn’t Shapiro after all. There’s nothing worse than a guy who goes around calling himself a filmmaker when he’s actually never worked on an actual film before, but I guess I can let it slide since low budget porn does actually count.

Hatchet NJ
“So he really didn’t work for Bayou Beavers?” – Misty

In this quick scene, Ben (Joel Moore) finds Shapiro’s wallet. Inside there was an American Excess credit card, $10 bucks, a condom, and a couple of business cards. Ben also pulls out his drivers license to discover that he’s really Samuel Barrat from Newark NJ! He must have been pretty desperate for girls to film if he had to travel all the way down to New Orleans. We also find out that Barrat is a senior marketing manager for Whitman Diagnostics located in Hoboken, NJ. Of course, that was before Victor Crowley made him a headless marketing manager.

Hatchet Shapiro
Northeastern areas of NJ have the (201) area code

Scarfin’ It With The Armpit 4: Hoboken Restaurants and Fruity Pebbles

3Forty Grill 1
Slow Roasted Beet and Crispy Warm Goat Cheese Salad at 3Forty Grill in Hoboken

As a belated birthday trip Miss Sexy Armpit and I stayed at the ultra swank W Hotel in Hoboken and also ate at a couple of excellent restaurants. Dinner at the 3Forty Grill was fantastic and breakfast (brunch as they refer to it) at Bin 14.

3Forty Grill 2
Char Grilled 10 oz. Filet Mignon 

3Forty Grill’s menu is packed with creative dishes. We decided to go crazy and share a salad and an appetizer before our entree. We chose the slow roasted beet and crispy warm goat cheese salad which, thanks to their online menu, featured “frisee, candied walnuts, caramelized apples, and sherry viniagrette.” For the appetizer we went with the ridiculously tasty creamy truffle mac n’ cheese fritters which also contained “black forest ham, sriracha aioli.” I’m not really a steak guy but I had a good feeling about the Char Grilled 10 oz. Filet Mignon which is described on their menu as follows: “topped with applewood smoked bacon, blue cheese and glazed shallots, sour cream and chive whipped potatoes, almond french beans, steak sauce butter.” Everything was outstanding. As you can see in the picture, their presentation is equally as good as their food.

If you feel like splurging a little, give the 3Forty Grill a shot. I suggest waiting until it gets dark because the lighting inside the dining area combined with the waterfront view of Manhattan creates a modern, romantic ambiance.

Trying to get into one of Hoboken’s notable pancake houses, Stacks, on a Sunday morning was a gigantic pain in the ass. The line was almost out the door. I’m not one to wait on long lines, especially considering that I don’t even really like pancakes all that much. I just wanted some damn breakfast! Then we discovered there was an hour wait at The Turning Point, so we walked over to Washington Street and waltzed into Bin 14 after seeing their “brunch” sign. To me, brunch is such an absurd word. Do they really think I’m going to tell my readers that I had “brunch?”

Bin 14 is primarily known as a wine bar, but it also has a delicious brunch breakfast. We ordered eggs any style with bacon and potatoes and it was freaking awesome. Something was different about this order of bacon and eggs. You can get that stuff anywhere, but this was not like getting it from a diner. This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. The best part was, I didn’t feel 40 pounds heavier after eating it either, much like I do when I leave a diner or Perkins.

fruity pebbles treats
Next up is my latest snackquisition. Yes I just coined that word! Use it and mention The Sexy Armpit! What kind of a wild goose chase would it be if these babies weren’t the end result? Ever since I saw the commercial for these Fruity Pebbles Treats I’ve wanted them so bad. Finally, after infiltrating every grocery store in New Jersey, I was able to get my hands on both the original and Cocoa versions, and they were so worth it. Think Rice Krispie treats only substitute Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles.

The Perfect Holiday (2007) – A Jersey Christmas Movie

The Perfect Holiday
The grand interior of The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater in Jersey City
decked out for J-Jizzy’s Christmas Wonderland Party

So many people claim they are originally from Jersey, ergo that must mean when someone sings “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” they really mean they’re going back to Jersey…to Jersey. Queen Latifah is one of those people. She’s a tough chick who was born in Newark, NJ and raised in East Orange, who went ahead and crowned herself the Queen of Hip-Hop. There’s never been any other female hip-hop artist that has been formidable enough to threaten her crown, but what’s funny is that I can only recall one of her songs, which is “U.N.I.T.Y” from 1994. Most of what I know about the former power forward of the Irvington High School girls basketball team, aka Dana Owens, is that she’s become more of a movie star, and unfortunately 2007’s The Perfect Holiday is not one of her better ones.

The Perfect Holiday
The kids go to see Santa at Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall in Elizabeth, NJ

The plot of The Perfect Holiday is trite Christmas fare, something you might see on ABC Family Channel or better yet…Hallmark Channel rather than in theaters. Gabrielle Union (the hot rival cheerleader in Bring It On), shows that she needs several more acting classes to become Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock who she was attempting to channel in this movie. In her role as Nancy, she plays a mother of 3 who has just separated from her rapper husband. Benjamin (Morris Chestnut) is the guy that swoops in to steal her heart as he’s playing Santa Claus at Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, NJ. Nancy’s cuter-than-Olivia-Kendall daughter Emily (Khail Bryant) tips Benjamin off that her mom is in need of a compliment. Chestnut’s performance was only forgivable because it was so predictable and cheesy. Charlie Murphy is J-Jizzy, a way less likable P.Diddy sort of hip-hop artist who has left his 3 kids with the hurdle of adjusting to their mother’s new boyfriend (Chestnut). Forget all that, the heavy guy from Couples Retreat, Faizon Love, is the best and funniest part of this movie.

The Perfect Holiday
Faizon Love makes the front page of The Star Ledger!

The pace is fast, the editing is terrible, and they crammed pretty much every Christmas song you can think of into every second of the film. Even having the majestic Queen Latifah as one of the producers did not give this film the boost it needed. Latifah’s screen time as “Mrs. Christmas” is minimal, and the dude who wishes he was Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, also appears as her extremely annoying cohort, Bah Humbug. The film was directed and co-written by Lance “Un” Rivera, the Unentertainment Records CEO and fomer Biggie Smalls collaborator. He also directed another film I’ll be writing about in the future, 2004’s The Cookout.

I can only recommend The Perfect Holiday to those of you who love the actors in the film, as well as to hardcore New Jersey buffs like myself. Our newspaper, The Star-Ledger makes an appearance, and so does tons of crappy looking computer generated snow. In case you decide to go out on a limb and Netflix this steaming lump of coal, you’ve been warned.

The Perfect Holiday
Garden Palace Lanes in Clifton, NJ – if you look closely you’ll see CGI snow

Filming Locations: Hoboken, Jersey City, Bergenfield, Rutherford, Westfield, Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth and Garden Palace Lanes in Clifton.

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 64: Hoboken and Beer

Heineken and Budweiser Hoboken T-Shirts

I spotted these tees in a window somewhere on Washington Street in Hoboken. What comes to mind when you think of Hoboken, NJ? I wager it’s either Frank Sinatra, The Cake Boss, or On The Waterfront. If none of those options came to mind, there’s a pretty good chance that something alcohol related popped in your head. A favorite past time of folks from the NY/NJ area is to go to Hoboken and get shitfaced on really expensive drinks, or if you’re the frugal type, you might stick with beer. This post is for those beer lovers, whether they actually hail from Hoboken or they just like to go and get trashed there.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.36: Superhero League of Hoboken

video game,pc,hoboken. nj
More info on Superhero League of Hoboken at Moby Games

If it’s got adventure, New Jersey, and a sexy blonde bimbo who clearly cares more about posing for the camera than she does saving the Tri-State area, then I’m all about it! OK, so the dude on the cover looks like Thor’s mentally challenged younger step brother, but that doesn’t keep me from being utterly intrigued by the 1994 video game Superhero League of Hoboken, which I discovered while perusing the Moby Games website. The game was released in CD-Rom format and on an archaic 3.5 Diskette! Compared to PS3 and XBox games, this one is laughable, but as I found out, that’s exactly how it was intended.

This satirical RPG is set in a “post apocalyptic wasteland,” aka the Tri-State Area. The game features several New Jersey locales in addition to other points of interest in New York and Pennsylvania. The game map depicts The NJ Turnpike, Newark, Edison’s Laboratory, a Radioactive Wasteland, The East Orange Marketplace, Newark Airport, and Atlantic City. 

The heroes in Superhero League of Hoboken sound more like The Mystery Men rather than The Super Friends. Check out some of these character descriptions listed at Moby GamesCaptain Excitement “his aura of lethargy and dullness can put opponents to sleep instantly,” Iron Tummy “capable of eating spicy foods without any distress,” and Mademoiselle Pepperoni “capable of seeing inside a pizza box without even opening it.” If anyone decides to dress up as this valiant crew at Comic Con or for Halloween, then you have no choice but to forward me some pics. One thing is for sure, NOBODY will have the same costume as you! Your welcome. Leave a comment if you’ve played this game! Is it a Troma Production in the making? Should I get on the horn with Lloyd Kaufman? If Walt Disney can transform Prince of Persia into a movie than why not let Troma have a crack at Superhero Leauge of Hoboken?


NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 43: St. Patrick’s Day in Hoboken

Limited Edition St. Patty’s Day in Hoboken 2010 T-Shirt available at Solid Threads

Every day in Hoboken is a big drunkfest, so I bet Hoboken will transform into one big geyser of puke on St. Patrick’s Day. It was that exact reason why I did not attend The St. Patrick’s Parade in Hoboken on March 6th. There’s too many people acting like idiots and I have a feeling I would have wound up getting angry and turning green like The Incredible Hulk. Where do you think we are, Cancun? Join me as I suck the life out of St.Patrick’s Day.

The St. Patty’s day parade in Hoboken and St.Patrick’s Day in general is another excuse to drink heavily and wear my least favorite color. I don’t care if I sound like a party pooper, but the holiday never appealed to me. When I was a kid I was fond of the Main Street Electrical Parade in Disneyland, but, for the most part, I’m not really a fan of parades unless they involve The Joker and free money. Maybe if Lucky the Leprechaun personally knocked on my door with a few of his green string bikini clad leperhoe’s bearing gifts such as a lifetime supply of Lucky Charms awaiting me in an 18 wheeler outside then perhaps I would have more of an affinity towards the 17th of March. By the way, did I mention that a 16 oz. Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s contains 550 calories and 50 milligrams of cholesterol? When they concoct a healthier version maybe I’ll get excited for the perennial frozen treat.

It seems that the St. Patty’s parade in Hoboken is held just so the city can collect money. It’s another occasion for buzzkillers, err, I mean cops to hand out tons of tickets. An article, 555 ticketed in Hoboken, 25 arrested St.Pat’s Day, was published a week after the parade took place and details the huge monetary loss from hosting the event. According to the story written by Mark G.Maurer, the cost of the parade “exceeded $125,000.”

Sure, public safety is paramount, but recouping at least a percentage of the wads of cash was also high on the city’s priority list. The entire police force was on duty as they awarded 476 summonses, some for open containers, jaywalking, disorderly house parties, and 41 of the instances were for public urination! Why do I even want to go to a parade where the streets are filled with walking disasters who are puking and pissing all over the streets? No wonder New Jersey gets made fun of all the time.

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 37: Cake Boss

Carlo's Bake Shop T-Shirt
Carlo’s Bake Shop T-Shirts available at

Are we so starved for entertainment in this country? I could see how we are lacking in good quality entertainment, especially on television, but I know damn well that we’re already filled up on cake and desserts. Of course, I don’t expect the majority of the country to be able to do 1,000 push ups in 23 minutes like Jack LaLane once did, but we really need to restrain the food reality show habit and shows like CAKE BOSS ain’t helpin’ one bit!


Filmed in Hoboken, NJ, TLC’s Cake Boss spotlights Buddy Valastro, the owner of Carlo’s Bake Shop who is obsessive about his work and eccentric enough to make people interested in watching him do it. It’s quite apparent that his crew of gourmet dessert chefs, many of which are his family members, are immensely gifted at what they do, and we get to see their final creations that prove it. My question is, do we really need another show about baking cakes? I thought the Ace of Cakes filled the quota. People love sugary, frosted goodness, yeah I get it. But what bugs me is that network and cable TV pay for shows like this rather than opt to create new original programming that isn’t reality based.

If I wanted to see reality I could hop on the NJ Turnpike a few exits and actually go to Carlo’s bakery, the shop where the show is filmed. I know the rest of the country doesn’t have that luxury, but is there that much of a demand for a show about making exquisite cakes? I’m not taking anything away from their prowess because it’s impressive to watch them create these ornate confections. I just can’t stop thinking that we will never stop seeing shows come along about ice sculptors, rubber band ball makers, food additive geniuses, and popsicle stick house architects. Is this niche type of programming here to stay, or is it a passing trend? I miss sitcoms that were imaginative and silly, I miss creepy shows like Unsolved Mysteries, I miss shlocky action shows, and I especially miss tawdry comedies about 2 girls living with a guy who pretends to be gay in front of his landlord. OK, so Jack Tripper happened to be a chef. That was the closest connection to a cooking show that my shows ever got. Well, unless you want to count the time Alf blew up the kitchen.