After Stewart cut his own rebuttal, Rollins ambushed him on one of his recent shows by making it seem like he was beamed in via satellite when he was actually right there in the studio. WWE has now confirmed that Stewart will appear on Raw tonight, live from The Prudential Center in Newark to possibly confront Rollins. Will they settle their gripe at WrestleMania? Doubtful that Stewart would actually take a bump, so it’s likely he will be in the corner of Rollins’ opponent at WrestleMania. Right now, it looks like Rollins will be facing “The Viper” Randy Orton.
AD JERSEUM 18: Ballantine Ale Halloween Party!
We all know there’s nothing scarier than…OLD BEER!
Growing up in the ’80s, there were plenty of Halloween and Beer ad tie-ins. We were pretty spoiled in that regard, although it’s been going on for many moons before Elvira showed up in a Coors Light ad. Above, you can see an example of such a thing from 1943, except without a beehive haircut and cleavage.
Today’s ad features one of the oldest beer brands in the country, Ballantine Ale, which is deeply rooted in New Jersey. I wasn’t around during it’s heyday, but growing up, we had a few pieces of Ballantine paraphernalia in my house, so I was familiar with it, even as its popularity throughout the country waned.
In the house I lived most of my life in, we had an actual bar in our house, not one that you would buy at a furniture store or at a place that sells bars, but an actual bar complete with leather stools transported from a real bar in Newark.
It was permanently installed in our den, which was basically our play room. Yes, we played in a room that had a giant full wet bar. Once the huge family gatherings started to become a rarity because family moved away to various parts of the country, the bar room eventually evolved into my own personal play room and wrestling arena for the better pat of my childhood.
We didn’t change anything in the bar so it pretty much stayed the same way since the late ’70s. There were colored lights and lots of authentic liquor trays coasters, branded glasses and mugs, and lighted fixtures with various brands of beer and soda like Schaefer, Carlsberg, Heineken, 7Up, and others.
I can’t really say I ever cared to sample anything until I got older. Maybe crème de menthe because it was green and looked somewhat more appetizing than say, Seagrams 7. The Frangelico bottle in the monk costume didn’t look to shabby either, mostly because it reminded me of the figural shape of Mrs. Butterworth’s, but I hadn’t developed a taste for it yet.
Trust me, just because this thing was in my house didn’t drive me to boozin’ at an early age. If anything it removed the temptation that a lot of my other friends had. Why would I beg my sister or ask an older friend to go to a liquor store for me when I stared at these dusty bottles that no one ever drank every day of my life? Eventually, as I got a little older, there were a few times when I had to enlist some help, similar to the Goldslick Vodka fiasco in Superbad.
While clicking through eBay, and definitely not intentionally looking for Ballatine Ale memorabilia, I came across a vintage Halloween themed ad for this beer which is perfect for our column AD JERSEUM. Print ads are rarely this enticing anymore and finding one oozing with so much old school Halloween spirit makes it even more tremendous!
The ad is pure persuasive Halloween magic. The kickass bar didn’t drive me to drink, but this ad makes it seem like the most fun and appealing activity that anyone could ever take part in. Whenever a product or company completely embraces holidays and makes them the basis of an entire ad campaign, that’s gold in my book.
The ad recalls a time before I was born when parties with a slew of guests were a common practice and entertaining on a weekly basis was the thing to do. Finger foods were a hot commodity and quirky adult beverages were always on the menu.
Let me break this scene down for you. A spooky witch, A knight, and Mr. Pumpkinhead with the argyle shirt are all at a dinner party. It looks as if the witch is attempting to scare the letters in the word BOOO and those letters are shooting back sarcastically with one of those “shakin’ in their boots” mocks back to her as if her attempts are not really scary at all, cause he knows the drill. Boo has been around the block many times with this witch. Cannot pull the wool over his eyes anymore…or the sheet.
The main focal point, of course, is the beer, which looks so damn appealing. It almost looks more like an ice cream soda with whip cream swirled on top than a plain old beer. And look how this brew is making these m’fers HAPPY. You can almost hear Pharrell Williams singing the background song of this ad.
The Knight is completely psychotic and will without a doubt KILL Mr. Pumpkinhead after the first round of hors de ouvers. Hopefully he’ll let everyone grab a cocktail wiener on a toothpick before he chops this poor guys head off and puts it over his head to reenact the legend of Sleepy Hollow out front to the delight of the snobby drunk well-to-do folks who attended this soiree. I just realized, cocktail wieners were completely out of the question for this party, CORRECTION – Crab Puff pastries, my bad.
If you can read the very tiny verbiage, it describes talking with our hands as if it was an ancient thing, which is interesting. Jerseyans and New Yorkers are often described as people who talk with their hands, so this part of the ad works on two levels. Here, hand gestures are referred to as a “Handy.” Stop smirking. This is serious beer business.
The handy mumbo jumbo doesn’t make much sense to me, but I chalk that up to it’s age. Maybe at one time it made perfect sense to readers. We don’t really need to connect with this lingo, because apparently, all we need to know is that the “OK” hand signal means this Ballantine stuff is a superlative beer.
According to Wikipedia The new Ballantine is not the same exact brew as it once was because the original recipe from over 100 years ago has been lost to the ages. Presently, it’s been said that the brew is reminiscent of it’s original flavor. I’ve tried it actually found it enjoyable, and easy to drink. If you want to add a vintage flair to your Halloween party this year, give Ballantine a shot, look how happy it made the Knight and Mr. Pumpkinhead!
*Long after I wrote this, a coincidental thing about this beer happened. I was driving home last weekend from Weehawken, NJ on the NJ Turnpike with Miss Sexy Armpit and we saw a giant Ballantine billboard. It looks like this beer is attempting to make a comeback! I had no clue about that either because this post had been in the can for about a month before I even saw that billboard!
Facts about Ballatine from Wikipedia:
– Founded in Newark in 1840, the company stayed in the Ballantine family until the brewery close in 1972.
– Ballantine, based out of Newark, exists in name only nowadays. The brand is owned and marketed by Pabst while the actual brewing is outsourced to Miller.
– Ballatine was a longtime sponsor of the New York Yankees
– Martin Crane on Frasier was a fan of Ballatine beer
WWE’s Damien Sandow Does New Jersey Like A BOSS!
After floating around on the card aimlessly for a while with no true storyline, the multi talented WWE Superstar Damien Sandow is finally coming into his own, well not really his own.
Sandow has been getting over pretty big ever since he’s been impersonating other characters. He’s been showing up as everyone from X-Men villain Magneto to Davy Crockett. This week on Monday Night Raw was his biggest highlight yet as he showed up as Vince McMahon himself barreling down to ringside.
Tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark, during a live Smackdown taping, Sandow showed up as none other than New Jersey’s rock and roll icon, The Boss BRUCE Springsteen! Now I can’t wait to watch the broadcast this Friday on WWE Smackdown!
We thanked our good friend Kenny for the tip and photos on this since he was reporting live from Smackdown and he replied back just as Sandow would with a sarcastic…YOU’RE WELCOME!
Santa Is Coming To New Jersey by Steve Smallman – Review
Jolly old Saint Nick delivers presents all around the world. You already know about that though. And you’re aware that he’s so fast, that if you blink, you’ll miss him. Since you were a kid you knew that if you’ve been good all year, you’ll be left with a plate of half eaten cookies and a slew of presents under the tree on Christmas morning. But no one actually sees any of this happen. One way you can experience Santa’s trek, not fully around the world, but around the country, is to take a look at the children’s book series “Santa Is Coming To…” by Steve Smallman. In my case, he came to New Jersey, duh! The question is, was it worth the trip?
This book series is basically Christmas fluff. It’s perfect to read to your young children during Christmas time. It’s not bogged down in detail, but that’s where it fails. The book series squirts some local flavor into each installment, some of which are inspired by states, others by cities around the country.
In the book, *SPOILERS, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has aged quite a bit. There’s a new, young reindeer, who saves the night for Santa after a blizzard throws the sleigh off course around High Point, NJ. Sprinkled throughout are modern enhancements that the Santa I grew up with didn’t have, such as an On-Star type of talking navigation system.
Critiquing a children’s book feels pretty damn wrong, although, as with most things, I do have one little gripe with it.
My main criticism of the story is that the hero of the book never gets bestowed a name or much of a personality either. The poor little guy didn’t get any credit. He was simply referred to as “the youngest reindeer.” Was the author too nervous to rock the boat that floats around in the lake of Christmas lore? Smallman should’ve been bolder and created his own new reindeer name. We find out numerous times that this new reindeer is young, but we don’t find out much else. He really needed a gimmick. After Rudolph became the most “Hollywood” reindeer, it’s imperative that any subsequent reindeer ups their game. I can’t really figure out if the book was about Christmas in general or this new spry reindeer. There. BAM! I just named him. Spry. If that’s taken by a trademark, why not just call him Vigor or something along those lines? See, I’m an idea man. They should’ve consulted with me first.
Rudolph was so memorable that Santa’s other reindeer now seem so dull. Each one now needs to have a special characteristic to keep them from boring children. Maybe one of them is able to twirl a basketball on his hoof like a North Pole Globetrotter, another one might be a halfway decent break dancer who’s practicing his ass off to go to the neighborhood break dance tournament, then there could always be that one really smart reindeer who has a genius brain, but feels like he’s stagnating in a nine to five finance position, but his superior mind becomes a great advantage to Santa when he’s called up by the big man in red to help the rest of the reindeer on Christmas Eve. These are all valid suggestions.
Come to think of it, the need to keep this book series generic is where it fails. To plug in all the various locales that the series offers into the same story requires the plot to be very broad, but it’s the lack of details and character development that will hinder it from sitting on your shelf with the other yearly Christmas reads.
The New Jersey aspect of the book was adequate. It’s hard to expect it to be a “tour guide” of the state by any means, but it was certainly pretty cool for what it is. We get to see a couple of nicely done art splashes of recognizable buildings and points of interest in Newark and Atlantic City. The cover of the book is really the best part since it brings it all together, plus it includes Lucy the Elephant and what looks to me like the Loews Jersey City Theatre. Robert Dunn’s illustrations have a vintage quality that remind me of the ones I remember seeing in story books in the library when I was young.
Should you go out of your way to get this book? The story itself is light reading, and since it’s a kids book, you can read it to them in no time. Considering a hardcover copy is $4.99 on Amazon at this very second, I’d say it’s worth it if you are into Christmas and New Jersey or you think your kids will enjoy it. Otherwise, you’ve seen all you need to see in this post. Santa is Coming to New Jersey will entertain the kid with a low attention span in your life during Christmas time, but it will never take the place of children’s classics like The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
THE MEDICI IRIS by Max Medford: Book Review
During the the time I spent with this book, I got a few “what are you reading?” inquiries. Thinking of how to sum this book up and provide an answer to that was a bit of a challenge, but all I had to do was look right there at the bottom of page one: “A tale of murder, sex, drugs…and horticulture.” If that’s not enough of a description, here’s a few key words for you:
Beer, bar trivia games, organized crime, drugs, mysterious monks, strippers, corrupt cops, and crimson colored flowers. More than enough to elicit your attention I gather.
The characters Medford embroils into these exploits feel familiar. From the get go, we become acquainted with Wes Barino, our chain smokin’, sub makin’ main character. Right away I put myself in his shoes and even though he’s supposed to be twenty-something, I pretended he was thirty-something. Wes drives an old Chrysler LeBaron, a detail that I got a kick out of since that was my first car. He’s also a master at the bar trivia game, Quiztouch, a diversion that he’s perfected at a nearby Houlihan’s while drinking with his best friend, Scott, who trolls the establishment for women.
To me, Scott wasn’t as likable as some classic best friends like Stiles from Teen Wolf for instance. I always use that comparison, even though Stiles was occasionally kind of a douche as well. I pictured Scott to be played by Kevin Connolly a.k.a “E” from HBO’s Entourage, sort of annoying, tries too hard, but a fiercely loyal friend. Scott, who drives an IROC, usually goes a little overboard and he’s clearly a bad influence on Wes, who usually keeps his nose clean, well, not always.
You’ll be able to relate to Medford’s real dialogue, especially between Wes and Scott. Their banter sounds like it might have been transcribed from a conversation you had while hanging out with your friend the other night.
It comes to Wes and Scott’s attention that the Quiztouch game is holding a grand competition to determine the national champion of the game in Texas. Before the big championship, they’ll hold a regional tournament to see who advances. Wes enters. It’s a chance for him to do something that he’s really good at while possibly winning a small jackpot. And as Clark Griswold once said “Getting there is half the fun, you know that!” Since I think of everything in film terms, the quest to get to the big game tournament reminded me of “Video Armageddon” in 1989’s The Wizard.
Before Wes and Scott embark on their quest, there’s a whole load of other drama going on. Wes has to deal with his on-again off-again girlfriend who’s made up of Italian stereotypes, Sam, but he can’t keep his mind off her. She thinks Wes needs to quit the sub shop and do something more worthwhile with his life. Then there’s also his sister who’s having issues of her own with her husband who’s a cop keeping tabs on Wes. As if that’s not enough, there’s mysterious messages forming on her fridge. Oh and one more, Wes has an enigmatic flower growing in his yard that is devouring his attention.
Wes can barely focus on all this stuff, but the Quiztouch competition requires ultimate mental sharpness. Piling on even more tension, Wes has been having weird blackouts which have him visiting the doctor. It can’t seem to get much crazier until Wes and Scott get appointed delivery boys. They are bestowed with the precarious task of making a drop-off of a mysterious, locked duffel bag on their journey.
Geographical details of The Medici Iris obviously provide a nice frame of reference if you’re from Jersey or even have a loose knowledge of it from seeing it on TV. Naturally, for a Jersey freak like me, the Garden State backdrop made me feel even more like I was right there with Wes and his buddy Scott in the book. The duo traverses New Jersey from Montclair and Newark all the way down to the Pine Barrens. The NJ newspaper, The Star Ledger, is also makes a few prominent appearances.
Also a regional thing, the usage of Sub/Hoagie in vernacular gets brought up. Personally, I’ve never actually heard anyone refer to a sub sandwich as a hoagie, but one of our convenience store chains, WaWa, which happens to be represented in the book, sells these sandwiches under the guise of Hoagies, NOT subs. I give them a pass because they make decent subs, even though they’re clearly weirdos. What’s weirder, one customer at the sub-shop in the book refers to a sub as a “grinder,” and is appropriately scolded for it.
I had no idea what to expect The Medici Iris, especially since the plot synopsis sounded all over the place. I found myself tearing through the book just to see how the hell it was going to come together. I wasn’t frustrated by all the twists, turns, and red herrings in the least, in fact, they enticed me even more. Medford methodically builds a mondo amount of suspense as the story ascends to it’s rousing finale. All the while ancillary thrills and mini cliffhangers provide a lot fun along the way. Even after the first 50 pages I wasn’t entirely sure where the book was taking me, but all I knew was that it was amusing and I thoroughly enjoyed the story that’s constructed like a wild mouse roller coaster.
The Medici Iris satisfied my desire for “something cool to happen,” while allowing me to stay out of trouble altogether. If you read this book you might wind up asking yourself “why can’t this stuff happen to me?” Wes and Scott ran into a few of those surreal experiences – the kind of times where you feel like they may not really be happening, so you have to pinch yourself. Competently, Medford’s intertwining plot unfolds in a similar way to an Elmore Leonard crime novel or in films like 1994’s Pulp Fiction and 1999’s Go, and even the slacker masterpiece Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
The style of the adventure incorporated stream of consciousness and it felt very cinematic. If you’re a fan of films like 1985’s After Hours and Into the Night, you’ll dig this. While I definitely recommend this book to my fellow New Jerseyans, I also say that if you have an insatiable desire for never-ending stories, fantastic voyages, and excellent adventures, I suggest you read The Medici Iris. It may change the way you look at stuff.
New Jersey Runs On Dunkin’!
Gotham City, NJ: More Evidence!
If you aren’t familiar with this, there is quite a lot of evidence to prove that Batman actually operates out of New Jersey rather than New York. The trend seemed to start in the mid to late ’80s and early ’90s. As I detailed in the original post there were several occasions that dropped clues and even blatant facts that Gotham was indeed meant to be in NJ. Now, with the release of The Dark Knight Rises upon us, there’s even more of a reason to finally let go of the past and embrace change.
New York City is the greatest city in the world, there’s no doubt about it. It’s sickening amount of notoriety and fame will last eons. Let us, The Garden State, be proud of our connection with Batman – whether it’s a theory of an underground blogger or not. We in Jersey didn’t ask for MTV’s Jersey Shore. How much do you like guidos? That’s exactly how much New Jersey likes them. No silly MTV show being filmed here can ever compare to the fact that The Dark Knight Rises was filmed literally right down the highway in Newark, NJ.
Onto the further evidence that has been collected. I initially discovered this information back in December 2011, but I kept this one under wraps until we arrived at July 2012, in time for the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The excellent horror blogger and movie reviewer Chuck Conry over at Zombies Don’t Run posted several pictures he found of a package containing promotional materials from The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign. The package included a Bane T-Shirt as well as a map of Gotham. Posted above is a shot of this map that depicts a very familiar HOOK.
I’m not referring to Captain Hook or the memorable part of a song…I’m talking about my favorite barrier island: Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is clearly labeled on the promo Gotham map. While this is simply Batman’s movie continuity, there’s still lots of clues in the comics as well. Take for instance Nightwing’s ‘hood, Bludhaven. The crime infested city has been pinpointed by DC Comics as southern New Jersey, possibly Little Egg Harbor, Brigantine, or Atlantic City. There we have hints in the movies and the comics, but what about the ’60s Batman TV show? Yep, we have that covered as well!
In New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments 27 you can read how BATMAN AND NEW GUERNSEY are PURRRFECT TOGETHER!!!
I don’t think you can argue with the piece of evidence posted above. If I convinced my man Eric and his young daughter from all the way across the country in Cali into believers, then that means it’s the real deal! Follow him on Twitter Twitter.com/BubbaShelby ! And if all of my research has proven true, then The Dark Knight Rises is truly a homecoming for Batman. Please feel free to weigh in with your opinion on the actual location of Gotham City!
Drive-In and Fly-In Theaters In New Jersey
Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. (a sales manager at his father’s auto parts company according to Wikipedia) opened the first Drive-In move theater under the name Park In-Theaters, Inc on June 6th, 1933 on Crescent Boulevard in Camden, NJ. Usually each car paid under a dollar for admission, vastly less than the astronomical prices for movies today. You can read the history of Hollingshead and his theater via this link at the History Channel’s website.
The mid-’80s saw the decline of the Drive-In movie theater. Hope is not lost though. Within the last few years the dine-in trend is coming back, so maybe we’ll see the resurgence of the Drive-In theater?
At the height of the Drive-In craze, Newark, NJ had one of the largest Drive-Ins in the country, but things started to get out of hand. In 1948 Ed Brown’s Fly-In and Drive-In opened in Asbury Park, NJ. Planes landed at a nearby airfield and were allowed to taxi to the back row which was designated for planes.Sounds like Disney’s Cars world, doesn’t it? This outdoor theater had space for 500 cars and 25 airplanes. The formula must have proven successful since another generic Fly-In/Drive-In opened in Belmar in the ’50s.
Considering that I’m not a huge fan of the revamped Dine-In theater gimmick, chances are, the Drive-In Theater wouldn’t appeal to me much either. Apparently, many people in my family managed and worked at a drive-in theater in New Jersey for several years and during high school and college I worked at the local theater as well, so I have a unique perspective. Ultimately, I’d rather be on my couch relaxing while watching a blu-ray and sipping some iced tea and chowing down on food that a waitress doesn’t have to interrupt the movie to bring over to me.
If you’re feeling nostalgic and you want to take the fam out for a night at the movies, why not bypass the usual 24-plex and pay a visit to The Delsea Drive-In in Vineland, New Jersey!
*You can find some of the information in this post at http://www.driveintheater.com/drivhis1.htm#oddities
The Devils: Jersey’s Team
As we say goodbye to our NBA franchise here in New Jersey, we can be thankful that we still have the New Jersey Devils in the NHL. They are presently the ONLY professional sports franchise with balls (or pucks) big enough to tout their Jersey affiliation.
The Devils home ice is at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. “The Rock” as it’s known is one of the coolest venues for sports and concerts in New Jersey. It’s accessibility from anywhere you are in the area is unmatched and the restaurants and bars all have awesome views of the arena action. You’ll see lots of Devils memorabilia and signage around the grand concourse level including the above pictured map of New Jersey that I snapped a picture of the last time I was there.
Presently, the New Jersey Devils are 0-1 in the conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
WWE No Way Out Pay-Per-View at IZOD CENTER in NJ
You don’t need to wait until April 7th, 2013 to witness a live WWE Pay Per View event here in New Jersey! Wrestlemania 28 doesn’t happen until next Sunday, but WWE is already priming for their big visit to New Jersey for Wrestlemania 29 with one of their smaller pay per views: No Way Out on June 17th, 2012. The event will take place at the IZOD Center which is right next to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford NJ, home of Wrestlemania 29. There’s a pre-sale going on, but tickets go on sale to the public this Saturday March 24th at 10:00am.