Saturday, December 30, 2006
Playing at the Wonderbar...  
Jersey's own Uncle Floyd.

As mentioned quickly last post, Lucky and I went to see a show at Lance and Debbie's Wonder Bar in Asbury Park. Opening up the holiday-themed event was a blues band called Outside the Box. Members of the band were still in high school, having played together for a few years. The audience consisted of family members including apparent grandparents, and friends with big black Xs on their hands (so they couldn't get drinks). They were pretty darn good, and adding their age as a factor... they could be a good novelty to add to this year's Jazz Fest in New Orleans.

The headliner was Uncle Floyd. And I was in U68 Heaven!!! He did a mix of schtick and mu-schtick... lots of clean "dirty jokes" (the kind your grandpop would tell) and some piano plunky stuff... he finished with "Deep in the Heart of Jersey" which Lucky and I have been known to sing in the car. Word to the wise: Don't go to the bathroom when he's performing... he'll stop until you come back! Uncle Floyd, you're not just David Bowie's hero, you're mine too!

The closer was Everlounge, a band we had seen before since the RockingCs are friends with the backup singer. They performed "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" which has gotten some airplay years ago when they were the Whirling Dirvishes.

We had gone with the RockingCs (in their 40s) and with the KSisters (in their 20s)... guess which ones were yawning first!!! Kids today... :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006
Merry Christmas 2006!  

Trailer Tree
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
May all of you have a great holiday... I will tell you all about the Uncle Floyd/ Everlounge concert at Asbury Park's Wonder Bar later this week ... I promise! Now off to Ma's for some chicken pastries... yum yum.

This photo was taken December 17, 2006 at the Monmouth Mobile Home Park on Rt. 1, Monmouth Junction, NJ. According to the website, two employees of the Mobile Home Park (where the "nice people" live according to their sign) wrap this tree each year by hand.

(2006 Statistics: A 300 Amp Service for 102,601 White Lights; Approximately 8.5 Miles of Lights and Extension Chords.)

Monday, December 18, 2006
Go Town Go!  

Go Town Go!
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
So I won a photography contest... This photo of the high school cheerleaders performing at the town street fair placed first in a blind competition. Not that big of a deal considering the public library-sponsored contest was called "A Day in the Life of Your Home Town"... and most of the entries didn't really capture the theme. But I did win a gift certificate to the local Mexican restaurant and that definitely is a "great deal."

Thursday, December 14, 2006
Rockin' with the Dinosaurs  

Chuck Berry at his car
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
Back in September, Lucky and I went to the Commerce Bank Park in Bridgewater to see Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. Yes, I have to agree with Lucky that JLL gave a better performance BUT... he's about a decade younger than CB, he played a 20 minute set, and he didn't have to play the guitar. Chuck's dexterity at 80 wasn't quite there but his independent streak still was... he actually drove himself to the hotel he was staying at. That's his towncar in the back...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
NJ Hall of Fame  
There will be a museum built shortly regarding the heroes of NJ. This NJ Hall of Fame is currently accepting votes for the 2007 inductees from five categories: Historical, General, Sports, Arts & Entertainment, and Science and Technology. Not all the nominees are NJ born and those who were born in NJ don't necessarily still live here (if they are still alive). It's definitely a pretty good mix.

The mission of the NJHF is to "honor our citizens who have made invaluable contributions to society and the world beyond. The Hall of Fame also wants to send a message to children that they can and should strive for excellence in any endeavor of their choosing. By offering them role models, we also hope and trust that the Hall of Fame will become a source of inspiration and hope for all New Jersey children."

Who will be paying for this museum? Well, right now plans are to raise all monies through private donations. We will see if that works out. Considering that NJ legislation created it and it's under the auspices of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), it's already wrapped in NJ politics. But then again... we do need something NJ-specific for tourists to visit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Thank you NFL...  
Not for myself. I only attend the Super Bowl party I go to because I'm allowed to wear my feetsy pjs and eat soup (Souper Bowl, get it?!)... but for all those Rutgers football fans.

Unfortunately, the bowl that RU will be playing will be aired on the NFL Network which is not carried by Cablevision or Time Warner. Not that I blame the cable companies for not carrying the channel (apparently the money the NFL wants would raise my bill by $1 for one stinkin' channel... and it's not Style), but not having the chance to see the local team make good is well, not. So... Lautenberg and Corzine asked the NFL Network to provide access to the game. And the politicians pulled thru!

The NFL Network will be providing free week of coverage the week between Christmas and New Year's. That way all those Scarlet lovers can be happy. And I don't have to hear their whining. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006
Like a Rolling Stone..  
So in the year of free concerts, we must add The Rolling Stones on September 27 at Giants Stadium. As with Bon Jovi (did I mention that yet?), the seats were in the nosebleed section but why should we complain... the tickets were donated.

Mick Jagger was a little predictable and preening like a teenager looks ridiculous when you are able to order from the senior menu at Denny's. But his vocals were good, as was Keith "Nine Lives" Richards'. They started the show rather late (9:46) even thought the opening act (Kanye West... yup, Not bad but don't really think it was the best match considering Dave Matthews, Alice Cooper, Van Morrison, and Elvis Costello were some of the other openers on this tour) was on time. That's not a big deal if it's a weekend... but it wasn't.

PS: These seats would have cost almost $90 including parking, service fees, etc. if we would have paid for the tickets. Now there were fireworks and you can see the big screens behind the band... but ticket prices are making it harder for fans to afford to see their music heroes.

Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Cookie Exchange  
Tonight, Lucky and I are going to a cookie exchange. We are NOT participating in the actual exchange of cookies. People who are have to make 23 bags of cookies. That's not 23 cookies, but 23 BAGS of cookies. Sometimes it's just two or three cookies per bag but it still totals around 7 dozen cookies. Which means not only do you have to make 7 dozen cookies, but you have to then eat 7 dozen cookies. Even if you freeze half of them, and then pass some off to others, you are still stuck with a bunch of calorie-laden temptations during the holiday season. And I honestly, don't need that.

We will be, however, participating in the "White Elephant" part of the party. I was watching a travel show, and learned the origin of the term....

White elephants (they really aren't white... just some parts of them are lighter than regular elepants) were regarded as holy in ancient times in Thailand and other Asian countries. To keep a white elephant was a very expensive task, since you had to provide the elephant with special food, and provide access for people who wanted to come and worship it. If a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would, in most cases, ruin the recipient.

Talk about passive aggressive behavior!

Anyways, here's to a good gift exchange; maybe I can get something I actually like.

Friday, December 08, 2006
Ask George...  

Washington Rock
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
In this photo, you see General Washington answering questions regarding NJ's involvement in the Revolutionary War during Somerset County's "Discover the Past Weekend" Oct. 15, 2006.

Lucky and I also visited some other places including Kirch-Ford House in Warren, and The Brick Academy in Basking RIdge. Lots of fun.

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Goodbye, CBGB  

CBGB 2006 or 1976?
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
Country, Bluegrass, or Blues wasn't played the last week CBGB was open. Lucky and I caught its last ska show (headlined by The Pietasters) on October 5.

Although we had been to the Stone Pony a gazillion times and I had been to both The Bitter End and The Bottom Line, CBGB was never visited. So it was odd... discovering something that we could come to love and knowing that it was too late to develop the relationship.

As most of you know, the Ramones, Television, and Talking Heads all got their start in this hole in the wall. And I am NOT kidding about it being a hole in the wall. The bar is what some call "shotgun style", meaning that it's long and narrow (a bullet could go through the front door and out the back). Dust on the monitors hadn't been moved since the 1970s and the walls were being held up by poster glue and stickers.

The end of CBGB is a sign of the times. The landlord, Bowery Residents' Committee -- a non-profit organization that runs a homeless shelter above the premises kicked it out, saying there was back rent due (paperwork is iffy on that)... the fact is that they wanted a bigname company to move in. Just like many landlords in Westfield, NJ had done... kick out the independent businesses that created the feel of the neighborhood and make it another Starbucks/Gap outside mall.

CBGB's owner says that he has plans to move it to Las Vegas. A perfect fit, I think. As long as they don't make it too shiny.

(More photos on Flickr)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Boo to you  

Halloween Parade
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
Our little Jersey village has been having a town Halloween parade for over 70 years. Awards are given in the town square for the best costumes. The judges also give many of the kids who participate a silver dollar. It's not a big parade... maybe 150 people walking including the mayor and council, and then Santa in the firetruck.

We would watch the parade and then go to the local chinese restaurant for dinner (They gave out fortune cookies to the trick-or-treaters).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Memories of Tico Taco  
The national (heck maybe even international) news has been filled with stories about the local Taco Bell. In high school, our family would frequent it quite a bit since my brother was a growing boy who needed to eat every three hours... the box of 10 tacos would be gone in a flash (8 of them going to my brother).

The talk of "e coli and Mexican food" evolved into a trip down memory lane for the Mexican restaurant of our youth, Tico Taco. In the 70s, there wasn't much diversity in NJ restaurants (Basically, you had a choice between Chinese and Italian) but on Rt. 22, there was a grungy dark place marked by a life-size concrete man with a sombrero pulling a burro saddled with bags.

Tico Taco had the greatest coconut punch served in a giant glass (we kids would often share one since it was sooo big) and the tacos were soft and had a layer of cheese between the two thin tortillas that wrapped the mystery meat goodness. On weekends, Tico Taco had live music and a wandering gypsy telling fortunes. We loved eating there or just picking stuff up to bring home... even after a friend who worked in the back told us horror stories about the dishwashing and cockroaches! We figured that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Did I mention that the food was yummy?! The restaurant was knocked down in the late 80s and there's now a Pizza Hut in its stead; we now have a wonderful Mexican restaurant in the downtown. But it's not the same. Memories won't let it be.

Monday, December 04, 2006
Turkey Drive  

Turkey Drive
Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
Our store held a turkey drive for the Community FoodBank of NJ just in time for Thanksgiving. Although it was the first year, our customers brought enough frozen turkeys and canned foods to filled an entire van! I marketed this event hard so it was nice to see it make all the local papers and TV stations. Even one school participated because they found it mentioned on the internet. Yay, me.

Sunday, December 03, 2006
There's no pretending... She still got it!  
Lucky and I got to see Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, The Pretenders play a packed room at the Starland Ballroom, Nov 29th.

I felt a bit tall when I got there and was trying to figure out if I was wearing my "tall shoes" when I realized that it was because a vast majority of the crowd were female! I never thought of The Pretenders as a "girlie" band, just one fronted by a ballsy female, so being surrounded by an audience that was 5'7 and under (the guys were short too!), was a bit offputting.

The band that opened up for them was called FOURGOODMEN, comprised of former members of Big Country and Simple Minds (no, not Jim Kerr!). They sang some originals along with the hits their past bands had had. The energy was wonderful and you could definitely tell that those four guys (and the girl who played the bagpipes) were having the time of their lives. This was the second time we heard "(In a) Big Country" performed at the Starland... the first being performed by The Alarm a few years back.

Chrissie Hynde could theoretically be my mother agewise, but her attitude was so not "mom" (even though she is one), it was more of that cool chick in high school who you struggled to be like. She sang many of the hits but also threw in some obscure stuff that she felt like playing; even played some requests. Lucky was very excited when one of the first songs the Pretenders played was... "Night in My Veins." I enjoyed "Popstar" which was a nice dig at the teeniebopper blondes of late ( I imagine Pink must have been influenced by Ms. Hynde).

The Starland is a fabulous facility for music... For the same ticket price, I wouldn't even have bleacher seats to see other legends. And here I was, within 50 feet of a walking legend with killer arms and vocals.

Saturday, December 02, 2006
Mummy Bread  

Originally uploaded by TheJerseyTomato.
In Equador, "Guaguas de Pan" breads (bread babies) like these are made for All Saints Day and All Souls Day. People decorate the graves of relatives (usually those who died that year). They stay all day near the graveyard and "share" the food with the deceased. Typically, it goes with "Colada Morada" (Purple Porridge), beverage made of fruits and aromatic herbs.

My mom and I got these cute breads (They tasted like yummy dinner rolls) at the local Equadorian bakery along with the Colada Morada which was a warm, blackish purple liquid that had small pieces of pineapple and tasted like stewed berries.

Friday, December 01, 2006
It's been awhile...  
Yes, you've seen these apologetic posts on blogs everywhere. When life is either too boring or too exciting to write about. Well, inspired by the NaBloPoMo Event that FrenchToastGirl participated in (National Blog Posting Month for those not in the know), I will be attempting to post every day in December.

I promise that the posts will not be about whether or not McGreevey is truly gay (as according to Cipel on Larry King) but more about the exciting things I have done in NJ or as a representative of this fine state.

The Past:
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • Archives 2002-05

    Jersey Links:
    Courier News
    Weird NJ Magazine
    NJ Monthly
    The Stone Pony
    NJ Diners
    NJ Blogs
    FrenchToastGirl (another Jersey Girl)

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