Excitables for Feb. 16-19

There’s an extra day added to this weekend’s exictables and for good reason. It’s President’s Day weekend, that convergence of Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays that allow us to pause and remember the great men who have led our county. People like Millard Filmore, James Tyler and Rutherford B. Hayes. Yep, not every president is a keeper, which is why this weekend is perhaps better known for buying cars than celebrating those 43 white dudes who ran things or tried to run things.

Anyway, if you’re truly in the spirit. Try these things.

Ken Burns, Civil War — It just recently aired on PBS and there’s a new digitally enhanced box set available on DVD. If you don’t want to spend the $100+ on the discs they are all available on Netflix or wherever you rent your discs. The 13-hour sprawling masterpiece focuses much of it’s attention on Abraham Lincoln but there’s also quite about Ulysses S. Grant as well. The documentary is beautifully narrated by historian David McCullough, which brings us to….

John Adams, David McCullough — There may be no better loved biography in recent years and this about one of the more forgetable presidents. Not just one of the best historical books JC has read but also one of the best books period.

If you liked John Adams you may also want to check out 1776. McCullough’s account of the first year of the revolutionary war has lots of then General George Washington and a lot of detail on New Jersey’s role during the early days of fighting including of course the Battle of Trenton.Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland Birth Place, 207 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ (973) 226-0001 — You’ve probably passed by it a half dozen times on Bloomfield Avenue so maybe this weekend is the time to take the kids over to the The Grover Cleveland Birth Place. The ancestral home of the only president who was so nice they elected him twice, and the only president named after a muppet. The museum houses artifacts such as the President’s cradle, his chair from the White House and his fishing gear. Call ahead for hours before heading over.

If dead presidents aren’t your thing. Here are a couple of other alternatives to pass away the time:

Fat Tuesday Cometh Oddfellows in Hoboken is celebrating Mardi Gras beginning tonight and lasting through Fat Tuesday, Feb. 20. We hear there will be drinking and food there.

Get Your Motor Running — In the cinemas this week. Jersey movie lovers have three pretty credible choices. Breach, the spy drama staring Ryan Phillippe and the always good Chris Cooper; Ghost Rider, the Nic Cage comic book caper and Bridge to Terabithia. So far it looks like Breach is getting most of the critical reviews but we’re gonna place our bets on Terabithia’s ad campaign, which probably showed enough to interest parents and children alike. As for Ghost Rider, the comic has its fan base, but, as with horror flicks, comic book movies that get rescheduled from the summer to a winter release are usualy clunkers. Daredevil, anyone?

Music and Lyrics, the Drew Barrymore/Hugh Grant Valentines Day vehicle, which opened on Wednesday, is also in wide release and should do well despite uniformly crappy reviews. I’ll make the producers a deal. I’ll suffer through it if they promise to take that commercial off the air, that stupid song they sing sticks in your head like glue.

Did we miss something? Leave us your comments below or drop us a line by clicking here.

Have a happy weekend everyone.

JC

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