Archive for March, 2007

Excitables for the Weekend of March 30-April 1

March 30, 2007

Its the time of year when Spring is in the air and the sports world begins to shake off the snow that’s been building on its shoulders. By Monday we’ll know who the NCAA basketball champion is, Jerseycool’s uneducated guess is Ohio State and, perhaps more importantly, baseball season begins.

The locals are in action early as the Mets kick off the season on Sunday night against the world champion Cardinals. 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Yankees follow April 2 as they open the season at home against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 1:05 p.m. Bosses get ready to field the sick day calls.

Skate Away — There’s sports galore in the theaters as well. Wil Ferrel continueBlades of Glorys his lifelong pursuit to mock every sport and sports figure in the country in Blades of Glory. As the appropriately named Chaz Michael Michaels Ferrel teams with Jon Heder of Napolean Dynamite fame as the first male-male figure skating team. Presumably Hilarity ensues. the movie is getting decent reviews, but oh does it really matter.

Noir Weekend — Classic movie fans can catch three film noir classics at the Lowe’s Theater in Jersey City this weekend. Double Indemnity plays tonight at 8 p.m., Out of the Past is at 4 p.m. Saturday and the weekend wraps with Sunset Boulevard 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Nothing on the tube — After your done watching basketball the most interesting thing on TV this weekend is “Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award.” It’s describes as a roundtable hosted by Anderson Cooper including Jerry and comedy friends Chris Rock, Gary Shandling and Robert Klein. Despite the title this sounds funny. HBO, 9 p.m.

Staying Home — The weekend promises to be a nice one so we don’t recommend staying home. Buuut if you have a broken leg or something we recommend catching up with the latest Bond movie, the remake of Casino Royale.

Looking for a good book to read? We’re in the middle of Charles C. Mann’s 1491, an account of North and South American Indian culture and history before Columbus. You guessed it. Everything your history teacher taught you in high school was wrong.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC

Advertisements

Without a Doubt Sanjaya Should Go

March 28, 2007

Using my best corporate speak, there were two takeaways from last night’s American Idol. One, Gwen Stefani is really, really good looking and two, Sanjaya Malakar’s time on American Idol needs to end.

That’s not to say it will. I could easily see either Chris Sligh or Haley Scarnato hit the road this week but Sanjaya really should Sanjaya Malakarbe next.

It was No Doubt night on AI, well, at least songs that Gwen Stefani was inspirted by, including the No Doubt cannon, which only three contestents dipped into.

The playlist was long on the Police, the Cure and classic disco tracks, about what you’d expect from Stefani, who, other than looking radient, coached our young idols with about as much passion as she has for rejoining No Doubt. In the words of Haley Scarnato, she clocked in and clocked out, and there should have been a little Pop Up Video bubble over her head that said “Hi, I’m Gwen Stefani kids, buy my records.”

Ah but when Gwen wasn’t on screen (did we mention she looked really, really good) there was a singing competition going on and our forementioned Mr. Malakar may have finally run his course. If he losses the vote it wont be for his bad vocals, which were their usual atrocious but because he messed with those fine locks of hair on his head. Malakar decided, we suppose in honor of Tony Kanel, to braid his hair into a puffy mohawk. The granny block will be none-too-pleased and this comes not a moment too soon.

Mr Malakar, you can butcher Diana Ross, you can butcher The Kinks, but damn it, butchering No Doubt songs is messing with Jerseycool’s musical youth and this will not be tolerated.

Sanjaya looks like he’s reached the point where he knows he won’t win and he’s just having fun with the competition. That’s all fine and everything but when you start turning things into a cartoon it disresepects the competition and just like disrespecting the Bing in the Sopranos there are dire consequences for Idol contestents.

Anyway, performace of the night was by Gina Glockson who did justice to the Pretenders “I’ll Stand By You.” We didn’t think we’d ever write that about The Glock and I’m sure JerseyCool’s Idol fans never thought they’d read it. Good show fake rocker girl.

Lakisha and Melinda Doolittle both took the night off stretching their range with a pair of disco songs and Phil Stacey bored us again. We heard Chris Richardson closed the show with No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” but we used this time to hit the bathroom before House came on.

We’re gonna pick tonight as Sanjaya’s night to head home but we could easily see Chris Sligh whacked for butchering “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” (Note to contestants, unless your first name is a bee-related verb, don’t try to sing this song. It falls into the same Idol killer category as Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”)

Haley Scarnato is also a popular pick to go but we think she may have hit on something by showing the gams for a second straight week.

PS: We’re giving AI producers a big ol’ JereseyCool boooo after reading reports that the results show will expand to an hour. The rational is that with performances and their new charity this year they need an hour to get through everything. We think the expanded hour has a whole lot more to do with May sweeps coming up than any of that. It’s the viewers fault. Until we stop tuning in to anything but the last 10 minutes of the show AI will continue to treat its loyalists like teats full of money.

JC

What You Eat Can Kill You

March 27, 2007

Great piece on CNN today about teenagers with food allergies. The story centers on teenager who bit into a cookie that had peanut butter in it and then died an hour later. We’ve all heard this story before but isn’t it about time that the food industry did something about this.

We have selfish reasons here. My partner in crime C has a food allergy and in addition to the fact that we pretty much have to act like Gestapo whenever we eat out there is always the chance that something bad might sneak through. We won’t even get into the linguistic gyrations we’ve had to go through at some Chinese restaurants. And of course people aren’t perfect and sometimes they do forget to ask. You shouldn’t have to die or spend a few hours in the emergency room because of a mistake.

We really had hoped the food industry would have solved this problem by now and it’s a pretty simple one to solve. Instead of relying on people telling their server what they are allergic too how about the menu tellingĀ  people. A simple color coded system on the menu would be all that’s needed. Say items in red contain peanut or peanut oil, items in green have gluten or wheat in them, items in blue contain no known allergens.

Sure restaurants would have to redesign their menus but think of how much they good will and customers they could gain by making just a few simple changes.

JC

The Inconvenient Truth: Al Gore Can’t Run for President

March 27, 2007

There are moments during “An Inconvenient Truth” where I’m picturing my Republican friends throwing bricks at their flat screen televisions. It’s not the science parts, which aside from some quibles here and there, is mostly accurate and largely compelling.

No, it’s the shots of Al Gore on his farm, or pensivly looking over his global warming slide show on his laptop, or working from his home office doggedly dedicated to the cause that probably irritate them. It’s a bit like the shots of President BusAn Inconvenient Truthh clearing brush on his ranch that irritate the heck out of liberals. Gore is often portrayed in the film as a wronged politician and the only guy in the room who got things right. What’s really scary is the film may be right.

This is a serious issue for us here in New Jersey. If you’ve ever been to Island Beach State Park or to Long Beach Island than you know there’s a thin strip of barrier island that protects the Garden State from whatever lurks out there in the Atlantic. If Gore is right most of those places Jerseyans hold dear would be under water.

We generally refrain from politics here on Jerseycool but we will dip our toes in this if only for a moment. Gore’s slideshow should be required viewing for everyone whethor or not you agree with his politics. There are a good number of partisans out there who scoff at Gore, calling him the man who invented the Internet. But the issue at the forefront of “An Inconvenient Truth” and the consequences of not acting on global warming leave no room for jokes.

This brings me to my main point and this is directed squarly at Mr. Gore, who I’m sure is an avid JerseyCool reader and will see this shortly. Al you can’t run for president.

Here’s why.

If Gore truly believes in the threat caused by global warming and by watching “An Inconvenient Truth” it seems he does then it cannot be cheapened. If Gore runs for president then the entire film ceases to become a rallying cry for action and instead will become a piece of propaganda. Sure, the science will still be there, but the motivation will be tainted just enough to derail any progress.

So what should Gore do if he doesn’t run for president? May we suggest a sequel. There’s more to Gore’s slideshow than what’s in “An Inconvenient Truth” he should show more of it and “An Inconvenient Truth: Part 2” would give Gore a chance to answer and/or clarify some of the science that’s been questioned.

Gore has already taken his campaign to Congress. He should take it to the American people on television, on radio and on the Internet. Instead of being the guy who invented the Internet, he shold be the guy who got Americans to take their energy consumption seriously. What Gore can do more than anything else is bring attention and focus to global warming more effectivly than the national media or anyone else can at the moment.

As history has show any idiot can become president, how many people get the chance to save the planet?

JC

Sushi Hana Serves it Hot and Cold

March 26, 2007

Sushi Hana
5 North Fullerton Ave.
Montclair, NJ
973- 746-3900
http://www.sushi-hana.net

There are a lot of sushi resteurants to choose from in Northern New Jersey and it seems like everyday there’s opSushi Hanaening up almost every week, usually pushing out an Italian restaurant. Here in Jerseycool’s home base of Montclair this is abundantly clear as Azora, Sushi Hana, Nori and Neuvou Sushi all compete within a single mile of one another. This doesn’t even take into account Asian influenced places like Noodle Central and Daruma.

Everyone has their favorite sushi place. I could sing the praises of Sushi Hana’s Boston Roll but if you like the falvor and style of some of Nori’s fruit and fish inspired rolls I won’t be able to convince you otherwise. Like Pizza, there a thin crust people and deep dish people.

We’ve always been Sushi Hana people, C likes the ornamental boats that come with the Sushi for two specials, while I’m usually impressed by the freshness of the fish.

We went early on the Friday and Sushi Hana had not gotten into full swing yet. The resteurant has a sizeable front room and they have a garden outside, which is one of the nicer outdoor spots in town. We sat in the booth are with about four or five other couples, some with small children.

I noted that the music was fairly low and things seemed to be just warming up. Sushi Hana is at it’s best when the place is full and large, ornatly dressed boats of fish are passing by your table. This is definatly more of a family sushi place and lacks the trendy feel of Nori or Nuveau Sushi.

But it’s the food that counts and we were pretty happy with the meal. The only dissapointing part of the meal was the appetizer, a grilled squid that came out a bit chewy. We reccomend the shu mai or the Japanese spring rolls as appetizers.

For a main course C had shrimp katsu which they heated in aluminum foil with a flame thingy, which added a bit of theater to the meail. The shrimp and vegetables were cooked perfectly while I opted for two rolls: the Santi Roll, eel and avocado topped with salmon and tuna and the Samba Roll, spicy tuna with tempura flakes rolled with crispy rice.

It was a nice combination of a soft roll (the Santi) with a crunchy one (the Samba) but it’s tough to go wrong at Sushi Hana. The resteurant has a seemingly endless menu of rolls and Japanese fair so it’s tough not to find something you’d like and actuallye we’d like to see the menu paired a bit so it would be a bit easier to navigate. There, however, are small criticisms, Sushi Hana is still our sushi of choice in Montclair.

JC

Excitables for the Week of March 23-25

March 23, 2007

It’s all about the March Madness this weekend as the NCAA National Championship goes into it’s second weekend. Games are throughout the weekend on CBS winding up with the Eastern Regional final, which is being held right here in beautiful East Rutherford, NJ.

Not into basketball. No worries. There’s plenty going on this first weekend of spring.

CGeorge Carlinarlin calling — George Carlin visits the State Theater in New Brunswick for two performances Saturday night at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. JerseyCool caught Carlin at the State Theater many years ago and he is always worth the price of admission. It’s also a great opportunity to visit one of the state’s best sites for a show and take in some New Brunswick’s finer eateries. No we don’t mean the grease trucks. We’re also pretty impressed with the 6 and9 format accommodating diners who like to eat before and after the show. Tickets are still available, visit the State Theater web site for more.

Dog Eat Dog — The New Brunswick Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show and Obedience Trail and Rally will be held at the NJ Convention Center in Edison. Click here for more.

At the Movies — Busy, busy weekend at the box office this week. What to see? Well, there’s the 911 dramedy starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle “Reign over Me;” Terrance Howard and (we kid you not) Bernie Mac in the Rudy of swimming movies “Pride;” not one but two flicks for the kids, “The Last Mimzy” and the animated “TMNT,” otherwise known as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; there’s cheesy horror in the “Hills Have Eyes 2;” Mark Wahlberg auditions for the role of Jason Bourne in the action thriller “Shooter;”and lest we forget, the very limited release of John Malkovich in “Color Me Kubrick,” winner of the best title award this week.

Reviews seem to be favoring “Mimzy” and “Reign over Me” but our bet is that “300” will earn enough ducats from repeat viewers to hold off the bevy of competitors. We’re just going to keep picking “300” until someone beats it or “Spiderman 3” comes out.Al Gore

On DVD — “Rocky Balboa” came out this week for die hard Stallone fans but we’re going to recommend “An Inconvenient Truth. ” We caught the documentary about Al Gore and global warming the other night and found it one of the more thought provoking movies we’ve seen in awhile. Yeah there are parts of the movie that will make you Gore haters out there (you know who you are) cringe but it’s a film that everyone should see. We’ll have a longer review of it next week along with our thoughts about why Mr. Gore shouldn’t run for president.

Almost Bunny Time — With Easter just a few weeks away there will be plenty of Easter Egg hunts and other events centered around people dressed up in rabbits suits guaranteed to scare your kids. Check your local papers for times and events. If all else fails, there’s probably been a guy in a bunny suit at the mall since the beginning of the year.

Have a happy weekend everyone,

JC

Two for Tea

March 23, 2007

Fans of the tea leaf should pick up today’s Star Ledger or visit Nj.com today since the paper’s ticket cover story highlights some of the new cafes and shops catering to tea drinkers.

Some of the shops featured include Montclair’s Cha Ma Gu Dao, Teaberry’sTea Room in Flemington, and Janam Indian Tea Shop in Jersey City.

JC

Idol Losses, Survivor Shakeups, Lost Endings

March 22, 2007

Busy three hours of TV viewing last night with Survivor, American Idol and Lost all nearly back-to-back. Yeah, we left the channel on Fox for ‘Til Death at 9:30 and that horror show almost made us wish American Idol was an hour long — almost.

Stephnie EdwardsAnyway, Stephanie Edwards got the boot last night over our Idol boot pick Phil Stacey. Not a huge, huge surprise considering her lackluster performance this week and that there a three other similar and better singers in the competition. I’m with guest vocal coach Peter Noone on this one folks, Idol is a show about voting not singing. There are at least five or six other contestants who don’t sing as well as Edwards but who have more loyal voting blocks. This was what doomed the Beyonce clone. C seems to think Edwards is good enough to land a singing deal and she may be right but we see her headed for the forgotten land inhabited by the Vonzell Solomens and Latoya Londons of the world.

Meanwhile a few channels over, Survivor producers switched up the tribes in an effort to inject some life into this seasons really boring cast of characters. Guess what? Even though the tribe members were different the same tribe that’s lost every challenge (even the rewards) lost again. Perhaps the beach at Ravu is cursed? Is the coffee at Moto that much of an advantage?

The now all male tribe of Ravu sent Anthony home last night because he wasn’t manly enough. A point that Rocky, perhaps our favorite Survivor character ever, pointed out over and over again during tribal council. Anthony finally raised his voice for once after Rocky badgered him in that Bahston accent, but it was too little too late and Jerseycool was left thinking that he watches too much TV. Yeah, who are we kidding we’re gonna watch next week when Lisi returns from Exile Island to join the all male tribe. We think she has more testosterone than Anthony so this should be mildly intersting. Hey, at least it will be back on Thursday night.

John LockeFinally, over in Lost world, fans got to find out how John Locke got into his wheelchair and everyone talked mysteriously about how he got out of it once he reached the island. Mr. Locke, who was never the sanest of people to begin with, has been getting more and more cookoo as the series has gone on and last night’s episode pushed him further over the edge. I won’t give away how Locke lost his stride or the big surprise ending, buuuut JerseyCool was disappointed with the single story arch that’s been happening all too much this season. Last night’s entire episode focused on Locke and the attempt to rescue Jack. No beach scenes, which meant no Hurley, no Charlie and no Sawyer. Part of Lost’s appeal was its amazing ability to move different character storylines along in a single episode. That pretty much hasn’t happened this season and I think that, more than anything else, is where Lost has lost its mojo.

JC

More Idol Thoughts

March 21, 2007

It’s been a boring American Idol since our girl Antonella Barba got the boot right before the finals. All apologies to Lakisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle but I’m just not all jazzed up about these two front runners who can sing but are in desperate need of some personality.

We miss our little Barba doll from Jersey more than ever and even resorted to starting Internet rumors about racy Sanjaya Malakar photographs online. We didn’t have any takers and depression set in.

However, last night we were pleased to see the formerly forgetable Haley Scarnato jump into the tart role with a high heels, short shorts, ultra bouncy performance of “Tell Him.”

I’ll tell you what, this performance could backfire mightily on Scarnato if the puritan police voters have anything to say about. Still our prediction is that this is the end of the run for Phil Stacey. Of course, it could be Sanjaya Malakar who, despite what two of the judges said, is still pretty awful. However, this early in the game it’s usually better to be awful then boring and Phil Stacey, (hey dude, thanks for serving the country and all) is dull.

By the way if you’re curious about the crying girl from last night’s episode, EW.com has the scoop here.

More exciting than the show were the promos for House which returns with new episodes next week. Looking forward to seeing our favorite Princeton General doc back in action.

JC

Fascino Eggcepting Easter Reservations

March 20, 2007

We got a note from Fascino, one of our favorite restaurants in town saying they are accepting reservations for Sunday, April 8, otherwise known as Easter Sunday. The Italian restaurant is nixing its normal tasting menu because it expects a large number of families but will serve a number of specials in addition to its a la carte menu.

Also, Fascino will continue serving its blind tasting menu through the month of April. The menu is for those who like to live dangerously. Ask for it when you make your reservation at least 24 hours in advance (like you can get a reservation sooner) and when you arrive you’ll be served your mystery menu. We’d hesitate trying this at lesser places but Fascino still holds the distinction of never serving us a bad meal so we think it’s worth a try. Be sure to tell them about any food restrictions when you order.

You can make reservations here or by calling 973-233-0350.

JC