Friday, December 31, 2010

My Teef Hurt

So, I had my teeth pulled today. Two wisdom on my right side, so I can honestly say that I've lost some wisdom over the holiday break. Double dumbass on me though for getting this done on NEW YEARS EVE. Now, I can't drink any swill from the trough of life that is boxed wine from ShopRite.


Here's a picture of some lunatic with teeth in his hand. Enjoy.

(Image courtesy of

Auditions Today: Super Hero

(Picture take from

Roger licks my palm and it starts to glow neon green.

“That’s pretty weak if that’s all you’ve got,” I say, wiping my hand on the side of my jeans, “Can’t you do anything else besides that? I mean, Captain Zeto’s in there. A little hand coloring isn’t going to get you into the League.”

Roger rolls his tongue in his mouth like he’s swishing around mouthwash and he spits on the street. In seconds, the ground begins to dissolve until there’s a hole in it the size of silver dollar.

“I could make it even bigger,” Roger says, smiling with green bubbles popping in-between his teeth, “but I’m saving the best for when I’m inside.”

“I’ll bet,” I say, wiping my hand on my jeans even harder now.

A red guy wearing overalls in front of us with a flaming horn in the middle of his head scoffs at this, shaking his head.

“Your friend’s right,” he says, his red horn glowing, “Those guys in der don’t want some punk who can spit acid. They ain’t lookin’ for anybody like you.”

“And who the hell are you?” Roger asks, his cheeks bulging like a bullfrog. I put my hand against my friend’s chest and I make him back up. Whoever this unicorn looking fellow is, he sure doesn’t know my friend, Roger. Even though I’ve never seen Roger’s powers before today (His mom has always been adamant that he kept them a secret, partly out of embarrassment, and partly for his own good), I’ve known him long enough to know that he has a short temper, powers or not. If this guy’s not careful, he might end up with half his face burned off.

(Image taken from

“Me? I’m Reggie da Rhino,” he says, “And I’m gettin’ that spot in der.”

“My ass, you are,” Roger says, puffing out his chest, “And what’s your special power supposed to be anyway? Jumping over rainbows? You look like a jerk with that thing.”

“You better take that back, boy,” “Reggie da Rhino” says, pounding his fist into his hand.

“Make me,” Roger says.

“Oh, please,” somebody chimes in behind us (Phew, I didn’t want to have to break that up).
Behind us stands a man with silver hair wearing a cape and a letter J on his chest. His arms are crossed and his chin is up in the air like a Yale graduate.

“Do you honestly think that the League wants hotheads like you in their ranks?” he asks, his eyes glowing white and the air getting cool around us, “They’re looking for experience in there, not two ruffians who would likely get them on the 6:00 News for blowing up an orphanage.”

The line shuffles forward, and we unconsciously shuffle with it. The three super powered beings still stare each other down.

“You don’t look so tough,” Roger says, moving me aside, “Is that all you can do anyway? Change the weather? That’s like Storm in the X-Men, and she’s a girl. You’ve got girl powers.”

“Yeah,” Da Rhino says, slapping Roger on the shoulder like they’re best friends now, “You got girl powers.”

“I will not stoop to your level,” the silver haired man says, shutting his eyes, “Just you wait and see. You’ll be turned out of there faster than the Flash running a mile.”

“Pfft, the Flash sucks,” Roger says, the line moving up again.

“Yeah, Flash sucks,” Rhino says.

“Flash is pretty lame,” I say.

“And you are?” the white haired man asks, his eyes opening up again, “You don’t even look like you have any powers.”

“I, uh,” I stutter, my heart racing.

“He doesn’t,” Roger says, stepping in front of me, “You got a problem with that?”

“Yeah, you got a problem?” Da Rhino says, now my best friend, too, suddenly.

“Hmff, the three of you aren’t worth the trouble,” he says, and he closes his eyes again, the weather turning back to normal.

“You’re up,” a man wearing a referee shirt says to Da Rhino, and he turns around.

“Hey, wish me luck, guys,” he says to us, running into the tent with his horn glowing.

There’s the sound of an explosion inside and a bright light. But seconds later, he walks back out with his head down.

“Biggest mistake dey ever made in their lives,” he says, not looking at either of us. Behind us, we hear the silver haired man chuckle.

“You’re up,” the referee says.

“Can I bring my friend in with me?” Roger asks, “For moral support.”

“As long as you’re not a team,” he says, “The League is only looking for one new member.”

“He doesn’t even have any powers,” Roger says, “He’s normal.”

He looks me over and then points back with his thumb and we both enter the hot tent together. I start sweating immediately.

We walk down a long hallway and find the three of them—Captain Zeto, Ms. Wonderful, and Yellow Blazer—sitting at a long table together.

“What do you have to offer us?” Ms. Wonderful asks, stifling a yawn.

“This!” Roger says, and he shoots a thick blast of green slime across the room, burning a hole in their tent about the size of a trampoline.

“Is that it?” Yellow Blazer asks, shooting a beam at the tent and patching it right back up,


“Next?” Roger shouts, “Next!? But that was incredible! You’ve never seen a hole that big from this far away and you know you haven’t!”

“It was pedestrian street magic at best,” Captain Zeto says, “Next.”

“Come on, Roger, these guys are idiots. Let’s go.”

“Wait a minute, we haven’t seen your powers yet,” Ms. Marvel says, pointing at me.

“Who me?” I ask, “Oh, I don’t have any powers.”

All of their eyes light up at once, and they whisper to each other.

“You’re in,” Captain Zeto finally announces, “You’re just what we’re looking for. Someone who won’t show us up. Welcome to the League!”

Thursday, December 30, 2010

You Know What I Hate? People Who Completely Stop When They Need To Make A Turn

(Image taken from

People are idiots. I hate them. I them a lot. Sometimes, when I drive, people are also on the road, and it pisses me off because most people can't drive. Let me explain.

A lot of times, there are these people on the road who are old. They drive about forty miles below the speed limit, and always look so confused when I pass them by screaming at them. Worst of all, though is when they stop completely to make a turn and just sit there, judging whether their lives would be better off if they turned onto Van Houten St at three miles an hour rather than twenty. Come on, man, hurry up. You're going to make me late for typing on my blog about how much I hate you.

Haven't any of these geezers ever played Mario Kart before? You break WHILE you turn. You don't stop completely.


Is that so hard? Gawd!

Santa Clause Ain't Coming To Town (1000 Word short story)

Image from

“Santa, where are you going with that shotgun?” Rudolph, with his nose so bright, asks.

“To handle some business,” Old Saint Nick says, lowering his sunglasses, and hopping onto his hover sled.

The motor goes VROOM, VROOM, VROOM, and Santa kicks it into overdrive. No need for the reindeer for this mission. This time, it’s personal.

The last time that bootleg, dollar store Santa imitator said he was the real Saint Nick, he revealed what was in his stocking to the kids. When Santa found out, he held him by the ankle over Niagra Falls and warned him that if he ever pulled a stunt like that again, then he would blow him to smithereens. And Santa wasn’t one to not keep his promises.

But Hoo boy, has that creep done it this time. It was Tinton the elf who spotted him while at a Build-A-Bear in New Jersey. He was in the process of making a doll for his nephew when he saw him, Travis the Pervert, as he’s known at the Riverside mall, up to his old antics again.

Wearing the beard, the red jacket and no pants at all, he ran through the mall screaming, “Santa loves you all, and to all a good night!” at the top of his lungs. It took three rent-a-cops on segways an entire hour to apprehend him. Sure, he was sent to jail, but how many children went home that day crying and telling their mommy’s that they didn’t want Santa Clause to come to their house. They’d rather celebrate Chanukah or Kwanzaa this year; anything but Christmas.

Santa slams on the peddle and soars into the night sky, the stars getting in his face. He brushes them out of his way and types in the address to the Jefferson County Jail on his GPS. That’s where the phony’s being held. When the exact location comes up on his screen, he steers in that direction and shoots past state after state, each one looking like a dull brown square from this high up. He soars until he sees the gray roof of the jail, and its walls are decked out with green and red Christmas lights. Even criminals need to get into the Christmas spirit, he supposes.

He parks his sled in the snow, clicks on the cloaking device, and pulls out his shotgun, cocking it and twirling it by the trigger before he shoves it down his backside, ready for action.

He kicks open the door and walks to the front desk, not even removing his sunglasses.

(Image taken from

“Is there a Travis the Pervert in this jail?” He asks the woman at the front desk, who’s reading an issue of People Magazine with his face on it.

“Who’s looking for h—” she begins before she sees him. She nearly jumps out of her seat, throwing her magazine across the room.

“You’re…!” She says, putting her hands to her mouth.

“That’s right,” Santa says, and he lowers his sunglasses and winks at her. And in that wink, there’s a twinkle in his eye.

“Oh, my God, I love you!” She screams, and Santa puts his hands together and bows his head humbly.

“Thank you. But as to the…”

“Oh, yes, he’s here,” she says, nearly shaking with rage now, “Oh, Santa, he was trying to tarnish your image. Please make him pay.”

“Oh, I will” Santa says, cracking his neck, “Believe me, I will. What cell number is he in?”
“Fourteen,” she says, already reaching for the key on her desk, “Please make him suffer, Santa. For the kids.”

And Santa nods to this, turning without saying another word.

He enters the door to the cells and walks down the cold hallway, his breath clearly visible. Maniacs begin screaming at him at first, but when they see who it is, they all get very quiet and tiptoe to the back of their cells, knowing not to mess with a pissed off St. Nick. He starts to whistle, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” but switches the lyrics of “White,” to “Red,” in his mind. When he gets to cell number 14, Travis lets out a scream, hiding in the corner and shivering like a cold child.

“Please, Santa, don’t do it! I had a reason! A Reason!” He shouts, and Santa lowers the shotgun from the man’s chest to his kneecaps.

“Speak now, or forever hold your peace, scumbag,” Santa says with one eye shut and the other aiming.

“It’s because of the Easter bunny!” Travis shouts, rushing to his cell bars and grabbing them, his face only inches away from Santa, who doesn’t flinch.

“What’s that you say? The Easter bunny? What about him? He’s one of my nearest and dearest friends.”

“He’s trying to sabotage you, Santa. It’s all over his YouTube channel.”

“You lie!”

“No, it’s true, Santa. Everybody knows that you never have time to check your Facebook account this time of year, so I knew I couldn’t just message you. But I had to get you down here some way. He wants to make Easter bigger than Christmas.”

“Bull,” Santa says, spitting on the ground, “Easter sucks. Nobody cares about Easter. Why should I believe you?”

“Because, during my strip search, I managed to sneak this in,” and he reaches into his butt, pulling out a dirty cell phone, “They barely even check you at the county jails.”

Santa cringes and he backs away, but he watches on, seeing what the man has to show him.
He watches on in horror as he sees the Easter Bunny doing the MC Hammer dance on the screen and offering free eReaders to anybody who shuns Christmas this year and turns over to Easter.

Before the video ends, Santa is already rushing back down the hall, ready to pay the Easter Bunny a visit.

With Santa gone, Travis goes on Facebook and updates his status to say: “Just saved Christmas. You’re welcome, world.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Five Classic rock Songs that you would Never Know the Name of if you Just Listened to the Chorus

Choruses. Aren’t they wonderful? Besides being really catchy, they allow you to know exactly what the song’s called without having to Shazam it or ask a friend to Shazam it since you haven’t gotten a new phone in the past seven years.

But sometimes, musicians are dicks. Instead of repeatedly saying “Poker Face” over and over again until your brain shuts down and you fart in your sleep, they write songs that actually have meaning to them. Sometimes, we actually have to type in the lyrics of said songs on Google just to know what the hell they’re actually called, as you wouldn’t know from just the chorus alone. Here are five songs from Classic rock radio that have absolutely nothing to do with the chorus at all.

1.What the song is really called: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” by The Beatles

In 1969, people would buy pretty much anything by the Beatles, even a song about John Lennon and Yoko Ono getting married and having a sleep over together. Would you believe that this song was actually number one on the charts when it came out, even though it’s not about holding hands or tripping out on LSD? Of course it did. The lost recordings of John Lennon taking a dump (on record) still haven’t been located yet, but when they are, expect big things for 2011. Big things

What you thought it was called: “They’re gonna crucify me”

After the whole, “We’re bigger than Jesus,” comment made by John, it only makes sense that you’d think he was responding to the whole incident through song. If you don’t know about that incident, it went a little like this. John was doing an interview one day and he was talking about how The Beatles, at the time, were more important to the youth of England than Jesus Christ. Well, that sounds about right. It was a pivotal time in English history. One where for about twenty seconds, people actually at first believed that John was right and were actually ready to throw out all their Jesus memorabilia and follow the church of Lennon, only eventually to decide that burning all their albums of Rubber Soul would be a better solution of pleasing their original God. To each their own.

2.What the song is really called: “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” by Bruce Springsteen

The forming of a band is an important occasion, and is it any wonder that the Boss would make a song dedicated about such an event? No, no it’s not. But the fact that even he has no idea why he gave the song that title is a little baffling. That is until, of course, you realize that this is Bruce Springsteen we’re talking about here, and this is a man who can make “Santa Clause is coming to town” sound like he’s summoning the devil from the depths of hell.

What you thought it was called: “Tell the Devil to Freeze Hell”

“Tell the Devil to Freeze Hell,” is such a great name for a song that you actually manage to tune out the fact that the Boss actually is saying the title of the song over and over again. So much so that the lyrics about “Bad Scooter” (BS-Bruce Springsteen, get it?) actually make you think he’s really talking about the devil rising from the ground and taking vengeance on the world for the events seen in the epic poem, Paradise Lost. Upon further interest, you decide to listen to the song backwards and manage to hear Bruce saying what sounds very much like, “Hail Satan, our lord and Prince.” And you get to thinking that the Boss is actually an anagram for Sobsthe, a demon you once had a dream about after watching The Exorcism of Emily Rose. No? Well, you just don’t have a good imagination then.

3.What the song is really called: “Black Dog,” by Led Zeppelin

Referencing a song about a black Labrador Retriever that used to walk around the Headley Grange studio where the group was recording at the time is pretty messed up for two reasons. One, nobody but the group saw that dog, so nobody but the group would understand what the title actually means, and two, it causes this writer to scribe an article about a song that basically sounds like Robert Plant making O faces on record.

What you thought this song was called: ?

Everybody I’ve talked to who doesn’t own every album by Led Zeppelin always has a different opinion on what the song is called. Those who know nothing about the group and don’t know that Jimmy Page would never allow a song to be called something as stupid as this have thought the song was called: Ahh, Ha, ah ha,” being that that’s the nearest thing to a chorus this song has. Others who know the band at least a little bit more and know that the group sometimes has some abstract lyrics and thoughts (Listen to “All of My Love.” Seriously, what the hell is he talking about?), have thought that the song was called something like, “Hey Mama,” since it sounds bluesy enough to be a Led Zeppelin title. I mean, it definitely sounds better than, “Ahh, Ha, ah ha.” But those who do know the group quite well will simply tell you, “It’s called ‘Black Dog,’ idiot. It was ranked #294 on the Rolling Stones top 500 songs ever recorded. Who the hell cares why it’s called that? It is what it is, so shut up.”

Nobody ever said Led Zeppelin fans were nice.

4. What the song is really called: “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

It’s said that after Bowie saw 2001: A Space Odyssey stoned off his mind, he wrote this song. It’s very famous and was even played during the moon landing in Britain and also during a scene in Mr. Deeds where Adam Sandler looked like he was going to swallow the whole audience. “Space Oddity,” you see, is a play on the words “Space Odyssey,” so it’s funny in that it’s a pun, and everybody loves puns. Also, it means the song is not in fact a deep and introspective look at a stranded man lost in space named Major Tom, but rather, some song that a high man wrote after he saw a movie that warrants being high just to sit through the entirety of. So for all you youngsters out there who don’t know a thing about Ziggy Stardust, know this. He was never really as deep as you thought he was. He was just a man who liked to say he lived out in outer space and sometimes slept in bed with Mick Jagger. In many ways, he was Adam Lambert before Adam Lambert was a twinkle in some man’s eye. But with talent.

What you thought it was called: “Ground Control to Major Tom”

Being that Bowie practically called himself an alien from another planet, this title doesn’t sound so far off. Especially since the title has to do with space anyway. But just think of that title up above for a moment, and then, think of how much better it sounds than “Space Oddity.” I mean, seriously, in what way shouldn’t the song be called “Major Tom”? If there was ever a song in the history of songs that has the wrong title attached to it, it’s…not this one, but the next one. But “Space Oddity”? Really? This is the same genius who wrote “Heroes.” Couldn’t he come up with something better than “Space Oddity”? Like, I don’t know, “Ground Control to Major Tom”? It doesn’t make any sense.

5.What the Song is really called: “Baba ‘O Riley” by The Who

Combining the song’s philosophical influence in Meher Baba, and the musical influence of Terry Riley, “Baba ‘O Reily” is the ultimate, “We could care less if you know what the song is called. Just listen to that intro. Whoooooo wee, that’ll get stuck in your head.”

What you thought it was called: “Teenage Wasteland”

Besides the fact that the words are said over and over again, the lyrics jibe with the idea as well. “I don’t need to fight” rhymed with “To prove I’m right,” definitely sounds like Robert Daltrey is referencing the Vietnam War and making a protest record. Coming out in 1972, the song would have definitely been relevant to the era and it certainly fits the zeitgeist. But you know what you don’t think of when hearing this song? Meher Baba and Terry Riley. In fact, are you still thinking about them now? No? Then good. The song is still called “Teenage Wasteland,” then. Don’t believe what I just said in this article, and don’t even research it. Because that only leads to problems. That said, “Teenage Wasteland” is a really great song.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: The A-Team

There are two kinds of people who went to see The A-Team last summer: those who loved the show, and those who had never seen it before but knew that Mr. T was in it, and also, that he pitied quite the fool. And even though I was born the same year the show premiered and have had access to the internet to watch it over the years, count me in the latter category. That being said, for a casual action nut who wasn’t head-over-heels for the show, The A-Team, in hindsight, was the greatest balls-to-the-walls action movie of the summer. I don’t know how the fans of the show felt about it, but I hear that they hated it. And all I can ask is, “How?” From the clips I’ve seen of the show, both it and the movie look like they were meant to be live-action cartoons. And how could you possibly go wrong with that?

The Movie: Four stars

Last summer, two big action movies came out. Both were supposed to cater to those who grew up in the '80s and liked explosions and the shirtless men who caused said explosions. One was The A-Team, which, for all its ridiculousness and action, didn’t seem to quite find the audience that it deserved. The other was The Expendables, which found quite the audience but didn’t really deserve it at all. What separates the two is that one is fun and features a tank shooting itself to safety while plummeting out of the sky. The other features Detective Sergeant Angel Juan Marcos Batista from Dexter as a general (here pronounced “Hen-er-al”) and also, as Katey Rich pointed out, Mickey Rourke crying in a mirror. The line of quality is clear here: The A-Team was good, and The Expendables was not so good, even if it did include Arnie, Sly, and Bruce in a scene together for, like, two minutes.

But why was The A-Team so good, you ask? Well, that’s easy -- Big. Stupid. Action. While The Expendables was definitely big and stupid, it wasn’t a capital Big or a capital Stupid. Instead, it relied on its cast to carry it through, which really didn’t amount to much more than Randy Couture talking about his cauliflower ear and Stallone trying to romance a woman. But The A-Team just doesn’t give a shit about all that character jazz, which is why fans of the show may not have liked it so much. That’s not to say that The A-Team doesn’t have excellent interaction with the characters, as it does. Liam Neeson, with a cigar in his mouth and a grizzled voice, is pretty much the equivalent of Indiana Jones badassery (I’m sorry, but he is). And the way he works with that guy from District 9 (Sharlto Copley), that guy from The Hangover (Bradley Cooper), and that guy who smashed Chuck Liddell’s face in (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson) is just classic. A lot of the great elements from the show (or so I’m told from the special features), such as B.A. being afraid to fly, are here and done to perfection. You can tell that these characters really care about each other, because they don’t force B.A. to get on the planes. They trick him instead. It’s all to comical effect, and it makes all the characters pretty likeable.

But enough with the characters and more with the Big and Stupid action. The A-Team is in every way an action fan’s wet dream. Are there ridiculous sequences that make you shake your head and say, “That can’t happen”? Yep. How about a touch of humor to go along with the gunfire? Yep again. Even the double cross of those who were once trusted is in here, making this a very by-the-numbers action film, but one that keeps knocking you on your ass so much that you hardly even notice or care about it. And while the CG can get pretty bad sometimes, watching, as I mentioned earlier, a tank shooting its way into a lake from 20,000 feet is something that has to be seen to be appreciated. Don’t mind the egghead haters who say, “That’s stupid,” while pushing up their glasses and explaining how physics works. If you like to shut your brain off when you watch action movies, then this is the movie for you. This isn’t the thinking-man’s action film. Go watch the Bourne series for that. This movie is for the “Yeah, buildings go boom!” kind of fans out there, and if you’re not one of them, then stay the hell away from this. But for all others, THERE IS NO PLAN B! The A-Team is frigging awesome.

The Disc: Three stars

Just because there are a lot of special features on this disc, that doesn’t actually make them good. Included on this Blu-Ray are both the theatrical version and an all-new extended cut with scenes not seen in the theater. But like most DVDs that include this feature, most of the time you just sit there and wonder which scenes were actually added, as nothing really feels new or different enough to warrant watching the movie twice. Besides what sounds like the F-bomb dropped a few more times, there’s not really anything to see. So that sucks. Also included is “The Devil’s in the Details: Inside the Action with Joe Carnahan,” which features the director doing his commentary while also showing you details about some of the weapons used and revealing which A-Team member was in charge of each mission. I like the idea, but I think it could have been executed more effectively. Maybe more in the vein of a pop-up video kind of thing where we learn facts about certain scenes while the director is talking. That would have been cool. But this seems a little forced. Not a fan.

What array of special features would be complete without deleted scenes? Unfortunately, these deleted scenes are especially worthless, as there’s nothing that they add to the movie at all. I was shocked at how little was actually taken out of the film. As good as it was, I actually think there were other scenes that should have been left on the cutting-room floor that made it into the movie. “Character Chronicles” is a tepid look into the characters, with Sharlto Copley being the only one worth watching. The gag reel is actually funny (and loaded with swears), and there’s also a “Plan of Attack” featurette that shows all the hard work that went into the making of this film. Overall, there’s quite a bit here to watch after the movie, but most of it is pretty bland. They shouldn’t be the reason you pick this Blu-Ray up.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eating out in Long Valley: Long Valley Pub and Brewery

You know what goes well with German food? Beer. And if you're looking for some of the best beer (and food) in town, go no farther than the Long Valley Pub & Brewery. It's a great stop if your palate is in the mood for anything Deutschland.

"'The Best of the Wurst' is probably our best seller," says Brad Lowmaster, general manager. He's referring to a knockwurst, bratwurst and weisswurst combo served with sauerkraut, German potato salad and whole-grain mustard. "It's one of the main German entrees that goes well with the restaurant."

The building, which was once a barn, has been in the same spot since 1771, so it's historic. It also happens to serve some excellent burgers.

"We'll have busy Saturdays and Sundays where we'll sell hundreds of burgers to go along with our main German entrees," Lowmaster says.

There are three types of burgers here: regular, Kobe beef and bison, any of which can be used to make the most popular burger here, the Cajun Bleu.

"It's a burger that comes with bleu cheese and chipotle mayo," Lowmaster says. "That one sells very well. Anybody can get any particular burger set up anyway they want it."

And if you're familiar with Long Valley Pub & Brewery, you'll notice a few extras added to the menu.

"We have different salads," Lowmaster says. "We have an orchard salad and a grilled vegetable Focaccia. We brought back a few things that were on an old menu."

The reason for this change is that a chef from the restaurant's past has returned, and with him come some of his specialties.

"He's brought back the Buffalo chicken sandwich, for instance," Lowmaster says. "And he changed up some of the appetizers. We have more choices as far as chili goes. He also put a spinach dip on the menu."

If you're a really big fan of the food here and would like to share it with a large party, that can be arranged as well.

"We have a lot of holiday parties set up for the next couple of weeks," Lowmaster says. "We have a catering menu that gives a few more options than we'd normally have on our regular menu."

Such as?

"There are a lot more pasta dishes," Lowmaster says, "like chicken entrees. They're items that are better for a buffet instead of just ordering individually."

But let us not forget the aforementioned beer: Beer is one of the specialties here, too. This holiday season brings two great beers, both of which are sure to get you salivating.

"We'll have Celebration Ale that will be up for Christmas," Lowmaster says. "And we'll also have an oatmeal stout beer."

WHERE: 1 Fairmount Road, Long Valley
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-876-1122
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday (bar closes at midnight); 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday (bar closes 1 a.m.); 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday (bar closes 11 p.m.); happy hour 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
CUISINE: German food, burgers, pasta and great beer. Does life get any better?
LIQUOR: Full bar
PAYMENT: Major credit cards accepted
THE SCENE: This old barn has a lot of new tricks, including a new outside area that will be put to great use when spring returns
ATMOSPHERE: With great beer and local bands playing on Fridays, this is the place to be
DRESS: Casual
PARKING: Large lot
MANAGER: Brad Lowmaster

Know of a restaurant you'd like to read about in MCW This Week? E-mail us at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: Splatterhouse

If there’s one thing I can distinctly remember from my childhood, it was playing Splatterhouse 3 on the Genesis and decapitating this freak and then, after lopping off its head, killing it again and making it erupt into a seizure. It was freaking disgusting. But you know what, that was Splatterhouse, man, which is a series that was notorious for being not only violent but also creatively morbid. For every 4x4 to a monster’s melon, there was a demon vomiting in the background. It was sick, it was twisted, and it was beautiful.

And so here we are with a surprising update, which is filled with swear words, heavy metal and blood by the buttloads. Is it a worthy successor to the series? Well, yes and no.

The story once again follows Rick and the Terror Mask, which turns him into a muscle-bound wrecking machine. In previous installments, due to the limited capabilities of the systems they were on, the mask was just there to look cool on Rick’s face. But in this game, it actually talks to you—Over and over and over again. I’m not saying that I dislike it, because I don’t. It can be both comical and sinister in its commentary as you impale a creature on a spike, but it just won’t shut up. I wish there was an option where I could turn it off whenever I pleased, as sometimes, I just didn’t want to hear it squawk and curse at me and just wanted to hear the atmospheric sounds in the background.

That being said, without it, I definitely think this game would be a poor man’s God of War, as everything from filling a vial of blood to unlock new moves, to the repetitious combos are definitely inspired by the Ghost of Sparta. It’s pretty much impossible not to make that comparison, really, as Rick even does quick time sequences and can roll out of the way of enemy attacks when he feels like it. Seriously, even though the roll is designated to the R trigger, I sometimes tried to roll about with the right bumper by accident. And all this did was swing the camera around all over the place (The R bumper is the camera, you see), which made me dizzy as all hell. I mean, seriously, if you’re going to imitate God of War, then go full on. Don’t put the camera on the right bumper. That’s where the roll technique should be. It worked with GoW, and it would have worked here. Gawd.

But back to that story. Rick and the Terror Mask reunite to go save Rick’s girlfriend, Jennifer, from the nefarious, Dr. West, who…oh, who really cares? Even though it was written by comic writer, Gordon Rennie, who scribed some Judge Dredd stories, it’s still piss poor and boring. I mean, seriously, how far can you go with a story like this? Why does every game these days have to have a story attached to it in the first place? Rick going to save his girlfriend from monsters was fine back in the original game in 1988, and it would be fine today as long as the gameplay was excellent, so why waste the effort? In fact, this is more of a remake than anything anyway, so just stick with the original story without explaining everything. At least the game gives you the option to skip the videos if you don’t want to see the story, which is appreciated.

And speaking of the original game, you can find it in here after you pass a certain point. The second and third games are in here as well. Honestly, I started with the third title in the series, so I’m not really nostalgic for the older two. They’re side-scrollers, whereas the third game has you clearing out rooms and searching throughout the mansion for Jennifer and your child. If you played the first two games and loved them, then you’ll be in for a treat, but for someone who never played them until I played this game, they’re not all that special. Splatterhouse 3 still holds up though, and I would love to say that it’s worth the price of admission, but sixty bucks sure is a lot to pay for a Sega Genesis game that really looks and sounds its age. Still, it’s a nice added bonus and a fun little extra. I’m glad they included them on the disc. They make for a nice history lesson.

What really tears it for me with this new Splatterhouse though is that it’s monotonous as all hell. Sure, it gets much better once you’re leaping through portals and what not, and the 2D sections, which are reminiscent of the original two games, are a fun way to break up the punch, punch, grab, eviscerate, moments, but the game just doesn’t hold up in the long run. After awhile, it just gets really boring, and where God of War 3 stunned you with its boss battles, the boss battles in this game are lame. Not once did I feel in awe of them, no matter how big they were. Also, you fight many of the same baddies over and over again. There’s little to no variety here. I didn’t get much pleasure out of breaking their skulls with my fists, especially when you really only have two attacks with a jab technique and a heavier blow, which you can charge.

But anybody who knows at least a modicum about Splatterhouse knows that the fun lies in the weapons, and the game rewards you for sticking around by giving you a chainsaw and a shotgun later in. Even after slaughtering some of the same enemies over and over again, I found a cheap thrill in blowing them away or chopping them up with the chainsaw. It’s the little things, really; the little things.

The graphics, when in the dark, look like shit, but once you’re in the light, it looks pretty good, with shadows running off the walls and the blood spillage looking more impressive. I have no complaints with the graphics…when they’re in the light. But I do have a problem with the music. Though I know they were trying to go for a really heavy, guitar blasting soundtrack, I really miss the spooky tunes of the third game. Especially when this game under-utilizes a great band like Mastodon for the soundtrack. (Man, how many different soundtracks do I have to hear “Blood and Thunder” on? Sheesh).

Overall, though, while not a great game by any stretch of the word, it’s a fairly competent title that may get boring after awhile but is alright in short spurts. Should you buy it? Only if you’re a hardcore fan of the series. If not, then you can get your blood by the bucket loads elsewhere. This Splatterhouse doesn’t need to be unlocked.

Players: 1
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
ESRB: Mature
Rating: Three stars

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eating out in Long Valley: Valley Restaurant and Pub

Pic by John Bell from the Daily Record

Variety is the spice of life, and if you're looking for great variety at a good price (and some alcohol on the side), you've found the right location in the Valley Restaurant and Pub in Long Valley. It has so many great selections on the menu that multiple trips are warranted to try them all.

"We often thought of taking some items off the menu to kind of shrink it a little bit," says Tim Janiszewski, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Tammy. "But people seem to like the variety and everything on the menu, so there's not one particular item we feel we can take off where somebody wouldn't want it."

Included on this popular menu are a variety of items that fit pretty much every taste.

"Our customers order everything from prime rib to Italian, to seafood over pasta, so it runs the gamut," Janiszewski says. "Beef, chicken and seafood."

Long Valley Restaurant and Pub also has an impressive salad menu, including such favorites as Buffalo chicken salad, chicken fajita salad and grilled shrimp or chicken spinach salad.

The menu changes mid-week, making the restaurant actually two places in one.

"The Mexican menu is offered only on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays," Janiszewski says. "It's in addition to our regular menu, so you can still get our regular menu, too (on those nights)."

If you're a fan of the food and want to have it delivered, that also can be arranged.

"We do a lot of catering," Janiszewski says. "Catering is a big thing, especially around the holidays. Any kind of a party, banquet, pasta parties can be catered to. We have a lot of that going on."

That being said, you really should take a trip into the Restaurant and Pub. Outside of its extended patio, which will return when the weather gets warm again, there's also a beautiful, luscious mural of a bridge hanging inside that spans almost an entire wall.

"It just naturally goes with Long Valley," Janiszewski says of the massive wall painting facing tables in the back of the building. "I think it kind of depicts the center of Long Valley, so we kind of wanted that bridge. The artists took an angle shot of it and got down there by the river, behind what used to be the old general store, and took the picture for reference."

Other reasons to come to Long Valley Restaurant and Pub include the many events that take place at the end of the week.

"We offer various entertainment on weekends," Janiszewski says. "Bands and karaoke. There's karaoke every Saturday night."

WHERE: 59 E. Mill Road, Long Valley
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-876-0111
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday
CUISINE: Italian/Mexican/American
LIQUOR: Full bar
PAYMENT: All major credit cards accepted
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers, $3.29 to $8.99; salad, $5.99 to $9.79; pasta specialties, $7.29 to $13.59; burgers and sandwiches, $6.79 to $10.29
RESERVATIONS: Suggested for weekends
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: A fun environment with a restaurant and bar for meals, plus the occasional sporting event on TV
ATMOSPHERE: A pleasant environment with a huge mural on the inside that pays tribute to the beauty of Long Valley. It's a great find
PARKING: Strip center parking lot shared with a bank and other stores and offices
OWNERS: Tim and Tammy Janiszewski

Know of a restaurant you'd like to read about in MCW This Week? E-mail us at

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Knight and Day

Love him or loathe him, Tom Cruise has been in some of the most iconic movies of the past 30 years. Whether he was flying with Goose, playing a vampire with Brad Pitt, or even going on impossible missions, Cruise has proven to be a box office star time and time again. But after his whole couch-jumping/Scientology-is-the-answer antics, people kind of fell out of love with the man. All the same, he’s always let his movies do the talking, and for the most part, his movies have been pretty damn good. So, is Knight and Day worthy of the Cruise standard? All I have to say is a resounding yes, yes, and yes, as the movie is pretty damn awesome. You should definitely give it a watch.

The Movie: Four stars

Let me be the first to say that I hate Tom Cruise. From his love of Scientology to his obnoxious squinty stares into the camera, just about everything about the man makes me want to break a bottle over his head. But before all you Cruise fans out there get all uppity about my comments, let me be the first to also say that the man usually makes pretty good movies. I don’t know why, but I just can’t turn the channel whenever Days of Thunder or Cocktail is on. Honestly, the man doesn’t make bad movies.

Still, after the whole "Tom Cruise is crazy" fiasco, most people don’t even want to see a Tom Cruise vehicle anymore, even if it does feature the ultra-hot Cameron Diaz. And to those people, all I have to say is that you’re missing out, as Knight and Day is as great a Tom Cruise movie as you’re likely going to get. It’s got enough comedy for you to at least chuckle a little bit, and enough outrageous stunts to make you ask, “Wait, how’d they do that?”

That being said, the story, while enjoyable, is entirely forgettable. This movie came out in what I like to think of as the summer of spy thrillers, as both Salt and The Killers also came out around the same time. The story centers around a woman named June Havens (Diaz) who just so happens to get involved in a plot involving bad guys who want to obtain a battery that can pretty much generate perpetual energy. The holder of this battery is Roy Miller (Cruise), your typical action hero who can do pretty much anything. And by anything, I mean anything, as piloting a plane, holding onto the roof of a car, and riding a motorcycle through stampeding bulls are all par for the course for Mr. Miller. Of course, these senses no doubt make for some great action sequences, and that’s what carries this movie through -- the action. Director James Mangold never allows you to get bored, because there’s always something new and exciting coming around the corner. One minute, Havens is looking all googly eyed at Miller, and the next, boom, something explodes. Another minute, Havens is talking to some dude on a train, and blammo, he turns out to be an assassin. If one were to read the script to this movie, they’d probably find out that half the page is dialogue while the other half is just “rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat” written over and over again all the way to the bottom. That’s what this movie is: talking, followed by violence.

Thankfully, the talking is pretty enjoyable, and Cruise and Diaz make a good team. She might not seem like it at first, but as the movie progresses, you totally buy into the idea of Diaz being the type of woman who could actually be scared shitless one minute and then, seconds later, drive a car 100 miles per hour into a hairpin turn. She just seems like that kind of girl, and the casting director definitely did a good job pairing her up with Cruise. They have good chemistry together.

It’s not all good in explosion land, though. The title, which I’ve always planned on using with my kindergarten friend, Kenneth Day, in mind (Get it? Rich Knight? Kenneth Day? Knight and Day? Aww, who asked you?) doesn’t seem justified at all. We find out along the way just who this “Knight” character is (and would I be spoiling anything if I told you it was Tom Cruise?), but it all comes off as cheap and unnecessary. Why did they give it that title? It stinks. Also, as much as I like Peter Sarsgaard, making yourself look tough for an entire movie doesn’t make you an interesting character, I’m afraid. But it’s not his fault, as he is entirely underutilized, just like every other character in this movie who doesn’t have the last name of Cruise or Diaz.

Still, this is a much better than average action-comedy with a lot of feel good energy and panache. If you like fast-paced films (and even if you hate Tom Cruise, like I do), you’ll really like this movie. Definitely give it a watch. It’s worth it, Scientology-minded actor notwithstanding.

The Disc: Three and a half stars

Do you think this movie comes on enough formats? This DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy pretty much fits any medium you can think of, sans the dead-as-a-doornail VHS format. So, you have no excuse if you don’t have a Blu-Ray player to watch this movie. You can still see it on your computer or your DVD player if that’s all you’ve got available.

Aside from the variety of options, though, you also get the “Wilder Knights and Crazier Days,” featurette. I know the film did terribly at the box office, but this special feature shows just how hard the cast had to work on this film, especially Tom Cruise, who’s still doing most of his own stunts. This includes jumping off of a building and riding a motorcycle through running bulls. Seriously, as much as I dislike the man, you gotta love his work ethic. The man’s a braver than Jason Statham; would he ever drive a motorcycle through raging bulls? I think not!

You also get to watch Cruise awkwardly stand beside the Black Eyed Peas as they unveil the song “Someday” from the Knight and Day soundtrack to the public, and man, is it painful to watch. Most of the audience attendants, looking to party, instead look confused when the dull song comes on. It was more cringe-worthy than watching the original version of The Office. (Well, maybe not that cringe-worthy).

Some viral videos and a trailer round out the rest of the special features, which are pretty good given the variety of options you have to watch them on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Tribute to David Lynch in Only Three Minutes

This is my directorial debut if you haven't seen it already. It's a tribute to David Lynch. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Question: Why is Jason Statham's Male Pattern Baldness Considered Sexy But Mine is Considered Pathetic?

The Skinny: Jason Statham, star of The Transporter and, well, The Transporter 2 (Isn't there a third Transporter movie as well?) is a balding man. And yet, women salivate over him. You, star of, you haven't been to the gym in four months even though you have a year's membership, are also balding, but women laugh at your comb over and make fun of your Zubaz pants. What's the deal?

The Answer: Even though Jason Statham plays the same exact character in every single movie he's in, he's at least IN movies, meaning, women are automatically attracted to him. His greatest achievements in life may have been him driving a car while crashing into another car, but that's still more impressive to most women than your ability to scratch your gut and fart at the same time. So, my advice to you is to star in movies. Maybe start small, in like, some low budget Guy Ritchie film before he met Madonna. And then, rise to fame showing off how much better your abs look than Jet Li or Sly Stallone's. Whatever way you go, as long as you're in movies, you can be completely hairless and women will still want you. Hell, you can probably even be morbidly obese (Jonah Hill), two feet tall (Danny DeVito) or worship aliens (Tom Cruise) and women will still want you. As long as you can put, "Movie star" on your business card, women will be your sperm harvester. So find the nearest starving director and start getting into acting, pronto. That receding hairline isn't going to go away anytime soon. So get searching!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eating out in the Chesters: Grace Cafe and Aztek Nights

For good food, good vibes and a restaurant that transforms when the clock hits 3 p.m., look no further than Mama's Grace Cafe, tucked deep in the heart of Chester at 52 Main St. Rear.

"Like it says on our menu, we're the coolest place in town," says co-owner Steve Berstler, who shares the place with his partner, Sarah Borda.

What makes Mama's Grace so cool is that it's literally two restaurants in one. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends, it's the colorful and good-vibrations-filled Mama's Grace Cafe, which serves great breakfasts and lunches for the health conscious and anyone who just want to forget the calories and enjoy a hearty meal.

"We have 60 items, and it's a healthy or not menu," Berstler says. "Burgers or tofu — and everything in between."

But when that clock hits 3 p.m., it becomes an enticing, Mexican-themed restaurant, Aztek Nights, which — if you count the authentic Mexican and the Tex Mex options — makes this friendly place more like three restaurants in one, instead of two.

"It's a Mexican restaurant, and we serve Mexican food from our native countries," says Alex Mejia, who runs the shop with his wife, Diana. "A lot of our stuff is imported from Mexico that you can't find in the United States, like certain herbs and spices. And we have fresh cactus."


"It's like flaxseed," Mejia says. "That's where flax seed comes from. So instead of getting the flaxseed, you're getting the actual vegetable. That's what it is, a vegetable."

Skeptical, I tried it and found that it's actually very tasty, especially when paired with onions and cheese. Co-owner Steve Berstler agrees.

"I eat that all the time," Berstler says. "When I first started eating, you guys were putting it with my food, and now I want it all the time. And it's very good for digestion. It's a healthy item."

Also worth tasting are the carnitas, which offer a good portion of roasted pork, beans and rice, and some tortillas to wrap them up in — all for a good price.

"We keep our meals under $20 because it's tough out there for people to dine out with a lot of family," Mejia says. "So all our dishes are less than $20."

With enchiladas, tacos and flan, Aztek Nights features many of the items — authentically Mexican and Tex Mex style — you might not find on many other menus. But there's one item in particular that might be hard to find elsewhere.

"We have Mexican soups," Diana Mejia says. "And a lot of people have been asking for something that is called Menudo. It's very famous in Mexico and it's very good for the hangover. So a lot of customers (who) have been to Mexico come in on Saturday and they say, 'Do you have Menudo?' and we were like, no, but now, we're making it."

Co-owner Sarah Borda gets a kick out of this and adds, "It's BYOB here, so you can drink and then have Menudo."

You'll also find "safe" items such as burgers and chicken fingers for the kids in case they aren't up to the many flavorful options offered on the menu.

But as impressive and different as Aztek Nights sounds, let's not forget that Mama's Grace has some interesting items on its menu, too, especially in the soup department.

"We have a variety of soups," Berstler says. "We have our world-famous three bean vegetable chili, chicken tortilla, chicken and rice, chicken and noodle, a very, very veggie, and (even) North African Spice soup.

"The North African Spice soup is a bunch of different vegetables," Berstler says. "Chick peas."

"Carrots," Borda chimes in. "Carrots," Berstler agrees. "Celery, tomatoes, onions, potatoes."

"But what makes it so unique are the spices," Borda says.

"Yeah, the spices," Berslter agrees. "There's saffron, turmeric and cinnamon, all mixed together. It's delicious."

Along with their eclectic and delicious combined menus, the owners are pitching in toward a good cause.

"The Wishing Wall is something special both restaurants are doing right now," Borda says. "This is to benefit the Chester Food Pantry. Every year we do a benefit for them, and this year, everybody gets to buy a wish for a dollar. And you can slap it up on the wall."

"All the money — 100 percent — goes to the Chester Food Pantry," Berstler says.

One of Borda's favorite things about now sharing the restaurant with with the Mejia family is that they're serving the people of Chester as a team.

"We have two families serving the families in the area, and it's nice to mix the cultures," Borda says. "When people find out we have this collaboration going, they're like, 'Wow, what a great idea,' especially in these economic times."

ADDRESS: 52 Main St. Rear, Chester
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-5044
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends
CUISINE: Mama's Grace Cafe: Breakfast burritos, grilled sandwiches, soups, salads; Aztek Nights: Quesadillas, Mexican sandwiches, tacos
PRICE RANGE: Egg platters, $9; daily soups, $5.50; quesadillas, $6.99; carnitas, $16.99
PAYMENT: Cash, Visa, Mastercard
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: Large enough for parties but small enough to be comfy, Mama's Grace has an excellent layout.
ATMOSPHERE: This cheerful restaurant is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the belly, as artwork and an array of colorful tables and chairs fill the nice-sized space.
PARKING: In the lot
OWNERS: Steve Berstler and Sarah Borda

Know of a restaurant you'd like to read about in MCW This Week? E-mail us at