Purple Stuff Podcast: Super Bowl Commercials!

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The latest episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast is available now! Get primed for the big game by listening to Matt and I bullshit about some of our favorite Super Bowl commercials ever. In addition to the junk food, the commercials are often the highlight of watching the Super Bowl. It’s the one time that I actually watch commercials and not escape to the kitchen or head to the bathroom. The multimillion dollar ads can be sentimental, funny, and downright strange, but so many of them have been pretty epic. They better be for the price that was paid to air them! In this episode we cover everything from car commercials to a couple of incredible Diet Pepsi and Coca Cola ads as well as beer bottles and cans playing their own game of football. From there we’ve got a pertinent movie trailer and a heavenly old school AV geek store…it’s all here. I’m sure you have your own set of favorites and even most hated, but no matter what, they get us all talking about them. Dive in via your favorite Podcast app or listen at the link above. Thanks for listening!

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.82: The Muppets Drive to NJ!

There’s not much that can make you feel better when you’re sick…except maybe The Muppets.

I’ve been utilizing all of the traditional methods with the intentions of feeling better, including taking medicine, getting extra rest, and watching many therapeutic hours of Netflix and DVDs from my own collection. 
Aside from the other usual remedies like hot tea and chicken soup, I realized I’m on my own in my fight against whatever bug has invaded my body. In my case, my sinuses have been exploding through my face and I’ve had a cough that sounds like the bark of rabid dog. Not only have I felt really crappy, I’ve also been annoying the hell out of myself. At times I was too out of it to even get up off the couch. You know those types of days where you catch about 20 minutes of 6 different movies throughout the day because you’re in and out of consciousness and paying attention to a full movie is way too much work? 

When I finally rose from the couch, I was hungry, and I also felt in the mood to watch something starring The Muppets because I wasn’t able to get out and see Muppets Most Wanted this weekend.

I own all the Muppet films, some I recorded from TV when they originally aired, others were official purchases, so I had a bunch of stuff to choose from. My selection was offbeat and one that I’ve actually ignored since it first aired in 2005. Surprisingly, from the dusty innards of one of my DVD cases, I picked out Muppets Wizard of Oz. It was the original broadcast that I recorded when it aired on The Wonderful World of Disney. It even had an intro with Michael Eisner like he used to do in the ’80s. Not choosing one of the more popular Muppet offerings didn’t feel like my finest hour, but something was telling me it was the right choice. After watching it though, I may even rank it above one or two of the other Muppet endeavors. It’s not disappointing as some reviewers will lead you to believe. It’s pretty funny and it even stars Jeff Tambor!
That was the time Muppets traveled to OZ, but what about the time they travelled to New Jersey? YUUUP! They had a sweet gig live tweeting Super Bowl XLVIII, but the catch was that they had to get to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ to meet up with Kermit the Frog first. Luckily the Muppets had been starring in a series of Toyota commercials during that time, so they had easy access to a fleet of their latest cars. They all crammed into a Toyota Highlander and hauled ass to the big game. And I write big game because they can’t say Super Bowl in the commercial, but the Swedish Chef can, well, sort of. The Sferndy Boom!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 112: Kal Penn Tweets His Tee During The Super Bowl

It was New Jersey’s first Super Bowl. You’d think I’d be glued to the TV. Nope. It took Radio Shack’s ’80s commercial and The Electric Mayhem Band starring in a Toyota ad to pique my interest, otherwise I spent most of the night on Twitter giggling at the amusing shit people were coming up with while poking fun at the train wreck that was happening merely miles away in MetLife Stadium.

Astoundingly, I somehow managed to scrounge some content out of such an awful game. One of the tweets that I kept on reserve (retweeted by @faceman802!) was from producer, actor, Obama team member, and Jersey guy, Kal Penn. He’s otherwise known as Kumar from the Jersey classic, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

Kal Penn proudly displaying his awesome t-shirt via a Tweet during the Super Bowl last Sunday

Presently, Penn, who also starred in Van Wilder and Superman Returns, works in the White House Office of Public Engagement, and he certainly engaged me with this tweet.

Penn was born in Montclair and later attended middle school in Howell followed by high school in Freehold Township. According to his Wikipedia page, during high school, Penn was involved in theater and the forensics team. One thing is certain, he hasn’t lost his Jersey sense of humor!

Harry Carson’s Captain For Life: My Story as a Hall of Fame Linebacker Review by Nick Holden

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The game of football has, is, and always will be a violent spectacle of human bodies crashing into one another at high speeds, with teams of players vying for victory at all costs. For legendary New York Giants linebacker (and Franklin Lakes resident) Harry Carson, his thirteen year career remained relatively low-key, yet his impressive numbers and his toughness earned him accolades from his fellow players, coaches, and legions of fans all across the country. But it all came at a high price for Carson, who documents his professional and personal highs and lows as member of the Giants and beyond in his new book Captain for Life: My Story as a Hall of Fame Linebacker. Staying free from the controversy that plagued players such as fellow teammate Lawrence Taylor, Carson had his share of drama yet stayed true to himself, his family, and the game, all the while paying for it with his body, the effects he still feels to this day. 
Carson, in a simple prose, charts his journey that started in a small North Carolina town during the time of the segregated South. Despite being small and ill-coordinated, he slowly rose through high school and college as a fearsome defensive end and dedicated student, winning raves both on the field and in the classroom. Drafted by the Giants in 1976, Carson was switched to linebacker and played among such notable players as Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley. This defensive trio, dubbed “The Crunch Bunch”, was considered one of the best linebacker teams in history. Later, after the drafting of George Martin and Taylor, the Giants rose from a last place team and the joke of football, to winning Super Bowl XXI and securing a place in history. Carson was also elected to the Pro Bowl nine times in his career and later, after much frustration and near misses, he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
But while he was shutting down players and putting up impressive statistics, Carson’s body bore the brunt of his physical play as he suffered several injuries; blown knees, torn muscles, and the general grind of his position would take its toll, causing him to eventually retire in 1988. But to Carson, the worse was the repeated hits to his helmet that left its mark on his body; the brain doesn’t respond well to collision, and taking multiple hits over time would cause more damage than he would realize. Carson speaks at great length about his battles with Post Concussion Syndrome, an illness that is brought on by one or numerous concussions. Once thought to be a myth in football, it is slowly become more and more prevalent in past and present players. He talks about the subtle signs such as severe headaches and sensitivity to light and noise early in his career to the more serious effects, such as drastic mood swings, slurred speech, and problems with motor coordination, symptoms that continue to afflict him. Carson breaks down the machismo of football players and is honest about his condition, saying that the game is largely responsible and he fears that while only a handful of players have come forward, many are afflicted with PCS yet ignore the many symptoms. In recent years, an alarming number of past players have died, and studies have shown that many have had brain damage that contributed to their demise. Carson now speaks about the importance of recognizing the signs of PCS and travels around the country, speaking to players about the disease in the hopes of warning them before it is too late. He deals with the pain every day, knowing that one day his mental faculties might be fully gone, and is sure that if more people know about the risks, players will think about life beyond football instead of just making the plays.

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One thing that sticks out about Carson is his frankness about everything, from his faults as a player early in his career to his bitterness about how his career ended. He also talks about the mystique of a football player, stripping away the glamour to tell it how it is; a game that swallows you mentally, physically, and emotionally. He shares his perspective of the game as a player, detailing what separates players from stars, and how he lasted so long (the average career span of a player is around four years; Carson stayed around for thirteen), competing with veteran players and winning over coaches and fans while staying away from many dangers that derail players; drugs, alcohol, and other scandals. His tell-it-like-it-is attitude and funny insight make Carson both down to earth and a likeable fellow, but his downbeat attitude toward the game that made him a name might turn off some football fans in addition to the lack of any type of photography; it would have been nice to see some pictures here and there. But if you’re a true Giants fan or a fan of Carson, Captain for Life is a must for the bookshelf.

– Nick Holden

Washington Township’s B.J Raji #90

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I’m about as interested in watching Super Bowl XLV as much as I’d be interested in taking my college Algebra course over again. But, like many fans whose team did not make it to The Big Game, I’m pumped to watch the commercials and I’ll also be looking for #90 on the field.

Even though the Green Bay Packers are possibly my least favorite team in the league, I have been following the career of their nose tackle out of Boston College. Touted as “The Freezer,” B.J Raji is this generations answer to “The Refrigerator” William Perry. Standing at 6-2 and weighing in at 337 lbs he’s no joke considering that his mobility and awareness sets him apart from many other giants in the NFL. In this seasons playoffs, Raji surprised the crowd at Soldier Field when he had the play of the game running in an 18 yard touchdown against the Chicago Bears.

Raji’s bio on The Green Bay Packers official site offers a look into his high school and college accomplishments as well as his stats in the NFL. His football career began in Westwood Regional High School in Westwood NJ, where he was all state all North Jersey and an all county honoree as he racked up 75  tackles and 7 1/2 sacks. Raji also played varsity basketball his freshman and sophomore year and was selected to play in the Governor’s Bowl, a game pitting the top senior players from New Jersey against those from New York. Along with his affinity for video games and movies, his bio also mentions that he coached youth football and basketball in New Jersey.

BRUUUUCE! Bruce Springsteen Wins Golden Globe for “The Wrestler”

Congratulations to Bruce Springsteen for winning a Golden Globe for his song “The Wrestler,” featured on the films’ soundtrack! Bruce’s new album Working on a Dream will be released on 1/27. Also, prepare to experience a Jersey style halftime show from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on February 1st!

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band Playing Super Bowl Halftime Show?

Ok so I’m a little behind keeping up with the rumor mill. A couple of days ago, The New York Post reported that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be playing this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. This sounds like a great idea but I don’t think anyone can surpass last year’s performance by Prince. So many of the halftime shows get so hyped up and then turn out to be less than mediocre.

In other music news:
I’ll have a review of last night’s Poison/Dokken/Sebastian Bach show later tonight.

Sports Talk and Female Sports Fans: Turn on or Turn off?

Sports is always a topic at the forefront of conversation, along with the weather. I prefer talking about episodes of Charles in Charge but that’s just me. Even as a person who enjoys many sports I think some people take their conversations waaay into the stratosphere of sports nonsense. What do I care if Mr. Heebo Henry had 896 RBI’s and batted a .375 last year? I don’t care if Babe Ruth comes back from eternal rest and decides to play a charity game “just for the hell of it.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to the game, I’m referring to the obsessed fans.

Of all sports in existence, besides the ones I’m above average at (like mini golf and strip-trivial pursuit) I enjoy basketball and football most. What I don’t enjoy is having a 2 1/2 hour conversation about it. To me there’s nothing more boring than sports talk. (Okay maybe fantasy sports talk) A little dab’ll do ya if you know what I mean. Discussing stats, strikeouts, and games that happened 15 years ago are of little concern to me. The finer points of the “Perchance to Dream” episode from Batman: The Animated Series make for much more interesting banter. Or even the time Psycho Sid messed up his lines at WWF In Your House. What would you rather talk about, point spreads or your favorite Gremlin?

Some guys are way too into sports and girls usually hate it when guys talk only about sports. They’ll watch the game and ignore their woman. She just wants some attention. The girl tries to get into the game and wear a jersey of his favorite team and but it comes off forced. The guy appreciates the effort but truly, deeply just wants the girl to leave him alone. From my perspective, when watching wrestling, Star Wars, or anything else as geeky, we only wish someone else would get into it and share the greatness with us. You don’t have to search for sports fans, they’re everywhere! Look under your bed, I’m sure there’s one there still sleeping off his hangover after celebrating the Giants big win on Sunday. We as “fanboys” don’t like to push someone away for attempting to join in our fantasy world. Not fantasy football!! You need a freakin’ black belt in fantasy sports to understand what the hell they’re talking about.

Other girls couldn’t be bothered by sports. The most sports they’ve ever played were a few minutes of volleyball in high school. They hated that too because they broke a nail right after they had them done. These girls couldn’t decipher a touchback from a chair massage in the mall. They remain honest that they don’t know anything about it and don’t care. They don’t want their doofy whipped boyfriends to think they actually want to pay attention to something that their drooling puppy dog is interested in. The guy starts to pretend he’s not as into sports and tries to hide his hate, anger, and jealousy when he’s with his friends. This guy laments sports like it was a lost lover.

Some girls embrace their stupidity about sports but aren’t opposed to going to games and watching it on TV, even though it’s more of “just something to do.” Tailgating? Forget about it! They’ll drink beers and eat sausage sandwiches like its nobodies business, but the minute you ask them about their opinion on today’s game they stare at you blankly and start singing some Fergie song. I’ve actually heard a conversation where the girl was boasting about her lack of football knowledge during the Super Bowl that the punch line was “….and so I didn’t know what a touchdown was!” C’mon get real. Some girls play up their stupidity. I find it amusing when I hear a girl say “Michael Jordan….yeah of course I know who he’s like some sports guy isn‘t he?”

Occasionally you’ll meet a girl who is so fanatical that she keeps up with most guys in sports talk. This one is actually genuinely into sports. It’s my belief that this was a trait handed down by her father since she was a daddy’s girl. She hated her mother with a passion and wanted to scratch her poor mother’s eyeballs out of their sockets but if her dad says, “Hey Lisa want to go to the sports bar with me, get drunk, and watch baseball?” “But dad I’m only 12!” “Ahh it’s ok, it’s never too late to get into baseball!” These girls creep me out because their actually more opinionated than some guys when it comes to sports. You casually mention one thing about being a lifelong Yankees fan and they freak the f–k out. They want to throw down with you. “The Mets are the best team you mother f–ker….I don’t have to sit here and listen to this bullshit…you’re a fairy.”

Sometimes girls come off too knowledgeable with statistics and information that it seems like their just doing it to impress or lure an unsuspecting male companion. Usually guys are easily enticed and they eat that shit up. Many of my guy friends find it amusing to talk sports with a girl. He then envisions how great a relationship would be with her because all they would do is sit there and watch sports and eat chips. It rarely happens that way. And possibly the entire point of this post…Is it supposed to happen that way? Is it natural? Sports should be almost exclusively guy time unless the women in the room are scantily clad. But then again, that could be a distraction and the hardcore sports fan might be get frustrated when he misses an important play because he was in a daze of cleavage. I know I would miss all the important touchdowns if I had boobs in my nearby radius.

Put it this way, if a girl knows how many RBI’s a player has or could break down the different divisions of any given sports league, I opt out at that point. When a girl begins commenting on a tight end’s tight ass that usually means she‘s not much into the game. For instance, when it comes to the Super Bowl, every girl I know always says “I liked the commercials.” I can’t say truthfully that I don’t either. When millions of dollars go into making each second of the Super Bowl successful it’s never hard to enjoy the performances and commercials more than the actual game which rarely lives up to the hype. After asking a girl what she thought of the bowl last year, a girl told me: “I just liked the commercials.” I stared at her blankly and said “I really enjoyed that purple guy during halftime” and with that she replied, “Oh you mean King, right?” I said…”…yeah…King was great.”

I try to alter the situation so the girl is a huge WWE fan. I’m pretty sure it would be equally as creepy for me if a girl completed my sentences regarding who won the WWE Championship against Bob Backlund in mere seconds at MSG in 1994. Wait a minute..that would be really weird, but HOT! If she replied “Big Daddy Cool Diesel aka Kevin Nash” I would probably spit apple in her face Carlito style. Metaphorically, of course. I would also metaphorically crack a coconut over her head and drag her back to the Pipers Pit if you know what I mean. I would probably elbow drop her right there too. It wouldn’t bother me that she might know as much if not more than me about WWE, but it just seems abnormal. But wait…would I rather my girl say “Who’s Bob Backlund?” and then go back to twirling her gum and staring into space?

Blue lights on the trees?

There was a great commercial that aired during the kickass episode of Heroes on Monday. I must give props to Cingular and Motorola who produced an homage of A Christmas Story to promote their latest phone deal.

I find it quite amazing that A Charlie Brown Christmas is already airing on television right at this second on ABC. What’s even nuttier is that the Christmas Tree lighting in Rockefeller Center seems like it’s being scheduled earlier and earlier each year. Next thing you know, Halloween will be cancelled and replaced by a new holiday called “Countdown to Christmas.”

Tomorrow is the tree lighting and to me it’s pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to going to see the tree because it’s one of the last real traditions we have in the tri-state area. Traditions are awesome and make Christmas one of the most highly anticipated holidays. From the holiday music to the classic movies, it’s fun to relive them each year. Even though the holiday season has the most anticipation of any tradition, (next to the Super Bowl of course!) the more miniscule ones are still important. To many people, watching Monday Night Football (or Raw in my case) is one of the feelings that makes living life so awesome. If you don’t have traditions in your life, I recommend starting a brand new one up and then see if you can make it catch on with other people. Oh wait, George Costanza’s father tried that on Seinfeld (fesitvus) and Seth tried to on The O.C (Chrismakuh) and they both didn’t work out. It’s worth a shot anyway. I’ve always wanted to make a horror movie night with some friends where we all got together and watched a different horror movie every week or so. To me that is a great tradition.

Finally, it’s important to note that the town has decorated the trees on Main St. They put these weird blueish/purple lights on the trees! Usually red and green is more festive, or even colorless lights are better. I can’t get into lavendar, it’s not traditional enough dammit! Even silver and gold would be better.