Victoria: October 2005 Archives

I have added a new category to Pop5: Commonplace. In olden times, long before internets, people would keep written journals called Commonplace Books, where they would record quotations from their reading that were particularly important to them. I am always coming across quotations that I like, so I thought I would record mine here. This is actually from the preface to a history book:

"Those who use the past to criticize the present should be put to death, together with their relatives."
- Li Si, Chinese prime minister, 3rd century B.C.

What a ringing endorsement for my academic discipline!

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Lately all I hear talk of in the entertainment industry is executives bemoaning their dwindling market share. Translation: too many leisure time activities are available to the American citizenry, causing our interest in them (in terms of dollars and time spent) to be divided up into ever smaller fragments. Americans only have a limited amount of time and money they can spend on leisure activities, and with so many different ones to choose from, it is getting progressively harder for media executives to ensure that their product will sell. Well, I have an answer that I am sure will please Americans and media executives alike:

MAKE OUR WORKWEEK SHORTER!

Just think about it: if the mandated American workweek was 32 hours/4 days a week, we would have 24 more hours weekly to spend shopping, going to movies, playing video games, watching television, downloading songs legally on the internet, and doing god knows what else to help fuel one of the largest industries in the country - the entertainment industry. Since America is already moved to being a primarily service economy, this will have the added benefit of reducing unemployment, since stores that are open all week will have to hire additional employees. As far as I can see, this is a win-win situation. Who is with me?

Of course, another approach would be to increase wages, which would also make Americans spend more money, but I don't want to push my luck. I think it should be fairly obvious by now that "trickle-down" (or to use George Bush I's term before he got co-opted by Reagan, "voodoo") economics doesn't work.

On an unrelated note, it is a good thing for me that logical inferences are not a punishable offence; as in, the logical inference that if I suddenly and dramatic slow down right before I am about to pass in front of a police car that is obviously "radaring," I must have been speeding to begin with. This has been happening to me all too often recently...

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Yesterday, continuing with the Halloween theme, we watched three scary movies. The first was "Wallace and Gromit's Curse of the Were-Rabbit," which was very cute and recommended for all ages. There was almost a horror-film-worthy bloodbath in the theater, because Buddy was getting pissed off at all of the seven-year-olds giving away plot points.

Then we watched "Carrie," which Mike and I had never seen, and which I don't think I ever need to see again. Stupid Brian de Palma. Stupid John Travolta. Stupid seventies hair.

And finally, we watched "Rock and Roll High School," which counts as a horror movie because of freaky-looking Joey Ramone and the attempts to set him up as a rockin' sex symbol. I don't think that would have worked even if they borrowed de Palma's patented X-TREME soft focus effect.

Also, we went to the Stratford Diner, where I am pleased to report that their desserts were excellent. Cheesecake (me), cherry pie a la mode (Rob), and coconut custard pie (Mike) were all happily consumed. Ever the rebel, Buddy got a cheeseburger. Keeping seventh-graders in line is hard work.

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Where the hell is the Starview Diner? It's on the White Horse Pike in...Magnolia? Voorhees?

Starview Diner Sign

It's too bad that I didn't take a picture at night, because at night the neon lights up all newborn baby blue and pink.

Starview Diner

There are two stages to my experience with the Starview Diner. When we used to live out that way, my roommate and I would go there fairly regularly. They have pretty decent food, and the service is nice. Also, not that I've ever taken advantage of it, but the Starview Diner is one of the few diners that has a liquor license. But when we moved out of the neighborhood, we stopped going there.

They are also open 24 hours, which leads into the second phase of my Starview Diner experience. About a year ago, I went there a few times with the pop5 crew late at night, and it was totally different. The food was still good, and the service was still friendly, but the atmosphere was troubling. I think the pop5 guys almost got into a rumble not once but twice - in both cases, some other gentlemen were "looking at them funny." Needless to say, we don't go back there anymore.

Starview Diner with Flag

Also, what's up with all of the American flags in front of these diners? I seem to remember that these all popped up overnight after 9/11. Does anyone else remember this?

Anyway, the Starview Diner gets 3 Coffee Cups

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In some parts of the country, Halloween is considered a kid's holiday. Happily that isn't the case here is South Jersey. In preparation for Fright Night, we watched two "scary" movies on Saturday night. The first was the Ring II, which was not scary and mostly just lame. I liked the first Ring, so I was disappointed. Rob had already seen it, and he left after we watched it, so he missed the BEST MOVIE EVER, which came next. I think it was called "Undead," and it was an Australian B-movie with zombies AND aliens. Zombies are my favorite horror movie bad guys, and the addition of aliens just made it that much better. Plus there were decapitations! And attacking zombie fish!! People, my life is complete.

We were talking about this on Saturday: XPN finally finished its top 885 albums. Five of the top ten were the Beatles, and I think the only one in the top twenty that had been released in the past twenty years was Radiohead's OK Computer (I think #14). The DJs were trying to say that there wasn't a "generation gap," but I can't agree.

Mike has decided that his new idol is Iggy Pop. Is there any possible way that could be a good thing?

Pay attention, pop5'ers, here's a pop quiz (answer in the comments, if you please):
1) Top Three Movies You've Seen This Year (must be released this year)
2) Top Three Albums of All Time

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Since it has been a week since Rama went to LA, I think it is safe to assume that by this point he has collapsed in an intoxicated stupor and won't be able to find the keyboard until he sets foot in Jersey again. Either that, or he is camped outside Nastassja Kinski's house with a trenchcoat, a boombox, and an old Peter Gabriel tape.

Mike and I watched "Lords of Dogtown" last night, which was kind of disappointing. It seemed like the story was much more interesting than the movie showed - it was disjointed and hard to follow. It could have made better use of the material. I hear the documentary is better, but can it be found at the local rental store? I want Netflix!

I am trying to figure out how to upload mp3s to our lovely pop5, but so far no luck. All I have been listening to lately is Iron & Wine and Green Day. Two observations: 1) I like almost everything I have heard from Iron & Wine, but I prefer my Green Day loud and political. That September song is just eh, and I like Novocaine better when it's called "I Wanna Be Sedated," and sung by the Ramones. 2) How come Kanye West and the Dixie Chicks have to apologize for trashing GWB, but Green Day can pretty explicitly compare him to a Nazi and win a Grammy? Is it the eyeliner?

Lastly, only the most coldhearted Grinch of an individual can withstand the collective cuteness of Panda Day Care:

Panda Cuteness


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One of our favorite diners is the Berlin Diner.

Berlin Diner

It is located in Berlin, NJ (of course). It used to be a very broken-down looking, railroad car diner, but they renovated it about five years ago. Mike and I actually ate there once before the renovations, and I remember I was a little afraid to go there. I also remember it was just after we had seen Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, because I was thinking about Ewan MacGregor. Yum.

Ewan MacGregor

I remember the food was ok, but it was much better after the renovations.

Berlin Diner

The Berlin Diner has a big menu; we are partial to the quesadillas, which come with peppers, onions, and tomatoes, for an appetizer. I think their fries are ok, although I don't often get them. Their desserts are pretty good, too. I don't think they are open 24 hours, though. But the service has always been friendly and quick.

Berlin Diner

The neon around the clock says "Berlin...Time to Eat." Another interesting fact about the Berlin Diner: apparently part of the Kevin Smith movie "Jersey Girl" was filmed there. The front counter is plastered with pictures of Ben Affleck. There aren't any of Kevin Smith or JLo, though...

The Berlin Diner gets 4.5 Coffee Cups

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We went to the Crossroads Diner when we were up at the Delaware Water Gap.

Crossroads Diner

(Mike took all the pictures for this one. The black and white ones he took on his camera, and the color ones he took on my camera.)

Diner Interior

We stopped at this diner on the way home. It was the middle of the afternoon, and I think they had maybe one other table there. I think it was an old railroad-car style diner originally, but they did have an added-on, fancier section in the back. We stayed up in the front, though.

Diner Counter

Jukebox

The Crossroads Diner is not open 24-hours a day. The menu seemed more like a luncheonette than a real diner. We liked the food we got, but the desserts didn't look so good.

Ceiling Fan

The service was really nice - this was the first diner we took pictures of, and Mike told the waitress how we were going to put them up on a website. She seemed a little confused that anyone would want to make a website about diners, but she was very nice and let us take pictures, and told us about the history of the place.

Crossroads Sign

We recommend the place, especially for lunch, if you are ever in the area. It gets 4 Coffee Cups

Crossroads Business Card

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!