Category Archives: Reviews

Fat Head Says Super Size Me Is Full Of Bologna

Perhaps you’ve seen Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, “Super Size Me” where he takes McDonald’s to task with an experiment over 30 days to see how unhealthy McDonald’s food is. Well, filmmaker Tom Naughton, decides to do the same experiment but prove it’s possible to lose weight eating only fast food for 30 days and in the process takes not only Morgan Spurlock to task, but also the US Government, consumer action groups, and basically every diet and exercise guru who advocate low fat, high carb diets.

Naughton points out that in Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me”, Spurlock consumed over 5,000 calories a day, which by anyone’s standards, would be likely to make anyone fat. But Spurlock had three rules he was going to follow, he ate only three meals a day, would try everything on the menu at least once, and would super size the meal if asked by the clerk. Naughton pokes a hole in this because there’s no way he could put together three meals a day and hit that calorie level without adding extra food. Spurlock gained over 25 pounds during his experiment, and it’s Naughton’s claim that Spurlock intentionally “Mc-Stuffed” himself because had he only gained four or five pounds, it wouldn’t have been as dramatic a film. And repeated efforts to contact Morgan Spurlock to review his food log were refused.

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Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.

What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”

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Meeting The Ultimate Prairie Bitch – Alison Arngrim

Most people will remember Alison Arngrim as the wickedly evil bitch, Nellie Oleson, from the television series “Little House On The Priaire.” The show ran from 1974-1983 and since I was born in 1975 so much of my experience of “Little House” was in reruns in the early 1980’s when the show aired on one of the three channels my family had while growing up in the rural areas outside of Calgary. You see in Calgary, which sits in Canada’s Prairie region and the outskirts of Calgary didn’t look so different from the scenery of the show. Also Calgary is well known for the Calgary Stampede celebration where the entire city embraces it’s Wild West past and is home to Heritage Park Historical Village which preserves many Little House era buildings in a town like setting, so the “Little House On The Prairie” show didn’t seem quite so removed from the 1980’s I grew up in.

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Free Play At Dave And Busters

Last week my good friend Vito Grandolfo and I took advantage of a couple of great freebie coupon deals, one was for Smashburger, and the other at Dave And Buster’s. The offer from Dave and Buster’s was for $10 worth of free play on their arcade just for signing up at FreePlayDay.com. For those not quite familiar with Dave and Buster’s, they are essentially a similar to a kid oriented Chuck E. Cheese restaurant which is basically a restaurant combined with a arcade of video games and games of skill. The difference is that Dave and Buster’s is for adults. Instead of crappy pizza, they have a full menu of a wide variety of food options, and a full bar to serve any kind of alcoholic drink you could want. Not that Dave and Buster’s doesn’t cater to kids, but they do reach a point where kids get kicked out and only people over 21 can go there.

While moving I found all my old Dave and Buster cards, including a couple of unused play cards from the birthday party I had there several years ago. I figured they probably had no value left and all the previously collected tickets that were put on my card, I was sure after this long they’d probably been wiped out. To Dave and Buster’s credit, all the points were still on the cards and I still had tons of tickets to redeem on the crap they have available to redeem points for. But I always like to collect the tickets and so I opted mostly to play the games that spew out the tickets and I was surprised my old favorite machines that were cash cows for tickets for me in the past were now down to only one machine and it wasn’t working. I was disappointed with that.

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A Day At Disneyland With Friends Familiar And New

I had no plans on going to Disneyland but caught the tweet on Twitter of one of my local friends, Michael Carrera indicating he was on his way up to Disneyland. I sent him a post back saying I wished I had known he was going because I would have gone. So he said, just come on up, and after thinking about it for probably the briefest amount of time possible, I wrote back saying I would be on my way up shortly. My Twitter conversation was picked up by another friend, Chuck Salerno, who was at Disneyland helping out with a “Flat Stanley” project for one of his family members. (If you’ve not heard of “Flat Stanley” (as I had not) essentially it’s just an elementary school project consisting of a cardboard cutout in the shape of a person (aka Stanley) that gets sent to people to photograph in random places to create a photographic travelogue of the cardboard cut out. Essentially a neat way to travel vicariously through photos and the creativity of the people Flat Stanley gets sent to.)

As I arrived at the Disneyland resort, I notified both Michael and Chuck that I had arrived. Michael sent back a text saying he and his friend were just finishing Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure Park and would be crossing over to Disneyland right afterwards. Chuck indicated he was on a park bench near the central hub of Disneyland. I was going to wait outside for Michael and his friend outside Disneyland when Michael sent a text saying he and his friend would be making a quick stop to the car, so I opted to go into Disneyland and meet up with Chuck and would catch up with Michael and his friend later as the trip to the car would add at least half an hour to the wait time for them.

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Kristina At Carnegie Hall Hits Stores Finally

Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA first let audiences in on their masterpiece, “Kristina Från Duvemåla,” in Malmö, Sweden on October 7, 1995, then record buying audiences were able to obtain the 3-CD cast recording in September of 1996. Almost immediately there was talk about translating the work to English and bringing it to an American audience, particularly because the story of “Kristina Från Duvemåla” (translating to Kristina From Duvemåla) is just as much a story about Sweden as it is a story about America. However, it seems a lot of the work in bringing “Kristina” to America would have to wait due to the surprise success of a little show launched in London in 1999, called “Mamma Mia!” would demand a lot of time and attention for Björn and Benny.

The story for “Kristina” is based on Vilhelm Moberg’s “Emigrants” series of four novels, which follows the lives of a group of Swedish settlers which include Karl Oscar and his wife Kristina, as they make the tough decision to pack up and take their chances settling in the unknown wilds of America in the mid 1800’s. While the books follow the group, the show has singled out Karl Oscar and Kristina to be the central focus of the show. The novels are considered to be some of the finest works in Swedish literature, which is what attracted Björn and Benny to wanting to tell the tale of Kristina. Their earlier musical effort, a collaboration with Tim Rice on an original idea by Tim Rice resulted in the musical “Chess.” As much as “Chess” is praised for it’s incredible songs, it’s also panned for its relatively weak plot, which left Björn and Benny looking for a well crafted story to transform into a musical. Björn and Benny felt for their second musical, they didn’t want plot to be one of the problems to plague the show.

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Boston’s Gourmet Pizza Brings Canadian Pizza To Encinitas

It seems when it comes to pizza, you often are faced with several choices, such as New York Thin Crust style verses Chicago Deep Dish style. Then it’s often between mom and pop locations and the “chain” places. And even within the “chains” you get a choice between the cheap and mediocre places, like Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s, and Little Caesar’s which are to pizza what McDonald’s is to hamburgers. And there are even more premium chain places like Round Table Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizzas, and Chicago UNO, that offer better pizza experiences. Joining the foray of the premium style chains, one of Canada’s most popular pizza chains, Boston Pizza, are expanding into the United States branding these locations as “Boston’s Gourmet Pizza” and positioning themselves as a restaurant and sports bar offering two experiences under one roof.

You may be asking, if Boston’s Gourmet Pizza originates from Canada, why do they call themselves “Boston’s” instead of some city in Canada? Well the answer to that lies in its history, as Boston Pizza was started by a Greek Immigrant to Canada in 1964. When he was looking for a name for his pizza place that he was starting in Edmonton, Alberta, he felt with The Boston Bruins, The Boston Red Sox, The Boston Celtics, and even Boston Creme Pie, the name Boston was recognizable and established. In the words of founder, Gus Agioritis, Boston meant “Big Leagues.” The company grew quickly through franchising quickly and today has over 325 locations throughout Canada and over 50 in the US since the company first expanded into the US in 1998.

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A&W Root Beer Served The Way Root Beer Should Be Served

On my way out of Palm Springs along Interstate 10, I found an A&W Restaurant just outside the Morongo Hotel And Casino. This was not a combination A&W store with another one of Yum! brands like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell, Long John Silvers, etc. This was an A&W restaurant that was just an A&W restaurant. This was exciting since all the San Diego A&W’s were combination stores and all of them withdrew the A&W portion of the stores, it means the only chance to sample A&W is on the road outside of San Diego.

When I got there, it was about a half hour before they opened. I was surprised they weren’t opened earlier as it was 10:30 am when I stopped by. I didn’t want to just find the next A&W because I might not see another one on the road ahead, so I went for a quick fill up on gasoline at Morongo’s gas station and then just waited for the A&W to open. At about 10 minutes left to go before the placed opened there was a line forming outside the door. Apparently I wasn’t alone in my want for A&W Food. Sure it’s not what I really should be eating but it’s an out of town treat.

Once it opened, I opted to get a burger combo and removed the bun, like I usually do at burger joints. But I was interested in the upgrade of the fries to Wisconsin Cheese Curds. Thanks to my friend Caroline Bender for introducing me to what Cheese Curds really are, I was anxious to try these. I had never tried Cheese Curds until Caroline introduced me to them because I didn’t know what a curd was and it sounded disgusting. So now that I’ve been corrected and know that cheese curds are delicious plain, let alone deep fried like they were here at A&W.

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Arrival Rocks Palm Springs With ABBA Music

When it comes to ABBA Tribute Bands, Arrival from Sweden is the world’s best. It is the most authentic recreation of an ABBA concert you’ll ever see, and Vicky Norbäck-Zetterberg, founding member of Arrival, has gone to great lengths to ensure the most authentic show possible, including enlisting the help of ABBA’s costume designer, Owe Sandström, to recreate some of ABBA’s signature costumes and choreography that’s be researched to match how ABBA originally performed the songs live. All the music is created live, unlike some ABBA tribute bands that actually bring recordings to sing to their shows. And who can resist authentic Swedish accents as they are real Swedes who are able to accurately sing the songs the way ABBA did.

Arrival’s performance in Palm Springs was part of the 2010 Evening Under The Stars charity event benefiting Palm Springs AIDS Assistance Program. The event was held on the grounds of the O’Donnell Golf Club, just a short walk away from Downtown Palm Springs. As the event was $395 a plate for the charity dinner, I was attending as a guest of the band. I had the opportunity to hang out with the band before and after the performance along with a couple of other guests the band invited.

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