World Series Win for Giants; Sixers Open Season

October 30th, 2014
Masterful Madison Bumgarner.

Masterful Madison Bumgarner.

That was a pretty interesting World Series that just concluded even though it wasn’t a big ratings winner since the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants are not big market teams. To my pal Rogena, a Kansas City native transplanted to South Jersey, sorry about the loss, I know you are hurting. But look on the bright side, Andy Reid has your beloved Chiefs winning again.

Kansas City had to face the most clutch post-season pitcher in history. MVP Madison Bumgarner now has an insane .25 ERA in World Series games. Last night in the Giants 3-2 win to finish off the Royals, he put on an old school show: We are talking way-back old school when there was no such thing as relief pitchers and closers. You were expected to pitch nine innings. So what did Bumgarner do? He pitched his team to three wins, the third coming on two days rest when he pitched five innings of relief and was awarded the victory. He was untouchable, turning bats into toothpicks.

And yes, as a Phillies fan I was annoyed that Hunter Pence, who was such a disappointment as a Phillie, went to the Giants in a trade and turned into a clutch “Mr. October,” batting .444 and being praised as the sparkplug of the team.

Next up, basketball. The Philadelphia 76ers opened the season as expected, with a loss, 103-91, to the Indiana Pacers, coached by Wildwood Crest native Frank Vogel. But you know what, they didn’t look horrible. Yes, they can’t shoot from the outside and they look lost when they are forced to play half-court, but they are young and energetic and played pretty solid defense. The game was only this close because the Pacers were missing three starters but it took the final minutes of the fourth quarter for the Pacers to pull away from the feisty young Sixers.

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Hump Day Report: Happy Halloween

October 29th, 2014

Hump Day LogoRants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.

Happy Halloween everybody. Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. The Celts used the day to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, and also believed that this transition between the seasons was a bridge to the world of the dead.  Over the centuries the holiday transformed from a somber pagan ritual to a day of Jack-o-lanterns and trick or treat goodies.

JackOLanternThe phrase “Jack o’lantern” has its roots in Irish folklore. According to legend, “Stingy Jack” was a drunken miser who made a couple bad bets with the Devil during his life. One of the bets resulted in the Devil promising never to send old Jack to Hell. As it turned out, Jack wasn’t let into Heaven, and the Devil kept his promise. Jack was doomed to wander Earth for eternity with only his lantern, a large carved turnip, to light his way.

The celebration of Halloween in America didn’t take off until waves of immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in the mid-1800s. Pumpkins are native to North America, so while it’s not known exactly when the first pumpkin was carved and lit, the first mention of pumpkin jack o’lanterns comes at around the same time. In 1866, the children’s magazine Harper’s Young People reported that “a great sacrifice of pumpkins” had been made that for that year’s Halloween celebrations. Pumpkin carving grew more and more popular as the years went on. By the 1920s, Halloween had been embraced throughout the United States. Parties and costumes became the norm, and “trick or treating” soon followed in the mid-1930s.

Michonne, played by Danai Gurira.

Michonne, played by Danai Gurira.

According to a story at Forbes.com, the most popular costumes for 2014 are topped by the characters from Frozen, the animated movie that refuses to melt away, and by zombies. No doubt there will be a lot of Walking Dead fans looking for treats this holiday season. Personally, if I could find a real-looking Katana sword I would love to strut around the neighborhood as Michonne. Nobody would dare pull a trick on her! Shopping alert: Just saw that Spirit Halloween sells a fake Katana on-line for $14.99. Too late for this year, but maybe I’ll buy it for next year.

Here is the survey of the most searched Halloween costumes on the Web for 2014:

1.    Frozen – 1,192,000 (includes searches Elsa, Olaf and other characters)
2.    Zombie – 863,000
3.    Ninja – 863,000
4.    Pirate – 796,000
5.    Clown – 659,000
6.    Witch – 588,000
7.    Vampire – 565,000
8.    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  – 536,000
9.    Book of Life – 308,000
10.    Flapper – 277,000
11.     Batman – 251,000
12.     Despicable Me – 233,000
13.     Maleficent – 227,000
14.     Monster High – 206,000
15.     Star Wars – 148,000

Here’s hoping you have a Spooktacular Halloween night.

Ego Lounge’s Totally ’80s Costume Party w/the Almost Angels is Thursday, Oct. 30

October 28th, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY — Join the Almost Angels — celebrating their fifth anniversary in Atlantic City this year — on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 8pm for a totally rad, Totally ’80s Costume Party at Ego Bar and Lounge at the Trump Taj Mahal.
14-AlmostAngels1
Dress in ’80s attire, dance to ’80s songs, and enjoy drink specials all night. Guests will also have an opportunity to win prizes, including tickets to the Culture Club concert (Friday, Nov. 28, at the Taj’s Mark G. Etess Arena) and Hard Rock Café gift cards.

And of course, party with  one of AC’s most entertaining lounge acts in recent history — the Almost Angels.

Atlantic City Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ Haunted The Claridge Oct. 24-26

October 27th, 2014
Photo: Christine Steiner

Photo: Christine Steiner

 

ATLANTIC CITY — Three performances of the Atlantic City Ballet’s original adaptation of the 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula were featured at The Claridge Hotel’s Celebrity Theater Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26.

A family friendly adaptation of the famed Bram Stoker novel, Dracula has been a staple of the AC Ballet since 2006, always returning to town around Halloween.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the show, or click the video link below.

 

‘An Evening with The Duprees’ Benefit Concert @ Holy Spirit High on Nov. 15

October 24th, 2014
The Duprees will perform a benefit concert at Holy Spirit High School on Nov. 15

The Duprees will perform a benefit concert at Holy Spirit High School on Nov. 15

ABSECON, N.J. — Holy Spirit High School, in conjunction with the school’s Fathers’ Club and Mothers’ Guild, is hosting a benefit concert entitled “And Evening with The Duprees” on Saturday, Nov. 15.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Adam Bengis in his effort to fight Leukemia. The show takes place in the Holy Spirit High School Auditorium.

Seating starts at 7pm and the show starts 8pm. The special guests emcee for the evening is Lou Costello of WVLT Radio of Vineland.

Guests will have the opportunity to attend a meet-and-greet with The Duprees in the HSHS cafeteria after the show. There will be prizes given out and refreshments available.

General admission tickets are $40. Call (609) 645-8921 for tickets, or order them online by clicking here. If you are not able to attend but would like to contribute to the cause, please make checks payable to:

Ron O’Brien Ent. LLC
and mail to:
Benefit Show
4 Hillside Circle
Absecon, NJ 08201

‘Together AC’ Holds Candlelight Vigil on Oct. 23, at AC’s Second Baptist Church

October 23rd, 2014
Bishop John Gandy, the president of 'Together AC' (pictured far right), AC Mayor Don Guardian (second from right) and other local political and religious leaders will hold a candlelight vigil Oct. 23 to kick off Faith Commitment Weekend.

Bishop John Gandy, the president of ‘Together AC’ (pictured far right), AC Mayor Don Guardian (second from right) and other local political and religious leaders will hold a candlelight vigil Oct. 23 to kick off Faith Commitment Weekend.

ATLANTIC CITY — The “Together AC” coalition — an organization comprised of local dignitaries and political leaders, and designed to provide comfort and assistance to local residents who lost their jobs in the wake of the recent casino closures — will begin Faith Commitment Weekend tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23) with a candlelight vigil at the Second Baptist Church of Atlantic City (110 Rev. Doctor Isaac Cole Plaza).

Bishop John Gandy of Abundant Life Church and the Together AC president, along with AC Mayor Don Guardian and several other Together AC officers and members, will oversee Faith Commitment Weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24-26, asking participating congregations to set aside their weekend day of worship as a “Giving Day,” when parishioners will be asked to make a financial donation in support of this cause.

“We hope this will be another building block in providing financial and other support to the households of jobless Atlantic City resident casino workers,” said Bishop Gandy. “We are asking faith-based organizations in Atlantic City and throughout the area, regardless of religion or denomination, to come together in support of these individuals and their families.

“We are hoping this event will be the first of many positive actions undertaken by local businesses and government,” he added. “Together AC is working to provide ‘Sustaining Care’ for our neighbors now through the spring and summer of 2015, when new businesses and property openings begin creating new jobs in Atlantic City.”

“It’s inspiring to see our community come together to support one and other as we work to rebuild and revitalize Atlantic City during these tough economic times,” said Mayor Guardian.

Funds raised will provide grants to laid-off AC casino workers’ households to assist with such things as property tax payments, utilities, rental assistance, mortgage assistance, food and clothing, tuition assistance, and other relevant needs to be determined.

If you are unable to attend the vigil but would like to provide support, please mail a check to:

Atlantic City Long Term Recovery Group
1 S. New York Avenue, Suite 401
Atlantic City , NJ 08401
and marking “Together AC” in the memo line. Or you can click here to contribute.

Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center Topping-Off Ceremony

October 23rd, 2014
Atlantic City Second Ward Councilman Marty Small signs the conference center’s final beam.

Atlantic City Second Ward Councilman Marty Small signs the conference center’s final beam. Photo: Christine Steiner

ATLANTIC CITY — A topping-off ceremony for the $125 million Waterfront Conference Center expansion project at Harrah’s took place Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the construction site. Several local and regional dignitaries signed the final beam before it was hoisted into place.

The new center will focus on bringing corporate meetings to the facility and will be complementary to the tradeshows booked by the Atlantic City Convention Center. It will, upon its completion, serve as the largest and most technologically advanced conference facility in the region.

Speakers at the ceremony included Harrah’s regional president and general manager Rick Mazer, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority executive director John Palmieri, New Jersey State Senate president Stephen Sweeney, and Caesars Entertainment president and CEO Gary Loveman.

From left, Sweeney, Loveman, Guardian and Palmieri. Photo: Christine Steiner

From left, Sweeney, Loveman, Guardian and Palmieri. Photo: Christine Steiner.

“With 16 billion dollars being spent in annual meetings in the Northeast, and Atlantic City only capturing one percent, this is exactly what the future of Atlantic City, the future of gaming, and the future of Caesars Entertainment is all about,” said Guardian.

“We can offer newness, innovation — a state-of-the-art facility,” said Loveman. “We can offer a very reasonable price with the inventory we have here that’s underutilized Sunday to Thursday, and we’re a lot more fun, there’s no question about that.”

“There are so many positives going on,” said Sweeney, “so no one should think Atlantic City has seen its best days.”

Hump Day Report: Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center

October 22nd, 2014

Hump Day LogoRants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or what’s happening in the region. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly.

Most news about Atlantic City these days has been on the negative side. The hot button topic of the current news cycle is the possibility that the Trump Taj Mahal might close in November, leaving 3,000 more casino employees out of work.

While the fight continues to save the Taj, there is better news from Caesars Entertainment. Harrah’s Resort, one of Caesars Atlantic City properties, had a press conference today for the ceremonial topping off event of its $125 million Waterfront Conference Center.

The $125 million expansion of the waterfront meetings facility at Harrah’s Resort is significant for the market. It is an opportunity to attract a different type of customer to the city and significantly increase mid-week hotel occupancy. The Waterfront Conference Center will focus on courting corporate meetings to the facility and will be complementary to the tradeshows booked by the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Upon its completion, the Waterfront Conference Center will serve as the largest and most technologically advanced conference facility in the region. The space offers convention goers the ability to attend large meetings with the convenience of being able to meet, eat and sleep all under one roof in a facility accompanied with dynamic hospitality offerings and amenities.

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My purple spider.

My purple spider.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. As a kid I loved dressing up and collection all that yummy candy. As an adult I still love all that yummy candy and the chance to carve an impressive Jack-O-Lantern. The biggest one I’ve ever made was from a 250-lb pumpkin. While I’m not going to hunt for anything that big this year, I’ll still be carving up a pumpkin for my porch. I have been lazy this year and have not yet pulled out my blow-up jumbo spider from the closet. That is the extent of my Halloween decorations since my bad knee makes it hard to do any physical activity. Maybe tonight will be the night the spider comes to life.
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After my annual trip to the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival I now have six pounds of cranberries for cranberry sauce and other cranberry recipes for the holidays and beyond. This one sounds pretty interesting — I think I’ll try it this weekend.

cranguacCranberry Avocado Salsa
Ingredients:
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
12 oz Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (3 cups)
1/2 cup Sugar
¼ cup Orange Juice
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Grated Orange Peel
2 Ripe Hass Avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Method:
Char bell pepper over a gas flame or in the broiler until the skin has blackened on all sides. Place charred pepper in a paper bag to steam off skin for about 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop the bell pepper.
Combine cranberries, sugar, and orange juice in processor. Using on/off turns, coarsely chop cranberries. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, and orange peel. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Stir avocado and cilantro into salsa. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Yield:
3 1/2 cups

Boomer Esiason is Commissioner of the FFL

October 21st, 2014

kittensWEB

Former NFL all-star Boomer Esiason has accepted the position of commissioner of the first-ever Feline Football League (FFL). Esiason has some experience with cool cats since he was the quarterback for the  Cincinnati Bengals. He will serve as spokesperson for the FFL, which includes a scouting combine, draft, season games and playoffs that lead up to the biggest feline showdown in history, Kitten Bowl II, premiering Su-purr Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2015.

“We couldn’t have formed history’s first Feline Football League without an exceptional commissioner,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “Boomer Esiason is the embodiment for everything the Feline Football League stands for and we’re excited to bring him on as the new face and leader of the network’s newest league that celebrates pet adoption.”

Boomer Esisian.

Boomer Esiason.

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Esiason played a 14-year career in the NFL as quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1998 and became a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. In 1995, Esiason was honored with the Walter Peyton Man of the Year award for his excellence on the football field as well as his charitable work through the Boomer Esiason Foundation, an organization created to fund research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

After retiring from the NFL after the 1997 season, Esiason began his career in the broadcast booth.  In 2002 joined CBS Sports as a studio analyst for The NFL Today.

The FFL brings adorable—and adoptable!—kittens together with celebrities and personalities from the entertainment world as the kittens compete on the field in Hallmark Channel Stadium. Kitten Bowl II is part of Hallmark Channel’s corporate initiative “Pet Project,” a movement dedicated to celebrating pets and the incredible joy they bring to our lives.  The FFL and “Kitten Bowl II” will significantly raise awareness of the plight of shelter animals across the country as Hallmark Channel once again partners with North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, who will provide the feline competitors with forever loving homes once the games conclude.

Gov. Christie Signs Updated Sports Wagering Legislation

October 20th, 2014

ChristieBill SignWhile the state of New Jersey still has a fight on its hands against the federal government about its desire to have sports wagering, Gov. Chris Christie continues to show his support for the bill.

Reinforcing that support for legal sports wagering in New Jersey, Christie on Friday, Oct. 17, signed legislation that reflects recent court rulings and removes prohibitions against sports wagering in New Jersey.

“As I’ve said all along, I am a strong proponent of legalized sports wagering in New Jersey.  But given earlier decisions by federal courts, it was critical that we follow a correct and appropriate path to curtail new court challenges and expensive litigation,” Governor Christie said. “I believe we have found that path in this bipartisan legislative effort.”

In a signing statement with the bill (S-2460), the Governor explains that this bill corrects the critical flaws in the Legislature’s earlier bill on sports wagering that was vetoed. For example, the new bill specifies that certain collegiate sports contests and athletic events shall not be the subject of wagering, as the New Jersey Constitution mandates, and it limits the repeal to wagers placed by persons at least 21 years of age. The bill also repeals the prior Sports Wagering Act in its entirety, thereby providing certainty and clarity to the law.