Been & Going

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Weird Liquor Laws

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Jersey Joe explores old, outdated, and weird laws on the sale and consumption of alcohol across the United States.

THE 411

Name: blue laws

What: laws created the keep society at peace

Location: each state has their own unique set of these laws


Blue laws vary from state to state and also cover a variety of issues.  A non-liquor example in Bergen County, New Jersey forbids several large shopping malls from being open on Sundays.  So, when you travel, be sure you know these restrictions, so you don’t get busted.

A glass of golden hard liquor on the rocks. Could be scotch, bourbon, or whisky.

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Real Stories from the Police Blotter

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Jersey Joe checks out some real, but funny stories of bad criminals, funny robbers, and police headaches from police blotters around the country.

THE 411

Name: police blotter

What: published in local papers and local news to highlight criminal acts

Location: nationwide


While these are all funny stories – I hope that your name doesn’t end up on your local police blotter!  But, if you find any good ones – pass them along to me on Twitter @JerseyJoe50!


[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Funny, But Real NYC Police Blotter Stories

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Jersey Joe checks out some funny, strange, but true stories from the New York City Police Department police blotter!  Is your name on it?

THE 411

What: police blotter

Why: daily record of crime and arrests released by local police departments

Where: newspaper, online, local media

The blogs location: New York City


I don’t want to see my name on the police blotter!

police blotter mini

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Who’s to Blame for Stop Signs?

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Who invented the stop sign?  Which city was the first to install one?  Jersey Joe has all you ever wanted to know and more about these octagon wonders that you find on roads and streets, all over the world.

Stop signs have been controlling traffic since 1915.  While automobile traffic was lighter back then, many city streets were jammed with trains, horses, carriages, and pedestrians.  All fighting for the right of way.  It was clear that something had to be done and thanks to Detroit, the stop sign was born,


THE 411

Name: stop sign

What: traffic control device

Located: at street corners and intersections internationally

First erected: Detroit, 1915


A stop sign posted in San Juan, Puerto Rico.



Doing this blog over the years, I can honestly say I’ve learned a thing or two and here’s another example.  I had no idea that stop signs were eight sided to indicate the level of danger on a highway.  I guess we’ve come to take these things for granted and I couldn’t image our streets today without one.

Now, if we can only create an invention for those people who love to run right through these!

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Dogs Driving Cars

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You thought you had fun with my previous blog watching monkeys riding dogs?  Well, wait until you see what they are doing in New Zealand… dogs are actually driving cars!  And I think they drive better than most of us?  What do you think?  Take a look at this video and you decide…


THE 411

What: dogs driving cars

Where: New Zealand


You can teach dogs to do all kinds of things with enough patience.  I love seeing how they teach helper dogs to assist with the disabled, that’s more than a trick – that’s saving a life.  I remember seeing a new story where dogs were making copies, helping people get dressed, and even helping one guy make lunch!

We always had a dog growing up and they really can do a lot with the proper training.  It’s up to the owner to make it happen… and well, in New Zealand, it looks like they’ve decided to have them drive cars!

I wonder how high car insurance rates are for these canine drivers?

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (51-60)

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We’re coming up on the half way point of my top 100 TV Themes summer count down.  I’ve never done a countdown show before, maybe we should do this more often!  So far, we’ve focused mostly on oldies, now we’re going to start moving up towards the 21st century.


Sadly, as TV progressed into the 21st century, the new style was for shows to shorten or drop their theme songs all together to slam in more ad time.  The standard sitcom now runs only 19 minutes without commercials!


Anyhow, I’ve got a few police show themes on my list this week… so let’s take a look!



Airdates: 1981-1989 (NBC)



It’s a bunch of little blue people with giant white hats that live in a mushroom village.  These little blue guys skyrocketed into popularity when they first aired on NBC Saturday mornings.  Originally from a comic strip in Belgium, the show grew so popular that the Peacock Network expanded it to 90 minutes!


The cartoon regularly featured magic potions and stories set more in the medieval times, that’s until the last season when they started to add more time travel stories in an attempt to boost ratings.


In the end, it wasn’t low ratings that killed this show, it was The Today Show.  NBC had plans to create a Saturday morning version of Today, however that didn’t happen for two more seasons after they pulled the plug on Papa Smurf.


Now, fans of the show can enjoy the two live action blockbuster movies, with a third planned to hit theatres next year.


#59 COPS

Airdates: 1989-2013 (FOX) 2013-present (Spike TV)



COPS was another of those early shows that helped put FOX on the map.  What a simple and cheap concept to put on TV.  It was essentially, TV’s first reality show.  A camera crew rode around with police officers as they went on patrol and then edited the best action of the night down to 30 minute episodes.


This show was a staple of FOX Saturday night until last year, when new episodes moved to Spike TV.  This series made it to air thanks to the 1988 Writer’s Guild of America strike.  FOX needed new programming for their developing network and this reality show was it.


The theme song changed very little over the years with only the voice over slightly rewritten starting with season 3 to add “all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”  As with most shows, FOX cut down the theme in the later years, dropping the entire second verse.  Here’s the intro to one of the last FOX aired episodes with the revised voice over:




Airdates: 1986-1988 (NBC)



When Miami Vice became an instant hit for NBC, they wanted another big blockbuster show to follow in the footsteps and the execs came up with Crime Story.


Crime Story followed the a big time crime boss from Chicago, who escapes to Las Vegas, and takes over organized crime there.  This show was unique in that it changed cities from Chicago to Vegas in the first season.  Season 2 takes place almost entirely in Vegas, except for the very end, where our crime boss escapes to Mexico, had there been a season 3.


Here’s a look at the awesome season 2 Las Vegas intro.



The show did a great job of turning 1980’s Chicago and Vegas into their 1950’s counterparts.  If this series were on the air today, it would be all computer animation and green screens.  That couldn’t be done back then, so they brought in vintage cars, changed street signs, and shot in older parts of the cities that could easily represent their old school theme.


The series featured 50’s music, cool 50’s cars, and lots of guns and violence.  The show was one of the more violent on TV at the time.  One scene used the nuclear testing in the Nevada desert as a plot to knock off a bunch of gangsters.


This series did great in the first season, but was killed in the ratings by CBS’s Dallas and Falcon Crest on Friday nights.



Airdates: 1981-1987 (NBC)



Another of NBC’s gritty 80’s cop shows, Hill Street Blues opening credits put you right in the middle of the action.  I love the dirty, raw shots of the city interspersed with the awesome piano theme.  You know exactly what kind of cop show you’re getting into with this.


And when is the last time you saw an actor smoking in the opening credits?


#56 FAME

Airdates: 1982-1983 (NBC) 1983-1987 (Syndicated)



As you can see with the last few themes, NBC was the powerhouse of television in the 1980’s and they tried for another hit idea with this series dealing with high school kids in a performing arts school. However, a tough Sunday night time slot killed it on the network.  When the show was sold into syndication for local stations – it became a hit.


Fame showed the lives to high school kids in a New York City performing arts school as they tried to make big names for themselves in show business.  Looking back on these credits now, I don’t think many of them actually did!


#55 CSI: NY

Airdates: 2004-2013 (CBS)



Gary Sinise was the prefect choice to star in the third CSI spinoff, CSI:NY.  I work in Manhattan and wish my office was as cool as the lab CSI was!


Over the years, the series survived a number of cast changes, including the departure of the show’s second star Melinda Kanakaredes.  When CBS moved this show to Friday nights, I knew the end was near, but somehow it still managed to survive for several more seasons.


I actually like this series better than the original CSI or the first spin-off CSI: Miami.  The streets of New York gave this series more drama and mystery as our detectives tried to piece together the weekly list of murders.  Sadly, the show wasn’t always shot in the Big Apple and at times it was obvious to see when Los Angeles streets were being used, instead.


Baba O’Reilly really rocks here, though.  Don’t you think?


Here’s a look at one of the final show opens and the cast changes are obvious.




Airdates: 1951-1957 (CBS)



It was TV’s first mega-hit and it probably the most well known TV theme of them all.  Everybody tuned in each week for Lucy’s next sit-com misadventure.  The show made Lucy and Desi millionaires and has been on the air in reruns, ever since the original broadcast.



Airdates: 1982-1989 (NBC)



Another of NBC’s powerful 80’s sitcoms, Family Ties dealt with two 1960’s hippies that went on to raise a family, while tackling politics and liberal/conservative government debate on a weekly basis.


I always thought the second version of the opening credits with an artist painting a family portrait was cooler.  No other show that I can think of has ever tried this style of credits, since.



As the kids grew up over the years, producers added another kid, as most do when they try to keep a show relevant in the later years.



Besides the sha-la-la-la at the end of the credits, most will remember the production company’s title card after the end credits that featured the famous dog, Ubu.




Airdates: 1988-1995 (NBC)



A spin-off of The Golden Girls and aired immediately after on Saturday night’s, Empty Nest told the story of Harry Weston, a pediatrician that lived across the street with his giant dog, Dreyfus.  The characters from both shows crossed over so much that in the final seasons after The Golden Girls was cancelled, Sophia was brought in as a main cast member.


This show was freaking hilarious and was a great companion to The Golden Girls and it showed with big ratings!  Remember when people watched TV on Saturday nights?  NBC had such strong Saturday shows, people would tune in starting at 8pm and stay on through the local 11pm news.


In the earlier seasons, Harry worked in a Miami hospital as a pediatrician, but in later years, he was reassigned to a local clinic.  The first concept was better, as it allowed him to interact with more kids, which added to the comedy.


In the later seasons, a more upbeat version of the main theme was introduced, which in my opinion was a great upgrade!




Airdates: 2003-present (CBS)



I never really watched this show and I didn’t care for the premise or (worse) Ashton Kutcher, but for all the trouble behind the scenes, this show has a great theme.


While the credits really don’t introduce anything about the show, the barber shop singing theme is unique.  It’s a popular show and I know I’m missing the bus on this one, somehow.



THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 51 – 60




We’re nearly half way done with the summer count down.  I hope you’re enjoying this trip down TV memory lane as much as I am!


Check back next week when we take a look at numbers 41-50.  Next week we’re going back to the 60’s, the most awesome car ever, and the scariest show I’ve ever watched on network TV!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.

Image credit – Draconiansleet

[Desert Droppings] Bad Boys, Bad boys, Whatcha Gonna Do in ABQ?

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On a recent Sunday, the ABQ Journal, our earnest chronicler of desert doings, devoted page one to the sorry saga of ABQ’s dwindling, crime-ridden downtown. The very next day, the ABQ Journal’s front page headline announced, “Councilors seek to handcuff ‘COPS’ producers.”Desert Droppings- 030414-cops

Holy stupefying disconnect!

It seems that the “Bad Boys” themed reality TV show, “COPS” wants to film in and around ABQ.  ABQ’s mayor and the City Council got all hissy-pissy and want to bar the show from filming or at least from giving even the teeniest weeniest little hint that it was filmed in our not so fair city.
The City Council President declared with a straight face and no eye-rolling that “…the negative light the show [COPS] puts on  Albuquerque could affect economic development, as well as damage the nation’s perception of the city.”
The nation’s what?!
“Hello, nation. What’s your perception of Albuquerque?”Dessert-030414-abq2
“Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
“Is that where they legalized pot?”
“No. That’s Colorado.”
“Oh, what was that place, again? Alba…something…”

Reality  check, Mr. Mayor and City Councilors.
Someone can’t see the forest for the trees; can’t tell his a** from his elbow; wouldn’t know a stupendous opportunity if it jumped up and bit her on the nose; and every other down-home cliche which shouts, “Wake up and smell the coffee and donuts!”
Look!  You’ve got a cops based reality show eager to do an episode on crime fighting in ABQ…and you’ve got a crime-ridden, commercially crummy downtown.  Hmm?

Ok, Mr. Mayor, et al, let’s try again.
Remember how ABQ went all star-struck and showbizzy about “Breaking Bad?”  From guacamole to the car wash and “Saul’s” office in a shlumpy strip mall, ABQ reveled in its brief burst of being trendy and cool instead of being a dusty  outpost that nobody can spell in a state that doesn’t even have a single pro sports team.
True, “Breaking Bad,” the new “Welcome Back, Cotter,” was fictional, and, of course, there are no meth houses in ABQ (Well, hardly any.  Well, a few. OK! OK! There are meth houses in ABQ! Satisfied?”) But COPS is even better, because it shows our stalwart law enforcement personnel taking real criminals off real streets.  What “Dallas” does for Dallas; what “The Sopranos” did for Jersey, COPS can do for ABQ – make us a household name, a water cooler wonder!

ABQ should be flattered that a real live action-packed TV reality show wants to film here. Do you think COPS bestows its mass media largess on any old sluggish backwater  locale?  No way – unless by “sluggish” you mean a one-time triple ax murder complete with sex slaves and a Ponzi scheme, but barring that, no way! So if COPS chose ABQ, that would put us on the map or on You Tube, for sure.

YO!  You downtown merchants whining about wimpy customers shunning your establishments for fear of “crime,” don’t close up and slink away.  Get on the Bad Boy bandwagon.  Get your money’s worth by just being  where the COPS action is.  Don’t be dismayed by criminal shenanigans on your front stoop.  Profit from them with an “economic development” campaign.  Picture this:
A Murder, Mayhem, and Mugging Tour of every dirty deed COPS captured on tape.  Dub dank, sinister backstreets as stops on the COPS CARAVAN.
Offer foodie fun like a Pastrami-Egg salad-on Rye-with a Pickle (a PERP sandwich).
Sell T-shirts proclaiming, “I didn’t get kicked (or shot or stabbed) on Route 66!”
or “Welcome to KOPS City – Keep Out PerpS!”
or “Bad Boys, this cuff’s for you!”
Give discounts (if you don’t already…just in case…) to Law Enforcement “celebrities” who will mingle,  schmooze, and pose for selfies with the customers in your shop.

And, Candy Lady, in your new Old Town location, how about adding chocolate glocks to your “Adult Room” selection and Desert- 030414-glockwrapping your boxes of truffles in crime scene tape?

C’mon folks.  Don’t bluster and fret about ABQ’s image.  COPS will show the world that “ABQ won’t cave in on crime.”  (Get that on a gross of T-shirts, Bernie!”)

Wise up, Mr. Mayor and City Councilors. Let COPS freely film their sleazy, sensation-seeking hearts out in  (Make sure they spell it right.)  ALBUQUERQUE!
It would be a crime not to.